Tag Archives: Obama

New book: The Phenomenon of Obama and the Agenda for Education Can Hope Audaciously Trump Neoliberalism?

The Phenomenon of Obama and the Agenda for Education
Can Hope Audaciously Trump Neoliberalism?

Edited by Paul R. Carr, Lakehead University
Bradley Porfilio, Lewis University in Romeoville, IL

A volume in the series: Critical Constructions: Studies on Education and Society. Series Editor: Curry Stephenson Malott, West Chester University

Published 2011

Who should read this book? Anyone who is touched by public education – teachers, administrators, teacher-educators, students, parents, politicians, pundits, and citizens – ought to read this book. It will speak to educators, policymakers and citizens who are concerned about the future of education and its relation to a robust, participatory democracy. The perspectives offered by a wonderfully diverse collection of contributors provide a glimpse into the complex, multilayered factors that shape, and are shaped by, institutions of schooling today. The analyses presented in this text are critical of how globalization and neoliberalism exert increasing levels of control over the public institutions meant to support the common good. Readers of this book will be well prepared to participate in the dialogue that will influence the future of public education in this nation – a dialogue that must seek the kind of change that represents hope for all students.

As for the question contained in the title of the book–Can hope audaciously trump neoliberalism?–, Carr and Porfilio develop a framework that integrates the work of the contributors, including Christine Sleeter and Dennis Carlson, who wrote the forward and afterword respectively, that problematizes how the Obama administration has presented an extremely constrained, conservative notion of change in and through education. The rhetoric has not been matched by meaningful, tangible, transformative proposals, policies and programs aimed at transformative change. There are many reasons for this, and, according to the contributors to this book, it is clear that neoliberalism is a major obstacle to stimulating the hope that so many have been hoping for. Addressing systemic inequities embedded within neoliberalism, Carr and Porfilio argue, is key to achieving the hope so brilliantly presented by Obama during the campaign that brought him to the presidency.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgements. Foreword: Challenging the Empire’s Agenda for Education, Christine E. Sleeter. SECTION I: USING HISTORICAL AND THEORETICAL INSIGHTS TO UNDERSTAND OBAMA’S EDUCATIONAL AGENDA. More of the Same: How Free Market-Capitalism Dominates the Economy and Education, David Hursh. Concocting Crises to Create Consent: The Importance of “The Shock Doctrine” to Understanding Current Educational Policy, Virginia Lea. Educational Hope Ignored Under Obama: The Persistent Failure of Crisis Discourse and Utopian Expectations, P. L. Thomas. Competing Definitions of Hope in Obama’s Education Marketplace: Media Representations of School Reform, Equality, and Social Justice, Rebecca A. Goldstein, Sheila Macrine, Nataly Z. Chesky, and Alexandra Perry. SECTION II: THE PERILS OF NEOLIBERAL SCHOOLING: CRITIQUING CORPORATIZED FORMS OF SCHOOLING AND A SOBER ASSESSMENT OF WHERE OBAMA IS TAKING US. Charting a New Course for Public Education Through Charter Schools: Where is Obama Taking Us? Mary Christianakis and Richard Mora. Manufactured Consent: Latino/a Themed Charter Schools, in Whose Interests? Theresa Montaño and Lynne Aoki. Whose Schools are These Anyway—American Dream or Nightmare? Countering the Corporate Takeover of Schools in California, Roberta Ahlquist. Obama, Escucha! Estamos en la Lucha! Challenging Neoliberalism in Los Angeles Schools, Theresa Montaño. Standardized Teacher Performance Assessment: Obama/Duncan’s Quick Fix for What They Think it is That Ails Us, Ann Berlak. The Political Economy of Educational Restructuring: On the Origin of Performance Pay and Obama’s “Blueprint” for Education, Mark Garrison. SECTION III: ENVISIONING NEW SCHOOLS AND A NEW SOCIAL WORLD: STORIES OF RESISTENCE, HOPE, AND TRANSFORMATION. The Education Agenda is a War Agenda: Connecting Reason to Power and Power to Resistance, Rich Gibson and E. Wayne Ross. Connecting Communities and Schools: Accountability in the Post-NCLB Era, Tina Wagle and Paul Theobald. If There is Anyone Out There, Peter McLaren. Afterword: Working the Contradictions: The Obama Administration’s Educational Policy, and Democracy Will Come, Dennis Carlson. Biographies.

