The Indefensible Hiroshima Revisionism That Haunts America To This Day

A Japanese soldier walks through a leveled area in Hiroshima, Japan in September of 1945, one month after the detonation of a nuclear bomb above the city. From a series of U.S. Navy photographs depicting the suffering and ruins that resulted from the blast. (U.S. Department of Navy)

By Christian Appy for Information Clearing House – Here we are, 70 years after the nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I’m wondering if we’ve come even one step closer to a moral reckoning with our status as the world’s only country to use atomic weapons to slaughter human beings. Will an American president ever offer a formal apology? Will our country ever regret the dropping of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” those two bombs that burned hotter than the sun? Will it absorb the way they instantly vaporized thousands of victims, incinerated tens of thousands more, and created unimaginably powerful shockwaves and firestorms that ravaged everything for miles beyond ground zero? Will it finally come to grips with the “black rain” that spread radiation and killed even more people — slowly and painfully — leading in the end to a death toll for the two cities conservatively estimated at more than 250,000? Given the last seven decades of perpetual militarization and nuclear “modernization” in this country, the answer may seem like an obvious no. Still, as a historian, I’ve been trying to dig a little deeper into our lack of national contrition.

Teachers At A Crossroads: Time To Heed Dr. King’s Call

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By Craig Gordon for Living In Dialogue – Promoters of so-called school reform frequently exhort educators to “teach with urgency.” This slogan trumpets their supposed determination to immediately achieve educational equity without funding equitable teaching and learning conditions. Two presidential mandates—Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Obama’s Race to the Top—proclaimed this righteous resolve while severely damaging public education. Now President Trump and Education Secretary DeVos plan to accelerate the destruction with more charters and vouchers or tax credits to pay for private schools. The real urgency we face today is to finally address the systemic causes of inequality—in and beyond schools–and other interconnected threats to human survival, as Martin Luther King Jr. implored fifty years ago. With the scientific consensus on climate change and a renewed and growing threat of nuclear war, the urgency is far more evident today. Here is a key question for those of us focused on finally achieving educational justice: What would it take to provide all students with high quality education?

Resistance At Tule Lake: A Hidden History Of Japanese American Incarceration And Defiance

“Tule Lake was the crucible where the Japanese Americans who were willing to protest and refuse to cooperate with the U.S. mass incarceration regime were segregated into one militarized, overcrowded camp,” Aderer explained. | Photo: Tule Lake Committee

By Elliott Gabriel for Tele Sur – Filmmaker Konrad Aderer’s grandparents were among those incarcerated in the camps. In his latest documentary, “Resistance at Tule Lake,” viewers are presented with a long-stifled aspect of the tragedy of Japanese American detention, with the organized mass resistance bravely waged by the 12,000 residents branded as “disloyal” to the U.S. government taking center stage. Detained under color of law at the Tule Lake Segregation Center along California’s northern border, the protagonists of “Resistance” defy attempts to marginalize their suffering or their defiance. The documentary, which is being screened at select venues, gives audiences a rarely-heard opportunity to listen the voices of those who were unexpectedly plunged into “a hell,” as one survivor recounts, but maintained the strength not only to survive, but also to fight back. “The resistance that arose in the incarcerated Japanese American community is a story that has been largely hidden until now,” Aderer told teleSUR. “And it holds so much more much more meaning now, can be better understood in this post-post-9/11 era when, absent any new major attack in the United States, Islamophobia and anti-immigrant hatred has managed to become even more vicious and influential.”

Peace Vigil Marks Hiroshima Anniversary

Peace Activists Philipos Melaku-Bello and Cliff Roberts sit at the Peace Vigil on the 72 anniversary of Hiroshima bombing. Photo: John Zangas

By John Zangas for DC Media Group – On Sunday At exactly 7:02 PM, peace activists Philipos Melaku-Bello and Cliff Roberts sit quietly at the Peace Vigil in front of the North Portico of the White House. They mark the moment when 72 years ago the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. But this historic day passes at the White House in typical form. If not for the Peace Vigil activists, there would be no one to remind the passers by of its significance. The many flags, signs and photos at the Peace Vigil could easily lead to confusion as to why it is there. There are over a dozen posters with different messages about war, occupation, politics, and oppression. Reprinted photos of the attack aftermaths on Hiroshima and Nagaskaki are attached to the two permanent wooden boards of the Peace Vigil. Above them are three flags: a large silk Tibetan flag hangs on the left sign, and an anarchist flag sags on the right, while a small plastic American flag sits in the middle above the tent. The signs and flags embody principles that both compliment and contradict each other and this is essence of discourse at the Peace Vigil. Several hundred tourists are milling about while posing for selfies.

