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We speak with close friends of the legendary antiwar priest, activist and poet Father Daniel Berrigan, who has died at the age of 94. "I just always considered Dan to be in the league with Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and Dorothy Day and our greatest people," recalls Father John Dear, a Catholic priest and longtime peace activist. "He was the first priest arrested in U.S. history against war, maybe the world. … [I]t was so groundbreaking." Dear was one of Daniel Berrigan’s closest friends and worked with him for 35 years. He is Berrigan’s literary executor and the editor of five books of his writings. We are also joined by Bill Quigley, who was one of Daniel Berrigan’s attorneys. He is a professor and director of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice, as well as the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University. Quigley recalls asking Father Berrigan, "Who are your heroes?" His response was, "I don’t believe in heroes, I believe in community."
As we remember the life and legacy of Father Daniel Berrigan, who died on Saturday at the age of 94, his niece Frida Berrigan reflects on the impact his activism had on her family and her own life. Frida is a longtime peace activist herself. She also writes a regular column for Waging Nonviolence. She recalls the intimate side of growing up among Father Dan, whose walls were always filled with art and who loved the late-night conversations among fellow organizers and family members. She says the community he cultivated “gave me a sense that anything is possible and that if we act in conscience, if we act together, if we are moved, we can accomplish extraordinary things.”
We revisit a 2006 Democracy Now! interview with legendary antiwar priest, activist and poet Father Daniel Berrigan, who has died at the age of 94. He joined us to mark his 85th birthday, and discussed his life as a lifelong resister to what he calls "American military imperialism." In 1965, he and his brother Phil Berrigan spoke to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. "I said to the secretary something about, 'Since you didn't stop the war this morning, I wonder if you’d do it this evening.’ So he looked kind of past my left ear and said, 'Well, I’ll just say this to Father Berrigan and everybody: Vietnam is like Mississippi. If they won't obey the law, you send the troops in.’ And he stopped," recalls Berrigan. "And the next morning, when I returned to New York City, I said to a secretary at a magazine we were publishing—I said, 'Would you please take this down in shorthand? Because in two weeks I won't believe that I heard what I heard?’ ... And he talks like a sheriff out of Selma, Alabama. Whose law? Won’t obey whose law? Well, that was the level at which the war was being fought."
The legendary antiwar priest, activist and poet Father Daniel Berrigan has died at the age of 94. Today we are remembering his life and legacy. Over the past 20 years, Dan appeared on Democracy Now! many times. In 2002, he joined us for a four-hour special marking the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. He spoke about 9/11 and about the experience of traveling with historian Howard Zinn to North Vietnam in 1968, where they spent night after night in bomb shelters. "It was quite an educated moment to cower under the bombs of your own country," he said.
Actor and activist Martin Sheen became close friends with Dan Berrigan. He played the trial judge in the film "In the King of Prussia," which chronicles how the Berrigan brothers and six others began the Plowshares Movement when they broke into the General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, in 1980. In 1986, Martin Sheen was arrested along with Father Dan Berrigan in New York City. When he heard of Father Dan’s passing, Martin Sheen reflected on his experience being arrested alongside the legendary priest, saying, “It was my first arrest for a noble cause, and it was the happiest day of my life.”
We spend the hour remembering the life and legacy of the legendary antiwar priest, Father Daniel Berrigan. He died on Saturday, just short of his 95th birthday. Berrigan was a poet, pacifist, educator, social activist, playwright and lifelong resister to what he called "American military imperialism." Along with his late brother Phil, Dan Berrigan played an instrumental role in inspiring the antiwar and antidraft movement during the late 1960s, as well as the movement against nuclear weapons. He was the first Catholic priest to land on the FBI’s most wanted list. In early 1968, Father Daniel Berrigan made international headlines when he traveled to North Vietnam with historian Howard Zinn to bring home three U.S. prisoners of war. Later that year, Father Dan Berrigan, his brother Phil and seven others took 378 draft files from the draft board in Catonsville, Maryland. Then, in the parking lot of the draft board office, the activists set the draft records on fire, using homemade napalm, to protest the Vietnam War. They became known as the Catonsville Nine and invigorated the antiwar movement by inspiring over 100 similar acts of protest. It also shook the foundation of the tradition-bound Catholic Church. Then, in 1980, the Berrigan brothers and six others began the Plowshares Movement when they broke into the General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, hammered nuclear warhead nose cones and poured blood onto documents and files. They were arrested and charged with over 10 different felony and misdemeanor counts, and became known as the Plowshares Eight.
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As violence broke out at a Trump rally in Costa Mesa, California, on Thursday night, we take a look at the increasingly hostile atmosphere that protesters are encountering at Trump’s events. Last month, one of Trump’s supporters was caught on video sucker-punching an anti-Trump protester at a rally in Tucson. But there was another assault at that rally that few heard about. Lena Rothman says she was assaulted by a Trump supporter, and when she reported the assault to police at the Trump event, she herself was arrested. For more, we speak with Lena Rothman.
