Court decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway upholding the constitutionality of the prayer practice of the Greece Town Board left many questions in its wake. Gregory Lipper, who will help us gain clarity and answer some questions about that ruling.
Gregory Lipper is the Senior Litigation Counsel at the Americans United for Separation of Church and State's national office. He will discuss what the Greece ruling means and what may come next for this local issue with far-reaching national implications.
In May of 2014, What's Hot aired an interview with Reverend Lewis Stewart. Rev. Stewart talked about United Christian Leadership Ministries--a new group he formed to fight for social justice. Rev. Stewart was involved in a push to get an independent civilian review board in the early 90's before becoming a prison chaplain. Howard Eagle engages Rev. Stewart about the past and the future of Rochester.
See the video here: http://vimeo.com/91808901
On April 29, 2014, Rochester Indymedia journalist Ted Forsyth and a few other witnesses testified in a court case in Dewitt--just outside of Syracuse--on behalf of John Amidon. Specifically, Amidon was arrested for attempted trespass and wearing a mask (the grim reaper) at an anti-drone demonstration last May. John got up on a barricade and was hauled off of it by Officer Brad Baker. The prosecution claimed Amidon was a potentially violent protester who was jumping the barricade in order to get others to follow. John got on the barricade to do a little dance for the crowd. Forsyth took video of his arrest and Amidon's being hauled off the barricade. The video was used in the trial multiple times.
On April 30th, the next morning, Kathy Manley--Amidon's attorney--sent this email:
"Hi Ted - If you haven't heard yet, we won on both charges. The victory may well not have happened without your video - it was really instrumental - we watched it probably 6 times during the trial and then the judge watched it again while he was deliberating. Without that the judge would likely have believed the cop claiming it looked like John was trying to/ about to cross the barrier.
"You were a great witness. Perhaps you shouldn't have been so sure about how many officers pulled him off them wall but it was an easy mistake to make, and no big deal. Thanks SO MUCH! - Kathy"
In more recent news, Judy Bello reports that, "Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced this evening after being convicted of Contempt of Court for violating the Order of Protection taken out by Col. Evans to keep her (and the rest of us- there are 50 outstanding) away from Hancock Base where the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars has been protesting for the last several years. She was sentenced to 1 year in Jail and a $1000 fine for walking in the road in front of the base during a demonstration despite the fact that she came as an observer and was just taking pictures. She was sent to jail immediately despite the fact that her attorney, Lance Salisbury, has made a request for a stay which will be reviewed next week."
This is a video of a talk titled "Everyday Revolutions" that took place at this year's Left Forum. Speakers included Leina Bocar, Dario Azzellini, Diego Ibañez, &
Marina Sitrin. The talk happened on May 31, 2014.
Millions of people around the globe have been organizing alternative value systems and social relationships to those of capitalism -- revolutionary alternatives -- still within capitalism, but against it -- aiming to overcome it. These alternatives are part of a process of creating everyday revolutions -- beginning to prefigure our desired future while still in the present. These everyday revolutions are one part of a larger anti-capitalist movement. In this panel we will discuss what some of these everyday revolutions look like, as defined by people in movement around the world. The discussion will range from the examples of recuperated workplaces, from Latin America to Europe; the new global movements and the focus on creating horizontal social relationships and the day to day organizing in Brooklyn for housing and self organization. There is no blueprint or academic framework that once met means revolution has been achieved, but rather we see it as an ongoing and changing process in which everyday revolutions is a key element.
What is the Left Forum?
Left Forum provides a context for the critical dialogue that is essential for a stronger Left and a more just society.
Each spring Left Forum convenes the largest gathering in North America of the US and international Left. Continuing a tradition begun in the 1960s, we bring together intellectuals and organizers to share perspectives, strategies, experience and vision. For the US and the world, revitalizing an American Left has never been more urgent; Left Forum has a critical role to play in that undertaking.
Our work parallels and cross-fertilizes with the renewal of left, progressive, radical and social movement strength elsewhere—from indigenous movements in Bolivia to the South Korean farmers to the electoral gains of European and Latin American left parties. Like many movements abroad, Left Forum seeks to link the critique of neo-liberalism to anti-capitalism, and to foster radical alternatives to the established order. Left Forum provides a context for critical engagement by people of different persuasions who, nevertheless, seek common ground. Please join with us for the 2014 Left Forum conference, taking place on May 30- June 1st at John Jay College in New York City. Details for submitting proposals will be posted soon.
