Posted on June 29, 2002
America's Enemies' List
70 names you need to remember
Earlier this month, seventy American citizens declared their opposition to the U.S. war effort by signing a statement entitled, "Not In Our Name: A Statement of Conscience." The letter was a declaration to the rest of the world that our enemies still have some reliable allies here in the states. They don't come right out and call themselves "traitors," of course, but what else would you call Americans who claim that the United States is the single greatest threat to civilization? They did just that when they agreed that, "The signers of this statement call on the people of the U.S. to resist the policies and overall political direction that have emerged since September 11, 2001, and which pose grave dangers to the people of the world."
"We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11, 2001," they write. Not "anger," mind you, but only "shock." They couldn't afford to be judgmental, though, while setting up a moral equivalency like this one: "We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage -- even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City and, a generation ago, Vietnam." Get it? What the terrorists did was really no worse than what the United States does in every military campaign. Anyone who isn't an inveterate anti-American can easily see the absurdity. These people can't recall any similar scenes to September 11th -- except, maybe, from a really bad LSD trip.
The statement goes on to whine that our political leaders have "put out a simplistic script of 'good vs. evil'." All right, we know that they don't think we're good, but can't they at least meet us halfway and admit that the enemy is evil? Evidently not.
"We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare," they say. "We extend a hand to those around the world suffering from these policies; we will show our solidarity in word and deed."
They've probably concocted some poststructuralist formula according to which everybody suffers from U.S. policies ... especially "the children" and "working families." Most directly, though, the ones who are suffering are the Taliban and al-Qaeda. These seventy people are showing their solidarity with the enemy in word. If they live up to their pledge by showing that solidarity in deed, they could and should be prosecuted for treason.
So who are these people who are warning the world not to think that Americans are united against an immediate threat to their own nation? The English news service Guardian Unlimited, which printed the protest letter -- ironically enough, on the day that we observe in this country as Flag Day -- called them "prominent Americans." They're not prominent as Americans, though. In fact, many of them are very outspoken about their anti-Americanism.
Although the statement tags them with such benign identifiers as "historian" and "author," they would be more accurately described as a pack of America-hating ultra-leftists. Among them are admitted Communists, Jew-baiters, Earth-worshippers, criminal-lovers, abortion-pushers and racial Balkanists. A few of them appear even to be all these things at once.
Below are the names and descriptions of the seventy people who signed the statement. A few of them are recognizable as celebrities, but many, many others are respected members of academia. If you are in college, or you have a son or daughter who is, you might want to print this list, and watch to see how often these people's writings are assigned to unwitting students, who are taught to accept them as enlightened thinkers.
Michael Albert -- The socialist economic theorist, who calls himself a "market abolitionist," is a founder of an online publication called Z Magazine. Here's a sampling, from one of his columns in that magazine, of how Mr. Albert looks at the war: "In the case of [Timothy] McVeigh, bombing Montana wouldn't benefit elites. In the case of September 11, elites think bombing diverse targets will benefit their capitalist profit-making and geopolitical interests." Oh ... so that's why we didn't bomb Montana.
Laurie Anderson -- A performance artist and NEA grant recipient. She performs benefit concerts for the pro-abortion movement with the Feminist Majority Foundation's "Rock for Choice" project. She admits she "slept through the Eighties, politically," as is evident when she blames Ronald Reagan for the spread of AIDS.
Ed Asner -- The dean of Hollywood liberalism, Asner is remembered by many for his rambling, belching, telemarketing ad for the Gore 2000 campaign, in which he groused about G.W. Bush's plans for Social Security privatization. He has been an activist on behalf of extremely guilty criminals like Mumia Abu-Jamal (more on him later) and Leonard Peltier. A vociferous critic of U.S. involvement in Central America during the Reagan administration, Asner raised funds for Communist rebels in El Salvador. More recently, he has become a vegan, and a participant in National Meat Out Day. In an interview with VegTV, he moaned, "In these trying days of the threat of meat to all of us, I think it's good to make people aware that there are alternatives, healthy alternatives, healthy for both the individual and for the land on which we grow our food. The desecration of the land that takes place by creating meat is one of the worst problems." Meat is a threat, Communism is not. Go figure.
Russell Banks -- The novelist once left college in the late Fifties, with the intention of going to Cuba to help Fidel Castro's guerillas. Fortuitously, he only made it as far as Florida. Oh, well ... it's the though that counts.
Rosalyn Baxandall -- A feminist leader who was active in the movement to legalize abortion in the state of New York in the Sixties. The founding member of New York Radical Women now chairs the "American studies" department at SUNY of Old Westbury. She is also on the advisory board of a journal called Rethinking Marxism, which is produced by the Association for Economic and Social Analysis. The AESA regularly organizes panels at the annual Socialist Scholars Conference.
Jessica Blank -- She and her husband, Erik Jensen, co-authored a play called The Exonerated, about people wrongly convicted of capital crimes. Her credibility regarding this matter is somewhat damaged by the fact that she coordinated the "National Day of Art" in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Abu-Jamal is a favorite cause of a large percentage of the people on this list, so it's important to take a minute to review his situation, and consider why so many activists who take up his cause are also agitating against the war on terrorism.
