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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Saturday Matinee: Resisting regime change in Nicaragua

 


By Ramiro Sebastián Fúnez

In March of 2021, I traveled to Nicaragua as part of a 13-member delegation. The trip was organized by the Sanctions Kill coalition and the Friends of the Rural Workers’ Association, known as the ATC.

We traveled to Nicaragua to understand the effects of imperialist sanctions on ordinary Nicaraguans and how they're fighting back. We also witnessed the wide range of social advancements carried out by the Sandinista Revolution.

For eleven days, we traveled across diverse parts of Nicaragua. We visited the urban sprawls of Managua, the rural countryside of Estelí, and the tropical Caribbean coastline of Bilwi.

We met and spoke with locals and grassroots activists to see the reality of Nicaragua. What we saw was completely different from what we see on imperialist mainstream media.

This documentary, Nicaragua Against Empire, highlights Nicaraguan resistance to Western imperialism. I recorded and produced this documentary as part of my participation in the delegation.

Friends of the ATC is a solidarity network with the Rural Workers’ Association that spreads awareness, builds solidarity and facilitates support for the struggles and initiatives of the ATC and the international movement La Vía Campesina.

Learn more about Friends of the ATC: https://friendsatc.org/

Sanctions Kill is an international campaign launched in 2019 to end U.S. imposed sanctions and educate the public on the devastating impacts they can have on jobs, healthcare, food, water, education, transportation and more.

Learn more about Sanctions Kill: https://sanctionskill.org/

Assata Shakur: Black Radical and FBI's “Most Wanted”

 

Born JoAnne Deborah Byron on July 16, 1947, in New York City, Assata Shakur is the first woman to appear on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list. An activist in black radical groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, Shakur was convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper in 1977, but supporters helped her escape prison and take refuge in Cuba.   

Shakur began to get into serious legal trouble during her involvement with the BLA. She faced charges related to bank robbery and an armed robbery in which she was shot. She also faced charges related to the murder of a drug dealer and the attempted murder of a policeman. Each time, the cases were thrown out or Shakur was not found guilty. But that would change.

On May 2, 1973, Shakur was in a car with two BLA members, Sundiata Acoli and her close friend Zayd Malik Shakur. State trooper James Harper stopped them on the New Jersey Turnpike. Another trooper, Werner Foerster, followed in a different patrol car. During the stop, gunfire was exchanged. Werner Foerster and Zayd Malik Shakur were killed, and Assata Shakur and Harper were wounded. Shakur was later charged with the murder of Foerster and spent several years incarcerated before her trial.

Shakur said she was terribly treated while imprisoned. She was placed in solitary confinement for more than a year in a men’s facility, tortured, and beaten, she wrote in her memoir. Her medical predicament was also an issue, as she became pregnant with the child of fellow inmate and BLA member Kamau Sadiki. In 1974, she gave birth to a daughter, Kakuya, behind bars.

While she was pregnant, Shakur’s murder trial was declared a mistrial for fear she would miscarry. But the trial was finally carried out in 1977. She was convicted of murder and several assault charges and sentenced to life in prison.

Her supporters claimed the trial was deeply unfair. They’ve argued that some jurors should have been removed, the defense team was bugged, documents were leaked to the New York City Police Department, and that evidence, such as the lack of gun residue on Shakur’s hands and injuries she sustained, should have exonerated her.

Two years after her murder conviction, BLA members and other activists posed as visitors to the prison and broke Shakur out. She lived underground for several years, eventually fleeing to Cuba in 1984. The nation’s then leader, Fidel Castro, granted her asylum. 

In the African American community, Shakur is regarded by many as a hero. As godmother to the late rapper Tupac Shakur, Shakur is a particular inspiration to hip-hop artists. She’s the subject of Public Enemy’s “Rebel Without a Pause,” Common’s “A Song for Assata,” and 2Pac’s "Words of Wisdom."  

See her full bio here  

Friday, June 04, 2021

Everybody wants to know....

 

 

What about this and what about that? The mail bag is full today. Questions & my answers.

 

  • Is it true that Biden is going to break the Russians away from the Chinese at the summit?

He'd have to make Putin one hell of an offer. Like disband NATO and shut down 800 American military bases. Let's wait and see. Hopefully Biden can at least remember all his talking points.

