07 April 2007
5-hour documentary. No, I haven't seen it. Made in 1968 by the Indian government, as far as I can tell. Probably not exactly "warts and all," but how many worrisome, significant warts did Ghandi have? I refer you to George Orwell for an excellent and perceptive essay (as per usual) on Ghandi, "warts" and all. The concluding sentence sums it up.
Shorter versions, and in different languages, available at the link below.
This is a 5 hrs. 10 min. documentary biography of Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi. All events and principles of Gandhi's life and thought are viewed as integrated parts of his truth-intoxicated life depicting permanent and universal values.The purpose of the film is to tell the present and the future generations "that such a man as Gandhi in flesh and blood walked upon this earth", to acquaint them with his life and work and to spread his message of peace and universal brotherhood to the war-weary and fear-stricken world. The film brings together a mass of visual record not only of 78-year life of Gandhi but also of an important period of India's history. The aim of the film being education and not entertainment, there is no attempt at dramatization of those exciting times. The story is told with an eye to truthful documentation of the main events within the limits of available documentary visual material.
Read more about the film. Film id: mahatma_full_640x480. Courtesy: GandhiServe Foundation, Mahatma Gandhi Research and Media Service. For personal, institutional and commercial use contact: email@example.com
06 April 2007
(PDF linked above.) The original document and press conference are good places to start, not the mainstream media.
Streaming video of press conference (WMV). 1 hour. Note that the reporters (AP, AFP) knew beforehand that severe pressure was brought to bear on the final document, which must pass through governmental filters. The Q&A period is very illuminating.
Some more information from IPS. More here, too. Most people don't even know about InterPress Service, so this will be a nice comparison to MSM.
From soon after 9/11/2001; after the war began in Afghanistan. Not sure exactly when, but you get the idea from internal evidence.
Analysis by Lucy Komisar*
NEW YORK, Apr 4 (IPS) - Now that the U.S. Congress is investigating the truth of President George W. Bush's statements about the Iraq war, they might look into one of his most startling assertions: that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Critics dismissed that as an invention. They were wrong. There was a link, but not the one Bush was selling. The link between Hussein and Bin Laden was their banker, BCCI. But the link went beyond the dictator and the jihadist -- it passed through Saudi Arabia and stretched all the way to George W. Bush and his father.
BCCI was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, a dirty offshore bank that then-president Ronald Reagan's Central Intelligence Agency used to run guns to Hussein, finance Osama bin Laden, move money in the illegal Iran-Contra operation and carry out other "agency" black ops. The Bushes also benefited privately; one of the bank's largest Saudi investors helped bail out George W. Bush's troubled oil investments.
BCCI was founded in 1972 by a Pakistani banker, Agha Hasan Abedi, with the support of Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi and head of the United Arab Emirates. Its corporate strategy was money laundering. It became the banker for drug and arms traffickers, corrupt officials, financial fraudsters, dictators and terrorists.
The CIA used BCCI Islamabad and other branches in Pakistan to funnel some of the two billion dollars that Washington sent to Osama bin Laden's Mujahadeen to help fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. It moved the cash the Pakistani military and government officials skimmed from U.S. aid to the Mujahadeen. It also moved money as required by the Saudi intelligence services.
The BCCI operation gave Osama bin Laden an education in offshore black finance that he would put to use when he organised the jihad against the United States. He would move money through the Al-Taqwa Bank, operating in offshore Nassau and Switzerland with two Osama siblings as shareholders.
At the same time, BCCI helped Saddam Hussein, funneling millions of dollars to the Atlanta branch of the Italian government-owne
U.S. Congressman Henry Gonzalez held a hearing on BNL in 1992 during which he quoted from a confidential CIA document that said the agency had long been aware that the bank's headquarters was involved in the U.S. branch's Iraqi loans.
Kickbacks from 15 percent commissions on BNL-sponsored loans were channeled into bank accounts held for Iraqi leaders via BCCI offices in the Caymans as well as in offshore Luxembourg and Switzerland. BNL was a client of Kissinger Associates, and Henry Kissinger was on the bank's international advisory board, along with Brent Scowcroft, who would become George Bush Sr.'s national security advisor. That connection makes the Bush administration'
Important Saudis were influential in the bank. Sheik Kamal Adham, brother-in-law of the late Saudi King Faisal, head of Saudi intelligence from 1963 to 1979, and the CIA's liaison in the area, became one of BCCI's largest shareholders. George Bush Sr. knew Adham from his time running the CIA in 1975.
