Thursday, June 30, 2005

"Give Her A Chance"?

This morning I had a chat with one of my boardmates on the Gloria-Garci tape issue. That it cannot be denied anymore that it was GMA's voice on the tape my boardmate's line of argument is that "GIVE HER A CHANCE". We cut short the debate, I had to go to the CR. Inside there I was contemplating on his pointless line of argument. I should have asked him on what context that we must give HER a chance? Haven't we? We needed her to face the issue before but her camp attempted all scripted maneuverings that bore so much backfiring on their part. Seeing that they were already on the checkmate, nowhere else to go in the game of chess of deception, SHE appeared appealing to the public for forgiveness. She tried to tap on filipino's sentimentalism so, few sold out to the line:"GIVE HER A CHANCE". On what? A chance not to be ousted by trying to depict to the public that by her admission the issue is over? One issue is over, it was her on the tape as she admitted but she cannot dictate on us that all other distinct issues must also be over along with the voice issue. No. She cannot claim to have already cleaned the whole house by removing just a flick of dirt. She must remove the source of dirt: HERSELF. Her previous ascendancy to power after the ousted president Estrada already showed us how she would manage the country: she's steadfast to favor the policy of deregulation and by that one effect, oil price hikes become on almost weekly basis; she disfavored justified increase on workers' wages; she favored the reign of terror againts journalists and broadcasters who are actively exposing corruption and misadministration by local officials; her favored generals are engaged in massive corruptions and the killings and repressions of political/civil rights and progressive activists; she supported Bush to invade Iraq and said nothing on the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians; she did nothing to protect the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita who were brutally massacred, she had and has plans for a strong republic nothing more than a dream to make Phillipines a police state and she would bow down to US plans to stir-up Mindanao to be a little afghanistan-war zone so that it can be justified the presence of US forces and falicities here in Mindanao, making the island a staging base to spy on, blackmail and attack other nations under the US preemptive strike policy. Worst, GMA could even agree that Mindanao be a US nuclear zone. So give her a chance? We have seen enough of her ability and have already foreseen what's up in her mind as she governs the country.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A Personal Account By Einstein On Constructing Relativity

HOW I CONSTRUCTED THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY, an article I happen to surf over the internet, which can be downloaded at the AAPPS website (http://www.aapps.org/). Einstein tells of his personal account on his construction of the RELATIVITY theory, one of 20th century's greatest achievements toward the most fundamental understanding of nature's sometimes bizarre behaviour. In the article, it took only five weeks for Einstein to complete the construction of the Special Theory of Relativity, while interestingly as accounted by him, it took him more than eight years to generalize his Special Relativity theory into General Relativity so as to include the phenomenon of Gravitation starting from 1907 as he was asked by Stark for a review article on the results of his Special Theory, as he began then thinking on the problem of gravity having to be guided himself by Ernst Mach's claim on the equivalence between inertial and gravitational masses.Further on, he became virtually a student of a new mathematics of his time, the geometry of Reimann and tensor calculus, as he continued on his quest to give gravity a framework of motions not just constant ones but also including those that are accelerated. You can read more on this if you like at the above website.

This year marks a century hence for the Theory of Special Relativity as this year was declared internationally as the world year of physics to commemorate the miraculous years when Einstein set himself on the major issues of his time. Prior to his fame, he was just an obscured humble clerk in a patent office, who was finding himself in much of his free time devising gedanken or thought experiment, which is a series of experiments and theoretical "IF's" that could only be constructed inside the mind with the help of a piece of chalk and blackboard. Einstein was excellent at this, solving problems in the manner of careful re-examination on the accepted laws,and see where they fail to account. He is a modern physics thinker though he could not accept the indeterministic views of the equally gigantic theory of quantum mechanics to which he has a significant contribution when he worked out the quantum explanation of photoelectric effect. The basics of his explanation have led further to theoretical developments regarding the nature of emission and absorption of light that these have led to the development of the LASERS.Much much much...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Closing Cycles

nice article. thanks nats.

*Closing Cycles *
**By Paulo Coelho


One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents,
your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot forever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The evolution of the "terrorist" label

The evolution of the "terrorist" label on liberation fighters and revolutionaries

by Ka Cesar Renerio, NDF-North Central Mindanao
Wednesday, Jun. 22, 2005 at 11:27 AM
http://qc.indymedia.org/news/2005/06/3739.php

In general, ruling reactionary regimes all over the world deliberately call their own insurgents with derogatory names with intent to demonize and isolate them from the mainstream of society.

Columbus for instance when he landed in the Bahamas in 1492, was the first to call the natives of this place Indios. But liberation fighters and indigenous peoples in Middle and South America later, came to detest the name Indio because it was a trademark of their subjugation and maltreatment in the hands of European colonialists.

In the Philippines too during the Spanish period, the Spaniards relished with gusto calling Filipino revolutionaries as “erehes,” “tulisanes,” “indios,” “subersibos,” in the apparent motive of infusing into the people’s minds revulsion and disgust to the latter’s cause.