  • If the Swiss won't allow the Russian media to come to Geneva because they took the Sputnik V vaccine, how can they justify letting Putin and Lavrov come to the summit?

Good question, maybe the Swiss will demand they wear haz-mat suits or maybe the Russians will just decline to come.  Or maybe the demand is just a public relations gambit to take one more 'jab' at the Russians. This story seems to be full of holes - sort of like Swiss cheese.

  • OK, so you are trashing National Endowment for Democracy (NED) again.  I don't buy that the US would interfere in other nations elections and such? Are you just making all this up?

Yeah, I understand the confusion. The name NED sounds so nice and Washington really cares about other people around the world and is such a great friend of 'democracy' here at home. I had an uncle named NED and he was such a sweet man. So you must be right, surely the US would not interfere in other countries internal affairs....

  • I saw the money thing you posted about Russia selling off its dollars. Are the Russians trying to crash our economy? Maybe we should just nuke them now while we can still afford to gas up the missiles?

Russia and China are indeed unloading US $$$$. (There are likely other nations doing the same.) Obviously they are asking themselves, 'Why should we help pay for our own military encirclement?' But I don't think Washington needs any real help to destroy our economy. At $28 trillion in debt this government is doing a pretty good job on its own.

  • I heard on the news that Biden was sending V-P Harris to Latin America to get to the bottom of the refugee crisis? What is going on? Will she be wearing her Converse sneakers?

Our government does not seem to understand that when you do regime change in Honduras; destabilize Nicaragua; force a one-sided trade deal on Mexico; train, fund and arm drug warlords south of the border and more - that the dog comes back to bite you. Considering how 'humble' Harris is, I would expect that she will wear the latest New York fashions - and the sneakers. Oh, and note her disingenuous laugh....

  • It's clear that you are nothing more than a cynical, Marxist functionary who hates America. Why don't you just move to Crimea like your friend Regis?

Thanks for the compliment. Our Maine US Senator Angus King once told me the same thing - move to Russia - when I called him on a radio talk show where he was suggesting the Pentagon take control of the Arctic region. He even went on a Navy sub ride under the ice. Actually I was raised as a super-duper patriotic militarist - so I'm just calling in the 'freedom and democracy' chits. My friend in Crimea appears to love it there.  Who would have thunk it?

Bruce 

Washington's 'Ultimate playground of doom'

 


Space Alert, the Global Network's monthly live stream, interviews guests from a variety of backgrounds to discuss important issues about the militarization of outer space and beyond. 

Latest guest is Koohan Paik-Mander, a board member of the Global Network, discussing the US empire's strategy of fighting wars from both space and the sea.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Imperial Odds & Ends

 


  • Stars & Stripes reports: Snakes, spiders and thick jungle added realism to training on Okinawa where Marines spent last week honing skills they’d need to fight and win against a well-equipped enemy force on Pacific islands. About 800 Marines participated in the Jungle Warfare Exercise in Okinawa’s Northern Training Area from May 24 to 28. The scenario pitted members of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., against an opposing force from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The training simulated the sort of engagements Marines might face going up against a peer-level adversary contesting key maritime terrain in the first island chain, which runs through Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines and Borneo.

  • The Russian Ministry of Finance will introduce changes to the structure of the National Wealth Fund within a month, as the share of the US dollar will decrease to zero and the share of yuan will grow to 30 percent. "Just as the Central Bank, we made a decision to reduce the National Wealth Fund investment in dollar assets ... We made a decision to abandon the dollar assets completely and to increase the share of euros and gold instead. The share of dollars will amount to zero, euros - 40 percent, yuan - 30 percent, gold - 20 percent, pound and yen - 5 percent each", Siluanov told reporters at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

  • Andrei Martyanov's blog reports: Switzerland will not accept certificates on COVID-19 vaccination with Sputnik V for the media accreditation at the upcoming Russia-US summit in Geneva, Pierre-Alain Eltschinger, a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, told Sputnik on Wednesday. Considering the fact that Vladimir Putin and Russian delegation to summit in Geneva are all vaccinated with Sputnik V, Russians finally have their excuse to cancel a generally useless summit and not attend it. 

