MR Original – Where’s the Discussion of Impeachment?

“The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Article II, Section 4, U.S. Constitution

MEDIA ROOTS – Those who feel there is something terribly wrong with the influence of the federal government today must not revert to placing blame on a single party.  Attention must be shifted instead to the bigger picture: the actual offices that are now predominantly owned by the corporate elite.  While some individuals are occasionally elected to legitimately serve their constituents, most are obedient to only those with access to money and power.  The most powerful political office on Earth is of no exception.

Twenty-Five Years of Impeachment Attempts Stop with Obama

There have consistently been attempts made by members of Congress to initiate impeachment hearings for each of the previous four presidential administrations.  President Reagan’s involvement in the Iran Contra affair led to a congressional inquiry in the summer of 1987, while both Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush unlawfully declared war with Iraq, among other charges, which resulted in separate calls for impeachment.  Even President Clinton was accused of having illegally accepted campaign funds from foreign sources months before anyone heard of Monica Lewinsky.

However, today’s Commander-in-Chief does not face investigation from any legislative representative and there are no real calls to impeach from the mainstream press.  To the utterly disillusioned, this could signify that America has finally elected an honest leader.  But to those who are more attentive, it is apparent that something else must be protecting President Obama from public scrutiny.

It is a constitutional paradox to believe that President Obama remains fit to preside as President of the United States.  After enslaving future taxpayers by endorsing corporate bailouts, continuing unlawful occupations and covert warfare in sovereign nations, and signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 into law which may suspend Americans’ most basic constitutional privileges, this president continues to operate unchecked in an unbalanced system.  Only those who are ignorant of the Constitution, and the oath taken to defend it, continue to approve of Obama’s job performance.  The impeachment of President Barack Obama is now supported by over a million petition signers online.

Why No Calls for Obama’s Impeachment?

Phillip II, King of Macedon and father of Alexander the Great, is credited with coining the phrase “divide et impera.”  Literally defined as “divide and rule,” modern society has adapted the colloquialism to “divide and conquer.”  All masters since Alexander the Great have understood that to maintain superiority, divisions must be fostered among the masses; increased divisions lead to increased dominion.

Race has always been a natural divider of peoples along with age and gender.  Contemporary divisions also include specific political priorities to further separate individuals which might otherwise unite.  In America, items such as abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research have been used by corporate media to protect a corporate government and maintain corporate control.  It has become increasingly clear during the recent GOP debates that the media establishment continues to avoid discussing real issues such as those concerning the military-industrial complex.

Political partisanship might be the primary contributor for the lack of impeachment proceedings in this presidency.  A recent poll revealed that the majority of Democrats continue to support the President despite his continual disregard for the Constitution.  But with nine out of ten Republicans disapproving of who has been called the most polarizing president in American history, the question remains: why have there not been any attempts made to push for his removal?

An Intellectually Removed American Populace

The mainstream press, historically referred to as America’s fourth branch of government for their duty to hold the other three accountable, seems to increasingly ignore its moral compass.  While individual reporters and editors may attempt to seek justice, the fact remains that nearly all major outlets are controlled by executives whom possess virtually no interest in the advancement of democracy.  Profits supersede duty, resulting in an establishment that is seemingly no longer held accountable.  This leaves a citizenry that is either naïve or desensitized to the criminalities of the federal government.

The conglomeration of mass media outlets by the same corporate interests that fund political campaigns might be why there have not been many journalistic investigations into the largest atrocities of this generation.  Particularly during times of war, the Commander-in-Chief must be held under the microscope.  Because of the revolving door between the corporate media and the federal government, American society remains splintered, uninformed, and disenfranchised.

While the impeachment of President Obama will most likely not occur before the end of this year, his re-election is of popular debate.  His flagrant criminal acts are not only on par with those of President George W. Bush, his continuations and escalations of Bush-era policies are reasons why President Obama must not be re-elected.

Oskar Mosquito is a contributing writer for Media Roots and a producer for truth-march.

Photo by Flickr user Allesio85.

Project Censored on KPFA – Ten Years of Guantánamo

MEDIA ROOTS – Today’s Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio addresses Ten Years of Guantánamo and the Evisceration of the Rule of Law. Joined in studio by investigative journalist Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files; Almerindo Ojeda, professor of linguistics and director of the Guantánamo Testimonials Project at University of California, Davis; and Pardiss Kebriaei, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, an organization that has led the way in seeking accountability for torture and arbitrary detention at Guantánamo.

The segment also features live music in studio from one of the most notable political folk musicians of our time, David Rovics. Mickey Huff is joined by special co-host Dr. Andy Roth, the associate director of Project Censored, and Abby Martin of Media Roots.

The Morning Mix with Project Censored – January 13, 2012 at 8:00am

Click to listen (or download)



On the Dark Side in Al Doura: A Soldier in the Shadows

MEDIA ROOTS — “On the Dark Side in Al Doura: A Soldier in the Shadows” tells the story of U.S. Army Ranger John Needham’s experiences in Iraq witnessing war crimes and other grim atrocities by the U.S. Military.  He tried to blow the whistle and, in the process, endured great suffering and is now deceased.  Filmmaker Cindy Peister spoke to Project Censored about the new film on KPFA.  Michael Needham joins the discussion to help tell his son’s story.  (Listen to the interview here and read the transcript below.)



On the Dark Side in Al Doura: A Soldier in the Shadows


PROJECT CENSORED — “Greetings, everyone, and welcome to The Morning Mix; this is the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio.  I’m Mickey Huff, in-studio, with Peter Phillips.  It’s Friday, December 23rd [2011].  Today’s show: Occupying Free Speech Radio—our One-Year Anniversary show.

“The second segment of the programme, we’ll hear film producer Cindy Peister, who joins us to talk about the new film “On the Dark Side in Al Doura: A Soldier in the Shadows” that addresses soldiers’ war crimes allegations in Iraq atrocity photos.  We’ll also speak to the father of U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, Michael Needham, to tell his son’s story.”

Dr. Peter Phillips (c. 37:53):  “You’re listening to the Project Censored Show on Morning Mix, KPFA.  This is Peter Phillips.  And with me, in-studio, is Mickey Huff.  

“Circulating on the internet now is a new film “On the Dark Side in Al Doura,” which focuses on U.S. Army Ranger John Needham’s experience in Iraq where he witnessed war crimes and some rather grim atrocities.  He tried to blow the whistle on that and he, in the process of being there, was blown up like 14 times, had traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, shrapnel throughout his body, ended up back here in the U.S. under some dire situations, and is now deceased.

“We have on the line the producer from the film “On the Dark Side in Al Doura” Cindy Peister.  Cindy, are you with us?”  

Cindy Peister (c. 0:00):  “Yes, I am.”

Dr. Peter Phillips (c. 0:00):  “Great to have you, Cindy.”

Cindy Peister (c. 38:47):  “Thank you.”

Dr. Peter Phillips
(c. 38:48):  “And also on the line is Michael Needham.  He is John Needham’s father.  And both are going to talk about the film and the importance of these very serious accusations against U.S. Military.  

“Cindy, tell us about the film and how people can see it.”

Cindy Peister (c. 39:05):  “Thank you, Peter.  First of all, I just wanna thank you and Mickey for having us on and Project Censored for all the incredible work that you have done to get stories like this out to the public that they wouldn’t, otherwise, know.  

“Actually, I did more than produce it.  I wrote the script and directed it.  So, I’m really familiar with the material.  

“We met Michael in March of this year.  I did an interview with him in our own independent media, Pulse TV and Maverick Media, out of Ventura.  And we were all stunned.  The crew and I were all stunned by Michael’s presentation of his son’s story.  John’s story is so tragic and Mike, himself, is so genuine and the atrocities are so vicious and so dark, we made a commitment on the spot to Mike that we would do whatever it took to help him get the story out.  

“We thought that it would be a lot better if Big Media put it out.  They have millions of viewers, but Mike had already had a number of disappointments in that regard.  We did sit it out and wait for Time Magazine to release the photos and stories that they had said that they didn’t do it, of course.  

“And then we went full speed ahead on getting our film out after CBS produced its show on John’s story November 12th.  They did cover aspects of veterans’ concerns that were really important, but they didn’t really focus on atrocities.  And Mike and I had really wanted to get this story out to the public.  We just felt it was in the public interest and it had to be done.

“So, we just pushed forward at that point.  We want accountability for these crimes.  And we want John’s story to be out there.  We had to turn to the activist community to distribute the film.  And it went out through the Occupy Movements, even across Europe.  David Swanson got the film and John’s letter to the Military authorities, in which he had tried to inform them of the atrocities.  He got that put out on Truth Out and now Project Censored is putting it out.  We really appreciate your support.

“We did get hundreds of thousands of hits [on-line] and twenty-something plays just the first five days.”

Dr. Peter Phillips (c. 41:38):  “Cindy, how can people see this online at this point?  

Cindy Peister (c. 0:00):  “Okay, if you go to our Vimeo website.  It’s—”

Dr. Peter Phillips (c. 41:56):  “V-I-M-E-O, and I think if you google On the Dark Side in Al Doura, A-L-D-O-U-R-A, that you’re gonna find this because it’s at Maverick Media and Pulse TV.”

Cindy Peister (c. 42:06):  “Exactly.  And it’ll probably come out from the Truth Out site.

Dr. Peter Phillips (c. 42:10):  “That’s great.  And we’ll probably have links to it as well on our site.”

Cindy Peister
(c. 42:13):  “Thank you.”

Dr. Peter Phillips (c. 42:14):  “On the line with us, also, is Michael Needham, John’s father.  Michael, are you there?”

Michael Needham (c. 42:21):  “Yes, I am.  Can you hear me okay?”

Dr. Peter Phillips
(c. 42:23):  “Yes we can.  Thank you very much for coming on.  I saw the video this week.  It’s shocking.  It’s a tragedy of what happened to your son.  It’s also a tragedy of what was happening to other Iraq people in Baghdad, Iraqis who were killed in front of him.  And he tries to blow the whistle and reports that.

“Tell us a little bit about what happened.”

