[sixties-l] Fwd: Assata Shakur interview

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 11/29/00

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    >From: Compaero <companyero@mindspring.com>
    >Sent: Monday, November 27, 2000 9:32 PM
    >  ***This interview with Assata Shakur is from Paul
    >  Davidson, a veteranCuba solidarity activist from
    >  Britain who has visited Cuba many times with
    >  IFCO/Pastors for Peace and with British solidarity
    >  brigades. He was recently in Cuba with the 11th
    >  Friendshipment Caravan. For a beautiful poster of
    >  Assata go to:
    >  http://afrocubaweb.com/assataposter.html Above the
    >  poster are links to other pages on Assata and to a
    >  film biography produced by Cuban filmmaker Gloria
    >  Rolando.***
    >  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    >  Friends,
    >  This valuable interview was granted to 60
    >  participants of the 11th US-Cuba Friendshipment
    >  Caravan (Pastors for Peace) in Havana on Nov 6th
    >  last. Assata is one of those unique human beings who
    >  is able to articulate, through her own experience in
    >  a lifetime of struggle, profound truths about the
    >  world we live in. Assata is one of the 80 or so ex-
    >  Black Panthers being persecuted by US authorities and
    >  given sanctuary by Cuba. As a result of Cuba's noble
    >  stand the island has been named a 'terrorist nation'
    >  by the US regime, a categorisation they repeatedly
    >  use in legislation to entrench the blockade. Thanks
    >  to Karen Lee Wald for recording the event and
    >  forwarding her transcription.
    >  PD
    >  Assata Shakur addresses Pastors for Peace
    >  caravan
    >  Instituto Cubano de Amistad a los Pueblos (ICAP) - La
    >  Habana 6 nov.
    >  (Missing first few questions due to bad tape. In this
    >  first part Assata spoke about how she became a Black
    >  Panther in the 1960s and was targeted by the FBI. She
    >  spoke of the role of the press in collaborating with
    >  this campaign until she and other companeros were
    >  finally forced underground. She told how she was
    >  captured in 1970 and accused of killing a New Jersey
    >  policeman, although medical testimony showed that she
    >  had been shot twice -- once with her arms up in the
    >  air -- and so could not possibly have shot anyone
    >  after that. Nevertheless, she was convicted by an all-
    >  white racist jury to a sentence of life +. She spent
    >  6 1/2 years in prison, 2 of them in solitary
    >  confinement.
    >  Karen Lee Wald
    >  Assata:
    >  In 1979 I was liberated by some friends, and in 1984
    >  I came to Cuba, where I was united with my daughter
    >  and was able to bond with her for the first time. And
    >  to begin healing the wounds. Here, I worked, studied,
    >  mothered and continued to be an activist.
    >  I found that Cuba was much different from the US; its
    >  government was genuinely trying to erase racism. But
    >  racism had grown out of slavery and exploitation and
    >  was very hard to eradicate quickly and completely.
    >  Cuba has been undergoing a process to eliminate
    >  racism)
    >  .. Cuba like every other place has got to struggle
    >  against the whole racist ideology that it inherited,
    >  the culture, the eurocentric way of viewing the world
    >  where Europe is this big (shows with her hands) and
    >  Africa and Asia and Latin America are these little
    >  microscopic dots on the map. That's a process that
    >  has to be helped and contributed to by everybody,
    >  because the whole way the world is viewed now, the
    >  way that science, literature and history are used, is
    >  totally distorted and Eurocentric. In order for the
    >  world to be free of racism that is a struggle that
    >  has to be waged on all fronts by all people.
    >  I think that more than anything, the whole cultural
    >  imperialism that is going on today where people,
    >  whether they're in Senegal, South Africa, Indonesia,
    >  are looking at this USA vision of the world that is
    >  totally distorted, totally unreal, that really
    >  diminishes and minimalizes the cultural values and
    >  wisdom of people all over the world, and sells this
    >  kind of McDonald-ized vision of the world that
    >  everybody is supposed to aspire to.
