LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Using the power of photojournalism to expose social, economic and ecological injustice

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Backstory of photo at the end of this post.

This photo of these three people was a strange happenstance taken in St. Louis’ Central West End in 1983 on Halloween night. I now wonder what was in the jug the person on the right was carrying.                         photo: Langelle

Another snippet of history. Happy Samhain!

Jefferson Airplane:

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen’s off with her head
Remember what the Dormouse said
Feed your head
Feed your head
Feed your head

[It’s Grace Slick’s birthday today. Jefferson Airplane’s Slick was invited to a tea party at the White House in 1969. She chose Yippie! Abbie Hoffman to be her escort and planned to spike President Richard Nixon’s tea with 600 micrograms of LSD. The plan was thwarted.]

 

Excerpted from Wikipedia:

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known as acid, is a psychedelic drug known for its psychological effects. This may include altered awareness of the surroundings, perceptions, and feelings as well as sensations and images that seem real though they are not. It is used mainly as a recreational drug and for spiritual reasons.

Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an American psychologist and writer known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs under controlled conditions. Leary conducted experiments under the Harvard Psilocybin Project during American legality of LSD and psilocybin, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. Leary’s colleague, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), was fired from Harvard University on May 27, 1963 for giving psilocybin to an undergraduate student. Leary was planning to leave Harvard when his teaching contract expired in June, the following month. He was fired, for “failure to keep classroom appointments”, with his pay docked on April 30. National illumination as to the effects of psychedelics did not occur until after the Harvard scandal.

On December 26, 1968, Leary was arrested again in Laguna Beach, California, this time for the possession of two marijuana “roaches”. Leary alleged that they were planted by the arresting officer, but was convicted of the crime. On May 19, 1969, The Supreme Court concurred with Leary in Leary v. United States, declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional, and overturned his 1965 conviction.

On that same day, Leary announced his candidacy for Governor of California against the Republican incumbent, Ronald Reagan. His campaign slogan was “Come together, join the party.” On June 1, 1969, Leary joined John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their Montreal Bed-In, and Lennon subsequently wrote Leary a campaign song called “Come Together”.

On January 21, 1970, Leary received a 10-year sentence for his 1968 offense, with a further 10 added later while in custody for a prior arrest in 1965, for a total of 20 years to be served consecutively. On his arrival in prison, he was given psychological tests used to assign inmates to appropriate work details. Having designed some of these tests himself (including the “Leary Interpersonal Behavior Inventory”), Leary answered them in such a way that he seemed to be a very conforming, conventional person with a great interest in forestry and gardening. As a result, he was assigned to work as a gardener in a lower-security prison from which he escaped in September 1970, saying that his non-violent escape was a humorous prank and leaving a challenging note for the authorities to find after he was gone.

For a fee of $25,000, paid by The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the Weathermen smuggled Leary out of prison in a pickup truck. The truck met Leary after he’d escaped over the prison wall by climbing along a telephone wire. The Weathermen then helped both Leary and Rosemary out of the US (and eventually into Algeria).

 

The backstory of the above photograph: Talented artist and friend, Patrick Brown and I did a lot of art and other stuff together from the 70s through the 80s. We almost went into business together. The above photo photo was actually part of a documentary we were working on, and commercially we thought were going to make some of the STREET PHOTOGRAPHS taken in St. Louis’ Central West End in 1983 on Halloween night into a calendar –  We certainly had enough strange photos. But the calendar unfortunately never happened. I don’t think we had enough money to put up front and certainly had no backers. We jokingly (?) called our our enterprise “nervous energy arts.”

Throughout the years Pat and I lost touch until a few years ago when we found each other on Facebook. Pat lives in Escondido, CA now and if you would like to see some of his fantastic fine art, please check out his web page https://www.patricknbrown.net/. Cheers Pat!

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The backstory of this photograph is after the article.

Halloween 1983, Central West End (St. Louis), MO                                             photo: Langelle

A pagan-rooted holiday with references to Earth; trick-or-treat?

I’ve been curious about how Halloween came about. I started researching this in my spare time a little over a week ago and  found many references. After reading some of the material, it confirmed my belief that so much of what is considered history today is actually a fabrication of reality by whomever controls history at the present time to serve their purposes.

There are many accounts about the roots of Halloween. The information presented here is a synthesis of some of the versions I stumbled onto.