Mumia Abu-Jamal was arrested in 1981 for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Officer Faulkner had pulled over Abu-Jamal's brother, William Cook, for driving the wrong way down a one-way street. When Cook got out of the car, he struck Faulkner in the face, and Faulkner subdued him by clubbing him on the shoulder with a flashlight. This account of the event was verified by Cook himself, who later pled guilty to assaulting Faulkner. Abu-Jamal, who had been across the street in his taxi cab, came running to the scene of the disturbance, where he shot Faulkner in the back from about two feet away. Faulkner turned and shot Abu-Jamal in the chest as he fell. Abu-Jamal then stood over Faulkner and shot him multiple times, finishing with a lethal shot to the face from inches away. The wounded Abu-Jamal sat down on the curb, where he was apprehended by the police moments later, wearing an empty shoulder holster, with a gun, registered to Abu-Jamal, resting beside him, containing five spent shells. When two officers escorted Abu-Jamal to the emergency room, they, along with a hospital security guard, heard him announce, "I shot the motherf-----, and I hope the motherf----- dies."
In spite of all this, there is a large contingent of activists who insist that Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent. A popular theory is that Faulkner was shot by a mysterious Mafia hitman, and the police deliberately let the real cop-killer go free so that they could frame Abu-Jamal. They had considered him a threat, the tale goes, because he had been critical of the police when he was a part-time reporter on National Public Radio, until being fired a year before the shooting.
One can only guess how many of Mumia's supporters truly believe he's innocent, and how many instead believe he was justified in whatever he did. What's obvious, though, is that the reason they support him is that they share his leftist political beliefs. Abu-Jamal had been a Lieutenant Minister of Information for the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Panthers. If you visit the Black Panther Party website, you'll find their demands listed in a "Ten Point Plan" that includes the following:
"We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every person employment or a guaranteed income." ... "We want an end to the robbery by the capitalists of our Black and oppressed communities." ... "We want decent education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society." ... "We want completely free health care..." ... "We want an immediate end to all wars of aggression. We believe that the various conflicts which exist around the world stem directly from the aggressive desire of the United States ruling circle and government to force its domination upon the oppressed people of the world." ... "We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace, and people's community control of modern technology."
Contrary to the protestations of Mumia supporters, it is they, and not the police and the justice system, who have been biased by his left-wing political activism, as will become undeniably clear by the end of this list.
Medea Benjamin -- The co-founder and director of Global Exchange, an organization committed to, among other things, "environmental, political, and social justice."
As if that didn't give a clear enough idea of what this group's politics are, here's the opening paragraph of a "Cuba Fact Sheet" from Global Exchange's site: "Under such leaders as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, among others, the Cuban Revolution burst onto the international scene on January 1, 1959, -- overthrowing the U.S.-supported dictator Fulgencio Batista -- with a commitment to feed, clothe, house, educate, employ and provide health care for its entire population, a formerly unrealizable dream." That dream is "formerly unrealizable," according to Benjamin's group, because Castro had brought it to pass. The "fact sheet" continues, "Through their state-supported agricultural system and ration program for basic nutrients, Cuba had become the first underdeveloped country in the world to totally wipe out hunger and malnutrition," and "Cuba had wiped out the infectious disease and epidemics that plague other developing countries." The reason it says that Cuba "had" done these things is that they contend the U.S. undid all Castro's progress, by imposing what Global Exchange erroneously calls "the blockade."
William Blum -- The former Johnson administration State Department official resigned in 1967 due to his opposition to the Vietnam War. He identifies U.S. foreign policy, and especially the actions of the CIA, as the source of most of the world's troubles. He maintains a website entitled "The American Holocaust."
Blase Bonpane -- Director of Office of the Americas, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to furthering the cause of justice and peace in the hemisphere through broad based educational programs." The OOA has responded to the September 11th terrorist attacks by equating them with U.S. intervention in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Grenada.
Theresa Bonpane -- Executive Director of the OOA, and wife of Blase Bonpane. See above.
Father Bob Bossie -- An anti-nuke activist and spokesman for a fringe Catholic organization called the 8th Day Center for Justice. At first glance, that organization's materials look like respectable, if gullible and simplistic, efforts to bring about world peace. You don't have to dig very deep, however, to find the anti-American subtext. Here's a sample letter that the 8th Day Center encouraged members to send to President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright after the bombing of the USS Cole:
"Please refrain from calling the attack against the USS Cole an act of terrorism. The Cole -- which was armed, on duty and merely making a brief refueling stop -- was part of a larger force being used to monitor sanctions against Iraq. This silent, deadly weapon has taken the lives of over one million Iraqis since 1990, over half of whom were children under five. Moreover, the Cole is part of an overall campaign of bombing Iraq and efforts to overthrow Iraq's government. ... Since the Cole was engaged in aggressive military activity, the attack does not constitute terrorism, even according to the State Department's definition. There is no doubt that what happened can be called a deadly attack, a suicide mission, a bomb attack. It is also an enormous tragedy for the families of the sailors who were killed. ...Calling this action 'terrorism' helps to hide the genocidal goals of the Cole itself. It also conjures up thoughts of irrational violence by dark, different and thoroughly evil people fueled by hate and religion, specifically Islam. ...Ending sanctions and refraining from inflammatory rhetoric will go a long way toward safeguarding U.S. troops and making the U.S. a respected world actor."
Leslie Cagan -- A professional organizer, she directed David Dinkins' 1989 New York mayoral campaign. She has also organized a national campaign against the Gulf War, demonstrated for nuclear disarmament, and coordinated the 1997 World Youth Festival in Cuba. Until recently, she was the director of a pro-Castro organ called the Cuban Information Project.