Find out more: http://www.leftforum.org/about
On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a public hearing was held where the community gave nearly two hours of testimony regarding Ban the Box legislation. The legislation, The Opportunity to Compete Ordinance, was supported by a large body of public advocacy organizations as well as individuals with stories of discrimination and heartache over not being able to find legitimate work after doing their time for the crimes they committed. The bill was initially sponsored by Adam McFadden.
May 13, 2014:
City Council defered voting on the legislation because so few of the councilmembers were present. The vote was deferred to the following Tuesday, May 20.
On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, Rochester City Council voted unanimously to ban the box! According to the D&C, "The new law effects both public and private employers with four or more employees and is effective in 180 days.
"There are exceptions, such as for police and firefighters and other professions where felony convictions specifically bar a person from employment."
A collection of news articles and information on the legislation can be found at the Empire Justice website: http://www.empirejustice.org/policy-advocacy/collaborations/ban-the-box-...
May 20, 2014:
The press release from Tuesday, May 13, read: "NEED: One out of every four adults has an arrest or criminal record. 70% of employers currently ask in their job application whether an applicant has been convicted of a crime. If an applicant replies "yes", regardless of their skills and qualifications, in most cases, they will never be considered. Such discrimination not only decreases economic opportunity and public safety, but also violates New York State law and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) fair hiring recommendations.
"SOLUTION: Help the City of Rochester pass "The Opportunity to Compete Ordinance" to allow people with a conviction history to compete fairly for employment. It would require the City of Rochester, its contractors, and private employers located in the City to delay consideration of a job applicant's conviction history until after the employer conducts an initial interview or makes a conditional offer of employment.
"This Ordinance will increase fair hiring practices, reduce crime and recidivism, and allow all members of our community to meaningfully contribute to our local economy and achieve financial independence for themselves and their families.
- Removes Job Barriers
- Increases Fair Hiring Practices
- Reduces Crime and Recidivism
- Improves Public Safety
- Helps Families Achieve Financial Independence
- Is Good for the Local Economy
- Is Good for Business"
The push for Ban the Box legislation was supported by: Action for a Better Community • Bethany House • Catholic Family Center • The Center for Employment Opportunities • Center for Youth • Coffee Connection • Community Place of Greater Rochester • Delphi Drug & Alcohol Council • Empire Justice Center • Foodlink, Inc. • FR=EE Facing Race Embracing Equity • Genesee Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) NYCLU • Grace House Rochester • Judicial Process Commission - JPC • House of Mercy (Rochester, New York)• Huther-Doyle • IBERO • Legal Assistance of Western New York • Metro Justice • Mind Evolution • Pathway Houses of Rochester NY • POWER - People Organizing for Worker Empowerment & Respect (Worker Justice Group) • Poor Peoples' Coalition • Project Urge • Recovery Houses of Rochester • Rochester Interfaith Jail Ministry • Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach • Worker Justice Center of New York • YWCA • 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East •
On July 9, 2014, Rochester Indymedia sat down with Sister Grace Miller and C.W. Earlsey of House of Mercy to discuss the current issues facing poor people and people without homes in Rochester. Sister Grace and C.W. also updated us on the ongoing struggle to find a new, bigger building for their work, the situation with the folks living in the Civic Center Garage, and the ongoing denial of the county to take responsibility for burying the poor with dignity.
Finally, Sister Grace and C.W. announced an upcoming car raffle, dinner, and garage sale fundraiser to be held at Our Lady of Mercy High School (1437 Blossom Rd, Rochester, NY) on July 19, 2014 from 9am to 5pm.
For more information,
Or call at: 585-546-2580
[ed. note--Emma Goldman's first home after immigrating to the United States with her family was Rochester, NY. In a town that loves to proclaim its radical heritage with Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, Emma, the anarchist, seems to want to be forgotten. On this Fourth of July, check out her essay against patriotism.]
WHAT is patriotism? Is it love of one's birthplace, the place of childhood's recollections and hopes, dreams and aspirations? Is it the place where, in childlike naivety, we would watch the fleeting clouds, and wonder why we, too, could not run so swiftly? The place where we would count the milliard glittering stars, terror-stricken lest each one "an eye should be," piercing the very depths of our little souls? Is it the place where we would listen to the music of the birds, and long to have wings to fly, even as they, to distant lands? Or the place where we would sit at mother's knee, enraptured by wonderful tales of great deeds and conquests? In short, is it love for the spot, every inch representing dear and precious recollections of a happy, joyous, and playful childhood?
If that were patriotism, few American men of today could be called upon to be patriotic, since the place of play has been turned into factory, mill, and mine, while deafening sounds of machinery have replaced the music of the birds. Nor can we longer hear the tales of great deeds, for the stories our mothers tell today are but those of sorrow, tears, and grief.
What, then, is patriotism? "Patriotism, sir, is the last resort of scoundrels," said Dr. Johnson. Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our times, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment for the exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities of life as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory than that of the average workingman.
Gustave Hervé, another great anti-patriot, justly calls patriotism a superstition--one far more injurious, brutal, and inhumane than religion. The superstition of religion originated in man's inability to explain natural phenomena. That is, when primitive man heard thunder or saw the lightning, he could not account for either, and therefore concluded that back of them must be a force greater than himself. Similarly he saw a supernatural force in the rain, and in the various other changes in nature. Patriotism, on the other hand, is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.
Indeed, conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others.
The inhabitants of the other spots reason in like manner, of course, with the result that, from early infancy, the mind of the child is poisoned with bloodcurdling stories about the Germans, the French, the Italians, Russians, etc. When the child has reached manhood, he is thoroughly saturated with the belief that he is chosen by the Lord himself to defend his country against the attack or invasion of any foreigner. It is for that purpose that we are clamoring for a greater army and navy, more battleships and ammunition. It is for that purpose that America has within a short time spent four hundred million dollars. Just think of it--four hundred million dollars taken from the produce of the people. For surely it is not the rich who contribute to patriotism. They are cosmopolitans, perfectly at home in every land. We in America know well the truth of this. Are not our rich Americans Frenchmen in France, Germans in Germany, or Englishmen in England? And do they not squandor with cosmopolitan grace fortunes coined by American factory children and cotton slaves? Yes, theirs is the patriotism that will make it possible to send messages of condolence to a despot like the Russian Tsar, when any mishap befalls him, as President Roosevelt did in the name of his people, when Sergius was punished by the Russian revolutionists.
It is a patriotism that will assist the arch-murderer, Diaz, in destroying thousands of lives in Mexico, or that will even aid in arresting Mexican revolutionists on American soil and keep them incarcerated in American prisons, without the slightest cause or reason.
But, then, patriotism is not for those who represent wealth and power. It is good enough for the people. It reminds one of the historic wisdom of Frederick the Great, the bosom friend of Voltaire, who said: "Religion is a fraud, but it must be maintained for the masses."
That patriotism is rather a costly institution, no one will doubt after considering the following statistics. The progressive increase of the expenditures for the leading armies and navies of the world during the last quarter of a century is a fact of such gravity as to startle every thoughtful student of economic problems. It may be briefly indicated by dividing the time from 1881 to 1905 into five-year periods, and noting the disbursements of several great nations for army and navy purposes during the first and last of those periods. From the first to the last of the periods noted the expenditures of Great Britain increased from $2,101,848,936 to $4,143,226,885, those of France from $3,324,500,000 to $3,455,109,900, those of Germany from $725,000,200 to $2,700,375,600, those of the United States from $1,275,500,750 to $2,650,900,450, those of Russia from $1,900,975,500 to $5,250,445,100, those of Italy from $1,600,975,750 to $1,755,500,100, and those of Japan from $182,900,500 to $700,925,475.
The military expenditures of each of the nations mentioned increased in each of the five-year periods under review. During the entire interval from 1881 to 1905 Great Britain's outlay for her army increased fourfold, that of the United States was tripled, Russia's was doubled, that of Germany increased 35 per cent., that of France about 15 per cent., and that of Japan nearly 500 per cent. If we compare the expenditures of these nations upon their armies with their total expenditures for all the twenty-five years ending with 1905, the proportion rose as follows:
In Great Britain from 20 per cent. to 37; in the United States from 15 to 23; in France from 16 to 18; in Italy from 12 to 15; in Japan from 12 to 14. On the other hand, it is interesting to note that the proportion in Germany decreased from about 58 per cent. to 25, the decrease being due to the enormous increase in the imperial expenditures for other purposes, the fact being that the army expenditures for the period of 190I-5 were higher than for any five-year period preceding. Statistics show that the countries in which army expenditures are greatest, in proportion to the total national revenues, are Great Britain, the United States, Japan, France, and Italy, in the order named.
