1) Sign the petition AND Add your photo in support of PVT Manning’s request for presidential pardon
President Obama has already granted pardons to 39 other prisoners, and a White House spokesperson said he would give consideration to PVT Manning’s request. Showing public support for PVT Manning’s application is the best way to give her a real chance of being released in 3 years, or even sooner. Sign our petition on Whitehouse.gov, and then submit your photo with a personal message at
2) Write a letter to Convening Authority Major General Jeffrey S. Buchanan
Maj. Gen. Buchanan has the power to reduce PVT Manning’s sentence for the first 6 months after the trial. Convening Authorities reduce soldiers’ sentences when they believe the court martial failed to deliver justice. We think PVT Manning deserves clemency more than anyone, and we know it’s important to show it!
3) Write and call the White House
While our current focus is on the White House petition, that is only the beginning of our effort to demonstrate our support for military whistleblowing to the Commander in Chief. You can write to and call the White House in order to express your views in a more personal manner. You can also help by organizing a letter-writing drive with others in your community!
4) Donate to the appeals process
The legal appeals process is the most important avenue to hold the U.S. military to account for the many ways in which PVT Manning’s due process rights were violated throughout her trial, from the months of unjust and abusive solitary confinement to the utter failure to provide a speedy trial. PVT Manning’s legal defense will target appeals at all of the ways in which PVT Manning’s trial violated her rights under the U.S. Constitution and the UCMJ. Your donation can help support this crucial process.
By contributing, you’ll also be helping to uphold Americans’ right to a speedy trial, to be treated as innocent until proven guilty, and to be made fully aware of the nature of the charges against them without fear those charges may change midway through the trial.
5) Write to tell PVT Manning of your support!
Near the end of her trial, PVT Manning expressed gratitude to the countless numbers of supporters who’ve written her letters in prison. Now that the trial is over, she is looking forward to having the ability to write people back.
You can write to PVT Manning at the address below. While the outside of the envelope must be marked “Bradley Manning,” PVT Manning will be happy to accept letters that refer to her with her chosen name Chelsea on the inside (of the letter).
PVT Bradley E Manning
1300 N Warehouse Rd
Ft Leavenworth KS 66027-2304
EVERY WEDNESDAY!! CALL / WRITE THE CONVENING AUTHORITY #FreeCHELSEA!
Originally posted on Amnesty For Bradley Manning:
Reblogged from the Private Manning Support Network
Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Convening Authorities are granted the power to reduce or eliminate a convicted soldier’s sentence. They use this power when they feel the court martial failed to deliver justice. As Commanding General of the Military District of Washington, Major General Jeffrey S. Buchanan is the only other individual besides President Obama with the power to ameliorate WikiLeaks whistleblower PVT Manning’s sentence in the immediate future.
Originally posted on a.nolen:
Mr. Jacob Appelbaum, representative of the Navy-funded Tor Network, spoke on behalf of Edward Snowden during the 2013 Whistleblower Award ceremony on Aug 31st. The ceremony took place in Berlin, and was organized by the German chapter of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA).
Laura Poitras, who put Snowden in contact with Appelbaum, was also in the crowd.
Originally posted on Philosophers for Change:
by Henry A. Giroux
Revolution is not ‘showing’ life to people, but making them live. A revolutionary organization must always remember that its objective is not getting its adherents to listen to convincing talks by expert leaders, but getting them to speak for themselves, in order to achieve, or at least strive toward, an equal degree of participation. – Guy Debord
The war drums are beating loudly and America is once more mobilizing its global war machine. How might it be possible to imagine hope for justice and a better world for humanity in a country that has sanctioned state torture, is about to bomb Syria and kill untold number of civilians, spies on its own citizens, extends the reach of the punishing state into all aspects of society, and inflicts violence on black and brown youth through racial profiling and the machinery of the mass incarceration state? How does one retrieve hope from the dark and dismal killing, cruelty, human rights violations, and abuse that has been produced as a result of the needless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the role played by a conformist media that supported such practices? Is hope on terminal life support when the police are allowed to handcuff a kindergarten student for doodling on her desk or arrest a student for a dress code violation? What does hope mean in a country in which there is no tolerance for young protesters and infinite tolerance for the crimes of bankers, hedge fund managers, and corporate polluters? How can hope make a difference in a country in which economics drives politics and harsh competition replaces any notion of compassion and respect for the public good?
