Archive for the ‘OWS’ Category

Guest Post: The Brissioni Blog – Thankfulness and John Lennon   Leave a comment

Nancy Brissioni has been posting on The Brissioni Blog since 2010.  Her posts on books and social justice are always well written and thoughtful. We enjoy them a lot. Please visit her blog or drop in on her feed on Google+.  Here is her post from the last week of November, 2013:

Thankfulness and John Lennon

By Nancy Brissioni from The Brissioni Blog

I came of age in those amazing times when America learned to hate war and long for peace. I grew up chanting “All we are saying, is give Peace a chance” along with John Lennon and many blue jean clad peers. We all boarded the “Peace Train” and pinned our hopes on a world that wanted peace as badly as we did. We recognized war as a terrible thing, tearing people, families, children, homes, villages, cities, and nations apart and emphasizing the fault lines of hate that run through human history. We did not want to go to war in Vietnam.

As we aged our anti-war message mellowed. We learned the lessons of expediency. With Katie we watched two planes fly into the Twin Towers; we watched those proud towers which pierced our skies burn to ash, melt, and fall over our iconic city. While many of us peaceniks did not want to go to war in Iraq and had real doubts about those weapons of mass destruction, we felt that if we seemed unprepared for some military style of retaliation we would only invite more attacks. We recognized the need to mount a good defense in terms of domestic security systems, and a good offense in terms of a willingness to find and hunt down our enemies and to be ready to meet them on a battlefield. War reared its ugly head again and our chorus of “give Peace a chance” dwindled until it was almost just a silent wish. But that refrain is still there; it is the bass line of our existence. When our strong yearning for peace was met by the revelation that anti-American sentiment around the world was about to become the treble line of our existence, we girded our loins (well the loins of our soldiers) to do more war, war seemingly without end, as it is unclear how all the hostilities that face us around the globe will ever give way to tolerance and peaceful coexistence. It looks as if our contretemps with Islamic extremists will be quite hard to unravel, and then we face other unhappy campers in far flung corners of the world. It looks like we will become way more weary of war before the people of earth will ever reach some kind of equanimity and détente.

So when I saw what happened with the chemical weapons in Syria; when I saw that a peaceful solution was found that seems to be functioning; when I see Syria’s chemical weapons being destroyed by Syria without our having to brings our missiles to bear, then it does not matter who looks weak and who did or didn’t get to strut their hawkishness. I am simply thankful and since it is Thanksgiving, what better week is there to express my thankfulness. And when I see Iran asking us to consider a bargain, a deal, however small that deal may be, I am again thankful, although with lots of reservations – a kind of wait and see thankfulness that that little bass line, John Lennon’s line, “give Peace a chance” just got a little bit louder; not rocking the car louder, but the car next to you knows you are listening to the tune louder. I guess you could say that I am tentatively thankful, hoping this will turn into full blown thankfulness and that this trend of working things out will continue. Happy Thanksgiving! Listen to the bass line.

and Imagine…

This is the view from the cheap seats.

This blog post is also available at

Aaron Swartz, Internet Pioneer Dead at Age 26,An Index of Recent Blog and News Articles   1 comment

Aaron Swartz, Internet Pioneer, Found Dead Amid Prosecutor ‘Bullying’ in Unconventional Case.

Great Set of Links about Aaron and the case on the blog: Schneier On Security

Amy Goodman on the Truthdig site.

BoingBoing: RIP, Aaron Swartz

JAconbin: How Aaron Swartz Helped Save my Ass.

NYT: What is a Hacktivist?

EFF:  Farewell to Aaron Swartz, an Extraordinary Hacker and Activist.

EFF: Follow up article and links to more links about Arron.

Anonymous, The Next Web:

Hackers knock out MIT and DOJ websites in tribute to Aaron Swartz

Altnet: 10 Awful Crimes That Get You Less Prison Time Than What Aaron Swartz Faced for Freeing JSTOR Articles

Rolling Stone

Big Think

The New York Times often covered Aaron and now with his death they have continued this coverage.  Here are some additional NYT links and Aaron in life and death:


2013 articles: here, here, here, here and here

2011 articles: here, here, here and here

2009: here

SOPA Campain: 


Steal This Page: Abbie Hoffman, American Hero   1 comment

Today for no apparent reason we commemorate Abbie Hoffman.

Here are some free links to books and a facsimile of Abbie’s Realist Article which you may steal.

Fuck The System

Steal This Book

Revolution For The Hell Of It (Realist Article, includes Jerry Rubin’s Statement)

Shall I go off and away to bright Andromeda?
Shall I sail my wooden ships to the sea?
Or stay in a cage of those in Amerika??
Or shall I be on the knee?
Wave goodbye to Amerika
Say hello to the garden.

                                                                                                               Jefferson Starship (Let’s Go Together)

Out Demons, Out!

