Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Soviet Revolution: Lessons for Californians by Matt Owen (Guest blogger)

July 18, 2019
As we celebrate the Centennial of the revolution which brought workers to power in Russia, let us take this opportunity to examine what, if any, lessons we in the California independence movement can apply to our struggle.

One lesson, drawn not only from the Russian Revolution, but from the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the revolutionary process underway in Venezuela, and many other instances, is that movements often end up quite different than when they first began. 

The American Revolution started out as a struggle by the English American colonies to regain the autonomy taken from them by the Crown, backed by a Tory Parliament: only after the British government refused this demand did those colonies unite and declare their independence from Britain (this demand was also the motive for the first Declaration of California Independence from Mexico, made in 1836, the same year Texas was annexed by the US: the Bear Flag Revolt, which resulted in "Anschluss" of California and the US, was a decade later, and led by US settlers).

The French Revolution, inspired by the above, resulted initially in a constitutional monarchy: the failure of the monarch to accept his reduced status set the events in motion which led to the Republic, the Thermidorian reaction, and ultimately the seizure of power by Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Russian Revolution originally overthrew the Tsar in order to end Russia's participation in the First World War: a succession of Provisional Governments failed to make peace with Germany, so the workers finally took matters into their own hands, as they had in 1905 to put an end to the Russo-Japanese War, and the All-Russian Congress of Soviets--the central organ of the Soviets, or workers' councils--was recognised as the government of Russia by the Military-Revolutionary Committees, or military Soviets.

Unfortunately, party after party in the Soviets turned against the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, leaving the Bolsheviks the only party standing in the Soviet government: the result of a very particular situation, as we shall see...

When Hugo Chavez first rose to power at the end of the 20th Century, he was combating the market-totalitarian type of capitalism known as neoliberalism: his MVR offered, and the Venezuelan people embraced, a new Constitution, that of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: the reaction by the neoliberals and the class they represented necessitated a broadening of the target of the Bolivarian revolution from neoliberalism to capitalism as a whole: while a referendum on a new Constitution for a "Bolivarian Socialist Republic of Venezuela" failed, Chavez did succeed in launching Soviets...Consejos Comunales...in Venezuela, and they've been growing ever since.

Venezuela now finds itself in a struggle to convene a Constituent Assembly: this didn't go so well in Russia, but there, the Soviets were already in power, albeit tenuously--whereas in Venezuela, the struggle is to shift power to the Consejos Comunales and their Comunas.

In California, the election of Trump has resulted in the explosive growth in interest in independence from a United States increasing numbers of us are seeing as falling to fascism: less than 20% supported California independence from the US when Obama was president, whereas one-third of Californians support the idea today--at the same time that about as many Millennials favour socialism as do capitalism, and more people boycotted the 2016 US Presidential election than voted for either candidate!

A potentially explosive political mix: if the boycotters and socialists began to move to California, drawn by single-payer healthcare, a living wage, sanctuary from punitive, racist immigration policies and enforcement, and the like, that mix could explode at any moment--and a truly viable independence movement would be born!

The other lesson we can draw from the history of the Russian Revolution is this: the impossibility of socialism in one country, even one as vast as Russia.

Until Lenin, Marxists believed that socialism, understood as a revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, was impossible in an overwhelmingly peasant country such as Russia: both Marx and Lenin, however, did think that a socialist revolution could start amongst the Russian working class--but that it must spread quickly to a more industrialised country (most likely Germany) if it was to retain its socialist character.

This is why the Bolsheviks used the ceasefire between themselves and the German Army to agitate German soldiers to join their revolution: don't shoot us, shoot your officers and join us! Unfortunately, the Germans continued to obey their officers, leaving the Russians no choice but to negotiate peace with their government: by the time the peace was inked, Russia had lost much territory to the Germans, and war broke out between the two remaining Soviet parties, the Bolsheviks and Social-Revolutionaries: rooted in the proletariat and peasantry, respectively, this was the opening salvo of a civil war which destroyed the Russian proletariat, leaving the Bolsheviks to lead a peasant country...

