[Marxism] FWD: Mumia Abu-Jamal on Ward Churchill
info at kersplebedeb.com
Wed Mar 9 09:14:35 MST 2005
IN DEFENSE OF WARD CHURCHILL - HISTORIAN!
[Col. Writ. 2/10/05]
Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
In every society, more or less coercive measures are applied by ruling
groups to organize and control mass opinion. This method seems worse
than some because it constitutes an abuse of reason. -- Edward H. Carr,
*What is History?* (1961)
As rabid right-wing talkbirds cackle for the firing of University of
Colorado-based historian, Ward Churchill, the very controversy echoes an
earlier, meaner age; that of the Cold War period of the '50s, when the
state, through the FBI and various other government agencies, ran riot
over the rights, livelihoods, families and lives of tens of thousands of
people, simply because of their differing political opinions, or because
they were suspected of being 'communists.'
Churchill, an ethnic studies professor at UC, knows a little something
about that era. He was co-author (with Jim Vander Wall) of the
now-classic and authoritative studies of the now-infamous COINTELPRO, or
*CO*unter*INTEL*ligence *PRO*gram of the FBI against radical movements:
*Agents of Repression: The FBI's Secret Wars Against the Black Panther
Party and the American Indian Movement* (Cambridge, Ma.: South End
Press, 1988 ); and *The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the
FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States* (Cambridge, Ma.:
South End Press, 1990 ). Both works, together over 900 pages, are
exhaustively footnoted and documented, and provide chilling insights
into how the State used illegal, unconstitutional, and outright criminal
tactics to "neutralize, disrupt", and indeed destroy social and
political movements for decades!
Churchill is now under fire for an essay penned shortly after the
events of Sept. 11, 2001, where he reasons that, to anyone knowledgeable
about U.S. foreign affairs, the attack could hardly have been
surprising. As knowledgeable as he is about U.S. domestic affairs, he is
equally knowledgeable about foreign affairs. And he knows, all too well,
that many people in foreign lands have grievances against the U.S.
In his 2002 essay, "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting
Chickens", Churchill recalls the famous comment by Malcolm X, after the
assassination of President John F. Kennedy: it was but a case of
"chickens coming home to roost."
Both Malcolm and Churchill knew something about U.S. actions abroad,
its export of violence abroad, and its demonstrated hatred of dark
peoples the world over. He recounts how American armies and agents have
wreaked brutal havoc all around the world, killing almost countless
"innocent civilians", in their efforts to insure continued imperial
rule. For example, he mentions the CIA's Operation Phoenix, where the
U.S. government, the Navy Seals, Army Special Forces, south Vietnamese
Rangers, and Australian SAS, "neutralized" people named by CIA snitches
as Vietnamese "guerrillas."
Upwards of 40,000 people -- mostly bystanders, as it turns out -- were
murdered by Phoenix hit teams before the guerrillas, stronger than ever,
ran the US and its collaborators out of their country altogether. And
these are the guys who are gonna save the day, if unleashed to do their
thing in North America? [p. 6]
Ward Churchill is bitingly critical of the politicians, the military,
and other government agencies who have unleashed a wave of terror upon
people around the world. He does not mindlessly genuflect to the dead
from the World Trade Center attacks. He explains, as best he can, that
such unbridled violence abroad, led to violence here.
Churchill is not a 'safe', or 'guild', historian. He does not speak
obliquely of 'the vanishing Indian', or the glories of Manifest Destiny.
He teaches of the madness of Empire, and from the position of the people
on the periphery, the outskirts of Empire.
It is not enough for us to merely, dumbly intone that Churchill has the
right to write what he does. No -- we must do more.
We must insist that Churchill *is right*. And no one, not some rabid
talkshow parrots, nor a political whore like Gov. Bill Owens, has a
right to demand what is wrong. The Cold War is over (even in Colorado).
Churchill is right!
Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM: A Life in the Black
Panther Party*, from South End Press (www.southendpress.org); Ph.
"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just,
yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die. And I have
never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice." -
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