Progressive Calendar 09.19.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 03:38:27 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     09.19.07

1. Free speech/KFAI   9.19 11am
2. Sisters of 77/film 9.19 12noon St Cloud MN
3. UofM strike        9.19 12:15pm/1pm
4. 789 rally/Dakota   9.19 4pm
5. StP dist councils  9.19 6pm
6. Iraq               9.19 7pm
7. Crisis/socialism   9.19 7pm

8. NWN4P New Hope     9.20 4:30pm
9. Eagan peace vigil  9.20 4:30pm
10. Northtown vigil   9.20 5pm
11. 35W bridge        9.20 5:30pm
12. Sex ed/state/film 9.20 5:30pm
13. Friends 90th      9.20 6:30pm
14. PeaceDay/film     9.20 6:30pm
15. China/global      9.20 7pm
16. Amnesty Intl      9.20 7:15pm
17. Anarchism         9.20 time: whenever

18. PC Roberts      - Why did Senator John Kerry stand idly by?
19. PC Roberts      - Conservatism isn't what it used to be
20. Ricardo Alarcon - C Wright Mills/Cuba/new era

--------1 of 20--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Free speech/KFAI 9.19 11am

Minneapolis, 106.7 in St. Paul, streaming online at <>
CALL IN: 612-341-0980.

Special feature:
Report from University of Minnesota students on a hunger strike in behalf of
striking AFSCME workers.

TTTs Andy Driscoll and Craig Cox will discuss how Minneapolis and Saint
Paul are preparing for the Republicans and the demonstrators next year.

* Cam Gordon, Minneapolis Councilmember
* Dave Thune, St. Paul Councilmember
* Sister Jane McDonald, peace activist and 20% of the 5 McDonald Sisters
all Nuns for Peace
* Peter Erlinder, Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment,
Wm. Mitchell College of Law
* Police spokesperson from St. Paul

Will politicians and police shred the Constitution to keep Republicans and
their dissenting fellow citizens apart? Can politicians keep the cops at
bay? And was the Critical Mass bicycle melee over the Labor Day weekend a
prelude to convention clashes?

Minneapolis, 106.7 in St. Paul, streaming online at <>

--------2 of 20--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Sisters of 77/film 9.19 12noon St Cloud MN

September 19: St. Cloud University Women's Center Women on Wednesday.
"Sisters of 77", a film documentary of the Houston Conference which was a
political call to arms that would influence the social, political and
economic lives of everyone in this country. Bonnie gets all mushy about
this wonderful film.  Noon-1PM in the Atwood Theatre, St Cloud. More info.

--------3 of 20--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: UofM strike 9.19 12:15pm/1pm

Wednesday, September 19 Day of Protest
"Struck Speechless"
12:15- 12:45

President Bruininks said he's not going to pay attention to the noise
outside his office. As faculty who object to the administration's
disregard for the strikers and their supporters, we will try another
gather on the East Bank Mall at 12:15 on Wednesday, Sept 19.

"24 Hr Solidarity Hunger Strike for Justice!"
1PM, Wednesday, September 19th-
1PM, Thursday, September 20th

All are welcome to participate by joining the core group of Hunger
Strikers for Justice in a 24 hr solidarity hunger strike. To launch the
action, we will gather in front of Morrill Hall following the "Struck
Speechless" event. To sign-up, email solidarityhs [at]
<mailto:solidarityhs [at]>

For more information and to pick-up an armband, visit the Hunger Strikers
for Justice during their "office hours," 9:30am-6pm, East Bank Mall.

For an updated list of events, visit
<> or email Eli Meyerhoff, meye0781 [at]
<mailto:meye0781 [at]>

--------4 of 20--------

From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at]>
From:    "" <llwright [at]>
Subject: 789 rally/Dakota 9.19 4pm

No More Stalling - - - Justice Now!
Seven years ago, workers at Dakota Premium walked off the job and began to
organize for better lives. Organized labor, community members, Christian
and Jewish faith leaders, politicians---thousands joined them in
solidarity. With your support, workers finally achieved their first union
contract in 2002! Five years later, management at Dakota Premium is at it
again. It?s time for a new contract and management wants to break the

Stand with workers as they fight for:
*An end to dangerous working conditions by slower lines and adequate staff
*The right to relief for bathroom breaks
*Living wages and affordable health insurance
*An end to blatant harassment of union stewards and leaders
*Union access to the plant to meet with workers and enforce the contract

Packinghouse Workers Deserve a Fair Contract!
WEDNESDAY September 19, 2007 4:00 PM
Dakota Premium Foods 425 Concord St., South St. Paul

For more info call: 651-451-6240

--------5 of 20--------

From: Tim Erickson <tim [at]>
Subject: StP dist councils 9.19 6pm

League of Women Voters of Saint Paul Releases Review of District Council
Public Discussion:
Wednesday, September 19
Auditorium of the Hamline Branch Library
(1558 W. Minnehaha, St. Paul).
All members of the public are invited to attend

Training for District Council staffs and board members and financial
oversight by the City are key recommendations spelled out in a new report
to the Mayor and City Council by the St. Paul chapter of the League of
Women Voters (LWVSP).  The District Council citizen participation process
has been in place for over 30 years.  However, several events this year
prompted the League to evaluate the process.  The report lists Council
accomplishments as well as needed recommendations. Copies of the report
are available on the League's website at or by calling the
League office at 651-789-0118.