In Germany, however, events took turn after turn as the Germans faced their own defeat by the addition of US forces to their foes: Eugene V. Debs, the only antiwar socialist leader other than Lenin, was in jail, and within a year of defeating the Russians, it was the Germans' term to taste defeat. The armistice their enemies forced them to sign was as onerous as that they imposed on the Russians--and that, like the Russian defeat before it, set things in motion.

By 1919, the Kaiser was overthrown...and a Soviet Republic proclaimed from the balcony of the Kaiserpalast was opposed by the Social Democrats in the Reichstag: the Social Democrats put down the pro-Soviet uprising using demobilised soldiers reorganised into "Freikorps"...and for the next few years, they played "whack-a-mole," putting down Soviet uprisings up and down Germany, but not throughout the whole country simultaneously...

...Until 1923! In that year, the Reichsmark became worthless, and as a direct result Soviets sprang into being throughout Germany, and began arming themselves...

...However, the new Communist Party of Germany had just inked a "United Front" agreement with the Social Democrats: as happened in Russia, the forces used by the anti-Soviet government to crush the Soviets tried to overthrow it and new fascist forces were growing, especially the "German Workers' Party" after it came to be led by one Adolf Hitler, who imbued it with an ideology, "National Socialism," that is, violent nationalism with a socialist face.

Because of the United Front agreement with the Social Democrats, when they demanded that the Soviets disarm and dissolve, the Communists complied...

...But what if they hadn't? What if the German Communists did what their Russian comrades had done, and instead led a Soviet revolution in Germany? How differently history would have turned out had the Soviet Union grown to the Rhine, encompassing not only the peasantry of Russia, but the German proletariat!

This, I submit to you, is the juncture at which we once again find ourselves:

Venezuelan socialism is under siege at precisely the moment that its Soviets, its Consejos, now must walk through the door to power: if not, socialism will be crushed in Venezuela...

...Unless the 21st Century socialist revolution spreads to a country with a larger economy, more diversely developed than Venezuela, with about the same population...

A country poised to break free from the imperialist hegemon.

Our country. California.

Socialism isn't on the agenda "por ahora" but I predict that the struggle for our independence, like the antiwar struggle in Russia, and the antineoliberal struggle in Venezuela, will make socialism the order of the day.

When that happens, we revolutionary socialists must be organised to lead that fight: to that end I propose a California analogue of Venezuela's PSUV, a California Socialist Party, drawing on existing Socialist and Communist organisations.

¡Viva California libre, soberana, y independiente, con libertad, justicia y democracia de, por, y para el pueblo!

¡Viva la República Socialista de California!
Matt Owen and Cindy Sheehan protesting something somewhere.
Matt Owen is a Californio striving to make California a worker's paradise.

Cindy Sheehan at California Freedom Coalition Open House in Berkeley (July 23, 2017)

 CFC Open House in Berkeley
The California Freedom Coalition has been busy. We have been highlighted in the news and the initiative is very close to being approved by the state. We would like to invite you to an Open House in Berkeley. Well known peace activist, Cindy Sheehan will be in attendance. Please join the California Freedom Coalition (CFC) for a bite to eat and drinks (heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served). The CFC is a non-profit formed to restore Californian's voting rights. CFC Board Members, including well known peace activist Cindy Sheehan, will be speaking on the CFC's progress and answer any questions you might have. Please visit our website for more information about the CFC: calfreeco.org. Please register here: https://cfcopen-berk.eventbrite.com

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Why the Russian Revolution Matters Today (SOAPBOX PODCAST JULY 16, 2017)

July 16, 2017

Guest: Luciana Bohne
Topic: The Russian Revolution and Why it Matters Today

This week, Cindy chats with professor Luciana Bohne about many fascinating topics:

Her early years in post-WWII Yugoslavia
The October Bolshevik Revolution in Russia
The Soviet Union and Why it Dissolved
Today's Neo-McCarthyism

Check out the Professors new article at Counterpunch:

Yemen: The War That Isn’t Happening Even as It’s Happening


For more information on the Great October Revolution

Check out the Series from the 

Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA

Great October Socialist Revolution Series 





Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cindy Sheehan: Sixty and Still Single-Minded

July 9, 2017

Dear Friends/Supporters of Cindy Sheehan and The Soapbox,

On July 10th, the single-minded campaigner for peace and social justice, our friend, Cindy Sheehan will turn 60 years old!