    >  Cuba is very important in that struggle, because Cuba
    >  is not only talking about racism in abstract terms,
    >  but connecting it with imperialism, which is the
    >  underlying motor of racism today. The underlying
    >  reason that racism keeps on being promoted in all of
    >  its various forms today. I think anybody who is
    >  honestly struggling against racism must struggle
    >  against imperialism and vice versa.
    >  Q. You could have gone to many countries for asylum.
    >  Why did you choose Cuba?
    >  A. I decided to come to Cuba for a variety of
    >  reasons. One, because it was close to the United
    >  States, and I considered it to be a very principled
    >  country. It has a long history of supporting victims
    >  of political repression, not only of people in the
    >  United States, like Huey Newton, Robert Williams,
    >  Eldridge Cleaver (a long list of people), but also
    >  people who were victims of political repression in
    >  other places, like Chile, the apartheid government of
    >  South Africa, Namibia, etc. I felt this was a place
    >  that held the principle of international very close
    >  to heart, so I felt comfortable coming here. It was
    >  close, so I wouldn't be separated from my family and
    >  friends.
    >  And I really wanted to know what happens in a place
    >  that is trying to build socialism, that's trying to
    >  construct some form of social justice. That's trying
    >  to feed people, to make health care and education a
    >  right.
    >  When I came I had some very silly ideas, to be
    >  honest. My fantasy of Cuba was that everybody was
    >  going to be going around looking like Fidel, with
    >  green uniforms -- and it was very different from my
    >  vision of how Cuba was going to be. I found that
    >  people had all kinds of levels of consciousness, all
    >  kinds of levels of education, but that Cubans in
    >  general were very educated politically. I could go
    >  sit in a bus and get into a conversation with someone
    >  and that person had a wealth of knowledge. And
    >  energy! What most impressed me about Cuba was the
    >  optimism.
    >  There are 11 million people on this island who have
    >  an incredibly optimistic vision of the world. My
    >  mother put it into words most clearly when she said:
    >  "If these people had not won, had not taken power,
    >  everybody would think they were insane!" (Laughs).
    >  People would think the whole revolutionary process
    >  was totally insane. How DARE these 11 million people
    >  on this little island think they can change the way
    >  that this planet is going? How dare they think they
    >  can stand up against the United States? That they can
    >  have their own system....But that is the kind of
    >  magic of Cuba that people have this optimism, this
    >  pride, this belief -- not only in themselves but in
    >  other people.
    >  That to me has been one of the psychic vitamins that
    >  has fed me since I've been here and that has taught
    >  me the power of people. I was a member of the Black
    >  Panther Party, and we used to say "Power to the
    >  People", but here in Cuba is where I've seen that put
    >  into practise, where I've seen that internalized by
    >  people in such a way that people feel empowered to
    >  build this planet and to change it. And to contribute
    >  and feel privileged to do that. Feel that when they
    >  go to sleep at night that all is not in vain. There
    >  is some sense in living on this planet. That there is
    >  some beauty in constructing something better and
    >  giving to other people. And work is a source of
    >  pride, not "Oh, I've gotta go to work in the
    >  morning". It's another way of looking at the world
    >  and another way of living on this planet.
    >  Q. Describe experience of being in Cuba, being exiled
    >  here. To what extent have you been able to continue
    >  being the political person you were in the United
    >  States?
    >  A. Well, exile is difficult. Anyone who says it's
    >  nothing, that it's easy, is simplifying things. Exile
    >  for me was hard. When I came here I spoke very little
    >  Spanish. Like two words. I couldn't communicate, and
    >  people would talk to me like I was a blooming idiot.
    >  Like, how did they know? They'd say, "Hello, how are
    >  you?" -- simple things. There was no way I could
    >  express my personality in Spanish, tell jokes, be
    >  specific, describe anything...It was a hard
    >  adaptation process. But I went through it and in some
    >  ways I guess continue to go through it.
    >  For me personally Cuba has been a healing state. When
    >  I first got here I had no sense that I had to heal or
    >  anything. When you're struggling for your life and
    >  you're in the midst of things, you don't feel all the
    >  blows.
