‘Hitler’s American Model: United States And Making Of Nazi Race Law’

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By Bill Moyers for Moyers and Company – Boy, did they ever. In fact, they saw America doing it in a more radical fashion than any of the Nazis themselves ever advocated. I mentioned earlier the demands of the radicals during the early Nazi period in 1933, which were embodied in something called the Prussian Memorandum. Kind of a sinister name, but that’s what it was. The Prussian Memorandum specifically invoked Jim Crow as a model for the new Nazi program, and here’s the irony: The Prussian Memorandum also insisted that Jim Crow went further than the Nazis themselves would desire to go. They were planning to ban offensive socialization between the races if it took place in public but not in private. They went on to observe that the Americans went even further than that, banning interactions even in private. As Nazi debates continued, however, there was a great deal of disagreement over whether anything like Jim Crow segregation was appropriate for Nazi Germany. In fact, if you read the stenographic transcript of that meeting we’re talking about, you’ll come across a leading Nazi radical who denied that segregation would work in Germany. As he put it, “The Jews are just much too rich and powerful. Segregation of the Jim Crow kind could really only be effective against a population that was already oppressed and impoverished,” like the African-American population in America.

How The Vietnam War Prepared Puerto Ricans To Confront Crisis

Members of Movimiento Pro-Independencia de Puerto Rico picket the White House in March of 1965. (Claridad / Biblioteca Digital UPR Río Piedras)

By Michael Stewart Foley for Waging Nonviolence – This week, as Puerto Ricans feel once again like a White House afterthought, it is hard not to conclude that Puerto Rico matters to Washington only when mainland political and business leaders need to conscript the island itself for some larger financial or military purpose. Consider the impact of Vietnam War policy on Puerto Rico. Thanks to a new Ken Burns documentary and Hurricane Maria, the headlines have us talking simultaneously about Vietnam and Puerto Rico for the first time in 50 years. Today, few Americans remember the impact of the Vietnam War on Puerto Rico. Yet the war struck the island with the force of a political hurricane, tearing at Puerto Rico’s social fabric, raising the same questions of colonialism that are again in the news in the wake of Maria, and fueling its independence movement. Not unlike Puerto Rico’s recent fiscal crisis, the Vietnam War brought into sharp relief the island’s unequal status as a territory of the United States, particularly after President Lyndon Johnson escalated the war in 1965. Draft-age men in Puerto Rico were subject to the Selective Service Act and called for induction into the U.S. military — even though they had no representative in the Congress that passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution…

3 Historical Native American Women You Might Not Know, But Should

This 60-by-20-foot mural commemorating the life of Toypurina adorns the main wall of Ramona Gardens, a large and well-known public housing complex in East Los Angeles.

By Dina Gilio-Whitaker for Indian Country Today – In the category of “famous Native American women,” everyone has heard of Pocahontas and Sacajawea. Both—but especially Pocahontas—have been turned into some of the worst of today’s stereotypes about Native American women. And in American history they have both been held up as examples of Native American women who facilitated colonization through the help they provided to white settlers. Scholars have gone a long way, however, to portray their histories as far more complex than that. There are, of course, many more Native American women who have made great contributions to indigenous history but who have been eclipsed in mainstream histories. Here we highlight three of those Native American women, all from very different regions and with very different histories. Cherokee historians have long celebrated Nancy Ward, known also by her Cherokee name, Nanye-hi. She is known by her designation as Ghigau (which means “most beloved woman” but also “war woman”), a title bestowed upon women of exceptional achievement or merit. Historical narratives tell of her earning the title at the age of 17 after fighting in the battle of Taliwa, taking up the gun of her husband Kingfisher after he was killed in battle. As Ghigau, she sat in council meetings among both the war and peace chiefs.

