Did you know that President Bush planned 9/11 to expand the American “imperialist empire”? Did you know that North Korea is a victim of US bullying for merely trying to develop low cost nuclear power for its population -- and not because it is producing nuclear bombs? Did you know that investigating Islamic terrorists is a violation of their freedom of religion? Did you know that the world’s dictatorships are all noble governments supporting human rights against that evil democracy, the United States? These were just a few of the maniacal and untruthful lessons recently taught at the Onedance Summit.
The Onedance Summit in Santa Cruz, California which ran January 12-14 was a chance for 100 attendees to hear speakers rail against the policies of the US and the elites who have “fooled” the country for so long.
The Summit was originally slated to take place in Salt Lake City as a statement of dissent in a predominantly conservative community, but organizers decided to move the venue to Santa Cruz, a beachside college community in Northern California with a reputation of trying to out-Berkeley Berkeley as a bastion of radical leftism.
Despite the participation of tried and true Santa Cruz leftists--even the mayor, and some students from the nearby university participated--the Summit failed to gather much of an audience. No more than 100 people attended its first night, shrinking to 90 the second night, and less than 40 the final evening.
Despite the small turnout, these revolutionaries insisted that they represent the “people’s occupation” and intend to change the world. According to a press release from the event’s organizers, the gathering, called “Onedance: The People's Summit,” would “lay the groundwork for uprooting Bush in 2004 and more.” The event’s website ambitiously announced that the summit was a place where “the people can implement the necessary changes to create a peacemaking society. A society that has a healthy respect of foreign people and their countries.”
It is no surprise, therefore, that the event was endorsed and/or sponsored by such leftist luminaries as Ramsey Clark, the International Socialist Review, the Muslim Students Association, and other radical groups. They called for the overthrow of the US government and anti-globalization measures, while engaging in some commerce of their own.
Vendors at the event sold books advocating against US policy in Iraq, against Israel, and against the death penalty. Books with titles like “Anarchism, Marxism and Hope for the Future” represented the range of political interest.
One attendee was handing out flyers linking the lack of available apartment housing in Santa Cruz to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Another passed out leaflets claiming that the Patriot Act had eliminated freedom of religion from the Bill of Rights.
The speeches or “core presentations” were the main events of the Summit. Michael Parenti, a writer from Berkeley, was the first speaker and set the tone for what would follow. Parenti told the crowd that, as Americans, they live in a present day “empire.” He supported this concept of imperialism with the historical context of ancient countries looting the resources of their neighbors. He spoke of the period of the Spanish-American War and Jingoism, attempting to link the imperialism practiced by all world powers over one hundred years ago to what is taking place in Iraq today and in all US foreign policy in general.
After presenting this “history” of imperialism, Parenti went on to list numerous false grievances against America. He blamed the poverty of Africa on the United States, and bemoaned the “lawless, aggressive intervention” by the US in Grenada, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq as actions benefiting only an American elite that “excluded 80% of the people of the United States.”
Parenti falsely claimed that American forces carpet-bombed civilians in Afghanistan. He praised Libya’s Mohammar Ghaddafi, calling him a great leader who has been unfairly demonized by the West, and condemned attacks on Libya by the US military in the past. He blamed 9/11 on the US’s failure to understand other cultures and, specifically, to listen to Osama Bin Laden. One wonders if Parenti ever heard of Pan Am 103 or the murders of US soldiers in Germany by the Fearless Leader of Libya.
The next speaker, former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, invoked the memory of Rev. Martin Luther King as a camouflage to legitimize her screed of anti-American hate. She stated that “the anti-war opposition to global America’s ‘lantern’ showed the way to ‘peace and justice’ in the past.”
McKinney then alluded to operation “Lantern Spike” conducted by the FBI to survey Dr. King and implied that James Earl Ray acted on behalf of the US government. “There was 16,900 hours of illegal surveillance of Dr. King in 2 months,” she railed, while failing to inform her audience that there are only about 1,500 hours in a two-month period.
The small crowd in attendance applauded when McKinney said, “The time has come to stop this machine in all corners of the country. Say no to the machine.” McKinney concluded by advising the audience to “move forward with a people’s agenda and carry it out.”
After McKinney spoke, Richard Oxman, the key organizer of the Summit, discussed with Parenti the possibility of overthrowing the Bush Administration. “If only we had an army of ten million people we could do it,” Oxman contended. Cynthia McKinney chimed in her approval saying, “I’m down with the program.”
Subsequent guests during the next two days included Naseer Barghouti of the American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee. Barghouti, who is a relative of Marwan Barghouti, a PLO terrorist currently on trial in Israel for the premeditated murders of 20 women and children in terrorist attacks, presented himself as a champion of “human rights,” who was fighting Israel, which he referred to as a “colony.” Barghouti never bothered to explain what country Israel is a colony of. It was only assumed that he meant the US.
Barghouti accused Israel of “war crimes” and “apartheid,” bemoaning what he considered the misperception in the world that Islamic Fundamentalism is a very real problem. According to Barghouti, it is Jewish Fundamentalism that is enflaming the world. His argument he claimed was supported by Halacha (Jewish law). “If a Jew kills a non-Jew it’s not called murder,” he said. That there is no truth or basis for this didn’t stop the audience from lapping it all up.
The remaining guests all had one theme: America is the problem.
William Blum, a leftist author critical of American foreign policy, railed against the “imperial mafia” that runs the US and seeks “world domination.” He said that the US had no right to retaliate for 9/11 in Afghanistan because the attack was the fault of the US.
Blum said, “If I was President I could stop terror. I would apologize to all the widows and orphans impoverished by (US) interventions. Israel would no longer be the 51st state of the Union, but a country. I’d take the US budget and pay reparations for the $20,000 per hour we spent since Jesus was born on weapons. On the 4th day I’d be assassinated.”
An audience member screamed out “No, you wouldn’t! We’d protect you!”
Another speaker, Greg Elich, who went to Iraq to show support for Saddam Hussein, said that the nuclear weapons impasse with North Korea was the fault of the US. He said that the North Koreans had no nuclear weapons until the US forced them to develop a weapons program by objecting to the building of harmless nuclear power plants.
Elich said he knew this was true because the North Koreans told him.
During his 30-minute defence of a nuclear-armed North Korea, Elich never mentioned that this totalitarian government has caused the liquidation and widespread starvation of millions of its own people nor even that it started the Korean War.
One of the conference’s attendees, a young housewife, enthusiastically raved about the Summit. After explaining that 9/11 was part of a conspiracy by President Bush to build a new American empire, she said that she was inspired to become an “activist” after seeing Oliver Stone’s Kennedy conspiracy film, “JFK.” It clearly did not matter to her that, like the colorful performances of the Onedance Summit, Stone’s motion picture was also a work of fiction.