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 on: October 06, 2017, 03:38:13 PM 
Started by Tyehimba - Last post by DMayers
Ah ok. I was told professor James small has one i'll just have to check his out.

 on: October 06, 2017, 01:45:16 PM 
Started by News - Last post by News
In 1898, White Supremacists Killed 60+ African Americans in One of Deadliest Mass Shootings in U.S.

October 04, 2017 - democracynow.org



This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report, as we turn to Part 2 of our conversation with Bishop William Barber. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Las Vegas. Sunday night’s massacre by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock at a country music festival left 59 people dead and 527 others wounded. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was suspending a bill that would make gun silencers widely available. Ryan appeared to leave open the possibility that lawmakers would take the bill up again later in the fall. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls Tuesday by some Democrats for new gun control laws in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. At the White House on Monday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was not the time to talk about gun control.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re going to Part 2 of our conversation with Bishop William Barber, presented with the Andrew Goodman Foundation Hidden Heroes Award “for courageously defending the moral values of American democracy,” presented with it on Tuesday night, joining us now, though we’ve interviewed him a number of times, for the first time in our studio here in New York.

It’s great to have you with us to continue this conversation, Bishop Barber. Respond to the Las Vegas massacre.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: First of all, deep, deep sadness. I had a member of my staff at Repairers who had someone that was actually in the crowd, and so it touched very personally.

I’m deeply concerned, in several ways, about the conversation. First of all, for those who say we shouldn’t politicize this right now, I agree; It shouldn’t be politicized, it should be a moral issue; and it shouldn’t be now, it should have been long before now. What is this commitment that we have to guns? What is this strange psychosis that when these things happen, we want to blame everything but the guns? What kind of stranglehold does the NRA—what kind of bloodthirst commitment do we have?

And, you know, this culture, American culture, we have to own, has been—had a history of violence. I know you’ve been very careful to say this is the worst lone gunman, but there have been other instances throughout history where you’ve had a massive number of people.

But I’m concerned, deeply, if killing children—remember when that happened?—didn’t change us; if congressmen on both sides of the aisle getting shot didn’t change us; if the best we can do, or certain extremist politicians can do, who claim they are pro-life, can say we might suspend silencers, but we’ll bring it back up.

And as I heard the president’s press person say—I think she was asked would silencers—you know, would there still be silencers? She said something to the effect it wouldn’t have really made a difference. So, you mean if the people couldn’t have heard the shots, and if he had had the ability to let off 500 or 600 rounds unheard, it wouldn’t have made a difference? I mean, what—the only purpose for a silencer is to kill people. It’s not something used in hunting.

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, that’s how the police found him.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: That’s how the police found him.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s how people looked up and saw he was shooting—


AMY GOODMAN: —from high—

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Exactly, exactly, exactly.

AMY GOODMAN: —he was shooting from a high story of the Mandalay Bay hotel.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Yeah. And I just keep—how much more death do we have to see? How much more of this commitment to violence? Now, as a preacher, I’m reminded of the scripture in the Bible, two of them—one that’s in Ezekiel, which says your politicians have become like wolves whose policies devour the people. The second part of the scripture says, “And your preachers have covered up for the politicians.” Where are all the so-called white evangelicals now? Where are you? You know, where are you when policies about healthcare are passed that are going to destroy people’s lives? Where are you when people aren’t getting a living wage? Where are you now with gun violence? Where are you, Franklin Graham and others? Where are you now? I think Jesus said something like “If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.” Where are those voices now? And that’s a great concern in this country.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, we had a reporter on just yesterday from The Guardian who had done an investigation of gun ownership in America, and they concluded that 3 percent of gun owners in America own almost 50 percent of all the guns. That’s just a very small group of people—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —that basically have these amazing arsenals. And yet they have such influence over how gun legislation is—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —is developed in the country.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: And isn’t it strange when you look back in history, when you had, for instance, the Black Panthers carrying guns, and Ronald Reagan was governor. All of a sudden they wanted gun control. You remember that?

AMY GOODMAN: Right, when the Black Panthers marched on the state Capitol—

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: You remember that? That’s right. That’s right.

AMY GOODMAN: —in Sacramento, California.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Now you have people that want to have—be able to carry concealed weapons on legislative floors. They want all these open gun laws. You can buy as many as you want. I think in Nevada the guns could be taken right into a hotel. But at this point, the conversation should be about life versus death. The problem is, we’ve got this deep moral problem. And that is that it’s not just about guns being violent. We are having debates in this country right now over passing violent policies.

Remember—Coretta Scott King said something we ought to remember. She was asked one time, “What do you think about violence, since your husband was assassinated?” And Coretta gave a very profound answer. She said, “Violence is not just the killing of my husband.” She said, “Violence is denying kids education. Violence is denying people healthcare. Violence is denying people wages. Violence is taking people’s culture.” And then she said, “Even an apathetic attitude that doesn’t address these other forms of violence is a form of violence.” We truly have got to decide in this country, and it’s going to have to be a mass movement that helps us decide, whether we’re going to focus on violence or nonviolence, not in terms of protesting guns, but even in terms of the kind of public policy that’s being pushed.

AMY GOODMAN: You mentioned that we have said this is the largest massacre by a single gunman in history. So talk about history, Bishop Barber.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: History. If you go back to the 1800s, right after slavery, the Reconstruction movement, but then what was called the Deconstruction movement, 1872, the founding of the Ku Klux Klan, was about violence. And a lot of that violence was directed toward whites, trying to get them not to work with African Americans. If you look at the period of time between 1898 to the 1920s, deep violence. Black men were hung at an average of one per day. There were no laws against lynching. You have the Wilmington riots and coup d’état, duly elected black and white people run out of office, black people killed, in 1898. You’ve got the Springfield riots in—

AMY GOODMAN: Wait, stick with Wilmington.