HAW recommends these articles

“Ex-Spy Alleges Bush White House Sought to Discredit Critic”
By James Risen, New York Times, posted June 16
The critic in question was University of Michigan historian Juan Cole. He has posted his take on the Times article here.

“Andropov Was Right”
By Tariq Ali, London Review of Books, June 16 issue
Review of two books on the Soviet experience in Afghanistan

“Congress Members Sue Obama to End Libya War”
By David Swanson, War Is a Crime.org, posted June 15
Includes historical background

“Western Media Fraud in the Middle East”
By Nir Rosen, Aljazeera English, posted June 15

“Siamese Twins Sharing the Same Brain: How the Military and the Civilian Are Blurring in Washington”
By William J. Astore, TomDispatch.com, posted June 14

“The Whistle-Blowers of 1777″
By Stephen M. Kohn, New York Times op-ed, posted June 12

“Slain Writer’s Book Says US-NATO War Served Al-Qaeda Strategy”
By Gareth Porter, Institute for Policy Studies, posted June 10

“Three Deadly War Myths”
By Robert Parry, ConsortiumNews.com, posted June 9
On myths related to the Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libyan wars

“Afghanistan: Obama’s Moment of Decision”
By Andrew J. Bacevich, History News Network, from The Daily Beast, posted June 8
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University

“Daniel Ellsberg: All the Crimes Richard Nixon Committed Against Me Are Now Legal”
Interview on the CNN blog, posted June 7

Results don’t matter in Obama’s “Race to the Top”

The New York Times reports today on Montgomery County (MD) Schools’ highly regarded teacher evaluation system. The district’s Peer Assistance and Review program is not acceptable under Obama’s “Race to the Top” plan, because it does not make student test scores the key factor in teacher evaluation.

The program uses several hundred senior teachers to mentor both newcomers and struggling veterans. If the mentoring doesn’t work, the PAR panel — made up of eight teachers and eight principals — can vote to fire the teacher. And PAR has resulted in 500 teachers leaving their jobs over the past 11 years.

Despite a successful professional development approach to teacher evaluation as well as evidence of student learning success in the district, the program will be ditched for a new statewide scheme, which is not yet developed, but meets the Obama’s demand that all aspects of schools be marketized.

Unfortunately, federal dollars from the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program are not going where Dr. Weast [Montgomery County Superintendent] and the PAR program need to go. Montgomery County schools were entitled to $12 million from Race to the Top, but Dr. Weast said he would not take the money because the grant required districts to include students’ state test results as a measure of teacher quality. “We don’t believe the tests are reliable,” he said. “You don’t want to turn your system into a test factory.”

Race to the Top aims to spur student growth by improving teacher quality, which is exactly what Montgomery County is doing. Sad to say, the district is getting the right results the wrong way [i.e., not the neoliberal way, linking test scores to teacher evaluation to federal bribes].

It does not seem to matter that 84 percent of Montgomery County students go on to college and that 63 percent earn degrees there — the very variables that President Obama has said should be the true measure of academic success. It does not seem to matter that 2.5 percent of all black children in America who pass an Advanced Placement test live in Montgomery County, more than five times its share of the nation’s black population.

Singer: Don’t know much about—history, geography or civics.