Most people that celebrate Halloween have no idea they are actually celebrating a holiday that that has deep pagan roots. Ancient (and modern) pagans practice earth-centered traditions that celebrate the sacred circle of life and live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Note that “Halloween” falls around the mid-point between the fall equinox and the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere.

After reading numerous articles, it appears that the ancient pagans of Ireland referred to this mid-point as the Eve of Samhain. The Scots shared Gaelic ancestry and culture as well as did some inhabitants of England and France.

The traditional, or “pagan,” worldview of the pre-Christian Gaels of Ireland is typically described as animistic, polytheistic, ancestor venerating and focused on the hero cult of archetypal Gaelic warrior. The four seasonal festivals celebrated in the Gaelic calendar, still observed to this day, are Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain.

The Eve of Samhain became a Gaelic festival which now is celebrated in popular culture as Halloween.

Traditionally, the Eve of Samhain celebrates the end of the harvest season, and the beginning of winter and the “New Year.”

Experienced as a period when the normally strict boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead became fluctuating, on the Eve of Samhain, the veil between the two realms was the most transparent, allowing the spirits of those who have died to return to visit earth.

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica:

“…The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats, fairies and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death…”

And in The American Peoples Encyclopedia:

“Cats were held sacred since it was believed that they were once human beings that had been transformed for committing evil.”

In the Old Celtic calendar the new year began on 1 November (Samhain), so that the last evening of October was ‘old-year’s night’, the night of all the witches, which the Catholic Church co-opted into the Eve of All Saints and Samhain itself was changed to All Saints Day.

Boo!

Orin Langelle, 30 October 2017

 

The backstory of the above photograph: Talented artist and friend, Patrick Brown and I did a lot of art and other stuff together from the 70s through the 80s. We almost went into business together. This Dracula photo was actually part of a documentary we were working on, and commercially we thought were going to make some of the STREET PHOTOGRAPHS taken in St. Louis’ Central West End in 1983 on Halloween night into a calendar –  Dracula was the cover. We certainly had enough strange photos. But the calendar unfortunately never happened. I don’t think we had enough money to put up front and certainly had no backers. We jokingly (?) called our our enterprise “nervous energy arts.”

Throughout the years Pat and I lost touch until a few years ago when we found each other on Facebook. Pat lives in Escondido, CA now and if you would like to see some of his fantastic fine art, please check out his web page https://www.patricknbrown.net/. Cheers Pat!

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Wally Menne with Ana Filippini of World Rainforest Movement in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, 2007. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC/photolangelle.org

Cross-posted from Global Justice Ecology Project

Wally Menne: A Lion Among Men

The Loss of a Giant

Wally Menne in Kuna Yala 2010. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC/photolangelle.org

My partner Orin Langelle and I were shocked and saddened this morning to learn of the death of friend and colleague Wally Menne who passed away on Thursday 26 October.

We had known Wally for many years and his loss was like a dagger. I had met Wally when he organized the founding meeting of the Durban Group for Climate Justice in his hometown in 2004.

Orin met him a couple of years later at a gathering of the Global Forest Coalition.

The loss of this important South African activist was sudden and surprising. Wally was a powerhouse, a giant. His force was impossible to ignore. He was dedicated and uncompromising with a seemingly endless supply of energy despite his years at the grindstone. Even now, it is difficult to imagine a movement without him.

I heard from Wally only a few days ago with information on a possible volunteer for GJEP—someone whose writings he had come across who impressed him with her no-nonsense critique on the problem of industrial tree plantations—his personal crusade.

The Durban Group for Climate Justice. Wally with arms folded, far left.

Anyone who knew Wally knew this about him. He was passionate about ridding the Earth of the scourge of timber plantations and was one of the most knowledgeable on their extensive social and ecological impacts. He had no qualms about laying the blame for this devastating problem squarely at the feet of those responsible–not merely the corporations whose plantations they were, but the agencies and organizations who laid their groundwork and made up excuses to enable their expansion. In particular he targeted the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The FAO won Wally’s wrath through their insistence on promoting a definition of “forests” that included industrial timber plantations. This despite the obvious fact that forests support communities, biodiversity, clean water and climate stabilization; and plantations destroy forests, communities, biodiversity, clean water and the climate. 2 + 2 will never equal 5 no matter how many reports the FAO puts out claiming it does.

