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Archive for the ‘Now who’s the terrorist?’ Category

AIM_poster background, additional graphics by Jenny Grossbard based on the speech by Moonanum Jamesspeech by Moonanum James, Co-Leader of UNAINE, at the 29th National Day of Mourning, November 26, 1998:[4]  Some ask us: Will you ever stop protesting? Some day we will stop protesting: We will stop protesting when the merchants of Plymouth are no longer making millions of dollars off the blood of our slaughtered ancestors. We will stop protesting when we can act as sovereign nations on our own land without the interference of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and what Sitting Bull called the "favorite ration chiefs." When corporations stop polluting our mother, the earth. When racism has been eradicated. When the oppression of Two-Spirited people is a thing of the past. We will stop protesting when homeless people have homes and no child goes to bed hungry. When police brutality no longer exists in communities of color. We will stop protesting when Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal and the Puerto Rican independentistas and all the political prisoners are free. Until then, the struggle will continue.

AIM_poster background, additional graphics by Jenny Grossbard based on the speech by Moonanum James

This page is being updated with new links, throughout the day, with the newest posts at the top of the page.

it is impossible to separate this gluttony with the symbolism, its origins, the narrative taught in classrooms throughout the country, and what this holiday means to native american people. it’s sort of like leonard cohen saying he can play… tel aviv as long as he donates the money to an israeli “human rights” organization and mentions the palestinians. nice of HIM to decide for palestinian civil society what’s the “right” way to support justice! this holiday is rooted in the amerikan settler colonial narrative (i watched from my porch, mexican and central american kids, walking home from school with “indian” headresses on, made of paper;) when we confront empire, power, racism and genocide we can’t do it separate from that history and its impositions and the impact its “celebration” has on the people on whose bones we chew. -emma rosenthal- cafe intifada
A few Links on Thanksgiving: The Amerikan Settler Colonial Narrative

After a colonial militia had returned from murdering the men, women, and children of an Indian village, the governor proclaimed a holiday and feast to give thanks for the massacre. He encouraged other colonies to do likewise—in other words, every autumn the crops are in, go kill Indians and celebrate your murders with a feast.”

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It is easier to teach a fairy tale than to teach that the first thanksgiving was a celebration of the massacre of defenseless Indian people.” – Leonard Peltier.
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THE TRUTH ABOUT THANKSGiViNG By Yo’Nas Da Lonewolf-McCall Muhammad

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“So let us be very careful when we think we know our ancestors and our history.  Let us not be captivated by romanticism or  the movie-making of Hollywood or particularly the patriarchal conquerors who would re-write history for the sake of their legacies as they white-wash their misdeeds, greed and exploitation.”

www.examiner.com

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www.youtube.com

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Russell Means Speaks…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J_XhkhkCnM

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‪Mumia Abu-Jamal “Some Who Feel No Reason For Thanksgiving”

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Custer Died For Your Sins – Thank you for the world so sweet

www.youtube.com

A beautiful old Floyd Westerman song, sung here by Daniel Patrick Welch. Look him up–his album for which this is the title track is still available somewhere. Incredibly moving lyrics, very apropos for thanksgiving, modern US history, and any hope for a just world. ..

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Native American history mocked by ignorant culture

www.youtube.com

From Mumia Abu Jamal: Most Americans do not know and do not care to know anything about Native history or culture. What is passed off as Native comes from cartoons, a few racist as hell movies, and totally fictional public school education myths.

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Jensen: How I stopped hating Thanksgiving

www.statesman.com

I have stopped hating Thanksgiving and learned to be afraid of the holiday. Over the past few years a growing number of white people have joined the longstanding indigenous people’s critique of the holocaust denial that is at the heart of the Thanksgiving

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The celebration of land grabs and settler colonialism. Pass the dead bird!http://www.oyate.org/resources/shortthanks.html

www.oyate.org

“Deconstructing the Myths of “The First Thanksgiving”by Judy Dow (Abenaki) and Beverly SlapinRevised 06/12/06 What is it about the story of “The First Thanksgiving” that makes it essential to be taught in virtually every grade from preschool through high school? What is it about the story that is s…

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Kids Reenact The First Thanksgiving With Smallpox Blankets And Whiskey (VIDEO)

www.huffingtonpost.com

How did the Pilgrims celebrate the first Thanksgiving? According to these adorable young history buffs, with blankets covered in smallpox.

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‎”George Washington orders, 1779: “lay waste all the Iroquois settlements…not be merely overrun but destroyed…You will not listen to any overture of peace before the total ruin of their settlements…Our FUTURE SECURITY will be in THEIR INABILITY TO INJURE US…& in the TERROR with which the severity of the chastise…ment they receive will inspire them.” “Preventive” war using terror!!”