    >  But after awhile I began to understand that oppressed
    >  people --just by being oppressed -- suffer serious
    >  wounds. You might go into a store, and somebody might
    >  follow you around the store, and you would have a
    >  choice of how to react: you could confront them and
    >  say "Why are you following me around the store?" or
    >  you could say to yourself: "Well, I came here to buy
    >  some socks, so let me just concentrate on buying the
    >  socks." But you still feel the pain. The obvious
    >  racism before had affected me, the prisons,
    >  torture...my whole life had created wounds, scars in
    >  me that in Cuba I was able to find a space to begin
    >  to heal. To begin to think, "Yeah, this happened, and
    >  I can look at it and see it for what it was but not
    >  be there, not be destroyed by it, not be turned into
    >  something bitter and evil by it. And not be like my
    >  enemies. Because I think that the greatest betrayal
    >  that a revolutionary can participate in is to become
    >  like the people you are struggling against. To become
    >  like your persecutors. I think that is a betrayal and
    >  a sin.
    >  I think that people who want to change this planet
    >  have to seriously understand that as human beings we
    >  have to work to be good. I'm saying that in many
    >  ways: good at what we do, better people, better in
    >  the way we related to people, that we treat other
    >  people. Better in our ability to outreach to people.
    >  Better in so many ways. And the wounds that are
    >  inflicted on our families, on ourselves, we have to
    >  heal. We have to work within our families, within our
    >  communities, within our neighborhoods, to make it
    >  livable.
    >  My experience in the United States was living in a
    >  society that was very much at war with itself, that
    >  was very alienated. People felt not part of a
    >  community, but like isolated units that were afraid
    >  of interaction, of contact, that were lonely. People
    >  didn't build that sense of community that I found is
    >  so rich here.
    >  One of the things that I was able to take from this
    >  experience was just how lovely it is to live with a
    >  sense of community. To live where you can drop in the
    >  street and a million people will come and help you.
    >  That is to me a wealth that you can't find, you can't
    >  buy, you have to build. You have to build it within
    >  yourself to be capable of having that attitude about
    >  your neighbors, about how you want to live on this
    >  planet.
    >  Q. Some people have voiced concern that the end of
    >  the blockade will bring many negative things from the
    >  United States to Cuba. What do you think about the
    >  blockade ending?
    >  A. I think that it's all positive. I think that any
    >  time anybody gets rid of oppression, intervention,
    >  exploitation, cruelty -- that's positive. I think
    >  that the effects of lifting the blockade are all
    >  positive.
    >  Now that's another question from the effects of
    >  exposure to US consumerism, violence, militaristic
    >  culture, greed, institutionalized sexual
    >  exploitation, Barby-doll vision of women -- those are
    >  different things. One is lifting the blockade; the
    >  other is cultural imperialism, materialism, etc.
    >  Tourism, for example, has affected Cuba, because
    >  tourists come and they bring racist, sexist ideas.
    >  They bring a whole vision that there are rich people
    >  all over the world and that's the way it should be --
    >  you know?
    >  The only way to struggle against that is ideological
    >  struggle in terms of values. And also improving the
    >  economy. People here being able to say, "You have
    >  your vision of the world but we have ours, and we are
    >  committed to ours." That's a struggle of ideas, of
    >  values. And hopefully not only in Cuba, but all over
    >  the world, people are saying that this kind of
    >  McDonald's, Barby-doll culture that is being pushed
    >  by the United States and other big powers is a very
    >  empty, sad, alienating kind of culture, and there are
    >  much richer values on this earth.
    >  Q. How did you get involved in the struggle (become
    >  an activist)?
    >  A. Well, basically, it was hard not to. I was
    >  fortunate enough to grow up in the 60s -- not to
    >  idealize the 60s, but there was a lot of political
    >  activism going on. I had dropped out of school and
    >  was working at this terrible 9-to-5 drudge clerk-type
    >  job. I was miserable and not going anywhere. So I
    >  decided to go to school. I was in school like two
    >  weeks or something and my whole world changed! First
    >  of all I met all of these wonderful people who were
    >  doing things and were active and positive. Then I
    >  started to learn about myself. I grew up in the
    >  United States totally ignorant of the history of
    >  African people in the United States. Of the
    >  literature. I knew about the music and parts of the
    >  culture, but in terms of the history of African
    >  people I knew nothing. So all of a sudden I was
    >  exposed to these people who were talking about
    >  Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, DuBoise -- so many people --
    >   and it was like waking up from a semi-sleep. It was
    >  like saying, "Oh, wow! We were there; we struggled,
    >  we resisted!" For me as a Black person, it was like
    >  coming into touch with the reality of my ancestors,
    >  my history.
    >  I had grown up at a time when people were being
    >  lynched, being attacked with water hoses. Becoming
    >  active and learning a different way of viewing my
    >  life was a healthy reaction to what I was seeing
    >  every day. I actually believed then and still believe
    >  that activism is fun! I think that the movement has
    >  done more for me as a human being than I will ever be
    >  able to do for the movement. Because there's
    >  something nice about being able to go to sleep at
    >  night saying "You know, tomorrow I'm gonna get up and
    >  I'm gonna do this and I'm gonna do that...."
    >  I think that being an activist on this planet is a
    >  privilege and a pleasure.
    >  Q. Could you talk about the Black Panther program? I
    >  know that it influenced other activist groups like
    >  the American Indian Movement. How could we use some
    >  of those ideas? And could you also tell us about the
    >  methodology the FBI used to try to infiltrate and
    >  destroy these movements?
    >  A. The Black Panther Party had a Ten Point Program
    >  and Platform. We talked
    >  about the right to control our communities,
    >  (inaudible -- a summary from notes follows) to be
    >  free from induction into the military, the right to
    >  food, housing, clothing, jobs and freedom. The BPP
    >  was an anti-imperialist, pro-people party, not a
    >  racist party. It participated in all progressive
    >  organizations and coalitions, with Puerto Ricans,
    >  Asian and other liberation movements all over the
    >  world.
    >  Because of this the BPP came under siege by the
    >  police. The FBI framed people on false charges,
    >  murdered people, including murdering them in their
    >  beds as they did with Fred Hampton...
    >  Q. What advise would you have for activists in the US?
    >  A. (Summary) First of all we need to put real
    >  democracy on the agency in the US, because there is
    >  no real democracy there now. I think we need to treat
    >  activism as FUN -- because it is fun. We need to
    >  develop a political style that's interesting and fun
    >  and personal. To celebrate together.
    >  Q. I'd like to sort of pull this back to Cuba....The
    >  reasoning behind the debate about whether or not to
    >  pass a law allowing the sale of food and medicine to
    >  Cuba is because the United States has laws imposing
    >  unilateral sanctions against trade with what are
    >  defined [by the US government] as "terrorist
    >  nations". Cuba is on the list of "terrorist nations",
    >  not because it has put bombs on civilian airlines
    >  that exploded in mid-air -- that's what has been done
    >  TO Cuba; there was the one incident of shooting down
    >  the airplane of the Cuban-American terrorist
    >  organization that was flying over Cuba. But the most
    >  important reason that has been given for a number of
    >  years now about why Cuba is on that list, why the US
    >  calls it a "terrorist" nation, is because Cuba gives
    >  political asylum to individuals who the US calls
    >  "terrorists". And the US government has demanded that
    >  Assata and others like herself who have been given
    >  political asylum be returned to the United States.
    >  The question that has been raised often is, Are you
    >  worried that Cuba will turn you back over to the US
    >  government in order to resolve this problem? And if
    >  you don't think that Cuba will do that, what does
    >  that mean to you?
