This weekend marked the 37th anniversary of the Tet Offensive. This campaign effectively crippled the underground Vietcong organization, accomplished not one of its strategic objectives, inflicted just over 1/10th as many US and comprador casualties as suffered by liberation forces, but managed to complete destabilize the Johnson regime and remind the American public en masse that decolonization was here to stay.
Living in a period when the American left lacks any semblance of a mass base, organized labor faces a looming crisis (from both the material conditions we face, and internal threats to rule or ruin the only national grouping currently available to working people), fascist dictatorship seems like a firm possibility, and national liberation movements worldwide lack the dynamism and direction so obviously present less than half a century ago, I find a strange sort of comfort in the experience of the 50,000 Vietnamese patriots that gave their lives fighting for freedom over those two months.
In nine days from now the Philadelphia Eagles will take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. For many of us, this came will serve as a continuation of last week's game which culminated in the long elusive NFC Championship title. I will be watching the game, decked out in Eagles fanfare and chowing down on pizza and union made beer. But on such days of raucous celebration, let us not forget this game's blaring significance. For the first time in NFL history, one of the "field generals" will be a Black man, and one of the most amazing and if anything under-rated quarter-backs in the history of this fine game.
So fuck you, Rush. Go Eagles!
In a sickening turn of events, the American judicial system has now decieded that the assult of Black youths by white cops is so laudable as to entitle the police officers involved to finanical payments. $1.6 million dollars to be more precise. David Horowitz and his fellow "anti-preference" activists will be going ape-shit over this decision for years. Now if you will excuse me, I have to wipe the vomit from around my mouth.
In a move which promises to be at least as controversial as whether or not gays and lesbians are fully human, Catholic Church officials in Spain have set Canon law aside to unite with science and common sense. Following a meeting with Spain's Health Minister on Tuesday, a spokesman for the the Spanish Bischops Conference stated that "condoms have a place in the global prevention of AIDS." It's always nice when the Church is only 30 years behind the times. Catholics (I talking to you mom!) still trying to figure out just what "policy of non-involvement in the Holocaust" means should rejoice.
So I haven't made a post in over a week; and in completely unrelated news, the UT Progressive Student Alliance has just launched WeWontGo.Org. Designed as a pledge of personal conscience meant to put the Congress and this Administration on notice, the students hope to fill a needed niche in the anti-war movement. Much more work, especially in the area of php coding needs to be done, but the start of something just happened.
The War Times/Tiempo de Guerras Organizing Committee has released a summation of their efforts to build and maintain an Anti-War newspaper that focused on the connection between racism and war, provided up-to-date information and analysis and really served as a useful tool for organizers both in bringing new people into movement and moving those folks already in our ranks towards a more coherent (anti-imperialist) politics.
"His Holiness," John Paul II recently delivered his "State of the World" address including this address to the Holy See's diplomatic Corps. I have to confess that every time I come in contact with this moth-eaten monarchy and the vassals that cling so strongly to thier anachronism, I cannot help but feeling the sense of outright terror I will always associate with Sunday School (or as wel Catholics call it, CCD).
That said, it's nice to see issues like underdevelopment and war still in the forefront of the Vatican's agenda. For some reason the words "utter disapointment" can't quite capture my hatred for this Pope's reduction of issues as complex as late-imperialism to the "building block" levels of gay marriage, stem cell research and condoms.
So for folks that didn't know, my work mostly consists of processing documents that come from the Government Printing Office (GPO) as part of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).
So today, as I was working through pages of printed diagnostics on the most recent additions to our online catalog, I came across the "Security Aware" poster series put out by the Security and Counterintelligence Directorate, Defense Threat Reduction Agency in 2003. At first glance I could have sworn that they were simply World War II reprints, but quotes by George W. Bush in later items of the series put any doubts I might have had to rest. My library unfortunately never received these pieces, but the titles alone gave me goose bumps.
Some of my favorites were "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom: security is a team effort." and "We stand in strength, and we will not yield" with graphic of President George W. Bush. At least some of these were in fact reprints of actual World War II posters. I was unable to find most of these using the ever trusty Google (or Google [Uncle Sam] for that matter), but I did come across An Operational Security (OPSEC) Primer put out by the Department of Energy that has one of the reprinted posters for all to see. It's nice to see the state churning out some next-generation, Grade A propaganda.
For people who may want to check and see if their local FDLP participating library has the pieces in question, their Item number is 0379-B-14, the SuDoc class is D 15.15:cutter.
Continuing its consistently upstanding coverage of the on-going class struggle in China, the Monthly Review added this commentary following the trial of 4 Maoist late last month. Worth a read for any and all attempting to get their heads around this developing part of international socialism's continuing crisis (and our duty to find our bearings and overcome this difficultly). The included leaflet Comrade Zhang Zhengyao was arrested for distributing (translated and abridged) is especially profound.
When discussing political repression in post-Mao China, it's always worth remembering that the patriots of Tiananmen Square sang the Internationale not western pop songs.
Parents are demanding that Saint John the Baptist, a Catholic parochial school in Orange County, expel the children of gay and lesbian couples.
On a personal note, the first thing that came to mind upon reading this was a story my mom once shared with me. Her mother's father had been a good-for-nothing-piece-of-shit, and after leaving his wife and thier four children, my great-grandmother remarried. But since the Church didn't recognize court sponsored divorce and refused to extend the sacrament of marriage to my great-grandmother and her new husband, my grandmother and her siblings were expelled from their parochial school. I guess I ought to give the Church credit for being so consistent when it comes to playing the role of the crotchetiest reactionaries around.
January's issue of Labor Notes contains this article written by United Campus Workers - Communications Workers of America local 3865 president Elizabeth Gentry.