Alexander Cockburn, The Nation's "Beat the Devil" columnist and one of America's best-known radical journalists, was born in Scotland and grew up in Ireland. He graduated from Oxford in 1963 with a degree in English literature and language.
After two years as an editor at the Times Literary Supplement, he worked at the New Left Review and The New Statesman, and co-edited two Penguin volumes, on trade unions and on the student movement.
A permanent resident of the United States since 1973, Cockburn wrote for many years for The Village Voice about the press and politics. Since then he has contributed to many publications including The New York Review of Books, Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly and the Wall Street Journal (where he had a regular column from 1980 to 1990), as well as alternative publications such as In These Times and the Anderson Valley Advertiser.
In Congress and the popular press, fantasy rules when the subject is
There's no political risk for US media to sound off over genocide in
Darfur, but challenging Israel's shameful seige of Gaza is quite a
The party of permanent war--which includes lawmakers like Biden, Emanuel
and Lantos--is regrouping for a counterattack, their numbers refreshed
by a phalanx of incoming Blue Dogs.
As things stand in organized politics today, a purely formal protest
against what the GOP has done to America is the most we can hope for.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus has helped a lot of poor women, but
the basic problem in developing countries is landlessness. A $130
microloan won't solve that problem.
America can't talk about the legalization of torture or about Iraq, where soldiers are raping girls and shooting families at close range. It stands to reason they are now obsessed by a Congressional sex scandal.
The world is in tumult, but in the heart of Empire, the level of creative political energy runs flat along the bottom of the graph.
August Bebel once called anti-Semitism the socialism of fools. These days, the 9/11 conspiracy fever is fast becoming the "socialism" of the left.
The Israeli press has criticized the Lebanon disaster from all
political angles. The American press chooses to cheerlead instead,
while liberal Jewry remains silent.
The American government has lost its grasp on reality in Iraq and Lebanon. They seek out the bright, clear problems of war, leaving rubble and corpses in their wake.