The Fugs (Ed Sanders)

Oct 21 1967: 70,000 demonstrators came to Washington, D.C. to “Confront the War Makers.” The biggest rally was held at the Lincoln Monument on the D.C. Mall. During the afternoon, people lined the reflecting pool and listened to speeches by Dave Dellinger and Dr. Benjamin Spock… The plan was for people to sing and chant until the Pentagon was levitated and turned orange, driving out the evil spirits and ending the war in Viet Nam. By the way, it was a year later that Abbie Hoffman was arrested in Washington DC for wearing a shirt that resembled the design of an American flag. “I wore the shirt because I was going before the un-American Activities Committee of the House of Representatives, and I don’t particularly consider that committee American, and I don’t consider that House of Representatives particularly representative. And I wore the shirt to show that we were in the tradition of the founding fathers of this country.”

Abbie later wrote:

No need to build a stage, it was all around us. Props would be simple and obvious. We would hurl ourselves across the canvas of society like streaks of splattered paint. Highly visual images would become news, and rumor-mongers would rush to spread the excited word. … For us, protest as theater came natural. We were already in costume. … Once we acknowledged the universe as theater and accepted the war of symbols, the rest was easy. All it took was a little elbow grease, a little hustle.

The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it. The second duty is to eat breakfast. I ain’t going.

  • Spoken to police immediately prior to his arrest at the Lincoln Hotel Restaurant in Chicago (August 1968), quoting himself in “Creating the Perfect Mess” (1 September 1968) in Revolution for the Hell of It (1968)

The 1968 Democratic Convention

Tactics At the Democratic Convention

Abbie Hoffman was a founder with Jerry Rubin of the semi-fictional Youth International Party. Abbie described himself as “an orphan of America” and “a child of Woodstock Nation.” during testimony in the Chicago 8 trail.  He was, perhaps, the most intriguing figure in Judge Hoffman’s courtroom.  Hoffman believed that identity is defined by myth propagated through the media.

Hoffman was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on November 30, 1936.  He graduated from Brandeis in 1959, then picked up a master’s degree at Berkeley.  In the early 1960’s, he returned to Worcester to work as a psychologist in a state hospital.  His career in political activism began with his work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the South.  Hoffman was still relatively straight until 1966 when he turned onto drugs and began the loosely organized Yippie movement.

Hoffman went underwent plastic surgery and assumed the underground alias of “Barry Freed” in 1974 to avoid trial on charges of possessing cocaine. He stayed underground in upper New York state until 1980, when he surrendered to authorities.  He was sentenced to a work-release program in 1981-82, then resumed his life of political activism.  In 1987, Hoffman was arrested for the forty-second time while protesting CIA recruitment at the University of Massachusetts with Amy Carter and thirteen others.

At a 1988 reunion of the Chicago Seven, Hoffman described himself as “an American dissident.  I don’t think my goals have changed since I was four and I fought schoolyard bullies.”

On April 12, 1989, Hoffman was found dead at his home in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  The death was later ruled a suicide.

The Chicago Eight ( later Seven)

You can count me out (in).  You had to be there.

There will be no fist shaking and we caution you not to repeat it. Judge Hoffman

Ruben Bolling’s Amazing Comic: Bill O’Reilly’s Nightmare   Leave a comment

Tom the Dancing Bug

Ruben Bolling’s Amazing Comic: Bill O’Reilly’s Nightmare


American Indian Movement Leader Russell Means Dead at 72   Leave a comment

This speech originally was printed in  Mother Jones.  For more on the American Indian Movement (AIM) see this link.

“I Am Not a Leader”: Russell Means’ 1980 Mother Jones Cover Story

Editor’s note: This article originated as a controversial speech given at the Black Hills International Survival Gathering on the Pine Ridge Reservation in July 1980. A member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, Russell Means was perhaps the most outsized personality in the American Indian Movement, beginning with the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee. He also had an acting career beginning with his role as Chingachgook inLast of the Mohicans [1]. He died Monday morning at age 72.aim1

The only possible opening for a statement like this is that I detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of “legitimate thinking”: what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken. My culture, the Lakota culture, has an oral tradition, so I ordinarily reject writing. It is one of the white world’s ways of destroying the cultures of non-European peoples, the imposing of an abstraction over the spoken relationship of a people.

So what you read here is not what I’ve written. It’s what I’ve said and someone else has written down. I will allow this because it seems that the only way to communicate with the white world is through the dead, dry leaves of a book. I don’t really care whether my words reach whites or not. They have already demonstrated through their history that they cannot hear, cannot see; they can only read (of course, there are exceptions, but the exceptions only prove the rule). I’m more concerned with American Indian people, students and others, who have begun to be absorbed into the white world through universities and other institutions. But even then it’s a marginal sort of concern. It’s very possible to grow into a red face with a white mind; and if that’s a person’s individual choice, so be it, but I have no use for them. This is part of the process of cultural genocide being waged by Europeans against American Indian peoples today. My concern is with those American Indians who choose to resist this genocide, but who may be confused as to how to proceed. (You notice I use the term American Indian rather than Native American or Native indigenous people or Amerindian when referring to my people. There has been some controversy about such terms, and frankly, at this point, I find it absurd. Primarily it seems that American Indian is being rejected as European in origin—which is true. But all the above terms are European in origin; the only non-European way is to speak of Lakota—or, more precisely, of Oglala, Bruleě, etc.—and of the Dine, the Miccosukee, and all the rest of the several hundred correct tribal names.