    >  A. I think first of all, I trust Cuba as a principled
    >  country. Cuba's strength is that it has been
    >  steadfast in its commitment to the principles of
    >  liberation, freedom, of resistance to the kind of
    >  institutionalized terrorism that the United States
    >  government does every day. The US has attacked
    >  countries like Grenada, Panama, Libya....the list of
    >  victims of US terrorism is almost infinite. And the
    >  US government's participation in torture, whether in
    >  El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile....is well-documented
    >  and widely known.
    >  I believe Cuba's strength has been its denouncing
    >  that kind of terrorism, torture. It does this
    >  politically not only by [providing asylum for] exiles
    >  [from terrorist regimes] but also fighting in the
    >  context of the United Nations Organization, in world
    >  organizations, in denouncing all kinds of terrorist
    >  torture in governmental policies.
    >  All of the maneuvers by the US government to keep the
    >  blockade alive is a manipulation by the US government
    >  because "Cuba poses a threat". The real reason Cuba
    >  poses a threat has nothing to do with my being here
    >  or anyone else being here. It's because Cuba is an
    >  example of a country that is actively fighting
    >  against imperialist domination and insists on its own
    >  right to self-determination and sovereignty. The US
    >  government's most acute fear is that other countries
    >  are going to follow the Cuban example. They want
    >  everybody to know that if you follow this example we
    >  will attack you in every way that we can. That is the
    >  reality as I see it about the blockade and why it is
    >  being continued.
    >  The Miami Mafia (as everybody here calls them) has
    >  some input into that, but I believe it is not the
    >  money the Miami Mafia contributes to both parties
    >  that is making US policy what it is. It is the United
    >  States' government's insistence on being able to
    >  control the world, to tell all the people how to
    >  live, to export their version of "dollarocracy" to
    >  everybody else and to make every country in the world
    >  subservient to the interests of big business. I think
    >  that as long as Cuba continued to be strong, I have
    >  nothing whatsoever to fear from the Cuban people. In
    >  fact I think I have much, much, much to gain in
    >  understanding how a people can unite, how people can
    >  be strong, and how people can take a little piece of
    >  earth and try to mold that piece of art into a work
    >  of art and a work of love.
    >  Q. Can you comment on the importance of religion and
    >  spirituality?
    >  A. I think that spirituality is important for all
    >  people to develop. I don't mean there necessarily has
    >  to be a religious aspect to spirituality. Some people
    >  are spiritual in a religious way, other people are
    >  spiritual in their work and in their art and in their
    >  treatment of other people.
    >  In my case, spirituality has been important to me
    >  because at periods in my life there's been very
    >  little else that I've had going. I've actually needed
    >  to call on, to feel the forces of good in this
    >  universe to be able to survive. I've always been a
    >  student of different ways of looking at the world,
    >  different religions. That's been part of my survival
    >  mechanism, and also part of my curiosity as a person,
    >  because I believe that some people spell "good" with
    >  two o's and some people spell it with one....and
    >  there shouldn't be a contradiction between that.
    >  In Cuba I was able to broaden my vision of
    >  spirituality. Here for the first time I became aware
    >  of the African and African-Cuban religions and began
    >  to study them and see how people interacted and made
    >  very common things -- rocks and leaves and shells --
    >  into things that were very precious. I saw how people
    >  respected history, not only in terms of the
    >  revolutionary government preserving history--because
    >  I think that one of the great things that the Cuban
    >  revolution has done is preserve history.
    >  I came here and there's a museum called the Museum of
    >  the Revolution. I got to one little case and there
    >  were these shoes of one of the revolutionary heroes
    >  who died before the victory. And as I looked at those
    >  shoes, tears began to come out of my eyes, because --
    >  this was someone who gave his life for the
    >  Revolution. So the Revolution didn't have a person,
    >  but made sure that the person was remembered.
    >  And in the African religions, one of the things that
    >  was very important to me was that somehow the
    >  struggle of so many slaves is remembered. The
    >  ancestors remembered. All of my experience of
    >  studying religion, studying spirituality, studying
    >  natural healing, traditional medicine, has kind of
    >  enriched my vision of the world. Not only seeing
    >  reality as this moment, but as a culmination of all
    >  of the history behind us, and all of the fruit that
    >  hopefully we will be able to grow from the seeds that
    >  we are trying to plant now, of goodness and peace and
    >  beauty and equality.
