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Interview Transcript: Cindy Sheehan, on Revolution in the USA... and more

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Cindy Sheehan is a gold star mom, a world-famous activist and a vice-presidential candidate. 

We talk about the revolution in Venezuela and what chances there are of a popular uprising in the US and how it would look. 

Audio Podcast here

Thanks to OEN volunteer editor Don Caldarazzo   for help editing the transcript. 


Though the pic is face to face, we did the interview by phone a few days later.

Rob Kall:   And welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show. 

[Station ID details: Sponsored by OpEdNews.com .  You don't need to remember the URL.  Just do a Google search for "Liberalism' or "Progressive Opinion' and we usually come up first.  It's OpEdNews.com ]

This portion of my show, the guest is Cindy Sheehan. 

Cindy is somebody I respect very highly.  She's been an activist, she's a Gold Star Mom, who became worldwide famous when she started protesting in front of George Bush's Crawford Texas ranch.  He never did speak to her!

Now, she is a candidate for Vice President.  And she'll talk a little bit about that.

She has a new book out, "Revolution, a Love Story'.

Welcome to the show! 

Cindy Sheehan:

Hi Rob.  Thank you . 

Rob Kall:    So it's great to see you, and to listen to you speak on Sunday down in "Philly' .

Cindy Sheehan:

Right.  Saturday.

Rob Kall:    And I realize"

Cindy Sheehan:

It was Saturday, but that doesn't really matter.

Rob Kall:    It was Saturday, wasn't it?  Oops!  [laughing with Cindy]

So, and it was a really good talk and as far as I was concerned you hit a home run. You've got all the issues covered in such a good, solid way.  Wow!

Cindy Sheehan:  Thank you. 

Rob Kall:    [aside: A weird echo happening on my end. Are you getting it on your end?

Cindy reply: No I'm not getting it all on this end.  I know that happens sometimes though when I'm recording my show.]

Okay so, I'm going to let you" what I'm going to do, is I'm going to basically get you started and then I'll silence my end, so that we don't get any weird sounds again.

Let's talk about some topics.  Aside: I think it's going to be okay [in reference to echo noise above]

Let's see.  Let's start talking about the election: and what's your take on this election?

Cindy Sheehan:

   Okay.  Well, my take on this election is that it's just, especially with the Democrats & the Republicans, it's just another one of those 'dog-and-pony shows,' where nothing substantive is really talked about.  If something substantial is spoken about, in the debates or the rhetoric, it's pretty clear that the two major candidates pretty much agree with each other on most issues.  And if they disagree, their disagreements are very minor.  I think the disagreements have been more with strategy, achieving goals, than the goal.  I think the goal is the same.

And, you know I am running the Peace and Freedom Party, as a (Peace and Freedom Party in California) Socialist Party. We're on the ballot physically in three States and write-in candidates, I think, in about twenty States.  And, I really think that, if people care about peace, if they care about justice, if they care about their rights, Obama has further taken away our civil and human rights here in the United States since he's been President.  You know, if you care about these things, I would say don't throw away your vote on Obama or Romney.  I would say vote third party or independent.  Or vote down ticket things, or don't vote for President, I think sends a message to the upper class politics or the politics of the one percent that we oppose them, and the only way we can do that bs, you know, by going to the ballot box.  That's not the only way we can do it [laughing]  But one of the ways we can do it is by going to the ballot box and not legitimizing the essentially one party monopoly we have here in the United States.

I just can't wait until the elections are over.  And I hope we get at least a break until after

Christmas until they start campaigning again for 2016, because it really is tiresome.  And it's just the same propaganda that they bring, they tried out every four years.  They just change the names, so" the true organizing, the true change I think will happen outside the ballot box, and outside the two party system, and outside our government, obviously.  And I think that's that what we need to concentrate our activism on, more.

Rob Kall:    What does that look like, concentrating on activism outside of the ballot box, I guess outside the electoral system?  

Cindy Sheehan:  Well, when I was speaking in Philadelphia I was there to promote a book I wrote called Revolution, a Love Story.  And Revolution, a Love Story is about essentially the Bolivarian revolution that Hugo Chávez of Venezuela started.  And, it was around 1997 when he got out of prison, was the political organizing that started.  Before, he was in prison because he tried to militarily overthrow the government when he was in the Venezuelan army.  He was an officer, and with other officers they tried a military coup against the government that failed.  And he spent three or four years in prison refining his ideology of this grassroots revolution that included the people, not" it was independent of Venezuela's one percent.  And so, I think that we can do that here in the United States, but I think we have to concentrate more locally to try to do this, whether we do it by State, or we do it by region, or community, I think we can realistically, people who

