Author Michael Parenti challenges his audience to learn about and advocate free speech in the face of oppression. From the origins of the Bill of Rights up to today’s challenges by the FBI and other government entities, Parenti says, it is essential to stand up for one’s rights. He spoke at an event sponsored by the South Bay Committee Against Political Repression.
There is a “mystery” we must explain: How is it that as corporate investments and foreign aid and international loans to poor countries have increased dramatically throughout the world over the last half century, so has poverty? The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. What do we make of this?
The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington—in which Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made his famed “I Have a Dream” speech—has recently won renewed attention from various print and electronic media in the United States. But the more attention given to King’s extraordinary speech, the less we seem to know about King himself, the less aware we are about the serious challenges he was presenting, challenges that remain urgent and ignored to this very day.
Lately we have been hearing a great deal about “blowback.” But the real menace we face today is global rollback. The goal of conservative rulers around the world, led by those who occupy the seats of power in Washington, is the systematic rollback of democratic gains, public services, and common living standards around the world.
While walking through New York’s Little Italy, I passed a novelty shop that displayed posters and T-shirts of Benito Mussolini giving the fascist salute. When I entered the shop and asked the clerk why such items were being offered, he replied, “Well, some people like them. And, you know, maybe we need someone like Mussolini in this country.” His comment was a reminder that fascism survives as something more than a historical curiosity.
Here is a debate held at Wesleyan University in 2005 between Christopher Hitchens and me. Hitchens went to his grave as a supporter of the Bush/Cheney venture. He supported Bush in 2004. His turn to the right (from weak leftish/center) won him the attention of all the mass media, especially Fox and the like, and lecture invitations at fat fees. Others of us were less enthralled about his anti-Islam warrior politics.
For the better part of a decade the U.S. public has been bombarded with a media campaign to demonize the Serbian people and their elected leaders. During that time, the U.S. government has pursued a goal of breaking up Yugoslavia into a cluster of small, weak, dependent, free-market principalities. Yugoslavia was the only country in Eastern Europe that would not dismantle its welfare state and public sector economy. It was the only one that did not beg for entry into NATO. It was — and what’s left of it, still is — charting an independent course not in keeping with the New World Order.