    >  Q. In the movement to free Mumia Abu Jamal, in the US
    >  we've seen increasingly repressive tactics against
    >  the protestors, jailings and fines against
    >  protestors. One of the caravanistas who is usually
    >  with us had her passport taken away from her, she
    >  cannot be here in Cuba this week because she
    >  participated in a protest in support of Mumia last
    >  summer. What can you say about where the movement in
    >  support of Mumia stands right now?
    >  A. Looking at the repression from Cuba is like
    >  looking at Martians. Whether it was in Seattle or
    >  Washington or at the Conventions, the visual image
    >  looks like these space monsters that are attacking
    >  people. Because you don't see that here! Nobody here
    >  lives that reality. And people in the United States
    >  take that reality as normal.
    >  The survival of the movement around Mumia is
    >  absolutely one of the most important struggles that
    >  needs to be waged, that must be waged right now. And
    >  it is more and more obvious that the US government is
    >  willing to ...I don't know, to set extraordinary bail
    >  for acts of civil disobedience. Some of the fines and
    >  bails have been out of this world in a so-called
    >  "free country".
    >  But in spite of that I think that what the government
    >  can't do is squash everybody. So what the main thrust
    >  needs to be right now is to incorporate as many
    >  people as possible into the struggle to save Mumia,
    >  and to do whatever is needed to save that man's life.
    >  Because Mumia is not just one person. Mumia
    >  represents, at this particular time in history,
    >  opposition to the United States government. He
    >  represents opposition to the prison-industrial
    >  complex.
    >  The death penalty is used in such a blatantly racist
    >  way in the United States. There is no way that can be
    >  defended under any kind of definition of justice by
    >  anybody.
    >  I think that struggling to save Mumia's life will
    >  save many other people's lives and in that struggle,
    >  we need to have a new definition of what justice is.
    >  A new definition of how people are treated in the
    >  society. And how people are not some kind of
    >  disposable item that you throw away, you destroy. You
    >  have a government that is sentencing 20-year-olds to
    >  life in prison without parole, for drug offenses.
    >  When you're 20 years old and you sell, not even a
    >  huge quantity of drugs -- we're not talking about the
    >  dons or the godfathers or anybody else -- we're
    >  talking about small quantities of drugs. And they
    >  write in the newspapers "This is a drug kingpin" and
    >  they sentence this person to life without parole.
    >  What kind of reality is that creating? What kind of
    >  future for the United States is that creating? If
    >  these people ever get out, who will they be? After
    >  years of watching beatings, tortures, suffering, you
    >  know what I'm saying? So I think the struggle around
    >  Mumia is important, to defend all of those people who
    >  are struggling against this system. I think that the
    >  more that people feel they can WIN that struggle,
    >  that they can go to their neighbors, that they can
    >  have signs on their blocks, that they can do things
    >  where they live, and not make it so abstract. Bring
    >  it home, take it to work, put a sign where you work.
    >  Take it to your church, to make it more and more a
    >  people's struggle. I think people's struggles are the
    >  only ones that in the long run cannot be defeated.
    >  Q. (Inaudible. Probably about media manipulation...)
    >  A. (Talking about how absurd it was that the US could
    >  convince people Grenada was a danger to its
    >  security)....Grenada has about 100,000 people. I
    >  remember Ronald Reagan holding up this map, an aerial
    >  map of an airport, and saying this was gonna be a
    >  military airport that was gonna threaten the people
    >  of the United States. And actually they convinced a
    >  huge amount of people that Grenada, a LITTLE, TINY
    >  ISLAND, that wasn't even the size of Brooklyn, was a
    >  threat to the United States government!!! And people
    >  really believed it. It was like convincing people to
    >  believe in the tooth fairy. (Laughter). So people
    >  have to be aware of how the media manipulates the way
    >  we think. Because they have really created a
    >  situation where all the US government has to do is
    >  say that such-and-such a government is terrorist, and
    >  they can wipe people off the map! The language that
    >  is being used in the media today is incredible.
