Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “revolution”

Songs of Protest, Change and Revolution – Roger Ingalls

It’s my belief that between the years of 2025 and 2040 there will be a revolution. It won’t be a peaceful one; it will be a bloody mess. It will be a global people’s revolution. A revolt against economic repression.

picture from unitednationsoffilm.com

picture from unitednationsoffilm.com

Predictions told in verse of songs:

 American Idiot, Green Day

Don’t wanna be an American Idiot
One nation controlled by the media
Information age of hysteria
It’s calling out to idiot America

The Economy is Suffering; Let It Die, Anti-Flag

I seen a lot of rip-offs in my life. The rip-offs of the old and the young, the weak, the sick, The never known. Stabbed repeatedly in the back by the Wall Street suit.

A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke

It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
Cos I don’t know what’s out there beyond the sky
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

Turn Turn Turn, Pete Seeger (sung by The Byrds)

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven

Talkin’ Bout a Revolution, Tracy Chapman

Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ bout a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Gil Scott-Heron

The revolution will not be right back
after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine, Tom Morello

History’s not made by presidents or popes
or kings or queens or generalsor CIA kingpins runnin’ dope
history’s not madeby nine robed men or billionaires
it’s not made by them

Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Pete Seeger (sung by Joan Baez)

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Final Gun Post (for now)

I realize that I have become rather obsessed with the topic but I will try and make this the final post for a while. I have a feeling that I know on what social issue the next novel will focus.

Sifting through the material that I collected are five more excellent articles regarding gun control that have appeared in the Atlantic.

Light  Reading (not). Enjoy.

  • · The Story of a Gun (1993) Erik Larson traces the history of a particular gun that was used to commit a school shooting.
  • · The False Promise of Gun Control (1994) Daniel B. Polsby argues against gun control by pointing out that criminals will always be able to find guns, but honest people won’t be able to defend themselves if restrictions are tightened.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

NRA Supported Gun Control Pt. 3 of 3

This is the final part of a series from last week based upon a great article from The Atlantic by Adam Winkler  The Secret History of Guns. In the previous post, we discussed how the NRA have taken roles in the past to support gun control policy.

There are other historical examples of the NRA supporting gun control. In the 1930’s, the NRA endorsed the National Firearms Act of 1934, aimed at stemming the distribution of “gangster guns” like semi-automatic and sawed-off shotguns.

The NRA was not a blond supporter, objecting to including handguns, for example, but supported what Frederick defined as “reasonable, sensible, and fair legislation.”

In the aftermath of the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 the NRA again supported gun control. The assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had purchased his gun from a mail-order advertisement in the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine. The NRA’s Executive Vice President, Franklin Orth, testified: “We do not think that any sane American, who calls himself an American, can object to placing into this bill the instrument which killed the president of the United States.”

The NRA did not favor stricter proposals such as a national gun registration, but did support the Gun Control Act of 1968.

What we learn from this historically is that the NRA and Republicans in general, do not have to automatically fight every attempt at gun control.

The US Supreme Court in 2008 clearly defined the Second Amendment as guaranteeing the rights of the individual to bear arms. However, Justice Antonin Scalia, pulled on this past realism when he wrote: ” should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

While the Founders did impose their own form of gun control, no law of their design compares to Scalia’s list of Second Amendment exceptions. “They had no laws banning guns in sensitive places, or laws prohibiting the mentally ill from possessing guns, or laws requiring commercial gun dealers to be licensed. Such restrictions are products of the 20th century. Justice Scalia, in other words, embraced a living Constitution.”

Ironically, in this lies our hope for a consensus. If Justice Scalia sees the need for limitations, then he is only following a long line of conservative, responsible thinks that include leaders of the NRA, Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party, and maybe even the Founding Fathers.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

 

Secrets of Gun Control 2 of 3

This is a continuance of Monday’s post based upon a great article from The Atlantic by Adam Winkler entitled The Secret History of Guns.

Hard-line gun-rights advocates portray even modest gun laws as infringements on that right and oppose widely popular proposals—such as background checks for all gun purchasers—on the ground that any gun-control measure, no matter how seemingly reasonable, puts us on the slippery slope toward total civilian disarmament.

From the other side of the street, those who advocate for gun control, claim that the Second Amendment was intended to insure a militia that could protect the people from interior or exterior threats.

We  will never know the intentions of those who wrote the constitution, but what is historically proven is that the Founding Fathers put into place gun laws and limitations that would probably see their NRA membership revoked today.

True, preventing slaves and free blacks access to arms was clearly to uphold a racist regime, or law-abiding white men who refused to swear loyalty to the Revolution, is hardly the kind of gun control that many of us seek. (I couldn’t find if women were allowed to carry arms, and if not then, when. Anyone know?).

What I also found interesting is that the Founders had their own version of “individual mandate” (and I thought you were being original, President Obama with your health-care-reform law). The Founding Fathers “actually  required the purchase of guns. A 1792 federal law mandated every eligible man to purchase a military-style gun and ammunition for his service in the citizen militia. Such men had to report for frequent musters—where their guns would be inspected and, yes, registered on public rolls.”

After a famous public altercation in February 1967 (in Oakland, Left Coasters) between a lawyer for the Black Panthers and a police officer, “Republicans in California eagerly supported increased gun control. Governor Reagan told reporters that afternoon that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” He called guns a “ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.” In a later press conference, Reagan said he didn’t “know of any sportsman who leaves his home with a gun to go out into the field to hunt or for target shooting who carries that gun loaded.”

