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Watch Democracy Now!’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

Special BroadcastDecember 05, 2016
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Democracy Now! celebrated our 20th anniversary Monday, December 5 at The Riverside Church in New York City.

Democracy Now! began in 1996 on nine radio stations and is now broadcasting on over 1,400 stations—both public television and radio, a testament to the hunger for authentic voices. In these times of war and elections, movements and uprisings, we need Democracy Now! more than ever.

Amy Goodman & Juan González were joined in New York City by Harry Belafonte, Noam Chomsky, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover and special musical guests Patti Smith and Tom Morello to celebrate two decades of Democracy Now!

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Welcome to the maiden voyage of Democracy Now!, Pacifica’s daily national election show. Greetings to our audiences in California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Washington state, Kansas City and Colorado. In this election year, we’re embarking on a nine-month journey through the country and hope to pick up community radio stations in many more states as we go, as we give voice to the grassroots.

POLICE OFFICER: Back it up, please! Back it up! Back it up! Back it up!

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On November 30th, 1999, tens of thousands of activists from across the country and around the world prevented delegates from attending the global trade talks by forming a human chain around the Seattle convention center and shutting down the city’s downtown. Police responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the mostly peaceful crowd. The protest resulted in 600 arrests and in the eventual collapse of the talks, as well as the resignation of Seattle’s police chief. It was a watershed moment for the movement against corporate globalization, and Democracy Now! was there broadcasting live.

AMY GOODMAN: Mr. President, are you there?

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I am. Can you hear me?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, we can.


AMY GOODMAN: You’re calling radio stations to tell people to get out and vote. What do you say to people who feel that the two parties are bought by corporations and that they are—at this point feel that their vote doesn’t make a difference?

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: There’s not a shred of evidence to support that. That’s what I would say.

AMY GOODMAN: President Clinton, since it’s rare to get you on the phone, let me ask you another question. And that is, what is your position on granting Leonard Peltier, the Native American activist, executive clemency?

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, I don’t—I don’t have a position I can announce yet. I think if—I believe there is a new application for him in there. … So, part of my responsibilities in the last 10 weeks of office after the election will be to review the requests for pardons and executive clemencies and give them a fair hearing. And I pledge to do that.

AMY GOODMAN: President Clinton, U.N. figures show that up to 5,000 children a month die in Iraq because of the sanctions against Iraq.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: That’s not true. That’s not true. And that’s not what they show.

AMY GOODMAN: The past two U.N. heads of the program in Iraq have quit, calling the U.S. policy—U.S.-U.N. policy “genocidal.” What is your response to that?

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: They’re wrong. They think that we should reward—Saddam Hussein says, “I’m going to starve my kids unless you let me buy nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and biological weapons. If you let me do everything I want to do, so I can get in a position to kill and intimidate people again, then I’ll stop starving my kids.” And so, we’re supposed to assume responsibility for his misconduct. That’s just not right.

AMY GOODMAN: Many people say that Ralph Nader is at the high percentage point he is in the polls because you’ve been responsible for taking the Democratic Party to the right. What do you say to listeners who are listening around the area right now—

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, I’m glad you ask that.

AMY GOODMAN: —to allay their concerns?

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I’m glad you ask that. That’s the last question I’ve got time for. I’ll be happy to answer that.

What is the measure of taking the Democratic Party to the right? That we cut the welfare rolls in half? That poverty is at a 20-year low? That child poverty has been cut by a third in our administration? That the incomes of average Americans have gone up 15 percent after inflation?

AMY GOODMAN: Can I say what some people —

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Now, let me just finish.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me just say —

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Let me—now, wait a minute. You started this, and every question you’ve asked has been hostile and combative. So you listen to my answer, will you do that?

AMY GOODMAN: They’ve been critical questions.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Now, you just listen to me. You ask the questions, and I’m going to answer. You have asked questions in a hostile, combative and even disrespectful tone.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Our guest for the hour is Lou Dobbs.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So that the question is that there is a huge disparity between the economic levels in Mexico and the economic levels in the United States. And you have properly said many times on your show that American companies are creating the problems, rather than helping to alleviate the problems. All that would be needed to do is to raise the economic level in Mexico, and the entire illegal immigration population problems would decline in this country. And not only that, but the country, if it had a higher immigration quota in connection with—

LOU DOBBS: Are you giving me instruction, or are you telling me what we agree upon?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: No, we don’t agree. We don’t agree, because you are demonizing illegal immigration as a separate issue. …

LOU DOBBS: How in the world can you use my name and “anti-immigrant” in the same breath?

AMY GOODMAN: When we hear comments like—

LOU DOBBS: You hear—

AMY GOODMAN: —a third of the—from you—we’ve played them, so we can’t refute the videotape, Lou.

LOU DOBBS: Have you looked, Amy—

AMY GOODMAN: We can’t refute—a third of prisoners are—

LOU DOBBS: Yes. And have we discussed that?

AMY GOODMAN: —are illegal immigrants—

LOU DOBBS: Have we discussed it?

AMY GOODMAN: No, a third of prisoners are illegal immigrants, not true. Seven thousand leprosy cases in the last three years because of illegal immigrants—

LOU DOBBS: Christine Romans misspoke—

AMY GOODMAN: —not true.

LOU DOBBS: —we said that. And that’s as straightforward as we can put it.

AMY GOODMAN: And you made an announcement on your show—

LOU DOBBS: Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: —and you will say it here—

LOU DOBBS: Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: —that it is not true. Illegal immigrants are not responsible for 7,000 cases of leprosy over last three years.

LOU DOBBS: Not over the last three years.

AMY GOODMAN: Welcome. Welcome. This is why we have no one in our studio in the morning when we’re doing the show, so we can start the show on time. Now, we want to welcome you all to this remarkable celebration that we never expected 20 years ago. We thought this would be a nine-month project for the election of 1996. I want to thank Julie Drizin, who is here today, our first executive producer when we started in Washington, D.C. Who knew that the day after the election of 1996, where President Clinton was re-elected, that there would be more demand for the show than before? And so we just kept on going, from nine stations that first year to eight—you’ll find out why in a moment, when we aired the voice of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Pennsylvania radio stations took us off the air—and then, one by one, more and more stations, until September 11. That week, remarkably enough, 2001, by coincidence, we started on our first television station, Manhattan Neighborhood Network in New York. And from that moment on, TV stations and radio stations around the country picked us up.

I’m going to talk later on this evening, oh, after our wonderful luminaries have spoken, like Noam Chomsky and Harry Belafonte, and Patti Smith will be singing, as will Tom Morello. And Danny Glover, I don’t think will be singing, but will be regaling us with stories. And Nermeen will be introducing Noam. But first, we’re beginning with Juan González. And as we came up—as we took the subway up here today, we noticed that we passed a pool, the Columbia pool, and it made us—just sort of got us thinking about [Juan]'s history, because, you know, [Juan] didn't exactly start off as a journalist, right? He was the—one of the founders of the Young Lords, the Puerto Rican equivalent of the Black Panthers. He was a leader of the Columbia student strike, which meant that it would take him 30 years—I’m not stealing your speech, right? Because I knew he’d never talk about this. It would take him 30 years to graduate from college, after being one of the most nationally known reporters, to actually Columbia begging him that they could call him a graduate, called him up after writing for the New York Daily News for decades, said, “Please, Juan, we want you to graduate.” So he finished his physics paper that he owed for the end of that year right as they were taking over the administration buildings. And when he was ready to go and get that graduation certificate, his diploma, they got a call and said, “Not so fast, Juan.” Now, he said, “You asked me to graduate. I didn’t ask you.” They said, “You haven’t taken your swimming test yet.”

Well, Juan has done swimmingly well before then and after. He has helped keep all of our heads above water at Democracy Now! It is such a great honor to have spent this 20 years co-hosting with Juan González. Juan?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Thank you, and this is—welcome to all of our viewers and listeners around the country and around the world.

You know, I want to—Amy stole a little bit of my presentation. But I received a telephone call at my desk at the Daily News in the fall of 1995 from a complete stranger. She introduced herself as Julie Drizin, the director—the news director for Pacifica Radio’s national programming. She told me that Pacifica was planning to start a new national grassroots daily news show that would mainly cover, as Amy said, the 1996 presidential election, and that would give voice to the voiceless, but would probably only last until November. She told me a WBAI staffer, Amy Goodman, would be the show’s main host and had wanted me to be one of three rotating co-hosts. I had only met Amy briefly a few years before, when she and I were both in Haiti covering the military coup, the first military coup, against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. “Not interested,” I told Julie. “I’m a print journalist, not radio.” She insisted that they loved my reporting and wanted me to be part of the show, and she eventually convinced me. But within the first few months, the other two co-hosts, Larry Bensky and Salim Muwakkil, bowed out. That left only Amy, me and a series of individual producers Julie kept recruiting at the WBAI stations, the old one on 34th Street and Eighth Avenue, but who kept quitting from overwork. And if you happened to listen to some of those early shows, I really was a print person, not born to radio.

Well, the show lasted longer than anyone planned, and here we are 20 years later with Democracy Now! an institution of alternative and progressive media in America. And it’s been quite a ride. We’ve been privileged to bear witness to the most important political events and social struggles of the past two decades, to interview some of the most brilliant grassroots leaders, artists, poets, scientists, from inmates bravely organizing within the prison-industrial complex to young immigrant DREAMers fighting to keep their families intact, to visionary political and religious leaders from around the world seeking to make a better life for their people, to American soldiers resisting imperial war from within the military, to daring whistleblowers exposing secrets, the darkest secrets of capitalism and empire. In the true spirit of the workingmen’s press of the 1830s, the muckrakers of the early 1900s, the revolutionary press of the 1970s, we have sought to do our part to keep alive dissident alternative news and information and analysis, grounded in facts and research, and in the service of social progress.

As many of you know, I’ve been fortunate to not only have worked with Amy, one of the truly great journalists of our time, but also—also to have labored in two other major streams of the American media: the corporate, or commercial, press and with the press of people of color—which has its own separate 200-year history, because both the corporate press and the dissident press kept excluding racial minorities from their ranks. And my journalism has always been informed and shaped by my own struggles, successful mass struggles in the social movements of our time, from the 1968 Columbia student strike against the Vietnam War and racism; to the Young Lords in the 1970s; to the battle to remove Frank Rizzo, the racist, fascist mayor of Philadelphia, from his mayoralty; to the bitter five-month strike at the New York Daily News from 1990 to 1991, the last successful newspaper strike in American history; and to the difficult and arduous battle in 2000, 2001 to save the Pacifica network from a corporate takeover.

I resigned from the Daily News in May, after 29 years there, to devote myself to more in-depth research and writing, and I’m completing a book on the new progressive movements that have come to power in several U.S. cities the past few years. Those cities, you see, are the only hope right now for the nation’s progressive movements, especially after the debacle we witnessed at the state and federal level last month and as one advanced capitalist country after another faces the resurgence of right-wing, anti-immigrant and neofascist movements. We must nurture and build progressive alliances at the city and local level, not despair or lose hope. And those of us who are journalists must keep reporting the facts, exposing the injustices, drawing the lessons of history and speaking truth to power.

Democracy Now! has always drawn inspiration from people’s struggles. Its biggest stories have come from the information gathered by activists and researchers who no one else would listen to. And 20 years after we started, with your help and support, it will continue to do so for longer than anyone thought possible. Thank you for coming tonight.

AMY GOODMAN: During this broadcast, we heard a loud explosion, and we heard ambulances, or rather we heard sirens. Well, it appears that planes crashed into the upper floors of both World Trade Center towers minutes apart this morning in a horrific scene of explosions and fires that left gaping holes in the 110-story buildings.