What does hope mean when the United States as the most powerful nation in the world is virtually unmatched around the world for incarcerating thousands of young people of color and destroying millions of families and the social bonds that give them meaning? What does hope teach us at a time in which government lies and deception are exposed on a daily basis in the media and yet appear to have little effect on challenging the deeply authoritarian attacks on civil liberties initiated by President Obama? What happens to the promise of hope as a foundation for social struggle when all of social life is subordinated to the violence of a deregulated market and the privatization of public resources, including health care, education, and transportation? What resources and visions does hope offer in a society in which greed is considered venerable and profit is the most important measure of personal achievement? What is the relevance of hope at a time when most attempts to interrupt the operations of an incipient fascism appear to fuel a growing cynicism rather than promote widespread individual and collective acts of resistance? Where does hope live in a country in which moral courage is valued less than a brutalizing hyper-masculinity and a cult of toughness? In spite of this brutalizing script, hope not only matters it is alive and well all over the globe especially in those places where young people refuse the dictates of authoritarians and the savagery of casino capitalism and its politics of austerity.
More corrosive than authoritarianism is a loss of faith in the possibilities and promise of collective struggle for an open society, the promise of a radical democracy, and a society that is never just enough. In this regard, Robert Reich’s comments on an exchange with his mentor are instructive for how to understand the power of militant hope. He writes: “You’ve been fighting for social justice for over half a century. Are you discouraged?” “Not at all!” he said. “Don’t confuse the urgency of attaining a goal with the urgency of fighting for it.”
Hope refuses the cynical and politically reactionary idea that power cannot be simply equated with domination. It also raises serious questions about its own possible demise and the dystopian forces at work in either dismantling or subverting its power to advance democratic agency and social engagement. As a mode of self-reflection, hope raises questions about the growing sense that politics in American life has become corrupt, progressive social change a distant memory, and that a discourse of possibility is on the verge of becoming the last refuge of deluded romantics. Those traditional public spheres in which people could exchange ideas, debate, and shape the conditions that structured their everyday lives appear increasingly to have little substance where they still exist, let alone political importance. Civic engagement seems irrelevant and public values are rendered invisible, if not overtly disparaged, in light of the growing power of multinational corporations to privatize public space and time as it disconnects power from issues of equity, social justice, and civic responsibility. Political exhaustion and impoverished intellectual visions are fed by the widely popular assumption that there are no alternatives to the present state of affairs.
State violence against any display of moral courage and dissent by artists, intellectuals, journalists, and ordinary citizens has become normalized and has sent a chilling effect throughout a society in which all worldly criticism is equated with treason, anti-Americanism, or worse. Whistleblowers who expose government wrongdoings are labelled as traitors in the dominant media and by the government. As the ACLU has written in its comments on Chelsea Manning, justice and the value of dissent are turned upside down,
When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system. A legal system that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability.
Americans now live in a bubble of intense privatization, commodification, and civic illiteracy. The public does not merely dissolve into the private, the private is all that is left. One consequence is that citizenship is reconfigured largely within the confines of a consumer culture and at the same time the meaning and rights that accompany citizenship are excluded more and more from vast groups of the American public. Within the increasing corporatization of everyday life, market values replace social values and people with the education and means appear more and more willing to retreat into the safe, privatized enclaves of the family, religion, and consumption. Those without the luxury of such choices pay a terrible price in what Zygmunt Bauman calls the hard currency of human suffering.
The American public yawns as they are inundated with statistics that should shock, and are complacent in the face of information that should make them ashamed. For example, in the richest country in the world, the “U.S. ranked 27th out of 30 for child poverty,” “over 350,000 Americans with advanced degrees applied for food stamps in 2010,” millions of young people are crushed under the burden of student loans, increasing numbers of youth are homeless, living on the streets, and over 50 million Americans are uninsured. Inequality in wealth, power, and income has created a country filled with gated communities on the one hand and zones of abandonment and massive poverty and human suffering on the other. The middle class pays higher taxes than many corporations, while the super-rich get even richer. For instance, “each of the Koch brothers saw his investments grow by $6 billion in one year, which is three million dollars per hour based on a 40-hour ‘work’ week.” Equally obscene and symptomatic is the example of Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs who made $21 million last year and received a bonus of $5 million in January 2013. At the same time, the poorest 47% have no wealth, 146 million Americans or 1 in 2 are low income or poor, and a “third of families with young children are now in poverty.”
