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Another Regan - Another America

Short Version: mp3, 2.98 MBs, 3:43
Speech Version:
mp3, 4.14 MBs, 5:10

[Col. Recorded 6/6/04]

"For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground, And tell sad stories of the death of kings:..." — William Shakespeare "Richard II"

The recent passage of the 40th US President, Ronald Wilson Reagan into eternity has sparked a media frenzy, as well as a ruling class attempt at historical revisionism
that repositions him as a virtual reincarnation of Lincoln. Lincoln was cast as the Great Emancipator; Reagan, the Great Communicator.

There are many, however, both within and without the US, who have a far different view of the Reagan years. They saw behind the actor to the scriptwriters, who often
toiled in the shadows of Wall Street, and who supported the former California Governor, from his earliest days when he began to betray his class. Reagan's ascension
to the presidency came after a career of an FBI snitch, when, as head of the Screen Actors Guild, he named names to the nefarious J. Edgar Hoover, of those suspected of being 'Reds.' His political career was built upon this foundation of betrayal, of the class he was born into, his fellow workers in Hollywood, his former political party, and of those 'fellow Americans' who had the misfortune of being born without silver spoons in their mouths.

As California Governor he supported a vicious war against the Black Panther Party, and the entire Black Liberation Movement, to curry favor with the core of his political support, white nationalists. He sparked the deepening of the poisonous prison industrial complex that continues to ricochet across America.

His allegiance to Wall Street, and his antipathy against poor and working class Americans, can best be seen in the economic policies that favored the former, and
beggared the latter, by the transfer of public monies from social programs to fund the military industrial complex, in a program to spend the former Soviets into the ground. This he did, but it also sent the US economy into freefall.

As scholars Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward noted in their classic *The New Class War* (South End: 1982/1985), Reagan's policies amounted to an "Attack on the Welfare State" which sought to undermine labor, and the poor, to the benefit of the wealthy. Reagan launched incessant assaults on all sorts of social programs, for, as Piven & Cloward explained:

The income-maintenance programs are coming under assault because they limit profits by enlarging the bargaining power of workers with employers. [p. 13]

Reagan was indeed an actor, whose performance attracted the support of people who voted against their own interests.

But perhaps the greatest tragedy of the Reagan era may be the deep suffering of the poor and working people of Latin and Central America. There, Reagan unleashed a
terrorist army of psychopaths who ravaged the nations of Nicaragua, of El Salvador, of Honduras, and beyond. Reagan, ever the actor, tried to paint the so-called *contras* as "freedom fighters", who he likened to "our Founding Fathers." They were, in fact, mostly members of the dreaded *La Guardia Nacional*, the former Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Somoza's henchmen, who were described by the Colombian diplomat, Clara Nieto as "nothing more than gangs of terrorists and assassins" [Nieto, *Masters of War* (7 Stories: 2003), p. 329].

The Reagan administration, stung by critics, rushed to change the image of the *contras*, and used the CIA to create a nicer-seeming 'contra' movement. They
unleashed a group that waged US-supported atrocities against the country. This group, who some called the "Key Biscayne Mafia" erected "its own courts, its own prisons, its own torture chambers and clandestine cemeteries where it buried those it executed," according to Nieto.

This US-supported echo of 'our Founding Fathers' threw corpses into the river, and operated terror centers, where, Nieto writes: "Women were raped daily" [p. 330]. To fund the *contras*, his administration broke the law. Their goal, according to Reagan, was to get the Nicaraguan government to "say 'Uncle'."

There may be millions in the 'other America', America Latina, who view the passing of 'The Great Communicator' far differently than that reflected in the media; but they are invisible.

Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.