Michael Needham (c. 42:46):  “Well, basically, my son grew up in San Clemente, California.  He is one of five children; he’s my middle son.  And John was always a very active, athletic, you know, he was a very high achiever, a very fearless person.  He had a number of different opportunities.  He was in the pro surfing circuit in Southern California.  In 2005, he had actually won the Open Men’s Competition in a contest in Southern California that went on for four months.  So, he was pretty much on the fast track to pro surfing.  And he was also very interested in art and music.  

“So, within a period of time he started getting involved in watching different shows like Band of Brothers and you know, Saving Private Ryan.  We lived in San Clemente, only minutes from a Marine base, Camp Pendleton.  And this overwhelming, kind of, nationalistic feeling that the country was going through at that time motivated him to think about going into the Military and going and fighting for quote-unquote ‘our freedom.’  

“So, long-story-short, basically, I’m a Vietnam Veteran, ex-Army Officer and I tried to talk him out of it.  But he went ahead and made that choice.  Well, fast-forward.  

“He went through all this training.  He got deployed to Iraq in 2006 with a unit out of Fort Carson called the 212, 2nd Infantry Division, 12th Regiment, a [tech] and combat team.  And that particular unit became very, very infamous for these types of actions while they were in Iraq.  His unit was an Apocalyptic Now, type of unit, where you had a colonel, battalion commander, use these tactics of basically terrorising and murdering and dismembering bodies.  If anyone’s familiar with the trophy murders that were in Afghanistan.  This makes that look like a small-scale operation.  

“So, with the time we have on the phone right now, what I’d like everybody to do is look at the video on Vimeo.  And the real important thing here is that, as a parent, as a father or someone’s husband or son or uncle, people need to know the reality of what happened in Iraq.  And this is not an isolated case.  This is an entire battalion in southern Baghdad that basically targeted, murdered, and racketeered, basically, an entire neighbourhood through the leadership of the 2nd Infantry Division that was commanding at the time.

“The atrocities are real.  I got the photographs.  I presented them.  I went through a number of situations of dealing with the government, dealing with the Army, dealing with the Department of Defense, the White House trying to get people to take a look and take action.  But, basically, it was covered up.  I had major publications that were on the story and at time of release, I was told that they weren’t gonna do it.  In the case of The Washington Post, I was told that they were not going to run the story because they were basically told by the Pentagon that if they run the story that they would not have access like other agencies to breaking news.

“They were basically you know telling them that if you run the story, we’re gonna blackball you.”

Mickey Huff (c. 46:41):  “It’s elite sourcing, a form of censorship.  

“We’re speaking with Cindy Peister and Michael Needham about a new video On the Dark Side in Al Doura: A Soldier in the Shadows addressing soldiers’ war crimes allegations and Iraq atrocity photos.

“Michael, I’m sorry for interrupting you; I just wanted to point out, you were talking about The Washington Post; CBS also reported on this.  CBS did a programme on this.  And when they contacted the Army it was such that they claimed that war crimes did not occur, though CBS also stated that the report was redacted and incomplete with 111 pages withheld.  And the report claimed that when soldiers were asked about specific photos, one showing an individual with his brains pulled out atop a Military vehicle, they were told, quote, ‘We didn’t have any body bags that day. So, we put him on the hood of the vehicle for transport.’

“I mean this is the kind of thing that you’re talking about and the kind of thing you’re saying The Washington Post doesn’t want to talk about.”

Michael Needham
(c. 47:38):  “Well, yeah.  And, basically, when we’re talking about that particular instance, which is one of hundreds and he’s documented with photos and with collaborative soldiers’ stories, is just a juvenile, sophomoric way of blowing this off.  Okay?  I mean I don’t want to go into too much detail right now because it’s a radio show.  We’re limited on time.  But being former Army, I understand what they need to do.  You would never drive a body around on a hood.

“What really happened at that time was that Iraqi was standing on the street and was shot and killed, point blank in the head.  They drug him on the hood.  They took his brains out.  And then they drove him around the neighbourhood with an interpreter blaring out threats in Arabic that if the citizens of the moulah, or the neighbourhood, in Al Doura did not cooperate with them that that’s what their end would be.  

“They were terrorists themselves.  They were killing civilians, robbing, stealing, just out of control.  It really is like an Apocalypse Now situation.

“The story with my son is even more interesting because basically I documented this thing from the very first minute he went in the Army.  And I don’t want, like I said, we have limited amount of time, but every claim we make, everything we say, we have dates, times, photographs, collaboration.”

Dr. Peter Phillips (c. 49:07):  “Michael, I think this is a really important story.  John, your son, tried to tell this.  He was subsequently came back to the U.S.  He is now deceased.  There are circumstances, all of this, which need to be investigated and brought forward.  We wish we had more time today to, really, talk with you more about this.  People can see this film online.  It’s called On the Dark Side in Al Doura: A Soldier in the Shadows.  You can watch it online.

“Cindy, are you still there?”  

Cindy Peister (c. 49:40):  “Yes, I am.”

Dr. Peter Phillips (c. 49:41):  “You’re continuing to work on this film; is that correct?”

Cindy Peister (c. 49:44):  “Well, we do have hopes to add some more interviews to make it a little meatier.  But we haven’t got that confirmed yet.  But we do hope to do that.  Yes.”

Michael Needham (c. 49:56):  “Well, I think—”

Dr. Peter Phillips (c. 49:57):  “Thank you.”

Michael Needham (c. 49:58):  “If I could interject for one second.  We are not done with this story yet.  I am still dealing with the VA in his death.  And at this point in time, we are not guaranteed on exactly how he died.”

Dr. Peter Phillips (c. 50:11):  “Michael, we’re gonna follow up on this with you and with Cindy.  And this is not gonna go away.  Thank you very much for being on the air with us today.”

John Needham (c. 50:20):  “Thank you very much.”

Cindy Peister (c. 50:20):  “Thank you, Peter.  Thank you, Mickey.”

Mickey Huff
(c. 50:22):  “Thank you.”

John Needham (c. 50:23):  “Alright.  See you, Cindy.  Bye-bye.”


Mickey Huff (c. 50:24):  “We’re also joined in-studio by interim KPFA General Manager Andrew Phillips for our One-Year Show.  Andrew.”

Andrew Phillips (c. 50:30):  “Awe, this is a pat on the back and thank-you to you guys for doing such stellar work over the year, important work, such as we’re hearing today.  It’s really great that you’ve pitched in at KPFA.  And we’re proud to have you.  And I know that your programme, Mickey and Peter, is going out nationally also, creeping out there, because it is important that people hear this.

“Look, I want to take this opportunity to wish everybody, our Members and all of your listeners a very happy and prosperous holiday.  Hang tight; it’s gonna be a great year next year, very exciting.  We’ve got some interesting projects coming up.  And you guys in the studio and Anthony [Fest], especially, great work, and someone on the board I haven’t met yet, but thank you everybody.”

Mickey Huff
(c. 51:15):  “That’s Jax.  Thanks Jax.  Thanks for coming in Andrew.”

Andrew Phillips (c. 51:17):  “My pleasure.”

Mickey Huff
(c. 51:19):  “We appreciate it.

“We’re gonna round out the programme today.  We also did a brief interview with our, sometimes, co-host, Abby Martin; she’s also a Member of the Media Freedom Foundation; co-founder of Media Roots.  So, I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with Abby about the work she does, certainly the work she’s done covering the local Occupy Movement.  So, here’s a brief interview with Abby Martin of Media Roots.  

“For the One-Year Anniversary programme here at The Morning Mix Project Censored Show we wanted to, actually, talk to one of our co-hosts Abby Martin of Media Roots, who’s also a board member at Media Freedom Foundation.

“Abby, let’s just hear some of your reflections on the past year.  What have you been doing with Media Roots, some of the highlights that you’ve done here on the show, and some of the work you’re doing with Project Censored?”

Abby Martin (c. 52:05):  “Well, Mickey, I started Media Roots about a year and a half ago, starting off as just a news aggregate, just to have a vast collection of underreported news, kind of, what you guys were already doing in my own way and adding kind of a personal, personality, to it.  

“And then over time it turned into a citizen journalism project where people continually started pulling information from all over the world and submitting contributions.  And it ended up being way bigger than I imagined.  And getting involved with Project Censored and now intertwining the two, it’s really exciting.  

“Occupy Oakland, when that took off, I was on the ground every day when things were happening.  And that’s when the citizen journalism aspect of it really shined because I was able to tell the story of what was happening from the ground up instead of top down.  And we saw you know obviously the corporate news got that a lot wrong and said that people, you know, the crowd control methods that they used, those draconian crowd control methods, were warranted.  Really, it was up to citizen journalism to really tell the story of what was going on at that time.”

Mickey Huff (c. 53:14):  “And we’ve certainly been fortunate to have been working with you over the past year.  We certainly look forward to doing more of that.  What you’re describing sounds a lot like the name of the website, of the organisation, Media  Media Roots—radical, meaning, go to the roots and have a bottom-up kind of construction of a people’s narrative.  That’s what you’re getting at.”

Abby Martin (c. 53:35):  “Absolutely.  We see the top-down corporate consolidation and control of the message, it’s institutionalised; it’s not organic.  And Media Roots is, really, it’s from the ground up.  It’s true activism.  It’s true grass-roots journalism where you’re getting the story from each other like Robert McChesney said in the interview, ‘It’s not paid.’  Yeah, we accept donations, but we’re not influenced by any corporate donor or any sort of dogmatic principles.  We are for the truth.  We are completely unbiased.  We report from outside party lines, just like Project Censored does.  And it’s really important to have that.”    

Mickey Huff (c. 54:20):  “Hitting on the notion of reform, Elizabeth Cady Stanton once wrote, ‘Reformers who are always compromising have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.’

“And, of course, we won’t pretend that there’s only one truth.  There are many different ways people can interpret things.  But one of the biggest problems that we have in our media structure here is that people don’t get all of the relevant facts.  And, of course, the bottom-up, the vernacular view, the media root, going straight to the street, so to speak, that’s often the view that’s really missing.  And certainly at Media Roots, you’ve been doing that.  You have been covering Occupy Oakland.  

