Tag Archives: Repression

Vietnam VI: Learning Curve

Vietnam VI: Learning Curve
Safe For Democracy

 
 
00:00 / 2:38:49
 
1X

And here we are, finally, finally making it to the end of the French War.

We still have Dien Bien Phu and the denouement to wrap up, which we’ll do in the next episode, maybe in the fastest-ever-produced next episodes, so fingers crossed there.

Like last time, I’m covering pretty much all the material that I’m trying to cover in these shows, so I don’t have any big ancillary stories to tell here in the notes. What we do have are maps and then later, like last time, all the videos that would normally have gone after the bibliography in the audio credits.

First, maps:

And the one that’s on my wall:

Then, videos. Like last time, if there’s audio, it’s (almost certainly) in the show. If there isn’t, it’s not, but I mention a couple of these specifically during the episode:

 

 

 

Bayart, Jean-Francois. “Africa in the World: A History of Extraversion.” African Affairs, 2000, 217-267.

Duncan, David Douglass. “The Year of the Snake: A time of fear and worry comes over warring Indochina.” LIFE, August, 1953.

Editorial. “Indochina, France and the U.S.” LIFE, August, 1953.

Ellsberg, Daniel. Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. New York; Viking Press, 2002.

Fall, Bernard. Hell in a Very Small Place. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1966.

Fall, Bernard. Last Reflections on a War. New York: Schocken Books, 1972.

Fall, Bernard. Street without Joy: Indochina at War, 1946-54. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1961.

Fall, Bernard. The Two Viet Nams: A Political and Military Analysis. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1963.

Fehrenbach, T. R. This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness. New York: Macmillan, 1963.

Fitzgerald, Frances. Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1972.

Gaddis, John Lewis. Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Halberstam, David. The Best and the Brightest. New York: Random House, 1972.

Halberstam, David. The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. New York: Hyperion, 2007.

Herr, Michael. Dispatches. New York: Knopf, 1977.

Hickey, Gerald Cannon. A Village in Vietnam. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1964.

Huntington, Samuel. “The Bases of Accommodation.” Foreign Affairs, 1968.

Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History. New York: Penguin Books, 1997.

Lacouture, Jean. Ho Chi Minh: A Political Biography. New York: Random House, 1968.

Lacouture, Jean. Vietnam: Between Two Truces. New York: Random House, 1966.

Logevall, Frederick. Embers of WarThe Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam. New York: Random House, 2012.

Maclear, Michael. The Ten Thousand Day War: Vietnam, 1945-1975. New York: Avon Books, 1982.

Mus, Paul and McAlister, John T. The Vietnamese and Their Revolution. New York: Harper and Row, 1970.

Moore, Harold G., and Galloway, Joseph L. We Were Soldiers Once…and Young. New York: Random House, 1992.

Niehbuhr, Rienhold. The Irony of American History. Chicago: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1952.

Sheehan, Neil. A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York: Vintage, 1988.

 

 

 

Vietnam IV: The First Indochina War

Vietnam IV: The First Indochina War
Safe For Democracy

 
 
00:00 / 3:07:17
 
1X

We’re getting into the French War proper now, and we’ll make it almost all the way to the outbreak of the war in Korea by the end of this one.

I’ve got some videos whose audio I couldn’t use, for various reasons, in the show itself, but that might serve to give all of us a better picture of the life and times of the place and period we’re talking about.

First we’ve got a silent short on Saigon after the British moved in in 1945:

Here we have the triumphant entrance of General Leclerc (and if you listen closely, you can hear exactly how wrong I’m pronouncing his name most of this episode) into Hanoi in 1946 after the March 6 Accords:

Then we’ve got a French newsreel on the outbreak of war in 1947 after the battle of Haiphong and during the ongoing battle of Hanoi:

I don’t speak a lick of French, but there are plenty of names I (and you) will be able to pick out. We hear from (and see!) Jean Sainteny, Overseas Minister (“de France Outremer”) Marius Moutet, Generals Morliere and Valluy,

On a less Indochinese front, we’ve got a propaganda film produced under the Marshall Plan, one of hundreds created at George Marshall’s Paris headquarters and aimed at Europeans who doubted their ability to rebuild after the war. That is, to stave off both Communist takeovers and fears of the same by holding out the redevelopment of the Marshall Plan as Western, Capitalist hope:

Then we’ve got maps, to back up the geography lesson in the first part of this show. Here’s modern Vietnam, with a very readable relief.

