Tuesday, January 31, 2006

By, For and Of The People

(Click on the Picture to Enlarge)

I thought it would be of service to present a "State of the Union" address that attempts to be real, honest and compassionate.

Gore Vidal Delivers State of the Union: "Let the Powers That Be Know There is Something Called We the People of the U.S. and all Sovereignty Rests in Us."

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

In advance of President Bush’s state of the union address later tonight, author Gore Vidal delivers his own traditional state of the union address. We hear Vidal speak about patriotism, the NSA domestic surveillance programs, corporate America, Presidential powers and more.

In Washington, President Bush will deliver the State of the Union address tonight. In advance of tonight we’d like to bring you a different take on the annual presidential speech.

Since the early 1970s, author and playwright Gore Vidal has been delivering his own State of the Union address. The tradition began on the David Susskind Show. We’re going to continue that tradition by hearing from Gore Vidal today.

* Gore Vidal, one of America’s most respected writers and thinkers. He’s authored more than twenty novels and five plays. His recent national bestsellers are "Dreaming War" and "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace." His latest book is called "Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia."

JUAN GONZALEZ: Here is Gore Vidal in an address he recorded for us on the State of the Union.

GORE VIDAL: Today, the 31st of January, in the hallowed year, election year, of ’06, could be a memorable day if we all do our part, which is simply to concentrate, among other things, and do perhaps what a couple of groups have decided would be useful for the President, I guess his State of the Union. We might give him some idea of our state, which is one of great dissatisfaction with him and his regime. And there's talk of perhaps demonstrating in front of the Capitol or here or there around the country to show that the union is occupied by people who happen to be patriots. And patriots do not like this government.

This is an unpatriotic government. This is a government that deals openly in illegalities, whether it is attacking a country which has done us no harm, two countries -- Iraq and Afghanistan -- because we now believe, not in declaring war through Congress as the Constitution requires, but through the President. ‘Well, I think there are some terrorists over there, and I think we got to bomb them, huh? We'll bomb them.’ Now, we’ve had idiots as presidents before. He's not unique. But he's certainly the most active idiot that we have ever had.

And now here we are planning new wars, ongoing wars in the Middle East. And so as he comes with his State of the Union, which he is going to justify eavesdropping without judicial warrants on anybody in the United States that he wants to listen in on. This is what we call dictatorship. Dictatorship. Dictatorship. And it is time that we objected. Don't say wait ‘til the next election and do it through that. We can't trust the elections, thanks to Diebold and S&S and all the electronic devices which are being flogged across the country to make sure that elections can be so rigged that the villains will stay in power.

I think demonstrations across the country could be very useful on this famous Tuesday. Just say no. We've had enough of you. Go home to Crawford. We'll help you raise the money for a library, and you won't even ever have to read a book. We're not cruel. We just want to get rid of you and let you be an ex-president with his own library, which you can fill up with friends of yours who can neither read nor write, but they'll be well served and well paid, we hope, by corporate America, which will love you forever.

So I think it is really up to us to give some resonance to the State of the Union, which will be largely babble. He's not going really try to do anything about Social Security, we read in the papers. He has no major moves, other than going on and on about the legality of his illegal warrantless eavesdroppings and other breakings of the law.

I had a piece on the internet some of you may have seen a few days ago, and there's a story about Tiberius, who’s one of my favorite Roman emperors. He's had a very bad press, because the wrong people perhaps have written history. But when he became emperor, the Senate of Rome sent him congratulations with the comment, “Any law that you want us to pass, we shall do so automatically.” And he sent a message back. He said, “This is outrageous! Suppose I go mad. Suppose I don't know what I'm doing. Suppose I'm dead and somebody is pretending to be me. Never do that! Never accept something like preemptive war,” which luckily the Senate did not propose preemptive wars against places they didn't like. But Mr. Bush has done that.

So this is a sort of Tiberius time without, basically, a good emperor, and he was a good emperor in the sense that he sent back this legislation, which was to confirm anything he wanted to have done automatically. And they sent it back to him again. And then he said, “How eager you are to be slaves,” and washed his hands of the Senate and went to live in Capri, a much wiser choice, just as we can send this kid back to Crawford, Texas, where he'll be very, very happy cutting bushes of the leafy variety.

You know, it’s at a time when people say, ‘Well, it makes no difference what we do, you know, if we march and we make speeches, and this and that.’ It makes a lot of difference if millions of Americans just say, “We are fed up! We don't like you. We don't like what you're doing to the country and what you have done to the country. We don't like to live in a lawless land, where the rule of law has just been bypassed and hacks are appointed to the federal bench, who will carry on and carry on and carry on all of the illegalities which are so desperately needed by our military-industrial corporate masters.”

I think a day dedicated to that and to just showing up here and there around the country will be a good thing to do. And so, let the powers that be know that back of them, there's something called "We the people of the United States,” and all sovereignty rests in us, not in the board rooms of the Republicans.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Author Gore Vidal delivering his traditional State of the Union address in advance of President Bush's State of the Union later tonight.


Another Yippie Heading Home

Stew Albert died, January 30, 2006 at 3:20 a.m, age 66. Peacefully, in his sleep, surrounded by Judy, Jessica and his many friends. Funeral services this Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Havurah Shalom in Portland.

Here is his last posting to his blog about 14 hours before he died from cancer:

"Day in the Life: Super crazy thing. The hospice nurse had to do more. Still me. Still me."

During the Viet Nam War I identified as a Yippie and participated in guerrilla theater in Athens, Ohio. When someone as important to the movement as Stew Albert passes on I have to pause and reflect on the gifts to humanity that he and many others gave through their dedication to justice. Rest in Peace Stew and may we meet and dance together in the next lifetime. I am grateful for your gifts.

Here is an article from the San Francisco Chronicle from October, 2004 interviewing Stew.

When politics met theater in the streets
- Heidi Benson
Sunday, October 10, 2004

"Rise up and abandon the creeping meatball!"

With this anti-establishment motto, and a handful of others, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and a somewhat less well-known but no less central counterculture figure named Stew Albert founded the Youth International Party in 1967.