The showing as to the cost of great navies is equally impressive. During the twenty-five years ending with 1905 naval expenditures increased approximately as follows: Great Britain, 300 per cent.; France 60 per cent.; Germany 600 per cent.; the United States 525 per cent.; Russia 300 per cent.; Italy 250 per cent.; and Japan, 700 per cent. With the exception of Great Britain, the United States spends more for naval purposes than any other nation, and this expenditure bears also a larger proportion to the entire national disbursements than that of any other power. In the period 1881-5, the expenditure for the United States navy was $6.20 out of each $100 appropriated for all national purposes; the amount rose to $6.60 for the next five-year period, to $8.10 for the next, to $11.70 for the next, and to $16.40 for 1901-5. It is morally certain that the outlay for the current period of five years will show a still further increase.
The rising cost of militarism may be still further illustrated by computing it as a per capita tax on population. From the first to the last of the five-year periods taken as the basis for the comparisons here given, it has risen as follows: In Great Britain, from $18.47 to $52.50; in France, from $19.66 to $23.62; in Germany, from $10.17 to $15.51; in the United States, from $5.62 to $13.64; in Russia, from $6.14 to $8.37; in Italy, from $9.59 to $11.24, and in Japan from 86 cents to $3.11.
It is in connection with this rough estimate of cost per capita that the economic burden of militarism is most appreciable. The irresistible conclusion from available data is that the increase of expenditure for army and navy purposes is rapidly surpassing the growth of population in each of the countries considered in the present calculation. In other words, a continuation of the increased demands of militarism threatens each of those nations with a progressive exhaustion both of men and resources.
The awful waste that patriotism necessitates ought to be sufficient to cure the man of even average intelligence from this disease. Yet patriotism demands still more. The people are urged to be patriotic and for that luxury they pay, not only by supporting their "defenders," but even by sacrificing their own children. Patriotism requires allegiance to the flag, which means obedience and readiness to kill father, mother, brother, sister.
The usual contention is that we need a standing army to protect the country from foreign invasion. Every intelligent man and woman knows, however, that this is a myth maintained to frighten and coerce the foolish. The governments of the world, knowing each other's interests, do not invade each other. They have learned that they can gain much more by international arbitration of disputes than by war and conquest. Indeed, as Carlyle said, "War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle; therefore they take boys from one village and another village, stick them into uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against each other."
It does not require much wisdom to trace every war back to a similar cause. Let us take our own Spanish-American war, supposedly a great and patriotic event in the history of the United States. How our hearts burned with indignation against the atrocious Spaniards! True, our indignation did not flare up spontaneously. It was nurtured by months of newspaper agitation, and long after Butcher Weyler had killed off many noble Cubans and outraged many Cuban women. Still, in justice to the American Nation be it said, it did grow indignant and was willing to fight, and that it fought bravely. But when the smoke was over, the dead buried, and the cost of the war came back to the people in an increase in the price of commodities and rent--that is, when we sobered up from our patriotic spree it suddenly dawned on us that the cause of the Spanish-American war was the consideration of the price of sugar; or, to be more explicit, that the lives, blood, and money of the American people were used to protect the interests of American capitalists, which were threatened by the Spanish government. That this is not an exaggeration, but is based on absolute facts and figures, is best proven by the attitude of the American government to Cuban labor. When Cuba was firmly in the clutches of the United States, the very soldiers sent to liberate Cuba were ordered to shoot Cuban workingmen during the great cigarmakers' strike, which took place shortly after the war.
Nor do we stand alone in waging war for such causes. The curtain is beginning to be lifted on the motives of the terrible Russo-Japanese war, which cost so much blood and tears. And we see again that back of the fierce Moloch of war stands the still fiercer god of Commercialism. Kuropatkin, the Russian Minister of War during the Russo-Japanese struggle, has revealed the true secret behind the latter. The Tsar and his Grand Dukes, having invested money in Corean concessions, the war was forced for the sole purpose of speedily accumulating large fortunes.
The contention that a standing army and navy is the best security of peace is about as logical as the claim that the most peaceful citizen is he who goes about heavily armed. The experience of every-day life fully proves that the armed individual is invariably anxious to try his strength. The same is historically true of governments. Really peaceful countries do not waste life and energy in war preparations, With the result that peace is maintained.
However, the clamor for an increased army and navy is not due to any foreign danger. It is owing to the dread of the growing discontent of the masses and of the international spirit among the workers. It is to meet the internal enemy that the Powers of various countries are preparing themselves; an enemy, who, once awakened to consciousness, will prove more dangerous than any foreign invader.