No immediate word on injuries or fatalities in the twin disasters, which happened at just around 9:00 New York time. And President Bush has called the World Trade Center crashes an apparent terrorist attack.

AMY GOODMAN: Sometime after 9:30 Eastern Standard Time last night, U.S. military began an unprovoked attack on Iraq. Air raid sirens sounded throughout Baghdad just before the sun rose. Anti-aircraft fire filled the sky. Explosions shook the city. Pentagon officials said over 30 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from warships. Two stealth bombers each dropped two one-ton bombs.

JEREMY SCAHILL: While George W. Bush speaks of sending in U.S. special forces to protect Iraq’s oilfields for future Western consumption, across Iraq there is tremendous fear that while the oilfields receive special protection from the Pentagon, Washington’s bombers will systematically attack the country’s civilian infrastructure. Thirty miles outside of Baghdad lies the al-Taji electrical power plant. During the 1991 Gulf War, the plant was bombed by allied forces, along with dozens of other electrical systems across Iraq. This led to pandemic shortages or blackouts of power in most of the country, causing an almost total shutdown of water and sewage treatment facilities. Over the last 12 years of sanctions, Iraq has been unable to adequately repair the systems, causing the deaths of tens of thousands of children from preventable diseases. At al-Taji, some 30 members of the Iraq Peace Team held a vigil in front of the electrical power plant. They held a large banner that read “To bomb this site is a war crime.”

PROTESTERS: No war! No war! No war! No war!

ANDREW BERGEN: I’m standing in Hyde Park. We’ve had a demonstration where some estimates are now in the region of 2 million people.

DANIEL LAWSON: Possibly the biggest ever in Australia. Over 200,000 people.

GABRIELE SALARI: Italy, 1.8 million people.

EDGAR BURNS: Reporting from Madrid, Spain, three-quarters of a million people are here, and it is unbelievable.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Hi. This is Arundhati Roy, and I’m calling from Kerala in India. And I’m calling to speak to the people on the streets of New York and on the streets of almost every major city in the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Reports from protests in Amman, Jordan; and Amsterdam; Beirut, Lebanon; Dili, East Timor; Florence, Italy; London; Milano, Italy; Paris, France; in dozens of cities in Spain. Reports in Athens, Georgia; in Austin, Texas; Blacksburg, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Colorado Springs; and Defiance, Ohio; Denver, Colorado, as well as Durango; Geneva, New York; in Houston, Texas; Hyannis, Massachusetts; in Hawaii, as well; Lawrence, Kansas; Los Angeles, California—and I am only naming a few.

HARRY BELAFONTE: We stand for peace. We stand for the truth of what is at the heart of the American people. This is not the first time that we, as a people, have been misled by the leadership. We were misled by those who created the falseness of the Bay of Tonkin, which falsely led us into a war with Vietnam, a war that we could not and did not win. We lied to the American people about Grenada and what was going on in that tiny island. We lied to the American people about Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba and many places in the world. And we stand here today to let those people and others know that America is a vast and diverse country, and we are part of the greater truth of what makes our nation.

HARRY BELAFONTE: Thank you. Thank you. I can only relish in the sense of being truly blessed that I should have endured long enough to be able to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Democracy Now! Amy Goodman and Juan González does our nation a great service, the truth and the clarity that they bring to the breaking the news, which breaks more often than I would like to realize. We are blessed that we have them and that, for as long as we’re still able, democracy prevails.

In a few weeks from now, if there is a platform on which I will be privileged to stand and speak, my opening remarks will probably be something like “Welcome to the Fourth Reich.” I was talking with a comrade recently. He was a victim of the Third Reich. He was a victim of the great Holocaust and what happened to the Jewish people during the reign of Hitler. And all my life I have committed myself to making sure that here, this country, not for the wont of effort, but I and so many others would be forever committed to the idea that America will remain an open and a free and a democratic society. With each cycle, those thoughts become a bit dimmed. Now, I think, more than ever, we are in need of Democracy Now! We are in need of Amy and Juan and all of you.

I have—I’m just at the threshold of my 90th year, and I had often—who said that? I never thought I’d live this long, but to be able to share an evening with Danny Glover, and certainly with Noam Chomsky, for whom I have great affection and deep respect, that I can kind of dance out of here feeling like, well, I did it all. But, in a way, each time it was done, we kind of figured it was the last time we would have to do it. During a lifetime of Paul Robeson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, those who mentored me and guided me and inspired me, that I should have lived long enough to be able to stand here and once again say thanks to all my colleagues, to all of my comrades, to all of the people who have sacrificed so greatly to make this nation whole—we are looking upon a curious time.

But I think it’s a time that should be used as an opportunity to know that we have to make a much bigger difference than we’ve made up to now. We should not let the current state of affairs dull the fact that all that we have done was worthless. Nothing could be further from the truth, as, in fact, all that we have done has ensured that what’s coming has come later than should have happened. But thank you all. Thank you for coming here, supporting Democracy Now!, giving me the opportunity to tell all of you that I enjoyed being in your service, and I hope to continue to be in your service for much longer.

And as a passing thought—not so passing, but I’ll take this opportunity to publicly—once again, for the last few months, passionate appeal has been made to President Barack Obama to use the power of the executive office to free my friend and our leader, Leonard Peltier, with the understanding that if he fails before now and the end of the year to step to the plate and do the right thing, it will be a long time before we get a chance to think about Leonard being freed. But I think we just have to keep on keeping on. Thank you all very much. Thank you for coming. And thank you, Amy. And thank you, Juan.

U.S. SOLDIER 1: Let me know when you’ve got them.

U.S. SOLDIER 2: Let’s shoot. Light ’em all up.

U.S. SOLDIER 3: Come on, fire!

U.S. SOLDIER 2: Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’.

AMY GOODMAN: For the first time, 25-year-old U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning has admitted to being the source behind the largest leak of state secrets in U.S. history. More than a thousand days after he was arrested, Manning testified Thursday before a military court. He said he leaked the classified documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in order to show the American public the true costs of war. Reading for over an hour from a 35-page statement, Manning said, quote, “I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information … this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.”

MICHAEL RATNER: They put him into cages that he described as eight-by-eight-by-eight. There were two cages. He said they were like animal cages. They were all—they were in a tent alone, just these two cages, side by side. One of them had whatever possessions he may have had; one of them, he was in, with a little bed for a rack and a toilet, dark, in this cage for almost two months. He was taken out for a short while and then, without explanation, put back in the cage, meals in the cage, etc., all of that.

And then—wait until you hear this. They would wake him at night at 11:00 p.m., 10:00 or 11:00, and his day—or night—was all night, and he was allowed to go back to sleep at 12:00 or 1:00, noon, the next day. So when we think about what happened to people at Guantánamo or sensory deprivation or what McCoy says in his books on torture, what are they trying to do except destroy this human being?

RAFIQ UR REHMAN: [translated] It was 2:45 p.m. on October 24th of 2012. After school finished, I went into town to buy school supplies.

KALIM UR REHMAN: [translated] After the first sip, the drone hit.

AMY GOODMAN: Zubair, you are 13. You were with your grandmother picking okra. It was the day before Eid. Describe what happened.

ZUBAIR UR REHMAN: [translated] I had seen a drone, and two missiles hit down where my grandmother was standing in front of me. And she was blown into pieces, and I was injured to my left leg.

NABILA UR REHMAN: [translated] Ever since the strike, I’m just scared. I’m always scared. All of us little kids, we’re just scared to go outside.

AMY GOODMAN: President Bush’s vacation is officially over this week, as he returns to Washington. And there’s little doubt that his time these past weeks at his Crawford, Texas, estate will forever be remembered as the summer of Camp Casey, named for 24-year-old Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Baghdad’s Sadr City on April 4th, 2004. By now, you’d have to be living in a news vacuum to not know the name of Cindy Sheehan, Casey’s mother, who set up a lawn chair down the road from Bush’s property at the beginning of the president’s five-week vacation to demand she be allowed to speak directly with the president.

CINDY SHEEHAN: Casey was such a gentle, kind, loving person. He never even got in one fistfight his whole life. Nobody even hated him enough to punch him, let alone kill him. And that’s what George Bush did. He put our kids in another person’s country, and Casey was killed by insurgents. He wasn’t killed by terrorists. He was killed by Shiite militia who wanted—they wanted him out of the country. When Casey was told that he was going to be welcomed with chocolates and flowers as a liberator, well, the people of Iraq saw it differently. They saw him as an occupier.

AMY GOODMAN: From Pacifica, this is a Democracy Now! Memorial Day special: “Honor the Dead, Heal the Wounded, Stop the Wars.” That was the cry of a group of veterans in the streets of Chicago.

SCOTT KIMBALL: For all the servicemembers and veterans who are against these wars, you are not alone!

MAGGIE MARTIN: My name is Maggie Martin. I was a sergeant in the Army. I did two tours in Iraq. No amount of medals, ribbons or flags can cover the amount of human suffering caused by these wars. We don’t want this garbage. We want our human rights. We want our right to heal.

JASON HURD: I spent 10 years in the United States Army as a combat medic. I deployed to Baghdad in 2004. I’m here to return my Global War on Terrorism Service Medal in solidarity with the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan. I am deeply sorry for the destruction that we have caused in those countries and around the globe. I am proud to stand on this stage with my fellow veterans and my Afghan sisters. These were lies. I’m giving them back.

AMY GOODMAN: Iraq War veteran Tomas Young. At the age of 33, he has said he’s decided to end his life. This week, he published his letter titled “The Last Letter: A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a Dying Veteran.”

TOMAS YOUNG: “My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.”

TOM MORELLO: I’m Tom Morello. It’s an honor to be here. One thing about Democracy Now!, it has always—it has always made me feel less alone in what I think, less alone in what I feel. So I have one question to ask you people here tonight: Are we in this together, people? Are we in this together, people?

[singing] Now you might have heard different
But I know it’s a fact
That Jesus, Mary, Joseph
And the Apostle Paul were black
Ten letters I am writing
Each one reads the same
Nine circles I am drawing
One around your name

Land and freedom
Steel and faith
Tooth and bone and wire
And skin, scar, dirt and fire
Hoo hoo hoooo!
Mic check
Hoo hoo hoooo!
It doesn’t matter who you are
It does not matter what you say
Flesh shapes the day
Flesh shapes the day

Brothers and sisters
Rejoice and repent
The landlord’s dead
You can keep the rent
Fought hard about this next line
And I’m pretty sure it’s true
If you take a step towards freedom
Freedom will take two steps towards you

Land and freedom
Steel and faith
Tooth and bone and wire
And skin, scar, dirt and fire
Hoo hoo hoooo!
Mic check
Hoo hoo hoooo!
It doesn’t matter who you are
It does not matter what you say
Flesh shapes the day
Flesh shapes the day
Sí, se puede!

Veterans’ hospitals
And witches’ spells
Low to buy
And high to sell
And little girls
Collecting shells
And memories
Upon the shelves
And ringing bells
And high school choirs
And faithful dogs
Beside the fire
And billionaires
And open bars
And early exits
And judgments hard

And land and freedom
And steel and faith
And tooth and bone and wire
And skin, scar, dirt and fire
Hoo hoo hoooo!
Mic check
Hoo hoo hoooo!
It doesn’t matter who you are
Does not matter what the fuck you say
Flesh shapes the day
Flesh shapes the day
Flesh shapes the day now
Flesh shapes the day
Hoo hoooo!

