Exclusive: Revolutionary spirit could spread, author tells Raw

By Nathan Diebenow
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 10:23 EDT
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Despite the unique circumstances that brought about social unrest in countries across the Middle East, the wave of revolutions could indeed continue onward, a noted author and history professor recently told Raw Story.

“One never says never,” he quipped.

Juan Cole, author of “Engaging the Muslim World,” who also teaches history at the University of Michigan, wrote in January that Egypt would be America’s top foreign policy challenge in 2011.

“[The revolution in Egypt] has the potential to weaken the US posture,” Cole summarized in an interview. “If Egypt becomes more pluralistic, then the US won’t lose influence completely, but it will be harder to exercise. Certainly, it will be much more difficult to issue fiats.”

The weakening of US economic and diplomatic power in the region stemmed from Washington’s relationship with former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

“If the US could persuade Mubarak to do something in Egypt, it would be adopted,” he said.

Before the Egyptian revolt now in its third week, Washington publicly stood with Mubarack, only to slowly back track once it became clear the protesters would not give up until the despot left office. Cairo failed attempts to dissuade the demonstrators by force with police actions as well as by appointing a new vice president, who happened to be the nation’s former spy chief.

The wave of revolution in Egypt was ignited by the labor movement in response to the limiting of civil liberties and deteriorating standard of living among the poor and working classes under the 30-year regime. Many of Egypt’s wealthy elite followed the example of former Tunisia dictator Ben Ali, fleeing to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Now that Mubarak is out, it remains unclear as to whether the demands of the social movement – clean elections, independent trade unions, and release of political prisoners – will ultimately be met by his military lackeys currently in power.

But there are mixed signs of progress, as Cole pointed out on his blog.

Many variables, one cause

While the revolutionary spirit has taken hold in Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, and Jordan, could the wave spread to America’s ally Saudi Arabia, an important Middle Eastern country that Professor Cole left off his top 10 list of challenges to US policy?

“One never says never, but let’s just say that it’s not the same situation,” Cole said.

The main difference is that the Saudi government – an absolute monarchy – relies on its enormous oil wealth to quell potential resistors to its regime.

“The [Saudi] government can then use that money essentially to bribe the population to accept the status quo,” Cole said. “It’s a country of about 22 million citizens, which produces about 11 percent of the world’s petroleum everyday. That’s a pretty good bribe.”

Egypt’s military rulers have no such luxury. The alliance between United States and Egypt centers upon Israel and control of the Suez Canal, a sea trade route that provides crucial revenue for Egypt. In 2010, the Suez Canal authority reported that the canal’s revenues were $4.7 billion.

“To be fair, in the last 10 years, [Egypt's elites] did bump up Egypt’s overall economic growth rate quite a lot to as much as 7 percent a year in some instances,” Cole said. “But they had set things up so that much of the extra income being generated was going to the top of society.”

Even with the canal revenues and US military aid to Egypt, 20 percent of Egyptians live below the poverty line, at $2 dollars a day; another 20 percent live only slightly above that line. On Tuesday, canal workers waged a sit-in demanding an increase in pay.

“They are pretty desperate,” Cole said. “The government is not in a position to bribe the Egyptian people. It doesn’t have that kind of independent income.”

Professor Cole said that if a revolution erupted in Saudi Arabia, local workers and poor people would probably not lead it.

“Likely it would be a movement of the Saudi middle classes who objected to absolute monarchy,” he said.

As for Egypt becoming more democratic, it’s too early to tell; however, the Muslim Brotherhood, the long-time Islamic fundamentalist group in Egypt, said it would not campaign for control of Egypt, Cole noted.

“The likelihood of it can take over by any other means is also low because the military, the officer corps, the junior officers are typically unsympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood,” Cole recently told Russia Today’s CrossTalk.

“The likelihood that the Muslim Brotherhood taking over is one percent,” he concluded.

