land of liberty

Happy Birthday, Emiliano Zapata! 

Today marks the birth of one of Mexico’s most celebrated revolutionaries – Emiliano Zapata. Zapata was from Morelos, Mexico in the south of Mexico and was born to a family who was profoundly impacted by the massive land grabs during the Porfiriato (1830-1915). These events would shape Zapata’s ideologies and revolutionary spirit from a young age.

Zapata led the Ejército Libertador del Sur or the Liberation Army of the South. He amassed a group of approximately 27,000 peasants, primarily Indigenous and mestizo peasants, to fight during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).

Besides his charismatic leadership, what led many to Zapata’s army was his historical declarations in the ‘Plan de Ayala’. The 15-point platform was delivered in Ayala, Morelos on November 25, 1911 after President Madero took power upon the defeat of Diaz. Madero failed to fulfill his promises and continued repression of poor campesinos which promoted Zapata to deliver his plan. The most significant points in the declaration called for redistribution of lands to peasants, land reforms, and a nationalization of elite’s lands/resources. The 'Plan de Ayala’ is where Zapata also wrote the phrase most commonly associated with him, “Reform, Liberty, Justice, and Law!” later shortened to “Land and Liberty!“.

Alongside Pancho Villa, Zapata successfully defeated the government of Madero and took Mexico City in 1914. During the time in the capital, Zapata reportedly refused to sit in the presidential chair. In fact, during most of his life, Zapata would refuse positions of power, instead choosing to lead a life away from politics after the triumph over Madero.

Zapata was then assassinated by federal troops in 1919 but remained a revolutionary hero in Mexico and throughout the world.

Via teleSUR English

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
—  Langston Hughes.
Let America Be America Again By Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Watching Liberty Kids and sortof sobbing. Henri lost his parents and grew up as a slave boy for a mean ship captain. Moses was a slave too. James lost his parents in a house fire. Sarah lost her locket, and her father has been missing for a year.

And James just used his dead mother’s wedding ring to replace Sarah’s lost locket. That is just. ADORABLE. MY BABIES. OH. PLEASE JUST GET MARRIED.

anonymous asked:

What do you know about Georges Washington de Lafayette

All sources from Lafayette by Harlow Giles Unger: 

Georges Washington de Lafayette was born on December 24th, 1779. Adrienne wrote to her husband rather icily at his army camp. She offered sarcastic recognition of her husband’s many responsibilities in the military, she scolded him or not being with her and their new child. The baby’s full name wsa Georges Louis Gilbert Washington de Motier Marquis de Lafayette, he would always call himself George Washington Lafayette. The one he was named after, George Washington, became his godfather.

May 1781, Adrienne wrote that Georges “nearly died teething” and left her “weakened by anxieties”. During Gilbert de Lafayette’s second-to-last visit to America in 1784-1785, his returning ship ran aground and repairs delayed his departure home for a week. General Greene and Henry Knox had come to see him off, and the three spent long hours together reminiscing with Alexander Hamilton. Lafayette urged Greene, Hamilton and Knox to send their boys to him in Paris for several years of European education. He promised in turn, he would send his own boy, George Washington to them. Lafayette said he wanted his son educated at Harvard.

Unlike other European parents, Adrienne and Gilbert did not keep their children at a distance with tutors; they adored their children openly, embraced them spontaneously and showed them off to all their guests. Benjamin Franklin listened with a smile as seven-year-old Anastasie and five-year-old George sang children’s songs in English. Georges used to also help his father attach his sheathed sword and other military trappings.

When Georges was ten years old, one guard unit sought to make him an honorary second lieutenant, his father turned the honor into theater: “Gentlemen,” he proclaimed to the assembled militiamen, “my son is no longer mine; he belongs to you and to our nation.”–and the troops roared as Georges stepped forward and stood at attention in his snappy-looking new uniform in the Paris guards. Felix Frestel was his tutor, starting when he was eleven years of age; he was a principal of the College de Plessis, his father’s secondary school, the Lafayettes retained him to tutor their son privately until he was old enough to enroll in classes.

During the Reign of Terror, while Gilbert de Lafayette was in prison and Adrienne was just being arrested. The police nearly to their home, Adrienne ordered a governess to flee with ten year old Virginie to a nearby farmer’s house, while thirteen year old Georges and his tutor Frestel rushed into the woods and fifteen year old Anastasie hid in a secret in cubby in one of the towers. Unaware of her husband’s fate, Adrienne (on house arrest) grew fearful for the survival her only son–the only person who could inherit his father’s name and fortune. Every once and a while, Frestel would descend from the mountain hideaway late at night and report on her son’s health and his future. They agreed on a plan to obtain a false license and passport as a merchant and go to the port at Bordeaux with Georges, who would feign the role of his apprentice.