Amid a presidential election cycle marked by anti-immigrant rhetoric, we take a look at how the national campaigns are affecting state politics in Arizona. A number of anti-immigrant bills are currently making their way through the Arizona state Legislature. On Thursday, House lawmakers gave initial approval to a measure that would require undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes to serve maximum prison terms without the possibility of probation or early release. Other bills under consideration here would withhold money from sanctuary cities and bar state funds from being used to resettle refugees. Last month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed another measure that requires undocumented people convicted of crimes to serve a longer portion of their prison sentences before they are turned over to immigration authorities for deportation. For more, we speak with Isabel Garcia, co-chair of Coalición de Derechos Humanos, or Coalition for Human Rights, based here in Tucson. She just retired from her post as Pima County legal defender last July after more than 22 years.
Sunday is May Day, and organizers and activists across the United States are planning celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the massive May Day marches of 2006. That year, more than 1.5 million people took to the streets to support workers’ and immigrant rights. It was one of the largest days of protest in the country’s history. Now we look at a new book by historian Peter Linebaugh entitled "The Incomplete, True, Authentic, and Wonderful History of May Day." Linebaugh is the author of many books, including "The Many-Headed Hydra" and "The Magna Carta Manifesto." Historian Robin D. G. Kelley has said of Linebaugh: "There is not a more important historian living today. Period."
Students at Northern Arizona University, or NAU, are in the midst of a sit-in to call on their school to divest from fossil fuels. At least eight students have been arrested after they refused to leave a university building at closing time. Their protest is part of a national "Fossil Free" movement to pressure colleges to address the issue of climate change. For more, we’re joined by Michaela Mujica-Steiner, a senior at Northern Arizona University, and Karina Gonzalez, a graduate student in the NAU Forestry Department. Both were arrested during protests demanding fossil fuel divestment.
This week, University of California President Janet Napolitano placed the chancellor of University of California, Davis, Linda Katehi, on investigatory administrative leave, pending an investigation into a number of infractions, including her decision to spend at least $175,000 to try to scrub the internet of criticism following the 2011 pepper-spraying of student protesters by campus police. The school made national headlines after the video showing police spraying seated students directly in the face at close range went viral. Earlier this spring, students at the University of California, Davis, occupied the office of Chancellor Katehi and staged a 36-day sit-in calling for her resignation, to protest her handling of student protests and allegations of conflicts of interest. Democracy Now! recently spoke with Parisa Esfahani and Kyla Burke, two of the students who took part in the sit-in.
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We speak with former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis about the refugee crisis in Europe, and so-called hot spots that are registration centers for refugees in his country. "George Orwell would be very proud of Europe and our capacity for doublespeak and creating new terms by which to hide the awful reality," Varoufakis says. "When you see the word 'hot spots,' just translate it to 'concentration camps.'" He says the Greek government has been pressured to intern the refugees fleeing war and famine, and notes the growth of right-wing parties in Europe, such as Golden Dawn.
The International Monetary Fund is demanding additional austerity measures from Greece if it does not hit its budget targets. It’s the latest impasse in years of fierce political clashes between Greece and international creditors. We are joined by a man who had a front-row seat to these battles: the former Greek finance minister for the anti-austerity Syriza party, Yanis Varoufakis. In his new book, "And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe’s Crisis and America’s Economic Future," he describes how he helped lead Greece’s battle against European Central bankers and a historic referendum in which Greeks resoundingly voted down austerity. But only days after the "no" vote, he resigned. Varoufakis elaborates on the resignation statement he issued last July, when he wrote, "Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted 'partners', for my … 'absence' from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the ministry of finance today." He famously said at the time, "I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride."
We continue our conversation with former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis as the White House is backing calls for Greece to continue to implement widespread austerity measures, following President Obama’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week. Greece and its international creditors are once again negotiating the terms of the bailout and the extent of the austerity measures creditors can impose. Varoufakis responds to the German government’s claim that the majority of Germans oppose giving more money to Greece, and addresses the previous bailouts. "What happened to that money? It wasn’t money for Greece. It was money for the banks," Varoufakis says. "The Greek people took on the largest loan in human history on behalf of German and French bankers." He notes the conditions of the loan "guaranteed our national income would shrink by one-third. So it was impossible to repay that money." He says he opposes taking additional funds until the country’s economy is more stable.
As the White House is backing calls for Greece to continue to implement widespread austerity measures, we spend the hour with former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. Earlier this week, negotiations between Greece and international creditors hit an impasse over the bankers’ demands for extra austerity measures. The International Monetary Fund is demanding cutting Greek pensions and eliminating income-tax exemptions if Greece does not hit its budget targets. "Cutting down pension is not reform. It’s like confusing butchery for surgery," says Varoufakis. He served as the Syriza party’s first finance minister after the left-wing party took power in 2015, after promoting an anti-austerity platform. He is in the United States promoting his new book, "And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe’s Crisis and America’s Economic Future." Earlier this year, he launched a new pan-European umbrella organization called Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, or DiEM25.
During an event Tuesday at the Brooklyn Public Library, Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and professor, was asked about Bernie Sanders’ run for the White House. "[H]e’s considered radical and extremist, which is a pretty interesting characterization, because he’s basically a mainstream New Deal Democrat," Chomsky said. "His positions would not have surprised President Eisenhower, who said, in fact, that anyone who does not accept New Deal programs doesn’t belong in the American political system. That’s now considered very radical." Chomsky concluded by noting that Sanders "has mobilized a large number of young people, these young people who are saying, 'Look, we’re not going to consent anymore.' And if that turns into a continuing, organized, mobilized force, that could change the country—maybe not for this election, but in the longer term."
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