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POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND TRANSFORMATIVE ACTION

Brilliant speech given by Governor Jerry Brown at the International Transpersonal Association Conference

Santa Clara, CA
June 10, 1995

Introduction by Stan Grof:

This afternoon, I have the great pleasure to welcome and introduce Jerry Brown. He is a very rare example of a politician whose ideas and activities are based on spiritual principles, and who has been involved in personal spiritual practice. He brings to his work deep concern about the future of our planet, about world peace, about international cooperation, natural environment, and social justice. He comes from a political family. His father was the former California Governor, Edmund 'Pat' Brown, who initiated Jerry into political life through his campaigns. Jerry Brown's first involvement in politics, apart from his father's campaigns, began with Senator Eugene McCarthy's 1968 anti-war campaign for President.

In 1970, Jerry Brown was elected Secretary of State of California, being the only Democrat to win a statewide office as Ronald Reagan won re-election and swept the Republicans into all other state offices. In 1974, Jerry Brown ran for Governor of California, and defeated the Republican, Houston Flounoy. As Governor, he emphasized, among other things, environmental protection, development of innovative technologies, and educational reform. During his tenure, California became the world leader in developing solar and wind technologies, and in 1978, he was re-elected by the largest margin in California's history ----- he received 1.3 million votes more than his opponent. While serving as Governor of California, he ran twice for President of the United States ----- in 1976 and 1980. However, his ideas were ahead of their time, and he didn't receive sufficient support for his efforts. From 1989 to 1991, he was Chairman of the California Democratic Party, and in '92, he again ran for President of the United States. Currently, he heads We the People, which is a citizens' based movement in Oakland, California. From this center, Jerry Brown regularly broadcasts his own daily radio show.

Since this is an International Transpersonal Conference, I'd like to say something about his interest in spirituality and new paradigm thinking. He was a personal friend of Gregory Bateson and was very deeply influenced by his ideas, and is trying to introduce these ideas and principles into his political work. He has practiced Zen Meditation in Kamakura, Japan and in the San Francisco Zen Center.

During his first Presidential Campaign, he briefly visited the ITA Conference in Boston, and we feel very honored and excited that he is now joining us as a speaker and to address our meeting. So, please help me welcome, Jerry Brown. [Standing Ovation]


JERRY BROWN:

Stan, thank you for reminding me about that conference in Massachusetts. I forgot it was under the auspices of this organization. Does anyone here remember how it was projected on the nightly news? It certainly is one of the contributing factors to my moniker, Moonbeam Governor. [laughter] But I have to acknowledge, since we are not going to get anywhere in transformation if we are not honest, that my motives ----- were not all that pure. [laughter]

I had so little support in New Hampshire that I wanted to meet any group larger than 50 people. [laughter] You see, in New Hampshire the meeting rooms are very small. They don't have one room in the entire state as large as this one. That particular gathering was in Massachusetts, but I was told that there would be a lot of teachers there from New Hampshire.

In my talk, which I have denominated, "Political Consciousness and Transformative Action," ----- and I picked that title because it seemed to be the right combination for this group ----- because I'm a politician and you're conscious! [laughter]

I know we are supposed to walk out of here transformed and committed to some kind of action. So these are the pieces to put together. I want to start with my own growing consciousness about the world of politics: just to say that word is nasty, yet it is very important because each of us is a political being. Politics comes from the word polity, polis. Aristotle used the phrase, 'political animal' --- zoon politicon. We are not just by ourselves. We are not just in a little group, but are part of a larger community. And when you have more people, you need some rules. You need some basis for making decisions, and that is at the heart of politics.

Now between that and what we have today is a large gap. We are in a degenerate state of self-government. In fact, even to use the words self-government, is not only an exaggeration, it's a lie. It's is a big lie! I hope I can convince you of that, but not depress you. I don't want you to feel good after this talk, but I don't want you to feel so bad that you rationalize not doing anything. Because you do have power. And as much as I dislike politics, I have devoted my life to it ----- out of some form of enlightened masochism, [laughter] ----- or some other deep motive that I have not yet been able to plumb. But I am not sick of it, and I am not cynical about it [applause] ----- but I'm not naive about it.