AMY GOODMAN: Also, Juan, you wrote about this in your book News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media. It’s an astounding story that most people don’t know about.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Astounding, yeah. November 10, 1898—and by the way, let me just put a hook on this. Most of the so-called Confederate statues were raised, 80 percent of them, from 1898 to 1922. 1898 was the Wilmington riots. 1922 was the year, I think, before Leonidas Dyer from St. Louis entered a bill into Congress to make an anti-lynching bill, that passed in the House. He was a Republican—of that day, not this day. And it failed in the Senate.

Now I’ll go back to 1898. November 10th, after two years of violent propaganda, led by Charles B. Aycock, who became governor of the state of North Carolina, and Josephus Daniels, who was the owner of The News & Observer, they began to say, if we don’t remove these black and white fusionist politicians from office, our white women and white children will be under threat. And they did it to the point that by November 10th there was so much vile in the political atmosphere, listen, so much vile in conversation and language, that the language led to the violence.

AMY GOODMAN: What was so unusual about North Carolina and its politics at the time?

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: What was so unusual at that time is by—and from 1878 to around 1872, and then later on, North Carolina had more African Americans in the Legislature than it has today. It was extraordinarily progressive. In the first four years, they rewrote the Constitution. They made public education a right, which is not even a right in the federal Constitution. They passed equal protection under the law before equal protection was passed in the 14th Amendment. They opened up voting—of course, for men, not for women. They were even talking about labor rights. They put in the Constitution that every person had a right to the fruit of their own labor. They said that the first principle of a Christian and a civilized society was beneficent provision to the poor. They put that language in the Constitution. The—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, of course, this was an alliance of African Americans and—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —and white Republicans, for the most part.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Right, Republicans of that day.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Of that day, right.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Lincoln Republicans. You have to say that, because sometimes—and that’s how we modeled the Moral Monday movement, off of fusion politics, intersectional politics. And it was powerful. And it was happening all over the South. But by 1896, you had Plessy v. Ferguson. 1883, you had the overturning of the 1875 Civil Rights Act. And there was this push to recodify and institute fully white supremacy, white nationalism, into the laws.

And so, Wilmington was a powerful city. It was 50 percent African-American. The wealthiest man in North Carolina was an African American in Wilmington. And it was the closest port to Africa and Europe. And Wilmington would have ended up being Atlanta, that kind of city. And it was targeted. We can shut it down. And so, white supremacists got together. Newspaper, politicians ran a campaign. And on November the 10th, they brought a Gatling gun into Wilmington. They burned down the black newspaper, that was led by the mulatto’s son—he was a white governor, he had a black mama—burned it down. And they went on a killing spree. And it was endorsed by churches. Some preachers stood in their pulpits and said, “If we have to fill the Cape Fear River with the blood of the”—I won’t say the word—”then let it be, so that we can return the government to its right ownership of the white man.”

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: They not only ran the African-American elected officials out of town, they—as I recall, they installed a former Confederate officer as the new mayor—

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: That’s right. That’s right.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —in the coup that they organized.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: They organized a coup, because the goal was to—they had already begun to take over the Legislature, to some degree, by re-entering Jim Crow—entering Jim Crow laws in voting. But after that riot, they sent telegraphs all over the country—this riot predates the Springfield riots—saying, “This is how you return power.” And by 1902, the last congressperson—black congressperson was from North Carolina. His name was George White. He was put out of the United States Congress, and it took 90 years.

Now, here’s the—here’s one of the curious things about this, Amy. It took 90 years for North Carolina to have another black person in the United States Congress. Voting went to almost zero in the black community. And what people don’t know is that there was so much fear—right?—around what had happened that it just froze. So all of the progress of Reconstruction was turned back, was turned back. And it was tied to this massacre.

AMY GOODMAN: And Josephus Daniels became—

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: He was rewarded secretary of the Navy.

AMY GOODMAN: Woodrow Wilson.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Woodrow Wilson, who also played Birth of a Nation in the Oval Office.

AMY GOODMAN: Which became this recruiting tool for the Ku Klux Klan.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: That’s right, because it glorified the Ku Klux Klan, and it said—told lies about fusionist white and black politicians. And he played it in the Oval Office. The statue in Charlottesville, that we have recently been talking about, was raised really in celebration to Woodrow Wilson, the white supremacists believing we have a friend in the White House, right?

AMY GOODMAN: He would later become appointed, by FDR, the ambassador to Mexico.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: OK, that’s right. So there’s a lot of this history to go around. Charles B. Aycock becomes governor. They claim that he was the educational governor, but you know what he did? He went to whites and said, “If you don’t want your children to be like these black children, because we’re going to make it so you have to have a certain educational level to vote, you better let me raise taxes on your property.” So he used a race argument to get white Southerners who were racist in North Carolina to allow him to raise taxes off their property to build public schools.

AMY GOODMAN: So go back to the massacre—


AMY GOODMAN: —that day. How many people are believed to have died?

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Well, there’s some estimates that say 2 to 3 percent of the city. There’s some that say there were at least 60 African Americans alone that were shot and killed. We don’t know how many people were killed, because they had to run into the swamp or could have been drowned, couldn’t—bodies may have never been found.

And it was not written in history. This is the thing I wanted to get to. This was not put into history books until, in the 1980s, Dr. Tim Tyson and a senator, who later died, a black senator from Wilmington, began to force and push it. Irv Joyner, who works with me, was a part of that team.

So you’re talking about when the discussions were around which counties would be covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, you know, those counties are not covered, those counties in that part of the state of North Carolina. We only have 40 counties that were covered. So the argument is, there really wasn’t that much white supremacy in the other 60 counties. Those counties weren’t covered, because the testimony of what happened in Wilmington and what happened in southeast North Carolina was not a part of the testimony before the Congress when the decision was made about which counties would be covered under preclearance.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: It wasn’t until about a hundred years later that they established a commission—right?—in North Carolina—

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: A hundred years, that’s right.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —that uncovered all the facts. And all these newspapers then did public apologies—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —for their role in instigating the violence.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: And we still haven’t talked about the number—the people whose land was stolen and taken, who were thrust into poverty. Again, you’re talking about people who were doing very well, black people in Wilmington. So it is a horrific story. But it ought to remind us of what can happen when you have vile, racist, xenophobic language coming from the highest levels of the government.