Wally Menne, in center with hands above head, during a protest against a SAPPI pulp mill in South Africa. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC/photolangelle.org

The FSC was dogged by Wally’s incessant criticism due to their support and legitimation of the timber plantation model. The FSC became a multi-billion-dollar brand by giving corporations sustainability certification for their timber monocultures, enabling them to sell their plantation-derived products as “green,” despite the real, on-the-ground consequences of that model.

On October 22nd, Wally wrote the piece below, promoting a new blog on the problem of plantations. I think it is a wonderful example of the anger and passion that Wally wielded with such skill, and of his ability to address not just the problem of plantations, but all of the issues connected to them. In this case, wood-based bioenergy. A timely post, given the upcoming UNFCCC Climate Convention early next month.


“The debate around the negative impacts of burning tree biomass to generate energy or to manufacture liquid biofuels has been escalating over the past ten years, with ample evidence having been presented of the harmful effects of government and UN policies that promote this false solution to climate change.

“However, the extremely greedy and powerful land-grabbing industry has managed to capture most of the international institutions that are supposed to act as the protectors of our planet, its people and its biodiversity. The prime example of this is the FAO. The FOOD and AGRICULTURE organisation of the United Nations, which has been co-opted by big bad business through tireless propaganda campaigns to undermine and to weaken the outcomes of political processes and to promote false promises under the guise of projects and programmes such as the Green Economy, REDD+, renewable energy targets and even targets to reduce biodiversity loss and deforestation.

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that these efforts are highly unlikely to bring about their intended results, and that instead they are only creating a false sense of there being no urgency for governments and individuals to take the initiative and to act decisively on their own in implementing the changes that are needed. In other words, all the hot air being pumped out at meetings of the CBD, UNFCCC, FAO, UNFF and the rest, is only serving to delay the implementation of real solutions, so that the owners of the industrial corporations that benefit from these long drawn-out processes can continue to profit at the expense of the majority of the people on our planet.”

—Wally Menne, Timberwatch, South Africa


We will miss Wally and the huge hole left by his absence. We hold his wife Rose and son Adam in our hearts at this terrible time.

Rest in peace Wally. You’ve earned it.

We miss you.

Anne Petermann (Orin Langelle and the staff and Board of Global Justice Ecology Project)

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Shattered glass.                                                                     Photo: Langelle

Yes.

Do you know who threw it?  No.

But when the men on the chessboard – Get up and tell you where to go – And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom  – And your mind is moving low – Go ask Alice –  I think she’ll know.

Photo from the front lines of the Situationist Pillow – sort of a concept stolen from situationist theory that some thought was the primary means of counteracting the spectacle; the construction of situations, moments of life deliberately constructed for the purpose of reawakening and pursuing authentic desires, experiencing the feeling of life and adventure, and the liberation of everyday life.

 

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Gord Downie, the frontman of Canadian rock group the Tragically Hip, died Tuesday night [17 October 2017] following a nearly two-year battle with brain cancer. He was 53. Source: abc NEWS

Orin Langelle: The following two photos are of of Gord Downie, lead singer from The Tragically Hip. Downie opened the Bi-National Sustainability Summit Conference on the Environment with music and words in Buffalo, NY held 3 – 5 October, 2013.

The conference discussed the impacts of the International Peace Bridge that connects Ontario, Canada to Buffalo, NY’s West Side.

Gord Downie, from The Tragically Hip        Photo: Langelle

Downie opened the environmental conference with a benefit for the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. Downie, who claims he is not an environmentalist, but a ‘free-market capitalist’ actually had some of the most cutting edge comments that I heard at the conference. Ironically that in itself is tragically hip. Downie slammed waste disposal in the Great Lakes, fracking, the Tar Sands, and sang a song about disappearing American Eels. Yes, he does care about eels.

One of Downie’s other main complaints was nuclear power plants. “A five year old from Mars will tell you it’s not a good idea to put a nuke plant by our drinking water.”

– statement written by Orin Langelle after Downie’s performance

Downie’s performance was a benefit for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper        Photo: Langelle

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As co-founder of Global Justice Ecology Project, former co-Director and Strategic Communications Director, now a consult for GJEP, I’m pleased to make this photograph available for some lucky winner. It’s archival, matted and mounted.