“And you are also working with some people on a film about Occupy Wall Street.  Is that correct?  Could you talk to us, at least, briefly about some of that and maybe some of the narrative?  What’s the Media Roots connection there?  And what do you hope to accomplish?”

Abby Martin
(c. 55:13) “Yeah.  There’s a great film; it’s called The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film Project based in New York, run by a woman named Audrey Ewell.

“This whole concept that we’re talking about, citizen journalism, they’re pulling together everyone’s footage across the world that has been participating in covering the Occupy Wall Street Movement and putting it together in a collaborative project.

“I’m gonna be part director.  I’m submitting my Occupy Oakland footage, exclusively, to represent this area.  And it’s just a real exciting grassroots project with a bunch of journalists who are gonna get together and put together a citizen journalism film highlighting this Movement.”  

Mickey Huff (c. 55:50):  “We’ve been talking with Abby Martin of Media Roots.  Also you are familiar with Abby; she joins us here occasionally Friday mornings on The Morning Mix.  So, thanks again, Abby Martin, for all of your work.  Thanks for joining us today to help celebrate our One-Year Anniversary Show.  And we look forward to working with you in the year ahead.

Abby Martin (c. 56:08):  “It’s a great pleasure, Mickey.  Thanks so much for Project Censored and everything you do.”

Mickey Huff (c. 56:15):  “And that does it for today’s Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio.  Again, I’m Mickey Huff in-studio with my illustrious co-host Dr. Peter Phillips.  Peter, it’s been a great year.  We look forward to doing more ahead with free speech community radio.”

Dr. Peter Phillips
(c. 56:29) “Thank you, Mickey.  And thank you to everyone at KPFA for having us on this year.  And we look forward to continuing.”

Mickey Huff
(c. 56:36) “That’s right.  Thanks again to Anthony Fest.  Thanks today for [Jax].  Thanks for [Kiersten]Thomas, who’s often on the board helping us out.  Thanks, too, to Andrew Phillips for joining us.  Thanks to Carrie Core.  Thanks to Arlene Engelhardt.  And, most of all, thanks to all of you, the listeners and supporters of community free speech radio; continue to Occupy Media in the new year to come.  And we’ll see you next time.”

Transcript by Felipe Messina for Media Roots

Photo by Flickr user US Army


Greenwald: OM vs. Obama’s Two-Tiered Justice System

Glenn_greenwald_portraitMEDIA ROOTS — As we look back on 2011, we feature an important and relevant interview many may have missed with Glenn Greenwald on a myriad of topics including the Occupy Movement, Obama co-optation, and the U.S. two-tiered justice system. The interview aired on KPFA’s Letters and Politics on November 4, 2011.  (Please see transcript below.) 

The wake of the successful and historic OM Port of Oakland Shutdown sets the stage for this discussion.  GG answered the decidedly naïve question of whether or not the Obama Administration would be moved or not by the Occupy Movement.  Predictably, it was later revealed that Obama quietly allowed or facilitated the coordinated police state repression against Constitutionally-protected, First Amendment, political expression and activity.



Letters and Politics – November 4, 2011 at 10:00am

Click to listen (or download)


LETTERS AND POLITICS “The thing is if you look at what has happened in the last decade in the United States,” explains Glenn Greenwald, “think about the kind of crimes that we have seen by the most powerful people. 

“So, we’ve seen the construction of a worldwide torture regime, spying on American people without the warrants required by the criminal law, an aggressive attack on another country that killed at least a hundred thousand innocent people, multiple acts of obstruction of justice, systematic fraud on an enormous scale that triggered a worldwide economic crisis that destroyed the economic comfort and middle-class security of tens of millions of people, mortgage fraud where homes were taken without legal entitlements.  And every single one of these crimes has been completely protected.  None have been investigated meaningfully, let alone prosecuted.

“Then at the very same time that we’ve created this template of elite immunity we have created the world’s largest penal state, prison state, in the entire world.  

“So, people are extremely well aware of this vastly disparate treatment that people who are powerful and in positions of privilege and prestige receive versus how ordinary Americans receive treatment before the bar of justice.  And we’re inculcated the idea we’re all supposed to be equal before the law.” 


Good day and welcome to Letters and Politics.  I’m Mitch Jeserich.

“Glenn Greenwald is here.  Glenn Greenwald is a former constitutional and civil rights litigator.  He’s the author of two best-selling books and also writes for  He is a recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.  And he’s the winner of the 2010 Online Journalism Association Award for his investigative work on the arrest and detention of Bradley Manning.  He’s the author of the new book With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful

“Glenn Greenwald, it is good to have you here.” 

Glenn Greenwald
(c. 6:44):  “Great to be here.  Thanks for having me.”

LAP (c. 6:45):  “You will be speaking at Occupy Oakland.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 6:47):  “That is true, this afternoon; I’m very excited by that.” 

LAP (c. 6:51):  “And this, we’re speaking on Thursday [3 Nov 2011 to air this 4 Nov].”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 6:53):  “That’s true.  That’s true.  So, it’ll be—”

LAP (c. 6:58):  “So, you’ll have—by the time we play this—”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 6:59):  “Exactly.”

LAP (c. 7:00):  “What are you gonna say?”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 7:05):  “Honestly, I’m not entirely sure because I wanna go down there and get a sense for what is happening and what the mood is and who’s there.  But what I do know is that for me what has happened with the Occupy Protest Movement is the most exciting and inspiring thing to happen in American politics in many years, certainly including and surpassing easily the 2008 Presidential Election.

“I consider everybody who’s participating in this movement and especially at Occupy Oakland where it’s been lots of tumultuous activity to be genuinely heroic.  So, I’m just honoured to be there and excited by it.

LAP (7:42):  “You mentioned, you say surpass sort of the energy in the movement of the 2008 Election.  Do you see a connection there?  Of the people that were backing—”

Glenn Greenwald
(c. 7:49):  “I do.”

LAP (c. 7:50):  “—and supporting the Presidential candidacy at the time of Obama?”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 7:53):  “I do.  You know, one of the interesting things in looking back in retrospect at the Obama Candidacy that, for me at least, is so disillusioning and even angering, is that Barack Obama specifically and deliberately targeted people who had become extremely cynical in the political process and had decided either that it wasn’t worth doing at all or that they had done it before and they no longer wanted to. 

“And he talked about this corrosive cynicism in the citizenry, this perception that working within the political process changes nothing.  And he specifically tried to persuade those people that it would be worthwhile to get behind his candidacy.  And that’s what all this ‘yes, we can’ and the ‘audacity of hope’ was designed to convey.  And huge numbers of people, young people, and first-time voters, and people who had become disillusioned were persuaded by that and poured their time, and energy, and money, and resources into this candidacy and perceived that this was going to be finally the vehicle to re-empower the people of the United States in terms of our government.  And, of course, none of that happened.

“And the disillusionment was so extreme, ironically he, kind of, increased the cynicism in the citizenry more than any one else could have.  And I think a lot of it is getting channelled into this Occupy Movement that’s grounded in the belief, the correct belief, I believe, that political change [can’t] be effectuated through the political system.  It has to be done by citizen anger and unrest and disruption outside of it.”

LAP (c.  9:15):  “Oftentimes we compare what’s happening now to the 1930s.  If you talk about the New Deal, the New Deal came because of a grassroots movement and also a labour movement during that time.  Do you think, I guess it’ll be interesting to see how the White House Responds to this, if it’ll be moved or not.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 9:37):  “I think we’ve seen already what the White House is thinking about in terms of this Movement.  And I find it somewhat laughable because it’s never gonna work.  But what they’re trying to do and they’ve made it clear, is, essentially, they wanna co-opt the movement to reinvigorate the energy that the Obama Re-Election Campaign is so obviously lacking and have it be the force that basically drove him into the White House in the first place. 

“Organs, Democrat Party organs like the Center for American Progress have openly spoken about the effort to transform this Movement into one that is about electing Democratic leaders and re-electing the President.  And I think that the reason that’s never gonna work is if the people who were out protesting wanted to work for the Democratic Party, there wouldn’t have been a protest movement in the first place.

“I also think the people are able to see quite clearly that despite the rhetoric that we’re now gonna hear, the populist rhetoric from President Obama, that during his first three years in office he’s been far more devoted to the people who have funded his campaign, which is Wall Street and the banking and securities industry, than he has to ordinary Americans whose interests have largely been ignored.”

LAP (c. 10:43):  “So, how do you think this Wall Street Movement then becomes successful?  I mean obviously and a lot of people will say it’s already been successful.”

Glenn Greenwald
(c. 10:48):  “Right.”

LAP (c. 10:52):  “It’s changed the debate.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 10:54):  “Right.”

LAP (c. 10:55):  “It’s brought visibility to the streets.  Anything else, though?”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 10:58):  “Well, I mean, the way in which it’s already been successful is a critically important development which is that it has injected discussions of income and wealth inequality into mainstream American discourse.  A watershed moment for me was I was watching CNN a couple weeks ago and there was David Gergen who is, sort of, the voice of the political establishment and he said something along the lines of, ‘Well, I think that we need to acknowledge that income inequality is an issue worthy of some attention,’ which for him is a very radical acknowledgement.  That is directly the by-product of the Occupy Movement instead of only talking about austerity and where to cut budgets, we’re now talking about wealth inequality and fairness.

“And it’s very difficult for me to answer your question specifically in terms of what the outcome will be because none of us know.  Right?  It’s in the incipient stages.  Part of what makes it exciting is that it’s organic and relatively unplanned and unstructured and so it could go anywhere—good or bad.  But I think that the more important outcome that it is achieving, that it has already begun to achieve, that will continue to achieve, is that it is putting fear into the hearts of those in who exercise power, political and financial power.  And, for me, if you look at the reason why the ruling-class has been able to run rampant say the last decade or more it’s because this fear has been so glaringly absent.  If people who wield power can wield it without any fear of the repercussions we’ve removed from the threat that they face the idea that if they break the law they’ll be punished because we don’t punish political and financial elites, except for the very rare exception.  We shield them from the consequences of their crime.

