Archive for the ‘anti-war’ Category

Black Panthers documentary

January 30, 2008

MLK, Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party, American Indian Movement, cointelpro, REX84, Iran-Contra, CIA drug trade, privatized counterinsurgency… this documentary tracks the historical through-line into the 1990s. You can see today how these forms of manipulation and control have continued to escalate and we continue to struggle with the aftermath of the 60s, 70s, 80s…

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kucinich

January 27, 2008

Kucinich is out of the race. In a practical sense, he made the right decision. He needs to defend his seat in congress and there are many pieces of legislation being pushed through right now that he is one of the few voices against. He has been so thoroughly shut out of the presidential race and his ideas have been so thoroughly shut out of the debate, we need him to focus on congress where he can hopefully still have an effect.

It has been immensely frustrating to see the possibility for positive social transformation that Kucinich represents be so cynically shoved aside. It is very important to continue pointing out this massive anti-democratic manipulation of our society by corporate power. It is important to recognize that this may be a temporary defeat to one approach to progressive change, but it is not a defeat to the ideas. If the time is not right to come up against the system in this way, how do we act at the local level to start implementing ideas such as a WPA-style program that would focus on meaningful work for community building and environmental sustainability?

Meanwhile, lets see if Cynthia McKinney is able to play the game in more innovative ways and make a presence for her Green Party candidacy.

Here is Kucinich on Democracy Now responding to segments from one of the many debates his ideas were excluded from:

Chris Hedges did an interview with Kucinich that is very worth reading. It points up the vast differences and potentials that have been silenced. In this excerpt Kucinich talks about his plan for a modern day version of the WPA as a means of counteracting the decimation of our economy and returning meaningful work to our society :

Hedges: Have we evolved into a corporate state?

Kucinich: I Look at it as the political equivalent of genetic engineering. That we’ve taken the gene of corporate America and shot it into both political parties. So they both now are growing with that essence within. So what does that mean? It means oil runs our politics. Corrupt Wall Street interests run our politics. Insurance companies run our politics. Arms manufacturers run our politics. And the public interest is being strangled. Fulfilling the practical aspirations of people should be our mission. How do we measure up to providing people with jobs? It was a Democratic president that made it possible for NAFTA to be passed, causing millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs that help support the middle class. …

NAFTA, GAT, the WTO, China Trade, and every other trade agreement that’s passed in Congress has been passed with the help of either the leadership of or with the help of the Democratic Party, knowing that each and every one of those agreements was devoid of protections for workers, knowing that if you don’t have workers’ rights put into a trade agreement then workers here in the United States are going to see their own bargaining position undermined because corporations can move jobs out of the country to places where workers don’t have any rights. They don’t have the right to organize, the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike. So what I see is that the Democratic Party abandoned working people, and paradoxically they’re the ones who hoist the flag of workers every two and four years only to engender excitement, and then to turn around and abandon their constituency. This is now on the level of a practiced ritual. At least a biannual ceremony, or every two years. So you can see how pernicious this becomes when the minimum wage increase was tied to funding the war. That, to me, says it all. Because it is inevitably the sons and daughters of working Americans that are the ones who are led to slaughter. Aspirations for health care.

So what I’ve done in my campaign is to advocate a full-employment economy. How do you do that? A new WPA-type program. We’ll rebuild America’s bridges, water systems, sewer systems, our libraries, our universities, our mass transit systems. And we do that with a program that I introduced legislation in repeated Congresses with the cosponsorship of a Republican from Ohio by the name of Steven LaTourette and the bill, HR 3400, provides for rebuilding America’s infrastructure. And I would put millions of people back to work in good-paying jobs. I would put millions more back to work in new energy policies where we would design, engineer, manufacture, install and maintain wind and solar microtechnologies which would be retrofitted into tens of millions of American homes and businesses, driving down our carbon footprint and dramatically reducing our cost of energy. This would be a major development in America to take us away from a condition where America is leading the way towards the destruction of our global climate. I call this part of it the WG: a Works Green Administration, where we turn government into an engine of sustainability, where the whole government becomes about moving towards green. The transportation plan, mass transit, housing and development—it’s about green housing, solar, natural lighting, using recycled material, the energy department stops incentivizing coal and oil and nuclear, and moves toward incentivizing wind and solar, bringing forward a whole generation of entrepreneurs just waiting to get into green energy solutions.

