Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Reluctant Soldier



I have frequently written about how the self defense forces in the Donbass (eastern Ukraine near the Russian border) came together in 2014 after the US directed Kiev regime began shelling their own citizens.

Miners, shop keepers, teachers, electricians, musicians and the like formed local militias so they could defend their families and their land that were being mercilessly attacked after the 2014 US engineered coup d'état took over the 'government' in Kiev.

This short interview really touches me as the man clearly displays his desire to hang on to his humanity as he goes through this terrible period of having to fight to protect his family from the Washington-Brussels war on the people of the Donbass region - whose only crime is they live near the Russian border.

May this war end soon - but sadly it appears the corporate controlled regime in Washington is more committed than ever to expanding the attacks on the people of eastern Ukraine.

Bruce

Hey Trump - Quit Fu+#ing with Iran



The US decision to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal is stupid, provocative and highly dangerous.  It is a fool's errand and was obviously directed by Israel which has undue influence on US decision making.

I refer you to a piece by The Saker on this issue which you can find here

The US government - if one can really call it that - is a frigging mess.  There is no real foreign policy - only threats of war everywhere.

Again I must ask - why would any person or government anywhere on this planet have even one tiny bit of trust and faith in Washington?

The way this US imperial madness ends - without blowing up the world - is for everyone to walk away from US global leadership.  There is nothing in Washington to admire.  Nothing in Hollywood to admire.  There is nothing in the US news media to admire.

Admire our landscape - baseball maybe - but don't follow our so-called leaders unless you want to head over a very steep cliff!

Bruce

Friday, October 13, 2017

First Vigil at BIW Today














After our orientation today the Maine Peace Walk gathered at Bath Iron Works (BIW) for a vigil during the afternoon shift change. We were able to hand out about 30 flyers to the workers as they were heading home.

Tonight we had a wonderful dinner prepared by Morgana Warner Evans at the Addams-Melman House in Bath.

We'll be back out at 6:00 am in front of BIW as the Saturday morning shift arrives at the shipyard.  After breakfast we'll start our door-to-door flyering across the city of 10,000 people during the next three days. 

Find the full peace walk schedule here 

Photos by Peter Woodruff & Will Griffin

Jeju Island Film Smash Hit in Brunswick, Maine



As we drove up to The Frontier Cafe & Cinema last night we spotted a display sign outside with the name of the film we were sponsoring and the words 'Sold Out'. What a thrill it was to see that the place would be packed - with 40% of the people attending faces we did not already know. 


Joyokgol from Jeju Island, South Korea said a few words and then sang a song entitled 'No Navy Base' before we began the wonderful documentary by South African filmmaker Mark Kaplan. I had previously seen the film via computer so watching it on a full-sized theatre screen for the first time was exciting.


After the film was over I jumped up and said a few words including the following:

Over the years we've had seven of us from Maine go to Jeju Island.  When we were leaving people asked us, "What are you going to do when you go home?"

We need to look around and notice the local manifestation of this [US imperial] insanity and begin to deal with it.  That is the reason we are focusing our Maine Peace Walk this year in the Bath-Brunswick area.
Joyakgol took over and answered questions from the audience which in most part stayed around much longer than I had expected after the film was over.  You could tell that people have the Trump versus North Korea mounting tensions on their minds.  Joyakgol clearly stated that North Korea was not going to attack the US or South Korea and was a militarily weak nation that would be destroyed in a war.  North Korea boasts as a way to hide their weakness.  The people of South Korea understand this he said and the American people need to come to understand this fact as well.

We officially begin our peace walk with an orientation today beginning at noon and then we'll do a 3-4 pm vigil at Bath Iron Works as shipyard works knock off for the day. It's going to be a great week - when ever you bring good folks together sparks fly and lives change. 