care about peace, and care about justice and care about the environment  care about education for our children and grandchildren, and healthcare.  I think we can organize very effectively in our community, and I see it done all over the country and all over the world, where communities have local [inaudible word: 06.52], they have community gardens, they have cooperatives for education, and farmers' markets and food talks, and all kinds of ways that we can organize; we can get people who are like minded to City Councils and on School Boards, which I think is very important.  And on Boards of Supervisors, and things like that.  And, every four years here in this country we get so distracted by Presidential politics, and I want to say that the President is the farthest away from us and doing anything effective that helps us than anything else.  He might as well be like "where on earth is the President is on Alpha Centuri?' or something.  That's how far away he, or one of these days maybe she, are from what's really important to us,  here on the real planet earth.  And so I think that that's what Hugo Chávez recognized, and that's what he did in Venezuela.  And he was elected President in 1998.  They rewrote the Constitution.  He promised the people that if he were elected that they would call a Constitutional Convention.  It was made up of people from Venezuela, and after it was written it was a most progressive Constitution, probably, of the time, and since.  And it was put up to a vote of the people of Venezuela.  They ratified it, not the elite.  And they are the only ones that can change it.

So since then, he's been using the mineral wealth of his country to improve the lives of the people.  And so they're, instead of the income gap growing in Venezuela, its closing.  He's closed it over fifty percent since he's been President, because he's made access to healthcare, education, housing, food, and a basic guaranteed income, Rights not privileges, and they are rights enshrined and protected in the Constitution of Venezuela.  So I believe we can do that.  I don't know how long it would take to do that in the Federal government, but I believe if we start in our own communities, it can only go so far horizontally before it has to go vertically.

Rob Kall:    That's a very hopeful vision.  And really the term you're talking about is "re-localization'.  Bringing things back to the community.  And that seems to be more and more the solution that more and more problems are finding as a solution!

Cindy Sheehan:

   Well, there's a wonderful documentary called "The Economics of Happiness' by Helena Norberg-Hodge.  I've had her on my show a couple of times. 

Rob Kall:    Yeah, I've had her on too.  She's wonderful. 

Cindy Sheehan:

   Yeah.  She's wonderful.  And if the problem is globalization, than the answer is localization.  And it's almost like the" who was it, Buckminster Fuller and his "Theory of Small'.  You know, making things smaller instead of bigger?  That's what gotten us into trouble, is trying to be too big.  And I think our technology has outstripped our capacity for it.  So, I just think us trying to make things smaller, and trying to make our lives more manageable, and taking power for our lives back into our own hands...  So this is a revolution.  It's not a revolution where we take our pop-guns or broom-handles to D.C. and try to make a difference.  It's rolling our sleeves up and making a difference in our own community.

Rob Kall:    And that's something that is really very practical and finite and doable for for pretty much anybody.   

Cindy Sheehan:

   Well"

Rob Kall:    Have you done it in your community?

Cindy Sheehan:     

   We have instituted these small things like a co-op pre school, and I'm trying to stay... more in California.  I would like to see this vision happen in California. So I've been thinking of running for Governor of California in 2014 to talk about these things for the people of my State.  And California has a little more population than Venezuela, but I think that it's a good model for what was going on in Venezuela before Hugo Chávez became President, because for successive administrations have given more and more power to the rich and the corporations, and the Prison-Industrial Complex in California, and have taken more and more, our rights to education, our rights to a social safety net, and the environment.  Those things are being compromised in California, and the people are really feeling the squeeze.  And so, I think that to do that in California, to get the vision out there and to get people thinking about it, I think that's probably going to be my next step. 

Rob Kall:    Wow!  You're going to run for Governor of California?  Whoo!

Cindy Sheehan:

   I'm thinking about it seriously. 

Rob Kall:    And, under what party would you run?   

Cindy Sheehan:

   Peace and Freedom.  That's my party.

Rob Kall:    Peace and Freedom.

Cindy Sheehan:

   And the Peace and Freedom Party is going to lose our ballot access in 2014, because of a proposition that was passed in 2010.  It's called "Proposition 14', and it is a "top two primary."  And so instead of staying on the ballot by getting a certain percentage of the vote, now we have to register a certain amount of people.  So we have to double our registration by 2014, or we're going to cease to exist as a ballot0recognized party in California.  So that Prop 14 is essentially an anti-democratic proposition.  And of course a proposition idea in California was a good idea, but now whatever side has the most money and PG&E [Pacific Gas and Electric Company] backing it is essentially the side that's going to win.  So that process has been ruined by big money and politics too. 

Rob Kall:   Mm. Now, to move on. You've been one of the most visible peace activists in America.  In our conversation and in your talk on Saturday, you said something about the effect that an Obama Presidency has had on peace activism and peace movement, and how that might change under Romney?    

Cindy Sheehan:

   Well"   

Rob Kall:    Bishop Romney, as I'm calling him nowadays.

Cindy Sheehan:

   What do you call him?

Rob Kall:    I'm calling him Bishop Romney [Cindy laughing in background], because he was a bishop for more years than he was a Governor.  And"

Cindy Sheehan:   Uh-huh. 