Recent issues concerning councils highlighted gaps in governance and
oversight.  Boards of Directors are expected to reflect and represent the
residents of the neighborhoods. It was reported, in the case of District
3, the West Side Citizens Organization, the annual meeting was stacked
with non-residents who elected a new slate and reversed existing policy
decisions. District 13 was required to combine three councils into one
with an overly short timeline to establish a new nonprofit organization.
The energy supply for Rock Tenn and possible noxious emissions from the
plant attracted the interest of Districts 11, 12, 13, and 14.  District
15, Highland Park, found itself in severe financial straits. Some councils
have not filed all required documents to the state and IRS in a timely
manner. These problems have led some critics to question the validity of
the District Council system.

To gather information, the LWVSP update committee looked into the history
of the District Council system. They examined the city resolution that
created them as well as the organizing documents of the councils. They met
with District Council representatives, individual residents and city
officials. Training and access to professional resources were identified
as key needs.  It is anticipated that, due to the financial difficulties
facing the City, foundations or other outside organizations will be asked
to provide funds for training.  LWVSP hopes to assist in locating possible

Members of the LWVSP committee represent many years of service and
experience to the LWV and participation in government and civic affairs.
Committee Co-chairs are Bobbi Megard and Ruby Hunt, both former presidents
of the LWV and former members of the St. Paul City Council. Other members
include league members Ruth Armstrong, Joan Newmark, Sally Patterson and
Marion Watson.

A public discussion of the district council report will be held on
Wednesday, September 19, from 6:00 pm -7:30 pm in the auditorium of the
Hamline Branch Library (1558 W. Minnehaha, St. Paul).  All members of the
public are invited to attend.

--------6 of 20--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Iraq 9.19 7pm

Wednesday, 9/19, 7 pm, US diplomat Thomas Wise talks about his experience
on a reconstruction team in Iraq, Cowles Auditorium of Humphrey Institute,
301 - 19th Ave S, Mpls.

--------7 of 20--------

From: Socialist Alternative <mn [at]>
Subject: Crisis/socialism 9.19 7pm

Public Meeting Wednesday, 7pm, Mayday Books (free and open the public)
A World in Crisis and the Socialist Alternative

Wednesday, Sept 19th
Mayday Books
301 Cedar Ave
West Bank, Minneapolis. Just off the UofM campus

Speaker: Theodros Shibabaw
Teddy is an economics columnist for Justice newspaper, and leading local
activist involved in antiwar, labor, and immigrant rights struggles. He
attended the University of Minnesota from 2000 - 2004 after immigrating
here from Ethiopia in 1998.

Imagine the world 20 years from now. Doesn't look pretty, does it? These
days, most young people look to the future with a deep sense of
foreboding, and for good reason. Violent conflict, economic instability,
environmental crisis, corporate domination - these are just some of the
problems we face. But is there an alternative to global capitalism? Is a
democratic socialist society possible? Come join in this important

Sponsored by Socialist Alternative
For more information:
612-760-1980 / mn [at]

Websites: (local) (national) (global)

--------8 of 20--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P New Hope 9.20 4:30pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of
Winnetka and 42nd.  You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near
McDonalds; we will be on all four corners.  Bring your own or use our

--------9 of 20--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 9.20 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------10 of 20--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 9.20 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------11 of 20--------

From: "Gordon, Cam A." <CamGordon333 [at]>
Subject: 35W bridge 9.20 5:30pm

35W Bridge.  The I-35W Bridge municipal consent public hearing is set for
5:30pm Thursday, September 20, at the Thrivent Financial Auditorium 625
Fourth Ave S.  The meeting will give people a chance to comment on the
final layout and project report for the new Interstate 35W Bridge
presented by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). This is
the next step in the state-mandated municipal consent process, in which
MnDOT asks the Minneapolis City Council to grant its approval of the
project, or offer its suggested changes. The proposed bridge plan
incorporates the Statement of Principles
( that the
City Council unanimously approved August 17. The proposed bridge would
include five lanes in each direction, including two lanes that could be
devoted to Bus Rapid Transit and/or managed lanes. At the united urging of
the Mayor and all of my Council colleagues it will be designed and built
to be Light-Rail-ready, which may help accommodate our future
transportation needs.  The bridge would follow the same alignment as the
previous bridge, but more lanes and wider shoulders mean the bridge will
be about 189 feet wide, compared to the previous bridge's 113-foot width.

--------12 of 20--------

From: David Strand <mncivil [at]>
Subject: Sex ed/state/film 9.20 5:30pm

I saw the premiere of "Sex Ed and the State" earlier this summer.  Shot in
Minnesota, the film's comparisons of public health studies and studies of
effectiveness of sex education contrasted with the myths about sex ed (
and at times telling sexual ignorance) bandied about by politicians at our
state legislature was skillful, entertaining, and an inspiring call to

The film also does a good job of demonstrating that the sex ed currently
available in many of our public schools falls far short of the sex
education that most of the public believes our youth should be learning in
school.  The public overwhelmingly supports comprehensive sex ed but a
sizeable part of our legislature is deeply influenced by a vocal minority
of sex ed opponents.

