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Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

Ralph Nader at Rio Theater, Jan 24. Ralph Nader was in Santa Cruz Monday night on his Anti-War Tour speaking about government corruption and the Iraq War. He gave the crowd numerous reasons to be outraged by the current political situation in the U.S. and urged them to take action.

His presentation was a variation on his lifelong message: outrage against a system completely corrupted by corporate influence. Citing everything from the grossly inflated military budget that charges tax payers $220 million for a single F-22 plane to the systematic conditioning of children for commercial gain by corporations, he implored the crowd to become active in politics, especially at the grass roots level.

“The forces of injustice never take a day off. We cannot afford to.?

Audio: Ralph Nader Rocks the Rio
Photos: Dance Brigade at the Rio Theater
Photos: Nader, Gonzalez, and more...

Another Reportback: Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez speak at the Rio
A sole picketer met attendees at the entrance of the Rio Theater with a sign that read “Like the Bush Regime? Thank Nader.? Inside, a few members of Nader’s entourage indirectly answered the critic’s assertion with “Spoiler: Revolutionaries always spoil corrupt systems? t-shirts.

After a New Hampshire recount campaign, Nader is now in the hole and used his appearance to raise funds for to pay off debt. In characteristic Nader form, he is hitting two cities a day on his current ten-day speaking tour and giving crowds their money’s worth in terms of his presentation and dialogue with members of the audience.

His presentation was a variation on his lifelong message: outrage against a system completely corrupted by corporate influence. Citing everything from the grossly inflated military budget that charges tax payers $220 million for a single F-22 plane to the systematic conditioning of children for commercial gain by corporations, he implored the crowd to become active in politics, especially at the grass roots level.

“The forces of injustice never take a day off. We cannot afford to.?

Besides offering countless statistics to back his assertions, Nader empowered the crowd with tools to use for organizing. The anti-war issue is up for the taking, he noted, since the Democrats have largely been silent on the issue since Kerry’s presidential campaign. There is a huge percentage of Americans that can be mobilized for this issue, including unlikely allies such as retired military officials, retired diplomats and military families. By building a broad coalition, anti-war activists will be able to break through the current Republican political domination in all of the branches of government.

Practically speaking, he urged citizens to keep in touch with their legislators on a regular basis and noted that the corporate lobbyists are always in communication with legislators. He suggested writing an effective letter, which has three elements. It asks a question that requires research or action on the part of the representative; it is bolstered with a “P.S.? indicating that you can find at least 25 more people with the same position on the issue; and it indicates a “carbon copy? has been sent to others, including the representative’s opponents and members of the media.

Other nuggets from Nader included the call for working on voting reform now, instead of three years from now, as he insinuated was the Democrats’ pattern in this last presidential cycle. Specific recommendations included a voter paper trail, mandatory voting with criminal penalties for obstructing voting and citizen’s oversight committees in every district.

Though he was not optimistic about the possibility of a coalition with Democrats under what he called a corrupt, “least worst? system, he drove home the message that with two to three million committed people in this country, change can happen.

“When you stop them (Republicans) on one issue (is) when they start to stop.... to the rumble of the people.? The “rumble of the people? is two to three million Americans standing tall against the War, he explained.

He concluded with a call to action, which is worth following, Green Party member or not. Email your elected representatives today and demand a withdrawl from Iraq.
 
 


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Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader spoke at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz on Monday, January 24th.
RNader_SCruz_020_web.jpg

Ralph Nader spoke at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz on Monday, January 24th.
 

Matt Gonzalez

Matt Gonzalez at the Rio Theater.
MattGonzalez_SCruz_web.jpg

Matt Gonzalez, a Green Party member, is the former President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He spoke Monday night at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz along with Ralph Nader.
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

Thanks, Nader fans. Thanks for giving us For More Years by stealing votes from Kerry! We might have ended the needless deaths in Iraq, but you couldn't stop your partisan in-fighting for just one single election.

You preach solidarity, but where was solidarity when we needed you November 4th?
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

sorry to those that think nader took that many votes in the first place. if with nader and cobb (who i personally voted for), those votes wouldn't have been enough [in the right states] to give kerry the white house. quit using the 3rd party for excuses.
 

Thanks To Kerry For The War In Iraq

A Democrat writes, "Thanks, Nader fans. Thanks for giving us Four More Years by stealing votes from Kerry! We might have ended the needless deaths in Iraq, but you couldn't stop your partisan in-fighting for just one single election."

Actually Kerry voted for the war in Iraq and pledged to continue it. How are those of us who opposed the war and opposed the warmonger Kerry responsible for the war?

Those who urge a continuation of the status quo by voting for and endorsing democrats run around like chickens with their heads cut off every election. Without fail they complain that “this election? is the most important in history and demand that we all get in line behind the pro-war pro-austerity candidates of their party.

I've never voted for the any of the capitalist candidates of the Republican or Democrat Party in my life and I certainly wasn't going to drop my principles "for just one single election" to help elect pro-war Kerry.
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

Thank You, Steve ! :) My intention wasn't to vote Ralph again this time out, but everyone else bailed out on confronting the ugliness of the war and the Democrats' hand in it --including Cobb. The split between Nader and the Greens about broke my heart, but I still couldn't see the point of Cobb's strategy.

I saw Nader on his Seattle stop --took the train up from Portland-- and was glad I went. Thanks for posting this.
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

Nader was not on the ballot in Ohio, so I don't know what this talk of vote stealing in the 2004 election is all about. The democrats kept him off the ballot in enough states that the lawsuits that resulted are the primary reason why the Nader campaign is still in the red.
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

The Democrats gave us Bush. They could have run a fresh face with fresh ideas and someone against the illegal, immoral war. But they did not.
 

Nader's cheap shots at Israel

Sadly, Ralph Nader is spreading the malicious lie that the Israelis run the US govt. See below:

“What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government. The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington. The Israeli puppeteer meets with the puppet in the White House, and then moves down Pennsylvania Avenue, and meets with the puppets in Congress. And then takes back billions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Washington puppet show to be replaced by the Washington peace show.?

One woman named Renna commented:

"Besides the anti-semitism, there is the same ol' assigning of motives - the White House and Congress can't be supporting Israel because of their principles. It just *must* be because they are being controlled. That's *really* why they vote they way they do.

It also amazes me that he can think the opposite of support for Israel is the support for peace."

Another reader suggested substituting "Saudi Arabian" for "Israeli" in Nader's quote. He says it would make it more accurate.

Where are Nader's comments about Palestinian aid or Egyptian aid? Or just foreign aid to Arab countries?

His bias against Israel is clear. I voted for him in 2000 but will not again.
 

Likewise, no one can support Palestinian human rights vis-a-vis the apartheid state of Israel...

~

...unless they are anti-Semitic, right Becky?

~
 

You are not for Palestinian rights!!

Israel is NOT an apartheid state. It is multi-cultural, multi-religious, and all people --Jewish and not-Jewish-- enjoy human rights.

But you don't care about Palestinian rights! If you did you would just as vociferously being condemning violations of Palestinian human rights committed by the terror groups which operate unchecked in the Palestinian Authority. JA--care to comment on the practice of Honor Killings? Care to comment on Palestinians lynching their fellow human beings in the street? Care to comment on the state-controlled Palestinian media? Care to comment on the cloistering of women? Care to comment on the treatment of gay Palestinians? All of these are abuses of Palestinian human rights.

An anti-semite persists in condemning Israel in spite of the facts.
 

'RRRRIGHT', BECKY, ...ISRAEL IS JUST A GRAND MULTI-ETHNIC, MULTI-CULTURAL, MULTI-RELIGIOUS UTOPIA!!

~

"A LIGHT UNTO THE WORLD!"

...with absolute equality for ALL!

...JUST ASK THE PALESTINIANS, THE ISRAELI PALESTINIANS, OR EVEN ISRAEL'S BLACK JEWS.

~

("Ethiopians reject Israeli society, as it has rejected them": Ha'aretz, www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/526528.html)

~
 

More clutching at straws

I read the article you recommended. Here is what it said:

"The worst humiliation I ever suffered was two years ago, when I went out with army buddies to the TLV club in Tel Aviv. They wouldn't let me in. My Israeli friends were allowed in and I waited outside three hours. I swore never to go back there," he says."

How do we know they wouldn't let him in because he was Ethiopian? Was there a sign at the door that said "NO ETHIOPIANS"? And even if the bouncer was a racist and wouldn't let him in, why condemn an entire country for the behavior of one boob?

