Quotes of the week
Hallelujah! In his inaugural speech (albeit without attribution) President Obama quoted from Thomas Paine’s American Crisis No. 1.
“Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”
I think in these dangerous times of increasing world competition for energy and markets the following quote from Ben Franklin could be of equal benefit.
Benjamin Franklin, Reply to Lord Howe, Philadelphia, July 20, 1776:
“Her [Britain’s] fondness for conquest, as a warlike nation, her lust of dominion as an ambitious one, and her thirst for a gainful monopoly as a commercial one (none of them legitimate causes of war) will all join to hide from her eyes every view of her true interests and continually goad her on in those ruinous distant expeditions, so destructive both of lives and treasure, that must prove as pernicious to her in the end as the crusades formerly were to most of the nations of Europe.
“To me it seems that neither the obtaining or retaining of any trade, how valuable soever, is an object for which men may justly spill each other’s blood; that the true and sure means of extending and securing commerce is the goodness and cheapness of commodities; and that the profit of no trade can ever be equal to the expense of compelling it, and of holding it, by fleets and armies.”
Now is the time
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
— James Baldwin, author, civil rights activist, gay rights activist, poet
The victory of Barack Obama is indeed historic and pleasing. Just 40-plus years ago African Americans were struggling to acquire the right to vote. Today an African American has been elected president of the United States.
In order to fully appreciate Obama’s victory one must first acknowledge the conditions under which the people elected him. The last eight years under George W. Bush have probably been the worst ever seen in the history of this nation!
Not since the Great Depression of the late 1920s, early 1930s, has this nation experienced such a horrendous economic crisis.
Our precious rights under the Constitution were also affected. The people’s right to assemble and express their opinions have been limited. The FBI and other governmental entities wiretapped our telephone conversations and spied on us through our computers.
Workers’ right to organize unions was grossly impacted as were occupational safety regulations. Without a strong labor movement the working class has no chance to survive in a society dominated by corporate greed and corruption.
Our environment was also targeted. Regulations and laws protecting our air, land and water were severely weakened as Bush did all he could to enhance maximum profits for the chemical, mining, petroleum and other corporations known for producing toxins that affect our health.
The Bush regime was tarnished with numerous instances of corruption and cronyism. Corporate bandits such as Enron, Halliburton, and Blackwater were allowed to profit while the rights of Americans and Iraqis alike were crushed.
Knowing this should encourage progressive activists to continue organizing and mobilizing on vital issues. Some folks through naiveté have fallen into the illusion that Obama is our savior. Granted Obama will undoubtedly do better than John McCain could ever have done, but it would be a serious mistake to put all of our money on him doing the right thing without our input/action!
I base this opinion on my personal experiences in the movement as well as history. The much-needed legislative changes that came about from the labor and civil rights movements did not come out of the goodness of either President Roosevelt’s or President Johnson’s hearts. Laws changed because people organized and engaged in mass rallies, strikes, boycotts and civil disobedience.
Some were beaten, jailed, even murdered. The bottom line is that change does not come about by itself! REAL change comes about ONLY when the people make it happen.
I encourage readers to contact their congressional representatives and urge them to support the Employee Free Choice Act along with House Resolution 676, which will grant all of us single-payer health care.
San Antonio, TX
From the webheads in Denver, a no prize goes out to Keeper of the Flame Pepe Lozano!
John H. Shippey
Marching for King, Obama
Encouraged by Barack Obama’s electoral victory and imminent inauguration the following day, an estimated record of 100,000 people participated in this city’s four-mile Martin Luther King march. A number of union locals, nonprofit organizations and religious and peace groups were represented. Amidst the euphoria, there were also expressions of urgency regarding action to end the continuing bombing between Gaza and Israel in which mostly Palestinian civilians were being killed. Some marchers chanted “Obama, Obama can’t you see! We don’t want a killing spree!”
There were also chants challenging the city’s year-old ordinance placing restrictions on what groups may schedule marches and putting in place a bulky bureaucratic process by which to do so, including fees.
San Antonio, TX
On the passing of William Pomeroy
I came to know Bill Pomeroy through his many PWW communiqués. I saw more in him than a journalist and that is why I sought him out on my travels to Great Britain over the years. He was not a disappointment. We talked for hours over wine and snacks during my visits and we made a tour through Twickenham, the London suburb where he and wife Cecelia settled down. They were both very gracious hosts.
I chatted with them about politics, his Philippine experiences in the bush, their relationship, his defection to avoid legal hassles in the States and all of my personal and political happenings. Later on, we became constant and frequent penpals. We exchanged many letters, articles and books. His were welcome treats and I treasure and have guarded them all.
Along with the movement, Bill was my own pal, guru and comrade. One of his most special lessons to me was that I stay angry and keep up the good fight against our common political enemies. When there is a world of socialism, as we both have predicted, he will then rest in peace.
New York, NY
Editor’s note: An obituary for William Pomeroy, long-time PWW correspondent who died Jan. 12 at age 92, will appear in an upcoming issue.
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