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									              Communitarian Letter #21
In this issue:
         Annapolis: A Speech Not Given
         You need cartoons to read?
         Community Composed of Different Cultures Comes Together
         An Issue of Rhetoric
         Worth a Read

       Print media is rapidly shrinking. People rely more and more on electronic media
for news and analysis. At the current rate, there will be little printed news media left by
2020. However, compared to major print media – which has traditionally dedicated many
resources to maintaining foreign correspondents as well as domestic ones – electronic
media invests little to get news. Does this mean that the public will suffer from ever
decreasing news? Or instead, will the public have to rely on publicly financed electronic
media, such as the BBC and NPR, which allot sizable funds for correspondents? Do these
media, in turn, have serious biases?

Annapolis: A Speech Not Given
        Here follows an address that was not be delivered by President Bush at the Middle
East peace talks in Annapolis, Maryland. After the proper tribute to the various
dignitaries present and a reference to the importance of peace for the region and the
world, the speech read as follows:
        "A Palestinian state, long overdue, can be born before the sun sets on this day. It
must be a state that will live in peace and security with Israel. To proceed, several
essential compromises, which I list immediately, must be reached. None of them will
please either side--the sure sign of compromise. However, if each side will continue to
seek advantages, the road to peace will never be traveled. I hence call on all sides to bring
an end to the bloodshed and suffering and to embrace the following set of peace and
state- building measures. The measures must be accepted as one, and there is no room for
haggling about their composition. The United States and its allies are committed to do all
they can to ensure that the terms of the following suggestions will be honored.

        The borders between Israel and the Palestinian state will follow roughly along
what is known as the green line. Because of security concerns and developments that
cannot be reversed, the final border according to the attached map varies by less then ten
percent (in terms of the territories encompassed) from the green line. In some cases, it
turns over to the Palestinian state some towns and villages that are west of the green line
(mainly comprised of Israeli Palestinians); in some cases it turns over to Israel some
towns and villages that are east of the green line (mainly comprised of Jewish settlers); in
few cases, it creates bi-national parks on the border. All in all, it requires both sides to
make concessions, albeit not totally equally ones. A small tilt to Israel in this part of the
measures for peace will be more than offset when we turn to the status of Jerusalem.
The barrier that separates the two states will be repositioned in line with the said map, but
from now on it will be fully recognized as legal. It should be noted that once the sides
learn to live in peace with each other, the barrier can be very readily removed and
replaced by normal border markers used by most nations. Also, even as we speak, it
should be noted that the barrier already has 96 gates that can be opened at will to the flow
of people and goods.

         Jerusalem will be the capital of both the state of Israel and of the Palestinian state.
It will also ensure sovereign control of the holy sites to still other faiths. There are several
neighborhoods in Jerusalem that Palestinians consider part of that city (such as the
Shuafat refugee camp, Sawakhra, Walaje and other villages) but many in Israel --do not.
These are parts in which many Palestinians live. These and some other areas, to be
discussed, will be the location for the Palestinian capital. Sites that are holy to several
religions will be granted a sovereign status, comparable to the Vatican in Rome. Their
guardians--for instance Saudi Arabia for the Al Aqsa mosque, and the Greek Ortordox
Church for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre--will watch over these places and neither
the police nor the armies of the state of Israel nor the Palestinian state will enter these
turfs unless clear evidence is presented to the international community that they are being
used to harbor terrorists and weapons.

The right of return
        All the Palestinians that have left Israel in 1948 have a right to return to their
homes and lands or be properly compensated for their loss. No distinction will be made
among those who left voluntarily, were chased out, and those who sought to return after
the war and occupy their Jewish neighbors' house. However, these rights will be balanced
by rights of Jews who left Arab countries, such as Iraq and Egypt, and other Muslim ones
such as Iran. No distinctions will be made among those who left voluntarily, were chased
out, or just sought to better their economic state. Hence the right to return will be enacted
for the net numbers involved.