Bruce

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Maine Peace Walk Starts in Bath



Today at noon I interviewed Will Griffin (VFP) from Georgia and Joyakgol (peace activist) from Jeju Island, South Korea on my public access TV show This Issue.  We talked about US foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific with emphasis on Korea and the new Navy base built for American warships on Jeju Island.  I was real happy with how the interviews turned out.  Afterwards we drove down one of the finger islands jutting into the ocean and had lunch at a fish joint overlooking the water.

By the time we got back to the Addams-Melman House others began to arrive including Tarak Kauff (VFP) from New York and Hancock, Maine artist Russell Wray and his wife Akemi.  Russell designed our peace walk logo this year (like he did the past two years) and we went to work mounting the banner with the logo onto the rental van we will use during the walk to move folks around.  Our green sweatshirts also have the walk logo on the back.


Things begin tonight with the showing of the Jeju documentary film Village versus Empire at a local cinema.  We expect the show to sell out and Joyokgol will speak a bit and sing a song from their campaign on Jeju to stop the Navy base.

The excitement is building for our 6th annual peace walk that this year will largely be centered in the Bath and Brunswick area.  We'll be dropping flyers door-to-door in Bath calling for the conversion of Bath Iron Works to appropriate sustainable production.

You can see all walk details here

For those only able to participate in the walk for one day we encourage you to come on Saturday, October 21 for the finale event with speakers and music at the Bath Waterfront Park along the beautiful Kennebec River. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How Much Profit is Enough from Endless War?



This video is made by Veterans For Peace (VFP) member Will Griffin from Georgia.  He arrived here in Bath, Maine last night to join our Maine Peace Walk over the next week.  Will was in the Army and was deployed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Will also serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

Will has been creating videos about the war machine and this is his latest venture.  You can follow his string of videos at The Peace Report.

English Version of South Korean Anti-THAAD Film


 
English version of anti-THAAD 'missile defense' in South Korea documentary.

Last night South Korean peace activist Joyakgol arrived here in Bath to participate in our upcoming Maine Peace Walk.  He will be here for the full week and then will do a speaking tour in Boston, New Haven & Waterbury, CT and finally in New York City before returning home.

While in Maine Joyakgol will briefly speak before the film showing Oct 12 at the Frontier Cinema in Brunswick and then again on Oct 17 at the pot luck supper at the Brunswick Unitarian church.  He brought his guitar along and we will ask him to sing every chance we get.

Just days ago Joyakgol went to the US Army THAAD deployment site (at a former golf course near Seongju, South Korea) and climbed a mountain overlooking the site.  Here is a photo of him (on the left) along with Simone Curry and Sung-Hee Choi.


We are happy to have Joyakgol with us.  He has long been a key activist on Jeju Island working against the newly constructed Navy base that will be porting US warships including destroyers made at Bath Iron Works here in Maine.  It will be important for Mainers to hear directly from someone who can speak about how the Navy base in Gangjeong village has impacted that 500-year old fishing and farming village as well as the local environment.

Bruce

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Americans Pushed into Pro-war Frenzy



A recent study by the Chicago Council of Global Affairs finds that Americans seem to have developed a new taste for war. Why the shift in our collective views on military intervention?

Journalist Max Blumenthal tells RT America’s Manila Chan that the numbers reflect “a concerted campaign by the mainstream media and the national security state” to bring the public views in line with the elites’ agenda.

History of Deep State




Excellent reporting by the great Bill Moyers.....

Monday, October 09, 2017

My Prayer on Indigenous Peoples Day


We stole their lands and killed the people by the millions. We've done our best to destroy their culture and lock the remaining people into little boxes called reservations.

Most importantly we've tried to drown their wisdom, their native knowledge about how to live on the land, in a sea of green paper money - the green frog skins.

Sitting Bull told the story about when he went to the east coast with the Wild West Show and he sat on a door stoop in a bustling New York City neighborhood. All the little kids, the street urchins, came begging for coins. When he got back home to South Dakota Sitting Bull told the people, "We are in big trouble. You should see the way they treat their children."

