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Why do DUers yearn for a kinder, gentler American Empire?

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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:42 PM
Original message
Why do DUers yearn for a kinder, gentler American Empire?
TortureGate has opened the floodgates yet again at the Underground: we're spewing out the same "I want my America back" "We should have seen this coming in 2000" nonsense.

For a group of people who pride themselves on standing apart from dogmatic lunacy and worship of all things authoritarian, I'm shocked that there exists a near-collective yearning for "the good ol' days".

What is this bastion of democracy that seemingly existed 4 years ago? Why can't we admit that our days of empire-building stretch back to the dawn of the 20th century (thanks to the efforts of Mssrs. Hearst, McKinley, and T. Roosevelt--the latter, inexplicably, receives an obscene amount of worship from posters who mistake the first neo-conservative for a progressive).

Do you prefer the Empire during the Clinton era? Are the slow, anguished cries of millions of starving Iraqis any less horrifying than the ones emanating from leveled cities? Or Truman's America? Should we take pride in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; should we look upon the 1947 National Security Act--giving birth to the evil of the CIA and Cold Warriorism--and respond with "Give 'em hell, Harry"?


I suggest that instead of fawning over illusory pasts, we should work together to forge an America that never was.
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Waverley_Hills_Hiker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. oooh....Good post.
thats about right, isnt it, an America that never was....
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leftyandproud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 03:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
26. America has always sucked
But it has always had the POTENTIAL to be GREAT! This is what we are fighting for...to make things better than they are, and much better than they used to be.
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Fenris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. America has always been an Empire
Ask the natives...if you can find one.

Everything past the Mississippi was acquired after independence. It was not free land. People lived on it. Indians. Mexicans. They were marginalized and pushed off their land or killed because of U.S. expansion.

Want to blame anyone, blame the father of Manifest Destiny, Thomas Jefferson.

If you want an America that never was, you've got to go back a long way.
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corporatewhore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
3. delete
Edited on Thu May-06-04 08:53 PM by corporatewhore
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rainy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
4. Agree 100%
You are so right on. I've been wondering the same thing and have been suprised by the huge Kerry support here. It does not fit with the progressive views I see posted everyday.
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corporatewhore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:53 PM
Response to Original message
5. delete
Edited on Thu May-06-04 08:54 PM by corporatewhore
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hang a left Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:54 PM
Response to Original message
6. Nice post.
I can only speak for myself. I think I have always been naive, up until about 3 years ago. DU has led me to many truths. I was conditioned by the nightly news and CNN. I used to be one of those people that would verbalize talking points that I heard on TV or the radio.

I just wasted the first half of my life, and was too busy in the next half.

I have been through many transitions here. It has taken a long time. I have arrived at a place where I truly believe that all is lost for this country. I just think for the first time in history, alot more people are becoming aware of the here and now because it is so blatant. It is right before your eyes. Yet there are those that refuse to see. Or could be there are alot of operatives here. Who knows for sure.

You are so right when you make the statement "an America that never was." It hasn't been in my lifetime. I just didn't know it.

Thanks for your thoughtful post.
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toddzilla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:54 PM
Response to Original message
7. rose colored glasses..
I get pretty peeved when i hear about the god-like clinton and all he did for america. Let's face it people, the world as a whole is NOT a good place for the average citizen. Although we do enjoy a hefty plate of freedom here in the US, it is far, far from some utopia that we seem to think it once was. I would wager that it was much less divided along class lines that it now is, but there will always be class warfare, and our "elected" officials will always be there fighting for the rich and the business owners to make sure we pay their share as well as our own.


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corporatewhore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:55 PM
Response to Original message
8. but colonialism imperalism and neoliberalism are totally cool and sound
Edited on Thu May-06-04 08:58 PM by corporatewhore
policy under dems. Even though america was founded on ethnic cleasing and slavery and has a solid track record of imperalism and bullying and blowing up the rest of the world it is the bestest nation ever well not under repukes anywayz
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betty_booop Donating Member (27 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:57 PM
Response to Original message
9. actually....
america had the chance to be an empire after WW1. we had offers to build bases in europe and gain control of former european colonies. we refused and became isolationists. and one could strongly argue our inter war inaction led to WW2. this neo-colonialism we see today only started after WW2 and the cold war. TR and other imperialists of the day only wanted to compete with imperial forces in europe.(and i'm not saying that is right, but it was a the motivation)

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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. You raise interesting points, but I must say...
That Germany's movement towards fascism might not have been wrought had we not entered WWI. Wilson plunged us into that hell at the behest of the financiers and bankers--assuring Germany's defeat and....