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  • Anonymous

    Thank you master of the obvious.

  • Anonymous

    I kept reading, waiting for the one place that needs to change that would set it off for the others, but it never came………hint (they put the Star Of David on their tanks)

  • Anonymous

    Wasn’t so obvious in January. In fact, I remember reading plenty of articles after the Tunisian revolts saying that the turmoil would NOT spread to Egypt.

  • Anonymous

    It’s another 1848.

  • Anonymous

    It’s Feb 16th. January has come and gone. Next on Raw: Professor says US buildings could be attacked.

  • Anonymous

    Gosh, it might go much further than just the ME.

    Will a Prague Spring come to DC?

    Will the Breeze from Cairo blow accountability to DC -gov’t, Congress, pundits, media, et al.?

    How far will the inspiration go? Brush up your Gandhi & MLK.

  • Anonymous

    “If the US could persuade Mubarak to do something in Egypt, it would be adopted,” he (Cole) said.”

    With so-called idiot educators, no wonder everyone is clueless…

    More likely there was a HUGE falling out… Things were going along, reasonable well, until…
    Roni Sofer, Published: 03.24.08, 01:05 / Israel News:

    “Cairo enters nuclear age: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will launch a formal visit to Moscow on Monday, during the course of which he will sign a cooperation agreement regarding the development of nuclear power for civilian needs. In accordance with the framework of the agreement the Russians may construct an operational nuclear reactor on Egyptian soil.”"

    I guess Egypt got tired of paying OPEC fake prices for oil, also…

    read the whole story here:

    And, then, a short time later, the US made a deal, themselves, with India, and Russia… There was also the rumor that Mubarak rejected an offer for Egypt to become a “nuclear shield” for Israel. Asking a little too much?…

    And, then, from NBC…
    By Robert Windrem Senior investigative producer, NBC News NBC News, updated 2/7/2011.

    “With Egypt in revolt and the country’s future uncertain, concern is growing over whether a new government in the Arab world’s most militarily and industrially advanced country could accelerate an arms race in one of the world’s most volatile regions.

    At the heart of the concern is intelligence indicating that Egypt has quietly carried out research and development on weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical, biological and missile technology.

    The research and development has continued virtually without pause over the past three decades, according to interviews with U.S. officials and a review of intelligence and other government documents by NBC News.

    Specifically, the intelligence indicates that Egypt has carried out experiments in plutonium reprocessing and uranium enrichment, helped jump-start Saddam Hussein’s missile and chemical weapons programs in Iraq, and worked with Kim Jong Il on North Korea’s missile program.

    “If we found another country doing what they’ve done, we would have been all over them,” said a former U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity.”"

    Read the entire story here… Its quite interesting:

    Gee, it seems as if Mubarak was far from doing the US bidding…. I wonder how such an accomplished college professor could miss these simple facts, available to anyone, after 5 minutes of research? Wow.

  • Anonymous

    Hopefully it spreads to teh US soon.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    It would be great if that revolutionary spirit would move Americas youth to take back our country from the military/industrial complex. I’m hoping they will take back their future from the rich and greedy, soon!

  • Anonymous

    The point is he had published his warnings before the revolts. Seems like someone with some insight.

    btw: his website is great – http://www.juancole.com/

    and read his wikipedia entry. Very interesting guy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Zentrails/100001475536421 Bob Zentrails

    The real story behind these revolutions is the availability of information via Internet sources.

    In all these countries, most of the citizens want change and hate their governments, but could not get organized in the ways that we are now seeing. That’s why Hosny was so desperate to shut down the Internet in his country. He was well aware of the threat.

  • Anonymous

    This whole thing just makes me want to play Risk.

  • Anonymous

    It already has spread here. Check out Wisconsin.

  • http://twitter.com/Shadowquartz George Haramundanis

    The real story is how the media is, all of a sudden, telling us about the WMD danger that Egypt poses. Manipulated much.