Here is more of what he said: Adamka, 30, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in 1985, and now lives in Tel Aviv. "Although I've been here 20 years I don't feel Israeli. My identity is first Jewish and then Ethiopian. I don't feel I belong here."

So he FEELS like he doesn't belong? Wow, a huge civil rights abuse here!!

"...although they passed the military "melting pot" they still feel different and unwanted in Israelis' hangouts and prefer to hang out in their own places."

NOTE: They don't claim the Ethiopian Israelis can't vote, don't have the right to speak, protest, or criticize their government. They don't claim to be forced to live in only one neighborhood--only that they prefer to. They are not denied entrance in the University. Only that they feel like they don't fit in.

"...I tried to fit in and go to Israelis' places, but did not succeed."

Again, the charge is that he doesn't fit in. This is what every teenager feels at one time. This is what a kid feels when he goes to a new school. This is not racism. It is not a human rights abuse. Its not even clearly discrimination. Nor do the authors claim the Israelis discriminate against them by law.

If this is some kind of expose on how badly the Israelis treat the Ethiopians, you haven't uncovered much.

"The young Ethiopians feel lost in Israeli society. They have served in the IDF and many go to university, yet they cannot integrate."

Certainly individual Israelis are racists. But the Israeli government does not have any laws which discriminate against Ethiopians.
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

Becky,

Just like Bush's proclamation that "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists," you have fallen into a manichean dichotomy where there are only heroes and demons, dark and light.

In this particular case, the false dichotomy immediately benefits (and is perpetuated by) a small, but extremely powerful sector of Israeli society who prefer war over peace, dominance over equality, who prefer to maintain a constant fear mentality in their society. This is similar to (and closely connected to) the US neoconservative philosophy of perpetual war, of rule by fear and paranoia.

Your continual protestations that Israel, internally, is a multi-cultural paradise is irrelevant. Besides the fact that there is significant evidence to show that this is not the case (just as it is not the case in the US), the more important factor is that a country's internal behavior does not necessarily have ANY reflection upon its external behavior.

==========

Noam Chomsky,
From a talk delivered in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, October 13, 2004

"....But it’s not an Israeli attack. It’s a US-Israeli attack. It’s an attack by US airplanes, US helicopters, piloted by Israeli pilots. The US sends them helicopters knowing full well that they are not for any defensive purpose, they are for the purpose of actions like the carrying out assassinations, like the assassination of Sheikh Yassin and half a dozen or so bystanders who just happened to be there. In the previous six months, according to Israeli press reports, there have been 50 such murders, murders of suspects by mostly US-supplied equipment bought for that purpose, along with 80 or 90 bystanders."

"Well, none of this enters the annals of state terrorism. But that’s because we are agents of it. Since we’re doing it, our clients are doing it, it’s not terrorism. But others don’t necessarily look at it that way...."

www.chomsky.info/talks/20041013.htm


Or maybe check out this interview that Chomsky gave March 9, 2004, in an article titled, "South Africa, Israel-Palestine, and the Contours of the Contemporary Global Order."

www.chomsky.info/interviews/20040309.htm
 

Weren't We Talking About Ralph Nader?

AMY GOODMAN: What do you say to those who call you anti-Semitic?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Depends who they are. If they're people like the -- with a nice Jewish education like I had, I tell them to read the Bible, where the concept is invented. It was used by King Ahab, the epitome of evil in the Bible that calls the prophet Elijah -- Elijah was what we would nowadays call a dissident intellectual, like most of the prophets were, giving geo-political analysis, calling for moral behavior. He calls for Elijah, he said why you are a hater of Israel? What does that mean? You are criticizing me. I'm the king. I'm Israel. And therefore you're a hater of Israel. And that's what the concept means. If you identify the country, the people, the culture with the rulers, accept the totalitarian doctrine, then yeah, it's anti-Semitic to criticize the Israeli policy, and anti-American to criticize the American policy, and it was anti-Soviet when the dissidents criticized Russian policy. You have to accept deeply totalitarian assumptions not to laugh at this. If an Italian criticized Berlusconi and he was called anti-Italian, the people would crack up with laughter, because there’s some kind of democratic culture. The fact we don't crack up with ridicule, that notion is anti-American or anti-Israel or anti-Semitic, it tells us something about ourselves.
 

Oh, yeah... we WERE talking about Ralph Nader, before someone hijacked our discussion...

AMY GOODMAN: Yet the person who points that out, Ralph Nader, you and Howard Zinn, and others, to many people's surprise signed a letter and said “Don’t vote for him.?

NOAM CHOMSKY: We didn’t say that. Actually I’m a little surprised by the surprise. I took exactly the position I took in 2000, namely, the election is a marginal affair, it should not distract us from the serious work of changing the society, and the culture and the institutions, creating a democratic culture. That’s what you work on. You can’t ignore the election. It’s there. But it’s designed as a method of essentially marginalizing the population. There’s a huge propaganda campaign to get people to focus on these personalized extravaganzas, and make them think ‘That’s politics.? Well, it isn’t. That’s a marginal part of politics, and here, a very marginal part. So the main thing is keep on with your work. You can’t ignore it. You should spend five minutes, maybe, thinking about what you should do. In that five minute, you should recognize there is some difference between the two groups contending for power, and one of them happens to be really extremist, and very dangerous, and it's already caused plenty of trouble and could cause plenty more. The other is bad, but less extremist and less dangerous. So in that five minutes that you devote to the topic, you should come to the rational conclusion, if it's a swing state, keep the worst guys out. If it's another state, do what you feel like. It’s the same thing I said in 2000 during the five minutes of time I spent on it.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader said at least a demand should have been attached to this.

NOAM CHOMSKY: To what? To who? A demand to who? I mean, I don't address George Bush. I don't make demands of him. Donald Rumsfeld is not my audience. I don't talk to Sandy Berger.

AMY GOODMAN: To John Kerry, if you were throwing your support –

NOAM CHOMSKY: I don’t talk to John Kerry. I mean, he is not my audience, or your audience, or our audience. We can't make demands on them. Some people can, like Pat Robertson recently said that unless they take an even more extreme position supporting the Israeli expansion, he will set up a third party -- that's a real threat. He could draw tens of millions of evangelical Christians out of the Republican Party. Okay. He could make a demand. So, they’ll say thank you, throw him a little red meat, and then go on doing what they were doing. But we don't have that constituency. We can't make demands. I mean, the demands -- this is meaningless. It's a misunderstanding of the way politics works. We should create a situation in which popular organizations will be able to make demands. Not me, not you. But popular organizations. They’ll be able to make demands and press them. That's what we should be working on. Not pretending we're talking to John Kerry. We're not.
 

Maybe You'd Like to Listen to Ralph Nader or Matt Gonzalez

There are MP3 files of speeches given by Nader, Gozalez, etc in SF on July 16, 2004:

www.archive.org/search.php

-
 

Paradise is relative

Israel is 20% Palestinian Arab.
Hebrew AND Arabic are offical languages, on an equal par.
Israel has no laws which discriminate against people for their race, religion, or national country of origin.
Israel protects the religious sites of other religions, be they Muslim, Christian, or Bahai.
Is Israel perfect? No! Does Israel have a problem with racism and sexism? Yes!

But relative to all of Israel's neighbors, it is a refuge of freedom, free speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.

Contrast that with 22 Arab/Muslim countries that Chomsky thinks are "irrelevant" to the discussion.

As for Israel's "expansion" it reduced its territory by 94% in 1979 and is prepared to withdraw from Gaza and several cities on the West Bank. Chomsky blurs US policy with Israeli policy which is not fair. Each country should be judged on its own merits.
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

I'm Jewish, but I don't live in Israel. I don't support the extinguishment of the Israeli state, but I don't believe that criticism of Israel is enough to make one an anti-Semite. There is a big difference between criticism of the way things are run over there with American tax dollars, as opposed to muttering darkly about Jews taking over the world, and what not. (For a guide to the latter, consult the nutbar editor over at *Adbusters*.)

Nader's points about U.S. foreign policy were actually very cogent. I had no quarrel with them.
 

Paradise is relative? "For Jews Only": Racism Inside Israel

`

becky johnson: "Israel has no laws which discriminate against people for their race, religion, or national country of origin."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

For Jews Only: Racism Inside Israel
An Interview with Phyllis Bennis
December 15, 2000

by Max Elbaum, special to ColorLines magazine.


