Jun. 16th, 2011

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Arundhati Roy talks to David Barsamian: Revolts and rebellions

BEYOND THE hoopla of robust growth rates and prattle about the world’s largest democracy, India is beset by major revolts and rebellions over a vast area. Some, like the one in Kashmir, are for independence. Others, like the multiple uprisings in what the media call the “Red Corridor,” are for the overthrow of the government. These various movements are in response to serious economic and social problems and the bigotry of Hindu nationalism. The seizure of land, water, and minerals by corporations chaperoned and sanctioned by the state has caused the poorest of the poor to say: No more. They are pushing back. Washington ignores India’s internal realities. Instead it sees New Delhi as a hot destination for investment, a bazaar for arms sales, and as a strategic linchpin in its planned anti-China alliance.

THE SUMMER of 2010 was one of the bloodiest in Indian-administered Kashmir. It was the summer of the stones and the stone throwers. You’ve been going to Kashmir and writing about it. What are those stones saying and who are the stone throwers?

I GUESS we should qualify “the bloodiest,” because obviously it’s been a very bloody time since the early 1990s for the people of Kashmir. We know that something like 68,000 have been killed. But this summer the difference, I think, was that having somehow strangled the militant uprising of the early 1990s and convinced itself that under the boot of this military occupation what the Indian government likes to call normalcy had returned, and that it had somehow managed to co-opt the groovy young people into coffee shops and radio stations and TV shows. As usual, powerful states and powerful people like to believe their own publicity. And they believed that, that they had somehow managed to break the spine of this movement. Then suddenly, for three summers in a row, there was this kind of street uprising. In a way what happened over the last three summers was similar to Tahrir Square in Egypt over and over again, but without a neutral army, with a security force that was actually not showing restraint and was shooting into the crowds and so on. So what we saw is a sentiment for freedom, which keeps expressing itself in different ways.
This way was difficult, I think, for an establishment that has over the last twenty years entrenched itself and geared itself to deal with militancy and some sort of armed struggle, and was now faced with young people, armed only with stones. And with all this weaponry that the Indian government has poured in there, they didn’t know what to do with those stones.MORE
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In retrospect, it's a wonder that the convictions of Capt. Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, M.D., didn't get her in trouble long before the GulfWar. A feminist and ERA advocate, a founding member of Kansas Physicians for Social Responsibility, an outspoken opponent of nuclear and biological warfare and of the Vietnam war, she also served five years of a seven year hitch in the Army, leaving with an honorable discharge in 1982.

Seven years later, the Berlin Wall fell and Huet-Vaughn— wife, mother of three and family doctor at Humana Health Care in Kansas City—suddenly remembered that, although she had been discharged, she really still owed the Army two years of service. "I wanted to be part of the 'New World Order,' " she told ON THE ISSUES.

She re-enlisted in the Army reserves. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, Huet-Vaughn was called to active duty with her unit, the 410th Evacuation Hospital, set to deploy for Saudi Arabia.

Her military (and militant) background began to clash with a slowly emerging pacifism. Huet-Vaughan's father was a doctor; he was also a soldier. A Mexican immigrant who was raised as a staunch Catholic, she idolized Joan of Arc as a martyred soldier of faith. She and two friends had joined the Army Reserve in college partly to make ends meet, partly as an adventure and perhaps partly out of a family history of militant patriotism.

Stunning Change of Heart

The contradictions of Huet-Vaughn's history were not equal to a new world order that included war. Her life imploded; she went AWOL. And she went public, saying, "I am refusing orders to be an accomplice in what I consider an immoral, inhumane, and unconstitutional act, namely an offensive military mobilization in the Middle East. My oath as a citizen soldier to defend the Constitution, my oath as a physician to preserve life and prevent disease, and my responsibility as a human being to the preservation of this planet would be violated if I cooperate with Operation Desert Shield."

For refusing orders Huet-Vaughn was branded as a deserter by the army. She was held under house arrest for four months, court-martialed, and incarcerated in Fort Leavenworth for eight months of a thirty month sentence. She was one of at least 229 solider's to refuse service in the Gulf War. The only other member of the military to receive such a long sentence was Enrique Gonzalez, another Hispanic deeply involved in the Catholic church. Huet-Vaughn senses discrimination in those harsh sentences. She says she "never felt that Hispanics and Catholics had the standing in the eyes of the military that others do."MORE

There were pacifist deserters in "Desert Storm"? (What a fucking irritating name.) Met Crystal Eastman in Dale Spender's Women of ideas and am thinking of feminism and war and peace. Anyone have news links to women resisting wars?
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from [personal profile] jae The Ballad of Ruth Ellen Brosseau

I play politician during elections, but in my heart of hearts, I’m much more of a storyteller. I am such a sucker for a good political story. And man, is the story of Ruth Ellen Brosseau ever a good one.

She was a 27-year-old single mom who’d gotten pregnant at sixteen, dropped out of trade school, and now worked in a pub. When the the political party she supported asked her to be a name on the ballot on one of the ridings (electoral districts) in French-speaking Quebec that they didn’t have a chance in hell of ever winning (I mean, we’re talking the level of U.S. Republican chances in Brooklyn or Democratic chances in rural Utah), she said sure. She’d never been to the riding and didn’t plan to ever go, and her French wasn’t all that great, but sure, she’d go through the motions to make sure there wasn’t a big blank on the ballot where her party’s candidate should be.MORE
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 i'm freaked out by the nato/us bombing campaign...esp over a crowded city. i'm not seeing sources that are talking about this. most of the sources i see in the US are pro-intervention, and it reminds me of the propaganda for the iraq war, except this time around the usual anti-war left seems confused. in those spaces, i've been seeing the pieces by anjali kamat saying that the rebels wanted no-fly zone but no ground troops. what i wasn't able to decipher was who the rebels are, how representative they are, etc.

Kucinich has a petition up: http://www.kucinich.us/libya/

International socialist review critique:


Libya’s revolution, U.S. intervention, and the left

Read more... )



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