  • Anonymous

    Gandhi and MLK are way too trendy. I prefer Utah Phillips and Karl Hess. Ooh or maybe some Hakim Bey. Gabrielle D’Annunzio maybe?

  • Anonymous

    It has. Wisconsin

  • Anonymous

    We need to help them.

  • Anonymous

    What happened in Wisconsin?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3NVQSZZC5IM66JEOCSFJUV7FCE Jacques G

    Even more importantly, will it spread back to AMERICA?? Stop the complacency, America!! Awake!
    Get from behind your Wii’s and take to the Streets, Democracy needs you!!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3NVQSZZC5IM66JEOCSFJUV7FCE Jacques G

    How about some basic Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Payne, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, etc.. etc….?? Our old homegrown revolutionaries…

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/BATQTRSD53GBBRKC2ZELNTTE5I Hardy

    Let’s see how quickly the opiates will appear in Egypt! Just like it did in the US in the 60′s!

  • http://openid-provider.appspot.com/j.biddy J.biddy

    The GOP Governor of Wisconsin is navigating a bill through the legislature there that would limit public employee union’s abilities to collectively bargain, effectively making them wage only. The bill would also increase employee contributions to insurance and pension costs.

    Public employees are threatening to strike and the Governor is threatening to activate the National Guard, 400 of whom happen to be returning from Iraq very soon…


  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Yes. Especially Thomas Paine.

  • Anonymous

    He was referring to the status of the Egyptian people not what the Egyptian dictator was secretly up to regarding Nuclear Arms. Most Egyptians live in severe poverty so I doubt they had concern over this having no knowledge of the fact. They just want equality and freedom of oppression.

    And the U.S. knows all along what Mubarak has been up to. Iraq has no WMD’s as far as we know. Iran keeps threatening they have the means to build Nuclear weapons with their enriched uranium; however, they haven’t done anything about it. Either way, the amount of Nuclear Arms in the middle east is nothing compared to what the U.S. and certain European countries have. They aren’t a threat. Everyone is bluffing but no one will pull the trigger. It’s called deterrence.

  • Mr. Neutron

    “[The revolution in Egypt] has the potential to weaken the US posture,” Cole summarized in an interview. “If Egypt becomes more pluralistic, then the US won’t lose influence completely, but it will be harder to exercise. Certainly, it will be much more difficult to issue fiats.”

    “If the US could persuade Mubarak to do something in Egypt, it would be adopted,” he said.

    This means that when Egypt was ruled by a dictator, the US just had to convince one man to do something – a puppet can be manipulated, but you have to pull the strings in just the right direction, string pulling can be very expensive, and sometimes the strings break. Remember, Saddam Hussein used to be a CIA puppet, as was Osama bin Laden.

    What was the main U.S. objective with Mubarak ? Wikileaks shows exactly what the U.S. wanted:
    Another cable, from March 2009, shows the U.S.’s astonishingly intimate military relationship with Egypt. Washington provides Cairo $1.3bn annually in foreign military finance (FMF) to purchase U.S. weapons and defence equipment, and the cable said “President Mubarak and military leaders view our military assistance program as the cornerstone of our mil-mil relationship and consider the $1.3bn in annual FMF as ‘untouchable compensation’ for making and maintaining peace with Israel.

    “The tangible benefits to our mil-mil relationship are clear: Egypt remains at peace with Israel, and the U.S. military enjoys priority access to the Suez canal and Egyptian airspace.”

    When Egypt is ruled by an actual Parliament, it will be much harder for the U.S. to “persuade Egypt to do something”. You could learn a lot from Professor Cole, but you have to read his words more carefully:

  • Greg Eckhart

    Juan Cole?

    “Should the US have attacked Iraq?”
    Cole: “My position on the war was in fact very complex. I thought it was a terrible idea, but declined to come out against it because I believed that if Saddam’s genocidal regime could be removed by the international community in a legal way, that some good would have been accomplished. But the bottom line is that I thought a war would be legal only if the United Nations Security Council authorized it.”