Henry Chalfant -- A photographer whose prize collection is a series of pictures of subway graffiti. An online review of his work boasts that he "has photographed important works by artists such as LEE, DONDI, SKEME, SEEN and BLADE, and many others."
Gosh! The BLADE? Congratulations are in order.
Bell Chevigny -- A novelist and prisoners' rights activist, who has given writing courses to inmates. She opposes capital punishment, advocates lighter sentences, if any, for drug offenders, and believes that prison terms should generally be shortened, in order to facilitate prisoners' reintroduction into society. Doing Time, a book of prison writing that Chevigny edited, was given a glowing review by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Paul Chevigny -- The husband of Bell Chevigny, he is a law professor at NYU. His writings focus chiefly on police brutality.
Noam Chomsky -- Considered an academic giant, his field is linguistics, but the self-described anarchist is better known for his supercilious rants against all things American. The MIT professor defines terrorism as a weapon used by the strong against the weak, so that he can accuse the United States of being the main culprit. By Chomsky's ... oh, let's call it "reasoning," for lack of a handier term ... when the U.S. funds and trains rebels against a Communist government, the rebels are the terrorists. When the U.S. supports a sitting government against a Communist rebellion, on the other hand, it is the government which is sponsoring terror.
In 1970, Chomsky gave a speech that was broadcast on Radio Hanoi. He told the North Vietnamese that "[Y]our cause is the cause of humanity as it moves forward toward liberty and justice, toward the socialist society in which free, creative men control their own destiny ... I believe that in the United States there will be some day a social revolution that will be of great significance to us and all of mankind, and if this hope is to be proven correct, it will be in large part because the people of Vietnam have shown us the way." Not only did he support Ho Chi Minh, but he also defended Pol Pot, until the scope of the Cambodian butcher's atrocities was found to be so great that even he could no longer deny them.
For all his anti-capitalist drivel, Chomsky shows no compunction about exploiting the terrorist attacks. He hastily slapped together a collection of seven interviews, put a picture of the World Trade Center on the cover, wittily entitled the book 9-11, and got it on the shelves before the fires at Ground Zero were even extinguished.
He exhaustively likens the U.S.A. to Nazi Germany, apparently based on some transitive property of geopolitics, which goes something like this: Nazi Germany opposed the Soviet Union during the Second World War, and the United States opposed the Soviet Union after the Second World War; therefore, the postwar United States is equal to the Third Reich. He even asserts that the postwar U.S. was bent on world domination. Funny our rebuilding the countries of our vanquished foes, then. Chomsky even imagines that the reason the U.S. invaded Grenada is that we feared the tiny nation would build a socialist Xanadu, and expose the inferiority of our capitalist republic. His bloviations have been dismantled by more responsible commentators in the mainstream of the political Left (Christopher Hitchens) and Right (David Horowitz). For that, they both deserve our thanks, but any intellectual analysis of Chomsky's stated political beliefs -- even a systematic and thorough shredding of them -- lends them a false sense of legitimacy. Suffice it to say, the man is a liar, a traitor, and an ass.
Stephanie Coontz -- A professor of "family studies" at Evergreen State College in Washington state, she is an advocate of federally subsidized child care, and mandating that employers provide paid family leave. She says that the social effect of single parenthood is "hugely exaggerated."
Kia Corthron -- A playwright and NEA grant recipient who participated in a Refuse & Resist event called "Imagine: Iraq," which consisted of eight plays by different authors, written in protest of U.S. and U.N. sanctions against that country.
Kevin Danaher -- Co-founder of Global Exchange. See: Benjamin, Medea.
Ossie Davis -- The veteran actor and director was recently flayed in a Weekly Standard article by Lee Bockhorn, for his long-running Communist sympathies. In particular, it points out an article Davis wrote in 1967 for a Communist magazine called the New World Review. The piece, entitled "A Black Man's Salute," was published as part of a collection of essays called "Symposium of the USSR: The First Fifty Years." In it, Davis wrote, "[F]ifty years ago when the good news came out of Russia that men there had decided to abandon capitalism and attempt to construct ... a system of true equality ultimately to be formulated as 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,' it was only natural that black men should associate their own hopes and their own expectations with the promise of socialism." Mind you, he was writing this fourteen years after the reign of Josef Stalin.
Mos Def -- A rapper without any major left-wing credentials to his name, he's apparently trying to build up his resume.
Carol Downer -- A director of Chico, California's euphemistically entitled Feminist Women's Health Center, she teaches women how to perform abortions on themselves during the first four weeks of pregnancy, with the aid of a speculum (a metal or plastic instrument used for dilating), a mirror and a flashlight. In her movement's hilariously opaque terminology, she refers to this procedure as "self help."
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz -- The Oklahoma socialist is the author of a book entitled "Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie," in which she examines her own youth and concludes that she finds "evidence of the lie of the American dream." America seems to be doing all right for Dunbar-Ortiz, though, as she defrauds her students by purporting to "teach" them "ethnic and women's studies" at Cal State-Hayward.