The past few years have been a struggle for Cindy: taking care of her sister Dede Miller and mourning her death, but Cindy has managed to keep the Soapbox (weekly podcast, blog and clearing house for leftwing thought/action) and her vision of a peaceful and equitable world for all, alive.

Currently, Cindy is on the board of directors for the California Freedom Coalition (working for California Independence from the USA); an original convener of the People's Congress of Resistance; member of Hands off Syria Coalition in SF Bay Area; member of the State Central Committee of the California Peace and Freedom Party; and host/executive producer of Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox. Cindy will also be a keynote speaker at a major anti-US Empire conference in Toronto and the state conference for the California National Party (For Cal Independence), both in August. Oh yeah, and she is "Gigi" to five amazing beings who inspire her to move her old bones every morning.

In 2006, Cindy published her 3rd book, Peace Mom: A Mother's Journey Through Heartache to Activism, (which was suppressed by the media--every major interview canceled the day after publication) which covered the first year after her historic protest as Camp Casey in Crawford Tx and today she is working on her EIGHTH book: Peace Mom II: A Mother's Journey from Activism to Heartache and Revolution. Peace Mom II will cover the subsequent years since 2006 and a draft of the foreword can be read HERE.

Cindy is obviously still single-minded in her struggle for peace and social justice, but we at Team Soapbox need your help.

Please consider making a donation to Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox in honor of the birth date of this dedicated worker for the international working-class.

Everyone who donates $30 or above will receive a signed copy of Peace Mom II upon completion (projected publishing date October 15).


For a tax deductible online donation click HERE

Enter: CindySheehansSoapbox@gmail.com 

Or send a check/money order to:

Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, LLC
PO Box 6264
Vacaville, CA 95696 

In struggle and solidarity for a better world!

Team Soapbox 

Foreword: Peace Mom II: One Mother's Journey from Activism to Heartache to Revolution by Cindy Sheehan


Peace Mom II:
A Mother’s Journey through Activism to Heartache and Revolution

Cindy Sheehan


After my stint (not stunt) in Crawford, Tx in the summer of 2005, I figuratively went from “zero to eighty” in the space of 28 days.

My son Casey was killed in Iraq on April 04, 2004 and 16 months after that, I was toddling around the country trying to re-activate a mostly dormant anti-Iraq war movement. However, on August 5th of 2005, I had an idea to go confront then president George Bush at his vacation home (Flying Photo-op Fake Ranch) in Crawford to ask him for “What Noble Cause” was my son and tens of thousands of others dead.

As I recounted in the prequel to this book: Peace Mom: A Mother’s Journey Through Heartache to Activism (Atria Books, 2006), it became quite a zoo in little Crawford and the bored media (alternative and corporate) made me into an international cause célèbre and certainly a polarizing figure for those who supported George Bush and those who opposed him.

After Camp Casey was over that first crazy year, I was courted by a few book agents who wanted to rep me and sell a memoir. I remember meeting the venerable investigative reporter Seymour Hersch near the end of 2005 in Manhattan shortly after my book had been sold to a division of Simon and Schuster: Atria Books.

I felt the professorial looking Hersch was a very engaging and down to earth person who immediately told me that he thought it was too soon for me to publish a “memoir.” I explained to him that my reasoning was to be able to influence the 2006 Congressional mid-term elections so we could re-install Democrats in the majority (at least in the House) and have a chance to rid the world of the dangerous and odious Bush regime and to have a chance to end the wars. Seymour Hersch said, “then you should do it.”

Of course, when I look over the first Peace Mom (PM1 from now on), I get a little red-faced over my energetic optimism. I actually believed that if the Democrats, led by my soon to be nemesis Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), regained power in the House of Representatives, that all of my dreams of peace and accountability would come true.