Serious political surrealists -- the Marx Brothers by way of Karl Marx -- the Yippies gained fame for attempting to levitate the Pentagon and for running a live pig for president, among other protests against the Vietnam War.

Albert has now written a page-turner of a memoir called "Who the Hell Is Stew Albert?" published this summer by Red Hen Press.

By his own definition, Albert was an "almost-nice Jewish boy who grew up in Brooklyn between World War II and the Cold War." But when he hopped a bus to San Francisco in 1964, trying to get over a broken heart, he met up with history.

At that moment, what would become a decade of social protest was just getting started at UC Berkeley. First came the Free Speech Movement, launched in 1964 to protest campus crackdowns on freedom of expression. Albert -- like thousands of other young people -- was attracted to the FSM's insistence that students had the same constitutional rights as adults.

The FSM opened the door for the Vietnam Day Committee, the Berkeley anti- war group that staged one of the nation's largest campus teach-ins about Vietnam in 1965. Albert soon became a leader of the committee.

By 1967, he had helped launch the Yippies, who married politics with guerrilla theater of the absurd.

"Our big contribution was our theatrical approach," Albert says by phone from his home in Portland, Ore. "When we wanted to satirize greed, we threw money at stockbrokers," which they did on the floor of the U.S. Stock Exchange. "When we wanted to satirize the election, we took a live pig and ran him for president. We tried to be inventive and creative in developing tactics, and we had the belief that if we did it right, we could change the world."

Reminiscing was the motive when he began his memoir in the late '70s on the encouragement of friends. Jerry Rubin had suggested that it was his turn to write a book: "By now, you can be very truthful and you don't have to apologize." Rubin told him, "Be honest."

The book is candid, written from the point of view of someone at the center of major protests that raised the hackles of law enforcement officials everywhere. (Albert was an unindicted co-conspirator in the alleged plot to disrupt the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.)

He was intimately involved with some of the most flamboyant characters of the time -- including Eldridge Cleaver, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs -- often in rather mind-altering circumstances.

"I thought that the book would just be for my generation," Albert says, "and that it might be of some use to historians." But the direction of the book changed when he was swamped with e-mails from young people in response to his Web site (members.aol.com/stewa/stew.html).

"They knew a surprising amount about all of us and they wanted to exchange ideas," he says. "That made me think this book could also be of use to them."

So Albert put more stress on the dynamics of activism, what he calls "the how-to-do-it aspect."

"I wanted to give young activists a sense of how we organized things, how our creativity worked," he says, "and I've been getting very positive responses from young people who are reading the book."

His saw his first job as a kind of warts-and-all demystification. His generation didn't escape the ravages of drugs, for example, and those stories aren't left out.

"People today who are starting to organize tend to see what we did as beyond their own achievement, or from an era of mythology," he says. "I tried to portray us as human beings who did human things."

Today, Albert believes a new anti-war movement will continue to grow no matter who wins next month's presidential election.

"The opposition to the war in Iraq is much too large now to contain," he says. Such a movement "will have more influence over a Kerry administration than a Bush administration," he says.

"It will be like the effect of the civil rights movement, which pressured John F. Kennedy from the outside to do what, deep down, he knew was right."

With a bit of his old Yippie theatrical style, Albert says he's "shocked" that his book has been noticed.

"I've had a good response -- but I resent Clinton's memoir outselling mine," he says, then pauses.

"Who the hell is Bill Clinton?!"

E-mail Heidi Benson at hbenson@sfchronicle.com.

URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/10/RVG1H91FS11.DTL
©2006 San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, January 30, 2006

Does Any of This Look Familiar?

I found this at www.couplescompany.com along with much more insight into the nature of fascism and our current condition. I won't add my opinion just read it and think about it, except in the graphic I chose above..

The 14 Defining
Characteristics Of Fascism

by Dr. Lawrence Britt

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14-defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism -
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights -
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause -
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military -
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism -
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media -
Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security -
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined -
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected -
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed -
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts -
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment -
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption -
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections -
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Wave Your Freak Flag High

There is a rebirth of Countercultural energy and interest going on as the same fascist forces grapple for control of the culture. Information about the movement can be found at the Hippie Museum website among other places. The following review is from the Hippie Museum Site:

A Happening - Bittersweet Adolescence of a Nation
( A review by Pam Hanna)

This book took me weeks to read, not because it was dull but because the copious footnotes at the end of each of the 14 excellent articles demanded investigation. The essays complement one another to present a more complete and cogent view of the antecedents and realities of the counterculture than any other volume I have yet seen on the subject. Counterculture names, say Braunstein and Doyle "…hippies, freaks, Flower Children, "urban guerillas" "orphans of Amerikka" – underscores the degree to which Sixties cultural radicals had a revolving-door approach to identity, appropriating and shedding roles and personas at a dizzying pace." In these pages the roles and personas in cultural politics, race, sex, the media (especially music, film and fashion), drugs, feminism, environmentalism and alternative visions of community and technology are thoroughly investigated.

"Unlike subcultures," says Marilyn Young in the foreword, "…a contraculture aspires to transform values and mores of its host culture. If it is successful…it BECOMES the dominant culture." I don’t believe anyone would maintain that the counterculture of the ‘60s has become dominant, but its influence on our present culture is more vast and all encompassing than much of the media would have us believe.

"The Sixties were centrally about the recognition on the part of an ever-growing number of Americans, that the country in which they thought they lived – peaceful, generous, honorable – did not exist and never had." The society they found themselves in was instead, "… morally bankrupt, racist, militaristic, and culturally stultifying." Against the climate of the Vietnam War and race riots in the South, these essays note that the era was one of post scarcity abundance. Intentional poverty was adopted consciously by a generation that was appalled by the waste of human and material resources. They wanted to figure out how to "…live a completely new life as far outside the boundaries of the State and commercial marketplace as they could get." Dropouts could live on the leftovers of this affluent society. The San Francisco Diggers’ motto was "create the condition you describe." Says Doyle, "For the Diggers the word "free" was as much an imperative as it was an adjective. They realized it with free housing, legal services, a medical clinic, film screenings, free [open] churches, and free stores with food, clothes, and household utensils – all donated and gathered from the surrounding community. The Mime Troupe and other street theater groups drew people in to create "happenings," freaking freely on the streets and public parks, de-legitimizing violence and racism, while the White Panthers staged a "total assault on the culture." Peacefully.