Thank you very much. This next song is by a fellow who I’m sure would have tuned into Democracy Now! every night if he could have afforded cable. That’s Woody Guthrie. And I learned this song—I heard this song when I was like in the eighth grade—or in the third grade when I was eight years old. But what they failed to do was to include all of the verses that really reveals the song to be the radical revolutionary anthem it is. And in these times of protofascist reaction, it’s very important for us to remember this is your land.

[singing] As I went walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that golden highway—skyway:
I saw below me the golden valley:
Yeah, this land was made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And that sign said “Private Property.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

Sing with me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can make me turn back now
Because this land was made for you and me.

Brothers and sisters, sing.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

Clap your hands! All right, stop clapping. Back to the serious shit. And I apologize in the church, but sometimes the struggle for social justice is not rated PG-13, people. I’m sure the Presbyterian nuns will understand.

Are we in this together, people? All right. All right. We have struggles in the days ahead. And I knew before the election happened that two things were true. One was there would be a great deal of injustice after the election, no matter who was elected. The other thing was I knew there would be a great deal of resistance to that injustice after the election, no matter who was elected.

So while there’s a lot I’m certain we’re going to have to fight against, let’s remember some of the things we want to fight for, and aim for the world we really want without compromise or apology, a world of peace, freedom and equality, a humane and just world where no one is homeless, no one is hungry, where every kid gets an education and a chance, where you don’t have to be afraid of being blown up by a drone in the Middle East or being killed by a cop right here in the United States of America. Let’s aim for that world without compromise and without apology. And how do you do it? You stand up against injustice wherever it rears its ugly head—in your home, in your school, in your place of work, in the Oval Office, wherever. Are we in this together, people?

Well, I’ve got—I’m curious: If we’re in this together, why are you all out there, and I’m up here? If you’d like to join me on stage, please do so right now. Come on up. Everybody’s afraid. Oh, this is a Democracy Now! crowd that’s afraid to get on stage. Back—she’s coming. Come on. We’ve got about 90 seconds of this song, and we’re going to have a nice time. You can say you jammed with the dude from Rage Against the Machine. Get on stage. Come on. Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. That’s what democracy looks like. Come on up. Come on up. Come on up. Let the people see the show, but come on up. Come on up if you want to come on up. Put your phone away. We’re living in the moment for once in our lives. Let’s just enjoy ourselves. All right. All right. All right.

This is what we’re going to do in our last 90 seconds together. I’m going to sing—wait, hold on one sec. I want to make sure that tonight your eyes, ears, hearts and souls are radicalized and revolutionized by what you hear and see, and you can head out in that world and confront injustice. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Please move, sir, so Noam Chomsky can see my set. Thank you. OK. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. All that can wait 'til tomorrow, because tonight we're going to have a good motherfucking time, people! Celebrate Democracy Now! Jesus, I’m sorry, but he’s on our side. All right, here we go. This is what’s going to happen: I’m going to sing the last secret, censored verse of this song, and you’re going to listen with rapt attention. Then together we’re going to sing “This Land is Your Land” as loud as any group of pinkos has ever sung in a church in New York City. And then, before—are we in this together, people? All right. All right. And then, when I give the word, when I give the word, we’re all going to jump the fuck up in solidarity. Ready to do that, people? All right. It’s a complicate set of instructions, so I’m going to run through it again. I sing the verse, you listen. Together, we sing the chorus super loudly. When I give the word, we jump up, jump the fuck up in solidarity. Ready, people? All right, here we go. Are we in this together, people? All right, here we go. Goes like this.

[singing] In the squares of the city,
In the shadow of the steeple,
Near the relief office I seen my people;
Some are grumbling, and all are wondering
If this land’s still made for you and me.

Tell them!

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

Jump the fuck up! Jump!

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
This land was made for you and me.

Thank you very much! Take it easy! Take it easy! Take it easy! But take it! Thank you! People, you may return to your seats.

AMY GOODMAN: Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades yesterday in an attempt to break up a memorial service for Rachel Corrie, the U.S. peace activist killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza on Sunday, this according to a report in The Guardian of London. The 23-year-old member of the International Solidarity Movement was crushed to death Sunday while she tried to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes by the Israeli military in the Gaza town of Rafah. One witness said people were laying carnations at the spot where Rachel was killed, when a tank came and fired tear gas at them.

Israel intensifies its attack on Gaza. A playground is hit, killing eight children. The Palestinian death toll has now topped 1,100. We’ll go to Gaza City to speak with Democracy Now!’s Sharif Abdel Kouddous.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Late last night—well, not late, during around sunset time, there was a very large airstrike on a house in the Tuffah neighborhood of northern Gaza, of northern Gaza City. And the force of the blast severely damaged a children’s hospital, the Muhammad al-Durrah Children’s Hospital, that was just tens of yards away. I visited this morning. The ICU unit was completely destroyed inside, all the windows blown out. The window frames were toppled over cribs. One child, the director of the hospital told me, was two-and-a-half years old and was being intubated at the time of the attack. And the doctor was blown back by the force of the blast. Glass flew all over the baby, and the baby was killed.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a well-known Palestinian gynecologist who has spent years working in one of Israeli’s main hospitals. He crossed into Israel daily through the Erez checkpoint from his home in Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza. During the assault, Dr. Abuelaish was interviewed regularly on Israeli television and radio. Not even Israeli journalists were able to report independently from within Gaza, making Dr. Abuelaish one of the few Hebrew-speaking witnesses who told of the Palestinian suffering under fire. On January 16, 2009, a day and a half before the official end of the war, Dr. Abuelaish’s home was shelled twice by Israeli tanks. His three daughters were killed—21-year-old Bessan, 15-year-old Mayar and 13-year-old Aya—as well as his niece Noor. Moments after Dr. Abuelaish discovered the bodies of his children, he called his friend Shlomi Eldar, a correspondent at Israel’s Channel 10 News, for help. Eldar happened to be in the studio at the time. Democracy Now! producer Anjali Kamat narrates the exchange that was broadcast live on Israeli television.

ANJALI KAMAT: They killed his family, he says. “I think I’m a bit overwhelmed, too.” He explains that Dr. Abuelaish is a physician at Tel Hashomer Hospital. He always feared his family would be hurt. His daughters were injured. “I want to save them, but they died on the spot, Shlomi. They were hit in the head.” Shlomi Eldar then excused himself from the show, took off his earpiece and rushed off the set to get help to Dr. Abuelaish.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Good evening, all. My name is Nermeen Shaikh. My name is Nermeen Shaikh, and I’m a co-host and producer at Democracy Now!

It is my extraordinary privilege and honor to introduce one of our most revered and popular guests and, at the risk of echoing an all too often repeated claim, someone who scarcely needs an introduction and for whom any introduction would necessarily be insufficient: Professor Noam Chomsky.

Noam Chomsky—Noam Chomsky is institute professor emeritus—Noam Chomsky is institute professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for 60 years. He’s a highly acclaimed political dissident, linguist and author of countless books and among the world’s finest and most preeminent public intellectuals, at a time when the space for public intellectuals has been all but eviscerated.

In his own formal area of study, linguistics, he has, of course, revolutionized the field, though no less than he has in the realm of global politics, where he has consistently maintained a critical counterhegemonic position, showing us again and again why power must never be allowed to be its own justification and, indeed, that any authority must be earned before it is considered either legitimate or worthy. Professor Chomsky—Professor Chomsky has demonstrated precisely such earned authority through his own work and teaching.

Before I invite Professor Chomsky to the stage, I’d like to share a short story about an unexpected encounter I had with him, an encounter so trivial that it must have been entirely erased from his memory, but remains for me one of my singular achievements. On one occasion, when Professor Chomsky was due to appear on Democracy Now!, there was a problem with our Boston studio, so Professor Chomsky was going to join us on the show via video Skype, which I then learned was perhaps the only thing in the world he had not yet mastered. So it was my task to teach Professor Chomsky how to use this most enigmatic of technologies—a memorable moment and perhaps, for me, the very greatest contribution I’ve made to the dissemination of public knowledge.

And now it is with the greatest reverence and pleasure that I invite on stage Professor Noam Chomsky. Please join me in welcoming him. Thank you.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I’d just like to begin by saying a word about what a privilege and honor it is to be able to participate in the celebration of the remarkable success of Democracy Now! for these many years and, in particular, the quite astonishing achievements of Amy Goodman, Juan González, their colleagues, in showing us how we might aspire to achieve democracy now. It will be a long struggle. And again, it’s an enormous pleasure to be able to share this occasion with people like Harry Belafonte, who has been such an inspiration and being in the forefront of this endless struggle for many hard years.

And for the young people among you, a special word: You’ll be facing problems that have never arisen in the 200,000 years of human history—hard, demanding problems. It’s a burden that you can’t ignore. And we’ll all—you, in particular, and all the rest of us—will have to be in there struggling hard to save the human species from a pretty grim fate.

Well, my wife and I happened to be in Europe on November 8th, that fateful day, in fact, in Barcelona, where we watched the results come in. Now, that had special personal resonance for me. The first article I wrote, or at least that I can remember, was in February 1939 at the—it was about the fall of Barcelona to Franco’s fascist forces. And the article, which I’m sure it was not very memorable, was about the apparently inexorable spread of fascism over Europe and maybe the whole world. I’m old enough to have been able to listen to Hitler’s speeches, the Nuremberg rallies, not understanding the words, but the tone and the reaction of the crowd was enough to leave indelible memories. And watching those results come in did arouse some pretty unpleasant memories, along with what is happening in Europe now, which, in many ways, is pretty frightening, as well.

Well, the reaction to November 8th in Europe was disbelief, shock, horror. It was captured pretty eloquently in the—on the front cover of the major German weekly, Der Spiegel. It depicted a caricature of Donald Trump presented as a meteor hurtling towards Earth, mouth open, ready to swallow it up. And the top headline read ”Das Ende Der Welt!” “The End of the World.” Small letters below, “as we have known it.” There might be some truth to that concern, even if not exactly in the manner in which the artist, the authors, the others who echoed that conception, had in mind.

It had to do with other events that were taking place right at the same time, November 8th, events that I think were a lot more important than the ones that have captured the attention of the world in such an astonishing fashion, events that were taking place in Morocco, Marrakech, Morocco. There was a conference there of 200 countries, the so-called COP 22. Their goal at this conference was to implement the rather vague promises and commitments of the preceding international conference on global warming, COP 21 in Paris in December 2015, which had in fact been left vague for reasons not unrelated to what happened on November 8th here.

The Paris conference had the goal of establishing verifiable commitments to do something about the worst problem that humans have ever faced—the likely destruction of the possibility for organized human life. They couldn’t do that. They could only reach a nonverifiable commitment—promises, but not fixed by treaty and a real commitment. And the reason was that the Republican Congress in the United States would not accept binding commitments. So they were left with something much weaker and looser.

The Morocco conference intended to carry this forward by putting teeth in that loose, vague agreement. The conference opened on November 7th, normal way. November 8th, the World Meteorological Organization presented an assessment of the current state of what’s called the Anthropocene, the new geological epoch that is marked by radical human modification, destruction of the environment that sustains life. November 9th, the conference basically ceased. The question that was left was whether it would be possible to carry forward this global effort to deal with the highly critical problem of environmental catastrophe, if the leader of the free world, the richest and most powerful country in history, would pull out completely, as appeared to be the case. That’s the stated goal of the president-elect, who regards climate change as a hoax and whose policy, if he pursues it, is to maximize the use of fossil fuels, end environmental regulations, dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency—established by Richard Nixon, which is a measure of where politics has shifted to the right in the past generation—and, in other ways, accelerate the race to destruction. Well, that was essentially the end of the Marrakech conference. It terminated without any issue. So that might signal the end of the world, even if not quite in the intended sense.

