Friday, July 1, 2016

The Soapbox Presents Talk Nation Radio with Host David Swanson (Guest: Harvey Wasserman)
Harvey Wasserman is a life-long activist who speaks, writes and organizes widely on energy, the environment, history, the drug war, election protection, and grassroots politics. He teaches (since 2004) history and cultural & ethnic diversity at two central Ohio colleges. He works for the permanent shutdown of the nuclear power industry and the birth of Solartopia, a democratic and socially just green-powered Earth free of all fossil and nuclear fuels. He writes for Ecowatch,, and, which he edits. He helped found the anti-war Liberation News Service. In 1972 his History of the U.S., introduced by Howard Zinn, helped pave the way for a new generation of people’s histories. In 1973 Harvey coined the phrase “No Nukes” and helped found the global grassroots movement against atomic energy. In 1990 he became Senior Advisor to Greenpeace USA. Harvey’s America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of U.S. History, which dissects our national story in terms of six cycles, will be published soon at

Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
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Mommy Warbucks by Anthony Freda

"We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt."
Hillary Clinton on Monday, June 9th, 2014 in an interview on ABC
Hillary has amassed a fortune of hundreds of millions since leaving the White House.

Here is how she did it:

 “Clinton Performed Favors for Donors As Secretary Of State”
Clinton has used the Clinton Foundation as a way to fundraise where donors can gain access to political favors.  Raj Fernando donated between $1 million and $5 million and was appointed as International Security Advisor to the State Department by Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, despite having no experience in the field.
Favors were given to foreign leaders and Clinton Foundation donors such as the Sultan of Oman, Indian politician Amar Singh, and Russian’s Uranium One.

 “The Clintons Made Millions From Speeches To Special Interests”
The Clintons made $153 million since 2011 giving speeches to special interests such as foreign governments, CEOs and lobbyists.

“Clinton Gave China Millions Of Jobs And Grew Rich In Return”
According to the Economic Policy Institute, after the U.S. normalized trade relations with China — as Clinton supported — 3.2 million U.S. jobs were displaced.  Bill Clinton received $56.3 million from speeches delivered in foreign countries including China.

 “The Clintons Profited From Speeches To Chinese Interests While She Was Negotiating With China”
From  Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash:  ‘at the center of U.S. Policy toward China was Hillary Clinton. At this critical time for U.S.- China relations, Bill Clinton gave a number of speeches that were underwritten by the Chinese government and its supporters. These funds were paid to the Clintons’ bank account directly, while Hillary was negotiating with China on behalf of the United States.’”
“Clinton Policy Is Motivated By 1,000 Foreign Donations That Weren’t Disclosed With The State Department”
A 2015 report by Ken Silverstein in Harper’s Magazine which notes, “The Clinton Foundation is a professionally structured money-laundering operation.”

“Bill Clinton Was Paid $750,000 From A Telecom Company Facing State Department Sanctions While Hillary Was Secretary of State, And Was Subsequently Spared”
The Swedish Telecom Giant Ericsson that came under pressure from the United States for selling equipment to oppressive governments that would allegedly use the equipment to control their people.

 “Clinton’s State Department Approved The Transfer of 20% Of America’s Uranium Holdings To Russia, While Investors Funneled $145 Million To The Clinton Foundation”
Clinton Cash reveals a connection between the United State’s uranium holdings with Russia’s Uranium One to $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation.

 “Clinton Accepted Gifts From The Government Of Brunei As Secretary Of State As Brunei Pushed Sharia Law”
“Hillary Clinton accepted $58,000 in jewelry from the government of Brunei when she was Secretary of State – plus millions more for her foundation. The Sultan of Brunei has pushed oppressive Sharia law, including the punishment of death by stoning for being gay. The government of Brunei also stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Hillary supported Trans-Pacific Partnership.

 “Hillary Took $25 Million From Saudi Araba, Where Being LGBT Is Punishable By Death”
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia donated millions to the Clinton Foundation. Homosexuals are legally stoned to death in Saudi Arabia and women in Saudi Arabia are violently discriminated against.

 “Hillary Took Millions From Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, And Other Countries That Abuse Women And The LGBT Community”
The State of Kuwait, which was cited by the State Department in 2012 for Human Rights problems, donated at least $5 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Both Oman and Qatar, which were also noted by the State Department for Human Rights practices against women, donated at least $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.