"If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable" said JFK and his words reverberate across cultural boundaries today. But hippies didn’t WANT to become the next coercive power structure in some kind of psychedelic fascism. They wanted a "free frame of reference."

Braunstein observes that the post-scarcity abundance or the era fueled a new drive toward leisure and play. Against a system of "lifelong competitiveness, materialism and avarice…LSD and other mind-expanding drugs incapacitated the discriminating faculties of the brain that placed objects and images in hierarchies of value." David Farber adds that LSD and other hallucinogens were used as "…an agent in the production of cultural reorientation...a new set of cultural coordinates." My only beef with the book is in Philip Deloria’s "Counterculture Indians and the New Age" and it’s not even a criticism of the essay (which I found among the most brilliant and absorbing) but of scholarly research in general. From personal knowledge, I know that there are egregious errors in what Deloria’s sources reported about New Buffalo and Lorian. Scholarly research breaks down when such sources are trusted, and Deloria gives an excellent example of this in the much-repeated death speech of Chief Seattle - who never uttered it. They were written by a white screenwriter from Texas for a 1972 TV script on pollution. Hippies and New Agers reinvented the Indian without careful reference to the source. And of course the image became marketable.

"Playing Indian," says Deloria, "…had a tendency to lead one into, rather than out of, contradiction and irony" and "…people are simultaneously granted a platform and rendered voiceless." In his excellent essay on communes, Timothy Miller notes that they were "…enormously, endlessly diverse." "The ultimate culprit, perhaps, was that sacred American icon, individualism. The time had come, communitarians believed, to give up the endless pursuit of self-interest and begin thinking about the common good. They wanted the country to start moving from "I" to "we." "It all added up to a vision of nothing less than a new society. The new communitarians were out to save the world and made no bones about it."

Miller’s essay segues nicely into the last in the book on alternative technology, environment and the counterculture by Andrew Kirk. Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes were used extensively in the Drop City commune in Colorado as well as "..composting toilets, affordable greenhouses, and organic gardening techniques along with alternative energy technologies." And don’t forget that the first computer hackers, Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak, were longhairs who smoked grass. It’s not that there were no mistakes, ineptitude and downright stupidities in this deliberately unorganized "happening" of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but that what was good about it is still good. We’re still out there. Here. Hippies didn’t disappear and they didn’t become corporate CEOs either. Instead, nearly all became teachers, health care workers, artists, organic farmers, social workers and the like. "Cultural creatives" of the present, for instance, are either hippies of yesteryear or their heirs in some way.

"They are still out there, well into a third generation, coming together by the tens of thousands once a year at the Rainbow Gatherings. The hallucinogenic age, while tamed in some respects, has survived and mutated and reproduced." This is the closest thing to the whole story that I’ve seen yet. Put it on your reference book shelf.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Counter Culture Timeline

Posted on The Hippie Museum website.

A brief history of the Counter Culture
by Phil Morningstar



1787 - Isaac T. Hopper, a Quaker, establishes a system to help fugitive slaves escape that becomes known as the Underground Railroad.

1789 - Declaration of The Rights of Man in Paris, France. 1790




1824 - Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is formed in london England.


1831 - Birth of the American abolition movement, when The Liberator, a weekly paper published by William. L. Garrison. After the end of the Civil War in 1865, Garrison published his last issue (1,820 consecutive issues) .

1836 - Ralph Waldo Emerson's first book, Nature, was the bible of a new movement, " a new consciousness," as he put it. The book begins by inviting the new generation to leave the past behind, to "enjoy an original relation to the universe It ends by exhorting the reader to "build your own world


1841 - Brook Farm , founded in 1841 by George Ripley, began as a Trans-cendentalist attempt to integrate the life of the mind with manual labor. Nathaniel Hawthorne spent a year there shoveling manure and working the fields

1848 - The first women's rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York. A Declaration of Sentiments calls for equal treatment of women and men.


1851 - Henry David Thoreau declares that "in Wildness is the preservation of the World." Walden published in 1854

1855 - Walt Whitman published, at his own expense, a volume of 12 poems, ,Leaves of Grass in 1855. It was criticized because of love , Whitman's exaltation of the body and sexuality and also because of its innovation in verse form. That is, the use of free verse in long rhythmical lines with a natural, "organic" structure.

1859 - Charles Darwin 's Origin of Species published.


1864 - The First International Workingmen's Association is founded in London, September 23, 1864

1865 - 13th Amendment to the Constitution bans slavery in US.

1866 - The word "" ecology" is coined by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel

1866 - Animals The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was formed.

1867 - Karl Marx writes Das Kapital . First English translation was in 1887.

1869: Wyoming Territorial legislature grants full voting rights to women.

1871 - Paris Commune declared after Franco-Prussian War

1872 - Congress passes an act to establish , Yellowstone National Park Wyoming - the first in the history of the nation and of the world.


1890: Wyoming enters the Union as the first state granting full women's suffrage which had been included in the original formation of the territory in 1869.

1890 - First uprising at Wounded Knee . Native Americans of the Lakota Nation are massacred at Wounded Knee S. Dakota.

1892 - In San Francisco, John Muir and a group of associates meet to found the Sierra Club

1893 - Colorado is the first state to adopt an amendment granting women the right to vote

1895 - Buddy Bolden is generally considered to be the first bandleader to play the improvised music, which later became known as jazz.


1905 - The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as "the Wobblies used in-your-face tactics attempting to achieve their goals of unionizing all workers and overthrowing capitalism.

1907 - One of the first how-to books with a "back to the land" orientation was Three Acres And Liberty by Bolton Hall.

1908 - The International Vegetarian Union (IVU) formed.

1909 - Foundation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.


1913 - William Temple Hornaday publishes Our Vanishing Wild Life , one of the first books wholly devoted to endangered wild animals.

1914 - "Father of the blues" William Christopher Handy publishes his most famous composition, "St. Louis Blues."