(There is also some confusion about the word Indian, a mistaken belief that it refers somehow to the country, India. When Columbus washed up on the beach in the Caribbean, he was not looking for a country called India. Europeans were calling that country Hindustan in 1492. Look it up on the old maps. Columbus called the tribal people he met “Indio,” from the Italian in dio, meaning “in God.”)

It takes a strong effort on the part of each American Indian not to become Europeanized. The strength for this effort can only come from the traditional ways, the traditional values that our elders retain. It must come from the hoop, the four directions, the relations; it cannot come from the pages of a book or a thousand books. No European can ever teach a Lakota to be Lakota, a Hopi to be Hopi. A master’s degree in “Indian Studies” or in “education” or in anything else cannot make a person into a human being or provide knowledge into the traditional ways. It can only make you into a mental European, an outsider.

The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person.

FLAG_20I should be clear about something here, because there seems to be some confusion about it. When I speak of Europeans or mental Europeans, I’m not allowing for false distinctions. I’m not saying that on the one hand there are the by-products of a few thousand years of genocidal, reactionary, European intellectual development which is bad; and on the other hand there is some new revolutionary intellectual development which is good. I’m referring here to the so-called theories of Marxism and anarchism and “leftism” in general. I don’t believe these theories can be separated from the rest of the European intellectual tradition. It’s really just the same old song. The process began much earlier. Newton, for example, “revolutionized” physics and the so-called natural sciences by reducing the physical universe to a linear mathematical equation. Descartes did the same thing with culture. John Locke did it with politics, and Adam Smith did it with economics. Each one of these “thinkers” took a piece of the spirituality of human existence and converted it into a code, an abstraction. They picked up where Christianity ended; they “secularized” Christian religion, as the “scholars” like to say—and in doing so they made Europe more able and ready to act as an expansionist culture. Each of these intellectual revolutions served to abstract the European mentality even further, to remove the wonderful complexity and spirituality from the universe and replace it with a logical sequence: one, two, three, Answer!

This is what has come to be termed “efficiency” in the European mind. Whatever is mechanical is perfect; whatever seems to work at the moment—that is, proves the mechanical model to be the right one—is considered correct, even when it is clearly untrue. This is why “truth” changes so fast in the European mind; the answers which result from such a process are only stop-gaps, only temporary, and must be continuously discarded in favor of new stop-gaps which support the mechanical models and keep them (the models) alive.

Hegel and Marx were heirs to the thinking of Newton, Descartes, Locke, and Smith. Hegel finished the process of secularizing theology—and that is put in his own terms—he secularized the religious thinking through which Europe understood the universe. Then Marx put Hegel’s philosophy in terms of “materialism,” which is to say that Marx despiritualized Hegel’s work altogether. Again, this is in Marx’ own terms. And this is now seen as the future revolutionary potential of Europe. Europeans may see this as revolutionary, but American Indians see it simply as still more of that same old European conflict between beingand gaining. The intellectual roots of a new Marxist form of European imperialism lie in Marx’s—and his followers’—links to the tradition of Newton, Hegel, and the others.

Being is a spiritual proposition. Gaining is a material act. Traditionally, American Indians have always attempted to be the best people they could. Part of that spiritual process was and is to give away wealth, to discard wealth in order not to gain. Material gain is an indicator of false status among traditional people, while it is “proof that the system works” to Europeans. Clearly, there are two completely opposing views at issue here, and Marxism is very far over to the other side from the American Indian view. But let’s look at a major implication of this; it is not merely an intellectual debate.

The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person. And who seems most expert at de humanizing other people? And why? Soldiers who have seen a lot of combat learn to do this to the enemy before going back into combat. Murderers do it before going out to commit murder. Nazi SS guards did it to concentration camp inmates. Cops do it. Corporation leaders do it to the workers they send into uranium mines and steel mills. Politicians do it to everyone in sight. And what the process has in common for each group doing the dehumanizing is that it makes it all right to kill and other wise destroy other people. One of the Christian commandments says, “Thou shalt not kill,” at least not humans, so the trick is to mentally convert the victims into nonhumans. Then you can proclaim violation of your own commandment as a virtue.

In terms of the despiritualization of the universe, the mental process works so that it becomes virtuous to destroy the planet. Terms like progress and development are used as cover words here, the wayvictory and freedom are used to justify butchery in the dehumanization process. For example, a real estate speculator may refer to “developing” a parcel of ground by opening a gravel quarry; developmenthere means total, permanent destruction, with the earth itself removed. But European logic has gained a few tons of gravel with which more land can be “developed” through the construction of road beds. Ultimately, the whole universe is open—in the European view—to this sort of insanity.