“Erehes” meaning uncivilized because they are reluctant to be integrated to Catholicism, the Spanish colonialists’ religion which became the accepted faith
of Filipino converts especially the Ilustrados (“enlightened ones”) and to the colonial system of government.

The colonialists’ use of the word “tulisanes” had a rebounding punch in the sense that it is the country’s wealth like sugar, cigars, and abaca (Manila hemp) that were on the contrary plundered by the Spanish colonialists to be transported to Spain. They were therefore the “tulisanes” not the Filipino people.

And Filipinos (although before there was yet no Filipino identity but the writer use the word for convenience) could not be “erehes” beforehand for long before their advent, the famous rice terraces had already been built which caught the admiration of foreigners as a product of Filipino ingenuity and engineering feat.

During the 1900s, when the US snatched the newly-won Philippine independence from Filipino revolutionaries, resistance fighters the likes of Macario Sakay and many others were ironically labeled by the US colonialists as “bandits” and thus justifiable by hanging. The greatest irony is that it is the owner of the house now who got accused of banditry by unwelcomed intruders. What a quirk of fate!

In the late 70s the Government of the Republic of the Philippines through its machinery the AFP and PNP labeled revolutionaries as dissident-terrorists or communist-terrorists. But this labeling have not gained popular usage especially when the GRP and the NDF sat on the negotiation table for peace talks in the late 80s. Thus it is only in the military circle that such labeling exists.

From that time on succeeding puppet regimes hitherto do not anymore label revolutionaries as “erehes.” They are too sophisticated to be called as such. Neither do they call them “bandits” anymore. The principle and practice of these organizations belie such labeling for proletarian revolutionaries do not rob nor steal on people. Now what is the “appropriate” name by which the ruling reactionary state can rally or mislead people to their call?

The terrorist bombings on the WTC provided a ready answer. Thanks to “terrorists,” now the US has all the reasons to occupy Iraq and name other countries as it pleases with names like “axis of evil.”

The war on terror (arising from the Sept 11 WTC bombing) espoused by Bush Jr, provided him with “justification” in naming the CPP/NPA/NDF along with 33 other organizations worldwide as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

With the war on terror institutionalized by Bush, countries or organizations or peoples who are against the US policy of Pax Americana were branded “terrorists.” And the US-Arroyo regime in utter display of its obsequiousness followed suit in labeling revolutionaries as terrorists too. With this, one thing is clear.

Naming and defining terrorism is the prerogative and option only of the ruling reactionary regimes. They can call anybody and anything according to their own liking and wishes. Thus, the evolution of labeling revolutionaries as “terrorists” has become a byword to the US and its allies although others viewed it with skepticism.

Demonizing liberation fighters and revolutionaries to the eyes of the the world by calling them “terrorists” has only gained little or no gain at all because the US itself and its allied reactionary regimes commit acts of terrorism aptly deserving them to be called number one terrorists!

The US-Arroyo regime for instance has for long been terrorizing Lumad and peasant communities by subjecting it to aerial and mortar bombings, displacing and dislocating hundreds of people during the AFP-PNP counterinsurgency operations. It also employs surrogates to launch terrorism using Death Squads or Vigilantes or this Abu Sayyaf spectre to stifle legitimate dissent.

Jumbling revolutionaries and real terrorists as terrorists thereby creating blurred or no distinction between them has only weakened Bush’s supposed “war on terror.”

True, it has cushioned the impact of real terrorists’ evil deeds but objectively has only scathe slightly the feathers of revolutionaries. Thus this supposed war on terror by Bush would lead to nowhere for as long as there are political and economic oppression, exploitation, racial degradation and ethnic discrimination.

To quote Shakespeare’s, “a rose is still a rose even if called by some other name” is even more truer today considering the growing and widespread opposition to US policies nowadays despite the “terrorist” tag they placed on genuine revolutionary organizations.#

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Socialism and religion

Yesterday was a nice dialogue between colleagues of mine on the question of religion and the "existence of God". I did not join the exchange of ideas with the only statement that "I respect your belief in your religion". At least to that effect. Period.

In an article "Socialism and religion" by Lenin, he said that

"...No number of pamphlets and no amount of preaching can enlighten the proletariat, if it is not enlightened by its own struggle against the dark forces of capitalism. Unity in this really revolutionary struggle of the oppressed class for the creation of a paradise on earth is more important to us than unity of proletarian opinion on paradise in heaven.

That is the reason why we do not and should not set forth our atheism in our Programme; that is why we do not and should not prohibit proletarians who still retain vestiges of their old prejudices from associating themselves with our Party. We shall always preach the scientific world-outlook, and it is essential for us to combat the inconsistency of various “Christians”. But that does not mean in the least that the religious question ought to be advanced to first place, where it does not belong at all; nor does it mean that we should allow the forces of the really revolutionary economic and political struggle to be split up on account of third-rate opinions or senseless ideas, rapidly losing all political importance, rapidly being swept out as rubbish by the very course of economic development."


I remember my father said "In a socialist country, religion is a luxury." He added that "under socialism, everyone has the right to believe or not to believe."

