Charles Sullivan: Fighting Capitalism One Essay at a Time
by Angie Tibbs Saturday, Sep. 16, 2006 at 8:17 PM
“No one is more effectively enslaved than those who think they are free”. Charles Sullivan
Meet Charles Sullivan, social activist, writer, and photographer from the hinterland of West Virginia, whose ongoing battle against capitalism and its inherent evils is a shining inspiration to all of us who are fighting for the very existence of humankind and the betterment of our world.
Angie: Over the past year your voice has become one of the most passionate and consistent in the fight against capitalism and its accompanying evils. What prompted you to rail against the "status quo"?
Charles: Even as a child growing up in typical small town America, the things that I was taught about America, things that are widely accepted because they are repeated so often, did not make sense to me. For example, we are always told that America is a Democracy, and nearly everyone believes that. How many people even ponder the question or think critically about it? From cradle to grave we are told that America is the greatest Democracy in the history of civilization. The statement is accepted at face value; it is repeated over and over, despite all evidence to the contrary; and it becomes ingrained in the public mind as a great enduring truth. But what is the evidence for that view?
What never made sense to me was the fact that the original inhabitants of Turtle Island (North America) were eradicated by the newly established federal government -- this so called Democracy. Today we might call it ethnic cleansing. Then there was the issue of chattel slavery, and the fact that women could not vote or hold office in government.
When I was young and went to the movies with my sisters, black people were segregated from the white. Black people sat in the balcony, which was the worst seats in the house; and the whites always got the best seats. Public schools were segregated too -- the blacks always getting the worst of it.
None of this made sense to me within the construct of a Democracy. So it occurred to me that it must be something else. As I matured and began to explore American history on my own, things never quite added up for me. I was always suspicious of authority, and rarely, if ever, gave my allegiance to it. That is called critical thinking, and it is fast becoming a lost art in my country.
Many years later I came upon historian, Howard Zinn, who presented American history from an entirely different perspective -- that of the Indians, the slaves, workers, women, and other oppressed people. Zinn's, "A People's History of the United States" is a wonderful narrative that contradicts the 'official' version of events, which I have since discovered was based on some kind of self-serving mythology. The beauty and genius of Zinn's book is that it is in the people's own voices, and from their unique perspectives. It told a very different story than the one I was taught in school. It got me interested in labor history, which is a topic that is dear to my heart; and which I continue to pursue to this day. Now I understand that there are many reasons for the ‘official’ authors of history to suppress or distort the facts and to deny all contrarian views.
It is about controlling people's perceptions not only about their government but of themselves as a people. The critical discoveries that came out of my explorations of history are that we live in a society divided by socio-economic class, race and sex; and that the upper class have always preyed upon the lower classes and exploited them for selfish purposes; and they still do. So I learned that we live in a Plutocracy rather than a Democracy. I have always sympathized with the oppressed and despised the oppressor. Of course, my views have never enamored me with the status quo; and that is fine with me. If they did, I would think I was doing something wrong.
Angie: You have written on more than one occasion about the plight of American workers, their fight for benefits, decent wages, and unionized work places. What is the labour situation like in the United States today vis a vis even ten years ago? What effect is outsourcing and cheap labour having on the working class, and how effective are the unions in protecting their workers?
Charles: Union membership has continued to decline during the past decade as part of a longer trend. Some of that decline is the fault of the unions, themselves. Many unions are soft and capitulate to business; in other words, they are in bed with business, and fail to fight for the workers. Some of them are probably on the take. Unions, like individuals, need to be strong and uncompromising in things that matter.
In the old days we had revolutionary unions that did not compromise worker's rights, and railed against the class divisions that have always characterized America. Not only did they fight for the workers, they sought to remake America in the image of the working people rather than the Plutocratic elite. Those unions sought to bring Democracy to America and all of them were met with violent opposition. Early on workers risked their lives to form unions and to win many of the freedoms we take for granted today.
Those unions were militant and the corporations feared them. The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is a good example of that kind of unionism. The IWW not only fought for the working class, they sought to put the economic engines of production into the hands of the workers and to end the private ownership of industrial production. They understood that if an individual or a corporate entity controls another's ability to earn a living, that person is, in essence, the property of her/his employer — a slave. That is a lesson that has been forgotten today as unions have sought to curry favor with business.
Though no longer what it once was, the IWW still exists and is one of the few unions that continues to grow membership.