AMY GOODMAN: And Josephus Daniels, in the newspaper, because a lot of people couldn’t read—


AMY GOODMAN: —used cartoons?

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: He used cartoons, political satire. But the cartoons—one of them has a picture of a black person with a top hat on like Abraham Lincoln, but he has vampire teeth and vampire claws. In one hand, he’s holding a white woman. In the other hand, he’s pushing back white men. And, of course, the image there would be that if we don’t stop these black politicians, your women and your children are at risk, which has always been a tool of racists and white nationalists and white supremacists.

That is why, today, it concerns me that—the way in which too much of the corporate media let Trump and his allies off. That is why I’m deeply concerned today when we have a Charlottesville, and everybody focuses on the death of the young girl. And we should. My god, ugly, mean, a violent death, running through a crowd with a car. But the problem is, when we stop there and we—and people denounce the hate, in that moment, which almost everybody will do—I mean, Trump had a problem doing it, but almost everybody, politician, has political sense enough to say, “I’m against that.” But being against that doesn’t mean you are against the white nationalist sentiments that led to that, you see? And so you can actually be against that kind of hate. We had white politicians that signed off on the apology of Wilmington, but none of them have talked about we need to expand preclearance coverage to all of those counties.

That is why I think media—and I love what Democracy Now! does, but we’ve got to get also the other media to begin to look at the policies of white supremacy. That’s why it bothers me that—it’s not that Trump used racism and code words and overt words, not just coded words, to win the presidency and to stir up certain racial fears. It’s that he did it with such ease and almost with the corporate media, and even his opponents, not knowing how to call him out on it.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you, because we had on—in relationship to Charlottesville, we had on Wes Bellamy, the young councilman in Charlottesville, who actually originally introduced the legislation to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee—first African American elected to the City Council of Charlottesville. And—

AMY GOODMAN: What’s interesting, Juan, is you met him in Austin well before all of this.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Right, well before all this stuff happened, in a conference of progressive local officials. And he told a story that he not only was able to get the vote for the statue, but initially the City Council was rebuffing him, because he was only one African American on the council, and he couldn’t get the votes. So he told them, “OK, you don’t want to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee. Give me a reparations package.” And he insisted on a pool of money to begin to provide scholarships and job training and all of this money for the African-American community of Charlottesville, and the council gladly gave him that, rather than vote on the statue.

AMY GOODMAN: Eight million dollars.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Right, $8 million. And I said to myself, “Wait a second. Everybody’s talking about reparations at the national level. What if this idea of reparations at the local level started being introduced in city councils in areas where there were large African-American majorities?” So Bellamy gets the package, and then, a few months later, he’s able to win over a couple more votes, and then they pass the Robert E. Lee statue. So he got both. And that’s when the Klan started mobilizing and targeting Charlottesville.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Yeah. Well, it says a couple of things. Number one, the fact that he raised the issue of reparations is very important. It also says something about the power of these statues and why people need to understand that they were not raised immediately after the Civil War, but these statues were raised to celebrate the recodification of white supremacy and the resurrection of white supremacy in the law.

But then, I think it also says the reparations that—the scholarships are great, but we also have to have a repeal of the laws that perpetuate the kind of systemic racism and classism. And we need black, whites and brown people committed to understand how racism hurts everybody. For instance, 20—over 20 states, mostly in the South, resisted Obamacare, Medicaid expansion. Now, why did they name it Obamacare? That is to racialize it, right? It’s the Affordable Care Act. So, most of the Southern states resisted, and you could hear in their language of state legislators—”This is going to help these lazy people that are not doing”—when, in fact, most of the people are working. They racialized the Affordable Care Act. But in North Carolina, for instance, 346,000 of the people that would have been helped are white. When I went up to Appalachia in North Carolina, in Mitchell County, and shared with them, “Do you realize a thousand people in this county would have healthcare?”—and this county is 99 percent white, 89 percent Republican—ain’t no black people up here. So, they use racialized arguments to pass policies that hurt everybody. That is something that we’ve got to begin to do. I wish that in the healthcare debate we had talked about lives being lost and we had called it racist and classist.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think that President Trump is a white supremacist?

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: I do. And I think he’s a white nationalist. And when you look at the policies—now, again, I’m talking about policy. People say, “Well, you don’t know what’s in his heart.” I know what’s in the heart of his policies. And, as I’ve said, it’s not just about the statues. It’s about the statutes. And I don’t think he’s the only one that, in terms, embraces white nationalist, white supremacist ideology.

Now, having said that, what do I mean? White nationalists are against—are for voter suppression. Mr. Politician, Trump, Ryan, McConnell, any of them, Tim Scott, where do you stand on restoring the Voting Rights Act? Since it was 52 years, and we have less voting rights now than we had 52 years ago. And we’ve had 1,562 days of filibuster. White nationalists are against healthcare for everybody. Mr. Politician, where do you stand on healthcare for everybody? White nationalists are against the immigrant community and against immigrant justice. Mr. Politician, I don’t need to know if you’ve got a black friend. Where do you stand on immigrant justice? Mr. Politician, 54 percent of the African-American community make less than a living wage. Sixty-two million Americans make less than a living wage. The majority of people without a living wage are white. The majority of poor people are white. But in per—but within the race, more black people. Where do you stand on addressing poverty? Because, you know, white supremacists and white nationalists don’t believe in living wages for everybody.

