Monday, April 2, 2012
PressTV: "OWS Aligns With People's Struggle Against Capitalism"
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Although the United States continually accuses other countries of violating human rights, Washington itself is widely considered as one of the biggest violators of human rights in the world.
Press TV has talked with Caleb Maupin from the International Action Center in New York to discuss the matter further.
The program also offers the opinions of two other guests: human rights and international lawyer Paul Wolf from Washington and Vice Chair of the Institute for Policy Studies Saul Landau from Berkeley.
The following is a rough transcript of the interview.
Press TV: For the first time ever the US came under question at the Human rights council at Geneva last year. Discrimination against Muslims and police brutality were cited as two of the top main concerns. Why this decline, overall; and then especially in these two areas do you think?
Maupin: Well, there is a number of factors involved with this situation. One of which is that the United States is ruled by a small elite, who have the money and the wealth and the power in the US, less than one percent most likely, but they are commonly called the one percent among the Occupy Wall Street Movement and they seeing their power threatened, as the people are pouring into the streets and demanding justice and so as a result they have been forced to reveal themselves in a way and reveal the brutality that they wage.
The second reason is the hypocrisy involved. The US goes around the world, invading people’s countries, burning people’s holy books, shooting people, murdering people, overthrowing governments; all in the name of defending human rights.
But if you want to see the human rights the US is talking about, you can look in Libya, where NATO bombs have destroyed the country and people are now in misery, you can look at Afghanistan where the people are suffering under horrific occupation and oppression. You can also look at the New York City, where the police murder people and get away with it, where demonstrators are clubbed and pepper sprayed when they tried to exercise their free speech and you can look in the US which has one of the highest prison populations on the planet.
This whole notion that one percent controlled government in the US, which is a tool of the bankers and the corporations, is an entity that has the right to speak about human rights and defend it internationally is false.
The US is one of the greatest violators of human rights in the world and it should be regarded as such and I think that it is a great thing that many people are realizing this and the people are standing up to this one percent controlled government and not letting it say it represents human rights, when in reality it represents the repression and the further enslavement of the human beings.
Press TV: It was interesting the way that the US democracy was described by former Vice President Al Gore that it had been “hacked”, what do you think he means by that?
Maupin: Well, I do not know what Al Gore means by democracy because when Al Gore was in office, he was just another continuer of the policies we are seeing now. He carried out imperialistic intervention in Serbia and elsewhere.
But I will say this, you know, one of the most striking things about this massacre that went on in Afghanistan is [that] this is the future that the US has to offer [to] the next generation. It does not have jobs for the next generation of youth, it does not have education, education is being cut, but the military recruitment is there and they do have the opportunity for young people to be sent to other countries abroad to be put in the situations and to be trained to be murderers and to be killers like this has happened.
I mean this is a continual policy of repressing people and the only option left for young people is not be educated, not to have a future but instead to join the ranks of an army being sent around the world to make sure other people do not rise up against the same conditions that are being faced by working people across the US.
It is very frustrating and very shocking and the fact that young people, you know, it is so crazy that all our lives in the US we were taught that the US is a great country because there is democracy and there is freedom and people are allowed to express themselves. But a generation right now tried to actually use that freedom and they poured into the streets and they are seeing what this freedom actually means if you ever try to use it.
The one percent government that runs the US has never been a democracy. It has always been a dictatorship by the super rich, who controls the banks, the factories, the media, the school system and they have utilized all of the wealth of this world in order to make more and more money for themselves.
And now people are revolting and what Occupy Wall Street, you know what we are starting to understand is, the people in Afghanistan [who are] fighting against the United States and fighting to liberate their country, the people in Libya [who are] fighting against the NATO occupiers, they are our allies, they are allies in a global class war against these bankers and these corporations and we need the working class in the US not just the radical youth but all of the working class in the US, the people who were being laid off, the people who were having their homes foreclosed, we all need to join in a global struggle against these bankers and these corporations.
These ultimately the bankers and the one percent that the Occupy Wall Street is fighting against, are not just the enemies of the people here in the US; they are the enemies of the people all over the world.
It is the US and the corporations that are causing poverty throughout the world and it is the US and the bankers and the corporations that are threatening wars that created and backed the state of Israel and which is repressing and brutalizing the Palestinian people.
And ultimately if we want to see change, there needs to be a global alliance between workers and oppressed people in every corner of the globe, standing up to this one percent, engaging in heroic actions like Occupy Wall Street is engaged in where take over buildings, we refused to let system continue as usual, we confront the police, we confront the state and we ultimately call out and say, we are the 99 percent; not just the 99 percent in the US but the 99 percent of humanity against the small ruling elite, who does nothing but owns while the rest of us produce all of the wealth of this world.
Press TV: Caleb Maupin, our guest there, Saul Landau, talked about the Patriot Act, of course you are familiar with the NDAA bill, he also talked about the authorizing the arrest without just cause, and then you have this Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act, which restricts gathering and protests at special public places, what are we looking at here? These are examples of violations of the first amendment. What happened to the first amendment? What is happening with the Constitution?
Maupin: Well, it is interesting that all of the things you described are being used to allegedly protect people from terror. But let’s think about who the US has considered to be terrorists in the past. Nelson Mandela [former South African president], when he waged a struggle against the apartheid government in South Africa, was called a terrorist by the US government. The provisional Irish Republican Army, as they fought to free their country from British Empire, was also called terrorists. The Maoist rebels in the Nepal, as they fought to bring down an absolute monarchy, were also called terrorists by the US government, and still are.
So, if you look at it overall, the US government is not anyone who should be protecting us from terrorism. In fact the US is engaging in terrorism all over the world right now, whether it is Israel, whether it is in Africa, whether it is in anywhere. The US is engaging in terrorism. So, the idea that they would protect us from terrorism is very scary.
They are not trying to protect the people from terror; they are trying to protect their system from the wrath of the people as they boil in anger at its results which are largely economic at this point. People are suffering in mass economically, and I do not think [that] there is any popular support for these policies. I think the popular support is only amongst the halls of power, where they are they bracing.
This idea that you can’t protest in any “official building.” What is that? What is an official building? The law is so vaguely defined. I mean it would just make a federal offense out of things that are exercising free speech. The National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA] says they can detain anybody. Anyone on suspicion of being a terrorist, they do not even have to prove it.
All kinds of legislation is being used to make sure that the government has the ability to do anything it can, to keep itself in power, amidst the rage of the people. And if all the polls that are coming out right now show people are extremely dissatisfied with this system and extremely dissatisfied with the fact that there is a one percent with all the wealth in its hands and all the power and all the resources, while the people have nothing.
And ultimately, you know; the polls are also showing that the people are coming to an understanding that the word Socialism, which has been presented as the opposite of Capitalism and has been demonized in the US for a long time, is not such a bad word and that the idea that we could hold in common, all these resources which we have produced, yet the one percent owns; you know that is not such a bad thing and many people are turning away from the Capitalism and turning against the Capitalist system in the US and [are] looking for a more compassionate and more human-based and a more truly democratic alternative.
I am sure, that really scares the ruling elite and especially, it especially scares the ruling elite that this Occupy Wall Street Movement is not aligning with them and not saying, we want to make their system better and we just want to help them do better in their pursuit of oppressing and repressing the people of the world, but it is aligning with the people of the world in their struggle for justice. This is a beautiful thing.