FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

My Friend Richard Barnet

by SAUL LANDAU

I met Dick Barnet about 34 years ago and got lost in his smile and the twinkle in his eyes. I had already stolen ideas from Intervention and Revolution and Roots of War, and read his articles in The New Yorker. I worked with him for twenty-five years at the Institute for Policy Studies, which he had co-founded and co-directed with Marcus Raskin. He joked how a Soviet academician visited him at IPS after he had just completed his 1974 book about multi-national corporate expansion, Global Reach. “Ha,” barked the Soviet scholar contemptuously as he glanced at Barnet’s less than corporate style office, “you write of Global Rich and you live like global poor.”

Dick wrote Global Dreams, with John Cavanagh, now director of IPS, a cutting edge book that described the corporate globalization process before others articulated the horror. He foresaw the environmental mess in The Lean Years and then used his superb writing skills to author The Youngest Minds a book with his doctor wife Ann on children’s brain development. He wrote other books, scores of long articles and spoke to audiences around the world.

In 1962, when Dick, 33 (a Defense Assistant Secretary) and Marc, 30 (a White House staffer) discovered that no serious peace and security dialogue was possible inside the Kennedy administration, they left government and founded IPS, where it has taken place ever since. These gutsy and brilliant men played violin and piano as a metaphor for their intellectual dialogue, a creative conversation in notes and words that led to the establishment of a place where thousands of young, middle aged and downright senior oddballs, progressives and anarchists have educated each other and our word for four plus decades.

I became an IPS fellow in 1972. Since then I have participated in the most enlightening and weirdest–sometimes downright painful — dialogues, conversed with leaders and activists in a myriad of important social movements from civil rights and anti-Vietnam War through women, gays, environment, liberation of various third world countries up until today where IPS addresses the key peace and global justice issues of the time.

I loved Dick, his sense of humor and infectious laugh–which he even used against himself when he would forget someone’s name or commit a foible of protocol with some visiting dignitary. He was a generous man, a Christian in the best sense of the word, a guy I trusted to do the right thing in the most difficult circumstance.

In September 1976, when Augusto Pinochet had our colleagues Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffit assassinated in the streets of Washington, Dick and Marc went to the hospital with Isabel, Orlando’s widow and Michael, Ronni’s widower to oversee the details of gruesome death. When they returned to IPS, weeping and clutching their stomachs with grief and fear they held a press conference and named Isabel Letelier to assume Orlando’s position–their answer to Pinochet’s terrorism. That took guts and integrity.

I will miss my friend. His lessons, in his books and in his interaction with those who knew him, will live on. He leaves behind his wife, Ann, his kids Julie, Beth and Michael and their kids and spouses–and so many friends who will miss him.

SAUL LANDAU teaches at Cal Poly Pomona University, where he is the director of Digital Media Programs and International Outreach, and is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies. He is also the co-author of “Assassination on Embassy Row,” which is about the Letelier and Moffitt murders. His new book is The Business of America.

 

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail