How do you define patriotism?
At the root of it all I think of those old lines that Paul Robeson sang, "The House I Live In." This is my America. I love this place. I grew up on a block where we played stickball in the spring and roller-skated in the summer. I want to have that place for my children and grandchildren. I don't want them thinking of having to support the empire or to go off and fight evil wars or even to participate in the evil here at home, which is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. I think it really is about making America live up to its promise. If we don't force the country to live up to that promise then we are not doing our duty as citizens., even when it is very hard. Even when it is much easier to lay back with the remote and the six-pack and not go to that meeting, not go to that demonstration, not write the letter to the editor. It takes a certain amount of energy to be a democracy and I'd like to think that energizing is part of what I do and what I want to see done.
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What does it mean to be a revolutionary in 2005?
I think it means at this point looking for basic change, change in the structures -- somehow getting away from this corporatized America which, with its tremendous power and money, is able to control all the rest of us, the media and just about everything we do and say. I think to be a revolutionary is to say let's get back to the grassroots, let's put the people back in charge, whatever that takes to do that, and to use Malcolm's old line -- by any means necessary. The power has gone askew and we really need to make it come back to represent the people rather than the big guys.
The above is Mike Burke's "Making America Live' -- An interview with Lynne Stewart Current" from the Indypendent. (Mike Burke is with Democracy Now! and runs CounterRecruiter.)
Chad, who calls Billy Jack is his favorite film, e-mails to note Jackie Captain and Michael Leon's "Tom Laughlin Maps Out Iraq PeacePlan Coincides with Billy Jack Sequel" (Madison Indymedia):
"I lived through McCarthy; I was at Madison during that time. But this is the worst, this is truly frightening," said Laughlin. "We're out now desperately trying put this together. Raising money for the film, raising money for the campaign. McCarthy was nothing compared to Bush and Rove. We’re out of time. We need patriots to act now to save this country."
Laughlin's sense of urgency is obvious in his voice especially when the self-taught Jungian scholar talks about George Bush personally. He sees the American president as suffering from a personality disorder stemming from inadequacy and believes Bush to be a genuinely delusional person, isolated in the presidential cocoon.
"Bush is really a paranoid personality. He has the most dangerous inferiority complex. He is a guy who is desperate to be king, but there is nothing royal in him. The 'mother complex' in Bush is frightening. Everything he is doing is he is trying to prove he is a man. To him, really and truly, he is so delusional that he thinks war is a video game, and he’s John Wayne. And worse is the evil Karl Rove behind Bush," said Laughlin.
Laughlin brands the Bush administration as anti-American politics incarnate, eroding the right to dissent in America, and the right of Americans to fulfill themselves in an era where smearing gays and peace activists is the predominant mode of communication in the Republican Party.
Trina e-mails to note Jen Lott's "Iraq War Memorial Returns to Philadelphia" (Philly Indymedia):
Over the Fourth of July weekend the American Friends Service Committee sponsored the second "Eyes Wide Open" exhibition at the Visitor’s Center in Historic Philadelphia. This traveling exhibit displays a pair of boots for each American soldier whom has been killed in the Iraq war.
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The first display of the "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit was in Chicago during January 2004. At that time there were 504 pairs of boots. New boots representing fallen soldiers are added to the collection as the exhibit travels around the country. According to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, the current number of American soldiers killed in Iraq is up to 1,744. Last year when "Eyes Wide Open" was in Philadelphia over the Fourth of July weekend, the amount of US casualties was at around 800.
The American Friends Service Committee is an organization based on Quaker values, including that of nonviolence. According to the organization's Statement on Immediate Withdrawal of US Troops, that the US continues to be a presence in Iraq is wrong and has not helped in making the region a safe or stable place.
For more information on the American Friends Service Committee, further resources on the Iraq war and the AFSC’s work in Iraq, visit their Wage Peace Campaign website. To see a list of co-sponsoring organizations, see the official Eyes Wide Open site.
Brenden e-mails to note Bob Fitch's "OPT-OUT A Winner" (Santa Cruz Indymedia):
The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees voted in favor (4 to 3) of a resolution to increase student and family awareness of the OPT-OUT choice parents have to deny military recruiters access to private student information.
Watsonville, CA, Wed. June 29: The uncertainty was palpable in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting which determines policy for three public high schools, and four continuing education or charter high schools serving approximately 5,000 students and their families.As a result of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, a requirement of federal education funding is that high school administrations release student contact, and other information to military recruiters. Students and parents may “Opt-Out” of the information release list, but notification that this option is careless-to-nonexistent. In the predominantly Latino district, where recruiters “descend on students like vultures on road kill,” (as one counter recruitment worker stated) how is family and student notification of Opt-Out best assured?
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More Information: Opt Out Campaign Guide: www.rcnv.org/counterrecruit/optout/
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