Category Archives: activism

Obama’s Undeclared War Against Pakistan Continues, Despite His Attempt to Downplay It

It is clear—and has been for a long time— that the Obama administration is radically expanding the US war in Afghanistan deeply into Pakistan. Whether it is through US military trainers (that’s what they were called in Vietnam too), drone attacks or commando raids inside the country, the US is militarily entrenched in Pakistan. It makes Obama’s comment that “[W]e have no intention of sending US troops into Pakistan” simply unbelievable. Full article.

Patience is a Dirty and Nasty Word

At age 23, John Lewis, chairman of SNCC, was a veteran of many civil rights battles. On August 28, 1963, at the March on Washington, he gave one of the major speeches.

Though not as well known as Reverend Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, delivered the same day, Lewis’ fiery words cut deep, accusing the federal government of conspiring to ignore inequality. The text of Lewis’ speech was itself a battleground; some of the most controversial words and phrases were removed, and the ending was reworked, at the insistence of other march leaders. The text here is the version Lewis delivered.

SPEECH:

We march today for jobs and freedom, but we have nothing to be proud of, for hundreds and thousands of our brothers are not here. They have no money for their transportation, for they are receiving starvation wages, or no wages at all. In good conscience, we cannot support wholeheartedly the administration’s civil rights bill. There’s not one thing in the bill that will protect our people from police brutality.

This bill will not protect young children and old women from police dogs and fire hoses, for engaging in peaceful demonstrations: This bill will not protect the citizens in Danville, Virginia, who must live in constant fear in a police state. This bill will not protect the hundreds of people who have been arrested on trumped-up charges. What about the three young men in Americus, Georgia, who face the death penalty for engaging in peaceful protest? The voting section of this bill will not help thousands of black citizens who want to vote. It will not help the citizens of Mississippi, of Alabama and Georgia, who are qualified to vote but lack a sixth-grade education. “ONE MAN, ONE VOTE” is the African cry. It is ours, too. It must be ours.

People have been forced to leave their homes because they dared to exercise their right to register to vote. What is there in this bill to ensure the equality of a maid who earns $5 a week in the home of a family whose income is $100,000 a year?

For the first time in one hundred years this nation is being awakened to the fact that segregation is evil and that it must be destroyed in all forms. Your presence today proves that you have been aroused to the point of action. We are now involved in a serious revolution. This nation is still a place of political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic and social exploitation. What political leader here can stand up and say, “My party is the party of principles?” The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party?

In some parts of the South we work in the fields from sunup to sundown for $12 a week. In Albany, Georgia, nine of our leaders have been indicted not by Dixiecrats but by the federal government for peaceful protest. But what did the federal government do when Albany’s deputy sheriff beat attorney C. B. King and left him half dead? What did the federal government do when local police officials kicked and assaulted the pregnant wife of Slater King, and she lost her baby?

It seems to me that the Albany indictment is part of a conspiracy on the part of the federal government and local politicians in the interest of expediency.

The revolution is at hand, and we must free ourselves of the chains of political and economic slavery. The nonviolent revolution is saying, “We will not wait for the courts to act, for we have been waiting for hundreds of years. We will not wait for the President, the Justice Department, nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands and create a source of power, outside of any national structure, that could and would assure us a victory.”

To those who have said, “Be patient and wait,” we must say that “patience” is a dirty and nasty word. We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually. We want our freedom, and we want it now. We cannot depend on any political party, for both the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence.

We all recognize the fact that if any radical social, political and economic changes are to take place in our society, the people, the masses, must bring them about. In the struggle, we must seek more than civil rights; we must work for the community of love, peace and true brotherhood. Our minds, souls and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all people.

The revolution is a serious one. Mr. Kennedy is trying to take the revolution out of the streets and put it into the courts. Listen, Mr. Kennedy. Listen, Mr. Congressman. Listen, fellow citizens. The black masses are on the march for jobs and freedom, and we must say to the politicians that there won’t be a “cooling-off” period.

We will not stop. If we do not get meaningful legislation out of this Congress, the time will come when we will not confine our marching to Washington. We will march through the South, through the streets of Jackson, through the streets of Danville, through the streets of Cambridge, through the streets of Birmingham. But we will march with the spirit of love and with the spirit of dignity that we have shown here today.

By the force of our demands, our determination and our numbers, we shall splinter the desegregated South into a thousand pieces and put them back together in the image of God and democracy.

We must say, “Wake up, America. Wake up! For we cannot stop, and we will not be patient.”

Source: Lewis, John, with Michael D’Orso. Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Destroying Indigenous Populations

The Fort Laramie Treaty once guaranteed the Sioux Nation the right to a large area of their original land, which spanned several states and included their sacred Black Hills, where they were to have “the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation” of the land.

However, when gold was discovered in the Black Hills, President Ulysses S. Grant told the army to look the other way in order to allow gold miners to enter the territory. After repeated violations of the exclusive rights to the land by gold prospectors and by migrant workers crossing the reservation borders, the US government seized the Black Hills land in 1877. Full article.

