A Report from the Left Forum (6-1-14) with: Chris Hedges, Dr. Cornel West, and Richard Wolff
Moderated by: Laura Flanders
This seminar was part of the Left Forum’s three day symposium, Reform and/or Revolution: Imagining a World with Transformative Justice, held at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City (May 30 – June 1). The turn out at this conference was their largest to date, which I consider a very good sign. Continue reading →
Who the heck is Arun Gandhi, you might ask. He’s the fifth grandson of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India who led India to independence and inspired civil rights and freedom movements across the globe by employing nonviolent civil disobedience tactics. Arun is also a peace activist in his own right. He’s the President of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, and travels the world speaking about the practices of peace and nonviolence. For over thirty years he was a journalist for The India Times, and currently writes a blog for The Washington Post.
On Sunday, March 23rd, 2014, thirteen years after Arun Gandhi first came to Unity of New York and spoke on forgiveness in the aftermath of 9/11, I had the honor and privilege to hear both Bethany Hegedus and Arun Gandhi speak. The title of their talk was, “Lightning or Lamp?”
I’m finding New York City harder and harder to deal with. First, I’m accosted by the “If you see something, say something” signs painted on the steps in the subway stations. And once I’m on the train there’s the disembodied voice straight out of Orwell’s “1984” warning me, “If you see a suspicious package, we have the right to search all bags and backpacks; if you see something, say something;” and on and on it drones.
I’m not sure when I first became aware of the term sociopath. I feel like I’ve always known about it but never really knew what the term meant. A couple of years ago I got curious and checked out The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout, PhD., from my local library. In the book, Dr. Stout writes a list of the traits of a sociopath with the statement, “Chances are good you’re a sociopath if you possess three out of seven.”
As I head west on Chambers Street toward the Court House I hear a huge roar followed by loud chanting ricocheting off the stone walls of the buildings and I’m elated. This is amazing, I think. There must be hundreds of people protesting the NDAA outside 40 Centre Street. But then I realize the protest is the transit workers’ school bus strike, now in its third week. I stop to take a few photos and give them a thumbs up before continuing along my route.
Our country’s rocked by yet another mass shooting this time in Newtown, Connecticut. This time a 20-year-old kid, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, in their home then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he killed six adults including the principal and 20 children before killing himself.
Go back to sleep America. The election is over. The “lesser of two evils” or as Glen Ford so aptly labeled him the “more effective evil” has won and all is well with the world.
You cast your faux fear vote for your faux president who was actually selected and installed by the corporate powers to serve the corporate police state that’s been put into place over the past 30 years and is now accelerating at an alarming rate. The irony is many actually believe their vote matters and global warming doesn’t exist and we’re fighting the good wars and fracking will save us from peak oil and taking our rights away will keep us safe and we’re number one.
I remember sitting in the large impersonal lecture hall in my American History 101 class feeling a bit forlorn and overwhelmed. I’m a freshman at the University of South Carolina. It’s 1968, the Vietnam War is raging, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King have been assassinated, riots erupted in several U.S. cities, the antiwar movement, woman’s movement and civil rights movement are in full swing, my father’s currently serving in Military Intelligence, Saigon and my mom’s hospitalized after suffering 3rd degree burns because she’s having a nervous breakdown trying to deal with my father being at war leaving her responsible for raising 4 kids ranging in ages from 5 and 18. I feel like I’m hanging on by my fingernails.
Corporatism (or Corporate Fascism)—A term often first attributed to Benito Mussolini of Italy in the early 1900’s defining the complete merger of the corporations with the nation state. Also, often referred to as just Fascism. Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt wrote an article about fascism (“Fascism Anyone?,” Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism.
The moment I emerge above ground from the South Ferry Station in lower Manhattan I must appear lost. I’m not lost just disoriented, which happens from time to time when I arise from the subterranean bowels of the New York City subway system. The man standing at the corner asks, “Need a cab? “No.” I reply. “I need 55 Water Street. “ The cabbie points, “Two blocks down—on the right.” And off I go. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never been to the Vietnam War Memorial in New York or Washington, D.C. for that matter.
The woman standing at the podium may seem small and unassuming but don’t be fooled she’s a powerhouse and has a warning to share with the world. Vera Scroggins is a mother, a grandmother, resident of Susquehanna County, PA and a member of Citizens for Clean Water, a citizen-watch group of volunteers who keep an eye on the gas-drilling process by videotaping and keeping tabs on any problems or concerns. But today Vera’s in New York City at Saint John the Divine for the Global Frackdown and her message is loud and clear. “Don’t let them in.”
When I learned of the Kandahar massacre of 17 civilians including 3 women and 9 children and the subsequent burning of their bodies by the alleged lone assailant, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, my first thought was obviously he snapped. The more I learned about Bales the clearer this thought became. Here’s a soldier, a trained sniper with a traumatic brain injury being redeployed shortly after he’s been told he wouldn’t be redeployed, for the fourth time into yet another combat zone.
“If you control the metaphor through which people see the world, then you control the world itself.” — Mike Daisey
I recently attended a matinee of Mike Daisey’s the “Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” at the Public Theatre in New York City. It’s a powerful, thought provoking tale and Daisey’s a masterful storyteller. Until Daisey stepped onto the stage before the performance began and told us briefly about his experience on the NPR radio show, “This American Life,” I didn’t realize the controversy surrounding the piece. He basically said he stands behind his work and anything false he’d removed from the script.
After reading Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis’ first hand account of his recent time spent in Afghanistan I’m more pissed off then ever. Yet another military officer comes forward to tell the truth about yet another ill-fated war we find ourselves engaged in. Another illegal war of aggression with no end in sight and surround sound corruption aided and abetted by an enabling government and a bloated military too full of its own hubris to admit defeat. Continue reading →