    >  I must have been about 14 years old when I read
    >  "1984". It never occurred to me that anyone would
    >  name a nuclear missile "Peacekeeper". It never
    >  occurred to me that thousands of people would be
    >  killed in the name of "peace-keeping". But that is
    >  what is happening today.
    >  Or that the deaths of 200,000 people is called
    >  "collateral damage". How can you justify that? They
    >  are making a language that is a callous language of
    >  imperialism and we are using it. That doesn't mean we
    >  are going along with their language, but that we have
    >  not developed our own. The average person living in
    >  the US may not even be aware that those are 200,000
    >  women, children, babies that are dead, and they are
    >  not even called human beings, they are called
    >  "collateral damage". "Friendly fire" -- what the hell
    >  is that? It is sickening when you listen to it, but
    >  you are inundated by it.
    >  Because they've developed these code words, they have
    >  been incorporated into the language of politics, and
    >  people see that as normal. Just as they see the
    >  police dressed up as Martians beating people up as
    >  "normal". So the abnormal, the sick, the vicious have
    >  become more and more interwoven into the violent
    >  culture of the United States. Into the way news is
    >  seen, into the way movies are seen.
    >  I watched this movie, they had it on tv here, called
    >  "Instinct". Black actor Cuba Gooding, very good
    >  actor, is playing the psychologist, and his patient
    >  is this white anthropologist who has been extradited
    >  from some African country for killing three people.
    >  And Cuba Gooding is trying to get at the roots of
    >  what has made this man "mad". The man has a
    >  relationship with gorillas that he's been studying
    >  and is beginning to bond with gorillas; he finds that
    >  the gorillas have this good gorilla way of living.
    >  And this anthropologist becomes like a hero in this
    >  movie. And he's talking about what liberation is, how
    >  gorillas have achieved a stage of liberation,
    >  although you are never clear what he means by that.
    >  And because this guy stands up to this system in prison in which the
    >  prisoner gets a turn to go out on the exercise yard; they deal out a deck
    >of cards and the one who gets the ace gets to go out. And the one who is the
    >  strongest and the most evil takes the ace and always goes out into the
    >yard. So this anthropologist stands up against this strong guy -- who also 
    >to be black -- and he becomes the hero of the prison. In the end he 
    >escapes. And
    >he's like this great white hero who escapes.
    >  And nowhere in the whole movie, there is not one word about these three
    >people he killed. All three of them were Africans, and they were poaching 
    >on the
    >  animals, capturing the gorillas. And this guy kills them because of the 
    > gorillas.
    >  In the way that this whole history is told, we feel so much for this guy.
    >We begin to love him; he becomes the hero, the symbol of liberty and justice.
    >He and his relationship to the gorillas become principal, and the three
    >Africans that he killed are totally irrelevant.
    >  And from the beginning to the end of the movie, that's the way it goes. And
    >I'm looking at this and thinking, "This is incredible! When Malcolm X created
    >  'tricknology' as a word to describe how the mind can be twisted and
    >distorted and manipulated into believing that the enemy is the victim and 
    >the victim
    >is the enemy -- the United States is a MASTER of it!
    >  You have a bill: "Feed Cuba! Food for Cuba!" that not only tightens the
    >  blockade, makes things harder for the Cuban people, and they say "Oh, this
    >is a wonderful thing to open trade with Cuba". And they have people believing
    >  We're living in a very tricky world, and unless we become analytical and
    >expose the tricknology, people will become sucked into that. It is very 
    >easy, it
    >is very, very easy.
    >  Q. Cuba has been fighting against [neoliberal] globalization. What do you
    >think the potential for the anti-globalization movement is?
    >  A. I think that the movement against the policies of the World Bank, of the
    >  IMF, is very important. People are really beginning to see the mechanisms
    >of imperialism. When colonialism existed people could see colonialism. When
    >racial segregation existed in its apartheid form, people could see the "whites
    >only" signs. But it's much more difficult to see the structures of
    >neo-imperialism, neo-colonialism, neo-slavery.