Now writing Peace Mom II (PM2) in the summer of 2017, twelve years after the summer of frenetic energy in Crawford Tx, I reflect that we are further from peace and justice than we were when I predicted that Bush would be impeached and the wars would end.

Since I wrote PM1, so many amazing, tragic, wonderful, frustrating, annoying, sad, hilarious, troubling, exhausting, draining, energizing and et cetera things have happened. PM1 was only the first year of my activist life—PM2 will cover the past 11 years and not as profoundly naive as PM1. My saving grace is that my naivete came from a good place with working towards good things for everyone on this planet not just USAians.

Some of the things that I will cover in this book:

The primary theme that comes to my mind when I think of my public life from 2007-today is the absolute treachery and betrayal of me and my movement by the Democrat Party. I will cover this is FAR more detail in the heart of the book, but in PM1, I went through “heartache to activism” and after the betrayal of the Democrats in 2007 and my subsequent departure from the party of Jefferson, Truman, war, and disaster, I was thoroughly attacked and kicked to the proverbial curb by some liberal/Democrat organizations that I believed were antiwar, but they were only anti-Bush. So, PM2 will take me from "activism" back to "heartache."

As it turns out, since Trump has gladly continued and expanded Obama’s destructive wars for profit and power, those same organizations weren’t even anti-Republican war, I guess. No wars have ended, nothing has changed, except the liberals have crossed the line to attach a “neo” in front of their label and now know they cannot criticize a Republican for war, because if they point one finger at the GOP, four more fingers are pointing at their own rotten core and the DNC.

I have transformed from someone who was terrified to travel, if I had to fly, to a person that has visited every continent (except Antartica) and can be sanguine even in the worst turbulence, or annoying travel experiences with the TSA, or airport personnel. My travels have included being warmly held in the bosoms of some of what most USAians consider “the enemy” like Cuba and Venezuela, and finding out what I was inculcated and indoctrinated with regarding the “enemy” was mostly calculated bullshit.

I have met with presidents, peasants and revolutionaries and have had some very surreal experiences meeting substantial people who I was told were subpar and very subpar people who I always believed were substantial. “Do tell, Cindy!” Well, I will.

After I left the Democrat party and ran for Congress against the backstabbing, one-percenter, Nancy Pelosi, any national coverage of me and my activities dried up, so I started Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, a weekly podcast that has been stirring the pot and poking the rotten establishment since the beginning of 2009.

I rode my bike from California to Washington DC in 2013 and since it was so “fun” (read stressful) to run against Pelosi in 2008, I have dipped my toe in the corrupt US electoral system two other times. These stories have me as a central character, but also have wider implications and instruction that go far beyond me and what I have tried to accomplish since I buried my son for lies and the benefit of a few.

My children have gifted me with five of the most precious beings on earth: my grandchildren, and their very existence on this troubled planet drive me to do my work. Frankly, I am terrified for them and they, and their child-colleagues all around the Earth deserve better from us and if we aren’t doing everything we can to insure their lives are more peaceful, prosperous and environmentally stable than ours, then we are failing them. Like the World Social Forum says and why I became a socialist is, “A Better World is Possible.” After all the real life experience, betrayal, and setbacks I have had, I still believe that a better world is possible and that is not only possible, but achievable. Thus, I have left the "heartache" behind and embraced socialist revolution.

One thing I have learned since Casey was killed is that these are ALL our children and we should try and protect them as much as we would our own children and grandchildren—even if we are parents, or not.

For 90% of my folderol and dedicated activism over the years, I had my sister/comrade/best-friend Dede Miller by my side. Tragically, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in the middle of 2015 and after a very exhausting and painful struggle, she passed away on January 22, 2017. This book is dedicated to her and will hopefully give me some kind of closure to the chapter of my life where my “Irish Twin” (she was only 11-months younger than I) is with me in spirit, but not in fact. Granted, Dede had a huge spirit and before she got cancer, a contagious joie de vivre, but, selfishly, I want her in the flesh, back by my side.

