"Enough is enough! Ya basta!"
This is the phrase that launched to Zapatista "revolution" on January 1, 1994, the day the NAFTA Agreement came into effect. What made their battle cry of “Enough is enough” so important was that it was an explicit response to the imposition of neoliberalism on their communities through the NAFTA accords signed the year before. The Zapatista response to the neoliberal onslaught became the inspiration for many of the most successful European movements of the second half of the 1990s, particularly the Italian (so-called) "anti" globalization movements such as Ya Basta! and Tutte Bianchi/Disobedienti, whose tactics of aggressive and even theatrical nonviolent civil disobedience were hallmarks of the anti-WTO/World Bank/IMF protests of 1999 through 2001 and beyond.
Two years after the Zapatista revolt, and one year after the founding of the WTO in 1995, an historic “encuentro” (meeting) was held under Zapatista auspices. Titled the “Intercontinental Meeting Against Neoliberalism and for Humanity,” it was attended by 3,000 activists from Mexico, Latin America, and indeed the world at large (including Iran, Turkey and Mauritania). The encuentro was important for two reasons: it was one of the first international meetings where a truly global collection of activists came together to strategize about the ways to resist neoliberalism at the grass roots level in their home countries; and at the same time there was a significant focus on building international solidarity networks as a fundamental part of this struggle.
While a few intrepid citizens of the Middle East and larger Muslim majority world attended the encuentro and even lived with the Zapatistas, by and large the Zapatista philosophy and strategy of well coordinated and conceptualized, but mainly non-violent, resistance (they ended their armed rebellion almost as soon as it began, having killed only a few soldiers and no civilians) against an oppressive government and world system did not make it to the Middle East. But it should have, which is why I was pleasantly surprised to see a copy of Subcommandante Marco's writings on the bookshelf of an activists in a refugee camp in Bethlehem a couple of years ago. If Marcos had made it to Palestine, surely there was hope that a non-violent form of positive resistance and re-imagining of people's identities and relationships to each other was possible in the Middle East.
Well, my Palestinian friend explained, that wouldn't be so easy. The director of a grass roots community center, he explained that "In principle, we have much in common with the Zapatista experience: the concept of an indigenous community with its land stolen and continuing oppression is the same. But the issue is the objective reality that has taken root on the ground since then… Even as Palestinians need to reconsider, reimagine and reconstruct the Palestinian political discourse, it’s hard to adopt the Zapatista lessons about resistance, and even the way they directly bring neoliberal globalization into their critique, because for us resisting occupation is a practical strategy that must address our objective reality in the occupation rather than some idealized goal such as neoliberal globalization."
Moreover, he continued, “our starting point of the struggle is completely different than the Zapatistas, which started in response to globalization while we have a long history as a national liberation struggle going back to the anti-colonial period. Because of this, pressing global issues such as civil society or advocating some kind of ‘autonomy’ rather than total independence (as the Zapatistas ask for) is a non-starter in Palestine.” Nevertheless, the Zapatista experience was very valuable for Palestine as inspiration for trying to forge similarly global connections with the transnational anti-corporate globalization movement, and now the larger global peace and justice movement. As he explains it, “The ideas of Marcos are an inspiration, to link myself and the Cultural Center to other actors around the world this is the inspiration of the Zapatistas, their networking with other communities. Even social movements in Europe, like the environmental movement, are inspirational for our long term strategies.”
“But on the daily level the acceleration of struggle here is so intense you can’t even think about new and more creative, even non-violent ways to resist. Just going about daily life is an act of supreme non-violence in the context of the occupation. You’re on the defensive. It’s very hard. In fact, for normal Palestinians living daily life, they don’t care any more if we have a good or bad image in West. They say, ‘We have to self-exist, whatever we have to do to survive. We have to fight to show the world we’re alive.’”
This comment struck me as the essence of Zapatismo, however; the same language and reasoning used by the Zapatista leadership to justify their revolt: “We have to fight, to show the world we’re alive,” as my friend put it, is very similar to Marcos’s belief, “Enough dying this useless death; it is better to fight for change.” But while in the heart of the remote Lacandian jungle region of Chiapas this view led to an innovative strategy and larger ideology, in the refugee camps of Palestine or cities of Arab Iraq, with their daily toll of dead and wounded, there is little time for reflection and built a mass civil movement for change.