A worker could change jobs a hundred times, but the situation would always be the same; and it still is. That is why the IWW correctly labeled the capital system “Industrial Slavery” or “Wage Slavery”, and sought to abolish it by any means. The idea was to form One Big Union the world over, and I still think that is the way to go. This was visionary thinking, in my view, and it was revolutionary in that it sought to remake society.
Fight-back unions recognize that the system - in our case capitalism - is the root of the problem. Workers will control their own destiny only by doing away with capitalism and replacing it with a more equitable and just system. That is why unions must be revolutionary in nature if they are going to be an effective tool for the workers.
Angie: It is, indeed, visionary thinking, and, for sure, revolutionary, its aims for a just and equitable society honorable, but just how do you see it becoming a reality?
Charles: Corporate Globalization must be met with global worker solidarity. Otherwise, jobs will continue to be outsourced as capital seeks the cheapest labor with the least amount of regulation. The result is that corporate profits will continue to rise, more jobs will be outsourced, worker will compete against worker in the new world economy, and wages will be driven down. And that is exactly what has been happening, even as productivity has sharply increased.
Today's workers are mostly 'at will' employees. They have no representation and few rights in the work place; they can be terminated without reason at the whim of an employer. I know this from experience -- it has happened to me multiple times for attempting to organize the work place. Take-home wages have been declining since 1974, while CEO salaries have skyrocketed. Workers are losing benefits that were once guaranteed to them such as affordable health insurance, paid vacations, sick leave, and now even pensions.
Wal-Mart, the largest corporation on earth, does not pay its workers a living wage, provides few, if any, benefits to its employees, and encourages its workers to seek medical coverage through government assistance. Why? Because the less money that is paid to the workers, including benefits, the more wealth that accrues to the corporation and its CEO.
The Wobblies used to say, "The working class and the employing class have nothing in common." They also stated, "An injury to one is an injury to all." That is a credo that all working people should live by. Exorbitant CEO salaries and huge corporate profits come at the expense of the working class. Billions of tax-payer dollars are annually doled out in the form of corporate welfare to companies like Wal-Mart, while the poor are neglected and are forced to work for subsistence wages. Since capital is privately owned, nearly all of the wealth remains at the top of the economic food chain. Every one below is left to fend for themselves.
In essence, this is the trickle down economics popularized by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Thus, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I call it 'predatory capitalism.'
Angie: And predatory capitalism covers it aptly!!
Charles: It makes no difference if you are a working class conservative or a progressive, Democrat or Republican. In the capital system the working class is parasitized by those at the top. So you can see that workers must organize as a class against The New World Order—corporate globalization.
Let us not forget that the work day in America used to be twelve to sixteen hours long, and the work week was six or seven days; there was no weekend, and no paid vacation; and even children labored under deplorable conditions in factories and coal mines beside their parents. These conditions were vividly portrayed in Upton Sinclair’s novel, “The Jungle.” It was unions that changed all of that. The same conditions exist in other parts of the world that used to be the norm here. That is what the New World Order means to working class people, and that is what free trade agreements are really about. It is also about turning back the hands of time.
Angie: Capitalism has not helped the working class, and now as globalization threatens to take over our planet, the promotion of workers’ needs is a diminishing consideration. To adhere to the "free trade" ideal, countries are forfeiting retirement programmes and benefits, are unconcerned about worker safety, and are putting the environment at risk. Surely there is a better way?
Charles: Free trade is a very misleading term. When that term is evoked it does not refer to human freedoms or democracy; it refers to unfettered access to markets by global corporations. Free Trade Agreements provide corporations the means to operate without regulation. In fact, free trade is nothing more than the spread of capitalism in its most virulent form. The effects of capitalism are the same everywhere, as you have pointed out, including environmental degradation and destruction; reduced wages and worker benefits.
The real purpose of the Bush Agenda in the Middle East is about corporate globalization, war profiteering, and brokering FTAs. It has nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction or Iran's nuclear capabilities. Those are simply marketing strategies used on the American people as a pretext for war. Prior to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, Iraqi oil was nationalized. Proceeds from its sale provided free health care to the Iraqi people, as well as higher education to anyone who wanted it. All of that changed with the occupation. Since then Iraqi oil was privatized and open to foreign investors. U.S. oil companies like Exxon-Mobil have realized record profits; and the Iraqi people get nothing but abject poverty and misery.
