Real History Lessons

Followers of Glenn Beck have described themselves as "students of history" and "historians." Everyone who opposes Beck's racist, reactionary agenda needs to know and bring out the real history of the U.S. and the world in order to, and as part of, politically opposing this agenda.

What The Record Shows: Nothing Good Has—or Will—Come from U.S. Imperialist Intervention in Syria or Anywhere Else

Revolution Newspaper | June 20, 2013

The U.S. is increasing its intervention in Syria. The Obama administration recently announced it will begin arming some forces fighting against the current Syrian government of Bashir al Assad. The U.S. says it is getting more deeply involved in the war in Syria for humanitarian reasons—to help the Syrian people, stop the killing and prevent the use of chemical weapons. These are lies—and the basic facts about the results of U.S. interventions over the last 12 years, since September 11, 2001, prove it—and show beyond any doubt that U.S. actions are motivated by imperialism, not humanitarianism, and bring nothing but horrors for the people.


The New York Times and the School of Assassins

Close the SOAby Joan Roelofs 

Saturday, August 11, The New York Times printed a front page article about the nun, Sister Megan Rice, age 82, who committed civil disobedience at the Oak Ridge Tennessee nuclear reservation in a protest against nuclear weapons.  The article also informs us that she had been arrested in 1998 protesting at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.  The Times then notes that some of the trainees from that school “went on to commit human rights abuses.”  You might think of denials of same-sex partner medical benefits, or censorship of soldiers’ mail; in fact, the abuses were (and still are) assassination, torture, and military overthrow of elected governments.


Extremism normalized

How Americans are efficiently trained to acquiesce to ideas once deemed so radical as to be unthinkable

By Glenn Greenwald

Remember when, in the wake of the 9/11 attack, the Patriot Act was controversial, held up as the symbolic face of Bush/Cheney radicalism and widely lamented as a threat to core American liberties and restraints on federal surveillance and detention powers? Yet now, the Patriot Act is quietly renewed every four years by overwhelming majorities in both parties (despite substantial evidence of serious abuse), and almost nobody is bothered by it any longer. That’s how extremist powers become normalized: they just become such a fixture in our political culture that we are trained to take them for granted, to view the warped as normal. Here are several examples from the last couple of days illustrating that same dynamic; none seems overwhelmingly significant on its own, but that’s the point:


What is the American Way of War?

via Revolution

The Obscene Acts of Unjust War 


In early January, a video went viral on the Internet showing four U.S. Marines in Afghanistan urinating on the bodies of three killed Taliban. The video, which the Pentagon confirmed was authentic and was likely taken between March and September 2011 by another Marine on the scene, immediately drew worldwide condemnation.


Why “The Lesser of Two Evils” is a Suicidal Strategy

by Dennis Loo 

Whenever the election cycle starts up, some people tell us that they feel that they have no choice but ”to hold their noses” and vote for the “lesser evil,” by which they usually mean the Democratic candidate (although there’s a right-wing version of this in which they choose the Republican when they’d really rather have the libertarian). 

One respondent to a recent Energy Insiders Poll in National Journal about the [Keystone XL] pipeline explained that these groups will reluctantly come back to the President: “Environmentalists will not be happy, but they have nowhere else to go, since they scorn Republicans.”   

                                                                        — Jessica Goad and Stephen Lacey

For the last few presidential race cycles we’ve heard people from the left and from the Democratic Party tell us that “this is the most important election in your lifetime.”

It’s funny how for several times in a row it’s been the “most important election in your lifetime.”


On Elections and the Sources of Real Political Power

by Dennis Loo

Contrary to most people’s understanding, real political power does not principally exist either by the vehicle of voting or through the publicly displayed actions of the existing political institutions such as Congress and the White House. 

Real political power actually rests upon two bases: coercion and legitimacy. The nature and features of the official political institutions are fundamentally irrelevant to this. As the sociologist Max Weber put it, political power is a monopoly over the legitimate means of violence. The hard core of political power, in other words, as I put it in Globalization and the Demolition of Society, is coercion, not the consent of the governed.