Eve Ensler -- The feminist playwright responsible for a production called The Vagina Monologues. Liberal actresses have practically trampled each other for the privilege of performing in this show, so that they can say the word "vagina" in front of hundreds of people, and then congratulate themselves on their naughtiness. Ensler runs a nonprofit organization called V-Day, which holds annual events on Valentine's Day. The V-Day site explains that, "The 'V' symbolizes many things. Victory over Violence, Valentine's Day. And of course, Vagina!" Note the enthusiasm for that last one. You could almost hear the drum roll.
Through V-Day, Ensler releases statistics that feminists have made up out of thin air, and which have been debunked for years. For example, V-Day claims that, "Every 21 hours on each college campus in the U.S. there is a rape." By the critical ciphering of columnist Glenn Sacks, this works out to 400 rapes per campus per year. It's no wonder feminists hate men, if they walk around believing insanity like that.
Leo Estrada -- An "urban planning" professor at UCLA, he is on the advisory committee of a group called the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE). Just a word of advice -- anytime an alliance comes at you trying to sustain an economy, run for the hills. CAUSE was established by the Ventura County Living Wage Coalition.
John Gillis -- A history professor at Rutgers, and author of A World of Their Own Making: Myth, Ritual and the Quest for Family Values. He argues that the nuclear family and its rituals (like celebrating holidays together) are only a trend that lasted from the oppressive Victorian Era to the equally oppressive 1950's. Besides, the vision we have today of families during that time is highly idealized, so there's really nothing to fear from the recent trend toward what we mistakenly view as non-traditional family structures.
Jeremy Matthew Glick -- Not to be confused with his namesake, the Jeremy Glick who was one of the heroes from United Flight 93, this Jeremy Glick's father was killed at the World Trade Center. Glick blames President Bush for what happened, and wishes others to do the same. To that end, he co-edited Another World Is Possible, a collection of interviews with people who were directly affected by the terrorist attacks, and hold less than patriotic views about it.
In his introduction, he writes, "My dad first pulled my coats to Marxism, the Black Panthers (the first books I stole from my folk's [sic] awesome basement library), Richard Wright, and detective fiction. I was often mad or disappointed in what I perceived as a mellowing out (or selling out) of my dad's once more radically pronounced views. It took listening to his eulogies to really get some clarity on how much my dad's sacrifices enabled my own radical activism. The endless drudge of going to work, to provide, and enable my actions was my father's sacrifice. A sacrifice that this system never acknowledged or paid him what he's worth, and ultimately, thanked him for by violently ripping him from his family."
His prejudice couldn't be any more obvious. He must blame this (capitalist) system for his father's death, or else his father's sacrifice, which is what allows him to be a radical Marxist, would have been for nothing. To arrive at the desired conclusion requires some creative reconstruction of the facts, but he's up to the task. "The Bush family enabled financially and militarily the regime and actors that killed my father. ... American imperialism has received a boost on 9/11 rationalizing the most flagrant acts of racist violence and geopolitical thuggery as patriotic piety and self-preservation. To see the folks responsible for your father's death get further enfranchised and pimp your family's trauma for their own oil greed is appalling. I'm happy to be able to contribute to a project that patiently begs a rethinking of U.S. foreign policy and legacies of domestic terror." The "regime" that killed his father? His father was killed by al-Qaeda, which is defended militarily by the Taliban, which was not ruling Afghanistan in the Eighties, when the Reagan-Bush administration helped the Muhjadeen drive out the Soviet invaders. And how might the Bushes have militarily enabled the attacks anyway, by training hijackers to fly airplanes into buildings? What the terrorists did that day was not, strictly speaking, a military attack.
Many people have clumsily referred to what happened on September 11th as a "tragedy." That wasn't a tragedy, it was a vicious and unprovoked attack. What's a tragedy is that one of its victims would refuse to see the truth about it, other than through the funhouse mirror of his own warped ideology.
Suheir Hammad -- The Palestinian-born poet and pro-Mumia activist is a citizen of New York, but it seems as if she still gets her news from P.A.-approved sources. In her poem First Writing Since, she repeated a false rumor that the news footage of Palestinians celebrating the attacks was actually filmed during the Gulf War, and deceptively presented by the networks as if it were just happening. Elsewhere in this same poem, she exhibits an incredibly selective memory. "we did not vilify all white men when mcveigh bombed oklahoma." (The lack of capitalization appears in the original -- indicating the influence of e.e. cummings ... or Ziggy.) Has she never heard the phrases "angry white male" and "white male paranoia" that were ubiquitously yammered about after the bombing? "and when we talk about holy books and hooded men and death, why do we never mention the kkk?" Ah, yes. One day, Americans must break their conspiracy of silence, and dare to start discussing the Klan. She might as well complain that people didn't talk enough about the Olympic figure skating controversy.
David Harvey -- An anthropology professor at CUNY who has spoken at the Socialist Scholars Conference in 1997 and 2002, he's a regular contributor to a journal called The Socialist Register.
Rakaa Irscience -- A rapper whose underground group, Dilated Peoples, has sometimes been criticized for seeking mainstream approval within the music industry. Maybe he figured signing this statement would do the trick.
Erik Jensen -- Co-author of The Exonerated with his wife. See: Blank, Jessica
Casey Kasem -- The longtime host of American Top 40 is of Arabic lineage, but unlike many of the people on this list, he seems to be a believer in the "melting pot" theory. He often speaks about the contributions that Arabs have made as Americans. He began these talks in order to counter negative stereotypes of Arabs, by illustrating that most Arabs are productive citizens who work hard and blend into society without notice. How ironic, then, that he should now blur the distinction himself, by riding to the defense of the terrorists. Like Ed Asner, Kasem is a vegan, and an active supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Robin DG Kelly -- A professor of "Africana studies" from UCLA, whose written works include a tribute to American Reds called Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression.