The Abuses Of History

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By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – Historians, like journalists, are in the business of manipulating facts. Some use facts to tell truths, however unpleasant. But many more omit, highlight and at times distort them in ways that sustain national myths and buttress dominant narratives. The failure by most of the United States’ popular historians and the press to tell stories of oppression and the struggles against it, especially by women, people of color, the working class and the poor, has contributed to the sickening triumphalism and chauvinism that are poisoning our society. The historian James W. Loewen, in his book “Lies Across America: What Our Historic Markers and Monuments Get Wrong,” calls the monuments that celebrate our highly selective and distorted history a “landscape of denial.” The historian Carl Becker wrote, “History is what the present chooses to remember about the past.” And as a nation founded on the pillars of genocide, slavery, patriarchy, violent repression of popular movements, savage war crimes committed to expand the empire, and capitalist exploitation, we choose to remember very little. This historical amnesia, as James Baldwinnever tired of pointing out, is very dangerous. It feeds self-delusion. It severs us from recognition of our propensity for violence. It sees us project on others—almost always the vulnerable—the unacknowledged evil that lies in our past and our hearts.

Burns’s War Stories Fog The Truth

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Vietnam War Era - Photo by Bruno Barbey 
South Vietnamese retreive abandoned war material.

By Bob Buzzanco for History News Network – Now, a half-century later, America’s best-known documentarians and teachers of popular history, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick have produced an 18-hour examination of the war for PBS (with sponsorship and promotion from the Koch Brothers, Bank of America, and Pentagon, inter alia) which is getting a huge amount of attention already. Like their documentary on the Civil War, The Vietnam War will surely become a major work of public history and be ingrained in our national consciousness. But what do Burns and Novick do, is it anything new, and what consequences will their work have? Burns and Novick, in their public relations blitz for the show (which debuted Sunday night, September 17th) have stressed that this documentary is different than the studies of Vietnam that have preceded it because they focused on the people who were involved in the war and especially representatives of the enemy (the “North Vietnamese” in their parlance, not the “revolutionaries” or “the NLF”). Their goal was to “triangulate” the telling of the war—speak to people from North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the United States. Their main purpose is to “honor the courage, heroism and sacrifice of those who served,” and “we have tried to do this by listening to their stories.”

Report From Winsted: Nader’s Museum

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By Steve Early for Counter Punch – My favorite Helena Bonham Carter film is called Margaret’s Museum. In it, she plays Margaret MacNeil, the young widow of a Nova Scotia coal miner killed, on the job, like others in her family before him. Margaret’s grief leaves her mentally unhinged in a community steeped in fatalism and acceptance. After her release from an asylum, she turns her seaside cottage into a museum depicting the human toll of underground mining. The sign outside, drawing few tourists in the late 1940s, says simply: “The Cost of Coal.” As the movie opens, a man and woman drive up to Margaret’s home on Glace Bay and seek admittance. A moment later, the female vacationer comes running out the front door, screaming in horror. As we learn later in the film, the exhibits include fluid filled jars with the damaged lungs of Margaret’s grandfather, her late husband’s tongue, and her young brother’s penis, preserved because, as she explains, “it was the most important thing he had” before his untimely death on the job. I thought instantly of this movie, in late July, when I was the sole Sunday morning viewer of exhibits in a Winsted, CT. museum similarly suffused with righteous indignation over the human cost of hazardous products and dangerous occupations. The American Museum of Tort Law was created by Ralph Nader to remind visitors how workers, consumers, and our environment have all suffered when auto and asbestos manufacturers, Big Pharma, the tobacco industry, or fast food chains put corporate profit ahead of public health and safety.

Clarifying Gandhi: POTUS, Rutherford, And Gandhi On Moral Economics

Gandhi during the Salt March, March-April 1930. (Wikimedia Commons/Walter Bosshard)

By P.K. Wiilley for TRANSCEND Media Service – 30 Aug 2017 – The question of what constitutes a wonderful and advanced civilization is dependent upon Justice, which is buttressed by economics. All great philosopher-doers, concerned with the betterment of human life have recognized that the handling of the economic means for living life must be guided by ethics and morality for the good of all. Gandhi was no exception. He undertook a task, the sheer enormity of which remains unsurpassed to date: to create a free, truly democratic, independent, unified India, out of dozens of princely states, out of rigid, feudal-social-mindset-stratifications, after nearly 400 years of brainwashing colonialism. His awesome effort assisted by a less bridled media, gave his voice world-wide amplification. Gandhi was able to clearly define unifying ideals, to demonstrate ethical means for our awareness to express itself towards and for each another. In the realm of economics, as with all the ideals he evolved to, Gandhi saw Justice clearly, with moral economics as the means to ensure Justice. To ensure that all could eat, have education, homes, clothes, decent and meaningful employment, the basics for a good life, was and is, human justice and basic decency to one another.