  • Donbass Insider reports: In an interview with Govorit Moskva (“Moscow Speaks”), former Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov confirmed that in April this year [President] Vladimir Zelensky had planned to let Ukrainian neo-Nazis attack the DPR and LPR (Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics), and that this plan was cancelled following Russia’s military training on its border. In March this year, the intensification of the Ukrainian army’s shelling of the DPR and LPR and the media preparations that had been launched in Ukraine raised fears of an offensive against the two Donbass republics. Nikolay Azarov confirmed the reality of these plans for an offensive against the Donbass and explained why it did not take place. “Zelensky had plans and there were hotheads who wanted to implement them. There were even plans, they had planned attacks in three different directions to reach the border, etc.,” said the former Ukrainian prime minister. According to Nikolay Azarov, it was the Ukrainian neo-Nazis who had to take care of the Donbass problem (specifically, annihilating the DPR and LPR) for Zelensky.

  • Strategic Culture Foundation reports: New revelations concerning Denmark’s systematic spying upon its closest neighbor leaders—Germany, France, Norway and Sweden—since 2013 were broadcast and published online by the public service medium Danmark Radio (DR), May 30. EU/NATO allies have been spied upon for the United States by the Danish Intelligence Service (Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste-FE), and without knowledge of parliament and, perhaps, even government leaders. France, Norway and Sweden leaders spied upon have come forth with strong critiques and demands for an investigation, for full clarity, and an end to such “grotesque” behavior. They backed up Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel critical statements in 2014 when Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. tapped into her private cell phone calls. This spying by FE is code named Operation Dunhammer. In addition to spying upon its neighbors, FE has been illegally and systematically spying upon its own citizens for United States economic profit and political interests.

A Russian Warning


We, the undersigned, are Russians living and working in the USA. We have been watching with increasing anxiety as the current US and NATO policies have set us on an extremely dangerous collision course with the Russian Federation, as well as with China. Many respected, patriotic Americans, such as Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Cohen, Philip Giraldi, Ray McGovern and many others have been issuing warnings of a looming a Third World War. But their voices have been all but lost among the din of a mass media that is full of deceptive and inaccurate stories that characterize the Russian economy as being in shambles and the Russian military as weak—all based on no evidence. But we—knowing both Russian history and the current state of Russian society and the Russian military, cannot swallow these lies. We now feel that it is our duty, as Russians living in the US, to warn the American people that they are being lied to, and to tell them the truth. And the truth is simply this:

If there is going to be a war with Russia, then the United States will most certainly be destroyed, and most of us will end up dead.


Let us take a step back and put what is happening in a historical context. Russia has suffered a great deal at the hands of foreign invaders, losing 22 million people in World War II. Most of the dead were civilians, because the country was invaded, and the Russians have vowed to never let such a disaster happen again. Each time Russia had been invaded, she emerged victorious. In 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia; in 1814 Russian cavalry rode into Paris. On June 22, 1941, Hitler’s Luftwaffe bombed Kiev; On May 8, 1945, Soviet troops rolled into Berlin.

But times have changed since then. If Hitler were to attack Russia today, he would be dead 20 to 30 minutes later, his bunker reduced to glowing rubble by a strike from a Kalibr supersonic cruise missile launched from a small Russian navy ship somewhere in the Baltic Sea. The operational abilities of the new Russian military have been most persuasively demonstrated during the recent action against ISIS, Al Nusra and other foreign-funded terrorist groups operating in Syria. A long time ago Russia had to respond to provocations by fighting land battles on her own territory, then launching a counter-invasion; but this is no longer necessary. Russia’s new weapons make retaliation instant, undetectable, unstoppable and perfectly lethal.

Thus, if tomorrow a war were to break out between the US and Russia, it is guaranteed that the US would be obliterated. At a minimum, there would no longer be an electric grid, no internet, no oil and gas pipelines, no interstate highway system, no air transportation or GPS-based navigation. Financial centers would lie in ruins. Government at every level would cease to function. US armed forces, stationed all around the globe, would no longer be resupplied. At a maximum, the entire landmass of the US would be covered by a layer of radioactive ash. We tell you this not to be alarmist, but because, based on everything we know, we are ourselves alarmed. If attacked, Russia will not back down; she will retaliate, and she will utterly annihilate the United States.