If you do that kind of analysis, you either are a white supremacist or white nationalist, or you’re engaged in policies that embolden and encourage white supremacy, which is why I believe Unite the Right chose Charlottesville, because just like that statue was raised to celebrate a white supremacist in the White House, I believe the reason they chose that statue, that was actually commissioned in 1917, the year after Woodrow Wilson played Birth of a Nation, that it was a signal. Richard Spencer said in one of his speeches that it was Trump’s talk about immigrants that basically said Trump is my man.

But it’s not just Trump. And that’s the last thing I want to say. We’ve got to be very careful, because there’s not a penny difference between the policy of Trump, the policies of Ryan, the policies of McConnell. It’s style. You know, Tim Scott, who’s black, from South Carolina, went in to talk to Trump about racism. But Tim Scott is not for restoring the Voting Rights Act. Tim Scott is against—was against the Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicaid.

AMY GOODMAN: Who the White House called Tom Scott.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Right. I mean, excuse me—yeah, right, the White House called him—I don’t know why they did that, but… You know, in his state, that needs—so, we’ve got to have a real conversation about racism and poverty. And if we have it, I think we can connect black and white and brown people in a way that can be transformational. That’s what this Poor People’s Campaign is going to be about.

AMY GOODMAN: So, can we talk about what you did with Moral Mondays, for people around the country who might not have heard of this movement in North Carolina? In the end, there was a Republican sweep in the 2016 election, for example, of governors around the country. You actually succeeded in getting a Democratic governor elected in North Carolina.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Yeah. The Moral Monday movement, that was built on top of seven years of the Forward Together Moral Movement, that eventually ended up with nearly 200 coalition partners around a—what we call a 14-point agenda with five clear areas—economic sustainability addressing poverty and labor rights; educational equality and public education for every child; healthcare for all; protecting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and women’s health; addressing the injustices of the criminal justice system that affect black, brown and poor white people; and demanding equal protection under the law; protecting women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights; and voting rights, not only protecting them, but expanding. Those were our goals.

And by doing that, we took the model of 1800s and worked and built fusion politics. We challenged Democrats. People don’t know President Obama would have lost in 2008 if we had only had one day of election. He won because of same-day registration, early voting, which was an outgrowth of the movement. In 2013, extremists came into office, like Trump, and they began, day one, first 50 days, rolling back everything—healthcare, money for public education, going after voting rights. Some people said, “We’ll just wait ’til the next election.” But a group of us said, “No, we don’t wait ’til the next election. We have to challenge this now.” They said, “Well, they have a supermajority. They’re going to vote against us.” OK, they’re going to vote against us. But they can’t vote in the dark. They can’t vote undercover. We have to let people know. We have to show a unified fusion face on these issues.

And lastly, the first time, we had 17 people to go in—black, white, Jew, Muslim, Christian, a woman with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair that they ended up arresting, who was fighting for healthcare. That led to more than a thousand people getting arrested over the next 30 weeks—people of all different races, colors, creeds and party. It put a broad face on the problem. We learned this year, Amy, in a study, that the governor was about at 60 percent at that time. First five weeks, his numbers went down to under—to 40-something. By the seventh or eighth week, he was down to 39 percent, or something like that, and never recovered. The Legislature’s popularity was driven to 19 percent. And because we kept at it—it wasn’t one rally. It wasn’t one tweet. It was constant moral challenge, civil disobedience. We also added a legal challenge to the laws. We added a voter registration challenge. And so, by 2016, in a state that Trump won, and in a state where they took 150 of our early voting sites, we not only won the—we not only saw the governorship—and we never endorsed anybody. We endorsed a change in consciousness. Governor is sent home. For the first time, we have two African Americans on the state Supreme Court. And an African-American candidate won 70-some counties, on a Supreme Court, in the state—in a state in the South. The AG’s Office went to a progressive. And there are many, many other victories. And we’re not through. We’re not through.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we want to thank you so much for being with us. Again, as you lead your Poor People’s Campaign, you’re making a major announcement on what date?

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: December 4th. Dr. Liz Theoharis and myself and people from all over the country, from 25 states and the District of Columbia—hope I can come back and tell it right here on Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: And why December 4th?

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: That was the day that Dr. King announced the Poor People’s Campaign in 1967. And also during that week, he preached a sermon called “The Meaning of Hope.” So we’re taking some of the best from that, but also adding to it the work that Kairos Center has done for over 10 years, work that Repairers—I mean, the moral work that’s gone on for the last 12 years, and we’re combining all of that and reimagining, because the last thing we need—and I say this to all my brothers and sisters of faith and in the movement, tell black, white, brown, Jewish, whoever you are—the last thing we need is another commemoration. We don’t need to commemorate. We need to reimagine and reconsecrate and engage in a sustained movement, not just one rally, one tweet. Those are all important, but now we need a sustained movement where our goal is, first, before we can change the policies, is to change the moral imagination and the moral narrative of this country.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re fond of quoting Nell Painter, the Princeton professor. What did she say?

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II: Nell Painter said that Trump’s election is as American as apple pie. It is the call and response of this American democracy. You have to call for justice. You have a period of it. And then you have a pushback, a response, that’s often vile, violent and vicious and is very regressive. So nobody should say we’ve never seen this before. We’ve seen it before. And we’ve overcome it before.

AMY GOODMAN: Bishop William Barber, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, leader of the Moral Mondays movement, author of The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.


 on: October 05, 2017, 01:03:51 PM 
Started by News - Last post by News
For decades, the U.S. mainstream media has shied away from a clear-eyed view of the Vietnam War, not wanting to offend the war’s apologists, a residue of which tainted the recent PBS series, as John Pilger told Dennis J Bernstein.

By Dennis J Bernstein
October 03, 2017 - consortiumnews.com

Ken Burns’s 18-hour documentary on the Vietnam War, which aired on PBS and BBC, presented extraordinary footage of the war’s grotesque brutality but also soft-pedaled the motivations of U.S. policymakers as well-meaning albeit misguided, or as the prologue put it, a conflict begun in “good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings.”