And, in fact, what happened in Marrakech was a quite astounding spectacle. The hope of the world for saving us from this impending disaster was China—authoritarian, harsh China. That’s where hopes were placed. At the same time, the leader of the free world, the richest, most powerful country in history, was acting in such a way as to doom the hopes to total disaster. It’s an astonishing spectacle. And it’s no less astounding that it received almost no comment. You can—something to think about.

Well, the effects are quite real. COP 21, the Paris negotiations, could not reach a verifiable treaty because of the refusal of the Republican Congress to accept binding commitments. The follow-up conference, COP 22, ended without any issue. We will soon see, in the not very distant future, even more dangerous, horrifying consequences of this failure right here to come to term to address in a serious way this impending crisis.

So, say, take the country of Bangladesh. Within a few years, tens of millions of people will be fleeing from the low-lying coastal plains simply because of the rise of sea level with the melting of the huge Antarctic glaciers much more quickly than was anticipated and the severe weather associated with global warming. That’s a refugee crisis of a kind that puts today’s crisis, which is more a moral crisis of the West than an actual refugee crisis—it will put this current crisis into a—it will seem like a footnote to a tragedy. And it’s—the leading climate scientist in Bangladesh has reacted by saying that these migrants should have the right to move to the countries from which all these greenhouse gases are coming. Millions should be able to go to the United States and—United States and, indeed, the other rich countries that have grown wealthy, as we all have, while bringing this new geological epoch—bringing about this new geological epoch, which may well be the final one for the species.

And the catastrophic consequences can only increase. Just keeping to South Asia, temperatures which are already intolerable for the poor are going to continue to rise as the Himalayan glaciers melt, also destroying the water supply for South Asia. In India already, 300 million people are reported to lack water to drink. And it will continue both for India and Pakistan. And at this point, the two major threats to survival begin to converge. One is environmental catastrophe. The other is nuclear war, another threat that is increasing right before our eyes. India and Pakistan are nuclear states, nuclear—states with nuclear weapons. They were already almost at war. Any kind of real war would immediately turn into a nuclear war. That might happen very easily over water—over struggles over diminishing water supplies. A nuclear war would not only devastate the region, but might actually be terminal for the species, if indeed it leads to nuclear winter and global famine, as many scientists predict. So, the threats of survival—to survival converge right there, and we’re going to see much more like it. Meanwhile, the United States is leading the way to disaster, while the world looks to China for leadership. It’s an incredible, astounding picture, and indeed only one piece of a much larger picture.

The U.S. isolation at Marrakech is symptomatic of broader developments that we should think about pretty carefully. They’re of considerable significance. U.S. isolation in the world is increasing in remarkable ways. Maybe the most striking is right in this hemisphere, what used to be called “our little region over here”—Henry Stimson, secretary of war under Roosevelt, “our little region over here,” where nobody bothers us. If anybody gets out of line, we punish them harshly; otherwise, they do what we say. That’s very far from true. During this century, Latin America, for the first time in 500 years, has freed itself from Western imperialism. Last century, that’s the United States. The International Monetary Fund, which is basically an agency of the U.S. Treasury, has been kicked out of the—of South America entirely. There are no U.S. military bases left. The international organizations, the—the hemispheric organizations are beginning to exclude the United States and Canada. In 2015, there was a summit coming up, and the United States might have been excluded completely from the hemisphere over the issue of Cuba. That was the crucial issue that the hemisphere—on which the hemisphere opposed U.S. policy, as does the world. That’s surely the reason why Obama made the gestures towards normalization, that were at least some step forward—and could be reversed under Trump. We don’t know.

On a much more far-reaching scale, something similar is happening in Asia. As you know, one of Obama’s major policies was the so-called pivot to Asia, which was actually a measure to confront China, transparently. One component of the pivot to Asia was the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which excluded China, tried to bring in other Asia-Pacific countries. Well, that seems to be on its way to collapse, for pretty good reasons, I think. But at the same time, there’s another international trade agreement that is expanding and growing, namely, China’s—what they call the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which is now drawing in U.S. allies, from Peru to Australia to Japan. The U.S. will probably choose to stay out of it, just as the United States, virtually alone, has stayed away from China’s Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, a kind of counterpart to the World Bank, that the U.S. has opposed for many years, but has now been joined by practically all U.S. allies, Britain and others. That’s—at the same time, China is expanding to the West with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the China-based Silk Roads. The whole system is an integrated system of energy resource sharing and so on. It includes Siberia, with its rich resources. It includes India and Pakistan. Iran will soon join, it appears, and probably Turkey. This will extend all the way from China to Europe. The United States has asked for observer status, and it’s been rejected, not permitted. And one of the major commitments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the whole of the Central Asian states, is that there can be no U.S. military bases in this entire region.

Another step toward isolation may soon take place if the president-elect carries through his promise to terminate the nuclear weapons—the nuclear deal with Iran. Other countries who are parties to the deal might well continue. They might even—Europe, mainly. That means ignoring U.S. sanctions. That will extend U.S. isolation, even from Europe. And in fact Europe might move, under these circumstances, towards backing off from the confrontation with Russia. Actually, Brexit may assist with this, because Britain was the voice of the United States in NATO, the harshest voice. Now it’s out, gives Europe some opportunities. There were choices in 1990, ’91, time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev had a—what he called a vision of a common European home, an integrated, cooperative system of security, commerce, interchange, no military alliances from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The U.S. insisted on a different vision—namely, Soviet Union collapses, and NATO remains and, indeed, expands, right up to the borders of Russia now, where very serious threats are evident daily.

Well, all of this, these are significant developments. They’re related to the widely discussed matter of decline of American power. There are some conventional measures which, however, are misleading in quite interesting ways. I’ll just say a word about it, because there’s no time, but it’s something to seriously think about. By conventional measures, in 1945, the United States had reached the peak of global dominance—nothing like it in history. It had perhaps 50 percent of total world’s wealth. Other industrial countries were devastated or destroyed by the war, severely damaged. The U.S. economy had gained enormously from the war, and it was in—and the U.S., in general, had a position of dominance with no historical parallel. Well, that, of course, couldn’t last. Other industrial countries reconstructed. By around 1970, the world was described as tripolar: three major economic centers—a German-based Europe, a U.S.-based North America and the Northeast Asian area, at that time Japan-based, now China had moved in as a partner, conflict then partner. By now—by that time, U.S. share in global wealth was about 25 percent. And today it’s not far below that.

Well, all of this is highly misleading, because it fails to take into account a crucial factor, which is almost never discussed, though there’s some interesting work on it. That’s the question of ownership of the world economy. If you take a look at the corporate—the multinational corporations around the world, what do they own? Well, that turns out to be a pretty interesting matter. In virtually every—this increasingly during the period of neoliberal globalization of the last generation, corporate wealth is becoming a more realistic measure of global power than national wealth. Corporate wealth, of course, is nationally based, supported by taxpayers like us, but the ownership has nothing to do with us. Corporate ownership, if you look at that, it turns out that in virtually every economic sector—manufacturing, finance, services, retail and others—U.S. corporations are well in the lead in ownership of the global economy. And overall, their ownership is close to 50 percent of the total. That’s roughly the proportion of U.S. national wealth in 1945, which tells you something about the nature of the world in which we live. Of course, that’s not for the benefit of American citizens, but of those who own and manage these private—publicly supported and private, quasi-totalitarian systems. If you look at the military dimension, of course, the U.S. is supreme. Nobody is even close. No point talking about it. But it is possible that Europe might take a more independent role. It might move towards something like Gorbachev’s vision. That might lead to a relaxation of the rising and very dangerous tensions at the Russian border, which would be a very welcome development.

Well, there’s a lot more to say about the fears and hopes and prospects. The threats and dangers are very real. There are plenty of opportunities. And as we face them, again, particularly the younger people among you, we should never overlook the fact that the threats that we now face are the most severe that have ever arisen in human history. They are literal threats to survival: nuclear war, environmental catastrophe. These are very urgent concerns. They cannot be delayed. They became more urgent on November 8th, for the reasons you know and that I mentioned. They have to be faced directly, and soon, if the human experiment is not to prove to be a disastrous failure.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to—Juan and I are just going to have a brief conversation with these two lions. I think of them like outside the New York Public Library, the lions that protect our knowledge. Now, I just want to start off by saying you have just witnessed an historic moment. Is this the first time, Harry and Noam, that you have met?

HARRY BELAFONTE: It’s not the first time we’ve met, but it’s the first time we’ve shared a platform together.


HARRY BELAFONTE: And it’s a bit overwhelming, a little intimidating, to sit with so much knowledge and sensitivity. Anyway, it’s nice to be with all of you.

AMY GOODMAN: So, we have this opportunity to talk with the two of you at this critical juncture in U.S. history and the world. Harry, back in '40, before you went off to war, you were banned from the Copacabana as an African American. You come back, and you're headlining there as one of the world’s great entertainers and musicians. You marched in Selma with Dr. King and were one of his closest confidants. Noam, you marched against the Vietnam War. You thought you’d be spending years, maybe decades, in jail, even as you were rising in your academic career at MIT, willing to give up everything. You two giants of many movements, your thoughts today in the age of Donald Trump?

NOAM CHOMSKY: I defer to you. You’re much more eloquent.

HARRY BELAFONTE: I must admit that I had far more commitment to the belief that in the final analysis, no matter how extreme things might be in America, that eventually our citizens would rise up and righteously stop the enemy at the gate, if not in fact put them in retreat. And each time certain events took place, we met the horror and the terror of not only what I referenced before—to some, I noticed when I mentioned the Fourth Reich, wasn’t quite sure what I was talking about. Just for clarity, as you know, the last great global torment was the Nazi era. It was called the Third Reich. And I thought that we had thoroughly cleansed ourself of that encounter and that we would be much more resilient. But I think, to a degree, we do reveal some resilience, but the real test has not yet come, until the inaugural transference has taken place.

And what concerns me is that, beyond the mischief of Trump and all those in his Cabinet and the people that he’s appointed into roles of leadership, I had never quite understood that we had another severe, unattended enemy in our midst. And that was our species’ commitment or weakness in the face of absolute greed. And I think we have failed to come to certain solid conclusions, because we have been so contaminated with possessions and power that we have forgotten that we have destroyed our children, or set the tone for that. I would welcome Professor Chomsky’s point of view, and I hope he says something that will make me dance out of here.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I should say that I was somewhat immunized to the Trump Electoral College victory—of course, not popular victory, as you know—by the fact that my wife was the only person I knew who, even before the Republican primaries, predicted that Trump was going to win, just looking at the country so much from the outside. She’s from Brazil and felt that somehow she had her finger on the pulse of a large part of the country and was confident that this was going to happen. So I wasn’t all that surprised. Or I think it’s extremely dangerous, in many ways, like the ones I mentioned and others that you’re quite familiar with.

On the other hand, there’s plenty of opportunities. We should bear in mind that the country has become much more civilized in the past 50 or 60 years. A meeting like this could not have been conceivable in 1960, 1970. The kinds of commitment and engagement that you and many others like you are committed to is something quite new. And there have been many advances and achievements: women’s rights, civil rights generally, rights of gays, opposition to aggressions way—environmental concerns didn’t even exist at that time. There’s been tremendous progress. That means that struggles today start from a much higher plane than they did not many years ago. At the time when Harry was marching in Selma, it was a much harsher world than it is today. The reason is that plenty of people did commit themselves to constant, dedicated struggle, and there were plenty of achievements.