Martin Luther King III -- The president of his father's organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, had been criticized for failing to emulate his dad's intensity. (which is only natural, considering everything that's changed in the last forty years.) He has responded by engaging in just the sort of hysteria that's been demanded of him. First, he joined Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others in denouncing the "disenfranchisement" of black voters in the 2000 election, in the face of an overwhelming lack of evidence. Next, he took up the cause of Mumia Abu-Jamal. During one speech, he actually said this: "Today, almost thirty-three years after he [MLK Jr.] was killed, we must unite together in the name of justice to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a young man who was respected in the community for reporting stories about economic and social injustices." Imagine what the leader of the American passive resistance movement would think about being compared to a back-shooting coward ... by his own son! Now, MLK III has decided to be nonjudgmental about the slaughter of thousands of innocent people. Maybe his signature on this letter doesn't reflect his true beliefs. Maybe, he only did it to win the approval of his detractors, so that he can remain president of the SCLC. But in a way, that would be even worse.
Barbara Kingsolver -- An author of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, she was a Vietnam War protester, and is now an environmental activist. On October 14th, she wrote an editorial for Z Magazine entitled No Glory in Unjust War on the Weak. Following her tiresome assertion that "We've answered one terrorist act with another," she proceeds to suggest, "It is not naive to propose alternatives to war ... I would like a humane health-care system organized along the lines of Canada's ... I'd like us to consume energy at the modest level that Europeans do ... I'd like a government that subsidizes renewable energy sources instead of forcefully patrolling the globe to protect oil gluttony ... I would like to see us sign the Kyoto agreement today ... " In anticipation of being criticized, she says, "I've already been called every name in the Rush Limbaugh handbook: traitor, sinner, naive, liberal, peacenik, whiner."
She's wrong, you know. Limbaugh would never call her a sinner. A Commie-babe, perhaps, but not a sinner.
C. Clark Kissinger -- The founder of Refuse & Resist, he is a leader in the free-Mumia movement, and he writes for the Revolutionary Worker, a publication of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Jodie Kliman -- A psychologist with the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology at the Boston Medical Center, she also belongs to the Council on Contemporary Families. The CCF takes what is essentially a pro-divorce position, in that it argues that a divorce is preferable to a bad marriage. Since all people who want to be divorced think they're in bad marriages, their decisions must be the correct ones. The CCF also suggests that married heterosexuals make inferior parents to gay and lesbian couples. "Children are particularly treasured in gay and lesbian families," the "fact sheet" says, "because of the very conscious complex choice involved in conception or adoption."
Kliman once wrote a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe about Jenna Bush's arrest. "Notably missing from most coverage is the experience of those young people of color and poor youth of all races who show the same poor judgment about substance abuse that Jenna and Barbara and George W. Bush have shown. They do not pay small fines, do brief community service, and face embarrassment on the national news. They land in prison on felony charges, often for years." Really? For underage drinking? Ah, but she only said those who "show poor judgment about substance abuse," so having a drink and distributing heroin are roughly equal offenses. It sounds like she's been staring at those ink blots a little too long.
Yuri Kochiyama -- As a child, she and her family were placed in an internment camp during the Second World War. Driven by that experience, she became an activist, but doesn't seem to have been very discriminating about which causes to join. In an interview with the Communist Revolutionary Worker, she described her first meeting with Malcolm X: "I said, 'Can I shake your hand?' He looked at me strange, like, what is this Asian woman doing here? And he said, 'What for?' And I said, 'To congratulate you.' And he said, 'For what?' And I said, 'For what you're doing for your people.' And then he said, 'And what am I doing for my people?' And I didn't know what to say, but I said, 'You're giving direction.'" One might have expected more specific answers than that from a committed activist, but as she then explained, "I didn't know hardly anything about the civil rights movement and I didn't even know there was such a thing as the Black liberation movement." Was she just along for the ride?
Kochiyama became close friends with Malcolm X. In fact, it was in her arms that he died after being shot. She is an active supporter of the Black Panthers ... and, of course, Mumia Abu-Jamal. In 1977, she was among a group that took over the Statue of Liberty in order to demand the release of Puerto Rican "political prisoners." Those "political" prisoners were FALN terrorists. You know, the ones who were granted clemency by Bill Clinton, in order to aid Hillary's run for the Senate.
Annisette Koppel -- The Danish-born singer and her husband belong to a band called Savage Rose, which is little known in the United States, but supposedly was very popular in Europe in the late Sixties and Seventies. They say they never made it in the U.S. because the record label they were negotiating with wanted them to play for the troops in Vietnam, and the Koppels were morally offended by that. They did, however, play benefit concerts for the PLO.
Thomas Koppel -- Husband and band-mate of Annisette Koppel. See above.
