Noam Chomsky Interview About the Relevance of Activism And Solidarity


This is a great interview with Prof. Chomsky that I want to share and use for future reference. (video is below)



At its best what can activism be?

At its best it achieves results it's trying to attain. You have a goal, you want to do something about it, you pick various techniques that emerge, you refine the ones that seem to be working, improve them, try to get somewhere. One of Occupy's biggest achievement was to create communities of mutual solidarity and support, attract participation. That's a very important achievement, specially in a society that is designed to divide people and isolate them from one another, which is a great technique of control, of course. Solidarity is very important and in fact is one of the main reasons the Labor movement was concerned from its origins. Solidarity was one of its main slogans: "we ought to be working together, we have to help one another, that's the only way we can confront concentrated power. You find out what you think and what the main values are by participation and interchange.


As far as action, what actions are most effective?

There is no general answer to that. It depends what your ends are, what you're trying to achieve. If you want to create an enterprise, a workforce, that is run and controlled by the community, choosing tactics is a very tricky operation. You have to take into account what kind of reactions are you going to get from other people.


What about protests? Isn't that a pretty important tactic?


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When Did "The Sixties" Really Begin? Here's Why It Matters


When, exactly, did the era of radical ferment we remember as "the '60s" begin? Exactly one half-century ago, PBS tells us in its recent documentary titled "1964," kicking off a year when we'll celebrate the 50th anniversary of a host of memorable events:

  • Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty, pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress, and got a blank check from Congress (the Tonkin Gulf resolution) to send troops to Vietnam.
  • The Mississippi Freedom Summer saw civil rights workers murdered and hundreds of white students going back to their campuses in the fall radicalized.
  • Some of those students, at Berkeley, created the Free Speech Movement.
  • African Americans "rioted" in Harlem.
  • America began to hear of Malcolm X, and Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali.
  • After Republicans took a sharp turn to the right and saw their presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, get 40% of the vote -- buoyed by the rhetoric of political newcomer Ronald Reagan -- right-wing politicos began planning a "New Right" movement.
  • The Beatles came to America, and Motown's biggest hit was "Dancing in the Streets."
  • TV viewers were spellbound by an immensely strong, totally independent woman on the season's biggest new hit, "Bewitched."

Connect the dots, the PBS show's talking head historians all say, and you'll see a year that changed America forever. "The 60s" had begun!

There's just one problem with this story: Hardly anybody in 1964 was connecting the dots. The public generally saw these events as quite separate from each other. LBJ's support for civil rights and helping the poor were clearly connected. But hardly anyone foresaw how the Gulf of Tonkin resolution would intersect with, and ultimately destroy, his liberal domestic agenda. The Beatles sparred with Clay in a fun photo-op. But who could see any link between them and the Berkeley students taking over the university administration building?

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As Wells Fargo is Accused of Fabricating Foreclosure Papers, Will Banks Keep Escaping Prosecution?


Appeared March 14th on DemocracyNow

A new internal report says the Justice Department massively overstated its successes in targeting mortgage fraud while in fact ranking it as a low priority for investigation. The Justice Department’s inspector general says despite playing a central role in the nation’s financial crisis, mortgage fraud was deemed either a low priority or not a priority at all. This comes as a recently revealed internal Wells Fargo document appears to guide lawyers step by step on how to fabricate missing documents to foreclose on homeowners. Wells Fargo is the country’s largest mortgage servicer and services some nine million home loans.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: A new internal report says the Justice Department massively overstated its successes in targeting mortgage fraud while in fact ranking it as a low priority for investigation. The Justice Department’s inspector general says despite playing a central role in the nation’s financial crisis, mortgage fraud was deemed either a low priority or not a priority at all. In one instance, Attorney General Eric Holder claimed to have filed lawsuits on behalf of homeowner victims for losses totaling more than $1 billion, but the actual amount was 91 percent less, around $95 million.

This comes as a recently revealed internal Wells Fargo document appears to guide lawyers step by step on how to fabricate missing documents to foreclose on homeowners. Wells Fargo is the country’s largest mortgage servicer and services some nine million home loans.

AMY GOODMAN: State and federal regulators are now focusing on the allegations in the lawsuit brought by Linda Tirelli, who joins us now. She’s an attorney representing clients being foreclosed on by Wells Fargo. Earlier this month, she discovered the Wells Fargo manual on how to produce missing documents to foreclose on homeowners. She’s a partner at the Garvey, Tirelli & Cushner law firm in White Plains, New York.

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What You Need to Know About Dark Money


If you look up “dark money” in Merriam-Webster, you won’t find a definition, but as of this week, their online unabridged dictionary includes a word that tells a big part of its story — “super PAC.” It’s defined in part as “an independent PAC [political action committee] that can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and organizations (such as corporations and labor unions) and spend unlimited amounts in support of a candidate.” It’s a fitting reminder that four years after Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates of campaign cash, dark money may be here to stay.

In this three-minute video, investigative reporters Kim Barker and Andy Kroll tell Bill how dark money contributes to Washington’s gridlock and why it keeps politicians from acting in the best interest of their constituents.