And that goes back in American history. No need to review it, but the earlier period is one of total horror. I mean, after all, the country was founded on two incredible crimes, unbelievable crimes: one, virtual extermination of the indigenous population—it’s kind of a migrant crisis of the kind we don’t think about today—and a form of slavery, which was the most vicious in history and is in fact the basis for a large part of the wealth and economic development of the United States, England, France and others. That’s history. When Donald Trump talks about making the country great again, for many people, it wasn’t that great. Quite the opposite.

But the point is, there has been plenty of progress, because people, facing much harsher conditions than we do, didn’t give up. That’s an important lesson. Furthermore, even the election itself suggests major opportunities. For one thing, as you know, the Democrats actually had a considerable majority of the vote. And if you look at the younger voters, the people who will shape the future, they were overwhelmingly anti-Trump and even more overwhelmingly pro-Sanders. That’s an—and we should also bear in mind what a remarkable phenomenon the Sanders campaign was. I mean, there’s—here’s somebody unknown, came from nowhere; practically no one in the country knew who he was. He was using words like “socialism,” which used to be a real curse word. No corporate support, no media support, no support from the wealthy—everything that has always been crucial to winning elections. Mostly we have bought elections. Had none of it and practically took over one of the two major parties—and could have taken it over if it hadn’t been for shenanigans we know about. That’s—and it was primarily driven by young people. All of these are very hopeful signs. I mean, there are plenty of things that can be done. There are opportunities that can be grasped, and no time to run through them, but there are plenty of them. And it’s really very much in our hands and, among the younger of you, in your hands to carry us forward in this long path, long, arduous path towards trying to create a civilized society and a decent world.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, I’d like to ask both of you—there’s been a lot of discussion in recent weeks about the role of workers, of the working class, in this election, of Trump’s supposed appeal to white workers. And, Harry, you know that the civil rights movement, as it was—as it was growing and developing, needed and was fueled, as well, by progressive unions, like 1199 and the auto workers and others, that gave it strength and organization and resources. I’m wondering how you’re looking at this issue, because, Noam, as you mentioned all the young people, the problem is that the young people, the so-called creative classes, are increasingly concentrating in the big cities. They’re in Seattle, and they’re in Chicago, and they’re in New York. And then the issue then is what happens in rest of country. You know, back in the '60s and ’70s, we used to say you've got to go back out and organize, organize in the communities from which you came from. How do you see this whole analysis of the, quote, “loss” of working class to sort of progressive politics that we’re hearing in the commercial and the corporate press?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, take a look again at the last few elections. Many of the Trump voters among the white working class voted for Obama. They were deluded by the slogans of the campaign. You may recall that the 2008 campaign was based on the slogan “hope and change.” Well, many people voted, rightly, for hope and change. The working class has suffered, not disastrously, but severely, from the neoliberal policies of the past generation, pretty much from 1979. So if you look, say—just take the 2007, the peak of what economists were calling the economic miracle, right before the crash. 2007, American workers had real wages, lower, considerably lower, than in 1979, before these policies were instituted. They lost.

Listen to Alan Greenspan, who, during the height of the euphoria over the economy, was called Saint Alan, you know, the greatest economist of all time. He testified to Congress explaining the basis for the success of the economy that he was running. He said it was based on growing worker insecurity—growing worker insecurity, meaning if workers are beaten down enough and intimidated enough, and if their organizations, their unions, are sufficiently destroyed that they can’t ask for higher wages and for decent benefits, then it’s good for the economy, creates a healthy economy, by some measure. We know the measure.

Well, all of this has happened, and the working class has suffered from it. They had a real need for hope and change. Well, they didn’t get hope, and they didn’t get change. I don’t usually agree with Sarah Palin, but I think she nailed it when she asked at one point, “Where’s all this hopey-changey business?” Well, you know, there wasn’t any. So, no hope, no change. Already—it showed very quickly in midterm and future elections.

This election, a con man came along and is offering hope and change, and they’re voting for it. Suppose that people like you, the people who formed the Sanders movement, would present an authentic, constructive program for real hope and change. It would win these people back. I think many of the Trump voters—many of the Trump voters could have voted for Sanders, if there had been the right—the right kind of activism and organization. And those are possibilities. It’s been done in the past under much harsher circumstances. Organizing white working people in Indiana is a lot easier than what the Freedom Riders tried to do in the South 60 years ago. Much easier. Takes work, but it can be done.

And my feeling is that a core part of a progressive program is to rebuild the organized structure of the labor movement, which throughout modern history has been in the forefront of progressive change. And that’s not impossible either. It’s been beaten down pretty severely in past generation, but it’s been worse before. If you go back to the 1920s, a period which is not unlike today in many ways, the Gilded Age, you know, the labor movement was virtually destroyed. Woodrow Wilson’s red scare practically wiped it out. There had been a militant, activist labor movement. There was almost nothing left of it in the 1920s. By the 1930s, it revived. A militant labor action, organization of the CIO, overcame racist conflicts, laid the basis for the New Deal programs, which were highly beneficial. To the extent that they remain, they remain beneficial. That can happen again. No reason why it can’t.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, in a moment, Patti Smith is going to be coming out on the stage to share her talents. But I wanted to wrap up with Harry. You know, Democracy Now! originally came out of Pacifica Radio, which was five stations—WBAI in New York, among them, and KPFT in Houston. And KPFT is the only radio station in the country whose transmitter was blown up. It was a few weeks after it went on the air in 1970, blown up by Ku Klux Klan. And when they got back on their feet and rebuilt, the Klan blew it up again, strapped 15 times the dynamite to the base of the transmitter. And it took months to get back on the air after that. And I can’t remember if it was the grand dragon or the exalted cyclops, because I often confuse their titles, but he said it was his proudest act, because he understood how dangerous Pacifica—how dangerous independent media is, for people to speak for themselves.

That’s a story of history, though. Who would have thought in 2016 we’d be talking about the Ku Klux Klan today? When president—when Donald Trump was asked whether he would disavow David Duke’s support, you know, he hesitated. He said he’d have to find out more from David Duke or the Klan, which—you know, exactly who it was who was supporting him—maybe the only time he hesitated before he spoke. You know, what was it? Which Klan chapter, he wanted to know, in the United States it was, to make a decision. But what about this? What about Donald Trump, the Ku Klux Klan and the messages that he is constantly putting out to lure more voters and support?

HARRY BELAFONTE: I believe that Trump, in bringing a new energy to the realization of the vastness of the reach of the Ku Klux Klan, is not something that has been out of our basic purview of thought. The Ku Klux Klan, for some of us, is a constant—has a constant existence. It isn’t until it touches certain aspects of white America that white America all of the sudden wakes up to the fact that there is something called the Klan and that it does its mischief.

What causes me to have great thought is something that’s most unique to my experience. And as I said earlier tonight, at the doorstep of being 90 years of age, I had thought I had seen it all and done it all, only to find out that, at 89, I knew nothing. But the most peculiar thing to me has been the absence of a black presence in the middle of this resistance, not just the skirmishes that we’ve seen in Ferguson and Black Lives Matter—and I think those protests and those voices being raised are extremely important. But we blew this thing a long time ago. When they started the purge against communism in this country and against the voice of those who saw hope in a design for socialist theory and for the sharing of wealth and for the equality of humankind, when we abandoned our vigil—our vision and vigils on that topic, I think we sold out ourselves.

A group of young black students in Harlem, just a few days ago, asked me what, at this point in my life, was I looking for. And I said, “What I’ve always been looking for: Where resides the rebel heart?” Without the rebellious heart, without people who understand that there’s no sacrifice we can make that is too great to retrieve that which we’ve lost, we will forever be distracted with possessions and trinkets and title. And I think one of the big things that happened was that when black people began to be anointed by the trinkets of this capitalist society and began to become big-time players and began to become heads of corporations, they became players in the game of our own demise.

And although I believe that Professor Chomsky’s evaluation is valid and a basis for great thought, I am looking at the victories that we’re having, like the one we’ve just received a few days ago, our Native American brothers. The fact that our Native American brothers and sisters stopped the engine for a moment is really a call for us to be reminded that the engine can be stopped. And therein I find solace. Therein I find the capacity to really do things and create things that will make a difference to where it appears we appear to be headed. I think people have to be more adventurous. The heart has to find greater space for rebellion.

So, we pay a penalty for such thought, because I was just recently reminded of Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney. They sit particularly close to my own feelings and thoughts, because I was one of the voices that was raised in recruiting those young students to participate in our rebellion.

AMY GOODMAN: David Goodman, Andrew’s brother, is here today.

HARRY BELAFONTE: I’m sure of it. He’s always at the right places.

But I think that there are those kinds of extremes that will be experienced in the struggle, but the real nobility of our existence is: Are we prepared to pay that price? And I think once the opposition understands that we are quite prepared to die for what we believe in, that death for a cause does not just sit with ISIS, but sits with people, workers, people who are genuinely prepared to push against the theft of our nation and the distortion of our Constitution, and that, for many of us, no price is too great for that charge—and we have great history to call upon. I mentioned a few before, but we’ve still got a few left.

And I want to just take this opportunity, because I know we’re winding down, to just say to you, Amy, and to you, Juan, that I’ve been through much in this country. I came back from the Second World War. And while the world rejoiced in the fact that Hitler had been met and defeated, there were some of us who were touched by the fact that instead of sitting at the table of feast at that great victory, we were worried about our lives, because the response from many in America was the murder of many black servicemen that came back. And we were considered to be dangerous, because we had learned the capacity to handle weaponry, we had faced death on the battlefield. And when we came back, we had an expectation, as the victors. We came back knowing that, yes, we might have fought to end Hitler, but we also fought for our right to vote in America, that in the pursuit of such rights came the civil rights movement. Well, that can happen again. We just have to get out our old coats, dust them off, stop screwing around and just chasing the good times, and get down to business. There’s some ass kicking out here to be done. And we should do it.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

NICOLE SALAZAR: Watch out! Watch out! Press!

POLICE OFFICER: Get out of here! Move!

NICOLE SALAZAR: Where are we supposed to go? Where are we supposed to go?

POLICE OFFICER: Get out of here!

NICOLE SALAZAR: Dude, I can’t see! Ow! Press! Press! Press!

POLICE OFFICER: Get down! Get down on your face! On your face!

NICOLE SALAZAR: I’m on my face!

POLICE OFFICER: Get down on your face!

NICOLE SALAZAR: Ow! Press! Press!

AMY GOODMAN: That was Nicole Salazar screaming as the riot police took her down, bloodying her face. As Sharif Abdel Kouddous told the riot police to calm down, they kicked him twice in the chest, threw him against a wall and arrested him, as well. When I got the call on the convention floor about what had happened, I raced outside to the corner of 7th and Jackson, where the riot police had formed a line, having fully contained the area. I asked to speak with a commanding officer to get Sharif and Nicole released.

DENIS MOYNIHAN: Release the accredited journalists!

AMY GOODMAN: Where’s the reporters? Sir?

POLICE OFFICER: Ma’am, get back to the sidewalk.

DENIS MOYNIHAN: Release the accredited journalists now!

AMY GOODMAN: Sir, just one second. I was just running from the convention floor.

DENIS MOYNIHAN: You are violating my constitutional right. You are violating their constitutional rights.

POLICE OFFICER: Sidewalk now!

DENIS MOYNIHAN: You are violating constitutional rights, sir.