Many people believe all kids today get some sex education in school, at
least in public schools.  But alas, the truth is that many schools have no
real sex education, or worse, have what would better be called sex
"miseducation" due to the intense pressure of some politicians and
political groups to gut sex ed programs.

Comprehensive sex education is desperately needed and our state
legislature needs to know we support it!

Sex Ed and the State
September 20, 2007
5:30 p.m.
Riverview Theater
3800 42nd Avenue South, Minneapolis

When a bill is supported by strong research, a Surgeon General's report,
and an overwhelming majority of Americans - what happens when it's
introduced in the Minnesota state legislature? "Sex Ed and the State" is a
documentary about comprehensive sexuality education in public schools.
Minnesota lawmakers give interviews, along with advocates, opponents,
educators, and other stakeholders in the debate over the best strategy to
fight adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The event is
free and open to the public. The film is directed and produced by Jim
Winkle. To view a film clip and obtain more information, visit

--------13 of 20--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Friends 90th 9.20 6:30pm

Thursday, 9/20, 6:30 pm reception and pies, 7:15 pm program, celebrate the
90th anniversary of the American Friends Service Committee with general
secretary Mary Ellen McNish, plus MN Eyes Wide Open Exhibit 5 to dusk
(weatheer permitting), Minneapolis Friends Meetinghouse, 4401 York Ave S,
Mpls. or 612-926-6159.

--------14 of 20--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: PeaceDay/film 9.20 6:30pm

Thursday, 9/20, 6:30 pm, 80 minute documentary "Peace One Day" describing
one Englishman's quest to have a UN International Day of Peace, Basilica of
St Mary School, classroom LL 1, behind the Basilica, 17th and Hennepin,
Mpls.  dick_bernard [at] or 651-730-4849.

--------15 of 20--------

From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at]>
Subject: China/global 9.20 7pm

Free and open to the public.
Thursday, September 20, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis
(at Lyndale & Hennepin). Park in church lot.

By the 1970s, the Chinese revolution had run its course; the People's
Republic of China became simply a developing country. In recognition of
this fact Deng Xiaoping decided in 1978 to take China into the world
market. The country's economy has since grown phenomenally and its society
has undergone major changes. This talk will consider China's confrontation
with leading global issues: population growth, human rights, labor
migration, environmental pollution, and international economic

Presenter: TED FARMER. A member of the History Department of the
University of Minnesota since 1968, Professor Farmer has a BA in history
and philosophy, an MA in East Asian regional studies and a Ph.D. from
Harvard in history and Far Eastern languages. . He is the Director of the
National Resource Center in International Studies in the university's
Institute for Global Studies. His research and abundant publications,
including several books, have dealt largely with Ming China, comparative
early modern history, twentieth century Chinese history and global

Sponsored by Citizens for Global Solutions

--------16 of 20---------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 9.20 7:15pm

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, September 20th, at 7:15
p.m. St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata
(near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further
information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at]

--------17 of 20---------

From: Betsy Raasch-Gilman <raaschgilman [at]>
Subject: Anarchism 9.20

"Nonviolence and Anarchism: An Intergenerational Dialog" is a class
sponsored by EXCO, Macalester College's experimental college. Four
sessions, beginning 9/20/07, will focus on the upcoming protests of the
Republican National Convention. Activists coming from somewhat different
philosophies of social change often wind up on different sides of the
property destruction debate. Explore why that is, clarify your own
opinions, and meet people who may disagree with you!  Facilitated by Betsy
Raasch-Gilman and Rob Czernik.  Sign up at; space is

--------18 of 20---------

Why Did Senator John Kerry Stand Idly By?
September 19, 2007

Naive Americans who think they live in a free society should watch the
video filmed by students at a John Kerry speech September 17, Constitution
Day, at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

At the conclusion of Kerry's speech, Andrew Meyer, a 21-year old
journalism student was selected by Senator Kerry to ask a question.  Meyer
held up a copy of BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast's book, Armed
Madhouse, and asked if Kerry was aware that Palast's investigations
determined that Kerry had actually won the election.  Why, Meyer asked,
had Kerry conceded the election so quickly when there were so many obvious
examples of vote fraud?  Why, Meyer, went on to ask, was Kerry refusing to
consider Bush's impeachment when Bush was about to initiate another act of
military aggression, this time against Iran?

At this point the public's protectors - the police - decided that Meyer
had said too much. They grabbed Meyer and began dragging him off.  Meyer
said repeatedly, "I have done nothing wrong," which under our laws he had
not.  He threatened no one and assaulted no one.

But the police decided that Meyer, an American citizen, had no right to
free speech and no constitutional protection.  They threw him to the floor
and tasered him right in front of Senator Kerry and the large student
audience, who captured on video the unquestionable act of police
brutality.  Meyer was carted off and jailed on a phony charge of
"disrupting a public event".