I’m also on the International Steering Committee for the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees. I’ve been involved in the fight to stop genetically engineered trees since 1999 and I believe we have to stop this menace to the people, the planet and all of the Earth’s inhabitants.

I took this shot of the Ringed Kingfisher during a very grueling trip to Chile. Prior to taking a break by Lago Tinquilco I was documenting the social and ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations in the country, and their link to the 2017 wildfires that were the worst in Chile’s history. It is estimated that eleven people were killed, 1500 houses destroyed, thousands displaced and almost 300,000 hectares acres decimated. The delegation was sponsored by OLCA (Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales). I accompanied the delegation as a photojournalist and a participant.

Photographed at Lago Tinquilco – one of several lagos in Huerquehue Parque Nacional in the La Araucanía Region in southern Chile. Huerquehue Parque Nacional (Spanish pronunciation: [werˈkewe]) is located in the foothills of the Andes, in the Valdivian temperate rainforest.

Huerquehue is a Mapudungun word (the language of the Mapuche people) that means “the messenger’s place”. One of the most noteworthy features Huerquehue Parque Nacional are its ancient Araucaria (Araucaria araucana) forests, the tree commonly known as “monkey puzzle”. These are the backdrop for the clear lagos and lagoons that dot the park, including Lago Tinquilco, which lies in the lower portion of this protected area.

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History is a weapon – lest we forget

On 12 October 1492 Columbus stumbled into the Americas. In his People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn writes of Columbus’ arrival:

Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

ABOUT THE ALARM COVER…
This photo was taken at an Earth First! rally and celebration of 500 years of indigenous resistance. Featured is Death riding atop his trusty stead during a takeover of the Burlington Church Street Marketplace and a disruption of the Columbus Day sales happening there. The outstretched hand of death signifies the continuation of the ecological devastation and genocide of native peoples that are soon to lead to the collapse of planet Earth.      Photo: Langelle

What follows occurred twenty-five years ago in October 1992 when I was living in Burlington, VT. This was the 500th year of the beginning of the colonization and genocide against the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. The images and many excerpts are from the 5th issue of the ALARM, a quarterly Northeast Earth First! newsletter (original cover and the article at the end of post). All copy is excerpted from this issue and some thoughts may not be politically correct to 2017 standards. – Orin Langelle

9 October 1992     Vermont Supreme Court Sandbagged

Montpelier, Vermont –  Earth First!, Central Vermont Greens and the All-Species Project joined with representatives of the Abenaki, Cree and Mi’kmaq in front of the Vermont Supreme Court in Montpelier to commemorate the resistance and survival of Native Americans since the arrival of Columbus. People were gathered to protest the VT Supreme Court’s recent decision denying the ancestral rights of VT’s indigenous Abenaki, whom stated they lost these rights “due to the increasing weight of history…”

A wigwam was set up close to the steps of the Supreme Court building and a traditional pipe ceremony followed. After a speak-out, hundreds of pounds of sand bags were carried up to the doors of the Supreme Court’s courtroom and those in session were effectively barricaded into their Chambers. Spokesperson Carrie Bioux stated, This was a demonstration to these arrogant bastards of the increasing weight of our resistance.”

Earlier that year, the same Court denied the indigenous Cree’s appeal of the VT contract with Hydro-Quebec. This contract allowed Vermont utilities to buy four billion dollars worth of hydro-electric power from HQ while “washing their hands” of any responsibility for destroying Cree, Inuit, and Innu lifestyles or for the devastation of the James Bay bioregion caused by the construction of the massive La Grande hydroelectric dam project on indigenous land near James Bay, Quebec [which included the “accidental” drowning of 10,000 caribou when water was released from the dam during a migration].

12 October 1992     One arrest; Traffic Blockaded Near Hydro-Project As Protesters Oppose the Columbus Myth and Genocide

Winooski, Vermont – Following the racist decisions of the Vermont Supreme Court, in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Columbus invasion and in solidarity with the Abenaki and the indigenous peoples of James Bay, Earth First! rallied next to the Winooski-One hydro project, under construction in Winooski, Vermont. Winooski-One owner, John Warshaw denied the comparison of himself to Columbus stating there are no indigenous people [in Vermont]. Ironically, Winooski is an Abenaki term meaning “Land where the onions grow.” After the rally, Earth First!ers blocked traffic on the Winooski-Burlington Bridge adjacent to the construction, causing a major traffic jam of Columbus Day Shoppers. 