Don’t Know Much About – History, Geography or Civics
By Alan Singer

In April 1943, as the United States prepared to invade Nazi dominated Europe and hopefully rebuild the continent on democratic foundations, the nation was shook, at least mildly, by a study that showed a tremendous “ignorance of U.S. History” by college freshman (Benjamin Fine, “Ignorance of U.S. History Shown By College Freshman,” The New York Times, April 4, 1943, p. 1). A survey of 7,000 incoming students at 36 colleges and universities across the country exposed a “vast fund of misinformation on many basic facts.” Adding to the national concern was that most of these students had studies either American history, government, or social studies while in high school. Meanwhile, 80 percent of the colleges and universities did not require a United States history class to earn an undergraduate degree. For a week, the issue made the front page of the New York Times and was even debated in the United States Senate. Then it quietly faded from public attention, until it reappeared in 1976, 1987, and 2002 when new test scores were released (Alan Singer, “Past as Prologue, History vs. Social Studies,” Social Education, 68 (2), February 2004, pp. 158-160.).

People somehow thought that saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school and singing the National Anthem at baseball games were enough to promote patriotism and respect for democracy, that is until the next Cold War or War on Terror scare.

In recent weeks, ignorance of United States history and the functioning of the U.S. government made the front pages again when a National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics exam showed that among other academic weaknesses, “Fewer than half of American eighth graders knew the purpose of the Bill of Rights” and “only one in 10 demonstrated acceptable knowledge of the checks and balances among the legislative, executive and judicial branches.” Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who heads a group that promotes civics education, declared “Today’s NAEP results confirm that we have a crisis on our hands when it comes to civics education.”

In many ways today’s crisis is of the government’s making, both on the national and state levels. It is also a crisis precipitated by the actions of both political parties, the Bush Republican “No Child Left Behind” and the Obama Democrat “Race to the Top.” Both mis-education strategies stress continuous testing in reading and math at the expense of all other subjects, including history, social studies, and civics. Students, teachers, and schools are all evaluated solely on these tests items. NO CHILD ON TOP / RACE TO THE BEHIND has transformed many of our schools, especially in inner-city communities, into cold, dry, boring test prep academies rather than places were children learn how to learn and prepare to become active citizens in a democratic society.
According to a report by my colleague Andrea Libresco, after five years of No Child Left Behind 36 percent of the nation’s school districts had cut class time for social studies to focus on math and reading test preparation.

In New York State, civics education has been undermined by the virtual abandonment of social studies below the high school level. Standardized state social studies and history assessments have already been canceled for the fifth and eighth grades and may become optional in high school. Unfortunately, as State Educational Commissioner David Steiner conceded at a conference at Hofstra University on April 15, “What is tested is taught.”

These “reforms” will make civics education, history and geography at best haphazard learning in our schools. According to Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania, civic education is the most important subject talk in America schools and should have “moral primacy over other purposes of public education in a democratic society.” Brian Dowd, social studies K-12 coordinator in Massapequa, NY and co-chair of the Long Island Council for the Social Studies fears that “the Board of Regents,” by counting social studies again, “is about to put New York in ‘moral danger.’” The council is now conducting a letter writing and email campaign to press the state to keep current assessments and re-institute the ones that were suspended.

In the 1980s, Ry Cooder & The Moula Banda Rhythm Aces had a less-than-hit song called “Down in Mississippi.” It celebrated a state with some of the lowest economic and social indices in the country. My fear is that current national and state educational policies that stress reading and math test prep at the expense of everything else will not only undermine civic understanding, but leave us all “Down in Mississippi.”

Another disturbing thought is that people in power in this country may not want a truly educated population. When Osama Bin Laden was killed, both President Obama and former President Bush called it an act of “justice.” I asked an eleventh grade high school class in Uniondale, New York if they agreed and every student who spoke, and there were many, said “Yes.” I then asked how we define “justice” in the United States. There was general agreement that the key component is due process of law with the right to a trial. My final question was, whether you agreed with the killing of Bin Laden or not, do you think it can correctly be described as “justice”? Students were now not so sure. For me as a social studies teacher, the most important part of civics education is promoting this kind of uncertainty.