Not only their children are left to fend for themselves on the streets but the water, the air, the plants, and the animals are being destroyed by this grinding machine of capital uber alles

The white man's culture won the war but it is a losing civilization. It has no heart and no soul. It teaches greed and possession. It teaches fear and hatred and retribution. It's called the business model. Free market - which means the rich are free to exploit everyone else and they are very good at it.

Let the native people's love for the Mother Earth come into our hearts on this day. Let us remember our connection to all things - the things that crawl, the things that swim, the things that fly - all our relatives.

The white man's greed and hunger for control and domination is now a global disease. This system has to have more oil, more military bases, more guns and missiles, more warplanes and drones, more bombs and more warships than anyone else.

It's a mental illness and all of us living in this culture are afflicted with it on some level.

Let today be the day that we recommit to decolonizing our own minds. Let our minds and our hearts be free again. Free to feel the energy and connection with our relatives in the living world.  Free to unshackle ourselves from the competition and consumption model.  Let us learn again about cooperation and mutual respect.

Life is the great mystery. It is to be lived as a free human being, not as a slave to the green frog skin way.

Bruce

The elites “have no credibility left”



An interview with journalist Chris Hedges
By David North

WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North interviewed Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, lecturer and former New York Times correspondent. Among Hedges’ best-known books are War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, The Death of the Liberal Class, Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, which he co-wrote with the cartoonist Joe Sacco, and Wages of Rebellion: the Moral Imperative of Revolt.
Chris Hedges

In an article published in Truthdig September 17, titled “The Silencing of Dissent,” Hedges referenced the WSWS coverage of Google’s censorship of left-wing sites and warned about the growth of “blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of ‘fake news.’”

Hedges wrote that “the Department of Justice called on RT America and its ‘associates’—which may mean people like me—to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. No doubt, the corporate state knows that most of us will not register as foreign agents, meaning we will be banished from the airwaves. This, I expect, is the intent.”

North’s interview with Hedges began with a discussion of the significance of the anti-Russia campaign in the media.

David North: How do you interpret the fixation on Russia and the entire interpretation of the election within the framework of Putin’s manipulation?

Chris Hedges: It’s as ridiculous as Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. It is an absolutely unproven allegation that is used to perpetuate a very frightening accusation—critics of corporate capitalism and imperialism are foreign agents for Russia.

I have no doubt that the Russians invested time, energy and money into attempting to influence events in the United States in ways that would serve their interests, in the same way that we have done and do in Russia and all sorts of other countries throughout the world. So I’m not saying there was no influence, or an attempt to influence events.

But the whole idea that the Russians swung the election to Trump is absurd. It’s really premised on the unproven claim that Russia gave the Podesta emails to WikiLeaks, and the release of these emails turned tens, or hundreds of thousands, of Clinton supporters towards Trump. This doesn’t make any sense. Either that, or, according to the director of national intelligence, RT America, where I have a show, got everyone to vote for the Green Party.

This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. It is the result of disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA that abolished good-paying union jobs and shipped them to places like Mexico, where workers without benefits are paid $3.00 an hour. It is the result of the explosion of a system of mass incarceration, begun by Bill Clinton with the 1994 omnibus crime bill, and the tripling and quadrupling of prison sentences. It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country.

Police forces have been turned into quasi-military entities that terrorize marginal communities, where people have been stripped of all of their rights and can be shot with impunity; in fact over three are killed a day. The state shoots and locks up poor people of color as a form of social control. They are quite willing to employ the same form of social control on any other segment of the population that becomes restive.

The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties—and remember, Barack Obama’s assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush—and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions.

Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Without Wall Street money, they would not hold political power. The Democratic Party doesn’t actually function as a political party. It’s about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater.

These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They’re not going to let it go, even if it all implodes.

DN: Chris, you worked for the New York Times. When was that, exactly?

CH: From 1990 to 2005.