Lenin finished the same article as follows:

"The revolutionary proletariat will succeed in making religion a really private affair, so far as the state is concerned. And in this political system, cleansed of medieval mildew, the proletariat will wage a broad and open struggle for the elimination of economic slavery, the true source of the religious humbugging of mankind."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Mga Kulturanhong Alternatibo

Mga kanta, balak, ubang mga sinulat, mga dula o mga pasundayag kanunay magpaambit kanato og mga mensahi mahitungod sa unsa mang katilingbanong kahimtang ug mga paninguha sa usa ka tino nga hut-ong. Sama niini sa akong napudyot gikan sa website sa Filipino artists for national democracy:

(1)The Internationale - usa ka piano bersyon sa balak - the song of the global movement of the proletariat. The lyrics were from a poem (L' Internationale) written by Eugene Pottier in June 1871 to commemorate the Paris Commune. He, a Communard himself, wrote it shortly after its fall. The melody was composed by Pierre Degeyter in 1888.

(2)Martsa ng pagkakaisa - This is a song dedicated to the union of workers and peasants and about these classes's golden historic role to lead and to be at the core for national liberation and the attainment of Soscialism.

There is also the patriotic poem of the great Philippine proletarian hero, Andres Bonifacio, Pag-ibig sa tinubuang lupa , which expresses one's genuine love for his/her love for the father/motherland, and the willingness to sacrifice for liberation from the clutches of foreign oppression.

Hinaut unta nga patalinghugan ninyo kining maong mga alternatibong produktong pangkultura nga nagapamahayan sa tinoud nga pangkatilingbanong kahimtang karon. Daghang salamat, ug hinaut manilingaw kamo.

Hehe...Wow Shiiiks Pandamay...Nabiyaan Ko Ngez!

Whew! Presko kaayo pagmata, dayun namahaw alas-onse. Ai... nangapi pa diay... Dayon nanigarilyo, dayon human aiha mikaon. So, pagkahuman, set to go na from the B.H.. Para og motorcab. Swerte kay mga kapasahero mga girls nga taga-XU. Feeling cool sulod sa motor. Sa may kanto mipara ang usa sa sakay. So, kinahanglan ko mo-give way, manaog sa para makagawas siya. Feeling cool lagi, hangad-hangad ko taraw sa mga building sa palibut, dayun tan-aw sa cigaret vendor sa unahan. Wanako mabantayi milarga naman diay ang motor. Hehe...Alangan man ako pangdaganon ug parahon, ulaw kaayo, mga girls raba sakay ato. Wow shiiks! Ang tange!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Shameful Visit

I'm not so certain if what I've heard over the radio is true that GMA's visit here in Cagayan de Oro turned to be an embarassing one. Did she really bother visiting here, knowing that the City Mayor and the Provincial Governor were out of the country that time? Some rumors told that she went here to visit a priest, some hearsays told that she arranged a secret meeting with "Hello, Gary?". Whatever, what I've heard over the radio last saturday night that her PSG escorts crawled under her service vehicle to fix a flat-tire. I don't know if this is true but accordingly, on the way some dudes have secretly sprinkled (either intentionally or not on GMA's wagon)some spikes that caused the flat-tire on GMA's convoy. To those dudes I say, "Wow! Cool!"

The people of Cagayan de Oro are cool-headed folks who know how to show their resentment in creative ways. Though GMA did not meet a protest action as she landed here she should not feel any regret nor need not be downhearted, afterall she was well-welcomed with a flat-tire. So, she must not feel that the people were in the "who-cares-you-are-here" mood, some dudes had their welcoming gestures.

"Cool work dudes!"

Well, ofcourse if this what really transpired... I just hope so.

GET TO BE UNITED TO INSTALL THE NATIONAL TRANSITORY COALITION GOVERNMENT! OUST THE U.S.-ARROYO ILLEGAL REGIME!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Army colonel slams AFP ‘mispriorities’

Army colonel slams AFP ‘mispriorities’
By Mario J. Mallari
Friday, 06 10, 2005

A reformist Army colonel has called on his fellow cavaliers from the elite Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to take action against “mispriorities” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), among them the construction of a multimillion-peso military resort on Boracay island in Aklan.

In an e-mail message sent through a Yahoo group exclusively intended for PMA graduates, Army Col. Ricardo Morales, commander of the 404th Brigade based in Mawab, Davao del Norte, urged “all good men” to “rescue” society.

“The time has come for all good men to come to the aid of their society. The time for talking is over; the time for action is now,” Morales, a member of the PMA Class of 1977, said.

A member of the Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa (RAM), a group of junior military officers disgruntled with then President Ferdinand Marcos, he was in on a plot to oust the strongman in the 1980s.

Morales was even arrested by Marcos forces for involvement in the plot and was presented by then president himself to the media, along with a number of other putschists.

In the e-mail, Morales questioned the construction of the P18-million, 60-room Sampaguita Family Resort on posh Boracay in the country's Central Visayas region.

“How can the 60-room resort in Boracay improve the AFP's capability to fight? Who determined this priority? We have hospitals without medicines and they spend money for this resort?,” he asked.

