Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Each generation has had to demand their right to be heard

Historically, empires have viewed the rest of the world through a very narrow lens. Other lands are seen as opportunities to rob or enslave. In late empire, the treatment of foreign subjects becomes the norm for abuses of its own citizenry. 

With 800 US bases overseas, America can be viewed as the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Its endless wars abroad has brought home a particularly vicious form of racism along with all the high tech weaponry to create havoc in a divided society. 

America's colony, Israel, is a perfect example. It's intense racism directed at its Palestinian minority gets defended by our Congress, setting an example for this country. Racism is OK if it targets a particular religious group or skin color; that's the way the empire works.

So it is no surprise that Governor Cuomo's recent executive order forbids groups or businesses to boycott Israeli products. Boycotts, part of many human rights campaigns, have always been viewed as threats by the elites. Outlawing the right to boycott is really the first step to criminalizing any speech that the empire deems offensive. What would happen if the majority of US citizens really demanded human rights in the rest of the world? Who could the empire assassinate with drones, or torture in hidden prisons? What countries could the empire invade and occupy, killing millions in the process? And how could it possibly protect its colony, Israel, with its sixty five year history of ethnic cleansing and genocide? 

The right of citizens to boycott is protected by our First Amendment and by various Supreme Court decisions on political speech. But that is clearly not enough to stop our governor from trampling on our rights. One town, Woodstock, is fighting back by considering a resolution that limits Governor Cuomo's executive order. 

You can do your part by signing the Town of Woodstock's resolution at, and then by attending some of the events being planned. The resolution will be introduced at the July 19 town board meeting, and a panel discussion will be presented the following Friday, July 22, starting at 7 PM in the Woodstock Town Hall. 

Standing up for freedom of expression has never been easy, and each generation has had to demand their right to be heard. Now, it's our turn to ensure that the state does not destroy our First Amendment rights.

Fred Nagel

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