Posts on Ward Churchill (lbo mostly)
piet Says: May 18th, 2006 at 2:08 pm
Ward links collected by me, used to have 2 more of these.
Listen to the man. He is a master in making long and involved sentence and can quote himself at length like nobody’s business.
There is a Coloradan who usefully posts links to most stuff that comes out about him and tries to deride and tear it down before it hits the ground. Him and his buddies are quite clumsy though.The most blatant attempt is at once the most illuminating example. Namely, when they like to quote Ward saying he wants the US off the planet they’re fighting off their biased belligerence to abuse some photoshopping skills in order to place Ward at some Cold War red button room rather than sticking up the pic where he holds a firearm. Of course Ward could defuse this skewage a little if he went into secession and such dissolvents a little more and better. The fact he doesn’t is in fact the main reason the right can use and abuse him so fruitfully and hold him up as the seemingly smart cookie and say: see, this is the best the left can do: reaction. Violence condonement.
Doug: .. . the story of white treatment of the Indians is horrible enough - why did Churchill have to invent, exaggerate, and plagiarize? It's a sad thing.
How do you know this? Take for example the charge that Churchill wrongly stated that the American governent deliberately infected natives with smallpox blankets. Obviously, this is a matter of some contention. What kind of records exist? If this is a subject of debate between academics, then why is Churchill guilty of stating his position on the issue?
This is dealt with in the full report - which, by the way, reads like no right-wing hatchet job. It repeatedly acknowledges the horrors suffered by Indians, the racism of whites, the ambiguities of the historical record, and the validity of "different ways of knowing."
But, in a phrase, the claims made by Churchill on this issue just don't match the sources he cited, and it's not just a narrow miss. And that's when he cites sources at all.
And you can be damned sure that now whenever anyone brings up the genocide of the Indians, apologists will say, "Churchill made all that up."
By the way, Yoshie shows up on p. 77 of the report (p. 78 to a PDF reader):
>Professor Churchill then devoted several paragraphs of Submission B to a federal program announced in 1832 to vaccinate American Indians against smallpox and the orders issued by Lewis Cass, Secretary of War, concerning the implementation of that program. Professor Churchill described his source for that account as: "Extracts from Diane Pearson's 'Medical Diplomacy and the American Indian: Thomas Jefferson, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the Subsequent
>Effects on American Indian Health and Public Policy' (Wicazo Sa Review, Vol. 19, No. 1, 1994) offered by Yoshie Furuhashi in 'Nothing but the Facts.'" Furuhashi's "Nothing but the Facts" was an online posting no longer available at the time of our investigation.
>Professor Churchill's citation of Pearson is incorrect in several respects, though it is not clear whether the problem originated with Furuhashi or him.
What's amazing is how the Rightwing stalwarts of academic integrity and honesty can pass over the fact that almost every single assertion or piece of evidence presented by the US oiligarchy to justify the murder of 50,000+ Iraqis and 2,400+ US soldiers has been a shameless, contemptible
All true. But some of us writers who are radical critics of the established order feel an obligation to be especially accurate, making it a little harder for apologists to dismiss the critique.
What's noteworthy is that Ward Churchill's works investigated by the
Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research
Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder (cf.
are those published by non-scholarly presses -- except Routledge --
Ward Churchill, ed., Critical Issue in Native North America
(Copenhagen: International Work Group on
Indigenous Affairs, 1989)
"The Water Plot," Z Magazine, April 1993
Struggle for the Land: Indigenous Resistance to Genocide, Ecocide, and
Expropriation in Contemporary North America (Monroe, ME: Common
Courage Press, 1993).
Indians Are Us? Culture and Genocide in Native North America (Monroe,
ME: Common Courage Press, 1994)
Since Predator Came: Notes from the Struggle for American Indian
Liberation (Littleton, CO: Aigis Publications, 1995).