Most important here, perhaps, is the fact that Europeans feel no sense of loss in all this. After all, their philosophers have despiritualized reality, so there is no satisfaction (for them) to be gained in simply observing the wonder of a mountain or a lake or a people in being. No, satisfaction is 300px-Flag_of_the_American_Indian_Movement.svgmeasured in terms of gaining material. So the mountain becomes gravel, and the lake becomes coolant for a factory, and the people are rounded up for processing through the indoctrination mills Europeans like to call schools.

But each new piece of that “progress” ups the ante out in the real world. Take fuel for the industrial machine as an example. Little more than two centuries ago, nearly everyone used wood—a replenishable natural item—as fuel for the very human needs of cooking and staying warm. Along came the Industrial Revolution and coal became the dominant fuel, as production became the social imperative for Europe. Pollution began to become a problem in the cities, and the earth was ripped open to provide coal whereas wood had always simply been gathered or harvested at no great expense to the environment. Later, oil became the major fuel, as the technology of production was perfected through a series of scientific “revolutions.” Pollution increased dramatically, and nobody yet knows what the environmental costs of pumping all that oil out of the ground will really be in the long run. Now there’s an “energy crisis,” and uranium is becoming the dominant fuel.

Every revolution in European history has served to reinforce Europe’s tendencies and abilities to export destruction to other peoples.

Capitalists, at least, can be relied upon to develop uranium as fuel only at the rate at which they can show a good profit. That’s their ethic, and maybe that will buy some time. Marxists, on the other hand, can be relied upon to develop uranium fuel as rapidly as possible simply because it’s the most “efficient” production fuel available. That’s their ethic, and I fail to see where it’s preferable. Like I said. Marxism is right smack in the middle of the European tradition. It’s the same old song.
There’s a rule of thumb which can be applied here. You cannot judge the real nature of a European revolutionary doctrine on the basis of the changes it proposes to make within the European power structure and society. You can only judge it by the effects it will have on non-European peoples. This is because every revolution in European history has served to reinforce Europe’s tendencies and abilities to export destruction to other peoples, other cultures and the environment itself. I defy anyone to point out an example where this is not true.

So now we, as American Indian people, are asked to believe that a “new” European revolutionary doctrine such as Marxism will reverse the negative effects of European history on us. European power relations are to he adjusted once again, and that’s supposed to make things better for all of us. But what does this really mean?

Right now, today, we who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation are living in what white society has designated a “National Sacrifice Area.” What this means is that we have a lot of uranium deposits here, and white culture (not us) needs this uranium as energy production material. The cheapest most efficient way for industry to extract and deal with the processing of this uranium is to dump the waste by-products right here at the digging sites. Right here where we live. This waste is radioactive and will make the entire region uninhabitable forever. This is considered by industry, and by the white society that created this industry, to be an “acceptable” price to pay for energy resource development. Along the way they also plan to drain the water table under this part of South Dakota as part of the industrial process, so the region becomes doubly uninhabitable. The same sort of thing is happening down in the land of the Navajo and Hopi, up in the land of the Northern Cheyenne and Crow, and elsewhere. Thirty percent of the coal in the West and half of the uranium deposits in the US have been found to lie under reservation land, so there is no way this can be called a minor issue.

We are resisting being turned into a National Sacrifice Area. We are resisting being turned into a national sacrifice people. The costs of this industrial process are not acceptable to us. It is genocide to dig uranium here and drain the water table—no more, no less.

Now let’s suppose that in our resistance to extermination we begin to seek allies (we have). Let’s suppose further that we were to take revolutionary Marxism at its word: that it intends nothing less than the complete overthrow of the European capitalist order which has presented this threat to our very existence. This would seem to be a natural alliance for American Indian people to enter into. After all, as the Marxists say, it is the capitalists who set us up to be a national sacrifice. This is true as far as it goes.images

But, as I’ve tried to point out, this “truth” is very deceptive. Revolutionary Marxism is committed to even further perpetuation and perfection of the very industrial process which is destroying us all. It offers only to “redistribute” the results—the money, maybe—of this industrialization to a wider section of the population. It offers to take wealth from the capitalists and pass it around: But in order to do so, Marxism must maintain the industrial system. Once again, the power relations within European society will have to be altered, but once again the effects upon American Indian peoples here and non-Europeans elsewhere will remain the same. This is much the same as when power was redistributed from the church to private business during the so-called bourgeois revolution. European society changed a bit, at least superficially, but its conduct toward non-Europeans continued as before. You can see what the American Revolution of 1776 did for American Indians. It’s the same old song.