"We hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to high office."

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Due on the 4th of July by Cindy Sheehan

Unlike my friends Ron Kovic and S. Brian Willson (both Vietnam Vets cum war protesters), my mother always shared with me that I was due to be born on the 4th of July, but held out (after three days of hard, excruciating labor--she always reminded me) until the 10th.

When I was young, I always thought of the fireworks, food, and family fun of the 4th of July as a pre-celebration of my birthday, less than a week later. At that time, I was always a little upset that I wasn't born on the 4th, but now, why would I want to share anything with the government of the nation of my birth? Once, I reluctantly shared with it my oldest son, and before Casey was ordered to join a brutal occupying force in the not-independent nation of Iraq, he was abused and misused and molded into cannon fodder and eventually killed in a war based on lies and for the profit of a few. That didn't turn out well for him, or our family.

The 4th of July is called, "Independence Day," right? But independence for whom?  

Certainly, the very few who profit off of war and Wall Street; prisons; pharmaceuticals; paying low wages with little benefits; oil extraction; and the Imperial Police State in general, enjoy financial independence and also enjoy excessive protection of the law and Constitution, all to guarantee that their financial independence continues. What about those of us who don't profit off of death and misery--well, we are the victims of it and struggle daily to just keep our noses above drowning. With a growing income gap and with millions of homeless in this country, many fall through the huge cracks in the almost non-existent social infrastructure here in the "Land of the Free" and are definitely slaves to working hard for bare survival.

Here in this "bastion" of "freedom" there is a higher rate and number of incarcerated than in the entire world. Why does the US jail so
many of its citizens? Are we a country of naughty children that need to be "taught a lesson?" Or is it because the Prison Industrial Complex own politicians and judges alike and someone(s) are getting really wealthy? And/or is it because corporations have access and the legal right to the slave labor of prisoners?

What about the right to be independent of medical debt and the
struggle to be healthy? HMOs, health insurance companies, big pharma and so-called "natural" cure peddlers are definitely enjoying this right, but what about the rest of us? Obama"care" has still left tens of millions of us uninsured and underinsured and people are going broke to this day with medical bills and are devastated with the unrelenting stress of insufficient healthcare and little support for prevention or for families who are struggling with a serious illness. 

With the little "independence" we have within the borders of the US, how about those innocent unfortunates whose countries and communities are being occupied, bombed, or otherwise torn by Imperial violence? I had an exchange with an active duty soldier recently who said that he only goes where the "American people send" him and that he is "defending" me and the US. This is exactly what I answered to him: 

"BTW, there're many other ways people can "serve" their fellow human beings besides being "hired guns for Capitalism" (Smedley Butler). I really don't think you understand the dynamics. The reason we protest the wars is because we (Americans or others) DO NOT SUPPORT the decisions to send the military to invade and occupy innocent people. And, don't talk about your great service to me, I did NOT ask you to do it and I don't support your choice to do so. My son was killed in Iraq, so I think I understand a little of what I am saying. I didn't support his choice to go, either, and he said, "I don't want to go, but I have to." He didn't have to and his life was stolen from him by the war criminals."

With this ignominious list of wars that the US has waged in its bloody history, I think I can safely say that on July 4, 1776, the Founders declared their (and subsequently, our) independence from Peace. 

Well, the US must be free, because every so often (too often?), the US holds "free elections." Many people have said, "If elections really changed things, they would make them illegal." I say, "If elections really changed things for the better, then things would be better, because the US has held thousands of elections." Obviously, elections DO NOT bring independence to the working and poor classes, because those classes keep on expanding as we are cartwheeling to another presidential election. Am I the only one who noticed that the Sanders' supporters have only cried "election fraud" in the states were Sanders lost? One of the key demands of the Sanders' campaign was "open primaries." Well, he knew perfectly well the "lay of the land" before he joined the War Party to campaign to be its candidate for POTUS. Besides, are open primaries really more democratic than allowing members of each party to select their own candidate for the general elections? What's the use of having parties anyway? The twin parties of War and Wall Street don't bring freedom to the 99%, they bring more oppression and division and more opportunity for corruption and fraud.