The powers that have for centuries been engaged in enslaving the masses have made a thorough study of their psychology. They know that the people at large are like children whose despair, sorrow, and tears can be turned into joy with a little toy. And the more gorgeously the toy is dressed, the louder the colors, the more it will appeal to the million-headed child.
An army and navy represents the people's toys. To make them more attractive and acceptable, hundreds and thousands of dollars are being spent for the display of these toys. That was the purpose of the American government in equipping a fleet and sending it along the Pacific coast, that every American citizen should be made to feel the pride and glory of the United States. The city of San Francisco spent one hundred thousand dollars for the entertainment of the fleet; Los Angeles, sixty thousand; Seattle and Tacoma, about one hundred thousand. To entertain the fleet, did I say? To dine and wine a few superior officers, while the "brave boys" had to mutiny to get sufficient food. Yes, two hundred and sixty thousand dollars were spent on fireworks, theatre parties, and revelries, at a time when men, women, and child}en through the breadth and length of the country were starving in the streets; when thousands of unemployed were ready to sell their labor at any price.
Two hundred and sixty thousand dollars! What could not have been accomplished with such an enormous sum? But instead of bread and shelter, the children of those cities were taken to see the fleet, that it may remain, as one of the newspapers said, "a lasting memory for the child."
A wonderful thing to remember, is it not? The implements of civilized slaughter. If the mind of the child is to be poisoned with such memories, what hope is there for a true realization of human brotherhood?
We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that it will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations.
Such is the logic of patriotism.
Considering the evil results that patriotism is fraught with for the average man, it is as nothing compared with the insult and injury that patriotism heaps upon the soldier himself,--that poor, deluded victim of superstition and ignorance. He, the savior of his country, the protector of his nation,--what has patriotism in store for him? A life of slavish submission, vice, and perversion, during peace; a life of danger, exposure, and death, during war.
While on a recent lecture tour in San Francisco, I visited the Presidio, the most beautiful spot overlooking the Bay and Golden Gate Park. Its purpose should have been playgrounds for children, gardens and music for the recreation of the weary. Instead it is made ugly, dull, and gray by barracks,--barracks wherein the rich would not allow their dogs to dwell. In these miserable shanties soldiers are herded like cattle; here they waste their young days, polishing the boots and brass buttons of their superior officers. Here, too, I saw the distinction of classes: sturdy sons of a free Republic, drawn up in line like convicts, saluting every passing shrimp of a lieutenant. American equality, degrading manhood and elevating the uniform!
Barrack life further tends to develop tendencies of sexual perversion. It is gradually producing along this line results similar to European military conditions. Havelock Ellis, the noted writer on sex psychology, has made a thorough study of the subject. I quote: "Some of the barracks are great centers of male prostitution.... The number of soldiers who prostitute themselves is greater than we are willing to believe. It is no exaggeration to say that in certain regiments the presumption is in favor of the venality of the majority of the men.... On summer evenings Hyde Park and the neighborhood of Albert Gate are full of guardsmen and others plying a lively trade, and with little disguise, in uniform or out.... In most cases the proceeds form a comfortable addition to Tommy Atkins' pocket money."
To what extent this perversion has eaten its way into the army and navy can best be judged from the fact that special houses exist for this form of prostitution. The practice is not limited to England; it is universal. "Soldiers are no less sought after in France than in England or in Germany, and special houses for military prostitution exist both in Paris and the garrison towns."
Had Mr. Havelock Ellis included America in his investigation of sex perversion, he would have found that the same conditions prevail in our army and navy as in those of other countries. The growth of the standing army inevitably adds to the spread of sex perversion; the barracks are the incubators.
Aside from the sexual effects of barrack life, it also tends to unfit the soldier for useful labor after leaving the army. Men, skilled in a trade, seldom enter the army or navy, but even they, after a military experience, find themselves totally unfitted for their former occupations. Having acquired habits of idleness and a taste for excitement and adventure, no peaceful pursuit can content them. Released from the army, they can turn to no useful work. But it is usually the social riff-raff, discharged prisoners and the like, whom either the struggle for life or their own inclination drives into the ranks. These, their military term over, again turn to their former life of crime, more brutalized and degraded than before. It is a well-known fact that in our prisons there is a goodly number of ex-soldiers; while, on the other hand, the army and navy are to a great extent plied with ex-convicts.