DN: Since you have some experience with that institution, what changes do you see? We’ve stressed that it has cultivated a constituency among the affluent upper-middle class.

CH: The New York Times consciously targets 30 million upper-middle class and affluent Americans. It is a national newspaper; only about 11 percent of its readership is in New York. It is very easy to see who the Times seeks to reach by looking at its special sections on Home, Style, Business or Travel. Here, articles explain the difficulty of maintaining, for example, a second house in the Hamptons. It can do good investigative work, although not often. It covers foreign affairs. But it reflects the thinking of the elites. I read the Times every day, maybe to balance it out with your web site.

DN: Well, I hope more than balance it.

CH: Yes, more than balance it. The Times was always an elitist publication, but it wholly embraced the ideology of neo-conservatism and neoliberalism at a time of financial distress, when Abe Rosenthal was editor. He was the one who instituted the special sections that catered to the elite. And he imposed a de facto censorship to shut out critics of unfettered capitalism and imperialism, such as Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn. He hounded out reporters like Sydney Schanberg, who challenged the real estate developers in New York, or Raymond Bonner, who reported the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador.

He had lunch every week, along with his publisher, with William F. Buckley. This pivot into the arms of the most retrograde forces of corporate capitalism and proponents of American imperialism, for a time, made the paper very profitable. Eventually, of course, the rise of the internet, the loss of classified ads, which accounted for about 40 percent of all newspaper revenue, crippled the Times as it has crippled all newspapers. Newsprint has lost the monopoly that once connected sellers with buyers. Newspapers are trapped in an old system of information they call “objectivity” and “balance,” formulae designed to cater to the powerful and the wealthy and obscure the truth. But like all Byzantine courts, the Times will go down clinging to its holy grail.

The intellectual gravitas of the paper—in particular the Book Review and the Week in Review—was obliterated by Bill Keller, himself a neocon, who, as a columnist, had been a cheerleader for the war in Iraq. He brought in figures like Sam Tanenhaus. At that point the paper embraced, without any dissent, the utopian ideology of neoliberalism and the primacy of corporate power as an inevitable form of human progress. The Times, along with business schools, economics departments at universities, and the pundits promoted by the corporate state, propagated the absurd idea that we would all be better off if we prostrated every sector of society before the dictates of the marketplace. It takes a unique kind of stupidity to believe this. You had students at Harvard Business School doing case studies of Enron and its brilliant business model, that is, until Enron collapsed and was exposed as a gigantic scam. This was never, really, in the end, about ideas. It was about unadulterated greed. It was pushed by the supposedly best educated among us, like Larry Summers, which exposes the lie that somehow our decline is due to deficient levels of education. It was due to a bankrupt and amoral elite, and the criminal financial institutions that make them rich.

Critical thinking on the op-ed page, the Week in Review or the Book Review, never very strong to begin with, evaporated under Keller. Globalization was beyond questioning. Since the Times, like all elite institutions, is a hermetically sealed echo chamber, they do not realize how irrelevant they are becoming, or how ridiculous they look. Thomas Friedman and David Brooks might as well write for the Onion.

I worked overseas. I wasn’t in the newsroom very much, but the paper is a very anxiety-ridden place. The rules aren’t written on the walls, but everyone knows, even if they do not articulate it, the paper’s unofficial motto: Do not significantly alienate those upon whom we depend for money and access! You can push against them some of the time. But if you are a serious reporter, like Charlie Leduff, or Sydney Schanberg, who wants to give a voice to people who don’t have a voice, to address issues of race, class, capitalist exploitation or the crimes of empire, you very swiftly become a management problem and get pushed out. Those who rise in the organization and hold power are consummate careerists. Their loyalty is to their advancement and the stature and profitability of the institution, which is why the hierarchy of the paper is filled with such mediocrities. Careerism is the paper’s biggest Achilles heel. It does not lack for talent. But it does lack for intellectual independence and moral courage. It reminds me of Harvard.