When Adrienne was released by Elizabeth Monroe’s manipulation, James and Elizabeth Monroe both aided Adrienne in acquiring a fake passport, ID and changed Georges name in order for him to be able to travel to the United States undeterred. Monroe obtained government counterstamps on their passports for them to go to America, with the boy traveling as “George Motier.” Adrienne gave Frestel a letter for president Washington written in French, which she hoped the American president would be able to read and understand:

[Translated French-English] “Sir, I send you my son… It is deep and sincere confidence that I entrust this dear child to the protection of the United States (which he had long regarded as his second country and which I have long regarded as our sanctuary), and to the particular protection of their president, whose feelings towards the boy’s father I well know. The bearer of this latter, sir, has, during our troubles, been our support, our resource, our consolation, my son’s guide. I want him to continue in that role… I want them to remain inseparable until the day we have the joy of reuniting in the land of liberty. I owe my own life and those of my children to this man’s generous attention… My wish is for my son to live in obscurity in America; that he resume the studies that three years of misfortune have interrupted, and that far from lands that might crush his spirit or arouse his violent indignation, he can work to fulfill the responsibilities of a citizen of the United States… I will say nothing here about my own circumstances, nor those of one for whom I feel far greater concern than I do for myself. I leave it to the friend who will present this letter to you to express the feelings of a heart which has suffered too much to be conscious of anything but gratitude, of which I owe much to Mr. Monroe… I beg you, Monsieur Washington, to accept my deepest sense of obligation, confidence, respect and devotion.”

At Olmutz prison, Adrienne coaxed the prison commander to let her write to specific family members, whom she had identified with each letter obtain approval. He read every word she wrote and rejected a letter written to her son. The received occasional news from the outside, the rest of the Lafayette family heard Georges arrived safely in Boston in September of 1795. Adrienne did not know was that her son’s arrival plunged his godfather, the American president, into a potentially embarrassing political and diplomatic situation that posed dangers to the Lafayette family. George Washington was unable to publicly offered sanctuary to Georges in the America because the French might consider it a threat to their neutrality. Washington decided to leave the boy in New England until the government recessed later in the year and he could move to Mount Vernon. Washington asked Massachusetts senator George Cabot to enroll young Lafayette incognito at Harvard college, “the expense of which as also of every other means for his support, I will pay.” Washington also wrote to his godson: “to begin to fulfill my role of father, I advise you to apply yourself seriously to your studies. Your youth should be usefully employed, in order that you may deserve in all respects to be considered as the worthy son of your illustrious father.”

In America, Georges studied at Harvard, was a house guest of George Washington at the presidential mansion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and at the Washington family home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Young Lafayette chose to make his way to New York where he waited in hopes to join Washington in Philadelphia and lived with the Washington’s for the next two years. He also stayed with Alexander Hamilton in his New York home.

The Lafayette family, Georges’s two sisters, his mother and his father were released from prison in 1797, but it wasn’t until 1798 that Georges was able to return to France. In February, on a sunny day, Georges–who had just turned nineteen–arrived back in Europe to the embrace of his family; he also brought with him a letter from George Washington. His father had not seen him in six years. Initially at Cambridge, then a few weeks with Alexander Hamilton in New York, before going to the Washingtons in Mount Vernon after the president’s retirement. On his return to France, George first went to Paris, where he found only blackened stone shell of his beautiful boyhood home on the rue de Bourbon. George’s arrival in Holstein revived the spirits of all exiled families.

“He is perfect physically: tall, with a noble and charming face. His temperament is all that we could wish is all that we could wish. He had the same kind heart that you remember, and his mind is far more mature than is usual for his age.” Lafayette wrote to his Aunt. Virginie wrote to her as well, “My brother is grown so tall, that when he arrived we could scarcely recognize him, but we have found all those qualities in him that we always knew. He is just as good a brother as he was at Chavaniac. He is so like Papa that people in the streets can see immediately that his his son.” While attempting to retain the family land that the Lafayette’s lost when it was all confiscated, Adrienne returned to Paris for a second time to try at negotiation–this time she brought Georges with her, who, she believed might intimidate government clerks more than Virginie.

Georges also was a prod at his father, who was writing his Memoires and who would grow impatient when Georges wasn’t there to coax him to write it. Mid-1799, Gilbert grew impatient with Adrienne’s constant absences, “It is two years today, dear Adrienne, since we left the prison to which you came, bringing me consolation and life… How can we arrange our spending the winter together?”