Alan Singer, Director, Secondary Education Social Studies, Hofstra University

Links from Historians Against the War on the Osama bin Laden’s significance

“Geronimo, Bin Laden, and U.S. Foreign Policy”
By Daniel S. Margolies, History News Network, posted May 5
The author teaches history at Virginia Wesleyan College

“Osama bin Laden’s American Legacy”
By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted May 5

“Remembering All Al-Qaida’s Victims”
By Karima Benoune, The Guardian, posted May 3

“Osama bin Laden’s Death: The US Patriot Reflex”
By Gary Younge, The Guardian, posted May 3

“Obama and the End of Al-Qaeda”
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted May 2
The author teaches history at the University of Michigan

“The Death of Obama and the Return to Reality”
By Mark LeVine, Aljazeera English, posted May 2
The author teaches history at the University of California at Irvine

“Osama bin Laden Is Gone, But US War in the Middle East Is Here to Stay”
By Andrew J. Bacevich, Christian Science Monitor, posted May 2

Critical Education article examines Obama education agenda

In the latest issue of Critical Education, Brad J. Porfilio and Paul L. Carr analyze the Obama education agenda as a manifestation of the dominance of neoliberal ideology.

Critical Education
Vol 2, No 3 (2011)
Table of Contents
Audaciously Espousing Hope within a Torrent of Hegemonic Neoliberalism
Brad J. Porfilio, Paul L. Carr

Abstract

It has been over eighteen months since Barack Obama defeated John McCain in the US presidential election. Since this period of time, the Obama administration has implemented, proposed, and supported a spate of educational reform measures, including increasing the length of the school year, tying school funding to K-12 students’ performance on high-stakes examinations, firing teachers, gutting teacher unions and closing schools, opening charter schools, and tying teachers’ evaluations to students’ performance on standardized examinations. Despite the Obama administration’s active involvement in shaping educational circles, there has been a dearth of critical analysis in relation to Obama’s leadership and his educational agenda. In this essay, we illustrate how the Obama administration’s educational vision is a manifestation of the dominance of neoliberal ideology over most elements of social life for the past 30 years. We believe our critical analysis of US political leaders’ and their constituents’ support of the corporate takeover of US schools gives those interested in education the power to strive for democratic and transformative experiences for all students.

HAW Notes, including links to recent articles of interest on US foreign policy, wikileaks, Egypt, Tunsia, Afghanistan

To members and friends of Historians Against the War,

1. The HAW Steering Committee’s statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union message, which was sent to this list last Friday, has since been picked up by the History News Network (at http://www.hnn.us/articles/135968.html) and by Portside.org (at http://lists.portside.org/cgi-bin/listserv/wa?A2=PORTSIDE;ca16889.1101d). The statement was drafted by Marty Halpern, Staughton Lynd, and Edrene McKay and endorsed by the Steering Committee after discussion.

2. Carl Mirra of the HAW Steering Committee has passed along a request from Cover Me, a resource center for veterans and soldiers outside Fort Stewart in Georgia. The request is that HAW members and supporters who have written books consider donating a copy that would be put in a library at the center. The address is Monica Benderman/Cover Me, 733 Strickland Road, Hinesville, GA 31313.

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

“Why Washington Clings to a Failed Middle East Strategy”
By Gareth Porter, CommonDreams.org, posted January 31

“President Obama, Say the ‘D-Word’”
By Mark A. LeVine, CommonDreams.org, posted January 29 (from Al Jazeera)
The author teaches history at UC Irvine

“Roots of the Egyptian Revolutionary Moment”
Interview with Mohammed Ezzeldin on the Real News Network, posted January 29
Mohammed Ezzeldin is a graduate of Cairo University and a history graduate student at Georgetown University

“Egyptian and Tunisian People vs. US Dominance”
Interview with Phyllis Bennis on the Real News Network, posted January 29

“The U.S. Is Moving On from Afghanistan, but Its Troops Are Still Dying There”
By Gary Younge, The Guardian, posted January 30
Includes comparisons with the Iraq War and Vietnam

“In America Today, Dwight D. Eisenhower Would Be Bernie Sanders in the U.S. Senate”
By Rachel Maddow, AlterNet.org, posted January 28

“The United States and the Prospects for Democracy in Arab Nations”
By Stephen Zunes, Huffington Post, posted January 27

“The Corruption Game: What the Tunisian Revolution and WikiLeaks Tell Us about American Support for Corrupt Dictatorships in the Muslim World”
By Juan Cole, TomDispatch.com, posted January 25

“Glaspie Memo Refutes Claims Leaked Docs Were Classified for ‘Security’”
By Jason Ditz, AntiWar.com, posted January 20

Rouge Forum Update: Uprising in France and Victory in Chicago!

