Saturday, June 16, 2007


Indians in Ireland--Take II

Right: Choctaw Native Americans Gary and Dr Janie Whitedeer visit with students from Gaelscoil Cholmcille in Santry, Co Dublin.

In "Indians at home – Indians in Cornwall, Indians in Wales, Indians in Ireland," I talked about how the roots of Western colonialism are very old and how the techniques of colonialism were perfected centuries ago in Europe against Celtic people. Since I wrote that post last August, while going through my files, I found two noteworthy articles on the subject from Race & Class (Vol. 34 No. 4; 1993). They are "The training ground: Ireland, conquest and decolonisation" by Bill Rolston (pp. 13-24) and "Columbus in Ireland" by Milan Rai (pp. 25-34).

Rolston argues that as a consequence of Columbus' landfall in the Caribbean in 1492, Ireland experienced a "new era of imperialism with its expropriation of territory, racism and genocide" ("new" as in different from that of the last era). He says the "terrorist methods, derived and perfected in the conquest of Ireland, were then transported to the American colonies" along with "the ideology to justify confiscation and genocide." Even "the same personnel were involved in the conquest of Ireland and America." The second section of the article deals with the fate and role of Irish slaves shipped to the Caribbean. Rai covers much of the same ground but focuses more on tactics and outcomes in sections headed: "War by starvation," "Population decline," and "Settlement, dispossession and 'total war'."

Also, in my earlier post, in the "See also" section, I had a link on Choctaw aid in 1847 to Irish famine victims. I should say the mere word "famine" does not do justice in describing the deliberate "policy of extermination"--to quote the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Earl of Clarendon--pursued by the British. Any way, after talking with Peter L. yesterday about this subject, I learned from him that the Choctaw-Irish relationship is ongoing. Below are some links to articles on the subject.
See also: Irish Holocaust

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007


On the Iraqi Resistance--Take II

Last November, I wrote, On "Victory to the Iraqi Resistance". Recently, I read Public Power in the Age of Empire by Arundhati Roy. In the passage below, Roy speaks eloquently and honestly about the Iraqi resistance and the attitude that people who care about justice should take toward it. All emphasis is mine.
The Iraqi resistance is fighting on the frontlines of the battle against Empire. And therefore that battle is our battle.

Like most resistance movements, it combines a motley range of assorted factions. Former Baathists, liberals, Islamists, fed-up collaborationists, communists, etc. Of course, it is riddled with opportunism, local rivalry, demagoguery, and criminality. But if we are only going to support pristine movements, then no resistance will be worthy of our purity.

A whole industry of development experts, academics, and consultants have built an industry on the back of global social movements in which they are not direct participants. Many of these "experts," who earn their livings studying the struggles of the world's poor, are funded by groups like the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, and wealthy universities such Harvard, Stanford, and Cornell. From a safe distance, they offer us their insightful critiques. But the same people who tell us that we can reform the World Bank from within, that we change the IMF by working inside it, would not themselves seek to reform a resistance movement by working within it.

This is not to say that we shouldn't ever criticize resistance movements. Many of them suffer from a lack of democracy, from the iconization of their "leaders," a lack of transparency, a lack of vision and direction. But most of all they suffer from vilification, repression, and lack of resources.

Before we prescribe how a pristine Iraqi resistance must conduct their secular, feminist, democratic, nonviolent battle, we should shore up our end of the resistance by forcing the U.S. and its allies government to withdraw from Iraq.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007


A foolish consistency

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.--'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.'--Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson from his essay, Self-reliance

Emerson was concerned with the tendency to conformity to old ways of thinking (and doing)--the fear of and resistance to change. He was challenging his readers not to be part of the "I've/we've never done it that way before" and the "What will people think?" crowds. While not reckless, doubtless Emerson's "great souls" would reject cheap appeals to pragmatism and conventional thought or so-called common sense.

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War Tax Resistance Video Contest

In April, the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee announced the winners of its first annual War Tax Resistance Video Contest. I liked the third-place winner best. It's called We Are Everywhere and its by Megan Ramsey. You can watch it below, just be sure to click on the play button. To see the other winners, go to
Speaking of anti-war videos, if you haven't already seen it, then have a look at Not Your Soldier. It doesn't exactly epitomize principled nonviolence but it's worth checking out anyway.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Rudy and Rushdoony on Freedom

Freedom is about authority. Freedom is the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do and how you do it.

-Then Mayor, now Presidential candidate, Rudolph Giuliani
" 'Freedom Is About Authority': Excerpts From Giuliani
Speech on Crime." New York Times. March 20, 1994.

Freedom must be under law or it is not freedom.
-R. J. Rushdoony in the Institutes of Biblical Law.
Quoted in American Fascists: The Christian Right
and the War On America
by Chris Hedges.


Friday, June 01, 2007


Queers Say No Pride in Apartheid

Last March, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism! and the South West Asian, North African Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ) initiated a campaign to pressure Frameline, the organizer of the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, to cut its ties with the Israeli government. In an open letter signed by more than 100 artists, musicians, and writers, including Sophie Fiennes, Elia Suleiman, Ken Loach, Haim Bresheeth, Jenny Morgan, John Berger, Arundhati Roy, Ahdaf Soueif, Eduardo Galeano, Brian Eno, and Leon Rosselson, Frameline was asked "to honor calls for an international boycott of Israeli political and cultural institutions, by discontinuing Israeli consulate sponsorship of the LGBT film festival and not cosponsoring events with the Israeli consulate." The festival starts June 14, so it's not too late to add your name to the letter (see info at bottom here) or ...
Please write, call or email Michael Lumpkin and Matt Westendorf and let them know you disagree with their decision. Michael Lumpkin & Matt Westendorf, Frameline, 145 Ninth Street, #300, San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-703-8650, email .
See also: "San Francisco Queers Say No Pride in Apartheid" in Electronic Intifada (May 29, 2007)

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