    >  I think that the movement against the World Bank, against the globalization
    >  process that is happening, is very positive. We need a globalization, a
    >  globalization of people who are committed to social justice, to economic
    >  justice. We need a globalization of people who are committed to saving this
    >  earth, to making sure that the water is drinkable, that the air is 
    > breathable.
    >  When I was a child, if someone had talked to me about buying water, I would
    >  have thought it was a joke. If we are not committed to saving this earth we
    >  will be buying designer air filters and gas masks with little Nike swishes
    >on them. (Laughter, applause)
    >  The people who are running this planet are insane -- they are literally
    >  destroying it. I don't know where they think they're gonna drink water,
    >breathe air....This planet is a wonderful place, but a vulnerable place. 
    >And they
    >are making and implementing policies that are destroying the earth in all 
    >of ways.
    >  The movement against the kind of global assassination that is going on, in
    >  terms of whole countries -- because every African country is facing an
    >  ecological disaster in terms of becoming deserts, in terms of fuel --
    >Africa is one of the richest countries in the world and the
    >  people are the poorest in the world. A lot of that
    >  poverty is directly related to the policies of the
    >  IMF and the World Bank. Those policies are very
    >  important not only to Cuba but to people all over the
    >  world who want to see their children grow up and have
    >  access to health care, to live somewhere that is not
    >  a desert, where they can drink water, where they can
    >  breathe air. So I think that movement is one of the
    >  most important, most optimistic struggles that is
    >  going on at this moment.
    >  Q. In 1965 US President Dwight D. Eisenhower said the
    >  Pentagon was planning for 100 years into the future.
    >  Most of us don't even plan for 5 years ahead. I don't
    >  know how Cuba is coming along with it's planning. But
    >  most of us are always REACTING to what the world
    >  powers do. What is our pro-active plan for 5 or 10
    >  years from now?
    >  A, I wish (laughs) I had those answers. I believe
    >  that we have to...the first part of planning is to
    >  believe that you can put that plan into practise. And
    >  I think that one of the problems that exists in the
    >  United States and in many places in the world is that
    >  people don't believe that they can make a difference.
    >  So a lot of times we're defeated before we even start.
    >  We've become consumers of a world vision, of Kentucky
    >  Fried Chicken, of McDonalds, and we're convinced that
    >  Kentucky Fried Chicken tastes better than any other
    >  thing, or that a hamburger made by McDonalds is
    >  something special. Other than a piece of greasy meat
    >  and some bread. McDonald's are things we've been
    >  sold. And we've also consumed the idea of
    >  powerlessness, of the idea that "you can't fight City
    >  Hall" [you can't win against a powerful establishment
    >  -ed. note], of "you can't change things, the
    >  government is strong, that's just the way things
    >  are".
    >  And as long as we continue to have that vision of the
    >  world, the planning of a better world is going to be
    >  a hard nut to crack. So I think that one of the
    >  things as a step towards the phase that WE plan years
    >  and years ahead is to actually believe that this
    >  world is redeemable, changeable; that we can
    >  eradicate poverty, that we can eradicate alienation,
    >  that we can eradicate this tremendous consumerism,
    >  this disease that we have to buy everything that
    >  exists, everything that the television says we have
    >  to have.
    >  We have to have a vision of the world we want to make
    >  in 100 years. And maybe when we have that vision,
    >  when we convince enough people that that is a
    >  realistic vision, and that the opposite vision is
    >  basically that if we don't do something in this 100
    >  years, a hundred years from now this world is gonna
    >  be so destroyed, so raped and ravished that we won't
    >  HAVE much of a world to save.
    >  Internalizing the importance of this century, and how
    >  much work we have to do, will give us at least some
    >  ways to invent a system of planning. I think it's
    >  really hard to plan if you don't believe you can
    >  implement those plans.
    >  (applause). -fin-

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