Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day12Fixed

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

The Question of Separatism

Jane Jacobs Five Years Later

by ROBIN PHILPOT

Jane Jacobs passed away five years ago on April 25, 2006. She will be remembered for her matchless contribution to cities throughout the world.
Less remembered—sometimes belittled—is her work on nations, national sovereignty, and the relationship between cities and the development of nations. Yet her third and her forth books dealt specifically with these issues and, in light of the current election campaign in Canada, they are still very relevant. The Question of Separatism (1980) and Cities and the Wealth of Nations (1984) were published in the wake of her two seminal books on cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) and The Economy of Cities (1968), both written before she moved to Canada.

Nagging questions remain five years after her death? Why has the work of a leading thinker on the unfolding story of nations received so little attention? Why is the only book she wrote about her adopted country, The Question of Separatism, never discussed? Why, unlike her other six books, was it out of print for 25 years? How can 35 experts put together a 400-page anthology, What we see, Advancing the observations of Jane Jacobs (2010), without mentioning the book?

Jacobs answered these questions in part in an interview she granted me in 2005. She pointedly broke with her no-interview policy because this interview was to focus on her book The Question of Separatism, Quebec and the struggle over sovereignty, 25 years after it appeared and ten years after the 1995 Quebec referendum on sovereignty.

Asked if the media ever talked to her about her book on separatism, Jacobs replied, “No. Practically never! You’re the first.” Explaining the silence she added: “Don’t want to think about it… or engage in talking pros and cons and why people feel this way. It’s an unwelcome subject (…) It was fear that there would be no more identity for Canada, that it would disintegrate if Quebec were to separate. It was foolish because there are so many examples of separatism, and nothing has disintegrated, unless they went to war. There were over thirty of these cases in very recent times since the issue of Quebec was raised in 1980.”

As in her other books, Jane Jacobs brought to bear her renowned capacity to observe the real world, avoided ideology and sloganeering, and set forth practical win-win solutions. Using examples, particularly that of Norway and Sweden, she discussed the timeless issues that influence—or afflict—debate on separatism in the world, such as emotion, national size and paradoxes of size, duality and federation, and the relationship between competing urban centres.

Jacobs posited that large regional cities and the nations they drive require a degree of political sovereignty to develop successfully, failing which they become “passive and provincial,” relegated to the shadow of a dominant city region. That is what she so accurately predicted about Montreal and Toronto, a result of the “gathering force” of national centralization concentrated in her home city of Toronto. She added that the desire for Quebec sovereignty was not about to disappear, unless of course Montrealers—and Quebecers—were ready to resign themselves to being a satellite of the greater Toronto city region. Ever the pragmatist, Jane Jacobs also showed how all parties stand to gain from a new arrangement that respects the Quebec people’s will for sovereignty.

The actors have changed since 1980 but the script remains the same. For example, in Canada’s upcoming May 2 federal election, Quebec will likely return a majority of the sovereigntist Bloc Québécois members to the federal parliament, thus perpetuating an 18-year stalemate. This would not have surprised Jane Jacobs, who stood behind her 1980 conclusions. When I asked her in 2005 if she would write the same book again, she smiled confidently, “Yes, not because it is in my head, but because that’s the way it is in the world, and it still holds.”

Five years after her death, hopefully we will benefit from her work on nations as much as we have from her work of cities.

ROBIN PHILPOT is Montreal writer and publisher whose 2005 interview with Jane Jacobs is published in the new edition of The Question of Separatism, Quebec and the Struggle over Sovereignty (Baraka Books 2011)