AMY GOODMAN: Sir, I want to talk to your superior.


AMY GOODMAN: Do not arrest me! Do not arrest me!

POLICE OFFICER: You’re under arrest.

POLICE OFFICER: Hold it right there. You’re under arrest. Stay right there. Back up. Back up.

POLICE OFFICER: Everybody, you cross this line, you’ll be under arrest, so don’t do it.

CROWD: Let her go!

DENIS MOYNIHAN: Amy, we are going to get you out of here very soon.

AMY GOODMAN: This is outrageous.


SAM ALCOFF: On Saturday, thousands of protesters took to the streets of downtown Manhattan for what was described as an action to “Occupy Wall Street.” Inspired by the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring and the European anti-austerity movements, Adbusters, a Vancouver-based culture-jamming magazine, put out a call for Saturday’s protest on Wall Street in July. The goals were various, from limiting corporate contributions to political campaigns, to auditing the Federal Reserve, to challenging all of global capitalism. Protesters included 71-year-old Mary Ellen Marino of Princeton, New Jersey.

MARY ELLEN MARINO: I came because I’m upset with the fact that the bailout of Wall Street didn’t help any of the people holding mortgages. All of the money went to Wall Street, and none of it went to Main Street.

AMY GOODMAN: Last night, the Democracy Now! team rushed down to Zuccotti Park to cover the police crackdown. It began just after 1:00 a.m. We were there until the early hours of the morning, coming in to do this broadcast. We witnessed the arrests in the streets, made it into the square just as police were dismantling the tents, as well as sanitation workers, and hauling away protesters’ belongings in dump trucks.

HERO VINCENT: I just got a thousand people just to stand with us in solidarity, because what’s going on right here is wrong. It’s absolutely wrong. People should not have been pepper-sprayed in the face, should not have been slammed to the ground. We did absolutely nothing wrong. We came peacefully. And this has gone on long enough! We just want peace! We just want change! That’s all we want! And I’m tired of seeing it! I’m tired of seeing this abuse! They do not run this country! This is our country!

AMY GOODMAN: At the University of California, Davis, campus on Friday, campus police officers used pepper spray against student protesters. Videos of the incident have spread rapidly on the internet. The footage shows two police officers firing pepper spray at point-blank range on a group of students sitting together in the quad to protest the dismantling of the Occupy UC Davis encampment.

Scott Olsen is a 24-year-old Iraq War vet. He was struck in the head by a police projectile. Video footage posted to YouTube shows a man identified as Scott Olsen lying motionless and unresponsive in front of a police line after apparently having been hit by a tear gas canister. Several protesters gather around him, but a police officer can be seen throwing a device close to the group which then explodes with a bright flash and loud bang, dispersing the protesters. The video then cuts to footage of protesters carrying Olsen away as blood streams down his face.

Democracy Now! was there when the activists rode into uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, aboard the “No Papers, No Fear” bus, called the “UndocuBus,” which had been traveling for six weeks across the country from Arizona to protest Obama’s immigration policies. They sat down at a busy intersection directly in front of the arena where the DNC was about to be gaveled open, blocking traffic. Ireri was arrested alongside her mom and her dad. Democracy Now!’s Mike Burke was there and interviewed her while she was being arrested.

IRERI UNZUETA CARRASCO: I’m tired of being undocumented. I’m tired of losing opportunity.

MIKE BURKE: What does it mean that you’re getting arrested right now, for you?

IRERI UNZUETA CARRASCO: Because the police and ICE collaborate every day, we’re making this public. We’re hoping to show the community that they can organize themselves and to bring this message to President Obama for him to actually listen.

MIKE BURKE: Could you face deportation now that you’re getting arrested?

IRERI UNZUETA CARRASCO: I don’t know yet. That’s going to be up to immigration and the sheriff. But I’m willing to risk it.

MIKE BURKE: Anything else you’d like to add?

IRERI UNZUETA CARRASCO: I am proud to be doing this with my parents.

ROSI CARRASCO: We’re risking arrest because we are fighting for our rights, our right to organize, our right to be with our families. We want President Obama to stop deportation.

AMY GOODMAN: Vigils are being held across the country following what’s been described as the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. At least 50 people died in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning after a gunman identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire at a packed gay dance club on Latin night.

ISA NOYOLA: This is an incredibly difficult moment that my community is facing at this moment. It’s of deep pain and one that I think our Latino, Latina, Latinx community is very much in the trenches. We are deep in sorrow.

AMY LITTLEFIELD: It’s about 3:45 in the morning. It’s dark. It’s raining. And we’re about to get on a bus with a bunch of activists who are headed down to D.C. to rally in front of the Supreme Court and show their support for abortion rights.

PRO-CHOICE PROTESTERS: Stop the sham! Stop the sham! Stop the sham!

PROTESTER: I’m here because in the '70s and the ’80s, when I had to worry about my reproductive health, I was able to do so. I don't think it’s right for people who have a lot of money to be able to fly to a different state to get abortion access. It’s all about access. I had access. These girls should have access. I can’t believe we’re still fighting this.

PATTI SMITH: Hello, everybody. We’re very happy to be here with you tonight. I’m with Tony Shanahan and my daughter, Jesse Paris Smith. This first song Tony and I wrote in memory of Rachel Corrie, who died on a peacekeeping mission in the Gaza Strip. Such a young girl. And we’d like to do this song for all the young people that we have lost globally—young reporters, activists, photographers, just all the—all the young people who have put themselves out in the front lines, who have—who want—as the young man said, all they want is change. All they want is peace. And we also would like to remember all the young people who lost their lives in the Oakland fire. And when you look at the pictures of them, all of them brimming with such hope, we need our young people. We pin our faith on them. They are going to make the most revolutionary changes in human history. They will continue to build peace movements, to protect our environment. And so we sing this little song for them.

[singing] Yesterday I saw you standing there
With your hand against the pane
Looking out the window
At the rain

And I wanted to tell you
All your tears were not in vain
But I guess we both knew
We’d never be the same
Never be the same

Why must we hide all these feelings inside?
Lions and lambs shall abide

Maybe one day we’ll be strong enough
To build it back again
Build the peaceable kingdom
Back again
Build it back again

Why must we hide all these feelings inside?
Lions and lambs shall abide

Maybe one day we’ll be strong enough
To build it back again
Build the peaceable kingdom
Back again
Build it back again
Build the peaceable kingdom
Build it back again

I was dreamin’ in my dreamin’
Of an aspect bright and fair
And my sleepin’ it was broken
But my dream it lingered near

In the form of shinin’ valleys
Where the pure air rarefied
And my senses newly opened
And I awakened to the cry

That the people have the power
To redeem the work of fools
Upon the meek the graces shower
It’s decreed the people rule

Thank you. So, we’d like to do a song for all of you, to all of our speakers, to everyone who’s here, and send also a salute to our brothers and sisters in Standing Rock.

[singing] I was dreamin’ in my dreamin’
Well, of an aspect bright and fair
And my sleepin’ it was broken
But my dream it lingered near

In the form of shinin’ valleys
Where the pure air rarefied
And my senses newly opened
I awakened to the cry

That the people have the power
To redeem the work of fools
Upon the meek the graces shower
It’s decreed the people rule

People have the power
People have the power
People have the power, come on!
People have the power, believe it!

Vengeful aspects became suspect
And bending low as if to hear
And the armies ceased advancin’
Because the people had their ear

And the shepherds and the soldiers
Well, they lay beneath the stars
Exchanging visions, layin’ arms
To waste in the dust

In the form of shinin’ valleys
Where the pure air rarefied
And my senses newly opened
I awakened to the cry

People have the power
People have the power
People have the power
People have the power
Make it so!

Where there were deserts, I saw fountains
And like cream the waters rise
And we strolled there together
With none to laugh or criticize

Well, the leopard and the lamb
Lay together truly bound
Well, I was hopin’ in my hopin’
To recall what I had found

I was dreamin’ in my dreamin’
God knows a pure view
As I surrender into my sleepin’
I commit my dream with you

People have the power to dream
People have the power to vote
People have the power to strike
People have the power to live

The power to dream, to rule
To wrestle the world from fools
It’s decreed the people rule
Well, it’s decreed the people rule

Listen, I believe everythin’ we dream
Can come to pass through our union
We can turn the world around
We can turn the earth’s revolution

People have the power
People have the power
The people have the power
People have the power

Don’t forget it! Use your voice! Democracy now!

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL: I’m a journalist, a husband, a father, a grandfather and an African American. I live in the fastest-growing public housing tract in America. In 1981, I was a reporter for WUHY and president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. Currently I’m a writer and a public radio commentator. From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal on your public radio station.

AMY GOODMAN: I just wanted to comment, as we are learning as we are on the air about Temple University public radio canceling the contract with Democracy Now! this morning because we’re running Mumia Abu-Jamal. It’s a very clear message sent all over the country to media, to programs, saying to us that you cannot air these voices, and if you dare to do it, we will cancel you, and your voice will not be heard. This is a great—of course, this is both a tremendous disappointment to us that the people of Pennsylvania will not be able to hear Mumia Abu-Jamal’s voice, but it’s also just a very dangerous message to send around the country. And it is the first time his voice is being aired nationally.

From Georgia’s death row prison in Jackson, this is a Democracy Now! special broadcast. We are just an hour from the scheduled execution of Troy Anthony Davis, an execution the whole world is watching.

KRISTEN STANCIL: The court-ordered execution of Troy Anthony Davis has been carried out. The time of death is 11:08 p.m.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m standing with…

WESLEY BOYD: Wesley Boyd. And I’d like to say this has been a travesty of justice. And I’d like to tell the—America ought to be ashamed of yourself. And God help America. And if you’re alive in America, please don’t come to Georgia. Don’t come to Georgia. Don’t buy any Georgia pecans. Don’t buy any Georgia peaches. Don’t buy any trade with Georgia. The whole world, don’t buy anything with Georgia. God bless America. God bless Troy Davis.

LAVISH REYNOLDS: We got pulled over for a busted taillight in the back. And the police just—he’s covered. They killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed, he’s carried to—he’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket, and he let the officer know that he was—he had a firearm, and he was reaching for his wallet. And the officer just shot him in his arm.

POLICE OFFICER: Told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand off it!

LAVISH REYNOLDS: He had—you told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s license. Please, don’t tell me this, lord. Please, Jesus, don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please, don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.

AMY GOODMAN: Democracy Now! has just returned from South Carolina, where the massacre of nine African-American churchgoers by a white suspect who embraced the Confederate flag has renewed protests to remove the Confederate battle flag from outside the state Capitol on its grounds. Last Tuesday, South Carolina state lawmakers agreed to debate removing the flag later this summer. But early Saturday morning, a 30-year-old African-American woman named Bree Newsome, with a helmet and climbing gear, scaled the 30-foot flagpole and unhooked the Confederate flag. As police officers shouted at her to come down, Bree Newsome shimmied to the top of that flagpole, took the flag in her hand and said, quote, “You come against me with hatred … I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!”

BREE NEWSOME: You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!

DANNY GLOVER: I wanted to get a head start walking up these steps, since it’s 4:00 in Germany, where I just flew in from, in the morning. I cannot—I cannot tell you how extraordinary it is to be here tonight in celebration of Juan González and also my sister here, as well. It’s a extraordinary moment for us to realize how much information we have and how we can use information in a way—in a productive way and not just to preach to the choir, even though Dr. King said you needed to preach to the choir, because they may stop singing.