First, I wanted to say that politics is empty and meaningless, but I can't quite say that because it is working. It is working for some but not working for most, and it is not working for our future. So, I want to say that it is empty because the language is empty and I want to demonstrate that. But it's not empty as a gesture in a vacuum ----- because there are consequences and there are results.

To those of you who still have some confidence in the New York Times, I would at least cite it for this proposition. This is hard to believe ----- that's why I have to read it to you from the New York Times. I don't think you would believe me if I just said it!

'In the eighties, one hundred percent of the increased wealth went to the top 20% of American families. The richest one percent of households control 40% of the nation's wealth, twice as much as the figure in Britain, which has the greatest inequality in Western Europe.'

Remember, we had a revolution to get away from Britain and now we have a system that is generating greater inequality. So, don't say the system doesn't work! The system works perfectly for those in charge of it. [applause]

I have to give you more evidence. I'm going to give you a lot of evidence here. It is meaningless evidence, but these are traces and signs that should be observed. Here is a dispatch from the Associated Press in Sacramento:

"California lawmakers have sent Governor Wilson exactly one bill nearly halfway through the 1995 Legislative session, yet have had more than one hundred fund raising events." Second piece of evidence. [laughter]

All right. Here's a letter from Bill Clinton --- this is a letter to Bob Dole. Talk about an incestuous group here....... It says:

"Dear Mr. Leader,

I write to renew my call for a tough, effective and comprehensive anti-terrorism bill, and I urge the Congress to pass it as quickly as possible." I will skip the rest of the paragraphs, but it is signed, 'Sincerely, Bill' ----- on the White House stationery.

The Anti-Terrorism Bill is moving quickly. Henry Hyde, noted for his opposition to abortion rights and a Congressman from Illinois, said the day after the Oklahoma City bombing, that the Anti-Terrorism Bill would move through the Congress like lightning. I want you to think ----- not think ----- imagine the image of lightning next to the image of the greatest deliberative body in the history of the world.

Deliberation at lightning speed. [laughter] You know what deliberation means. Deliberate speed ----- remember? Those were words used for implementing the first case that integrated American schools. Of course, it was meant to move very slowly ----- and it did. But in Congress, they move very quickly ----- and there is a reason for that.

I happened to bring here two bills on Anti-Terrorism, and I want you to understand terror and terrorism. Obviously, we are anti-terrorist ----- unless you are a terrorist! [laughter] And you can figure out which side the politicians will get on with this one! There are some important reasons for this. I happen to have before me here the draft bill that was put in the Congress earlier this year on behalf of the President. This is the Democratic enlightened version! I'm not going read all the different parts ----- I just want to read Finding Number Eight, on why we need this comprehensive Anti-Terrorism Bill. On one version, they call it an Omnibus. Everything is All, Every, Comprehensive, Invasive.......... Here is what it says:

Finding Number Eight: 'In addition to the destruction of property and the devastation to human life, the occurrence of an international terrorist event results ----- in the decline of tourism'! [laughter] It's right here --- 'decline in tourism'!

Now, this bill didn't make it because it was superseded by a bill introduced by Senator Orin Hatch ----- that in some respects was less draconian and invasive, and in other respects, more so. It also had some findings, and I wish I had brought it with me because, again, I don't think you will believe me when I tell you what was the Third Finding of the Anti-Terrorism Bill voted on by the United States Senate on Thursday ----- in a vote of 91 to 8!

The Third Finding was that the threat of international terrorism is greater than population growth and worldwide pollution. The U.S. Senate has found that to be the case as 90 Senators, including Jesse Helms, Teddy Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, both Kerrys, and Senator Bradley voted for it. There were only eight (8) exceptions ----- two Republicans and six Democrats who voted No. This means that terrorism, in the minds of the most deliberative body in the history of the world, is a greater threat than population growth and pollution. In other words, they are a gang not only of thieves, but of deliberate liars. They are lying! This is not true. You know it's not true, and yet they said it! ----- Nobody's been indicted! Nobody has been criticized! And I guarantee that if you turn on the Brinkley show Sunday morning, it will not even be mentioned. You will not see it in your newspaper. You will not see it on the wire. Maybe you can find it on the Internet, if you want to download the entire bill ----- which I did. It's 156 kilobytes or whatever that thing is.[laughter] It's a lot. All I know is that I had to keep hitting the keyboard because my memory was inadequate.