I do enjoy the give and take though, Betty. Welcome to DU!
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JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #9
21. Actually, US corporations rebuilt Germany like Cheney rebuilt Saddam.
The allies raped looted and destroyed Germany when they won WWI.

They caused chaos that led people to embrace the Nazis the way the Taliban were embraced in Afghanistan after the Soviets were driven out.

Militarily, hundreds of US corporations profiteered and rebuilt Germany's industries and weaponry much as Cheney and Halliburton profiteered in Iraq to get rich off Saddam's oil-for-food funds.

Those US corporations were even dragging their feet when FDR asked them to fill US orders because they were already filling German orders for armamemnts.

US and Nazi ties have always been significant, not as antagonistic as the propaganda deifying the US military would lead you to believe.
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 08:58 PM
Response to Original message
10. Great post, Derek.
You're right. I'm not longing for the good old days. It took this administration and all the stuff that's happened in the last 3 years to make me realize that we were never what I had 'imagined' we were.

That's what hurts and angers me the most about my own stupidity or gullibility.

Someone posted a poll earlier about favorite patriotic song. I can't listen to them anymore. I use to think our flag was so beautiful, I loved the colors, the design everything about it. Now it makes me sick to see it plastered everywhere. Raggedy ass flags waving from car antennas and anything that won't move.

I would like to think that we can be what we ought to be but, imho - we're too far gone. Maybe I feel this way because I'm older and don't have the fire in the belly that a lot of young people have.

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DarkPhenyx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:02 PM
Response to Original message
11. The CIA isn't evil. n/t
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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. I disagree...
When an organization spawns such projects as MK-ULTRA, PAPERCLIP, and PHOENIX, dethrones governments in places such as Italy, Greece, Vietnam, and Chile, is led by men such as Dulles and Bush, and is given authority to spy on the citizenry, I would deem it evil.
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DarkPhenyx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Oh well. n/t
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Vladimir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 03:11 AM
Response to Reply #11
25. Bush, Blair, CIA... how many kids did you kill today? n/t
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DarkPhenyx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 06:46 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. another pointless...
Edited on Fri May-07-04 06:48 AM by DarkPhenyx
...and purely rhetorical post. fascinating.

If you would pay attention you would notice that the CIA was telling Bush his Iraq "Intel" was full of shit.
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Vladimir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #27
37. I always find
infighting between different bourgeois imperialist cliques fascinating too...
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DarkPhenyx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #37
46. Ah, yes. You are one of those.
Nevermind then.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #11
50. It's is a Fascist organization if there ever was one....
Look at its history:

http://mirrors.korpios.org/resurgent/CIAtimeline.html

What excuses their actions, may I ask?
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:09 PM
Response to Original message
13. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 08:11 AM
Response to Reply #13
30. Deleted by poster.
Edited on Fri May-07-04 08:14 AM by blondeatlast
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #13
31. Well...
If you don't like DU, don't let the door hit ya on the way out!

It's too bad everyone here is not as perfect as Christ was said to have been, eh?

My take on DU is that it is populated mostly by Americans who care for their country and take a keen interest in the direction it is headed. We are all seekers for the ideal that is supposed to be America, and while we may not all see everything in the same light, we strive to be tolerant and open minded. Most of us anyway.

It is what ya might call a melting pot. It's America. If ya don't like it, leave it. <grin>
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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #31
40. I love the DU...
I've been here since Spring of 2001 (which reminds me, I have to donate again), and it is because so many posters are intelligent that I find this yearning for a past America perplexing.

It's funny that you should mention Jesus, for both he and his peers faced the same quandry 2000 years ago. Many Hebrews sought a messiah who would conquer the Romans; Christ deemed it more necessary that it was the spirit, and not the body, that needed to be transformed.

America's spirit needs to changed--a changing of the guard will not suffice.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #13
43. Whoa! Cutting to the chase in your post.
That's my sad observation also. I am not at all pleased with this New Dem party that defines itself by those 2 wedge issues (3 if you throw in the environment though that's mostly lip service).
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Generator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
14. Jeez I at least need the illusion we are moving in the Correct direction
backwards to hell and gone doesn't work for me.

Ah, this is the America is a criminal enterprise, we are so evil post, isn't it? Reminds me why I'm NOT that kind of liberal. I plan to live and enjoy the thirty years I have left, thank-you very much.

Clinton was no hero, certainly, but hey let's bring up every crime we have ever committed and why it's all so hopeless, shall we? (You will never see me responding to those I miss Bill posts, 'cause frankly he wasn't good enough, I do expect better but as I said compared to Bush he is the greatest man alive)

Slit wrists anyone? No wonder some prefer the dogma and blindfolds of the Right.