1915 - Liberty Hyde Bailey publishes The Holy Earth, establishing an ethic for the human/nature relationship. It directly influences 'Aldo Leopold s "land ethic" in the 1930s and '40s

1916 - Margaret Sanger opens the first U.S. birth-control clinic in Brooklyn, N.Y.

1917 - 'Emma Goldman' s criticism of mandatory conscription of young men into the military led to a two-year imprisonment, followed by her deportation in 1919.


1920 - The 19th Amendment to the Constitution grants women the right to vote.

1920 - Trained as a doctor, William Carlos Williams maintained a medical practice throughout his life, while also writing poetry that would influence a generation of younger poets, especially , Alan Ginsberg. His first major work, Kora in Hell: Improvisations was published in 1920.

1923 -Three years after women won the right to vote, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is introduced in Congress by Senator Curtis and Representative Anthony. It is authored by Alice Paul, head of the National Women's Party, who led the suffrage campaign. Anthony is the nephew of suffragist Susan B. Anthony .

1924 - French poet and critic Surrealist Andre Breton published his Manifesto in Paris in 1924


1931 -1939 - The Dust Bowl , an ecological and human disaster that took place in the southwestern Great Plains region of the United States.

1933 - Francis Perkins becomes the Secretary of Labor and the first woman named to a Cabinet position.

1938 - LSD-25 first synthesized by Albert Hoffman at Sandoz Labs, Bazel Switzerland


1941 - Lester Young turned writer , Jack Kerouac the founding father of the "beat generation" on to his first marijuana cigarette. Jack was 19 years old.

1941 - Woody Guthrie joined the Almanac Singers, whose other members were Pete Seeger , Lee Hays , and Millard Lampell

1942 - Congress of Racial Equality founded in Chicago.

1944 - Vegan Society formed in U.K. to promote vegetarianism and animal rights.

1948 - Political satirist Lenny Bruce appears on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts television show.

1948 - The first Fellowship of Intentional Communities is formed to promote altenative living situations.

1949 - George Orwell's Nineteen Eight-Four is published


1951 - Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed uses term "rock 'n' roll" to promote rhythm and blues to white audiences

1954 - Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception published

1954 - Thurgood Marshall represented the NAACP in the Brown vs. Board of Education case.

1954 - Publication of Witchcraft Today gives rise to modern Wicca movement.

1955 - The U.S. Supreme Court declares that public schools must be desegregated "with all deliberate speed."

1955 - Bill Haley and the Comets become first major white band to use black rock 'n' roll forms, featuring heavy, danceable beat and repetitive patterns, "Rock Around the Clock" becomes huge hit.

1955 - Mrs. Rosa Parks an African-American seamstress, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for not letting a white bus rider take her seat.

1958 - Paul Krassner begins publication of The Realist, an underground satirical radical magazine.


1960 - The American Vegan Society is formed.

1961 - the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) began the freedom rides to end segregation on buses.

1961 - Amnesty International founded to protect the rights of political prisnors.

1962, Sept. 30--The first convention of Cesar Chavez's National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) is convened in Fresno, Calif.

1963 - . On August 28, 1963, 250,000 men, women, and children assembled on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. And the world was blessed to hear the famous "I have a Dream" speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King jr

1963 - Presiden John F. Kennedy is assinated in Dallas Texas Nov. 22.

1963 - Tolstoy Farm becomes the prototype, back to the land, "hippie" commune, with few rules and and open membership.

1964- Drop City commune/artists colony founded in Trinidad, Colorado.

1964 - Mario Savio gets up on a police car at Spoul Plaza at the UC campus in Berkeley, Ca. and sparks the Free Speech Movement.

1964 - The U.S. creates the Gulf of Tonkin incident as an excuse to escalate the war in Vietnam.

1964- Tim Leary writes The Psychedelic Experience

1964 - Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters began traveling around the country in a school bus painted psychedelic colors giving "Acid Tests. " Introducing people to the LSD experience.

1966 Spring-summer --A boycott of the struck DiGiorgio Fruit Corp. forces the giant grape grower to agree to an election among its workers. The company brings in the Teamsters Union to oppose Cesar's NFWA. The NFWA and the Filipino American AWOC merge to form the United Farm Workers and the union affiliates with the AFL-CIO, the national labor federation. DiGiorgio workers vote for the UFW

1966 - National Organization of Women NOW was established on June 30, 1966 in Washington, D.C.

1966 - The Supreme Court ruled that cities must begin to desegregate the schools immediately. In 1971, they approved busing as the primary method of integrating the schools

1966 - in the wake of the assassination of black leader Malcolm X and on the heels of the massive black, urban uprising in Watts, California. Huey P. Newton gathered a few of his longtime friends, including Bobby Seale and David Hilliard, and formed the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

1966 - Lou Gottlieb declares his "Morning Star Ranch" Land, access to which is denied no one." And starts a legal battle with local authorities to keep Morning Star open land eventually deeding the land to God.

1966 - Mark Lane writes Rush to Judgement suggesting there was a conspiracy to assasinate president Kennedy.

1966 - October 30, -Acid Test Graduation

1967 - Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg of The Fugs, and some SF Diggers lead a mass crowd in the .Excorsism of the Pentagon

1967 - The Summer of Love!!!

1968 - Martin Luther King jr assasinated in memphis, Tenn., on April 4.

1968 - Robert Kennedy assasinated in Los Angeles, Ca., on June 4.

1968 - American Indian Movement starts foot patrol in Minneapolis in response to growing police violence.

1968 - Durring demonstartions at the Democratic National Convention several organizers are indicted and become known as the Chicago 7.

1969 - First Earth Day celebration.

1969 - Woodstock Festival in upper N.Y. draws 500,000 people. Along with 3 days of music, Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farm create an atmosphere of love that transcends the crowd. Woodstock Nation declared.

1969- The Stonewall riots in NYC lead to the birth of the modern Gay Lesbian Bi Transgender movement.

1969 - The people of Berkeley, Ca. take an unused lot from UC and create People's Park.


1970- May 4 , Kent State Massacre occurred when the Ohio National Guard opened fire durring an anti-war demonstration killing 4 students.

