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University Workers Walk Out On Patriotism As the US Wages War

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One day after the September 11 attacks, a librarian at the UCLA research library sent out a mass e-mail to hercoworkers citing a 1973 speech written by Gordon Sinclair titled “America: The Good Neighbor.” Jonnie Hargis, whoworks in the same department of the library, sent out a mass e-mail response saying that the United States isn’t sucha good neighbor since it supports apartheid-like policies in Israel. He ended his email with the words, “So, who arethe 'terrorists' anyway?” Library administrators got a hold of Hargis’ response and said it violated a library policyprohibiting unsolicited messages that contain political or religious messages to be sent to department lists. Hargiswas suspended without pay from Sept. 17 to 21, though the worker who sent the first mass e-mail has not beensubjected to any disciplinary action. We have a clip of that speech, recorded in 1973, at the height of anti-USsentiment during the Vietnam War. The head of the library department told Hargis he was being suspended because hismessage “demonstrated a lack of sensitivity that went beyond incivility and became harassment,” saying his comments”contribute to a hostile and threatening environment.” The Coalition of Union Employees has filed a grievance withUCLA on behalf of Hargis.

Tape:

  • Gordon Sinclair, “America: The Good Neighbor,” Toronto 1973.

Guests:

  • Jonnie Hargis, suspended for a week without pay from his position as a library assistant at UCLA.
  • Liza Go, union representative at the Coalition Of Union Employees.

In May of last year, Democracy Now! spoke to Andreas Toupadakis after he resigned from his job at Lawrence LivermoreNational Laboratory, saying that his conscience would not allow him to work for the development of nuclear weapons.Since then he has been lecturing on peace and environmental issues at universities and colleges. Now, in the wake ofthe September 11 attacks, Toupadakis has made another resignation, this time from the US.

He writes: “I renounce totally my scientific career and western civilization. My Ph.D. stands to speak truth aboutscience not use it to make a paycheck. I will love the earth and the earth will take care me. The trees that mygrand mother left for me are dying. I will help them to come back. They will feed me. A goat to give me a cap ofmilk, a couple of oranges and a piece of bread is more than enough to follow my destiny. I have renounced allownership and gave it to my family. I will give the best I have been given to the world, which are not materialpossessions or scientific discoveries but discoveries of self. I go away and I do not know when and if I will comeback. I can not work and pay taxes to such a government as this. I am unable to do it, now that I know the facts.This will be a great pain to my children and my wife and it will not be less for me. I already feel it like a knifein my heart. I have no choice but to follow the path that has become so clear before my eyes. Death is preferable tome than not to follow this path because of fear or any attachments in this world.”

Guest:

  • Dr. Andreas Toupadakis, former chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Los Alamos National Lab.

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