The question we should all ask is why did a United States Senator just
stand there while Gestapo goons violated the constitutional rights of a
student participating in a public event, brutalized him in full view of
everyone, and then took him off to jail on phony charges?

Kerry's meekness not only in the face of electoral fraud, not only in the
face of Bush's wars that are crimes under the Nuremberg standard, but also
in the face of police goons trampling the constitutional rights of
American citizens makes it completely clear that he was not fit to be
president, and he is not fit to be a US senator.

Usually when police violate constitutional rights and commit acts of
police brutality they do it when they believe no one is watching, not in
front of a large audience.  Clearly, the police have become more audacious
in their abuse of rights and citizens.  What explains the new fearlessness
of police to violate rights and brutalize citizens without cause?

The answer is that police, most of whom have authoritarian personalities,
have seen that constitutional rights are no longer protected.  President
Bush does not protect our constitutional rights.  Neither does Vice
President Cheney, nor the Attorney General, nor the US Congress. Just as
Kerry allowed Meyer's rights to be tasered out of him, Congress has
enabled Bush to strip people, including American citizens, of
constitutional protection and incarcerate them without presenting

How long before Kerry himself or some other senator will be dragged from
his podium and tasered?

The Bush Republicans with complicit Democrats have essentially brought
government accountability to an end in the US.  The US government has
80,000 people, including ordinary American citizens, on its "no-fly list".
No one knows why they are on the list, and no one on the list can find out
how to get off it. An unaccountable act by the Bush administration put
them there.

Airport Security harasses and abuses people who do not fit any known
definition of terrorist.  Nalini Ghuman, a British-born citizen and music
professor at Mills College in California was met on her return from a trip
to England by armed guards at the airplane door and escorted away.  A
Gestapo goon squad tore up her US visa, defaced her British passport, body
searched her, and told her she could leave immediately for England or be
sent to a detention center.

Professor Ghuman, an Oxford University graduate with a Ph.D. from the
University of California at Berkeley, says she feels like the character in
Kafka's book, The Trial.  "I don't know why it's happened, what I'm
accused of. There's no opportunity to defend myself.  One is just
completely powerless".  Over one year later there is still no answer.

The Bush Republicans and their Democratic toadies have, in the name of
"security," made all of us powerless.  While Senator John Kerry and his
Democratic colleagues stand silently, the Bush administration has stolen
our country from us and turned us into subjects.

*The video of Andrews Mayer's arrest may be found at

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal
editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor
of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:
PaulCraigRoberts [at]

[The above shows that Kerry is not a lesser evil. Similar Dems are not
lesser evils either. A to-the-bone evil cabal of most Republican and many
Dem pols controls Congress; a vote for "lesser evil" is now seen to be
vote for full-strength evil. Whatever trifling differences one can find
are not differences that make a difference. Picture vividly Kerry just
standing there as the above fascist tactics take place. How is that
"lesser" in any sense that means anything to anyone? -ed]

--------19 of 20--------

Conservatism Isn't What It Used to Be
September 17, 2007

When I was in the Reagan administration, America had a lively press that
never hesitated to take us to task.  Even the "Teflon President" received
more brickbats than Bush and Cheney.

The lively press disappeared along with its independence in the media
concentration engineered during the Clinton administration.  Shortly
thereafter all the liberal news anchors disappeared as well.  Today the US
press a serves as propaganda ministry for the government's wars and police
state. Yet, some conservatives continue to rant on about "the liberal

That other conservative bugaboo, liberal academia, has also been crushed.
Universities once controlled their appointments, but no more.  Recently,
the political science faculty at DePaul, a Catholic university, voted to
give tenure to the courageous scholar and teacher Norman Finkelstein. The
department was unable to make its tenure decision stick over the
objections of the Israel Lobby and their conservative allies, who were
able to reach in over the heads of the political science department and
the College Personnel Committee and force DePaul's president to block
Finkelstein's tenure. Finkelstein had angered the Israel Lobby with his
criticisms of Israel's misuse of the holocaust sufferings of Jews to
oppress the Palestinians and to silence critics.

On September 14, 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported that the appointment
of the distinguished legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as the Dean of a new
law school at the University of California at Irvine had been withdrawn by
the university's chancellor, Michael V. Drake, who gave in to the demands
of conservatives outside the university.  Conservatives are outraged at
Chemerinsky because he criticized Attorney General Gonzales.  In
withdrawing Chemerinsky's appointment, Drake told him: "I didn't realize
there would be conservatives out to get you".