    So his position now with this 30 year old martial law murderin’ and a killin’ corrupt dictator rolling in looted dollars and brutalized starved people…?
    Of course …nothing has actually changed in Egypt, Cole, so save the victory lap.
    Hey who knows, Juan, maybe the UN can be compelled to rubberstamp an ‘ILLEGAL’ war there as well, so you can feel better about supporting the expansion of the US empire for the SOLE purposes of resource control, placating Israeli military dominance of the region and the full spectrum dominance.

    Blast from the Past….

    The assassination of Rafik al-Hariri, the popular multi-billionnaire Sunni prime minister (1992-1998 and 2000-2004), angered a broad swath of the Sunni community, convincing them it was time for the Syrians to go. Despite the lack of any real evidence for the identity of the assassin, the Lebanese public fixed on the Syrians as the most likely culprit. The Sunnis, the Druze, and the Maronites have seldom agreed in history.

    March 2, 2005

    Then by March 21, 2005

    But the question of who killed Hariri is highly significant and it is important not to let our prejudices affect our judgment. The judgment has been made by the political opposition in Lebanon for local reasons, but it seems likely that a majority of Lebanese thinks someone beside Syria was responsible (not all Sunnis, Maronites and Druze have adopted the Syria theory, and Zogby showed that 70 percent of Shiites– who are some 40 percent of the population– have not.)

    He goes on to say the ‘magical words’….

    But from a Gulf perspective, and from the perspective of the recent history of transnational jihadi terrorism, a radical anti-Saudi hit on Hariri is perfectly plausible and also cannot simply be dismissed. It should be remembered that 9/11 initially struck many in Washington as so weird and illogical that they assumed Iraq was the real culprit. Transnational terrorism has its own logic, and its targets can strike outsiders as oddly decontextualized. From within the movement, however, Hariri may have looked like a Saudi cat’s paw, and hitting him a way to reduce Saudi influence in Greater Syria. The point is gradually to isolate the Saudi royal family, weaken them, and then finish them off. It is a crackpot plan, and it would be doubly tragic if Hariri was the victim of this kind of thinking. It is too early to know for sure, and better to reserve judgment.

    Greater Syria? What the…? Oh it was an attack against the Saudis and not an attempt to destabilize Lebanon by murdering a popular politician with national ambitions and well liked by all factions? This is what people in Lebanon were telling Cole two weeks later? LOL
    So tell me again how it is Cole can get away with ‘Glenn Beck’ thinking consistently and never gets called on it by HIS viewers?

    Consume the minds of people like Cole or Chomsky at your own risk…


    From Chomsky’s recent interview: “The Business Elites … Are Instinctive Marxists”
    Really? Marxists! You wily commies, huh?

    KB: In the same vein: while CNN reports that two-thirds of the US population opposes the war in Afghanistan, an ABC poll released on September 3 with data collected in May shows that 63 percent of Afghans believe their country is going in the right direction. Can you parse these seeming contradictions? Is Afghanistan an actual case of “Come over and help us?”

    NC: I’ve written about it in “Hopes and Prospects.” If you look at those polls carefully, for one thing, they’re not polling much in the Pashtun regions, because they’re pretty inaccessible. You can’t even send the Marines in there.

    KB: In a January poll, ABC found favorable views towards the U.S. drop to 35 percent in the East and 29 percent in the South (versus 59 percent in the rest of the country) – again, plummeting where the U.S. is most actively engaged in combat.

    NC: Look, that’s about 40 percent of the population. The tribal areas, the Tajik and Hazara and Uzbek areas, often like the American troops. They’re the ones who are gaining from it. Furthermore, if you really look closely, it’s very possible that these polls are saying “Stay here for reconstruction.” Are they saying, “Stay here and fight,” or “Stay here for reconstruction?” They don’t ask that question. But if you look at the few questions that do give some information about that topic, it’s a fair possibility that they’re saying, “We want you to stay here and pour money into the country.” It should be polled properly. I wouldn’t discount the polls, but you have to look carefully into what they’re asking.