Of all the evil results I have just described none seems to me so detrimental to human integrity as the spirit patriotism has produced in the case of Private William Buwalda. Because he foolishly believed that one can be a soldier and exercise his rights as a man at the same time, the military authorities punished him severely. True, he had served his country fifteen years, during which time his record was unimpeachable. According to Gen. Funston, who reduced Buwalda's sentence to three years, "the first duty of an officer or an enlisted man is unquestioned obedience and loyalty to the government, and it makes no difference whether he approves of that government or not." Thus Funston stamps the true character of allegiance. According to him, entrance into the army abrogates the principles of the Declaration of Independence.
What a strange development of patriotism that turns a thinking being into a loyal machine!
In justification of this most outrageous sentence of Buwalda, Gen. Funston tells the American people that the soldier's action was "a serious crime equal to treason." Now, what did this "terrible crime" really consist of? Simply in this: William Buwalda was one of fifteen hundred people who attended a public meeting in San Francisco; and, oh, horrors, he shook hands with the speaker, Emma Goldman. A terrible crime, indeed, which the General calls "a great military offense, infinitely worse than desertion."
Can there be a greater indictment against patriotism than that it will thus brand a man a criminal, throw him into prison, and rob him of the results of fifteen years of faithful service?
Buwalda gave to his country the best years of his life and his very manhood. But all that was as nothing. Patriotism is inexorable and, like all insatiable monsters, demands all or nothing. It does not admit that a soldier is also a human being, who has a right to his own feelings and opinions, his own inclinations and ideas. No, patriotism can not admit of that. That is the lesson which Buwalda was made to learn; made to learn at a rather costly, though not at a useless price. When he returned to freedom, he had lost his position in the army, but he regained his self-respect. After all, that is worth three years of imprisonment.
A writer on the military conditions of America, in a recent article, commented on the power of the military man over the civilian in Germany. He said, among other things, that if our Republic had no other meaning than to guarantee all citizens equal rights, it would have just cause for existence. I am convinced that the writer was not in Colorado during the patriotic régime of General Bell. He probably would have changed his mind had he seen how, in the name of patriotism and the Republic, men were thrown into bull-pens, dragged about, driven across the border, and subjected to all kinds of indignities. Nor is that Colorado incident the only one in the growth of military power in the United States. There is hardly a strike where troops and militia do not come to the rescue of those in power, and where they do not act as arrogantly and brutally as do the men wearing the Kaiser's uniform. Then, too, we have the Dick military law. Had the writer forgotten that?
A great misfortune with most of our writers is that they are absolutely ignorant on current events, or that, lacking honesty, they will not speak of these matters. And so it has come to pass that the Dick military law was rushed through Congress with little discussion and still less publicity,--a law which gives the President the power to turn a peaceful citizen into a bloodthirsty man-killer, supposedly for the defense of the country, in reality for the protection of the interests of that particular party whose mouthpiece the President happens to be.
Our writer claims that militarism can never become such a power in America as abroad, since it is voluntary with us, while compulsory in the Old World. Two very important facts, however, the gentleman forgets to consider. First, that conscription has created in Europe a deep-seated hatred of militarism among all classes of society. Thousands of young recruits enlist under protest and, once in the army, they will use every possible means to desert. Second, that it is the compulsory feature of militarism which has created a tremendous anti-militarist movement, feared by European Powers far more than anything else. After all, the greatest bulwark of capitalism is militarism. The very moment the latter is undermined, capitalism will totter. True, we have no conscription; that is, men are not usually forced to enlist in the army, but we have developed a far more exacting and rigid force--necessity. Is it not a fact that during industrial depressions there is a tremendous increase in the number of enlistments? The trade of militarism may not be either lucrative or honorable, but it is better than tramping the country in search of work, standing in the bread line, or sleeping in municipal lodging houses. After all, it means thirteen dollars per month, three meals a day, and a place to sleep. Yet even necessity is not sufficiently strong a factor to bring into the army an element of character and manhood. No wonder our military authorities complain of the "poor material" enlisting in the army and navy. This admission is a very encouraging sign. It proves that there is still enough of the spirit of independence and love of liberty left in the average American to risk starvation rather than don the uniform.
Thinking men and women the world over are beginning to realize that patriotism is too narrow and limited a conception to meet the necessities of our time. The centralization of power has brought into being an international feeling of solidarity among the oppressed nations of the world; a solidarity which represents a greater harmony of interests between the workingman of America and his brothers abroad than between the American miner and his exploiting compatriot; a solidarity which fears not foreign invasion, because it is bringing all the workers to the point when they will say to their masters, "Go and do your own killing. We have done it long enough for you."