Another investor was Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud, who succeeded Adham as Saudi intelligence chief. The family of Khalid Salem bin Mahfouz, owner of the National Commercial Bank, the largest bank in Saudi Arabia, banker to King Fahd and other members of the ruling family, bought 20 to 30 percent of the stock for nearly one billion dollars. Bin Mahfouz was put on the board of directors.
The Arabs' interest in the bank was more than financial. A classified CIA memo on BCCI in the mid-1980s said that "its principal shareholders are among the power elite of the Middle East, including the rulers of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, and several influential Saudi Arabians. They are less interested in profitability than in promoting the Muslim cause."
The Bushes' private links to the bank passed to Bin Mahfouz through Texas businessman James R. Bath, who invested money in the United States on behalf of the Saudi. In 1976, when Bush was the head of the CIA, the agency sold some of the planes of Air America, a secret "proprietary" airline it used during the Vietnam War, to Skyway, a company owned by Bath and Bin Mahfouz. Bath then helped finance George W. Bush's oil company, Arbusto Energy Inc., in 1979 and 1980.
When Harken Energy Corp., which had absorbed Arbusto (by then merged with Spectrum 7 Energy), got into financial trouble in 1987, Jackson Stephens of the powerful, politically-con
Then, in 1988, George Bush Sr. was elected president. Harken benefited by getting some new investors, including Salem bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's half-brother, and Khalid bin Mahfouz. Osama bin Laden himself was busy elsewhere at the time -- organising al Qaeda.
The money BCCI stole before it was shut down in 1991 -- somewhere between 9.5 billion and 15 billion dollars -- made its 20-year heist the biggest bank fraud in history. Most of it was never recovered. International banks' complicity in the offshore secrecy system effectively covered up the money trail.
But in the years after the collapse of BCCI, Khalid bin Mahfouz was still flush with cash. In 1992, he established the Muwafaq ("blessed relief") Foundation in the offshore Channel Islands. The U.S. Treasury Department called it "an al Qaeda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen."
When the BCCI scandal began to break in the late 1980s, the Sr. Bush administration did what it could to sit on it. The Justice Department went after the culprits -- was virtually forced to -- only after New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau did. But evidence about BCCI's broader links exist in numerous U.S. and international investigations.
*Investigative journalist Lucy Komisar's chapter, "The BCCI Game: Banking on America, Banking on Jihad," appears in the new book "A Game as Old as Empire", just published by Berrett-Koehler
05 April 2007
Here's the link; 3 hours.
On Rupert Murdoch: "He's sort of a coagulated blob of prejudice and spleen." That's good stuff. There's a lot more: on Hitchens, Tom Friedman, and a lot of other fat-heads who deserve to be excoriated.
Interesting fact: Cockburn's father wrote the novel Beat the Devil, from which an excellent, underrated black comedy, which you can see right here for free. Truman Capote wrote the last scene, and nothing else, but got the credit. Typical. I can only imagine what Vidal would say.
John Huston directed; the usual team of Bogie, Lorre, and others are in it. Love it.
Cockburn's dead wrong about global warming; shocked to hear that he doubts it. A little blinkered to think it's all a front for the nuclear power industry.
Posted by Doug at 11:45 AM
Labels: 2008 Presidential Election, Chomsky, Christian Right, Civil Liberties, Class Warfare, Free Video, Global Warming, Globalization, Hillary, Human Rights, Impeachment, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Journalism, Kucinich, Latin America, Nader, Neoliberalism, New York Times, Obama, Palestine, Privatization, Satire
04 April 2007
Or, "How To Distinguish a Conservative From A Fascist."
What's wrong with these ten points, which make up the "American Freedom Agenda"?
- End the use of military commissions to prosecute crimes.
- Prohibit the use of secret evidence or evidence obtained by torture.
- Prohibit the detention of American citizens as enemy combatants without proof.
- Restore habeas corpus for alleged alien combatants.
- End National Security Agency warrantless wiretapping.
- Challenge presidential signing statements.
- Bar executive use of the state-secret privilege to deny justice.
- Prohibit the president from collaborating with foreign governments to kidnap, detain or torture persons abroad.
- Amend the Espionage Act to permit journalists to report on classified national security matters without threat of persecution.
- Prohibit of the labeling of groups or individuals in the US as global terrorists based on secret evidence.