Gonzales is the attorney general who wrote memos justifying torture and
denying that the Bush administration was bound by the Geneva Conventions.
Gonzales told a stunned Senate Judiciary Committee that the US
Constitution did not provide habeas corpus protection to American

To experience an attorney general of the US fiercely attacking the US
Constitution, rending its every provision, is the most frightening
experience of my lifetime. That the head of the legal branch of the
executive, sworn to uphold the Constitution, would turn against it in
order to enhance unaccountable executive power is a clear impeachable
offense.  If anyone anywhere in the world deserved criticism, Gonzales
did. But when Chemerinsky unbraided the despicable Gonzales, conservatives
rushed to Gonzales' defense, not to the defense of the American

It seems only yesterday that conservatives were complaining about the
liberties that liberals took with the Constitution.  Liberals were
expanding rights, fancifully perhaps. But today conservatives are
curtailing long established rights, such as habeas corpus and protection
against self-incrimination.  Conservatives abandoned "original intent" and
all of their constitutional scruples once they had a chance to cram more
power into the presidency.

In my conservative days as an academic, I experienced some liberal
blackballs. But liberals did not attack academic freedom per se. The new
conservatives despise academic freedom and have created organizations to
monitor departments of Middle East studies in order to lower the boom on
scholars who follow the truth instead of neoconservative ideology or
Israeli policy. Today academic freedom has disappeared just like the
independent media. No one but powerful organized interest groups has a
voice.  In the media truth can only emerge on comic shows like The Colbert
Report and Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.

In years past, conservatives were often shouted down on university
campuses by left-wing students. But today speakers disapproved by powerful
interest groups are simply disinvited in advance. Even Harvard University
has fallen to the new censorship. On September 14, 2007, the Harvard
Crimson reported that the Israel Lobby was able to force Harvard
University to disinvite three speakers, an Oxford University professor, a
DePaul professor, and a Rutgers professor, because they had criticized
Israeli policy.

In America today, speaking your mind in the media or in academia is a
thing of the past. A country that has no voices independent of powerful
interests is a country in which freedom is dead.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal
editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor
of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:
PaulCraigRoberts [at]

--------20 of 20--------

The Return of C. Wright Mills Amid the Dawn of a New Era
September 17, 2007

"What planet are you from, anyway?" responded the Guantanamero to the
insistent question posed by someone who apparently did not believe there
were schools, libraries, teachers, doctors and nurses there who offered
their services to everyone free of charge, as they have been doing for
several decades in Cuba. This anecdote, mentioned in Sicko, Michael
Moore's latest documentary, describes what many, in one way or another,
have experienced in the course of nearly half a century of encounters
 - positive and not - between beings that inhabit worlds which are at once
close to and cut off from one another. In 1960, hoping to bridge the
enormous gap through the noble and generous voice of C. Wright Mills,
Cubans had noted: "We are so far apart that there are Two Cubas - ours and
the one you picture to yourselves". By the way, Cuba is not a nation about
which few things have been written or published.

Over the course of several years publishing houses in the United States
have printed texts essential to understanding our history, which have
analyzed Cuban society and its Revolution profoundly: true must-read
classics. Avoiding many a time, the barriers erected between our two
countries in their prolonged struggle and overcoming the specific
challenges I will address later, US academia has given us highly valuable
works worthy of praise. Its efforts, however, have been severely limited
by the structures within which it must operate.

The mass media have devoted more attention to Cuba than to most other
Latin American and Caribbean countries. They have created another,
unrecognizable Cuba through massive errors, distortions and inaccuracies
many times reaching grotesque proportions.

Voicing superficial opinions about Cuba, assuming stances against its
revolution and even boasting of expert knowledge on the subject is
something which is not only natural and easy but also lucrative for some.
In the introduction to an extensive study published in 1997, The UN
Economic Commission on Latin America underscored the paradoxical fact that
Cuba's was "one of Latin America's most interpreted, but least studied,

The lack of analytical rigor, superficiality and even dishonesty often
characterize the treatment of the Cuban issue. Many were trained to react
with reflexive mechanisms and without thinking. The mere mention of Cuba
or Castro prompts an instantaneous and automatic reaction, before the
brain can even pass judgement. Prejudice, in short, is sown through modern
instruments of information and a cultural industry which, more and more,
divests thought of true content and encourages banality everywhere.

Another professor from Columbia, Brzezinski, put it frankly: with the new
technologies they could "manipulate emotions and control reason".

The commotion stirred up by recently-divulged declassified documents which
describe attempts by the CIA and the mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro is
quite revealing. The plans were known, in detail, and acknowledged by the
US Senate more than thirty years ago. Books on the subject were published
and box-office hits were made. Nothing new has come to light. What is
revealing is how frivolously the mass media treated the idea of
assassination and other crimes and the passiveness with which the public
took in the news.

In a world in which information has become a form of entertainment, you
can tell the people that their government has been involved in all sorts
of sordid actions without facing a scandal. Some, parroting the CIA
chiefs, pointed out that these things happened so long ago that no one
even remembers them. Obliged to speak about the Iraq war, Abu Grahib,
Guantanamo and other current realities, they will again avoid any
connection with the past; they will treat them as isolated events, outside
of history, present them as the inexplicable images of a stupefying