Tony Kushner -- The flamboyant playwright and NEA grant recipient is the author of a play called Slavs! Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness, which, according to what can be gathered from the reviews, laments that the Soviet leadership blew its big chance to make utopian socialism a reality. Kushner brags that it took more courage for him to come out of the closet as a socialist than as a homosexual. In a 1996 interview with Salon magazine, he warned about the devastation that would occur if Bob Dole were elected president. "A Republican president with a Republican Congress will destroy this country. These people are insane. Late-term abortions -- Dole announced that he didn't think Clinton should have vetoed the bill. So at this point, if Dole were president, late-term abortions would be illegal. There will be an attempt to have a constitutional amendment against abortion period if Dole is elected. There will certainly be a balanced-budget amendment. Gun control will be destroyed." Later in the interview, he protested that, "The defunding of the NEA is cataclysmic." You can see how he might find al-Qaeda non-threatening by comparison.
James Lafferty -- The executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, an organization created out of a belief that the American Bar Association wasn't liberal enough. According to its own literature, the NLG seeks "to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers of America in an organization that shall function as an effective political and social force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests. Notice how they demote property rights to "interests," to be subordinated to "human rights," which they leave undefined.
In preparation for the anti-war demonstrations that took place on April 20th, the NLG posted an ad on its site under the heading, "Legal Observers Needed," which read in part, "A broad spectrum of organizations and individuals will gather in Washington, DC in April to oppose war, racism and attacks on civil liberties, and to express solidarity with people around the world struggling against U.S. militarism and the power of global corporations. As always, the National Lawyers Guild will support these progressive efforts."
Ray Laforest -- A labor representative with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), he signed onto another anti-war letter with other union leaders, entitled "New York Labor Says 'No!' to War." This statement charged that the war "will redirect billions to the military and corporate executives, while draining such essential domestic programs as education, health care and the social security trust. War will play into the hands of religious fanatics -- from Osama bin Laden to Jerry Falwell [yawn] -- and provoke further terrorism in major urban centers like New York."
Rabbi Michael Lerner -- The editor of a bimonthly Jewish political magazine called TIKKUN, and author of The Politics of Meaning, for which he became famous as "Hillary's guru." TIKKUN has been asking for additional donations from its readers, in order to compensate for its declining support. Let's see if we can figure out why. Part of TIKKUN's recipe for peace in Israel is to recognize "the legitimacy of both Israeli and Palestinian narratives about what has led to the present situation. Our goal is to show that both sides are right, and both sides need to learn how to tell the other side's story with compassion and generosity of spirit. A Jewish reader might wonder just how that can be, when one side's "narrative" is that the other doesn't deserve to exist.
In a piece called "Where the Violence Comes From," written for the Global Ecovillage Network, Lerner lectures that, "We may tell ourselves that the current violence has 'nothing to do' with the way that we've learned to close our ears when told that one out of every three people on this planet does not have enough food, and that one billion are literally starving. We may reassure ourselves that the hoarding of the world's resources by the richest society in world history, and our frantic attempts to accelerate globalization, with its attendant inequalities of wealth, has nothing to do with the resentment that others feel toward us. ... But we live in one world, increasingly interconnected with everyone, and the forces that lead people to feel outrage, anger and desperation eventually impact on our own daily lives." So he's saying we drove the terrorists to it. What do you know, he really is Hillary's guru!
Barbara Lubin -- Believe it or not, she's a Jew who tells the "narrative" of the people who aim to wipe Israel off the map. Don't believe it? Then let her tell you, herself. "Hezbollah --It's like they're alien monsters or something. They're just ordinary schleps like the rest of us." A resident of Berkeley, California, she has been involved in many of the usual protest movements, from Vietnam to Nicaragua and El Salvador. She once said, "If Milosevic is tried by the international courts, then Henry Kissinger, George Bush and Ariel Sharon should be in there with him. They butchered Arabs." As executive director of the Middle East Children's Alliance, she smuggled supplies into Iraq in violation of the embargo. She has met with Yasir Arafat, and even suggested that all Jews should "return" to Poland.
Staughton Lynd -- The Marxist author and labor lawyer traveled to Hanoi in December of 1965, believing that (somehow or other) he could stop the Vietnam War. That would sound admirable, though quixotic, if he'd done it because he wanted peace for its own sake. But that was only part of it; he also feared that the war would end the Vietnamese socialist experiment before it had a chance to begin. He was brought there as a guest of author Herbert Aptheker, who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in New York, as a member of Communist Party USA.
Anuradha Mittal -- She's co-director of an organization called Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy. Food First blames the United States for world hunger, and demands "universal rights to food, housing, living wage jobs, land, medical care, and an adequate standard of living for all."
Malaquias Montoya -- The professor of "Chicano studies" at Cal-Davis is also an artist, who designed a Mumia Abu-Jamal T-shirt being sold by Refuse & Resist.
Robert Nichols -- An author, and husband of activist writer Grace Paley. See below.
Rev. E. Randall Osburn -- The executive vice-president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he joined MLK III in the SCLC's wave of Mumia-mania. Osburn called Abu-Jamal a "political prisoner," and compared him to Nelson Mandela. He even declared the fired, part-time NPR hack a "long-time journalist."
Grace Paley -- An author of poetry and fiction, and wife of the aforementioned Robert Nichols. Paley, like Staughton Lynd, was a Vietnam War protestor who went on a "peace mission" to Hanoi. She also protested U.S. anti-Communist policies in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and became active in the anti-nuke movement.
