Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's November 26, 2019 Letter

The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter.

“November 26, 2019

“Dear Comrades 

"Here we are again, surrounded by Christmas crap and messages of good will, but not for those at the bottom of the heap. Infuriating when you see what the top CEO mobsters are getting as they cream off the system. The average full-time wage-earner earns about $1,695 per week and pays exorbitant rent (can’t afford a house), the occasional meal out, rates that keep going up and up, and a heap of other things if she/he has children. Unemployment and under-employment are wickedly high - like wage theft - while worker’s pay checks remain stagnant. Australia’s top ten corporate thieves make 270 times the amount the average full-time Aussie worker earns and as for those Australians on Newstart and the pension.

“Leading the pack is Qantas chief Alan Joyce who pocketed a staggering $23,876,351 million last year. A half-head behind him is Macquarie Group CEO Nicholas Moore with $23.86 million in his kick. Some near the bottom of the ‘ten’ only managed to garner a mere $13,246,088 million. And then there’s the ‘bonuses’. For what? Sacking workers to increase the bottom line? To describe them as having ‘a sense of entitlement’ doesn’t even come close.

“Never have we needed a stronger, more vigorous trade union movement than we do now. Instead they’re about to be belted over the head with more appalling fascist-style legislation. The same huge divide exists between ‘public’ and ‘private’ schools, where inequality begins. A survey found that in four years, four private schools spent $100 million each on capital works, while in the same period 1300 state schools had been waiting for up to 15 years for urgent repairs to their buildings.

“Back in 1935, one of the most influential Marxist playwrights of the 20th century, Bertolt Brecht, described fascism as an integral part of capitalism. ‘Those who are against fascism without being against capitalism are like people who want to eat veal without slaughtering the calf,’ he said. ‘They’re happy to eat the calf but can’t stand the sight of blood.’ Fascism and war are not natural disasters but are launched by the ruling class to control everyone else. His plays were banned in the early 1930s, so he moved to California, attracting the attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and then on to Switzerland, and on to East Berlin in 1949 where he ran a theatre company, the Berliner Ensemble.

“The media here infuriate me. The whole bloody lot of them, and that includes ‘our’ ABC, a pale shadow of its former self. And yes, I’m sorry to hear that the ABC’s budget’s been cut yet again, so why allow so many coalition bastards on to their programs. And if they must, demand answers to their questions, when some interviewers don’t seem to know what questions to ask.

"The ABC reported that Sweden had dropped its rape allegation against Julian Assange, because of the ‘time factor’, when Sweden’s always been a stalking horse for the US government, and on three occasions was forced to shelve its investigation for lack of evidence, confirming that claims of ‘rape’ are a politically motivated fraud. Now that the US and Britain have Julian where they want him, on the cusp of being extradited to the US, they can say thank-you Sweden for smearing him and undermining support for his freedom, just bugger off because we no longer need you. Sweden has a nasty history of rendering people into the hands of the CIA, while in the ‘Land of the Free’, Trump has just pardoned three US soldiers convicted of serious war crimes.

“The corruption multiplies. The presiding judge in the extradition proceedings, Lady Emma Arbuthnot, is embroiled in a massive conflict of interest and will be turning over certain courtroom proceedings to another judge, while her husband, Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom - you couldn’t invent the name--is a former British Defense Minister with financial links to the British military establishment, including institutions and individuals named by WikiLeaks. And son. Alexander, is the vice-president (vice is the right word) of a firm heavily invested in a company founded by GCHQ (Britain’s secret electronic spy agency) and MI5 (equivalent to our ASIO) which is diametrically opposed to everything WikiLeaks stands for. To call this a conflict of interest is like calling Adolf Hitler a small-time crook. And our media haven’t reported one word of this shocking situation.

“In Bolivia, like nearly all of Latin America, is in turmoil after Evo Morales was forced into exile after a CIA-run coup. Politicians and journalists have been swiftly rounded up while the security services were given exoneration in advance for any crimes they might commit. The new self-declared president, Jeanine Anez, whose party only received 4% of the vote in last month’s election, has already expelled hundreds of Cuban doctors, broken ties with Venezuela, pulled Bolivia out of multiple international organizations and treaties and described the indigenous majority as ‘satanic’.

“And now we have a Chinese spy ring, a re-run of the Petrov Affair, the name of a married Russian couple who worked in the Soviet Embassy in Canberra in 1954. Vladimir, a nasty drunk, made a deal with ASIO without telling his wife, that he was part of a Russian Communist spy network and wanted protection to become an Australian citizen. A few days later, PM Menzies announced Petrov’s defection in parliament and won an unwinnable election. The Petrov Affair took place after the High Court’s rejection of the Communist Party Dissolution Act of 1950 and the people’s rejection of the 1951 proposal to ban the Communist Party. In 1954-55, the Petrov Commission failed to unearth one spy or traitor. If you substitute China for Russia it’s a case of here we go again!

“But it’s the end of the year and I reckon we all need a break, so spend time with your friends, share a bottle, read a book and take care on our crazy roads. Next year will be an important one and we need you, every single one of you. Viva!

“ Joan Coxsedge”

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Did Democracy Now! Show Fail To Expose 2013 to 2017 `De Blasiogate Scandal'?

Democracy Now! Co-Host/Rutgers U. Professor Gonzalez with NYC Mayor de Blasio
Near the end of his 2017 book, Reclaiming Gotham: Bill De Blasio and The Movement to End America's Tale of Two Cities, the New York Daily News columnist from 1987 to 2016  (who also began moonlighting in 1996 as the Democracy Now! radio-cable tv show host that former LBJ Press Secretary Bill Moyers' Schumann Media Center foundation has funded in recent years), Rutgers University Professor of Journalism Juan Gonzalez, asserts that "once prosecutors concluded their investigation, the cloud surrounding the de Blasio administration" in New York City "quickly dissipated."

Yet most grassroots Movement activists and New York City tenants (who are generally not invited very much by the Democracy Now! show producers to be interviewed on Democracy Now!) don't agree that "the cloud surrounding the de Blasio administration" in New York City has "dissipated." For as Gonzalez, himself, observed in his book:

"...On March 16 [2017]...federal investigators said they found the mayor and his aides had `solicited donations from individuals who sought official favors from the city,' and that de Blasio had subsequently intervened with city agencies on behalf of those same donors...

"...Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance...blasted de Blasio's 2014 fundraising scheme as `contrary to the intent and the spirit of the laws that impose campaign contribution limits.'...

"Vance's letters...offered...details of how de Blasio and those around him had resorted to...dark money fundraising and skirting of campaign spending limits...It also revealed that Governor Andrew Cuomo was initially involved along with de Blasio in approving the strategy, which top state Democrats dubbed the `Coordinated Campaign.'...

"The Putnam County Democratic Committee, for example, received more than $671,000 from a few wealth donors that summer...Within days, the committee transferred $640,000 to the senate campaigns of two Democrats in the county, thus evading state law that limited individual donations of money to a political candidate to $10,300...The two Democratic senate candidates, according to Vance, then `immediately expanded virtually all of the funds on political consultants such as Berlin Rosen, AKPD, and Red Horse Strategies'--firms whose executives were close friends or advisers of de Blasio.