And, so, if you don’t have a citizenry that’s willing to march in the street and disrupt things and engage in unrest when they cross lines so egregiously, then it will be without the supreme limit, the most important limit, which is fear of the citizenry and how it will react to this degree of corruption and impropriety.  And I think that’s being re-instituted in a very important way.  And that, I see, is vitally critical.”

LAP (c. 12:57):  “Well, on that note and in that spirit, thinking of the [Occupy Oakland] General Strike [and Port Shutdown] Wednesday [11/2/11] in Oakland, largely peaceful, I mean, you had tens of thousands of people out there and you didn’t have any police anywhere and you didn’t need them.  That part was amazing.  But when you did go by Wells Fargo and a few other banks there were broken windows and vandalism.  Is that part of the fear that you’re talking about?”

Glenn Greenwald
(c. 13:20):  “I think so. 

LAP (c. 13:21):  “And, I guess, can that be included as part of that.”

Glenn Greenwald (c 13:25):  “Certainly.  I mean, if you look at what has happened in other countries that actually face less severe income inequality and economic disruption than the United States has faced, including some Western European countries, what you see is fairly threatening unrest and even riots.  And policy planners in the United States and people in positions in law enforcement and elsewhere have been aware for quite some time that if you start eroding the middle-class and destroying peoples’ economic security, history teaches pretty clearly that nothing triggers backlash and societal unrest and disruption and even riots more inevitably than that.  And so there’s certainly an expectation that at some point that’s gonna happen.  I think that’s part of the police coordination and excessive use of force is about is a way of deterring further acts of protest. 

“So, certainly, if you are somebody who’s very wealthy and who is content with the status quo, anything that threatens it is something that you are gonna fear.  So, I don’t necessarily condone the use of violence or throwing rocks through windows and the like.  But I think that is an inevitable part of the kind of pilfering and plundering that has taken place and on some level has good outcomes from it.”

LAP (c 14:38):  “And it has an effect.  And, again, when we hear the description of what happened with the vandalism, I think people flippantly say, ‘Anarchists.’  And I know a number of anarchists who are like, ‘Well, wait a minute. No. We’re not violent.  It’s a political philosophy that we are about.’  But it does have an effect.” 

Glenn Greenwald (c. 14:59) “The thing is if you look at what has happened in the last decade in the United States, I mean, think about the kind of crimes that we have seen by the most powerful people.  So, we’ve seen the construction of a worldwide torture regime, spying on American people without the warrants required by the criminal law, an aggressive attack on another country that killed at least a hundred thousand innocent people, multiple acts of obstruction of justice, systematic fraud on an enormous scale that triggered a worldwide economic crisis that destroyed the economic comfort and middle-class security of tens of millions of people, mortgage fraud where homes were taken without legal entitlements.  And every single one of these crimes has been completely protected.  None have been investigated meaningfully, let alone prosecuted.

“Then at the very same time that we’ve created this template of elite immunity we have created the world’s largest penal state, prison state, in the entire world.  We imprison ordinary Americans at a faster rate, with less mercy and forgiveness and leniency than any Western country on the Earth.  People go to prison for infractions that in every Western country are considered too trivial to warrant imprisonment and incarceration. 

“So, people are extremely well aware of this vastly disparate treatment that people who are powerful and in positions of privilege and prestige receive versus how ordinary Americans receive treatment before the bar of justice.  And we’re inculcated the idea we’re all supposed to be equal before the law. 

“And, so, when you see the very same people who, through their fraud and theft, collapsed the world economy profit and prospering, while war criminals are out selling books and making money instead of inside a courtroom, the anger is going to be very real and it’s gonna be severe and intense.  And when it’s compounded by economic anxiety, of course, some people are gonna throw rocks through windows.  It’s amazing to me that we haven’t seen more of that and that more widespread yet.”

LAP (c. 16:50):  “And the outrage of people throwing some rocks through windows, breaking windows, and what has happened to people who have ruined the financial system.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 17:00):  “Yeah. It reminds me of a lot.  I remember the incident when George Bush visited Iraq in 2007 and a journalist, an Iraqi journalist, threw a shoe at him.  And this provoked all kinds of intense outrage by the American punditocracy and the media-class and political elites and demand, we force the al-Maliki Government to prosecute and imprison him.”

LAP (c. 17:20):  “Cathartic for others.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 17:21):  “Yeah.  Exactly.  And he became a hero in the Arab world.  And, so, here was all this extreme outrage that somebody who had committed, well, basically, a symbolic offence and yet the person whom he was targeting with his shoes is somebody who has extreme amounts of blood on his hands and who has suffered no recriminations or penalties of any kind. 
“And I think you’re exactly right.  All this outrage over people throwing a couple of bricks or rocks through windows is intense when measured against the almost apathy that we have in our political class toward people who have devastated the lives of tens of millions of people with their warmongering and their illegal surveillance and torture and especially with their financial fraud.”

LAP (c. 18:07):  “Again, we are in conversation with Glenn Greenwald, author of With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful.  And this is what your book really goes into, is how we got here.  Major question, how did we get here?”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 18:24):  “Yeah, right.  Well, what’s interesting is if you look at the history of the United States, it was really founded in this conception that the rule of law had to be supreme.  We learn through all kinds of clichés that this is the case, that justice is blind, that we’re all equal before the law. 

John Adams thought we only have two choices.  We can be a nation of men, meaning let them make decisions without constraints, or a nation of law.  Those were the only two choices.  Thomas Paine said, to he who asks where is the king in America?  Let a crown be placed on the head of law and declare that in America the law is the monarch.  And, of course, the founders violated those principles in all sorts of violent and heinous ways that are too obvious to merit lots of discussion, but the important point is that they nonetheless affirmed the supremacy, this sacredness of this principle, even when they were violating it,  and that principle became kind of a governing aspirational principle that animated American progress over the next two hundred years. 

“And what we’ve really now done, beginning with, I think, the Ford pardon of Nixon.  And then it became a precedent that was set is that we’ve explicitly repudiated this principle.  We don’t even pretend to believe it any longer.  Now, we make arguments, we in the opinion-making elite-class, anyway, do.”

LAP (c. 19:30):  “Which is a elite immunity.”

Glenn Greenwald (c 19:32):  “Right.  Elite immunity that when somebody is sufficiently powerful and society is sufficiently dependent upon them, they are instrumental in the functioning of the country, that it is not just in their interest but in all of our interests, the common good, to decide that when they get caught committing crimes they will not be subjected to investigation and prosecution on equal terms with other Americans. 

“We saw that with Richard Nixon, who got caught committing crimes in Iran-Contra criminals, the crimes of the Bush era, Wall Street crimes.  And it’s really this prevailing mentality now, this set of rhetorical justifications that enables the most powerful people in the society to commit crimes with absolute impunity.”

LAP (c. 20:11):  “Is this something that has consciously occurred or just has happened over the years.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 20:17):  “Well, I think what happened was if you go and look at the way in which Gerald Ford, who of course is chosen by Richard Nixon precisely to do this, went on television and justified to what was really an angry and highly resentful nation, the idea that this politician who built his career as the law and order candidate, Richard Nixon, was going to be completely immunised and never see the inside of a courtroom, let alone a prison, he went on the air, Gerald Ford did.  And he was trying to explain why he thought it was just.  And what he said at the time was, ‘Well, of course, I believe in the rule of law, the idea that law is no respecter of persons, which is the crux of this concept.

“Then he went on and added this newly concocted Amendment designed to gut the principle that he just pretended to believe in.  And he said, ‘but the law is a respecter of reality,’ meaning that if there’s too much disruption or if there’s too much divisiveness that comes from prosecuting powerful people, if it’s just too inconvenient for us to do it, then we can and should decide in the interest of the nation that we simply are gonna move beyond what just happened and forget about it and in a a sense sweep it under the rug and not bring about accountability for it. 

“And if this were a leniency that were available to everybody, to ordinary Americans and the powerful alike, then you could have debates about whether or not that was a smart thing to do.  But it wouldn’t be a complete evisceration of the rule of law.  It’s the fact that this is available only to people who are powerful.  And this is the rationale that sort of set the precedent. 

“Lots of even well-intentioned people believe that, yeah, Richard Nixon shouldn’t have been held accountable.  It was time to pardon him because the country needed to heal.  But whatever you feel about that specific case, the application of that mindset, the problem is that, like so many things, once you endorse it in a specific case, it becomes normalised and it grows beyond its original application.  And that’s exactly what has happened.”

LAP (c. 22:08):  “The law is a respecter of reality?”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 22:12):  “That’s what Gerald Ford said, yes.”

LAP (c. 22:14):  “Yeah.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 22:15):  “And, I mean, which is really another way of saying, ‘If I, a political leader, decide that it is inadvisable to hold somebody accountable under the law, then they should not be held accountable; they should be shielded.’  And that is, really, another way of saying we are not a nation under law, we are a nation of men, of political leaders who, in their own discretion, can decide when the law does and does not apply.  That’s exactly what the founders warned against.  It’s what the Constitution was most intended to avoid.”

LAP (c. 22:44):  “And getting back to the founders and, of course, you gotta keep in mind, and you alluded to this slavery and—”

Glenn Greenwald (c 22:52):  “The disenfranchisement of women and White property owners and Native Americans.”

LAP (c 22:56) “Etcetera, etcetera.  Yet, they meant for the law to be one place where, at least when it comes to economic realities, that’s the one spot, not that they believed in egalitarian society, but it’s the one, under the law it was the one place where people who were seen as people, let’s say that way, were supposed to be treated equal.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 23:22):  “Precisely.  The founders were not just people who accepted, but who believed in, vigorously, the virtues of wealth inequality and income inequality and inequality in power, which isn’t surprising since they were the elite of the society.  They were very wealthy, by and large.   And so they believed that these fortunes they had amassed and their position in society was justifiable and earned. 