Jeremy Pikser -- The screenwriter collaborated with actor Warren Beatty on the script for Bulworth, in which Beatty plays a Democrat senator who has moderated his views for the sake of political expediency, but then, in a moment of desperation, decides to start telling people what he really thinks. He shocks audiences by publicly embracing socialism, complaining that Jews wield too much influence, and delivering stump speeches through the medium of rap. No, that's not a typo. Pikser also collaborated with Beatty on the self-explanatorily entitled film Reds.
Jerry Quickley -- A poet, and, as you've surely guessed by now, an advocate for the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Quickley says he first became politically active by refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at the age of eight.
Juan Gomez-Quinones -- A "Chicano studies" professor at UCLA. According to that school's profile of him, Quinones is actively involved with an organization called MEChA, a militant student group that wants to secede from the United States and create a Chicano-American homeland they call the Nation of Aztlan, which is to consist of the territories ceded to the United States at the end of the Mexican War.
Michael Ratner -- Formerly the president of the National Lawyers Guild [See: Lafferty, James], he's now a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, with whom he's defended the Black Panthers and the FALN. He actively opposed American aid to the Contras, and he says the U.S. is guilty of war crimes against Iraq.
David Riker -- A photographer and filmmaker who compiled a photo documentary of the anti-nuke movement in the 1980's. His first work of fiction, a film called La Ciudad (The City), consisted of four vignettes about the hardships faced by immigrants in New York, designed to illustrate that the "American dream" is a hollow promise. It was shot in such a way as to mimic the style of a documentary, cast with non-professional actors, and filmed in black and white. Obviously, the idea behind it is for viewers to feel as if what they're watching has really happened. In an interview with Refuse & Resist, Riker explained that one of the difficulties in researching the film was that, "the way I look unfortunately puts a huge obstacle between myself and a Peruvian woman who arrived in New York yesterday -- a great obstacle, because I look like the INS. I have the face of a person that she flees from, you see." Of course, if she were here legally, she'd have no need to flee the INS, nor would any of the sympathetic victims in Riker's stories.
Boots Riley -- A rapper whose group, The Coup, had to pull the originally designed cover of its album entitled Party Music, because it depicted the Twin Towers ... exploding!
No, really. The cover, which was designed in May of 2001, features Riley pressing a button on a guitar tuner, which appears to trigger an explosion in each tower, about one-fourth of the way from the top. By the album's planned release in November, of course, the towers had in reality been destroyed, so the design was yanked. As one might expect, this coincidence spawned urban legends that The Coup had actually had some inside information about the attacks before they happened. The truth is that Riley had fantasized about the destruction independent of any outside influence. As he explained in an interview with Africana.com, "I wanted to show that our music was powerful in and of itself and that our music was something that would help destroy capitalism." And why would he wish to do that? "I am a Communist. I have been a Communist-socialist since I was fourteen years old." But of course. They say that great minds think alike. So do other sorts of minds, apparently.
Edward Said -- Chairman of Columbia University's doctoral program in comparative literature. Said (pronounced sah - EED) was allegedly born in Jerusalem, and exiled by the Israelis in 1948. However, Justus Reid Weiner, who has researched Said's past, charges that he was instead born and raised in Cairo*, but fabricated much of his past in order to add moral weight to his attacks on Israel. Said is so fanatical that he has criticized the PLO for being too cooperative with the Israeli government. While visiting Lebanon in 2000, he was photographed throwing rocks across the Israeli border, an action he defended as "a symbolic gesture of joy." Through everything, Columbia stands by him. To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are three ways to avoid telling the truth: lies, damn lies, and "comparative literature."
* Correction: In a 1999 article for Commentary magazine, Justus Reid Weiner explained that Said was in fact born in Jerusalem, while his family was visiting relatives there, but that the family resided in Cairo.
John J. Simon -- A director of the Monthly Review Foundation, which publishes the socialist Monthly Review magazine.
Michael Steven Smith -- A member of the New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild [See: Lafferty, James], he co-authored a book about Che Guevara with Michael Ratner [See above]. He also chaired a panel called "Civil Liberties After 9/11" at the 2002 Socialist Scholars Conference, and is a former member of the [Trotskyist] Socialist Workers Party.
Starhawk -- She's ... um ... how to put this? ... A WITCH. Or so she says, anyway. The New Age author has written books with titles like The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, and Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex and Politics. She also co-wrote something called The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings, and Meditations on Crossing Over, along with another author who goes by the name of "M. Macha Nightmare," and some other entity called "The Reclaiming Collective." She has organized and trained anarchists who have protested at global trade events in Seattle, Washington and New York.
Bob Stein -- The co-founder of The Voyager Company, a CD-ROM publisher, he was once the publisher of the Communist newspaper The Revolutionary Worker.
Gloria Steinem -- The founder of Ms. magazine has been one of America's most prominent feminists for decades, but she, like many in her movement, sacrificed her reputation for Bill Clinton. It was Steinem who proposed what critics lampooned as the "one free grope" rule, when she argued that it didn't matter where Clinton touched Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, or whomever else happened to be within arm's length, as long he stopped as soon as his molestee du jour said "no." A former Playboy bunny, Steinem didn't decide to become a feminist until she was already pregnant, at which time she broke her engagement with her baby's father, and had an abortion, without his knowledge. In a 1998 article she wrote for New York magazine, she bouncily remembered "that wonderful abortion doctor from Pennsylvania ... who helped thousands of women. He charged very little and handed you socialist literature on the way out."