The AFP leadership, however, has explained that the project was a brainchild of Marine Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Teodosio, commander of the AFP Central Command, not of AFP chief Gen. Efren Abu, as earlier reported.

The construction began shortly after Abu assumed as AFP chief in October last year.

Teodosio said the military did not spend anything for the construction of the resort, where soldiers and their dependents could stay for rest and recreation, as it was funded by donations.

“That the top leaders in the AFP, especially the Marine officer (Teodosio) who commands two Army divisions, allowed this shows their insensitivity to the needs and suffering of the men in the field,” Morales said.

Teodosio was promoted to the three-star rank last year.

“The next 'coup' will be peaceful and open. Enough of leaders who talk about reforms but do not understand what they are saying. Enough of this organizational stupidity,” Morales said.

A military source also yesterday said Abu has ordered the relief of Morales because of his pronouncements.

“He (Abu) has asked (Army chief Lt. Gen. Generoso) Senga to relieve him because of the message,” the source said.

But AFP-Public Information Office chief Lt. Col. Buenaventura Pascual also yesterday said the AFP is still looking whether Morales committed any violation of military rules in making such statements.

According to Pascual, the office of the deputy chief of staff for personnel or J1 is conducting an investigation.

“We are studying what violation he (Morales) committed, if there is any,” he said.

Pascual described Morales as a reformist and theorized that such statements represented only Morales' personal views.

“I know Colonel Morales. He is kind, a reformist. We were together at RAM,” he said.

A ranking military officer, on condition of anonymity, echoed Morales' statements as he expressed doubts on the Boracay project's positive impact on the morale of the foot soldiers who could not even afford transport fare to go to the luxury island.

“And that the money was said to be 'donated' leaves a bad taste in the mouth,” the officer told the Tribune.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Gloria scandals

Aside from the recent "Juetengate" and "Gloria tape" scandals, Gloria is still to answer to the following previous scandals:

(forwarded message)

IMPSA: Four days after it assumed office, the Arroyo administration approved
the awarding of a controversial $470-million contract to the Argentine firm IMPSA
(Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona Sociedad Anonima) to rehabilitate a hydroelectric plant in Laguna. Justice Secretary Hernando Perez was later accused of demanding and receiving $2 million dollars from ex-Rep. Mark Jimenez, who brokered the deal. Jimenez said he wired the amount to the account of Ernest Escaler in Hong Kong on Feb. 23, 2001 from his bank in Uruguay. The former congressman has been extradited to the United States and has pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and making illegal campaign contributions.

SAN FRANCISCO: From the time she was first elected senator in 1992, President Arroyo had failed to declare in her sworn Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth the properties her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, bought in San Francisco through his California-based LTA Realty Corp. Newsbreak reported that Mr. Arroyo acquired, resold, and managed at least five properties with a total value of at least $7.1 million in the Bay City from 1992 to 2000. The First Couple said they bought the properties in trust for Mr. Arroyo's younger brother, Ignacio, now a congressman.

BONG PINEDA: President Arroyo got loudly questioned about her personal connection with alleged jueteng boss Bong Pineda: She is godmother to one of Pineda's sons. She denied any impropriety, saying she doesn't associate with Pineda or his crowd. In an interview with Time Magazine in 2001, she said that when she was asked to be godmother, she got counsel from then archbishop of Manila Jaime Cardinal Sin. "Cardinal Sin said, as a Christian, if I am asked to be a godmother, it is my Christian duty," she relates, "because the sins of the father are not the sins of the son."

MIKEY'S HORSES: Newsbreak broke the news on a plan of first presidential son Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo to import the 32 thoroughbred horses from Melbourne, Australia. The then Pampanga vice governor, now a congressman, denied the allegation. He admitted, though, he was in the horse trade business; he owns Franchino Farms along with cousin Franchino Pamintuan and friend Ralph Mondragon.

JOSE PIDAL: On Aug. 18, 2003, opposition senator Panfilo Lacson accused First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo of money laundering for supposedly siphoning off at least P321 million in campaign funds and contributions to a secret bank account under the fictitious name Jose Pidal and three other accounts using the names of his aides. Among the "donors," Lacson said, was then Rep. Mark Jimenez who contributed a total of P8 million. Lacson also accused Mr. Arroyo of having an affair with his accountant, Victoria Toh. Following Lacson's allegations, Mr. Arroyo's younger brother, Ignacio, came forward to say he is Jose Pidal.

AGRI FUND: First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo was linked in May 2004 to the alleged diversion of P728 million from the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani program to President Arroyo's campaign war chest in the form of development assistance funds to local government units. Then Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn I. Bolante, Mr. Arroyo's classmate at the Ateneo de Manila University and a colleague at the Rotary Club District 3830, cleared the First Gentleman of involvement. Bolante was tasked to oversee the implementation of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani program at the time.