Perspective is not a cop-out.
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tomorrowsashes Donating Member (94 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
17. The answer lies in the future; we cannot and should not ever go back.
I had an argument with somebody a while back about the use of the word patriotism. I was arguing that it was a meaningless word thrown around by just about everybody who had no real points to make, while the person I was arguing with insisted that this country was based on the principles of freedom. I pointed out that slavery was written into the constitution and that initially, only the rich, white, male property owners had a say, and that many of the original "patriots" supported the establishment of a monarchy in the US. My opponent just kinda sputtered, then said that it was okay to use it because right wingers used it all the time. This didn't make any sense to me, and the debate was just left at that.

Anyway, the point is, this country has never stood for freedom. A more accurate statement would be to say that it has always supported colonial imperialism, compassion-less capitalism, and plutocracy. There has always been a huge gap between the haves, and the have-nots. The government of the past is something I never wish to see again.

What I would, however, like to see, is a revitilization of the progressive spirit of the past. The power that the masses have had throughout history, be it the anarchists fighting for an eight hour day, and an end to child labor at the early 1900's, or the hippies showing their solidarity in calls for an end to the Vietnam War. You don't get any of that today. Everybody seems to think that real change will come through the ballot box. This is not what history has shown. Checking a box every four years just doesn't cut it. As Emma Goldman said, if voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal. We have to get out onto the streets, and force those in power to give in to our demands. We need real change.
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Hotler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #17
28. I agree, well said.
Nothing is going to change until the people get out in the streets just like they did during the 1890's labor movement in Chicago.
"As Emma Goldman said, if voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal. We have to get out onto the streets, and force those in power to give in to our demands." The threat to our democracy isn't terrorism, it's greed.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:12 PM
Response to Original message
18. See what damage * has done?
Not just * but the whole puke party. They have turned ya'll against America. Now it's "America has never done any good!" Bullshit!

Relative to most of the rest of the bloody human history, America is a guiding light. No, we've never been perfect. But there are things America could have done to advance empire, but it did not.

Maybe ya'll want utopia. Maybe I do too. But ya know what? America is as close to utopia as any major country has ever gotten. But in the last three years America has gone backward. Well, it may not be perfect, but I'd be happy if I got back the America we had just three years ago. At least there was hope, then.

Yes, we must progress. In order to progress one must have optimism. Yet ya'll have let * take away your optimism. You let that happen that and he's already won. As for me, the fight is on. I want my country back!
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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. I don't despair...
Progressives are on the right side of history, but we must not look to a man on a white horse, or a political party for that matter, to deliver a just society. It rests with the people to break this chain of evil.

To accept the idea that BushCo is the abominable culmination of a string of corrupt administrations, and NOT an aberration, is liberating in addition to being terrifying (and please understand, I know how this feels).



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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #18
33. I would love to have your rose colored glasses friend,
But then I wake up and realize that it is better to deal with reality head on.

And quite frankly, it is both parties, under the auspices of their corporate masters, that have led this country to the point where we are at now. Yes, we have a horrible war that has killed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis with the prospect of more to come. Yet three years ago, roughly a half million mostly innocent Iraqis had died due to the embargo BushI instituted and Clinton upheld. Oh, that and the thrice weekly bombing we also engaged in during the same time period.

Vietnan saw two million casualties that we inflicted upon that country in the name of empire, many of those coming under eight years of Democratic oversight.

Then there is the countless millions of deaths inflicted by Americans, both Dem and 'Pug in a genocidal war against Native Americans for well over five hundred years. Throw in our meddling in Central and South America, SE Asia, the Pacific rim and others locals too numerous to mention, and we see a picture of a bloody handed Columbia, holding forth from atop a pile of skulls. Not pretty, but then again, reality never is.

And while you may have had hope three years ago, millions of your fellow citizens were stripped of that hope when Clinton stripped away the social safety net, all in favor of that corporate driven idea of welfare "reform". That was simply the latest, and perhaps the mildest, measure designed to oppress our fellow American citizens. Systematic oppression of our fellow citizens was instituted under both Dem and 'Pug leadership via such methods as Jim Crow laws and the whole culture of black oppression(under mainly Democratic leadership), interment camps for German and Japanese Americans, the excesses of the first Gilded Age, when immigrants and the poor were forced to work and die in nightmarish industrial tombs. The list is long, bloody and bipartisan.

A lot of this insanity arises from the ongoing corporate stranglehold of our government and society. Don't get me wrong, Americans as individuals and as a country have done great good in this world. But when you have a government and society that is essentially of, by and for the corporations, virtually since it's inception, then many times our morals and inherent goodness get tossed out the window in favor of the bottom line.