The US leadership has done everything it could to push the situation to the brink of disaster. First, its anti-Russian policies have convinced the Russian leadership that making concessions or negotiating with the West is futile. It has become apparent that the West will always support any individual, movement or government that is anti-Russian, be it tax-cheating Russian oligarchs, convicted Ukrainian war criminals, Saudi-supported Wahhabi terrorists in Chechnya or cathedral-desecrating punks in Moscow. Now that NATO, in violation of its previous promises, has expanded right up to the Russian border, with US forces deployed in the Baltic states, within artillery range of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, the Russians have nowhere left to retreat. They will not attack; nor will they back down or surrender. The Russian leadership enjoys over 80% of popular support; the remaining 20% seems to feel that it is being too soft in opposing Western encroachment. But Russia will retaliate, and a provocation or a simple mistake could trigger a sequence of events that will end with millions of Americans dead and the US in ruins.


Unlike many Americans, who see war as an exciting, victorious foreign adventure, the Russians hate and fear war. But they are also ready for it, and they have been preparing for war for several years now. Their preparations have been most effective. Unlike the US, which squanders untold billions on dubious overpriced arms programs such as the F-35 joint task fighter, the Russians are extremely stingy with their defense rubles, getting as much as 10 times the bang for the buck compared to the bloated US defense industry. While it is true that the Russian economy has suffered from low energy prices, it is far from being in shambles, and a return to growth is expected as early as next year. Senator John McCain once called Russia “A gas station masquerading as a country.” Well, he lied. Yes, Russia is the world’s largest oil producer and second-largest oil exporter, but it is also world’s largest exporter of grain and nuclear power technology. It is as advanced and sophisticated a society as the United States. Russia’s armed forces, both conventional and nuclear, are now ready to fight, and they are more than a match for the US and NATO, especially if a war erupts anywhere near the Russian border.

But such a fight would be suicidal for all sides. We strongly believe that a conventional war in Europe runs a strong chance of turning nuclear very rapidly, and that any US/NATO nuclear strike on Russian forces or territory will automatically trigger a retaliatory Russian nuclear strike on the continental US. Contrary to irresponsible statements made by some American propagandists, American anti-ballistic missile systems [MD] are incapable of shielding the American people from a Russian nuclear strike. Russia has the means to strike at targets in the USA with long-range nuclear as well as conventional weapons.

The sole reason why the USA and Russia have found themselves on a collision course, instead of defusing tensions and cooperating on a wide range of international problems, is the stubborn refusal by the US leadership to accept Russia as an equal partner: Washington is dead set on being the “world leader” and the “indispensable nation,” even as its influence steadily dwindles in the wake of a string of foreign policy and military disasters such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine. Continued American global leadership is something that neither Russia, nor China, nor most of the other countries are willing to accept. This gradual but apparent loss of power and influence has caused the US leadership to become hysterical; and it is but a small step from hysterical to suicidal. America’s political leaders need to be placed under suicide watch.

First and foremost, we are appealing to the commanders of the US Armed Forces to follow the example of Admiral William Fallon, who, when asked about a war with Iran, reportedly replied “not on my watch.” We know that you are not suicidal, and that you do not wish to die for the sake of out-of-touch imperial hubris. If possible, please tell your staff, colleagues and, especially, your civilian superiors that a war with Russia will not happen on your watch. At the very least, take that pledge yourselves, and, should the day ever come when the suicidal order is issued, refuse to execute it on the grounds that it is criminal. Remember that according to the Nuremberg Tribunal “To initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Since Nuremberg, “I was just following orders” is no longer a valid defense; please don’t be war criminals.




We also appeal to the American people to take peaceful but forceful action to oppose any politician or party that engages in irresponsible, provocative Russia-baiting, and that condones and supports a policy of needless confrontation with a nuclear superpower that is capable of destroying America in about an hour. Speak up, break through the barrier of mass media propaganda, and make your fellow Americans aware of the immense danger of a confrontation between Russia and the US.

There is no objective reason why US and Russia should consider each other adversaries. The current confrontation is entirely the result of the extremist views of the neoconservative cult, whose members were allowed to infiltrate the US Federal government under President Bill Clinton, and who consider any country that refuses to obey their dictates as an enemy to be crushed. Thanks to their tireless efforts, over a million innocent people have already died in the former Yugoslavia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, the Ukraine, Yemen, Somalia and in many other countries—all because of their maniacal insistence that the USA must be a world empire, not a just a regular, normal country, and that every national leader must either bow down before them, or be overthrown. In Russia, this irresistible force has finally encountered an immovable object. They must be forced to back down before they destroy us all.

