Thursday, December 31, 2020

Daniel Larison of The American Conservative questions sanctioning terror sponsoring regimes: A critique

The case for the list of state sponsors of terrorism

Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Gabriel briefs President Ronald Reagan, Secretary of State George Shultz, CIA Directo William Casey, and Chief of Staff Donald Regan during a NSC meeting on the Libya airstrike in the White House on April 15, 1986. ( Ronald Reagan Presidential Library)

Posted in The American Conservative comments section

The first question to ask Daniel Larison, author of the December 30, 2020 essay “Cuba and Washington’s Absurd Overuse of Sanctions” are there any economic sanctions that he could cite that are not “absurd” or “overused”?

Without economic sanctions policy makers are left with two options: ineffectual statements that mean nothing or going to war. Economic sanctions are a non-violent method of pressuring an outlaw regime without having to send in the Marines. 

The list of terror sponsors came into existence on December 29, 1979 during the Carter Administration, and began part of a toughened anti-terrorism strategy during the Reagan Administration. It was a response to worsening terrorism sponsored by foreign states. Key items in Ronald Reagan's arsenal to combat terrorism were economic and political sanctions.

On March 1, 1982 the Cuban dictatorship was placed on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. less than three months after the US State Department confirmed that the Castro regime was using a narcotics ring to funnel both arms and cash to the Colombian M19 terrorist group then battling to overthrow Colombia’s democratic government.

The claim made by Mr. Larison that placing Cuba back on the terror sponsors list would politicize the list is simply wrong. He also doubles down by criticizing the “re-addition of North Korea” on November 20, 2017 by the Trump Administration.

Removing both Cuba and North Korea were political decisions not based on the merits of whether or not they were sponsoring terrorism, and the objective for doing so did not materialize.

Consider the following:

In October 2008, the George W. Bush Administration took North Korea off the list of state sponsors of terrorism in the hope that it would “salvage a fragile nuclear deal.” This approach failed and on May 25, 2009 North Korea conducted a second underground test with an explosion that was the equivalent to U.S. bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. North Korea had also tested a long-range missile in April of 2009. In 2013, North Korea conducted a third nuclear test claiming to have miniaturized the bomb in order to place it on a long-range missile with ability to reach the U.S. mainland.

On January 6, 2016 North Korea announced that it had detonated a hydrogen bomb. This wasn't supposed to happen. North Korea had been cheating on a deal it had made over 20 years earlier and brazenly announced nearly a decade earlier on October 9, 2006 that it had conducted its first underground nuclear test. Removing it from the list did not improve its behavior, or serve U.S. interests.

Bruce Klingner Senior, Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, who specializes in Korean and Japanese affairs gives a summary of Pyongyang’s actions and how they fit into the designation of a state terror sponsor.

“The United States placed North Korea on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list in 1988 after North Korean agents blew up a South Korean commercial airliner, killing 115 people. Twenty years later, the Bush administration removed Pyongyang from the list in a failed attempt to improve the atmosphere for progress in the Six-Party Talks nuclear negotiations. But the talks collapsed soon afterward over North Korea’s rejection of verification protocols."

"U.S. law, such as 18 U.S. Code § 2331, defines international terrorism as acts that:"

"involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States… appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States."

"Kim’s regime has checked every box."

"Since being dropped from the terrorism list, Pyongyang has conducted, repeated cyberattacks against government agencies, businesses, banks and media organizations. It has also engaged in: threats of “9/11-type attacks” against U.S. theaters and theatergoers; assassination attempts against North Korean defectors, human rights advocates and South Korean intelligence agents; and numerous shipments of conventional arms bound for terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. Earlier this year, North Korean agents used VX, a deadly nerve agent, to kill Kim Jong-un’s half-brother in a crowded civilian airport."

"Returning North Korea to the terrorist list enables Washington to invoke stronger financial transaction licensing requirements under 31 CFR Part 596 and remove North Korea’s sovereign immunity from civil liability for terrorist acts. Redesignation also requires the U.S. government to oppose loans to North Korea by international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank.”

It is amazing that all this is left out of Mr. Larison’s essay. The same holds true for Cuba.

Raul Castro conditioned “re-establishing diplomatic relations and upgrading their so-called interests sections in Havana and Washington into full-blown embassies” on ending Cuba’s “designation as a state terrorism sponsor.” This was not difficult for Havana because the interests sections had been operating as de facto embassies since 1977.

The White House had to ignore a number of bad actions by Havana to achieve its diplomatic goal.

Consider that the Castro regime was caught smuggling Soviet era fighter jets and weaponry to North Korea in July 2013, in violation of international UN sanctions.

In June 2014, a U.S. Hellfire missile used in NATO exercises in Europe ended up in Havana’s possession instead of being sent back to the United States. Although U.S. officials said this was the result of a shipping mishap by Lockheed Martin, the missile’s manufacturer, this was at a time during which Obama staffer Ben Rhodes was already secretly negotiating with Havana.

On Dec. 17, 2014, when President Obama opened what he called “a new chapter” in U.S.-Cuba relations, he commuted the sentence of Cuban spies who planned terrorist acts on U.S. soil and freed Gerardo Hernandez, who was serving a double life sentence for espionage and murder conspiracy, as part of a prisoner exchange. [The murder conspiracy charges were for his role in the killing of three American citizens and a Cuban national with residency in the United States on February 24, 1996. The four were shot down by Cuban fighter jets as they flew small aircraft with Brothers to the Rescue, a group that searched the seas for Cuban refugees in trouble. Hernandez’s spy group had infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue.] Hernandez returned to Cuba and became tasked with spying on Cubans on a national level.

Cuba was removed from the terror sponsor list on April 14, 2015 to re-establish diplomatic relations.

Omitted by Mr. Larison is what happened next.

Relations were officially reestablished in July 2015, and yet, the United States was unable to obtain the return of this weapon, despite repeated requests, until the story went public in January 2016. The Hellfire missile, filled with sensitive technology, was returned in February 2016, after over a year and a half in Havana’s possession.

Beginning in November 2016, on President Obama’s watch, scores of U.S. diplomats began being identified as suffering neurological injuries, and Havana failed in its duty to protect them on their territory, and claimed it was “mass hysteria” and “crickets” at different times. This was the reason for the reduction in personnel.

Mr. Larison fails to mention that on January 2, 2017, Raúl Castro presided over a military parade in which Cuban soldiers chanted: “Obama! Obama! With what fervor we’d like to confront your clumsiness, give you a cleansing with rebels and mortar, and make you a hat out of bullets to the head.”

