Friday, April 29, 2011

Why U.S. Political Prisoner Lynne Stewart's 10-Year Sentence Is Illegal: Part 3

In a legal brief that was submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals on March 30, 2011, U.S. civil rights attorneys Jill Shellow and Robert Boyle indicated why the current imprisonment of U.S. civil rights attorney and anti-war Movement lawyer Lynne Stewart for 10 years in a Texas federal prison by the Democratic Obama Administration is apparently an illegal violation of her human rights. Following is another excerpt from this legal brief:

"The enhanced punishment imposed on Ms. Stewart is not only a private grievance between her and the government. When the constitutional right to speak freely, on a subject of public importance, is taken from Ms. Stewart, it is taken from all of us.

"It is well settled that a defendant may not be subjected to a higher sentence for invoking her constitutional rights. See United States v. Tim Yat Chin, 476 F.3d 144.147 (2d Cir. 2007)...

"Judge Koeltl's reliance on United States v. Martinucci, 561 F.3d 533 (2d Cir. 2009) to increase Ms. Steweart's sentence was also error...Martinucci is...wholly irrelevant to Ms. Stewart's First Amendment claims.

"The defendant in Martinucci repeatedly raped a 10-year-old girl, and videotaped the conduct...Thus, Martinucci provides no basis for justifying the substantial increase in Ms. Stewart's sentence based upon her extra-judicial post-conviction and post-stentencing statements to the press and public..."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Columbia and Barnard Anti-War Students Oppose Return of ROTC to Columbia University Campus in 2011

On their "No ROTC" blog, the anti-war students at Columbia University and Barnard College who have been opposing the undemocratically made decision of the Columbia Administration of Washington Post Company board member, Federal Reserve Bank of New York board member and Columbia University President Lee Bollinger to begin training U.S. military officers for the Pentagon's endless war in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan-(and Libya) on Columbia's campus indicated why ROTC and NROTC should still be banned at Columbia University in 2011:

"The Coalition Opposed to ROTC is deeply dismayed to learn of the Senate resolution calling for the return of ROTC to Columbia, which was circulated in campus media on Monday, March 21st. Here, we challenge the primary assumptions used to justify this resolution.

1. `Whereas the Yellow Ribbon program gives veterans opportunities to study at Columbia'
Yes, and this is incredibly valuable. Yet having veterans study in class, as students, is completely different than having military officers trained on campus, where Columbia will allow Armed Forces personnel to equip uniformed students with the relevant skills necessary to lead military units– be this in weapons usage, counterinsurgency tactics, physical prowess, or other forms of training that are markedly different than the classes those who participate in the Yellow Ribbon program attend.

2. 'Whereas Columbia’s military engagement has been commended by the military'
Since when has wining plaudits from the military become something a university should be proud of? But more importantly, “military engagement” as it already exists on campus, with current and former members of the military studying in large numbers at Columbia, is completely separate from ROTC. Such students are valuable members of the Columbia community, but ROTC represents a radically different type of relationship, and embracing of the military as an institution (and not as diverse individuals associated with it).

3. 'Whereas the Task Force discovered broad support on campus for increased military engagement in 2005'
As mentioned above, the overarching phrase “military engagement” does not equate to support for ROTC. To engage with the military can mean anything from organizing classes, seminars, or lectures on the military, to expanding support for the G.I. Bill. Each instantiation of this engagement must be considered in its specificity. Moreover, it is disturbing that the resolution ignores the outcomes of the discussions on campus in 2008, when strong opposition to ROTC was recorded across campus, partly, but certainly not exclusively due to DADT.

4. 'Whereas there is an off-campus ROTC program'
Yes, there is. In fact, the Solomon Amendment prevents Columbia from obstructing participation in ROTC or military recruitment on campus, under threat of the withdrawal of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, so this is a non-issue. Moreover, for individuals to support an off-campus ROTC program is essentially to think that everyone should have the right to choose what to do with their lives – just as many students pursue jobs, internships and other courses off campus. It is the militarization through ROTC of Columbia, our campus and our community, that we oppose.