NAFTA becomes about the development of these new technologies at the alpha stage and then licensing them to the beta stage to encourage that entrepreneurial spirit. I mean we could create millions of jobs to prime the pump of the economy—that’s the way I think about this. Prime the pump of the economy, get people back to work rebuilding America and creating a transition economy and making us more green in all of our policies. Agriculture, for example: Bring back the concept of parity, work for sustainable practices in agriculture and help protect small farmers, get their products to market, get their price, get a fair price, protect them with local markets, help organic farmers. I could go through every department, and that’s what Works Green is about.

Addressing the practical aspirations of people, you’re looking for jobs, how to create jobs, how to create movement in the economy that benefits people. And our party just swings around the edges and always makes deals with the idea of protecting the status quo, which is war

The full interview is available here.

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do something local, do something real

January 25, 2008

Grace Lee Boggs on Bill Moyers:

interviewed on DemocracyNow:

crowd control

January 10, 2008

from Democracy Now headlines:

Report: Blackwater Dropped Toxin on Crowded Checkpoint

The private military firm Blackwater Worldwide is facing new allegations of unlawful activity in Iraq, this time for dropping a heavily-restricted riot-control gas on a crowded Baghdad checkpoint in May 2005. According to the New York Times, the release of the CS gas by a Blackwater helicopter and armored vehicle temporarily blinded drivers, pedestrians and at least ten American soldiers. Blackwater is already under scrutiny for a mass shooting in Baghdad that killed seventeen Iraqis last September. Military witnesses say Blackwater personnel appeared to release the gas as a way to clear a traffic jam that was blocking their route. The gas is only authorized for use in dangerous situations. Its effects include burning and watering eyes, skin irritation, coughing and breathing difficulties, nausea and vomiting. Blackwater says it reported the incident to the U.S. Embassy and that the case was investigated. But U.S. officials could not confirm that an investigation occurred.

STOP THE CIA

January 10, 2008

The real name of the War On Terror is the War On Democracy. This documentary by John Pilger is very important for understanding the current situation not only in Latin America, but also here in the U.S. and also the Middle East, and also all of Africa and the rest of the world…  How many times have neocon pundits claimed “What Iraq needs is a Pinochet?” How long until they make the claim that what the United States needs is a Pinochet as well?

“change”

January 6, 2008

After the Iowa Caucuses all of the candidates were using the same buzzwords in their speaches. Especially “change”. Even Huckabee was coopting the populist rhetoric. But will they walk the walk as well as talk the talk? A look at the policy advisors the major candidates have working for them suggests no. It’s the same old corporate line wrapped up in a rebranded package. For example, one of Obama’s main advisors is Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is the guy who in the late 90s wrote a book called The Grand Chessboard which laid out the plan for US imperial domination of the Middle East. When Obama talks about getting out of Iraq, he isn’t talking about getting out of corporate imperialism and making reparations for the US’ major war crimes. All he is saying is that we made the wrong move on the chessboard and should actually be focusing our brutality more on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Democracy Now has a good report on who the major candidates are hiring on for their policy advisors.

Meet the Press has an interview with Obama in which he discusses Iraq/Afghanistan.

Cynthia McKinney

December 23, 2007

I’m tired of this “electability” b.s. The time has come to take a stand for ourselves. Take a stand for someone who actually believes in democracy and could have a chance in a real democratic system where the media wasn’t bent on marginalizing these voices. Call the electability bluff, vote for someone who deserves it.

FBI planned mass arrests in 1950

December 23, 2007

Lists compiled over a number of years, individuals labeled as “possible threat to national security”.  Habeas Corpus was suspended with the Military Commissions Act in 2006. Mass detention centers are now under construction. Could this happen now?

from the BBC:

Former FBI director J Edgar Hoover had a plan to arrest 12,000 Americans he deemed a possible threat to national security, declassified papers reveal.

The FBI chief sent his proposal to US President Harry Truman just after the start of the Korean War in 1950, The New York Times newspaper reports.

He asked the president to declare the mass arrest necessary to counter “treason, espionage and sabotage”.

There is no evidence any part of the plan was ever approved.

