Tag: protest

No Time Left To Compromise With Evil

Some people believe we shouldn’t complain too loudly, protest too vigorously or argue too passionately – the theory being that if we appear too leftist, too radical or too seriously committed to our beliefs that people who don’t share those beliefs will be offended and therefore unlikely to become seriously committed radical leftists themselves one day.  Well I have big news; those dim bulbs are not likely to ever shine – certainly not in response to our stifling ourselves.  For once, let’s let the smart people have their say. 

If one guy believes in global warming denial, torture, war profiteering, and ripping off the poor and another guy objects to all of these things, then one of these guys is right and one is wrong.  This is not merely a difference this is a distinction.  I’m not saying the latter individual is more human than the former, I’m saying he is a better human…period.


People Power in Burma: Part III

Cross posted at the Daily Kos under betson08

When the military junta in Burma began its outrageously brutal crackdown on the monks, students and other pro-democracy activists last month, I had a feeling that this time it had gone too far. For one, Buddhist monks are way too important in Burmese society for the population to acquiesce to the junta striking out at the very soul of the society.

In this light, there is an interesting news report today in Truthout based on an interview with a pro-democracy activist, whose identity is being kept a secret for his own safety, that shows some interesting things about the extent of the internal organization of the movement and how its nonviolent nature will be the final downfall of the junta.

excellent anti-war music video: very worth checking out

Serj Tankian, otherwise lead singer of the fantastic System of a Down (no strangers to anti-war videos themselves), released a video last month for his solo single “Empty Walls” that really deserves watching if you haven’t seen it already.  The whole thing is good, but the ending especially is a zinger:

Don’t waste your time
on coffins today

The video was released on September 11, but has recently picked up enough steam to score rotation on MTV, which is how I first saw it (albeit late at night, when MTV’s not showing one of its million non-music shows).

Brian Eno’s Soundscape in Shrillville: The Vertical Colors of Shrill!

The British are coming!  The British are coming!  Wow.  I thought artists were supposed to talk about airy nothings, like Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, “making a brick, not building a wall,” and the vertical colors of sound, you know, talking about things not related to concrete objects, but expressing something that can only be appreciated intellectually, based on general principles or theories rather than on specific instances, not aiming to depict an object but composed with the focus on internal structure and form, describing music that is intended to have no programmatic content, decorated with irregular areas of color that do not represent anything concrete, emotionally detached or distanced from something.  You know, drifting clarifiers floating ideas in the air of abandoned churches, and shit.  Boy, was I mistaken.  Brain Eno has gone unmistakably thoughtless, vulgar, and insensitive as to lack all refinement or delicacy, extremely so, and flagrantly.

If we have lost Brian Eno to the anti-war movement, then who can we look to salve our flaming souls?  Follow below the fold into the absurd reality of an artist banging his head on the political abutment that is Iraq!

Western Media see Democracy in Burma, where Monks see Food (posted from Dailykos)

The untold story of the recent unrest in Burma has just been told told to the West.

Despite what most people have been told, the monks were not into revolution, and their protests were not pro-democracy. They were not trying to overthrow the government because they knew that to be impossible.

This was an economic argument, inflation in Burma is running high, the cost of petrol has skyrocketed since the government stopped subsiding, this has left the economy of Burma and its 48 million people, in a hellish downward spiral, so bad that the normally incredibly generous poor of the country are starving and can’t possibly give alms (food and other goods) to the monks, who otherwise have no way of getting food.

For a monk who has spent his entire life in mediation and contemplation on the teachings of Buddha there is no chance of leaving the monasteries to make a living, this lead to the protests. When they protested, they advised the civilian population not to join, and they never changed this advice. This was their fight, and it wasn’t people power, it was the fear of starvation that urged these monks out of silent contemplation.

The military junta had heard the monks message clearly “we need food!”, the protests were untouched, allowed, even tolerated by the regime in the first few days.

Western media reported that the monks were allowed to protest because of their “status” in Burmese Buddhist culture, but that is another media lie, the junta never cared about the monks “status”, they knew what they were protesting about, their no touch policy was probably because they were trying to figure out a way to feed the monks, or at least ask another country to do it.

However within 48 hours and using the terms of a PR firm, the monks “lost control of the message”.

Only when the Burmese people, and the rest of the world, started hearing the words “democracy protests” on BBC World Service and CNN, did the peaceful protest start turn nasty.