5. 'Whereas DADT was repealed'
Yes, it was. The previous existence of DADT is not the reason for our opposition to ROTC. Discrimination (including against transgender individuals), sexual violence, obedience to authority, and the harsh disciplining of those who speak out still characterizes the military. The military, the defensive apparatus of the state, will never be an ideal employer, no matter what changes its internal policy undergoes. A more egalitarian military will not change its fundamental role in asserting American power abroad by force and violence.

6. 'Whereas Obama, a Columbia alumnus, called on college campuses to embrace military recruitment and ROTC'
If every famous Columbia alumnus had some say over Columbia’s decisions, university governance would be in absolute disarray. If the President of this country is a guide for our decisions, this sets a dangerous precedent for the autonomy of academic institutions. And when it comes to the military alone, Obama has seen the expansion of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the escalation of indiscriminate drone attacks in Pakistan, the recent bombardment of Libya, and the incarceration and likely torture of military whistleblower Bradley Manning, among many other things. Surely the White House is not the source of inspiration for Columbia’s policy.

7. 'Whereas the Tien Special Committee in 1976 decided that the Senate will make decisions relevant to military engagement'
This point is indeed entirely accurate. We will wait and see what happens when this goes to vote in the larger Senate body on April 1st. However, it is clear this push is *not* coming from the elected Senate as a whole but a very specific group of people with a clearly biased interest in pushing this decision through as quickly as possible.

8. 'Whereas the Task Force “has conducted a broad and representative process” showing widespread support for expanding Columbia’s ties with the military and ROTC'
This final point amounts to the most egregious statement in the entire resolution put forth by the Executive Committee. Multiple faculty and students, whether proponents of, opponents to, or indifferent over ROTC, have pointed out the numerous procedural flaws in the Task Force process. Not once was information disseminated with regards to the details of what ROTC would mean. It is still not clear how the University expects to maintain the right to control curriculum, faculty appointment, and the provision of space for ROTC training, when this was the precise reason for ROTC leaving Columbia in the first place. It is still not clear whether ROTC will bring increased military recruiters to campus or to the Harlem community. It is still not clear what the details of financial aid will be for students who enroll in the program, what their commitment to service upon graduation will consist of, and what the consequences might be for a student who chooses to drop out part-way. Not once was the military publicly consulted to see whether they would even want to return to Columbia, and if so under what conditions. No one has explained why the urgency and rapid pace with which this decision is moving forward. The public hearings conducted provided no space for discussion, dialogue, or debate, and Task Force members individually refused to answer questions posed to them afterwords. The opening speech of Dean Moody-Adams at the second hearing blatantly advocated for the return of ROTC, and members of the Task Force have previous histories of taking explicit positions in support of ROTC, yet the Task Force purported to maintain some pretense of neutrality. No one was told how the hearings would be weighed in terms of the final report, and those of us who attended each session in fact recorded a small majority of speakers at each hearing voice opposition to ROTC.

As for numbers, the poll conducted by the Task Force was open to less than half of Columbia’s schools, excluding over 50% of the student population (approx. 26,400) including all non-professional Graduate Students, as well as Columbia’s approximately 3,600 faculty members (not to mention 11,000 staff). Out of the 44% of students who were even eligible (11,629), 19% participated (2,252), and 60% (1,351) recorded support for ROTC’s return to campus. This amounts to approximately 5% of Columbia students supporting ROTC’s return. It is as outrageous for the resolution to refer to this proportion as “widespread support” as to claim that the Task Force conducted a “broad and representative process”.

9. 'Be it Resolved that Columbia constructively engage the military and educate future military leaders'
The first conclusion of this resolution simply acknowledges that Columbia currently engages the military in some capacity (and educating American citizens implies educating future military and political leaders both). As noted above, constructive engagement does not necessitate the return of ROTC. In fact, as we have argued, any desire to uphold the integrity of Columbia’s education and the principles of teaching, critical debate, and committed research that characterize this institution must preclude such a partnership.