This glossing over of U.S. neocolonialism and its deadly consequences angered John Pilger, who cut his journalistic teeth covering the Vietnam War for a decade. I spoke to Pilger after he watched the first couple of hours of the highly touted series.

Dennis Bernstein: I was reading your piece called “The Killing of History” and these lines stood out for me: “The revisionism never stops and the blood never dies. The invader is pitied and purged of guilt while ‘searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy’.” What is your initial response to the framework of the film?

John Pilger: That quote, “searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy,” is from Lynn Novick, who is Ken Burns’ collaborator on this series on the Vietnam War. If we don’t understand the meaning of the Vietnam War by now, I don’t know where our brains have been all these years.

Like so many colonial wars, it was an invasion based on a series of deceptions and lies. This is effectively denied in the Burns series. It starts off with the narrator saying that it was all conducted in good faith by decent people. It was all a big misunderstanding that grew out of the Cold War, and so on. That is complete nonsense.

The Vietnam War started specifically with the US arming the French to reclaim their colony in Indochina after the Second World War. It really got underway for the US with the Gulf of Tonkin incidents, following which Congress gave President Johnson the authority to start one of the longest bombing campaigns in the history of warfare, called “Rolling Thunder.” The long litany of official documents say it all.

But these filmmakers put aside all this demonstrable truth and obfuscate what really happened in Vietnam. The word “invasion” was never used by the press during the Vietnam War and it still isn’t being used. Instead that awful word “involved” is used. The United States was “involved” in Vietnam. It must be very difficult for truly decent Americans and especially veterans to watch. But it is very interesting, we get such a supply of special forces officers. Maybe we will see the drafted men later on. They were the truth-tellers, in my experience.

DB: You write in your piece The Killing of History: “The meaning of the Vietnam War is no different than the meaning of the genocidal campaign against the Native Americans, the colonial massacres in the Philippines, the atomic bombings of Japan, the leveling of every city in North Korea. The aim was described by Colonel Edward Lansdale, the CIA man who served as the model for the character in the Graham Greene story ‘The Quiet American.’ He said, ‘There is only one means of defeating an insurgent people who will not surrender, and that is extermination. There is only one way to control a territory that harbors resistance, and that is to turn it into a desert.'”

JP: This is the concept of total war, which the US adopted from Korea. The devastation of the Korean War, the millions killed, the new weapons, including napalm, that were used, the dikes that were bombed, costing countless lives. This was the model and it was during this time that the United States assumed its post-World War II imperial role. This concept of total war has been pursued in every colonial war that the US has been involved in since, either directly by the Americans or indirectly through proxies.

In Vietnam, for instance, they established “free fire zones.” You ringed an enormous area with heavy artillery, then you bombed it from above and then you strafed it, so that it would be a miracle if anyone survived. When I went to the province of Quang Ngai, where the massacre of My Lai took place in the late 1960’s, free fire zones had killed something like 50,000 people.

It happened also in neighboring Laos, the most bombed country in history. In southern Vietnam, since the end of the war, something like 40,000 people have died from unexploded ordnance, a great many of them children. We can go on forever talking in these terrible statistics.

You get some sense of that in this PBS series, the archive is really astonishing. But the way it is projected reminds me of the Newsweek cover that described the My Lai massacre as “an American tragedy.” You get a sense of the same thing in the Burns film. Yes, they interview Vietnamese, yes, you see terrible things happening, but the overall sense you are meant to come away with is that it was a great perplexing tragedy, a great blunder.

The whole thing was genocidal. The bombing of Cambodia between 1969 and 1975 was something like five times the equivalent of Hiroshima. According to one study that seemed to have credibility, something like 750,000 Cambodians were killed in that bombing. And that was simply a sideshow to the main event in Vietnam. Total war is a form of industrialized killing. The obsession in Vietnam was with body counts and we get no sense of that from the Burns film.

DB: There is a lot of discussion now of how dangerous Trump is, but if you look back at the Vietnam policy, Trump seems to fit right in.

JP: Trump’s specialty is abusing the world. But you’re right, he is just the latest on the team. In fact, he is a bit of a wimp in comparison with the ones who have come before. Obama was probably one of the most violent presidents in US history. He conducted a record of seven simultaneous wars, not to mention his assassination campaign.

This is not to say that Trump cannot get up in speed to equal this terrible record. But  Once you unTrump should be understood as a symptom and a caricature of a violent, extremist system.derstand that, you can understand how the past has helped create the present. Trump is not an aberration, he is a caricature. Much more interesting is the way the suave Obama went about his violent presidency without due recognition.

DB: Let’s not forget that Hillary Clinton threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran.

JP: She said that when she was running against Obama. Well, Iran has 80 million people.

DB: She and Colonel Lansdale were talking the same language.

JP: Yes, and President Truman was talking the same language when he dropped two atomic bombs for reasons that had nothing to do with making the Japanese surrender. These were the first terrible explosions in the Cold War, aimed at intimidating the Soviet Union.

DB: What responsibility does the corporate media have for the US and world population not knowing the real story?

JP: They are the gatekeepers. People turn to the media for their information, to be able to make some sense of a difficult world. And they don’t get it. You will find that most of the exceptions are on the World Wide Web. That is where my article was published. It would not have been published in The Guardian, where I used to publish.

I don’t agree that everyone is wildly enthusiastic about Burns’ film. I think there has been a lot of critical response to the film as well. This is going to build, and I suppose he has done us a service in opening up the wound so that people who really experienced Vietnam can describe what happened.

DB: Burns also says he is grateful to “the entire Bank of America family.”

JP: The Bank of America was a corporate prop of the invasion that killed up to 4 million people. That is just corporate speak and it rather demeans a filmmaker to talk like that.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.