Which is probably why the most important new protests against political oppression in the region have not occurred there (yet) but rather in slightly more peaceful Beirut and especially Egypt. In fact, the name of the new movement for democracy in Egypt is "kefaya," which is Arabic for Enough.
What makes the Kefaya movement so interesting is that it seems to indicate that large swaths of Egyptian society have finally had enough of the Mubarak regime and the larger regional and world system in which it functions. Like its counterpart in Beirut—and perhaps more so, judging by some of the writings I've looked at—it seems that Kefaya represents a truly cross-class, cross-cultural alliance of various sectors of Egyptian society: Leftistst intellectuals, Islamists (a key difference with Beirut, where the religious and largely Shi‘i Muslim groups like Hizbollah have by and large not come together with more progressive secular intellectuals and activists yet in a common agenda), and even Nasserists have come together in the largest demonstrations against the Mubarak regime in some 25 years. As activists shouted out words like "poverty" and "torture" the crowds respond back with "kefaya!"
When cops start to break up the protests, everyone pulls out cell phones and organizes new routes and locations to move to and continue the protest before the police can stop them, picking up a tactic that has been used to great effect in anti-corporate globalization protests across the US and Europe the last half decade. And organizers are working hard to figure out new strategies to subvert the police oppression of their protests through non-violent means, so that when they chant "kefaya, kefaya, we have reached the end!" they are really just at the beginning of a long and interesting journey (towards what one writer has dubbed the "second republic") that is not so different from the one started by Marcos a decade ago. In fact, on the group's "who we are" page of its Arabic website, it specifically situates itself vis-à-vis neoliberal globalization as a direct, society-wide response to it. In a word, "Enough!" just as people are shouting across Latin America and elsewhere in increasing numbers.
In fact, it seems that my Palestinian friend was being a bit too pessimistic, as the protesters in Egypt chant “Enough to Mubarak, Enough to Bush, Enough to Blair,'' and "We will not be ruled by the CIA." An article on the kefaya.org (seems to have only Arabic as of yet unfortunately) is titled "50 Years is Enough," which is—most likely deliberately—taking up the name of the organization 50 Years is Enough that has been at the forefront of the anti-corporate globalization movement in US since Seattle in 1999. Only for this version, the fifty years is not since the birth of the World Bank and IMF but since the Revolution that swept Nasser, and ultimately Mubarak, into autocratic power in Eygpt.
That is, they see the links that my friend believes can't be made in Palestine or Iraq. They have the time to sit and ask, as does another article on the Kefaya website, "What kind of revolution is this revolution to be?" And to answer it with an affirmatively democratic, even progressive vision.
Perhaps my Palestinian friend is right, as Kefaya has yet to spread across the region to either country (would that it did!). And indeed, no one I know is looking towards the US for help. As a May 10 Oped in al-Hayat rightly asks, how can American neo-conservatives and the Bush Administration particularly can push for democracy when they have invaded Iraq and caused so much damage there while supporting continued autocracy across the region?
American can't bring democracy, but the people of the region can. And if the world is lucky, more and more of them will soon be reading Subcomandante Marcos.
Final thought: According to today's NY Times, on her recent trip to Baghdad, Secretary of State Rice is reported to have"urged a more convincing effort to reach out to the dispossessed Sunni Arab minority, warning that success in the war required a political strategy that encouraged at least some Sunni insurgent groups to turn toward peace." At the same time, senior military commandars are warning that"if we let go of the insurgency and take our foot off its throat, then this country could fail and go back into civil war and chaos."
These words would be funny if they weren't so scary. Rice and the generals know full well that the insurgency will not end until the US announces (and more likely, completes) a full withdrawal of its forces from Iraq. Moreover, to say that the country could"go back" into civil and chaos is to assume the country isn't in the middle of chaos and something increasingly resembling civil war this very day. Let's hope the general was being disingenuous and isn't that far removed from reality. Indeed, both the chaos or civil war started exactly on that fateful March day when the US forces first rolled into Iraq. Until the Bush Administration accepts its role in creating the disaster that continues to unfold there, more Iraqis and Americans will die.