I hold great reverence, love and hope for our country. But that doesn't blind me to its many faults, crimes and shortcomings. To do so deprives oneself of the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, a path that has sadly been followed too many times. Instead of looking back through rose colored glasses, let us look long and hard at the reality of America, mistakes, blood and all, learn from the past, and build the better America we all envision for the future.

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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #33
36. Hey, we agree!
The wall we are up against, here in DU, is the wall of fear. This thread is just another brick in that wall. A wall I've been hacking away at all my life, and whenever I see another brick being mudded in I react.

America is not and never has been perfect. Duh... No rose colored glasses here, just working to keep hope alive. Look at it this way... for 50 or so years, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we could have blown the world to smithereens. There is still a chnce we never will. I'll take that chance, how 'bout you?
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Ms. Clio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
19. There is a lot of truth in this, but
The empire-building could even be stretched back to at least the U.S.-Mexican War.
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:45 PM
Response to Original message
22. Almost cranked out a thread on this yesterday.
Edited on Thu May-06-04 11:46 PM by RUMMYisFROSTED
The basic gist being "When was this country last run from left of center?"

Didn't post because I'm still going back in time...
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maggrwaggr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 01:30 AM
Response to Original message
23. you realize you're accusing us of being conservatives
Edited on Fri May-07-04 01:32 AM by maggrwaggr

Are we the new conservatives? Longing for a past American that never actually existed?

For me, I was raised in the '60s and 70s. War was bad, peace was good, rock music fucking ROCKED and new ideas were breaking out all over.

And my Dad was an Army officer.

I am shocked today at how many people seem to think war is a good thing. And the troops are a bunch of noble heroes and all of that nationalistic rot.

It seems we learned nothing from Vietnam.
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maggrwaggr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 01:37 AM
Response to Original message
24. I long for a free press and actual investigative journalism
seems we had that, but maybe that was only in the Vietnam era. Then again, that's when I grew up.

As long as people know the truth, they can make their own decisions in this country.

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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 08:06 AM
Response to Original message
29. Yes, I prefer the virtual empire we had
to the overt one. The world was not as enraged and we have done some good in the past. Now, we have no influence and we have outright anger.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
32. Many DUers do not yearn for those days. We want the America
that never was... One that doesn't exploit other people & other countries in order to maintain our "way of life". Our "way of life" has always been subsidized by the tears and blood of others- nope don't want that. I reject the neo-imperialist agenda- the neo-conservatives and neo-liberals need to be chased out of the 2 parties; they're a cancer destroying our country.
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Beam Me Up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #32
39. A cancer destroying more than our country. . .
they are in danger of destroying the whole world. THIS IS NOT JUST AN AMERICAN ISSUE. We have become the center, the locus, but the issue is bigger than America, will continue even if America falls--unless the underlying issues of power, wealth, class and social identity are significantly changed.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #39
41. Very true. Totally agree with you.
How depressing.
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Beam Me Up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #41
45. Reasons for hope.
Depression must be turned to outrage--and that outrage must be turned into personal and collective power. Step by baby step if necessary.

THE FIRST STEP is coming out of denial about what is actually going on. I see that happening around me.

The next step is to keep the process in motion--because it is like waking up from one dream into yet another and another. At a certain point, one must break through 'the dream' into a newly awakened state where I take responsibility for my life.

Responsibility is power.
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reprobate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
34. Very perceptive, DerekG. Is it time for a new paradym?

I believe that the European Union is the start of a new and different model for democracy.

For the first time nations have come together to begin to fuse the interests of many and varied peoples who have a common interest to see that all are equal on their common landmass.

We seem to be at the beginning of a period that just may see democratic ideals spread throughout the world. The US of course is the main hindering factor. US corporate capitalism will fight this tooth and nail. But I don't think that this capitalist model can last much longer. It's eating itself and us at the same time. I believe it's failure is inevitable.

What will replace it? Who knows? Possibly a varient of european style democratic socialism. But the change will take america's willingness to change. Drastically. Were I a religous person I would say that bush is being guided by an unseen hand to present such an abhorant image of capitalism that we will be not just ready, but eager for change.

The optimist in me whispers that just perhaps we are on the brink of what I would call a real golden age. A time when war is no longer tolerated because greed (the precurser of all war) is no longer acceptable.