This article was originally published by Consortium News:

 on: October 04, 2017, 01:58:53 PM 
Started by Tyehimba - Last post by Tyehimba
No, it was not. It was by a lady. It was really good. I tried to locate it otherwise, but i never was able to find it again.

 on: October 03, 2017, 04:43:58 PM 
Started by Tyehimba - Last post by DMayers
This Video has been deleted on Youtube. Was this a presentation by Prof.James Small by any chance?

 on: October 03, 2017, 04:26:09 PM 
Started by DMayers - Last post by DMayers
Yes. Thanks. I was satisfied with both of those answers. So we need to avoid prejudice...and have integrity. So Does not matter what types or what number of systems we use. It all comes down to us. Thanks again for helping me out!

 on: September 29, 2017, 07:51:13 AM 
Started by DMayers - Last post by Iniko Ujaama
I will examine the first two criteria which you point out above. Your first does not seem to be dealing primarily with transparency per say but rather that the actions of the government be scrupulous. This can be married with the second which is accountability i.e the government should act in the best interest of the society or population and can be held responsible for their actions. Both can be achieved under either system and both can and have been corrupted in various places and points in history. The fact that people vote for their representatives within a constitutional monarchy or in Western Style democracy generally does not prevent that system from being manipulated by corporate business or by corrupt politicians, nor does it necessarily prevent that system from perpetuating backward prejudices and narrow agendas.

With regard to the rule of law I will take the latter part of your statement as the general spirit of what you are communicating (you can correct me if it is not), that the government general acts with fairness, justice and morality. Again here I do not think this is unique to a particular system or is assured simply by having one particular system in place. Also I will add that laws in and of themselves do not assure fairness on the whole in a society. In many of our societies ideas of morality are dominated by classist, sexist, racist and other prejudiced ideas that often contribute to unfairness and injustice.

 on: September 26, 2017, 12:51:28 PM 
Started by DMayers - Last post by DMayers
The criteria are:
1) Transparency-"The implication of transparency is that all of an organization’s actions should be scrupulous enough to bear public scrutiny"

2) Accountability-"The implication of accountability deals with how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources, accountability is also an assurance that an individual or an organization will be evaluated on their performance or behavior related to something for which they are responsible."

3) Rule of Law-" The implication of rule of law is in the context that no branch of government is above the law, and no public official may act arbitrarily or unilaterally outside the law. Also no written law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain unwritten, universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice that transcend human legal systems"

 on: September 26, 2017, 02:17:54 AM 
Started by Seshendra Sharma - Last post by Seshendra Sharma
Although poetry appeared in many countries of the world from times immemorial, it was only in India that an enquiry started on the questions as to what is poetry, how it could be treated, and why it should be written. In the wake of this enquiry, a large body of scientific knowledge regarding the mechanics of poetry and its purpose developed and began expanding through the centuries. We have a plethora of evidence about this in the Vedic literature, Ramyana and Mahabharata. I don't wish to go into all that here. I shall only give one instance from Mahabharata (chapter 207 of Rajya lambha parva) Narada is described as "Paribhushaitaa vaachaam varnatah sarvatorthatah". It means Narada is also a poet. In those days, evidently, according to the scientists of poetry, a poet is one who adorned the word letter-wise and meaning-wise (i.e. word-beauty and sense-beauty). These words remind us of the great Bhamaha of the later period and his theory of Alankara. Those books of poetics are not available to us today. However from the Natyasastra of Bharata onwards, all the literature on poetics in not only available but also remains intact with a tradition of being read by scholars and taught to the students of literature (in Sanskrit).
The scientific knowledge that developed in this country on the dialectics of poetry, falls into 6 outstanding schools.
1.The Rasa theory of Bharatha,
2.The Alankara theory of Bhamaha,
3.The Riti theory of Vamana,
4.The Dwani theory of(otherwise called Chamatkaar).Jagannatha who said that last word in poetics says "putras te jataha dhanam te dassyaami iti vaakyaartha dhijanyasya aahlaadasya na lokottaravatvam.ataha na tasmin vaakye kaavyatva prasaktihi." This means sentences like 'son is born to your' ' I am giving you money' though produce immense pleasure, have no poetry in them. Because, they do not produce that uncommon pleasure which is not the same as the pleasure derived from the ordinary worldly experience. The American poet and Harvard professor Archibald Macleish says: ' words-in-the-poem? they seem to have, what I can only call, mere weight than the same words have when we run across them in ordinary coversation, or on the page of a newspaper.'

Long after in Greece:
A.B. Keith in his history of Sanskrit Literature holds the view that Bharata?s times was before Bhasa. Bhasa is held to be a few centuries earlier than Kalidasa who is assigned 2nd century B.C. Under these circumstances it seems reasonable to infer that Bharata must have lived a few centuries before Aristotle who belongs to 4th century B.C. I am not inclined to rely on the other view, which places Bhasa before Bharata,since it is based only on the technical aspects of the plays ascribed to Bhasa,whose authorship is not free from controversy. It is also necessary to note that research scholar's have considered on sufficient evidence that the bulk of Natya Sastra of Bharata is only a compilation of portions from the earlier texts on the subject. This pushes the date of literature on poetics in India far earlier than either Aristotle, or Plato or Socrates.
In the West, Aristotle's poetics is the only book available on the subject in the past. It contains 26 small chapters. Aristotle being a genius, there are instances in the treatise when his mind touches the fringes of profound thought. However his statements are not satisfactory to the mind trained in the Indian Poetics. He says "poet is a maker of fables". What he means by poetry is simply fiction. The bulk of his work deals with dramaturgy. There is one important thing to note in the 25th chapter, which is absent in our works of poetics: it is on the principles of literary criticism. Aristotle generally agrees with Indian poeticians on the question of what constitutes the soul of poetry? In the 22nd chapter, " The greatest distinction is to be metaphorical: for, it is the only one that demands originality and is a sign of genius," he said.