The full Rouge Forum Update is here.

Perpetual War

Michel Foucault ( from punishment to surveillance ) + Sarkozy
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AlJazeera On the WikiLeaks Release: Working with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London for the past 10 weeks, Al Jazeera has analysed tens of thousands of documents, finding facts the US has kept hidden from public scrutiny.

What has been uncovered often contradicts the official narrative of the conflict. For example, the leaked data shows that the US has been keeping records of Iraqi deaths and injuries throughout the war, despite public statements to the contrary.

The latest cache of files pertains to a period of six years – from January 1, 2004, to December 31, 2009 – and shows that 109,000 people died during this time. Of those, a staggering 66,081 – two-thirds of the total – were civilians.

The figures are much higher than previously estimated and they will inevitably lead to an upward revision of the overall death toll of the conflict.

As a result of the information contained in the war logs, the Iraq Body Count (IBC) – an organisation that kept records of the number of people killed – is about to raise its death toll estimates by 15,000: to 122,000 from 107,000.

The new material throws light on the day-to-day horrors of the war. The military calls them SIGACTs – significant action reports – ground-level summaries of the events that punctuated the conflict: raids, searches, roadside bombings, arrests, and more. All of them are classified “secret”.

The reports reveal how torture was rampant and how ordinary civilians bore the brunt of the conflict.

The files record horrifying tales: of pregnant women being shot dead at checkpoints, of priests kidnapped and murdered, of Iraqi prison guards using electric drills to force their prisoners to confess.

Equally disturbing is the response of the military to the civilian deaths caused by its troops. Excessive use of force was routinely not investigated and the guilty were rarely brought to book.

The WikiLeaks Release that the US Did Not Want Seen: At 5pm EST Friday 22nd October 2010 WikiLeaks released the largest classified military leak in history. The 391,832 reports (‘The Iraq War Logs’), document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a ‘SIGACT’ or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout.

The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 ‘civilians’; 23,984 ‘enemy’ (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 ‘host nation’ (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 ‘friendly’ (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period. For comparison, the ‘Afghan War Diaries’, previously released by WikiLeaks, covering the same period, detail the deaths of some 20,000 people. Iraq during the same period, was five times as lethal with equivallent population size.

Linked below a CBS Video on the Pathetic San Diego Homeless Vets’ Stand-down: The VA tells “60 Minutes” that, already, there are more than 9,000 Iraq and Afghanistan vets who’ve been homeless.

Two million troops have already served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA believes there could be thousands more homeless in part because of the combat stress and brain injuries that roadside bombs inflict. Already, a quarter of a million troops have asked for mental health treatment.

“The troops that are gonna come back from Afghanistan and from Iraq, is this country prepared for that?” Pelley asked.

“I don’t think so,” Nachison said.

Secret Wars Hidden From Even Corrupt In-bed-with Journalists: A major military operation involving hundreds of American troops, U.S. Special Forces and heavy bombers dropping 2,000-pound bombs on Taliban command and control centers wrapped up last week, concluding a critical phase in the campaign to oust the Taliban from Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province.

But no journalists were there to witness the operation.

U.S. military officials told journalists who had arrived to Kandahar Airfield for embeds in the Arghandab district between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15 that logistical problems had caused their embeds to be canceled.

US Construction Way Down—US Construction for Afghan Permanent Bases Way Up: analysis of little-noticed U.S. government records and publications, including U.S. Army and Army Corps of Engineers contracting documents and construction-bid solicitations issued over the last five months, fills in the picture. The documents reveal plans for large-scale, expensive Afghan base expansions of every sort and a military that is expecting to pursue its building boom without letup well into the future. These facts-on-the-ground indicate that, whatever timelines for phased withdrawal may be issued in Washington, the U.S. military is focused on building up, not drawing down, in Afghanistan….