The New York Times reported on December 29, 2020 that Raul Castro refused "request by Colombia, an American ally, to extradite 10 leaders of the country’s National Liberation Army living in Havana after group claimed responsibility for a bombing of a Bogotá police academy in January 2019 that killed 22 people." 

Gerardo Hernandez conspired to murder Americans and carry out terrorism

Oh yes, and Gerardo Hernandez, who President Obama commuted his double life sentence, the same Mr. Hernandez who planned terrorists acts on U.S. soil and successfully conspired to murder Americans, on December 17, 2020 was promoted to the Castro dictatorship’s Council of State, the 31-member body that governs day-to-day life on the island.

Despite all of this, and a Cuban presence in Venezuela that engages in repression and trains Venezuelan officials in torture techniques, and played an important role in the rise of the Soles drug cartel, Mr Larison has the chutzpah to claim otherwise.

Returning both Cuba and North Korea to the list of terror sponsors is to undue politicization of the list. The Castro regime has a long track record of both terrorism and training and sponsoring terrorists around the world. 

Furthermore, the Trump Administration should declassify the communications and meetings carried out secretly by the Obama Administration from 2010 through 2017 with Havana, and especially the meetings between White House staffer Ben Rhodes and General Raul Castro’s son, Alejandro Castro Espin, a Colonel in the Ministry of the Interior that reportedly began in 2013.

The American people should know what went on and how it has advanced or impeded U.S. interests. The Castro dictatorship and its spy apparatus already does.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Cuban American Statesman, Ambassador Jose S. Sorzano passed away on December 29, 2020

Requiescat in pace Ambassador Jose Sorzano.

Ambassador Jose S. Sorzano
Source: Center for a Free Cuba 

Ambassador Jose S. Sorzano passed away on December 29, 2020 after a long illness. He was a founding member of the Center for a Free Cuba in 1997 and earlier a member of the board of Of Human Rights, founded by Cuban human rights defender Elena Mederos.

Ambassador Sorzano's life story demonstrated the possibilities of the United States. Jose Sorzano was born in Havana, Cuba on November 9, 1940. He arrived on these shores a Cuban refugee with $5.00 in his pocket in 1961 fleeing the Castro dictatorship and took a job as a "deep-fry man in a Marriott HotShop." In 1965 he graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and in 1972 obtained a doctorate from the Government Department. He went on to become first an "assistant professor, and later an associate professor in Georgetown's Government Department."

Professor Sorzano paused his teaching career at Georgetown to lead "the Peace Corps in Colombia from 1976 to 1979." Between 1983 and 1985, Ambassador Sorzano served as Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick's deputy at the United Nations. In 1985, he returned to Georgetown University to teach political philosophy .

In 1986, he was appointed Director of Latin American Affairs under President Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor Frank Carlucci. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, in a July 25,1987 letter to the editor in The New York Times spoke glowingly of her former deputy at the United Nations.

"I advised Jose Sorzano not to resign his tenured position as professor at Georgetown University to take the National Security Council job [...] . Alas, he cared as little about displeasing me as Mr. Carlucci, the national security adviser, does. He resigned his tenured position at Georgetown and has been doing a first-class job at the N.S.C. -where, I am told, Mr. Carlucci is very pleased with his performance."

Throughout his career he defended the cause of freedom in the Americas. The "third wave of democratization" in Latin America began during his tenure in government. This was not a coincidence. The Reagan Administration viewed democracy as a weapon against Soviet and Cuban destabilization efforts in Central America, and democratization proved to be the correct approach to stifle communist revolutions.

It was an honor and a privilege to have known him and to have witnessed his defense of freedom generally, and his commitment to a free Cuba

Requiescat in pace Ambassador Jose Sorzano.

Click to view the video



Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter's Top 5 Most-Read Articles in 2020

 2020 was the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2, but the anniversary was over shadowed by the worse global pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu. COVID-19 and examinations of what communist regimes in China, Cuba and elsewhere could be covering up dominated the top five most read articles with three entries. On a "lighter" note the documentary "Operation Odessa" came in second place.






Monday, December 28, 2020

Comment on Ted Galen Carpenter's essay "When to Fold ‘Em: What Biden Should Do About Trump’s Lesser Known Foreign Policies"

Facts matter


Ted Galen Carpenter's essay in The American Conservative "When to Fold ‘Em: What Biden Should Do About Trump’s Lesser Known Foreign Policies" on second tier foreign policy issues is interesting and thought provoking, but his history of U.S. Cuba policy is missing quite a bit. He claims that Washington has had a "continued enthusiasm for economic sanctions against Cuba." Nor was it merely "in response to Fidel Castro’s communist revolution."

The Castro revolution from its earliest days sought to overthrow neighboring governments, sending armed guerillas and troops to overthrow governments across Latin America. The same regime hosted a tricontinental meeting in 1967 bringing together terrorists and guerillas from across the world to plot communist expansion.

U.S. policy towards Cuba over this period was not static. Washington after failing to overthrow the Castro regime in 1961 with the Bay of Pigs invasion and Operation Mongoose in the early 1960s. pursued a policy of containment combining economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation. This was a successful policy that raised the cost and limited the expansion of the Castro regime abroad.

Lamentably, both sanctions and isolation collapsed during the Carter Administration (1977 – 1981). On Carter's watch diplomatic relations were restored in practice with Interests Sections in their respective countries. Carter ended the travel embargo and was loosening sanctions until the Castro regime's adventurism in Africa, especially participating in genocide in Ethiopia, and Castro personally selected murderers and rapists to wreak havoc in the United States during the Mariel boat-lift in 1980 cooled relations.

Ronald Reagan overturned the policy in 1981, placed Cuba on the list of state terror sponsors in 1982, and achieved more to advance U.S. interests in Latin America while providing greater protection for dissidents in Cuba. Only and last visit of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Cuba's prisons was in the middle of the Reagan-Bush years thanks to tough diplomacy exposing the systemic human rights violations of the Castro regime. Also, on Reagan's watch the creation of Radio Marti broke through the communist communications monopoly and spoke directly to the Cuban people in the island.

During the Clinton Administration (1993 –2001) the attempt to normalize relations ended up with the U.S. military carrying out joint military exercises with a dictatorship that massacred its own fleeing refugees in 1993-1994, and in 1996 shot down two Brothers to the Rescue planes over international airspace leading to a temporary tightening of sanctions with Helms-Burton. As soon as Clinton was re-elected in 1996 the backroom deals began again, and in 2000 in New York City President Clinton shook hands with Fidel Castro, and shortly afterwards opened up cash and carry trade between U.S. companies and the dictatorship. The Ag lobby and the Chamber of Commerce became big cheerleaders for the dictatorship out of economic interests.