When Dede was a few days away from making her transition from this life, I told her, “You have lived a life of meaning. So many people are better off because you were alive. Your life made a difference. Not very many people can say that. I am blessed because you were my sister.”

Finally, I begin this book at the beginning of my seventh decade on planet earth. I have made almost sixty complete trips around the sun and I want my life to also have meaning. I want as many people as possible to be better off because I lived--and lived a life of service to humanity.

I want to be like Dede and I want to live up to what my seven year old granddaughter Jovie recently said, “Gigi, (what my grandkids call me) when I grow up, I want to be just like you.”

Sixty and still un-retired. I guess when the demented US Empire collapses, or the people rise up in rebellion and overthrow it, I will quit—until then, I will plant both feet firmly on the shoulders of those that went before me and refuse to give up.

Cindy Sheehan
Vacaville, Ca
July 9, 2017

A Party For California Independence! (Soapbox Podcast July 9, 2017)

JULY 9, 2017

Guests: Theo Slater & Margo Drgos

Topic: Prospects for California Independence

Theo Slater


This week on the Soapbox we are joined by Theo Slater, the National Chair of the California National Party, as well as Margo Drgos, the Press Secretary of the Party. We discuss prospects for an independent California, what would be different if California had independence from Washington, and why independence could set an example for other states. 


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Cindy Sheehan Soapbox Rerun W/ David Talbot: The CIA and The Devils Chessboard

GUEST: David Talbot
TOPIC: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government


An explosive, headline-making portrait of Allen Dulles, the man who transformed the CIA into the most powerful—and secretive—colossus in Washington, from the founder of Salon.com and author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers.

America’s greatest untold story: the United States’ rise to world dominance under the guile of Allen Welsh Dulles, the longest-serving director of the CIA. Drawing on revelatory new materials—including newly discovered U.S. government documents, U.S. and European intelligence sources, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles’s wife and mistress, and exclusive interviews with the children of prominent CIA officials—Talbot reveals the underside of one of America’s most powerful and influential figures.

Dulles’s decade as the director of the CIA—which he used to further his public and private agendas—were dark times in American politics. Calling himself “the secretary of state of unfriendly countries,” Dulles saw himself as above the elected law, manipulating and subverting American presidents in the pursuit of his personal interests and those of the wealthy elite he counted as his friends and clients—colluding with Nazi-controlled cartels, German war criminals, and Mafiosi in the process. Targeting foreign leaders for assassination and overthrowing nationalist governments not in line with his political aims, Dulles employed those same tactics to further his goals at home, Talbot charges, offering shocking new evidence in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

An exposé of American power that is as disturbing as it is timely, The Devil’s Chessboard is a provocative and gripping story of the rise of the national security state—and the battle for America’s soul.

 Graphic by Anthony Freda


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Speaking Truth to Empire w/Dan Yaseen (June 2017 Edition)

June 2017

Speaking Truth to Empire on KFCF 88.1 Free Speech Radio for Central California, Dan Yaseen interviews Norman Solomon, an author, journalist, media critic and an antiwar activist. Solomon has appeared as a guest on many media outlets including the PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News,, C-SPAN, KPFA and NPR. Topic of discussion will be Russiagate.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dear, John on the Soapbox! (SOAPBOX PODCAST 6/25/17)

June 25, 2017

Guest: Father John Dear
Topic: Non-violent resistance

This week, Cindy chats with Fr. John Dear (who was essentially fired from the Jesuit Order for being antiwar and pro-justice).

Even with a poor phone connection, Cindy and John cover many topics from the shady beginnings of Pope Francis to Non-violent resistance. 


About John Dear

John Dear is an internationally known voice for peace and nonviolence. A long time activist, popular lecturer, and movement organizer, Fr. John is the author of 35 books and hundreds of articles, including "Living Peace," "Jesus the Rebel," and "The Nonviolent Life." He was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mushroom Clouds and Miss Mac Murray by Cindy Sheehan

I am a child of the Cold War.