The problem is, chaos and semi-civil war are about the only things that are forcing Iraqis to continue tolerating a massive military presence in the country; and since the US has no plans of leaving Iraq any time in the foreseeable future, there would seem to be a slight conflict on interest here. That is, the very goals the US has publicly set for itself--ending chaos and civil war, establishing a democratic government--are exactly the things that would allow Iraqis to tell America to leave, which is exactly what it has no plans to do. This is the real reason why the lead paragraph of the above-quoted articles states that US generals are"pulling back" from suggestions of any drawdown of troops in the next year.
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Bill Heuisler - 6/12/2005
Defining dictatorships and chaos is not for sophomores. Unfortunately, you've exposed your own mental chaos, political bias and confirmed my point of view.
Chaos means utter confusion or disorder. But under your bizarre fantasy, starving Arabs, invading neighbors, gas attacks, mass imprisonments, mass beheadings and torture, random shootings, creation of countless anonymous graves, attempted assassinations, funding and training terrorists and breaking cease-fire agreements dozens of times is not chaotic. Why? Because it is done in an orderly fashion.
This is sophistry without cleverness, or ignorance.
And as for the US, Mr. Haas, you apparently believe self-defense, imprisonment of criminals, killing of killers, building schools and hospitals and enfranchisement of women is your more distinct definition of chaos.
The Halabja attack involved multiple chemical agents, including mustard gas, and the nerve agents sarin, tabun, VX and the blood agent Hydrogen Cyanide. The cancer spike has risen to epidemic proportions in Halabja and the rate of miscarriages and sterility is highest in the Middle East. Another definition for chaos is Hell, Mr. Haas.
You should be ashamed for diminishing Saddam's evil.
On the Siegler comment, in case you haven't noticed, far more Iraqis are being killed by the so-called insurgents than Americans. You wrote, "...the present violence, which could abate, or could be directed to other goals."
Right. Like blowing up buildings in the US. Face it, your attempt to blame the US for problems everywhere ignores the fact we've been attacked for years by Islamofascists and have finally begun to respond.
Why did you bother? Next time you feel the need to criticize the US and defend dictators, please have the courage to do so before the last day an article appears.
John Henry Haas - 6/11/2005
Bill Heuisler writes "Then you top idiocy with nonsense:
"...both the chaos or civil war started exactly on that fateful March day when the US forces first rolled into Iraq. Until the Bush Administration accepts its role in creating the disaster that continues to unfold there, more Iraqis and Americans will die." So, according to LeVine, there was no chaos in Saddam's Iraq - no bloody disaster."
Mr Heuisler's complaint strikes me as confused. To say there has been chaos in Iraq since 2003 and that it has something to do with our war there doesn't mean at all that there was no violence under Saddam Hussein. It is only to say that the violence perpetrated by Hussein was not chaotic. It was the systematic application of state-sponsored violence against various ethnic and political opponents. That is what dictators do. Dictatorships are horrible, but they are not chaotic. Mr Heuisler would spare himself and his readers much trouble if he got himself a good dictionary.
Edward Siegler writes "LeVine repeats the ridiculous argument that the insurgency is being caused by the U.S. military presence in Iraq, and if U.S. troops were simply withdrawn, the violence would stop."
Actually it is not asserted in the article that violence would cease, but if it is the case that the insurgency is directed at the US forces and Iraqi's cooperating with them, then that would remove one of the causes of the present violence, which could abate, or could be directed to other goals. But why does Mr Siegler find the notion of a causal link between US troops and attacks upon them "ridiculous"? Hasn't it been one of the arguments of the administration that we are fighting terrorists in Iraq so that we won't have to fight them here--the fly-paper strategy, as it has sometimes been called? Isn't that exactly what Mr Siegler calls "ridiculous"?
N. Friedman - 6/9/2005
Which 3 million South Asians do you have in mind?
Incidentally, the 100,000 dead Iraqis has no support. The authors of the report from which that figure was hatched noted a range of possible casualties. While I do not have the report on my desk at this point, I recall that the low figure from their range was about 8,000 dead (a terrible figure in its own right) while the high figure was about 150,000 dead. One simply cannot choose a number in the range and claim it as the correct or even most likely figure. To do so is to speak unscientifically and to brand yourself an ideologue, not an historian.