The policy of containment was twice weakened and partially dismantled in favor of one of engagement with the dictatorship. On both occasions this legitimized the regime, provided it with more resources that allowed it to project further internationally.This approach coincided with the rise of the Sandinista regime in 1979 in Nicaragua with the assistance of the Cuban intelligence services and the rise of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 1999. The humanitarian and political disaster has been enormous.

This pattern was repeated during the Obama Administration but the third time may prove to be the worse for a number of reasons. This is not a new policy but a very old one that empowers dictators but has no apparent benefit for the United States. Removing Cuba from the list of state terror sponsors while Havana was smuggling tons of weapons to North Korea, and continuing to back guerillas in Colombia, and prop up Maduro in Venezuela was a disaster. This detente also coincided with the suspicious deaths of high profile Cuban dissidents.

Galen Carpenter also fails to mention that beginning in November 2016, on President Obama’s watch, scores of U.S. diplomats began suffering neurological injuries, and the Cuban government failed in its duty to protect them on their territory. This was the reason for the reduction in personnel on Trump's watch.

Lastly Carpenter omits that on January 2, 2017, Raúl Castro presided over a military parade in which Cuban soldiers chanted: “Obama! Obama! With what fervor we’d like to confront your clumsiness, give you a cleansing with rebels and mortar, and make you a hat out of bullets to the head.”

The United States for over 40 years has been making overtures to Havana to normalize relations and has repeatedly received a bloody nose for its efforts. Hopefully, one day elite policy makers will look to what Reagan did both in Europe and Latin America that led to a democratic era in both with a burst of freedom, but did not serve the narrow interests of Big Ag and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that repeatedly sought to engage with and make deals with dictators.

When pursuing a policy of realism and restraint, facts matter.


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Filling some of the gaps in the debate over U.S. - Cuba Policy

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. - Martin Luther King Jr

South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 23, 2020

Obama’s Cuba policy only emboldened Castro | Opinion

By John Suarez

Special to the Sun Sentinel | Dec 23, 2020 at 1:46 PM 

Reading the Dec. 15 op-ed by William LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh [“For Biden’s Cuba policy, quid pro quo incrementalism is doomed to fail, Dec. 15”], I was shocked by the numerous omissions the authors made in defending a failed policy.

President Obama’s détente began in 2009 with sanctions loosened and calls for a willingness to negotiate with Havana. This coincided with increasing violence against dissidents, including high-profile opposition leader Oswaldo Payá, who died in a suspicious car crash in Bayamo, Cuba, on July 22, 2012. Payá's children and the driver of his car that night all say the car was run off the road. The Cuban government, of course, says otherwise.

On the international front, the Castro regime was caught smuggling Soviet era fighter jets and weaponry to North Korea in July 2013, in violation of international UN sanctions. 

In June 2014, a U.S. Hellfire missile used in NATO exercises in Europe ended up in Havana’s possession instead of being sent back to the United States. Although U.S. officials said this was the result of a shipping mishap by Lockheed Martin, the missile’s manufacturer, this was at a time during which the U.S. was already secretly negotiating with Castro. Relations were officially reestablished in July 2015, and yet, the United States was unable to obtain the return of this weapon, despite repeated requests, until the story went public in January 2016. The Hellfire missile, filled with sensitive technology, was returned in February 2016, after over a year and a half in Havana’s possession.

On Dec. 17, 2014, when President Obama opened what he called “a new chapter” in U.S.-Cuba relations, he commuted the sentence of Cuban spies who planned terrorist acts on U.S. soil and freed Gerardo Hernandez, who was serving a double life sentence for espionage and murder conspiracy, as part of a prisoner exchange. 

The murder conspiracy charges were for his role in the killing of three American citizens and a Cuban national with residency in the United States on Feb. 24, 1996. The four were shot down by Cuban fighter jets as they flew small aircraft with Brothers to the Rescue, a group that searched the seas for Cuban refugees in trouble. Hernandez’s spy group had infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue. Hernandez returned to Cuba and became tasked with spying on Cubans on a national level. Last week, on Dec. 17, he was promoted to the Castro dictatorship’s Council of State, the 31-member body that governs day-to-day life on the island.

LeoGrande and Kornbluh give a false impression when they state that “Obama restored full diplomatic relations and fully staffed the embassy and consulate in Havana.” The president did restore full diplomatic relations, renaming the Interests Section an Embassy, but the Interests Section had been fully staffed for years. What the authors left out was that, beginning in November 2016, on President Obama’s watch, scores of U.S. diplomats began suffering neurological injuries, and the Cuban government failed in its duty to protect them on their territory. This was the reason for the reduction in personnel.

Moreover, they write about “diplomatic civility” but omit that on Jan. 2, 2017, Raúl Castro presided over a military parade in which Cuban soldiers chanted: “Obama! Obama! With what fervor we’d like to confront your clumsiness, give you a cleansing with rebels and mortar, and make you a hat out of bullets to the head.”

This was a one-sided and failed détente that did not serve U.S. interests or improve the lot of Cubans on the island, but it did empower the dictatorship that oppresses them.

John Suarez is the executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba, an independent nonprofit institution dedicated to promoting human rights and a nonviolent transition to democracy and the rule of law in Cuba.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

The End of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991: A Christmas Miracle

Christmas returns to the Kremlin

Twenty nine years ago on December 25, 1991 a regime born in 1917 and formerly named in 1922 came to an end. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) or as it was also known the Soviet Union was formerly brought to an end on Christmas day and replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States. The last day of the Soviet Union was on Christmas day. Let that sink in for a moment.


Now there are those who claim that the world is a less stable place without the Soviet Union, and Mikhail Gorbachev claims that it could have been reformed. Academic Stephen F. Cohen goes further and quotes approvingly both by Putin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky with the adage: "Anyone who does not regret the breakup of the Soviet Union has no heart. And anyone who thinks it can be reconstructed has no head." Vaclav Havel, a man who had both head and heart understood why this kind of regime was so profoundly inhuman: "As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it."


