March 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
TWO WOMEN WHO’VE put their asses on the line to stop Washington’s War on the World:
First: Mom of Steel/super(s)hero Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq, then became an antiwar movement celebrity — until the fickle, Democrat-based movement folded with the Obama election. Sheehan appeared on the Jack Blood show to discuss the Nobel Peace President’s historic warmongering:
Obama has expanded into thirty-five African countries. Either troops, or drones, or both, are in thirty-five African countries. What other president could have gotten away with that without a even a peep? … He has bombed, or is bombing, eight Muslim countries. The very future of my grandchildren, and your children, and all the children in the world is compromised because of what our empire does. And it is time for people to stop being silent about it. It doesn’t matter who’s president. We need to raise some ruckus now.
Sheehan’s Tour de Peace will hit the road this spring, biking across the country to raise awareness about all the war on the world being managed by the empire’s “black mascot.” Support Cindy, support Jack, and speak out — or figure out something else to do to stop the war machine before you find it swiveled around and aimed straight at you.
‘Politicians are absolutely not
going to stop the war’
SIXTIES “TERRORIST” BERNADINE Dohrn interviewed in Chicago Weekly:
CW: As someone who is recognized as one of the leading figures of student activism in the sixties, do you believe the popular critique that university students—at schools like the UofC and Northwestern—are becoming less “active” and more apolitical?
BD: Well, first of all, the sixties were overrated. This is just a fact. [The decade] has been both demonized and romanticized in equal measure. We did have the greatest music. [Laughs] But still, it’s ridiculous. We wouldn’t have this state of permanent war, this prison gulag, no jobs and massive debts for you guys if we had been successful. It just wasn’t true that it was this state of permanent uprising. I traveled for three years as the leader of SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] and for the Lawyers Guild, speaking at different schools. No matter where you went, what you heard from the organizers at that school was, “Everybody’s apathetic. We can’t get anybody out. We wish we were more like Michigan State.” So then I’d go to talk at Michigan State and they’d say, “It’s pathetic, we can’t get anyone out, we’re not Ann Arbor.” I’d go to Ann Arbor and they’d say, “We’re not Columbia.” At Columbia they’d say, “We’re not Paris!” There is this constant anxiety of organizers where they just don’t feel like they’re at the epicenter of what’s happening. But, you know, we don’t get to pick our political moment. People want to feel useful and engaged in a way that inspires our best selves, but it’s like there is a big “Brave New World”–style machine in our ears whispering every night that what you do won’t make a difference.
It’s important for the people who have all the power to make the status quo seem inevitable. The challenge is to live in your moment. Your generation today is smarter than we were, more global than we were, more knowledgeable about the world, more multicultural. That’s a lot, you know. We were coming out of the fifties. We were just trying to fight away the blinders.
CW: As many people know, you and Bill Ayers were drawn into the 2008 election somewhat unwillingly and accused of being Obama’s so-called “radical neighbors.” Do you feel there is a difficulty, generally, with being seen as a member of the “radical left”? Is it more difficult to negotiate with those who are seen as more moderate political figures?
BD: No. First of all, I don’t think we were ever very extreme. I don’t accept that definition. We were part of the anti-war movement. It’s been rewritten and rewritten and rewritten that Bill and I were “terrorists,” but it just isn’t true. The anti-war movement caused almost no deaths; at least we certainly didn’t. Compared to the monstrous crimes that were being committed in our [country’s] name, this was a very restrained movement. What were the choices? The people who joined the Democratic Party—did they help stop the war? The people who went to communes? Some of our friends went to factories to try and organize workers and radicalize unions…you know these are all good things to do. Was there a single right thing to do, and was that to be nice to politicians? Politicians are absolutely not going to stop the war. I don’t say it’s wrong to do that [practice political negotiation], but I object to this self-righteousness of moderates that “if only those radicals would go away, we could really do this.” There is no evidence of that. None. I am very eclectic about where change can come from.
Full interview here.
March 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
IT’S A FOUR-FOR-ONE! This entry is in celebration of not only Casimir Pulaski Day (in the State of Illinois); it’s also in celebration of Black History Month (retroactively), the upcoming pope change, and St. Patrick’s Month, all in one!
In a book about his career as press secretary for the late Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, Frank Sullivan touched upon the difference between political smarts and political stupids.
For instance: Polish-American aldermen had won a years-long court battle to rename Crawford Avenue to Pulaski Road, in honor of the Revolutionary War hero. In a City Council session, the Poles came forth, one after the other, to gloat about their great “victory.”
What did Daley, and his floor leader, Alderman Keane, think of this?
Keane and Daley were thinking, “poor fools” — twenty-five years of political activity to change the name of a street while, during that time, Irish politicians were handling all the jobs, making all the appointments, slating candidates for office, and controlling all contracts. No Irish politician in the history of the world ever thought the name of a street was important.
Daley had a keen, innate sense of the weaknesses of people and ethnic groups, and used them to great advantage. Daley knew
that black politicians, who had a special responsibility to remain loyal to their constituents, often were among the first to be bought; blacks also wanted mayoral proclamations – proclamations honoring Muhammad Ali, Elijah Muhammad, proclaiming Nancy Wilson Day in Chicago, Lou Rawls Day, etc. No Irish politician ever asked that a day be proclaimed in anybody’s name. But each day the Mayor’s office was besieged by black politicians seeking to have days proclaimed.
In this way Daley was not unlike other Irish-American bosses, like Boston’s James Curley, who liked to buy off the Italian-Americans on the cheap. They didn’t get any political offices, contracts, or other real privileges, but
he would arrange, as a substitute, to put up a new statue of Garibaldi, Mother Cabrini or Columbus. As a result, Boston to this day is filled with such statues as a reminder of how an ethnic group can be dissuaded for a while from attaining its rightful objectives.