Factoid only seven people on the planet know: Bill Donahue, Roman Catholicism’s Abe Foxman, completed his dissertation on McCarthyism at LaRoche College in Pittsburgh’s north suburb, back in the day.
LaRoche College started out as the motherhouse/inhouse college for novices of the Divine Providence order. When Donahue used its facilities, it was only slightly expanded from that, with classrooms in the motherhouse, in quonset huts, and in trailers plunked on hastily scraped lots.
Today the campus is large enough to have hosted several hundred peace activists from around the country at the second National Assembly anti-war conference.
Michael Drohan, current head of Pittsburgh’s Thomas Merton center, and Peter Schell, head of the Merton Center’s anti-war movement, coordinated with LaRoche dean Paul LeBlanc to make good use of the campus assembly rooms and smaller dining and meeting rooms.
Code Pink was represented; so was Veterans Against the War, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), several socialist groups.
I attended workshops revealing the US’s real agenda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama’s war; and on Iran, where good friends Phil Wilayto, editor of The Richmond Defender, cofounder of VAWN, the Virginia Anti-war Network, and CASMII–Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran — board member, and Rostam Pourzal, also a member of CASMII’s Board of Directors, joined with Prof. Monijah Saba to give an insider’s view of the protests in Iran.
Janet Mcmahon, managing editor of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, asked perhaps the most pertinent questions of the conference: What has Iran done to the United States for which the US is entitled to exact vengeance? What does the US gain from punitive measures against Iran? For whose benefit is the U.S. threatening Iran?
The answers are: Nothing, less than nothing, and Israel.
I would expand on Ms. Mcmahon’s questions: Is the U.S. acting in its best interests in punishing Iran, or is the U.S. indeed causing itself greater harm, both economically and geopolitically, by continuing its enmity with Iran?
We already know that in the early 1990s the Clinton administration was the object of a concerted lobbying effort orchestrated from Israel and carried out by US-based advocates for Israel, that resulted in, firstly, an executive order forbidding US companies to complete a multimillion dollar contract to develop oil fields in Iran. Conoco had to walk away from the hard won deal; a French company stepped in to do the work and collect the reward. Wary that a mere executive order might be rescinded as easily as it was made, Israel advocates lobbied Congress until an even more extensive set of restrictions on the ability of US business interests to trade or do business with Iran was made into law. American businesses and the American people once again were cut off from access to one of the wealthiest, youngest, most educated, and America-friendly demographics on the globe, the 70 million America-friendly citizens of Iran. However, Israel, at whose insistence the legislation was passed, not only did not enact similar legislation in its own Knesset, Israel continued to trade with Iran, either directly or through third-parties. Only the US taxpayer and citizen lost out.
Several days ago,
LaRoche College is not nearly as large as the David L. Lawrence convention center in Downtown Pittsburgh, where the Orange will hold its conference this August, and the peace activists gathered at LaRoche were not nearly as numerous as the crowd DKos will likely attract.
The peace activists at LaRoche yelled against war and made plans to yell some more, speaking truth to power and not triangulating and hedging truth in order to cozy up to power, which is the direction increasingly establishment DKos is trending. I’ve used up all my chits trying to convince DKos to accept Trita Parsi’s offer to make a presentation at Orange’s Netroots Nation 2009. Wish I’d thought of inviting Parsi to NatAssembly; the crowd there would have given him a respectful and committed audience. C’mon, Netroots Nation, get on board. Yell Louder!