Truth-lite in Honduras
Morales & Movements
Laborers & Worker Centers
Tiffany Ten eyck
Prelude to Depression?
PRTs & the CIA
WINESS TO WAR
Fellman's Terrorism History
Engler's Black Book
Zaps - 02-10
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In the Name of God and Country
Reconsidering Terrorism in American History
Book by Michael Fellman; 2010, Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 288 pp.
In the 1960s, in response to condemnations of black rioting in the ghettos, radical activist H. Rap Brown commented that violence was "as American as cherry pie." In a provocative new book, In the Name of God and Country: Reconsidering Terrorism in American History, historian Michael Fellman of Simon Fraser University demonstrates that Brown was on the mark. Both anti-state and state violence have been a central feature of American history, often exemplifying the intense racial and class struggles engulfing the society. State terrorism has been most pervasive, a crucial mechanism for the expansion of governmental authority and power, both domestically and in the international realm.
Challenging the liberal school of U.S. historiography, Fellman provides five case studies of violent social conflict in U.S. society. The first examines John Brown's famous raid on Harper's Ferry in which Brown sought to extirpate the evils of slavery through violence. Brown's aim was to ignite a slave uprising. It instead resulted in a backlash among white southern planters who brought the full weight of their authority to bear on him. In essence, Brown's was the first death in the Civil War, a conflict marred by vicious extralegal violence and brutality, rationalized as each side sought to create its unique vision of a Christian commonwealth. The confederacy was most cruel in hunting down and executing black Union soldiers, basically as a matter of policy, and also repeatedly terrorized the populations in regions in which they passed through. The Union army meanwhile engaged in abuses of prisoners of war and horrendous assaults on civilian populations, ravaging much of the contested territory in the upper-South. Fellman writes that "in the heat and haze of combat, war merged into terrorism."
Fellman's third chapter focuses on the extensive state terrorism carried out by white southern redeemers following the breakdown of Reconstruction. He chronicles how racist stereotypes of blacks as lazy, corrupt, and prone to criminality served as a justification for the advent of Jim Crow and for the violent intimidation of those who sought to challenge the status quo. The KKK and other white terrorist groups received full-fledged support from prominent politicians and community leaders to carry out lynchings and other acts of violence designed to ensure white supremacy. White reformers who had previously stood up for black civil rights were among the victims. According to Fellman, many KKK rallies went hand in hand with the evangelical revivalism of the period. The North acquiesced to the advent of apartheid, owing to a growing preoccupation among political and economic elites with capitalist accumulation and quelling labor unrest.
Fellman's fourth chapter examines the infamous Haymarket case, which he argues served as a microcosm for the violent labor and class struggles of the so-called Gilded Age. He shows how leaders of the anarchist movement in Chicago were scapegoated for the killing of several police officers in retaliation for police abuses against striking workers, with four of the eight sentenced to hang after a blatantly rigged trial. The mainstream press and the middle and ruling class generally favored harsh police crackdowns on the working class as a result of rampant anti-immigrant sentiments and the stereotyping of minorities, as well as the fear of an organized mass uprising. For them, he writes, "the higher goal of maintaining social order by any means necessary trumped the Anglo-Saxon tradition of liberty for all.... Eighty years before McCarthyism, the American tradition of repressive anticommunism was born, a tradition that can embrace other enemies as well, for example, Islamo-fascists."
Fellman's final chapter shows how state terrorist practice played a crucial role in expanding U.S. power at the turn of the 20th century, as exemplified in the American conquest of the Philippines. The U.S. intervention there was driven by a quest for markets and a missionary-like impulse to export the "beneficence" of American civilization to a peoples seemingly unfit for self-government. President William McKinley wrote in his memoirs that he was instructed by "God" to carry out the invasion. Leading politicians and generals, including Arthur McArthur, subsequently claimed (similarly to policymakers and generals during the Vietnam and Iraq eras) that the war was conducted with "as much humanity and self-restraint as any in history." Much documentary evidence, however, including letters from soldiers, confirms that the U.S. army was responsible for carrying out myriad atrocities, including the burning of villages and torturing of prisoners of war through the "water cure" (now called water-boarding). Much like during the Vietnam War, many Marines drew analogies to Indian warfare, hunting, and sport while failing to distinguish between insurgents and civilians who predominantly supported the nationalist cause.
Fellman concludes the book by tracing a continuity from the 19th century to the 20th centuries through the present. The American state during this latter period, he notes, has consistently promoted terrorism in the service of reactionary ends, including against the peasants of Indochina during the Cold War, against black citizens under the so-called War on Drugs, and against Muslims under the guise of the War on Terror. One common thread has been the driving influence of a deep-seated racism, ultra-nationalism, and religion.
On the whole, Fellman has written a provocative and engaging book, well-grounded in both primary and secondary sources. Not only does he provide an important challenge to conventional historiography, he forces us to rethink the implications of the War on Terror. While mainstream commentators constantly warn, without providing any historical context, about the "threat" of terrorism and other foreign enemies to America, Fellman reminds us that the real threat is within and from us.
Jeremy Kuzmarov is assistant visiting history professor at Bucknell and the author of The Myth of the Addicted Army.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.