What could be farther from Democracy?
We have never had socialized health care and tuition-free higher education in America because we spend our tax dollars invading and occupying other nations and other forms of overt militarization. We take care of the corporate bottom line by neglecting the needs of the people.
Angie: We've seen the results of capitalism and its manifest evils globally. It is obviously not the solution. Do we embrace progressivism? Is that the answer? Part of the answer? If so, how does the everyday person begin a metamorphosis?
Charles: Progressivism is a start, and I like what I see happening in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez is doing wonderful things for the people of Venezuela, which the capitalists to the north must find troubling. Let us not forget either that a revolution is under way in Mexico. The masses have awakened. They are organized, they are militant; and they are on the march. Populist movements are taking shape to the south, while the U.S. military is bogged down in the Middle East. The spirit of revolution is alive and moving forward. Let us hope that it spreads north of the border.
Angie: There is also Brazil’s very effective Landless Workers Movement, or in Portuguese, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), which is the largest social movement in Latin America with an estimated 1.5 million landless members organized in 23 out of 27 states, and its huge successes lie in its ability to organize and educate. Would educating the masses be a good first step?
Charles: Absolutely. Nothing can happen until the people understand what is being done to them. That is the primary difference between Latin America and the USA. South of the border the people are aware whereas here they are indoctrinated and controlled. Things are happening in Latin America while the people here are watching Survivor and trying to get out of debt. But the people are slowly (much too slowly) awakening here too, and that is a good sign for Democracy.
Angie: One of your most frequent criticisms of the US is the incredulous disparity between rich nd poor. The percentages are staggering. What is the cause for this ever widening chasm? Do you see it changing, and, if so, how?
Charles: Your point is illustrated by some recent statistics. The top 1% of the American population averages $15 million in net worth. Middle class holdings are $81,000. 30% of households have less than $10,000 in holdings, and 17% of households have a negative net worth. And this is said to be the wealthiest nation on earth!
What we have in America is the ideology of Robin Hood in reverse. The rich are robbing the poor. No one should be permitted to get rich on the misery of others. In Venezuela people matter more than corporate profits. If the Plutocracy could bring back chattel slavery, I am quite certain that they would do so. Think about all that productivity without having to pay wages or benefits! But, of course, the people might rebel against that.
Angie: In your article, Victims of Creeping Fascism, your focus centered on " the demise of the American experiment" wherein you describe "the dreams of democracy, justice, peace, and hope" as "receding into the dim recesses of ever more distant memory" . Elaborate on what you see as America's fall into fascism. Is it already too late? If not, what do you see happening next?
Charles: In addition to its long-standing Plutocracy, we are witnessing the emergence of the Gestapo state -- the police state -- in America. Our hard won freedoms and civil liberties are quickly eroding. The NSA, the FBI, and the Pentagon are spying on law-abiding citizens, including religious groups like the Quakers. People are being sent to prison without being charged with crimes. They can be held indefinitely without legal counsel, and placed on trial before military tribunals, and even executed.
So if you speak out against war or any other injustice, the president may be able to imprison you indefinitely by classifying you as a terrorist. Speaking truth to power is becoming an act of sedition. This follows the historical pattern. Eugene Debs, a union leader and a socialist, was repeatedly imprisoned for speaking out against war early in the twentieth century. Then there was the era of McCarthyism in the 50s.
Now the neo-conservatives are in control of everything, including the commercial media. The people are so indoctrinated by the media that they are nearly comatose, and, hence, useless as citizens. They have little intellectual curiosity about the world, and they believe what they are told. The majority of the people do not have a clue about what is happening to them. The world is laughing at us. Why are Americans so damned obedient and gullible? Their minds are programmed by the most sophisticated propaganda apparatus ever devised, and they are much too obedient to authority.
Elections are rigged and capital orchestrates the entire process, rendering the vote null and void. These are dangerous times. I fear that things are likely to get much worse, after which one of two things will occur: America will descend into the depths of hell or the people will awaken and revolution will erupt. That is why I write -- to awaken the slumbering masses.
Angie: The United States has a curious government structure with seemingly no real difference existing between Democrats and Republicans. If the current administration were removed from power, it would be replaced by another with a different name but with the same mindset. The US government reminds me of a house rotting from within. If it is not dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up, it will disintegrate because it is the system, itself, that is at fault here, a system that allows for lost votes, stolen elections, and a shameful lack of democratic process. You once described this as a fault that lies in the unfounded belief that a poison tree can bear edible fruit. Can it be fixed, and, if so, how?
