News Release

Patriotism: Interviews Available

MICHAEL PARENTI
Author of The Terrorism Trap and Democracy For the Few, Parenti said today: “July 4th celebrates that moment in history, over 225 years ago, when American colonials launched a revolutionary fight for independence from the British empire. In their campaign they were assisted by people from various countries. Today all over the world peoples are struggling for independence from the power of global corporatism. Let’s celebrate this July 4 with an expression of support and solidarity for people who want to use their land, labor, natural resources, and markets for self-development and popular well-being rather than for the enrichment of the powerful few.”
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CECILIA O’LEARY
Author of the article “I Pledge Allegiance” and the book To Die For: The Paradox of American Patriotism, O’Leary is associate professor of history at California State University at Monterey Bay. “The recent Pledge of Allegiance decision is important because it begins a debate: should we have children reciting a loyalty oath every morning, instilling values through rote memorization? Of course, there’s nothing sacrosanct about the words ‘under God,’ they were not in the original, but were added during the Cold War to show that we are a God-fearing country. In fact, the original was written by a Christian socialist, Francis Bellamy.”
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PETER DREIER
Coauthor of the recent article “Patriotism’s Secret History” and professor of politics at Occidental College, Dreier said today: “Bellamy’s view that unbridled capitalism, materialism and individualism betrayed America’s promise was shared by many American radicals and progressive reformers who proudly asserted their patriotism. To them, America stood for basic democratic values — economic and social equality, mass participation in politics, free speech and civil liberties, elimination of the second-class citizenship of women and racial minorities, a welcome mat for the world’s oppressed people. Much of our patriotic culture was created by artists and writers of decidedly left-wing and even socialist sympathies, including ‘America the Beautiful,’ ‘This Land Is Your Land,’ ‘Ballad for Americans’ and the words on the Statue of Liberty.”
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ROBERT JENSEN
Author of the book Writing Dissent and the article “Saying Goodbye to Patriotism,” Jensen is associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He said today: “Most people on the Fourth of July ask questions about how to express their patriotism. A better question is, Should people be patriotic? What does it mean to claim loyalty to a nation-state? These are not abstract, academic questions. Given that the United States has at its disposal the most destructive military capacity in human history and leaders willing to use it to advance the interests of power over people, we might ask: Can a moral person be patriotic? That question should dominate discussion on the Fourth of July.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167