Terror and Preventive War are “American” Values | S. Brian Willson

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Happy Indigenous Solidarity Day!

Tomorrow 12:30am at Everywhere

The injustices that Native Americans face today are varied. Some, including poverty, health care, education, and violence against women, affect many others in United States, but are exacerbated in Native Americans’ case because of jurisdictional issues and historic marginalization. Other justice issues, including tribal sovereignty, and certain immigration issues and violations of religious liberty, are unique to the Native American experience. Source: http://www.uua.org/socialjustice/issues/economicracial/nativeamerican/index.shtml

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=146529988728130 Happy  Indigenous Solidarity Day

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National Day of Mourning

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Day_of_Mourning_(United_States_protest)

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Thanksgiving and Forgotten Genocide: Brainwashing in American Textbooks by Jehanzeb Dar

http://muslimreverie.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/thanksgiving-and-forgotten-genocide-brainwashing-of-american-textbooks/

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With 70 people reported injured in the attack on the flotilla, surely some of them will acquire permanent dis-abilities. will they be part of an inclusive movement, or will they be sidelined for the consequences of their bravery and sacrifice?Too often, activists with dis-abilities, are discarded or dismissed within the movement, EVEN when their dis-abilities were the result of their courage and resistance to repression.

Dis-ability rights, isn’t a separate issue. No community is fully organized, if members of that community are excluded. We are everyone. We are everywhere. We aren’t cute stories to provide inspiration, or freak show entertainment. We are YOU!

Who do we exclude when we fail to include?

For guidelines for full inclusion: (cut and paste link if it doesn’t work!)

http://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/guide-to-accessible%20event-planning/

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Facebook Status Montage

 
Facebook provides an amazing network of activists, writers, photographers, artists.  Here are commentaries by some of my facebook (and in some cases, real life) friends, allies, comrades. 

Majed Abusalama “All Gaza people are praying in solidarity with our friends in the flotilla , Gaza is so angry now , Mosques is calling all the people to make protests in the streets , the streets are full of people ! A new Intifada in Gaza will start! My beloved Gazan people are so angry ! we are with all our friends in the Peaceful boats ! Let us act now” Gaza, Occupied Palestine

 

Tamara Joy Rettino “Before sleep, two thoughts: 1. The Israeli army attacked and killed 16 civilians bringing humanitarian aid to blockaded Gaza. This is an atrocity. 2. BUT this is simply a symptom of Israel’s systemic violence. The vast majority of men, women, and children injured and killed and occupied by the Israeli Army are unarmed civilians.” Los Angeles, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Don Emmerich ” Since the Gaza Massacre, public opinion has been turning against Israel. Now Israel continues damning itself. Now is the time for us to remain calm and reasonable. Yes, anger is okay, but we must calmly and reasonably expose the truth. Don’t give the media the chance to slander us and our cause.”  -Denver, Colorado, Occupied Amerika

 

Jay Cassano “Israel afraid of Palestinians receiving cement, wheelchairs, and water purifiers. For shame.” Amherst, Massachusetts, Occupied Amerika

 

Elise Hendrick “For anyone still confused: Piracy is what the Israeli Navy is in the process of doing right now, not what Somali fishermen are doing to protect their territorial waters.”  Cincinnati, Ohio, Occupied Amerika

 

Emily Jacir “thinks its sheer insanity that EU nations are issuing statements that they are “shocked” about the Israeli massacre of unarmed peace activists in international waters. Really? You are shocked that Israel would do this? Where have you been the last 62 years? oh thats right quietly supporting Israel and turning a blind eye to a sea of massacres.”   Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

 

Sasha Crow “There is appropriate outrage today of its murders of internationals on the Gaza aid flotilla but the state of Israel has been murderers since its inception. Our outrage should be constant and relentless against its ongoing murders – not only of internationals but also of its taking of equally valuable Palestinian lives.” Amman, Jordan

 

Ali Abunimah “States failed to act so a people’s navy was formed, carrying no weapons & much love, to run an unjust blockade.”  Chicago, Il, Occupied Amerika

 

Ben White “globalise the intifada”

 

Nada Elia “You do NOT have the right to remain silent, and still claim that you have a modicum of decency.” Seattle, WA, Occupied Amerika

 

Tom Vee “When you open fire on a ship and drop heavily armed masked men from the sky in the middle of the night you forfeit any “self-defense” claim.” Oakland, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Ben White “i hope congress boosts its aid to Israel next year to combat the threat of bagged marbles”

 

Anne Key “How many BBC reporters does it take to fix a liebulb?”  Cumbria, England.

 

Dina Odetalla “Release the names of our dead friends”

 

Jehanzeb Dar “Attacking Gaza aid boats, advancing the war in Afghanistan, and ordering drone strikes on Pakistan all kill innocent civilians and are deserving of equal and bold international condemnation.” Langhorne, PA, Occupied Amerika

 

Emman Chehade Randazo “Mark our words Israel, we will never let you forget the carnage you have caused over the past 62 years. If not in our lifetime, then our children and their children will carry the torch and we will never forget, we will build museums, make documentaries, shout our hellacious experiences from the rooftops, and you will be spit on by history as the garbage superficial morally lacking thieving entity you are.” Chicago, IL, Occupied Amerika

 

Hussam Ayloush “While this new massacre is not the first in Israel’s history and possibly not going to be the last, it still indicates a growing Israeli arrogance, carelessness, and disregard for the world’s reaction or to the sanctity of the lives of those who disagree with its policies.”  Anaheim, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Sylvia Posadas “after the F35s – I think Turkey has at a least a signed contract, the US keeps delaying the signing of Israel’s toys guarantee.  Turkey could stop Israel’s water contract, rip up the drone contract, tell elbit and iai to take a hike. Yet, then Turkey would have to face the US. Still, the US needs Turkey in NATO – without Turkey’s boots on the ground, the US presence in Afghanistan would be through. The EU, where the richest US $ investments are, needs Turkey as a transit for energy.

Turkey can wait, keeping a low profile, working on its regional trade alliances and patching up all wounds till the empire falls a little more, dragged down by its zionist accomplice.” Noosa, Queensland, Occupied Australia

 

Human Rights Watch “A prompt, credible, and impartial investigation is absolutely essential to determine whether the lethal force used by Israeli commandos was necessary to protect lives and whether it could have been avoided. Given Israel’s poor track record of investigating unlawful killings by its armed forces, the international community should closely monitor any inquiry to ensure it meets basic international standards and that any wrongdoers are brought to justice”

 

Tamara Joy Ruttino “Israel is STILL refusing to release the names and bodies and whereabouts of the dead, injured, and prisoners from the Free Gaza Flotilla. They have forced an information blackout, and who knows what they are doing to our people…I am OUTRAGED at Israel’s flagrant violation of international law and lack of basic common decency. Guess what Israel? THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING. “  Los Angeles, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Donna K.Khorsheed “ MV Rachel Corrie set sail Monday from Malta with goal of breaking Israel’s blockade of Gaza ~ Our hearts are with you ~”  San Francisco, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Steve Cooke “supports the right of people on aid convoy ships to defend themselves from state pirates.” Stockton-on Tees, England

 

Dirk Adrieansens “Following Israel’s criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, the Rachel Corrie MV continues to sail towards the Gaza coastline in defiance of Israeli threats.

In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. A lot of my friends are on board that ship, like Denis Halliday, Matthias Chang and his brother and other Malaysian friends. Go, friends, go !”

 

Emily Jacir “Oh! And lets not forget the 24 hour media blackout and refusal to allow any media access to the civilians they attacked and imprisoned or the ships in order to give Israel a 24 hour PR advantage.” Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

 

Cindy Sheehan “ Many Jews and people of Jewish heritage or descent do not support what the State of Israel does. Just like many of us “Americans” do not support what our State does. Anger at Israel should not evolve into hatred of Jews. Many of my friends are peace loving Jews (Muslims, Christians, Pagans, Atheists, etc).” Oakland, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Zahra Billoo “just overhead bystanders discussing that they observed more Jews on the Gaza solidarity side than the Israeli side of the SF rally.” San Francisco, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Greta Berlin “Israel’s ‘military video’ had no time code in the upper right had corner when the ‘alleged’ attack from passenger occurred. However, the time code is clearly there at the beginning of the action when it’s just a shot from the helicopter.”  Paris, France

 

Miko Peled “Activists aboard the boat fought courageously as they were attacked by armed Israel pirates. The Israeli pirates, trained assassins or “commandos” – cowards to the very end opened fire.” San Diego, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Tamara Joy Rettino “Love is the color of action. So make us an army of lovers…irrational optimists, forever blind to the possibility that we cannot win. Let us find purification in the rites of fighting and fucking. Uniforms of blushing flesh, sacrificial devotees of desire. You can beat us, gas us, jail us, but our love is immutable. We are crazy with love. And we will be victorious, because even in death, love makes us strong…” Los Angeles, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Mary Hughes Thompson “Sweet Rana and Lara, I will need to knit two more hats. I hope the Israeli pirates are able to make good use of the ones they stole.” Los Angeles, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Colleen M. Keyes “WE MUST ENCOURAGE EVERY COUNTRY TO SEND AID TO PALESTINE–AND LET’S NOT FORGET THE WEST BANK AND EAST JERUSALEM WHERE DAILY ISRAEL CONFISCATES PALESTINIAN LAND, EVICTS PEOPLE FROM THEIR ANCESTRAL HOMES, DEMOLISHES HOMES, ATTACKS PEACEFUL ACTIVISTS.” Middletown, CT, Occupied Amerika