“But what they emphasise is these was that these income inequalities that some people are rich and most people are poor, would be acceptable and legitimate only if we all started at the same starting point with the same set of rules governing all of us, which was what law was meant to be. 

“I analogise it frequently to a running race.  So, that if you have, say, sprinters who are running a hundred-metre race.  And everybody starts at the same starting point.  And everyone has the same rules.  You can’t elbow the other runners out of the way.  You can’t invade people’s lanes.  You have arms-length relationship with the judges and umpires.  You’re not bribing them in order to rule in your favour.  Then whoever crosses the finish line first, we accept that as the winner.  They get rewards.  We all accept that as legitimate.  Whoever comes in second is second.  Whoever comes in last is slowest.

“You know, it’s sort of like when Steve Jobs dies with eight billion dollars, very few people begrudge that, even though there’s mass joblessness and homelessness and foreclosures because there’s a perception, rightly or wrongly, that it was earned, that it was justifiable.  It’s when someone gets to start at a starting point far ahead of everybody else and when the judges are in their back pocket ‘cos they’re being bribed and they’re allowed to elbow people out of the way.  Then when they win, there’s a rejection of legitimacy of that outcome.  I think that’s very much what’s happening in American society now.  Americans by and large don’t mind income inequality.  We’ve been inculcated to accept it as virtuous and just. 

“What people are really angry about in my view is not inequality in and of itself, but it’s the illegitimacy of that inequality, the sense that the people who are winning are not winning because they deserve it, but because they’re cheating.  They are protecting their ill-gotten gains using their power over our political and legal institutions.  And that’s what I think is sparking so much disgust with our prevailing political culture.”

LAP (c. 25:29):  “So far, we have talked about, sort of, this immunity for the political class.  When did this move to the private sector?”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 25:36):  “Well, that’s one of the more disturbing aspects of it.  That’s a great question.  I mean, for me, what really made me realise that it was no longer just available to public sector elites, but private sector ones as well was the battle that was waged, and I worked on this for a long time, over the effort to immunise the nation’s telecom giants from being sued by their customers and being prosecuted for having violated a whole series of laws that prohibited telecoms from allowing governments spying on the communications of their clients without warrants required by the law.”

LAP (c. 26:07):  “The NSA programme of 2005?”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 26:09):  “Yeah.  I mean, AT&T and Verizon and Sprint, the reason why the Bush officials were able to break the law and spy on Americans without warrants is because AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and most of the other industry leaders turned over huge amounts of documents showing the communications of their customers as well as gave direct access in some cases to those communications even though the law required that their be warrants first.  And they had no warrants. 

“And the Congress, specifically, enacted these statutes that said that if you, the telecom industry, violate these laws because the abuses that led to the reforms in the 1970s, from the Church Committee that discovered decades of eavesdropping abuses on Martin Luther King and others.  It wasn’t just Government officials.  It was Western Union turning over telegraphs to the Government.  All telegraphs sent in the United States to JR Edgar Hoover.  It was AT&T allowing the Government to listen in on calls. 

“So, the Congress, specifically, passed laws that said that, ‘You, the telecom industry, are barred from allowing government spying on your customers’ communications without the warrants required by law.’  AT&T and the rest of them did that.  They got sued by their clients, by their customers, in a whole variety of lawsuits which were centred here in San Francisco.”   

LAP (c. 27:20):  “Yeah.  Electronic Frontier Foundation.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 27:22):  “Exactly.  The EFF, the outstanding civil liberties and privacy organisation represented those plaintiffs and they began winning.  The Federal Court started saying that if the telecom industry did what it is alleged to have done, it is clearly illegal. 

“And instead of doing what everyone else does when they get sued in court and begin losing, which is think about how to settle the case or continue to contest it, the telecom industry hired an army of bipartisan lobbyists, ex-officials in both parties, who went to Congress and demanded that Congress pass a law that had no purpose other than to retroactively immunise the telecom industry to say that they cannot be held accountable in court, that lawsuits must [discriminate], an extraordinarily radical step to do, a radical expression of lawlessness.  So much so that when I it was first demanded, I was very skeptical about the fact that the Democratic Congress would do it, not because I had faith in the Democrats, but because I just thought it was too glaringly sleazy and corrupt even for our political class to be able to do it.  And, yet, six months later with the leadership of all parties behind it including the current President, the then-Senator Obama, the Congress did exactly that.  It enacted this legislation.  It terminated all lawsuits against the telecoms and shielded them completely from the consequences of their illegal acts.  So, here was a case where that rationale that I described Gerald Ford promulgating.  The idea that, ‘Oh, we need the telecoms for our national security.  It’s unfair to subject them to these high damages awards seeped into the private sector and led to full-scale immunity for them.”        

LAP (c. 28:54):  “So, could you draw a line to these telecommunication companies to then CEOs of the major financial institutions in the 2007/2008 crash?”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 29:06):  “Absolutely.  And if you look at what is said about the reasons why banking executives and Wall Street firms and credit agencies are not being, in the opinion of some, should not be subjected to prosecution, what you will hear is exactly the same mentality, which is, ‘it’s more important that we recover economically than it is that we dig in the past and assign blame or point fingers, all those clichés or that we need these firms for our economic recovery.  And if we start subjecting them to prosecution, it’s gonna disrupt the markets and prevent us from prospering economically again. 

“So, it’s always this argument, Orwellian claim, that it’s in all of our common good to immunise the most powerful people and not subject them to the rule of law.  And what that does, the real outcome of what that does, is that it signals to the elite class that you are free to break the law with impunity however much you want.  We will never prosecute you for it.  And what does is it means that, in essence, they are incentivised to break the law because they know the more they break the law the more protected they will be.”

LAP (c. 30:14):  “The New York Times broke the story in 2005 about the NSA spy programme, won awards for it, but also sat on it for a year until the Election was over.

Glenn Greenwald (c. 30:27):  “This is something that The New York Times does repeatedly.  Interestingly, we saw in the WikiLeaks controversy the Executive Editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, despite his paper publishing lots of secrets WikiLeaks had provided, went around on this campaign to convince people that the New York Times and WikiLeaks were drastically different. 

“And one of the things Bill Keller consistently pointed to proudly is that unlike WikiLeaks, which publishes secrets without the permission of the Government, the New York Times goes in advance to the U.S. Government and says we intend to publish these secrets and basically allows the Government veto power over it to say,‘You should not publish this secret ‘cos it could it’s too harmful.’  Of course, it’s The Times that retains the decision, ultimately, about whether to do it.  Sometimes, in rare cases they’ll publish it anyway.  But, by and large, they obey the orders of the government

LAP (c. 31:16):  “Ready to protect national security.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 31:18):  “Exactly.  And what happened was when the New York Times was about to publish the NSA story.  In 2004, the Bush Administration, George Bush, himself, summoned the publisher of the New York Times, then-Executive Editor, to the Oval Office and said, ‘If you publish this information you’re gonna harm national security and render us vulnerable to terrorist attack.’  It was absurd from the start that claim, because the only thing The Times was publishing, everybody knew already that the U.S. was eavesdropping on terrorists. 

“The only thing that story revealed was that they were doing it without warrants, as the law required.  They were doing it illegally, rather than legally.  It’s not information that could possibly have helped anybody attack the United States.  But they obey the orders, essentially, from the Bush White House and as you said sat on the story for almost a full year until after George Bush was safely re-elected.  They abetted and enabled that to go on without the knowledge of the American people for almost a full year.”

LAP (c. 32:10):  “Again, we are in conversation with Glenn Greenwald, award-winning journalist, author of the new book With Liberty and Justice For Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful.  Something you mentioned earlier made me start thinking about something during our conversation.  That’s the Church Committee, a committee in Congress, I think in the Senate, investigated COINTEL-PRO and just abuses by the FBI, perhaps the CIA, I don’t know.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 32:38):  “Right.  Yep.”

LAP (c 32:39):  “There is a film on YouTube out now from Occupy Oakland showing some police officers and then showing them again as protesters, infiltrators.  I guess I’m asking you to do some conjecture here but with these Occupy Wall Street Movements gaining steam, do you, and we saw the NSA programme, all these other things, what would you expect right now the authorities to be doing about this?”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 33:10):  “Well, there’s no question that they’re taking it very seriously.  It is not possible, just by the nature of how power is exercised, to pose a threat to people who wield power and have them sit by quietly and passively and accept it.”

LAP (c. 33:27):  “They’re not just watching this.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 33:28):  “Yeah.  They use their power to undermine and subvert it.  I’ll give you a great example.  There was a top secret report published by or prepared by the Pentagon in 2008 that declared WikiLeaks, which at the time almost nobody in the United States knew, to be an enemy of the state.  That’s the term they used.  And they plotted ways to destroy WikiLeaks.  They talked about exposing their sources to prevent people from having confidence that if they leak they can do so without detection.  They talked about fabricating documents that are fraudulent and submitting them to WikiLeaks in the hopes that they would publish them, which would destroy their credibility and the credibility of future leaks.  They talked about disrupting their financial pipeline—all things that essentially ended up being done, were done to WikiLeaks.  Ironically, this report got leaked to WikiLeaks, which then published it. And that’s how we know about it. 

“But this is what the U.S. Government does all the time to any organisation, including domestic ones, that they consider threatening.  They’ve infiltrated dissident groups for decades in the United States.  They constantly infiltrate Muslim communities with agent provocateurs and spies and double-agents who keep many of the plots that the FBI disrupts and then proudly announces are plots that the FBI actually created and introduced into people’s minds.”

LAP (c. 34:45):  “Oh, in new York.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 34:47) “Yeah.  And many of these plots involved have been ones that FBI informants, undercover informants—”

LAP (c. 34:54):  “They come in pushing for us.”

Glenn Greenwald
(c. 35:57):  “They come in and they persuade.  They give target some 22-year old kid and convince him that it’d be worthwhile to do a plot and they could feed him the money, they feed him the material and feed him the means.  And then right before he’s about to carry out the act, the FBI plot, they disrupt their own plot and announce to the world that they saved us all from their plot.  This is what the U.S. Government is there to do. 