Take your allies where you find them. Key quote from Bruce Fein, former associate deputy attorney general under Reagan, and founder of The Liberty Coalition (members include the ACLU):
"Too many people who call themselves conservatives have lost their way. Those who support George W. Bush's inerpretation of executive power are democrats, they are monarchists. And liberals don't seem to understand that poeple with views like ours can be conservatives," he said.
"We have many policy disagreements with liberals and progressives, as well as within the conservative movement. But we should have no disagreement about what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights." He added, "We welcome the participation and support of liberals and progressives who share that vision."
As Zappa would have said, "The poodle bites."
"Note: * = text within single asterisks absent from this audio."
This is taken from American Rhetoric. Don't ask me why the cuts were made, when, or by whom.
*Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here tonight, and how very delighted I am to see you expressing your concern about the issues that will be discussed tonight by turning out in such large numbers. I also want to say that I consider it a great honor to share this program with Dr. Bennett, Dr. Commager, and Rabbi Heschel, some of the distinguished leaders and personalities of our nation. And of course it’s always good to come back to Riverside Church. Over the last eight years, I have had the privilege of preaching here almost every year in that period, and it is always a rich and rewarding experience to come to this great church and this great pulpit.*
I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.
The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.
And some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.
Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: "Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?" "Why are you joining the voices of dissent?" "Peace and civil rights don't mix," they say. "Aren't you hurting the cause of your people," they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
In the light of such tragic misunderstandin
I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reasons to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.
Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellowed [sic] Americans, *who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.
Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision.* There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily
My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath --
America will be!
Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.
As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1954** [sic]; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man." This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I'm speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?
And finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.
This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.
And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.
They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence *in 1954* -- in 1945 *rather* -- after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determinat
For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.
After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva Agreement. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States' influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.
The only change came from America, as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs.
So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflic
What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?
We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.
Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. *Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call "fortified hamlets." The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers.
Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies.* What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call "VC" or "communists"? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem, which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of "aggression from the North" as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.
How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them, the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of new violence?
Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
So, too, with Hanoi. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered.
Also, it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops. They remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.
Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than *eight hundred, or rather,* eight thousand miles away from its shores.
At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called "enemy," I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.
This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:
Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism (unquote).
If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.
*I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:
Number one: End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government.
Five: *Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.
Part of our ongoing...part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country, if necessary. Meanwhile... meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible.
*As we counsel young men concerning military service, we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is a path now chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover, I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors.* These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing.
The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality...and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing "clergy and laymen concerned" committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.
And so, such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.
In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years, we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevoluti
It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin...we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.
A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.
*This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations.* These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness.
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. We in the West must support these revolutions.
It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutiona
A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.
This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Ch
We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says: "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word" (unquote).
We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination
We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message -- of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.
As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:
Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet 'tis truth alone is strong
Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.
And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace.
If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Alternative Text Source: http://www.afri
* = text within single asterisks absent from this audio
** King stated "1954." That year was notable for the Civil Rights Movement in the USSC's Brown v. Board of Education ruling. However, given the statement's discursive thrust, King may have meant to say "1964" -- the year he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Alternatively, as noted by Steve Goldberg, King may have identified 1954's "burden of responsibility"
03 April 2007
I thought I had read this book before, and maybe I did, but the full force of it never hit me as it has on this (re-)reading...
I re-read Ecce Homo, after seeing so many references to it in Kaufmann's Discovering the Mind. That was interesting, funny, and a bit sad in its megalomania, not all of which, I think, can be explained away.
But in the same volume (Kaufmann, of course), I started on Genealogy. The first essay was good: thick with thoughts. But the second, which I just finished, is one of the most brilliant, perceptive, fruitful essays I have ever read. I think that Nietzsche gets the broad outlines of guilt, gods, conscience, etc., right. I think he'd be horrified to hear that I, for one, saw a point of connection between his truly inspired association of guilt and debt, and his tracing of morality to economic exchange between classes (and individuals, to be sure), and of resentment, etc., with Marx and Engels. I'm sure Kaufmann would be horrified, too, but it strikes me as so obvious that I cannot imagine I'm the first to notice it, despite Nietzsche's still-annoying anti-democratic, anti-socialistic predisposition.