And then a map of Indochina, including Laos and Cambodia.

No subsidiary story in the notes today; that’s going to be next Monday’s show.

And last but never, ever least:

Bayart, Jean-Francois. “Africa in the World: A History of Extraversion.” African Affairs, 2000, 217-267.

Ellsberg, Daniel. Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. New York; Viking Press, 2002.

Fall, Bernard. Hell in a Very Small Place. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1966.

Fall, Bernard. Last Reflections on a War. New York: Schocken Books, 1972.

Fall, Bernard. Street without Joy: Indochina at War, 1946-54. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1961.

Fall, Bernard. The Two Viet Nams: A Political and Military Analysis. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1963.

Fehrenbach, T. R. This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness. New York: Macmillan, 1963.

Fitzgerald, Frances. Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1972.

Gaddis, John Lewis. Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Halberstam, David. The Best and the Brightest. New York: Random House, 1972.

Halberstam, David. The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. New York: Hyperion, 2007.

Herr, Michael. Dispatches. New York: Knopf, 1977.

Hickey, Gerald Cannon. A Village in Vietnam. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1964.

Huntington, Samuel. “The Bases of Accommodation.” Foreign Affairs, 1968.

Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History. New York: Penguin Books, 1997.

Lacouture, Jean. Ho Chi Minh: A Political Biography. New York: Random House, 1968.

Lacouture, Jean. Vietnam: Between Two Truces. New York: Random House, 1966.

Logevall, Frederick. Embers of WarThe Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam. New York: Random House, 2012.

Maclear, Michael. The Ten Thousand Day War: Vietnam, 1945-1975. New York: Avon Books, 1982.

Mus, Paul and McAlister, John T. The Vietnamese and Their Revolution. New York: Harper and Row, 1970.

Moore, Harold G., and Galloway, Joseph L. We Were Soldiers Once…and Young. New York: Random House, 1992.

Niehbuhr, Rienhold. The Irony of American History. Chicago: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1952.

Sheehan, Neil. A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York: Vintage, 1988.

Audio Credits:

Berlin Airlift – The Story of a Great Achievement (1949). British Government Public Information Films, Crown Film Unit, National Archives. The National Archives.

Berlin Air Lift (1949). British Pathé. YouTube.

Cold War – Truman Doctrine. Mat Shackleton. YouTube.

French out of Indo China. sotonsom. YouTube.

Funeral in Paris of General Leclerc (1947). British Pathé. YouTube.

Hollywood Red Communism Probe Begins – 1947 Newsreel. CoolOldVideos. YouTube.

Looking Back – On 1947. British Pathé. YouTube.

Newsreel: End of the Nuremburg Trial (1946). Nuclear Vault. YouTube.

Japanese Sign Final Surrender 1945 Newsreel. PublicDomainFootage. YouTube.

Review of the Year 1946. British Pathé. YouTube.

Reviewing the Year 1949. British Pathé. YouTube.

The Big Picture “Army in Action” Marshall Plan Episode 9 74512. Periscope Film. YouTube.

War in the East (1947). British Pathé. YouTube.

War Victims Find Haven in America – 1946 Newsreel. C-SPAN. YouTube.

West Wins Berlin Blockade Battle (1949). British Pathé. YouTube.

SFD Short—Monopolies

SFD Short—Monopolies
Safe For Democracy

 
 
00:00 / 34:02
 
1X

It’s the last of all news shows, folks, and it’s barely newsy at all. We’re talking about monopolies in the American economy, which was, incidentally, the subject of Robert Reich’s last book, Saving Capitalism.

The show explains itself, and as it promises, here’s some graphs for you:

This is an Econ 101 graph of perfect competition. S is supply, D is demand, MC is marginal cost, and P is price. Then we’ve got something more complicated, monopoly:

MR is marginal revenue, MC is marginal cost again, ATC is average total cost. Without getting into the technical stuff, which you can find right here, a monopoly produces quantity where marginal costs are equal to marginal revenue for units produced, that’s line Q1, but they charge price P, much higher than what would be determined in perfect competition, and they take home the difference as profit.