How Should We Protest Neo-Nazis? Lessons From German History

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By Laurie Marhoefer for The Conversation – Charlottesville was right out of the Nazi playbook. In the 1920s, the Nazi Party was just one political party among many in a democratic system, running for seats in Germany’s Parliament. For most of that time, it was a small, marginal group. In 1933, riding a wave of popular support, it seized power and set up a dictatorship. The rest is well-known. It was in 1927, while still on the political fringes, that the Nazi Party scheduled a rally in a decidedly hostile location – the Berlin district of Wedding. Wedding was so left-of-center that the neighborhood had the nickname “Red Wedding,” red being the color of the Communist Party. The Nazis often held rallies right where their enemies lived, to provoke them. The people of Wedding were determined to fight back against fascism in their neighborhood. On the day of the rally, hundreds of Nazis descended on Wedding. Hundreds of their opponents showed up too, organized by the local Communist Party. The antifascists tried to disrupt the rally, heckling the speakers. Nazi thugs retaliated. There was a massive brawl. Almost 100 people were injured. I imagine the people of Wedding felt they had won that day. They had courageously sent a message: Fascism was not welcome. But historians believe events like the rally in Wedding helped the Nazis build a dictatorship. Yes, the brawl got them media attention.

A Window Into The Horrors Of Our History

A sign held at a protest this week over the "Silent Sam" Confederate monument on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill quotes the racist speech given at its dedication by local industrialist and philanthropist Julian Carr. (Photo by Rodney Dunning via Flickr.)

By Greg Huffman for Facing South – I am a child of the South. I was born in North Carolina, grew up in Catawba County, and have never lived outside the state as an adult. My sister and I joke that we never had a real vacation. Our parents were amateur historians and genealogists and were particularly interested in the Civil War and our family during it. While other kids were at Disney, we were traveling in the family station wagon to pretty much every Civil War battlefield from Pennsylvania to New Orleans, along with the accompanying historic sites, museums, court houses and cemeteries. By age 10, I could rip off a mean tombstone rubbing with charcoal and wax paper. This historical journey culminated in my teens when my mother and a family friend, Joe Hatley, collected and edited the Civil War letters of a common relative. What followed was a published book entitled the “Letters of William F. Wagner.” Wagner was your average Catawba County farmer conscripted into military service by the Confederacy as an enlisted man. He served in the infantry, fought at Gettysburg, was eventually captured, and died in a Northern prison camp in 1864. His letters detail the pain and horrors and loneliness of the war for the men who fought it and the prison where he died.

US City Replaces Columbus Day With Indigenous Holiday

Members and supporters of the Mexica Movement march across the overpass of Hollywood Freeway as they protest against Columbus Day in downtown Los Angeles, California, Oct. 11, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

By Staff of Tele Sur – Oberlin City Council members met Monday following a public discussion with town residents and voted unanimously to replace the controversial holiday. The small Ohioan city of Oberlin has decided to no longer celebrate Columbus Day, replacing it instead with Indigenous Peoples Day, out of respect for its Indigenous population. City Council members met Monday following a public discussion with town residents and voted unanimously to remove the controversial holiday, which celebrates Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas in 1492 and his subsequent colonization of the region. “Christopher Columbus was an agent of and continues to be a symbol of the genocide of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas,” said Elissa Washuta, who attended a demonstration Saturday together with around 100 protesters demanding the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Oberlin councilwoman Sharon Pearson defended the move, employing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “It’s never too late to do the right thing,” she quoted, according to the Morning Journal. “And I think that it is time for us as a community to take the words of our indigenous people and do the right thing.”

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.