Anne Petermann (bottom center) with her head on the ground being protected by a protester as a cop (top right) prepares to use numchuks on her in a compliance hold. Photo: Langelle

With the traffic at a standstill, one of the blockaded drivers, off-duty police officer Michael Schirling, lunged his car forward in an attempt to force protesters out of the way. When he screeched to a halt, nearly missing one protester, he leapt out of his car and began flashing his Cop ID ordering people out of the road or be arrested. He then arrested Anne Petermann who was standing on the sidewalk exercising Her First Amendment rights…EF!ers went to her rescue to try and prevent [the cops from taking her to jail]. One cuff was put on Petemann, by now on the ground, but the crowd refused to let her be dragged to the police car. Finally numchucks were used by one cop to attempt to force her compliance. During the melee, Schirling’s wallet mysteriously parted from his body and dove into the Winooski River.  Petermann was later released after being charged with reckless endangerment for refusing to leave the road even though she was arrested on the sidewalk…

Addendum: This was Anne Petermann’s first arrest and she opted for a court trial. Police officers along with Michael Schirling and his fiancee provided conflicting and false information, but Petermann was found guilty. Petermann now lives in Buffalo, NY and has continued organizing to protect forests and working in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples for over a quarter of a century – from the United Nations to the South American rainforests. She is the Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project.

Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling in the shut down Occupy Burlington encampment dismantling parts of the camp prior to the official investigation.
Photo: Langelle

Michael Schirling went on to become Burlington, VT’s Police Chief. During the nationwide Occupy Movement in 2011, a young veteran in the Burlington Occupy camp shot and killed himself. After this tragedy, Occupy protesters were persuaded to come into City Hall to talk about the incident. While they were inside, Schirling ordered the Occupy encampment to be sealed off in police tape. He then proceeded to destroy evidence in the camp before the detective assigned to the case could investigate what had happened.

The Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and globally are under ever greater threat by governments and corporations as the Earth’s “resources” are running out for the materialistic consumer culture of industrialized countries. The struggle for the land continues as Indigenous Peoples continue to claim their sovereignty. Much of the resources left are in/on indigenous territory. Their land is not respected and is only to be used for extraction or trespass, as recently witnessed with the North Dakota Access Pipeline. There is resistance in many places, with the most visible in the U.S. at the Standing Rock encampment…but again the government broke its promise to the Indigenous Peoples there. But resistance to those who destroy the Earth for their own profit is an inspiration…it was and still is from the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico in 1994.

NOTE: Indigenous Peoples’ Day – To counter Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. It is celebrated across the United States, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities around the country. It began as a counter-celebration to the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors European explorer / genocidal maniac Christopher Columbus. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is intended to celebrate Native Americans and commemorate their shared history and culture.

 

Original Cover:

 

Page 6 of the ALARM

Page 6 of ALARM

[Special thanks to friend and colleague, Bron Taylor, by making sure movement writings are secured as history.]

 

 

 

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This critique is re-posted from Global Justice Ecology Project. No disrespect is intended for Vietnam Veterans or for any of us who stayed in the U.S. in the struggle to bring U.S. troops home and stop the war on the people and the land in IndoChina. – Orin Langelle – 27 September 2017

Members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) show their outrage as they protest the lives lost (both U.S. and Indo-Chinese) in the Vietnam War. Both VVAW members and thousands of anti-war demonstrators massed at the Republican National Convention, Miami Beach, FL to show opposition to the war. PhotoLangelle.org (1972)

Two critiques of Burns’ film The Vietnam War question its intentions

by Global Justice Ecology Project’s Orin Langelle – co-founder, consultant, and photographer

As someone who was active in the movement to stop the Vietnam War, I was asked to comment on two key critiques of Burns and Novick’s highly acclaimed series, The Vietnam War.  The first,“The Killing of History,” is by John Pilger and the other,“Ken Burns’ Vietnam Gives Corporate Sponsors Little to Worry About,” is by Frank Joyce.  [I include a few others as well.] I have found writing about that epoch deeply challenging, as that war forever changed me and my understanding of reality, as well as millions of others–some living, some dead. I carry the heavy load of that time every day.

It was a crash course in imperialism, racism, colonization and class.