Then in Arabia:

In the year 908 Ibn-ul-Mumtaz in Arabia wrote a book discussing on what makes poetry. He was a poet and a scholar. He ruled as Khalif for one day Prof: Najibullah in his history of Islamic Literature called this work the book of Rehtorics: but Sir Hamilton Gibb in his History of Arabic Literature described it as a book of poetics. In the words of Najibullah, the book sums up saying, the "real eloquence consists of the expression of ideas with the fewest words." There is a chapter in the book classifying some figures of speech. Then Qudama in the 10th century A.D. and then Abu hilal-al Askari in the 11th centrury, wrote works on the subject. Out of the two, Askari is important. He says there is nothing new in a poem: the difference between poet and poet is only in the manner of making the poem, which alone constitutes the cause of the individuality of each poem or each poet. One of the theories of the Indian poetics holds the same view. "taa eva pada vinyaasaah taa evaartha vibhutayaha,tathaapi nootnam bhavati kaavyam grathana kausalaat." The same words, the same meanings, yet a poem becomes new due to the skill in making it. After the Greeks, in the world, the Arabs are great torchbearers of knowledge.


Bhamaha for the first time in our country separated the poetic language from the common language by his theory of Vakrokti. "Saishaa sarviwa vakroktihi anayaartho vibhavyate" said Bhamaha. Theory of vakrokti in fact owes its birth to Bhamaha. Kuntaka is perhaps only his commentator despite his original thinking and establishing vakrokti as a theory. Jagannatha's chamatkara form of the same theory, in the ultimate analysis.
Let us suppose there is no difference between the common language and language of poetry: then why should you call one a poet and not the other. The question naturally is, what is the differentiating characteristic here? Does this question arise or not? In fact there is considerable difference between the two kinds of language. In the language of the poet there is a commingling of strange meanings. It is to this that Valmiki referred to as "vichitraartha padam", in his Balakanda 4th sarga(275SL)without this element of strangeness called vaichitri,mere words and meanings, that is to say, the ordinary language, can never become poetry. Then, what is this vaichitri? (Otherwise called chamatkaar). Jagannatha who said the last word in Poetics says, "putras te jataha dhanam te daasayaami iti vaakyaartha dhijanyasya aahlaadasya na lokottaratvam. Ataha na tasmin vaakye kaavyatva prasaktihi". This means sentences like 'son is born',' I am giving you money', though produce immense pleasure, have no poetry in them. Because, they do not produce that uncommon pleasure which is not the same as the pleasure derived from the ordinary worldly experience. The American poet and Harvard Professor Archibald Macleish says: ' words-in-the poem? they seem to have, what I can only call, mere weight than the same words have when we run across them in ordinary conversation, or on the pages of a newspaper'.

The difference between the two languages:
Then where lies poetry? Jagannatha says: it is in "chamatkaara janaka bhaavanaa vishayaartha pratipaadaka shabdaatwam". This means it is in that word which makes us think and by such thinking reveals a certain skill or poetic cunning called "chamatkaar" which in its turn leads to the experience of an intellectual pleasure: it is in that word, lies poetry.
Even before Jagannatha,kuntaka in his "vakrokti jeevita" said of poetry "sabdaarthou sahitou vakra kavivyaapaara saalini". The word that everybody uses is 'vakrokti'(the skilled word),That is why he said "Mahaakavi prabandhaanaam sarveshaam asti vkrataa" What is this vakrataa(his skill) 'prasiddhaabhidadhaana vyathirekini vichitraivaabhidhaa',he explained. The same words well known in the common parlance joined in a certain skillful combination to produce a certain surprising strangeness about them, become vakrokti. After this skilled conbination, the same words behave contrary to the principles of their normal conduct, which they show in the course of the day-to-day usage. This is 'Vaichitri' or 'chamatkaar'.Archibald Macleish observes in the same context, "words as sounds are malleable and may be made to multiply their meaning by the management of their shapes and movements in the ear." When Vamana said "visishtaa padarachanaa rithihi",I believe,he meant the same thing. In the ordinary parlance, as there is neither the chamatkaar of Jagannatha nor the management of "shapes and movements" of Macleish nor "visistha padarachana" of Vamana,it is not poetry.

Word is the Basis of Poetry:
Though poetry is above the ordinary words and meanings (i.e. the common language),it should be noted that word forms its basis, Therefore Jagannatha said ?Ramaneeyartha pratipaadaka shabdaha kaavyam?(That word which unfolds beautiful meaning is poetry)and then he proceeded to establish it with formidable logic. ?sabdaarthayugalam na kaavya sabda vaachayam..sabda viseshasya eva kaavya padaartharthavam?,(it is not both the words and meanings: but it is only the special word that can be called poetry.).Graham Hough said the same: ?the medium of literature is verbal. Literature is made of words?. Look at the word of the French poet Mallarme, the high-priest of modern poetry,? poetry is not made with words-as-expressions-of-ideas, but with words themselves?.
The power of the word:

When it is concluded that the ?sabda visesha?i. e. The special word, is the basis of poetry, then a Himalayan weight of delving deep into the powers of the word descends on the shoulders of the poet (and the critic). It is here in his ?Symbolism? that Graham says ?Literature exploits other properties of words besides their referential ones; e.g, their capability of being organized into rhythmical groups, their auditory and muscular suggestions, their fortuitous kinships with other words. Latent and undeveloped in ordinary language, these qualities become decisive in literature?. From ancient days in our country all the scientists of poetry without exception have been investigating and meditating about the four forms of ?Vaak?(speech) called para,pasyanti,madhyamaa,vaikhari and the three powers of the sound(shabda)namely abhidha,lakshana,and vyanjana. This is an invariable chapter generally in every work of poetics.
It is above all these levels, nevertheless, that lies the origin of poetry, ninety nine per cent of which is the look with which the poet sees objects or rather the vision of the poet. ? The perfect rose is only a running flame emerging and flowing off and never in any sense at rest static, finished.? A mind which could clothe in a handful words, the eternal fire of life burning in creation, can not be a mere scrap of paper. D.H.Lawrence has adorned the horizons of the 20 Th century with a new sun. What is noteworthy is that the red rose did not appear to him as a flower; he saw only the running flame. We think that the running flame falls from the branch; but where does it go? It appears in the branch; it is another flower to one who is not a seer; but to the seer, it is the same old flower reappearing. The Japanese poet of the 15th century, Arkikida Moritake had a similar vision; ?The fallen flower- I see returning to its branch! O! A butterfly?? here the emphasis is not on the buttefly; it is on ? the fallen flower returning to its branch?.