    Look carefully? Bwhahaha…and this guy wrote a book called Manufacturing Consent warning people about how polling is used by elites to manufacture consent? LOL

    These are clowns and propagandists whose scholarship is really only dross for political positioning and high tone punditry that their smug readers NEED for re-assurance.

  • Anonymous

    And it’s a real shame that corporate media is in charge of what information gets through,and how much.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FPBFO6RC5R2HHIP3VXSFU2RZQA mjj

    If only it would spread to the US. sigh

  • Anonymous

    Mubarak’s army brass has taken all power. That is all that’s been established, not a legitimate transformation process. There has been no talk of UN oversight to free elections, which the protestors should have demanded.

  • Anonymous

    Mr Cole may be a bit too naive in thinking that Israelis will sit by and do nothing. Cause according to their Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says that “Israel cannot ignore these provocations,” according to ynetnews.com. He made the staement as Iran is sending two wrships thru the Suez Canal.

    “Unfortunately, the international community is not ready to deal with Iran’s repeated provocations,” Lieberman said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

    Lieberman added that the warships was “a provocation that proves Iran’s nerve and self-esteem is growing from day to day.” May be he wants to occupy the Suez Canal as an act to defend Israel.

  • cannotvote

    When 1% has much of the wealth – acquired from the other 99% you get “Change”! This has always been, this is what stimulates revolution – when it becomes the only option, the majority start to ‘rule’ and the elite don’t like that. The sadness is that when the military starts shooting it’s own populous at the bequest of that 1% – you know that democracy has turned fully into tyranny – if the military starts doing that this time – in the states, there will be a ‘Hell’, as there was in 1776 and with all the modern ‘machinery’, blood will run as rivers do, sad really.
    Long Dark Train – Adrian Borland. Not that crappy religious song either!

  • cannotvote

    They’ve been contorted by history’s twisters, there are ‘three sides’ to any coin! Lies, more lies and the truth! Though the principles are proper, the people and events aren’t and haven’t been represented correctly – nationalism is always a lie and to deny that proves the point!

  • Guest

    I am guilty of this too, but we are spending all of our time documenting/defending these uprisings in the Muslim World, while we should organizing our own little uprising here. There was a 4 part article in the Examiner recently justifying a revolution here, and I think if we look at the Tea Party, we see that this is not just something we want on the left.

    The right is just as pissed off, but they are new to all this, so they allowed Rove and the Neo-cons to high jack their little uprising. Well, if the mainstream right keeps pissing on Ron Paul like they are, we are going to see the Tea Party turn on FOX News, The GOP, the Rove Machine, etc. Then maybe the antiwar/social libertarian left can work with them and take this shit down. Let’s go get our damn money back. Let’s make Congressmen, whom have been ruling over us for thirty years just like Mubarak in Egypt, resign now. Let’s shut down the entire country with one mass protest. We don’t have a “dictatorship” ruled by a single dictator–we have a “democratic dictatorship” ruled by a handful of old men in Congress and the House. We are fooled into believing we have control over how we are governed because we get to vote for and elect a new President every four years. We do vote for Congressmen every two years, and Senators every six years, BUT the same old assholes stay in office. I say let’s do the same thing. Let’s follow in the Egyptian’s footsteps, and let’s do so for the same reason–thirty years of dictatorial rule. Let’s have one coordinated, MASSIVE, nationwide protest, and shut down all business, government functions, etc. They will have to comply, and our military will be deployed to end these protests of course; however, they will not harm us.