PHILHEALTH CARDS: Six weeks before the May 2004 elections, two lawyers from PRO-CON(stitution) filed a disqualification case against President Arroyo before the Comelec, saying she was behind the enhanced Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office's Greater Medicare Access or GMA program which they claimed was meant to prop up her candidacy. Earlier, another PRO-CON lawyer filed a criminal suit, also before the Comelec, against then PCSO chief Maria Livia "Honeygirl" de Leon and PhilHealth president (now Health Secretary) Francisco T. Duque for vote buying, intervention of a public officer, using public funds for election purposes and using banned election propaganda. Public funds were allegedly spent to enroll families in PhilHealth for one year to induce the enrollees to vote for President Arroyo. The premium cost of P1,200 for each family member was chargeable to PhilHealth and the PCSO. The PhilHealth identification cards bore the President's picture and the name. Their distribution coincided with the start of the election campaign.

LAS VEGAS SUITE: First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo was the subject of another controversy over his alleged use of a $20,000-a-night suite at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada during the boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Mexico's Erick Morales last March 19. The story first appeared as a blind item in the March 23 column of Inquirer sports columnist Recah Trinidad which said a "heavyweight backer" of Pacquiao had stayed in the $20,000 suite at the MGM Grand. The column did not mention Mr. Arroyo. Mr. Arroyo said he did not see anything corrupt about accepting a generous offer of a suite from the hotel as he thought that his stature as the husband of a head of state entitled him to such perks.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Radical Einstein

Albert Einstein, Radical: A Political Profile
by John J. Simon
http://www.monthlyreview.org/0505jjs.htm

2005 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Albert Einstein and the centennial of the publication of five of his major scientific papers that transformed the study of physics. Einstein’s insights were so revolutionary that they challenged not only established doctrine in the natural sciences, but even altered the way ordinary people saw their world. By the 1920s he had achieved international popular renown on a scale that would not become usual until the rise of the contemporary celebrity saturated tabloids and cable news channels. His recondite scientific papers as well as interviews with the popular press were front page news and fodder for the newsreels. Usually absent, however, was any sober discussion of his participation in the political life of his times as an outspoken radical—especially in profiles and biographies after his death.

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879, into a liberal, secular, and bourgeois German Jewish family. Young Albert’s childhood and early adolescence does not seem to have been out of the ordinary. Like many late nineteenth century young men, he was curious, read Darwin, and as
interested in the material, that is the natural, world and wished to fathom “the arcana of nature, so as to discern ‘the law within the law.’”

In 1895, Einstein, aged sixteen, renounced his German citizenship and moved to Switzerland. His main reason was to avoid military service and also to complete his education at Zurich’s Polytechnic Institute. There he eventually earned his Ph.D. in a climate relatively free of the anti-emitism that pervaded German and Austrian universities. But Zurich had other rewards. Einstein spent much time at the Odeon CafĂ©, a hangout for Russian radicals, including Alexandra Kollontai, Leon Trotsky, and, a few years later, Lenin. Einstein admitted to spending much time at the Odeon, even missing classes to participate in the coffee shop’s intoxicating political debates.

Unable to find an academic job, Einstein went to work in 1902 in the Swiss patent office in Berne. It was there in 1905 that he had his annus mirabilus, publishing articles on the special theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, and Brownian motion. In 1914 he was offered and accepted a full professorship in Berlin. Fred Jerome, author of The Einstein File,* notes that the job offer was probably a result of a bidding competition among universities in Britain, France, and Germany looking for scientific and technological talent to abet their respective governments’ imperial objectives. Unfortunately, Einstein took up his post just as the First World War broke out with Germany among the chief belligerents.

Einstein opposed the war, putting him at odds with the German Social Democrats to whom he had been previously sympathetic, instead aligning himself with the party’s minority who saw the war as a dispute among the ruling classes of the belligerents. Einstein also found himself in disagreement with most of his scientific colleagues. Max Planck, then a physicist of roughly equivalent stature to Einstein, and nearly a hundred other scientists signed a supernationalist “Manifesto to the Civilized World,” endorsing Germany’s war aims in language that prefigured the Nazi rants of a generation later, rationalizing the war as justifiable resistance to “Russian hordes,” “Mongols,” and “Negroes” who had been “unleashed against the white race.” Einstein and only three others replied in a document suppressed at the time by the German government, describing the behavior of the scientists (sadly joined by numerous writers and artists) as shameful. At least one of the signatories of the reply was jailed. Einstein was not; it was the first instance of the power of his newly acquired celebrity not only to protect himself, but to allow him to speak out when others couldn’t.

In the turbulent aftermath of the war Einstein continued to speak out. Famously, on the day Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated—it was during a fortnight that saw not only the armistice, but the fall of seven other European monarchies, all replaced, for the moment, by liberal and socialist regimes—Einstein posted a sign on his classroom’s door that read “CLASS CANCELLED—REVOLUTION.” He had joined with and defended liberal and radical students and colleagues for their wartime opposition; now he was with them in their postwar resistance to the burgeoning revanchist militarism that would quickly morph into Nazism.