In the Spring of 1802, George Washington de Lafayette married Emilie de Tracy, the daughter of Destutt de Tracy, a renowned philosopher who had served in the Constituent Assembly with Lafayette and as a cavalry commander under him at the frontier in 1792, just before Lafayette fled France. Pere Carrichon, the priest who had blessed three of Adrienne’s family members as they marched up to the guillotine, performed the ceremony. After the wedding, the Lafayette’s and the de Tracy’s went south together for a long visit to the Chavaniac–”to share our new found happiness with our old aunt, who still had all her faculties,” according to Virginie.

Italy rebelled against French rule and Georges and his brother-in-law were called to military service. His mother and his father were responsible for caring for his wife, she had just given birth to a little baby girl. He served as a second lieutenant in the French Army under Napoleon Emperor Napoleon blocked every promotion for Gilbert’s son and sons-in-law, prevented them from ranking up in the army despite the highest recommendations of their commanders. During one battle, George suffered a minor wound saving the life of General Grouchy to whom he was an aide-de-comp for and had given up his horse for during battle.

1805, Russia and Austria joined Britain in a new coalition against France, but French armies swept northward through Austria and crushed a combined Austro-Russian army at the decisive battle of Austerlitz in Moravia (now eastern Czech Republic). Two days later Austria sued for peace, and the Russian army limped home to Mother Russia to lick its wounds. In 1806, Napoleon destroyed the Prussian army at Lena and extended the French empire eastward to Warsaw. With peace at hand, with no chance for promotion, and with their military commitments complete, Georges Washington and his two brother-in-laws resigned their commissions. Although his father grumbled at the emperor’s pettiness, Adrienne rejoiced to have the boys home safely; she wanted no more knights in the family and reveled in the presence of the three young couples and their children, all of whom made La Grange their permanent home.  

August 1807, Georges and his father went to visit the elder Lafayette’s Aunt Charlotte and inspect the Chavaniac properties. In their absence, Adrienne developed terrible pains and high fever; she began vomiting uncontrollably, unable to retain any food or liquid. They moved near Paris and Lafayette and George raced up from Chavaniac from La Grange. Both refusing to leave her bedside.

In March 1814, George introduced his father to the young duc d’Orleans. 1821, they both returned to their home on the rue d’Anjou. In his father’s later years Georges was always hovering at his side. Georges helped him with his Memoires and his voluminous correspondence. At six each evening, the courtyard bell sounded dinner, and as many as thirty people poured into the huge dining room–Lafayette’s children and grandchildren. Virginie and Anastasie sat opposite their father as hostesses, Georges always sat beside him. 1820, thirty nine year old Georges and Lafayette organized a group of young liberals into a new political club, Les Amis de la Liberte de la Presse. In the Autumn of 1821, King Louis XVIII posted spies outside La Grange, considering arresting Lafayette and Georges.

On Gilbert de Lafayette’s last trip to America, Georges accompanied him. “My brave light infantry!” his father cried out once, “That is exactly how their uniforms looked. What courage! How I loved them!” In an accident, a boat they were taking sunk and they were assured into lifeboats and rowed to shore. At bunker hill, Lafayette gathered soil from the ground, placing it into a tiny flask and told Georges to sprinkle the soil across his grave when he passed so that he would be apart of two countries when he was buried. Throughout most of the trip, he stayed close company with his father’s secretary, Auguste Levasseur. They visited Mount Vernon again and Georges got to meet Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. 1826, Lafayette and his son thought of America and sailed away towards home.

In 1832, Lafayette sent Georges back to La Grange to help Anastasie and Virginie cope with the needs of the family and the villagers,while he remained in Paris to help the government deal with the emergency. During the battle of the Bastille, Georges managed to hustle his father from the fighting and blood. After the death of his father, Georges Washington covered his father’s coffin with the dirt they gathered at bunker hill.

Georges Washington de Lafayette had five children total with his wife, Emilie de Tracy:

Oscar Thomas Gilbert Motier de Lafayette (1815–1881) was educated at the École Polytechnique and served as an artillery officer in Algeria. He entered the Chamber of Deputies in 1846 and voted with the extreme Left. After the revolution of 1848, he received a post in the provisional government; as a member of the Constituent Assembly, he became secretary of the war committee. After the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly in 1851, he retired from public life, but emerged on the establishment of the third republic, becoming a life senator in 1875.

Edmond Motier de Lafayette (1818–1890) shared his brother’s political opinions and was one of the secretaries of the Constituent Assembly and a member of the senate from 1876 to 1888.