Even so-called environmentalists like Al Gore are profiting off the destruction of survivability on our only planet---we in the working and poor classes can conserve as much water and recycle as much aluminum and plastic as we are able, but the corporations and Military Industrial Complex pollute our water and air and use limited resources at an alarming rate. 

Being born on the 10th of July, I can't sing any songs about being a "Yankee Doodle Dandy," (thank goodness) but through a random accident of birth, I am relieved that I don't share the day of my entry into dependence as a citizen of the US with the "birth" of the most brutal Empire in history; which was built on the bones of genocide and the violence and immorality of forced slave labor.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sometimes there is no Justice by Anthony Freda

Sometimes there is no justice.
Sometimes, men and women abuse their power and lie us into needless wars with impunity.

Sometimes, a corrupt establishment and complicit media succeed in covering up theses war crimes instead of exposing them.

Sometimes, the two-tiered 'just-us" system fills the prisons with poor criminals and protects the rich and powerful criminals.

Sometimes, as Aesop wrote, "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to high office."

Sometimes, there is no justice, there is only war and blood and death.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Revolutionary Organization of Labor (ROL, USA) Statement on/at DNC

Bernie Sanders Has Taught

Dear Friends,

There is only one best place for U.S. social justice activists to be protesting in July 2016 —
in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention.
Here’s why.

1.    The outstanding feature of the 2016 Presidential Primary has been the voters’ angry rejection of Wall Street’s Republican and Democratic candidates, “the Republicrats.” Remember the odds-on favorites at the beginning? Jeb Bush amassed a fortune in early big money yet was swatted away by the wrath of the Republican voters. Hillary Clinton, too, would have been dispatched by the Bernie Sanders Campaign, with its outstanding domestic program addressing the needs of the 99 percent of us. But, of the two wings of the Republicrats who rule politically on behalf of Wall Street, it is the Democratic Party that is the main brake on social justice movements fighting against Wall Street, against monopoly capitalism and imperialism. The Democratic Party is the main political gatekeeper for the System.

2.    Our Wall Street rulers will not allow the U.S. citizens to vote them out of power and wipe out their obscene and criminal private profit through the ballot box! Indeed, as unrest and dissatisfaction increases among the U.S. population, the line between the military and the police has become increasingly blurred. Wall Street controls the increasingly militarized domestic police apparatus as well as the U.S. military itself, armed with the most powerful weapons of mass destruction in world history and produced by the U.S. military-industrial complex, which has its own impact on U.S. domestic politics.

3.    The Democratic Party apparatus headed by DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz conspired to deliver the Presidential nomination to Wall Street’s candidate, Hillary Clinton. Rather than maximize the opportunity of tens of millions of dollars worth of free exposure of their candidates and message like the Republican Party did, the DNC sponsored the minimum number of TV debates and held them at times when there would be low viewer turnout. Moreover, they used their even more anti-democratic rules than those of the Republican Party, especially the so-called “super delegates,” to mobilize for Clinton. Throughout the Presidential primary campaign, they counted “committed” super delegate votes as if they had already been cast to give the public the false impression that Clinton was beating Sanders badly. These official votes appeared in newspapers, on TV and throughout the media every time there was a state primary vote. The DNC miscounted ballots and manipulated state caucuses. They got the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee, i.e. staffers, lobbyists and a small percentage of the actual Black Congress members, to endorse Clinton before the South Carolina primary, highlighted by John Lewis’ lies about Clinton’s role during the Civil Rights era when she supported Barry Goldwater during the very period when Goldwater opposed the Voting Rights Act! And in conjunction with the monopoly capitalist-controlled media, CNN et al., they concocted out of nothing a “news story” that Clinton had achieved “an historic victory,” the night before the California primary. Were the California votes ever counted at all?!

4.    President Barack Obama, one of Wall Street’s most valuable presidents ever, has now openly declared his loyalty to Wall Street’s chief remaining candidate by endorsing Hillary Clinton as “the best prepared candidate for president in U.S. history.” Her preparation includes the following: Clinton has taken huge bribes/ “speaking fees” from the likes of Goldman Sachs, the biggest Wall Street winner in the current economic crisis thanks to the George W. Bush and Obama Regimes.  As Secretary of State, Clinton helped to oust President Zelaya of Honduras and then helped Obama to prevent the elected President’s return. She  helped lead Obama’s colonialist war on Libya, under the Qaddafi Regime, the most successful country on the African continent and now a ruined nation-state. And, with blood on her hands, in true white supremacist fashion, she infamously declared, regarding the cold-blooded murder of Qaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died!” Indeed, Clinton is well prepared to take the helm of the U.S. Empire.