“The surveillance industry, the national security state, the law enforcement agencies are extremely well-funded at a time when everything else is being stripped away.  They operate under an extreme cloak of secrecy.  And this is the stuff that they’ve been doing forever.  So, if they weren’t infiltrating the Occupy Movement and putting in agent provocateurs and trying to undermine the credibility and disrupt them in all sorts of ways, it would be the first time that ever happened, right?  It would be the first time ever.” 

LAP (c. 35:41):  “Yeah.  And I mean they’ve infiltrated grandmother peace groups.”

Glenn Greenwald (c 35:44):  “Absolutely.  And they used the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act to spy on environmental groups and anti-war groups, civil liberties organisations, and pretty much everyone else who at all dissents from mainstream orthodoxy.”

LAP (c 35:55):  “Last week we marked the ten year anniversary of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act.”
Glenn Greenwald (c. 35:58) “Yes.  That is still going stronger than ever.”

LAP (c. 36:01):  “Yeah.  Glenn Greenwald, as we move to wrap up, again in 2010 you won the Online Journalism Association Award for your work about Bradley Manning.  At Occupy San Francisco there’s a debate.  I don’t know if there General Assembly has voted on this or not, but to rename Justin Herman Plaza  to either Scott Olsen, who is the Marine that got struck last week in Oakland, or after Bradley Manning.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 36:30):  “M-hm.”

LAP (c. 36:31):  “It’s interesting to think about Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks in Oakland, even the Oscar Grant incident all of this coming into one big narrative.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 36:43):  “Well, you know, one of the things that I think you see as a common thread through all of this, I mean, when I first wrote about Bradley Manning and the extremely inhumane and oppressive conditions under which he was being detained for ten months.  The question that a lot of people had and that I actually had as well was, ‘Well, why would the Obama Administration want to, basically, torture Bradley Manning?’  It seems counterproductive.   It creates sympathy for Manning.  It undermines their ability to prosecute him because his statements made in custody become subject to claims of coercion. 

“Ultimately, what I realised is the reason why Bradley Manning is subjected to that treatment is the same reason that the Bush Administration picked up thousands of people around the world and brought them thousands of miles away to a Carribean Island and dressed them in orange jumpsuits and shackles and tortured people and showed it to the world.  It’s the same reason why the police, gratuitously and arbitrarily pepper-spray protesters and shoot them with rubber bullets.  It’s because it’s a way of signalling to people who might challenge their authority or dissent in a meaningful way that ‘you should think twice about doing so, that if you’re somebody who wants to go march in the street, look at what we’ve done to these protesters. If you discover that we’ve committed crimes and wanna expose them, look what we’ve done to Bradley Manning.’ 

And it’s really about using the law coercively as a force to entrench power, which was the exact opposite of what it was intended to be.”    

LAP (c. 38:06):  “Glen Greenwald, thank you.”

Glenn Greenwald (c. 38:08):  “My pleasure.  Thanks for having me.”

LAP (c. 38:09):  “Again, Glenn Greenwald has been our guest, author of the new book With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful.”

Transcript by Felipe Messina for Media Roots


Looking back as the year comes to a close, so many stories, so much news, and so little time.  As Media Roots looks back on 2011, we feature an interview many may have missed with Glenn Greenwald on myriad topics including the Occupy Movement and Obama cooptation.

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MR Transcript: Davey D Speaks With Carl Dix RCP

WestDixCRGUCB120211MEDIA ROOTS — On Friday, December 2, 2011, at 7pm, at the Pauley Ballroom on the UC Berkeley campus, a dialogue will take place between Cornel West and Carl Dix.  This upcoming event open to the public free of charge is being organised by the University of California, Center for Race & Gender, which notes:

“Carl Dix is a longtime revolutionary and a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. In 1970 Carl was one of the Fort Lewis 6, six GIs who refused orders to go to Vietnam. He served 2 years in Leavenworth Military Penitentiary for his stand. In 1985 Carl initiated the Draw The Line statement, a powerful condemnation of the bombing of the MOVE house in Philadelphia. In 1996, Carl was a founder of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality. Carl coordinated the Katrina hearings of the 2006 Bush Crimes Commission.”

Yesterday, Davey D broadcast an interview with longtime activist Carl Dix on The Morning Mix out of KPFA radio in Berkeley, CA. 

Some will take issue with the Revolutionary Communist Party, yet acclimate to extremes on the Right.  Some will stay open-minded and employ critical thinking.  Others take issue with the RCP’s reclusive figurehead, Bob Avakian.  Yet, it’s hard to dismiss RCP spokesperson Carl Dix’s cogent, radical analysis of U.S. imperialism, hegemony, and domestic repression, which, following Obama’s nationwide militarised assaults against peaceful Occupy Movement encampments, is timely and logical.

And, whatever one may hold against Cornel West, such as his support for Obama in 2008, one must appreciate his dogged celebration of the Socratic Method, as he welcomes dialogue with thinkers from diverse schools of thought, even those of the RCP taxon.  And Carl Dix is certainly a worthy dialectician.

Among the sundry topics Carl Dix discusses in conversation with Davey D (below) is the role of Obama as the Commander in chief of the U.S. global empire; police state repression and its dimensions of White supremacy, as manifested through racist policies like Stop and Frisk and racial profiling; apathy among the masses and how we can wake the folk up; the pretext of national security to stifle dissent, S.1867 (passed by the two-party Senate today) granting the Executive the use of the Military and arbitrary indefinite detention against U.S. citizens, or anyone, in today’s U.S. global empire, and the titanic lurch toward fascism in the wake of coordinated Federalised assaults against the Occupy Movement; police brutality and repression; mass incarceration and the prisoner hunger strikes; the 1% versus the 99%; and what we can do about all of this.

The absurdity of militarised platoons of riot cops brutalising and repressing peaceful demonstrators, First Amendment activity, and even journalists covering it all makes this a timely discussion.




Davey D (7:10):  “Listenin’ to a little James Brown right here on The Morning Mix, Davey D hangin’ out wit’ you.  And there is big doings in the City of Berkeley in the [S.F.] Bay Area, come this Friday.  Pauley Ballroom, my old stomping ground, is going to feature an incredible dialogue between Cornel West and Mr. Carl DixCarl Dix, of course, one of the founders of the Revolutionary Communist Party here in the U.S.  He is also the founder of the October 22nd Coalition Against Police Brutality.  And there are so many other things that we could talk to Carl about.  But he’s outspoken.  He’s an activist, a freedom fighter.  And he’s on the phone lines wit’ us this morning.  Carl, how you doin’?”

Carl Dix (7:52):  “I’m doing good, Davey.  How you doin’?”

Davey D (7:55):  “Good.  So, you and Cornel [West] have been kicking up a lot of dust.  That’s what we’re hearing.  And you’re bringin’ a lot of heat to some issues that many like to sweep under the carpet, in particular, police terror, incarceration, no jobs, miseducation, all in the age of Obama.  Let me start off with my first question.   Are you surprised that these issues are as problematic as they are with our first Black President?”

Carl Dix (8:21):  “No, it didn’t surprise me at all.  Because I peeped that when Obama was running for President, he was basically applying for the job of Commander in chief of the U.S. global empire and he was basically sayin’ I’m the best guy to meet the needs of the empire at this point.  And if you gon’ meet the needs of the U.S.’s global empire, that does not include getting jobs for the youth, ending police terror, correcting the way the education system works because all of that is built into the fabric of U.S. capitalism, historically and currently. 

“We’ve been doing this campaign to stop ‘Stop and Frisk’ here in New York City, which is a policy of the New York Police Department, under which they stop more than 700,000 people.  That’s the pace they’re on this year.  That’s 1,900 people each and every day.  And five out six of those people stopped are Black or Latino.  And over 92% of them are doing nothing wrong.  But this ain’t a mistake or an error in judgment.  This is a system based upon exploitation that has no future for the youth.  So, rather than allow them to get roused up and rise up the way that youth did in the 1960s, they have criminalized them and tried to lock ‘em down.  And whatever colour the President is, he’s going to preside over that and see that that’s carried out.”

Davey D (10:04):  “Let me ask you.  When you just mentioned that figure of the ‘Stop and Frisk,’ 700,000 people being stopped, mostly Black and Brown folks in New York City.  How does this happen with 8 million people in a city and we just sit back and there’s no outrage.  We don’t see people, you know, bat an eye and say, ‘This is wrong. Let’s stop this.’  Have we been dumbed down that much?”

Carl Dix (10:32):  “There is some growing outrage.  But, on the other side, yes, most people buy into this.  And they’re told that this is done in order to protect them from crime and there’s a certain ignorance of the reality because, if it’s about crime, why is that 92-plus-percent of the people that the police stop, they can’t find the reason to even write ‘em a ticket?  And of the seven-plus-percent who do get violations or arrested, some of them weren’t doing anything wrong.  They just looked the wrong way at a cop, gave ‘em a little too much lip or were carrying a non-criminal amount of marijuana in their pockets.  But they were told by the cop to empty their pockets and when they took the marijuana out a cop arrested them for displaying marijuana in public.  Because in New York state it is not a criminal offence to have less than 25 grams of marijuana as long as you don’t display it.”

Davey D (11:33):  “Wow.”

Carl Dix (11:34):  “But then there’s a certain trick-bag for Black or Latino youth where the cop will tell you to empty your pockets.  If you refuse they arrest you for violating his order.  If you comply with his order they arrest you if you have that non-criminal amount of marijuana because it then becomes public.  That’s kinda how they go at this and how they go at criminalizing our youth.  But people accept it because they’re told it has to do with safety against crime.  And the police chief even goes to Black and Latino churches and talks about how he does what he does to protect their communities against criminals when, actually, they’re criminalizing the youth of that community.  And, you  know, Cornel and I wanna bring that to light, including that he and I collaborated on launching a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience aimed at bringing mass resistance [and] opposition to stop ‘Stop and Frisk.’”