72nd Anniversary Of Hiroshima’s Gratuitous Mass Murder

A huge cloud above Hiroshima, a few hours after the initial explosion on Aug. 6, 1945. (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum/U.S. Army via AP)

By Stephen Lendman for Paul Craig Roberts – War in the Pacific was won months before Franklin Roosevelt’s April 12, 1945 death. He declined to accept the Japanese offer of surrender. So did Harry Truman when he became president. War continued for months unnecessarily, countless more casualties inflicted, mainly Japanese civilians – notably from fire-bombing Toyko in March 1945, an estimated 100,000 perishing in the firestorm, many more injured, over a million left homeless. Around the same time, five dozen other Japanese cities were fire-bombed. Most structures in the country were wooden and easily consumed. The attacks amounting to war crimes achieved no strategic advantage. In early 1945, Japan offered to surrender. In February, Douglas McArthur sent Roosevelt a 40-page summary of its terms. They were nearly unconditional. The Japanese would accept an occupation, would cease hostilities, surrender its arms, remove all troops from occupied territories, submit to criminal war trials, and allow its industries to be regulated. In return, they asked only that their emperor be retained in an honorable capacity. Roosevelt spurned the offer as did Truman. Hiroshima and Nagasaki followed on August 6 and 9 respectively.

A Manual For A New Era Of Direct Action

Getty Images. AFP/ Frederic J. Brown

By George Lakey for Waging Nonviolence – Movement manuals can be useful. Marty Oppenheimer and I found that out in 1964 when civil rights leaders were too busy to write a manual but wanted one. We wrote “A Manual for Direct Action” just in time for Mississippi Freedom Summer. Bayard Rustin wrote the forward. Some organizers in the South told me jokingly that it was their “first aid handbook — what to do until Dr. King comes.” It was also picked up by the growing movement against the Vietnam War. For the past year I’ve been book touring to over 60 cities and towns across the United States and have been asked repeatedly for a direct action manual that addresses challenges we face now. The requests come from people concerned about a variety of issues. While each situation is in some ways unique, organizers in multiple movements face some similar problems in both organization and action. What follows is a different manual from the one we put out over 50 years ago. Then, movements operated in a robust empire that was used to winning its wars. The government was fairly stable and held great legitimacy in the eyes of the majority. Now, the U.S. empire is faltering and the legitimacy of governing structures is shredding. Economic inequality skyrockets and both major parties are caught in their own versions of society-wide polarization.

Eugene Debs And The Kingdom Of Evil

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – Debs burst onto the national stage when he organized a railroad strike in 1894 after the Pullman Co. cut wages by up to one-third but did not lower rents in company housing or reduce dividend payments to its stockholders. Over a hundred thousand workers staged what became the biggest strike in U.S. history on trains carrying Pullman cars. The response was swift and brutal. “Mobilizing all the powers of capital, the owners, representing twenty-four railroads with combined capital of $818,000,00, fought back with the courts and the armed forces of the Federal government behind them,” Barbara W. Tuchman writes in “The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914.” “Three thousand police in the Chicago area were mobilized against the strikers, five thousand professional strikebreakers were sworn in as Federal deputy marshals and given firearms; ultimately six thousand Federal and State troops were brought in, less for the protection of property and the public than to break the strike and crush the union.” Attorney General Richard Olney, who as Tuchman writes “had been a lawyer for railroads before entering the Cabinet and was still a director of several lines involved in the strike,” issued an injunction rendering the strike illegal.

