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Lawrence Wittner
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Lawrence Wittner received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in 1967, and has taught since then at Hampton Institute, at Vassar College, at Japanese universities (under the Fulbright program), and at the State University of New York/Albany, where he is currently Professor of History emeritus. A former president of the Council on Peace Research in History (now the Peace History Society), he has written extensively on the history of peace movements and on the history of United States foreign policy. He has received major fellowships or grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the United States Institute of Peace.

His books include Rebels Against War (1969, rev. ed. 1984), Cold War America (1974, rev. ed. 1978), and American Intervention in Greece (1982). His most extensive project was a scholarly trilogy entitled The Struggle Against the Bomb (1993-2003). In 2009, he came out with an abbreviated version: Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, published by Stanford University Press. His autobiography recently appeared as Working for Peace and Justice: Memoirs of an Activist Intellectual (2012). He has also edited or co-edited four other books, served as co-editor of the scholarly journal Peace & Change, and written more than 250 published articles and book reviews.

Entries by Lawrence Wittner

Almost a Century Ago, Another Democratic Socialist Ran for President of the United States -- From His Prison Cell

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 4:25 PM

In the early twentieth century, roughly a century before Bernie Sanders's long-shot run for the White House, another prominent democratic socialist, Eugene V. Debs, waged his own campaigns for the presidency.

Debs began his political career as a labor leader. Growing up in Terre Haute, Indiana, he dropped...

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Democratic Socialism Has Deep Roots in American Life

(27) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 12:37 PM

The shock and disbelief with which many political pundits have responded to Bernie Sanders' description of himself as a "democratic socialist"--a supporter of democratic control of the economy--provide a clear indication of how little they know about the popularity and influence of democratic socialism over the course of American history.

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Why Tuition-Free College Makes Sense

(5) Comments | Posted October 28, 2015 | 6:10 PM

The issue of making college tuition free has recently come to the fore in American politics, largely because the two leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have each championed it.

Sanders has called for free undergraduate tuition at public colleges and...

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After the Iran Nuclear Agreement: Will the Nuclear Powers Also Play by the Rules?

(0) Comments | Posted September 21, 2015 | 2:51 PM

When all is said and done, what the recently-approved Iran nuclear agreement is all about is ensuring that Iran honors its commitment under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) not to develop nuclear weapons.

But the NPT--which was ratified in 1968 and which went into force in 1970--has two...

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Militarism Run Amok: Russians and Americans Get Their Kids Ready for War

(28) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 10:32 AM

In 1915, a mother's protest against funneling children into war provided the theme of a new American song, "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier." Although the ballad attained great popularity, not everyone liked it. Theodore Roosevelt, a leading militarist of the era, retorted that the...

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Are Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament Agreements of Any Value?

(5) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 4:45 PM

The recent announcement of a nuclear deal between the governments of Iran and other major nations, including the United States, naturally draws our attention to the history of international nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements. What accounts for their advent on the world scene and what have they...

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What Do Americans Think About Economic Inequality?

(33) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 2:52 PM

Are Americans disturbed about growing economic inequality in the United States?

Numerous opinion surveys in recent years indicate that substantial majorities of Americans not only recognize that the gap between the wealthy and everyone else has grown, but favor greater economic equality. A Gallup poll conducted...

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Guns and the Godly

(37) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 1:13 PM

Where do American Christians stand on guns and gun-related violence?

Christianity is a religion that professes love and peace. Admittedly, the Christian Bible's frequent depiction of Christ ("The Prince of Peace") as rejecting violence seems contradicted by his remark that he had come not to bring peace, but a...

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Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?

(302) Comments | Posted June 7, 2015 | 10:58 PM

The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed "democratic socialist," that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the idea of democratic...

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Corporate Welfare Fails to Deliver the Jobs: The Sad Case of Start-Up NY

(1) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 5:42 PM

For several decades, state and local governments have been showering private businesses with tax breaks and direct subsidies based on the theory that this practice fosters economic development and, therefore, job growth. But does it? New York State's experience indicates that, when it comes to producing jobs, corporate welfare programs...

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The Vietnam War: After 40 Years

(87) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 9:04 PM

Today, 40 years after the American war in Vietnam ended in ignominious defeat, the traces of that terrible conflict are disappearing.

Traveling through Vietnam during the latter half of April 2015 with a group of erstwhile antiwar activists, I was struck by the transformation of what was once an...

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Who Are the Nuclear Scofflaws?

(3) Comments | Posted March 31, 2015 | 12:38 PM

Given all the frothing by hawkish U.S. Senators about Iran's possible development of nuclear weapons, one might think that Iran was violating the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

But it's not. The NPT, signed by 190 nations, and in effect since 1970, is a treaty in which the non-nuclear...

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Poetry of Sorrow and Hope

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 12:26 PM

David Krieger's new book of poems -- Wake Up! -- shows us that poetry engaged with world affairs can be very powerful.

In a brief introduction to the book, Krieger -- the president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the author of several previous volumes of poetry -- remarks...

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Lauren Coodley's Upton Sinclair: California Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 11:27 AM

Can a dedicated socialist have a significant impact upon American life? Lauren Coodley's biography of prominent novelist Upton Sinclair shows that it's possible.

Upton Sinclair was born in Baltimore in 1878 ― the son of a railroad baron's daughter and a whiskey wholesaler. Although both parents were descended from the...

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Will the U.S. Government Stand Alone in Rejecting Children's Rights?

(1) Comments | Posted February 9, 2015 | 4:35 PM

Within a matter of months, the U.S. government seems likely to become the only nation in the world still rejecting the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Sometimes called "the most ratified human rights treaty in history," the Convention has been ratified by...

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Are the U.S. and Russian Governments Once Again on the Nuclear Warpath?

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2015 | 4:56 PM

A quarter century after the end of the Cold War and decades after the signing of landmark nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements, are the U.S. and Russian governments once more engaged in a potentially disastrous nuclear arms race with one another? It certainly looks like it.

With approximately

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10 Questions for Conservatives

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2015 | 6:11 PM

Now that the Republican Party -- the conservative voice in mainstream U.S. electoral politics -- has attained the most thoroughgoing control of Congress that it has enjoyed since 1928, it's an appropriate time to take a good look at modern conservatism.

Conservatives have performed some useful services for Americans over...

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The $7 Million University President

(3) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 10:16 AM

In a recent article about Shirley Jackson, the president since 1999 of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) -- a private university located in Troy, New York -- the Chronicle of Higher Education revealed that, in 2012 (the latest year for which statistics are available), she received over $7 million...

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Do Wars Really Defend America's Freedom?

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 3:28 PM

U.S. politicians and pundits are fond of saying that America's wars have defended America's freedom. But the historical record doesn't bear out this contention. In fact, over the past century, U.S. wars have triggered major encroachments upon civil liberties.

Shortly after the United States entered World War I, seven states...

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How Rich Are the 400 Richest Americans and How Do They Use Their Money?

(1) Comments | Posted October 27, 2014 | 1:58 PM

In the supposedly classless society of the United States, the wealthiest Americans are doing remarkably well.

According to Forbes, a leading business magazine, the combined wealth of the 400 richest Americans has now reached the staggering total of $2.3 trillion. This gives them an average net worth of...

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