We are absolutely and categorically certain that Russia will never attack the US, nor any EU member state, that Russia is not at all interested in recreating the USSR, and that there is no “Russian threat” or “Russian aggression.” Much of Russia’s recent economic success has a lot to do with the shedding of former Soviet dependencies, allowing her to pursue a “Russia first” policy. But we are just as certain that if Russia is attacked, or even threatened with attack, she will not back down, and that the Russian leadership will not “blink.” With great sadness and a heavy heart they will do their sworn duty and unleash a nuclear barrage from which the United States will never recover. Even if the entire Russian leadership is killed in a first strike, the so-called “Dead Hand” (the “Perimetr” system) will automatically launch enough nukes to wipe the USA off the political map. We feel that it is our duty to do all we can to prevent such a catastrophe.


[Пожалуйста, напишите мне, если вы хотите добавить свою подпись. Мой адрес можно найти справа наверху.] 

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Lockheed Martin moves to control New Zealand

 

 

Letter from New Zealand requesting support

Dear dedicated people of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space,

I am so grateful for your work and have read your excellent newsletters which are a vital source of information and inspiration.

I have been spending my life doing Nuclear Disarmament Peacework producing many public education projects and political policy advocacy documents and events.

My father, Larry Ross established the Australasian Branch of Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation 1964-68 and the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Peacemaking association 1981-2007.

I carry on this work over 40 years and my current focus is to Stop the Militarisation of Space through NZ Rocket Lab launches of US Space Missile Defence Command payloads for warfare combat targeting. (See article by Murray Horton in the current issue of Space Alert, page 6.)

I am planning our first major NZ Public Protest to 'STOP Militarisation of Space' in order to 'KEEP SPACE for Peace' and would welcome your statement of support. The Public Demonstration will be held outside Rocket Lab HQ in Auckland (25 Levene Place Mt Wellington) on Monday, 21 June at noon.

Also see details on Facebook about our planned Webinar on June 13.

 


Our organisation has engaged in extensive correspondence with NZ Ministers over the last year who are naturally defensive of the economic benefits derived from the US military contracts. They assure us that they maintain our strong Nuclear Free regulations, however there is a lack of concern about 'conventional warfare' infrastructure being supplied by NZ.

Thus, we feel that it is important to alert the public to the dangers of the Space Industry military warfare related payloads.

 



In my Event Plan Proposal to Peace Groups I make reference to your organisation and publication for people to realise the greater implications of NZ involvement in the Space Race. THINK GLOBALLY - ACT LOCALLY.

It would be good to have further info. or recommendations from you that are pertinent to our NZ situation.

I propose a US/NZ Alliance for Demilitarisation of Space.

Kind regards,

Laurie Ross
NZ Nuclear Free International Peacemaking

 


 Solidarity Statement from Global Network

 “The Global Network sends good wishes and solidarity to all at the demonstration at Rocket Lab HQ today. Although we can’t be there in person, we stand with you in spirit and share your wishes that Aotearoa should not be used as a launch site to further the militarisation of space.  Despite denials by Rocket Lab and the government, the launch of satellites for the technology demonstrator for the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command, is counter to the nuclear-free policy of New Zealand.

The satellites that support the US and NATO missile defense systems that are mainly targeted against Russia and China, are used for launch detection and missile tracking and targeting and could be used to prevent any retaliatory attack following a US nuclear first strike. They are therefore part of a system that could be responsible for initiating a nuclear war. Using Rocket Lab to launch these satellites not only puts New Zealand at risk, it could initiate a global nuclear holocaust.

As you know, Lockheed Martin is ensuring that military launch sites are constructed all over the world to assist the US aim to dominate space and it is vital that people raise the alarm and protest their construction and use for this purpose. Thank you for your demonstration and protest today, we hope it goes well and that we can continue to work together with the many others around the world that are also involved – together we can Keep Space for Peace.”


~ Dave Webb Convenor of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. He also chairs the UK's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
www.space4peace.org

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

U.S. aggression along Russia's Arctic borders

 


In recent years, the US and NATO have been militarizing the Arctic through Norway as a means to confront Russia. 

This militarization is increasing tensions between nuclear-armed nations. As the Arctic melts away, these powerful nations are competing for dominance in the region as new routes are established, building new military bases, constructing new radars, and less efforts are placed in diplomacy.