Likewise, since for monopolies, the marginal cost curve acts as the supply curve, everything in that triangle that says deadweight loss is product that the firm would have produced in perfect competition but now does not.

I’m not even going to try to type this one out, but here’s a video.

SFD Short—Land and Food and Capitalism

SFD Short—Land and Food and Capitalism
Shorts

 
 
00:00 / 39:16
 
1X

We’re talking about capitalism, and specifically the ways in which unrestrained, industrialized, late-stage capitalism like ours works to destroy, reconstitute and commodify widely-available goods, usually in such a way as to create a population that is so repressable, the state and its corporate partners don’t even need to repress it.

Big ask for one show. But it’s a reachable one, I think, and everything’s pretty damn interesting on the way there.

Sign up on Patreon.

RATE THE SHOW.

Enjoy this one, folks.

Some stuff that might be interesting to folks based on the episode:

Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food

The Mexican milpa planting system

And what’s kind of my experience thereof

A history of bread

Adult dorms

The Plan for Mexico

The Plan for Mexico

 
 
00:00 / 17:35
 
1X

Hey Everybody,

This Monday’s show is short and to the point. Next Monday, we’re back to Iran. You might be able to hear in this one that I’m a little sick. The unfortunate side-effect of having a weekly show where I talk is that, well, if I get sick I’ve still gotta record. I’m going to try to get as well as I can before I hammer Iran, but I’ve got to get in the booth soon or there’s no way I’ll have time to finish editing this week.

The “booth”

Remember, SFD needs your help to grow and survive. That means sharing us on Facebook, means following us on Twitter, it means going out and rating the show, and above all, just spreading the word-of-mouth. It’s up to you folks.

And SFD’s new Patreon-exclusive news show is up, this time talking about trade agreements, NAFTA, and the tax reform plan going to the Congress. It turned out pretty tight and it’s worth a look-hear.

SFD Short—Bad Patriotism

SFD Short—Bad Patriotism
Safe For Democracy

 
 
00:00 / 34:15
 
1X

 


I’ve been thinking about patriotism in the US for a long time, long enough to have written this for the College Dems’ newspaper back at Georgetown. There’s something about how everybody wants to be a patriot without ever considering what the term might really mean; something about the way it is, for us, tied up with the State and the Military (it was no accident that we broke out Patriot missiles and the Patriot Act in the wake of 9/11); and something about how the Right in the US today has latched rabidly onto the term that all make me pretty uncomfortable.

These are, undoubtedly, self-described American patriots. And especially when I wrote this episode, over the weekend of the Charlottesville White Right march and murder, it seemed as though my discomfort was getting more and more relevant.

All of these guys would call themselves patriots. And the word ‘patriot’ itself seems to give them an excuse to ignore any self-analysis, like the way the 82nd Airborne were a not insignificant part of the Allied war effort against the Axis powers. It’s telling that the minutemen are the only part of the Revolution they remember and the only iconography they include in their self-image when in fact the real firepower of the Founding Fathers, the stuff that made our little uprising stick where a thousand others didn’t, happened not in the field but in scenes like this:

And finally, for reasons that probably won’t become clear until the end of the episode, here’s this the Ballet Amalia Hernandez doing what’s popularly known as the Mexican Hat Dance, to the “Jarabe Tapatío:”

I’ve got that video start to set when the Jarabe does, but if you want to lay eyes on some of the dances you might see to “Guadalajara” or to the “Son de la Negra,” which ends the episode, go ahead and rewind it and you will. Here are the three kids who played “Maria Chuchena,” the huapango music from where I used to live in the Sierra Gorda, in Querétaro.

I couldn’t tell you who Camila Cabello is from Eve, but apparently she’s popular in Mexico along with the US.  I’ve got her in here because I think it’s a pretty apt example of how “Mexico Lindo y Querido” is always welcome, even at some teeny-bop pop concert.

But here’s Vicente Fernandez, Chente, doing it right:

Memos, Missing Congresspeople, and a Misfiring Press Policy

This past week, like every week since the Inauguration, was a bad week.

