Thinking about politics

There is a lot going on: The National Socialist Movement (Nazis) and the Minutemen are coming to Austin, requiring a vocal public denunciation of the far right. Six men on TX death row have been hunger striking against dehumanizing conditions, and a number of others are engaged in daily micro-protests, which gets them pepper-sprayed and gassed. A number of these guys are innocent; all are poor and could not afford adequate representation in their capital trials. Many are victims of a racist system that punishes Black defendants four times as often as whites–when the victims are white.

Then there is the war. We are just coming off the deadliest month for U.S. troops and more than half a million Iraqis, most of them civilians, are dead, and for what? A costly attempt by U.S.empire to assert its dominance over the middle east for the control of oil. As the situation there degenerates, Bush now plans to send 20,000 more troops, when it is clear to me and to many others that it the war itself that has caused the downward spiral that has become such a tragedy for the Iraqi people.

As the U.S. war results in the slaughter of tens of thousands, our government has labeled those in Iraq and across the region who would resist “Islamo-fascists”–a made-up instance of doublespeak designed to justify a war prosecuted by a state uninsterested in the civil liberties of its citizens, the rights of immigrants and minorities, the freedom of women and gays and lesbians.

The right to speak out against the atrocities perpetuated by our system is under fire. A Lebanese student at my daughter’s high school who wrote an article about Israel’s war against Lebanon from the perspective of the Lebanese in historical context met with harassment by Zionist students, who called the FBI. The FBI went to the student’s home and interrogated his parents, my good friends. The police searched his school locker. He is only 16, trying to speak his heart and mind.

Academics who write against and protest the war also are under fire by right-wing attack dogs like David Horowitz and are coming under increased scrutiny in their research and teaching.

I have started this blog in order to do some regular writing about these and other issues. I encourage readers also to seek out the sites, activities and publications of activist groups like the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the International Socialist Organization. Writing a blog will not stop the war or win the freedom of prisoners. It takes public collective action to change the world, and I hope you will not stop at reading this or any other person’s views.

I invite constructive and civil comments. If you have evidence that flies in the face of something I claim, then present it. If not, take responsibility for educating yourself. Anyone can have opinions. Any hope we have for a democratic and just society depends on people having and sharing real knowledge–and taking action based on that knowledge.

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