1970 - National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) formed.

1971 - The ERA is approved without amendments by the U.S. House of Representatives in a vote of 354-24

1971- Greenpeace began in 1971, when a small but determined group of activists boarded an aging 80-foot boat, slowly making their way through the cold North Pacific waters off Alaska. Their mission was to "bear witness" to the destructive nuclear weapons testing planned for Amchitka island. Little did they know they had just created what was to become the largest environmental movement in the world.

1971 - Ralph Nader founds the consumer protection group, .Public Citizen

1971 - , Stephen Gaskin and friends, found a large experiment in communal living calleda The Farm in Tennessee.

1972 - The Rainbow Family of Living Light holds the first Gathering of the Tribes at Strawberry Lake Colorado.

1972 - March 22: The Equal Rights Amendment is approved by the full Senate without changes - 84-8.

1973 - Second uprising at Wounded Knee S. Dak. occurs over harsh reservation conditions and broken treaties.

1973 - Bill Wheeler and the Ahimsa Church Ranch commune (Wheeler's Ranch)lose a decision in Appellate Court that spells the end of the open land movement. Bulldozers are used to destroy the homes.

1975 - Covenant of the Goddess is formed to help secure Pagan rights.

1979 - Earth First! was founded in 1979 in response to a lethargic, compromising, and increasingly corporate environmental community.


1980 - Food Not Bombs is formed as a grassroots movement to feed the poor.

1980 - Reclaiming - a Community of people, a Tradition of Witchcraft and a religious organization. Reclaiming is a community of women and men working to unify spirit and politics. Our vision is rooted in the religion and magic of the Goddess - the Immanent Life Force

1980 - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is formed on the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.

1982 - June 30: ERA is stopped three states short of ratification. ERA supporters pledge "We'll Remember in November." An analysis of the ERA vote in the four key targeted states, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Oklahoma, shows the Republicans deserted ERA and Democratic support was not strong enough to pass the amendment; the analysis makes clear that the single most obvious problem was the gender and racial imbalance in the legislatures, with more than 2/3 of the women, all of the African Americans but less than 50% of the white men in the targeted legislatures casting pro-ERA votes in 1982. July: ERA is officially reintroduced in the United States Congress.

1986 - The second Fellowship of Intentional Communities is formed to provide a forum and resource information on alternative living situations.

1987 - Act Up formed as a direct action AIDS awareness/activist group.


1995 - Dead Heads around the world mourn the passing of "Captain Trips", Jerry Garcia The other Grateful Dead band members carry on in new dead incarnations. Long live the Dead!

1996 - Proposition 215 is passed legalizing the medical use of cannabis in the state of California.

1996 - Kate Bornstein writes. Gender Outlaw

2000 - Y2K .... not

2001 - November 10, Ken Kesey died. (see Kesey Timeline by Rick Dodgson )

The Timeline is a work in progress. To volunteer to help, email hippiemuseum@imaginationwebsites.com

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A World Full of Clowns

The Clown is the Fool, both personal and universal. Many people have told me of their experiences of being scared by clowns as children. Clowns are scary to one attached to security and assurance, as a child is. There is nothing intrinsically reassuring about all the foolish things each and every one of us do on a continual, daily basis. Thank God that there is a creative intelligence, pouring Love and Grace into it all or this foolish life would truly be Hell.

I'm off to tonight's Clown Class. Don't forget to tickle the funny bone of those you Love.



We Won't Be Fooled Again!!

The Bush administration has launched a full-force media campaign to convince the public that they should spy on American citizens. Attorney General Gonzales spoke at Georgetown University defending the Bush actions. Here, from Democracy Now, is an analysis of the laws governing the warentless wiretapping of American citizens.

AMY GOODMAN: Gonzales left immediately after his talk without taking questions. Protesters followed. Also, panelists responded to what the Attorney General had to say. One of the panelists was David Cole, law professor at Georgetown and author of several books including Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security.

DAVID COLE: FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, was enacted by Congress in 1978 after revelations of rampant wiretapping and surveillance on Americans in the name of national security. And there was the Church Committee held extensive hearings and wrote an extensive report, criticizing this practice and calling for reforms. FISA was one such reform.

It regulates electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence and national security purposes. It permits such surveillance, but with minor exceptions not invoked by the Department of Justice, it requires a warrant from a FISA court. To get such a warrant, you don't have to show probable cause of a crime, you just have to show probable cause that the person you're targeting is a member of a terrorist organization. So if, in fact, that's all they were targeting, they could have gone through the FISA courts. They didn't.

Congress, in FISA, specifically said that FISA and the Title III, which governs ordinary criminal wiretaps, are the exclusive means for any wiretapping by officials within the United States. They are the exclusive means. That means the only means. Congress also said it's a crime to conduct electronic surveillance without statutory authorization in two places: in 50 USC Section 1809 and in 18 USC Section 2511. Both of those statutes, I think, the President violated.

And finally, and most importantly, Congress specifically contemplated the exact question addressed today; that is, authorization for wiretapping during wartime. Section 1811 in FISA is entitled “Authorization During Time of War.” So this is not some un-contemplated issue; Congress specifically addressed it. And what they said was when we’ve declared war, the President can conduct warrant-less wiretapping, but only for 15 days. And they said in the legislative history, this is so if the President needs further authority, he can come to us and ask for that authority. The President didn't do that here. He simply went ahead and did it without asking for their authority.

Now, the D.O.J.'s argument, and repeated here by the Attorney General, is that the AUMF, the authorization to use military force, somehow implicitly overrides all of this and authorizes the President to conduct warrant-less wiretapping. There's several problems with that argument. First, the authorization says nothing about warrant-less wiretapping. Second, as I’ve indicated, Section 1811 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act specifically addresses discretion of warrant-less wiretapping and says 15 days and no further. And that provision applies when Congress has declared war, the most serious and grave act Congress can do. Here Congress only authorized the use of military force. So if Congress said a declaration of war only gives you 15 days, how can it be that an authorization to use military force somehow gives him four years and more of unchecked power?

