Organizing Notes

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....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, January 25, 2014

SADLY HYPOCRITICAL


Our friends at St. Pete for Peace (Florida) have shared these important news bits:

How Can This Be?


A new national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, finds that black people, women and Democrats are more likely to support the NSA spying program than white people, men and Republicans. According to the poll NSA approval rates are as follows:

  • 43% of Blacks and 39% of Whites 
  • 43% of women and 38% of men 
  • 46% of Democrats and 37% of Republicans
Support of the NSA is down since polling was done in June, 2013, at which time African-Americans, women and Democrats were even more in favor of the spying program.  Finally, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to favor criminal prosecution of Edward Snowden, according to the poll. Sixty-two percent of Democrats, versus 54 percent of Republicans, think that the government should pursue a criminal case against Snowden. The assumption is that partisan politics explains why more Democrats than Republicans approve of NSA spying, but why have women consistently been more supportive of the NSA program than men? [If George W. Bush was still occupying the White House these numbers would be just the opposite.]

Regarding the unexpected Black/White results, according to Glen Ford, executive editor of the Black Agenda Report, "Forty percent of Blacks told a Washington Post/ABC poll in late August and early September, that they supported President Obama’s threatened air strikes on Syria. Although majorities of Blacks (56 percent), Whites (58 percent) and Hispanics (63 percent) opposed Obama’s air war, African Americans were the most supportive of war – the first time that has ever happened. Given that Blacks were far more pro-peace than either Whites or Hispanics in the pre-Obama era, the conclusion is inescapable: Substantial proportions of Black Americans are now more concerned with defending Obama than with preventing the death of thousands of innocents abroad, at U.S. hands. In siding with the NSA’s spies, Blacks have shown they are prepared to sacrifice their own civil liberties in order to safeguard the prestige of the icon in the White House." 


Ukraine protests

As the situation reaches a head in Ukraine - not surprisingly timed to coincide with next month's Olympic games in neighboring Russia - here is a December radio interview with Russian studies professor and Nation contributor Stephen Cohen who criticizes the American media’s coverage of ongoing protests in Ukraine as one-dimensional, ideological and worse than it was during the Cold War.  Cohen said it appears as though the "powers in the west" are behind the people in the streets.  This supports Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's accusation that European politicians are stoking the crisis in Ukraine

In making its case for how bad the Ukrainian government is behaving, The New York Times lamented new laws that "stiffened the penalties for setting up tents and stages in public spaces. The measure would bar the installation of tents, stages or amplifiers in public places, with violations punishable by fines of up to about $640, and 15 days in jail."  The new laws also banned wearing helmets at protests.  (These sound like laws that protesters and homeless people in the U.S. have been subjected to for years.)

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