5.    What about the Trump menace? In style and substance, Donald Trump is a fascist politician in the classic Adolph Hitler and “National Socialist” (Nazi) sense. This billionaire’s angry campaign combines demagogic populist rhetoric proclaiming that the system is rigged against the majority of us, on the one hand, with chauvinistic hatred toward Latino immigrants, Muslim religious believers, Afro-American citizens and many other “non-white American” ethnic groups here and around the world, on the other. He argues further that because of his immense personal wealth, he is “independent” of the Wall Street rulers. Regarding the U.S. Empire in decline, he promises to “make America great again.”

As Georgi Dimitrov, the leader of the Communist International who heroically and successfully defied and exposed Hitlerite Fascism, and then helped the Soviet Union lead in the defeat of  world fascism in World War II, taught: “It is in the interests of the most reactionary circles of the bourgeoisie that fascism intercepts the disappointed masses who desert the old bourgeois parties. But it impresses these masses by the vehemence of its attacks on the  bourgeois governments and its irreconcilable attitude to the old bourgeois parties.” Indeed, as the masses began to rally to Bernie Sanders’ social-democratic domestic program against Wall Street, the monopoly capitalist-dominated mass media gave unprecedented coverage to every grunt and rant of Trump, magnifying his “anger against the system.” And Trump’s rants were even angrier than Sanders, who had committed from the outset to support the successful Democratic candidate, and whose campaign was only minimally covered, especially given the huge crowds Sanders was gathering throughout the primaries.

But Trump’s similarities to Hitler and German fascism of the 1930’s does not automatically make him the main political target who must be stopped at all costs at this particular historical moment. Fascism comes to power through different paths as shown, for example, in the experience of Fascist Italy as compared to Nazi Germany. Dimitrov observed that, “Bourgeois governments usually pass through a number of preliminary stages and adopt a number of reactionary measures which directly facilitate the accession to power of fascism. Whoever does not fight the reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie and the growth of fascism at these preparatory stages is not in a position to prevent the victory of fascism, but, on the contrary, facilitates that victory.”

6.    Clinton, the Democrat, is the absolute worst candidate to support “against Trump.” As a loyal tool of Wall Street, Clinton will not educate the voters against the financial oligarchy but will apologize and cover up for Wall Street. Coupled with her Democratic Party rhetoric, this will only enrage the voters all the more, moving them further into the Trump camp. It was precisely Sanders’ focus on the rigged Wall Street economy and politics that allowed his candidacy to thrive against all odds. With Sanders out of the race the same old “Republicrat” rhetoric will provide new fuel to the Trump fire.

7.    Moreover, a Clinton/Wall Street victory, while temporarily slowing down the accelerating process of advancing fascism immediately following the election, over the longer run will both fuel its development and drive it into underground independent fascist political formations. As Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in President Reagan’s first term and an Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, observed, “The president can do whatever he wants as long as he justifies it as ‘national security.’ The president’s part of the government, the unaccountable executive branch, is supreme. This is the legacy of the Bush/Cheney regime, and this criminal regime continues under Obama. America’s ‘war on terror,’ a fabrication, has resurrected the unaccountable dungeon of the Middle Ages and the raw tyranny that prevailed prior to the Magna Carta.” (VDARE.COM, 9-2-10) Indeed, U.S. Fascism has significantly advanced on the shoulders of every U.S. president at least from Reagan to Bush I to Clinton to Bush II to Obama.

*    We need to organize to oppose the drive toward fascism in the USA—including defense of the Afro-American people against police brutality and Latino immigrants against ICE raids and against increased militarization of the domestic police and U.S. society.

*    We need to stay in the streets and continue to fight for the Sanders Campaign platform demands. And, unlike Sanders, we need to be there to protest the Obama-led U.S. imperialist wars, including the current wars throughout the Middle East.

*    We need to involve our newly organized political groupings in Referenda campaigns on Sanders Campaign-type issues like single-payer universal healthcare, defense of the environment and breaking up the big banks, and run independent candidates in local elections around the country.