10. 'Be it further resolved that Columbia welcomes the opportunity to explore further mutually beneficial relationships with the military, including ROTC'
We are greatly concerned that this resolution not only welcomes ROTC back, but attempts to set a precedent for the further entrenchment of the U.S. military at Columbia. It is not incidental that this call is being made at a time when America is engaged in two highly unpopular, deeply violent and costly wars. Columbia should certainly continue an open conversation about what forms of relationship with the military are most beneficial to its values. However, this process must be one that is truly accessible and inclusive, something the recent work of the Task Force was not. Moreover, for whom exactly is this relationship ‘mutually beneficial’? Economically underprivileged students, who rather than accessing unconditional financial aid must sign an advanced contract and be willing to risk both their own lives and the lives of others in order to access a premier education? American students who want to participate in ROTC, and will now be saved a short commute across the city in exchange for what will necessitate a significant restructuring of standard Columbia curriculum, hiring practices, and the use of campus space? International students, many of whom have intimate experiences of or connections to the destruction wrought by the U.S. military around the world in the past century, and others who are grateful to have left countries where the violence of military rule permeates day-to-day life? We are left to wonder.

11. 'Be it further resolved that Provost will maintain control over questions of academic credit, appointment, governance, etc. and nothing will contravene the University’s current policies'
In fact, the U.S. law that governs the ROTC program, most recently updated in February, 2010 states otherwise. In the general military law, part 3, chapter 103, which is the ROTC portion, under section 2012 on establishment of ROTC programs, Part B reads: “No unit may be established or maintained at an institution unless (1) the senior commissioned officer of the armed force concerned who is assigned to the program at that institution is given the academic rank of professor. (2) The institution fulfills the terms of its agreement with the secretary of the military department concerned, and (3) the institution adopts as part of its curriculum a four-year course in military instruction or a two-year course of advanced training of military instruction or both, which the secretary of the military department concerned prescribes and conducts” [1]. If this is the case and Columbia invites ROTC to its campus, the university must adhere to these laws should ROTC decide to enforce them.

12. 'Be it further resolved that any further relationships with the Army will be subject to periodic review'
There is no doubt that such periodic review is important. However, we categorically and unequivocally reject this entire resolution, both flawed and politically biased as it is, and will continue to voice our opposition to the reintroduction of ROTC at Columbia as this highly undemocratic process unfolds before us.'

[1]. 10 U.S.C. § 2102 : US Code – Section 2102: Establishment

Friday, April 22, 2011

George Galloway Speaks Out Against US/UK/NATO Military Intervention In Libya

Why U.S. Political Prisoner Lynne Stewart's 10-Year Sentence Is Illegal: Part 2

In a legal brief that was submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals on March 30, 2011, U.S. civil rights attorneys Jill Shellow and Robert Boyle indicated why the current imprisonment of U.S. civil rights attorney and anti-war Movement lawyer Lynne Stewart for 10 years in a Texas federal prison by the Democratic Obama Administration is apparently an illegal violation of her human rights. Following is another excerpt from this legal brief:

"Lynne Stewart's statements after her conviction and sentencing were protected by the first amendment and it was error to use them to enhance her punishment.

"...The primary issue raised by this appeal is the unfair enhancement of Ms. Stewart's sentence based on her speech to supporters and the press after her conviction and immediately after the original sentence was imposed.

"The cruel harvest of that speech--the increase of her sentence from 28 months to 10 years imprisonment--strikes at the heart of the First Amendment and is constitutionally intolerable...

"At resentencing, the judge had before him essentially the same materials that were presented at the earlier sentencing. And, because there had been no unaddressed deficiencies in the Court's first seentence, and there had been no significant changes in Ms. Stewart's circumstances, the defense urged that she was entitled to have the original sentence re-imposed.

