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'Dreams of Obama,' circa 2008 

Ghost Stories

In this week of August back in 2008, the Indy ran an essay from longtime peace activist Tom Hayden about the growing possibility of a Barack Obama presidency.

From "Dreams of Obama":

Mainstream political leaders will not move to the left of their own base. There are no shortcuts to radical change without a powerful and effective constituency organized from the bottom up. ...

His own movement will have to pull him toward full withdrawal from Iraq, or the regulation of the great financial power centers, instead of waiting for him to lead. Already among his elite caste of fund-raisers, there is more interest in his position on the capital-gains tax than holding Halliburton accountable. And his "cast of 300" national security advisers, according to the New York Times, "fall well within centrist Democratic foreign policy thinking."

Progressives need to unite for Barack Obama but also unite organically at least on issues like peace, the environment, the economy, media reform, campaign finance and equality like never before. The growing conflict is between democracy and empire, and the battlefronts are many and often confusing. Even the Bush years have failed to unite American progressives as effectively as occurred during Vietnam. There is no reason to expect a President McCain to unify anything more than our manic depression.

But there is the improbable hope that the movement set ablaze by the Obama campaign will be enough to elect Obama and a more progressive Congress in November, creating an explosion of rising expectations for social movements here and around the world that President Obama will be compelled to meet in 2009.

That is a moment to live and fight for.

Local activist Eric Verlo talked about the art of protest, leading up to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

From "Want to protest?":

Verlo has helped organize protests for the week with the Recreate 68 Alliance, a group that has drawn some fire for recalling the violence that marked the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Though Verlo, one of the St. Paddy's Day Seven and a Democratic State Convention arrestee, has had a few brushes with police, he says the group's name actually references the intensity of 1968, and he insists that getting arrested is something he tries to avoid.

For what it's worth, Verlo has a few suggestions for protesters wanting to avoid trouble: Stay with friends; be orderly; if you see protesters preferring mayhem to message, try to get them to behave, or, if that fails, get away from them.

And, per Denver's new ordinance, think twice about carrying around carabiners, chains, locks, cement or bottles of urine.

And Louis Fowler reviewed a DVD all of us surely remember.

From CineFiles:

Imagine if famed Polish director Walerian Borowczyk, whom you may know as the genius behind The Beast and Immoral Tales, instead went to Hollywood to direct episodes of The O.C. You would then have Virgin Territory, part of Anchor Bay's new, arousing "Unzipped" collection. It's a tale of debauched ribaldry, barely based on The Decameron and finally bringing together those immovable talents Hayden Christensen and Mischa Barton. In 14th-century Florence, chastity is the big to-do. As the Plague rages on, so does the forced randiness of all the characters involved from a convent of nuns who think Hayden is a sexual angel to a pair of seductive milk-maids that really mishandle a cow's udders. Funnily enough, in Italy this was known as, no joke, Decameron Pie. So there's an idea as to its quality.

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