Just call me Pollyanna.
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corporatewhore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #34
35. Oh to hell with the EUit is a cesspool of neoliberalism
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #35
44. Facts? Examples? Cites? Or just slander w/o support? (nt)
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corporatewhore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #44
47. did you miss all the labor marches in europe in protest of
Edited on Fri May-07-04 11:34 AM by corporatewhore
joining the EU
------------------------------------------------
WARSAW, Poland - About 3,000 anti-globalization activists marched Thursday against a European economic summit, protesting capitalism, unemployment and the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Police barriers kept protesters several hundred yards away from the hotel where hundreds of business and political leaders, including some 20 heads of state or government, attended the second day of a conference on the future of the expanded European Union.
...The European Economic Summit is organized by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, which anti-globalization groups view as an exclusive club representing the rich.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0429EuroSummit29...
------------------------------------------------------
Sat 1 May, 2004 22:21

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Riot police have used water cannon to drive back anarchist protesters close to the Irish president's residence as European Union leaders met inside to celebrate the bloc's historic enlargement, witnesses say.

An estimated 2,000 anti-globalisation protesters waving black and red flags and banners saying "No borders, no nations, against a Europe of capital" marched on Phoenix Park, suburban seat of President Mary McAleese's Farmleigh House mansion.

Laurence Cox, a spokesman for the Dublin based Grassroots Network, said they were protesting "against the privatisation of europe, restriction of movement for workers in enlarged Europe and the increasing militarisation of Europe".

Earlier, two larger marches by trade unionists and leftists calling for a radical change in the EU's economic and labour policies passed off peacefully.


Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/index.php
Source: http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=...
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Oxfam Demands End to Export Subsidies

Source: Oxfam
Posted: December 12, 2002


For Immediate Release
Contact: Zahra Akkerhuys on 00 44 1865 312256 or 07786 110054.

(December 10, 2002) -- OXFAM is calling on EU leaders meeting at the EU summit in Copenhagen (December 12 - 13) to scrap the Common Agriculture Policy's export subsidies regime which is having a devastating impact on farmers in the developing world.

In a new report about the EU dairy industry, published on the eve of the summit, Oxfam demonstrates how the EU dairy regime encourages the over-production of milk and dairy products. The surplus is dumped on poor countries, using costly export subsidies, which drives down world prices, creates unfair competition and destroys local markets.

The report illustrates the over-whelming effect the subsidies have on small dairy farmers in countries such as India, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Kenya. Farmers are being driven further into poverty meaning they can't afford to buy basic medicines for vital treatment or send their children to school.

And it is EU citizens who are supporting the dairy industry to the tune of 16 billion euros each year. This is the equivalent of more than $2 (two euros) per cow per day while half the world's people survive on less than this amount.

''European milk dumping is just one example of the rigged rules and double standards that prevent trade from working for the poor. We have had countless promises of reform but so far they have come to nothing.''

''In Copenhagen EU leaders must commit to reforming this damaging system. Action needs to be taken to scrap export subsidies,'' says Oxfam GB's director of campaigns Adrian Lovett.

The CAP is even failing on its own terms. Although it is meant to support farm incomes, small-scale farmers in some European countries are struggling to make ends meet and have benefited very little from subsidies. Within the dairy industry the direct winners are large-scale processing and trading companies who receive more than a billion euros each year from EU citizens in export subsidies. The recipients include such companies as Nestle and Arla Foods.

Earlier this year Oxfam highlighted how the European sugar regime ensures big profits for Europe's sugar processors and large farmers while undermining opportunities for people in the developing world to work their way out of poverty.

At the EU summit in Copenhagen (December 12 to 13) Oxfam is calling on EU leaders to start timetabling reforms that will:

*

Eliminate the need for dairy and sugar export subsidies, which undermine the livelihoods of poor farmers in developing countries by cutting milk production quotas
*

Restructure agricultural subsidies so money goes to small-scale farmers and is linked to improving the environment
*

Make public how agricultural subsidies are distributed.
http://www.corpwatch.org/bulletins/PBD.jsp?articleid=51...
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Spain - CGT position concerning EU Constitution

NO TO THE EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION. YES TO THE SOCIAL RIGHTS

In the face of Capital's European Constitution, the CGT is fighting for a Social Rights Charter of the people, which will be universal, binding and egalitarian. A document by which the acknowledgment, access to and the exercise of our rights can be both socially and institutionally guaranteed. A Social Rights Charter which is the result of a process of participatory democracy and self-manangement oriented towards the progressive satisfaction of human needs and sustainability of life. A Social Rights Charter which constitute a fundamental law for the full liberty of the people. A Social Rights Charter where all acknowledged rights must be defended and ascertained and have priority over the capitalism of the globalized market, over competitvity, over the exclusive search for productivity, over criteria for maximum profitability, over the continual de-localization and segregation of production activities, over jobs cuts, over the provatization of social services, over the growing, constant move towards a totally precarious position of human life.