I was born in 1957 in Los Angeles, probably under one of the mushroom clouds that regularly blew over from the above ground Nevada nuclear test sites.

The very public witch hunts of Joseph McCarthy, Herbert Hoover and HUAC were over by then, but the damage and fear of the "Red Under the Bed" persisted, along with the "proxy" wars between the USSR and the USA that included millions dead in Korea and Vietnam, among other places. The radioactive fruits of the nuclear arms race still persist to this day with thousands of live nukes across the globe and many nations poisoned by the US's usage of depleted uranium munitions.

I was in kindergarten in Bellflower, Ca, when the missile crisis between the US and Soviet Union occurred off the coast of Cuba. I didn't understand what was happening, but in hindsight, I remember my parents being very tense as they watched the nuclear near miss on TV.

My most enduring, recurring nightmare is about being outside and seeing a mushroom cloud off in the distance. The awful feeling of "oh, no--this is it" and the immense sense of relief when I awaken to find out that World War III wasn't happening--yet--has been repeated frequently throughout my life.

So, what does my 2nd grade teach, Miss Mac Murray have to do with any of this? 

It was 1964: the conflict in Vietnam was bubbling and getting ready to boil over; Kennedy had been assassinated when I was in first grade; something was happening with the "Red Chinese." I wasn't sure what a "Red Chinese" was, but I knew I liked Chinese food and knew that the workers at the Hong Kong Kitchen were not white, but they weren't "Red," either, so they probably weren't poisoning our food.

Like every dutiful American student, I rose to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning before school thinking for several years that the "one nation, Under God," was "invisible." 

Anyway, in a stunning display of child abuse, Miss Mac Murray asked us all a question one day: "If a red commie came up to you and told you that if you recited the pledge of allegiance he would shoot you in the head, what would you do?" Again, I wasn't sure what a "red commie" looked like, but I pictured a real life Boris Badenov (the bad guy in Rocky and Bullwinkle). But, I was very confident of the answer to Miss Mac Murray's question, I raised my hand, was called on, and I said, "I wouldn't say it!" WRONG! I was dragged out of my seat, put in the corner for the first and only time of my second grade life and told to stay and think about how I betrayed my country. I stayed for a long time, stubbornly (and intelligently) thinking, "I don't care, I still wouldn't say it." I laugh at the people who still call me "un-American." Little do they know that they weren't the first and I, apparently, have been a traitor since second grade.

Fellow Cold War babies have similar stories of mass-conditioning and fear based propaganda to keep us USAians afraid of the "enemy."

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US's decades long perfect enemy became, if not an ally, at least not a partner in Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). 

In the second decade of the 21st century, the war powers that be still have the barbaric capability of destroying the world many times over with its nuclear arsenals. Growing up with "brinkmanship" and the fear of nuclear annihilation makes it even more confusing to me why Democrats are so hellbent on increasing hostilities with Russia by blaming it for everything: even the fact that its war criminal, super-predator, unpopular candidate, Hillary Clinton was beaten by Trump. The same Trump, whose biggest flaw to many of those liberal democrats, is that (at least in the beginning), he wanted to have better relations with Russia than did the Obama regime.

Now, the military junta that has been putatively in charge of foreign policy for decades has now been given carte blanche by Trump to not even pretend to be subordinate to the Commander in Chief. Consequently, the US is increasing its provocation of Russia, especially in Syria. I wonder where the "No Nukes," and "No War" liberals disappeared to?

I believe that these pseudo-libs would rather live under the fear of being melted by a nuke than to admit that Hillary Clinton lost because she was Hillary Clinton. I was confused by the rising John Birch, Russophobia of the Democrat left, until I recalled my history lessons. It wasn't McCarthy that started the "commie" witch hunts of the '40s and '50s, it was democrat Truman with his loyalty oaths and sweeping investigations of Federal employees that began the whole enchilada of red-baiting; informing on your family, neighbors, and colleagues; and secret police harassment heading into the new Cold War in 1947. The Neo-Trumanites are just following in a dangerously conservative Democrat tradition.