"The government urged that she should be sentenced to prison for at least 15 years, in part because of the public statements after her conviction and original sentencing. The trial judge accepted the government's claims and used Lynne Stewart's words to enlarge her sentence from 28 months to ten years..."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why U.S. Political Prisoner Lynne Stewart's 10-Year Sentence Is Illegal: Part 1

In a legal brief that was submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals on March 30, 2011, U.S. civil rights attorneys Jill Shellow and Robert Boyle indicated why the current imprisonment of U.S. civil rights attorney and anti-war Movement lawyer Lynne Stewart for 10 years in a Texas federal prison by the Democratic Obama Administration is apparently an illegal violation of her human rights. Following is an excerpt from this legal brief:

"First, the four-fold increase in Ms. Stewart's sentence was imposed in violation of her right to free speech and expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Acknowledging that there were no other changes in circumstances between 2006 and 2010, the lower court explicity relied on public statements made by Ms. Stewart--themselves taken out of context--to enhance her term of incarceration.

"Second, procedural error was committed when the District Court enhanced Ms. Stewart's offense level under the advisory Guidelines for obstruction of justice and abuse of trust. Given the government's tacit approval of the prior actions of her co-counsel in violation of the Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), it was reasonable for Ms. Stewart to believe that they afforded her discretion to take the actions that she did. Accordingly, she did not commit perjury and did not abuse a position of trust.

"Finally, the 120-month term imposed by the lower court is manifestly unjust. Confronted with virtually identical facts in 2006, the District Court determined that a 28-month term was `sufficient but not greater than necessary' to satisfy the goals of sentencing...Ms. Stewart is a 71 year-old woman in poor health who has devoted the bulk of her life to representing the poor and unpopular for little or no renumeration. The term imposed is far grater than necessary to achieve the goals set forth in 18 U.S.C. {}3553(a) and creates a real possibility that she will spend the rest of her life in prison..."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Chuck Turner"

"Oh, my name it is Chuck Turner
And I'm in a prison cell
Far away in West Virginia
That's where I'm forced to dwell
In a lonely section of the penitentiary
And while I'm locked behind the walls,
I recall what they did to me.

"I grew up in Cincinnati
Then attended Harvard U.
I became an organizer
And to Roxbury I did move
To the Boston City Council
The people did vote me
And as their representative
I served diligently.

"I fought discrimination
By the universities
And demanded that developers
Cease to be greedy
I fought to regulate their rents
And for Boston tenants' rights
And denounced police brutality
And the wars Bush launched at night.

"They could not defeat me at the polls
In six elections
So Ashcroft's partner and the FBI
Began a collaboration
They paid an informant thirty grand
To tape me secretly
And illegally tried to entrap me
For proposing a public hearing.

"Although I was elected
By the people of Roxbury
A corrupt U.S. Attorney
Charged me with `bribe-taking'
To cover-up his misconduct
The Feds arrested me
And from Boston's City Council
I was expelled illegally.

"Then after a press-rigged trial
The biased judge sentenced me
And because I pleaded innocent
He accused me of `perjury'
And added more months in prison
`Cause I spoke at some meetings
And imprisoned me for three long years
`Though my age is seventy.

"Yes, my name it is Chuck Turner
And I'm in a prison cell
Far away in West Virginia
That's where I'm forced to dwell
In a lonely section of the penitentiary
And although I'm locked behind the wall,
Boston now wants me FREE!"

The public domain "Chuck Turner" biographical protest folk song about the Chuck Turner-FBI Entrapment Case was written shortly after former anti-war Boston City Councilor and current U.S. political prisoner Chuck Turner was imprisoned at the Hazelwood Penitentiary in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia in late March 2011. Its lyrics can be sung to the tune of the traditional Scottish folk song, "Come, All Ye Tramps and Hawkers."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ROTC Must Still Be Banned At Columbia University In 2011: Excerpt from a Columbia Graduate School of Journalism Interview

In a recent interview with a journalism student at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, I indicated why the Columbia University Administration should not bring ROTC or NROTC back to Columbia University's campus in 2011:

What objections, if any, do you have regarding the return of the ROTC today?