 

Tali Shapiro “will be supporting the arrested flotilla survivors at the Be’er Sheva prison, at 18:00, this afternoon.” Jerusalem Al Quds, Occupied Palestine

 

Jenny Grossbard “ here’s an independent investigation of the flotilla massacre: israel fired the first shot. in 1948. case closed” New York, NY, Occupied Amerika

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Donna K. Khorsheed  “After all this… Nothing will change… The US will stand by Israel and they will continue to do what they are doing… and worse. The only hope we have is knowing there are so many people in the world that support our cause and believe in justice. We mourn the peace activists that were killed. Good people that were only coming to give humanitarian aid… It’s a sad world…” San Francisco, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Leah Bolger “VFP condemns the Israeli attack and calls for an immediate cessation of mililtary aid to Israel”   San Francisco, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Marcy Winograd “(running for Congress, CA36):  As a Jewish woman of conscience, I invite my opponent, Jane Harman, another Jewish woman, and all of Congress to join me in denouncing this kind of barbaric violence, demanding an end to the blockade and seeking an international investigation into these murders. I recommit myself to working towards a true, just and lasting peace.

(Quote does not constitute an endorsement of one candidate or another. As a non-profit entity, Cafe Intifada is barred from endorsement of candidates.)

 

Norman Finkelstein “ Israel is not violating US doctrine. Israel is implementing it.” Chicago, IL, Occupied Amerika

 

Muhammad Alsyed “7 month-old infant died in Gaza today – unable to reach medical treatment.”  Napier, New Zealand 

 

Fatima Mojaddidy “Between the BP oil spill and Israeli massacre of the humanitarian activists on the freedom floatilla, if we don’t wake up and see what’s wrong with this world and fix it NOW, then we are a worthless, stupid, self destructive species that will be our own demise!! These two incidents are MAJORLY eye-opening, DO SOMETHING!!!!” Oakland, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Garrick Ruiz “History is moving very fast around us. We can choose to watch it unfold or we can jump in and let the rulers know that they don’t create history. We do. All of us together. Get involved and lets create the beautiful world we all know is possible. From Gaza and the Mediterranean to Arizona and Los Angeles the resistance is growing! Palestine will be free! And so will we! Love and Rage!” Los Angeles, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Donna K.Khorsheed “The truth is coming out… and there is nothing the filthy zionists can do to cover up the massacre they have committed… yet again… The world better wake up and put an end to this.The international community must step up with or without the US… Don’t kid yourselves… This will go on forever if it is left up to them!” San Francisco, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Cindy Sheehan “ The US gives Israel about 10 million dolars a day in military and other aid. That’s like an insane, pyschopathic older brother arming his even insaner and more psycopathic younger brother. When is someone going to sanction the US?” Oakland, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

S Brian Willson “As a typical religious, all-American type kid growing up in rural USA, I thanked “God” for special benefit of being born in “America,” the greatest country on earth endowed by God to bring salvation to the heathen & prosperity to the poor. Such myth. Now, I ask the Great Spirit for strength to resist & separate myself from the most dangerous, diabolical force on the planet – that same USA. Epistemological shift!”

Majed Abusalama “ Good Night after a lot of work for my beloved people , I loved the solidarity events which going on everyday in Gaza to show the flotilla activists that we are supporting them and waiting for them again to Break Gaza Blockade!”   Gaza, Occupied Palestine

Cindy Sheehan “The State of Israel and its Zionist supporters always say that Israel is “acting in self-defense,” but the US and Israel NEVER extend that right to the people they occupy and systematically exterminate.” Oakland, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

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andy and i were coming home from grocery shopping this evening and our street, right by our house was blocked off by at least 5 lapd police cars who had surrounded one of my neighbors, a young man; one of their favorite “usual suspects.” no one else was out on the street. a few cars were behind us, also waiting to get through. upon our approach, one of the police cars shined his light directly into our eyes and blinked the low beams. we were given no instructions. i got out of my car, sure to make both hands visible and walked toward the gathering of more than 7 officers. one approached me and told me they were having a “friendly chat” with my neighbor (stating his name) and that they were “old friends.” he continued to tell me that they weren’t arresting anyone and that nothing had happened.
“do you always handcuff your “old friends” when you chat with them?” i asked.

i stood on the sidewalk, watching (women can get away with this much more then men can– andy, 6 ft tall, and rather hefty, stayed in the car!)

when the officer came over to me and told me the street was clear, andy drove the car home, and i walked past the gathering of officers and neighbor, asked him if he needed anything, and stood at my gate. one of the officers suggested i move on. “i’m just hanging out in front of my home on a pleasant evening” i told him. i waited until my neighbor was released, i signaled to him and he followed me into our home until the danger was gone. we made sure he got to his home safely.