This is also how it has been possible, for over two years now, to provide
safe haven to Luis Posada Carriles, prevent the resumption of a trial
began in Venezuela for the mid-air bombing of a commercial airliner and
the holding of a trial in the United States - in flagrant violation of
international anti-terrorist conventions - while perpetuating the
incarceration of the Cuban Five, young men, whose only crime was the
peaceful struggle against them and other terrorists harbored by
Washington. These two incidents have been mentioned once or twice in some
of the US media, always in biased reports full of errors, and have
immediately been buried beneath an unrelenting avalanche of misinformation
and rubbish, dumped upon a captive and defenseless public day in and day
out. The result: the cases of Posada Carriles and our Five Heroes are
known around the world, voices of condemnation, protest and solidarity are
being heard more and more, while ignorance and silence are forced upon the
people in the United States. All the while, thousands of young Americans
go to Iraq to kill and die in the name of a supposed war against

I invoke Mills again, because this year, the 45th anniversary of his
physical disappearance, Cubans ought to remember with gratitude, and to
pay tribute to this North American writer who, in difficult and decisive
times, struggled for friendship and understanding between our nations like
very few did. To this cause he devoted his exceptional talent and all of
his energies; for this cause, put simply, he gave his life.

>From the time of Listen Yankee's publication in 1960, Mills had to
struggle against all sides, thrown into an uneven match with the powers
that be and the owners of the mass media. The FBI and pro-Batista gangs
based in Miami employed all the instruments of persuasion, including
threats and pressures against him.

A paradigm of the intellectual committed to truth and justice, an
independent, lucid and creative thinker, he met his death before his time,
leaving an admirable oeuvre unfinished, an oeuvre which was the
inspiration of those young people who, in that unique moment in US
history, sought to storm heaven. His indefatigable struggle on behalf of
Cuba had, for him, more than a present significance as part of a debate;
it was decisive for the future relations of the United States with the
world and for the well being of the nation in general.

As a prelude of things to come, he wrote: "I'm afraid there is going to
come about a very bad time in my country for people who think as I do.
What bothers me, is whether or not the damned heart will stand up to what
must then be done".

We have, indeed, faced difficult times, bereft of his irreplaceable

In its policy towards the Cuban revolution, the United States has traced
an unbroken, unwavering line which takes us all the way back to the
Eisenhower administration and already spans across half a century. It is
the policy of misinformation and lies. While other elements of US policy
have varied over time, this, its fundamental component, has not
experienced the slightest change since the now remote times when
Washington worked hard to perpetuate Batista's dictatorship and prevent
the revolutionary triumph.

In this battleground, the US government has employed financial, material
and human resources impossible to quantify. Those who have sought to delve
into the issue of Cuba have had to do so over a boggy and mined terrain,
to face a single and singular obstacle: the most powerful government on
the planet which has done everything in its power, made use of all
available means, in order to lie, falsify reality and deceive. Such
premeditated efforts to conceal the truth and divulge falsehoods, such
consistency over so long a period of time, are without precedents.

It is not only a question of prejudice, ignorance or moral cowardice. Many
who have opposed the Cuban revolution have been the object of deliberate
and systematic intellectual and emotional manipulation, victims of an
operation designed at the highest levels of US power, an operation in
which an immense governmental bureaucracy and its many public and secret
agencies, reliant on the conscious and unconscious complicity of
politicians, academics, journalists and other intellectuals, has been

Though little was known about this operation in Mills' time, he was able
to imagine that something of this nature was taking shape and alluded to
this more than once. Today, we have access to all its details, from the
time of its inception, through its development, to the present day.

In the 1990s, a good many official documents till then kept secret came to
light. In 1991, the US Department of State published a thick volume titled
"Foreign relations of the United States 1958-1960 Volume VI Cuba" which
contains hundreds of documents, reports, internal Department analyses, the
minutes of the National Security Council and other government agency
meetings, messages exchanged with the US embassy in Havana, other
diplomatic missions and allied countries and other materials which cover
the last years of the Batista regime and the first two years of Cuba - US
conflict, up to the breaking of diplomatic relations.

1958 was a crucial year which holds the key to understanding what was to
happen later. The volume contains irrefutable proof of Washington's close
alliance with the bloody dictatorship which scourged the island.
Collaboration existed in the most diverse spheres, even the nuclear energy
sector. Military aid was unlimited, extending beyond the supply of
weapons, munitions, equipment and assistance at all levels. All officers
in Cuba's air force, nearly all army, navy and police officials and
complete units of the troops that fought against the rebels in the Sierra
Maestra were trained in US military schools.

Batista found support not only in Cuba but also in the United States. The
FBI and Department of Justice kept a tight rein on exiles and anti-Batista
migrs and worked to thwart all of their efforts to aid those who struggle
for freedom at home. The two governments exchanged information and
coordinated actions as part of these efforts. In this regard, the actions
undertaken against then ex-president Carlos Pro Socarras are worthy of

As the Batista regime's exhaustion became more and more evident,
concealing the aid which his government continued to receive became a
priority for the Eisenhower administration, as did the obstinate and
fruitless efforts aimed at preventing the people's victory. "We must
prevent a Castro victory" was the conclusion often repeated at White House

The declassified documents reveal more than a political, military and
economic commitment between the authorities of two governments which, at
times, appear to merge into a single body. We come across anxious and
perplexed characters, actors in a drama they are unable to understand. In
the course of 1958, more and more meetings see Eisenhower, Nixon, Dulles
and his generals draw up desperate plans looking for a magic formula to
save the old regime and prevent its complete collapse.