Phyllis Bennis [anti-Zinionist, Jewish-American], a longtime analyst and activist around Middle East issues, is now head of the Middle East Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. She is the author of "From Stones to Statehood: The Palestinian Uprising," a book about the Palestinian intifada of the late 1980s, and "Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today's U.N." In this interview, Phyllis analyzes the RACIST character of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and especially its [UNEQUAL] treatment of Palestinians who live within Israel itself.


WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE CURRENT PALESTINIAN UPRISING?

What's going on right now can be summed up in one word: occupation. Contrary to the U.S. media's portrayal, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is at the root of what the media identify at most only as a disproportionate use of violence by the Israelis on the West Bank and Gaza. Not only has Israel taken over historic Palestine, but since
1967 it has illegally and brutally put the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza under military rule.

Certainly the Israeli troops' use of helicopter gunships, of machine guns mounted on tanks, and so on is profoundly disproportionate when used against a Palestinian civilian population armed only with stones and a few old Kalashnikov rifles.

But the real issue is the Israeli military occupation of Palestine, which is not only inherently violent but a violation of international law and contrary to United Nations resolutions. Even if Israel used only proportionate violence, it would still be absolutely illegal, because the occupation of Palestinian land is ILLEGAL.


AND WHY IS THERE AN OCCUPATION?

From its origins in the 19th century, Zionism centered on the idea of creating a specifically Jewish state in which Jews would be protected
and PRIVILEGED OVER NON-JEWS. Zionist occupation of Palestine was at first meager, amounting to about 10 percent of the population by 1900. By 1947, Jews were still only about 30 percent of the
population of Mandate Palestine and owned only six percent of the land. However, by means of the 1947-48 war, Israel took over huge new expanses of land and forcibly expelled about 750,000 Palestinians. This TRAVESTY was the basis for the official founding of the Israeli state in 1948.


IN THIS LATEST INTIFADA, THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS PROTESTS BY ARABS LIVING WITHIN THE PRE-1967 BORDERS OF ISRAEL. WHAT ARE THEIR NUMBERS AND THEIR CONDITIONS LIKE?

Inside what is called the "Green Line"--the unofficial borders of Israel before the 1967 war--there are still about _one million Palestinians_, just under _20 percent_ of the total Israeli population. Most Palestinians are Muslim, some are Christian. A small number of non-Palestinian Arabs also live there.

From 1948 to 1966 [about 20 years - officially], the Palestinians within Israel lived under explicit military rule. They were considered a military threat to the Israeli state, and they were ruled under a completely different set of laws than the Jews.

After 1966, military rule was lifted, but it was replaced by a set of JIM CROW-like LAWS DESIGNED TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ARABS in Israel. According to Adalah, an Arab rights organization [also confirmed by Marsha Friedman, fmr member of the Knesset], in Israel, today there are _AT LEAST_ 20 LAWS THAT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE UNEQUAL RIGHTS and obligations based on what the Israelis call nationality, which in Israel is defined on the basis of RELIGION. Israelis must carry a card, which identifies them as either a Jew, a Muslim, or a Christian. ALL NON-JEWS ARE SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS, LEGALLY AND PRACTICALLY. THE ISRAELI SUPREME COURT HAS LITERALLY DISMISSED ALL CASES WHICH DEALT WITH EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ARAB CITIZENS.


CAN YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC ABOUT HOW THIS DISCRIMINATION WORKS AND WHAT IT MEANS?

All Israeli citizens, including Palestinians, have the right to vote in elections for members of the Knesset (parliament) and for the prime minister. However, under Israeli law, any political candidate who indicates "a denial of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people" [in other words, the zionist state racial ideology] shall be disqualified--ANYONE WHO ADVOCATES FOR EQUAL RIGHTS for Arabs IS thereby INELIGIBLE[!].

Other rights are legally defined as nationality rights and are reserved FOR JEWS ONLY. If you are a Jew, you have EXCLUSIVE use of land, privileged access to private and public employment, special
educational loans, home mortgages, preferences for admission to universities, and many other things. Many other special privileges are reserved for those who have served in the Israeli military, which is compulsory for all Jews (male and female) but excludes Palestinians.

According to Adalah, by 1993 over 80 percent of the land within Israel that was once owned by Palestinians had been confiscated. Today, _93 PERCENT_ OF ISRAEL'S LAND CAN ONLY BE USED BY THOSE WHO ARE LEGALLY DEFINED AS JEWISH.

Moreover, despite Israel's booming economy [well, not so booming anymore], Palestinian unemployment stands at about 40 percent; in 1996 twice as many Arab citizens (28.3 percent) as Jewish citizens (14.4 percent) lived below the poverty line. Less than five percent of government employees are Arab and only three of 641 managers of government companies are Arab. Eighty percent of all student dropouts are Arab.

There are also VAST DISPARITIES BETWEEN ARAB TOWNS AND JEWISH TOWNS IN GOVERNMENT SPENDING on schools, medical systems, roads, electricity, clean water, and social services.

_UNLIKE ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD_, Israel does not define itself as a state of its residents, or even a state of its citizens, but as
a state of all the Jews in the world. Jews from anywhere in the world can travel to Israel, declare citizenship, and be granted all the
privileges of being Jewish that are denied to Palestinians who have lived in the area for HUNDREDS of years. By contrast, THERE IS NO CHANCE FOR A NON-JEW TO ACQUIRE ISRAELI CITIZENSHIP, LET ALONE BE GRANTED EQUAL RIGHTS.


ARE PALESTINIANS WITHIN ISRAEL PARTICIPATING IN THE CURRENT UPRISING?

The recent resistance has seen a whole new level of involvement in demonstrations by Palestinians inside the Green Line. They are protesting the discrimination they face in Israel as well as Israeli brutality against Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza. Such protests are not completely without historical precedent; in 1976
there were a series of demonstrations on what became known as Land Day which protested continuing Israeli seizures of Palestinian land.

But this time there is a vast increase in the participation of Palestinians inside the Green Line. Their demonstrations have been met with the same brutal military tactics used against Palestinians in the West Bank. So far, 13 Israeli Palestinians have been killed. These tactics are in sharp contrast to the methods used by Israeli
authorities in response to demonstrations by Israeli Jews.

In 1982, for example, when there was an upsurge of Jewish protests against the Israeli war in Lebanon, one Israeli Jewish protester was killed and there was such an enormous outcry that people remember his name to this day--Emil Grunzweig. But when a Palestinian is killed by Israeli military occupation forces, that is not considered news [racist news coverage or lack thereof]. We might hear a body count, but we never hear their names, who their parents or children are, what they did for a living.

On the West Bank and Gaza, as well as inside the Green Line, police randomly fired live ammunition into crowds of unarmed Arab demonstrators that were throwing stones. THE RACIST DOUBLE STANDARD IS EVERYWHERE. A mob of Israeli Jews even attacked the house of an Arab member of the Knesset, Azmi Bishara. But the police would not
act against the rioters.

Unfortunately, the years of occupation have created, or have allowed to flourish, AN INCREDIBLE RACIST VANTAGE POINT AMONG THE MAJORITY OF ISRAELI JEWS. The majority of Israeli Jews are willing to accept the killing of Palestinians and collective punishment of the Palestinian population as justified _STATE POLICY_.


CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT PALESTINIAN POLITICS WITHIN ISRAEL?

Not surprisingly, Palestinians inside Israel have historically felt themselves excluded and disempowered by the Israeli government. The
Communist Party of Israel was long a predominantly Arab party and received the vast majority of Palestinian votes. The CP remains
strong, but a few Palestinian Knesset members have recently allied themselves to the Labor Party and more and more Palestinians have joined newer nationalist blocs. Azmi Bishara, who leads the Tajamoah (National Democratic) Party, became the first Arab citizen to run for prime minister last year. He and others actually call for the
"de-Zionization" of Israel--for the transformation of Israel from A THEOCRATIC STATE PRIVILEGEING THE JEWISH MAJORITY to a democratic,
secular state of all its citizens.


YOU ARE PAINTING A PICTURE OF AN ISRAELI GOVERNMENT, WITH THE SUPPORT OF A SUBSTANTIAL PART OF ITS JEWISH POPULATION, WHICH AIMS TOWARD
PERMANENT SUBORDINATION OF PALESTINIAN ARABS WITHIN ITS BORDERS, ALONG WITH DOMINATION OVER SOMETHING THAT MIGHT BE CALLED A PALESTINIAN STATE BUT WHAT WOULD REALLY AMOUNT TO A DEPENDENT BANTUSTAN. _THIS IS ESSENTIALLY THE SAME VISION THAT MOTIVATED APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA_.