Revolutionary Marxism, like industrial society in other forms, seeks to ‘rationalize” all people in relation to industry—maximum industry, maximum production. It is a materialist doctrine that despises the American Indian spiritual tradition, our cultures, our lifeways. Marx himself called us “precapitalists” and “primitive.” Frecapitalist simply means that, in his view, we would eventually discover capitalism and become capitalists: we have always been economically retarded in Marxist terms. The only manner in which American Indian people could participate in a Marxist revolution would be to join the industrial system, to become factory workers, or “proletarians” as Marx called them. The man was very clear about the fact that his revolution could occur only through the struggle of the proletariat, that the existence of a massive industrial system is a precondition of a successful Marxist society.

I think there’s a problem with language here. Christians, capitalists, Marxists. All of them have been revolutionary in their own minds, but none of them really mean revolution. What they really mean is a continuation. They do what they do in order that European culture can continue to exist and develop according to its needs.

So, in order for us to really join forces with Marxism, we American Indians would have to accept the national sacrifice of our homeland; we would have to commit cultural suicide and become industrialized and Europeanized.

At this point, I’ve got to stop and ask myself whether I’m being too harsh. Marxism has something of a history. Does this history bear out my observations? I look to the process of industrialization in the Soviet Union since 1920 and I see that these Marxists have done what it took the English Industrial Revolution 300 years to do: and the Marxists did it in 60 years. I see that the territory of the USSR used to contain a number of tribal peoples and that they have been crushed to make way for the factories. The Soviets refer to this as “The National Question,” the question of whether the tribal peoples had the right to exist as peoples: and they decided the tribal peoples were an acceptable sacrifice to industrial needs, I look to China and I see the same thing. I look to Vietnam and I see Marxists imposing an industrial order and rooting out the indigenous tribal mountain people.

I hear a leading Soviet scientist saying that when uranium is exhausted, then alternatives will be found. I see the Vietnamese taking over a nuclear power plant abandoned by the US military. Have they dismantled and destroyed it? No, they are using it. I see China exploding nuclear bombs, developing uranium reactors and preparing a space program in order to colonize and exploit the planets the same as the Europeans colonized and exploited this hemisphere. It’s the same old song. but maybe with a faster tempo this time.

The statement of the Soviet scientist is very interesting. Does he know what this alternative energy source will be? No, he simply has faith. Science will find a way. I hear revolutionary Marxists saying that the destruction of the environment, pollution and radiation will all be controlled. And I see them act upon their words. Do they know how these things will be controlled? No, they simply have faith. Science will find a way. Industrialization is fine and necessary. How do they know this? Faith. Science will find a way. Faith of this sort has always been known in Europe as religion. Science has become the new European religion for both capitalists and Marxists; they are truly inseparable; they are part and parcel of the same culture. So, in both theory and practice, Marxism demands that non-European peoples give up their values, their traditions, their cultural existence altogether. We will all be industrialized science addicts in a Marxist society.
I do not believe that capitalism itself is really responsible for the situation in which American Indians have been declared a national sacrifice. No, it is the European tradition; European culture itself is responsible. Marxism is just the latest continuation of this tradition, not a solution to it. To ally with Marxism is to ally with the very same forces that declare us an acceptable cost.

There is another way. There is the traditional Lakota way and the ways of the other American Indian peoples. It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony. A lopsided emphasis on humans by humans—the Europeans’ arrogance of acting as though they were beyond the nature of all related things—can only result in a total disharmony and a readjustment which cuts arrogant humans down to size, gives them a taste of that reality beyond their grasp or control and restores the harmony. There is no need for a revolutionary theory to bring this about; it’s beyond human control. The nature peoples of this planet know this and so they do not theorize about it. Theory is an abstract; our knowledge is real.

A wolf never forgets his or her place in the natural order. American Indians can. Europeans almost always do.

native_american_indian_portraitsDistilled to its basic terms, European faith—including the new faith in science—equals a belief that man is God. Europe has always sought a Messiah, whether that be the man Jesus Christ or the man Karl Marx or the man Albert Einstein. American Indians know this to be totally absurd. Humans are the weakest of all creatures, so weak that other creatures are willing to give sip their flesh that we may live. Humans are able to survive only through the exercise of rationality since they lack the abilities of other creatures to gain food through the use of fang and claw. But rationality is a curse since it can cause humans to forget the natural order of things in ways other creatures do not. A wolf never forgets his or her place in the natural order. American Indians can. Europeans almost always do. We pray our thanks to the deer, our relations, for allowing us their flesh to eat; Europeans simply take the flesh for granted and consider the deer inferior. After all, Europeans consider themselves godlike in their rationalism and science. God is the Supreme Being; all else must be inferior.

All European tradition. Marxism included, has conspired to defy the natural order of all things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated. Things come full circle, back to where they started. That’s revolution. And that’s a prophecy of my people, of the Hopi people and of other correct peoples.

American Indians have been trying to explain this to Europeans for centuries. But, as I said earlier, Europeans have proven themselves unable to hear. The natural order will win out, and the offenders will die out, the way deer die when they offend the harmony by overpopulating a given region. It’s only a matter of time until what Europeans call “a major catastrophe of global proportions” will occur. It is the role of all natural beings, to survive. A part of our survival is to resist. We resist not to overthrow a government or to take political power, but because it is natural to resist extermination, to survive. We don’t want power over white institutions; we want white institutions to disappear. That’s revolution.