*    We need to expose and isolate the Democratic Party and work to build an anti-fascist labor/oppressed nationalities Third Party. A Sanders run for President, independent of the Democratic Party, would help lay a basis for such a mass-based party now.

*    We need to make “a political revolution.” If you are serious about a political revolution leading to socialism, we would love to hear from you.

-Issued June, 2016 by the
Revolutionary Organization of Labor (USA)

Contact us at:     Boxholder, 607 Boylston St., Lower Level Box 464, Boston, MA  02116  USA

Trump vs. Hillary 2016: FINALLY, we have a lesser evil! | Mickey Z.

By DonkeyHotey (Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump - Caricatures) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsBy DonkeyHotey (Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump - Caricatures) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

July 27, 2016

(I know I said I was done writing on this topic but hey, I lasted nearly three months!)

For the past two decades, my presidential election-related writing involved me literally cutting and pasting full passages verbatim every four years. The whole mess could be comfortably summed up in one of my favorite phrases: The primary difference between Democrats and Republicans is that they tell different lies to get elected. 

By late 2015, I had that line polished and ready to shine again… but along came Donald Trump. This time around, there actually is a lesser evil component, but my radical (sic) “comrades” are far too programmed and/or sexist to accept this profound change. They’d rather go on (and on) listing the many obvious transgressions of Hillary Clinton while downplaying (mocking, even) Trump, his impact, and his chances of winning.

Breaking news: Trumpism* is already winning big in 2016.

A tiny sampling:

A request before you launch into yet another cataloging of Clinton’s criminality in response: Why not allocate some of your daily Google time to finding more examples of how Trumpism threatens us all? Get back to me when there’s a desperate need for the “Hillary Hate Map.” Wait. I take that back. There is a desperate need for the Hillary Hate Map. It should exist to document the relentlessly hateful misogyny being launched at her (and all women) by folks all across the pathetic political spectrum. 

If I had a dollar for every time I've seen Hillary Clinton called a c*nt, b*tch, wh*re, etc. on the Facebook pages of “leftists,” I could probably build and fund a female-only self-defense center. The despicable denizens of the Left (sic) make a grand show of publicly disavowing the use of slurs by visitors… unless those slurs happen to be misogynist. Then, it’s suddenly all “freedom of speech” and “I won’t censor” from these reprehensible reactionaries.

Thanks to the rise of Trumpism, the Brave Men of the Left™ have finally been given the chance to live up to their purported principles. And how do they react? After years or even decades of boasting about how “antifa” they are, they're spending their meager time and energy conjuring up clever nicknames for Hillary and/or marching for Bernie’s “revolution” and/or clinging to the righteous purity of supporting Jill Stein and/or engaging in three-day flame wars in oh-so-hardcore private “anarchist” groups.

If you’ve ever wondered just how white and how male the American Left (sic) is, well… it’s on full display in 2016.

Let’s please recognize the Left (sic) as the fetid cesspool of privilege, male supremacy, and denial it is and has always been. Whether they’ve anointed themselves to be radicals, progressives, revolutionaries, or whatever the latest self-serving title may be, the “Left” hive mind (like all hive minds) is the enemy of justice.

What exactly do these (usually white, usually male) leftists (sic) gain from of making post after post about “Shillary” and “Killary” and “Hitlery” -- with the same long (and often accurate) lists of her transgressions? I can only guess that since this timeworn template has garnered them an infinitesimal following in their sad little social media fiefdoms, they’re holding on for dear life. 

Whether you’re Joe Blow on Wordpress or any one of dozens of tragically ineffectual Counterpunch writers, why are you so afraid to shift gears? Is it so important for you to look radical (sic) and hardcore (sic) to your sycophantic followers that you can’t recognize that -- finally -- your vote matters in a U.S. presidential election (and thus you may have a glimpse of the influence you desperately crave)?

More breaking news: It is possible to identify Hillary Clinton as the despicable corporate-funded war criminal she is while simultaneously realizing that Trumpism is the far graver and more urgent concern. It’s actually quite easy. You should try it some time.