our security cameras of course, caught the whole thing!!!! (we installed them because of the political stalking we’ve experienced. it had never occurred to me that the cameras would also provide for the safety of the rest of the community under police siege.)

eight cops, 5 cars, and according to my neighbor, they told him they were introducing him to the new cops on the beat, and felt they needed to hand cuff him for their safety.

los angeles is struggling with a terrible financial crisis. is this an appropriate use of city funds? do the math. eight cops, at least a half hour of man hours each, to provide for a most unnecessary introduction, to create a most outrageous provocation, and establish a police presence on a street with almost no crime.

like most days, today, the helicopters continued over head regularly, including two military helicopters. often these ghetto birds pass so low, they shake the buildings. another neighbor says his daughters cry at night because the noise scares them.

rampart division of the lapd is one of the most brutal divisions of one of the most brutal police departments. most of the men in my neighborhood have been criminalized, either by discriminatory immigration laws or by a system that is unforgiving of the excesses of youth. these young men don’t have the lawyers or the connections of their counterparts in angelino heights, west l.a., brentwood. pulled over for walking down the street, frisked regularly as children, from the time their bodies took on a manly form, ticketed, taken in, penalized for the smallest infraction and set in the system for life.

i know these men. they are my neighbors. some have helped with the urban farm, others are construction workers who worked with me, transforming this old, neglected slum of a duplex into two beautiful homes. they watch over this street– a strangely peaceful place in a brutal large amerikan city. they aren’t who the police say they are. they aren’t the accumulation of whatever youthful transgressions they may have committed. they aren’t the sum of the limitations of options for city youth.

there was no cause for this show of force. there was no need even for the introduction. there was no legitimate reason to utilize so much of a failing city’s resources. there certainly was no explanation (beyond the daily harassment and the establishment of police presence) for shining the light into our eyes or closing off the street!!!!

on this street we look after each other. it isn’t safe to call the cops.

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we received more hate mail– snail mail to our home address – an anonymous letter, to andy, with an ann coulter article on torture. –someone letting us know, they know where we are. let them know, we have surveillance cameras and other security precautions.

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Emma’s Notes (Joaquin’s message to follow)

One of the most important lessons of my early activism: when i was 16, working in the dc boycott house, which attracted a number of activists from a variety of tendencies, came from a veteran black panther, named paul (i forget his last name.) he left the house one night when people started passing around a joint. — naive enough (and lucky enough) not to consider the consequences to the entire movement, had we been caught in the boycott house with that material. later he told me he left because it was his policy never to provide a pretext for the police. his advice really stayed with me and i am sure, in my years of activism has kept me out of a lot of trouble, including a recently served search warrant on our home, where no drugs, weapons or other evidence of illegality were found. (these intrusion have the chilling effect on one’s activism that they are intended to have, and at least in our case found a period of private reflection and isolation was necessary. we too have had to hold back from issuing a statement, but expect to very soon, necessitated even more by the gossip and opportunism of alleged progressives, who having found out about this very private experience, took it upon themselves to use our situation to their own small political advantage.) serious activists must practice revolutionary discipline, which i think is what joaquin means when he says he would not have a loaded gun, that that is what he would do differently. these are the small errors that can have huge consequences. not that he did anything ethically wrong, just that as activist, we are under such scrutiny that we have to maintain a level of legality (to the extent possible without compromising real struggle) that other citizens might not. (any difference of opinion i may have with him about the decision to use guns in his battle with the state, are tactical, not ethical. to consider it an ethical decision, is to ignore the immense power of the apparatus we are up against, and its incredible fire power.) we also experienced the betrayal of members of the movement: (an extension of the sell out to zionist pressure within the teachers’ union, several years ago.) to attempt to keep andy from speaking up for human rights, even when it raises issues (such as palestinian human rights) that make people uncomfortable or expose divisions and at the very lease, demand dialogue. it is truly the difference between liberal, feel good, guilt based politics, and movements for real and profound revolutionary change. it is a sad reflection on members of the “left” that they would determine their support of joaquin based on his decision to carry a gun, even more hypocritical since such a decision is also a constitutional right, a legal right. in a city where the police notoriously violate human rights, in a country, the belly of the beast, the most powerful military in the world, a left that repeatedly “honors the troops” finds fault with an activist for possession of one weapon, one legal weapon. it is the romanticization of activism, and an extreme double standard: the romanticization of armed struggle when it is far away, or in the past, or focuses on a cult hero. one wonders, do they forget that nelson mandela, che guevara, fidel castro, malcolm x all used and carried weapons? are malcolm and che more than t-shirt logos? it is a double standard to call for supporting the troops or celebrating and approving obama as commander in chief of the largest imperial military force the world has known, and simultaneously not support our own comrades in the streets of los angeles when targeted by the police state apparatus? if it was wrong for joaquin to carry a gun in his trunk, what about the weapons carried by the agents of repression that searched and seized his car and arrested him? what about the huge arsenals of the u.s. military, or the military power and brutality of israel, the largest client state of the u.s. empire? do these liberals underestimate, fail to understand the attack on our own communities, as well as indigenous communities around the world (including the palestinians, who not the cause du jour, were expendable when personal prestige and power would have been the only casualty to liberal activists?) the daily violence committed by the state against the people, on so many levels: health care, education, social services, incarceration, housing or that these deficiencies kill more than guns? is activism any more than a game of prestige, awards ceremonies and board of directors positions? do they understand that their petty gossip can cost lives, can also kill, their lack of discipline, of personalization becomes a powerful weapon too? -=in service to the state, the apparatus they claim they want to deconstruct? in solidarity,