In closing
         There are numerous details that must be worked out. Not least is how to ensure
that the new Palestinian state will not allow a terrorist group such as Hezbollah to use its
territories to accumulate heavy weapons and fighters bent on the destruction of Israel.
However, for now I call on all sides to accept a compromise that will satisfy neither, but
will allow the bloodshed and suffering of good people to end, for each to have a state of
their own, and for them to learn to live together in peace and prosperity."

Written by Amitai Etzioni, originally posted on the Huffington Post, at
You need cartoons to read?
         Two serious publications have recently fallen to the trend of larger print, more
colors, more illustrative drawings -- and less text. As of Christmas, the Economist,
arguably the best English-language weekly (strong ideological bias notwithstanding), has
joined most other publications in coming ever more to resemble an old-fashioned comic
book. The Wall Street Journal, which used to serve its texts straight, now also seems to
hold that, if I am to read an article about this year's wines then it must draw me a picture
of a person drinking from a wine glass, and so on. At the rate we are going, by the year
2020 every newspaper page (assuming that there still be such a thing) will carry one word,
six colors, and at least two cartoons. By the way, thanks Arianna, for keeping the
Huffington Post relatively free from such infantilization.
         I confess that I'm an old-fashioned guy when it comes to text (and old otherwise,
having just turned 79). I would love to hear from younger readers: do they find such
illustrated texts and larger print truly attractive or necessary? I try to empathize. I agree
that if a text looks the way newspapers looked 100 years ago, with tiny, crowded print
like the back of an airline ticket, I too shy away from reading them. Still there is a world
a difference between a bit more spacing and somewhat larger fonts -- and a cacophony of
flashing colors, cartoons that bleed into the text, and such merry making. Should there be
no difference between the way we present an article on, say, recent developments in
democratic theory and the art of cooking lasagna? Does not the way text is presented
communicate a subtext about how seriously we should take the content?
         Particularly annoying (at least to one reader) are the multi-layered headlines,
which further cut into the space available for text, in newspapers whose pages have been
trimmed and whose number of pages have been curtailed. Thus, a recent Wall Street
Journal page tells me first--in a line that runs across the page -- that the section before me
deals with "personal finance"; then it informs me in big letters -- and another full line --
that the subject is "Money and Investing"; another large heading indicates that a
particular story is going to deal with "The Little Island That Could" before I get to read
another heading which finally gives me what I need to know to decide whether I want to
read the given story. (Still before I get to the text, I get to view a picture of Singapore and
a map, is case I don't know what a city looks like or where the island is.) No wonder the
report itself is breathless and short. It must leave room for the next multi-layered
         I would love to hear if other readers find these devices attractive and get them to
read texts they otherwise would shun. Or, do they too prefer to be given the needed words,
straight, and unadulterated?

Written by Amitai Etzioni, and originally posted on the Huffington Post, at

Community Composed of Different Cultures Comes Together
       The communitarian spirit is manifesting itself in the small city of Decatur,
Georgia, where a relatively new refugee community and the established locals are
growing and learning together. At the International Community School, which teacher
children from kindergarten to the sixth grade, children from over 40 countries, including
children from the Decatur area, attend class together.
       The school faces many difficulties – the school newsletter is printed in six
languages, but there are still many parents who cannot read it – but it also provides
opportunities for all the children attending that conventional schools do not: opportunities
for exposure to a very wide range of cultures, a staff familiar with the refugee experience,
and small class sizes.
       Despite the language barrier, the students are working together and forming
friendships. And through the interactions of their children, the parents are coming
together as well. Shell Ramirez has a son at the International Community School, nine-
year-old Dante. Through school, Dante has become friends with an 11-year-old Burmese
refugee named Soung, and over time, both of their families have gotten to know one
another. Ms. Ramirez drives Soung’s family to appointments and has had them over to
bake cookies, and both families have exposed each other to their holidays.
       The long-term prospects for the school are uncertain, but for now, the academic
environment is strong. As the refugee population continues to grow, the school will
hopefully continue to provide all the children who wish to attend the opportunity to learn
from one another and to come together in unity.
       The initial report appeared in the New York Times, Tuesday, December 25th.