Yes. And there are even more complexities. Within Israel there are really FOUR LEVELS OF CITIZENSHIP; the first three being various levels of Jewish participation in Israeli society, which are thoroughly racialized.

_AT THE TOP_ OF THE PYRAMID ARE _THE ASHKENAZI_, THE WHITE EUROPEAN JEWS.

The huge contingent of recent Russian immigrants--now about 20 percent of Israeli Jews--are being assimilated into this European-Ashkenazi sector, though they are retaining a very distinct cultural identity.

THE NEXT LEVEL DOWN, which is now probably the largest component of the Jewish population, is the Mizrachi or Sephardic Jews, who are from the Arab countries.

AT THE BOTTOM OF THE _JEWISH_ PYRAMID are the Ethiopian Jews, who are black. You can go into the poorest parts of Jewish West Jerusalem and find that they're predominantly Ethiopian.

This social and economic stratification took shape throughout the last 50 years as different groups of Jews from different part of the world came, for very different reasons, to Israel. So while the divisions reflected national origins, they play out in a profoundly RACIALIZED way.

The Yemeni Jews in particular faced extraordinary discrimination. They were more or less transported involuntarily from Yemen to Israel. On arrival they were held in primitive camps, and MANY YEMENI BABIES WERE _STOLEN_ FROM THEIR MOTHERS AND GIVEN FOR ADOPTION TO ASKENAZI FAMILIES[!]. In the early 1990s a high-profile campaign began to try to reunite some of those shattered families.

BENEATH ALL THESE LEVELS OF JEWS COME THE PALESTINIAN CITIZENS [IN REALITY _5TH-CLASS_ CITIZENS].

A LEGALLY DEFINED AND HIGHLY RACIALIZED HIERARCHY ORCHESTRATES ISRAELI SOCIAL LIFE.

The most significant difference is in the world's perception of this reality. For the overwhelming majority of the world's population, South Africa was always considered a pariah state. But Israel is not in that position. Israel is given a pass, if you will, on the question of racism. Because Jews were subject to the Nazi Holocaust there's a way in which Israeli Jews are assumed to be either incapable of such terrible racialized policies, or that it's somehow understandable. [A recently leaked Israeli government study revealed that Israel too could become the next racial pariah state, due to its practices against the Palestinians.]

But the new intifada has refocused attention on THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF ISRAELI RACISM. There are new reports from Amnesty International looking at the Israeli treatment of its Palestinian citizens--minors, children, being arrested, beaten and held for days. ISRAEL TREATS PALESTINIANS INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE GREEN LINE AS BEING LESS HUMAN THAN JEWS. THIS IS ROOTED IN THE VERY DEFINITION AND BASIC LAWS OF THE ISRAELI STATE.


www.colorlines.com
www.arc.org/C_Lines/CLArchive/story_web00_04.html
____________________________________________________________
*Max Elbaum is the former editor of CrossRoads magazine.
 

So many errors and falsehoods, so little time

If the "occupation" is the root cause of terrorism by the Palestinians, then what was the root cause in 1929 when the Arabs massacred Jews in the Jewish city of Hebron? What was the root cause of the 1948 war--despite a UN partition plan the whole world voted on? What was the root cause of the 1956 war against Israel? What was the root cause of the 1967 war against Israel? Israel didn't "occupy" Gaza OR the West Bank until 1967. Your whole premise is wrong.

And what makes you think its an illegal occupation anyway? The definition of an occupation is when troops are stationed in a foreign country. If Israel is "occupying" another country (Palestine) can you kindly provide me with the following information?

When was Palestine founded?
Who were the founding mothers and fathers?
What are its borders?
What form of government does it have?
Who was its first president?
How many years has Palestine existed as a separate sovereign country?
What is the Palestinian language?
Who was "occupying" the West Bank prior to 1967?
Who was "occupying" Gaza prior to 1967?

The only 'law' which could conceivably be considered to discriminate against Arab-Israeli citizens is that military service is not compulsory. Orthodox Jews are also excused from military service if they so choose. And even Arabs can petition to enter the military. If they do not present a military threat, then they can join the military.

The following statement is totally false.

"...JIM CROW-like LAWS DESIGNED TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ARABS in Israel. According to Adalah, an Arab rights organization [also confirmed by Marsha Friedman, fmr member of the Knesset], in Israel, today there are _AT LEAST_ 20 LAWS THAT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE UNEQUAL RIGHTS"

Oh yeah? Name ONE!!!

Its true that the Knessett passed a law which outlaws any future legislator proposing dismantling the Jewish State. This HARDLY translates to Arabs lacking any rights.

Jews don't have special rights. Israeli citizens have special rights. Thats Jews and non-Jews alike.

Any Palestinian who has lived in Israel for "hundreds of years" is now an Israeli citizen and has all rights of citizenship.

Her math is wrong and misleading. Note she doesn't differentiate between privately owned land prior to 1948 and Turkish "Crown" land which became property of the Israeli govt.
She reports that Jews were only 30% of the population in 1947 and owned 6% of the land. NOTE! She does not say what percentage of the population was Arab and what percentage of land they owned leaving the reader to FALSELY conclude that the remaining land was owned by Arabs. Actually, much of the land was "Crown" land and not owned by either Arabs or Jews. Few Arabs actually owned land ---tending to be nomadic and migratory--and Jews were forbidden to live in vast parts of the British Palestine Mandate which this author has counted in her "census". Her results are disingenuous.

She is also telling a bold-faced lie when she say non-Jews have NO WAY to become Israeli citizens. All they need do is apply for admission thru Israel's immigration dept. just like in any other country. If the person applying is not a wanted criminal, and meets other reasonable criteria, they can immigrate and even become an Israeli citizen. The ONLY difference between a Jewish immigrant and a non-Jewish immigrant is that Jewish immigrants are automatically granted citizenship. In its constitution, Israel has declared Israel to be a homeland for Jews anywhere in the world, which is there right to do as a people.

If the IDF randomly fires live ammo into (unarmed??) crowds throwing rocks (!!) then why are only 2.8% of those killed are women? Contrast this with an Israeli death toll that is 25% female.

The Misrashi are the Jews who have lived in Israel for thousands of years. She glosses this over as "Arab" countries. Actually, prior to Israel, the land was under British control, and prior to that Turkish control. You would have to go back several centuries to find Arabic rule of Israel. And that was by bloody conquest of the Crusading Christians!!

Her ranking of the racial levels of types of Jews is in her own head. Yes, there are different Jews from different nationalities in Israel. In additon there are orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews, Conservadox Jews, Reform Jews, and reconstructionist Jews. These distinctions mean absolutely nothing legally.
This author is fabricating facts, misreporting, and has not named even ONE law which discriminates against Arab-Israelis.
 

Death To Anti-Semitism!

Another definition of anti-Semitism that you will not find in the dictionary is one that defines the term as being opposed to the murder and humiliation of the Palestinian people as is carried out by the Israeli government. Yet that is the exact false usage of the term by Lee Kaplan and Becky Johnson.

In xenophobic and racist America there are plenty of people today who think both that all Arabs are terrorists and that the Jews killed Jesus in addition to being the wealthy rulers of the world. It is unfortunate that Zionism works in opposition to the true opposition to anti-Semitism, those of us who see neither Arabs nor Jews as superior and oppose the idea of a Jewish state at the expense of the Arab people.
 

So much becky stupidity, so little time...

"What was the root cause of the 1956 war _against_ Israel?"

Since I'm not going to take all the time - all evening - to refute stuff that has been successfully refuted over and over again on imc...,

LET ME SOCRATICALLY JUST TAKE _ONE_ COMPLETELY DECISIVE _MAJOR_ POINT TO SHOW JUST HOW _STUPID_ AND _FULL OF SHIT_ YOU ARE BECKY:

Why don't you just google "the 1956 suez crisis" or "the 1956 suez war" with any other appropriate key words and report back to us about _who_ _actually_ started the war and what u.s. president eisenhower did about it (perhaps the only american president to unequivocally stand up to israel). Don't forget to provide us with your sources (so that we know it's not frontpageRAGazine or some other hardcore zionist hangout/joint). Then, if you come back with more bullshit, I will commence to soundly rip you apart into shreds. I could do all the work for you, beckyo, but you will appreciate the learning more if you do at least some of the work yourself. You may be a mental baby (not to insult babies), but I will not be your spoonfeeder.

In the meantime, maybe even - even - ct can tell you who _actually_ _started_ the 1956 suez war: who attacked whom. How about it ct?
 

