My Friend Richard Barnet


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.

October 07, 2015
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
Luciana Bohne
The Double-Speak of American Civilian Humanitarianism
Joyce Nelson
TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal
Jonathan Cook
Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa Again
Joseph Natoli
The Wreckage in Sight We Fail To See
Piero Gleijeses
Jorge Risquet: the Brother I Never Had
Andrew Stewart
Do #BlackLivesMatter to Dunkin’ Donuts?
Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria