Sunday, August 30, 2015

"An American In Syria" by guest blogger John Mesler

An American in Syria

John Mesler
8/30/2015

In 1955 Alcoa was the first big sponsor to drop the Edward R. Murrow Show. Alcoa didn't just make aluminum cans. They made parts for our military fighter jets. Murrow spoke out against the communism fear mongering tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy and eventually more corporations dropped his show. Now those companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, GE, and Honeywell, to name just a few, own the mainstream media TV and papers and decide what "news" we, the American public get to hear. By 1961 we were warned by President Eisenhower about the Military Industrial Complex but not enough of us were paying attention. The truth does eventually get out, however. As I write this piece, recently retired Lt. General Flynn (who also served as chief of the Department Intelligence Agency), admitted that the US has been supporting al-Qaeda with money and weaponry. Isn't that the same group we held responsible for attacking us on 9/11 in the first place?

Has the word "terrorism" simply replaced the word "communism?” Have corporate and government interests finally found a way to keep Americans completely in the dark in order to justify an exponentially increasing defense budget? The numbers indicate that between 20 and 25 cents of every federally taxed dollar goes to the DOD, the largest public employee in the US. Some suggest its double that if you include intelligence spending such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and the National Security Agency (NSA), etc. Even the Senate committees aren't really sure what the NSA budget is. The second largest public employee is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with over 300,000 employees across its 3 branches. Like most Americans I was too busy working and had little reason to doubt the media until I retired at the end of 2011 from my local municipal government job. It was now time to began my own research.

I soon discovered we were hearing half-truths at best and wrote a few articles. Some were published and found their way to Dr. Declan Hayes, an Irish peace activist academic. He read them and was interested in what I had to say.


Dr. Declan Hayes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

SPEAKING TRUTH TO EMPIRE with DAN YASSEEN




On “Speaking Truth to Empire” on KFCF 88.1 Free Speech Radio for Central California. Dan Yaseen interviews Finian Cunningham; he is an author, columnist and a media commentator who was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. Now based in East Africa, he writes extensively on international affairs. His articles appear on many websites; Global Research, Counterpunch, information Clearing House, Veterans News Now and RT.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Confronting Sexism on the Left (SOAPBOX PODCAST 8/23)


CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX
AUGUST 23, 2015






GUESTS: CHERYL BIREN, LISA BLANK,
ANITA STEWART
TOPIC: CONFRONTING SEXISM ON THE LEFT



 This is one of my personally favorite discussions since I started The Soapbox.

I invited these three friends on The Soapbox after they wrote a LETTER to the organization Veterans for Peace asking for clarifications after VFP made a public STATEMENT about transgender. Almost immediately, after I wrote a message of support for the quest of Cheryl, Lisa, and Anita, I was attacked with much vitriol as you will hear in the show.

This is a discussion about radical feminism, queer theory, male supremacy, sexism, transgender politics, sexual assault in the military, and safe spaces for all. 

COMMENTS ON THE LETTER:

As a woman Veteran and a survivor of military sexual assault I am disappointed that Veterans for Peace is refusing to provide a safe place for biological women Veterans. Women Veterans deserve to have their voices and concerns heard. We also need a safe space just for us to help us connect with other biological women veterans that went through similar experiences while serving our nation. 

I was one of the Veterans that helped write the letter but due to fear of retaliation and abuse from those at VFP who are opposed to a safe space for biological women Veterans only I am choosing to remain anonymous. Veterans for Peace seems to care about creating Peace for everybody other than those in their organization who are biological women.



I'm a VfP member. I'm a man who supports, strongly, for a very long time women-determined spaces, for women.

All of us who are war veterans are unwilling participants in male driven wars, all of which , at their most fundamental, are directed at women, their ideas, requirements, desires.  The rest is just excuses and looting.
The fact VfP folded in front of the demands of a small "vanguard" clique once again pushing mens agendas so easily, while resisting for decades the requests of many VfP women and men speaks volumes.... another attack on women's autonomy, spaces, legitimate desires. If you are going to be another combatant in the war on womankind, i'm out. 

Another member of VFP (confirmed)

My name is William Clark. I am a retired Marine Sgt. and a member of Veterans For Peace, The Winter Soldier Chapter, Phoenix, AZ. This is an issue most men and most male dominated organizations would prefer to ignore. Personally, I wish the issue would just go away--- but it won't--- not in my lifetime. Year after year, decade after decade, century after century, women have been subjugated by male dominated societies and institutions. I'm a male and part of the problem. I'm working on it, not sure I'll ever change completely- but I'm trying. Veterans For Peace need to address this issue--- now. As long as they sidestep it... they are a part of problem as much as anyone or anything else and will continue to be. I am embarrassed by VFP's neglect concerning this issue. I am proud of the work of the Women's .Alliance and support their efforts. I hope the VFP, an organization I am, in all other regards, proud to be a member of will address this issue.

From a female veteran we know who at one point considered joining VFP:I never became a member of VFP due to problems I had seen in a local chapter. I had heard misogynistic remarks made by some members which also did not make me feel very welcome, especially when I think of why I left the military. It just was not an environment I ever felt completely comfortable with. Having said that, I do think there are some individual members that do good and needed work. Thank you for sharing and taking a brave stand for women.
~Holly




Thank you so much for bravely entering this fractious arena. I support this letter and I support safety for everyone. Ellen Barfield





SUPPORTING ARTICLES:


Governor Cuomo is Afraid of Nipples | Mickey Z.

Photo credit: Mickey Z.Photo credit: Mickey Z.
Mickey Z. -- World News Trust.
Aug. 23, 2015

The Aug .19 Newsday headline blared: CUOMO JOINS IN CALL FOR CRACKDOWN ON TIMES SQUARE’S TOPLESS HUSTLERS

From these 11 words, we can first learn that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo doesn’t know the laws in his home state. (A 1992 decision by New York State's top court ruled women have the legal right to go topless, yet Cuomo recently declared, “I believe it’s illegal.”)

More importantly, we can also learn that Cuomo is afraid of nipples. Female nipples, to be more precise. Wait… who am I kidding? It’s not just fear, it’s hatred. 

Cuomo -- like so, so, so many humans dwelling within the confines of a misogynist, male supremacist, patriarchal dominant culture -- hates women. (As does Newsday.)

Here’s what has everyone so riled up: Women wearing body paint instead of a shirt have joined the countless -- the seemingly incalculable -- characters hitting up tourists in Times Square to take a photo with them for money.

At Newsday, however, this late-stage capitalism tactic is presented as a “proliferation of topless women” (well within their legal rights, I remind you) who are “prowling” Times Square, “hustling” passersby. 

Yeah… those same passersby gleefully lining up for photos.

Side note: No word yet from the corporate media on their feelings about the far more prolific sight of men wearing heavily-muscled costumes of Batman, Superman, etc. “hustling” tourists. (Don’t hold your breath.)

As misogynistic as such reporting is, New York’s governor took things further by labeling the painted women a “symbol of degradation” that is “infringing on legitimate businesses.” The outraged Cuomo called Times Square “a symbol of the renaissance of New York City” and subsequently claimed that a mere handful of women in body paint were denigrating what is “supposed to be a tourist attraction, family-friendly.”

To make certain no one would ever underestimate how much he fears nipples and hates women, the 57-year-old Cuomo dutifully reminded us, “Forty-second Street was a symbol of degradation in New York City and in New York State” -- an area, Newsday chimed in, that “had long been notorious for peep shows, sex shops, and drug dealing.”

So… let’s re-cap: 


It was men who created the urban nightmare of Times Square

It was men who turned Times Square into a rape culture hub of pornography, prostitution, and exploitation. 

It was men who pushed such debasement underground and replaced it with gaudy temples of consumption.

It was and is men who practice necrophilia… but somehow it’s women -- a few of them wearing body paint -- who prowl and infringe and degrade those family values Gov. Cuomo holds so dear to his heart?

NAME THE PROBLEM: The painted women are not the hustlers. They are the superfluous, left adrift by a predatory economic system. The real hustlers are the taxpayer-subsidized corpo-criminals devouring everything in sight. It’s their game so they define the rules; they define freedom (sic) and choice (sic) and what passes for freedom of choice.

“Being female in this world means having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us,” wrote Andrea Dworkin. “One does not make choices in freedom. Instead, one conforms in body type and behavior and values to become an object of male sexual desire, which requires an abandonment of a wide-ranging capacity for choice.”

In such a corrupt and rigged environment, a small group of women made a choice to legally expose their breasts to an increasingly leering and lecherous general population and conveniently, they’ve become the scapegoats. Yes, they made a choice to earn money this way but it was a choice made from an ever-dwindling inventory of options. 

Men too make choices,” Dworkin concluded. “When will they choose not to despise us?”

Mickey Z. is the author of 13 books, most recentlyOccupy these Photos: NYC Activism Through a Radical Lens. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.



Creative Commons License
 

"Governor Cuomo is Afraid of Nipples" by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
 

Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/governor-cuomo-is-afraid-of-nipples-mickey-z.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Vegan Misanthropy is Specieist and Ignores Patriarchy by Mickey Z.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

Aug. 20, 2015


Every now and then, goddesses help me, I make the rounds of high- and low-profile vegan and animal rights social media pages. 

Without fail, I am greeted with a wide array of “humans suck” or “I only care about animals” posts. I guess many of these compassionate, ahimsa types take their cues from St. Gary of Misanthropy:




(deep sigh)


Vegans, if you actually want your “movement” to advance beyond intolerable fringe status, it might help to recognize that advocating for human extinction is not the most effective form of outreach. 

In addition, you boast of your anti-speciesist status but, um…you’re publicly and consistently expressing contempt or even hatred for an entire species


Most importantly, though, is what you’re not saying. Yes, the dominant culture is responsible for raining down 24/7 carnage upon all forms of life, but to lump all humans together without analysis or nuance is to ignore the foundation upon which all exploitation, oppression, and violence grows: male supremacy.


Vegans like to pronounce that “speciesism” is the root of all evil but to believe that is to reveal a rather tenuous grip on how the dominant culture was formed and continues to thrive. In other words, writing “humans are a cancer” on a post about animal abuse does not come close to naming the problem: Patriarchy and its two tentacles (white supremacy and capitalism) have unleashed the plague of Male Pattern Violence upon the entire planet. 


The numbers are as shocking as they are real. The violence that rises virtually unchecked from a foundation of male/white/class supremacy and has brought us to the brink of collapse. Thus, recognizing and challenging Male Pattern Violence is the core work of all social justice movements. Without such context, we’re in Titanic/deck chair mode.


Oh, one more thing, vegans: I already mentioned how hating on humans is, by definition, speciesist. But since different types of plants are called “species,” and we happily grow and kill these plants to eat, well…isn’t that textbook speciesism?

Oops, it appears speciesism isn’t actually a thing.


Suggestions for Veganism 2.0:

  • Let go of the speciesism myth
  • Stop alienating potential allies
  • Name the problem
  • Join the bigger struggle

#shifthappens


Mickey Z. is the author of 13 books, most recentlyOccupy these Photos: NYC Activism Through a Radical Lens. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

Creative Commons License
 

"Vegan Misanthropy is Speciesist & Ignores Patriarchy" by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/vegan-misanthropy-is-speciesist-ignores-patriarchy-

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"What is, Is." by Cindy Sheehan

Andy Sheehan kissing the coffin of Casey Sheehan before it is lowered into the grave

"What is, is"

by Cindy Sheehan
August 16, 2015

Obviously, April 04, 2004 changed my life forever. 

Even if I hadn't become an internationally (in)famous peace activist, I still never would have been the same after my oldest child, my son, Casey was killed in another Imperial war for profit and domination of natural resources.

If a person hasn't had the dreadful experience of being "regretfully" (yeah, right) informed that he/she has unnaturally outlived a child, I will try to explain it to you: it's like having your heart ripped out of your chest, spindled, mutilated, stomped on, yet, somehow, you survive that profound shock. As a mother, I can assure you, dear reader, that childdeath is far more painful than childbirth. 

Anyway, I survived the initial shock and the numbness (and alcohol consumption) that got me through the first week: Casey's body being returned to us in the shipping department of United Airlines in a cardboard box. His funeral detail wasn't even there with us: he was picking up his rental car. I sat on the curb of the loading dock sobbing my eyes out while my oldest child, my love, was being treated like a box of whatever. There was no honor guard, but that is fitting because there is exactly no honor in dying for a bloodthirsty and greedy Empire.

The first year was the toughest for me. There were many times that I wanted to take the entire bottle of sleeping pills that an unenlightened MD had prescribed for me. The only thing preventing me during that darkest of times was my surviving children.

I heard many platitudes from well-meaning, but unintentionally cruel people. "He's in a better place." "You'll see him again." "Time heals all." And, my personal "favorite:" "At least he died doing what he loved." However, the only platitude that really spoke to me during that whole time was, "What is, is."

Because "what is, is" just says it all in three words. No matter how I raged against the fact that Casey was dead and no matter how I raged against the machine that killed him, we (not just I) existed in a certain reality: One where wars were (and still are) being fought; occupations were/are being courageously resisted, and sons and daughters were/are being killed, or maimed for life. 

"What is, is" partially liberated me from the guilt and regrets I was having. As a human with memories and biological urges to protect my children, I can still look back and pick and choose the places I "went wrong" and long for an alternate reality where I made better choices and Casey was still alive. However, that is "stinkin' thinkin'" and an exercise in futility; "what is, is" forced me to look ahead and see what I could do to help others not have to go through what Casey and our family was/is going through.

I have heard from so many people around the world who positively affirm my work. Casey's sacrifice and my reaction to it have changed lives and, if Casey is dead and "what is, is," to me, helping others is our human duty and I feel satisfied that we did/are doing just that.

Now, our family has a new "what is, is" situation. My sister, best friend, and peace-partner, Dede Miller has Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I am her primary caregiver and, I don't mind saying (without going into too much detail), it's not that easy. Again, with human nature, we are flooded with platitudes (and much good advice) and with my human nature, I am looking back on the last many years when I tried to get Dede to make healthier lifestyle and dietary choices. I don't know if it would have prevented her cancer, but I know if she followed my pleadings, she would have been much stronger to fight it.

"What is, is" comes back to me, not "water under the bridge." Water is water and how do we know we aren't looking at the same water going under that same bridge? Simply put, now we are existing in a reality where Dede has cancer and where we are put into numerous situations on a daily basis that give us an opportunity to help others who don't have the same access to information and support that we have.

I have been able to share with other cancer patients about the effective (proven) alternative therapies and many times, sitting in an infusion center (chemo or Vitamin C) with others is like having a mini support group and many wonderful interactions have already occurred.

This past week when Dede was undergoing chemo, I walked into the infusion center and looked up and I saw two old friends that I used to go to church with here in Vacaville before Casey was killed. The man is retired military, so, through the grapevine, I had heard that he was extremely upset with my antiwar activism.

As soon as I saw "Bill and Judy," I rushed over and saw that they were sitting with their son and he had been recently diagnosed with liver cancer. We hugged and cried and I was able to give them information about "Radical Remission" and the phone number for our alternative doctor. At that moment, politics didn't matter. The current wars were even further away and we connected in a very real and human way. It was a terrible situation in which to have a reunion, but "what is, is," and I think we found healing and tapped into a universal love for family and each other. Maybe, we'll put on our gloves and spar about politics later, but there is a time for every purpose, turn, turn, turn.

Here I am getting all metaphysical and philosophical, but, cancer is about the most real sh#t we face. It must be dealt with, but one needs to find hope and peace of mind in the midst of each battle. 

While dealing with the cancer and the cancer industrial complex is our current battle, it has also become another way for Dede and I to repay some "karmic" debt for being human, and to help others.

That's who we are; that's what we do. 

Dede and Cindy skipping in Waynesville, MO (Tour de Peace, 2013)





Creative Commons License




Jimmy Carter: Just Like All the Rest | Mickey Z.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

LINE UP OF WAR CRIMINALS


Aug. 16, 2015

Former president Jimmy Carter recently revealed he’s been diagnosed with cancer, so please let me clarify: this is not an article designed to kick anyone when they’re down or celebrate such a diagnosis for anyone. On the contrary, I wish him well in his journey through the cancer industry.

So, why am I choosing this particular time to address the Carter hagiography?

Well, firstly, he’s back in the news and that means the whitewashing in is full effect -- and with Bernie Sanders currently riding the latest wave of liberal delusion, it’s as dangerous as ever to ignore historical reality. 

Also, when even an anti-TransPacific Partnership (TPP) page is misrepresenting Carter’s record, it’s time to provide context before anyone else lionizes him -- or any Democrat

 Soul Man
 
During the Carter Administration, the United States had a president who claimed that human rights was "the soul of our foreign policy" despite making an agreement with Baby Doc Duvalier to not accept the asylum claims of Haitian refugees. His duplicity, however, was not limited to our hemisphere; Carter also started earning his Nobel Peace Prize in Southeast Asia. 

In Cambodia, the sainted Carter and his national security aide, Zbigniew Brzezinski, made an untiring effort to find peaceful solutions by initiating a joint U.S.-Thai operation in 1979 known as Task Force 80, which for 10 years, propped up the notorious Khmer Rouge under the all-purpose banner of anti-Communism. 

Interestingly, just two years earlier, Carter displayed his deep respect for human rights when he explained how the United States owed no debt to Vietnam. He justified this belief because the "destruction was mutual." (Hmm… do any of you recall being bombarded with napalm and/or Agent Orange?)

Moving further southward in Carter’s efforts to advance democracy and human rights, we have East Timor. This former Portuguese colony was the target of a relentless and murderous assault by Indonesia since Dece. 7, 1975... an assault made possible through the sale of U.S. arms to its loyal client-state, the silent complicity of the American press, and then-Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan's skill at keeping the United Nations uninvolved. 

Upon relieving Gerald Ford -- but strategically retaining the skills of fellow Nobel peacenik Henry Kissinger -- Carter authorized increased military aid to Indonesia in 1977 as the death toll approached 100,000. In short order, over one-third of the East Timorese population (more than 200,000 humans) lost their lives due to war-related starvation, disease, massacres, or atrocities. 

Closer to home, Carter also bared his gentle soul in Central America: As William Blum details, in 1978, the former peanut farmer attempted to create a "moderate" alternative to the Sandinistas through covert CIA support for "the press and labor unions in Nicaragua." After the Sandinistas took power, Blum explains, "Carter authorized the CIA to provide financial and other support to opponents." Also in that region, one of Carter's final acts as president was to order $10 million in military aid and advisors to El Salvador. 

A final glimpse of "international co-operation based on international law" during the Carter Administration brings us to Afghanistan, site of a Soviet invasion in December 1979. It was here that Carter and Brzezinski aligned themselves with staunch anti-Communists in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to exploit Islam as a method to arouse the Afghani populace to action. 

With the CIA coordinating the effort, some $40 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars were used to recruit "freedom fighters" like (wait for it) Osama bin Laden. 

The rest, as they say, is history. 

“Least Violent”
 
Was Jimmy Carter, as Chomsky once said, “the least violent of American presidents”? Perhaps. But have our standards dropped to the point where we meticulously rank the criminals who inhabit the White House? Will we ever eschew electoral deceptions and instead recognize and accept and name the big picture problems, e.g. white supremacy, capitalism, male supremacy and Male Pattern Violence?

To paraphrase something I recently wrote: If you think Jimmy Carter was once the answer or you believe Bernie Sanders is now the answer, you’re asking the wrong questions.

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on ActivismUntil the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and hereAnyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.
Creative Commons License
"Jimmy Carter: Just Like All the Rest" by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/jimmy-carter-just-like-all-the-rest-mickey-z.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Another Mother Bear (Part 2) (SOAPBOX PODCAST/ AUGUST 16, 2015)


GUEST: Leslie Boyd
TOPIC: US DEATH CARE SYSTEM




Leslie

 Today, Cindy again chats with Leslie Boyd.



Leslie's son Michael Danforth died on
April 1, 2008 due to lack of health
insurance and access to quality care.
Leslie has become a healthcare advocate
from her loss and has founded

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Nationalist Faith by Anthony Freda

Why is truth so unpopular?
 
I always naively thought that most people would value and seek out the truth.
I thought that when the lies that took us to Vietnam and Iraq were exposed that people would give a closer and more skeptical inspection of the pretexts that are contrived to 
manufacture our consent to the next war.
 
I thought that people would see through the discredited propaganda techniques used to exploit our fears and atavistic tribal instincts by the war makers.
 
People would surely see the same perverse playbook is used again and again to convince us that the immoral, irrational and counterproductive solution of war is a
moral, rational and effective way to solve problems, right?
As an infamous war maker once said 
'I got it wrong.'

I thought that God and country were separate, but they are merged into a religio-politcal cult in reality.
 
God has sanctified the US as his representative on Earth, and our wars are physical manifestations of his will to root out and destroy the evil-doers.
 
If we must become evil to fight evil, so be it. We have been ordained by God.

We Had to drop the bomb on Japan to end WW2, there was no other way.
We Had to kill 3 million people in Indochina or the commie dominoes would fall.
We Had to invade Iraq and destroy millions of lives and create chaos, because Saddam was bad man.
We Had to decimate Libya and rain havoc on the people, because Gaddafi was bad man.
We Have to eliminate evil in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia because our historical destiny is to kill the devil through endless, holy warfare.
 
Our slaughters are not sins, but devotions to God, and noble, righteous acts of humanitarianism.

To be fair, Every tribe believes They are God's chosen. There are currently 50 wars waging on Earth.
The US is not exceptional in it's nationalist faith, 
only in it's power to physically manifest God's will and spill the blood of his enemies on a global scale.


 
 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

BLM, Activism on Demand by Mickey Z.

PHOTO CREDIT: MICKEY Z.


Aug. 12, 2015

The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” (Frederick Douglass)

Sunday, Aug. 9 marked one year since Police Officer Darren Wilson murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. There was a rally to honor the occasion in Brooklyn. I planned to attend the rally, I really did (not that my presence would’ve mattered even a tiny bit) but I ended up skipping it.

Why, you may wonder? Well, it could be the spate of usual suspects (often in matching shirts) hawking newspapers, sniffing out fresh recruits, and seeking new ways to co-opt. 

It could be the inevitable sound of white activists drowning out the voices of PoC as they unselfconsciously chant slogans like “hands up, don’t shoot” and “I can’t breathe.”

It could be all those white male activists proving (sic) their manhood (sic) by boldly (sic) screaming and cursing at cops, knowing full well those same cops will likely retaliate by arresting and/or assaulting a PoC.

It could be that hundreds (thousands?) of rallies have taken place since Brown’s murder yet his killer walked and in the year that’s passed, nearly 700 more people have been killed by cops -- for example, Christian Taylor

It could be that Darren Wilson’s colleagues find the whole thing to be a sick joke.

It could be that while the national #BlackLivesMatter movement has lured in allies, most white folks still prattle on about how “all lives matter” or “not all cops.”

It could be the myriad valid reasons to question why anyone still puts any faith in the sign holding, the chanting, the same old tactics by the same old groups and foundations.

It could be that I’ve been writing and talking about activist tactics since, well, forever. 

It could be all of the above… or maybe it was that the event’s Facebook page contained this line: “The protest will demand an end to use of the police to oppress and kill predominantly Black and Brown people.”

Demand? To whom, I wonder, will this demand be made and in what form that hasn’t already been tried tens of thousands of times before? And doesn’t the word demand imply more than cardboard signs, timeworn chants, and trending hashtags?

Then again, why succumb to that simplistic gripe about Occupy Wall Street (OWS): But they have no demands!

Reminder: Demands do not challenge the power structure. Demands validate the power structure. 

If we have to ask (beg?) the 1% to modify some of their behavior (e.g. please recognize that at least some Black lives matter), we are acknowledging and accepting that the possibility of change is their choice and we thus authenticate their freedom to exercise power over us. 

Plus, of course, the ruling class has long figured out that offering the occasional minor concession further reinforces this tacit arrangement. They understand how a demand often removes a concern from its larger context (male supremacy, white supremacy, class supremacy) and they therefore have virtually no problem with the rabble focusing on single issues. 

Hey, it helps present the illusion of free speech for all involved, right? USA! USA! USA!

Reality Check: What almost all of us activists are doing -- the tactics and methods we so passionately cling to and defend -- doesn’t work any more. Some of it has never worked. 

There’s no shame in admitting that it felt good to go to protests but we all could’ve done better… much better. But even if there is shame, why must we let it outweigh the task at hand? If we truly want drastic and sustainable social change, it’s time to stop trusting the politicians, the foundations, and the sectarians who ultimately want to keep the system afloat.

It’s time for the protest sign wavers, social media warriors, arrest compilers, obsessive meeting holders, under- and over-organized organizers, and relentless spotlight seekers to accept that we’ve been tragically ineffective.

It’s time to accept that repetitive marches and colorful signs and witty memes present no threat to those in power.

It’s time to scream from the mountain tops that trusting liberal politicians will never create change.

It’s time for us to dig deeper, to recognize and seriously address the Unholy Trinity of patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism -- and to call out anyone who defends or profits from such oppression.
It’s time to channel all our pain and alienation and fear into new forms of dissent.

It’s time to smash the archaic activism archetype right down to its foundation and rebuild a more flexible structure under the guidance of new architects and artisans. 

It’s time.

#shifthappens 

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on ActivismUntil the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and hereAnyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.
Creative Commons License
"Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Activism: On Demand" by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/occupy-black-lives-matter-activism-on-demand-mickey-z.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Update on Dede Miller

Dede, Cindy, Amy Branham: On the Road to Crawford

August 9, 2015

Dear Friends,

Many of you write me to ask how my sister Dede is doing.

She has been under treatment up here in Northern California for about six weeks now. Dede actually lives in Los Angeles County, but had been denied treatment for her aggressive breast cancer at LA County/USC hospital--so she came up to stay with me here in Vacaville while we explored our options. 

In June, I had to rush Dede to the hospital because her tumor had started to bleed badly and she was admitted and stayed six days at North Bay Medical Center in Fairfield and, since then, has been undergoing chemotherapy there. Dede spent another five days in the hospital in July when I, again, had to rush her to the hospital ont the 4th when she contracted a fever after her first chemo (suppressed immune system).