"In other words, the mayor and his aides raised the money, and then used the state committees as virtual pass through to the Democratic Senate candidates, with the candidates spending the money on the very consultants who also happened to work for the mayor..."

But in the early part of his 2017 Reclaiming Gotham book,  the long-time Democracy Now! show co-host still claimed that:

"...The de Blasio phenomenon, is a fascinating political tale of...activists who brilliantly figured out how to win control of our greatest city...De Blasio rolled out a dizzying set of reforms...De Blasio is...the most prominent example of the new progressive leaders..."

Besides being the nephew of Donald Wilhelm, Jr., who was "a long-time adviser of the shah of Iran, and most likely, a CIA agent,' according to Gonzalez's book, New York City Mayor De Blasio is also the son of Warren Wilhelm Jr., who "in 1950," was "a consultant for Harvard's Russian Research Center, `a think-tank with financial help from the CIA,' who "later worked for several years...at oil giant Texaco's Manhattan headquarters" and of Maria de Blasio, who was a research assistant at Time magazine.

Long-time Democracy Now! show co-host  and former New York Daily News columnist Gonzalez claimed in his 2017 book that de Blasio's mother "never flagged in her support of the downtrodden and of left-wing social causes." Yet, as the Boston Globe recalled in a Sept. 30, 2013 article, “De Blasio moved to Cambridge in 1966, when he was 5” and “his mother, Maria, was a public relations manager at Polaroid.”

The old Polaroid Corporation (that went bankrupt in 2001, had its assets purchased by OEP Imaging Corporation in 2002 and ceased to exist in 2002), in whose public relations department the now-deceased Maria de Blasio Wilhelm worked for nearly 20 years, was formed in 1937 by Edwin Land, with the financial backing of Wall Street investment bankers like James P. Warburg. During World War II Polaroid profited from the war by supplying “$2 million dollars’ worth of still [3-D] Vectographs to the U.S. military,” producing “filters for goggles” for U.S. Navy gunners, and making “periscopes, lightweight stereoscopic rangefinders, aerial cameras, the Norden bombsight, and a mechanism that antiaircraft gunners could use in training their tracer fire,” according to Insisting On The Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land by Victor McEllheny. The same book also recalled that during World War II, “the Navy asked Polaroid to work on a plane-launched, guided anti-ship bomb,” “for the thousand-pound guided bomb, the Navy awarded a contract that paid a total of $7 million dollars to Polaroid over several years” and “the contract represented a substantial fraction of the company’s wartime business.”

During the Korean War, Cold War and Vietnam War eras of the 1950s and 1960s, Polaroid President and Chairman Land also headed the Republican Eisenhower administration’s Technological Capabilities Panel’s intelligence project that helped the CIA develop its secret U-2 spy plane and spy satellite programs. In addition, as a member of both the President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities and the President’s Science Advisory Committee (along with former Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA] weapons research think-tank board chairman and MIT President James Killian), Polaroid’s president and chairman was “virtually in control of the development of U.S. technical means for gathering intelligence, especially in the CIA and the National Security Agency, which monitored communications throughout the world” during the late 1950s and early 1960s, according to Insisting On The Impossible.

During the years that de Blasio’s mother was apparently working for Land as a Polaroid Corporation public relations manager, the recipient of the National Education Association [NEA]’s 2012 Rosa Parks Memorial Award, Caroline Hunter, discovered that Land’s Polaroid Corporation was also collaborating with the apartheid regime in South Africa. As the NEA website recalled:

“At the age of 21, fresh out of Xavier University, New Orleans, Hunter landed a good job as a chemist at the Polaroid Corporation. Then one day, quite by chance, she spotted in her workplace an enlarged South African photo identification card. The year was 1970, decades before the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S. had gathered steam. But Caroline Hunter knew the significance of that photo identification card. It was part of what Nelson Mandela called `the hated document’— that is, the South African passbook all Blacks in South Africa were required to carry at all times. It was an important link in the chain that the Apartheid regime used to control and monitor the movement of Blacks.

“Polaroid had in fact been doing business with the apartheid government of South Africa for years. Most important was its ID-2 system, which consisted of a camera, instant processor and laminator. It could generate a photo identification card in just two minutes and more than 200 in an hour—exactly the technology the apartheid government needed to enforce its Pass Laws Act.

“After finding the mock passbook, Caroline Hunter and her colleague (and later husband) Ken Williams, a photographer at Polaroid, launched their campaign. They distributed fliers around the workplace, alerting their colleagues to Polaroid’s complicity with apartheid. They organized demonstrations outside the company’s headquarters, and they spoke out to the larger community. Up until this point, Polaroid had a reputation as a liberal company—`an equal opportunity’ employer. But the Polaroid management did not take well to the protests, and they fired Hunter and Williams…”

In his book Sharpville: An Apartheid Massacre and Its Consequences, Tom Lodge also wrote that “the formation of the Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement (PRWM) by black employees at Polaroid’s Cambridge, Massachusetts headquarters signaled wider concerns with US-South African connections: the PRWM was formed to stop Polaroid’s processing of film for South Africa’s passbooks…” And according to Insisting On The Impossible:

 “…Early in 1971, demonstrators protesting Polaroid’s involvement in South Africa and Land’s key role in defense nearly prevented Land from speaking about his color-view research at the American Physical Society in New York…In 1970 and 1971, employees and outsiders demanded that Polaroid cease selling its products in South Africa, including its photo-identification equipment…Some critics even took out large advertisements urging a boycott of Polaroid products. To meet the criticism, Polaroid sent a committee…to South Africa. The committee…recommended continuing sales through Polaroid’s South African dealer, which amounted to $1.5 million a year…”

And Polaroid apparently did not stop selling its products in South Africa until 1977.

Yet during de Blasio’s years as a teenage junior high school and high school student government politico in Cambridge during the 1970s (who was also profiled in the Boston Globe during the late 1970s) he apparently never questioned the morality of the political role his mother was apparently playing as a public relations manager for a corporation that was collaborating with the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Despite long-time Democracy Now! co-host Gonzalez's claim in the early part of his 2017 Reclaiming Gotham book that de Blasio "rolled out a dizzying set of reforms" and is "the most prominent example of the new progressive leaders," most Movement grassroots activists and New York City tenants probably don't think that de Blasio has been that progressive politically as mayor of New York City since early 2014. As the Democracy Now! co-host, himself, observed, for example, in the latter part of his 2017 Reclaiming Gotham book:

"...De Blasio...brought back 66-year-old William Bratton, the city's police commissioner during the early 1990s under Rudy Giuliani...to run the police department a second time...Many leaders in the African-American and Latino communities were skeptical about Bratton's return...By appointing Bratton as his police commissioner, de Blasio...hoped Bratton's presence would reassure...business leaders...The choking death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, by a Staten Island cop...opened a rift between de Blasio and...Black Lives Matter advocates...