Thank you to Bård Wormdal, author of The Satellite War. 

Video by Will Griffin

Learn more: Global Network - space articles (space4peace.org)
The Satellite War: https://amzn.to/2RVytEZ

Global Network:
Website: http://www.space4peace.org/
Mailing List: http://www.space4peace.org/contact/el...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/space4peace/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KeepSpace4Peace
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/space4peace/

 

So what happens after the violence ends? Will you stand with Palestine?

 


So what happens after the violence ends? Who won and who lost Israel v Palestinians?

By Fra Hughes

Self-defence, blood lust, ethnic cleansing, disproportionate response, mowing the lawn, genocide, death from the sky.

Whatever way you wish to describe the unparalleled violence unleashed on Gaza is up to you.

I describe it as shooting or in this case bombing Palestinians in a barrel.

Let's have a brief resume of what’s happened.

The district of Sheikh Jarrah is in East Jerusalem. This was the proposed capital of a Palestinian state. The signing of the Oslo Agreement in 1993 saw further Israeli expansion into the West Bank and areas like Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah have been systematically targeted by the illegal Jewish Settler movement which uses Israeli courts to award Zionist Jews the homes and land currently occupied by Palestinians.

If you take nothing else from this article please remember the occupation is illegal, therefore every decision taken by the occupation army, the illegal settlers and the apartheid Israeli judiciary, that routinely sends young children, young boys and men to prison on extracted false confessions, many made under duress, under physical threat and in some cases children are handed false confessions written in Hebrew which they cannot understand and they are told these are official release forms.

The kids sign them thinking they are going home but in reality, they have signed a confession which will condemn them to jail.

Add to this ‘Administrative Detention’, Imprisonment without trial and we have the flawed corrupt apartheid regimes conveyor belt to jail. All of this is illegal.

Many Human Rights organisations describe Israel as an apartheid state.

This is because Zionism, a political ideology is inherently apartheid.

Netanyahu is facing corruption charges. A former Israeli Knesset member during a CNN interview accused him of inciting the current round of violence by continuing Israel's expansionist, illegal land grabs in the occupied west bank and also through the attacks on people at prayer, men, women and children at the Al Aqsa mosque, towards the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Is it really conceivable that the leader of the 7th largest military force on earth would engineer the circumstances whereby a state of conflict between Israel, a heavily armed modern state would be at war with a civilian population that has no army, no air force and no navy, to protect it. Just local militia composed of the fathers and sons, mothers and daughters of the local community?

Well, I guess if an Israeli Knesset member says exactly that, then it must carry some weight.

So, where are we now?

As the bloodletting ends as it must. As the dead are buried and the destroyed building dust settles like a shroud on Gaza where do we go from here.

 



The reality is, everything will be the same and everything has utterly changed.

Who won and who lost?

I have always struggled when I heard claims following previous attacks on Gaza that the resistance has won.

I genuinely thought it was bravado for the masses. When we see the death toll, the numbers injured and the devastating damage to civilian homes, hospitals and the infrastructure, I have to ask how have they possibly won?

The loss of life alone is unimaginable in such a small environment. 25 miles by 6 miles, that is the size of the Ards Peninsula in Ireland, having the whole population of Northern Ireland 2 million people squeezed into it.

As of now the destruction in Gaza is of unbelievable proportion.

The targeting and killing of whole families is a war crime in itself.

The systematic destruction of all roads leading to the main hospitals in Gaza, preventing ambulances and victims from accessing acute services is another war crime.

The destruction of family homes, farms, places of worship and work are further war crimes.

The latest blitzkrieg on Gaza is just another Zionists war on civilians that will never be forgotten.

Israel claims its aims were to degrade the military capabilities of Hamas and other resistance groups in Gaza.

It sites rockets fired from Gaza as the pretext.

Under international law, as Israel illegally occupies the West Bank and controls the air, sea and land borders around Gaza, the Palestinians have the right to resist occupation, by any means necessary, including armed resistance. Then this Samson versus Goliath battle is one of the Palestinian Samson with rocks and rockets legally resisting an illegal Goliath occupation, that uses Gunboats, tanks, artillery shells, drones and F-16, F-35 jets to bomb, flatten and murder Gazan’s at will and without any recourse to the rules of war.