Einstein’s visibility made him a focus of the revival of virulent anti-Semitism. His work on relativity was denounced as a “Jewish perversion” not only by far right-wing politicians, but even by fellow German scientists. Einstein was by now an illustrious international figure. In 1921 he received the Nobel Prize for Physics for work on the photo-electric effect, which demonstrated the quantum nature of light. He was also a visible presence in the cultural and social life of the Weimar Republic. At the same time, Einstein became increasingly outspoken in his political views. Opposing the mounting racist and jingoist violence and ultranationalism in Germany in the 1920s, he worked for European unity and supported organizations seeking to protect Jews against growing anti-Semitic violence. His egalitarian streak was irrepressible: confronting rising course fees poorer students couldn’t afford, Einstein routinely offered free after-hours physics classes. As the European economic and political crises grew more acute, Einstein increasingly used platforms at scientific conferences to address political questions. “He had no problem,” Jerome notes, “discussing relativity at a university lecture in the morning, and, on that same evening, urging young people to refuse military service.”

By 1930 Hitler’s National Socialist party was poised to become the dominant political force in Germany and Einstein, while still vocal at home, more and more found himself looking abroad for congenial outlets for both his scientific and political expression. He lectured in Britain, the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe and, from 1930 on, annually as a visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology. On January 30, 1933, the Nazis seized power and confiscated Einstein’s Berlin property. In May, Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, organized a public book burning, prominently featuring Einstein’s work; photos of the atrocity were published worldwide. Following the offer of a large cash bounty for his murder in Nazi newspapers, Einstein was forced to complete a speaking tour in the Netherlands with the protection of bodyguards. That winter, while at Cal Tech, he and his family decided not to return to Berlin. Instead he accepted a lifetime appointment from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, settling into a modest house on Mercer Street.

There, while trying to orient himself to his new country, Einstein worked doggedly on his Unified Field Theory, an attempt to demonstrate that electromagnetism and gravity were different manifestations of a single fundamental phenomenon. It would be his main scientific concern for the rest of his life and remains one that continues to animate contemporary physics and cosmology.

In the years before he was granted U.S. citizenship in 1940, Einstein’s political concerns were focused on the depredations of Nazi anti-Semitism and the rise of fascism. Once again, making use of his renown, he petitioned the government to allow refugees to migrate to the United States, but to no avail. He then joined with other European intellectuals to ask Eleanor Roosevelt to intervene with her husband, but the result was the same. This was not Einstein’s first conflict with FDR’s administration. He vigorously and publicly supported the anti-Franco forces in the Spanish Civil War. While the Nazi Luftwaffe bombed Spanish villages, the United States, along with Britain and France, enforced a phony “neutrality” embargo, denying Republican troops needed munitions. Despite organized demonstrations and appeals to which Einstein lent his name, the blockade was never lifted and the fascist regime imposed on Spain survived (with postwar U.S. aid) for nearly four decades. Nearly 3,000 American volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade defied their government to fight with the Republic, with Einstein an early and zealous supporter.

In 1939, at the urging of the physicist and fellow refugee from the Nazis, Leo Szilard, Einstein wrote to President Roosevelt to warn about German advances in nuclear research and the prospect that they might develop an atomic weapon. The letter led to the U.S. effort to build such a bomb. It remains Einstein’s most remembered public act. However, a combination of government fear of Einstein’s radicalism and his own reluctance kept Einstein from having any role in the Manhattan Project.

After the war, Einstein protested the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fred Jerome cites a 1946 interview with the London Sunday Express, in which Einstein “blamed the atomic bombing of Japan on [President] Truman’s anti-Soviet foreign policy” and expressed the opinion that “if FDR had lived through the war, Hiroshima would never have been bombed.” Jerome notes that the interview was immediately added to Einstein’s growing FBI file.

The early postwar years were marked by a manipulated anticommunist frenzy in government and business circles to support U.S. international and domestic goals. Manhattan Project scientists, who had earlier debated the use of the bomb in the months between Germany’s defeat in May 1945 and the Hiroshima bombing in August, were well versed in the issues the bomb raised. Many feared a nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. To lobby against that prospect, they founded the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists (ECAS), which Einstein agreed to chair. In that role, Einstein sought first to try to meet with Secretary of State George C. Marshall to discuss what he saw as the militarist expansion of U.S. power. He was rebuffed, but in an interview with a mid-level Atomic Energy Commission official he described Truman’s foreign policy as anti-Soviet expansionism—Pax Americana were the words he used to describe what he saw as U.S. imperial ambition. There was a substantial public response to ECAS’s antinuclear message, but, in the end, the group was unable to reach its goal of removing atomic development from the military and placing it under international control.

Another major political concern of Einstein in the 1940s was the persistence of racism, segregation, lynching, and other manifestations of white supremacy in the United States. During the war, the country had been mobilized to support the war effort, both on the battlefield and the home front with the promise of equality. In fact, however, the official message on racial justice was, at best, mixed. FDR set up a Fair Employment Practices Committee, an entity with much promise but with little power to affect discrimination in the work place. And the eleven million member-strong military remained segregated. In the aftermath of the war, economic dislocations, job shifts, and housing shortages were all dealt with in the usual Jim Crow manner: in the words of Leadbelly’s song “if you’re black, get back, get back, get back.”