American Indians are still in touch with these realities—the prophecies, the traditions of our ancestors. We learn from the elders, from nature, from the powers. And when the catastrophe is over, we American Indian peoples will still be here to inhabit the hemisphere. I don’t care if it’s only a handful living high in the Andes. American Indian people will survive: harmony will be reestablished. That’s revolution.
At this point, perhaps I should be very clear about another matter, one which should already be clear as a result of what I’ve said. But confusion breeds easily these days, so I want to hammer home this point. When I use the term European, I’m not referring to a skin color or a particular genetic structure. What I’m referring to is a mind-set, a world view that is a product of the development of European culture. People are not genetically encoded to hold this outlook: they are acculturated to hold it. The same is true for American Indians or for the members of any other culture. It is possible for an American Indian to share European values, a European world view. We have a term for these people; we call them “apples”—red on the outside (genetics) and white on the inside (their values). Other groups have similar terms: Blacks have their “oreos”; Hispanos have “coconuts” and so on. And, as I said before, there are exceptions to the white norm: people who are white on the outside, but not white inside. I’m not sure what term should be applied to them other than “human beings.”

What I’m putting out here is not a racial proposition but a cultural proposition. Those who ultimately advocate and defend the realities of European culture and its industrialism are my enemies. Those who resist it, who struggle against it, are my allies, the allies of American Indian people. And I don’t give a damn what their skin color happens to be. Caucasian is the white term for the white race: European is an outlook I oppose.

There are people who are white on the outside, but not white inside. I’m not sure what term should be applied to them other than “human beings.”

The Vietnamese Communists are not exactly what you might consider genetic Caucasians, but they are now functioning as mental Europeans. The same holds true for Chinese Communists, for Japanese capitalists or Bantu Catholics or Peter “MacDollar” down at the Navajo Reservation or Dickie Wilson up here at Pine Ridge. There is no racism involved in this, just an acknowledgment of the mind and spirit that make up culture.

In Marxist terms I suppose I’m a “cultural nationalist.” I work first with my people, the traditional Lakota people, because we hold a common world view and share an immediate struggle. Beyond this, I work with other traditional American Indian peoples, again because of a certain commonality in world view and form of struggle. Beyond that, I work with anyone who has experienced the colonial oppression of Europe and who resists its cultural and industrial totality. Obviously, this includes genetic Caucasians who struggle to resist the dominant norms of European culture. The Irish and the Basques come immediately to mind, but there are many others.

I work primarily with my own people, with my own community. Other people who hold non-European perspectives should do the same. I believe in the slogan, “Trust your brother’s vision,” although I’d like to add sisters into the bargain. I trust the community and the culturally based vision of all the races that naturally resist industrialization and human extinction. Clearly, individual whites can share in this, given only that they have reached the awareness that continuation of the industrial imperatives of Europe is not a vision, but species suicide. White is one of the sacred colors of the Lakota people—red, yellow, white, and black. The four directions. The four seasons. The four periods of life and aging. The four races of humanity. Mix red, yellow, white, and black together and you get brown, the color of the fifth race. This is a natural ordering of things. It therefore seems natural to me to work with all races, each with its own special meaning, identity and message.

But there is a peculiar behavior among most Caucasians. As soon as I become critical of Europe and its impact on other cultures, they become defensive. They begin to defend themselves. But I’m not attacking them personally; I’m attacking Europe. In personalizing my observations on Europe they are personalizing European culture, identifying themselves with it. By defending themselves in this context, they are ultimately defending the death culture. This is a confusion which must he overcome, and it must be overcome in a hurry. None of us have energy to waste in such false struggles. Caucasians have a more positive vision to offer humanity than European culture. I believe this. But in order to attain this vision it is necessary for Caucasians to step outside European culture—alongside the rest of humanity—to see Europe for what it is and what it does.

To cling to capitalism and Marxism and all the other “isms” is simply to remain within European culture. There is no avoiding this basic fact. As a fact, this constitutes a choice. Understand that the choice is based on culture, not race. Understand that to choose European culture and industrialism is to choose to be my enemy. And understand that the choice is yours, not mine.
This leads me back to address those American Indians who are drifting through the universities, the city slums, and other European institutions. If you are there to learn to resist the oppressor in accordance with your traditional ways, so be it. I don’t know how you manage to combine the two, but perhaps you will succeed. But retain your sense of reality. Beware of coming to believe the white world now offers solutions to the problems it confronts us with. Beware, too, of allowing the words of native people to he twisted to the advantage of our enemies. Europe invented the practice of turning words around on themselves. You need only look to the treaties between American Indian peoples and various European governments to know that this is true. Draw your strength from who you are.