CHOMSKY: "the legal conditions would be very familiar in apartheid South Africa"

CHOMSKY: ....First of all, on the separation wall, the first statement that you made is quite correct. It is obviously not a security wall. That is inarguable. If Israel wanted a security wall, no one would object, there would be no international objection, and we would know exactly where they would build it: a couple of kilometers inside the Green Line. That's the way you can build a perfect security wall: you make it a mile high, you can have the IDF patrolling on both sides, totally impenetrable. So if you want security, that's the way to do it.

Except that's not even considered. And the reason is that security is simply not the issue. The issue is expanding the move into the Occupied Territories, which has been going on for thirty-five years. And this is another step in that. The only security this is giving is to those [Israeli settlers] who are illegally there, on the other side of the Green Line. They shouldn't be there anyway. If you trace the course of the wall, it's taking, it's moving in such a way as to integrate within Israel sectors of the Occupied Territories, which is what they've always wanted.

SAFUNDI: So it's moving east of the pre-1967 border.

CHOMSKY: Yes. There isn't one inch of the wall that's [to the west]. Some of it's on the Green Line, but nothing is on the Israeli side…it's all on the Palestinian side, and in crucial areas.

A large part of it is taking control of the water supplies. The main aquifer is mostly under the West Bank…A lot of the settlement programs since 1967 have been designed with long-term hydrological concerns in mind, to make sure that Israel controls the aquifer. Actually, Israel uses almost eighty percent of it or so anyway. Even the settlers have green lawns and swimming pools, while the Palestinian villages next door may not have water at all. They may have to go miles to get a bucket of water. The separation wall will help cement control over the water sources and take some of the most arable Palestinian land, and it will ultimately dispossess a couple hundred thousand Palestinians, who are probably not going to be able to survive there.

In fact, even : the section between the separation wall and international border-the Green Line-is called "the Seam," and there are new laws for the Seam. If you live in the Seam you are allowed to apply for the right to live there. So if you are Palestinian whose family has lived there for generations, you are allowed to apply for the right to your home. There are two categories of people who don't have to apply for that right: one category is Israelis, [they] don't have to apply for that right. And the other is a formula that is constantly used in Israel. The other category is: people who are not Israelis, but who would be allowed to immigrate into Israel if they chose to. Jews, in other words. You can't come straight out and say "Jews are allowed" in there, but what you say is "people who would be allowed to immigrate to Israel," mainly Jews if you look at the legal system. And that's a formula that's used all the time, to avoid saying straight out it's racist. But the fact of the matter is, what it is saying is that Israelis and other Jews can live there, or maybe others if they grant them permission.

So it's essentially extending the state to the east and in not insignificant ways. There are questions. The long-term plan that's proposed literally cages the remaining Palestinian sectors in.

======

Complete Interview:
www.chomsky.info/interviews/20040309.htm

======
 

CHOMSKY: Zionists desire "transfer" of the indigenous population

....The NYT published one major op-ed on the Arafat death, by Israeli historian Benny Morris. The essay deserves close analysis, but I'll put that aside here, and keep to just his first comment, which captures the tone: Arafat is a deceiver, Morris says, who speaks about peace and ending the occupation but really wants to "redeem Palestine". This demonstrates Arafat's irremediable savage nature.

Here Morris is revealing his contempt not only for Arabs (which is profound) but also for the readers of the NYT. He apparently assumes that they will not notice that he is borrowing the terrible phrase from Zionist ideology. Its core principle for over a century has been to "redeem The Land", a principle that lies behind what Morris recognises to be a central concept of the Zionist movement: "transfer" of the indigenous population, that is, expulsion, to "redeem The Land" for its true owners. There seems to be no need to spell out the conclusions.

Morris is identified as an Israeli academic, author of the recent book The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. That is correct. He has also done the most extensive work on the Israeli archives, demonstrating in considerable detail the savagery of the 1948- 9 Israeli operations that led to "transfer" of the large majority of the population from what became Israel, including the part of the UN- designated Palestine state that Israel took over, dividing it about 50- 50 with its Jordanian partner. Morris is critical of the atrocities and "ethnic cleansing" (in more precise translation, "ethnic purification"): namely, it did not go far enough. Ben-Gurion's great error, Morris feels, perhaps a "fatal mistake", was not to have "cleaned the whole country -- the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River".

To Israel's credit, his stand on this matter has been bitterly condemned. In Israel. In the US he is the appropriate choice for the major commentary on his reviled enemy.

=====

Full article:
www.chomsky.info/articles/20041118.htm

=====
 

Re: Nader: Chomsky's Comments RE

I don't know if there's a prayer of steering this thread back to the U.S., but just in case:

I have long found disclaimers such as the above Chomsky quote ("Well, I can try and police Nader but not Kerry because the latter is outside my field of influence and besides it's just a stupid election...blah blah blah...") to be deeply dispiriting and utterly puzzling. Where does this weird deference from so-called Lefty leaders come from ? Seems to me that about 90% of the hosility directed toward Nader by other Lefties has a lot to do with his breaking some kind of long-standing and all-pervasive --but unspoken-- taboo back in 2000 that called for Democrats to be criticized, but never openly deserted.

Anyone ?
 

But I thought you said it was the occupation that caused all the trouble

reply to Full of shit: My point--which you NEVER addressed---was that if the root cause of Palestinian violence, according to the author of the above article is the "illegal occupation" of "Palestine" by Israel. But since there was no occupation of any sort going on in 1948, 1956, and 1967, why did the Palestinians attack Israel?

There must have been another reason. From 1948 to 1967 Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt occupied Gaza. Yet the attacks by the Arab countries, and the local Arabs in Israel continued.

Perhaps its Islamicism which has no room for any non-Islamic country on the face of the planet?
 

Reply to Chomsky

Chomsky wrote: "The only security this is giving is to those [Israeli settlers] who are illegally there, on the other side of the Green Line"

Chomsky is partly right. Placing the barrier there does save Israeli lives. Israel didn't build the fence on the green line for the following reasons:

1) the PA was so corrupt and unreliable, there was no chance to negotiate a route with Palestinian input. Israel was forced to decide what to do unilaterally.

2)Palestinians don't have any special honor for the Green line anyway. Many attacks on Israelis have taken place well inside the Green Line.

3)The whole point of the security fence is to save Israeli lives from suicide bombers. With so many Israelis living on the other side of the Green Line, the fence had to be routed differently to save Jewish lives.

4) While the route does not exactly follow the green line, its pretty darn close

5) land has been taken under eminent domain, property owners are being compensated (but squatters probably aren't)

6) Chomsky doesn't let us know that the security fence is actually saving lives. Thats a good thing, right?
 

Re: Nader: Chomsky's Comments

alsis38,

I don't think that Chomsky is urging people to never desert the Dems. He's saying that The Elections are not the principal route for affecting meaningful social change; that we should not divert so much of our time from our social justice work, nor delude ourselves into thinking that The Elections are going to solve anything.

Chomsky supported Nader in 2000, and if you go back and read the entire interview, he mentions that he voted for a socialist candidate in 1996. So clearly, both his acts and words support voting for candidates outside of the mainstream Corporate parties.

Without IRV, when you know that your candidate cannot win, then it makes tactical sense to vote for the Lesser...

For folks who are big on the idea of voting for their "can't win" candidate as a show of support, perhaps it makes more sense to show that support in another way. Because while voting is one form of free speech, it's rarely the most effective form.

Nader has done wonderful work for decades and he continues to do so. He should be celebrated and supported.

Want to vote "Nader" (or whomever you support) without "throwing away" your vote?

WORK FOR (RANKED CHOICE) INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING.

That way, we can vote our conscience without the possibility of a "spoiler" effect.

What do you think?
 

CHOMSKY Redux for Becky Boring...

CHOMSKY: ...And the reason is that security is simply not the issue. The issue is expanding the move into the Occupied Territories, which has been going on for thirty-five years. And this is another step in that. The only security this is giving is to those [Israeli settlers] who are illegally there, on the other side of the Green Line. They shouldn't be there anyway.

============

Becky calls it "eminent domain" and thinks that makes it all OK.

Yeah, we'll "eminent domain" your house, 'cuz we don't like your political beliefs (or maybe just those of some of the people you associate with, or maybe just those of some of the people that we associate with you). We'll boot you out of your home and... Oh, wait... we'll boot you out of the whole area! Then we'll laugh and offer your house to some folks whose philosophy and cultural identity is more in line with our own.

