After five weeks of silence, during which time the usual gossip circles fluttered with rumors of his death, former Cuban President Fidel Castro endorsed the December 17 rapprochement with the United States announced jointly by presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama. His comments reflected the fact that concerns continue to exist on both sides as the process continues.
The Peace Exchange Bulletin
Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.
A new and perhaps apocalyptic phase of the Long War is underway with the Paris attacks coupled with spreading threats across Europe. In a replay of September 11, Europe now will swing further to the anti-immigrant Right politically, to increased police and surveillance crackdowns, and increased rhetoric about a "war of civilizations."
Statement released by Tom Hayden, David Cortright, John McAuliff, Marge Tabankin & Terry Provance, on January 12th, 2015 meeting with Pentagon officials:
We are pleased to report progress in talks with Pentagon officials over avoiding the most serious problems we find in their official narrative of the history of the Vietnam War. At a January 12 meeting at Ft. Myer, Pentagon officials told us they were no longer planning educational materials or curricula containing the Pentagon views of the war. They are taking steps to form an independent review committee of respected historians to address problems with their original narrative, and will accept input from historians we suggest. Further, they arranged a meeting for us and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which is developing an independent educational project at the Vietnam Memorial Wall. That meeting was fruitful, and we look forward to further discussions to include the importance of the anti-war movement in the Vietnam crisis which shook so many of our country's assumptions and turned millions of our generation against the government. We concurred in the Pentagon's continuing effort to recognize the service and sacrifice of Vietnam era veterans, noting that honoring can never mean distortions of the often-bitter and divisive truths, which our whole generation experienced. Nor does it lessen our continuing concerns about subsequent US wars into the present day.
We will continue these constructive talks as we move forward to our April 30-May 2 conference and commemoration on the 50th anniversary of the first teach-ins and protest against the Vietnam War.
Progressive Democrats have a clear path to victory in 2016 if they commit to sharply reducing their ties to the traditional Confederate and Big Coal states. A progressive realignment also is possible in California where progressive Democrats are hobbled by corporate and fossil fuel lobbies trying to block the vital climate change agenda.
It's necessary to keep 2016 in mind as an era of Republican control of Congress and the courts is underway.
SACRAMENTO. Jan. 5, 2014. Saying he is "not going to get inhibited from doing great things," California Governor Jerry Brown's inaugural address announced the most ambitious plan yet for a clean energy economy, one which will make California's leading presence felt in the 2015 global climate talks.
For thousands of graying supporters of the Cuban Revolution, this has been the moment that they thought would never come. The same shock is sinking in among the Cuban exiles, now octogenarians, who fought for decades against the Castro regime from American soil. It is important that hard lessons are learned and traps from the past be avoided.
Knowing his biography, it is hard to believe that Ricardo was predestined to be a Politburo member of the Cuban Communist Party or, more generally, that Cuba's journey into Marxism-Leninism was inevitable. The island's long battle for real independence from the United States, combined with America's Cold War version of Manifest Destiny, produced those outcomes.
No one in the mainstream media will acknowledge it, but the normalization of American relations with Havana, symbolized by release of prisoners today, is a huge success for the Cuban Revolution. The hostile US policy, euphemistically known as “regime change,” has been thwarted. The Cuban Communist Party is confidently in power. The Castros have navigated through all the challenges of the years. In Latin America and the United Nations, Cuba is accepted, and the United States is isolated.
"Two Old Guys Talking" is the introduction to Tom Hayden's forthcoming book, Listen, Yankee!, Why Cuba Matters, to be published next year by Seven Stories Press. The piece was finalized last month. The "two old guys" are the author, now 75, who first visited Cuba in 1968, and Ricardo Alarcon, now 77, former president of the Cuban National Assembly, foreign minister, and UN representative.
This essay is adapted from Tom Hayden’s foreword to The Essential Mario Savio: Speeches and Writings That Changed America, edited by Robert Cohen and published this past September by the University of California Press.
It is a worthy time to study and treasure the eloquent speeches of Mario Savio—“freedom’s orator,” as the historian Robert Cohen rightly calls him.