DN: Let’s come back to this question of the Russian hacking news story. You raised the ability to generate a story, which has absolutely no factual foundation, nothing but assertions by various intelligence agencies, presented as an assessment that is beyond question. What is your evaluation of this?

CH: The commercial broadcast networks, and that includes CNN and MSNBC, are not in the business of journalism. They hardly do any. Their celebrity correspondents are courtiers to the elite. They speculate about and amplify court gossip, which is all the accusations about Russia, and they repeat what they are told to repeat. They sacrifice journalism and truth for ratings and profit. These cable news shows are one of many revenue streams in a corporate structure. They compete against other revenue streams. The head of CNN, Jeff Zucker, who helped create the fictional persona of Donald Trump on “Celebrity Apprentice,” has turned politics on CNN into a 24-hour reality show. All nuance, ambiguity, meaning and depth, along with verifiable fact, are sacrificed for salacious entertainment. Lying, racism, bigotry and conspiracy theories are given platforms and considered newsworthy, often espoused by people whose sole quality is that they are unhinged. It is news as burlesque.

I was on the investigative team at the New York Times during the lead-up to the Iraq War. I was based in Paris and covered Al Qaeda in Europe and the Middle East. Lewis Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and maybe somebody in an intelligence agency, would confirm whatever story the administration was attempting to pitch. Journalistic rules at the Times say you can’t go with a one-source story. But if you have three or four supposedly independent sources confirming the same narrative, then you can go with it, which is how they did it. The paper did not break any rules taught at Columbia journalism school, but everything they wrote was a lie.

The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, ‘as the Times reported….’ It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced.

DN: The CIA pitches the story, and then the Times gets the verification from those who pitch it to them.

CH: It’s not always pitched. And not much of this came from the CIA. The CIA wasn’t buying the “weapons of mass destruction” hysteria.

DN: It goes the other way too?

CH: Sure. Because if you’re trying to have access to a senior official, you’ll constantly be putting in requests, and those officials will decide when they want to see you. And when they want to see you, it’s usually because they have something to sell you.

DN: The media’s anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the “left.”

CH: Well, don’t get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left—not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that’s steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease.

If you attempt to debate most of those on the supposedly left, they reduce discussion to this cartoonish vision of politics.

The serious left in this country was decimated. It started with the suppression of radical movements under Woodrow Wilson, then the “Red Scares” in the 1920s, when they virtually destroyed our labor movement and our radical press, and then all of the purges in the 1950s. For good measure, they purged the liberal class—look at what they did to Henry Wallace—so that Cold War “liberals” equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch.

I’ve battled continuously with Antifa and the Black Bloc. I think they’re kind of poster children for what I would consider phenomenal political immaturity. Resistance is not a form of personal catharsis. We are not fighting the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down.

So Trump’s not the problem. But just that sentence alone is going to kill most discussions with people who consider themselves part of the left.

The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won’t get academic appointments. You won’t win prizes. You won’t get grants. The New York Times, if they review your book, will turn it over to a dutiful mandarin like George Packer to trash it—as he did with my last book. The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!

Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.

DN: What about the impact that you’ve seen of identity politics in America?

CH: Well, identity politics defines the immaturity of the left. The corporate state embraced identity politics. We saw where identity politics got us with Barack Obama, which is worse than nowhere. He was, as Cornel West said, a black mascot for Wall Street, and now he is going around to collect his fees for selling us out.

My favorite kind of anecdotal story about identity politics: Cornel West and I, along with others, led a march of homeless people on the Democratic National Convention session in Philadelphia. There was an event that night. It was packed with hundreds of people, mostly angry Bernie Sanders supporters. I had been asked to come speak. And in the back room, there was a group of younger activists, one who said, “We’re not letting the white guy go first.” Then he got up and gave a speech about how everybody now had to vote for Hillary Clinton. That’s kind of where identity politics gets you. There is a big difference between shills for corporate capitalism and imperialism, like Corey Booker and Van Jones, and true radicals like Glen Ford and Ajamu Baraka. The corporate state carefully selects and promotes women, or people of color, to be masks for its cruelty and exploitation.

