We Remember

Photoreb/Flickr

By Democratic Left Blog Editors

Thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, we mourn and we remember those who died that day. Of the attackers, 15 of the 19 were from Saudi Arabia; none were from Iraq. Their terrorism headquarters was in Afghanistan.

Yet, neoconservative hawks in the United States led George W. Bush to order the invasion of Iraq. More than 4,480 U.S. soldiers died and more than 32,000 were seriously wounded. More than one million Iraqis were killed, and the current crisis with ISIS in Iraq and Syria is a direct consequence of the invasion. 

This was the war on terror. It began a process that has seriously damaged our democracy and our individual liberties.

In 2011, at the time of the tenth anniversary of the attacks, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote a report on the effects this war on terror has had on our democracy and civil liberties. It has been re-issued, and we believe it is important to highlight it here. In this report, “A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years Later,” they say:

Ten years later, as we remember and mourn those who died on September 11th, our nation still faces the challenge of remaining both safe and free. Our choice is not, as some would have it, between safety and freedom. Just the opposite is true. As President Obama recog­nized in a 2009 speech, “our values have been our best national security asset—in war and peace; in times of ease and in eras of upheaval.” Yet, our government’s policies and practices during the past decade have too often betrayed our values and undermined our security.

Ten years ago, we could not have imagined our country would engage in systematic policies of torture and targeted killing, extraordinary rendition and warrantless wiretaps, military com­missions and indefinite detention, political surveillance and religious discrimination. Not only were these policies completely at odds with our values, but by engaging in them, we strained relations with our allies, handed a propaganda tool to our enemies, undermined the trust of communities whose cooperation is essential in the fight against terrorism, and diverted scarce law enforcement resources. Some of these policies have been stopped. Torture and extraordinary rendition are no longer officially condoned. But most other policies—indefinite detention, targeted killing, trial by military commissions, warrantless surveillance, and racial profiling—remain core elements of our national security strategy today.

The ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks provides an auspicious moment to pause and reflect on where we have come and where we are headed. This report is our attempt to in­vigorate that critical national conversation. We have titled it “A Call to Courage,” because we believe that a defining element of our national identity—embodied in our national anthem’s pairing of “the land of the free” with “the home of the brave”—has been imperiled by our leaders’ promotion of (or capitulation to) a politics of fear. We have seen Congress and the courts—which are intended to act as checks on executive overreach—fail to perform their constitutional oversight, standing down rather than standing up to the exaggerated demands of an unchecked executive. Indeed, Congress has too often actively stoked the politics of fear, passing statutes that claim to be tough on terror but in fact make us less safe. Our nation can and must do better.

Rather than working to allay public fear, our political leaders (with few exceptions) have ma­nipulated it, to the point where it can be difficult to determine whether their expressions of alarm are genuine or merely opportunistic. These are arguments based on cynicism, not strength or resolve.

The full report has chapters on: “An Everywhere and Forever War,” “A Cancer on our Legal System,”  “Fracturing a More Perfect Union,”  and “A Massive and Unchecked Surveillance Society.”  As we reflect on 9/11, we recommend the report to all. Click here to read the report

For further reflection on this sad anniversary, in light of the recent shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., we recommend: “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing,” (2014), also by the ACLU. 

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. Democratic Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.

 

Data Security for DSA Members

June 27, 2017

Ack! I googled myself and didn't like what I found!

WHAT: A DSA Webinar about "Doxing"
WHEN: 9PM EST, 6PM PST

We're proud of our organizing, and chapter work is transparent for both political and practical reasons. However, there are basic precautions you can take in this time of rapid DSA growth to protect your privacy.

Key Wiki is a website that meticulously documents DSA activity and posts it for the world to see. If you're an active DSA member, likely your name is on their website. This is an example of "doxing".

As DSA becomes larger, more visible, and more powerful, we might expect that more websites like this will pop up, and more of our members' information might be posted publicly on the web.

Join a live webinar on Tuesday, June 27 with data security expert Alison Macrina, to learn:

  1. what is doxing? with examples and ways to prevent it
  2. how to keep your passwords strong and your data secure
  3. where to find your personal info on the internet and how to get it removed
  4. social media best practices for DSA organizers
  5. what to do if you've already been doxed

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/9173276528

Call-in Info: +1 408 638 0968
Meeting ID: 917 327 6528

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 11 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 9 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.