"...Community leaders criticized his...housing plan because more than two-third of all new housing would still be market rate, and...only a small percentage of the...units would be geared to the lowest income families...By the end of his third year in office, Mayor de Blasio had not significantly improved the availability for New York's lowest-income families, nor had he ameliorated the City's homeless population, as the number of homeless residents in city shelters reached a record 60,000 in 2016..."

In the latter part of his book, Gonzalez also noted how, in exchange for campaign contributions and offering jobs as "consultants" to de Blasio associates, certain special corporate interests apparently received special benefits and favors from de Blasio's "progressive" administration:

"...Before it was closed down in March 2016, Campaign for One New York raised more than $4 million, much of it from wealthy donors...with business before the city...Joseph Dussich, the owner of a company that sells rat-repellent trash...happened to have donated $100,000 to the Campaign for One New York and subsequently received a Parks Department contract to supply the agency his company's trash bags...A transportation executive...gave $100,000 to de Blasio's effort to win a Democratic majority in the state senate, and then received funding from a wage subsidy program created by de Blasio...Two Trees Management, a real estate firm that gave $100,000 to the Campaign for One New York...negotiated a deal with de Blasio to win development rights for a large residential building at the Old Domino factory along the Brooklyn waterfront...

"Often, the same companies hired friends and...advisors to the mayor as their consultants. Two Trees...hired Jonathan Rosen of...Berlin Rosen...Rosen...is one of de Blasio's closest friends and was a key campaign strategist for the mayor. Berlin Rosen, along with Hilltop Public Solutions, another company run by top de Blasio advisers, Nick Baldick andBill Hyers, and AKPD, headed by another mayoral strategist, John Del Cecato, were collectively paid more than $2 million by One New York...Rosen also represented some of the city's biggest real estate companies, all of which have major business interactions with city government...He...skirted legal regulations that require lobbyists to register with the city and file annual report disclosing who their clients are and which city agencies they appear before..."

Yet between 2013 and 2017, the New York City-based parallel left Democracy Now! daily radio-cable tv show apparently failed to expose the apparently corrupt way that the Democratic de Blasio administration's officials was governing between 2013 and 2017, despite the Democracy Now! media firm's claim that it "speaks truth to power." One reason might be because, as Rutgers University Professor of Journalism Gonzalez noted in the "Afterword" to his 2017 Reclaiming Gotham book, the long-time Democracy Now! co-host and former New York Daily News columnist felt "gratitude to the...government officials in New York...who graciously consented to be interviewed for this book." A second reason might be, as New York City Movement organizer and Movement writer Josmar Trujillo observed in a Sept.14, 2017 HuffPost website article, "the fundamental problem with Gonzalez and middle of the road progressives in the city that support de Blasio is that they’re so enthralled by the idea of a progressive ally in City Hall that they’ve failed to hold him accountable in any meaningful way" because "he’s their guy!"

But as Trujillo also observed in his Sept. 2017 review of the long-time Democracy Now! co-host's Reclaiming Gotham book:

"...Gonzalez’ ahistorical, rose-tinted revisioning of de Blasio’s impact on NYC inequality is emblematic of progressives who’ve chosen to turn a blind eye to the true suffering of poor and working class people.

"Not only is de Blasio’s developer-based housing plan a trojan horse for gentrification, as activists across the city have correctly pointed out, the city is experiencing record homelessness, which de Blasio (not singularly responsible, but still responsible) has responded to with policing and a even callous smearing of panhandlers. Not only is the Mayor dedicated to empowering the NYPD and loyal to a racist policing philosophy, but income inequality has actually grown under this administration. What exactly is there to celebrate again?

"...If Gonzalez regurgitates the notion that Bill de Blasio is the standard bearer of effective progressivism, he is almost to a tee supporting the narrative that Berlin Rosen was paid to put forward. Their job was to spin the Mayor’s accomplishments for the working people of New York City as bold, historic, and unprecedented. Reclaiming Gotham does all of that...Gonzalez now has apparently become an appendage to de Blasio with his chief purpose seeming to be to try to reconcile all of the bullshit I’ve laid out (and I could go on) with an effective endorsement of de Blasio not only as mayor, but as a leader of a movement that’s an antidote for Donald Trump.

"...Bill de Blasio is here for...developers...These are the longtime owners of New York City. They don’t need to reclaim it. What they need is a progressive salesman to make us all think he’s the fighting the good fight for the little guy. And even that salesman needs salesmen like Gonzalez...."

Monday, December 16, 2019

Ted Gold's Summer 1968 `Education and Teaching' Paper Revisited

1967-68 Columbia SDS Vice-Chair Ted Gold
 In late April 1968, anti-racist and anti-war students of Barnard College and Columbia University non-violently occupied Hamilton Hall, Low Library, Avery Hall, Fayerweather Hall and Mathematics Hall on the Upper West Side campus of Columbia University for nearly a week, in support of six demands.

Yet instead of peacefully agreeing to implement the demands of the over 700 students participating in this late April 1968 non-violent campus protest, the politically "liberal' Columbia University administration requested that the then-politically "liberal" mayor of New York City, John Lindsay, order his New York City Police Department [NYPD] to invade Columbia's campus; and to remove and arrest on "criminal trespassing" charges all the protesting anti-racist and anti-war Barnard and Columbia students who refused to end their non-violent occupation of Columbia's campus buildings.

As a result, in the early morning hours of April 30, 1968 around 1,000 helmeted NYPD cops invaded Columbia's Upper West Side campus and brutalized many Columbia or Barnard students of all political persuasions, clubbed some Columbia faculty members and arrested over 700 anti-racist and anti-war Barnard and Columbia students. And then, after the Columbia-Barnard chapter of Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] initiated a second non-violent student occupation of Hamilton Hall, to demand that 1967-68 Columbia SDS Vice-Chair Ted Gold and five other anti-racist and anti-war Columbia students not be suspended, the politically "liberal" Columbia University administration again requested that NYPD cops come onto its Upper West Side campus, in the early morning of May 22, 1968.

And, not surprisingly, for a second time many Columbia or Barnard students of all political persuasions were either brutalized or arrested when the NYPD cops again invaded Columbia's campus.

Following his suspension by the Columbia administration in late May 1968, however, 1967-68 Columbia SDS Vice-Chair Ted Gold wrote a position paper in the Summer of 1968, titled "The Columbia Liberation School Class on Public Education and Teaching," which contained the following text:

"The largest class at the Columbia Liberation School this summer has been the Public Education and Teaching course. The class has been meeting for about 10 weeks. At the beginning we knew next to nothing about teacher organizing; now perhaps we know a little. Despite the admittedly low level of development of our strategic insights and ideas, which only reflects the fact that the radical teachers movement is still feeling its birth pangs, it might be useful to briefly go over the major points we have developed in the course.