In addition, when Attorney General Gonzales was asked by reporters why he didn't go to Congress and ask for additional authority, he said, ‘Well, we talked to some members of Congress, and they said it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get that additional authority.’ So how can you argue on the one hand, Congress gave us the authority, but on the other hand, we didn't go to Congress to ask for the authority because if we did, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get it?

Now, when you're a law student, they tell you if you can't argue the law, argue the facts. They also say if you can't argue the facts, argue the law. If you can't argue either, apparently, the solution is to go on a public relations offensive and make it a political issue, because that's what the Bush administration has done here, sort of taking the pulpit, through the President, through the Attorney General, through Michael Hayden, through the Vice President, to say over and over and over again, it's lawful, as if the American people will somehow come to believe this if we say it often enough.

And I think in light of that, the sort of clearly blatantly political nature of this, I'm proud of the very civil civil disobedience that was shown here today to express the opposite political view. Now, David Brooks, in commenting on the Alito hearings which discussed these issues, said, ‘Anytime the Democrats are seen talking about law, and the Republicans are seen to be talking about national security, that's a winner for the Republicans.’ And that may be true as a political matter. In fact, Karl Rove said exactly the same thing just last week, that there's a political gain here that they see by invoking fear and national security over law.

But that's precisely why we have law in the first place. It's in recognition that political pressures will push government officials toward violation of rights and towards accretion of government power. This administration has taken the view -- in this case; in the torture case; in the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment issue -- that it can literally override the law and violate criminal statutes. Now, it's on a political campaign to entrench that power. What's at stake here is whether we are a government of laws, rather than a government of men.

AMY GOODMAN: David Cole, law professor at Georgetown, one of the panelists responding to the speech made by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at Georgetown University Law Center yesterday. President Bush heads to the National Security Agency today in the weeklong Bush administration campaign that could be called, "Why We Spy."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Practical Matters: I Need Income

My unemployment insurance has run out six months earlier than I thought it would. Consequently, I need to generate income and reduce my expenses. I don't want to give up my creative and spiritual work so I am trusting that I will find the right combination of means to have my needs provided for.

So I am putting out to God and the Universe, that I am ready and willing to do the work that is wanting me to do. I am a trained life coach and am ready to open up to coaching. I have had to do some personal development and recovery from my own demons to get to this place of readiness. Life coaching is a process of creating a relationship that helps one deepen their relationship with their values, explore different perspectives, find accountability and hear more clearly the answers and guidance that lives within us. The value of having someone focused on your core issues in a consistent, detached, reflective manner while keeping your agenda organized and intact can be invaluable.

If you are interested in discussing life coaching and/or experiencing a free coaching session please email me.

Also, I am open to any work that is consistent with my values. I am a CPA with management experience, but would be very content "chopping wood and carrying water" for the right initiative or community. I also have experience in Arts Administration along with most everything else except rocket science and brain surgery. In other words, I am putting this out there and am open to all possibilities.

Peace, Alan

Monday, January 23, 2006

God Bless You Wilson Pickett

"I remember back in 1965, when everyone was still alive. I'm a soul survivor" thus sang Wilson Pickett in "Soul Survivor". I just finished dancing to this and several other Wilson Pickett songs. I reconnected with Wilson and the people and music in my life in 1966. I am a Soul Survivor.

When I went away to College in the Fall of 1966 I had a roommate named Bruce. Bruce introduced me to wrestling. We would get drunk, gather however many of us were available and willing, and have impromptu wrestling matches in the lounge of our dorm. I had never been exposed to real wrestling, only Pro Wrestling. I found it fascinating, challenging, and not really very much fun, from my perspective. I hated when he dug his chin into my back, to further immobilize me.

Another gift he gave me was an introduction to Soul Music. Not just the Top 40 hits, but all of the gritty, inspired genre. It was at a peak time in the creativity of many of the artists. Bruce played bass in a band and had an extensive collection. One of the artists that really captured me was Wilson Pickett. Bruce gave me the chance to listen to his work in a much more complete way than had been available to a white, country boy growing up in Ohio.

I never met Wilson Pickett or saw any of his concert, but I did listen and dance in "The Land of a Thousand Dances" "In the Midnight Hour" on many a night. Thank You Wilson for making my life more vibrant, funky and full of love.

Wilson Pickett's musical legacy

Soul legend Wilson Pickett, who has died at the age of 64, was known for his enduring soul hits, which helped move the genre into a more energetic period.

His biggest hits Mustang Sally and In the Midnight Hour have transcended the decades since their release in the 1960s and are seen as the corner stone of soul music.

Born in Alabama in 1941, Pickett had 10 brothers and sisters in a household heavily influenced by gospel music. His grandfather was a preacher who refused to allow Pickett to sing non-religious songs in the house.

In his mid-teens, Pickett moved to Detroit to live with his father, and began to be inspired by local singers such as Jackie Wilson.

He gravitated away from gospel singing to join an R&B group called the Falcons, honing his songwriting skills.

He had several early solo hits, including If You Need Me, which went on to be covered by the Rolling Stones and Solomon Burke, with whom he became great friends.

Pickett signed with Atlantic Records in 1964, releasing In the Midnight Hour the following year.

The song was said to be co-written by him and Booker T and the MGs guitarist Steve Cropper but later became the subject of a dispute when Pickett claimed he should have been given a sole writing credit.

Cropper called this "crazy" and that Pickett "had nothing to do with writing that music".

Other hits during the 1960s included the much-covered 634-5789, Land of the 1,000 Dances and Funky Broadway.

As well as raucous soul music, Pickett was also known for his experimental cover versions of songs including the Beatles Hey Jude and Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild.

By the 1970s his popularity and marketability was on the wane, with a switch in labels doing little to revive his music career.

When Irish-set film The Commitments was released in 1991 featuring his most popular songs, Pickett's musical legacy was rejuvenated.

The same year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, cementing his role in the history of music.

But around the same time, Pickett's personal life was going through a torrid period.

In 1991 he was arrested for driving over a mayor's front lawn while allegedly yelling death threats. He was also charged with assaulting a girlfriend.

Two years later he was jailed for one year for hitting an 86-year-old man while drunk-driving.