Emma Rosenthal Cafe Intifada!

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A Reflection on “the Left” and my Arrest

by Joaquin Cienfuegos

I wanted to write this piece to update people on my arrest for the felony “Unlawful Possession of an Assault Riffle” case and to share with people my position on the entire matter. I wanted to send this out sooner but people would like to use this position paper against me, but I feel like the reflection is necessary regardless. I also want to take some time to reflect on other things that I’ve been thinking about regarding the movement as a whole.

 I am currently completing 200 hours of community service and one year summary probation (if I complete my community service within one year, otherwise I will do two years summary probation). Part of the deal they gave me was that they kept my legally purchased semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle, and destroy it. They also dropped my felony charge to a misdemeanor: possession of a loaded weapon. I took this deal due to the fact that there was a chance if I lost this case I would do 19 months to 3 years in a state penitentiary. Even though my position has always been that we need to organize where we are at, from the street block to the cell block, I have too many responsibilities in my community, including my priority at this point which is my family responsibilities. Therefore I rather not risk being captured by the state and go behind enemy lines in their prisons. I took this deal and I am continuing to organize with the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities and Cop Watch Los Angeles – Guerrilla Chapter.

I should also start by thanking everyone who supported me in this legal battle, those who helped bail me out, and those who helped raise the money to pay the folks back that lent us money to bail me out. We were able to raise 2,000 dollars, thanks to individual donations from people, events at universities (like Cal State Northridge and Cal State Humboldt). We also thought that we would have to raise most of the money a the 1st Annual Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair, but thankfully the funds were raised before then. The money raised at the bookfair went to the Southern California Library, the Bookfair Collective (for next year’s bookfair), Anarchist People Of Color in L.A., and to start a defense fund. Currently I’m still paying off my lawyer, and hoping we can continue to build on a defense strategy and fund, because we understand this is the nature of the state, and until we get rid of it, those with institutional power will continue to repress the movement. The majority of the support I received came from anarchists internationally, and that I am grateful for. Thank you for the world of support comrades. People of color in the U.S. as well gave a great deal of love, during the time of my arrest and legal battle.

 I think that my arrest raised a lot of important questions, and it seemed like the dividing line for some activists was the fact that I had a gun. The question was why did I have a loaded semi-automatic weapon on me. A lot of liberals did not support me because of this reason, but personally my life is more precious than the support of liberals and gun-control leftists. The facts were that the police stopped me because they profiled me, it is legal to carry a weapon in the trunk of your vehicle, I just happened to have it loaded. This is probably the only thing I would have changed, I would have kept the ammunition separate from the rifle. The police searched my car illegally, and try to put a felony charge on me (by saying that this rifle is illegal in California, even though it was legally purchased at a Outdoors’ store). They couldn’t pin this on me so they dropped it to a misdemeanor, “possession of a loaded weapon.” During the investigation they brought a weapons expert who had only looked at pictures and claimed it was an assault rifle and they tried to find out if I had links to any gangs in Los Angeles.

This really made me reflect on many things. I don’t think it matters if you say you’re a leftist, progressive, or whatever, if you intend to side with the state and do the job of the police. When there are people who are coming under attack, not just me, but all the other political prisoners who have done years and decades, and you have these activists siding with the state on whether they might have done something wrong. First of all, this is a settler-colonialist system, and doesn’t have the authority to try us because this system is not legitimate in my opinion. When in Los Angeles last year the law enforcement agencies killed over 40 people, we have to begin to realize that they have waged war on indigenous, people of color/colonized people, and this genocidal war has been going on for 500 years really. So when the police have the right to murder any of us and get away with it, how is it wrong for anyone to carry a registered weapon? So it doesn’t matter if anyone is from the left or from the right, what matters is who gets in the way of the oppressed when fighting for a better world, and in the way of the people taking their lives and communities back. There are many people who are doing the work of the police, snitching, informing, and straight just being busters by siding with the enemies of the people, who rather commit acts of violence against the people than defend them. That is what is now called horizontal violence, and this is something we have to deal with as well.