Now you know why the President is telling Dole ----- what did he say? ----- To pass it as quickly as possible. They don't want you to think about it, because if you did, you'd laugh them out of Congress. And you should ----- or you should condemn them. You can laugh at it too, if it weren't so sad.

Now we take up what it is. This is not really about politics, this is about language. Title Two. This is the Republican summary.

You get a Democratic Summary and a Republican Summary ----- this is what the Senators get before they vote. And you know this is all they read ----- if they even read this! It's called Deliberative Democracy. Okay?

"This bill prohibits U.S. assistance to countries that provide military equipment to terrorist states." First sentence.

Second sentence: This prohibition may be waived by the President.' [laughter] Yeah ........ Prohibits U.S. assistance to countries that provide military equipment to terrorist states. This prohibition may be waived by the President. Is this law, or is this anarchy in high places?

Let's go to Title Three: entitled, Alien Removal. Now, I know some of you would probably understand that. [laughter] How are they going to remove the aliens among us? That's what I want to know. [laughter] Well, they've got a plan. The bill, in Title Three, creates a new procedure for deporting alleged aliens ----- they're not even sure if they are aliens. They are alleged alien terrorists. Through this procedure, aliens could be deported based on Secret Evidence. The alien would not have access to the evidence nor would he be provided with a summary of it. This is what the Senators, by 91 to 8, voted for!

By the way, what they do to them, they will do to you next. Because once you get into the habit of secret evidence, where you don't have to have a confrontation of witnesses ----- I mean after the O.J. trial, everyone knows that a secret trial would go a lot faster. And don't think that there aren't a lot of people who already think that, and who are going to try to make it happen. As a matter of fact, we have the first piece of evidence right here.

The next one is Fundraising for Terrorist Activities. I don't know how many of you have done any fundraising for terrorist activities ----- I've been doing it all my life! [laughter, applause] See, I am a recovering politician, [laughter ] and I am prepared to acknowledge the evil of my ways. Politicians are terrorists against the people, and they raise money all the time. In fact, that's all they do. Government is merely the cover story. [Laughter]

All right, fundraising for terrorists activities. It bans fundraising for foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State to be terrorist. In other words, when the Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, says, 'The ITC is a terrorist organization,' you ARE. No review possible. Ipse dixit. It's a statement coming from on high. Just feel the authoritarian ring to all this. Remember, this is the United States of America! This is the country that began with an antipathy to entrenched power. The checks, the balances, the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, the fifty states, have all been designed to prevent exactly what the President has said must be passed quickly.

By the way, did you know it is already against the law to raise money for terrorist acts? It is not against the law, however, to raise money for humanitarian aid to organizations that may have been involved in some terrorist activities. As for example, the ANC in South Africa, or the American revolutionaries two hundred years ago, people in El Salvador, and many others. Basically, what this does is to criminalize what, up to this moment, are lawful activities: the right to join in solidarity with the struggles of people under the yoke of oppression in other countries. This bill will subject you to a ten year prison sentence for writing a ten dollar check to an organization that may have, in the past, committed terrorist acts.

Do you know what terrorism is? Terrorism is engaging in an act that has transnational consequences ----- not transpersonal ----- and involves the use of a firearm and the injury to person or property. That's the definition of a terrorist. Now there are a few other things ----- like wire tapping or having the FBI get into your credit reports. And, here's one ----- I just have to take it out of Bill's letter because I've never seen it before, and it shows the micro-management of this anti-terrorism business. The President is asking what are the essential elements of an anti- terrorism bill that he would support ----- that he would feel good about. And he says that he wants to make sure that there is permission to track telephone traffic with pen registers, and trap and trace devices ----- that the government can obtain multiple-point wiretaps. Now, when was the last time a President of the United States wrote a letter talking about pen registers and trap and trace devices? That's the level of where they are in the White House ----- only three blocks from where thousands of little children are having their lives destroyed by neglect, poverty, abandonment, drugs and drive-by shootings. That's our nation's capitol.