Cocaine possession and carrying a loaded gun charges were also levelled at him.

But close friend Solomon Burke said Pickett had turned his life around and they were planning to write and record an album with Ben E King and Don Covay.

Pickett, a father of four, released his last album in 1999, the Grammy-nominated It's Harder Now.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/01/20 10:49:11 GMT


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A True American Hero Has Passed On

The self-described patriots would want you to believe that those of us who opposed the Viet Nam War were traitors and did not support our troops. I have known many Viet Vets and respect the sacrifices they made, at the direction of their superiors, without their consent. You can't give your consent to something of which you don't know the truth. The U.S. government deceived and lied to the U.S. people during the Viet Nam War just as they have been in the Iraq War. I support whole heartedly the actions of this hero as I think any human being with at least an ounce of compassion would.

The following is from today's broadcast on Democracy Now.

We turn now to another American figure of the Vietnam War - Hugh Thompson. As a helicopter pilot, he helped rescue Vietnamese civilians from fellow U.S. troops during the infamous My Lai massacre. Hugh Thompson died last week of cancer. He was 62 years old.

On March 16, 1968, Thompson and two other crewmembers landed their helicopter in front of U.S. troops firing on Vietnamese civilians in the village of My Lai. They pointed their guns at their fellow service members to prevent more killings, and helped evacuate the villagers.

Thompson and Lawrence Colburn later testified at the court martial hearings for the massacre of over 300 civilians at My Lai. Only one U.S. soldier, platoon commander Lieutenant William Calley, was convicted. He was court-martialed and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the massacre. Many around the country viewed Calley as a scapegoat. "Rallies for Calley" were held all over the country and Jimmy Carter, then governor of Georgia, urged citizens to leave car headlights on to show support for Calley. President Richard Nixon later commuted Calley's sentence to three years of house arrest.

Thompson, on the other hand, was shunned for years by fellow soldiers. He received death threats and was once told by a congressman that he was the only American who should be punished over My Lai. Although the My Lai massacre became one of the most infamous atrocities of the Vietnam War, little was known about Hugh Thompson's actions for decades.

In 1998, Thompson and his two crewmembers, Lawrence Colburn and Glenn Andreotta, were awarded the Soldier's Medal, the highest US military award for bravery not involving conflict with an enemy. Andreotta's award was posthumous. He was killed in Vietnam less than a month after My Lai.

Thompson passed away last week after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Here is an excerpt from Amy Goodman's interview with Lawrence Colburn, the one remaining fellow crewmwmber describing that days events:

LAWRENCE COLBURN: Well, early in the morning we were one of the first American units on station ahead of the Americans that would be inserted on the ground. And it started out as a routine air support and reconnaissance mission, but as the day progressed, we noticed obviously that we weren't receiving any fire. Our job was to fly low level and try to entice people into giving up their positions by firing on us. And that wasn't happening.

We saw people leaving the village. It was a Saturday morning, so it wasn't uncommon for the people to go to market on Saturday morning. So we thought it was good that these women and children and elderly people were leaving the area. And as we progressed around the perimeter of the area that the troops were being inserted into, we found nothing, as far as resistance. At some point we had to go refuel. And it was so quiet that morning that we didn't even call a backup team to cover us while we were refueling.

And then when we came back from refueling, we started finding the same people that were leaving the area on the road out of the village were now dead on the road and in the ditches. And Mr. Thompson tried to piece together different scenarios. He knew it wasn't artillery because that had happened earlier in the morning. There were other gunships on station. But they weren't firing on the villagers. Finally, after marking a few bodies with smoke for medical assistance, we witnessed a captain approach a wounded woman and walked up to her and kicked her with his foot, stepped back and blew her away. Then we realized what was going on and exactly who was doing the killing.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, what did you do?

LAWRENCE COLBURN: Mr. Thompson landed by the ditch, where there were probably 150, 200 people dead or dying. There was an American soldier standing there. We actually landed the aircraft, because the communication was so bad. He physically got out of the aircraft, went over and spoke to the soldier and explained to him these were obviously civilians. There were no weapons captured. There were no draft age males. These were civilians. We need to help them out. And the soldier agreed and said he'd help them out, and as we lifted off again, we heard automatic weapons fire, and he was firing into the ditch again.

So at that point, Glenn Andreotta spotted an earthen-type bunker with some faces peering out of it. And there was an approaching squad of Americans. And we -- Mr. Thompson decided, and we all decided that if we didn't do something within the next 30 seconds, these people would die. So he landed the aircraft in between the advancing American troops and the people in the bunker, went over and spoke to a lieutenant and told him -- or asked him how we could get these people out of the bunker. They were obviously civilians. And the lieutenant replied he'd get them out with hand grenades.

Mr. Thompson, who was outranked by this lieutenant, actually gave the lieutenant an order, told him to keep his people in place. He had a better idea, and I think he told him, "If you fire on these people when I'm getting them out of the bunker, my people will fire on you." So he went over to the bunker himself and coaxed the villagers out. And we thought there were two or three. There were nine or ten, and we were in a small three-place helicopter, and all three seats were occupied. So we had to call down a gunship and use it as a medevac to remove these people from the area, take them down the road and then the gunship came back on station.

After that, we went back to the ditch. Glenn Andreotta spotted movement in the ditch. Mr. Thompson landed again. Glenn and I got out of the aircraft, went to the ditch. By the time I got there, Glenn was already in the ditch. He retrieved a small child and handed the child up to me, and we carried the child to a hospital orphanage a few miles away. And Mr. Thompson left the child with a nun and let her know that his family was probably all gone, so take care of him.

AMY GOODMAN: You were with Hugh Thompson at his bedside when he died?


AMY GOODMAN: And you're the last of the three of you surviving. Glenn Andreotta died in Vietnam right after My Lai. Your thoughts today about the action you took, just in introducing you, talking about the Congress member saying to Hugh Thompson, "You're the only one that should be prosecuted for My Lai."