Despite a pledge from the Obama administration to begin its troop drawdowns next July, this ongoing base-construction splurge, when put together with recent signals from the White House, civilians at the Pentagon, and top military commanders, including Afghan war chief General David Petraeus, suggests that the process may be drawn out over many years. During a recent interview with ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz, for instance, Petraeus affirmed the president’s July 2011 timeline, but added a crucial caveat. “It will be a pace that is determined by conditions,” he said.

Who Lost the Sunnis? Members of United States-allied Awakening Councils have quit or been dismissed from their positions in significant numbers in recent months, prey to an intensive recruitment campaign by the Sunni insurgency, according to government officials, current and former members of the Awakening and insurgents.
Although there are no firm figures, security and political officials say hundreds of the well-disciplined fighters — many of whom have gained extensive knowledge about the American military — appear to have rejoined Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Beyond that, officials say that even many of the Awakening fighters still on the Iraqi government payroll, possibly thousands of them, covertly aid the insurgency.

War Criminal Rice Lauds Obamagogue’s BiPartisan Wars: Rice said she and Obama “covered the waterfront.” “Despite the fact there are changes and tussles, there is still a foreign policy community that believes that foreign policy ought to be bipartisan,” she said. “It was really great that he reached out in that way.”

The Hitler Exhibit is ONLY ABOUT GERMANS: the show focuses on the society that nurtured and empowered him. It is not the first time historians have argued that Hitler did not corral the Germans as much as the Germans elevated Hitler. But one curator said the message was arguably more vital for Germany now than at any time in the past six decades, as rising nationalism, more open hostility to immigrants and a generational disconnect from the events of the Nazi era have older Germans concerned about repeating the past….

…over and over, the point was spelled out clearly in the exhibit’s plaques like one, near letters written by children who were sent off to concentration camps, that said: “Hitler was able to implement his military and extermination objectives because the military and economic elites were willing to carry out his war.”

The exhibit, with all its photographs of young and old adoring Hitler, also sought to dispel the notion that the Nazi spirit was simply impossible to resist. It held up Johann Georg Elser as proof that “it was possible for an individual to develop into a resistance fighter.”

Mr. Elser was a carpenter who tried to kill Hitler at the outset of the war and was hanged for his actions.

His story, however, left some viewers to wonder why their parents and grandparents had not rejected Hitler. Why everyone went mad.

Tom Brokaw—to the Left of Most Education Reformers: Notice anything missing on the campaign landscape? How about war? The United States is now in its ninth year of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the longest wars in American history. Almost 5,000 men and women have been killed. More than 30,000 have been wounded, some so gravely they’re returning home to become, effectively, wards of their families and communities.

Latest dispatch from HAW

Here are some notes, followed by our more or less biweekly set of links to recent articles by historians (or at least with substantial historical content) on HAW-relevant topics.

1. Today (October 7) Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) launched its campaign called Operation Recovery: Stop the Deployment of Traumatized Troops. On its website, IVAW explains the background of the campaign and asks for public support.

2. More than 150 scholars, including many historians, signed a September 29 press release calling on Georgetown University to revoke its appointment of former Colombia president Álvaro Uribe as a “Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership.” Uribe’s administration was linked to numerous human rights violations.

3. Frank Brodhead, a history PhD and activist, sends weekly e-mailings under the title of “Afghanistan War Weekly,” summarizing news reports from a range of periodicals. They are archived on the United for Peace and Justice website, and anyone can get on the e-mailing list by writing to the author at fbrodhead@aol.com.

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

“The Long War, Year Ten: Lost in the Desert with the GPS on the Fritz”
By Andrew Bacevich, TomDispatch.com, posted October 7
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University.

“Scapegoating War Crimes in Af-Pak on Drugs”
By Jeremy Kuzmarov, History News Network, posted October 4
The author teaches history at the University of Tulsa; the article draws parallels with the Vietnam War.

“An American Tradition of War and War Protest”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cynthia-wachtell/an-american-tradition-of-_b_749867.html

By Cynthia Wachtell
The author teaches American Studies at Yeshiva University.