Bob Feldman [BF]:The return of a ROTC program to Columbia’s campus would represent a decision by the Columbia Administration to, on an institutional level, contribute to the Pentagon’s military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2011. If you think it’s moral for the U.S. government to continue waging war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, then it probably would seem o.k. morally to you for Columbia University to start training U.S. military officers on its campus.

But what if, like me, you think that it’s immoral for the U.S. government to continue waging war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? Then wouldn’t it also be then immoral for Columbia University to contribute to prolonging this U.S. military intervention by training U.S. military officers who will be participating in this unjust and endless war?

In recent years, for example, 80 percent of all students who were trained on Cornell University’s campus by that Ivy League School’s ROTC program have served as U.S. military officers in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, if you check out the Wikipedia entry for “Reserve Officers Training Corps,” it seems to indicate that in recent years U.S. university ROTC programs have been producing 39 percent of all active-duty officers for the Pentagon—20 percent of all active duty U.S. Navy officers, 41 percent of all officers for the U.S. Air Force which has dropped bombs that kill civilians on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and 56 percent of all active duty U.S. Army officers (many of whom have—after being trained by U.S. universities—been involved in the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, for example).

Or to put my objections another way. Imagine that you were a German student at a German university in late 1940 and you were examining the ways that German universities were contributing to the German war effort and occupation in Poland and France, for example. One way might be that science professors at German universities were doing research for the German Ministry of Defense. And another way might be that German universities were training some of their students to serve as German military officers in the German war machine that bombed and occupied Poland, France and other countries.

And imagine that you had discovered in 1940 that thousands of civilians had been killed in Poland and elsewhere by the same German military that the science professors at the German university you attended were doing research for; and that the German university you attended was training some of its students to be military officers for the German military? Wouldn’t you then feel that you had an internationalist moral and humanitarian obligation to do all that you could to stop the German university that you attended from training officers for the German military on your campus?

In addition, even if you don’t object to what’s been done overseas to foreign civilians and to the foreign soldiers, foreign insurgents and U.S. soldiers who have been casualties of the endless Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan military intervention by the U.S. government, an objection to the return of ROTC can be made on the philosophical basis that U.S. universities should be in the business of the pursuit of knowledge and the promotion of humanism and pacifism; and not be involved in training its students in ROTC courses like “the art of war” and the killing of the people that the U.S. government decides is now “the enemy.”

Before the DADT law was in place, what were the guidelines barring ROTC from being a campus activity: in other words, what do you see was the reason for its absence in the 1970s and 1980s?

BF:The official grounds for barring ROTC from being a campus activity before the DADT by most of the Ivy League administrations and their faculty committees may sometimes have been that the ROTC courses may not have conformed to the academic course accreditation criteria required by some of these Ivy League schools. But I think the real reason for ROTC’s absence in the 1970s and 1980s from places like Columbia was because anti-militarist student and faculty sentiment was still high, due to the campus political consciousness that had developed during the Vietnam War Era. And administrators at places like Columbia probably felt it made no political sense to disturb the relative campus calm of the post-1973 era by provoking its by then generally politically passive anti-war student body and politically passive anti-war professors into a potential new wave of campus protest--comparable to what happened in the 1960s—by trying to push ROTC back onto their campuses.

What do you think would happen if the ROTC was allowed to return to campus—at Columbia and elsewhere?

BF: Both the Pentagon and the U.S. corporate media—including the New York Times—would probably highlight it as an historical reversal of one of the legacies of the Vietnam War Era and the 1968 Columbia Anti-War Student Strike fall-out and the Sixties Anti-War Movement. And it would probably be utilized by the U.S. government as evidence that—under the Democratic Obama Administration—the alienation of U.S. college students from the U.S. military has decreased and that current U.S. college students—even at a bastion of anti-war sentiment historically like Columbia and Barnard—now have less objection to the continued endless U.S. military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan than did U.S. college students during the Republican Bush Administration.