A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas,
1492 to the Present (San Francisco: City Light Books, 1997)
"An American Holocaust? The Structure of Denial." Socialism and
Democracy, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Issue No. 33, 2003): 25-76,
Acts of Rebellion: The Ward Churchill Reader (New York: Routledge, 2003).
On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences
of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality (Oakland, CA: AK Press,
Perversions of Justice: Indigenous People and Angloamerican Law (San
Francisco: City Lights Books, 2003)
That raises questions: Is it fair to look into what gets published by
Z Magazine, AK Press, etc. and hold it up to exactly the same standard
as what gets published in scholarly journals and university presses?
Is it common for professors to get investigated for "academic
misconduct" on account of what they published for non-scholarly
As I stated in my previous postings, I try to do what I can to ensure accuracy, readability, and so on in editing pieces for MRZine, at times to the point of rewriting things nearly from the ground up, as much as my time allows. (You know me -- my habit is to footnote even goddamn LBO-talk postings.) Monthly Review, being a monthly publication, sets itself even a higher standard (e.g., when things get submitted to MR on topics in which MR editors are not well versed, they get sent to reviewers). But I don't think that other left-wing publishing outfits all do what we try to do, much less do the same as scholarly journals and university presses.
If left-wing scholars, from now on, must expect to have their popular works investigated in a way that Churchill's were, left-wing publishers would all have to change the way they do business and copy scholarly publishing procedures.
Shouldn't you be careful about saying things like this now that you have a position with Monthly Review? And aren't you encouraging people to treat the output of radical presses less seriously?
I asserted that a number of Arabs and Muslims suffer from what can be called "Holocaust envy" (at http://mailman.lbo-talk.org..n-20060508/038013.html). So do many American Indians and others who suffered -- or still suffer -- from oppressions that are downplayed or dismissed altogether by many. You see, the Holocaust has become _the_ standard of evil, and many are tempted to analogize their oppression to the Holocaust -- hence the prevalence of the term "genocide" among leftists, too, not just among genocide-mongers of the Right.
That's why I think Michael Steinberg's argument in
< http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/steinberg080506.html > is so cogent.
Another reason is that a combination of moralism and capitalism tends to have us believe that intentional wrongs are more of a problem than unintentional wrongs. A case can be made that, morally speaking, intentional wrongs are worse than unintentional wrongs. But, in terms
of consequences, unintentional wrongs are often much worse than intentional wrongs. Some can be induced to understand this point intellectually, but many find it unsatisfying, trapped as they are in conventional morality.
I suspect that these two reasons led Ward Churchill to develop his apparent belief in, for instance, a case of an intentional spreading of smallpox where he couldn't find written records for it. (I don't think he deliberately tried to lie -- he probably talked himself into believing it, as many -- including scholars -- do about what they want to believe.)
"Holocaust envy"? I think that as far as Native Americans are concerned a better label might be "victim worthiness catagorization fatigue". It isn't envy but fatigue. While I believe that comparing and rating holocausts against some standard is a poor way to spend ones time I don't know why you would use the term envy the way you do. I have absolutely no envy in this matter, nor do any NA writers that I am aware of, but I am tired of the way our culture rates the worthiness of victims. I can't speak to Muslim or Arab "holocaust envy" as I don't feel I am familiar enough with their situation to do so but my initial reaction is to find that assertion less than compelling.
Fatigue is probably the best word for it. Can you imagine anyone but a raving lunatic telling someone who is jewish directly to their face that "yes, the holocaust was terrible but WWII drew the US much more into world affairs and allowed for the rebuilding and modernizing of Europe and Japan as well as serving to increase the rate of technological advances so in the end it was all for the best"? NA's are told this all the time and it is considered an accurate historic appraisal by most people. I've seen it written on this list as well. This engenders fatigue (and anger) but certainly not envy. The Nazi atrocities were really only unique in their technological application.
