SINGING AGAINST DRONES & WAR
Interesting interviews with people on the street in Minneapolis, Minnesota after the singing.
Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....
Get the revised version of my book "Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire" - updated thru the end of 2008
The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote about the protest:
Some protesters said their numbers would have been larger if a Republican were in the White House conducting current military operations. "His decisions have been horrible," Terry Schwartz, a retired college teacher, said of Obama. "If this were Bush, if this were Reagan, there would be a much larger crowd."
Yes indeed, if this had been a Bush speech hundreds more would have been present. They would have been the "good Democrats" who usually feel it is their duty to protest wars and high military spending when a Republican is in office. But when a Democrat holds the highest office many of these folks become submissive and turn away from the fight.
This "confusion" on the part of many loyal Democrats, who still consider themselves peace activists, continues at epidemic proportions.
In my own community just yesterday I saw an email from one peacenik who trashed Cornell West who has recently become more vocal in his criticism of Obama's presidency. This person wrote, "West, while he should be an academic activist working in concert with others, spends too much time lambasting the president. For instance, West claims that the controversial decision to go into Libya was antithetical to Kings Dream. Its very true that any additional spending on war hurts us domestically and none of us like war, but the decision to do that was in the context of a massive uprising across the Arab world, which was rooted in the very issues King desired for all humanity....I am most grateful to people in the Arab world for shaking up the global powers that be."
I was really dumbfounded by this person's defense of Obama's war on Libya and wrote back asking if the US-NATO war alliance wasn't in fact the very "powers that be" that he was referring to? I've had no response.
It seems to me that people who try to publicly defend Obama have to twist themselves and the truth like a pretzel. How can anyone of good sense claim that the US-NATO attack was anything but more imperial power politics in action? How can anyone claim that the documented NATO bombing of civilian homes, schools, hospitals and the like in Libya was truly an attempt to liberate the people? It's nonsense.
When you bury your head in the sand, or wear blinders like a horse, because you don't want to face the reality that your president works for the "corporate man" you are playing mind games with yourself. That is fine if you wish to do this to your own head. One has that right. What is not acceptable though is when one twists the truth and foists those delusions into the public square. You should expect you will be challenged for saying such things!
Attacks on people like Cornell West, who is actually working with others and laying all the cards on the table about Obama's complicity with the "powers that be," are nothing more than a sad attempt to cover Obama's bare behind. This is the state of our country today. Very sad indeed.
"Salt of the Earth" was produced, written and directed in 1954 by victims of the Hollywood blacklist - all had been blacklisted by the Hollywood establishment due to their alleged involvement in communist politics. Unable to make films in Hollywood, they looked for worthy social issues to put on screen independently. This film never would have been made in Hollywood at the time, so it is ironic that it was the anti-communist backlash that brought about the conditions for it to be made. In many ways it was a film ahead of its time. Mainstream culture did not pick up on its civil rights and feminist themes for at least a decade.
"Salt of the Earth" tells the tale of a real life strike by Mexican-American miners. The story is set in a remote New Mexico town where the workers live in a company town, in company-owned shacks without basic plumbing. Put at risk by cost cutting bosses, the miners strike for safe working conditions. As the strike progresses, the issues at stake grow, driven by the workers' wives. At first the wives are patronized by the traditional patriarchal culture. However, they assert themselves as equals and an integral part of the struggle, calling for improved sanitation and dignified treatment. Ultimately, when the bosses win a court order against the workers preventing them from demonstrating, gender roles reverse with the wives taking over the picket line and preventing scab workers from being brought in while the husbands stay at home and take care of house and children.
In neorealist style, the producers and director used actual miners and their families as actors in the film.
This film was selected for the National Film Registry in 1992 by the Library of Congress. It became public domain after its copyright was not renewed in 1982.
For more about "Salt of the Earth," visit its IMDB page @ http://imdb.com/title/tt0047443/