That's the letter from Bill. There are a few other little odds and ends here. Appropriation of 1.6 billion dollars to add a thousand more government agents ----- that's on top of the one hundred thousand agents who were authorized last year!

Anything more? Oh yes, a few things just to put the bill in historical context. I will read here from the testimony of a Georgetown professor who analyzed it. These are the points he makes:

First, this bill sets up a procedure for punishing people through guilt by association. If you're in the association, you're guilty. Under the McCarren Immigration Act, it was Communism; now it's terrorism. They can't use Communism anymore so they got a new one. Terrorism actually strikes more fear into people than Communism. It will probably work better.

Second, it sets up a Black List. The Secretary of State can list thousands of organizations, if he wants to.

Third, it gives the rationale, and even the obligation, for the FBI to survey and infiltrate political, religious and charitable groups engaging in nothing more than humanitarian, solidarity work. By the way, we know that's not just some possibility, because the groups that supported the people in El Salvador were infiltrated for five years by the FBI. That's a fact! No one denies that.

Fourth, it establishes a system of preventative detention, The bill permits the use of illegally obtained evidence ----- no bail for those caught up in deportation proceedings if they are labeled terrorists.

The final point is that this bill has nothing to do with Oklahoma City. There is nothing in this bill that would have prevented the terrorism in Oklahoma City, and there is nothing that happened in Oklahoma City that says anything about what is in this bill. It is purely ----- 'Hey! Gotcha now. You're scared, give me more power.' Nobody is deconstructing it ----- certainly not the Press. There were eight people who stood up against it! Now the bill is going over to the House, and when it comes back to the Senate they can't amend it. They just have to vote 'yes' or 'no.'

What has to be seen here is that we're in a system that is not working. It is working in the way that I said it was earlier, but it is not working as it is supposed to work ----- or, as many of us still believe it is working. We believe there are some good folks back there (in Washington). It's not true! Once you are back there, you have evolved through a system of natural selection that guarantees you will become incapable of bucking the system. This is because you will have spent almost every waking moment doing two things: getting the money to run, and then thinking and speaking in sound bites. You realize that certain things work for you and certain things don't. Clinton has gone up 15 points in the polls because of Oklahoma City. So, it is good, not bad, from the point of view of incumbents.

The Governor of California was behind in the polls going into the last election ----- until the earthquake occurred. Then, he put on his flak jacket and went up ten points in the polls ----- almost overnight! Now, if you have a system that rewards disaster, it is only a short distance before politicians create disaster if they don't come on a regular enough basis. [applause] By the way, the FBI has only reported two international terrorist incidents in the United States in eleven years! Only two: the World Trade Center, which you know about, and the occupation of the Iranian mission in New York City. And, the President says he wants this bill enacted quickly.

I asked somebody in a Senator's office on Friday, 'What's the rush?'

And this person answered, 'There's a lot of pressure.'

'Where's the pressure coming from?' I asked.

'It's coming from the White House,' was the answer.

Dole-Clinton, Clinton-Dole ----- it is their personal arm wrestling, to see who can preside after the next election. But it is not about you. It's not about the environment. It's not about transformation. We should not shrink back, but have the confidence to say it the way it is. Because truth has its power, and we are not getting the truth.

Last month, I watched the Sunday Brinkley Show. George Will, in the course of a conversation with Sam Donaldson, discussed Welfare and succeeded in demonstrating that the government does not engage in social engineering in a very effective manner, and that the Democratic Party welfare programs have not created the behavior that certain people would like to see. Nor would the Republican cutting of welfare benefits create the appropriate behavior either ----- on the part of welfare mothers and their children. So, George Will successfully debunked both sides of the great welfare debate.

At that point, Brinkley, in his avuncular manner, kind of smiled and said, 'Well George, it seems like what you're getting at is the root of the root cause of welfare -----

We better take a break!' [laughter] And, they went to a commercial and came back to another subject. You're not allowed to go to a root cause! They won't let you. The system won't let you. The profit won't let you. The advertising won't let you. So, we have the media and the politicians combining together to create what is. And in their 'what is,' justice and humanity get lost.