Why is violence so critical to political power?


Life and Death Lessons from Egypt

by Dennis Loo

The latest developments in Egypt provide life and death lessons on the nature of politics and movements that seek to end oppression. Egypt’s February 2011 popular uprising, along with Tunisia’s immediately preceding uprising, were triggers for the Occupy movement. Developments in the Arab world are both important in their own right and provide a window into the forces in play that operate everywhere. Egypt can be viewed, then, as a dress rehearsal for developments worldwide.

The Egyptian military, which took over control after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, was initially seen by many Egyptians as heroic for refusing to fire upon the people who flooded into Egyptian streets demanding that Mubarak go.


10th Anniversary of 9/11: Ten Years of a Juggernaut of Empire… And the Need for a Whole New World

Below is a slightly edited talk given on September 11, 2011 by Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books in New York City, on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer, was traveling home from vacation in Tunisia in September of 2002 and had a brief layover at JFK airport in NYC. He was immediately detained and held in solitary confinement for two weeks by U.S. intelligence forces and denied any meaningful communication with a lawyer. Although the U.S. authorities had no evidence against him, he was whisked onto a plane and taken, rendered—not to Canada which had raised concerns about him—but to Syria.
In Syria he was placed in an underground grave—a 3-ft. x 6-ft. rat-infested underground cell with no light. He was let out only to be tortured repeatedly, brutally interrogated, and worst of all kept in his solitary underground coffin without recourse or communication with the outside world. After 10 months, 10 long months, he was released and returned home. No charges filed. None. Arar is irrevocably scarred psychologically from this. His wife and young child put through their own hell. This never goes away. Eventually the Canadian government paid restitution for their conveying mistaken information. The U.S. has refused to accept any responsibility—declaring secrecy—including and continuing under the Barack Obama administration.
Syed Fahad Hashmi is a 30-year-old Muslim American citizen. He came to the United States from Pakistan with his family when he was three and grew up in Flushing, Queens. He became a U.S. citizen and graduated from Robert F. Wagner High School in 1998 and Brooklyn College in 2003. He then went to England where he earned an M.A. in 2005.


The Juggernaut of Empire and the Need for a Whole New World ...

This article originally appeared on the site Revolution

On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people died when jets flew into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

The immensity and horror of the attacks shocked people. Never had such a thing happened on U.S. soil. Some reacted with rage, with blind patriotic fury. Mobs formed to call for revenge; people who “looked foreign” were not only spat upon and often beaten, but in some cases actually killed for the offense of “looking different.” A network TV host deviated from the message and literally got told by the president’s spokesman in a press conference to “watch what you say.” He lost his show. Massive government roundups of over 1,000 immigrants occurred.

Other people—a minority, but not insignificant—were reminded of the scenes of horror on the nightly news that happen to “other people” who are “far away.” They mourned the 9-11 victims... but began to ask questions. Why did this happen? They sought out others—friends, sometimes strangers—to talk, to make sense of it all.


What We Should Remember from 9/11

Woman who confronted RumsfeldBy Debra Sweet

Just what is it we're being told to "never forget" as we remember the events of 10 years ago?  Looking back at what the Bush regime did at the time:

CBS News reported that, on the afternoon of 9/11/01, Donald Rumsfeld ordered the military to draw up plans to attack Iraq.  "Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

How about this, directed at any nation or person who would question means taken by the United States in response by George Bush, September 20, 2001: "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."  

Rumsfeld, with Known and Unknown;  Condoleezza Rice with No Higher Honor; and Dick Cheney, In My Time are hustling books, making the most of the anniversary as an opportunity for re-writing history.  We should not miss the opportunity to protest and challenge them, as World Can't Wait, Code Pink and Witness Against Torture will be doing this month in NYC. 


Main Real History Lessons


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.