Charles: Your perceptions are quite accurate. No, the system cannot be reformed. It must be dismantled and built anew as a Democratic institution. The system is riddled with malignancy. The electoral process is controlled by special interest money. It is little more than a legalized form of bribery -- a sham that should never be mistaken for Democracy. That is why I get so frustrated when people think they are going to change the system through the vote alone.
We have a situation where industry is writing the regulations it is supposed to abide by. Washington is swarming with corporate lobbyists like flies around a pile of dung. The government is infested with Dung Beetles, and that cannot be good.
Even on the local level the process is controlled by special interest money. In Morgan County here in West Virginia it is the construction industry and developers who place their people in control of the county government. The result is that our rural county is slated for extensive development, despite widespread public opposition.
America did not achieve emancipation from England by voting. Understand I am not saying that people should not vote, but they must understand that voting can at best bring about only minor reform, not the kind of sweeping change that is needed. Capital will not allow it. The poison tree can bear only poison fruit. When capital controls every aspect of the electoral process, it also controls the outcome of the elections. So the working class people have no real representation in government. If they ever figure that out, things will change and probably very quickly.
Voting serves the interest of the people only where Democracy already exits; and that is not what we have here. We must change the capital system in order to make voting meaningful again. Non-violent revolution is the only cure I see for what ails this nation, and we are nowhere near that stage. So we must continue to grow the resistance; to educate and cajole.
Angie: And how do you visualize a growth in resistance? To make a difference against almost insurmountable odds, what must the ordinary citizen do?
Charles: Regardless of the outcome, it is important to fight the fight. Resistance to tyranny is all that keeps hope alive, whereas capitulation, apathy and indifference assure its continuation, and seals our fate as a people and as a nation.
It is important for people to know that individuals can, and must, resist injustice. Resistance to wrong-doing makes justice possible. Without it there is no hope, no possibility of change, and the descent into fascism will be swift and complete.
Ordinary people fighting back was how civil rights were won. There must be a willingness to step outside of the system, to disobey unjust laws, and to undermine illegitimate government. That is what brought about the merciful end to the Viet Nam War.
Progressives and Socialists must stop behaving as if they are ashamed of who, and what, they are. I am proud to call myself a socialist. I like what Socialism stands for. But too many of my colleagues are afraid to publicly state that they are socialists for fear of being stigmatized. What chance do we have of convincing other people of our arguments if act we like we are ashamed of who we are? Let our works speak for themselves, and let the world compare the results to all that capitalism has wrought.
It is a country’s dissidents that make a nation great, not its obedient conformists who always play it safe and obey authority. A stubborn refusal to follow the crowd, coupled with the ability to think for oneself, to question authority, and to challenge its very premise is the underpinning of any just civil society. Without these you have a nation of obedient sheep, mere automatons who have given up their humanity and sold their souls. Who would want to exist in such a place?
Mediocrity in government is always preceded by mediocrity in citizenship. Conversely, good government is the direct result of good citizenship. It is simply cause and effect. Output is proportional to input.
Angie: With the United States continuing its illegal, immoral, and unjustified occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and threatening other nations; i.e. Iran, Syria, North Korea, I am somewhat overwhelmed by the monumental double standards we see/read about, the rhetoric loud, constant, and mendacious. Young men and women are being sent to kill, and be killed, in distant lands whilst the craven excuses for humanity who send them are safely out of harm's way. The US has always operated in an imperialistic foreign policy mode, but in recent years, it has been virtually unstoppable with death, torture, destruction the only game being played. What is behind this war everlasting? Who is profiting from it, and, in the same breath, let me ask you how can its global terrorist onslaught be halted before the world, as we know it, is eradicated?
Charles: The impetus behind current U.S. foreign policy is the same as it has always been, only it is becoming more overt. That impetus is, of course, privatized profit and insensate greed. Capitalists care about one thing — capital. And they do not care who they have to kill to get it. They did not hesitate to kill thousands of American workers in the strikes of the 1800-1900s. So why would they think twice about sending our soldiers to die in the Middle East or anywhere else?