It is extremely important, obviously, that those voices are heard, but not those voices that have sold out to the power elite. The feminist movement is a perfect example of this. The old feminism, which I admire, the Andrea Dworkin kind of feminism, was about empowering oppressed women. This form of feminism did not try to justify prostitution as sex work. It knew that it is just as wrong to abuse a woman in a sweatshop as it is in the sex trade. The new form of feminism is an example of the poison of neoliberalism. It is about having a woman CEO or woman president, who will, like Hillary Clinton, serve the systems of oppression. It posits that prostitution is about choice. What woman, given a stable income and security, would choose to be raped for a living? Identity politics is anti-politics.

DN: I believe you spoke at a Socialist Convergence conference where you criticized Obama and Sanders, and you were shouted down.

CH: Yes, I don’t even remember. I’ve been shouted down criticizing Obama in many places, including Berkeley. I have had to endure this for a long time as a supporter and speech writer for Ralph Nader. People don’t want the illusion of their manufactured personalities, their political saviors, shattered; personalities created by public relations industries. They don’t want to do the hard work of truly understanding how power works and organizing to bring it down.

DN: You mentioned that you have been reading the World Socialist Web Site for some time. You know we are quite outside of that framework.

CH: I’m not a Marxist. I’m not a Trotskyist. But I like the site. You report on important issues seriously and in a way a lot of other sites don’t. You care about things that are important to me—mass incarceration, the rights and struggles of the working class and the crimes of empire. I have read the site for a long time.

DN: Much of what claims to be left—that is, the pseudo-left—reflects the interests of the affluent middle class.

CH: Precisely. When everybody was, you know, pushing for multiculturalism in lead institutions, it really meant filtering a few people of color or women into university departments or newsrooms, while carrying out this savage economic assault against the working poor and, in particular, poor people of color in deindustrialized pockets of the United States. Very few of these multiculturalists even noticed. I am all for diversity, but not when it is devoid of economic justice. Cornel West has been one of the great champions, not only of the black prophetic tradition, the most important intellectual tradition in our history, but the clarion call for justice in all its forms. There is no racial justice without economic justice. And while these elite institutions sprinkled a few token faces into their hierarchy, they savaged the working class and the poor, especially poor people of color.

Much of the left was fooled by the identity politics trick. It was a boutique activism. It kept the corporate system, the one we must destroy, intact. It gave it a friendly face.

DN: The World Socialist Web Site has made the issue of inequality a central focus of its coverage.

CH: That’s why I read it and like it.

DN: Returning to the Russia issue, where do you see this going? How seriously do you see this assault on democratic rights? We call this the new McCarthyism. Is that, in your view, a legitimate analogy?

CH: Yes, of course it’s the new McCarthyism. But let’s acknowledge how almost irrelevant our voices are.

DN: I don’t agree with you on that.

CH: Well, irrelevant in the sense that we’re not heard within the mainstream. When I go to Canada I am on the CBC on prime time. The same is true in France. That never happens here. PBS and NPR are never going to do that. Nor are they going to do that for any other serious critic of capitalism or imperialism.

If there is a debate about attacking Syria, for example, it comes down to bombing Syria or bombing Syria and sending in troops, as if these are the only two options. Same with health care. Do we have Obamacare, a creation of the Heritage Foundation and the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, or no care? Universal health care for all is not discussed. So we are on the margins. But that does not mean we are not dangerous. Neoliberalism and globalization are zombie ideologies. They have no credibility left. The scam has been found out. The global oligarchs are hated and reviled. The elite has no counterargument to our critique. So they can’t afford to have us around. As the power elite becomes more frightened, they’re going to use harsher forms of control, including the blunt instrument of censorship and violence.

