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Extremism In The Defense Of Liberty
Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and a sizable roster of other major rock stars united for a series of concerts this fall in swing states to voice their collective dissatisfaction with the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. John Fogerty recently released a new album entitled Déjà Vu All Over Again. The title song is a throwback to Wholl Stop The Rain, a song of protest about another war nearly 40 years ago. Rock stars protesting an unpopular war and president is nothing new, nearly every major and minor band had something to say about Vietnam, from a B-band like Covens One Tin Soldier to Jefferson Airplanes Volunteers. The big difference was that those songs got steady airplay.
Clear Channel and Sinclair Communications, both big Republican contributors, are doing their best to make sure that artists like the Dixie Chicks, Steve Earle, and the aforementioned Fogerty wont be heard. While Country Joe and the Fish had a major hit with Feel Like Im Fixin To Die 36 years ago, Republicans can rest easy. It is highly unlikely that Tom Waits, R.E.M., Lenny Kravitz or a host of other artists and bands who have released material protesting the war in Iraq will ever enjoy the sales and popularity that Joe McDonald had with his comical ragtime number.
the September 11 attacks musical expressions of shock and anger
began to surface. Most of these were patriotic country songs, such
as Toby Keiths breast-beating xenophobic Courtesy of
the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American). Neil Young,
Bruce Spring- steen, and other rock stars offered other kinds of
material reflecting on the aftermath of September 11. Last March,
with the start of Bushs war on terrorism in Iraq,
REM, John Mellencamp, the Beastie Boys, and others produced outright
antiwar songs. Since then songs voicing dissent have been conspicuously
absent. One can understand an artists reticence following
the McCarthy-like tactics that came as a response to Natalie Mainess
(of the Dixie Chicks) comments about President Bush while the group
was on tour last year. Not since Lennons misquoted Were
more popular than Jesus Christ, remark did the public and
radio collude in such a vicious fashion, with coast to coast record
burning rallies and the like. Surprisingly, those methods backfired.
While Clear Channel and other radio stations banned the Chicks from
their play lists, the group held sold out concerts in Los Angeles
and many other cities. People in the U.S. may be complacent to a
degree when it comes to their entertainment, but as a rule they
dont take kindly to corporate Goliaths picking on the little
Some artists such as Keb Mo have taken a different path. Instead of protesting the war and the Iraqi reconstruction, courtesy of Halliburton, Keb Mos new album, Peace Back By Popular Demand, covers such songs as the Rascals People Gotta Be Free, Dylans Times They Are a Changing, as well as Lennons Imagine. Keb Mo sought to take a more positive approach. This is not the time to be angry, Keb Mo said. Some people are going to want blood for blood, but that is not the answer. Mo may have a point that being anti anything is not positive and that offering messages of peace, love, and understanding is. Unfortunately Clear Channel, Sinclair, and other media behemoths wont stop their censorship. Imagine, a song that asks the listener to do exactly that, still tops the list of do not play material at both networks.
How much influence Springsteen and others have in swaying the voters remains to be seen. While it is encouraging to see major artists such as Springsteen and Jackson Browne taking a stand against an unconscionable war, it is equally frightening to see how easily those voices are kept to a minimum. While some independent stations may buck the broadcast blackout on artists and songs protesting the war, one has only to look at the numbers of corporate owned stations in every major market to see that cities like Denver have no other media outlets than those owned by conservative conglom- erates that back the president.
The government through the Patriot Act and its ever expansion of powers is controlling what cant be controlled through ownership. Government censorship in the defense of democracy is nothing new to this country. Eighty-six years ago President Wilson signed the Espionage Act, which was readily passed by a cooperative Congress. The act gave sweeping powers to key federal figures, most of whom were presidential appointees. The legislature only balked at legalizing outright censorship of the press, even though Wilson deemed it an imperative necessity.
The Espionage Act gave the Postmaster General the right to refuse to deliver any periodical he viewed as unpatriotic or critical of the Wilson administration. Thomas Gregory, Wilsons Attorney General, demanded that libraries report the names of patrons who requested books deemed questionable and unpatriotic. Following on the heels of the Espionage Act came the Sedition Act. This bold bit of legislation made it a crime punishable by 20 years in prison to utter, print, write or publish any disloyal profane, scurrilous or abusive language about the government. To make certain this law was enforced the FBI created a volunteer organization christened the American Protective League. In just a few short months this watchdog group had nearly 100,000 members. Even the progressive Walter Lippmann called society too big, too complex for the average person to comprehend, and urged that citi- zens subordinate self-rule to order.
Recently Cat Stevens was denied entry into the United States. The Homeland Security Forces diverted his London to Washington flight to Bangor, Maine so they could remove the former pop singer and send him packing back to England. Obviously, Tom Ridge must have felt that Cat Stevens was a security threat to the country or at the very least that a song like Peace Train carried some subversive message harmful to U.S. citizens.
Born Stephen Georgiou in the United States, he changed his name to Cat in the late 1960s. After a string of pop hits Cat abandoned his career and changed his name again, this time to Yusuf Islam. He also converted to Islam and changed his U.S. address to an English one. Cat has denounced the events of 9-11, the Spanish railway bombings, and the Chechnyan attack on the Russian grade school, all perpetrated by Muslim extremists. A visit to his website reveals all sorts of archaic 1960s peace/love messages. Obviously, the peace messages must be in code that Ridge and his cohorts were able to crack. The irony was that Stevens/Islam was en route to Washington to promote a CD that has half of its royalties going to the 9-11 Fund.
The reason Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens was deported was that his name is on the Homeland Securitys no-fly list. This is the same security system that also put Senator Ted Kennedy and Representative John Lewis on the no-fly list. Somehow a Cat Stevens CD doesnt seem to be part of Al Qaedas attack of terror on the United States. The real attack is far more insidious. It comes from a White House administration that sells fear like bottled water. Hopefully, Americans wont get fooled again, as Pete Townsend would say, and allow their civil rights and Constitutional freedoms to disappear. A democracy lacking basic civil rights sounds awfully close to a dictatorship at worst and a monarchy at best and we already told the British that homie dont play that back in 1776.
John Zavesky is a freelance writer based in California.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.