Militarism is the iron fist of capitalism. You can think of our Middle East policies as a way of socializing costs and privatizing profits because that is exactly what they do. The socialized cost is born by those who fight and die, while those who lobby for war - the chicken hawks and their corporate brethren - are raking in billions. I guess that makes the dead the cost of doing business.
In essence, war is the most insidious form of corporate welfare ever devised by the human imagination. As General Smedley Butler said in the 1930s, "War is a racket." Also I think there is a racist element to current Middle East policy and perhaps an ideological one as well. I know no other way of explaining the torture and humiliation of other human beings. I see it as a continuation of the same Manifest Destiny that resulted in the ethnic cleansing of the American Indian. Either the world will unite and put a stop to this madness or the planet will soon be rendered almost uninhabitable.
The real terrorists are in the White House, in Congress, and the corporate boardrooms of America.
Angie: Much has been said and written recently about the Jewish lobby in America and its influence on American foreign policy; and, in fact, its domestic policy. When we look at US politicians we are left with the unpleasant impression that House and Congress alike are quicker to profess allegiance to the terrorist state of Israel than to their own constituents and to their own country. A week or so ago, for instance, former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was in New York telling an audience that Bush is "preparing to ditch the United Nations to take on Iran alone and that American politicians of all parties would do well to stop squabbling about Iraq and join the president in focusing on threat from Tehran".  It boggles the mind that a foreign politician would be in the United States telling your government what to do. I've begun calling your country the United States of Israel. Are the American people aware of this unprecedented interference in your government’s foreign policy?
Charles: I doubt whether they are. The people know all about American Idol, but nothing of governmental policy. Clearly there is a strong Zionist element influencing U.S. foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. There are Zionists in high places in the government. It is no coincidence that the United States and Israel are the two greatest terrorist states on earth. Both nations have histories of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Benjamin Netanyahu and George Bush are war criminals and some day they will be tried as such. Those who carry out their policies must take care not to implicate themselves in the war crimes initiated by their leaders. However, I believe that it is important to make a distinction between a government and the people. This government does not represent the interest of the people, and the same may be true of the Israeli government. How could it be in the public interest to carry out such criminal and atrocious policies?
Angie: US policies today are hardly in the public interests of the American people; in fact, the only country benefiting from US policies is the terrorist state of Israel. People, and not just those in the US, are propagandized to the point where they are incapable of independent thought. Thus, it’s quite easy to hoodwink them into believing what governments want them to believe and to keep them living in a constant state of fear, all the more easy to manipulate them. And, of course, you have the corporate media dutifully pushing the government’s agenda as “news”. Do you see a “search for the truth” movement emerging wherein governments will be held accountable by those who they purport to represent?
Charles: In this age of corporate globalization geopolitical boundaries no longer have the same meaning they used to. Corrupt government will do its utmost to conceal truth from the people because there is a clear conflict of interest involved. If the people knew the truth, they might be moved to do something about it. That is why they are propagandized.
If truth ever becomes widely known, the people would clearly be able to discern the criminality of corrupt government and not many would continue to support it. There would be revolt and perhaps even revolution.
Corrupt governments fear ordinary citizens. They realize that if the people are armed with truth, if they educate themselves, and organize and mobilize, that government will lose its power over them. It will lose control. Informed people are not susceptible to lies and deception. They are able to connect the dots and see the historical patterns of abuse.
It is ironic that so many individuals fail to realize how much power they actually have. The government knows they have power. People marginalize themselves by thinking they are powerless. That power is amplified when the people organize and mobilize against injustice.
That is why whenever dissidents emerge and successfully organize the masses, they are either imprisoned or assassinated. Thousands of courageous men and women in organized labor were assassinated in this country: Frank Little, Joe Hill, Albert Parsons and August Spies—the list is a long one; and of course the names of Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm-X come to mind.
Truth is a thing that is carefully guarded by corrupt power. It must be kept from the people at all cost. Of course, any government whose operation is not transparent is a house of cards that cannot long stand. It is not worthy of our respect or our allegiance.