DN: I think it can be a big mistake to be focused on the sense of isolation or marginalization. I’ll make a prediction. You will have, probably sooner than you think, more requests for interviews and television time. We are in a period of colossal political breakdown. We are going to see, more and more, the emergence of the working class as a powerful political force.

CH: That’s why we are a target. With the bankruptcy of the ruling ideology, and the bankruptcy of the American liberal class and the American left, those who hold fast to intellectual depth and an examination of systems of power, including economics, culture and politics, have to be silenced.

~ Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, New York Times best selling author, former professor at Princeton University, activist and ordained Presbyterian minister.

Staggering Reality of US-NATO Wars



The Costs of War Project is a team of 35 scholars, legal experts, human rights practitioners, and physicians, which began its work in 2011. We use research and a public website to facilitate debate about the costs of the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the related violence in Pakistan and Syria. There are many hidden or unacknowledged costs of the United States’ decision to respond to the 9/11 attacks with military force. We aim to foster democratic discussion of these wars by providing the fullest possible account of their human, economic, and political costs, and to foster better informed public policies.

Project Goals:

  • To account for and illustrate the wars’ costs in human lives among all categories of person affected by them, both in the US and in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan;
  • To tell as accessible as possible a story of the wars’ costs in US federal and local dollars, including the long-term financial legacy of the wars in the US;
  • To assess the public health consequences of the wars, including for the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan and for US veterans living with war injuries and illnesses;
  • To describe how these wars have changed the political landscape of the US and the countries where the wars have been waged, including the status of women in the war zones, the degree to which Iraq and Afghanistan’s fledgling democracies are inclusive and transparent, and the state of civil liberties and human rights in the US;
  • To identify less costly and more effective ways to prevent further terror attacks.
Further information is available from Project co-Directors Catherine Lutz, Neta Crawford, and Stephanie Savell

Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs (Brown University)

The Young Shall Lead Us......


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Keep Space for Peace Week Begins



Keep Space for Peace Week (October 7-14) began with an event in South Korea opposing US deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) 'missile defense' system.

Global Network advisory board member Sung-Hee Choi reports:

On October 7, people gathered in Soseong-ri for song contest event and took a photo/video together with the banners of Keep Space for Peace Week and deceased Cho Youngsam (who immolated on Sept. 19 in opposition to THAAD).

We shouted slogan, "Pull Out the THAAD and plant the Peace!" It was after People's song contest which followed a 20 minute presentation on the relation between the No THAAD campaign and Keep Space for Peace Week.
Soseong-ri in Seongju is located just next to Gimcheon. It is a small village lived by around 160 people - mostly elderly women and men farming melons. The residents and their supporters have been protesting day and night since the former Lotte Skyhill Country Club (LCC) site in Soseong-ri was discussed as the planned THAAD deployment site in August, last year.

A radar and two launchers of THAAD system were forcefully deployed in the former LCC on April 26, this year. And deployment of additional four THAAD launchers were enforced on Sept 7. On the day, 500 people resisted for 18 hours. Even after the completion of THAAD deployment, people in Soseong-ri are continuing their daily protest demanding the removal of THAAD. They also hold a regular rally every Wednesday in front of Soseong-ri village hall, which started on Nov 30, 2016.

Recently a man named Cho Young-sam immolated himself against THAAD in Seoul on Sept. 19. On the day of his funeral on Sept. 23, a procession in memory of his will against THAAD was extended to Soseong-ri, too.
(Video by event participant)

Here in Maine we held a vigil at Bath Iron Works as the Saturday mid-day shift was getting off work.  We stood outside the South Gate with a new Aegis destroyer (outfitted with 'missile defense' systems) on-board looming in the background.  The warships will soon be heading for shores near Russia and China as the corporate-run US foreign policy tightens the noose.....

You can see the full list of space week actions here

Sunday Song