Reparations Is Dead: How To Resurrect It

From blackagendareport.com

By Jahi Issa for Black Agenda Report – “I want Negroes first to realize that every Negro is an African citizen. Before we were Americans or West Indians we were Africa citizens. Negroes were never born originally to America or the West Indies. Negroes were originally born to Africa, isn’t it so? Where did your forefathers come from? Georgia? No, they came from Sierra Leone, West Africa or they came from… [word omitted], West Africa. They were first African citizens before they were emancipated by Abraham Lincoln, who made Afro Americans and by Victoria, who made Afro West Indians. “Now if a Frenchman leaves France — say he has left France 50 years ago and came to America and never asked or applied for naturalization papers. If he lived for 50 years, what would he be? He would be a Frenchman. He would never be an American citizen until he went through the process of action and applied for naturalization. He has first of all, according to the law of the country, to apply for naturalization papers before he can become a naturalized American citizen. If he lived for a hundred years and never applied for naturalization papers he would always be a Frenchman. “Now, sirs, can you remember the time when your forefathers applied for naturalization papers in this country? Your grandfathers never got any naturalization papers. They were gotten from Africa against their will. They were citizens of Africa.

Remembering Guantánamo On Independence Day

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By Andy Worthington for Witness Against Torture – Today, as a British citizen, I’m acutely aware that, 241 years ago, the United States of America issued a Declaration of Independence from the UK, noting that King George III had sought “the establishment of an absolute TyranA system of checks and balances introduced by the Founding Fathers was supposed to prevent tyranny from arising in the liberated United States of America, and yet, at various times in its history, these safeguards have been discarded — during the Civil War, for example, and during the Second World War, in the shameful internment of Japanese Americans. Another example is still taking place now — at Guantánamo Bay, in Cuba, where the U.S. runs a naval base, and where, since January 11, 2002, it has been holding prisoners seized in the “war on terror” that George W. Bush declared after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Under the laws and treaties we rely on to protect ourselves from executive tyranny, people can only be deprived of their liberty if they are accused of a crime, when they must speedily be put on trial in a court with a judge and a jury, or if they are seized on a battlefield during wartime, when they can be held until the end of hostilities, unmolested and with the protections of the Geneva Conventions.

Veteran Organizer Gives Inside Look At The First $15 Minimum Wage Campaign

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By Jonathan Timm for In These Times – Back in 2011, as the Occupy Wall Street movement was still spreading through the country, a smaller standoff was unfolding at Sea-Tac, the international airport in the small, eponymous town between Seattle and Tacoma that serves both cities. Along with some of her coworkers, Zainab Aweis, a Somali Muslim shuttle driver for Hertz car rental, was on her way to take a break for prayer, when her manager stepped in front of the doorway. “If you guys pray, you go home,” the manager said. As devout Muslims, Aweis and her fellow staff were dedicated to praying five times a day. Because it only takes a few minutes, their employer had previously treated the prayers like smoke breaks—nothing to worry about. Suddenly, the workers were forced to choose between their faith and their jobs. “I like the job,” Aweis thought, “but if I can’t pray, I don’t see the benefit.” As she and others continued to pray, managers started suspending each Muslim worker who prayed on the clock, totaling 34. The ensuing battle marked a flashpoint in what would eventually be the first successful $15 minimum wage campaign in the country. The story of these Hertz workers, and the many others who came together to improve their working conditions, is recounted in Beyond $15…

Unsung Black Heroines Launched Modern Domestic Workers Movement

African-American women training as household workers in the 1930s. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

By Premilla Nadasen for Yes! Magazine – In the late 1990s, household workers around the country began to organize to address the exploitation and abuse in their occupation. These domestic workers, immigrant nannies, housecleaners, and elder-care workers from all over the world—the Philippines, Barbados, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador, Indonesia, and Nepal—used public shaming strategies to draw attention to particularly egregious employers, sued for back pay, developed support groups, organized training and certificate programs, and lobbied for statewide domestic workers’ bills of rights. In building a movement, domestic workers used storytelling to connect workers with one another. Barbara Young, for example, a former nanny and an organizer with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, joined Domestic Workers United in New York City in the early 2000s. Young was in a park one day with the child she cared for when another household worker, Erline Brown, invited her to a DWU meeting in Brooklyn. “People were telling the stories about the work that they were doing, not getting vacation, not getting paid for holidays.,” she explained. “It was the first time I was hearing stories from workers coming together.”

Reading Gramsci In Latin America

nacla.org (Artwork by Gabriele Cancedda)

Some 80 years after his death, Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci’s relevance for social movements and the Left in Latin America persists.