But even though Nietzsche's rejection of all things "conscience-laden" goes too far -- he gives real love, well, no shrift, and he does glorify war, no matter what Kaufmann says -- it is a work of genius, true genius. The closest Nietzsche comes to a more balanced, less over-reactive position toward morality is when he describes the notion of the strength required not to need punishment for the "guilty"; and his true insight that the subalterns ("slave class") had their freedom stolen from them. In fact, "instinct for freedom" is a better term, I think, than "will to power," which, if nothing else, has bad connotations since Hitler. Nietzsche (via Kaufmann, of course) offers it as a synonym himself on page 87 (section 18), and in that term, I see a link-up with the post-classical-liberal anarchist and libertarian socialist strands I've been immersed in of late. Yes, Nietzsche held anarchism in special contempt as the omega point of decadent democracy, but I simply part ways with him on that. Yes, smash the idols, by all means; but one will still have love and fellowship, I think. Free from guilt, from "neighbor-love" in the negative, hypocritical sense, but one would think that the logical, or at least plausible, conclusion of Nietzsche's thinking is that after we kill off guilt, the gods, etc., and free ourselves from our own cages (excellent extended metaphor), we will surely have a purer love and fellowship left over. I think he erred there, and his overman is really just what he says: an Anti-Christ -- a knee-jerk reaction, in my humble opinion.
But Nietzsche did say, like his Zarathustra, that we should not follow him! I trust any thinker who says that.
I have purposely referred obliquely and incompletely to Nietzsche's themes; I can't do them justice. Read the essay -- and the book!
Some free associations:
- Stephen Jay Gould did give priority to Nietzsche on the necessary separation of current utility from historical origin (in his last book, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory; a grad student of his pointed it out). This is in section 12, and specifically deals with the evolutionary theory of the day, as well as with historiography in general.
- Foucault, I must say, is a very weak plagiarist, at best, of Nietzsche -- surely someone has noticed this!
- Nietzsche was spot on about monotheism. Freud's great error was to consider monotheism progress, someone once told me; I agree.
Pull out the "rabble" talk; ignore the misogyny; roll one's eyes at the glorification of war (I think he's more on target with a good hike up a mountain, and living dangerously in other senses), and Nietzsche still has plenty to teach us. No wonder Freud stopped reading him! He'd thought of so much already! Plus, what an immensely gifted writer. I cannot read him in the original, but if Kaufmann is correct, Nietzsche's German leaves Kaufmann's English in the dust, which is saying quite a lot.
Having already outflanked some conservatives (I mean, conservatives, not the fascists in both parties) on the need to prevent Iran from getting nukes within 2 years -- well, a nuke...all right, more like 5 years...well, 10...OK, well, a cascade of centrifuges sufficient to...well, OK, any cascade of centrifuges, regardless of...uh, did I mention I was against the Iraq war in 2002? -- with no options off the table (this will be appearing soon in his Redbook spread: just Obama and silk boxers with that phrase across the bulge), this tireless defender of the downtrodden continues his transformation into a one-man Thermopylae, graphic-novel-style.
But first, a quick stop today, in the article linked above, to underscore the meaninglessness of the Giant Democratic Victory about “a date certain” (that is, November 4, 2008); then, have done with those ungrateful Mesopotamians (I mean, don't they appreciate all the bombs we've given them?). On to protect Western Civilization from the Persian horde, one glistening man against millions.
Oh, I tingle at his turgid resolution. Makes me all moist when he grabs me roughly and triangulates like that.
But when he discloses how big and fat his campaign funding package is, how near to bursting at the seams to shoot forth a seemingly unending fountain of mindless, sticky, wriggling ads aimed at fertilizing one thought in the supine “progressive community,” so drooling with ardor: “Vote Obama...Vote Obama...Vote Obama...” -- yes, then I and my free-thinking, self-directed, oh-so-progressive harem-mates will explode in an ecstasy of wish-projection, settle deeper in our passivity and leader-worship, let the endorphins do their work, and, like Homer, hide under a pile of blankets and hope everything turns out OK.
“I think that it's important for voters to get a sense of how the next president will make decisions in a foreign policy arena,” said Obama.Indeed it is, Barack. Indeed it is.
File this under "no fucking shit, Sherlock."
More from Greg Palast, your one-stop shop for the low down on the venal criminals who run Big Oil and, as a subsidary, the US government. The BBC report linked at the bottom is from a couple of years ago; see here for his recent article on the USS Condoleeza Rice and Iraqi Oil.
