"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Friday, February 11, 2005

Ward Churchill

"Alert O'Reilly...send word to both the limo liberals and the Soldier of Fortune crowd...Pataki, Zahn, and Hannity take note...we have another repugnant quote from W. Churchill:

"I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place."

Oops...my bad. That wasn't Ward Churchill who said that. It was Winston Churchill. Sir Winston Churchill. The man U.S. News and World Report called "The Last Hero." The legend who also said this: "I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes." The icon/terrorist who asked British scientists to cook up "a new kind of weather" for the citizens of Dresden.

Do you think the good folks at Hamilton College would get any death threats if they invited Sir Winston to give a talk?"*

The essay that started it all:

"Some People Push Back"
On the Justice of Roosting Chickens
By Ward Churchill


The biggest problem lies in this bit:

"As to those in the World Trade Center . . .
Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire – the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" – a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it."

The problem here is, although he himself has described this piece as harsh, he didn't "[clarify] what did read like a blanket stigmatization of the WTC inhabitants in his original paper" until his statement:

It should be emphasized that I applied the "little Eichmanns" characterization only to those described as "technicians." Thus, it was obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by killed in the 911 attack. According to Pentagon logic, were simply part of the collateral damage. Ugly? Yes. Hurtful? Yes. And that's my point. It's no less ugly, painful or dehumanizing a description when applied to Iraqis, Palestinians, or anyone else. If we ourselves do not want to be treated in this fashion, we must refuse to allow others to be similarly devalued and dehumanized in our name."

And here's his full statement:


Here churchill defines what he meant exactly:

"WARD CHURCHILL: Well it goes to Hannah Arendt's notion of Eichmann, the thesis that he embodied the banality of evil. That she had gone to the Eichmann trial to confront the epitome of evil in her mind and expected to encounter something monstrous, and what she encountered instead was this nondescript little man, a bureaucrat, a technocrat, a guy who arranged train schedules, who, as it turned out, ultimately didn't even agree with the policy that he was implementing, but performed the technical functions that made the holocaust possible, at least in the efficient manner that it occurred, in a totally amoral and soulless way, purely on the basis of excelling at the function and getting ahead within the system that he found himself. He was a good family man, in his way. He was loved by his children, participated in civic activities, was in essence the good German. And she [Arendt] said, therein lies the evil..."



And some commentary from counterpunch:

The Right has a License to Write Anything

Ward Churchill and the Mad Dogs


When it comes to left and right, meaning the respective voices of sanity and dementia, we're meant to keep two sets of books.



"We Love Free Speech in America"

The People, the President and Ward Churchill


For those of us who have spent time on the college campus or have resided in a university community, living with questionable opinions of "radical" professors and students is not unusual. The Mighty Ado over the University of Colorado's Ward Churchill would barely raise a ripple among those accustomed to cantankerous academic debate.



It's the Same Beast

The Censorship of Ward Churchill and Dancehall Reggae Music


Dancehall Reggae and many of its most prolific and articulate artists have as of late been treated the same as Ward Churchill, and have been censored and attacked for their "insensitive" comments. The reason for the censorship of the Reggae artists was ostensibly the anti-gay content in some of their work but since when have the powers that be cared so much about gays. The reason for the censorship of Dancehall Reggae artists is actually the outspoken radical antiwar content of their music which is spreading a popular radical message to the youth in Europe and the US through a popular musical medium that is "insensitive" to say the least toward US aggression and propaganda.



The New McCarthyism on Campus

Ward Churchill and the Attack on American Higher Education


The real task of the NSTL (National Socialist Teacher's League)is to create the new German educator in the spirit of National Socialism. It is being carried out with the same methods with which the movement has conquered the whole nation: indoctrination and propaganda.

Statement of the German National Socialist Teacher's League, 1933

This past week, I had the delightful opportunity of being interviewed for a soon-to-be-released documentary, "Beyond Five Senses", which focuses on social justice, world events, and the simultaneous, hopeful evolution of human consciousness. The interview took place on the college campus where I teach U.S. history. As the crew set up cameras near a vintage classroom building, I noticed a large display of graffiti on the corner of the building which read: "Rethink patriotism." I smiled, not only because it reminded me of my college years in the sixties, but because this particular campus is not known for its activism. The interviewer pitched me a number of astute questions like: Why do I think the people of the United States are in such denial about their country's demise, how do I see history currently repeating itself, how do my students respond to what I teach them about U.S. history? The camera rolled, for one hour, during which time I was told to "just talk."



* By Mickey Z at http://www.counterpunch.org/mickey02072005.html