I think I have probably driven the point home well enough, but I will make just a couple of more points. [laughter] From the Associated Press: 'Government agencies nationwide spent 24 billion dollars to fight the war on drugs in 1991.' The Crime Bill was thirty billion over five years. The drug war, state and federal , is 120 billion over five years. Last week, an article in the New York Times spoke about the former Deputies Attorney Generals that were defending the Cali Cartel in Miami. The story indicated that the amount of cocaine brought into America was 210,000 tons over the last ten years. 210,000 tons for 120 billion dollars! You add it up. You figure it out.

Next point. This one is from Ann Debroy of the Washington Post, back on April 18th: 'Clinton orders old secrets revealed. Millions of documents to become available. Fewer to be hidden.'

Hmmm! [laughter]. That sounds good! But, when I go down to the thirteenth paragraph, I come across something that, quite frankly, I find shocking. Unbelievable! Even though I've been around this stuff all my life. I'm still shocked. Here's what they say:

'Keeping information secret is a huge operation in Washington. According to official estimates, the government in 1994 took 6.3 million classification actions, creating an estimated 19 million pages of information that only selected government officials can see. More than thirty-two thousand government workers are employed full-time in determining what should be secret.' Thirty-two thousand people working full-time to keep stuff secret from us. Now what is in those 19 million pages? I don't even know how big that is, and that's only one year! But, we know from the headline, 'Clinton orders old secrets revealed.' Of course! Because he is creating so many new ones. [laughter]

Final point, and then I won't give you any more news. This is out of Washington again. It's a report from the National Center for Economic Alternatives, a private group funded by American Foundations. 'The United States is arguably the most wasteful, that is, waste generating society in human history.' There it is.

I have to tell you one more thing ----- because this puts it in context. We are all, in varying degrees, passive and asleep and letting them do it. What I want you to understand is the capacity of someone in politics to talk ----- to use words ----- but to be to tally disconnected from the human consequences of those words. That's why this stuff can happen. Think about the Vietnam War. Where were you? I know where I was. I was supporting Eugene McCarthy, but I didn't give it my all ----- when I think back on it. In the Vietnam War, three million people were killed. You can compare it to Stalin's murder of the kulaks. In Vietnam, it may have happened from 20,000 feet up ----- from B-52 bombers or whatever ----- but the number is three million -- --- 55,000 of them Americans. But they are all people. They are all dead.

Recently, I watched a two-hour Vietnam retrospective on CNN. Did any of you see it ----- a retrospective commemorating twenty years after Vietnam fell? Did you see one mention of the American invasion of South Vietnam? Noam Chomsky made an interesting point. If you read all the pages of Pravda, you will find no event titled, 'Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.' If you read all the pages in the New York Times, you will not find any event titled the 'United States Invasion of Vietnam.'

Robert NcNamara, quoted in the Nation Magazine on June 12th (1995) says: 'I think we invaded a country that was in the process of civil war.' Now, let me add one more thing. Telford Taylor, who was the prosecutor at Nuremberg and in the Japanese War Crimes trial in the Philippines where they hung General Yamashita, said in 1971, that if the Nuremberg Principles would apply, there would be a very strong possibility that McNamara, Rusk, Bundy, and Rostow would come to the same end as General Yamashita. [applause] That's what the man said! Telford Taylor was visiting at Yale Law School when I was there. He is not a hippie. He is not somebody out on the streets. He is a thoughtful prosecutor saying that there were war crimes committed. They were committed in our name and with our money. But nobody is going to talk about it. No apologies. It was a mistake. McNamara said that. But I haven't heard anyone go back and say, 'It was wrong.' No one asks how it was wrong or how did it all start? And what were the causes? We didn't hear that. Since it isn't acknowledged, it is still there. If you don't acknowledge a pattern like that, you validate it. You continue it. Those patterns are continuing.

We have a Holocaust Museum but we do not have a museum for the genocide of the people who were here before the Europeans got here. We don't have one of those museums. [applause] So, political consciousness ----- if it is to mean anything ----- is to be awake, to be aware of what's happening. And, what is happening is that Democracy is dead. D-E-A-D. I've been in it and I've played with it, and I'm telling you that.