 People should arm themselves legally, politically, and with an understanding that we are trying not to create a culture of the gun, but this is only one tactic in self-defense of our people and our community. Unfortunately, it is a necessary element in the survival of our communities and peoples at this point. I have to agree with Franz Fanon, “Violence, is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect.” Again, to me it self-defense is a necessary tactic in safe guarding our communities and our people from the state. When a community is building anything that poses a real threat to the state and the system, they will try to destroy it. So the communes will need to set up people’s militias and other mechanisms to protect itself from the fascists (learning from the Spanish Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and even just from our own experiences with the Counter Intelligence Program and the Patriot Act).

 Also to speak to the fact that maybe we do pose a threat, not only to the state but to some organizations who are in bed with the state. This has become clear to me, on several occassions, which includes May Day 2007. Where some of those organizations came out and blamed Cop Watch L.A., the youth and anarchists, for the police repression, similar to the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886 (the first May Day, where eight anarchist organizers were blamed for police murder and repression). These organizations (mainstream non-profits and non-governmental organizations), play the role of house-slaves in the movement today. Their organizing is done in a way that is suitable for the state and poses no threat to the oppressive system as a whole. To keep their position and be in good with their masters, these organizations side with the state in isolating the more radical youth, anarchists, and “problem activists.” To keep their status as a large non-profits with good funding, they work with the state in keeping tabs on thes radical youth organizations. They speak of immigration reform that leaves out these same youth who are being targeted by the police, and work with the state as well as developers to further gentrify communities of color.

 I personally saw how the system works from inside the Los Angeles County Jail, and it was enough time to realize that we have a lot of work to do internally. This is a bigger challenge to me, than convincing people on why I had a rifle inside the trunk of my car. As a revolutionary I do think I have to be more careful, but to paraphrase Ricardo Flores Magon, “We Revolutionary Anarchists have to be Outlaws,” we have fight these injustices at all cause even and that means breaking the laws that are put in place to keep us in control and in check. Their oppressive institutions which have no place in our communities are also legitimate targets in my opinion. > This is a challenge on anyone who wants to create a better world.

Always in Struggle.

Autonomy, Land and Liberty.

All Power Through the People.

*Recently I was stopped by the North East Division of the Los Angeles Police Department for not having a light on the plates of my car, they pulled me out and handcuffed me and asked me if I had any M-16’s in the car. They then searched my car, and did not find any “drugs or weapons,” but told me they could arrest me. They released me then but impounded my car, even though I had an abstract from court saying I can drive. It seems like they ran my plates and saw my previous arrest, so they profiled me based on that. They did search my back pack, and saw fliers for the organizations I am part of. This happened on Wednesday, April 08, 2009

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latimes.com  
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-israel-holywar25-2009mar25,0,4876301.story

From the Los Angeles Times

Israeli army rabbis criticized for stance on Gaza assault

Some Israeli soldiers say military rabbis cast the offensive against Hamas rockets as a fight to expel non-Jews.

By Richard Boudreaux

March 25, 2009

Reporting from Jerusalem — The winter assault on the Gaza Strip was officially portrayed in Israel as an attempt to quell rocket fire by militants of Hamas. But some soldiers say they also were lectured about a more ambitious aim: to banish non-Jews from the biblical land of Israel.

“This rabbi comes to us and says the fight is between the children of light and the children of darkness,” a reserve sergeant said, recalling a training camp encounter. “His message was clear: ‘This is a war against an entire people, not against specific terrorists.’ The whole thing was turned into something very religious and messianic.”

As armies elsewhere use chaplains, the Israeli military inducts rabbis to serve religious soldiers. Their traditional tasks include ensuring that kitchens are kosher and religious services are available.

But soldiers now going public with allegations of misconduct in Gaza portray the military rabbinate as a corps of self-appointed holy warriors whose sermons and writings demonized Palestinians.

“The army itself is a battleground of conflicting ideals in Israeli Jewish society,” said Avi Sagi, a Bar-Ilan University philosophy professor who in the 1990s was a co-author of the military’s code of ethics, which obliges soldiers to avoid killing innocents.

On one side, he said, are universal values that call for respecting all human life equally and are largely shared by Jews who seek accommodation with the Palestinians. On the other side are more nationalistic passages of the Torah, cited by religious thinkers who liken the Palestinians to Old Testament invaders and place a premium on Jewish life.

In the Gaza conflict, the argument has focused on how to fight Islamic militants who for years have fired rockets indiscriminately at Israeli communities, causing scores of civilian casualties.