02 April 2007
US Social Forum 101
Informational Call in English
Informational Call in English
3pm Eastern, 2pm Central,
1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific
access code: 387157#
Got questions on the US Social Forum? Trying to figure out how to get plugged-in? Join us on the call Wednesday, April 11… To sign onto the call on, click here.
A talk given at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University in the spring of 2003.
"Attention-This video unfortunately freezes at the beginning for 17 seconds but I have timed it so it resumes at the correct place."
01 April 2007
Commentaries are a premium sent to Sustainer Donors of Z/ZNet. To learn more folks can consult ZNet.By Ted Glick
How will we bring about significant change in the USA? There are a number of things that need to happen, but one bottom-line, essential requirement is the coming together of a critical mass of organizers and activists into a grassroots-based, politically independent, popular and progressive network, alliance and/or party. Given what we are up against here in the belly of empire, it's hard to see how we have any hope of change absent such a development.
Some of us got an idea of the impact such an alliance could have 20 years ago during the period from 1983 to 1989. During that time, because of the 1984 and 1988 Presidential campaigns of Rev. Jesse Jackson, a grassroots-based National Rainbow Coalition began to emerge. This African American-based and African American-led formation brought together leaders and groups from a mix of constituencies and movements-Latinos, labor, farmers, women, lesbian and gay people, peace activists, community groups and more. Between 1986 and 1988 it began to take root via local and state coalitions, developing as a progressive alternative to two-party politics-as-usual. It was a grouping which consciously linked activists operating in the Democratic Party with activists building independent organizational forms and parties, united behind a consistently progressive political program.
This type of a Rainbow Coalition movement no longer exists, but there is an important initiative underway that has the potential to advance a different kind of unity- and alliance-building process across lines of race, culture, issue and geographic region, a process that we desperately need: the United States Social Forum, happening in Atlanta, Ga. June 27 to July 1.
Organizing toward this event was initiated by Grassroots Global Justice, an alliance of over 50 grassroots organizations representing people of color and low-income communities in the U.S. Over the last couple of years it has been putting the pieces in place to make this major event possible.
World Social Forum Origins
It is significant that the US Social Forum is emerging out of many years of World Social Forums that have been happening in countries of the Global South. Originally begun in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2001, the first World Social Forum (WSF) was organized as an alternative to the world ruling elite's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The second and third WSF's were held in Porto Alegre, the fourth one in Mumbai, India and the fifth one back in Porto Alegre. Beginning with 12,000 people in 2001, it grew to 155,000 registered participants in 2005. The sixth World Social Forum was "polycentric," held in January 2006 in Caracas, Venezuela and Bamako, Mali, and in March 2006, in Karachi, Pakistan. The Forum in Pakistan was delayed to March because of the Kashmir earthquake that had recently occurred in the area. Earlier this year, in late January, the seventh WSF was held in Nairobi, Kenya, attended by 60,000 people. There have also been regional and national social forums in Europe, Asia, the Mediterranean, Italy and, in the USA, in Boston, the Southeast, the Midwest, the Southwest and just recently in Washington, D.C.
This first national social forum in the USA is coming at a particularly auspicious time. Bush, Cheney and the Republicans are on the defensive, struggling to maintain support for their agenda of wars and occupations for oil and empire abroad and, at home, the destruction of basic Constitutional rights and cutbacks to education, healthcare, Social Security and other human needs. Yet there is also widespread, popular dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party and with corporate, big money domination of both major political parties. Jerome Scott and Walda Katz-Fishman, leaders of Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide, a key group within the leadership of the US Social Forum process, recently summarized its importance in this way:
"The social forum process was initiated by social movements of oppressed and exploited peoples in the Global South; and no one group in the U.S. 'owns it.' Second, the social forum is being brought home to the U.S. by grassroots organizations-with people of color and low-income led organizations in the leadership. Third, the social forum is a convergence process of all our fronts of struggle; it is multi-issue and multi-sector, and inclusive of all who are struggling for justice, equality and peace. Fourth, the social forum is a space where a broad range of political analysis is welcomed-from progressive to revolutionary.
"This is why the US Social Forum is the place to be this summer if you are a movement builder, if you have a vision of another world, if you want to make it happen!"
Let's make it happen. See you in Atlanta!
(For more information and to register, go to the US Social Forum site.)
Ted Glick is a founder and is active with the Climate Crisis Coalition and the Independent Progressive Politics Network. His over seven years of Future Hope columns is archived here. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.