Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win: SDS is reborn.
Founded in 1959 and imploded ten tumultous years later, the Students for Democratic Society was one of the most dynamic and controversial
forces at work in organizing a mass movement against the Vietnam war, particularly among draft-age kids. The group's original manifesto, Tom Hayden's Port Huron statement
, still rings prophetic in Bush's
America. Now SDS is relaunching and planning its first national convention since 1969
, with a new crew of young radicals issuing calls to action
to their own supposedly apathetic generation: "We seek liberation from the dominant business interests that have degraded our cities, paved over our communities, drowned out small business, and commodified our culture... Cooperative self-reliance is the only moral and material salvation of our nation, and the only release from a system that demands each of us be an accomplice to its heinous crimes
"I learned this week
that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story
..." President Bush really
did not want journalists to reveal his NSA spying program against Americans [discussed here
.] And in yesterday's rare press conference
, the President said: "An open debate about law would say to the enemy, 'Here's what we're going to do.' And this is an enemy which adjusts... Any public hearings on programs will say to the enemy, 'Here's what they do. Adjust.' This is a war." Neocon guru William Kristol argues
that talk of Bush being an "imperial" president" is "demagogic" and "irresponsible" since "Congress has the right and the ability to judge whether President Bush has in fact used his executive discretion soundly." What is the role of "open debate" in a war against terror that may last for decades?
Iraqi insurgents are rejecting al-Qaida
in favour of the political process. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad spent 5 days with an Iraqi resistance group during the constitutional vote, and found that al-Qaida involvement in the insurgency-particularly their tactic of targetting Iraqi police and soldiers-is both unwelcome and unwanted. Instead many Sunni are looking toward using the democratic process to achieve their ends.
Elections on the US model?
Now that the voting is done, questions are starting to arise . . . Sunni Moslems in Kirkuk had an exemption from the boycott of the vote. But of 38 designated polling centres in the Hawija district, only 19 actually opened, and the electoral commission had only sent 50,000 ballots to the district, even though more than 100,000 voters were on the rolls.
Of course, things like that happen often in places new to voting, like Ohio.
But wait, there's more! Kurdish Christians were not able to vote when balloting materials arrived inexplicably late, and Iraq's interim president said a shortage of ballots at some polling places may have kept tens of thousands from voting.
There's been a lot of news about suspicious elections all over the world
during the last few years. How can we restore our faith
in the democratic process?
Get to votin'.
In Sydney, the first votes were cast in the Iraqi elections, 48 hours before it starts in Iraq itself. I went down to the nearest polling booth
to get a feel for the turnout. It's being organised by the best in the business
, but will it make a difference if nobody comes to the party?
While Abu Musab al-Zarqawi declares a "bitter war"
against democracy, Josh Muravchik
suggests that Realists—"those who are skeptical of injecting issues of freedom, democracy and human rights into the conduct of foreign policy"—have historically been less in-step than pro-democracy Idealists. Responding to Bush's Inauguration Day comments about confronting tyranny in the coming years, many Iranians cheered
As Iraqis go
to the polls
on Jan. 30,
it will be a daunting
Thought June 30th was a real handover of power to the Iraqis? In a series of edicts issued earlier this spring, Mr. Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority created new commissions that effectively take away virtually all of the powers once held by several ministries. ... The new Iraqi government will have little control over its armed forces, lack the ability to make or change laws and be unable to make major decisions within specific ministries without tacit U.S. approval, say U.S. officials and others familiar with the plan.
Bush's Speech on the Spreading of Democracy This is a massive and difficult undertaking -- it is worth our effort, it is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Iraqi democracy will succeed -- and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Teheran -- that freedom can be the future of every nation. (Applause.) The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.
Since this speech
was posted earlier, I just thought it would be good if we are exposed to ideas from both sides.
Democracy might be impossible, US was toldThe CIA's March report concluded that Iraqi society and history showed little evidence to support the creation of democratic institutions, going so far as to say its prospects for democracy could be "impossible," according to intelligence officials who have seen it. The assessment was based on Iraq's history of repression and war; clan, tribal and religious conflict; and its lack of experience as a viable country prior to its arbitrary creation as a monarchy by British colonialists after World War I.
The State Department came to the same conclusion.
"Liberal democracy would be difficult to achieve in Iraq," said a March State Department report, first reported by the Los Angeles Times. "Electoral democracy, were it to emerge, could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements."
The Coalition of the Shilling Tired of killing Muslims, we are now trying to teach their survivors some democracy.
... this town shows virtually no interest in liberty, the Constitution, or democracy these days - except when prescribing them to those in far away lands.
Don't be too hard on the Iraqis if they fall for it. After all, we did.
I may not agree with everything Sam Smith says but he does make some very good points about government and media today.
is an provocative proponent of the American Empire
theory, indeed. Here are excerpts from his Blow Back: The Cost And Consequences of American Empire
I heard Johnson interviewed on Episode II, War And Conflict In The Post-Cold War, Post-9/11 Era
of The Whole Wide World
The Cold War and its central conflict - the physical and ideological battles between the United States, the Soviet Union and their proxy states - imposed a certain logic and consistency on the world. Take that away and add the bloody wars in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East in the ‘90s as well as the terror attacks and warnings of more recent times and you get a very confused picture of a world at war. Is this breaking storm in Iraq about oil, democracy, freedom, empire, culture, water, diamonds, modernizing Islam or nation building in the Middle East? Some, one or all of these things?
It was an excellent program and well worth your listen, either by RA now or mp3 later. (From listening to the radio)
Campaign for Democracy and Human Rights in Iraq!
Some hundred or so bloggers are sporting logos supporting democracy and human rights in Iraq, just twenty-four hours after a campaign was kicked-off by Dean's World blog
publisher Dean Esmay. The campaign is supported by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
, an activist umbrella group of pro-Democracy Iraqi organizations inside and outside of Iraq. It's a groundswell that will hopefully counter the anti-democratic and anti-Iraqi spirit of recent ANSWER demonstrations, and notable here because it's at this point strictly a blogworld phenomenon, but one that might actually have an effect in the real world.
We'll see. Cyber-activism up until now has mainly been ineffective, and the feeling of many activists (cf. Barlow) is that it's more a distraction from real-world activism than an aid. Pro-democracy bloggers are a different breed from many traditional, trend-driven activists, and this might be the difference.