The Immigration Memos

This is bar none the most important thing that went on in the last seven days, and I’m going to break them out into their own post tomorrow. For now though, here’s what you need to know.

John Kelly, an ex-four star marine general and current Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, promulgated two memos which outlined DHS’s plan for implementing Trump’s varying statements on and executive orders with regard to immigration.

Those memos addressed a slew of different aspects of current and (apparently) future immigration policy, but here are the highlights:

  • Under Obama, we changed our focus for deportation from other-wise law-abiding undocumented immigrants towards those who committed crimes after coming to the US. The new memos outline a new category for priority deportation which includes anyone convicted, charged, or who has “committed acts that constitute a chargeable offense.” That sounds pretty reasonable until you think about it. When it says “charged” and “committed acts that constitute,” what it means is that immigrants under suspicion of crimes will now be treated as criminals. As in guilty before proven innocent. Likewise, the memos make clear that residing without documents in the US is one of the offenses that DHS will not consider, which means that all 12 million undocumented immigrants are now priorities for deportation.
  • The memos call for the expedited hiring of 10,000 new ICE agents and officers and another 5,000 Border Patrol officers. Not only would that reportedly cost over $2 billion, ICE and the BP have already had trouble recruiting. Trump is currently seeking to relax the standards used to screen candidates, which would serve to further compromise two agencies already penetrated by the far right wing and, in some cases, the same gangs they’re trying to keep out.
  • The memos outline a directive to “assure the assessment and collection of all fines” against migrants “and from those who facilitate their unlawful presence.” Besides mirroring the way that some police departments use their black communities like a piggy-bank, this could potentially target everybody around a given migrant with the idea of making the current upswell of sanctuary movements much harder to sustain. Fine the migrant, the church that hosted him, the members that took him in, on down the line.
  • Both memos outline the “establishment of appropriate processing and detention facilities” and the expansion of “detention capabilities and capacities at or near the border with Mexico to the greatest extent practicable.” Right now, migrants are in general released after they’re assigned a court date, since those dates are usually years in the future. Trump’s administration now plans to hold them in detention for that period, paying around $100 a day per migrant. There are some dark, dark implications here that I’ll get to in the post about this.
  • The memos both mention expanding programs which allow local and state police to act as immigration officers. Which means that men and women with no training in immigration law will now be empowered to stop (brown) people on suspicion of being (brown) migrants and demand papers across the US.
  • And then there are several points which basically call for CBP and ICE officers to do their jobs.
    • Right now, migrants reaching the US can claim asylum, and if they can establish in an interview with an asylum officer that they have a “credible fear” that they’ll be subject to violence if they return to their own country, they get released into the US pending a hearing. One memo calls for an “enhancement…of the credible fear determination” process. Which read straight just means “do the job” and read between the lines in the way that every asylum officer and his/her boss must be reading it means “we want to see fewer asylum releases.” Which would put some of the most vulnerable immigrants in the world back into some of the most dangerous places in the world.
    • Same kind of language with regard to CBP and ICE’s ability to ‘parole’ immigrants into the US pending trial. And same obvious alternative reading, which is, “parole fewer people.”
    • Ditto the second memo in point O calls for public reporting of border apprehension data. Of course, CBP and ICE already do public reporting, so the memo asks specifically for “the number of convicted criminals and the nature of their offenses; the prevalence of gang members and prior immigration violators,” etc. Those are all stats they already collect. The memo is saying that now we’ll be emphasizing them.
    • Finally the memos address the wave of unaccompanied minors coming out of Central America. They acknowledge the plight of these kids and then call for prosecution of the parents of those minors who have family living without documentation in the US. That is, of that portion of the kids who actually make it up here, the ones that the memos themselves say are subject to the most inhuman depredations on the way, Trump’s administration wants to use those kids as a way to track and deport their families in the US, turning them, again, into effective orphans.
      • This is an example of an application of law meant to punish rather than to shape any kind of desirable outcome. Who wins in this scenario? The kids without parents? The deported parents whose kids are now in the US and who will now be trying to enter illegally again? The US citizens who paid to create an orphan who will have to go into the system? I’m pretty sure the only winners are the coyotes getting paid to move people over the border.