Choose Wisely
The media-fueled rise of Trumpism has re-emboldened misogynists and white supremacists all across God’s Country™. To view this phenomenon as some form of low brow entertainment spectacle is to expose one’s lack of historical context. For some Americans to flippantly talk of moving to Canada is a betrayal to all those without the resources to leave or fight back or earn justice. To trot out the classic “it can’t happen here” is to ignore that it’s already happened here many times and, in some cases, never stopped happening.

No matter how many likes and shares you get on Facebook, you ain’t changing this FACT: Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to be elected U.S. president this November. As horrifying as this is to accept, the choice is real: Obama’s third term or Mussolini’s second. 
Time to choose: Which side are you on?

Mickey Z. is currently writing his fourteenth book, How to Lose Friends & Influence Nobody: My Life as an “Activist.” In the meantime, he can be found here
Trump vs. Hillary 2016: FINALLY, we have a lesser evil! by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

Sunday, June 26, 2016

End Prison Slavery (SOAPBOX PODCAST 6/26/16)

June 26, 2016

Guest: Bob Witanek

Topic: Ending Prison Slavery and Proposed Prisoner's General Strike (9/9/16)

Relevant Links:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Obama Loves Guns! by Anthony Freda

So long as they are used to enforce imperial control of the citizenry.

Obama says semi-automatic weapons belong on a battlefield. 

OK,  then why is he arming a record number of NON-Defense Department Federal Officers with firearms, (Including arming IRS agents with AR-15s)

Do we live on a battlefield?

Officers with arrest-and-firearm authority has tripled since 1996 to 200,000 and now exceeds the number of US Marines. (182,000)

The Obama administration also brokered more arms deals than any administration of the past 70 years, Republican or Democratic. 

Some of those weapons were delivered to terror groups and are being used against US troops. 

Maybe his control should start with Self control.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

'Activism': The lies we have to tell ourselves | Mickey Z.

Almost exactly four years ago, I wrote an article that opened with this, um, “anecdote”:
As part of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Summer Disobedience School, I was marching with my fellow occupiers through Times Square in early June 2012. While skirting the edge of the demo to take photos, I passed a group of young men in business attire. On the surface, they appeared "mainstream" -- right out of Central Casting, in fact.
One man was clearly confused by the boisterous march -- the signs, the drummers, the costumes, and so much more. "What are they doing?" he pondered aloud. The largest man in the group -- his face pinched into an expression of scorn -- bellowed: "I'll tell you what they should be doing. They should be looking for a fuckin' job."
He looked so self-satisfied with his parroting of the corporate media line that I couldn't help taking him down a notch. I stopped walking, positioned myself about three feet away -- directly in his line of sight -- and glared into his eyes. 
When he looked at me and saw my "99%" button and the Red Square affixed to my t-shirt, Alpha Male was suddenly confronted with the uncomfortable reality that those he was mocking weren't the skinny hippie pacifists he'd read all about on the interwebs.
His eyes met mine and I held my squinty stare. In a matter of seconds, his self-confidence waned and he diverted his gaze downwards. (#winning) With a smirk, I turned and moved off to catch up with my OWS tribe.

Pardon me while I curl into the fetal position and weep in shame for the next three hours. 
I can still recall how unabashedly excited I was to participate in the event described above (and so many others like it) but now -- armed with four-plus years of painful but essential hindsight -- it makes me cringe that my exuberance tricked me into thinking we were doing anything even remotely effective or “making a difference.” 

Before I can allow myself to simply look back with a sense of nostalgia at a fun afternoon with some upbeat folks who, um, occupied my life for a brief moment in time, I must first expose, address, and own up to the arrogance and denial on display that afternoon.

What we were doing… 

I’ve already wasted enough ink on the “get a job” canard so let’s instead focus on the extreme validity of the first dude-bro’s question: “What are they doing?” Think about it. Why wouldn’t he or anyone be puzzled? There was literally no rational reason why passers-by would understand the show we were putting on for ourselves (and the cops).

If you asked me “What are you doing?” at the time, I likely would’ve spouted off a whole lot of nonsense about “revolution.” Ask me now though. Please. Ask me now about OWS and its various spin-offs and spectacles.