What I was thinking as I walked up the stairs with Harry Belafonte, Harry once said—told an audience that when he was 19 years old, he hung around Paul Robeson and W.E.B. Du Bois. And someone asked him the question: “Well, what did you do?” And he said, “I went to get them tea and coffee.” So, I had the privilege of accompanying or walking Harry Belafonte up the stairs at 70 years old.

When I first met Amy Goodman, it was on a small street in Paris some years—more than 20 years ago. And she was on her way to Nigeria to do some investigative reporting in Nigeria 20 years ago—more than 20 years old. It was before Democracy Now! On a small street on a Sunday afternoon, I remember. Who did I saw—who did I see was someone who’s there, as always, in service and providing us with the information that we need, critical information that we need, to make intelligent, imaginative decisions about who we think we are, what we need to do.

I would be remiss if I would stand on this stage without mentioning one of the great moments on this stage nearly 50 years ago, when a young minister, a liberation theologist, a—one of the most extraordinary human beings of this century, any century, stepped here and, with all his consciousness, with all the pain it took, denounced the war in Vietnam—Dr. Martin Luther King, on this stage—knowing that he spoke for his heart and his consciousness, knowing that he was doing something that he was going to be vilified. Yet he spoke up.

As we think about the moments ahead and the work that we have to do, the history that we must—it’s imperative that we make, we have to think about those moments and use all our courage, every bit of it, whether it’s in the service of finding the truth and finding those stories, where those who feel that they are lost within their own country here and can only turn to the far right in everything else—so, where we have to do and where we’re going to have to go, and not simply just preaching to our choir, to our constituency, is farther than we’ve ever wanted to reach and understand. We have all the technology in the world. We have every single thing available to us. But organizing, taking ourselves serious about that and doing the work we need to do, wherever it is, is going to take something from our hearts. It’s going to take something deep from our hearts.

So, as we move forward and we realize the work we have to do, Noam Chomsky talked about the opportunities that we have within—right here, at this moment. We look at the demographics, talks about the ways in which we can use what has happened as a platform to build, to create, to imagine and continue to imagine. That’s our responsibility right now. At 70 years old or at seven years old, at 90 years old or whatever we are, we have to take that on. And certainly, we come armed with the information that Democracy Now! has provided us through the journey that they’ve taken us on, learning lessons, finding new ways in which we can employ those lessons, use those lessons in our own work, in our own moment. And we are here to celebrate, but at the same time to move forward more fiercely, more courageously than ever before. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: We go to Flint, Michigan, for a Democracy Now! special: “Thirsty for Democracy: The Poisoning of an American City.” In April 2014, an unelected emergency manager appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder switched the source of Flint’s drinking water from the Detroit system, which they had been using for half a century, to the corrosive Flint River. Officials thought they could save something like $5 million. Soon after, Flint residents were complaining about discolored and foul-smelling water, which was causing a host of health problems.

MELISSA MAYS: Well, all three of my sons are anemic now. They have bone pain every single day. They miss a lot of school because they’re constantly sick. Their immune systems are compromised. Myself, I have seizures. I have diverticulosis now. I have to go in February 25th for a consultation on a liver biopsy. Almost every system of our bodies have been damaged. And I know that we’re not the only one. I’m getting calls from people that are so sick, and they don’t know what to do.

CLAIRE McCLINTON: We don’t have just a water problem. We’ve got a democracy problem. We’ve got a dictatorship problem.

CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: My name is Clayton Thomas-Muller. I’m an organizer with the indigenous peoples’ social movement Idle No More and Defenders of the Land. Things today are going really, really well. We’ve got tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people on the street. We’ve got leaders from communities fighting fracking, fighting tar sands, pipelines, all kinds of pipeline fighters from across the continent who are organizing in solidarity with First Nations from the belly of the beast in Alberta who are trying to stop tar sands expansion at the source. And we’re here to send a very clear message to President Obama, Stephen Harper and the rest of the world leaders that we need legally binding mechanisms on climate change right now passed, and if they ain’t going to do it, that the people certainly will.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Honduran indigenous and environmental organizer Berta Cáceres has been assassinated in her home. She was one of the leading organizers for indigenous land rights in Honduras. In 1993, she co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH. For years, the group faced death threats and repression as they stood up to mining and dam projects that threatened to destroy their community. Last year, Cáceres won the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s leading environmental award.

BERTA CÁCERES: [translated] In more than 150 indigenous assemblies, our community decided that it did not want that hydroelectric dam.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to the standoff at Standing Rock. On Saturday, September 3rd, the Dakota Access pipeline company unleashed dogs and pepper spray on Native Americans seeking to protect a sacred tribal burial site from destruction.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re standing at the construction site of the Dakota Access pipeline. It looks like there are at least three bulldozers that are, to people’s surprise, at this moment, actually bulldozing the land. There’s a helicopter above. There’s security here. And hundreds of people have been marching up.

WATER PROTECTOR 1: Come on, guys! We’ve got to stop this!

LINDA LEE BRUNER: Why are we standing and watching? Get out there! Stop this! Why are we standing and watching and taking pictures? Let’s go!

AMY GOODMAN: People have gone through the fence—men, women and children. The bulldozers are still going. And they’re yelling at the men in hard hats. One man in a hard hat threw one of the protesters down. And they’re marching over the dirt mounds. Some of the security have dogs.

The six bulldozers are pulling back right now. People are marching forward in their tracks. There are men, women and children. More security trucks are pulling up. There are some protesters on horseback. Hundreds of people are coming from the main camp. They’re climbing up the tracks left by the bulldozers—six, at least, I’ve counted, that are now receding.

Protesters advance as far as a small wooden bridge. Security unleashes one of the dogs, which attacks two of the Native Americans’ horses.

Security has some kind of gas. People are being pepper-sprayed.

WATER PROTECTORS: We are not leaving! We are not leaving! We are not leaving! We are not leaving! We are not leaving! We are not leaving! We are not leaving! We are not leaving! We are not leaving!

AMY GOODMAN: Sir, reporter from New York. What are you spraying people with?

SECURITY MAN: I didn’t spray anything, ma’am.

AMY GOODMAN: But what is that?

WATER PROTECTOR 2: This guy just maced me in the face right now. Amy Goodman, this guy maced me in the face.

LAURA GOTTESDIENER: Why don’t—can you show us the label?

WATER PROTECTOR 2: Look, it’s all over my sunglasses. Just maced me in the face. Dog bit him right now.

VICTOR PUERTAS: Throwed the dog on me. This [bleep] throwed the dog on me. Look at this. Look at this. You throwed the dog on me. No, you did it on purpose, man.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me see. Let me see.

VICTOR PUERTAS: Over there, with that dog. I was like walking. Throwed the dog on me and straight, even without any warning. You know? Look at this. Look at this.

AMY GOODMAN: That dog bit you?

VICTOR PUERTAS: Yeah, the dog did it, you know? Look at this. It’s there. It’s all bleeding.

AMY GOODMAN: Ma’am, your dog just bit this protester. Your dog just bit that protester. Are you telling the dogs to bite the protesters?

WATER PROTECTOR 3: She keeps sicking them after people.

AMY GOODMAN: The dog has blood in its nose and its mouth.

WATER PROTECTOR 3: And she’s still standing here threatening us.

WATER PROTECTOR 4: You can’t put the blame on your dog. You’re an evil woman.

WATER PROTECTOR 3: That’s mistreatment against your own animal.

WATER PROTECTOR 4: You can’t put your blame on the [bleep] dog. You’re evil.

WATER PROTECTOR 3: That’s mistreatment against your own animal.

WATER PROTECTOR 4: You will live with that.

WATER PROTECTOR 5: Get the [bleep] out of here!

WATER PROTECTOR 3: These people are just threatening all of us with these dogs. And she, that woman over there, she was charging, and it bit somebody right in the face. And then it charged at me and tried to bite me. And she’s still—they’re still threatening those dogs against us. And we’re not doing anything.

AMY GOODMAN: Why are you letting their—her dog go after the protesters? It’s covered in blood!


AMY GOODMAN: One of the pipeline’s security men unleashes a dog into the crowd.

WATER PROTECTOR 7: What the [bleep] are you trying to do?

WATER PROTECTOR 8: Get your [bleep] dogs [bleep] out of here! Get your [bleep] dogs out of here!

AMY GOODMAN: Protesters respond using a flagpole and sticks to fend off the dog attacks.

WATER PROTECTOR 7: Get the [bleep] out! Get out! Get the [bleep] out!

WATER PROTECTOR 9: We ain’t scared of you! We ain’t scared of you! Mother [bleep]!

WATER PROTECTOR 10: What’s the [bleep] your dog gonna do?

WATER PROTECTOR 7: Get the [bleep] out! Get the [bleep] out!

WATER PROTECTOR 11: Let them leave!

AMY GOODMAN: After the protesters said that the dog was bloody from biting them, they then pulled the dogs away, and now pickup truck by pickup truck is pulling away. We’ll see what happens. The protesters are moving in to ensure that the security leaves.

WATER PROTECTOR 12: This land belongs to the Earth. We are only caretakers. We’re caretakers of the Earth.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you feel like you won today?

WATER PROTECTOR 12: We win every day when we stand in unity. We stand, and we fight.

WINONA LADUKE: You know, what I feel like telling the governor is that, you know, you are not George Wallace, and this is not Alabama. You know? This is 2016, and you don’t get to treat Indians like you have for those last hundred years. We’re done.

AMY GOODMAN: From Pacifica, this is Democracy Now! An historic win for the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota and the environment. The Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill below the Missouri River, officially halting construction. We’ll speak with Dave Archambault, chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

DAVE ARCHAMBAULT II: When this decision came down by the Corps of Engineers, it feels like, finally, for the first time in history, over centuries, somebody is listening to us. And in order to listen to us, they have to make the right decision. And it takes a lot of courage to do that when you’re up against an oil company who tries to dictate to the federal government what has to be done and when it has to be done and where it has to be done.

AMY GOODMAN: But the company behind the pipeline has vowed to build on.

TARA HOUSKA: It’s really incumbent upon us to remain vigilant, to recognize the power that’s within us of organizing and coming together. You know, this wasn’t just indigenous people; this was people from all nations that came together in support of the water, in support of future generations, because this is an issue that affects us all.

AMY GOODMAN: Standoff at Standing Rock. And that picture you just saw there were people holding up a sign for Democracy Now! just an hour ago at Standing Rock. For that remarkable video, I want to thank my colleagues, producer Laura Gottesdiener and John Hamilton and Denis Moynihan, who went with me on Labor Day weekend—none of this happens alone—as we went to cover the activism and the protests, and you saw what took place, capturing that video of a dog with its mouth and nose dripping with blood. Within a few days, it was viewed more than 14 million times on Facebook. Every network—CNN, CBS, MSNBC, NBC, BBC, NPR, PBS—ran that report. It is absolutely to be—critical to be there on the ground, that they go to these places. That is our job at Democracy Now! that Juan and I have always seen for this 20 years, is—is to go to where the silence is. And, you know, so often it’s not that silent. People are organizing. They’re shouting. They’re dancing. They’re singing. They’re strategizing. It’s just that it doesn’t hit the corporate media radar screen. And that’s where Democracy Now! goes, every day, this daily, grassroots, global, unembedded, independent, international investigative news hour. Today is just the beginning.