LAWRENCE COLBURN: I believe that was Mendel Rivers. Well, it had a toll on Hugh. He was tormented by not only My Lai, but the way he was treated when he just told the truth and did what was morally right. People came after him and tried to discredit him. He was ostracized in the military, but he never turned his back on them. He stayed in the military. His message would be how important it is to maintain integrity and honor and honesty within the ranks of the military.

AMY GOODMAN: You returned with Hugh Thompson, you returned to Vietnam. You returned to My Lai and the whole area, and you met with the survivors, the people that you saved.

LAWRENCE COLBURN: Yes, and their offspring. Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about what that was like?

LAWRENCE COLBURN: If there was any gratification, it would have been that, to see that people actually did survive, and they carried on and continued their families. We were also reunited with the boy from the ditch in 2001, which was incredible that they were able to find this boy. I prayed over the years that he was too young to remember or too traumatized to remember what had happened. But I misjudged his age. He was so small. He was eight years old. I thought he was four or five. And he remembered everything. We quizzed him a little bit, and only he could remember what happened, so we know it was the same boy.

Peace, Alan

I love it.

The above photo is from PostSecret.


I came across this instruction for the visually impaired at earthlink email security. I don't know what I would have done if I couldn't see it.

Visually impaired? Click here


I'll leave you with this joke too. It's on my today's "Swami's Daily Laughsitive" on my blog, but it will be gone tomorrow. It's a longer joke than I can remember:

"Don't Worry About Remembering Jokes: If it is easier to remember short jokes, then short jokes are fine. Humorologists tell us it's not the length of the joke that matters, it's how much pleasure it gives." - Swami Beyondananda

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Thank You Dwight D. Eisenhower for Warning Us.

If you want some valuable insight into the conundrum we have put ourselves in, their is an important movie being released this week. It explores the effect of the military industrial complex that Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about.

Tracking Shots
'Why We Fight'
by J. Hoberman
January 17th, 2006 2:02 PM

From "Village Voice"

Why We Fight
Directed by Eugene Jarecki
Sony Pictures Classics, opens January 20

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize last year at Sundance, Eugene Jarecki's documentary analysis of our imperial war machine is considerably more sober and self-contained than Michael Moore's. Jarecki, best known for The Trials of Henry Kissinger, juxtaposes a number of talking heads—smug members of the policy elite, assorted dissidents, a recent enlistee, and a Viet vet ex-cop whose son died in the World Trade Center—to give U.S. militarism a human face.

Just as Henry Kissinger appeared as a surprise force for reason in The Power of Nightmares, Dwight D. Eisenhower emerges here as the most enlightened of post–World War II American presidents—at least in his (oft repeated) warning regarding our "military-industrial complex." These days, political scientist Chalmers Johnson notes, the complex is so ubiquitous as to be invisible. As retired air force colonel Karen Kwiatkowski observes, "We elected a defense contractor as vice-president." By contrast, Senator John McCain is shown talking from both sides of his mouth and excitedly interrupting his interview to take Dick Cheney's call.

Much of this is familiar stuff—which is to say, historically grounded. The title deliberately echoes the World War II propaganda films made by Frank Capra. Anyone who lived through the Vietnam War is familiar with the litany of official lies—although it's always breathtaking to see footage of Cheney and Rumsfeld insisting on the existence of Iraqi WMDs. Moreover, generally uncompromising and simple enough for TV (or at least the BBC, which produced it), Jarecki's film forcefully argues that the much abused word freedom cannot paper over the conflicts between capitalism and democracy.


Convicted murderer Clarence Ray Allen (front C) is seen with family members in this photo provided by his family, taken at San Quentin Prison in San Quentin, California, January 16, 2006, the day before he was executed.
REUTERS/Handout Email Photo Print Photo

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King - For Real

Today Martin Luther King's Birthday Holiday. The celebration we observe, and George W. Bush applauds, is a white-bread, watered-down, sentimental honoring of the aspects of Martin's message that are non-threatening to our sense of comfort and "liberal" guilt and privilege. Following is the text of a speech Martin gave that to me is the most comprehensive analysis of the condition of the heart and soul of America. This is long but I feel it is critical to read if you really want to pay your respect to Martin and the gift of his life that he gave to try to make this country and this world a more loving and compassionate place. Please print it out, read it, and share it with others. You can hear or watch large excerpts of the speech at democracy now. Click on this hotlink and choose "play/listen" at the top of the page, then choose your media.

Martin Luther King: Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence

"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."

delivered 4 April 1967 at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

And some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: "Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?" "Why are you joining the voices of dissent?" "Peace and civil rights don't mix," they say. "Aren't you hurting the cause of your people," they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
In the light of such tragic misunderstanding, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church -- the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate -- leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reasons to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.
Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellowed [sic] Americans, *who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision.* There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,I say it plain,America never was America to me,And yet I swear this oath --America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1954** [sic]; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man." This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I'm speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

And finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence *in 1954* -- in 1945 *rather* -- after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China -- for whom the Vietnamese have no great love -- but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva Agreement. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States' influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America, as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs.

So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?
We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.

Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. *Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call "fortified hamlets." The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers.

Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies.* What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call "VC" or "communists"? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem, which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of "aggression from the North" as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them, the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of new violence?
Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
So, too, with Hanoi. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered.

Also, it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops. They remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than *eight hundred, or rather,* eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called "enemy," I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:

"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism".

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

*I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:
Number one: End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government.Five: *Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.
Part of our ongoing...part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country, if necessary. Meanwhile... meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible.
*As we counsel young men concerning military service, we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is a path now chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover, I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors.* These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing.The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality...and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing "clergy and laymen concerned" committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.

And so, such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years, we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin...we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.
A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

*This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations.* These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. *We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.*

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. We in the West must support these revolutions.

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain."

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: "Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us." Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.
We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says: "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word".

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood -- it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on."

We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message -- of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.
As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet 'tis truth alone is strong
Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace.
If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Alternative Text Source: http://www.africanamericans.com/MLKjrBeyondVietnam.htm
* = text within single asterisks absent from this audio
** King stated "1954." That year was notable for the Civil Rights Movement in the USSC's Brown v. Board of Education ruling. However, given the statement's discursive thrust, King probably meant to say "1964" -- the year he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
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