The town of Princeton, New Jersey, where Einstein lived (and for that matter, its university), though only a short drive from New York, might well have been in the old southern Confederacy. Paul Robeson, who was born in Princeton, called it a “Georgia plantation town.” Access to housing, jobs, and the university itself (once led by the segregationist Woodrow Wilson) were routinely denied to African Americans; protest or defiance were often met with police violence. Einstein, who had witnessed similar scenes in Germany and who, in any event was a longtime anti-racism militant, reacted against every outrage. In 1937, when the contralto Marion Anderson gave a critically acclaimed concert in Princeton but was denied lodging at the segregated Nassau Inn, Einstein, who had attended the performance, instantly invited her to stay at his house. She did so, and continued to be his guest whenever she sang in New Jersey, even after the hotel was integrated.

In 1946, in the face of a major nationwide wave of lynching, Paul Robeson invited Einstein to join him as co-chair of the American Crusade to End Lynching. The group, which also included W. E. B. Du Bois and others in the civil rights movement, held a rally in Washington at which Einstein was scheduled to speak. Illness prevented that, but he wrote a letter to President Truman calling for prosecution of lynchers, passage of a federal anti-lynching law, and the ouster of racist Mississippi Senator Theodore G. Bilbo. The letter was delivered by Robeson, but the meeting was cut short when he told Truman that if the government would not protect blacks they would have to do so themselves. An uproar followed, but Einstein, in his letter, agreed with Robeson, writing, “There is always a way to overcome legal obstacles whenever there is an inflexible will at work in the service of a just cause.”

Einstein was willing to use his fame on behalf of social justice, but steadfastly refused to accept honors his celebrity might have brought his way. There was one exception, however. In May 1946, Horace Mann Bond, president of Lincoln University, a historically black institution in Pennsylvania, awarded the scientist an honorary degree. Einstein, accepted, spending the day lecturing to undergraduates and talking, even playing, with faculty children. One of them was Julian Bond, then the young son of the university’s president, who later went on to be a leader in the civil rights movement and is now chair of the NAACP. The press ignored the event, but, in his address Einstein said, “The social outlook of Americans...their sense of equality and human dignity is limited to men of white skins. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape complicity in it only by speaking out.”

That impulse to political commitment led Einstein to take action on both the domestic crisis in race relations and the simultaneous Cold War-fostered nuclear menace. It also led him to support the new Progressive Party along with his old compatriot Thomas Mann and his friend and neighbor Ben Shahn—famed for his paintings on the Sacco and Vanzetti case, among many others with political themes. The party, formed by the left wing of Roosevelt’s old New Deal coalition, including radicals, socialists, and communists, was established as a vehicle to run former vice president Henry A. Wallace for president in 1948. Einstein especially admired the party’s stand against Jim Crow and lent it his prestige and endorsement, being photographed with Wallace and fellow third party supporter Paul Robeson. The latter two campaigning in the South, despite violent attacks on them, refused to appear before segregated audiences or stay in Jim Crow hotels. With Einstein’s support, Wallace also called for the international control and outlawing of nuclear weapons. In the end, however, a mix of anti-Soviet jingoism and Truman’s belated promises of liberal, New Deal-type social programs caused the collapse of the Wallace movement. Truman’s surprise reelection removed whatever barriers to the accelerating Cold War and the ideological repression that accompanied it.

Some among Wallace’s supporters chafed at his party’s failure to move beyond New Deal liberalism. They thought the party should have taken explicitly socialist positions on questions like public ownership of basic industries, for example. Among those who held such views were Leo Huberman and Paul M. Sweezy, founders of this magazine as a venue for ongoing comprehensive analysis and commentary from a socialist and Marxist perspective. Einstein applauded the founding of Monthly Review, and, at the request of Huberman’s friend Otto Nathan, wrote his essay, Why Socialism?, for the first issue in May 1949. Together with Einstein’s celebrity, the article’s clear statement of the case for socialism in logical, moral, and political terms drew attention to the birth of this small left-wing magazine.* In the hostile political climate of that time, the article surely provided necessary encouragement both to the authority and the circulation of this magazine.

At the end of the Second World War Einstein was also drawn to the crisis of European Jewry following the Nazi genocide. Self-identified as a secular Jew, at least since his first encounters with anti-Semitism as a child, he was an intimate observer and intermittent victim of this ultra-nationalist disease and reacted to it as he did to other hate crimes. As early as 1921, when he made his first trip to the United States to raise funds for the establishment of Jewish settlements in Palestine, he sought solutions to the impending catastrophe confronting Europe’s Jewish community. He resisted growing legal and extra-legal restrictions on Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe, supported (with little success) Jewish migration to the Americas, and advocated for the creation of what he and others called a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. As such he was identified with Zionism, a label that does not precisely fit but that he did not actively avoid. Nonetheless, he separated himself from Zionist jingoists and bigots including Vladimir Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin, and often from mainstream Zionists like Chaim Weizmann and David Ben Gurion. In 1930, Einstein wrote, “Oppressive nationalism must be conquered...I can see a future for Palestine only on the basis of peaceful cooperation between the two peoples who are at home in the country...come together they must in spite of all.” He went on to support a binational Jewish and Palestinian state both before and after the war.