Mr Hoover wanted the president to suspend the centuries-old legal right of habeas corpus, which protects individuals against unlawful arrest.

The FBI director planned to detain the suspects – whose list of names he had been compiling for years – in US military and federal prisons.

“The index now contains approximately 12,000 individuals, of which approximately 97% are citizens of the United States,” wrote Mr Hoover, in the now declassified document.

The New York Times gave no details about the identities of those targeted.

The US Department of State declassified the plan, along with other Cold War-era documents from 1950-55 this week.

give peace a chance

December 14, 2007

Both Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel were excluded from yesterday’s Democratic debate in Iowa- sponsored by the Des Moines Register. It is the last debate before the caucuses and primaries begin. It is only the most recent and blatant marginalization of any voices in the campaign not speaking for the vision of the corporate elite. It begins with the whole myth of “electability”. A self-fulfilling prophecy in which the elite anoint their candidates. The media then hypes these candidates as being the only legitimate choices- all other voices are ridiculed as those of wingnuts. This leaves voters already feeling that they only have a choice between Obama and Hillary. This leaves most voters unaware that there are actually people proposing sane and workable alternatives. They are unaware they could choose a better world. The marginalization process continues by marginalizing their voices within the debates by limiting the number of questions they are asked. In one debate, Kucinich was not asked a question for the first 45 minutes.

Here is Mike Gravel’s response to this cynical b.s.:

I think it’s beautiful.

Mike Gravel for President 2008

Kucinich 2008

paths of victory: PAUL CHAN

December 3, 2007

The whole article by Holland Carter in the New York Times is well worth reading and there are images of the work, too:

The performances, by the Classical Theater of Harlem, took place outdoors in parts of the city particularly hard hit by Hurricane Katrina and slow to recover. In the Gentilly section, a gutted, storm-ruined house was used as a set. In the Lower Ninth Ward, where one of the largest black neighborhoods in a mostly black city was all but erased by roof-high water surging through a levee, the intersection of two once-busy streets was the stage.

The streets are empty now, lined with bare lots. A few trees and houses stand far off. Reclamation work by returning homeowners and volunteers is under way. But some residents live in cramped trailers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, here widely despised for its inefficiency. Under the circumstances, Beckett’s words sounded less like an existentialist cri de coeur than like a terse topographic description.

The “Godot” performances were not isolated theatrical events. They were part of a larger project conceived by the New York artist Paul Chan, 34, who is well known to the international art world for his video animations of paradises embattled and lost, and to law enforcement officials for his activist politics.

A board propped against a ruined church carries a hand-painted text: “Can these bones live? Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and ye shall live.” The words, evoking an apocalyptic future, are from Ezekiel.

Sometime in October, new words began to appear. Printed on small cardboard signs, they consisted of the same three phrases: “A country road. A tree. Evening.” — an exact quotation of Beckett’s scene-setting for “Godot.”

The signs were designed by Mr. Chan and posted all over the city, in a distribution pattern that had a rhythm of surprise. Drive through a “good” neighborhood or a “bad” neighborhood and you’d spot one. At a traffic light, another one. On the boarded window of an abandoned shopping mall, another.

After a while the signs came to feel like a shared secret, or some bounteous but anonymous civic gift, the way Keith Haring’s subway paintings felt in New York in the early 1980s. They added up to a visual network, art as a connective tissue for a torn-apart town.

In 2004 he was arrested after taking part in a demonstration at the Republican National Convention in New York. But, as is often the case, his political activity was twofold: in the street and in the studio, where as part of a collective called Friends of William Blake he designed a free New York map for protesters, pinpointing convention events, delegates’ hotels and public toilets.

More recently he has created gorgeous, shadowlike film projections of an everyday world in gravitational crisis — one was in the last Whitney Biennial — with bodies pulled down and objects floating away. At the same time he finished a filmed interview, broken by intervals of abstract color and light, with the civil liberties lawyer Lynne Stewart, who was convicted of passing information from an imprisoned client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, to terrorists.

Since the only promotion had been the stealth advertising of Mr. Chan’s cryptic signs, there was no guarantee of an audience. But The Times-Picayune gave the event significant coverage, and thousands of people turned up for the performances over two November weekends. (A fifth was added to meet the demand.) At each, a gumbo dinner was served and the audience was brought into the seating area by second-line jazz bands.