Unlike some theorists who suggest that politics as a site of contestation, critical exchange and engagement has either come to an end or is in a state of terminal arrest, especially in light of the withering of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, I believe that the current depressing state of politics points to the urgent challenge of reformulating the crisis of democracy and the radical imagination as part of the fundamental crisis of vision, meaning, education, and political agency. Politics devoid of vision degenerates into either cynicism or appropriates a view of power equated with domination. Lost from such accounts is the recognition that democracy has to be struggled over even in the face of a most appalling crisis of educational opportunity and political agency.
There is also too little attention paid to the fact that the struggle over politics and democracy is strongly connected to creating and sustaining public spheres where individuals can be engaged as political agents equipped with the skills, capacities, and knowledge they need not only to actually perform as autonomous political agents, but also to believe that such struggles are worth taking up. The formative cultures, institutions, and modes of critical agency necessary for a vibrant democracy do not exist in a culture in which knowledge is fragmented, power concentrated in few hands, and time is reduced to a deprivation for large segments of the public—one consequence of which is the endless struggle by many Americans to simply try to survive at the level of everyday life. The colonizing of times, space, and power suggests taking back peoples’ time in an era when the majority must work more than they ever have in order to make ends meet. There is no democracy in a country in which for most people time is a deprivation rather than a luxury. Time is crippled when it is trapped within an endless need to fight to merely survive in order to have enough to eat, have access to decent health care, day care, and a social wage. The struggle over time is inextricably linked to a struggle over space, institutions, public spheres, the public good, power, the future, and the nature of politics itself.
In a country in which the social contract is dissolving, the social wage is on life support, and social protections are viewed as a pathology, democracy becomes a shadow of itself and choice becomes impotent and an empty slogan because of the constraints imposed on the 99 percent by vast inequalities in wealth, income, power, and opportunity. The growth of cynicism in American society may say less about the reputed apathy of the populace than it might about the bankruptcy of the old political languages and the need for a new language and vision for clarifying intellectual, ethical and political projects, especially as they work to reframe questions of agency, ethics, and meaning for a substantive democracy. As Zygmunt Bauman has argued, “hope nowadays feels frail, vulnerable, and fissiparous precisely because we can’t locate a viable and sufficiently potent agency that can be relied on to make the words flesh.” If democratic agents are in short supply so is the formative culture that is necessary to create them—revealing a cultural apparatus that is more than an economic entity or industry. It is also a public pedagogy machine– an all-embracing totality of educational sites that produces particular narratives about the world, what it means to be a citizen, and what role education will play in a powerful and unchecked military-industrial-security-surveillance state. Stanley Aronowitz is right in arguing that:
[The] social character has become entwined with communications technology….This intricate interlock between cultural institutions, political power and everyday life constitutes a new moment of history. It has become the primary machinery of domination. And a central aspect of domination is the abrogation of the concept that we can know the totality, but are condemned to understand the division of the world as a series of specializations. Thus, the well-known fragmentation of social life is both a result of the re-arrangement of social space and the modes by which knowledge is produced, disseminated and ingested. The cultural apparatus is largely responsible for the intellectual darkness that has enveloped us.*
We live in a world in which any viable notion of hope has to recognize that the social media, or the cultural apparatus as C.W. Mills once acknowledged, has “formed a new mass sensibility, a new condition for the widespread acceptance of the capitalist system” and that our social character has become inextricably merged and shaped by the new social media.” Most importantly, the existing cultural apparatuses in all of their diversity are the most powerful educational tools of the 21st century shaping not only individual desires, dreams, needs, and fears but the nature of our understanding of politics and social life in general. Yet, such cultural apparatuses that range from magazines, film, newspapers, television and various instruments of the social media and platforms made available through the Internet constitute one of the few spheres left in which hope can be nourished through the production and circulation of alternative knowledge, ideas, values, dreams desires, and modes of subjectivity. The fight over the cultural apparatus may be the most significant struggle that can be waged in the name of hope for a better and more just future.
