Aug 10 2010
Dec 21 2007
Google the words “Lakota” and “secede,” and watch the fun. It’s an exercise in hysteria.
The story was first reported yesterday morning. The best version I’ve seen is an Agence France-Presse report, on the News Australia website.
THE Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the US.
“We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us,” long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means said.
A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department and said they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the Federal Government, some of them more than 150 years old.
The group also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and said they would continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas.
The article mentions visits to foreign embassies, declarations that old treaties with the U.S. are invalid, and the intention to issue passports and drivers’ licenses, and to live tax-free. It sounds radical and exciting, and the perfect response to the Bush Administration’s having made the United States an international pariah. In other words, lots of people are going to want to impute great significance to this declaration. There’s just one little problem.
Russell Means is a legendary activist. That’s a given. That’s also why many people seem to think this means more than it does. What they should be asking themselves is this: whom does Russell Means represent? By what authority are he and his fellow activists declaring independence. Because this is where we get back to reality.
Nov 09 2007
Recently, in a remarkable essay for the New York Review of Books, famed Russian biophysicist and political activist Sergei Kovalev wrote:
I imagine-with both sorrow and certainty-that the Byzantine system of power has triumphed for the foreseeable future in Russia. It’s too late to remove it from power by a normal democratic process, for democratic mechanisms have been liquidated, transformed into pure imitation. I am afraid that few of us will live to see the reinstatement of freedom and democracy in Russia.
Kovalev’s words echoed something recently said to me by Meteor Blades: “I expect to die as part of the permanent internal opposition in the Democratic Party. I don’t see any more Sanderses on the horizon, of any stripe. Maybe in your lifetime, but not likely in mine.”
I cannot begin to say how disheartening it is to hear such things from such lions of political activism, both of whom went to prison rather than relinquish their right to fight for their freedom and the freedom of their fellows. The following is a letter sent to one of my Senators, Chuck Schumer, which is my response to the conclusions of Kovalev and MB.