Maj. Avital Leibovich, a military spokeswoman, denied that the military rabbinate takes sides. Army rabbis violated a directive to “stay away from politics” in Gaza, she said, but they were few in number and acted on their own.

‘Well organized’

In testimony reported by Israeli news media and in interviews with The Times, Gaza veterans said rabbis advised army units to show the enemy no mercy and called for resettlement of the Palestinian enclave by Jews.

“The rabbis were all over, in every unit,” said Yehuda Shaul, a retired army officer whose human rights group, Breaking the Silence, has taken testimony from dozens of Gaza veterans. “It was quite well organized.”

The army, which conscripts almost every Israeli Jew at 18, has been dominated for most of its history by secular officers. But over the last 15 years, as secular Israelis have soured on the occupation of Palestinian territory, religious nationalists have taken over senior positions in elite combat brigades.

With them have come hundreds of volunteer rabbis, who teach at pre-military academies for religious youths and serve side by side with the troops.

The rabbis’ role in Gaza came into focus last week along with testimony from soldiers who said that loose rules of war led to unwarranted civilian deaths and property destruction.

The testimony reported by two Israeli newspapers was the first such criticism to surface from within the army since the assault ended Jan. 18, leaving an estimated 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. Most Palestinian casualties were listed as civilians.

The army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, said Monday that he did not believe soldiers shot Gaza civilians “in cold blood.” He added that “isolated cases” of misconduct, if proved, “will be dealt with individually.”

Responding to newspaper photos, the army also condemned soldiers who wore T-shirts depicting a pregnant woman in a rifle’s cross hairs with the slogan “1 Shot 2 Kills.”

During the Gaza offensive, critics contend, rabbinical propaganda was part of a broader effort to legitimize Israel’s decision to use overwhelming force.

Legal opinion

Before the assault, the army’s legal office issued an opinion saying that Israel was entitled to use artillery against civilian neighborhoods from which Hamas was launching rockets.

And after the 22-day operation, a Tel Aviv University philosophy professor with close ties to the military, Asa Kasher, said the decision to shell Gaza’s cities stemmed from an anti-terrorism doctrine he had helped draft a few years ago. It stated that in Gaza, as in other areas the army does not control, there is no justification for endangering soldiers’ lives in order to avoid killing civilians in the proximity of targeted militants.

That doctrine appears to be at odds with the military code, which obliges the army to avoid civilian casualties, and it was never formally adopted. However, it was echoed in religious terms in literature distributed in Gaza by military rabbis.

“Our ancestors did not always fight with a sword and at times preferred to use a bow and arrow from a distance,” one text read.

“Actions must be taken from a distance in order to spare our soldiers’ lives.”

The reserve sergeant, an observant Jew who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity, said that he and a fellow soldier in his 15-man unit were troubled by the “children of darkness” sermon, but that other troops seemed receptive.

In one of several postwar testimonies given at a left-leaning military institute, a squad commander identified only as Ram complained that army rabbis tried to press what he called a “religious mission” on his men.

“The military rabbinate brought in a lot of booklets and articles and their message was very clear: We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the non-Jews who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land,” Ram said.

As a commander, he said, he tried to explain to his men that “not everyone in Gaza is Hamas [and] wants to vanquish us [and] that this war is not a war for the sanctification of the holy name, but rather one to stop the Kassams” — a type of rocket fired from Gaza.

Danny Zamir, director of the institute that elicited the testimonies and leaked them to Israeli papers, was quoted in a transcript as voicing dismay that Israeli nationalists, like their Hamas enemies, are using faith to justify violence.

“If clerics are anointing us with oil and sticking holy books in our hands, and if the soldiers in these units aren’t representative of the whole spectrum of the Jewish people, but rather of certain segments of the population, what can we expect?” he said.

Ofer Shelah, military correspondent for the newspaper Maariv, said the rising profile of religious nationalists in the army has helped them in two showdowns with the high command.

After Israel withdrew its settlers and soldiers from Gaza in 2005, graduates of two pre-military academies associated with the settler movement said they would refuse to obey future orders to disband West Bank settlements. The army threatened to cancel its certification of the schools, then backed down.

During the Gaza assault, the chief military rabbi, Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki, was called in to answer criticism that his department was distributing war propaganda. He denied knowledge of it, and a subordinate was given “a slap on the wrist” by the Defense Ministry, Shelah said.

Rabbi David Hartman, a leading Jewish philosopher who has lectured thousands of officers at his Shalom Hartman Institute, said the religious nationalist belief in holy war is still a minority view in the army.

“But it has to be fought with a rational religious ideology that takes into account the living reality of two peoples,” he said. Otherwise, he added, “you have these rabbis volunteering in the army, and it’s not necessarily the people the army wants. There’s a vacuum, and it gets filled by crackpots.”

boudreaux@latimes.com

   

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