So, I want to thank all of my colleagues over the years who have engaged in this noble experiment. For all the Democracy Now! producers, past and present, and staff of Democracy Now!, if you would come up on the stage. And as everyone comes up, I just want to also thank my family today. My brother David and my sister-in-law Sue and niece Ariel, my aunt and uncle Addy and Marsh are here, and family and friends. David and I wrote a book together called Static. And the reason we called it Static is, in this high-tech digital age, with high-definition television and digital radio, still all we ever get is static, that veil of distortion and lies and misrepresentations and half-truths that obscure reality, when what we need is the dictionary definition of “static.” That’s what we need the media to give us, the dictionary definition of static: criticism, opposition, unwanted interference. We need a media that covers power, not covers for power. We need a media that—we need a media that is the fourth estate, not for the state. And we need a media that covers the movements that create static and make history. That’s why Democracy Now! is here. That’s what it will continue to do. And I want to just thank all of the remarkable people who are here tonight. And very quickly, where is that microphone? Let’s see. Maybe I can just hand it over, because our idea at Democracy Now! has always been—does anyone have a handheld mic you could hand to me?—has always been people standing—

SAM ALCOFF: Yeah, right here.

DANNY DEVITO: No, no, I—I wanted to say one thing. I want to say one thing.

AMY GOODMAN: —people speaking for themselves.

DANNY DEVITO: Amy, this is like amazing. This is really why I love you so much. And you guys are the best. I wouldn’t know what to do without this program. I wear my hat every day. We got a lot of work to do, like everybody says. It’s such an honor to be with all of you people who love—Harry and Noam and everybody, who’s—Danny. I just think that, you know, we don’t want to go back to sleep, OK? And Amy’s going to keep us awake, and Democracy Now! And stay out there and spread the word. We have to have everybody watching this station, because that’s where we’re going to get the real truth, from the people. Thank you very much, Amy. And thank you all. Thank you. Take the mic.

JEREMY SCAHILL: It’s very late, so I’m just going to take a moment. I’m Jeremy Scahill. I am still Amy Goodman’s intern. You know, I didn’t graduate from college. In fact, I would say that I was enrolled at a university for a while, but I didn’t actually go to college. And I still to this day list Democracy Now! as my university. I could tell you a story about how I stalked Amy Goodman—in a non-Donald Trump creepy way, you know. But I won’t. I could tell you about the time that Amy and I were slammed to the ground and arrested by Air Force police at Andrews Air Force Base as we recorded priests and nuns hammering on an aircraft that at the time was being used to bomb Iraq under Bill Clinton during the longest sustained bombing campaign since Vietnam, by Hillary’s husband. I could tell you stories of Amy and I going to interview Philip Berrigan in prison, when he was there. He spent one-tenth of his life in prison.

And, you know, I’m sure we have some red diaper babies up here. I was a liberation theology diaper baby, grew up in the Catholic Worker tradition. And it’s actually how I met Amy. She came to the Catholic Worker, where I was living with my friends and my comrades, and we were performing the Works of Mercy, something maybe Christian supremacist Mike Pence should learn something about, as he’s set to become the most powerful Christian supremacist to hold office in U.S. history. And I say that knowing who the slave masters were at the beginning of the foundation of this country. This man will have control over nuclear weapons, over a military arsenal, with a hateful agenda toward women, toward the poor, toward Muslims, toward immigrants. Donald Trump is a frightening guy in many ways, but I give it about a year and a half before the radical religious right starts to be done with him, and then you got Mike Pence in charge. And Mike Pence is a neo-crusader, and he is a very dangerous individual. And I think of the times that Amy Goodman spent and that I spent with Daniel and Philip Berrigan, and you think: Who is actually the one who claims to follow Jesus in principle and in the walk of life? Is it Mike Pence and the radical right? Or is it the revolutionary priests, the people like Archbishop Óscar Romero, who was shot through the heart as he consecrated the eucharist in San Salvador in 1980.

Democracy Now! has been a voice for so many people who were engaged in resistance, and not just the beautiful, wonderful friends that we have, like Danny and Harry and Danny and Patti and Tom Morello, but people that never have been given a voice before, that no one has ever heard of. That’s the bread and butter of the daily grind on Democracy Now!

I grew up at Democracy Now! It was my university. It was a whole world to me. And the first time I walked into WBAI, it smelled like marijuana. There were people sleeping on the floor. I thought the entire station was Democracy Now! I got there about a year into—a year or so into the show, and I went to the front desk, and the guy at the front desk was sleeping, and I woke him up. And I said, “I’m here to see Amy.” He said, “Amy who?” I said, “Well, Amy Goodman!” He said, “I don’t know where she is.” So I walk, and I’m waiting. And Amy, after I had begged her, said, “OK, you can come in and volunteer, but I really—you know, we’re busy. I’m not sure that we need volunteers.” And I really thought they had an army of people working there. They were interviewing guerrillas fighting in the mountains to overthrow Mobutu Sese Seko. They were covering police brutality. They were airing the commentaries of Mumia Abu-Jamal. They were broadcasting archival speeches of Che Guevara. I thought surely they have an army of people. But no.

Amy comes out of a room—and everybody here will have some version of this story. Amy is carrying old reel-to-reel tapes, huge newspaper stacks, and she’s got headphones on her neck. And she says, “Oh, right.” And she looks at me like I was the last person she wanted to see, the kid who keeps bugging me, and finally I let him intern. So she takes me into what I thought was a closet, and it was just stacked with tapes and newspapers, and no windows, a dot matrix printer and like something that looked kind of like a computer. And she said, “OK, go through every newspaper here and clip all of the articles out that mention Iraq.” This was in the lead-up to Bill Clinton’s bombing of Iraq in 1998. So I sat there the entire day—I didn’t see Amy—by myself. Clip, clip, clip, clip, clip. And I put together this folder. I tried to do it as neatly as I could. And Amy comes back in at the end of the day, and she sits down. And I said, “Well, where is your office?” And she said, “You’re in it.” It was basically Amy, at the time, Dan Coughlin and another wonderful person and journalist, Hesu Coue, and that was Democracy Now! in New York. Julie Drizin was in Washington, D.C.

And Amy said to me, “You know, we barely can pay our staff right now. I can’t hire you.” And I said, “Well, that’s OK. I live at the Catholic Worker. They’ve already said I can volunteer.” I think she was looking for a way to get rid of me. And what ended up happening was the most meaningful event in my life as an adult. Amy started—the pay part isn’t the thing. Amy started giving me 40 bucks a week, which I used to buy cigarettes, which she later threatened me: If I don’t quit, I don’t get to Nigeria with her—the time we met Danny in Paris. She’d give me 40 bucks a week out of her own pocket. And my job—and it was my favorite job I’ve ever done—was to buy all of the newspapers early in the morning, go up to BAI. I would sit in the smokers’ lounge, and I would read all of the trash, the propaganda, the craziness in the paper, and try to find the news in the midst of all of the propaganda, and then write the news headlines that we all depend on at the top of that show. That was like a revolutionary education. For me, as a person, it changed the way I saw power. It changed the way that I saw the power of ordinary people. It changed the way that I read the newspaper, watch the news. And once you catch that Democracy Now! virus, it’s like the moral equivalent of cancer: It just consumes you, and it never leaves you, until the world is done with you.

And I—I was asked to say a couple of things about what Democracy Now! means to me. And for those of you who saw our film Dirty Wars or read Blackwater or Dirty Wars, the books that I wrote, you’ll know that I always say that my teacher, my mentor, the place, no matter where I work, that I call home is Democracy Now! And I know that there are other people on this stage, and probably younger ones in the audience, who are going to follow that same path, because there was someone named Amy Goodman, because there was someone named Juan González, because there was an institution and is an institution called Democracy Now!

Now, my guess would be that outside of a handful of people, this is not a wealthy crowd. So I don’t think anyone’s expecting for someone to come out with a $10,000 check. But what I would say is, if you are any—a person from any part of society and Democracy Now! means something to you, if you support the idea of Democracy Now! as a classroom that all of us are students in, that can produce others who then take what they’ve learned, build other institutions and take the struggle for media freedom, independent information and the struggles for peace and justice and solidarity, then give what you can. Twenty years is an incredible journey that we’ve all been on. And I just want to say I’m proud to have been a part of it, proud to call myself a student of Democracy Now! and proud of my teacher, Amy Goodman.

AMY GOODMAN: So, just before—just before our board chair, Karen Ranucci, takes the mic to bid you all adieu, I want each person to say their name and the position they’ve been in today, or were in, at Democracy Now! We’ll begin with our founding executive producer.

JULIE DRIZIN: Julie Drizin.

DAN COUGHLIN: Dan Coughlin.

ANA NOGUEIRA: Ana Nogueira.

MESSIAH RHODES: I’m just a fellow, and I feel—a former fellow. I feel—are there any other fellows that came on stage? Like, feel kind of dumb. Oh, yeah. My name’s Messiah Rhodes, and I was a former media fellow at Democracy Now!

ANDRÉS CONTERIS: Andrés Thomas Conteris, Democracy Now! en Español.

ELIZABETH PRESS: Hi. I’m Elizabeth Press, a former TV producer.

MIKE BURKE: Hi. I’m Mike Burke.

HUGH GRAN: Hugh Gran, graphics.

MATT EALY: Matt Ealy, studio camera operator.

NEIL SHIBATA: Neil Shibata.

ARIANA ROSAS: Ariana Rosas.

CHARINA NADURA: Hi. I’m Charina. I’m a TV producer.

BECCA STALEY: Becca Staley. I’m the director of the television part of the show.

AMY LITTLEFIELD: Amy Littlefield, former news producer.

BRENDAN ALLEN: Brendan Allen, archivist.

SAM ALCOFF: Sam Alcoff, producer.

JAISAL NOOR: Jaisal Noor. I was an intern and assistant to Amy.

ANTHONY MANZO: Anthony Manzo, graphics.

DAVE RICE: Hey, I’m Dave Rice. I was the first archivist.

ROBBY KARRAN: Robby Karran, television producer.

RENÉE FELTZ: Renée Feltz, former producer.

LAURA GOTTESDIENER: Laura Gottesdiener, news producer.

ARIEL BOONE: Ariel Boone, social media editor.

CLARA IBARRA: Clara Ibarra, Democracy Now! en Español.

IGOR MORENO: Igor Moreno, Democracy Now! en Español.

DEENA GUZDER: Deena Guzder, news producer.

CARLA WILLS: Carla Wills, news producer.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Nermeen Shaikh, producer and co-host.

ROB YOUNG: Rob Young.

ANGIE KARRAN: Angie Karran, station relations.

MARÍA CARRIÓN: María Carrión, former producer.

DENIS MOYNIHAN: Denis Moynihan, a bunch of other stuff.

KAREN RANUCCI: I’m Karen Ranucci, the chair of the board and a total—totally in love with Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Before Karen finishes, I wanted to thank Sam Alcoff and Charina Nadura, who produced all of the video sequences that you saw in this broadcast. And Jahmaiah and Erin Dooley and Miriam Barnard, who helped to make this event possible, with Karen Ranucci and Julie Crosby, our general manager, who’s on maternity leave but will be coming back soon.

DEEDEE HALLECK: DeeDee Halleck, Democracy Now! television.

AMY GOODMAN: And back to—

KAREN RANUCCI: So, I just want to thank you all for coming. And as you know, Democracy Now! is non-commercial. We give—you can depend on us every morning for 20 years without missing one broadcast. At 8:00 a.m., you can set your watch to Democracy Now! So, we are here for you. And if you could please help us move into the next 20 years, there are many ways to give to Democracy Now! And so, we handed out some forms you could fill in. You can donate online and start your holiday shopping. We have—there’s our Democracy Now! shirts and T-shirts and hats and everything else you could use outside. So thank you all for coming. And spread the word.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you!

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