    And this is why their Revolution worked.
    From Tom Dispatch:

    Strangling the Mubarak Regime

    “[...] The attack on tourism, however, was just the first blow in what rapidly became the protesters’ true weapon of mass disruption, its increasing stranglehold on the economy. The crucial communications and transportation industries were quickly engulfed in chaos and disrupted by the demonstrations. The government at first shut down the Internet and mobile phone service in an effort to deny the protesters their means of communication and organization, including Facebook and Twitter. When they were reopened, these services operated imperfectly, in part because of the increasingly rebellious behavior of their own employees.

    Similar effects were seen in transportation, which became unreliable and sporadic, either because of government shutdowns aimed at crippling the protests or because the protests interfered with normal operations. And such disruptions quickly rippled outward to the many sectors of the economy, from banking to foreign trade, for which communication and/or transportation was crucial.

    As the demonstrations grew, employees, customers, and suppliers of various businesses were ever more consumed with preparations for, participation in, or recovery from the latest protest, or protecting homes from looters and criminals after the government called the police force off the streets. On Fridays especially, many people left work to join the protest during noon prayers, abandoning their offices as the country immersed itself in the next big demonstration – and then the one after.

    As long as the protests were sustained, as long as each new crescendo matched or exceeded the last, the economy continued to die while business and political elites became ever more desperate for a solution to the crisis.

    The Rats Leave the Sinking Ship of State

    After each upsurge in protest, Mubarak and his cronies offered new concessions aimed at quieting the crowds. These, in turn, were taken as signs of weakness by the protesters, only convincing them of their strength, amplifying the movement, and driving it into the heart of the Egyptian working class and the various professional guilds. By the start of the third week of demonstrations, protests began to hit critical institutions directly.

    On Feb. 9, reports of a widening wave of strikes in major industries around the country began pouring in, as lawyers, medical workers, and other professionals also took to the streets with their grievances. In a single day, tens of thousands of employees in textile factories, newspapers and other media companies, government agencies (including the post office), sanitation workers and bus drivers, and – most significant of all – workers at the Suez Canal began demanding economic concessions as well as the departure of Mubarak.

    Since the Suez Canal is second only to tourism as a source of income for the country, a sit-in there, involving up to 6,000 workers, was particularly ominous. Though the protesters made no effort to close the canal, the threat to its operation was self-evident.

    A shutdown of the canal would have been not just an Egyptian but a world calamity: a significant proportion of the globe’s oil flows through that canal, especially critical for energy-starved Europe. A substantial shipping slowdown, no less a shutdown, threatened a possible renewal of the worldwide recession of 2008-2009, even as it would choke off the Egyptian government’s major source of steady income.

    As if this weren’t enough, the demonstrators turned their attention to various government institutions, attempting to render them “nonfunctional.” The day after the president’s third refusal to step down, protesters claimed that many regional capitals, including Suez, Mahalla, Mansoura, Ismailia, Port Said, and even Alexandria (the country’s major Mediterranean port), were “free of the regime” – purged of Mubarak officials, state-controlled communications, and the hated police and security forces. In Cairo, the national capital, demonstrators began to surround the parliament, the state TV building, and other centers critical to the national government. Alaa Abd El Fattah, an activist and well known political blogger in Cairo, told Democracy Now that the crowd “could continue to escalate, either by claiming more places or by actually moving inside these buildings, if the need comes.” With the economy choking to death, the demonstrators were now moving to put a hammerlock on the government apparatus itself.

    At that point, a rats-leaving-a-sinking-ship-of-state phenomenon burst into public visibility as “several large companies took out adverts in local newspapers putting distance between themselves and the regime.” Guardian reporter Jack Shenker affirmed this public display by quoting informed sources describing widespread “nervousness among the business community” about the viability of the regime, and that “a lot of people you might think are in bed with Mubarak have privately lost patience.”