This solidarity is awakening the consciousness of even the soldiers, they, too, being flesh of the flesh of the great human family. A solidarity that has proven infallible more than once during past struggles, and which has been the impetus inducing the Parisian soldiers, during the Commune of 1871, to refuse to obey when ordered to shoot their brothers. It has given courage to the men who mutinied on Russian warships during recent years. It will eventually bring about the uprising of all the oppressed and downtrodden against their international exploiters.
The proletariat of Europe has realized the great force of that solidarity and has, as a result, inaugurated a war against patriotism and its bloody spectre, militarism. Thousands of men fill the prisons of France, Germany, Russia, and the Scandinavian countries, because they dared to defy the ancient superstition. Nor is the movement limited to the working class; it has embraced representatives in all stations of life, its chief exponents being men and women prominent in art, science, and letters.
America will have to follow suit. The spirit of militarism has already permeated all walks of life. Indeed, I am convinced that militarism is growing a greater danger here than anywhere else, because of the many bribes capitalism holds out to those whom it wishes to destroy.
The beginning has already been made in the schools. Evidently the government holds to the Jesuitical conception, "Give me the child mind, and I will mould the man." Children are trained in military tactics, the glory of military achievements extolled in the curriculum, and the youthful minds perverted to suit the government. Further, the youth of the country is appealed to in glaring posters to join the army and navy. "A fine chance to see the world!" cries the governmental huckster. Thus innocent boys are morally shanghaied into patriotism, and the military Moloch strides conquering through the Nation.
The American workingman has suffered so much at the hands of the soldier, State and Federal, that he is quite justified in his disgust with, and his opposition to, the uniformed parasite. However, mere denunciation will not solve this great problem. What we need is a propaganda of education for the soldier: antipatriotic literature that will enlighten him as to the real horrors of his trade, and that will awaken his consciousness to his true relation to the man to whose labor he owes his very existence. It is precisely this that the authorities fear most. It is already high treason for a soldier to attend a radical meeting. No doubt they will also stamp it high treason for a soldier to read a radical pamphlet. But, then, has not authority from time immemorial stamped every step of progress as treasonable? Those, however, who earnestly strive for social reconstruction can well afford to face all that; for it is probably even more important to carry the truth into the barracks than into the factory. When we have undermined the patriotic lie, we shall have cleared the path for that great structure wherein all nationalities shall be united into a universal brotherhood, --a truly FREE SOCIETY.
Ukraine for much of its history has been fraught with complex problems. Our three panelists have the experience and expertise to address these issues. We call on you, the audience, as well, to help us understand what is going on in this dangerous corner of the world. Presentations by the panelists were followed by questions and answers, and discussion.
Olena M Prokopovych is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Nazareth College. She is director of Legal Studies and pre-law advisor. Her research interests include American government and politics, constitutional history, and comparative health care policy. A native of Ukraine, with family there, she has been a close observer of these last months' unfolding events in Ukraine.
Matthew E Lenoe is Associate Professor of History and department chair at the University of Rochester. His field is European history with specialties in Russian and Soviet history. His first book, Closer to the Masses: Stalinist Culture, Social Revolution and Soviet Newspapers (2004), examined the origins of high Stalinist culture. He is also engaged in research on the experiences of Soviet infantrymen during the early Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and the history of propaganda and surveillance worldwide.
Joe Crescente holds graduate degrees from Indiana University in Russian and Ukrainian studies and Anthropology from New York University. Recently he returned from two years working for a State Department-financed non-profit organization in Moscow. He is founder of the Indiana University Ukrainian Studies Organization and has written for many publications on topics relevant to the region such as Russia Profile, Russia Behind the Headlines, Ab Imperio and Kinokultra.
Many thanks to Gail Mott and the Downtown United Presbyterian Church for the use of the space, my fellow members in Rochester Against War and Melissa Sydor-Kauffman for their help with this forum
original article: http://www.minorityreporter.net/fullstory/fullstory.php?id=2110
Wed, May 28, 2014
As I stood at the podium, in the third-floor chambers of City Hall during a May 20 Rochester City Council meeting, I thought about how amazing it was that I had stood in the exact same spot 25 years earlier, with men and women such as Minister Franklin Florence Sr., the Late Rev. Raymond Graves, Minister Lewis Stewart, Rev. Dr. John Walker, Rev. Willie Harvey, Sister Grace Miller, Sister Rita, Ms. Gwen Byrd, and many others.
Three of those people were also present May 20.