As the heat was turned up on the junta to step down, no less from the podium of the UN by George W Bush calling on “regime change”, the world got sucked into a side track issue about the barbaric Burmese regime. The agenda was meant to be about Climate Change and Iran, since Bush was weak in both area’s in an UN ambience, it fitted that the message in New York get changed to pro-democracy in Burma, as much as it did on Radio Free Asia.

The people in Burma hearing Bush on Voice of America in Burmese lost all local sense, and believing what they heard, America would stand up, and so started to march alongside, but out of step with the monks. After all who were they to trust, the local media, always full of propaganda, or the BBC? 

With an ever “decreasing” numbers of monks and increasing pro-democracy protestors in the streets of Burmese cities, the Junta could tolerate no more! And the whole situation became violent.

No matter if the government knew the true intentions of the monks or not, to the world this was no longer about poverty it was about power, and the junta can not tolerate any attacks on their power, as the monks originally recognised.

The story ends with the monks removed from their monasteries, taken to universities and other government facilities, and -blamed for starting the fire, and unofficially as many as 1000 were killed and 2000 tortured as a result.

As a side note, Australia denounced the Junta’s policy also at the UN, and there was some tough short term talked about upping the sanctions on the country. But just a week later a report reveals that the Australian Federal Police has been teaching Burma’s military, counter terrorism techniques, some of those techniques would have been used on the monks. When the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was asked about this contradiction he said “We will not be shutting down this program, it is vital to our interests”

The people of Burma shake their heads, and wonder if anyone really gives a cracker about them. Burma is Asia’s political football, always part of the bigger picture. The power games of the west and South East Asia, USA and China, and Australia and Muslim Asia. It’s never about Burma.

Iraq Moratorium Action – Berkeley, CA


Posted for the Iraq Moratorium  (and Alma)

Photo Essay on the 9/15 March in D.C.

I’m crossposting this from dailykos, but stay tuned.  I’ll post a Docudharma exclusive very soon.


Having decided at the last minute to fly rather than drive to D.C., my son and I were separated by virtue of our seat assignments.  I asked the young man sitting next to me if he was going home and he said yes, but only for a brief visit.  He asked why I was going to Washington and I told him to march against the war.  “That’s interesting,” he replied, “I’m headed for Iraq.”  Turns out he works for an NGO and had been to Iraq twice before.  He had recently graduated from American University with a degree in International Relations with a specialty in the Middle East.  We had a fascinating conversation for the duration of the flight.  I encouraged him to write about his experiences and invited him to consider blogging at dailykos.  Hopefully he will.

Stout Hearts

(crossposted from Cobalt6)

I wanted to get some stuff together here to show those of us who plan to march from the White House to the Capitol this Saturday the things that have been happening there as the day approaches.

First, though, Road2DC.com is a website set up to coordinate contacts and activities for that day. The group the people I am traveling with and I are joining will meet at the site of the National Christmas Tree at 11 am. We will be wearing orange.

The actual coordination is taking place in the Forums section.

That said, I have some things I’d like you to see below the fold.

Oh Freedom!

Thank you Joan Baez!


This diary is to express my admiration for Joan Baez, to thank her for all she has done, and to draw inspiration from her for the struggles that lie ahead.  Joan’s singing can fill me with the sublimest emotion and her voice and spirit have shepherded me through trial and tribulation over a lifetime punctuated by tragedy – as all of ours are.  Her voice washes through my troubled soul like a river of grace and mercy.  And one can’t help but admire and be moved by her personal courage and commitment to humanitarian and progressive causes.  She has not only fought, but has led us through many righteous battles.  She is a warrior for humanity, possessing the voice of an angel and the heart of a lion.

Our war crime in Iraq is going swimmingly!

And our plan to nuke Iran is shaping up nicely too.


Which Side Are You On?

Many of you have met my son Daniel.  He is my only child and means everything to me.  He and I along with a few hundred thousand of our best friends are marching on Washington D.C. this coming Saturday, September 15th, 2007.  We are going to demand an end to the madness in Iraq, and justice and accountability for the criminal scum in the White House.  The war may not end and there may never be any justice – but no one will ever be able to say that we didn’t demand it – and no one will ever be able to say that we didn’t put ourselves on the line to make it happen.


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