Israel will end the bloodshed when it has expended the armaments supplied to it by America France  Britain and the EU.

 


Israel has failed again in its stated objective to destroy the ability of the resistance in Gaza to challenge the occupation.It did not have the courage to commit ground troops as the cost in Israeli soldiers lives was deemed potentially to be too high.

The resistance groups retain both the ability and the will to continue to resist the illegal occupation and siege by any and all means necessary.

The attacks on Gaza are a proxy threat to other nations in the region. We will do the same ‘to you’ is the message. Indeed Israel routinely bombs Syria in another example of its illegal war crimes.

The resistance has won!

I know, it's hard to believe.

Gaza is destroyed. The dead, the injured and the dying are Testaments to the unfathomable loss of life.

Israeli military leaders have stated on numerous occasions that they will bomb Gaza back into the stone age.

Gaza is destroyed yet the spirit of resistance and the spirit of the people has survived. The spirit to continue to demand equality, peace, freedom and justice for Palestinians and Palestine survives not just in Gaza but in East Jerusalem, in Sheikh Jarrah, in the West Bank, in Al Aqsa and in historic Palestine, that Zionists call Israel.

 


Netanyahu has united Israelis in their demand for his prosecution for corruption and united Palestinians for the first time in a generation in their defence of Al Aqsa, East Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza. A new generation of resistance has been born. United and unified from the river to the sea.

Did the prime minister of Israel help create the conditions that made this latest attack on Gaza inescapable?

Is the shedding of blood in Gaza simply an electioneering gambit.

He or she who kills the most Palestinians gets the most votes?

History certainly bears that perspective out to be true.

What Gaza needs is financial support, rebuilding materials, medicine, hope and solidarity in equal measures.

What it will get is 50,000 plus homeless refugees many of whom were already refugees from the Israeli murder and bombing campaigns of 2014/2009/1967/1948.

Further degradation of civil societies ability to respond to the damage to lives, homes, infrastructure and the economy is the result.

Egypt is complicit in the siege. It will not help Gaza or Palestine.

The humanitarian catastrophe will continue apace


Israel sells Gaza water, gas, oil and electricity. It makes a profit from all of these utilities. The profits of occupation.

The resistance has prevailed once again.

The price of resisting the continued illegal Zionist Israel occupation of Palestine is the continued loss of liberty and life for Palestinians.

The continues loss of life, homes, farms, workplaces, mosques, schools, hospitals, clinics, the innocence of the young, their hopes for the future and their dreams of a life free from violent occupation, imprisonment, death from the skies and a psychological trauma that has no end.

When the bombs stop flying in the east the people stop protesting in the West.

 



Will you stand with Palestine? Or simply melt away like snow on a ditch until the next murderous bombing raids occur.

Peace needs you now. Palestinians need you now. The future generations being born into captivity need you now.

What will you do to help end the madness of a rogue Apartheid state and bring peace to the people of the middle east and west Asia.

It really is in your hands.

~ Fra Hughes lives in Belfast, Ireland and is a leading Palestine solidarity organizer.  He has made several trips to Palestine carrying humanitarian-aid over the years to support the people there.

Monday, May 31, 2021

The revolutionary origins of Memorial Day and its political hijacking

 


A day celebrating Black liberation utilized for white supremacy

 
By Ben Becker

What we now know as Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause.

These days, Memorial Day is arranged as a day “without politics”—a general patriotic celebration of all soldiers and veterans, regardless of the nature of the wars in which they participated. This is the opposite of how the day emerged, with explicitly partisan motivations, to celebrate those who fought for justice and liberation.

The concept that the population must “remember the sacrifice” of U.S. service members, without a critical reflection on the wars themselves, did not emerge by accident. It came about in the Jim Crow period as the Northern and Southern ruling classes sought to reunite the country around apolitical mourning, which required erasing the “divisive” issues of slavery and Black citizenship. These issues had been at the heart of the struggles of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

To truly honor Memorial Day means putting the politics back in. It means reviving the visions of emancipation and liberation that animated the first Decoration Days. It means celebrating those who have fought for justice, while exposing the cruel manipulation of hundreds of thousands of U.S. service members who have been sent to fight and die in wars for conquest and empire.