The optimism expressed by Gorbachev and the nostalgia of Cohen fails to take into account the human cost of the USSR. The Soviet Union took the lives of an estimated 61 million human beings. It was a brutal and evil system that allied with Nazi Germany to start WW2 in 1939, and afterwards spawned other brutal regimes around the globe that claimed over a 100 million lives. Their lives mattered. Vaclav Havel in his 1990 New Years Speech called on his countrymen not to forget:

"The rivers of blood that have flowed in Hungary, Poland, Germany and recently in such a horrific manner in Romania, as well as the sea of blood shed by the nations of the Soviet Union, must not be forgotten. First of all because all human suffering concerns every other human being. But more than this, they must also not be forgotten because it is these great sacrifices that form the tragic background of today's freedom or the gradual emancipation of the nations of the Soviet Bloc, and thus the background of our own newfound freedom."
The numbers of lives lost is but the material accounting and does not take into account the spiritual ruin visited upon billions and its aftermath to the present day. The late Czech president explained it in the very same address:
"The worst thing is that we live in a contaminated moral environment. We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. We learned not to believe in anything, to ignore one another, to care only about ourselves. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility or forgiveness lost their depth and dimension, and for many of us they represented only psychological peculiarities, or they resembled gone-astray greetings from ancient times, a little ridiculous in the era of computers and spaceships."

The destruction both material and spiritual generated by the Soviet Union over seventy years will take centuries to repair and transcend. That hard truth may not be cause for celebration but the end of the system that wreaked so much damage is cause for celebration not regret. To do otherwise is to be heartless. The fact that it happened without violence on Christmas day in 1991 is also cause for joy. 

2020 was a year that saw statues torn down across the West, often without cause, but with the end of the Soviet Union many statues of Lenin and Stalin came down, and in Highgate Cemetery in London the monument to Karl Marx has been repeatedly attacked over the years with a 2019 BBC report highlighting a pipe bomb in 1970, with emulsion paint, and with hammers in 2019. In light of the passions aroused is it not time to take down the monument to the man viewed as the author of this anti-human enterprise and place it in a museum alongside statues of slave traders, and Confederate generals?

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Christian Liberation Movement's 2020 Christmas Message for Cubans

Christmas is a time for reflection and below is the Christian Liberation Movement's 2020 Christmas message to the Cuban people.


 Christmas Message 2020. Christian Liberation Movement 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”Jeremiah 29:11. 

It is the message of hope that today we want to share with the people in Cuba and in the diaspora on pilgrimage. 

People separated by selfishness, by the lack of opportunities in their spiritual and human growth, but above all by the lack of rights. 

Changes, in the slow process towards democratic transition, must come from within and for this we have faith in their main protagonist: the people. As Father Varela stated "... Cuba should not expect anything from anyone, it should liberate itself ..." 

Good wishes to all those men and women of good will, who with their testimonies of life continue to carry the banner of dignity and hope in the face of the dehumanization and depersonalization of a system that has supplanted life for death. 

May the birth of the Lord of History, in that humble manger, renew our hearts! Coordinating Council of the Christian Liberation Movement Dec 24, 2020


Mensaje de Navidad 2020. Movimiento Cristiano Liberación

“Yo sé muy bien los planes que tengo para ustedes,dice el Señor. Planes de bienestar y no calamidad, a fin de darles un futuro y una esperanza” Jeremías 29:11.

Es el mensaje de esperanza que hoy queremos compartir junto al pueblo que peregrina en Cuba y en la diáspora. Pueblo separado por el egoísmo, por la falta de oportunidades en su crecimiento espiritual y humano pero sobre todo por la falta de derechos.

Los cambios, en el lento proceso hacia la transición democrática, deben surgir desde dentro y por esto tenemos fe en su principal protagonista: el pueblo. Como afirmó el Padre Varela “… Cuba no debe esperar nada de nadie, debe liberarse por sí sola…”

Buenos deseos para todos aquellos hombres y mujeres de buena voluntad, que con sus testimonios de vida siguen llevando la bandera de la dignidad y la esperanza frente a la deshumanización y a la despersonalización de un sistema que ha suplantado la vida por la muerte.

¡Que el nacimiento del Señor de la Historia, en aquel humilde pesebre, renueve nuestros corazones!

Consejo Coordinador del Movimiento Cristiano Liberación


24 de diciembre de 2020



Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Reflection on Christmas, Liu Xiaobo, Oswaldo Payá, the power of small moral actions, and consequences of sin

"It's up to all of us to try, and those that say that individuals are not capable of changing anything are only looking for excuses." - Vaclav Havel, Interview with Amnesty International in 2011

Oswaldo Payá, Liu Xiaobo and the power of moral actions
Eleven years ago on Christmas morning in Beijing the nonviolent dissident, scholar and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the crime of speaking. He had already been jailed for more than a year for being one of the authors of Charter 08 that sought to gather signatures in a petition calling on the Chinese regime to gradually shift toward democracy.
The speech he delivered at his trial on December 23, 2009 is one that remains extremely relevant today and more so on Christmas. In a key passage of his final statement Liu Xiaobo said the following:
But I still want to say to this regime, which is depriving me of my freedom, that I stand by the convictions I expressed in my "June Second Hunger Strike Declaration" twenty years ago ‑ I have no enemies and no hatred. None of the police who monitored, arrested, and interrogated me, none of the prosecutors who indicted me, and none of the judges who judged me are my enemies. Although there is no way I can accept your monitoring, arrests, indictments, and verdicts, I respect your professions and your integrity, including those of the two prosecutors, Zhang Rongge and Pan Xueqing, who are now bringing charges against me on behalf of the prosecution. During interrogation on December 3, I could sense your respect and your good faith.
Hatred can rot away at a person's intelligence and conscience. Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society's tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation's progress toward freedom and democracy. That is why I hope to be able to transcend my personal experiences as I look upon our nation's development and social change, to counter the regime's hostility with utmost goodwill, and to dispel hatred with love.
This decision to bust up hatred with love combined with the firmness and courage at the same time to reject and defy the injustices committed is not only a core principle of nonviolence but also of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus commands us to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us. When one says the Lord's prayer how many understand and internalize that "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." Liu Xiaobo in the statement above is doing just that.