By Nicolas Allen and Hernán Ouviña for NACLA – Buenos Aires commemorated the 80th anniversary of Antonio Gramsci’s passing on April 27, 1937, with a week of lectures and cultural events paying homage to the Italian revolutionary. The proceedings, which will continue into the following months, had an air of veneration customarily reserved for independence leaders like Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín. Indeed, few intellectual figures have proven as important as Gramsci in addressing questions of power and state formation in the Latin American context. To borrow the title of Peter Thomas’s 2013 study, Argentina and Latin America have been living their own “Gramscian moment” for the last half century. How, and why, has Gramsci’s thinking remained so relevant in Latin America? History provides several clues—among them the fact that the first non-Italian edition of his Quaderni del Carcere(Prison Notebooks) was published in Spanish in Buenos Aires in 1950. The Quaderni presented a reinvention of traditional Marxism, taking national history as its central point of reference. Before Gramsci, Latin American communist parties largely ignored the specificity of national and regional histories, deferring to the Communist International’s (Comintern) interpretation of history

Antonio Gramsci And The Battle Against Fascism

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By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – Antonio Gramsci wrote his “Prison Notebooks” at a time not dissimilar to our own. The political parties led by the liberal class, because they had detached themselves from the working class, were weak or irrelevant. The radical left had been neutered and had failed to articulate a coherent alternative vision to capitalism. There was a “crisis of authority.” Fascism was ascendant and state repression was becoming steadily more severe and totalitarian. Benito Mussolini’s regime claimed, like our corporate state, to be implementing a government based on efficiency, meritocracy, the management of society by experts and specialists and the elimination of class conflict through mediation. It too celebrated “heroic” military values, traditionalism and a mythical past that stretched back, in the case of fascist Italy, to ancient Rome. It also rewarded conformism and loyalty, denigrated the humanities and culture in favor of vocational and technical training, spectacle and patriotic kitsch. It preached a relentless positivism, ridiculed the concept of the public good by trumpeting a hyper-individualism and defanged the press. Dissent and criticism were condemned as treason. Gramsci when he was arrested in 1926 and imprisoned technically had parliamentary immunity, but by then the rule of law was meaningless.

Transcript Of New Orleans Mayor Landrieu’s Address On Confederate Monuments

Austin Texas protest Resist Disrupt Organize Photo from Steve Rainwater-flickr-cc

By Derek Cosson for The Pulse – Just hours before workers removed a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee — the fourth Confederate monument to be dismantled in New Orleans in recent weeks — Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a special address at historic Gallier Hall. Here’s a full transcript of Landrieu’s remarks: Thank you for coming. The soul of our beloved City is deeply rooted in a history that has evolved over thousands of years; rooted in a diverse people who have been here together every step of the way – for both good and for ill. It is a history that holds in its heart the stories of Native Americans: the Choctaw, Houma Nation, the Chitimacha. Of Hernando de Soto, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the Acadians, the Islenos, the enslaved people from Senegambia, Free People of Color, the Haitians, the Germans, both the empires of Francexii and Spain. The Italians, the Irish, the Cubans, the south and central Americans, the Vietnamese and so many more. You see: New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling cauldron of many cultures.

Which Way To The Barricades?

1933 Dressmakers' Union strike demonstrators take a break in a diner. Kheel Center / Flickr

By Steve Fraser and Nelson Lichtenstein for Jacobin Magazine – Shelly’s “Masque of Anarchy” has been a spectral presence for nearly two hundred years, summoned at climactic moments of civil warfare. Composed to memorialize the 1819 Peterloo massacre, the poem commemorates the sixty thousand people who gathered at the very dawn of the industrial revolution to demand a radical expansion of suffrage, especially to those laboring in England’s dark satanic mills. Dozens died, hundreds were wounded. The poem wasn’t published for over a decade, until the Chartist movement took it up in 1832. Another ten years after that, it became the anthem of an almost nationwide general strike. Participants referred to the time leading up to that moment and the strikes that preceded it as “holy days.” Since then “Ye are many—they are few” has inspired rebellion, resistance, and liberation again and again. The New York garment worker strikes of 1911, the sit-down strikes of the 1930s, May 1968 in Paris, and, most recently, the pro-democracy congregations during the Arab Spring and the Occupy uprisings of 2011 are all etched in our collective memory. There are also largely unknown, but hardly less remarkable, general strikes: not just those that shut down Winnipeg and Seattle in 1919…