Natalie de Lafayette who married Adolphe Périer, a banker and nephew of Casimir Pierre Périer.

Matilde de Lafayette who married Maurice de Pusy (1799–1864, son of Jean-Xavier Bureau de Pusy).

Clementine de Lafayette who married Gustave de Beaumont.

None can direct agnatic claim to the Lafayette name. It disappeared after Georges sons both died before having a male son. He spent the remaining years immediately following his father’s death organizing Lafayette’s letters, speeches and papers and compiling together his Memoires and more of his writing which was published in a six volumes in Paris in 1837-1838 he retained is seat in the Chamber of Deputies until the summer of 1849, remaining a loyal member of the ultra liberal minority his father had organized to oppose the restrictive dicta of King Louis Philippe. He lived to see the third French revolution of his life in 1848. 1848, Georges won reelection to his old seat in the Chamber of Deputies, but he failed to win the following year. He died in November 1849, never achieving the celebrity of his father.

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

—  Langston Hughes, “Let America Be America Again”

Land of the free because of the BRAVE! I thought this was particularly appropriate this year in light of the SCOTUS ruling last week. Amazing trailblazers like Laverne Cox are why we are where we are today. Plus, I mean… She is the fiercest Lady Liberty I’ve ever seen!

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Pity the Nation.
—  “Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced,
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice,
except to praise conquerors and acclaim the bully as hero
and aims to rule the world with force and by torture.
Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty.” (2007)

A couple weeks ago I was asked to speak in church tomorrow. Since we’re so close to Independence Day, the topic I was assigned is “Land of Liberty.”

But I find the term “liberty” to be impossible to define and I wasn’t really comfortable with the overall tone, so I got the topic changed to “Land of Agency and Accountability.”

Please wish me luck! (I’m still preparing the talk, so any and all words of encouragement are appreciated.)

youtube
Pity the Nation
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except to praise conquerers
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture
Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away
My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!

via Jeff Weiss (via Austin Kleon), whose “[Driving the Beat Road” was just published:

For the last two years, I tracked down the surviving members of The Beat Generation. This is the 12,000 word story. It’s a profile of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Diane Di Prima, Michael McClure, Herbert Gold, and the death of SF’s bohemian culture. […] I’ve written a lot of words in the last decade - some meaningful, most not. This story is more important to me than anything I’ve published. The Beats are often wrongly stereotyped, but they included women, POC, and gay writers during a repressive era. Their writing was important. If you think the Beats were just Kerouac, Ginsberg & Burroughs, this article shows it went a lot deeper and they’re still breathing and writing. […] It will be serialized in print for the next 5 Sundays at the Washington Post. And as Bun B said: read a book, you illiterate son of a bitch.

Nat Farman     Lawrence Ferlinghetti Reading with Florence Allen dancing Behind Him, San Francisco     1957


Pity the nation whose people are sheep
  And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
           Whose sages are silenced
 And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
         Except  to praise conquerers
      And acclaim the bully as hero
         And aims to rule the world
             By force and by torture
         Pity the nation that knows
       No other language but its own
     And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
     Pity the nation oh pity the people
       who allow their rights to  erode
  and their freedoms to be washed away
              My country, tears of thee
                  Sweet land of liberty.

–Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Pity the Nation (After Khalil Gibran)”  2008

anonymous asked:

Could you talk about the friendship between Kosciuszko and Jefferson? :)

Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia in 1776, Kosciuszko read the Declaration of Independence and was moved to tears because he discovered in this single document everything that he truly believed in. When he discovered that Thomas Jefferson was responsible for drafting the Declaration, he felt compelled to meet him. A few months later, while moving south with the Continental Army, Kosciuszko stopped in Virginia to meet with Jefferson. The two men spent the day comparing philosophies and eventually became good friends. The two later became close friends, and maintained a correspondence for more than 20 years until Kosciuszko’s death in 1817. 

In 1796, after the death of Catherine the Great, her son Paul I granted amnesty to Kosciuszko in exchange for his promise not to return to Poland (he was imprisoned). He traveled back to the United States in August 1797, where he met again with Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson wrote of Kosciuszko, “He is as pure a son of liberty as I have ever known.” I’d like to also mention that Jefferson addressed Kosciuszko as “My Dear General”.