Steinberg is wrong when he writes: "And it was part of the special horror of the Holocaust that everything about its victims but the bare datum of their Jewishness was obliterated before the actual living Jews, personal lives and family histories stripped away with their clothing, were obliterated themselves."
.. . . .
Why shouldn't we initially consider the spreading of smallpox among the Mandan as intentional rather than unintentional? While I agree the record does not support Churchills assertions in this instance I see no reason to assume any instances of infectious disease spreading among NA's are unintentional unless proven otherwise. I believe just the opposite, they should be considered intentional until proven to be otherwise. I like Churchill's work but after reviewing the evidence it is obvious that he has either made an initial error that he refuses to acknowledge and correct or else he made shit up to suit his needs. It's very sad.
After reading the Investigative Committee Findings Report I am a bit surprised by the plagiarism findings. Those are really crappy conclusions. Churchill is obviously guilty of fabrication and falsification as well as failure to comply with established standards so I don't know why the committee felt compelled to throw in the plagiarism. It is far from obvious that he is guilty of anything other than the failure to comply with established standards regarding authors names on publications. In light of the rather significant body of work he has amassed it is disingenuous to focus on such minute, insignificant and otherwise explainable errors. The committee simply chose to disbelieve Churchill's explanation, not because of any overwhelming evidence, but for reasons they have kept to themselves.
Even leaving the Holocaust and its 12 million victims
(including the Red Army POWs, Communists, homosexuals,
Roma, _and_ Jews), who on earth would say that WWII
with its remaining, say 40 million dead, was "all for
the best"? Also conisdering that "increasing the rate
of technology advance" led to the creation and use of
atomic weapons? This is bizarre. It would be cruel and
insensitive to say to a Jew, "the destruction of
European Jewry is an insignificant footnote;" worse to
say "it was justified by its unintended consequences"
-- just as it would be insulting to say to a native
American similar things. Or to assert them inother
contexts. Because, after all, the destruction of the
Native Americans (far more certainly that WWII) did
lead to the unification and modernizing of the US and
increase in the rate of technological progress. Do you
think that makes, e.g., Wounded Knee or the Trail of
Tears justified? I don't think so.
The Nazi atrocities were really only unique in their technological application.
I'm not an advocate of the theory that the Holocaust
of the Jews was uniquely evil, not comparable to any
other evil act, etc. But first, please note that a
great lot of the killing -- maybe half of it -- was
not done in the killing factories with any specially
advanced or unique technology but by old fashioned
methods of mass shooting by the Einsatzgruppen in the
invasion of Russia. The Red Army POWs (3 million of
them) were simply left to starve or worked to death as
slave labor. (Stalin had most the survivors shipped
offto the gulag, btw.) It is really the scale of the
Holocaust (including all the victims, Jews and others)
that in part makes it unique as well as the
application of mass production -- destruction? --
techniques to many millions of deaths, also the wierd
irrationality of the thing -- the killing machine was
kept running while Germany was on the ropes, essential
war resources like trains were devoted to its ends
taht could have been used to, for example, attain the
end of the saner Nazis of a seperate peace with the
West by holding off the Russians; valuable slave labor
……. Quote snipped
This is demonstrably wrong. THe Nazis kept scrupulous
records of all the victims of the camps. Theyw ere
German, after all, bureaucratic and pendantic to a
fault. At the Jewish Burial Societ in Prague I saw an
exhibit of Children's art from Theriesenstadt (their
model camp,a tansit poiunt to Auschwitz for many W.
European Jews) with the names, birthplaces, birthdates
and death dates of the artists: Francois Rubel, b.
Lyon 1930, d. Auschwitz, 1943, and so forth. All from
German records. In a synagogue nearby there is
inscribed on the wall the names of the Jews
"transported" from Prague -- where do you think they
got those names? German records. I've seen exemplars
of the cards the Germans used to record the data on
their victims, processed on IBM machines, btw, there's
a book on IBM's complicity in the Holocaust; they took
a lot more data than that. Very Teutonic.