The folks on the U.S. right-wing who don’t see anything morally questionable about the militarism of U.S. foreign policy will probably also feel more emboldened about bringing their pro-militarist agenda onto Columbia’s campus and re-militarizing Columbia to the point where they would eventually demand that the ban on secret military research on Columbia’s campus also be lifted.

And I suspect that some more juicy, lucrative Department of Defense research contracts would tend to get thrown Columbia’s way much more, if ROTC were now allowed to return to Columbia’s campus. So Columbia might once again, eventually, become “The MIT of West Harlem”—in terms of the degree to which it once again started to become dependent on Pentagon contracts for nearly half its budget, like it was in the mid-1960s.

Of course, once students wearing ROTC uniforms started marching around on campus and holding military-oriented ceremonies again on Columbia’s campus, it’s also possible that eventually—if the endless U.S. military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan isn’t ended or if an additional U.S. military intervention in Iran, North Korea or Venezuela is eventually started over the next few years—some anti-war students at Barnard College and Columbia College might mobilize eventually in larger numbers to again demand that Columbia stop training U.S. military officers for the U.S. power elite’s endless wars abroad.

What is your perspective on the acceptance, with faculty, alumni and current students?

BF: If you check out the chapter, titled “The Military Ascendancy,” in former Columbia University Professor C. Wright Mills’ book The Power Elite, J.W. Fulbright’s The Pentagon Propaganda Machine book or the CBS documentary The Selling of the Pentagon from the 1970s—and also Al Jazeera TV’s recent documentary on YouTube on the way the Pentagon uses Hollywood to promote support for U.S. military adventurism around the globe—you’ll see that since World War II there’s always been a big public relations effort by the Pentagon and the U.S. military-industrial-university-media complex to get people in the USA to feel that it’s “unpatriotic” to be opposed to the militarization of U.S. society and a U.S. foreign policy that is militaristic or to call for huge cuts in the Pentagon’s defense budget. And U.S. supporters of a pacifist U.S. foreign policy and the demilitarization of U.S. society and of U.S. universities like Columbia generally don’t get much mass media TV exposure—except when anti-war and anti-racist students occupy buildings in large numbers at places like Columbia in 1968 or when anti-war activists—like the Chicago 8—went on trial in Chicago during the 1969-1970 academic year.

So it wouldn’t be unexpected if current Barnard College, Columbia College students and faculty—as well as current Columbia Journalism School students and faculty—end up accepting passively the return of ROTC to places like Columbia in 2011. Especially if it’s marketed as “a way to influence the U.S. military in a more humanitarian direction”; or as something that only students and professors who are “soft on terrorism” or “stuck in a 1960s mentality,” or “politically na├»ve pacifists” would have moral objections about.

On the other hand it could be that the now-imprisoned Private Manning’s morally courageous de-classification of those Wikileaks cables and documents have revealed to enough people on campuses like Columbia that what the U.S. military is doing around the world contradicts the humanistic values and democratic moral values that most students and professors and workers at Columbia and Barnard have, historically, been brought up to adhere to. And that, therefore, the U.S. military still does not belong on Columbia University’s campus in 2011.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Anti-War Protesters March In New York City

15,000 March Against Endless U.S. Military Intervention in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Libya

Anti-war demonstrators gathered in Union Square on Saturday, April 9, 2011 and marched downtown to Foley Square to protest against the Democratic Obama Administration's failure to end the Pentagon's military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, to end continued CIA intervention in Libya and to end continued U.S. military aid to the militaristic Israeli government, etc.:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mark Rudd Opposed ROTC In 2009 `Toward Freedom' Interview

Mark Rudd was the chairman of the Columbia University chapter of Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] at the time of the 1968 Columbia Student Revolt; and Rudd’s autobiography, Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen was finally published in March 2009.

In a 2009 email interview for the Toward Freedom antiwar website, Rudd responded to some questions about how U.S. pacifists might consider responding to the role U.S. universities play in the current historical era of “permanent war abroad and economic depression at home” and about his new book.
And, as a pacifist, he also expressed his opposition to the training of U.S. military officers on U.S. university campuses in the 21st-century.