Davey D (12:33):  “You know, a lot of people listening would probably say this doesn’t apply to me because it’s in New York City.  And others will say this doesn’t apply to me because the old adage, ‘If they have nothing to hide then they should just go along with the programme and expose themselves,’ you know.  ‘We’re in extraordinary times and this requires extraordinary measures in order to protect our population.’  I bring this up because yesterday [11/28/11] in the Senate they started debating a bill that was drawn in secret, the National Defense Authorization Act, which would give the President as well as the Military great powers in terms of stopping people and holding them as ‘detainees’ for an indefinite amount of time.  And to me, this is brought up by John McCain as well as Democrat Carl Levin, I wanna see if you can connect the dots between the two in terms of, you know, we let the kids get stopped and frisked in New York and now it could apply to anybody on a national level and we don’t seem to be outraged.  We were all eating turkey and enjoying the football games, myself included, and not really having our attention focused on these types of bills that are going through the House and Senate.”  

Carl Dix (13:52):  “Yeah, all of this does come together because ‘Stop and Frisk’ is a policy that’s applied in New York City and a couple of other cities across the country.  But most cities don’t have that explicit policy.  But there is probably no city across the country where the racial profiling that underlay ‘Stop and Frisk’ doesn’t get applied and isn’t spoken of, perhaps not explicitly, but as the way you go at crime.  What’s really happened is that Black and Latino youth have been made a criminalized group of society.  And they basically treat ‘em all like criminals, guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive their encounter with police to prove their innocence.  And we have to bring that into the picture because we remember Oscar Grant and the many other young Black and Latino people who did not survive those encounters. 

“But it also goes to this national security point because they have expanded that racial profiling.  I mean, we’ve talked about driving while Black or Latino, but we also gotta talk about flying while Muslim or Arab because that is also something that has become criminal.  And now with a bill like this, they are granting the Executive the power to determine for whatever reason that someone could be arrested, held, interrogated, treated as a national security threat, and not have to give them the ability to challenge that to have it heard in open court and to say, ‘Show and prove.’  Now, when Bush talked about grabbing that kind of power there was a lot of opposition.  But Obama came in as the anti-Bush and he has actually consecrated some of the things that were controversial under Bush because you look at the fact that they explicitly executed a U.S. citizen with a drone strike in North-East Africa and there wasn’t a [huge outcry] about that, similar to this [S.1867] bill that you’re talking about.  And people need to deal with that.

“This dialogue that Cornel and I are having is happening in a different situation because you’ve got this spreading Occupy Movement.  And that’s a very good development.  But we also have to deal with the fact that there were coordinated national assaults on the Occupy Movement.  You know, there were conference calls that the Mayor of Oakland was on with 15 to 18 other mayors and there was participation in that conference call from the Department of Homeland Security.  Now, people need to deal with the fact that protesting has become something that there will be national military security conference calls and coordinated assaults on.  And the assault that happened in Oakland was nothing short, on the Occupy Movement, was nothing short of a military assault.  I mean, we just gotta call it what it is.  When they start throwing flash-bang grenades and comin’ in the way that they came in, that was a military assault on people who were protesting.  Or the UC Davis thing where students sitting down with their arms linked were hit with pepper spray.  And we gotta deal with the pepper spray that the police routinely use is actually banned in warfare according to international law.  That’s what that came down to.  And you watch that cop very calmly spray those students and then shake his can, so he could spray ‘em some more.  They’re actually telling us something about what future they have in store for us.  And we need to be talking about how we’re gonna seize a different future because the future that they have is:  ‘If you go with the programme and don’t rock the boat, you can be a functionary in their oppressive, exploitative worldwide system. If you rock the boat or if you don’t fit into that, which is the case for huge numbers of Black and Latino youth, then they got a different future.’  They got prisons.  They got police.  You know?  They got all of this or being in their Military and going around the world and killing people for ‘em.”

Davey D (18:24):  “Right.  If you’re just tuning in, we have Carl Dix on the phone line wit’ us.  Carl Dix, well-known freedom fighter, activist, founder of the October 22nd Coalition Against Police Brutality, member of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, founding member of that.  Let me ask you this, Carl.  You and Cornel are having this conversation Friday, UC Berkeley, Pauley Ballroom.  We’re gonna hear all this information, you know; some of the stuff you’re saying is gettin’ people riled up.  But now, at that point, what do we do to change that and can we have a change that, you know, or at least start to see change that’s immediate, understanding that ‘I don’t wanna wait seven generations; I’m not trying to get involved with something where we have to wait for, you know, my great-great-grandkids to receive the benefits. I wanna hear, now, some sort of solution that I can see.’  What’s the prescription at this point?”

Carl Dix (19:21):  “Well, the prescription, and this is going to be a dialogue, so we’ll have two people who’ll come at it with some unity and with some differences.  You know?  And I really respect and love my brother Cornel.  And we work together a lot.  Like I said, we started this campaign to stop Stop and Frisk together in addition to having these dialogues.  But I’m gonna come from the revolutionary communist perspective and I’m gonna put two things to people.  One is building a movement for revolution, which we gotta do right now.  Okay?  And I’m gonna develop that, bring out what that revolution would be like, what it aims to do, why it could bring a whole different and far better world into being.  And I’m also gonna say to people, ‘Whether or not you’re with that, that’s something that I want people to dig into and check out.’  And I’m gonna bring source material that I can encourage people to get into on that front.  I’m also gonna say, ‘We have to stop things like mass incarceration, 2.4 million people in jail in prisons all across the country, many of them held in torture-like conditions; policies like Stop and Frisk and racial profiling that serve as a pipeline to prison; the way in which prisoners are treated like less-than-human when they get out, denied access to government loans, public housing, even denied the right to vote.’  We have to actually build a fight around that right now and beat back some of this.  That’s what we’re engaged in doing in New York around Stop and Frisk. 

“The prisoners, themselves, in California stood up; and people need to relate to that struggle, support it, things like the hunger strikes that the prisoners in the California Special Housing Units waged, as well as other forms to, both, bring to light these horrors, but also to fight, now, to change them because they’re moving in a way that they wanna have us so locked down that there’s nothing we could do about it.  And, at the same time, I’m gonna engage some of the questions that are posed by the Occupy Movement because it has accomplished quite a bit.  It has moved people to resist the outrageous inequality in society, to stand up and fight back, but also to question why it is like this and what could be done about it.  And, like I said, I’m gonna engage why it’s like this because it’s like this because of capitalism in its very nature, what it functions based on.  And we need revolution to get rid of it.  And I’m gonna bring to them the kind of revolution that we need and the work that Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party has done on that revolution, how to make it, what kind of world we could bring into being and how we could go farther and do better than the previous revolutions that have occurred.” 

Davey D (22:27):  “Okay.  You know, let me just see if we can just get a couple of calls in with you—”

Carl Dix (22:32):  “Okay.”

Davey D (22:32):  “—before we let you go.  The phone number here, we’re talking with Carl Dix, he will be speaking with Cornel West this Friday at Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley Campus, in the age of Obama.  Him and Cornel [West] will have a conversation about police terror, incarceration, no jobs, and miseducation.  The subtitle: ‘What Is the Future for Our Youth?’  He’s on the phone line wit’ us and you could give us a call.  510.848-4425.  Once again, 510.848-4425.  Carl, while we wait for some of those calls, when you say ‘revolution,’ two questions come to mind.  Under the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act and the proposed new laws that they’re trying to push through and all that, that, kind of, makes you an enemy.  Are you concerned that all of a sudden before, you know, when you’re talking about this and you’re using words like ‘revolution’ and you are a member of the Communist Party, that all of a sudden you won’t find yourself locked up?  You know, because we have to, you know, you might be deemed a quote-unquote ‘terrorist’ in this day and age.  And, also, when we’re talking about ‘revolution,’ are we talking about, you know, goin’ to the rifle range and gettin’ a gun?  Or is there another approach towards this?”

Carl Dix (23:45):  “Okay.”

Davey D (23:45):  “I mean can we have a ‘revolution’ at the voting booth?”

Carl Dix (23:48):  “Alright.  Let me start with the second question and then move to the first question.  When we talk about ‘revolution,’ we’re talking about meeting and defeating the violent attempts at suppression that this governmental structure will undoubtedly launch at a revolutionary people.  Now, it is not yet time for the all-out move to revolution.  The society is not yet deep enough in crisis.  There’s not yet the revolutionary people numbering in the millions who are ready to put everything on the line and don’t wanna live another day under this system.  So, it would be in very much different conditions.  That’s what ‘revolution’ means.  And it’s about dismantling the repressive apparatus that keeps capitalism and its exploitative relations in effect here in this country and around the world and putting in its place a whole different society with a different economic programme that’s not based on exploitation, a socialist economic programme, that would be in transition to an end to exploitation and oppression once and for all.  That’s what ‘revolution’ is about.  That’s what we’re talking about.  And that’s what it would take to pull it off. 

“Now, when I talk about building a movement for ‘revolution,’ I’m talkin’ about a couple things.  One is bringing to people that things don’t have to be this way, that it isn’t like this is the best possible of all societies.  Revolution has been made.  It could be done again and we could go farther and we could do much better.  I’m also talking about an approach that we call fighting the power and transforming the people for revolution because we know people ain’t ready for revolution right now.  But they do need to resist these attacks and through the course of the resistance we try to bring out:  Where do these attacks come from?  Why do they continually come down?  And where do we need to go to end them?”

Davey D (25:45):  “Okay.”

Carl Dix (25:45):  “So, that’s what I mean when I talk about ‘revolution.’  And as far as this thing of, ‘Am I on some enemies list?’  I wouldn’t be surprised if I were.  I mean, I do know that at the time of the first Gulf War there were debates at the highest level of Government, as to whether people who were saying what I was saying should be arrested for it.  And this was like the early 1990s, we’re talkin’ about, because they were like, people who were criticising this move towards war before it happened were maybe ‘treasonous’ and should be gone after.  They decided not to do it at that point.  But I don’t hold back on what I say and say, ‘Well, I can’t say that because They may not like it and They may criminalize it.’  I have to say what I think is true because while the truth won’t set you free, in and of itself, if you ain’t basin’ yourself on truth, you ain’t gon’ get free.  If you’ based on a lie, you ain’t gon’ get free and humanity’s not gon’ get free.