By way of explanation, Professor Gott from Princeton notes that you can obtain a gross range regarding the possibilities of the longevity of an event merely from the observation that, as observers, we almost certainly stand within the middle 95% of the history of the event examined. Here is an explanation of his argument as found online (or you might read his book):
The Copernican principle - the idea that our location is not likely to be special
I would like people to know about the Copernican principle - the idea that our location is not likely to be special. We started out thinking that the Earth was at a very special location, at the centre of the universe. Nicolaus Copernicus finally convinced people that this was not true.
We use the Copernican principle all the time, in evaluating data. The principle also has important implications for the future of the human race. If our location in human history is not special, then there is a 95 per cent chance that we are in the middle 95 per cent of human history - and that the future of the human race will last at least 5,100 more years, but less than 7.8 million more years. The Copernican argument suggests that we would be wise to colonise space now, while we have the chance - as a life insurance policy against what ever catastrophes might befall us on Earth.
The point here is that the Lancet range is not different in kind - but merely a slight refinement that incorporates more data than the one data point from which Gott makes his range - than the range found by Professor Gott. While such ranges are very useful, you cannot, as a matter of science, choose a number in the range and rely on it. To do so, is to make a false, unscientific assertion.
Which is to say, the 100,000 figure is plain nonsense. Site the range if you want to be considered a serious scholar.
N. Friedman - 6/9/2005
We are all waiting to hear you renounce the terror loving ISM. Will you? If not now, when?
Sergio Ramirez - 6/9/2005
Its really disgraceful that LeVine won't address this. I think we have to take his silence to mean that his bluff has been called, and that his support for ISM is so deeply ideological that even if they do, as has now been established, support the murder of Jewish civilians, he will not criticize them. Instead, he will deny, deceive, and ignore.
Mark A. LeVine (UC Irvine History Professor) - 6/8/2005
thanks for your and other comments. i will just say that the US does not engage in suicide terrorism--unless you call the missions of soldiers sent into the back alleys of iraq's main cities to enrich president bush's corporate sponsors at least potentially suicidal. but it has engaged in massive state terrorism, to the tune of upwards of 3 million dead south asians and at least 100,000 dead iraqis and counting, among other actions. i would say these are at least the moral equal of the muslim terrorism of the last generation.
Hagbard Celine - 6/4/2005
"The US government is as much of a terror organization as the PLO, as the Israeli government, as the Russian government, as the Zapatistas, etc."
That anyone can make this statement and expect to be taken seriously BOGGLES THE IMAGINATION!
When have any of the aforementioned governments USED SUICIDE BOMBERS TO ATTACK MAINLY CIVILIAN TARGETS?!
When have any of the aforementioned governments HELD A STATED POLICY OF TOTAL ANNIHILATION OF ANOTHER RACE/COUNTRY?!
N. Friedman - 6/2/2005
You write: THis means we have to take it out of the hands of ideological misfits, "democratic" peoples who vote with blind faith, power brokers, and diplomats and actually start respecting international human rights law and its judicial institutions.
Into what group's hands do you propose to give authority to determine political disputes and authority? Elites? Aristocrats? Appointed judges? Mullahs? Rabbis? Priests? Bureaucrats? You? Me? Or are you an anarchist?
While I agree with you that no claim to land has any moral significance, the reality is that governance is a moral imperative. Such, as you may know, was Kant's view. Unless one is a foolish anarchist, some form of politics must exist. The alternative is chaos, war and death.
And, if we follow Kant's view, groups like the PLO are immoral as they pose a threat to a moral necessity, namely the state and, in the case of the PLO, the Israeli state. Or, in simple terms, on Kant's theory, the Palestinians would be well advised to accomodate to, to the extent of believing in and desiring, the Israeli reality - on the expectation that such would lead to their becoming citizens or to Israel ceding land to Palestinians to form a state -. Absent that, the Israelis would, if we follow Kant, be and are within their rights to attempt to crush the Palestinian's threat to the Israeli state and, if need be, to eliminate all those who led the war against the Israeli state.
I note further: in that you concede that land claims are all bogus - and, after all, all land claims today are based, at some point, on a group entering a land and displacing (or wiping out) the prior group on the land -. Having conceded that much, you are effectively conceding that Israel is as moral a state as any other on Earth - a position which, in other posts, has troubled you but which your position actually must include, if you are to be consistent -.