The first Decoration Day

As the U.S. Civil War came to a close in April 1865, Union troops entered the city of Charleston, S.C., where four years prior the war had begun. While white residents had largely fled the city, Black residents of Charleston remained to celebrate and welcome the troops, who included the TwentyFirst Colored Infantry. Their celebration on May 1, 1865, the first “Decoration Day,” later became Memorial Day.

Historian David Blight retold the story:

“During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the planters’ horse track, the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club, into an outdoor prison. Union soldiers were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of exposure and disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand. Some 28 black workmen went to the site, re-buried the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, ‘Martyrs of the Race Course.’

Then, black Charlestonians in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged an unforgettable parade of 10,000 people on the slaveholders’ race course. The symbolic power of the low-country planter aristocracy’s horse track (where they had displayed their wealth, leisure, and influence) was not lost on the freed people. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing ‘a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.’

At 9 a.m. on May 1, the procession stepped off led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing ‘John Brown’s Body.’ The children were followed by several hundred black women with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses.

Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantry and other black and white citizens. As many as possible gathered in the cemetery enclosure; a childrens’ choir sang “We’ll Rally around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and several spirituals before several black ministers read from scripture.” (“The First Decoration Day,” Newark Star Ledger)  

 


The battle over the ‘memory’ of the Civil War

Blight’s award-winning “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory” (2001) explained how three “overall visions of Civil War memory collided” in the decades after the war.

The first was the emancipationist vision, embodied in African Americans’ remembrances and the politics of Radical Reconstruction, in which the Civil War was understood principally as a war for the destruction of slavery and the liberation of African Americans to achieve full citizenship.

The second was the reconciliationist vision, ostensibly less political, which focused on honoring the dead on both sides, respecting their sacrifice, and the reunion of the country.

The third was the white supremacist vision, which was either openly pro-Confederate or at least despising of Reconstruction as “Black rule” in the South.

Over the late 1800s and the early 1900s, in the context of Jim Crow and the complete subordination of Black political participation, the second and third visions largely combined. The emancipationist version of the Civil War, and the heroic participation of African Americans in their own liberation, was erased from popular culture, the history books and official commemoration.

In 1877, the Northern capitalist establishment decisively turned their backs on Reconstruction, striking a deal with the old slavocracy to return the South to white supremacist rule in exchange for the South’s acceptance of capitalist expansion. This political and economic deal was reflected in how the war was commemorated. Just as the reunion of the Northern and Southern ruling classes was based on the elimination of Black political participation, the way the Civil War became officially remembered—through Memorial Day celebrations—was based on the elimination of the Black veteran and the liberated slave.

As Blight explains, “With time, in the North, the war’s two great results—black freedom and the preservation of the Union—were rarely accorded equal space. In the South, a uniquely Confederate version of the war’s meaning, rooted in resistance to Reconstruction, coalesced around Memorial Day practice.” (“Race and Reunion,” p. 65)

The Civil War whitewashed

In the statues, anniversary parades and popular magazines, the Civil War was portrayed as an all-white affair, a tragic conflict between brothers. To the extent the role of slavery was allowed in these remembrances, Lincoln was typically portrayed as the beneficent liberator standing above the kneeling slave.

The mere image of the fighting Black soldier pierced through this particular “memory,” which in reality was a collective and forced “forgetting” of the real past. Portraying the rebellious slave or Black soldier would unmask the Civil War as a life-and-death struggle against slavery, a true social revolution, and a reminder of the political promises that had been betrayed.

While African Americans and white radicals continued to uphold the emancipationist remembrance of the Civil War during the following decades—as exemplified by W.E.B. DuBois’ landmark “Black Reconstruction”—this interpretation was effectively silenced in the “respectable” circles of academia, mainstream politics and popular culture. The white supremacist and reconciliationist retelling of the war and Reconstruction was only overthrown in official academic circles in the 1950s and 1960s as the Civil Rights movement shook the country to its core, and more African Americans fought their way into the country’s universities.

While historians have gone a long way to expose the white supremacist history of the Civil War and uncover its revolutionary content, the spirit of the first Decoration Day—the struggle for Black liberation and the fight against racism—has unfortunately been whitewashed from the modern Memorial Day.

So let’s use Memorial Day weekend to honor the fallen fighters for justice worldwide, to speak plainly about this country’s historic crimes, and rededicate ourselves to take on those of the present. 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sunday song