As with soap operas, there is intrigue and melodrama, like the scene in
which the President, in a grave and solemn tone, asks everyone present to
promise they will deny, without exception, having heard what was discussed
there. Or his precise and unquestionable instruction, that "the hand of
the United States remain hidden". And, as if this were not enough, as
though suspicious of his closest advisors, his personal instruction to the
CIA director, to stop discussing plans against Cuba at National Security
Council meetings.

They were forced to interrupt or postpone dinners and revelries. In the
last hours of December 31st, from his office, Secretary Herter sends
Havana his last message of 1958. It is a bitter and sorrowful letter which
summarizes everything Washington had done to support the despot until the
last moment.

Before dawn broke that first morning of 1959, Washington was already
receiving reports from its ambassador in Havana. The gentleman had not
slept a wink; he had been busy trying to prop up the military junta which
was scrambling to organize itself and coordinating the departure from the
country of those leaders and collaborators who had no fled with Batista.

In those first early hours, already Cuba was to receive one of the
toughest blows of the United States' economic war against the island. The
fugitives had literally plundered the Treasury of the Republic, creating
what the Department of State itself described as a situation no
administration could bear. Not one cent was returned. Neither were any
loans granted the provisional government, in spite of its discrete and
friendly appeals. Therein lies the origin of the many fortunes that arose,
later to be swelled by privileges, tax exemptions and other benefits no
one else has ever enjoyed in the history of the United States, fortunes
which the official propaganda extols as the supposed successes stories of
a community of enterprising migrs.

Washington never let its loyal friend down. One of the longest sections of
the abovementioned volume describes the steps diplomats and US officials
took to secure a pleasant and safe retirement for the defeated tyrant.
Since the "hand had to remain hidden", it had to be outside of US
territory, so it was the good will of the then ruling government of Spain
and Portugal with the United States' approval that came to their aid. The
dictator's wife, children and other relatives and close friends settled
comfortably in the homes they had purchased, using stolen money, in south
Florida. There, they joined other fugitives and created an artificial
Cuba, with all of the characteristics of the Cuba that had forever
disappeared. The government of the United States gave them the resources
to become, in a short time, a force to be reckoned with, which the US
people was obliged to accept as representative of fictitious values that
had hitherto never been theirs.

The first counterrevolutionary organization, La Rosa Blanca, was founded
in Miami by Rafael Daz Balart, one of Batista's main ministers and
ex-chief of his political apparatus. Former torturers, veteran gangsters,
drug-traffickers and thieves came to control media spaces and were
received at Congress meetings and in the offices of politicians, both
democratic and republican. They were allowed to pocket hundreds of
millions of dollars - more than $400 million, according to calculations by
experts from the National Bank and New York Times editorialists - and,
later, incalculable sums taken from US taxpayers, as tax exemptions for
the supposed loss of properties left behind in Cuba, and other, equally
exorbitant sums, through diverse anti-Castro programs which have been
generously financed with money from the federal budget for nearly half a

Batista's lot was to die in Europe but his memory lives on in the United
States. Every March 10th, the day he took power through a coupdtat in Cuba
when he liquidated its government institutions in one fell swoop is
celebrated in Miami. Batista's relatives, and those of his close friends,
live in the United States, hold positions in the judiciary, the executive
and the legislature, at the federal, state and local levels. They are
accorded honors and paid tributes at public squares, universities and even
in the United States Congress. Today, in the 21st century, a strange cult
of Batista's regime survives in the United States, the pathetic token of
unconditional devotion.

1959 and 1960, as the recently declassified documents tell us, were years
in which the powerful hand which sought to remain invisible wrestled with
a small country which sought to ward it off. New acts of economic
aggression soon followed the brutal sacking of the public treasury. Given
Cuba's then almost complete dependence on US financing and markets,
Washington strategists were confident that a few blows to the country
would suffice to make Cuba collapse and come again under US domination.

With the passing of time, they coined phrases which proved useful in
concealing the meaning of their actions. The learned refer to these
actions as "sanctions" which are part of an "embargo". Now, it is possible
for us to read that, as early as 1959, one of the first measures, the
suppression of the sugar quota, was described by Secretary Herter as
"economic warfare".

We know, also, that, in those early days, US authorities had a very
precise idea of what they were doing, of the moral implications of their
actions and the political ends they were pursuing. Few times were they as
sincere as when they wrote: "The majority of Cubans support Castro. the
only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through
disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and
hardship - every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken
the economic life of Cuba - a line of action which, while as adroit and
inconspicuous as possible, makes the greatest inroads in denying money and
supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about
hunger, desperation and overthrow of government". When this policy was
designed and applied, it had already been many years since the Nuremberg
Tribunal had handed down its final verdict and the United Nations made its
Convention on the crime of genocide a universal law. Those in Washington
who coldly decided to apply a policy which spelled genocide for the Cuban
people were fully conscious of these facts. Note that they sought to make
the people suffer and to destroy them, to ignore and ultimately crush
their will, deny them the exercise of their democratic rights.