The victims of the Einsatzgruppen were another story,
they were simply erased, shot and dumped in mass
graves, but these also included Communists (see the
"Komissar Befehl" or Commissar Order) and others in
Russia as well, even if the Jews were the main victims
> > Another reason is that a combination of moralism and capitalism tends to have us believe that intentional wrongs are more of a problem than unintentional wrongs. A case can be made that,
> morally speaking, intentional wrongs are worse than unintentional wrongs.
Well, it makes the people who commit them worse people and more culpable.
But, in terms of consequences, unintentional wrongs are often much worse than
> > intentional wrongs. Some can be induced to understand this point intellectually, but many find it unsatisfying, trapped as they are in conventional morality.
The distinction is this: unintentional or unintended
wrongs, if sytstematic, indicate a bad system,
regardless of whether the people who benefit friom it
or run it are bad people. Intentional wrongs indicate
(though they are not conclusive proof) that the people
commit them are bad. We may be interested for various
reasons in punishing intentional wrongs (as I have
argued), but the main target for the left is the bad
> > > > I suspect that these two reasons led Ward Churchill to develop his apparent belief in, for instance, a case of an intentional spreading of smallpox where he couldn't find written records
> for it. (I don't think he deliberately tried to lie -- he probably talked himself into believing it, as many -- including scholars -- do about what they want to believe.)
Self deception is no excuse for scholarly sloppiness.
Read carefully. Michael is not saying that the Nazis didn't keep the records of their victims. He's saying that concrete details of humanity were stripped away from them and that they were reduced to categories -- Jews, Homosexuals, etc. -- in the eyes of the Nazis bent on dehumanization.
On 5/18/06, andie nachgeborenen
> But, in terms of consequences, unintentional wrongs are often much worse than intentional wrongs. Some can be induced to understand this point intellectually, but many find it unsatisfying, trapped as they are in conventional morality.
> The distinction is this: unintentional or unintended wrongs, if sytstematic, indicate a bad system, regardless of whether the people who benefit friom it or run it are bad people. Intentional wrongs indicate (though they are not conclusive proof) that the people commit them are bad. We may be interested for various reasons in punishing intentional wrongs (as I have argued), but the main target for the left is the bad system.
I agree with you, of course. I'm just pointing out that many people
-- even many leftists -- in the United States today find just blaming
the system emotionally unsatisfying. Hence the popularity of
narratives of planned, intentional genocides. And that popularity
actually plays into the hands of the Right.
> .....increase in the rate of technological progress. Do you think that makes, e.g., Wounded Knee or the Trail of Tears justified? I don't think so.
Which was exactly my point. It would be considered extremely bizarre to claim "it was all for the best" and only a raving lunatic would make such a claim and direct that statement to someone jewish. No one would do such a thing. Notice that you state that it would be just as insulting to say something similar to a NA but the fact is such things are said everyday in history classes all over the US. NA's are repeatedly told to their face that "they really do have to admit it was all for the best." Go to a local high school and middle school and ask to see a copy of their history textbooks. "Regretable", "unavoidable", "accidental", "in spite of good intentions", and "it all worked out for the best in the end" is exactly what you'll find. Dig through the archives
and you'll find some of these same claims made on this list.
> The Nazi atrocities were really only unique in their technological application.
> I'm not an advocate of the theory that the Holocaust of the J....... holding off the Russians; valuable slave labor simnply wasted.
But the scale was not unique and the fatigue comes from hearing this over and over again. I imagine you are familiar with the Taino people. From 1493 to 1507 somewhere between 4 to 7 million Taino people (Bartolome de Las Casas estimated 3 to 4 million at the time) were deliberately exterminated by the Spanish. How, other than the technology used, is this different than the 5 to 8 millions Jews exterminated in the Holocaust? The Taino people are extinct. It was successful as genocides go. They were replaced by slaves from Africa because they were, in that situation, easier to control. How many cultures were actually exterminated by the Nazi's? Dozens of cultures were deliberately erased in the invasion of the America's and the attempted extermination of its indigenous people.