In a Christmas Message delivered by the Christian Liberation Movement in 1990 and written by Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas although 19 years earlier and separated by great distance and different cultures the same message is found:
Let us not turn to violence and force, but we will not submit or allow ourselves to be intimidated by them. Yes, we want change, changes in all of society, because the heart of Cuba has already changed, and we have renovated it in hope, work, suffering and sorrow. We have renovated ourselves and do not want Cuba to sink and our children with her. That violence not explode, that repression not explode, that the truth break out, and let there be an outbreak of Peace and Freedom.
No one in Cuba wants to submit to a foreign power, or return to other forms of injustice. Let us not fool ourselves any more, Cubans know what we want: we want reconciliation among all, we want a reunion with our distant brothers in exile, we want to work for our Country and our families, with boundless generosity to our hard work and positive creativity, we want dialogue, we want to solve this juncture of our history together, with love, we want freedom. We know it is possible and we will achieve it, it will be everyone’s victory.
Oswaldo Payá was murdered by the Cuban regime's state security agents along with Harold Cepero on July 22, 2012 but he lived the above creed until the end, and the movement, he helped to found, continues to embrace these nonviolent principles.
They killed the man, but they could not kill his dream of a free Cuba. Ten years prior to his martyrdom on December 17, 2002 Oswaldo received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Strasbourg, France and reaffirmed his commitment to nonviolence as an instrument of change.
"We have not chosen the path of peace as a tactic, but because it is inseparable from the goal for which our people are striving. Experience teaches us that violence begets more violence and that when political change is brought about by such means, new forms of oppression and injustice arise. It is our wish that violence and force should never be used as ways of overcoming crises or toppling unjust governments. This time we shall bring about change by means of this civic movement which is already opening a new chapter in Cuba’s history, in which dialogue, democratic involvement, and solidarity will prevail. In such a way we shall foster genuine peace."
On December 28, 2016  Liu Xiaobo observed his 61st birthday and his ninth behind bars in a Chinese prison. He was a prisoner of conscience imprisoned in 2008 for his participation in the drafting of Charter 08. His wife, Liu Xia, had been under house arrest since 2010 when her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Norway was threatened by Communist China not to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo but courageously went ahead and did so. Relations between the two countries deteriorated. In addition the Chinese regime initiated its own "Peace Prize" in 2010 to counter Nobel's and Fidel Castro was the 2014 winner.   

On July 13, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo died of "multiple organ failure" while still under the custody of the Chinese communists. Friends and family expressed concern that he was not receiving proper medical care. Cuban human rights defenders have observed this type of death induced by medical neglect against dissidents before

Four days later in Washington DC, Chinese dissident Yang Jianli mourned the passing of this human rights icon and briefly reviewed his decades long activism.
Liu Xiaobo was not only the best known freedom and democracy fighter of China, but, in life as well as in death, he represents the best of what China can ever be. In April 1989, when the Tiananmen democracy movement just broke out, he returned to Beijing from New York and became the most important intellectual leader of the movement. After the Tiananmen Massacre, he shouldered both moral and political responsibilities and continued to fight from inside China while many others left the country and even abandoned the movement. He was in and out prison and spent half of the past 28 years after the Tiananmen Massacre in incarceration. Never wavering in spirit, he shared the sufferings of his compatriots and gave his life for them. He is a martyr and saint.
Yes. Liu Xiaobo is a martyr and saint who possesses a moral authority that his persecutors can only envy. His legacy of love, justice, peace and sacrifice will surely far outlive the deeds of those who persecuted him.
The Communist regimes in China and Cuba fear those who speak truth to power but have also discovered that murdering those who freely express themselves does not silence their protests and new activists emerge.

In Cuba, the movement founded by Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas elected Eduardo Cardet Concepción the national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement. Eduardo has been arbitrarily detained since November 30, 2016 for offering a critical assessment of the legacy of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Amnesty International has recognized him a prisoner of conscience. He was beaten by political police then beaten again and repeatedly stabbed by inmates directed to do it by prison officials. Eduardo was finally freed on September 30, 2019. Oswaldo's daughter, Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo, carries on her dad's work with an initiative called CubaDecide.

In China, despite her husband's death Liu Xia remained under house arrest until July 10, 2018 when she went into exile in Germany. A French couple, Hu Jiamin and Marine Brossard, who on December 15, 2017 in Shenzhen, "painted a mural showing an empty blue chair at an art exhibition" in a tribute to Liu Xiaobo were taken away by secret police. They were released six days later on December 21, 2017.

Thirty years after the death of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., the former head of the NAACP, Benjamin Hooks on the holiday designated after the martyred civil rights leader in 1998 addressed an audience and explained: "You can kill the dreamer, but you can't kill the dream." This holds true today for Martin Luther King Jr., Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Liu Xiaobo. Their dreams and examples live on because they embraced love not hate.

Today, we are caught in a world wide pandemic that has killed over 1.72 million and people and the death count is still rising. The pandemic began in Wuhan, China and was made worse by Communist China silencing scientists, journalists, and other whistleblowers who sought to warn the world. Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas in the above mentioned 2002 Strasbourg speech warned that the failure of global solidarity and human rights would endanger human existence.
"The cause of human rights is a single cause, just as the people of the world are a single people. The talk today is of globalization, but we must state that unless there is global solidarity, not only human rights but also the right to remain human will be jeopardized. If there is no solidarity between people we will be unable to preserve a fair world in which it is possible to continue living as human beings."
Westerners had been warned for years that if Communist China did not change, the rest of the world would be changed, but cheap labor and big profits dulled the conscience of those who should have known better. Now the West and the rest of the world are reaping the whirlwind.

We live in a world of sin and darkness, yet we celebrate Christmas because there is hope. British theologian John Stott explained: “The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.”This is the story of Christmas. The lyrics of "Oh Holy Night" written in 1855 underscores the hope at the heart of Christmas while recognizing the darkness in the world.

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn; ...

Monday, December 21, 2020

Marxists despised Gandhi when he was alive, but today misrepresent him and his nonviolent legacy

“War is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” - George Orwell, 1984

Don't know about you, but I'm sticking with Gandhi not Critical Theory Marxists

Came across Judith Butler's statement of "the paradoxical possibility of a nonviolent violence" in the chapter on "Walter Benjamin and the Critique of Violence" found in the 2012 book Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism and thought of the above phrase by Orwell. Benjamin was German born, and a member of the Frankfurt School who committed suicide in 1940 out of fear that he would be repatriated to the Nazis.

In a July 23, 2020 lecture Butler conflates social inequality with violence, and this combined with the earlier idea of a "possibility of a nonviolent violence." Butler also views that nonviolence "does commit us to a notion of radical social equality."

Simon Critchley, professor of philosophy at the New School for Social Research in a March 17, 2011 presentation at  UC Berkeley "Why War? / Non-Violent Violence" focused "on how such a politics [of nonviolence] has to negotiate the limits of nonviolence and in what circumstances it might become necessary to transgress those limits. The complex necessity for such transgression will be captured in Judith Butler’s paradoxical formulation, ‘nonviolent violence.’" It is available online.