And, for a change, such a theory by you would be quite correct. Which is to say, Israel is, inherently, no worse (or better) a state than any other. The only issue that are appropriately discussed are therefor particular state policies. And even then, such policies must be understand in view of the notion that the Palestinian side, if the leadership is to be believed, actually desires to displace the Israelis and, if possible, for them to leave. Which is to say, the Palestinian's demands must be understood as having the potential to cause great moral injustice if, in fact, their maximum demands were to come to pass.
Edward Siegler - 5/31/2005
...because to ideologues like LeVine, "terrorism" can only be perpetuated by the U.S. military. Anything else, such as suicide bombings, are really acts of "resistance" by "freedom fighters." You might luck out and get an admission that some "extremists" within these purehearted movements like the ISM or Iraq's insurgency are guilty of bad acts - which are no worse that what the U.S. military does on a daily basis - but that these acts do not reflect the true character of the movements.
Edward Siegler - 5/31/2005
...LeVine repeats the ridiculous argument that the insurgency is being caused by the U.S. military presence in Iraq, and if U.S. troops were simply withdrawn, the violence would stop. Unfortunately for those like LeVine, the insurgency is not a people's liberation movement, although they continue to believe that it is because it's convienient for their worldview.
Gonzalo Rodriguez - 5/31/2005
Thank you for re-inserting some sanity in the public conception of Emiliano Zapata. In my experience, most Zapatistas are far less dogmatic (read: Marxist) than US academics characterize them, and instead are more interested in actual, real world concessions that will allow them to continue their traditional ways of life. I find that most people who seek to align Zapatismo, as it is currently waged by the actual people involved, with any of the trendy versions of Marxism you find on North American campuses, are wealthy Anglo leftists and/or third-generation Mexican-Americans (like myself) seeking to capitalize (I use the word self-consciously) on the moral legitimacy of the Zapatista rebellion. They then condescendingly ignore what the actual people involved are saying and invent their own visions of what a third-world uprising SHOULD be about, thus imposing trendy theories cooked up in the pampered university environment upon an organic indigenous movement that cares very little for the battle between intellectual fads in the United States. In short, Zapatismo (like Che) has been commodified for consumption by wealthy teen-angsty wannabe radicals and their aging, leisured professors seeking to align themselves with a movement they intentionally misunderstand.
The Zapatista movement may or may not becoming more dogmatically "Marxist" as trendy leftist academics and people like Castro get involved, and we should not forget that Marcos knows an international audience is listening to his broadcasts. (If that happens, it will be a shame, as it will simply "colonize" an indigenous movement, stripping it from its organic roots and real-life grievances and making it merely yet another battleground between the industrialized world's Right and Left, where comfortable and subsidized intellectuals in Berkeley, Washington, Paris, and London fight over the future of native farmers in Chiapas with none of their imput.) That being said, in my experience the actual people who are allying themselves with the Zapatistas have never read Marx or Naomi Klein and would probably not make much distinction between those theories and the "neoliberalism" behind NAFTA. Both are foreign and cooked up by the same people without the best interests of the indigenous people in mind.
That being said, trying to compare the Zapatistas to the Palestinians is unbelievably condescending, a relationship made possible only by an offensive and self-serving worldview that assigns a monolithic hive-mind mentality to the brown peoples of the world. And "neoliberalism" does NOT necessarily equal "the United States" (ever hear of China?) just as the occupation of Iraq is not the same as NAFTA. To conflate all these things is grounded less in actual facts and more in the desperate need to justify an obsolete brand of leftism that no longer really accounts for the complex web of social, cultural, economic, and military interactions we witness resulting from today's globalized world.
chris l pettit - 5/31/2005
I have a land claim to Africa if you want to make that argument about the Israelites. THe whole "land claim" argument on both sides amounts to a hell of a lot of bulls**t and manipulation of history. They are descended from the same people for chrissakes...everyone has a land claim if you want to take that absurd position. And you can't dress that up with claims about culture and other nonsense...culture, religion, nationalism are three sides to the same nasty jingoistic coin. At some point, humanity will have to overcome its ignorance when it comes to peace and human rights. Sadly, it is people like the two writers above that are holding things back.
The PLO and Zapatistas have a lot in common...including that both had good and bad elements. I love the generalities spread by those trying to make some sort of ideological point. So the PLO and Zapatistas have a claim to the land...see the point above...it is irrelevant. What is relevant is that they are humans that are due universal human rights based in equality and justice, including the right to peace. THis means we have to take it out of the hands of ideological misfits, "democratic" peoples who vote with blind faith, power brokers, and diplomats and actually start respecting international human rights law and its judicial institutions.