More recently, when these documents came to light, making a mockery of
decency and common sense, U.S diplomats and their academic and
journalistic coryphaei went as far as attempting to justify the policy of
genocide, in the name of democracy.

In 1997, the Central Intelligence Agency declassified another document it
had zealously kept secret for over thirty years, with the pertinent
omissions and finishing touches. It is the report of General Lyman B.
Kirkpatrick, CIA inspector general for the actions undertaken in 1959,
which, in essence, describes the policy the United States has continued to
apply to this day.

The program consisted in:

"a. Formation of a Cuban exile organization to attract Cuban loyalties, to
direct opposition activities, and to provide cover for Agency operations.

b. A propaganda offensive in the name of the opposition.

c. Creation inside Cuba of a clandestine intelligence collection and
action apparatus to be responsive to the direction of the exile

d. Development outside Cuba of a small paramilitary force to be introduced
into Cuba to organize, train and lead resistance groups".

One finds surprising the importance accorded to propaganda and political
work, which according to Kirkpatrick was allotted a greater part of the
assigned budget than intelligence and military operations. The one aim of
the organization in exile was to cover up Agency operations to guarantee,
of course, that "the hand of the U.S. Government would not appear".

"Anti-Castro propaganda operations were intensified throughout Latin
America". To sustain these operations, the initially assigned budget was
constantly being increased and the clandestine CIA body in charge of these
came to have more staff and resources than any other the Agency had during
the Cold War.

The hidden hand was generous indeed.

It handed out no less than $35,000 a week for the publication of Bohemia
Libre magazine, whose circulation reached that of 126,000 copies, second
only, in the Continent, to Reader's Digest; the reprinting in exile of the
daily newspaper Avance years before financed by Batista; Radio Swan
broadcasts, television programs and other publications, including comic
strips; not to mention the travel expenses of lecturers, deployed to
divulge propaganda across Latin America. At the time, the CIA paid Cuban
leaders in exile $h131,000 in salaries each month.

The Bay of Pigs fiasco did not put an end to these activities; rather,
these became broader and more intense. Clandestine radio broadcasts, which
have not ceased, were later expanded and became special Voice of America
programs, today's Radio and TV Mart. Since then and up to today, the CIA
has financed newspapers, journals and other publications and continues to
have lecturers, academicians and journalists on its payroll.

In addition to covert operations, the US currently undertakes other, more
visible actions. The Cuba Program is still in effect, though it enjoys a
larger budget today, and, in addition to the CIA's original program, there
are now AID and NED ones. Nothing has changed, not even the name.

With the passing of the Helms-Burton Act and the reports of the so-called
Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, approved by President Bush, US
foreign policy has become interventionist and arrogant like never before.
There wouldn't be enough time to go into an in depth analysis. I will
limit myself to saying that, were the recommendations of these documents
followed to the letter, Cuba would cease to exist as a sovereign nation.

But this is an irrational and anachronistic policy. The real world has not
moved in the direction longed for by the vindictive supporters of Batista
and their friends in Washington.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the failure of what came to be known
as "real socialism" dazzled many in the capitalist world, who became
intoxicated with a simple-minded and disproportionate optimism. Absorbed
with talk of the fall of the Berlin Wall, they were completely oblivious
to the Caracazo.

Painstakingly, and not without ups and downs, the world would in fact move
in the direction Mills wisely predicted. Rather than the end of history,
we witness the end of an era and the beginning of a new one that recalls
his theory; the same one Mills had long searched for.

Latin America and the Caribbean witness the dawn of a new era. National
revolutionary processes are consolidating themselves, grassroots movements
are growing stronger, indigenous peoples and other marginalized sectors
have ever greater participation in these and real and efficacious
alternatives are making progress, impelling true unity and independence in
the region. New alliances and pursuits emerge as the region moves towards
the construction of socialist projects which, in their diversity, will
make up the socialism of the 21st century; a form of socialism which is
wholly ours, and which will not be "a carbon copy" of previous systems,
but a "heroic creation", as Mariategui advocated. The work of people
capable of independent thought, the type of people Mella dreamt of when
Cuban Marxism was coming into its own. As all creations it will be unique,
it will shatter templates and be impervious to dogma. It will be the
rainbow already heralded by the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas.

Intellectuals on both sides of the Rio Grande shoulder great
responsibility and are duty-bound to make this new age one of peace and
friendship among our peoples. With the Cold War behind us, we now face new
possibilities to establish new relations, which will only be possible when
all hegemonic designs are abandoned.

Mills has finally returned. Let us take heed of his words: "What I have
been trying to say to intellectuals, preachers, scientists - as well as
more generally to publics - can be put into one sentence: Drop the liberal
rhetoric and the conservative default, they are now parts of one and the
same official line; transcend that line".

Ricardo Alarcn is President of the National Assembly of People's Power of
the Republic of Cuba. This is the text of a lecture delivered at the
Workshop "Dialogos Polticos", XXVII International Congress of the Latin
American Studies Association, 2007, Montreal, Canada. September 7, 2007.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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