"One thing we have to remember, however, is that at this time practically anything we say is likely to be quite abstract, because we don't even know yet what a radical teacher is. We don't know what the best demands in a radical educational struggle will be. Teachers who consider themselves radical cannot confine themselves to supporting the demands and struggles that already exist. We must become part of the process of initiating the struggles and formulating the demands that will define our Movement, a Movement that only barely exists at this time.

"The Liberation School class has explored three major areas related to teacher organizing. First we went into the role of the teacher in the classroom. We reached a general consensus that it is extremely inadequate and superficial to confine ourselves to criticisms of the content of the curriculum--the factual material that is and is not taught--in the New York City public schools. The feeling among most of the class was that though it is very important that (for example) lies about American history are being taught--and that in most schools Black history is not being taught at all--what is much more important is the teachers' role, the teachers' stance in the classroom.

"The teacher functions as an authority figure, a dispenser and enforcer of rules to be followed for their own sake, a symbol of society's oppressive relation to the individual. If instead of saying `The United States is the land of freedom and opportunity' the teacher were to say `The United States is conducting a war of annihilation against the Vietnamese and maintains its own Blacks as colonial subjects,' it would make little difference if the atmosphere in the classroom remained the same. That atmosphere is defined by the stifling of creativity, by the teacher as master and the students as subjects, with the master dispensing truth to the subjects and exercising total control over the subjects, right down to the carrying out of their life functions (`May I take the pass?').

"In that atmosphere, it doesn't make a tremendous difference whether the truth the teacher shoves down the kids' throats is in fact true or not; in either case, the kids will (and do) react by keeping it outside themselves, becoming `discipline problems,' not wanting to listen because listening in such a situation becomes the antithesis of learning.

"The Liberation School class concluded that the content of education must be changed, but more importantly, the classroom must be turned into a place where the teachers and students, together as human beings, explore their interests, develop their potential, and initiate the process of learning. Once again, the abstract quality of this conclusion is not evidence that it is incorrect, but that it must be given more concrete form by the experience of all of us.

"Secondly, the Liberation School class went into the nature of education in America. One of the members gave a presentation on the class nature of education. The tracking system was seen as the tactic used by the Board of Education to earmark, from the beginning of their schooling, some students for college and well-paying jobs, others for jobs providing enough to live on, and still others for menial labor or unemployment. An important point in the discussion of the tracking system and the class nature of education was that the reason a large number of people have menial or no work is not that they have poor educations, but the reason they are given poor educations is that the society doesn't have `good' (well-paying, anyway) jobs to give them. With an economy that requires 4 percent unemployed and a much large number in seasonal and menial labor, it would be extremely disadvantageous for smooth-running oppression for these people to be trained to do more.

"Another important point relating to the nature of education in America that came out in the Liberation School class was that the `good' jobs are good only in the sense that they are well-paying. They are often as meaningless and alienating as lower-status employment, and the education received by individuals filling these jobs was seen by the class to be not education at all, but training. One difference between whites and Blacks in this society is not that whites are educated and Blacks are not, but that most whites receive training for some `respectable' station in life, and most Blacks and Puerto Ricans do not. Programs such as Head Start, Upward Bound, MES, Demonstration Districts, etc. were seen as efforts to buy off the revolt growing within Black and Puerto Rican communities against the education their children are (not) receiving.

"Thirdly, the class got into the question of teachers as a constituency, what issues they can be organized around, and how they can be united with the community struggles (and student struggles) already going on. The problem of overcoming the fragmentation between teachers and community was seen as crucial, because the tactic of dividing one oppressed group from another is the surest weapon for preventing either group from attacking their real enemy, their common enemy.

"The class felt, in the process of trying to build a united Movement in the public schools, it was extremely important not to put teachers in an auxiliary role vis a vis the community, a role that many of us played in SNCC, CORE, etc., before the Student Movement took on a life of its own.

"Teachers must be shown that they have common interests with the students and community, that what seems to be conflicting interests are not, but they must be organized around their own interests as well. For example, it is important to show teachers why community control will help the community achieve better education, but we will not be successful in winning teachers over to our side unless we show them how the struggle for community control will help make their jobs more human, how it will help them become better teachers, in short, how it is in their interest as well.

"That is where the Liberation School class is at now. We are trying to develop organizational forms that will help bring teachers and community together politically, and that will specifically help teachers to a better job in the classroom. Most of the ideas just described are hardly original, and many were held by some members of the class before it began. These ideas and others have been explored at the Liberation School class in some greater depth than it's been possible to go into here. But the important thing is that in getting together regularly we've become part of a process not only of discussing ideas, but of forming a collective of teachers who will be part of the struggle too for change in the public schools and society."  (this article was initially posted on the Upper West Side Patch website)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Ford Foundation's Ex-Prez McGeorge Bundy: Pushed For 1960's Vietnam War Escalation

Former Ford Foundation President McGeorge Bundy and LBJ
During the 1960's most New Left Movement people in the United States protested against the Democratic Johnson administration's policy of escalating U.S. military intervention in Vietnam, following the November 22, 1963 elimination of JFK in Dallas, Texas. Yet between 1966 and 1979, the president of the U.S. power elite's multi-billion dollar corporate tax-exempted Ford Foundation (that has funded many tax-exempt liberal-left NGOs in 21st-century with "charitable grants"), the now-deceased McGeorge Bundy, was one of the Democratic Johnson administration officials responsible for the 1965 escalation of U.S. military intervention in Vietnam. As University of Kentucky Alumni Professor of History George C. Herring noted in his 1994 University of Texas Press book, LBJ and Vietnam: A Different Kind of War:

"...LBJ inherited...McGeorge Bundy special assistant for national security affairs with an office in the White House basement...Bundy had carved out a position in the Kennedy White House...He was usually the first to see Johnson on an issue and the last one to see him before a decision was made. During the months when the commitment in Vietnam was steadily escalating, Bundy and [then-Secretary of Defense Robert] McNamara were the key figures. The national security adviser was in Vietnam...on February 7, 1965 and he came back a firm advocate of escalation...Through the end of 1965...he was at the center of Vietnam policy making...

"Known around Washington as the `awesome foursome.' [Democratic U.S. President Lyndon] Johnson, Bundy, McNamara, and [former Rockefeller Foundation President and then-Secretary of State Dean] Rusk...began to meet informally for lunch at the White House in 1964, usually on Tuesday. The `Tuesday Lunch'...evolved into the primary instrument for management of the Vietnam War...At the top, the `awesome foursome' continued  throughout 1965 to run the war...The Tuesday lunch continued to be the primary means for making major wartime decisions. It stayed small, although Press Secretary [and Schumann Media Center foundation president and Democracy Now! show funder] Bill Moyers and Director of Central Intelligence Adm. William Raborn were added. Over lunch in the White House the president and his top advisers approved bombing targets, discussed force increases...."