    It was this tightening noose around the neck of the Mubarak regime that made the remarkable protests of these last weeks so different from those in Tiananmen Square. In China, the demonstrators had negligible economic and political leverage. In Egypt, the option of a brutal military attack, even if “successful” in driving them off the streets, seemed to all but guarantee the deepening of an already dire economic crisis, subjecting ever widening realms of the economy – and so the wealth of the military – to the risk of irreparable calamity.

    Perhaps Mubarak would have been willing to sacrifice all this to stay in power. As it happened, a growing crew of movers and shakers, including the military leadership, major businessmen, foreign investors, and interested foreign governments saw a far more appealing alternative solution.

    Weil Ziada, head of research for a major Egyptian financial firm, spoke for the business and political class when he told Guardian reporter Jack Shenker on Feb. 11:

    “Anti-government sentiment is not calming down, it is gaining momentum. … This latest wave is putting a lot more pressure on not just the government but the entire regime; protesters have made their demands clear and there’s no rowing back now. Everything is going down one route. There are two or three scenarios, but all involve the same thing: Mubarak stepping down – and the business community is adjusting its expectations accordingly.”

    The next day, President Hosni Mubarak resigned and left Cairo. [...]”

    Chris Hedges and numerous others have been calling for more Civil Disobedience. Well…what say you? I’m down. Someone just tell me where to sign up. I want my generation to have a chance to build it’s own future rather than having a bunch of old men making decisions for us when they will NEVER see the future effects of those decisions because they will have long been dead. Let us do it ourselves…send these old, warmongering, wrinkled, Viagra snorting, assholes home.

    “The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
    Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back


    Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.” — Howard Zinn

    You down?

  • Anonymous

    Fievel, the movie that keeps on giving.

  • Anonymous

    How long before the teagaggers start their revolution for “freedom,” and stuff here? I’m amazed they haven’t already. Benn Gleck has missed a golden opportunity to piggyback on the turmoil in the Middle East. They’re probably waiting for spring weather so they can wear their idiotic foundering fathers costumes.

  • Anonymous

    The revolution is spreading to Wisconsin…

  • Anonymous

    No. Only isolated protests here and there. Not enough to form a revolution. This has to spread to the major cities.

  • Mr. Neutron

    Iran keeps threatening they have the means to build Nuclear weapons with their enriched uranium

    No they don’t – they repeatedly state, very clearly, that they are not building nuclear weapons, they don’t want nuclear weapons, and that nuclear weapons have only been used twice in history (by the USA, in 1945) – so they are not cost effective. They make no secret that every single dime they spend on defense is for usable military systems, which they will not hesitate to use if attacked – unlike nuclear weapons, which are never used, and are merely for prestige, apparently.

    They repeatedly state that they are enriching their own uranium in their own country because they don’t trust another country to supply their electrical sector with critical fuel, seeing as how the US is always threatening them and applying economic sanctions, and arm-twisting to get other countries to go along with sanctions, since they toppled the US-backed Dictator in 1979 and kicked out the US oil companies. By using their uranium to generate their electricity, they will have more of their increasingly valuable oil to export. Oil is expected to go back over $100/barrel again, soon.

    If you have not heard these things, find a new source of “news”.

  • Anonymous

    Ahmedinajad is just as unstable a “leader” as many in the middle east. Don’t think for 1 second he cares about his people or what they want without foreign oil. These claims about nuclear energy may be true; however, my sources of “news” I have studied in classes in the past and sources I read now give some evidence his enriched uranium is being used for other means. I never said he has nuclear weapons and is building them with enriched uranium. I said he has to means to build nuclear arms. Whether that be he has them or not is unanswerable right now. There is certain evidence Iran MIGHT have a few but it’s uncertain. And, again, I call his bluff. Just as I call Kim Jong Il’s bluff every single time. These weapons won’t be used.

  • Anonymous

    i read him all the time, he’s spot on, reads and translates arabic and supplies copious links to interesting articles and news items etc. I consider him essential reading to understand what’s going on in the arab moslem world