?yo apaam pushpam vedaa pushpavaan bhavati?, is the word of an ancient Vedic seer. Whoever knows the flower of the water, is the possessor of the flower.) This has no literal meaning. The entire universe appeared as water to the ancient Indian seers. The lengthy hymn in the 29th anuvaka of the taittariya upanishat is:?Aapovaa idagm sarvam vishvaa bhootanyaapaha??All this is water-the entire creation-the living beings who have ?prana? the food that is ?anna?,the Chandas whcihh are the metres,the jyothis-chakra th celestial world , the Vedas, the gods-every thing is water. This very hymn, which is in literal language, is condensed by a seer into one word?apaam pushpam?.

What appears to the physical eye is the flower, and what appears to the intellectual eye is the running flame. It is, perhaps this which Kant called ?the thing in itself?, in his critique of the pure reason. The poet expresses what the intellectual eye sees while the non-poet utters, what the physical eye sees. There is a subtle point here? the sage also has the intellectual eye in common with the poet; but that is up to the vision only. From that point they go their different ways. The sage conveys the vision in the ordinary language while the poet conveys it in a special language, which is his distinction. The poet exploits the uncommon powers of the word. It is perhaps for this reason that in a long list of priorities, the Veda places the poet a step higher than the sage. In the 12th anuvaka of Taittariya Upanishat, it is said?Bramhaa devaanaam,padaveeh kaveenaam,rishir vipraanaam,mahisho mriganaam,syeno gridhraanaam?.?. The greatest among gods is bramha, among poets the padaveeh. Among Brahmans the rishi,among animals the buffalo, among the birds the falcon and so on. To place the sage on a par with the poet would be a commonplace statement. But to place the poet above the sate and below only the gods is a statement of Vedic vision. Therefore one who wants to emerge as a poet has to become a sage first.

Since poetry begins from the very ?look? of the poet, he must commence his lessons of poetry with cultivation of this ?look?, if he has not received it by birth.

At a times a sage also speaks like a poet, Schopenhauer the German philosopher said, looking at the pillar carrying the weight of the roof of a temple,? this column is the symbol of the will to work. I am here to hold up this roof, murmurs this column ever struggling with the forces of gravitation?. Many people saw the column ?but with their two eyes, Schopebnhauer saw it with his third eye; and it looked as the ?symbol of the will to work?. That is its metaphysical personality.

Hemachandra said centuries ago, in his ?Kaavyaanusaasana? ?Naanrishih kavi rityuktham rishicha kila darsanaat,vichitra bhaava dharmaamscha tatva prakhyaacha darsanam?. This means one who is not a sage cannot be a poet. Then how to become a sage? By vision. Then what is vision? It is the ability to see the metaphysical content of the subject. Therefore you have to become a sage to become a poet. You cannot escape this disaster even by fleeing to the countries of the west. Because, even there the great poet Rimbaud declares ? I want to be a poet and I am working to make myself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by a long prodigious and rational disordering of the senses; there is unspeakable torture during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal and the great learned one among men; for he arrives at the unknown?.

It brings to our mind at once the life of Valmiki. One has to pass through all these tortures; there is no escape. See how wonderfully Rimbaud tells us this great truth ?so much the worse for the wood, to find itself a violin?. After all a mere wood before it becomes a fiddle and begins to emit melodies, what terrible experiences it has to pass through at the hands of the carpenter?s tool; for poet life itself is the carpenter?s tool.
(From ?Seshendra Sharma?s poet?s note book; The Arc of blood?)

-Seshendra Sharma

 on: September 26, 2017, 02:12:43 AM 
Started by Seshendra Sharma - Last post by Seshendra Sharma
]                                                       THE BURNING SUN
I am the drop of sweat, I am the sun
Rising from the hills of human sinews,
Hearts are my friends
I live in the city of sufferings
Although in my fist, I hold an ocean of history
I sculptured man silently –
Wings that carried birds
Did not bring them back;
I am drinking thick darkness
In the haunts of those forests
Which cry out in agony for the birds
That did not return;
Clutching at the garment woven of memories
I twine myself to the feet of my country.
Heads that were hanging to the trees
Smile as flowers today in the branches
Hearts that received the bullets
Ring in temples of our land like bells;
Blood of theirs nights squeezed and offered
By how many to bring forth this day;
They are hanging like icicles
On the ridges of our roofs;
Look, it is an iron fist I have;
I shall excavate the flame of light
From the rocks of time –
I will set fire to the sleep of resisting centuries –
To the rivers that run in passion after the sea
I cry halt, command them
To paint the colourless arid lands in green,
Invite back the smile which fled away
In terror from this land,
To the butterfly trudging hungrily for a flower
I shall give a garden –
Come children, eat
Bits of nights dipping them in moonlight,
I shall not allow the sun to cheat this sacred day;
If he wakes not on the horizon of this land
I shall tear my burning heart
And put it in its place
With the scarlet of my living flesh
Illuminate the earth
I am the drop of sweat, I am the sun
Rising from the hills of human sinews –
- Seshendra Sharma                                                              http://seshendrasharma.weebly.com
-This is the 1st poem in Seshendra Sharma’s second anthology of prose poems titled “The Burning Sun “
- In his intro to The Burning Sun   Seshendra says there has been an uninterrupted undercurrent in his life as a poet , that is his life nerve and that has assumed total expression in this poem 

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