The 1999 HarperCollins book by Richard H. Shultz Jr., titled The Secret War Against Hanoi, also contains a reference to the historical role that former Ford Foundation president Bundy played in pushing for an escalation of U.S. military intervention in the 1960's:

"McGeorge Bundy was Kennedy's special assistant for national security affairs. Bundy would chair the 303 Committee,whose jurisdiction came to include all U.S. covert operations, including those directed against North Vietnam by the CIA and the military...The 303 Committee was assigned responsibility for White House control of covert action, including paramilitary operations. Its jurisdiction came to include all important covert operations worldwide. The 303 Committee had responsibility for the CIA's 1961-1963 operations against North Vietnam. In 1964, military-directed covert action against North Vietnam would become one of its principal accounts. Members of the committee included McGeorge Bundy, the national security adviser...Bundy chaired the committee...OPLAN 34A was to begin--as a one-year program of operations, divided into three escalating, 4-month phases...In mid-January of 1964, Lyndon Johnson approved the...Bundy recommendations...MacBundy...wanted the squeeze put on Hanoi..."
Yet in his 2002 book, titled Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg recalled:

"[In May 1971] I took the shuttle to go to a lecture at the Council on Foreign Relations by McGeorge Bundy...Someone said it was his bid to be considered for secretary of state in the next Democratic administration, after he left the Ford Foundation...I listened to Bundy iin New York, saying there had been `no intent to mislead Congress' in connection with the passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution; the resolution `was not meant to be (in Nicholas Katzenbach's phrase in 1967) a `functional equivalent of a declaration of war.'..."
"It was a surreal experience...to be sitting in a room surrounded by my fellow war criminals, listening to Johnson's assistant for national security [and then-Ford Foundation president] tell lies about the war...On January 27 [1965] though I didn't know it at the time, McNamara and [later Ford Foundation president] McGeorge Bundy argued forcefully to the president that the time had come `to use our military power in the Far East and to force a change of Communist policy.'...ON January 28 [1965] De Soto patrols, with the mission of provoking an attack, were ordered back into the Tonkin Gulf for the first time in five months. Naval retaliatory forces were to be in position before the patrols commenced on February 3 [1965]..."

Friday, November 29, 2019

Are U.S. Universities Helping DARPA Develop Weapons For Pentagon?--Conclusion

After the name of the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency [ARPA] was changed to "Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency" [DARPA] in 1973, DARPA continued to develop new weapons and new weapons technology for the U.S. permanent war machine to utilize in its post-1973 overt military actions and interventions in foreign countries like Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria. As Annie Jacobsen observed in her 2015 book, The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top Secret Military Research Agency:

"...In 1979 DARPA's Tactical Technology Office began work on a highly classified program to build `high-stealth aircraft.'...DARPA's early efforts with mini-drones...played a major role in advancing laser-guided weapons technology--a fact largely underreported in military history books...

"...DARPA initiated a new weapons program called Assault Breaker...Assault Breaker would one day allow commanders to precisely strike targets--even moving targets--deeply behind enemy lines...In 1977...DARPA's budget was doubled...DARPA's highly classified...program, including stealth, advanced sensors, laser-guided munitions, and drones were being pursued. Soon Assault Breaker technology would be battle ready...

"...On January 16, 1991...CNN war correspondents were reporting from Baghdad, Iraq...Tomahawk land attack missiles, the engines of which were created by DARPA, and F-117A stealth fighter aircraft, also a DARPA-born program, were on their way to destroy parts of the city...The F-117A was invisible to radar. DARPA's stealth technology program had created a revolution in warfare.

'Ten additional F-117As were on their way to drop bombs on targets in downtown Baghdad...There were other DARPA systems flying over Iraq...Drones played a prominent role...Remotely piloted vehicles, small and large, collected mapping information that helped steer Tomahawks to their targets. Some 522 drone sorties were flown.., many of them based on DARPA technology...The drones relayed back the information, which was then used to take-out the targets...

"In the second year [2004] of the Iraq war, DARPA launched its Urban Operations Program, the largest and most expensive of the 21st century as of 2014...DARPA partnered with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), a dual combat suupport and intelligence agency...The majority of its [the NGA's] operations are born classified...The mapping efforts...folded into a DARPA program called Heterogeneous Urban Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition, or HURT. Entire foreign civilian populations and their living spaces would be surveyed, observed, and scrutinized by the U.S. military.., so that individual people--insurgents--could be targeted, then captured or killed.

"...Many details of the program remain classified...The Nexus 7 program, whose 2015 budget was classified, monitors social media networks. How Nexus 7 is used in the United States is classified, and DARPA declined to answer general questions...

"DARPA's vast weapon systems of the future will involve an entire army of drones...By March 1999, with help from MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, DARPA finally had its first-generation micro air vehicle to fly reconnaissance missions...

"Starting in 2013, DARPA teamed up with the White House on the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) initiative...What is DARPA's primary goal in researching the brain?...DARPA prepares vast weapons systems of the future. So what are the classified brain programs really for?...The technologies DARPA is pursuing in its brain and prosthetics programs have dual use in DARPA's efforts to engineer hunter-killer robots. Coupled with the quest for artificial intelligence, all this might explain why DARPA is so focused on looking inside people's brains...DARPA's...programs remain secret until they are unveiled on the battlefield..."

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Are U.S. Universities Helping DARPA Develop Weapons For Pentagon?--Part 3

In her 2015 book, The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top Secret Military Research Agency, Annie Jacobsen described some of the weapons development work that the DARPA organization, for which some U.S. professors continue to do contract  research work for in the 21st century, did when the organization was still called "ARPA," prior to 1973:

"At Fort Detrick, in Maryland, ARPA ran a toxicology branch where it worked on chemical weapons-related programs with Dr. James W. Brown, deputy chief of the crops division of the Army Chemical Corps Biological Laboratories. ARPA had Dr. Brown working on a wide variety of defoliants...The classified program would be called `anticrop warfare research.'...In the field, operational activities were to be referred to as `CDTC Task Number 20,' or `Task 20' for short...ARPA's R&D field units would be dispatched to burn down all the resulting dead trees...On November 30, 1961, President Kennedy approved the chemical defoliation program in Vietnam...Between 2.1 million and 4.8 million Vietnamese were directly exposed to Agent Orange...

"...In December 1965, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense authorized ARPA to research and develop `forest fire as a military weapon' in Vietnam.

"The secret program, called Project EMOTE, was developed by ARPA, ostensibly to study the use of `environmental modification techniques.'...The central premise of the program was to determine how to destroy large areas of jungle growth by firestorm...Project EMOTE called for millions of gallons of Agent Orange to be sprayed in the forests as one element of the `weather modification campaign.'...ARPA's final 170-page report, originally classified secret, is kept in the Special Collections of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland...

"By the winter of 1973...in keepng with the Mansfield Amendment, which required the Pentagon to research and develop programs only with a `specific military function,' the word `defense' was added to ARPA's name. From now on it would be called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA..."

