rn: Ramsay Clark interview – the question of what to DO


Jan Slakov

Dear Renaissance Network,

Dan Brook's questions could help lead us out of the chains that cause our
support or compllicity with geno- & ecocidal actions of our governments.
Once we allow ourselves to see truthful answers to those questions, we will
know what to do...

But it is always interesting to look at what others have chosen to DO once
they understand. Like Ramsay Clark. Below are excerpts and the URL for an
interview with Clark, prepared by Janet Eaton. I have added to the excerpts
by choosing to copy almost all of Clark's answer to Jensen's last question,
because I think its message is lovely and vital.

all the best, Jan
PS I can't help notice that the interviewer, Derrick Jensen, must be the
same Derrick Jensen who wrote _A Language Older Than Words_, a book of which
Daniel Quinn wrote:
 "A Language Older Than Words" is what Franz Kafka said a book should be - an
ax for the frozen sea within us. The reader should be advised that this is
both high praise and sincere warning: "Dangerous reading here. Proceed at
your own risk."

Jensen: So what do we do?

Clark: I think the solution relies on the power of the idea, and the
power of the word, and on a belief that, in the end, the ultimate power
resides in the people.

In discussing the effects of U.S. foreign policy, we've been talking
about only one part of the story. Another part is resistance - the power
of the people. We saw that in the Philippines, when Marcos was deposed
in a nonviolent revolution, and we saw that in Iran, when the Shah's
staggering power was overcome, as well, by a nonviolent revolution.

<snip> If even 1 percent of the
people of this country could break out of the invisible chains, they
could bring down this military-industrial complex - this tyranny of
corporations, this plutocracy - overnight. That's all it would take: 1
percent of the people.

We also have to realize that we're going to be here only one time, and
we've got to enjoy life, however hard it is. To miss the opportunity for
joy is to miss life. Any fool can be unhappy; in fact, we make whole
industries out of being unhappy, because happy people generally make
lousy consumers. It's interesting to see how the poor understand all of
this better than the rich. This morning, I was in court over in
Brooklyn, representing a group of Romany - they're often called Gypsies,
but they don't like to be called that - who were claiming recognition
for losses in the Holocaust. The Romany lost 1.5 million people, yet
nobody pays any attention to their claims. In fact, last year, the city
of Munich, Germany, enacted legislation that is almost a verbatim
reproduction of 1934 legislation prohibiting Romany from coming into the
city: they'll be arrested if they do. The Romany might be the most
endangered people on the planet - even more so than the 200 million
indigenous people around the globe. They are fugitives everywhere they
go, persecuted everywhere. Yet, like the traditional indigenous peoples,
they are people of exceptional joy. They sing and dance and have fun.
They can't see life as so much drudgery.

I saw that same joy among the civil-rights protesters in the 1960s.
Watching them sing as they marched, I couldn't help but realize that you
feel better when you're doing something you feel is right - no matter
how hard it is.

end of interview

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From:                   "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••>
Date sent:              Sun, 16 Dec 2001 12:28:55 -0400
Subject:  Ramsey Clark Interview - "Neighborhood Bully"  [Excerpts & links ]

Dear All:

Here are links to and excerpts from  a lengthy interview  with
Ramsey Clark from November 2000,  with an introduction  by the
interviewer Derrick Jenson about Clark. The full article can be found
and in mai-not forum archives:

I include a few excerpts and recommend reading the entire
interview  full of  first hand critical insights about the nature of,
many examples, and consequences of American Foreign Policy
over the past several decades.

Ramsey Clark is  Director of the International Action Center and
former US attorney general who supervised the drafting and
passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act
of 1968. He denounced police shootings and authorized
prosecution of police on charges of brutality and wrongful death. He
opposed electronic surveillance and refused to authorize an fbi
wiretap on Martin Luther King Jr. He fought hard against the death
penalty and won, putting a stay on federal executions that lasted
until this year, when Timothy McVeigh's death sentence was
carried out.

Derrick Jenson tells us:

This  interview took place on a dreary day last November, when the
presidential election was still undecided. We have a new president
now, but Clark's criticisms of U.S. foreign policy are, if anything,
more relevant with George W. Bush in the Oval Office.

Ramsay Clark says among other things:

Our foreign policy has been a disaster.... for a lot longer than we'd
like to believe. Our overriding purpose, from the beginning right
through to the present day, has been world domination - that is, to
build and maintain the capacity to coerce everybody else on the
planet: nonviolently, if possible; and violently, if necessary.... I'm
not talking about just military domination. U.S. trade policies are
driven by the exploitation of poor people the world over.......

Our foreign policy is based on the use of our military might as an
enforcer, exactly as Teddy Roosevelt implied when he said that we
should "speak softly and carry a big stick." What does that mean?
It means: "Do what I say, or I'll smash your head in. I won't make a
lot of noise about it; I'll just do it." ....

Sadly, I think most Americans don't have an opinion about our
foreign policy. Worse than that, when they do think about it, it's in
terms of the demonization of enemies and the exaltation of our
capacity for violence......

...we're not a democracy. It's a terrible misunderstanding and a
slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we're a
plutocracy: a government by the wealthy. Wealth has its way. The
concentration of wealth and the division between rich and poor in
the U.S. are unequaled anywhere.....

 Central to our foreign policy has been the active attempt to
deprive governments and peoples of the independence that comes
from self-sufficiency in the production of food. I've believed for many
years that a country that can't produce food for its own people can
never really be free.....

The great issue of the twenty-first century will be that of the
relationship between the rich and poor nations, and of the
elimination of some percentage of those whom we consider not
only expendable, but even undesirable. ... Why worry about aids in
Africa? Why worry about hunger and malnutrition in Bangladesh or

Capital in the United States would never accept that sort of shift in
priorities, [i.e. building mass transit systmes instead of B-1
bombers] for many reasons. The first is that the military is a means
of international domination, and any change that might threaten
that domination will not be allowed to take place. The second
reason is that capital requires continuing, ever expanding demand,
and mass transit shrinks demand for automobiles and gas.

Capital promotes activities from which its owners can reap
enormous profits. It does not matter if those activities are
detrimental to living beings or communities. For example, those in
power seem to have an unlimited imagination for conjuring up new
excuses to throw money at the military....

If we are to significantly change our culture, we need to recognize
that we are held in thrall by two desperately harmful value patterns.
One is the glorification of violence. We absolutely, irrationally,
insanely glorify violence. .... The other value is materialism. We are
the most materialistic people who have ever lived.

I think the hardest part for us is to break through the illusory world
that the media create. Television ...tells us constantly to want

All these distractions that now fill our lives are an unprecedented
mechanism of social control, because they occupy so much of our
time that we don't reason, we don't imagine, and we don't use our
senses. We walk though our day mesmerized, never questioning,
never thinking, never appreciating. From this process we emerge a
synthetic vessel without moral purpose, with no notion in our head
or our heart of what is good for people, of what builds a healthier,
happier, more loving society.

You began this interview by asking me about U.S. foreign policy,
and I said that it's been a failure. Here is the standard by which I
would judge any foreign or domestic policy: has it built a healthier,
happier, more loving society, both at home and abroad? .....

I think what all of this means is that we each have to do our own
part, and become responsible, civic-minded citizens: we have to
realize that we won't be happy unless we try to do our part.....
if even 1 percent of the people of this country could break out of the 
invisible chains, they could bring down this military-industrial complex - this
tyranny of corporations, this plutocracy - overnight.


Ramsey Clark Interview

Neighborhood Bully


an interview by


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