Even better, if I could somehow track down the guy who confusedly wondered what we were doing that Saturday afternoon in Times Square four summers ago, here’s some of what I’d tell him: 
We were entertaining ourselves. Mic checks, hand signals, carefully crafted performances, a ridiculous overemphasis on “outsmarting” the “pigs,” and virtually no perception of or interest in what might potentially lure in mainstream New Yorkers. This counterproductive tendency to perform for each other progressed rapidly and virtually guaranteed failure. 

We were doing in ZERO outreach. I can remember commenting on how curious and interested the tourists in Times Square appeared to be about us and the issues we were raising. What the fuck was I thinking? Of course they watched and took photos and videos. That’s what tourists do! They weren’t becoming “woke af.”* Just the other day, while standing near the entrance to Bryant Park, I witnessed two homeless men in a screaming match that almost became violent. Glancing around, I saw tourists staring at them and filming them with the exact same facial expressions as those watching my “OWS Tribe” in the exact same spot four years earlier. 

We were engaging in the classic “take the streets” nonsense. It takes an incredible amount of denial and privilege for a mostly white crowd of “activists” to taunt cops, disobey street-related laws, and perceive such silliness as rebellion. Meanwhile, on the same day described above, when the march reached Bryant Park, the NYPD predictably singled out a black man from the crowd. He was stopped and frisked right in front of us. We chanted and took photos and “showed our solidarity” with people of color and when he was let go without being arrested, we also managed to convince ourselves that somehow, his freedom was thanks to the presence of OWS. (insert deep sigh here)
Photo credit: Mickey Z.

We were congratulating ourselves afterwards. Once inside Bryant Park, the “occupiers” broke into small groups to analyze that day’s event and discuss “important issues” (student debt, radical theory, and yes: stop and frisk!) -- as if anything we were doing could have even an iota of impact beyond our echo chamber. Meanwhile, a different set of on-lookers took photos of what must’ve appeared as a freak show. 

We were partaking in a social media ego-fest. I don’t have a smart phone but many, many others were uploading images and videos in “real time,” all day. Later, folks like me got busy posting photos and videos, tagging, sharing, and creating yet another insular circle jerk of delusion. #winning!

We were wasting our own precious time and energy. As I documented in this article, despite all the smoke and mirrors, nothing of sustained value has been accomplished by OWS and its offshoots since September 17, 2011. Really. Please. READ THIS ARTICLE. For now, I’ll offer a snippet: 
“The damage is relentless and ongoing and impervious to Occupy-related tactics and self-perception. None of our exhibitionist acting out or our Instagram selfies or our clever memes or our accumulation of social media notifications or our sign waving and petition signing and drum banging got us any closer to the root causes and certainly no where near to creating sustainable social change.”
“What are they doing?” that bewildered bro begged. Since it would be far too flattering to simply say “nothing” (“worse than nothing” = way more accurate), please allow me to amend the cringeworthy recollection with which I began:
One man was clearly confused by the boisterous march -- the signs, the drummers, the costumes, and so much more. "What are they doing?" he pondered aloud. So, I stopped walking, positioned myself about three feet away -- directly in his line of sight -- and replied: “We’re doing what ‘activists’ do, of course. We’re willfully lying to ourselves. What does it look like we’re doing?”

Repeat after me: The people united will never be defeated!
* From Mickey: A popular slang (woke as fuck)
Mickey Z. is currently writing his fourteenth book, How to Lose Friends & Influence Nobody: My Life as an “Activist.” In the meantime, he can be found here.
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“Activism”: The lies we have to tell ourselves by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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The Soapbox Presents: Talk Nation Radio with David Swanson (Guest: Peter Kuznick)

Talk Nation Radio: Peter Kuznick on Untold Nuclear History and No War 2016

Peter Kuznick is Professor of History at American University, and author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists As Political Activists in 1930s America, co-author with Akira Kimura of Rethinking the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japanese and American Perspectives, co-author with Yuki Tanaka of Nuclear Power and Hiroshima: The Truth Behind the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power, and co-editor with James Gilbert of Rethinking Cold War Culture. In 1995, he founded American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute, which he directs. In 2003, Kuznick organized a group of scholars, writers, artists, clergy, and activists to protest the Smithsonian’s celebratory display of the Enola Gay. He and filmmaker Oliver Stone co-authored the 12 part Showtime documentary film series and book both titled The Untold History of the United States. Kunick will be screening an episode of that program and speaking at the No War 2016 conference in Washington, D.C.:
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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