A culture which regularly confuses revolution with continuation, which confuses science and religion, which confuses revolt with resistance, has nothing helpful to teach you and nothing to offer you as a way of life. Europeans have long since lost all touch with reality, if ever they were in touch with it. Feel sorry for them if you need to, but be comfortable with who you are as American Indians.

So, I suppose to conclude this, I should state clearly that leading anyone toward Marxism is the last thing on my mind. Marxism is as alien to my culture as capitalism and Christianity are. In fact, I can say I don’t think I’m trying to lead anyone toward anything. To some extent I tried to be a “leader,” in the sense that the white media like to use that term, when the American Indian Movement was a young organization. This was a result of a confusion I no longer have. You cannot be everything to everyone. I do not propose to be used in such a fashion by my enemies; I am not a leader. I am an Oglala Lakota patriot. That is all I want and all 1 need to he. And I am very comfortable with who I am.


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1972 Never Forget. George McGoven’s Letter to Barack Obama.   Leave a comment

The late Sargent Shriver, my running mate in 1972, came to me the day after the election and said, “George, we may have lost fortyine states but we never lost our souls.”georgemcg_500

Published In Harper’s Magazine (September, 2011)

When President Franklin Roosevelt came into office in the depth of the Great Depression, he sought to stabilize and empower American society by introducing bold new initiatives: Social Security, the Public Works Administration, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Rural Electrification Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, among many others. These measures were sufficiently successful, as was his leadership during World War II, that he secured four terms in the White House. There was some congressional resistance but not enough to block the support of both political parties.

Like Roosevelt, President Barack Obama has inherited a serious economic crisis, but in his first two years in office he has been met with an even worse problem: the rigid opposition of the rival party leaders to national health care and nearly every other proposal he has made. The Republican House Appropriations Committee has even voted to terminate public funding for NPR and PBS. Neither during my four years in the House of Representatives, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House, nor through eighteen years in the U.S. Senate, under John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon, have I witnessed any president thwarted by the kind of narrow partisanship that has beset Obama. He has tried to avoid such divisions by publicly explaining his willingness to compromise, but these gestures have been spurned. Some of his political critics have gone so far as to express the hope that the Obama Administration will fail, even avowing their determination to hasten that failure. What has happened, one is compelled to ask, to the love of nation?

I have learned that it is not easy to succeed either as a senator or as a president if you are pushing for fundamental change. We tend, as lawmakers and as citizens, to drift along with the familiar ways of thinking: If it is good enough for Grandma and Grandpa, it is good enough for us. If it is good enough for the flag-wavers and the boasters, it is good enough for us. Such resistance to change often is strengthened by powerful interests—nowhere more forcefully than in the National Defense bill that Congress considers and passes each year.

When I entered the U.S. Senate in 1963, the defense budget was $51 billion. This was at a time when our military experts felt it necessary to have the means to win a war against the combined powers of Russia and China. Today we have a military budget of over $700 billion, and yet neither Russia nor China threatens us, if indeed they ever did. Nor does any other nation. Furthermore, the terrorist threat we face is not a military matter. The World Trade Center was brought down not by artillery or bombers or battleships but by nineteen young Arabs equipped only with box cutters. The Department of Homeland Security created by the Bush Administration after this attack is a better instrument against terrorism than our military, even though our armed forces are the best in the wor


In my career both in the House and in the Senate, inspired by the words of Eisenhower, my supreme commander in Europe during World War II, I tried hard to curb the powers of what Eisenhower, in his farewell address as president, referred to as the “military-industrial complex.” Needless to say, all my efforts to reduce military spending were defeated. With the renaming of the War Department as the Defense Department in 1947, the military part of the government became sacred, virtually untouchable. How could anyone vote to cut defense unless he or she is willing to face political defeat?

We need a new definition of “defense” that takes into account the quality of our education, the health of our people, the preservation of the environment, the strength of our transportation, the development of alternative fuels, the vigor of our democracy. These were the concerns expressed by the people who stood in Cairo’s Tahrir Square holding up their signs for more than two weeks this winter. Without guns, knives, or the use of their fists, they brought down the dictator who had exploited them for nearly thirty years.

All Americans want their country to have an adequate military defense. But under pressure from corporate lobbyists and legislators seeking military contracts or bases for their states, we are spending to excess while other sources of national defense, such as health care and education, are shortchanged and the national debt grows ever larger.

Many patriotic Americans have opposed the two wars our gallant young troops have been asked to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has estimated that the direct and indirect costs of the Iraq war will amount to $3 trillion. This represents nearly a quarter of our national debt. I suspect that the war in Afghanistan will eventually cost another $3 trillion and we still will not have achieved our aim. General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, advises that we cannot think of withdrawing our troops before 2014. If we stay on that schedule, our soldiers will have been fighting, bleeding, and dying there for thirteen years—more than three times the length of U.S. involvement in World War II.

I recently conferred with President Obama in his White House office, urging him to withdraw from Afghanistan. I’m pleased that he has since announced the withdrawal of 10,000 troops in 2011 and 23,000 in 2012. I would have been even more pleased if all our 100,000 troops now in Afghanistan, as well as those in Iraq, were on the way home.