The European Constitution, however, takes it as "natural" that society is subordinated to the economy, in this way ignoring the fact that the economical model is a political decision and not allowing the citizen and the people to have a say and to decide upon this model. It identifies democracy with capitalism, that is, people and whole populations only have the right to express themselves, to use their vote, and the "free choice" of the consumer in the ever unfair freedom of the market. As with the building process of the Euopean Union, the Constitution establishes a devalued social model:

* There is no clear recognition of essential public services and there is minimal recognition of the social rights which are acknowledged in the constitutions of each member State.

* The people, citizens of these States, do not have the possibility, either juridically or politically, to make known their proposals concerning a Constitution that is going to regulate the relationships between people (or States) inside the Union and between the Union and the rest of the World.

* "Free trade" is the ultimate goal of this Constitution, trade which is always carried out between the rich. Biodiversity, not non over-exploiting natural resourses and ecosystems, cultural diversity, the identity of other peoples, human rights - all these are converted into objects of trade and accumulation, to the benefit of private interests. In contrast, European legislation builds legal and security walls which provide for indecent treatment of migrants from poor countries and prevents the free circulation of people.

* The European Union uses the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) as a tool of globalization for trade deregulation, against the alimentary sovereignty of the peoples, and serves to increase protectionist measures which block the access of goods from poor countries to the European market.

* Subordination to the hegemonic imperialist block, the USA, is clear from the section dealing with defence and security. Member states are being forced to increase their military capacities, in other words to invest millions of euro in their capacity for destruction, with a corresponding reduction in social investment, while at the same time the Euro-Atlantic axis of NATO is being legitimized.

For all these reasons, faced with the European Trade Constitution, with the "invisible" power of the multinationals, the transnationals, and finance capital, the CGT defends the urgent need for the citizens of Europe to raise their voices in favour of a Social Rights Charter that can lend dignity to human life, promote within society the responsability of helping those who have special needs (be it due to age, disability or illness), assuming that only in equality and just relationships is it possible to sustain and increase the freedom of individuals and of peoples.



*******
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-------------------------------------------------
Why we are protesting at the Dublin EU summit

The initial call for the Mayday No Borders weekend

Activists from the Dublin Grassroots network are calling for a European day of action in Dublin on Saturday, May 1st, as the highlight of a weekend of action from Friday April 30th, to Monday May 3rd. These days of action will focus on symbols of all that is wrong with the EU as it currently stands: militarism, neo-liberalism, fortress Europe and the EU police state. We are inviting people from all over Europe, and the world, to join us in Dublin on Mayday to show our leaders that their agenda for EU integration, driven by the wealthy and powerful, will face resistance. We will also be using the days of action to highlight local issues and campaigns which are linked to the broader problems of corporate globalisation and the EU.

Read the full details here. http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=63231

What Sort of Europe do we want?

The groups and individuals involved in this Grassroots Network are united by a vision of a better future, one without bosses or governments, be they in Dublin or Brussels; one in which all local communities are directly run by the people living in them and all workplaces by the people working in them; a future in which everyone has control over their own lives and an equal say in the decisions that affect them.

We are talking not just about receiving an equal share of what is produced, but also transforming the quality of life, doing away with long working hours and increasing free time. We struggle for a genuinely sustainable economy and an end to environmental policies in which every 'solution' must be corporate-led and profit-driven.

People like you all over Europe are fighting for the same things. We are taking to the streets not only to build our resistance in Ireland but to forge links throughout Europe. Tens of thousands of people in Ireland have already been involved in resisting the race for wealth that is capitalism, which robs so many of us of our voice, our dreams and our aspirations.

OUR LEAFLET

Mayday Dublin 2004: For an alternative Europe

Irish people have generally seen the European Union as a good thing, for reasons that include investment in infrastructure and farm subsidies.

But increasingly the EU is an excuse for privatisation, for shifting the burden of taxation onto you and for Ireland's increasing involvement in military adventures.

We are struggling with others across Europe for a different type of Europe, one that puts people before profit and does away with top-down decision making. Join these protests in the struggle for an alternative Europe.

Fortress Europe

In advance of joining the EU, the 10 accession countries have had to open their borders to the flow of money, but the movement of the peoples of these countries is to be limited for up to seven years. We welcome the admission of the people of these countries, but the governments of the EU want to keep them out as long as possible, all the while using them as cheap labour. - profit before people.

Beyond Europe, many countries have been forced to open their markets to European capital and to low-wage, European-owned factories. European corporations want to use the EU as a common front to force these harsh neo-liberal policies on the third world. Yet the people of these countries face fences and walls if they try to enter Europe. Many are forced to make desperate boat journeys around these barriers.