The clear message found in both Butler and Critchley is that capitalism is objective systemic violence, and must be radically resisted and violence is not off the table as an option. They also regularly speak from the Marxist tradition of analysis.There is a lot of talk about Marx, Lenin, and Bakunin. Critchley gives a definition of non-violence as "a carefully constructed fuck you."

Critchley also references the Marxist scholar Slavoj Zizek who argued that there is a divine violence. Adam Kirsch in July 26, 2010 in The New Republic revealed that "violence, Zizek said in his letter, was using force 'to really change things,' and Hitler did not really change things (because, as the old Communist interpretation runs, fascism was really just capitalism unmasked). 

[ This is ironic, because the origins of fascism are a variant of Marxism. Benito Mussolini was a Marxist before he was a fascist. Both movements trace their origins to the French Revolution and the Jacobins. Winston Churchill, in 1948 in the first volume of his memoir The Second World War, Volume 1, The Gathering Storm outlined the origin and the evolution of this political idea as follows. "Fascism was the shadow or ugly child of communism… As Fascism sprang from Communism, so Nazism developed from Fascism. Thus were set on foot those kindred movements which were destined soon to plunge the world into more hideous strife, which none can say has ended with their destruction." It is also interesting that Marxists tend to ignore that WW2 started when the Communists, and Nazis joined together in an alliance against Western Democracies on August 23, 1939 and invaded Poland in September in 1939 and their armies met in the middle to celebrate together.

Marxists and fascists both share contempt for liberal democracy and capitalism while focusing on a group or class of people that will come to be the rulers of the future. The fascists view it through a nationalist prism through "a people" while the Marxists through universalist prism with "the proletariat".  In both cases the end result was a totalitarian dictatorship with concentration camps in the first and Gulags in the second, and massive body counts in both.  Neither can accept that nonviolence can achieve real change because both ideologies believe in violent struggle as the only means to achieve "real change." ]

This leads to some bizarre conclusions to reconcile with the historical record and Slavoj Zizek engages in it. As an example of what he meant by true violence, Zizek rather surprisingly adduced Gandhi: 'In this precise sense of violence, Gandhi was more violent than Hitler: Gandhi’s movement effectively endeavored to interrupt the basic functioning of the British colonial state.'"

This is the ultimate misrepresentation of Gandhian nonviolence. Marxists believe in class struggle that at its core is a belief that violence is necessary to achieve real change. Gandhi described himself as a socialist, but his Marxist critics viewed him very differently.

The Soviet press published an article written by S.M. Vakar in 1948 following Gandhi's assassination on January 30, 1948 titled "The Class Nature of the Gandhi Doctrine" subtitled "Gandhi as a Reactionary Utopian" in the Soviet philosophy journal Voprosy filosofii (Questions of Philosophy). The Marxist Leninist argument was outlined as follows:

Although Gandhi regarded the union and independence of the Indian peoples as his goal, his reactionary-Utopian social theory and the reformist methods of struggle connected with it caused his activity to fail in facilitating overthrow of the colonial yoke [...] The social essence of the Gandhi doctrine and its fundamentally reactionary role in the history of India's national liberation movement has hardly been treated in Marxist literature. Yet this doctrine still retards the development of class awareness among the Indian masses.

What was this social essence of Gandhian thought that so troubled the Communists in the Soviet Union? First, the reformist methods of struggle referred to in the above quote and secondly Gandhi's social theory rejected class struggle as another manifestation of destructive violence. 

On September 11, 1906 a new word came into existence that gave a better understanding of Gandhi's social theory and method of struggle which he defined as:

'Satyagraha.' Truth (Satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement 'Satyagraha,' that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase 'passive resistance,' in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing we often avoided it and used instead the word 'Satyagraha' itself or some other equivalent English phrase.
Marxist-Leninists embraced revolutionary violence and a movement led by a small vanguard of intellectuals and professional revolutionaries that would carry out the changes necessary by whatever means necessary and rejected nonviolence as naive. They followed the doctrine of Lenin as presented in his 1902 revolutionary tract What is to be done.

Over a century passed with both sets of ideas set out and applied around the world. An analysis done by Maria J. Stephen and Erica Chenoweth systematically explored the strategic effectiveness of both violent and nonviolent campaigns using data on 323 campaigns carried out between 1900 and 2006.[1] There findings demonstrate that major non-violent campaigns were successful 53% of the time versus only 26% for major violent campaigns and terrorist campaigns had a dismal 7% success rate.

Today, India with all its flaws is the world's largest democracy with a growing economy that presents new competitive challenges to the developed world and Marxist-Leninism has amassed a body count of 100 million dead and counting. It would appear that Gandhi's criticisms of the communists were prescient:
"The socialists and communists say, they can do nothing to bring about economic equality today. They will just carry on propaganda in its favor and to that end they believe in generating and accentuating hatred. They say, when they get control over the State, they will enforce equality. Under my plan the State will be there to carry out the will of the people, not to dictate to them or force them to do its will." - Mohandas Gandhi

"It is my firm conviction that if the State suppressed capitalism by violence, it will be caught in the coils of violence itself, and will fail to develop non-violence at any time. The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence." - Mohandas Gandhi

Slavoj Zizek in order to not abandon his philosophical outlook and recognizing the above history than comes to the grotesque conclusion highlighted above that Gandhi was more violent than Hitler, because otherwise he would have to leave behind his erroneous Marxist ideology.

Exploring Critical Theory is a tedious affair, but necessary to understand what is happening in academia, and how it is now spilling out into the real world.  It is a bit disturbing how it is providing a narrow Marxist perspective to the great tradition of nonviolence that stretches back centuries, and was perfected in the 20th century by Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., and their commitment to nonviolence was clear and unambiguous.  

What is shocking is that Gandhi is subjected to woke attacks, while Angela Davis embraced and supported Reverend Jim Jones who led 900 of his followers into a mass suicide and murdered a Congressman and four others who visited his colony in Guyana. But all becomes clear when we understand that Marxists are running the show, they cannot abandon violence because it is intrinsic to Marx's class struggle and in Angela Davis they see a comrade, and in Mohandas Gandhi an enemy.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Freedom for me but not for thee: From the European Frankfurt School to Black Lives Matter and Critical Theory, an exploration

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Herbert Marcuse with his student Angela Davis

We are in the midst of a battle of ideas against an adversary that is skilled and has been hard at work over decades in our academic and cultural institutions. Marxism predicted the inevitable transition from capitalism to communism through class struggle and the internal contradictions of the capitalist system. When this failed to happen, and instead the working class, and society in general grew richer within a capitalist framework, the Frankfurt School came into existence in Frankfurt, Germany in 1923, and following the rise of the Nazis it moved to Columbia University in the United States in 1933.

