On Saturday night, Judy and I saw and heard the currently notorious Ward Churchill speak at Reed College. At first this was supposed to be a big public event that charged admission but the Reed power elite were somewhat frightened off and the evening was turned into a free student -- teachers only event. Judy and I got in via a special "guest list." Churchill became famous because he wrote some harsh and extreme things right after 9/11 that were interesting, challenging but definitely on the insensitive side. |
His basic thesis is that the US acts like a global bully, brute killer and exploiter and that it has done this since its founding. America was cruising for a bruising and inevitably on 9/11, its chickens came home to roost. The right wing turned Ward into a super villain and demanded he be fired from his teaching post, he became an official member of its most hated list. Actually Ward's ideas aren't all that original, they are kind of a mix of historian W.A. Williams, Tragedy of American diplomacy and the Weather Underground's Prairie Fire. For him, it was all a matter of bad timing. I wasn't sure how I felt about the guy, till I head him speak.
Now, I like him. He seems kindly and he has a genuine sense of humor. His speaking style reminds me of another likable guy, Panther cofounder Bobby Seale. Churchill is a fine, even elegant speaker with something vital and important to say. He presents his position logically and factually and then, unlike the cowardly George Bush, he verbally and humorously takes on all comers. The audience of 500 rewarded him, at times, with thunderous applause. Strength to you Ward Churchill and carry on.
AUDIO: download and listen to the full speech I download full speech and question/answer session I Interview with Churchill after speech by local independent journalist
BACKGROUND: Ward Churchill Under Attack (from indymedia.org)