By coincidence, there will be a cultural/racial aspect to this simple administrative act, and most of the world will be able to see the odiousness of what we're REALLY doing, but we'll just ignore them and stick to our guns. (Or, actually, the US's guns, but what's the difference?)
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

Well, ne@nderthal, you won't find me arguing about the desirability of IRV. I don't know how active Greens up here have been in pushing it, as they are generally less publicly visible than they appear to be in CA. It's something I need to look into.

I wasn't so much arguing that Chomsky is wrong about the comparitive importance of elections. (I love the term Sam Smith at The Scoop uses for those who surface only in big election years and then disappear again for four years: Season Ticket Holders.) I wonder more about why he would be so vehement about claiming that it would be out of bounds for him to regard Kerry as his "audience." If I noticed this deference and avoidance in only one or two "big name" Lefties, it wouldn't disturb me so much. However, that seemed to be the universal opinion on the organized Left in this last election. You could circulate four million columns, petitions and open letters berating Nader and the handful of die-hards on his team, but you couldn't do the same to urge Kerry to court his supposed true base, or even acknowledge that base's existence, for that matter. Like I said, it's a sad and disturbing phenomenon, even if you don't think Nader is anything close to a serious candidate.

BTW, beware the argument consisting solely of "he can't win." People are bound to say the same thing when they explain that they won't push for IRV. It's a great euphemism for "I fear the unknown, no matter how unhappy I am with what I know." :p
 

becky "thought"! _That's_ a JOKE!

`
BECKY, YOU CAN'T DODGE YOUR OWN STUPIDITY!

No I _didn't_ say that "it was the occupation that caused all the trouble". I made no statement one way or another about that. That you may be _confused_ is, to say the least, inexorably easy to understand. Care to go back up and look at my posts? If you find that _I_ said it, then _quote_ me (copy&paste) word for word.


Now, beckyo, LET ME _REPEAT_:

Since I'm not going to take all the time - all evening - to refute stuff that has been successfully refuted over and over again on imc...,

LET ME SOCRATICALLY JUST TAKE _ONE_ COMPLETELY DECISIVE _MAJOR_ POINT TO SHOW JUST HOW _STUPID_ AND _FULL OF SHIT_ YOU ARE BECKY:

Why don't you just google "the 1956 suez crisis" or "the 1956 suez war" with any other appropriate key words and report back to us about _who_ _actually_ started the war and what u.s. president eisenhower did about it (perhaps the only american president to unequivocally stand up to israel). Don't forget to provide us with your sources (so that we know it's not frontpageRAGazine or some other hardcore zionist hangout/joint). Then, if you come back with more bullshit, I will commence to soundly rip you apart into shreds. I could do all the work for you, beckyo, but you will appreciate the learning more if you do at least some of the work yourself. You may be a mental baby (not to insult babies), but I will not be your spoonfeeder.

In the meantime, maybe even - even - ct can tell you who _actually_ _started_ the 1956 suez war: who attacked whom. How about it ct?

THIS _WASN'T_ EXACTLY A 'MINOR' EVENT IN ISRAEL'S HISTORY FOR YOU TO BE SO ARROGANTLY _IGNORANT_ ON BECKYO.
 

Re: Nader: Chomsky's Comments

>Season Ticket Holders

LOL! That's good. That's very good.

>why he would be so
>vehement about claiming
>that it would be out of
>bounds for him to regard
>Kerry as his "audience."

Why would you think that Kerry (or any other mainstream politician) would EVER listen to Noam Chomsky?

I mean, he's so far outside of the accepted political spectrum (in the US) that it's funny (in a sick, Pythonesque kind of way).

He's one of leading intellectuals on the planet -- has been for decades -- but he's totally ignored in US elite circles.

Of course, that's not so surprising, given that he's one the most profound critics of US power politics.

So why would he think for a moment that the bought-and-paid-for, corporate-puppet, candidate Kerry would suddenly sit up and listen?

>berating Nader...[but not] Kerry

I guess that folks (like Chomsky) actually think that Ralph might listen to (and maybe even act upon) a well-reasoned argument in favor of xxx. They believe that Kerry is merely a slightly milder version of Corporate Dominance, while Ralph Nader is a person of integrity, and who is on "our" side.

>it's a sad and
>disturbing phenomenon

It's sad that in the US we basically only have two branches of one political party. But let's not blame Chomsky for not pretending that it's not true.

>even if you don't think
>Nader is anything close
>to a serious candidate.

Oh, he's serious, alright. And brilliant. I just don't think that he has a chance of winning a national election in the US... not even if we had IRV! There's just still way way way too much indoctination among most US voters. (BTW, I know that's not what you meant by "serious.")

>beware the argument
>consisting solely of
>"he can't win."

You're absolutely right. It's defeatist and short-sighted. Thank you for pointing that out.
 

Emminent domain is for the greater good of the whole community

Becky calls it "eminent domain" and thinks that makes it all OK.

Eminent domain makes it legal according to the Israeli Supreme Court. the suicide bomb attacks on Israeli civilians make it neccessary to save lives. Israel is not building the fence "'cuz they don't like some peoples political beliefs". They have tried to achieve peace through negotiations, but in every case, the Palestinians broke each agreement and the attacks continued.

The laws of emminent domain allow the government to take over lands of individuals for the greater good of the country. The fence is saving Palestinian lives too! And the IDF has dismantled many of the checkpoints because of it as well.
 

Re: What Is The Professional Left Thinking ?

ne@nderthal, if you want to read the whole Smith column, it's right here:

www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0409/S00304.htm

"I mean, he's [Chomsky] so far outside of the accepted political spectrum (in the US) that it's funny (in a sick, Pythonesque kind of way)."

Ah, but think of all the now-well-known tenets of Rightie thought that were considered outlandish and unthinkable 30 years ago. All this crap about a "crisis" in Social Security necessitating its handover to private/corporate interests, for instance.

The truth is, Kerry isn't a fool incapable of understanding Chomsky's ideas. He just doesn't want to listen to them, as they threaten his belief in his own right to power.

If you ask me, Chomsky shouldn't give a shit about that. He should shoot off his mouth in any and all venues in which Kerry or someone with access to his inner circle might stumble across them, and he should be relentless in doing so. Preaching to the converted isn't going to advance the Left's agenda. Nor is dealing solely in abstractions and putting out our theories without putting a human face on those theories' practitioners. Keeping to our own only creates a situation in which perfectly sensible ideas continue to look bizarre to the uninformed and unexposed, and makes us look as if we have no true faith in the value of those ideas.

Like I said, the fact that the attitude you mention is near-universal on the Left spectrum helps create the ridiculous spectacle we saw in 2004, in which activist leaders (Benjamin, Solomon, et al) felt they had every right to tell Nader to sit down and shut up, but it seemingly never occurred to them to call out Kerry for simultaneously dining out on his anti-war past even as he called for escalation. With the resources at their command, they could have done so, even if they never got onto "60 Minutes" or "Face The Nation." There was still the internet, direct mail, radio ads, etc.-- All the tools that they were more than happy to bully Nader with could have easily been turned the other way. They could have embarassed Kerry, rallied the voter in the street to demand more from him than a bunch of bloodthirsty, social-Darwinist, flagwaving bullshit. They could have pushed on him, reminded him of who he works for. The fact that they felt they had every right to threaten and guilt-trip Nader instead has made me lose much of my respect for them.

Of course, Alexander Cockburn and some others at Counterpunch have posisted that the professional Left crowd wouldn't dream of prodding Kerry because they themselves are dependent on his kind's largesse. That is, their groups are dependent on foundation grants and so forth. They can't afford to risk pissing his own friends in the intelligensia off. They have to be nice to him in case he wins, and then maybe they could get a job in D.C. themselves.

I really hope that Cockburn is wrong in this assertion, but sometimes you have to wonder...
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

The problem with the people "alsis38" calls the professional left is that they are not the left at all. They are liberal stooges of the system working overtime to convince the people that an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans is not possible, and that in the real world an alternative to capitalism is not possible either. Without a strong revolutionary party in the United States the left gets stuck with such professional petty-bourgeois intellectuals to supposedly speak for us while they defend the status quo rather than working class leaders speaking of the real struggle that is needed to bring real change.