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Are U.S. Universities Helping DARPA Develop Weapons For Pentagon?--Part 2

The DARPA organization, for which some U.S. professors continue to do contract work in the 21st-century, used to be called the ARPA [Advanced Research Projects Agency] in the late 1950's, 1960's and early 1970's. And in her 2015 book, The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top Secret Military Research Agency, Annie Jacobsen recalled the kind of weapons that some U.S. university professors helped ARPA develop for the Pentagon during this historical period:

"...Directed energy weapons were well worth researching and developing...and ARPA moved forward with Project Seesaw--its first directed energy weapons program...ARPA's mission was and remains getting programs up and running, then transferring them over to the military service or other government agencies for field use. Project Seesaw remained in development at ARPA for 15 long years...Over the next 55 years, ARPA's directed energy weapons programs would develop and grow. The majority of them remain highly classified.

"`Directed energy is the weapon of the future,' said retired four-star General Paul F. Gorman in a 2014 interview for this book. `But that is a sensitive area and we can't get into that.'...

"In February 1958, William Godel was hired on in a key position at the newly formed Advanced Research Projects Agency...On April 12, 1961, in a memo to the president, Walt Rostow suggested `Nine Proposals for Action' in Vietnam...`Action Proposal/Number Five,' written by William Godel suggested `the sending to Vietnam of a research and development and military hardware team which would explore with General McGarr which of the various techniques and `gadgets' now available or being explored that might be relevant and useful in the Viet-nam operation.'...

"President Kennedy liked Godel's proposal...Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric submitted to the president a memorandum that elaborated on `Action Proposal/Number Five.'...He proposed that ARPA establish its own research and development center in Saigon, a physical location where an ARPA field unit could develop new weapons specifically tailored to jungle-fighting needs. There would be other projects, too...These would involve sociological research programs and psychological warfare campaigns...The ARPA program would be called Project Agile...

"...On June 8, 1961, William Godel traveled to Vietnam with Project Agile's first research and development team to set up ARPA's Combat Development and Test Center [CDTC]...By August [1961], ARPA's Combat Development and Test Center was up and running with a staff of 25 Americans...ARPA's first staffers included military officers, civilian scientists, engineers, and academics...Agile's budget for its first year was $11.3 million [equivalent to around $95 million in 2019 dollars]...By the following year, Project Agile's budget would double...

"The first Project Agile aircraft introduced into the war theater was a power glider...ARPA's power glider would pave the way for...drones...The most significant weapon to emerge from the early days of Project Agile was the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle...In 1966 it was adapted for fully automatic fire and redesignated the M16 assault rifle...`The development of the M-16 would almost certainly not have come about without the existence of ARPA,' noted an unpublished internal ARPA review, written in 1974.

"...There was one weapons program--highly classified--that commanded more of Godel's attention than the others...The weapon would become known to the world as Agent Orange...Agent Orange was a hideous toxin...William Godel was in charge of running the program for ARPA..."

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Are U.S. Universities Helping DARPA Develop Weapons For Pentagon?--Part 1

Most anti-imperialist and anti-war students on U.S. university campuses, like Columbia University's campus, don't think U.S. university administrators should allow their professors to help the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] develop weapons for the Pentagon on their campuses in the 21st-century. Yet most U.S. university administrators still apparently allow their professors to perform research work for DARPA on their campuses in 2019.

But, as Annie Jacobsen noted in her 2015 book, The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top Secret Military Research Agency:

"The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, as it is known, is the most powerful and most productive military science agency in the world. It is also one of the most secretive and, until this book, the least investigated...With an annual budget of roughly $3 billion...DARPA as an agency does not conduct scientific research. Its program managers and directors hire defense contractors, academics, and other government organizations to do the work. DARPA then facilitates the transition of its successful results to the military for use...Once ready for fielding, the resulting weapons and weapons-related systems are turned over to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, and to intelligence agencies including the CIA, NSA (National Security Agency), DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency)...

"DARPA carefully controls its public persona...The bulk of DARPA's more consequential and sometimes Orwellian programs go largely unreported...In fact DARPA's stated mission is to create weapons systems...Admirers call DARPA the Pentagon's brain. Critics call it the heart of the military-industrial complex...

"...Darpa, by its mandate, pioneers...in secret...In the early 1960's, during the Vietnam War, DARPA began developing unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones...The first drone...appeared on the battlefield in Afghanistan in October 2001..."

Monday, November 11, 2019

Time To Rollback U.S. Corporate Media CEO Salaries?

Discovery Inc. CEO David Zaslav: Paid $129.4 Million In 2018
Most U.S. corporate media firms generally fail to allow most anti-war and anti-imperialist U.S. working-class people the same amount of daily U.S. mass media news department coverage that they generally provide to millionaire, multi-millionaire, billionaire and multi-billionaire "entertainment" celebrities, politicians, plutocrats, jocks and upper-middle-class journalists/propagandists.  One reason might be that, under the current U.S. economic and political system, the corporate folks who are CEO's of most U.S. corporate media firms are apparently allowed by the U.S. congress to pay themselves a lot more in annual salaries each year than the annual wages that most U.S. workers are paid in the 21st-century.

In 2018, for example, the CEO of Discovery (which owns U.S. corporate television networks like the Discovery Channel, HGTV and Food Network), David Zaslav, was allowed to take home a total annual pay compensation of $129.4 million. And that same year, Walt Disney/ABC CEO Robert Iger was allowed to take home a total annual pay compensation of $65.6 million.

The CEO's of Netflix, Comcast, Activision Blizard, ATT & T, Omnicom, Facebook Inc., Viacom and Interpublic Group were also allowed by the U.S. congress to pay themselves a lot more than what you were probably able to earn in 2018. Netflix CEO Reed Hasting's total annual pay in 2018 was $36.1 million; while Comcast CEO Brian Roberts' total annual pay was $35.8 million during that same year. 

Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick's 2018 total annual pay was $30.8 million; while AT & T CEO Randall Stephenson was paid $29.1 million during that same year. In addition, Omnicom CEO John Wren was paid $23.9 million in 2018 and Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg was paid $22.6 million during that same year.

And, finally, Viacom CEO Robert Bakish was allowed by the U.S. Congress to pay himself a total annual salary of $20 million in 2018; while Interpublic Group CEO Michael Roth was allowed to take home an annual salary of $17 million during that same year.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Did Boston's Rich White Folks Profit From Slave Trade?

In the 21st-century some of the rich white families that still pretty much control what happens economically and politically in the City of Boston may claim that their families' wealth was not obtained, historically, by profiting from the African slave trade and the enslavement of people of African descent in the USA and elsewhere. But as Russell B. Adams Jr. recalled in his 1977 book, The Boston Money Tree:

"...Peter Faneuil, like most early Bostonians saw nothing amiss in what was later to be termed the `peculiar institution' of the South...Among the effects in Peter's estate at his death were 5 slaves...Peter Faneuil...tried his hand at the slave trade more than once...Not long before his death Faneuil sent a slaving ship, owned half by himself and one quarter each by a neighbor and the captain on an expedition to the coast of Guinea...Ship and slaves were sold at auction, a portion of the proceeds going to the estate of Peter Faneuil."

The Boston Money Tree book also observed that although "it was primarily as slave traders, not slave owners, that Bostonians were to make their mark in the history of human bondage in America," a French visitor to Boston in 1687 "had reported that scarcely any Boston household of consequences didn't have at least one slave..."