Due to amazing support from our dear friends, Dede is also able to go to an integrative clinic to receive vital vitamin c infusions and counseling on diet and other natural supplements to help her body not only rid itself from cancer, but survive the poisonous chemotherapy. Because of donations to Dede's GoFuneMe page, we are also able to get her Rick Simpson Oil (cannabis therapy).

We got some bad news while Dede was in the hospital for the first time in June. Her cancer has metastasized to soft tissue around her lungs. According to her integrative doctor, it is a small metastasis and, with proper care, Dede can still "live long and prosper."

Since her nephew, my son, Casey was killed in Iraq, Dede has been working almost full-time in the activist milieu and also became a war-tax resister. This means that disability benefits are not available and, through donations to the Soapbox, I also have to shoulder the entire financial burden for us both.

Since Dede moved up to NorCal with me, our living arrangement is changing and I have to come up with $1500 for a deposit to stay in the place we have been sharing with my daughter and her family, who are moving out. We feel that Dede is not up to a move right now as all of her energy (and much of mine) is focused on getting her healed. I am also trying to keep Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox going!

Please share Dede's GoFundMe page, donate, and keep us in your good thoughts.

Even though this is not such a great time for the Miller Sisters, we are so grateful for the love and support you have all shown us. It helps sustain us through this new challenge.

 CLICK TO DONATE ONLINE
OR SEND CHECK/MONEY ORDER TO:
HEALTHY DEDE
C/O CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX, LLC
PO BOX 6264
VACAVILLE, CA 95696


Love & Peace,

Cindy





ROL, USA: NUMBER 91, JULY-AUGUST, 2015

RAY O’ LIGHT 
 NEWSLETTER                             
July-August 2015       Number 91

 
Publication of the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA




 
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The Massacre of the Charleston 9, Obama’s Treachery and the Urgent Need for Afro-American National Liberation
by RAY LIGHT

On June 17th, any remnant of the illusion that the USA is a “post racial” society was smashed with the brutal mass murder by an avowed white supremacist of nine Afro-American participants in a Bible study at historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. What could be more innocent than folks attending bible study?! What sanctuary from white supremacist violence remains for the oppressed Afro-American people? What is to be done to defend the Afro-American people today?

Over the past few years, following the cold blooded murder of young Trayvon Martin in Florida by a wannabe cop, there has been a rash of police killings of Black males around the country in situations where it was clear that these, mostly young, victims were innocent. Furthermore, the police departments, even after carrying out these murders, treated their victims and their families and communities with cold disrespect, oftentimes creating a lynching atmosphere. Despite huge efforts by the police, the government and the media to portray these victims in a guilty light, their innocence rang true in their own Black communities and in other oppressed communities as well as among many justice-minded people of all ethnicities throughout the USA. Along with economic hardships, this is why a massive movement against police brutality has emerged. The Obama Regime and U.S. imperialism have been trying to confuse, disrupt, divide and destroy at least since the impressive and long lasting mass mobilization following the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri almost a year ago and then the failure of the Grand Jury there to indict the killer cop.





 One of the most recent of these powerful mass responses, took place in Charleston, arguably the most important city in the old Slave South. This followed the April 4th fatal shooting of eight bullets by a North Charleston policeman into the back of Walter Scott as he was running away from the killer cop and then the cop’s planting of a taser on the dead man’s body, indisputable facts captured on film by a passerby. Because of the public outrage and mobilization that followed the video’s release, this killer cop was not put on a paid vacation like so many others, but was immediately fired and arrested. And he was indicted by the Grand Jury for murder on June 8th, just nine days before the nine bible study victims, including Reverend Clementa Pinkney, the Church pastor, were murdered.

The outstanding revolutionary Black journalist, the still-imprisoned Mumia Abu-Jamal, observed, “White supremacy is the mother’s milk of Charleston, of South Carolina, of the South, of America.” And the twenty-one year old white man who carried out the Emanuel Church massacre clearly worships at the altar of white supremacy. The incredibly gentle, even considerate, manner with which the police arrested the mass murderer, including providing him with a bullet proof vest, reflected their approach that he was indeed one of them.

Reverend Pinkney was not only an influential Afro-American pastor in Charleston but a highly regarded veteran state senator.  Following the murder of Scott, Reverend Pinkney had led prayer services for Scott and the community and played the key role in the S.C. Senate, spearheading the passage of a state law requiring the police to wear body cameras. Indeed, the entire June 17th tragedy may well have been a South Carolina Klan/police-inspired targeted assassination of Reverend Pinkney, covered up by a mass murder.

But more likely, the mass murder committed at historic Emanuel Church, including against Reverend Pinkney, was a South Carolina Klan/police-inspired or a U.S. Special Operations military attack on its whole great history of revolt against slavery and human bondage for human freedom. This very church, founded in 1816 in Charleston had been the organizing center for arguably the greatest slave revolt ever planned in the history of U.S. slavery, and was associated with Denmark Vesey, one of the Church’s founders. In crushing that revolt, the slave-owning rulers of South Carolina had banned all black churches in the state and burned many, including Emanuel, to the ground. Yet this church continued to function in violation of the South Carolina slavocracy’s laws.

In the current period, the Mother Emanuel AME Church, has functioned as a vital part of the AME network of churches. The AME congregations have been at the heart of the growing struggle of the

Afro-American people against police brutality from Trayvon Martin to Ferguson to Baltimore and Charleston. Moreover, the AME Church helped mobilize the Afro-American farmers who were claimants against the decades-long land stealing practices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture which resulted in the Pigford I and Pigford II settlements. Thus, the AME Church has been involved with the contemporary issues concerning “Land and State Power in the Black Belt South” which is at the heart of the Afro-American national liberation struggle.

In this setting, the U.S. Empire brought U.S. President Obama to Charleston to provide the eulogy for Reverend Pinkney. With more than six years as U.S. Commander in Chief, what have been Obama’s deeds with regard to the defense of the Afro-American people?

The Afro-American people of South Carolina had provided Obama with his first Democratic Primary victory in 2008. “In a record turnout, more than half of the voters in the Democratic Primary were Afro-American. Eighty percent of the Afro-American voters supported Obama [against Hillary Clinton and John Edwards]. Yet Obama did nothing to encourage the hard pressed people of South Carolina … Obama and his campaigners chanted ‘Race doesn’t matter!’ in the face of the obvious fact that ‘race’ had indeed mattered there. The Afro-American people of South Carolina had demonstrated political support for Obama in the hope that he would help alleviate their suffering. Instead of expressing appreciation to the Black masses for the victory … Obama and his ‘campaigners’ insulted the Black masses, deprecating their effort. As if ashamed of their support, Obama distanced himself from the very people who had provided his victory.” (pages 6 and 7, Ray O’Light Newsletter #47, February-March 2008) We pointed out further, “Obama has no organic ties with any Afro-American civil rights or human rights groups or organizations.” (ibid., page 5)

As we pointed out at the time of Obama’s first inauguration, “The very first activity in the inauguration itself will be the invocation scheduled to be given by Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren. By the time of the 2008 election, the only mass base of support still remaining for George W. Bush and transferable to Senator John McCain was the white evangelical Christian right. By selecting Pastor Warren to give the invocation, Obama is keeping the faith with McCain and George W. Bush!

“Obama’s choice of Warren for the invocation is a repudiation of the Afro-American church and its historical role, including its invaluable role in the struggle for Afro-American liberation that made Obama’s election possible. Just as Obama’s former minister and mentor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, has observed, the attack on him (Wright) during the election campaign was, in   reality, an attack on the Black Church, historically the most important self-defense institution in Afro-American society. Thus, Obama’s repudiation of Reverend Wright led inexorably to the selection of Pastor Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration.” (page 8, Ray O’ Light Newsletter #52, January-February 2009.)

During the 2012 Presidential Election campaign, almost four years into Obama’s presidency, we noted the following: “Barack Obama … had made his first political run for office against incumbent Chicago
Congressman Bobby Rush, a long time civil rights activist. Obama, when he ran for the presidency, had the benefit of the heroic and bloody and relatively recent struggle for black voting rights that had been an integral part of the fight of the oppressed Afro-American people for freedom. And in 2012, Obama still has the benefit of the fact that the Afro-American people hold the vote in great reverence. Furthermore, the election of a black president represented a breakthrough triumph against ‘white exclusivity’ regarding the ‘cultural power’ of being able to be the First Family, as described by Ta Nehisi-Coates.” (The Atlantic, September 2012) And, as a still nationally oppressed people in the white supremacist USA, millions of Afro-Americans continue to identify themselves with Obama and his family and want him to be ‘successful.’ Tragically, this seems largely still true even when it is at their own expense (record Black incarceration rates, joblessness, racial profiling, home foreclosures, the firing of Shirley Sherrod by Obama’s U.S. Department of Agriculture, the execution of Troy Davis, the killing of Trayvon Martin, etc.) and at the expense of their brothers and sisters in Africa (Obama’s war on Libya, the activation of the U.S. military’s Africom, etc.).” (page 10, Ray O’ Light Newsletter #74, September-October 2012)

The epidemic of police killings of clearly innocent Black youth during Obama’s second term has included the militarization of the domestic police departments by the Obama government (connecting the war of terror at home and abroad) and the use of the Justice Department under Obama and Eric Holder to try to demobilize the increasingly frustrated and militant and growing opposition movement to police brutality. Even more striking is the testimony of Daryl Johnson, the senior domestic terrorism analyst at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Intelligence & Analysis from August 2004 to April 2010. His 2009 Report, “Right Wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” was released and then disavowed by the Obama Regime after it was leaked to the public. Within days, Obama’s newly appointed DHS Secretary, Janet Napolitano, apologized for the report and Johnson’s DHS unit was slowly disbanded over the following year, leaving behind just one analyst to assess all non-Islamic extremist threats for DHS!! The Obama DHS, by focusing all its anti-terrorist attention on Islamists, paved the way for the rise of white supremacist groups inside and outside the police and military forces of the USA. As Rania Khalek recently wrote regarding Johnson’s report: “Obama ignored surge of right wing extremism that inspired Charleston killer.”

At the time of the 2008 presidential election, Mumia Abu-Jamal had counseled the Afro-American people that Barack Obama was running for the position as the head of “the most powerful white nation on earth.” It was this president, more than six years into his job, who delivered Reverend Pinkney’s eulogy. It was a masterful performance.

Obama declared that, “For too long, we were blind to the pain that the Confederate flag stirred in too many of our citizens. ... We all have to acknowledge that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.” But where has Obama been on the Confederate flag issue in the first six years of his Presidency, while the twenty-one year old murderer and countless others have been inspired to commit atrocities against Afro-American human beings by reverence for that Confederate flag?!

Obama even told the truth about the historical role of such white supremacist terror as had occurred at Emanuel on June 17th. Obama said: “It was an act that drew on the long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress.” Then, after receiving applause for telling that truth, Obama flipped the script and said: “Oh, but God
works in mysterious ways. God has different ideas. He [the murderer] didn’t know he was being used by God.” Thus, with no explanation of why or how this time the terror wouldn’t be successful, Obama claimed that by “Amazing Grace” it would be so. His only “proof” is that a few Southern Republican Governors had now spoken out in favor of taking down the Confederate flag from some official places.

Obama, following the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church, preached the same even more clearly bankrupt message to the oppressed that he spoke as he took office over six years ago: “we are one.” He told the oppressed Afro-American people that they should just wait for God’s grace. That the murderous oppressors and the murdered oppressed are “all sinners.” And all receive unearned grace. That’s why this time y’all should stop protesting police brutality, stop building a movement for social and economic justice. It’s all going to work out all right this time. Trust me, preached Obama.

What an effective stooge for U.S. imperialism!

Reverend William Barber, North Carolina NAACP President, by contrast, pointed out that “The work of bringing down racism is not over when we bring down only this flag … As long as we pass voter suppression laws, unjust environmental laws, laws that underfund public education, and cause re-segregated, high-poverty schools, laws that block Medicaid expansion and a living wage, as long as we promote the racially applied death penalty and a broken criminal justice system, systemic racism still exists and continues to wave its ugly shadow over our body politic.” (“NC NAACP President Responds to Momentum Behind Removals of Confederate Flag,” 7-4-15 News Alert)

What is to be done to defend the
Afro-American people today?

Beyond the vision of Reverend Barber, the fight by any means necessary against police brutality needs to be sustained and intensified. This needs to become part of the struggle for Black Power. Black political and economic power needs to be organized, with the struggle for “Land and State Power in the Black Belt South” at its core. And the struggle for Black Power needs to be connected to the struggle for a Socialist USA and a Socialist World, a world where economic exploitation is replaced by cooperation and national oppression is replaced by the equality and mutual respect of all nations and peoples. Black Lives Matter! Latino Lives Matter! Arab Lives Matter! Workers Lives Matter! The Lives of the 99% Matter!

Workers of the World and
Oppressed Peoples Unite!

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Greek Citizens Fight for Justice

by CARL PAPPOS
“Our lives do not belong to the creditors!” cried Greek demonstrators in late June. (AFP) The demonstrators were telling their government and the world that they want no part of the austerity measures the IMF is trying to force on Greece. In simple terms they are saying if you foreclose on our house (Greece) we are staying right here. With the Greek government refusing the latest IMF offer, on June 29, 2015 the Dow Jones Industrial average lost about 2% or 350 points responding to this demand of the citizens of Greece.                                                                                                       

What is going on here! Are the citizens of Greece setting themselves up for an economic disaster?

No! Just the opposite. Since 2010 Greece has been in a battle with the big banks, à la International Monetary Fund(IMF) who want their money on the backs of the Greek people. Just like the infamous U.S. bank, insurance, and corporate bailout that took place on our backs, the 99%, here in the U.S.

With unemployment around 25% and the IMF asking the Greek government to cut pensions and other social services, the people by the 10’s of thousands are saying, NO!

The Guardian reports:

“Rallying in front of the Greek parliament on Monday night, supporters of the Syriza-led government of prime minister Alexis Tsipras demanded an end to the ‘economic asphyxia’ and ‘social catastrophe’ of austerity – and the return of dignity.”

“Today, in Syntagma, thousands of citizens responded to the ultimatums [made by creditors],” the statement said.

“People said a big and resounding ‘no’ to blackmail, terrorisation, threats internally and externally, and a big ‘yes’ to democracy, dignity, popular sovereignty, values that are the foundation of modern European civilisation.”

And further;

“‘The people of Greece have made many sacrifices. What interests me is not the euro but guaranteeing a dignified way of life for the next generations,’ 50-year-old Vanguelis Tseres, who has been unemployed since the start of the debt crisis in 2010, told AFP in Syntagma square in the capital.”

With the Greek people resisting the theft of all this easy money, the world’s largest gambling casino of the rich, the stock markets, are way down. 

This scenario happens here in the U.S. many times in response to good job growth and low unemployment.  Capitalism works on supply and demand, in opposition to socialism that works for the needs of the people.  So high employment is good for the workers and means higher wages and benefits and consequently lower profits for the rich.  While high unemployment results in cheap labor as workers compete to find a job and survive.  This is what internationally celebrated Afro-American writer, radio journalist and revolutionary activist Mumia Abu-Jamal is speaking of when he says the following in an interview: “… recently we heard about a bump on the Dow Jones average … people who are traders on Wall Street went into a fit because it was announced that something like 750,000 new jobs (were created) … that harms my stock average … there is something wrong then when people get jobs, it is bad news. … It’s very clear whose interests are reflected on Wall Street and whose interests are reflected on Main Street.”

U.S. workers need to unite with and support Greek workers and raise our own demands against the continued degradation and loss of our pensions, health care, wages, schools, etc. The rich get rich not by their hard work but by stealing the fruits of our hard work.

Victory to the Greek Workers and People!

Let’s Follow their Example —

Fight for Worker’s Democracy and Socialism in the USA!



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2015 GE Contract Negotiations
Race to the Bottom Gets More Fuel

by PAT KELLY

In late June a tentative agreement was reached between top company and union negotiators which affects workers at GE unionized plants. This agreement was a sellout, union busting deal that destroyed some of the most treasured benefits GE workers have gained over decades of class struggle.

Let’s start with retirees. This agreement cuts post 65 medical and prescription coverage for those retiring in January of next year, and leaves the door open to do the same to all retirees — those who are the most needy and live on fixed incomes; how disgusting and heartless. It should be said that GE Company is a global corporate juggernaut that made 16 billion dollars in profit last year. With such immense wealth GE can well afford retiree benefits.

Next is the attack on weekly payroll contributions for health care. The employee cost will increase by 46% over 4 years. Other concessions include a reduction in life insurance benefits and big increases in out of pocket cost for specialty drugs.

There were slight improvements particularly to pension benefits. But this was done to divide the older from younger workers. The wage package was another big attack. The union standard was percentage wage increases and C.O.L.A.’s (cost of living adjustment) based on the consumer price index (CPI) to protect workers’ pay against inflation. The new pro company offer replaced this with flat cents per hour wage and “COLA” increases, not connected to the CPI.

A proposal that is devastating for the union is the cynical “Ratification Bonus,” known as the “Rat Clause.” In locals that vote to accept the contract offer, members receive a $2,000 “bonus.” Individuals in locals that vote to reject the offer would not receive the bonus! What an insult! What a slap in the face, bribery as a contract offer. What a clever way to get union workers to pressure their union brothers and sisters to surrender their dignity! In Local 201, the Lynn, Massachusetts local, it is even more insidious. In the previous contract vote, Local 201, with its militant history dating back to the 1930’s CIO, had been the only major GE local that rejected the contract. This time, with the presence of the “Rat Clause,” if Local 201 members had again been the only major local to reject the contract, and the contract was ratified, each individual 201 member would have been out $2,000 dollars, without altering the outcome for all the GE workers!

Predictably, corrupt national union leaders who have no respect for themselves and even less respect for workers, did not seriously demand that the “Rat Clause” be removed. The top negotiating bodies led by the International Union of Electrical Workers* President Jim Clark voted unanimously to recommend acceptance. GE workers after being sold out, betrayed, and set up by their national leaders and most local leaders, and with a lack of resistance within their own ranks voted nationally to accept GE’s rotten offer by 83.5%.

The 16.5% who voted NO is a core group within the union to help build a fight against GE Company and to vote out pro company elements and rebuild a stronger union. Like one GE worker said “With a vote like that GE is going to think that they gave us too much.”

GE Company stands exposed as a ruthless, cold blooded, profit mad tyrant, with no sense of human decency or morality. That’s an important lesson to learn on the long road to justice and worker’s power.

We have nothing to lose but our chains.
*IUE is now a Division of the Communication Workers of America.


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 STILL STUMPED?
SEE BELOW FOR ANSWER TO MYSTERY QUOTE FROM TOP

102-year-old Ingeborg Rapoport was scheduled to receive a doctoral degree from the University of Hamburg’s medical school this June 9th. According to a detailed Wall Street Journal article, “by all available evidence [she would become] the oldest person to receive a doctoral degree.” (“Reversing a Nazi Ban, at Age 102,” WSJ, May 15, 2015)  Her modest statement underscored the fact that she had been deprived of that degree for seventy-seven years!

INGEBORG
In 1938, at the same university, 25 year old Ingeborg Sylim had presented her doctoral thesis on diphtheria, then a leading cause of childhood deaths in both Europe and the USA. However, the fact that her mother was Jewish rendered Ingeborg a “first degree crossbreed” under the Nazi Regime. On this basis she was blocked from taking the oral examination and was ineligible for academic advancement. “The Berlin authorities cited ‘racial reasons’ for the ban,” as the WSJ article points out. “Her treatment was hardly unique: Thousands of ‘non-Aryan’ students and professors were pushed out of universities in Hitler’s Third Reich, and many died in death camps.” (ibid.)