So, don't think you've got a self-governing system ----- and, don't think that the media is free. It is more effective in its propaganda than anything in Eastern Europe! [applause] I want to tell you why. It's because you believe it's objective. Even the reporters believe they're objective. They're all in on it together. Because we believe that, we don't challenge what is being said. Propaganda is most effective when unchallenged. If you were living in Czechoslovakia or in Poland, under the Communist rule, you knew they were lying! You were told that from the time you can start thinking. So, you build up critical capacity to deconstruct what comes over the official and unofficial airways, networks, and magazines. We don't get that. We are told to respect the New York Times, all the news that's fit to print. So, we are very respectful of the nanny state and its accomplices in the media.

The first step towards awareness is to see it ----- to think about it. I'm not even asking you to agree with me. I would like you to just try it on, as if this hypothesis might be true. What are its implications? What if those people in politics have no power? What if they are just there goofing off? What if I were to tell you it's just fake work? And the fakes know it's fake work, but it pays well. Politicians can promote themselves and raise their own salaries, and all they have to do is make sure their sound bites are good.

I remember being a little shocked in 1975 when I went to work on the California budget. I had just been elected Governor, and the senior administrative person in the Department of Finance came up to me and said, 'Well, here's a five million dollar appropriation,' or something like that. He said, 'Governor, this one's going to make you look good.' I said, 'Well, what are its merits'? And he kind of looked at me like, where are you coming from? [laughter] Now, at that moment I though that was rather shocking. But, if I am to be honest about it, I sure wanted to look good. That's what you want to do ----- it's about looking good. So, if we are going to have a system, we have to make room for people to look bad ----- to make mistakes, to show their worth, to open up, and to be real. That would be a change, wouldn't it? [applause] So, I think you have the picture. It's not pretty. Even Perot ----- I always liked what he said, "When you lift the hood up, it ain't pretty under there." Well, he's telling you the truth, in that respect.

So, I hope I have gotten you off of politics now ----- that you're not going to think that by electing Barbara Boxer over this one, something's going to happen. I mean, a little will happen, but in terms of the thrust, the juggernaut, undermining the environment, increasing inequality, and moving towards the fascist state, I don't see how it can change that. Because what we find is, that as the scale of the economy increases, somehow scarcity increases with it ----- that the sense and the reality of inequality, envy and deprivation increase as the economy increases.

Everybody's a victim now. If you're poor, you ARE a victim. If you're middle class you're victimized both by the criminal poor and by the rapacious rich. And if you're rich, you are a victim of the government. So, we have a lot of victimization thoughts out there.

And they are being fed continually, because the system as it gets larger, gets more deceptive, more inefficient, and therefore people are more restless. And the only response has been to accumulate more.

As our lives are commodified, we go further away from the essence ----- which is inside, which is in friendship, which is in study, which is being alive! The simplicity, the radical openness of the way life could be is being crushed by the way life IS and the way it's being organized. If we're to take our political awareness and engage in transformative action, first we have to see ----- then we have to act. The way to act is to be here, but be with other people, not just at the Conference, but as you leave. And, in some small way, I'm starting to do that in Oakland. I used to live in a firehouse in Pacific Heights and I have moved to a warehouse in Oakland. I have thirteen bedrooms and nine bathrooms. I'm ready for community! [applause]

I believe anything that allows people to work together in a direct honest way is the seed of change ----- cooperatives, base communities, Liberation Theology, engaged Buddhism ----- all these are efforts to transform how we are among ourselves. Aiken Roshi wrote an article for a conference of the Dharmic Society's 'Towards a New Vision' that was held in Thailand this February. Talking about utopian communities, he said, 'Looking closely at these utopian communities, I think we can find they fell apart because they were never firmly established as religious communities. They were content to organize before they were truly organized.'

So, before you go out trying to save the world, you have to save yourself. You have to organize yourself. And that is really what I want you to think about ----- it is what I am thinking about. There isn't a recipe out there. There are utopian experiments like the Kibbutz and the Amish. There are cooperatives, there are people doing things together ----- but I don't mean doing things together for only a few hours. Can you find a way to begin to share on a different basis?