"Holocaust envy" has nothing to do with how people feel about this but fatigue certainly does. The shoah is not unique unless you feel European victims of atrocities are somehow more worthy victims than Native peoples. I imagine you don't consciously believe that. What in the scale of the shoah is so different from what happened to the Taino? How was the shoah more irrational than unleashing packs of dogs on groups of people and betting on the outcome? Using live NA's to "test" the sharpness of knives? Riding on them like pack animals for sport? Roasting them alive on a spit or hacking children into pieces and feeding them to their dogs? Slave labor simply wasted? Read Bartolome de Las Casas writings from the period and tell me how this slaughter is somehow of a lesser scale. It was not an occasional soldier or band of soldiers misbehaving but rather the wholesale and systematic torture and extermination of an entire people.
While the overall history of the post-Columbian attempted extermination of NA's took ~300 years it also took the lives of some 18+ million people. I know of no other extermination attempt that was as continuous or nearly successful since the NA population in 1900 was ~240,000. Each holocaust was necessarily different since the duration, timeframe, and rational were different but to claim one over the other as greater in scale or more abhorent is both pointless and counterproductive. Doing so is to assess the worthiness of the victims whether this ones intention or not. I find the idea that Muslims, Native Americans, Arabs or any group are suffering from "holocaust envy' an offensive idea. I don't expect you to change your mind and stop thinking of the shoah as you expressed here;
" It is really the scale of the Holocaust (including all the victims, Jews and others) that in part makes it unique as well as the application of mass production -- destruction? -- techniques to many millions of deaths, also the weird irrationality of the thing"
It is my experience that people seldom change their opinions of such things. Why I am writing such a lengthy reply is not at all clear to me. Perhaps it is the only way I can deal with the weariness generated by statements such as the above. This is probably written for my benefit more than anyone elses.
commitee thing: There is no question that John Smith was brutal in his treatment of Indians and interested in having English settlers colonize New England. However, the evidence suggests that he viewed the native population as an important source of labor. As Salisbury explains,
Smith "would use military repression in order to force the natives to work for their colonial masters." The evidence that Smith wanted to use Indians as a labor force contradicts Professor Churchill's contention that he wanted to see them wiped out.
But by the post Civil War era Slotkin focuses on in
"Gunfighter Nation", these dreams of enslavement were
a thing of the forgotten past.
Westward expansion (as every school child used to
know) was the battle cry and the native peoples were
perceived as being an obstacle in need of quick and
Slotkin starts his work by examining the mythological
assumptions tightly coiled about Frederick Jackson
Turner's address to the World Columbian Exposition on
July 12, 1893 titled "The Significance of the Frontier
in American History."
Nearly all of our subsequent pop cultural notions
about the West, and the native people's place in it
(including the vanished Indian meme Dennis Claxton
pointed out), can be found in this late 19th century
existence is celebrated (without reservation by
'conservatives' and with caveats, of varying strength,
by culturally sensitive 'liberals') as an achievment.
And yet, an ocean of blood was spilled and a mountain
of skulls were crushed. How do you reconcile this
horrific fact with the (from the point of view of many
- or, most of us) positive elements of the US' arrival
on the scene?
By saying, in so many words, that although this
destruction was 'regrettable' it's worked out well
enough (the freedoms and all).
In his book "Gunfighter Nation" (1998, Univ. of
Oklahoma Press), Richard Slotkin traces the evolution
of American attutudes towards Native Americans; from
vermin that must be exterminated (the 'Indian Wars'
period) to "noble savages" who, sadly, had to be
removed to make way for a great nation's rise.
This is deeply woven into the collective American
consciousness (well, at least that portion of it that
bothers to think about the matter at all).