Don't worry, Democrats---just teach your children and grandchildren to "Duck and Cover."


"The US Has No Moral Authority" Cindy Sheehan on PressTv

Watch Cindy Sheehan on PressTv


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cindy's Interview With The San Francisco Review of Books!

Interview: Cindy Sheehan explains what happened to the antiwar movement after Barack Obama

Original Interview Here
 Story by Joseph Ford Cotto

Being antiwar might be fashionable in one of our country's major parties now and again, but Democrats and Republicans alike tend to fall in line behind military action whenever it suits their respective agendas.

The loss of life, destruction of property, and psychological torment which result from this cannot readily be put into words -- perhaps not under any circumstances.

Preventing even a single drop of unnecessary bloodshed has been Cindy Sheehan's mission for some time.

Her "public opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began after her son was killed in Iraq in 2004. Sheehan’s vigil outside U.S. Pres. George W. Bush’s ranch in Texas in 2005 received international media coverage and established her as one of the most visible and controversial figures in the antiwar movement at that time," the Encyclopedia Britannica's Sabrina Worsham explains.

Sheehan has done much since then. She recently spoke with me about many timely topics. Some of our conversation is included below.


Joseph Ford Cotto: This is surely one of the most polarized eras in American politics. Nonetheless, the antiwar movement has not taken center stage in recent protests. Why has it, more or less, been sidelined?

Cindy Sheehan: My theory about the antiwar "movement" not being center stage in recent protests is because the protests (around immigration and women's rights in particular) have been organized by liberal Democrats (Demo-libs, I call them). Demo-libs usually only choose issues where a clear difference between DNC and GOP can be shown. Of course, after eight years of Obama's demented foreign policy, those Demo-libs cannot protest Trump's acts of aggression, because it always puts a bad spotlight on the Dems.

For example, after Trump's recent bombing of the air field in Homs, Syria, both Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi (minority leaders of 
Senate and House), came out in support of it. 

Cotto: After Barack Obama was elected president, the antiwar movement seems to quiet down a bit. Is this actually the case, or simply a matter of inadequate media coverage?

Sheehan: So, I think the antiwar movement actually quieted down in 2006 after the Democrats took over majority in the House of Representatives. In 2008, for example, United for Peace and Justice refused to have a large antiwar protest on the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq because it would, "embarrass the Democrats." 

Cotto: What would you say are the goals of the modern American antiwar movement?

Sheehan: I would say to end wars and reduce the USA's military footprint all over the world.

Cotto: Many antiwar activists speak about pacifism as a viable alternative to all forms of combat. In your opinion, is this a practical viewpoint?

Sheehan: Personally, I am not a pacifist and recognize and individual's right to self-defense---and, obviously, a community or sovereign state has the same rights. Unfortunately, because my own son was killed in Iraq by a person who was defending his/her community.

I think as a movement we start from the position of non-violent protest and 10 times out of ten, when I have seen violence, it has been 
instituted by the police or other law enforcement.

Cotto: During the years ahead, do you expect the antiwar movement to gain popular support?

Sheehan: Maybe if forced conscription (lord forbid) is reinstated. I think the movement is moving towards being against the budding fascism of the Trump regime. 

Joseph Ford Cotto: Since Donald Trump succeeded Obama, and even during the 2016 general election, war-hawks became much friendlier to the Democratic Party, and vice-versa. Meanwhile, antiwar voices saw their volume diminished. What might account for this?

Cindy Sheehan: It's similar to what I said in my first answer--at least during the campaign in 2016, Hillary Clinton was seen as far more hawkish that Trump; for good reasons. There was even a "Neocon for Hillary" Group.

I still believe Clinton is a bigger hawk than Trump and it's interesting, but I don't think coincidental, that just hours before Trump bombed the aforementioned air field, Clinton publicly said it should be done. 

Cotto: Nowadays, skepticism of military adventurism is more pronounced in the GOP than at any other time since the years leading up to World War II. How did the antiwar movement's principles find a welcome audience among Republican ranks?    