An Issue of Rhetoric
        In the latest Democratic primary race, the leading candidates have come to
embrace one particular phrase – ―common good‖ – as a new way to frame their vision of
ever expanding opportunity and equality. The phrase first began to gain speed in 2003
and 2004, as increasing economic inequality and the Iraq invasion led to fear among
religious progressives that America was facing a rising-ride of selfishness. Aware that
the phrase ―common good‖ would appeal to both the religious and the secular, the
moderates and the liberals, democratic strategists saw it as an effective rallying cry for
the Democratic Party.
        Still, the three leading candidates do not use the phrase in the same in exactly the
same manner. Barak Obama, one candidate with an expressed communitarian outlook,
uses ―common good‖ to convey his belief that Americans must unite as one country and
work for a common purpose. John Edwards uses the phrase to refer to specific policies
he believes would benefit all – universal health care, stronger unions, tax fairness, among
others. Hilary Clinton, another expressed communitarian, uses the term in both previous
senses. Certain progressives fear the lack of consistent use could undermine the moral
effectiveness of the phrase – a negative, as the moral ground may be the Democrat’s, and
the ―common good’s,‖ greatest strength.
        The initial report appeared in the Wall Street Journal on November 23, 2007.

        For more discussion of communitarian candidates, see our recent post on the TPM
Café at:
Nikolas Gvosdev Reviews 3 Books
FDR’s Children
by Nikolas Gvosdev

 ―NEARLY ALL of the 2008 presidential candidates—both Democrats and
Republicans—have made some version of 'restoring America’s global leadership' a key
foreign-policy priority. Dennis Ross, Amitai Etzioni, Nina Hachigian and Mona Sutphen
have plenty of advice to offer—and their recommendations seem to parallel those often
heard from 'Republican realists.' But aren’t these authors on the other side of the aisle?
The Washington Post identifies Dennis Ross as a foreign-policy advisor for Democratic
presidential candidate Barack Obama; Amitai Etzioni is a long-standing member of the
progressive community (and served in the Carter White House); Nina Hachigian and
Mona Sutphen were part of the Clinton foreign-policy apparatus (and Hachigian is now
based at the Center for American Progress).‖
Click here for the rest of the National Interest online article.

Worth a Read
        The April 2006 issue of Polity included a masterful review essay titled
―Environmental Democracy and the Green State,‖ written by Harlan Wilson, a professor
of politics at Oberlin College. It is a communitarian delight, both rich and nurturing. We
highly recommend it to all.

        A revised version of Professor Robert Ackerman’s article ―Taking
Responsibility,‖ which won second place in the Communitarian Essay Contest last year,
is going to be published in the Tennessee Journal of Law and Society. The publication
will be available in February 2008. If you haven’t read it yet, be sure you do now!

―Inside Track: Finding the Exit,‖ which describes a communitarian exit strategy for the
United States in Iraq, has been published on National Interest Online.

      For those who read Spanish or Korean, The Moral Dimension: Toward a New
Economics has just been published by Palabra in Spanish as La Dimension Moral: Hacia
Una Nueva Economia, and From Empire to Community has been published in Korean.

―Security First‖
49th Annual ISA Convention
San Francisco, California
Friday, March 28, 2008
1:45 – 3:30 PM
       Roundtable Discussants:
             Lisa A. Baglione, Saint Joseph’s University
             Frances Edwards, San Jose State University
             Ron Hasser, University of California Berkeley
             Brendan O’Leary, University of Pennsylvania
             Kathryn Poethig, California State University- Monterey Bay
             Marc H. Ross, Bryn Mawr
             Michael J. Sullivan, Drexel University
             Dariush Zahedi, University of California Berkeley

                Amitai Etzioni, George Washington University

 We welcome your thoughts, feedback, and communitarian news. Send
                    them to
Edited by Radhika Bhat


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