Liberation News
groups.yahoo.com/group/Liberation_News/
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

alsis38 wrote:
"Chomsky.... should shoot off his mouth in any and all venues in which Kerry or someone with access to his inner circle might stumble across them"

Yeah, well... it's not like Chomsky lives in a cave, or took a vow of silence or something. His writings appear in newspapers, journals, and/or magazines around the world on a routine basis. (Except in the US.) And he is rumored to have written several dozen books on foreign policy, domestic policy, and political theory. (And a bunch more on linguistics.) There's more than a couple feature length movies about him, probably available at the local independent video store... And in all of these, it's not like he's refraining from speaking his mind, nor even being subtle.

So what do you expect to happen? Maybe in the middle of a national campaign, Kerry would've suddenly announced that, having discovered the writings of Noam Chomsky, he now recognized that our entire economic system is a corrupt corporate-welfare state designed to ensure the continued power and dominance of an elite class who despise democracy? That it's propped up by endless systematic theft, brutality, oppression and murder of the peoples of the "third world" and was founded upon the genocide of the original peoples of this continent?

What did you want Chomsky to say that he did not, in fact, say?

=====
Steven, you throw strong criticism at "professional petty-bourgeois intellectuals."

To whom are you referring?
 

Kerry's crimes are conscious and premeditated

John Kerry already knows the nature of American society and doesn't need Chomsky, the American left, or any liberals to teach him anything. Kerry's crimes against the people, including the war and the Patriot Act, are conscious and premeditated.

The professional petty-bourgeois intellectuals I was referring to include people like Chomsky who deceived the American people on the true nature of the Democrat Party by backing Kerry.
 

Have you read ANYTHING by Chomsky?

Steven wrote:
"Chomsky who deceived the American people on the true nature of the Democrat Party by backing Kerry."

Backing Kerry? Chomsky describes Kerry as "bad, but less extremist and less dangerous. So in that five minutes that you devote to the topic, you should come to the rational conclusion, if it's a swing state, keep the worst guys out. If it's another state, do what you feel like."

That's "backing" Kerry, is it? Hmmm. Your use of the term is... unique.
------
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

ne@nderthal, I would have liked to see the same thing from Chomsky that I would have liked to see from the rest of the Professional Left: That is, I would have liked to see them make demands of Kerry, who had the most power;As opposed to Nader, who had the least power.

2004 is notable for the collapse of the anti-war movement as it meekly got in line behind a pro-war candidate who openly demonstrated that he held nothing but contempt for it when he deigned to notice it. It could think of nothing better to do with itself than vent its collective spleen at Nader. I don't think that there will ever come a day when that stops bothering me.

I only single out Chomsky because he's the one whose quotes made it into this thread. I could just as easily have written about Benjamin, Solomon, Moore, etc. I would have preferred that he and the rest of the Left wing folk (as I said before) harness their energies to make demands of Kerry instead of Nader. NOTA knows, every time that idiotic "safe states" crap comes up, I want to beat my head against the wall. I consider that whole thing to be nonsense, which is the main reason I ended up not voting for Cobb. It's a "strategy" calculated not to bring change, but to placate (futilely, since you can't negotiate or win concessions from someone whom you never confront with your presence) the powerful. I try not to engage in dualism in political matters, but in this case, I make an exception. Run for office or don't run for office. If you believe in change, you have to believe in pissing off the powerful. "Safe states" be damned. You're right to call Chomsky a brilliant man, but his nod to that so-called "strategy" strikes me as less than brilliant. Who can take it seriously ? Especially in light of the fact that in the next breath, he's claiming that Presidential campaigns aren't even that meaningful ? Why bring any "strategy" up at all then ?

"So what do you expect to happen? Maybe in the middle of a national campaign..."

I expected the professional Left to stand by its professed true beliefs and deal with the consequences of doing so, rather than leaving Nader more or less alone to shoulder the burden. Not for Kerry's sake, but for the sake of myself and others they claim to speak for. This debacle of 2004 has forced me to wonder whether any of them truly speak for me at all. :( And I don't write that as some kind of apsiring "revolutionary" in the Che Guevarra sense. I'm pretty "petty bourgeois" myself. I've done a little work on local ballot measures for healthcare and public power. I eat meat. I even have a mortgage. :o :p
 

The fringes will become the majority

Yes, Chomsky supported Kerry by pretending that it was extremely important to vote for pro-war, anti-healthcare, anti-democratic rights Kerry to make sure that pro-war, anti-healthcare, anti-democratic Bush would not get elected.

Those of us who are truly on the side of the people never let up on the fact that both the Democrats and the Republicans are our oppressors.

If you want to influence these politicians, the way to do it is to work on building a movement that does not support them under any circumstances and is a poll of attraction for the working class. The likes of Kerry and Bush know full well what they are doing and will only be influenced by uncompromising opposition that causes them and their rich backers some kind of problem.

This is a first step, but ultimately all gains under such circumstances are only temporary, and workers power must be an ultimate goal.

People like "alsis38" who's done work on local ballot measures for healthcare and public power are part of the solution. The Democrats and Republicans are who give us the society where things as basic as healthcare are not guaranteed, are part of the problem. Fake leftists who secure careers by joining the Democrats are also part of the problem. The true voices of opposition that matter in America are those that are today generally regarded as being on the fringes. In the face of war, austerity, and oppression the fringes will become the majority.

Liberation News
groups.yahoo.com/group/Liberation_News/
 

Who Let the Dogma Out?

Steven, is your dogma ever going to stop barking?

====

Worker's World says that they have all the answers
And Milosevic is a guy that they admire
The ISO says Trotsky is the man
And they'll debate it until they all expire
The industrial workers will lead the revolution
So claims the SWP
No, the truth lies among the lumpen
That's the RCP

The Sparts say the rest can go to hell
And everyone else is a Stalinist
The CP will just do their thing
And pretend the others don't exist
Well I had a realization this morning
When I looked into the red and dawning sun
I've figured out the truth
And I'm forming a party of one

(Chorus)
I am the leader of the workers
And I'll tell you why the Left is suspect
Because there's something you don't understand
Only my line is correct
'Cause I am the vanguard of the masses
And all of you should just follow me
If you doubt my analysis
You must be in the petty bourgeoisie

But I am not sectarian
It's all the rest who are
I work fine in coalitions
As long as I'm the shining star
So bow down to your master
The lastest V.I. Lenin
And off to the camps to all of you
Who'd say, "not this again"

(Chorus)

And I'll have no music at my protests
And none of that goddamn puppetry
I'll just have some somber slogans
No decadent frivolity
My chants will be the right ones
Just the ones that should be said
And my banners we'll wave proudly
Just the proper shade of red

And I will build the party if it kills me
I am solely dedicated to the cause
If I have to stab you in the back
This won't give me pause
'Cause my platform will take us forward
And the ends always justify the means
And you must step aside behind me
Be you Quakers, Jews, anarchists or greens

--David Rovics
 

Cynical Liberals

The Democrats say they are your men and lead you off to war, bust your union, and spoil your planet while at the same time feeling your pain.

Rovic’s counter revolutionary cynicism only serves to defend the status quo and hold back humanity.

Workers Democracy International
groups.yahoo.com/group/Workers_Democracy/
 

Rovics defends the status quo? Yeah, right.

SA: "Rovic’s counter revolutionary cynicism only serves to defend the status quo and hold back humanity."

HaHaHaHaHaHaHa!!!

Typical. If someone disagrees with you, they are "counter revolutionary." You are the very sort of person that he wrote this song for.

But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you're not otherwise familiar with Rovics' work, comrade.

www.davidrovics.com/

-
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

Heh.

Well, Steven, both those measures I worked on got trounced, but I try to treat all this shit as a learning experience. Oddly enough, I'm about near the end of Nader's *Reader* right now, and I feel like the main flaw of it is that Nader doesn't cop to the heartbreak side of activism. I think a lot of people, especially young people, need to be warned that frustration, disappointment and pain are a huge part of activism. If they see their elders not copping to it, they're likely to blame themselves for how they feel (instead of realizing that these feelings are natural) and to not realize that you build up resistance to it over time, like psychic scar tissue. :p

(Of course, Nader is legendary for living exclusively in his head, or at least his public persona does. Maybe in private, he pours himself a double bourbon and cranks up Memphis Minnie LPs really loud so the neighbors can't hear him crying. That's what I always do after yet another great crusade falls flat on its ass, anyway. It's very theraputic. :D )

It was nice talking to you all. I don't usually have an excuse to spend so much time on other Indy boards. Cheers.
 

Socialists Have Done Much For You

I feel that I am being red-baited and that I am under attack so I must explain myself.

I am accused here of by "Neandrathal" of being "dogmatic" for telling the truth about the Democrat Party and its hacks.