Amazingly, we had been there 25 years ago for the same purpose that we attended the May 20 meeting, i.e., to impress upon city leaders the importance of implementing an independent, civilian review process regarding brutal behavior by some members of the Rochester Police Department (RPD) .
We were there in order to bring those whom Rev. Graves was fond of identifying as "abusive, rogue cops" under control.
It is even more amazing that some of the people referenced above had organized, and pushed for, an independent, civilian review process at least 20 years before I was involved.
So, on May 20, there we were; at least 45 years after the very first efforts, still raising the same crystal-clear need.
For well over two decades, Rochester has had a watered-down, toothless-tiger, form of civilian review for the RPD. We know that the current process is fundamentally lacking, and flawed, in the sense that the existing, so-called Civilian Review Board has no investigative, nor subpoena, power or authority.
In fact, it has no real power or authority at all. That is, once the current board completes investigations, no matter what they find or recommend, their recommendations can be, and routinely are, overruled by the police chief, the latter of whom has the final, exclusive say regarding decisions.
This represents the mechanism by which rogue officers are almost always exonerated, relative to abusive, and, in some cases, criminal behavior.
When, for example, a racist, rogue cop is video recorded beating a pregnant black woman, as officer Lucas Krull did in the case of Brenda Hardaway, and is not only exonerated, but also conspires with Monroe County's district attorney to put Hardaway in jail for six months; we know that the current system of so-called civilian review is flawed and ineffective.
When a disabled man, like Benny Warr, can be flipped over in his wheel chair by a rogue cop, while several other so-called "peace officers" stand around watching, and everyone in blue is investigated and exonerated by the police chief; it is clear that we definitely need a new system of civilian review concerning abusive, rogue RPD officers.
The examples above are just two of the most recent. There have been many such cases through the years, which is why grassroots, community leaders have been working to bring about an independent civilian review process for at least 45 years, which needs to include full investigative and subpoena power and authority.
This is why we were at the City Council meeting on May 20. It's why we attended such meetings 25 years earlier, and why some of our elders had worked on this issue at least two decades prior to our efforts during the 1980s.
During my speech on May 20, I had mentioned to city leaders that it is important for them, indeed for all of us, to pay close attention to, and learn from history. It is very important for leaders to consider that, in July of 1964, almost 50 years ago, when Rochester became the first northern city to experience a major uprising or rebellion (not riot); overall socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and sociocultural conditions were nearly perfectly parallel to current overall conditions.
This includes super-high unemployment (according to Mayor Warren, higher in some neighborhoods than at any time since the Great Depression); drastically poor housing conditions; and a lack of access to quality health care and quality education for huge numbers of people.
And then, of course, there is absolutely no denying the fact that one of the most pivotal issues relative to igniting the explosion of July 1964 was ongoing, rampant police brutality, and abuse of power and authority; which is why there were calls for an independent civilian review process, with full investigative and subpoena power, actually as early as the late 1950s.
As I’ve said to city leaders, this is not an issue of attempting to be alarmist or inflammatory, but we know that history does have a knack for repeating itself; especially when socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and sociocultural conditions, such as those listed above, remain stagnant, or grow worse.
I sincerely hope that we never have to say to city leaders, 'We told you so.'
In any case, Rev. Lewis Stewart, United Christian Leadership Ministries (UCLM), and others have launched yet another effort to produce long overdue, independent civilian review and oversight of the RPD, particularly as it relates to those among them who are intent on disrespecting and abusing people they've sworn to serve and protect.
For more information, contact Rev. Lewis Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org, (585) 454-0077, and/or drop by UCLM's Office, located in the Downtown United Presbyterian Church at 121 N. Fitzhugh Street.
Songs of Freedom is a celebration of the life and work of James Connolly, the Irish labor organizer and revolutionary martyred by the British government for his role in one of the most dramatic events in Ireland's anticolonial history - the Easter Rising of 1916. Mat Callahan, the editor of Songs of Freedom, and Yvonne Moore perform pieces from James Connolly's original songbook and discuss the life and work of one of Ireland's greatest revolutionary heroes.
Songs of Freedom is the name of the songbook edited by James Connolly and published in 1907. This book is at once a collection of stirring revolutionary songs and a vital historical document.
"Until the movement is marked by the joyous, defiant singing of revolutionary songs, it lacks one of the most distinctive marks of a popular revolutionary movement, it is the dogma of a few and not the faith of the multitude."
- James Connolly
The event was brought to Rochester by Rochester Red & Black.