Daughter of Rafsanjani Arrested

The regime has arrested Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, daughter of the former president, who spoke at a pro-Mousavi rally, along with 4 other members of that family. This step is typical of an old Iranian ruling technique, of keeping provincial tribal chieftains in check by keeping some of their children hostage at the royal court. It is widely suspected that Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a multi-billionaire who is well connected politically, is funding and aiding the reform movement’s protests. Full article.

more on “beautiful occupation”

12 Memories from Travis proved to be one of the favourite album releases this year amongst reviewers.

The Sunday Times hailed it as “bloody brilliant…A Triumph.” Time Out boasted it as being “sonically eloquent and emotionally resonant…there’s much here to admire.”

And now, the second track is due for release.

“Don’t just stand there watching it happening / I can’t stand it / Don’t feel it….” The Beautiful Occupation.

Every period of social upheaval gives birth to songs of discontent. Some songs are crafted specifically as rallying cries to garner support for a cause or to broadcast a grievance. Travis’s new single, The Beautiful Occupation, is just such a song.

Written by Fran Healy as war with Iraq was becoming a real possibility and the crisis in the Middle East was escalating, The Beautiful Occupation addresses Fran’s frustrations and concerns with the turbulent times in which we’re living. As he recalls. “September 11 was the start of something. I can see how fragile the world is”.

Effectively a peace anthem for modern times, an acoustic version of the song originally appeared on Warchild’s Hope album earlier this year prior to being included on the band’s new album, 12 Memories, released in October.

The last year has been a period of reflection for Travis, as evident from the songs on 12 Memories their most poignant and effecting work to date. The enforced break following Neil Primrose’s accident gave Travis both an opportunity to re-group and to reflect on the times in which we live. The resulting songs explore lyrically darker themes, a reaction to today’s unstable social and political climate.
(from contactmusic.com)

LYRICS

Don’t just stand there watching it happening
I can’t stand it
Don’t feel it
Something’s telling me
Don’t wanna go out this way
But have a nice day

Then read it in the headlines
Watch it on the TV
Put it in the background
Stick it in the back
Stick it in the back

For the beautiful occupation
The beautiful occupation
You don’t need an invitation
To drop in upon a nation

I’m too cynical
I’m just sitting here
I’m just wasting my time
Half a million civillians gonna die today
But look the wrong way

Then read it in the headlines
Watch it on the TV
Put it in the background
Stick it in the back
Stick it in the back

For the beautiful occupation
The beautiful occupation
You don’t need an invitation
To drop in upon a nation

Don’t just stand there watching it happening
I can’t stand it
Don’t feel it
Something telling me
Don’t wanna go out this way
But have a nice day

Then read it in the headlines
Watch it on the TV
Put it in the background
Stick in the back
Stick in the back

For the beautiful occupation
The beautiful occupation
Don’t need an invitation
To drop in upon a nation

The beautiful occupation
The beautiful occupation
So much for an intervention
Don’t call the united nations

travis

“Beautiful occupation” by Travis

“I’m too cynical
I’m just sitting here
I’m just wasting my time
Half a million civillians gonna die today
But look the wrong way

Then read it in the headlines
Watch it on the TV
Put it in the background
Stick it in the back
Stick it in the back

For the beautiful occupation
The beautiful occupation
You don’t need an invitation
To drop in upon a nation…”

Rebranding war and occupation

“What I think the policies of the Obama administration over the past five months show is that we need independent political movements in this country that cannot and will not allow themselves to be co-opted by the Democratic Party–that don’t function as partisan movements for the promotion of one of the two corporate parties, but rather keep as their primary focus ending U.S. wars of aggression around the world, fighting for single-payer health care and fighting for the rights of working-class people and the poor in this nation.” Full article.

Shame: The ‘Anti-War’ Democrats Who Sold Out

“In a vote that should go down in recent histories as a day of shame for the Democrats, on Tuesday the House voted to approve another $106 billion dollars for the bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and increasingly Pakistan). To put a fine point on the interconnection of the iron fist of U.S. militarism and the hidden hand of free market neoliberal economics, the bill included a massive initiative to give the International Monetary Fund billions more in U.S. taxpayer funds.” Full article.

jeremy scahill on bill moyers journal

“If the United States, as President Obama says, doesn’t want a permanent presence in Afghanistan, why allocate a billion dollars to build this fortress like embassy, similar to the one in Baghdad, in Islamabad, Pakistan? Another one in Peshawar. Having an increase in mercenary forces. Expanding the US military presence there.” JEREMY SCAHILL

this interview provides amazing insight into what is going on right now.

for example, did the bombing in peshawar have anything to do with the fact that the u.s. govt was in negotiations with the hotel’s owners to either purchase or sign a long-term lease to the facility to house a new american consulate in peshawar?

watch this must-see interview!