|Progressive Calendar 09.19.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Free speech/KFAI 9.19 11am TRUTH TO TELL WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 @ 11:00 AM: KFAI, FM 90.3 in Minneapolis, 106.7 in St. Paul, streaming online at <http://www.KFAI.org/> CALL IN: 612-341-0980. Special feature: Report from University of Minnesota students on a hunger strike in behalf of striking AFSCME workers. MAIN TOPIC: FREE SPEECH AND RNC2008 REAL OR IMAGINED? TTTs Andy Driscoll and Craig Cox will discuss how Minneapolis and Saint Paul are preparing for the Republicans and the demonstrators next year. GUESTS: * 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? TRUTH TO TELL- WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 @ 11:00 AM: KFAI, FM 90.3 in Minneapolis, 106.7 in St. Paul, streaming online at <http://www.KFAI.org/> --------2 of 20-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> 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] visi.com> 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 approach: A HALF HOUR OF SILENCE FOLLOWED BY A MINUTE OF NOISE. We will 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] gmail.com <mailto:solidarityhs [at] gmail.com> 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 www.uworkers.org <http://www.uworkers.org> or email Eli Meyerhoff, meye0781 [at] umn.edu <mailto:meye0781 [at] umn.edu> --------4 of 20-------- From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at] riseup.net> From: "stpaulunions.org" <llwright [at] stpaulunions.org> 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 union. 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! UFCW LOCAL 789 WORKER SOLIDARITY RALLY 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] e-democracy.org> Subject: StP dist councils 9.19 6pm League of Women Voters of Saint Paul Releases Review of District Council System Public Discussion: Wednesday, September 19 6-7:30pm 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 www.lwvsp.org 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 donors. 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] hotmail.com> 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. www.hhh.umn.edu --------7 of 20-------- From: Socialist Alternative <mn [at] socialistalternative.org> 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 7pm 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 discussion. Sponsored by Socialist Alternative For more information: 612-760-1980 / mn [at] socialistalternative.org Websites: www.SocialistMinnesota.org (local) www.SocialistAlternative.org (national) www.SocialistWorld.net (global) --------8 of 20-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> 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 signs. --------9 of 20-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> 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] aol.com 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] aol.com. --------11 of 20-------- From: "Gordon, Cam A." <CamGordon333 [at] msn.com> 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 (http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/minneapolisresponds/vision.asp) 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] yahoo.com> 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 action. 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 Free 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 www.sexedmovie.com. --------13 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> 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. www.quaker.org/minnfm/ or 612-926-6159. --------14 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> 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] msn.com or 651-730-4849. --------15 of 20-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu> Subject: China/global 9.20 7pm THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM: CHINA IN THE ERA OF GLOBALIZATION 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 integration, 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 history. Sponsored by Citizens for Global Solutions --------16 of 20--------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> 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] NatureWorksLLC.com. --------17 of 20--------- From: Betsy Raasch-Gilman <raaschgilman [at] gaiavoices.net> 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 www.excotc.org; space is limited. --------18 of 20--------- Why Did Senator John Kerry Stand Idly By? By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS CounterPunch 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 evidence. 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 http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?filmID=601 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] yahoo.com [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 By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS CounterPunch 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 media". 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 citizens. 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 Constitution. 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] yahoo.com --------20 of 20-------- The Return of C. Wright Mills Amid the Dawn of a New Era By RICARDO ALARCN CounterPunch 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, economies". 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 spectacle. 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 terrorism. 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 rebelliousness. 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 involved. 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 note. 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 meetings. 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 century. 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 organization. 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] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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