Ingeborg soon emigrated to the USA, penniless and alone, but “had great luck — and perhaps some tenacity,” as she again modestly put it. She applied to 48 medical schools in the USA and was accepted by just one. (Was this a reflection of widespread U.S. anti-Semitism?) At a Cincinnati hospital in her first job as an M.D. in 1944, she met and married Austrian-Jewish physician and biochemist, Samuel Rapoport. The couple flourished. Samuel received a Certificate of Merit from President Harry Truman for his work on blood conservation and Ingeborg rose quickly to head the hospital’s pediatric polyclinic. They also had three children and a fourth on the way by 1950.

At that point, Samuel stayed in Zurich after a professional conference and was joined in Europe by Ingaborg and the children. Evidently, feeling the heat from the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), especially given their sympathies with the persecuted U.S. Communist Party, and no doubt, being able to detect the stench of fascism with the rising McCarthyism in the USA, the Rapoport family migrated to East Germany. There, according to the WSJ article, “Mr. Rapoport got his own biochemical institute … [and] Ms. Rapoport founded the first neonatology clinic in either Germany* … and their children flourished.” 

Still, even with her optimistic outlook on her life, Ingeborg Rapoport continued to feel that she had been wronged with regard to her Doctorate Degree in Nazi Germany. She did not want an honorary degree but the real doctorate that had been denied her. Recently, with the aid of her Harvard Medical School Professor son Tom, and his connections in the University of Hamburg, they arranged with the current dean of the University of Hamburg’s medical faculty for her to have a legal pathway to her doctorate. She then took her oral exams after studying up on the past seven decades of diphtheria scientific advances. And this led to her world record accomplishment.

—the Editor
P.S. One lesson of this story about the Rapoport Family and its escape from the USA, during
the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950’s, is what a loss for this society the leave-taking of such marvelous people was for those of us who remain here still and for those who have had to confront the U.S. Empire everywhere.
_____________________
*Given the importance of neo-natal care for new infants and their mothers, it is noteworthy that the so-called “backward” but socialist East Germany had a clinic devoted to this important healthcare area before the heavily U.S.-subsidized “advanced” but capitalist West Germany.


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A Song of Freedom

“Lift Ev’ry Voice” versus “Amazing Grace”

by ROSE BROWN

On Friday, June 26, 2015, Clementa Pinckney, South Carolina State Senator and Reverend of the Charleston, South Carolina Mother Emanuel AME Church, was laid to rest. He was one of the victims of the right-wing terrorist murder by a young white supremacist of nine innocent Afro-American parishioners who had gathered for Bible Study the previous Wednesday evening, June 17. President Barack Obama, the first African-American President of the USA, presented the eulogy at Senator Pinckney’s funeral service. The anchor of President Obama’s eulogy was the popular church hymn “Amazing Grace.”

“Amazing Grace” was written by former eighteenth century British slave trader, John Newton. When Newton wrote “Amazing Grace,” a significant part of what he was writing about was his work as a slave trader which he had taken up in his father’s footsteps but abandoned later in life when he became an Abolitionist. By almost any moral or religious standard in the twenty-first century, Newton had been a terrible sinner against his fellow humankind, a “wretch” who “once was lost but now” was “found,” “Was blind, but now” could “see.” 

How could Obama compare the oppressed Afro-American masses whose church had just been violated, who had been brutally victimized once again, to this former slave trader? Because Obama serves the interests of the Wall Street rich. He is the leader of the number one terrorist country of the world. It serves U.S. imperialism to bury the fundamental distinction between the oppressed and the oppressors of the world, a distinction which Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin referred to as “the essence of imperialism.”

Obama’s eulogy, his repeated references to the “grace of God” and his leading in the singing of “Amazing Grace” equate the murderer and the centuries of oppressors of the Afro-American masses with the oppressed masses themselves who have suffered mightily, and have stood up against, opposed, and resisted such oppression. The message of Obama’s eulogy to the Afro-American masses and to all freedom loving people is to wait on (pray for) the “grace” of God, to unite with our enemies and to “forgive and forget” the outrages committed against us. In spite of his long overdue support for the demand to take down the Confederate flag of slavery, Obama’s basic message is to support the status quo.

Let’s contrast the words and message of “Amazing Grace” with another religious anthem, widely considered the Afro-American national anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” was written by James Weldon Johnson, a novelist and poet, a diplomat and teacher, and the first Black executive of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at the beginning of the twentieth century. This anthem which was set to music by his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, calls on the Afro-American masses to “march on till victory is won.” While referring to the strength of the “faith” that the “dark past has taught us” and “hope that the present has brought us,” there is no call for forgiveness of the enemies of the people. There is no call for unity with them. The anthem is a clear call for unity of the Afro-American masses (Lift every voice) in the struggle for “Liberty.” It is a religious song that calls on the Afro-American people to stand “True to our God” but the God portrayed by Johnson, in contrast to that of Newton, is a God of the “rising sun of our new day” of liberty for those who have been oppressed.



Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing
by James Weldon Johnson

Lift ev’ry voice and sing,
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us;
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

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Greetings — to the Million People’s March Against Police
                 Brutality, Racial Injustice and Economic Inequality!

by RAY LIGHT

On behalf of the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA, an endorser of the March, I congratulate those of you who are present today to oppose police brutality and the whole state apparatus of United States imperialism. The People’s Organization for Progress (POP) has earned its sponsorship of this important protest. It is an organization whose long history of struggle against police brutality in the NY-NJ area places it in a good position to try to galvanize the mass motion that arose in Ferguson, MO and has reached its zenith thus far in Baltimore, MD.
 
Today, as the world capitalist economic crisis is hastening the end of U.S. imperialist hegemony, the U.S. Empire in decline is attempting to use state terror to keep the working class and oppressed peoples within the U.S. multinational state, and especially the Afro-American people, as well as the working people of the rest of the world, in a position of bondage so that Wall Street and finance capital can continue to reap super-profits at our expense and resist the challenges to its hegemony from China, the European Union, etc.

Increasingly, the same terror that the Bush and Obama Regimes have inflicted on the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa is being meted out to us. It is the U.S. Empire’s war at home that is the companion to the U.S. Empire’s war abroad. Black Lives Matter, Latino Lives Matter, Arab Lives Matter, Workers’ lives matter, the lives of the 99% matter! And no mere dialogue with the local police department can alter the systemic violence which these armed servants of Wall Street, of big business, of those “too big to fail” inflict upon us. It is their very reason for being.

The growth of the police state terror in the USA is connected to the political-economy of U.S. imperialism.  Recognition of this fact will provide us with the necessary allies among the international working class and the oppressed peoples, and even temporary allies among other classes and countries, with which we can meet and defeat U.S. imperialism.

Workers of the World and
Oppressed Peoples Unite!
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