The president may be reluctant to follow the advice of a presidential candidate who in 1972 lost forty-nine states to Richard Nixon. I can appreciate that concern. On the other hand, shortly after the 1972 election, two bipartisan investigations—one by the House and one by the Senate—forced the incumbent who beat me to resign his office in disgrace. A question from the New Testament comes to mind: What doth it profit a man if he gains the whole world or wins a big election and loses his own soul? The late Sargent Shriver, my running mate in 1972, came to me the day after the election and said, “George, we may have lost fortyine states but we never lost our souls.”


With this sentiment in mind, I would like to suggest a few bold steps President Obama might consider for the good of his soul and that of the nation.


We should bring our troops home from Afghanistan this year. No previous foreign power that has tried to work its will in Afghanistan has succeeded—not Alexander the Great, not the Mongols, not the British, and not the Russians, who, after nine years of fighting, had sent some 25,000 of their soldiers home in coffins. The Soviet treasury was emptied and the Soviet Union collapsed. Even if it were desirable for us to stay a decade more, we simply cannot afford to do so.


We should close all U.S. military bases in the Arab world. American troops in the Middle East incite rather than prevent terrorist attacks against us. We would do well to remember that when Osama bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia after fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, he found a large American army in his home country, positioned there to halt a possible Iraqi invasion—a presence that so offended him he denounced the king and his own family for quartering the American “infidels” within the shadow of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. He then returned to Afghanistan to organize Al Qaeda and, later, launch the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.


We should evaluate whether it is necessary to continue other American troop consignments to Europe, South Korea, and elsewhere. When the U.S. Army was sent to Korea in 1950 the deployment was described as a brief police action, but sixty years later our troops are still there. South Korea is now a wealthier, more populous, and more industrialized nation than North Korea, and is fully capable of defending itself. Similarly, U.S. troops in Europe, now numbering 80,000, have been there for half a century. They should be withdrawn, as were the Soviet forces from Eastern Europe under Mikhail Gorbachev.


President Obama should call on the Pentagon to reduce the current military budget of $700 billion—a figure that accounts for almost half of the world’s military expenditures—to $500 billion next year, and then, over the next five years, to $200 billion. In a careful and persuasive study, Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and an assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, identifies unneeded and costly programs that could be cut from the Pentagon budget without weakening our security, including the elimination of sophisticated warplanes—all of which, added up, could save a trillion dollars over the next ten years.


The Bush tax cuts for those with higher incomes should be not only repealed but reversed; with an increase in taxes for this bracket, the increased revenues could be used to reduce the national debt. There would, of course, be strong resistance to ending the tax favoritism now enjoyed by the rich, but this bonanza for the few at the top must end.


Savings in military spending could be used to launch valuable public investments, thereby creating jobs and stimulating the entire economy. The administration has expressed support for creating a European-style high-speed rail system in the United States, and indeed we ought to build the fastest, cleanest, and safest passenger- and freight-train system in the world.

The president should also revive the full provisions of the World War II–era G.I. bill, which enabled 7.8 million soldiers to secure a college education at government expense while also receiving a cost-of-living stipend. Having been a bomber pilot during World War II, flying missions over Nazi Germany, I was one of the beneficiaries of the bill, eventually earning a Ph.D. in history at Northwestern University. This program was costly, but the government certainly made its money back, because educated citizens earn more and so pay increased taxes. Now, as we experience a crisis in higher education caused by soaring tuition costs that exclude many working- and middle-class young people, why not offer government-paid higher education and vocational training for all qualified students—both civilian and military?

Another wise public investment would be the expansion of Medicare to all Americans. Some of the recently proposed health-care legislation has been so lengthy and complicated that I am not sure what is contained in it, but we all know what Medicare is. We could reduce the impenetrable legislation to a simple sentence: “Congress hereby extends Medicare to all Americans.” I am at a loss as to why an old codger like me benefits from Medicare while my children and grandchildren do not. To soften the impact of this expansion on the budget, I propose that the program be implemented in steps every two years: the first step including children up to the age of eight; the second, those from nine to eighteen; the third, those from nineteen through thirty; and finally, those from thirty-one through sixty-five. Programs such as Medicare have been in place for years in many advanced countries. My Canadian relatives tell me that any government that tried to do away with their comprehensive medical and hospital care would be promptly expelled from office.

None of this is intended as a criticism of Barack Obama, who had my support when he was a candidate for the United States presidency and who has my support today. I hope that some of the ideas here might help him on the road to greatness. I wish him well on the journey ahead.

McGovern Campaign Advertisements 1972

Posted 2012/10/23 by Cloud2013 in 1972, McGovern, OWS

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The Empire Never Died! P. K. Dick (1981)   Leave a comment

Original Photo as published in the New York Times/(copyright: Ivan Alvarado / Reuters)

As modified by me into black and white and enhanced in Photoshop:FirstDraft

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