Alice Walker -- Best known for her acclaimed novel The Color Purple, she also wrote an autobiography entitled Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer's Activism. In the acknowledgments section of this book, she praised Fidel Castro and Che Guevara "for their daring as revolutionaries, but also for their writing and their speeches. Empowerment of the poor -- through education, health care, and adequate housing -- is always foremost in their thought."
At a 1999 pro-Mumia rally, Walker asked, "Why should we care that Mumia Abu-Jamal's life be spared? Why should we care that he should be set free? In her response to those questions, she never even bothered to deny Abu-Jamal's guilt. She did, however, say this: "In this time, which is so filled with grief; when we see our own destruction as a species looming just ahead of us; when we see there is little unpoisoned grass and almost no pure water to drink; when our children follow in their elders' footsteps and bomb and murder other children; when no one is safe on Earth anymore; where does a voice of sanity seem to be coming from? From a small cell on death row." So Mumia must be freed because of his left-wing politics, not because of any suggestion that he might be innocent.
Naomi Wallace -- The socialist, feminist playwright was the organizer of Refuse & Resist's "Imagine: Iraq" event. In an interview with TCG Books, she said, "[P]erhaps to be truly patriotic at a time like this is to speak out where dissent is called for." Mind you, "dissent," in this case, means a refusal to fight back against terrorists who have killed thousands of your countrymen, and are promising to kill millions more.
Rev. George Webber -- President of the New York Theological Seminary, and a teacher of prisoners in Sing Sing. A website called The Flummery Digest, which catalogues examples of politically correct gobbledygook, cited a July 10, 1995 New Yorker magazine article on Webber, which quotes him characterizing the inmates as having been "victimized by a vicious, corrupt, awful society." He believes that they're "human beings, not criminals." (Can't they be both?) Webber is also quoted as saying that he believes in "a radical, countercultural Jesus who teaches us to expose the injustices of society and deal with society's victims." Like murderers, for instance.
Leonard Weinglass -- An attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
John Edgar Wideman -- The Rhodes scholar is an author of both fiction and nonfiction. In Brothers and Keepers, he wrote about the divergent paths taken by himself and his brother, Robert, who was involved in a robbery in which one of his partners murdered a man. Robert's guilt is beyond doubt, yet the target of Wideman's anger is our (racist) criminal justice system. Just over a year after that book was published, Wideman's teenage son, Jacob, stabbed another boy to death in a motel room, on a field trip to the Grand Canyon. He's now serving a life sentence in prison.
More recently, Wideman was an advisor to the 2000 presidential campaign of his friend from Oxford, former senator Bill Bradley. In 1995, he wrote the introduction to Mumia Abu-Jamal's book, Live From Death Row. He now teaches creative writing at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Saul Williams -- The poet and rapper prefers to be called a "spoken word artist." He says that, "[T]he only America that I can really stand behind is the America that doesn't really exist yet." When asked what he thinks is the embodiment of evil in the world, he answered, "George Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft." His hero is the legendary actor, singer and athlete Paul Robeson, who was also a fervent Communist, and an apologist for Josef Stalin.
Howard Zinn -- The Boston University professor and alleged historian authored a book called A People's History of the United States: 1492 - Present. No doubt, you immediately noticed two strange things about that title. First, it calls itself "a" history. If it's true, shouldn't it be recognized as just plain "history"? Not in left-wing academia, where the very idea of an objective truth is discarded in favor of "competing truths." Once that ground rule is set, two competing "histories" can directly conflict with each other, yet each remain "a history." Indeed, he defends his work against charges of inaccuracy by responding that the dominant history is equally biased.
Second, and even more obviously, the United States did not exist in 1492. Zinn chose that date because he has denounced Christopher Columbus as a genocidal maniac, and wants to pin his "atrocities" on the U.S. The Salem witch trials happened before the U.S. was founded also, but they took place on this continent. Is our nation responsible for them as well? Perhaps it's better not to ask.
Bias itself is one thing, but when one uses that bias to produce falsehoods, that's another story. In an interview from last year's Sundance Film Festival, Zinn criticized the Gulf War by saying, "The elder Bush sent a military force into Iraq ten years ago in 1991. I would call that 'imperialism.'" Really? What country did we take over? Somebody ought to tell Zinn to look up the word "imperialism." But then, he'd probably just be reading from "A People's Dictionary" anyway. Later in that same interview, he complained that, "Reagan talked a lot about God, went to church, and made a big deal of it." But President Reagan never went to church after he was shot early in his presidency, because he feared his presence would endanger others. He never "made a big deal of it." President Clinton saw to it that the cameras witnessed him entering and leaving church, bible in hand, but Reagan didn't do anything like that. In a separate interview, Zinn whined about George W. Bush. "Here the guy wins the presidency by the most nefarious of methods and without a popular mandate ... but then moves ahead with aplomb, with total arrogance as if the country is his. My feeling is that we are living in an occupied country." Mental meanderings such as these are not part of an equal, alternative "history"; they're just wrong.
These are not well-meaning American citizens who love their country, but feel compelled, in this case, to criticize its actions. Many of them have dedicated their entire lives to opposing the United States, and every act done in its name. These people are incapable of giving the U.S. any constructive criticism because they don't share its interests. They don't like this country; most of them never did, and they probably never will. For years, they've been discussing their anti-Americanism within their own circles, and patting themselves and each other on the back for it. It's about time they were recognized by the mainstream of American society, and assigned the infamy they so richly deserve.
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