On July 1, 1970 a “lottery” draft was drawn for all men born in 1951. I drew 031 out of a possible 365. I subsequently was ordered by my draft board to report for a physical.  I took the physical, but made sure I did not go to Vietnam. There was no guarantee of a round trip ticket and I had no desire to kill anyone.

I had a lot of friends who did go to Vietnam. One young man I knew was a conscientious objector but served as a medic refusing to carry a gun.  He received the purple heart three times and returned deeply disturbed. Another was a military combat photographer. The last time I visited him the only things he had in his refrigerator were bottles of vodka.

I had no animosity for those who went to Vietnam, nor did I or anyone I knew ever spit on any veteran–a myth perpetuated through endless propaganda to undermine the anti-war movement, which also included many Vietnam veterans.

Wounded soldier from Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in a wheelchair during protests against the Republican National Convention, Miami Beach, FL. He was one of over 200,000 U.S. casualties in that war. PhotoLangelle.org (1972).      This photograph received the 2017 Exhibition Award from the CEPA Gallery (Contemporary Photography & Visual Arts Center) in Buffalo, NY during their Members’ Exhibition. Langelle will have a solo exhibit in January 2018 at CEPA entitled “Portraits of Struggle.”

I was arrested many times trying to end the war. But I wasn’t marching in circles like so many in the ‘peace” movement today – I was in the streets taking part in direct action to STOP the war.  Not to complain about it, to STOP it.

But back to Burns’ advertisement for Bank of America – I mean his series The Vietnam War. I have to congratulate Bank of America for their part in the making of this series. They sound so concerned and compassionate.  For those who suffer from societal amnesia or just weren’t paying attention or alive then, it sounds great. But I was suspicious from the beginning of all the film’s corporate sponsors, especially Bank of America. And I wasn’t the only one.

Noted journalist, John Pilger, in his article “The Killing of History” states of Burns’ movie, “It’s lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam.

Burns says he is grateful to ‘the entire Bank of America family” which “has long supported our country’s veterans.’ Bank of America was a corporate prop to an invasion that killed perhaps as many as four million Vietnamese and ravaged and poisoned a once bountiful land. More than 58,000 American soldiers were killed, and around the same number are estimated to have taken their own lives.”

And Frank Joyce in the LA Progressive goes after PBS in “Ken Burns’ Vietnam Gives Corporate Sponsors Little to Worry About. “The corporatization of so-called public broadcasting is a fact of life, a prime example of how the machinery of manufacturing consent works ceaselessly to expand its influence.”

Joyce also discusses sponsorship of the film by the Koch Brothers. The Koch Brothers?

Last night I watched the film’s credits to see exactly who was behind the making of “The Vietnam War.” And yes, David H. Koch’s name (from the Koch Foundation) was displayed in great big letters.

David H. Koch has a track record of well, just plain evil. Jane Mayer in 2010, writing “Covert Operations” for The New Yorker says, “David H. Koch… and his brother Charles are lifelong libertarians and have quietly given more than a hundred million dollars to right-wing causes.”

Mayer continues, “A Republican campaign consultant who has done research on behalf of Charles and David Koch said of the Tea Party, ‘The Koch brothers gave the money that founded it. It’s like they put the seeds in the ground. Then the rainstorm comes, and the frogs come out of the mud—and they’re our candidates!’”

But that’s just the beginning.  In a Rolling Stone article, “Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire” Tim Dickerson writes, “The volume of Koch Industries’ toxic output is staggering. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, only three companies rank among the top 30 polluters of America’s air, water and climate: ExxonMobil, American Electric Power and Koch Industries. Thanks in part to its 2005 purchase of paper-mill giant Georgia-Pacific, Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation’s waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined. The company ranks 13th in the nation for toxic air pollution. Koch’s climate pollution, meanwhile, outpaces oil giants including Valero, Chevron and Shell. Across its businesses, Koch generates 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year.”

So glad Koch and Bank of America now want to set the record straight on the Vietnam War.

John Pilger continues in “The Killing of History,” The ‘meaning’ of the Vietnam war is no different from the meaning of the genocidal campaign against the Native Americans, the colonial massacres in the Philippines, the atomic bombings of Japan, the levelling of every city in North Korea…

Nothing has changed. When Donald Trump addressed the United Nations on 19 September – a body established to spare humanity the ‘scourge of war’ – he declared he was ‘ready, willing and able’ to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea and its 25 million people. His audience gasped, but Trump’s language was not unusual.

His rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, had boasted she was prepared to ‘totally obliterate’ Iran, a nation of more than 80 million people. This is the American Way; only the euphemisms are missing now.

Returning to the US, I am struck by the silence and the absence of an opposition – on the streets, in journalism and the arts, as if dissent once tolerated in the ‘mainstream’ has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground.”

So The Vietnam War is another outrageous attempt by the corporations and corporadoes to absolve their transgressions through the re-writing of history in an attempt to win the hearts and minds of viewers and pave the way for future atrocities.

See: John Pilger’s “THE KILLING OF HISTORY”  http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-killing-of-history  Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. He covered the Vietnam War for a decade.

Frank Joyce’s “Ken Burns’ Vietnam Gives Corporate Sponsors Little to Worry About”  https://www.laprogressive.com/ken-burns-vietnam/

Jane Mayer’s “Covert Operations” https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/08/30/covert-operations

Tim Dickerson’s “Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire” http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-the-koch-brothers-toxic-empire-20140924

 

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I moved to Buffalo in 2012 and didn’t realize that in the 90s Buffalo, NY was way ahead in the chic scene.

Buffalo 90s Chic                                                                                                                                Photo: Langelle

Actually on Saturday 16 September, 2017 there was a block party with a 90s theme on Elmwood Avenue between North and Allen Street in Buffalo’s Allentown district. The above photo was one store’s display, but I don’t see the above bearing any resemblance to the 1990s…maybe the 2090s when humans possibly evolved to cope with climate chaos.

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I suppose I was 18 when I first met David. I’m now 66. David was a tremendous influence on my life and when I heard of his passing the other day I cried. I don’t cry much. I didn’t get a chance to say good-bye to Dave, but he said good-bye to me. While I cried came a bolt of lightning and then thunder and then a thunderstorm. For those of you who knew David, you understand that was his way of saying he was off to another journey and he knew I would understand his way of letting me know it was okay.

This bird is not a threat to the Earth. Photographed at Lago Tinquilco – one of several lagos in Huerquehue Parque Nacional in the La Araucanía Region in southern Chile. Huerquehue Parque Nacional (Spanish pronunciation: [werˈkewe]) is located in the foothills of the Andes, in the Valdivian temperate rainforest.

The last time Dave and I communicated before his passing was about a photo I published entitled “This bird is not a threat to the Earth.” I also posted the photo on Facebook and David commented, “looks like another round goes to the Earth Warrior!…my grandchildren thank you Orin Langelle.” That post and his comment were on July 7, 2017. I thanked him for the comment and then I took a northern hemisphere summer break for about the next two months. When I returned from my break, the news came through that David was no longer a living person on this Earth.

My wife, Anne Petermann, and I were planning a trip to St. Louis next summer and David was someone I very much wanted to see and talk about many things, especially about some of our escapades when we were younger during the horrible Vietnam war era. David and I and others helped feed people almost every Sunday at the Forest Park Pavilion in St. Louis where hundreds gathered to listen to music – especially from peoples’ bands like RUSH (local) who sang songs of protest and rebellion sometimes covering the MC5 with “Kick out the jams, Motherfuckers.”

The goings on of the Sunday gatherings became cat and mouse games between the cops and us. One week they said we had to disperse. We didn’t. Another week the cops came and pulled the plug on the electricity we were “borrowing” from the Pavilion itself to run the sound system. The next week we brought our own generator. That confused the police, but they came back the following week and seized the generator. The next week wasn’t pretty and there was a march to the zoo where some people threatened (tongue in cheek) that they were going to free all the animals – a bunch of pranksters. Yippie! The police stopped the march and no animals were freed, but when the smoke cleared there were fewer functional police cars than before the march was stopped. At least that is what Dave and I were told. I think we stayed at the Pavilion to watch that folks’ belongings left behind weren’t confiscated.

I’ll miss that talk next summer with David as there were so many stories to share – from talking about a future we wanted to see, to watching the fiery splurts of zilches dropping downward by gravity (what was that, you ask?), to roadtrips to Nashville trying to find a skyline. And there are so many more things to say about Dave. We always were looking to find answers. We never stopped. Maybe David is finding them now.

David Agir House, ¡presente!

Much love and respect brother.

–Orin Langelle   15 September 2017

 

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