And here is some of the hard work of the revolutionaries Rovics so harshly condemns:

Workers World Party (WWP)
www.workers.org/

International Socialist Organization (ISO), USA, ex-IS
www.internationalsocialist.org/

Socialist Workers' Party (SWP)
www.themilitant.com/

Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP)
www.rwor.org/

Spartacist League/U.S
www.icl-fi.org/ENGLISH/ARTICLES.HTM

These people, despite their problems, are all part of the solution.

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) was born in the late 1920s and 30s as a Trotskyist split from the Stalinized Communist Party USA. Led the historic 1934 Teamsters Strike as well as the 1934 Toledo Auto-Lite Strike. These strikes were a turning point for labor. They led to the massive unionization and gains for the working class that occurred during the economic depression of the 1930s, gains that still impact us today. Later the SWP became the most important organization in the leadership of the movement against the war in Vietnam, organizing around the slogan "U.S. Out Now."

In 1982 the SWP completely abandoned Trotsky's Theory of Permanent Revolution in favor of Stalin's two-stage theory. This they applied to their uncritical support for the capitalist program of the ANC in South Africa as well as to the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. In the unions they adopted a policy of not criticizing the betrayals of the union bureaucracy. Those who opposed these moves to the right were purged from the party. The SWP continues to have branches across the country that help teach people about socialism, but they now abstain from the types of social struggles they once led.

Despite its problems the Workers World Party is today one of the best activist socialist organizations in the United States, mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people against the U.S. war in Iraq and usually putting forward a good socialist and anti-imperialist political line.

The Spartacist League is a left split from the SWP in the early 1960s. They opposed the SWP’s adaptation to Black Nationalism and instead advocated revolutionary integration as the road forward in the struggle for socialism. In the practical sense of recruitment of blacks this was a much better position than the SWP’s tail ending of the religious Nation of Islam and Malcom X. In addition the SL correctly pointed out that there is no geographic area that would make sense as a black homeland, nor would the suffering that would be caused to create one be worth the human suffering it caused. On the Vietnam War the SL took an unfortunate ultra-left stance of opposing the SWP’s position of “U.S. Out Now!? and instead counter-posed their position of “All of South East Asia Must go Communist!? This was not a slogan that worked in organizing the mass movement in the United States that helped South East Asia go Communist. In the 1980s the SL fought against the billions of dollars that the U.S. was pouring into Osama bin Laden’s holy crusade against women’s rights and literacy in Afghanistan. Likewise the SL opposed the counter-revolutionary movements of Solidarnosc and Yeltsin calling for the defense of the gains of those revolutions. Today on China, Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea they continue on with this Trotskyist position, calling for political revolution to oust the Stalinist bureaucracies, while also calling for the defense of the gains of these revolutions from imperialist attack and internal counter-revolution. The SL today continues to have clarity when it comes to the need for the unions to break from the Democrat Party and pursue a policy of class struggle. Unfortunately they also continue their ultra-leftism in relation to the anti-war movement.

Liberation News is working on building a revolutionary movement that fights for both democracy and socialism against corporate governments around the world. In so doing we oppose all capitalist parties, including those who put a liberal façade in front of their pro-war, anti-worker, anti-environment, and racist policies such as the SPD of Germany, Labour Party of Britain, ANC of South Africa, NDP of Canada, and Democrat Party of the US.

Our movement is built in the traditions of Rosa Luxemburg, a leading socialist in the early 20th century who opposed the betrayals of the Social Democratic Parties that supported their own bourgeoisies as they entered the First World War. Rosa Luxemburg instead advocated revolutionary socialism. In addition, while being supportive of the Russian revolution, she was at the same time opposed to the dictatorial methods of Lenin and Trotsky in the Soviet Union. Luxemburg instead advocated democratic communism.

The 1917 Russian Revolution was a popular revolution that called for an end to the war with Germany, land reform, and socialism. Besides the betterment this revolution meant for the workers and peasants in general, giant strides forward were made for oppressed nationalities, Jews, women’s rights, and gay rights. Stalinism later destroyed some gains.

We agree with Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution, the idea that all working class revolutions must implement a socialist economy in order to stand up to imperialism and successfully defeat the internal bourgeoisie.

While opposing the concept of one party rule, we also defend the world’s surviving deformed workers states such as Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea, from both imperialist attack and internal counter-revolution, while advocating political revolution to establish true workers democracy.

With a planned nationalized economy under the democratic control of the working class we can guarantee the right to medical care, jobs, housing, and food as basic human rights for all.

If you see this as nothing more than dogmatism, so be it.

Liberation News
lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news
 

Re: Nader: Activists Cannot Afford to Take A Day Off

Thank you, Steven, for that synopsis of the authoritarian Left in the US.

Your inclusion of Rosa Luxemburg and her politics is appreciated. Of the Marxist theorists that I respect, she is certainly near the top of my list.

But I do see some serious inconsistency in your open recognition that RLux opposed Lenin and Trotsky, yet supporting groups which practically deify Lenin and/or Trotsky.

To generalize, I find that the authoritarian Left typically has a serious inability to critically self-analyze. They are rigid in their beliefs and tactics. Ossified, perhaps. And they seem to lack for a sense of humor; particularly any humor wherein they might be the butt of the joke.

If you cannot laugh at yourself, you are psychically dead.

===
At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening a cousin of Sasha [Alexander Berkman], a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. It was undignified for one who was on the way to become a force in the anarchist movement. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause.

I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business, I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement should not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. "I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everyboy's right to beautiful, radiant things." Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world--prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own comrades I would live my beautiful ideal. [Emma Goldman, Living My Life (New York: Knopf, 1934), p. 56]
 

Try a mirror, comrade.

"Our movement is built in the traditions of Rosa Luxemburg, a leading socialist.... [who] advocated democratic communism."

"While opposing the concept of one party rule, we also defend the world’s surviving deformed workers states such as Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea, from both imperialist attack and internal counter-revolution, while advocating political revolution to establish true workers democracy."
==============================

So let me get this straight.

You attack Chomsky and others for gradgingly voting Democrat in states where there was some chance to defeat Bush.

And yet, you openly "defend... Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea" while claiming that your "movement" is based in DEMOCRATIC communism?

Assuming that you /actually/ support democracy, rather than merely use it as a convenient catchphrase, how can you possibly support countries whose governments are fundamentally UNdemocratic?

Do you not recognize this as outrageous hypocrisy?

Certainly of a level equal to (or greater than) that which you accuse of the "professional left."
 

Democrats And Their Republican Friends Are The Problem

The difference between defending the deformed workers states from imperialist attack and giving electoral support to an imperialist warmonger of the Democrat Party is huge. I see no hypocrisy in this. Perhaps the following three articles will help you understand.

On North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam
By Steven Argue

santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/13243

Bush Regime Maintains Power Through Electoral Fraud
By Steven Argue

santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/12684

The Negative And Positive Lessons Of October 1917
By Steven Argue

santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/13245
 

No Justification for Authoritarian Dictatorships

Steven,

There's simply no justification for authoritarian dictatorships.

Democracy must be at the base of any meaningful revolution. Without it, all you've got is another group of monomaniacal psychopaths taking power from the current batch of monomaniacal psychopaths, where the "new" guys use some different rhetoric.

No thanks. I'll pass on that one.

Steven, when you profess your support for these fucked up dictatorships, you make it clear to me (and, I suspect, to others) that I would *never* want to be a part of your bloody revolution.

=====

sunsite.berkeley.edu/Goldman/Writings/Russia/index.html
 

Re Neanderthal

"Ne@nderthal" writes, "Steven, when you profess your support for these fucked up dictatorships."

I never professed any support for fucked up dictatorships. Perhaps you could explain.
 

On Democracy

I think I made clear my support for workers democracy in opposition to dictatorship in the writings I posted:

Bush Regime Maintains Power Through Electoral Fraud
By Steven Argue
santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/12684

The Negative And Positive Lessons Of October 1917
By Steven Argue
santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/13245

On North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam
By Steven Argue
santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/13243
 

Maybe we should agree to disagree...

Steven,

To me, your critique of those dictatorships is tepid and brief.

But really, I don't think that any further debate on this topic is actually going to get us anywhere, right now.

Suffice to say that while I have serious disagreements with you on the above issue(s), I think that we are both locally doing positive work in the here-and-now. That's good enough for me, for today.

Maybe we'll discuss it further over a big mug of Zapatista coffee.

In Solidarity.
 

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