James Hillman talked about how the root of injustice is taking more out of an exchange than you put into it. If you take enough out of it, you really create evil. Well, isn't that the system? Isn't that late industrial capitalism? You want to take out more than you put in. Otherwise, you're bankrupt ---- you're out of business. So, you have to find a way that you can put in as much as you take out. There is the task! It's not impossible. It's been done before. The people who were here in California before our ancestors showed up had been around for at least 10,000 years, and maybe a lot longer. They put back enough to equal whatever they took out. That, to me, is the essence of it.

I'll stop right here. We have ten more minutes and I'd like to invite any of you who would like to say something or ask a question, to do so. Thank you. [Standing ovation and prolonged applause]

Question:

Jerry, do you know the eight Senators who voted against the bill? I didn't follow the arguments. Would you say something about the arguments they raised?

JB:

I don't know what their arguments were, but we know what the issue is. The issue is criminializing First Amendment activity and the right of free association; and second, an expansion of wire tap capacity; and third, the creation, for the first time in American History, of secret courts that can have secret evidence wherein the accused may not have a lawyer. If the State says it concerns national security, it may withhold the evidence, which is usually from an informant. So, this is pretty earth shattering. The Senators who voted against the bill are: Hatfield and Packwood from Oregon, Feingold from Wisconsin, Wellstone from Minnesota, Paul Simon and Carole Mosely-Braun from Illinois, Pell from Rhode Island, and Moynihan from New York.

I believe you should call your Senators and ask them why they voted for it. There is no pressure coming from the people. It is an inside game between Dole and Clinton pushing back and forth in the macho contest of who will be ----- Pontifex Maximus for 1996.

Q:

Thank you, thank you, thank you for telling it like it is! In light of this move towards a more apparent type of fascist state, and to look at this in transpersonal terms, what we may be experiencing is a kind of death and rebirth where the ego is holding on even tighter as it moves toward death. But on a more day to day basis, looking at the things that are happening in this Anti-Terrorism Bill and ----- this thing that I know very little about ----- The Confederation of States, that attempt to rewrite the American Constitution and take away more of our personal liberties, it seems as though we are fighting something very, very big here. It's not about Clinton and it's not about Dole. What do you really see going on and how can this beast actually be contained?

JB:

Just to get these thoughts out is a step. Because the system conspires to prevent a sustained sequence of ideas, and as long as we are just receiving this acupuncture of deception, [laughter] we can't organize and we can't revolutionize. So, I would say that the first step is to recreate Committees of Correspondence. Invite some people over to your home. Have a discussion about the Anti-Terrorism Bill. Ask your Senator for a copy of the bill and the descriptive material which he or she had prior to the vote. And ask them if this is what is required to cover two incidents in the last eleven years! And what would be the next step? I believe that the most important thing is to challenge the notion that everything is fine. Walk outside and it looks fine, but it's not fine. The way the system is working and the fact that nobody is saying anything is horrifying. So, just to start speaking is the beginning of resistance. Just to think is already subversive! [applause]

I want to end with a quote from a New York Times' Editorial which is entitled, 'The Rich Get Richer.' It is significant that the New York Times said it. And, in the fifth paragraph, they say this: 'The best guess about the factor behind burgeoning inequality is technology.' That's kind of interesting, isn't it? I don't think they are promoting Ludditism, but they said it. So, at the very least, we should have pause in the celebration of unremitting, unlimited technological innovation. Is this an autonomous process that has swept us all up, or is the human being in charge? Here we have the New York Times asserting that the best guess for the increase in inequality is not Reagan, it's technology!

That's something to think about. So, there are resources.

There are enormous sources of information. What's missing is for people to see what is happening, to feel it, to organize, and not be afraid to be against the system. There's nothing wrong with being an anarchist. There's nothing wrong with being a revolutionary. [applause]

That's what Thomas Jefferson said: "Every twenty years, we should have a revolution!" But please ----- start with yourself! [standing ovation]


This speech was edited and made available through WE THE PEOPLE, a membership organization dedicated to social justice. 

For further information, call 1-800-426-1112 and leave your name and address, or write We the People, 200 Harrison St., Oakland, CA 94607 
http://www.wtp.org  
or check
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Governor / Mayor Jerry Brown speaking with attorneys in 2004
Governor / Mayor Jerry Brown at Legal Conference in June 2004

 


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