They developed a critique of the capitalist system and the culture that makes it possible to exist and thrive. Critical theory seeks to change the culture to bring about the Marxist revolution that material and economic forces alone could not achieve.

One of the leaders of this movement Herbert Marcuse is of particular relevance to events today. In particular Marcuse's text Repressive Tolerance (1965) that was expanded upon in 1969 under the title A Critique of Pure Tolerance. It explains why "tolerance" is only for the Left, and violence is to be tolerated when committed by progressive forces to destroy the existing order and conservatives condemned when defending it. Here is a key passage from the text:

"However, granted the empirical rationality of the distinction between progress and regression, and granted that it may be applicable to tolerance, and may justify strongly discriminatory tolerance on political grounds (cancellation of the liberal creed of free and equal discussion), another impossible consequence would follow. I said that, by virtue of its inner logic, withdrawal of tolerance from regressive movements, and discriminatory tolerance in favor of progressive tendencies would be tantamount to the 'official' promotion of subversion. The historical calculus of progress (which is actually the calculus of the prospective reduction of cruelty, misery, suppression) seems to involve the calculated choice between two forms of political violence: that on the part of the legally constituted powers (by their legitimate action, or by their tacit consent, or by their inability to prevent violence), and that on the part of potentially subversive movements. Moreover, with respect to the latter, a policy of unequal treatment would protect radicalism on the Left against that on the Right. Can the historical calculus be reasonably extended to the justification of one form of violence as against another? Or better (since 'justification' carries a moral connotation), is there historical evidence to the effect that the social origin and impetus of violence (from among the ruled or the ruling classes, the have or the have-nots, the Left or the Right) is in a demonstrable relation to progress (as defined above)?

An example of this approach, reported on by Richard L. Cravatts in The Times of Israel is now applied by the American Studies Association (ASA) that passed a December 15, 2013 "resolution to institute an academic boycott against Israeli universities. Admitting that the organization consciously made the decision to ignore the academic transgressions of universities in any number of other totalitarian, oppressive countries which stifle dissent and imprison errant professors, and which might actually deserve to be censured, ASA president Curtis Marez, a University of California at San Diego associate professor of ethnic studies, said 'that many nations, including many of Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human-rights records that are worse than Israel’s, or comparable.'  Nevertheless, he contended, his tendentious organization would focus solely on Israeli institutions, since, as he stated quite tellingly and disingenuously, 'One has to start somewhere.'”  

A summary of Marcuse's conclusion in Repressive Tolerance is summed up in the title "Academic freedom for me, but not for thee." Accuracy in Academia reported on June 15, 2016 that "about 18 percent of social scientists in the United States self-identify as Marxists, compared to only about 5 percent who identify as conservatives, Dunn and Shields reported" at "an AEI panel discussion last Wednesday, titled “The Close-Minded Campus? The Stifling of Ideas in American Universities.” We are now witnessing this approach break out into the wider society and expanded to the notion of "free speech for me, but not for thee" with political correctness and identity politics running amuck. In 2020 a CATO national survey found that "62% of Americans say they have political views they are afraid to share."  Continuing a look at the historical basis provided by Marcuse for his justification of this practice is provided below

     "With all the qualifications of a hypothesis based on an 'open' historical record, it seems that the violence emanating from the rebellion of the oppressed classes broke the historical continuum of injustice, cruelty, and silence for a brief moment, brief but explosive enough to achieve an increase in the scope of freedom and justice, and a better and more equitable distribution of misery and oppression in a new social system--in one word: progress in civilization. The English civil wars, the French Revolution, the Chinese and the Cuban Revolutions may illustrate the hypothesis. In contrast, the one historical change from one social system to another, marking the beginning of a new period in civilization, which was not sparked and driven by an effective movement 'from below', namely, the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West, brought about a long period of regression for long centuries, until a new, higher period of civilization was painfully born in the violence of the heretic revolts of the thirteenth century and in the peasant and laborer revolts of the fourteenth century.[4]

Let us examine for a moment the examples what the author's of Repressive Tolerance describe as "progress in civilization."

The English Civil Wars ended with the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, in what amounted to a successful conservative counter-revolution from Republican rule that preserved the British monarchy to the present day. Unlike the others celebrated by Marcuse, the British have a conservative tradition. 

The French Revolution born of enlightenment liberalism, and a rejection of the Ancien Régime and the Catholic Church, gave Europe its first modern genocide of peasants in which men, women, and children of the Vendee were systematically exterminated in a revolutionary terror that killed tens of thousands, and the end result was the rise of the dictator Napoleon Bonaparte and a world war that took three million lives. They would have been better served if they had reflected more deeply on Edmund Burke's critique of this process.

The Chinese Communist Party in power since October 1, 1949 has a bloody history, and a negative track record for the world. The founder, Mao Zedong, committed the biggest mass killings in human history. Responsible for the deaths of as many as 70 million Chinese on his watch alone. Mao died in 1976, but the Chinese Communist Party continues its killing spree, but with more sophistication. There is nothing to celebrate.

 In Cuba the pattern was repeated.
While Fidel Castro talked democracy in 1959 the firing squads were filmed and broadcast and the terror began to consolidate control. Those who had fought by his side in good faith believing the Revolution was a struggle to restore democracy became uneasy with the course of the new regime. Some, like Huber Matos, Julio Ruiz Pitaluga, and Mario Chanes de Armas who spoke out spent decades in prison. Many returned to the hills of the Escambray to carry on the struggle for the democratic restoration. This resistance was crushed in 1966 after five years of assistance from 400 Soviet counterinsurgency advisors.  Extrajudicial killings would continue for the next sixty years, and like their German counterparts would include Cubans massacred for trying to leave the Left wing dictatorship. Conservative estimates of killings under Castro place regime killings at over 73,000.