“The Tale of Progressivism’s Death Has Been Exaggerated”

http://www.hnn.us/articles/132031.html

By Martin Halpern, History News Network, posted October 4
The author teaches history at Henderson State University in Arkansas

“In Struggle with the American Mind”
By William Blum, CounterPunch.org, posted October 1

“The War Addicts: 2016 and Then Some”
By Tom Englehardt, TomDispatch.com, posted September 30

“Prisoners of War: Bob Woodward and All the President’s Men (2010 Edition)”
By Andrew Bacevich, TomDispatch.com, posted September 27

Public Mobilization for a Nuclear-Free World
By Lawrence S. Wittner, September 23, 2010
The author teaches history at SUNY Albany

Labor Beat: Chicago Press Conference Protests Obama’s FBI Raids

FBI Raids Activists’ Homes in Sinister COINTELPRO Replay

In a replay of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s infamous COINTELPRO operations targeting the left during the 1960s and ’70s, America’s political police launched raids on the homes of antiwar and solidarity activists.

Heavily-armed SWAT teams smashed down doors and agents armed with search warrants carried out simultaneous raids in Minneapolis and Chicago early morning on September 24.

Rummaging through personal belongings, agents carted off boxes of files, documents, books, letters, photographs, computers and cell phones from Minneapolis antiwar activists Mick Kelly, Jessica Sundin, Meredith Aby, two others, as well as the office of that city’s Anti-War Committee.

Meanwhile, as federal snoops seized personal property in Minneapolis, FBI agents raided the Chicago homes of activists Stephanie Weiner and Joseph Iosbaker. According to the Chicago Tribune, “neighbors saw FBI agents carrying boxes from the apartment of community activist Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network.”

“In addition,” the Tribune reported, “Chicago activist Thomas Burke said he was served a grand jury subpoena that requested records of any payments to Abudayyeh or his group.”

Amongst those targeted by the FBI were individuals who organized peaceful protests against the imperialist invasion and occupation of Iraq and 2008 protests at the far-right Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

As Antifascist Calling reported in 2008 and 2009, citing documents published by the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks, state and local police, the FBI and agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon’s Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the United States Secret Service, the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency implemented an action plan designed to monitor and squelch dissent during the convention.

As part of that plan’s execution, activists and journalists were preemptively arrested, and cameras, recording equipment, computers and reporters’ confidential notes were seized. Demonstrations were broken up by riot cops who wielded batons, pepper spray and tasers and attacked peaceful protesters who had gathered to denounce the war criminals’ conclave in St. Paul.

With Friday’s raids, the federal government under “change” huckster Barack Obama, has taken their repressive program to a whole new level, threatening activists with the specter of being charged with providing “material support of terrorism.” A felony conviction under this draconian federal law (Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113B, § 2339B) carries a 15 year prison term… continue reading

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On Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010 a press conference was held to protest the FBI raids the day before on Chicago-area anti-war activists. In an attempt to intimidate and silence activists critical of U.S. foreign policy and militarism. Joe Iosbaker and his activist wife Stephanie Weiner had their home invaded by the FBI and searched for 12 hours. They even put in “evidence” bags drawings that their children made. Includes comments by their attorney Melinda Power. The space at the West Town Community Law Office was packed with about 75 supporters from numerous community and anti-war groups who made enthusiastic chants of solidarity at the end of the press conference. Iosbaker vowed that this McCarthy era-type government intimidation will not deter the anti-war movement from building an upcoming Midwest regional march on Oct. 16. Length – 9:28. Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info: mail@laborbeat.org, www.laborbeat.org. 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit Google Video, YouTube, or blip.tv and search “Labor Beat”.

Obama’s FBI raids anti-war activists homes in Minneapolis:

Activist Alert on the FBI Raids: The homes of five Twin Cities activists, including three prominent leaders of the Twin Cities antiwar movement, were raided Friday by the FBI in what an agency spokesman described as an “investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism.” The office of an antiwar organization also was reportedly raided.