Sheehan: I am not sure what is feeding the skepticism in the ranks of the GOP? I know for the antiwar movement, we care for lives here and abroad and want the death and destruction to stop. I think being anti-interventionist (like Ron Paul, for example), may still be a little imperialistic: caring how the wars affect the USA before how they affect the occupied and attacked innocent populations.

Cotto: During his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump spoke negatively about George W. Bush's policies regarding Iraq. In the process, Trump voiced concerns of the antiwar movement which, until recently, were lambasted by virtually all Republican politicians. Looking back, what did Trump's acknowledgment of antiwar perspectives mean for the movement's future? 

Sheehan: I know a lot of my colleagues and friends encouraged a vote for Trump based on those aspects of his rhetoric. I, myself, think it's really dangerous to be sucked into the bourgeois politics of the DNC and GOP. If we are to survive as a movement, I think we need to be principled and non-partisan.

Cotto: The Democratic Party, whose most recent presidential nominee -- Hillary Clinton -- and prevailing establishment figures are generally hawkish, now opposes anything Trump supports. Over the years to come, might the traditionally leftish antiwar movement and most conservative voters, who have come to dislike George W. Bush and his neoconservative ideology, form an unlikely alliance?

Sheehan: I hope so because there is strength in greater numbers.

Cotto: More than anything else, what motivates the antiwar movement?

Sheehan: Love for all the peoples of the world.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Election 2016, We're Still On This? By Dakotah Lilly

I knew the Democrats were out of touch, but I really didn’t think they were this clueless. 

Out of all the recent talk about Comey and the premiere of ‘The Putin Interviews’ etc, one thing that struck me was the Democrats political maneuvering in the case of the AHCA and sanctions on Russia. It was said that the Democrats were willing to relieve some pressure on the Republicans on healthcare in exchange for more a bipartisan bill aimed at sanctioning Russia. So the Democrats are willing to let the AHCA, a piece of legislation not worth the paper it was printed on, pass in exchange for more covert warfare and taunting of Russia? 

These are the issues the Democrats are pursuing? 

They already passed the god-awful ACA a few years back which has done nothing to help tens of millions of Americans and was nothing more than a corporate check to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, but now they are willing to send the American people down the creek without a paddle yet again by helping to pass the AHCA? 

This is at least reason 4 trillion why the Democrats are corporate, capitalist, imperialist, empire spreading, civil rights destroying, working class hating, bourgeois tools of the empire. Not to mention that even one iota of time or one dollar of taxpayer money is being wasted on this “Russia investigation”. 

The Democrats lost fair and square as far as fair and square can go in this oligarchic capitalist electoral system that the Dems love so much. Pushing Russophobia has become the Democrats number one concern, which is yet again another reason why they are absolutely no different and in many ways worse than the Republicans. People are dying in this country from lack of access to healthcare, police murder, food insecurity, mental illness, homelessness, etc. People around the world are dying because of bombs this country drops and sanctions it crams down the throat of the world, yet the Democrats are still pouting over their sour grapes of losing the election. 

The Russia investigation is absurd and nobody in this country is waiting with baited breath on the outcome of this witch hunt. The working class of this country has no interest in a sham investigation into a bogus nonexistent issue. 

Working people of this country have no enemy in this world except the class and politicians that exploit us, but especially none in the people of Russia. While the establishment vultures want nothing more for people to demonize an entire country and its government with no shred of evidence, it is a relief that they have seemed to fail thus far. My only regret is that they also failed when they tried to demonize the nations and peoples of Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, North Korea, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Brazil among countless others. 

Reject this Russophobia and this “investigation” they are just more clever ruses used by the ruling class to distract us from realizing our power, and to distract us from unifying beyond borders against them. 

Dakotah Lilly is a 19 year old anti imperialist, revolutionary socialist. He is a co founder and organizer with Students and Youth for a New America and is a frequent guest on PressTv. Facebook:facebook.com/Dakotah.lilly.9
Twitter @dakotah4prez