Kosciuszko, before departing back to Europe wrote a will and entrusted Jefferson in carrying it out:

“I beg Mr. Jefferson that in case I should die without will or testament he should bye out of my money So many Negroes and free them. that the restante Sums should be Sufficient to give them aducation and provide for thier maintenance. that is to say. each should know before; the duty of a Cytysen in the free Government. that he must defend his Country. against foroign as well internal Enemies who would wish to change the Constitution for the worst. to inslave them by degree afterwards. to have good and human heart Sensible for the Sufferings of others. each must be maried and have 100. Ackres of Land. wyth instruments. Cattle for tillage and know how to manage and Gouvern it as well to know behave to neybourghs. always wyth Kindnes. and ready to help them to them selves frugal. to ther Children give good aducation i mean as to the heart, and the duty to ther Country, in gratitude to me to make thems’elves hapy as possible.”

 Kosciuszko also left a cloak of his with Jefferson as a gift. 

Here are a few of my favorite excepts from their letters:

“i beg you write me if you have not time to come to see me i will born all thos letters immidiatly.” - Kosciuszko to Jefferson, 23 March, 1798. 

“I afraid to hurt your feelings by my reiterated impartunities, but I am so enxious of going away.” - Kosciuszko to Jefferson, 21 April, 1798

“I communicate to him no more of my object than is necessary. you shall know as soon as we get any thing worth communicating to you; and be assured no pains shall be spared to fulfill your wishes. health, happiness & Adieu.” - Jefferson to Kosciuszko, April 23, 1798.

“[accept] my warmest towards you, which no time will alter. your principles & dispositions were made to be honored, revered & loved. true to a single object the freedom & happiness of man, they have not veered about with the changelings and apostates of our acquaintance. may health, & happiness ever attend [you. accept] sincere assurances of my affectionate esteem & respect. Adieu.” - Jefferson to Kosciuszko, May 30, 1798. 

“I am extremely anxious to hear of you & from you, never having heard a tittle since you left us.” - Kosciuszko to Jefferson, June 18th, 1798. 

“the obligation i ow to you it will be ever lasting in my heart, and shall always take the uportunity to show it venever the acasion will present or require it—I am happy to find that your Character is in So high esteem here every body from the first to the last give a testy monie in expresing the greatust respect and regard for you” - Kosciuszko to Jefferson, July 15, 1798. 

“On politics I must write sparingly, lest it should fall into the hands of persons who do not love either you or me.” - Jefferson to Kosciuszko, February 21, 1799. 

“Republicain avec justice et probité san faste et embition en un mot soyez Jefferson et mon ami” - Kosciuszko to Jefferson, October 10, 1800. 

“Knowing well your manner of thinking, your genius, your skill, your knowledge, your character, and your kind heart, I silenced some and calmed the others. I am sorry that several very curious books that I sent you did not arrive. As for myself, I think that this year I shall go to admire you and afterwards to deposit my ashes in a land of liberty where there are morals, honesty, and justice.” - Kosciuszko to Jefferson, May 13, 1801. 

“May heaven protect you for the benefit of humanity, justice, as an example to and for the happiness of your friends who are as sincere as I am” - Kosciuszko to Jefferson, May 20, 1809. 

“I kiss you with all my heart.” - Kosciuszko to Jefferson, March 1, 1811. 

“I thank you most particularly for the last paragraph of your letter. it has relieved me from a load of uneasiness which rested on my mind till I could recieve your approbation of what I had done. nothing shall be so sacred to me as a regular paiment of the interest; and should your situation require at any time an anticipation of it, and the means occur of turning a draught on me to account, it shall always be punctually honored. accept the assurances of my unchanged affections & respect” - Jefferson to Kosciuszko, July 8, 1811. 

“I embrace you tenderly. Please accept the assurance of the sentiments of esteem, attachment, and high consideration that I have dedicated to you for the rest of my life” Kosciuszko to Jefferson, February 1, 1812. 

A Casual Reminder

Somalia, it’s people, and the diaspora will always support the Palestinian’s struggle for independence from Israeli colonialism. We both struggled through colonialism, and we know what it’s like to be subjected to people taking your home, freedom, land, and liberty away from you.


We support you, and we are here for you.


#فلسطين حرة

#Free Palestine

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

— 

“Let America Be America Again,” by Langston Hughes, 1935

On this 4th of July, I might as well blog this classic, a work forever relevant, but perhaps now moreso relevant than some other times.

It’s funny how there’s so much evil in our history and now; dripping down to the very core; for the beancounters and pointy-headed cynics who scoff at dreams to commit atrocities in the name of pragmatism, and yet, there are still those ideals that rage against that evil, that have raged against it since day one in the hope of appealing to the better ideals; the better dreams of the nation.

Our cynical corruption versus our shining ideas, the story of America in a nutshell. Sometimes one side wins, sometimes another side does, the question is, when history writes its name down, how many will join the side of right in the end, and what side will you have been on?