Continue reading Memos, Missing Congresspeople, and a Misfiring Press Policy

Aftermath Part IV

Aftermath Part IV
Guatemala

 
 
00:00 / 2:09:19
 
1X

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Hey guys.

Welcome to the fifth episode of Safe for Democracy, the podcast about the foreign policy disasters of the United States in the 20th century.

This is the fourth part of a series exploring the violent aftermath of the US-backed coup against Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, which was itself the subject of the first show.

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Maybe some photos this time for context?

Sure.

Up at the top there is General Efraín Ríos Montt, found guilty of genocide, hanging out with Ronald Reagan, who once said that the Guatemalan government had gotten a “bad rap” from the liberal press.

Reagan went on to give the man tens of million dollars in arms.

egp

Here we’ve got what’s basically the letterhead of the EGP, the Ejercito Guerrillero de los Pobres, or the Guerrilla Army of the Poor. Their actual emblem is up at the top left, Che Guevara’s Korda Photograph in high relief with EGP down at the bottom.

It’s not easy to see from college campuses in the US, but actual revolutionaries also revered Ernesto. Especially appropriate since Che participated in the Agrarian Reform in the 1950s, and it was the US coup in 1954 that convinced him that the only way forward against imperial powers like the US was armed revolutionary action.

organizacion_del_pueblo_en_armas_emblem

This is the emblem of the Organización del Pueblo en Armas, or the Organization of the People in Arms. I’m no expert in Guatemalan culture, but if its mythology is anything like Mexico’s, the volcano is a deeply national and deeply indigenous symbol of power and strength.

urng

Continue reading Aftermath Part IV

Aftermath Part III

Aftermath Part III
Guatemala

 
 
00:00 / 1:07:45
 
1X

Page Break

Hey everybody, and welcome to the fourth episode of Safe for Democracy, the podcast about the foreign policy disasters of the United States in the 20th century.

This is the third part of a series exploring the violent aftermath of the US-backed coup against Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954.

If you’re just now coming to the podcast, it’d probably be best to start with episode one, which tackles the coup, and then come through the Aftermath in order. But if that’s not your game, fair enough, start right here.

Page Break

Last time we had a brief respite, tackling Liberation Theology, social Catholicism, jungle collectives, and the spirit of indigenous pride that had Mayas all over Guatemala taking to the streets and demanding their fundamental right to life and to culture.

We left off with General Kjell Eugenio Laugerud García in the Presidential Palace, and his relative leniency, after the murderous regime of the Butcher of Zacapa, Colonel Arana Osorio, was allowing Guatemalan civil society to flourish for the first time in decades.

That interstitial period is about to end, though, with the fraudulent election of General Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia, who will take a less generous view of what he sees as traitorous elements in the country.

La violencia and tierra arrasada are still one episode away, so we’ve got three more weeks to worry yet, but we won’t get all the way through this one unscathed either.

This time around, it’s earthquakes, committees of campesino unity, massacre in Panzos, and the helping hand of Ronald Reagan, as always, making war to make the world safe for democracy.

Maps and ephemera follow for anyone who’s game.

Continue reading Aftermath Part III

Aftermath Part II

Aftermath Part II
Guatemala

 
 
00:00 / 1:02:33
 
1X

Page Break

Hi, and welcome to the third episode of Safe for Democracy.

Which is the second part of the Aftermath, which, in four shows, is the second part of our overarching series on Guatemala.

Simple.

 

Last time we worked our way from the coup against Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 through the repressive regimes of Carlos Castillo Armas and Jose Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes and how they provoked the creation of a guerrilla movement and the way the State and the guerrilla came together in a conflagration of violence—in which the rebels got much the worst of things—towards the end of the 1960s.

This episode’s a little less dark.

Violence in Guatemala was cyclical: State repression provoked demonstrations and organizing on the part of the populace, which invited greater repression that tended to wipe opposition out. And in the lull after the greatest waves of violence gave Guatemalan society time to begin rebuilding itself, time and again.

Today’s show covers the last such lull that Guatemala would have for a very long time.

This time we’re looking at the growth of Liberation Theology and radical social Catholicism in Guatemala and the parallel and related growth of the pan-indigenous movement that gave Maya Guatemalans a commanding, national voice for the first time in centuries.

Continue reading Aftermath Part II