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]..."