is the title of this piece yesterday at Common Dreams, which has the subtitle "On "sanitizing" the legacy of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela."
It begins with a picture of Mandela with an upraised fist, and the quote
When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.
That is the 12th and final quote in this piece.
It is a piece you SHOULD read.
Let me offer a few of the quotes, and also offer some thoughts of my own.
The first quote is
"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens."
Somehow those words speak powerfully to me, in a time when I see the UK exploring prosecuting the Guardian under anti-terrorism laws because of its publication of the Snowden material, and when our own government abuses the laws to go after whistleblowers, as our own Jesselyn Radack
regularly reminds us, among her other writings.
Please continue below the fold for more.
The fourth quote:
"Gandhi rejects the Adam Smith notion of human nature as motivated by self-interest and brute needs and returns us to our spiritual dimension with its impulses for nonviolence, justice and equality. He exposes the fallacy of the claim that everyone can be rich and successful provided they work hard. He points to the millions who work themselves to the bone and still remain hungry."
Given that our President has finally spoken out on some of the economic inequality that persists and is getting worse, perhaps in part nudged to doing so by the words of Pope Francis, it is worth remembering that capitalism is an imperfect economic system, and should be given neither the government status of constitutional doctrine nor theological dogma. While the Constitution does allow for the protection of property through patents and copyrights, those are themselves interference in a totally free market system, which therefore indicates the government can interfere, and the Constitution further allows for it under the power to regulate interstate commerce.
It is worth noting that Smith's system presumes perfect knowledge of all relevant information to all participants, and that notion is something strongly opposed by many, whether it be under the doctrine of trad secrets by corporations or of their desire and those of the wealthy to hide how they use money to manipulate politics, policy, and economics in favor of tilting the economic, political and social systems totally in their favor. Those who criticize SNAP and complain how it is has expanded seem to ignore that many people on SNAP are already working hard, and the numbers have increased because even as the economy has "recovered" the benefits have accrued ever more to fewer people, leaving increasing numbers hurting and in need of help.
I am so tempted to go through the entire piece offering my own commentary. I am sure the folks at Common Dreams would not object.
Let me offer just a few more.
"There is no doubt that the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like."
Sadly, on this Mandela was totally accurate, and too often it is not just the neo-Cons who think this way.
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
That is sadly also true of the United States, which as far as I know is the only major country willing to treat those to be incarcerated as a revenue stream for private prisons, which provides the perverse incentive to incarcerate more of its population.
And finally, given some of my other focus in the past few days, is this:
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
Might I suggest that some of those who seem late to offer praise to Mandela that they seriously consider these words BEFORE they again advocate cutting the social safety net in the name of fiscal responsibility, rather than appropriately collecting tax revenue from those individuals and corportaions who have gotten wealthy because of the society to which we all contribute?