According to the same book:

"...Boston's enterprising merchants, always on the lookout for commodities to serve their markets, turned...to trading slaves...It took little imagination for these...traders to sail off to Guinea with cargoes of rum to be exchanged for Negroes who were then exchanged for more sugar cane to be turned into more rum...Thomas Amory, one Boston merchant...was big in the slave trade and...succeeded in helping to found one of the city's latter-day first families."

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

`On A Highway In Bel Air' (For Ralph Featherstone and `Che' Payne) folk song lyrics

A protest folk song from 2019 about the explosion on Highway 1 in Bel Air, Maryland that killed two SNCC workers, Ralph Featherstone and William "Che" Payne, on March 8, 1970..

(verse 1)
On a highway in Bel Air in March
Of 1970
A car it exploded
Driving toward Washington, D.C.
Ralph Featherstone and "Che" Payne
Two SNCC workers lay dead
So cops claimed they "carried bombs"
On Route 1 in Maryland.

On a highway in Bel Air
Ralph Featherstone's body torn apart
On a highway in Bel Air
"Che" Payne killed in the dark.

(verse 2)
In a courthouse in Bel Air
A trial they did prepare
Of a former SNCC chairman
The government wanted jailed or dead
They assumed H. Rap Brown
Was in the car they targeted
For their COINTELPRO goal
Was the Movement to behead. (chorus)

(verse 3)
In the car driving from Bel Air
H. Rap Brown was not present
But the blast killed Ralph Featherstone
A key witness in Rap Brown's defense
Arranging security
Was Ralph Featherstone's mission
But he was killed on his way back
To his bookstore in Washington. (chrous)

(verse 4)
On a highway in Bel Air
SNCC said: "It was murder!"
From a bomb planted under the seat
In a SNCC car well-known by police
Though they failed to kill Rap Brown then
For life he was later jailed
And no more than 30 were "Che" and "Feather"
When at midnight they were killed. (chorus)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Percy Shelley's Men of England folk song lyrics

A folk song version of early 19th-century poem by Percy Shelley.

"Men of England, wherefore plough
For the lords who lay ye low?
Wherefore weave with toil and care
The rich robes your tyrants wear?

"Wherefore feed, and clothe, and save,
From the cradle to the grave,
Those ungrateful drones who would
Drain your sweat--nay, drink your blood?

"Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
Many a weapon, chain, and scourge,
That these stingless drones may spoil
The forced produce of your toil?

"Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,
Shelter, food, love's gentle balm?
Or what is it ye buy so dear
With your pain and with your fear?

"The seed ye sow, another reaps;
The wealth ye find, another keeps;
The robes ye weave, another wears;
The arms ye forge, another bears.

"Sow seed,--but let no tyrant reap;
Find wealth,--let no imposter heap;
Weave robes,--let not the idle wear;
Forge arms,--in your defence to bear.

"Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells;
In halls ye deck another dwells.
Why shake the chains ye wrought? Ye see
The steel ye tempered glance on ye.

"With plough and spade, and hoe and loom,
Trace your grave, and build your tomb,
And weave your winding-sheet, till fair
England be your sepulchre."

Monday, October 7, 2019

Australian Anti-War Movement Activist Joan Coxsedge's September 29, 2019 Letter

The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter. 

“September 29, 2019

“Dear Comrades,

“Once upon a time I felt OK in saying I was an Australian. But that was back in the era when Australia was one of the most egalitarian nations in the world, when there was vigorous debate about important issues and when our basic commodities were in public hands and jobs gave security and even some satisfaction. My grandfather worked all his life as a train driver (steam) and my father followed him into the railways, a solid career move back then, which was why I was born in Ballarat.

“What a different story today. Counted as full-time even if you only work for a few hours a week, with no sick leave, holiday pay, security, or the other basics unions fought so hard for - when bang, you’re on the scrap heap and have to fight like buggery to get a lousy payout, leaving you to subsist below the poverty line, with no hope of redress. The corporates love our system because they can screw workers into the ground. The crooks and rorters love it because no-one stops their rorting.

“Capitalism’s terrific if you’re rich and crooked and stupid, but it needs growth and growth is killing our world and killing our animals and birds and trees and flowers that make it so special. We should all be shouting from the rooftops like gutsy 16-year old Greta Thunberg who told the UN with passion and integrity. ‘People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth…I want you to act as if the house is on fire’. 

“And our house is on fire. But miserable sods like our Pentecostal PM didn’t speak at the UN forum because he had nothing to say, preferring to hob-nob with slimy Uncle Sam, a war-mongering dud on the cusp of impeachment. When Morrieson spoke at a lesser gathering he made a gig of himself, pushing us even further down the plughole.

“In Hong Kong the protests are getting nastier and more violent. A slice of history might help. Hong Kong was part of China since the Qin Dynasty in about 220 BC before morphing into an international financial center. Trade kicked in with the arrival of the ruthless East India Tea Company in 1711, when the Brits refused to pay for tea in silver, smuggling in opium as a means of exchange. By 1787, the Company was illegally sending in 4.000 chests of opium every year, causing massive addiction and corruption.

“Back in 1820, China’s economy was still the largest in the world - until the Opium Wars - but by the end of the second war, its share of global GDP had halved, and sovereignty over its territory had been seriously compromised. In 1841 a defeated China was forced to cede Hong Kong Island to the Brits as part of the Treaty of Nanjing, to lease the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 in perpetuity and the New Territories in 1898 for 99 years, areas that make up present-day Hong Kong.

“At the end of Japan’s occupation during WW2, HK reverted back to Britain, which was then forced to transfer sovereignty back to China after the lease expired in 1997 when they negotiated a transition period called  the Sino-British Joint Declaration designating HK as a ‘special administrative region’. China reluctantly agreed to extend semi-autonomy until 2047. This is the genesis of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ rule at the heart of today’s conflict, highlighting that China and Hong Kong have been on two distinct and intersecting paths of development.

“It’s now 22 years since the British left after an agreement stipulating that all interventions and colonial claims would end with full sovereignty returning to China. Calling for secession from China would be like calling for Manhattan to secede from the US. Can you imagine Washington ever agreeing to that? Hardly.

“And times have changed. In 1997, HK’s domestic product was 27% of China’s GDP. Today it’s 3%. Shenzhen and other major cities are now China’s financial hub and threaten Western hegemony. China, Russia, India and Pakistan, plus a few others, are members of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) comprising about half the world’s population and controlling about one-third of its economic output, and are moving out of the dollar economy.

“And what do you reckon western reaction would be if it was confronted by marauding gangs of protesters dressed in ninja outfits holding metal bars, with black scarves covering their faces and backpacks churning out the Star Spangled Banner, smashing up Heathrow, JFK or Melbourne Airports? You’d be beaten up and thrown into gaol. The gangs also smashed up HK’s MTR, its public Mass Transit Railway and attacked passengers.