The US government is as much of a terror organisation as the PLO, as the Israeli government, as the Russian government, as the Zapatistas, etc. We must concentrate on the acts committed and the vicitms hurt...not whether we approve due to our ideological blindness of those committing the crimes. TO not do so is to leave the realm of law, rights, reason, ethics, universalism, and rationality and to enter the realm of power politics, ideological blindness, and might makes right.
Diana Applebaum - 5/30/2005
Last month LeVine asserted that the International Solidarity Movement is a peaceful organization. I and several others presented extensive evidence that, far from being peaceful, the ISM supports terrorism both ideologically and by practical support. LeVine said that he would examine the extensive evidence presented of the violent nature and intentions of the International Solidarity Movement, but never wrote to say that he had done so.
LeVine appears to live in a sort of fantasy world, wherein supporters of terrorism like the ISM are reframed as pacifists and, somehow, the Zapatistas are equated with the PLO.
Bill Heuisler - 5/30/2005
Assigning Marxist values to Emiliano Zapata is an insult to the man and to Mexico. A brave, principled, unselfish man with a deep love for his country, Zapata fought and died for Mexico's peasantry. He wanted land reform and popular independence, but rejected Marx. In my opinion, Zapata would not have shared your fondness for a well-meaning, but ineffectual, Sub-Commandante, or any other modern exotics who extolled international solidarity and Socialist Luddism.
Zapata wanted to destroy Mexico's feudal system where sharecroppers and small farmers (like his family) were in poverty because of growing, greedy sugar Haciendados. He thought Marxism mistaken. Zapata wanted the coexistence of empowered peasants and plantation owners and he used terms, "economic liberty" and "growth and prosperity". He was not racialist or Indianist, he was a Mexican patriot who would've been appalled by the hairy holes of ANSWER and the anti-WTO proles. Emiliano Zapata is a Mexican hero of The Revolution - the national anguish, untold dead, years of burning and bloodletting - with others like Madero and Villa. Your misuse of his name and cause is both ignorant and sacrilegious
Marcos has a similar cause, but a bankrupt solution fostered by other misguided men like Fidel and Chavez.
Attaching Emiliano Zapata's name to Marcos and Chiapas is understandable, but using it to attack the United States' war of self defense against Islamic Terrorism is idiocy.
Then you top idiocy with nonsense:
"...both the chaos or civil war started exactly on that fateful March day when the US forces first rolled into Iraq. Until the Bush Administration accepts its role in creating the disaster that continues to unfold there, more Iraqis and Americans will die."
So, according to LeVine, there was no chaos in Saddam's Iraq - no bloody disaster. LeVine believes Saddam Hussein was not an evil tyrant who slaughtered his own people and exported violence? Levine apparently believes Saddam a saint, Mexicans similar and simple, Zapata a Socialist, and that all evil in the world begins in The US.
This article is an ungainly, tactless and ill-considered attack on the United States that insults nearly everyone, but also manages to defend Saddam Hussein.
Sergio Ramirez - 5/30/2005
LeVine, no stranger to disgusting comparisons, has really outdone himself this time. As I Mexican-American I am sickened that the Zapatista movement be used to justify the inhuman campaign of terror Palestinians have waged against Jewish children.
Nathaniel Brian Bates - 5/30/2005
There is one difference between the Zapatistas and the PLO. The Zapatistas are a classical Freedom movement, opposed to oppressive rule. The PLO is, by contrast, a terrorist movement, one that was terrorist before the so-called "occupation" in 1967. Unlike Marcos, Arafat never claimed to be for "freedom" as an ideal, at least not in a genuinely emancipationist sense.
Israelites have a classical claim on the Land as an indigeous people. Whether that outweighs the Palestinian claim is beyond the scope of my argument. The point is that there is such a claim, similar to that of the Natives or the Zapatistas. The Spanish do not enjoy a similar claim on Mexico. Whether the Palestinians should have a State or not, the objective conditions of the two situations are different.
There may be a common resistance to globalization among Zapatistas and the PLO. However, one can also note commonalities between Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan on the subject of globalization. In no sense do those two gentlemen agree on much else.