Angie: One last question. I've mentioned the US war OF terror currently causing death, destruction, and poverty in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon and elsewhere. People who pay attention are familiar with the neoconservative document sinisterly titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century”. What that title doesn’t reveal, however, is how closely “rebuilding America’s defenses” is intertwined with those of the terrorist state of Israel, and how warmongers, such as Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bolton, Rice, and others are determined to pursue their imperialist ambitions regardless of how much blood, as long as it is someone else’s, is spilled. Global terror under the guise of so-called “freedom”, fake “democracies”, bullying, threatening, lying, and double standards – this is the United States that the world sees, and it is not a pretty sight. What will it take to allow the nations of the world their right to govern and conduct their lives without US interference, threats, and blackmail? No one is safe unless kowtowing the US of Israel line. How did it get to this point, and, more importantly, how has it been allowed to continue?
Charles: I believe that people must ultimately take responsibility for what their governments do, but nothing can happen until enough people care, pay attention to the issues, educate themselves about them, and take informed action. As things are now the only way the world will know peace is by capitulating to America and her allies — by becoming capitalists and taking orders from the global Plutocracy. All people have a right to form governments of their own choosing, and that right needs to be respected and protected.
What America is trying to do is rule the world by military force and economic policy. That is the wrong thing to do, and I doubt whether the majority of the people really support such imperialistic doctrine. Empire and Democracy are mutually exclusive.
We have become a rogue nation that does not respect international law or treaties.
I do not believe that this issue can be resolved at the polls. It is going to require massive citizen involvement, serious economic disruption, boycotts, general strikes, and acts of civil disobedience over a long period of time. We must throw our bodies on to the gears and levers of the machine and make it stop. The war makers must be driven from office, regardless of their political stripes. I doubt whether they will leave of their own accord. The same thing must occur not only in the U.S. but around the world.
It is important to understand that men like George Bush, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Tony Blair, Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu and all the others are products of the capitalist system. They are the fruit of the poison tree. You cannot change the result until you change the system that produces the result. Otherwise you are only treating symptoms as the disease continues to progress.
I see Socialism as a far better alternative. Power and wealth should never be concentrated in the hands of a few people. It must be equally dispersed among the many and decentralized. That is how Democracy works. Concentrated power is corrupt power, and concentrated wealth is ill-gotten wealth.
Things got so out of hand because people became complacent and they are misinformed. Everyone in America knows the political system is corrupt, and many have dropped out of it for that reason. We still have to participate in order to fulfill our role as citizens. If we do not, our political enemies will carry forth their agenda unopposed, but we must never accept that voting is enough.
If enough people who care and know the issues do not come forward and demand an end to this madness, dissent will be criminalized. We are at a critical crossroads in our civilization. We have a responsibility to future generations to do better, and time is running out.
A lifetime of propaganda is not easy to overcome; yet that is our task. We must establish our own media: printed word, web-based content, including video (streaming and DVD), and audio, in order to counter the lies purveyed in the commercial media. We must support net neutrality and keep the Internet a free and democratic medium. We must provide places where truth can still be heard. We need more free speech radio like the Pacifica Network, and more alternative newspapers and other print media willing to challenge the status quo.
People must understand that the world is being run by a very small clique of the wealthiest people. It is run to accrue wealth to them by exploiting the rest of us. Their intention is to rule the world through the establishment of the New World Order, and overt militarization. They are a tiny fraction of one percent of the global population, and they intend to lord power over all and to subjugate.
The Plutocratic elite have enormous wealth, and they have access to high-tech weapons with the awesome power to destroy. They are driven by insensate greed and lust for power. They are incredibly selfish and violent people, and they want it all.
On the other hand, we have superior numbers; well over 99.9% of the population. Ours’ is a just cause, theirs is not. We are builders; they are destroyers. But we must be willing to struggle; we must organize and mobilize, and forge a viable global solidarity movement. We must be willing to stand up for our beliefs and to fight for them. It may be necessary for some of us to sacrifice our freedoms and our lives. Otherwise we will end up with a global Plutocracy run by corporations and distinguished by two classes: master and slave.
Angie: Thank you, Charles, for your time and your honesty. It’s been a learning experience speaking with you.
Charles: Thank you, Angie, for your thoughtful questions, and for providing me a platform to state my views. It has been a pleasure.
 Fruit of the Poison Tree by Charles Sullivan, Information Clearing House, 21 May 2006
 U.S. Politicians Should Focus On Tehran, Netanyahu Says; The New York Sun, 8 Sept 06
Charles Sullivan is a frequent contributor to Information Clearing House, OpEd News, and other progressive newsletters. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angie Tibbs is an activist/writer living on Canada’s east coast. She welcomes your comments at: email@example.com