The EU's repressive anti-immigrant policies claimed the lives of at least 3,000 people between 1993 and June 2003, people drowned in the Mediterranean, electrocuted at the Channel Tunnel or suffocated in Wexford. This is 10 times as many as were killed at the Berlin Wall during its 30-year history. These policies are designed to make immigrants illegal and force them to survive in a precarious, hunted position, or live on short-term visas, dependent on work permits held by their employers. In both cases they are vulnerable and open to extreme exploitation as cheap labour. They have little access to heath and safety enforcement, as shown by the tragic deaths of 19 Chinese people at Morecambe Bay this year.

Militarisation

The foreign policy of the European Union is based on satisfying the interests of Big Business, irrespective of social cost. The militarisation of the EU is evidenced in the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Rapid Reaction Force (the European Army). These are the EU's tools to promote the global interests of European multinationals. Again profit before people.

Bertie has waffled on about protecting Irish neutrality, yet he ignored 100,000 protestors when he allowed the US to use Shannon Airport as its major air stopover for US troops on their way to Iraq. In 2003, 125,000 US troops passed through Shannon en route to the Iraq war. Munitions of war, including Tomahawk, Cruise, and Patriot missile components, as well as napalm, passed through 'neutral Ireland'. Considering this support for the war effort of a country that is not even an EU member, can we believe one word Bertie says about defending Irish neutrality within the EU?

Unfair Taxation

The Irish government has used EU policy to transfer the cost of public services from the rich to the poor. Chief amongst the methods used has been the introduction of high levels of local taxation, disguised as the bin tax. Environment Minister Martin Cullen has indicated that he hopes to get the bin charge up to _700 a year and the Government plans to introduce other new charges, such as a water tax. In 10 years, such local charges are expected to total _1000, which would mean people on low incomes paying 5% of their income on service charges and the very wealthy paying 0.5%.

Between 1987 and 2001 the proportion of GDP going to Irish workers (measured as wages) fell and the proportion going to Irish bosses (measured as rents and profits) shot up.

Privatisation and the Lisbon Agenda

The Irish government's official EU website declares that "the Lisbon strategy is a major priority for the Irish Presidency". The Lisbon Agenda specifically targets "gas, electricity, postal services and transport" for privatisation. Water, health, education and social services will be next.

The first step in privatisation is forcing people to pay for public services to make them profitable and attractive to investors. We can see this here with the bin charges, the back-door reintroduction of third level fees and the threatened privatisation of Dublin Bus and other public services. Privatisation invariably results in worse working conditions, greater inequality of services, lay-offs and wage cuts as bosses seek to cut corners to maintain profits.

So who set the Lisbon Agenda? Who decided that this is how the European economy should be run?

It is estimated that Brussels hosts some 500 industry lobby groups, employing some 10,000 professional lobbyists. Corporations that spend millions 'lobbying' the EU make no secret of the influence this brings. One of the most powerful is the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), which brings together more than 40 "European industrial leaders." Ireland is represented by Michael Smurfit, while most of the other corporations are household names across Europe, such as BP, Unilever, Carlsberg, Fiat, Vodafone, Volvo, Philips, Nokia, Renault and Shell.

The ERT has boasted that "at European level, the ERT has contacts with the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament ... Every six months the ERT meets with the government that holds the EU presidency to discuss priorities ... At national level, each member has personal contacts with his own national government and parliament, business colleagues and industrial federations, other opinion-formers and the press."

Baron Daniel Janssen of the ERT boasted that it was "very much involved in the preparation of the Summit." In Lisbon EU policy was shaped by the 40 "industrial leaders" of the ERT and not by the 50,000 demonstrators outside the summit building or by the needs of the people of Europe. Now we are all required to dance to the ERT tune.

What Sort of Europe do we want?

The groups and individuals involved in this Grassroots Network are united by a vision of a better future, one without bosses or governments, be they in Dublin or Brussels; one in which all local communities are directly run by the people living in them and all workplaces by the people working in them; a future in which everyone has control over their own lives and an equal say in the decisions that affect them.

We are talking not just about receiving an equal share of what is produced, but also transforming the quality of life, doing away with long working hours and increasing free time. We struggle for a genuinely sustainable economy and an end to environmental policies in which every 'solution' must be corporate-led and profit-driven.

People like you all over Europe are fighting for the same things. We are taking to the streets not only to build our resistance in Ireland but to forge links throughout Europe. Tens of thousands of people in Ireland have already been involved in resisting the race for wealth that is capitalism, which robs so many of us of our voice, our dreams and our aspirations.