It is worthwhile remembering that the slogan "Go West, Young Man" is not all that separate from the slogan, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian."
And that latter slogan surely ranks in importance with any of the more polite slogans of u.s. (e pluribus unum; in god we trust; etc.).
Thanks. I was pretty sure that he'd finally acknowledged -- in spite of the disingenuous press release when the controversy hit the fan -- that he really did mean that everyone including janitors are culpable in one way or another. He lays it out in the second piece and in a footnote says that, yes, he too should would have been just as guilty as anyone else on one of the planes and, thus, deserving of the same fate as those on the plane.
He engages in the kind of thinking Doug has criticizes here: the all or nothing, you're the oppressed or you're an oppressor thinking. I have been criticizing that at the blog on a number of levels, which Carrol called a 'pissing match' and which I've been calling the "more oppresseder than thou" sweepstakes, arguing that it emanates from a (naive) standpoint epistemology.
Incidentally, I was reading Judith Butler's _Gender Trouble_ over the weekend and she takes as one point of her analysis a criticism of the existentialism Jaspar's engaged in. She moves on to a critique of radical French feminism as well -- in its attempts to locate women's standpoint 'outside of history'. but, hey, blahbeddy blah blah blah.She moves between each of these two positions, forging an alternative approach to try to understand the dynamics of power as not simply about power v. powerlessness.
"If you throw them out, what good will come of it?"
People travel back and forth to Mexico all the time, legals as well as illegals. Deportation rates spike in mid-December because people turn themselves in to get the free ride home. They are willing to pay the price to return (typically $1,500 at the border, along with some hard walking still a good deal at half the full price) to get home for Christmas and then return to their jobs later. A program that offered legal status to people applying in Mexico rather than inthe US would trigger a huge flood of temporary (thank God) returnees, who would be legal afterwards, and who would be in a position to demand fair pay.
"The only way to get rid of illegals entirely is to create a total surveillance police state, which would be immensely expensive and very difficult for many reasons."
No, actually. The surveillance is from legal immigrants and working people, who turn them in to tip lines constantly. About 70% of our tips come in in semi-literate Spanish. They don't like the competition.
"What would Native Americans have said as they over looked the landing near the Mayflower or similar ship? “A lot of ‘illegal’ puritan immigrants coming from Europe! Where will we put them all?”
"The status of the land that they occupy is “illegal”, treaties were broken time after time, genocide enacted on the Native Americans with little regard to legality. Land stolen time after time."
What have you done with the real modernityblog? What a load of half-witted nonsense.
What "would" the Pequot have said when th English showed up? Why wonder - actions speak louder than words. They decided not to wipe them out, because they were useful for trade goods and for entertainment. For one thing, their ugly-ass language sounds hilarious. Who next? Is "modernit" seriously suggesting that the English pushed in on the Iroquois, the pre-eminent military power on the continent at the time? That is too batshit delusional even to comment on.
"treaties were broken time after time" and quite often negotiated in bad faith from the very beginning. A prime example is the way the Tsalagi notoriously sold land in the Carolinas they didn't even control, let alone have any defensible claim to, kicking off decades of bloodshed and strife. Cheating a bunch of big, blond Saxons is hardly sporting, but maybe the money was just too good to pass up.
"Land stolen time after time." You at least got this part correct, by mistake though, I am sure. An example is the huge war between the Lakota and the US over the Black Hills, which the Lakota and Cheyenne had just recently driven the Absaroka out of after themselves being driven out of Minnesota by the immigrant/invading Ojibwe from Ontario. The point is that the land got "stolen" (the accurate term would have been "taken") many times.
"Given that they were a bunch of primitve savages they probably would have worshipped the Europeans as gods "
WTF? The Americans were primitive? As opposed to people who never bathed and who were ignorant of simple agricultural techniques?
Posted by: Jim firstname.lastname@example.org at May 5, 2006 09:15 PM