Civilizations rise, flourish and fall. This has been the rule throughout human history with the greatest and most well known examples being the Roman and British empires, but there have been many others across the world in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The legacy of the Roman Empire and the living standards it achieved in the ancient world were not duplicated again until Europe in the 18th century. Marcuse also fails to mention the bubonic plague that wiped out half of the human population and put an end to a Roman reconquest of Western Europe. Business Insider described it as follows:

"The Plague of Justinian (541 - 750 AD) brought trade to a standstill and weakened the Byzantine, or Eastern Roman, Empire, led by Justinian I. Historians estimate that it killed about half the world's population while setting back Justinian's military efforts. As he was attempting to reunite the Western and Eastern halves of the Roman Empire at the time, this pandemic was another player in its centuries-long decline and fall."
However, despite this devastating blow the legacy of the Roman Republic lives on in the West, and inspired the American founders

Marcuse's Marxist interpretation of history is flawed, and his prescription of tolerance for the Radical Left and intolerance for the Right is a recipe for disaster. Herbert Marcuse died in 1979, but his influence is still felt today thanks to one of his disciples.

Angela Davis attended the 8th World Festival of Youth and Students in Helsinki, Finland in 1962 at age eighteen. The first festival was held in 1947 and the the nineteenth was held in 2017 in Russia and they are gatherings of the youth wing of the international communist movements and part of the communist totalitarian networks. Ms Davis is a serious communist intellectual who studied under Herbert Marcuse. She met him at a rally during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1963 at age nineteen. In 2007 she described Marcuse's impact upon her thinking at the time: "Herbert Marcuse taught me that it was possible to be an academic, an activist, a scholar, and a revolutionary." She had decided to study in Europe and began her studies there in 1965.

Inspired by the revolutionary ferment Angela Davis in 1967 decides to discontinue her studies in Europe and return to the United States in order to become involved in the Black  revolutionary movement. She went to San Diego where her mentor Herbert Marcuse was teaching at the time. She was also inspired by the emergence of the Black Panther Party. In 1968 she formally and publicly joined the Communist Party and in the Fall of 1969 she was hired to teach in the Philosophy Department at UCLA.

After having demonstrated her credentials as an academic, an activist, and a scholar in 1970 she showed her revolutionary commitment. Angela Davis purchases the firearms, including a shotgun, that would be used two days later by a 17-year-old African-American high-school student, Jonathan Jackson, on August 7, 1970 to take over a courtroom in Marin County, California. He armed the black defendants and together they took Judge Harold Haley, the prosecutor and three female jurors hostage. They fled the courtroom and ended up in a shoot out with police. The judge was shot in the head with a blast from the shotgun purchased by Professor Davis and it was demonstrated that she had been communicating with one of the inmates. She was charged with conspiracy to murder and kidnap, fled the jurisdiction but was captured two months later across the country in New York City. 

 The campaign both legal and in the mass media was a textbook case of totalitarian networks mobilizing, along with their agents of influence, to shape public opinion and to push for the circumvention of justice.

These networks have been around since 1921 when the Soviet Union organized clandestine operations of propaganda aimed at the West. They created networks of supporters that used all propaganda resources from high culture to the most basic: film, radio, theater, books, magazines, and newspapers. They were able to connect to and use all types of formers of opinion respected by the public: writers, artists, actors, priests, ministers, teachers, businessmen, scientists, and psychologists

In the 1970s with Angela Davis this meant songs by Virgilio Savona "Angela" "Angela" "Angela"(1971), The Rolling Stones "Sweet Black Angel (1972), Bob Dylan "George Jackson" (1971), John Lennon "Angela" (1972), Todd Cochran "Free Angela" (1972), and there were others. On the revolutionary front on January 28, 1972,  Jose Marti's birthday, Garrett Brock Trapnell hijacked TWA Flight 2 and one of his demands was the release of Angela Davis.

At Angela Davis's trial, Herbert Marcuse and Bettina Aptheker, with Sallye Davis (Davis's mother)

Although her first attorney was John Abt, general counsel of the Communist Party USA, Ms Davis was soon represented by the far more competent Leo Branton, a civil rights and entertainment lawyer, who pioneered techniques in jury selection in her defense that were later adopted by other attorneys.
Branton hired psychologists to help the defense determine who in the jury pool would favor their arguments, he also hired experts to discredit the reliability of eyewitness accounts and gave a powerful closing. She was acquitted by an all white jury.

Angela Davis visited communist regimes, and remained silent about the Berlin Wall, and visited with Fidel Castro and back both dictatorships. And following her professor's ideas on "repressive tolerance" refused to speak out for political prisoners in communist regimes.

Mike Gonzalez, of the Heritage Foundation, wrote on September 7, 2020 in the essay "The Revolution is Upon Us" on the relationship between Marcuse, his student Angela Davis and the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Without the indoctrination that revolutionary vanguard groups like Voto Latino carry out, the participation of the working class in the political process would not only be insufficient, but even be counterproductive. “Where these [working] classes have become a prop of the established way of life, their ascent to control would prolong this way in a different setting,” wrote Marcuse.

Or, as Angela Davis, a student of Marcuse at Brandeis in the 1960s (and today, tellingly, an important mentor to Alicia Garza), told a packed auditorium at UVA in 2018, “Diversity without changing the structure, without calling for structural formation, simply brings those who were previously excluded into a process that continues to be as racist, as misogynist as it was before.”

That is why individuals cannot be allowed to attempt to solve what problems they have, but must be herded into an aggrieved collective that then has an incentive to overthrow the system. The individual is the centerpiece of the Lockian Enlightenment; the aggrieved collective category takes center stage under Critical Theory."

Opal Tometi, one of Black Lives Matter’s founders, was photographed with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro. She did this despite Venezuela being the country with the highest per capita killings by the police of civilians in the world — several orders of magnitude higher than the United States. 

Hansel E. Hernández shot in the back by police in Cuba on June 24, 2020

Marcuse's work on Repressive Tolerance explains the silence of Black Lives Matter before the murder of young black men by the Castro regime's and Maduro regime's revolutionary police. Since they are communists doing the killing and they are on the right side of history, in the eyes of Marcuse, Davis, and Black Lives Matter, then the revolutionary violence visited on young black men in Cuba and Venezuela must be tolerated while at the same time the violence visited on young black men in the United States condemned. 

Although, even in the United States an exception is made, when young black men are killed by communist or anarchist revolutionaries as was the case in CHAZ/CHOP in 2020. At least two young black men killed during CHAZ/CHOP protests in June 2020: Horace Lorenzo Anderson (age 19) on June 20 and Antonio Mays Jr (age 16) on June 29th. Where is the outrage?

This is why Critical Theory in all its manifestations along with violence must be rejected, and true universal tolerance embraced. Black lives matter everywhere, not just in capitalist societies when killed by white police men. Nor should it be tolerated when black men and women are killed by communist revolutionary police or by communist paramilitaries.