Davey D (26:44):  “That’s real.”

Carl Dix (26:44):  “So, that’s how we go at it.  And we try to expose to people the ways in which all of this repressive apparatus is geared not towards their safety, but towards keeping the current status quo in effect.”

Davey D (27:00):  “Okay.”

Carl Dix (27:00):  “You know, and if you like this set-up with 1%, actually less than 1%, owning and controlling and dominating everything then go with it.  But if you’re against that then you have to talk about the mechanisms that they have that keep that in effect.”



Davey D (27:15):  “That’s the voice of Carl Dix.  It is 8:27 in the morning on The Morning Mix and we’re gonna take a couple of calls.  We’re gonna kick it off with Sharif in El Sobrante.  You’re on the Morning Mix.  How are you doing, Sharif?”

Sharif in El Sobrante (27:25):  “Alright.   As-Salamu `Alaykum.”

Davey D (27:27):  “Good.  What’s happenin’?

Sharif in El Sobrante (27:28):  “Alright.  Listen, I love this.  I’ve never heard of this brotha befo’, but he is well-spoken.  And he can certainly explain to me what the heck he’s talkin’ about.  I can dig it.  I also, are you there?”

Davey D (27:41):  “Yeah.  We’re listenin’.”

Sharif in El Sobrante (27:42):  “Okay.  Well, I would tend more towards socialism, which means a society of men or a group of men with one common cause.  Have him to deal with that, would you, please?”

Davey D (27:52):  “Okay.  Let me, before you hit that, Carl, let me just get another call in and then I’ll let you hit ‘em both—”

Carl Dix (27:57):  “Okay.”

Davey D (27:57):  “—at the same time.  Alright, so he asked a question about socialism.  Let’s go to Ayana in Oakland.”

Ayana in Oakland (28:02):  “Hello.” 

Davey D (28:04):  “Hey, Ayana, you’re on the air.  What’s your question or comment?”

Ayana in Oakland (28:06):  “Hi, yeah, question, kind of comment, maybe both.  Um, White Skin Privilege, White Supremacy:  During this Occupy Movement it just seemed like folks love having conversations about class and economy absent of that.  And I feel like that very basis is what has a lot of the structures be the way that they are today, just in terms of how they affect people of colour.  And, so, I’m just wondering where do you stand on that just in terms of [basic] conversation in terms of race constructed in that way—”

Davey D (28:46):  “Okay.”

Ayana in Oakland (28:47):  “—because that’s, essentially, what it is that we’re dealing with.”

Davey D (28:49):  “Okay.  We appreciate that.  So, Sharif wanted to know, you know, ‘socialism’—”

Carl Dix (28:52):  “Okay.  Socialism and White supremacy.

Davey D (28:54):  “Yes.”

Carl Dix (28:55):  “Okay.  Let me start with the second question first.  And those are both very good questions and, both, things I’m gonna get into more this Friday when I dialogue with Cornel.  And I really encourage people to come out.  I believe it’s going to be at seven o’clock.  I mean, on this question of ‘White supremacy,’ that is something that was built into the fabric of U.S. society from the very beginning, from when they dragged the first African here in slave chains and carried out genocide against the Native inhabitants.  And, literally, every bit of wealth in this country is based on that foundation.  And that is something that you ain’t supposed to talk about.  And, in fact, given that I’m gon’ be in California, one of the things that we got to address is the banning of affirmative action in the UC system.  It’s kind of like, ‘Oh, well, a couple of decades ago we ended Jim Crow segregation. So, of course, there’s no reason for any remediative action to be taken about the centuries of oppression that Black people, in particular, suffered.  So, that is a very important point.  Now, how do you go at it at this point? 

“And one of the things I’m gonna get into is the way we went at the struggle to build, bring dramatic mass resistance around ‘Stop and Frisk’ here in New York City.  And one of the things that we decided to do is we had to go down to Occupy Wall Street.  And we had some discussion and even some argument over whether that would be a wise thing to do, since this was mostly White young people who did not experience Stop and Frisk and the viewpoint that went out was, ‘Okay, they don’t experience Stop and Frisk, but if they’re talking about the 99% and they really mean that then they need to know what happens to part of that 99%, which is part of what is used to keep all of us down.  So, we went down there and we started telling people.  We did mic checks and started doing speak-outs around Stop and Frisk.  And, initially, only a few people responded, but as it developed, so far, each time that we have done, we’ve done three civil disobedience actions, each time a good section of the people who went and got arrested to stop Stop and Frisk were activists from Occupy Wall Street.  And they were people, they included a few Black or Latino people, but mostly they were White people, who were like, ‘I did not know this happened, but I can’t stand by and let it happen, you know, so-called, in my name. I have to register my opposition.’  And see that’s the kind of struggle we gotta take to people.  Be real about this thing about 99% ‘cos the 99% does not just suffer economic inequality across the board.  There is oppression aimed at whole groupings of people based on race or nationality within that 99%.  There’s oppression aimed at women within that 99%.  And a movement that’s really about addressing that has to be about addressing all of that.  And I would bring to that a view that it will take revolution to end all of that. 

“That’s what I bring to that, which brings me to the so the socialism question.  That’s why I wanted to go at it this way.  Socialism is an economic way to run a society.  It is also a political approach.  And for us, it’s a transition to a full classless communist world and that all of that needs to be in the mix because when you talk about meeting revolution one part of that is that you have to go up against a repressive structure that is aiming to keep capitalism in effect.  And you see that in the attacks on Occupy because even though people were merely protesting and raising questions about the nature of society, the people that the run the show decided that was a danger to them and needed to be repressed.  So, that’s part of it, but then even after you make the revolution, you have to deal with the fact that there are a lot of differences that are left over from capitalism ‘cos you can’t deal with all instantly right away.  One we’ve talked about, the oppression that’s aimed at Black people and Latino people, the White supremacy that’s in society.  You can take big steps on that, but the ideas that people have taken on behind that are something that you gotta work to get people out of.  And you gotta figure out the ways to do that, the same on the oppression of women, also, the fact that some people do mental work while other people do back-breaking labour.  You have to work to end all of those differences.”

Davey D (34:00):  “Right.”

Carl Dix (34:01):  “And doing that actually requires a transitional period.  And that’s why for us socialism is a transition to that full classless communist [world] where exploitation has been ended once and for all.  And Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has done a lot of work on that.  And I’m gonna address some of it and I’ll also tell people about some of the sources like the recent book Basics, quotations and short essays from his work that get more deeply into that.”

Davey D (34:31):  “Okay.  You know, let me see if I can squeeze one more call in—”

Carl Dix (34:34):  “Okay.”

Davey D (34:34):  “—before we get to our other guest who’s here on The Morning Mix.  I believe we have Beverly out of Petaluma.  How you doing?  You’re on The Morning Mix, Beverly.”

Beverly in Petaluma (34:43):  “Good morning.  I found this a very interesting dialogue.  But I had a thought, which is that the word ‘revolution,’ in itself, is like a red flag to a lot of people.  And I was thinking that what about using the term evolution, which doesn’t have the same threatening connotations, and focusing more, rather than on how we can’t stand the way things are, on really creating a vision for how we would like things to be and doing that in a way that inspires people because simply fighting against something that’s wrong is not necessarily gonna lead to something that’s right.”

Davey D (35:35):  “Okay.”

Beverly in Petaluma (35:36):  “So, I wanted to suggest some way to inspire people so that the wrongness becomes intolerable, but they have a good feeling about the direction they’re moving in and making sure that happens.”

Davey D (35:56):  “Okay.  Let me let him get to that.  Carl:  evolution versus revolution.”

Carl Dix (35:58):  “Again, a very good question, a very good point.  And the way that we go at this, we feel, we have to lay bare what’s wrong about this set-up.  But at the same time we bring forward what the world could be like.  And, in fact, the Revolutionary Communist Party produced a draft Constitution for a future socialist republic in North America.  We produced that because we wanted to give people an idea of the kind of society that we are aiming to bring into being, how the government would work in that society, where elections would fit in, how education would be handled, how the rights of the people would be respected, how we would deal with international relations, how the economy would be run.  And we wanted people to know that, one, because we thought it would inspire people, but also we wanted people to be able to say, ‘This is what you’re supposed to be going for; now let’s look at how you’re going at it, whether it’s in line with what you’ve laid out there.

“Now, on this question about revolution and the connotations that go with it, we’re actually aware of the connotations.  The reason we feel like we need to use that term is that it actually describes the kind of transformation that’s needed.  You know?  And I know there are a lot of views of, ‘Can we just organise at a distance from the state and its repressive apparatus?’  We think that that is not a winning approach.  And you even see something like the Occupy Movement, which on one level was not directly challenging the state, but was protesting inequality and all that and the state violently came at it because it saw even people protesting and questioning as dangerous.  And I mean that’s what we’re up against.  That’s what we gotta deal with.  And we do need the kind of transformation that revolution represents, so that’s why we take that approach.  And I can further go into that when Cornel [West] and I talk this Friday up at the Pauley Ballroom at seven o’clock on UC Berkeley’s campus.  I also wanted to give people a phone number and a way to get programme information if they’re interested in more information.”

Davey D (38:22):  “Sure, what’s the number?”

Carl Dix (38:24):  “The number is 510.848-1196; I believe that’s the number for Revolution Books.  But also get programme information by going to the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley’s website.  I believe that’s”   

Davey D (38:58):  “Well, the Center for Race and Gender, they can find out if they Google.”

Carl Dix (39:02):  “They can Google it.”

Davey D (39:04):  “Okay.  And, again, the number 510.848-1196.  Carl, we’re gonna have to wrap up.  We appreciate it.  We look forward to seeing you on Friday at Pauley Ballroom and so thank you for hangin’ out.”

Carl Dix (39:12):  “Yeah, I look forward to getting out to the [S.F.] Bay Area.”

Davey D (39:15):  “Thank you for hangin’ out with us this mornin’.”

Carl Dix (39:17):  “Thank you.”

Transcript by Felipe Messina