   [laughing]

Rob Kall:    As a bishop he did things like order women to give up their children because they were unmarried, and things like that.  And most people aren't aware of it, so I'm working with it.

But I wanted to get your take on this, and see if you wanted to talk about that a little bit.  

Cindy Sheehan:

   Well, of course the tide started to turn against the anti-war movement, I don't even want to say the peace movement, because there's a peace movement in this country that has been the counter-culture for ever.  And these people are always struggling against, whether it's against slavery or other issues that that were harming people, the movement has been there.  There's always been a movement that's been against every war that the U.S. has proposed. So there's always been a peace movement, and there always will be a peace movement.  These are the sisters and the priests, and unfortunately, the 'move,' today, is of the very elderly, that go out and protest nuclear missile launches and get arrested, and spend months, if not years, in prison.  You know, they are the unsung heroes of humanity, I think.  But the Anti-War movement in 2005, 2006, was" in 2005 it really grew and burst onto the scene, when I was camped out in Crawford Texas.  And it was really large and we had many rallies, many marches, with tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people.  And the power of it wa used to elect Democrats for Congress in '06.  Well '07 they took power, and then Nancy Pelosi and her Congress started to approve George Bush's surge in Iraq.  They started to approve war funding.  They refused to hold them accountable.  And so the energy of the movement waned because, if the energy was to get Democrats in Congress, well that was successful.  But also, some major groups started saying we can't have marches in D.C. any more, because we're going to embarrass the Democrats.  And so the Anti-War movement  started to go away then.  And then when Obama was elected '08 and took office in '09, it became apparent for me that we didn't have really much of an Anti-War movement,  we had an anti-Bush movement; because Obama has pretty much carried on the agenda of the war machine just as much as Bush, if not more than Bush, ever did.  I mean it was his expanding drone bombing programs with his targeted assassination program, with Libya, Syria...  And Syria, they're supporting the so called rebels.  Yemen, Somalia" I mean, just so many things, that really, I think if it were John McCain or future President Mitt Romney doing these things, there would be, of course ,a much bigger outcry.  And I kind of quipped at the thing that, "If Mitt Romney is elected these things will become wrong again," and one of the people in the audience says, "Well, they're wrong!" 

And I said "yeah, I know. If they were wrong under Bush, they're wrong under Obama!"   So I think that if Romney is elected, and he keeps this agenda going, which we know he will, and you know Iran, and" I didn't watch the debate because I was on the bus, but apparently both of the candidates swore allegiance to Israel. And so, if Romney is elected we know that these things are going to continue, but I believe that we'll have more people out in the streets with us again protesting them.  Will that be a good thing?  It would be temporarily good to see an increase in numbers and spirit of the Anti-War movement, but it just can't be again assumed into the Democratic Party for 2014 and 2016.  But it will be, but you know we can use the energy. Instead of our energy being used, for like, Democrats, we can use the energy to perhaps come closer to ending the wars. 

Rob Kall:    So basically what you're saying is, that the Anti-War movement will be more likely to become active, and grow, and gain strength and energy without a Democratic President?  

Cindy Sheehan:

   Well again I mean"

Rob Kall:    Without Obama?

Cindy Sheehan:

   Right.  If you just look back, I think the history is pretty clear on that.  So, I'm not predicting that Mitt Romney is going to win.  I'm just looking back on a trend, and the history, and seeing that this is what will happen.  And then if Obama wins, I can hear the thing is like, "he doesn't have a chance to be re-elected but we can't protest toward his policies, because we'll be afraid of losing the White House in 2016!"

Rob Kall:    And what does that mean?  It means that we" I mean I'm just trying to think of this in terms of wars, and spying without warrants, and torture, and capturing prisoners without having to declare that they've been captured, and all the abuses that Obama has engaged in.

Cindy Sheehan:

   Indefinite detention.  And prosecution of whistleblowers.  You know,  allegiance to Wall Street [laughing] , bailing out the corporations, the destruction of the environment.  So what it means, I think, what it boils down to, is what I said earlier, is that I think more of our activism needs to be on the ground, and in our communities where we live, because that's where we're going to be able to change things.  

Rob Kall:    That's a good bit of advice.  And I'll tell you: if Cindy Sheehan comes back here, she's a great presenter, speaker.  If you're listening to this on the podcast, wherever you are, get Cindy and bring her to your neck of the woods.  She is just a dynamite speaker with the Progressive message that we really need to hear.

Cindy Sheehan: Thanks Rob.     

Rob Kall:    This is Rob Kall Bottom-Up Radio Show, sponsored by OpEdNews.com .  I've been on with Cindy Sheehan.  Cindy, thank you so much.

Cindy Sheehan: Thank you, and my website is cindysheehansoapbox.com

Rob Kall:    Cindy-Sheehan-Soapbox.com. Check it out.  And the book is Revolution, a Love Story

Cindy Sheehan: Yes.

Rob Kall:    Good night!

Cindy Sheehan:  Good night.

 

Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here. To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

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