(1) In 2009, some U.S. pacifists seem to regard elite universities like Columbia as institutions that have, both historically and currently, opposed war and opposed racism—since they hire both anti-war and African-American professors and administrators, implement affirmative action hiring programs, set up “peace studies” and “African-American studies” departments, steer foundation grants and scholarship money in the direction of students from historically oppressed communities and to local community groups, and provide free or low-rent meeting room space for anti-war students and off-campus pacifist groups.

Yet in the preface to your book, you write that between 1965 and 1968 you were “a member of SDS at Columbia University” and “made as much noise and trouble as possible to protest the university’s pro-war and racist policies.” In what ways were Columbia University’s policies “pro-war and racist” in 1968 and in what ways are the policies of Columbia University and other elite U.S. universities “pro-war and racist” in 2009?

Mark Rudd [MR]: The specific demands we raised leading up to the spring of 1968--training and recruitment of military officers for the war in Vietnam, weapons research for the war, the building of a gym in public park land--were only the tip of the iceberg of Columbia's policies. Within months of the strike, the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) produced a book entitled "Who Rules Columbia," in which they detailed the military, State Dept., and CIA contracts and connections with the School of International Affairs, the various geographical "area studies," such as the East Asia Institute, as well as the revolving door between Columbia and the government; also Columbia's expansion into the surrounding community at the expense of non-white residents. Most of these connections and policies are still in place; almost all major research universities are still major war contractors. The point is that student activists have their work cut out for them to research and expose what's correctly called the military-industrial-academic complex.

(2) In chapter 1 of your book, titled “A Good German,” you recall that when you first met the then-chairman of Columbia’s Independent Committee on Vietnam (ICV) anti-war student group--current U.S. political prisoner David Gilbert—in early 1966, Gilbert mentioned that in May 1965 his group had “held an antiwar protest at the Naval ROTC graduation ceremony” at Columbia. And later in the “A Good German” chapter you mention that in March 1967 you had “taken part in a sit-in at a Naval ROTC class” at Columbia.

Why did you oppose Naval ROTC at Columbia in the 1960s? And do you think U.S. pacifists should consider opposing ROTC on U.S. university campuses in 2009?

MR: The issue is fundamentally moral. Is the training of people to wage war against other countries, carrying out a criminally aggressive military policy, appropriate in an institution that pretends to seek the truth? Our answer to this question was NO, because we believed in the necessity to oppose U.S. violence as a moral value. Remember, too, that the time we lived in was essentially post-World War II, and the problem of values in society was still being debated in the aftermath of Nazism. I have no doubt that contemporary students will be taking this up again in the near future.

(3) In chapter 2 of your book, you mention that anti-war students at Columbia protested against recruitment on campus by external organizations like the CIA and the U.S. Marines. Why did you think that it was morally wrong for Columbia University to allow external organizations like the CIA and the U.S. Marines to recruit on campus in 1967? And do you think U.S. pacifists in 2009 should also protest against U.S. universities that allow the CIA and the U.S. Marines to recruit on campus while the Pentagon’s war in Iraq and Afghanistan continues?

MR: Same response as #2 above. Whether recruitment is "external" (e.g., Marine recruiters) or "internal" (Military Science Dept. training future naval officers), it amounts to the same thing. The resources of the university are being used to help wage war.

( 4) In chapter 3 of your book, titled “Action Faction,” you write that on March 27, 1968 “SDS had fifteen hundred names on a petition calling for the severing of “ Columbia University’s “ties with the Pentagon think-tank, the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA);” and “IDA…became the shorthand symbol for Columbia’s huge network of complicity with the war.”

In 2009, IDA still exists. Do you think that U.S. pacifists should consider demanding that IDA be finally shut down by the Democratic Obama Administration and that U.S. pacifists should consider demanding that U.S. universities like Columbia, MIT and Harvard stop performing war research for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] in 2009?