Dublin Grassroots Network - Who we are

Dublin Grassroots Network is a network of activists who come together to fight for a better future, based on the Grassroots Principles (see over). We are part of the Grassroots Gathering and the Grassroots Network Against War. We operate in an open and democratic way, where everybody has an equal say. If you want to get involved, get in touch.

Phone: 087-2820906
Email: grassrootsdublin@yahoo.com
Web: http://grassrootsgathering.freeservers.com and http://struggle.ws/eufortress

News: http://www.indymedia.ie

Our Principles

We belive that people should control their own lives and work together as equals. This means:

- Rejecting top-down and state-centred forms of organisation.
- Calling for solutions that involve ordinary people controlling their own lives and having the resources to do so
- Organising for control of the workplace by those who work there.
- Calling for the control of communities by the people who live there.
- Arguing for a sustainable environmental, economic and social system, agreed by the people of the planet.

Mayday Menu - what's going on Actions For An Alternative Europe

Aperitif
Critical Mass - mass cycle and walk through the city 5.30 pm, Fri. April 30th, Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Sq

Entres
No Borders Morning - actions against fortress EU 10 am Saturday May 1st, Civic Offices, Wood Quay

Reclaim The City - anti-privatisation actions 2.30pm Saturday May 1st, Grafton St. (at Stephen's Green)

Main Course
Bring The Noise - March to Farmleigh House to let the EU heads of state hear us - bring pots, pans, whistles... 6pm Sat. May 1st, Phoenix Park (Parkgate St./Benburb St.)

Dessert
No Borders Camp - Act in solidarity with immigrants 11am Sunday May 2nd, Custom House Quay

Digestif
Reclaim The Streets - Street Party for a better future 3pm Mon. May 3rd, Ambassador Cinema, O'Connell St.

**** Download the leaflet ****

50,000 copies printed and being delivered door to door.

Download the leaflet here in pdf format
http://flag.blackened.net/af/Undercurrents/resources/cu...

***
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #47
48. Thank you for factual support
That's what I was asking for. Your previous post was nothing more than an emotionally-charged slander that would serve very little purpose for persuasion.
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Beam Me Up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
38. Totally with you on this
The problems in our society go deep, very deep. They are also older than the 1947 NSA. Racism, for one, has been a part of 'Americanism' from the beginning.

The problem is there are some very wealthy powerful people in this country with names lime Melon, Rockefeller, DuPont, Bush and many many others who want to maintain the status quo. These folks will do whatever it takes to sustain their hegemony--their class, wealth and power.

In my opinion, until we as a people begin to outline PRECISELY how power and money work together to sustain a system that keeps us powerless--only offering the illusion of democracy--NOTHING will ever change. I don't see that happening here at DU--but then I don't see that happening anywhere. Any discussion of these issues very quickly gets marginalized and trivialized and effectively shown the door.
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bigbillhaywood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
42. YES YES YES. Well put. People need to be reminded of just how 'good'
the 'good old days' really were more often. Liberals are just as prone to this misguided reminiscing as conservatives are.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
49. The world is not a perfect place.
We do the best we can with the choices we are presented with. The first step we need to take at this time is to insure that John Kerry is elected President. A Kerry Presidency can be a starting point for positive change.

There will be no possibility for positive change under a continued Bu$h dictatorship.

Yes, I preferred life in the US when Bill Clinton was President.Today, the United States is a far worse place to live than it was four years ago. So much worse, IMO, that I was compelled by conscience to leave.

We have lost a lot of ground very rapidly, and it may take some time to recover what we have lost.

In order to forge an America that never was, we are going to have to somehow overcome years of RW brainwashing of the American populace, and this will take some time. The media, particularly television and AM radio, must be wrested from the control of RW propagandists and unbiased factual information must be allowed to freely disseminate before the American people will act in their own best interests. With Bu$h as dictator, this will be impossible. With Kerry as President, it might be possible if we do not become apathetic after the election in November.

I agree with what you are saying, it's just that we have to be realistic about our options. We must first halt the growth of fascism before we can even begin to forge an America that never was.

This means making sure that Bu$h is removed from power in 2004.







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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #49
51. I agree with your main point...
Edited on Fri May-07-04 12:50 PM by DerekG
Bush must be expelled from office.

There is but one reason why I'm voting for Kerry this November: he is not a dispensationalist like Bush, and the prospect for a man-made apocalypse is greatly diminished under Kerry. My vote is merely to buy the world time, hoping that the citizenry can rise up against both war parties.

Again, my vote is only to preserve the lives of millions. I have little to no respect for John Kerry.
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corporatewhore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
52. Kick with my new Carlos Latuff Sig Pic on why "they" hate us !!!
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