“Fighting for democracy? My foot. Leaderless? Not. There’s tycoon Jimmy Lai, who owns a local tabloid and who’s met US Vice President Mike Pence at the White House, and politician/barrister Martin Lee, founding chair of the local Democratic Party. ‘Protest organiser’, politician-in-waiting, Joshua Wong flies around the world, hobnobbing with far-right US Congressmen like Marco Rubio and the head of the notorious White Helmets outfit, Raed Al Saleh.

“What, I ask, would a ‘grassroots leader’ in China have in common with a belligerent Syrian propaganda war mob? Because both have links to the CIA’s National Endowment for Democracy, infamous for subverting and manipulating democratically-elected governments, which has admitted funding HK dissidents for more than two decades in the name of ‘Freedom’.

“In Washington, Trump and Co. have just announced sanctions against Raul Castro and his four children for ‘gross violations of human rights in support of the Venezuelan government’ - for ‘freedom’, of course.

“In today’s society, tell the truth if you dare, like Julian Assange who, with Edward Snowden (exiled in Russia) and Chelsea Manning (detained indefinitely), exposed massive crimes and corruption by the US government and its allies, and remains locked up in Belmarsh Maximum Security Prison in appalling conditions. ‘Wherever America goes, terror follows’.

“Viva Cuba!

“Joan Coxsedge”

Thursday, August 1, 2019

`Free Julian Assange' protest folk song lyrics

A public domain protest folk song from July 2019 that calls for both the release of and dropping of all charges against Wikileaks journalist Julian Assange.

Democracy requires 
That State secrecy be banned 
"Free Julian Assange!" 
People of the world demand. 

It's no crime to leak documents to reporters 
So what was hidden the press can tell 
Yet the journalist who started Wikileaks 
Is locked up now in a prison cell. (chorus) 

He shared information on the internet 
That politicians did not want exposed 
So they forced him to flee to an embassy 
And monitored all his emails and phones. (chorus) 

They charged him with all kinds of crimes 
And scapegoated him for election defeat 
They accuse him of being a "spy" 
And working for a fake "enemy". (chorus) 

He shared news of war crimes in Iraq 
And news that exposed corporate greed 
And the cables and emails he posted 
Showed diplomats deceive. (chorus)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's July 28, 2019 Letter

The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter.

"July 28, 2019

"Dear Comrades, 

"Hope you’re all OK and surviving the chilly weather. It’s hard to believe that we’ve passed the half-year mark. I reckon someone ‘up there’ is fiddling around with our time machine, or maybe it’s just that the older you get the quicker its gets and when you look around at our shitty little world, perhaps that’s a good thing. Especially when you look at what passes for leaders.

“In our worst nightmare we couldn’t invent Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, an unhinged crook and a weird Tory toff. At least Ukraine had the good sense to elect a professional comedian, not just a couple of dangerous clowns.

“Regardless of who inhabits the White House, Pine Gap and North West Cape will always implicate us directly in America’s war machine. A nasty thought, when only last week at a press conference with Pakistan PM Imram Khan, Trump spoke ‘casually’ of reviewing plans to ‘wipe Afghanistan off the face of the earth’, a blasé reference to hypothetical mass murder. But it wasn’t offhand. Such a policy of total destruction could only apply to Iran with the potential for nuclear weapons being used far from hypothetical.

“Reporters who dismiss his endless stream of hyperbole forget that this man is the commander in chief of the greatest military force in all time. Take a look at its history. Since the United States was founded in 1776, it has been at war for 214 out of its 235 years of existence. In other words, there were only 21 years when it wasn’t waging war.

“To put it into perspective, since 1776 there is a 91% chance that America was involved in some conflict, with not one US leader qualifying as a peacetime president. The US has never gone for a decade without fighting a war. The only time it had a five-year lull was during its isolationist period of the Great Depression. So we shouldn’t be surprised at the current outbreak of belligerence. It’s what passes for ‘normal’ in today’s crackpot society.

“In the latter half of the 20th century, two visionary books cast shadows over our future. One was George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its horrifying vision of a brutal, mind-controlling totalitarian state that gave us Big Brother and thought crime and newspeak, along with the memory hole, torture palace called the Ministry of Love and the unpleasant spectacle of a boot grinding into our faces. The other was Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, published in 1932, that offered a different and softer form of totalitarianism, one of conformity achieved through engineered and hypnotic persuasion, of endless consumption that keeps the wheels of production turning, and of officially enforced promiscuity that eliminates sexual frustration. A pre-ordained caste system ranged from a highly intelligent managerial class to a sub-group of dim-witted serfs programmed to love menial work and soma, a drug conferring instant bliss.

"During the Cold War (one) Nineteen Eighty-Four had the edge, but when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, shopping took off and there were already soma-type drugs circulating throughout our society. Promiscuity took a whack from AIDS, but on balance we seemed to be destined for a trivial, drug-enhanced spend-o-rama with Brave New World out in front. And then we had the attack on New York’s twin towers in 2001 and thought crime and the grinding boot could not be eliminated so easily, along with the Ministry of Love.

“But Brave New World hasn’t gone away. Shopping malls stretch as far as the eye can see and there are ‘believers’ prattling on about the gene-rich and gene-poor - Huxley’s alphas and epsilons - busily engaged in a world of genetically modified babies, boundless consumption, casual sex and drugs. I think we’re edging towards a combination of the two.

“Whatever your definition, we live in a political jungle, in an out-of-control, corrupt, brutal system that is run by and for powerful corporates, turning what most still think of as a democracy into a charade. Our votes conceal the reality that our so-called leaders are not there to represent us, but to promote the interests of large crooked global elites.

“Take a gander at the election of Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn who is ‘clean’ but whose treatment is shameful. A handful of MPs nominated him to give the impression that the ballot was fair and open, not expecting him to win after the odious Tony Blair and his gang had done everything they could to remake Labor by eradicating any vestige of socialism, and who were furious when he won. Since Corbyn’s victory, the attacks have become even more virulent in an attempt to stop him from ever becoming prime minister. Like America’s attacks on Cuba.

“For almost 60 years, Cuba has successfully defended its revolution against a steady onslaught of US aggression, but Trump has upped the ante by blacklisting Cuba for ‘using its international medical program for human trafficking’, accusing it of ‘not doing enough’ to stop it.

“Trump should be frog-marched out of the White House and put into a padded cell. Political and economic events are telling us that justice is losing and greed is winning. Humanity has been asleep at the wheel or, more accurately, in an induced coma, for far too long. Is it too late for change? I hope not.

“WikiLeaks pushed everything forward, but we need to do a great deal more. Do we have enough journalists willing to stick their necks out and tell the hidden stories to a wide enough audience? The lawyers willing to suss out the evidence and build a case? I’m not holding my breath.

“The British Foreign Office has just banned two Russian outlets, Russia Today and Sputnik, from attending a Global Conference on Media Freedom to be held in London. It takes a special brand of hypocrisy and gall for a government that tortures journalists, bans inconvenient voices and slanders alternative media to advocate for freedom of the press.

“Viva Cuba!

“Joan Coxsedge”