As power is separated from politics, it becomes more reckless, arrogant, and death dealing. No longer viewed as accountable, casino capitalism and its minions turn savage in their pursuit of wealth and its accumulation. All bets are off and everything is fodder for increasing the wealth of the bankers, hedge fund managers, and the corporate elite. Ensconced in a culture of cruelty, neoliberal power relations have become global, eschewing any sense of responsibility to an ethics of care, justice, and spiritual wellbeing. Responsibility now floats like a polluted cloud signaling a dystopian future—a symbol of both extreme savagery and corporate irresponsibility. But there is more at work here than a retreat into cynicism, or a collective silence in the face of a normalizing disimagination machine. There is a need to craft a new political language that requires a more realistic, impatient, and militant sense of hope. Hope, in this instance, is the precondition for individual and social struggle, involving the ongoing practice of critical education in a wide variety of sites and the renewal of civic courage among citizens who wish to address pressing social problems.
Hope is not an individual fantasy or a recourse to a romanticized and unrealistic view of the world. On the contrary, it is a subversive force that enables those who care about democracy and its fate to not mistake the difficulty of individual and collective agency with the urgent need to shape it in the interest of the arc of justice and the promise of a democracy to come. In opposition to those who seek to turn hope into a new slogan or punish and dismiss efforts to look beyond the horizon of the given, progressives need to resurrect a language of resistance and possibility, a language in which hope is viewed as both a project and a pedagogical condition for providing a sense of opposition and engaged struggle. As a project, Andrew Benjamin insists, hope must be viewed as a structural condition of the present rather than as the promise of a future, the continual promise of a future that will always have to have been better. Rather than viewed as an individual proclivity, hope must be seen as part of a broader politics that acknowledges those social, economic, spiritual, and cultural conditions in the present that make certain kinds of agency and democratic politics possible.
The late philosopher, Ernst Bloch, rightly argued that hope must be concrete, a spark that not only reaches out beyond the surrounding emptiness of capitalist relations, anticipating a better world in the future, a world that speaks to us by presenting tasks based on the challenges of the present time. For Bloch, hope becomes concrete when it links the possibility of the ‘not yet’ with forms of political agency animated by a determined effort to engage critically with the past and present in order to address pressing social problems and realizable tasks. Bloch believes that hope cannot be removed from the world and is not something like nonsense or absolute fancy; rather it is not yet in the sense of a possibility; that it could be there if we could only do something for it. As a discourse of critique and social transformation, hope in Bloch’s view foregrounds the crucial relationship between critical education and political agency, on the one hand, and the concrete struggles needed, on the other, to give substance to the recognition that every present is incomplete. This is a discourse that must be reclaimed, used, and mobilized in the interest of a radical hope willing to struggle collectively, take risks, and make education central to any viable notion of transformative politics.
Prophecy, moral witness, and civic courage matter more than ever in American society. And we see hints of such practices in the rise of public intellectuals such as Michal Lerner, Stanley Aronowitz, Carol Becker, Angela Davis, Chris Hedges, Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers, Robin D. G. Kelley, Noam Chomsky, and too many others to name. We also see the power of collective hope in the increasing resistance by unions, workers, and young people to the attack on all things public in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Maine, and other states now controlled by right-wing Republican extremists. In this instance, the longing for a more humane society does not collapse into a retreat from the world but emerges out of critical and practical engagements with present policies, institutional formations, and everyday practices. Hope in this context does not ignore the worse dimensions of human suffering, exploitation, and social relations; on the contrary, it acknowledges the need to sustain the capacity to see the worst and offer more than that for our consideration. This reclaiming of hope from the idiocy of consumer and celebrity culture, from a market that turns hope into a commodity, and from a government that kills hope with its electronic gulags, proliferating war zones, and its militarizing ideologies and policies is a crucial element for the reclamation of not just hope but a fundamental element of politics itself.
Originally posted on Metro News:
TORONTO – Director Kelly Reichardt sees eerie parallels between Chelsea Manning and the troubled hero of her eco-thriller “Night Moves,” screening at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Reichardt’s script was written well before the former soldier, previously known as Bradley Manning, released a mountain of war logs and diplomatic cables to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.
But the filmmaker says the bold act of rebellion —coupled with Manning’s headline-grabbing diagnosis of gender identity disorder — offer a real-life example of the kind of pressures facing her film’s fictional eco-terrorist.
El gobierno de los Estados Unidos vigila y roba la intimidad de los hombres y mujeres libres en todo el mundo por medio de la Agencia de Inteligencia […]
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