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Amid Senate Skirmish, Obama Continues to Shield CIA and Bush-era Torture


These are the people behind the Bush torture program, but Obama continues to "look forward" despite the ugly implications of keeping Bush's secrets locked away. (File)

White House still refusing to hand over key documents about CIA torture to senate investigative panel

Published on Thursday, March 13, 2014 by Common Dreams - Jon Queally, staff writer

What's in the more than 9,000 pages of top secrets documents held by the White House that the Senate Intelligence Committee and investigators looking into the Bush administration's torture program are not allowed to see?

After an unprecedented public skirmish between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA surfaced this week over an investigative panel's look into the agency's torture program, President Obama said Wednesday that he and his White House would not "wade into" the controversy.

But according to new reporting by McClatchy, the White House is not only not "uninvolved," it is actively keeping documents from the Intelligence Committee that it has repeatedly asked to see. As the news agency reports:

The White House has been withholding for five years more than 9,000 top-secret documents sought by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for its investigation into the now-defunct CIA detention and interrogation program, even though President Barack Obama hasn’t exercised a claim of executive privilege.

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US report raps Israel for using exaggerated force against Palestinians


Amnesty International said Israeli forces displayed a “callous disregard for human life,” and added that some troops may have committed war crimes against the Palestinian people.

The Thursday report came just hours before Israeli forces shot dead a 24-year-old Palestinian they were trying to arrest in the West Bank, according to a Reuters report. One of those killed was 16-year-old Samir Awad, who Amnesty says was shot dead by Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Ramallah last year. Samir’s killing “may even constitute an extrajudicial execution and war crime of willful killing,” according to Amnesty.

Samir was one of 45 Palestinians shot dead by the Israeli troops in the West Bank since 2011, with more deaths in 2013 than 2012 and 2011 combined. His death followed a familiar pattern of Palestinians protesting against Israeli occupation of land captured in the 1967 war, only to be met with lethal force by the Zionist forces. Samir’s mother Sedqeyeh told NBC News that she and others had lost hope. “Palestine is lost and there is nowhere for us to go. They kill and slaughter without anyone being held responsible.”

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Activists Deserve To Score Big Time, Globally


Traveling across the state, often flying all the way to DC itself to handcuff themselves to the White House fence; Printing statements on Tee-shirts and creatively crafted signs. It all costs and it takes time. What passion for social change. Those of you who tend to stay indoor, spend hours, days, months online, on Facebook communities. The most connected become Admins of new pages. It's all so time consuming.. winning one LIKE at a time, one shared article at a time, and often you get criticized when you're just trying to share knowledge and promote critical thinking.

But it's not just the time you spend as an activist, it's the perpetual struggle to turn things around at times when "things are just not okay". It's that feeling of unease that nobody else but us has to reclaim the system, and the awareness that you have to act now. There are so many who are overwhelmed or simply don't care... sheep, zombies, lost in the Matrix, defending the Status Quo without knowing it. How often you take a break, and shut out all stimuli, all the visuals of people living in the street, abused animals and nature, rivers and fields filled with spilled oil or Fracking chemicals.

You take some time off, kick back, share YouTube videos of your favorite music, visit the less political, more inspiring FB pages, the ones with spiritual, meditative stuff, famous quotes, to heal your wounded soul. Soon the break is over and you feel drawn back into it. This is such an epic fight and you just feel like you need to be there.


You, and all those who fight the same battle, have the same enemies, need a big break. It's time we scored big time and turned the game around. You need to create the power represented in this image. But that giant figure built by you and I, have to include all the ones who identify with the 99%, Anonymous, Occupy, and more. The idea needs to include the Indignados of Spain, the Italians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Turks and the Brazilian protesters.

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The Feinstein Syndrome: “The Fourth Amendment for Me, But Not for Thee”


by Norman Solomon

Who knows, soon we might see headlines and cable TV shows asking: "Is Dianne Feinstein a whistleblower or a traitor?"

A truthful answer to that question could not possibly be “whistleblower.” It may already be a historic fact that Senator Feinstein’s speech on March 11, 2014 blew a whistle on CIA surveillance of the Senate intelligence committee, which she chairs. But if that makes her a whistleblower, then Colonel Sanders is a vegetarian evangelist.

In her blockbuster Tuesday speech on the Senate floor, Feinstein charged that the CIA’s intrusions on her committee’s computers quite possibly “violated the Fourth Amendment.” You know, that’s the precious amendment that Feinstein—more than any other senator—has powerfully treated like dirt, worthy only of sweeping under the congressional rug.

A tidy defender of the NSA’s Orwellian programs, Feinstein went on the attack against Edward Snowden from the outset of his revelations last June. Within days, she denounced his brave whistleblowing as “an act of treason”—a position she has maintained.

Snowden and other genuine whistleblowers actually take risks to defend the civil liberties and human rights of others, including the most vulnerable among us. Real whistleblowers choose to expose serious wrongdoing. And, if applicable, they renounce their own past complicity in doing those wrongs.

Dianne Feinstein remains in a very different place. She’s 180 degrees from a whistleblower orientation; her moral compass is magnetized with solipsism as a leading guardian of the surveillance state.

This week, Feinstein stepped forward to tweak her tap dance—insisting that intrusive surveillance, so vile when directed at her and colleagues with august stature, must only be directed at others.

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