MR: I believe that the entire US military budget should be cut back and the money used for social needs both in this country and around the world. Security would be much better served by the development of true international law, not more nuclear weapons. If that doesn't happen in the 21st century, we're doomed. All war research should immediately stop everywhere and the money be put into peace, diplomacy, law, and sustainable energy development. To do less now is not only suicidal, it's downright dumb.

(5) In your book, you mention that you and Abbie Hoffman were both arrested at a November 1967 anti-war protest in Midtown Manhattan against the Foreign Policy Association giving an award to then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

April 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of Abbie’s death. How would you characterize the role that Abbie Hoffman played in U.S. anti-war movement history and his historical relationship to U.S. pacifists and non-violent anti-war activists like Dave Dellinger?

MR: Abbie was essentially a comedian and an organizer. He was not at all violent; he always encouraged mass organizing, though often in the form of provocative guerilla theater, like the Yippies nominating a pig for president in 1968. I forget how he and Dave Dellinger got along in Chicago, both in 1968 and during the conspiracy trial the next year. My guess is that they respected each other. Perhaps you know more specifics.

(6) Speaking of Abbie Hoffman, how would you respond to Professor Jonah Raskin’s assertion in his review of your book which was posted on The Rag Blog that “like Abbie Hoffman, Mark Rudd wasn’t suited for the underground life—he needed attention, and attention is, of course, the last thing that any fugitive wants;” and “Underground suggests, implies, and shows that Rudd is up there, along with Abbie, near the top of the list of 1960s radicals who wanted attention, and who received far more attention than they needed…It undid Abbie, and it also helped to undo Rudd.”?

MR: I wonder if Jonah actually read my book.

(7) Why do you think the right-wing media monitoring pressure group” Accuracy In Media” [A.I.M.] apparently attempted to pressure Rupert Murdoch’s HarperCollins publishing firm to not promote your book, according to the” Accuracy In Media” web site?

MR: Just another way for the far right to try get at Obama, but it's so indirect that it makes zero sense to anybody else. There was a tiny connection between Obama and Bill Ayers, but that fact gained no votes for John McCain. These people are so stupid that they're still pursuing a tactic that's already failed. I find that a rather comforting fact.

(8) Do you think it’s likely that Columbia University’s Pulitzer Prize Board will decide to give you a Pulitzer Prize for writing Underground—after Columbia University’s current president--a current board member of the Washington Post Company/Newsweek media conglomerate named Lee Bollinger—reads what you’ve written about Columbia University?

MR: I'm a shoe-in.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Black Male Worker `Not Seasonally Adjusted' Jobless Rate Jumps To 18 Percent Under Obama & GOP House of Representatives

Between February and March 2011, the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States increased from 17.5 to 18 percent under the Democratic Obama Administration and the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives; while the “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black female workers over 20 years-of-age was still 12.5 percent in March 2011, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age also increased from 37.2 to 39.3 percent between February and March 2011. In addition, the number of unemployed Black male workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States increased by 52,000--from 1,406,000 to 1,458,000--between February and March 2011, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.

In March 2011, the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all Latino or Hispanic workers in the United States was still 11.9 percent; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latino or Hispanic youths between 16 and 19 years-of age increased from 30.6 to 31.9 percent between February and March 2011..

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 8.7 percent in March 2011; while the “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all U.S. male workers over 16 years-of-age was still 10.2 percent in March 2011. For all U.S. workers (male and female) over 16 years-of-age, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate was still 9.2 percent in March 2011; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all young workers between the ages of 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 23.6 percent in March 2011.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April 1, 4 2011 press release:

“…The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, at 8.2 million, was little changed in March…The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was 6.1 million in March; their share of the unemployed increased from 43.9 to 45.5 percent over the month…

“The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in March, at 8.4 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job…

“In March, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, up slightly from a year earlier…These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey…

“Among the marginally attached, there were 921,000 discouraged workers in March…Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them….

“Employment in local government continued to trend down over the month. Local government has lost 416,000 jobs since an employment peak in September 2008…”