While the NRA is the clear leader against gun control it was not always so intransigent. In fact, throughout the 1920’s and 30’s the organization often led gun control legislative initiatives.

“The organization’s president at the time was Karl T. Frederick, a Princeton and Harvard-educated lawyer known as “the best shot in America”—a title he earned by winning three gold medals in pistol-shooting at the 1920 Summer Olympic Games. As a special consultant to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, Frederick helped draft the Uniform Firearms Act, a model of state-level gun-control legislation.”

This included:

1. No individual could carry concealed in public without a permit from the local police. Such a permit could only be received by a “suitable” person with a “proper reason for carrying” a firearm.

2. Gun dealers were required to report to law enforcement every sale of a handgun.

3. A two-day waiting period on handgun sales was to be strictly adhered to.

In 1934 Frederick stated that he did “not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses.” Milton A. Reckord, the organization’s executive vice president told a congressional committee that the NRA was “absolutely favorable to reasonable legislation.”

On Monday, we shall see how the NRA continued to be an active partner in the passage of gun control.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

Why Riot?

I’m still away from home – down in inland southern California where it’s about 110 degrees (you may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not). Right now, I’m hiding from the heat, indoors with the air-conditioning going strong.

It’s a good time to think about when and why people seem to put themselves in a less-than-comfortable situation such as a protest or even a riot. Recently, riots have erupted all around the world – London, the middle-east, France, and right here in the USA (although not TOO out of hand for the most part). Let’s, for now, overlook the criminal behavior that oftentimes erupts from these events so that we can concentrate on the reasons the events happen in the first place. I certainly don’t intend to do some sort of exhaustive, academic treatise on the subject, but just to explore a couple of thoughts.

I’ve written about this a bit before, but let’s take it a little further. People protest when they feel that “the system” isn’t working for them. They riot when they feel helpless – as if the only thing they can do is to lash out – often against whatever target is handy – even if it’s wildly inappropriate or even counterproductive. These often savage actions arise when a crowd has decided, some individually and some only because they go along, that there is nothing else to do.

In the past, many of these uprisings have led to bloody revolutions – or at least attempts at such. In the past, insulated, uncaring governments (monarchies, dictatorships, oligarchies, etc.) have concentrated power and wealth more and more until the lower classes saw such a dismal future that they felt they had to act. What else was there to do? Vote?!?

So now we, at least in the so-called western world, have the power to vote. But what has changed? Well, some important things, to be sure. But our democracy has been around long enough to have been finessed, schmoozed, and finally taken over by the most powerful. This is true not only of the U.S., but many European democracies as well.

Many feel themselves back in the same-old situation – oppression by the powerful. And they have voted, but the options in the elections are basically red corporate dominance… or blue corporate dominance.

So what’s left? Futile acts of mob violence, directed (or misdirected) at almost random, meaningless targets. I’m not defending this, nor in any way supporting it, but this is what happens.

Again I find myself wanting to call for unified, LEGAL action. We the oppressed cannot simply strike out blindly. Instead, we have to identify the lies that have got us here – such as, “With lower taxes, corporations will create jobs,” and then get this information out to the people. Then we must, as a people (in whatever country you reside) REJECT any politician who forwards these lies.

It’s time for economic as well as social myths to be shattered. This won’t bring an end to violence, but it will surely diminish. We don’t have to be helpless.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com

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The Supreme Court: An Untouchable Whorehouse

There seems to be something beyond the Constitution, legal intent or precedent creeping into Supreme Court decisions.

Is the Judicial arm of our government the last branch to turn to whoring? A few of the Supreme Court Justices appear open to corporate influence.

It’s been reported that prior to one of the most controversial decisions in Supreme Court history, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas attended a private event hosted by Koch Industries. The purpose of the Justices’ attendance has not been forthcoming—disclosure has been requested but the parties aren’t talking. The Koch Brothers and their companies are legendary for political and agenda financing. It has also come to light that these two Justices attend political fund raising events linked to the Koch Brothers.

Based on recent Supreme Court decision, the impartiality of Justices Scalia and Thomas is extremely suspect, especially considering their unclear participation at think-tank and fund raising events.

With all the favor-spending by special interests, PACs and lobbyists, people today have little faith in the Legislative and Executive branches of government. Our last pillar of hope was the judicial branch. And now, the Supreme Court – the deciders of right and wrong, the final stop – appears to have fallen into the outhouse of corporate influence.

What would the Founding Fathers think of this apparent Supreme Court whoredom? During the initial years of our country, corporations were despised and if they tried to influence any branch of government a heavy hand would come their way. The Founding Fathers did not anticipate that ultimate power would land in the hands of Big Business. The signers of the Declaration of Independence are probably trying to crawl out of their graves to start a new revolution.

There may be truth to the old adage that judges wear nothing beneath those imposing black robes.  Perhaps it’s to give Big Business easy access to slide in from behind.

Will this insidious behavior filter through all levels of the judicial system?  And how long will we allow this backdoor alliance between Big Business and the Justices continue?

-Roger Ingalls

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Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

Bumper Sticker – A Call to Activism

I love bumper stickers. This one was a no brainer to add to my collection. It is one thing to be apathetic or to bury your head in the sand. But the propensity of people to complain and criticize but refuse to try and do something is truly frustrating.

There is an election coming up. The untruths (I’m being nice here) being thrown out is startling. These candidates rely upon people not really listening to them and just grabbing onto cliches and soap opera-worthy ads.

Whatever your decision in November, be revolutionary and make an informed decision. Just understanding what is really happening is a first step to being an activist.
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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 

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