In 1946, with hundreds of thousands of European Jews still “displaced” and with the victorious allies unwilling to absorb even a portion of the refugee population, Einstein appeared before an Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine, calling for a “Jewish homeland.” The Zionist establishment seemed to have intentionally misread this as a call for Jewish sovereignty, so with help from his friend Rabbi Stephen Wise, he clarified his position. Jews, he said, should be able to migrate freely
within the limits of the economic absorptive possibilities of Palestine, which in turn should have a government that made sure there was no “‘Majorisation’ of one group by the other.” Resisting Wise’s demands for a more forceful statement, Einstein replied that a “rigid demand for a Jewish State will have only undesirable results for us.” Radical journalist I. F. Stone praised him for rising above “ethnic limitations.” (Einstein later became a charter subscriber to I. F. Stone’s Weekly.)

Nevertheless, like many Jewish radicals—including many socialists and communists—Einstein had difficulty overcoming his emotional ambivalence about the Zionist project and ultimately applauded Israel’s establishment. Given the often inconsistent response of some radicals to Israel’s subjugation of Palestinians after the 1967 war, it is difficult to guess how he would have responded. But he was clearly concerned with the implications of Jewish settlement on indigenous Palestinians; it’s not much of a stretch to suggest that he would have been appalled by the four decades of oppression of the latter by Israel.

The mid-century “red scare” occupied much of Einstein’s last years. He wrote, “The German calamity of years ago repeats itself.” Watching Americans lose themselves in the suburbia- and Korean War-driven affluence of the early 1950s, Einstein deplored the fact that “honest people [in the United States] constitute a hopeless minority.” But determined to fight back he looked for a forum—and found one in a reply to a 1953 letter from a New York City school teacher who had been fired for his refusal to discuss his politics and name names before a Senate investigating committee. Einstein wrote to William Frauenglass, an innovative teacher who prepared intercultural lessons for his English classes as a way of overcoming prejudicial stereotypes. Einstein exhorted “Every intellectual who is called before the committees ought to refuse to testify...If enough people are ready to take this grave step, they will be successful. If not, then the intellectuals deserve nothing better than the slavery which is intended for them.” The letter was national front-page news and had its desired effect. The movement to resist the witch hunt grew stronger. Einstein was supported by voices as distant as that of philosopher Bertrand Russell, who wrote to the New York Times from London when they published an editorial disagreeing with Einstein, “Do you condemn the Christian Martyrs who refuse to sacrifice to the Emperor? Do you condemn John Brown?”

Shortly after the Frauenglass affair, another unfriendly witness, Al Shadowitz, told Senator McCarthy that he was refusing to testify saying “I take my advice from Doctor Einstein.” McCarthy went ballistic, but, ultimately, the contagion spread both to the Supreme Court, which in 1957 put the brakes on the red hunters (one of the cases involved MR founder Paul Sweezy) and to young New Left students who, beginning in 1960, began to literally break up committee hearings, often with caustic satire and ridicule. It was only ten years after Einstein’s letter that Martin Luther King Jr. also employed civil disobedience to fuel the modern civil rights movement.

In 1954, in response to the denial of security clearance to his colleague, the wartime leader of the Manhattan Project, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and other violations of the freedom of scientific inquiry, Einstein wrote, with typical humor, that if he were young again, “I would not try to be a scientist or scholar or teacher, I would rather choose to be a plumber or a peddler, in the hope of finding that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances.”

Einstein also undertook other, more difficult and potentially more dangerous political acts.

Perhaps none attracted as much international attention as his effort to intervene in the case against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. In 1953, Einstein wrote to trial Judge Irving Kauffman pointing out that the trial record did not establish the defendants’ guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” He also noted that the scientific evidence against them, even if accurate, did not reveal any vital secret. When he received no response, he wrote to the president with his views. Truman also did not respond, so Einstein released the text of his letter to the media and later wrote to the New York Times asking for executive clemency. Tragically, in this circumstance, Einstein’s celebrity was to no avail. The Rosenbergs died in Sing Sing’s electric chair on June 19.

Two years earlier, in 1951, when his friend W. E. B. Du Bois was indicted for his pro-peace activities on the trumped up charge of being a “Soviet agent,” Einstein, along with Robeson and civil rights heroine Mary McLeod Bethune, sponsored a dinner and rally to raise funds for Du Bois’s defense. Du Bois’s lawyer, the fiery radical ex-Congressman Vito Marcantonio, managed to reduce the trial to a shambles even before the prosecution had finished its case. But had the trial continued, Marcantonio planned to call Einstein as the first defense witness.

Perhaps no one had been more pilloried or isolated during the “red scare” than Einstein’s great ally from the struggle against lynching, Paul Robeson. Attacked as much for his militant stands against white supremacy as for his radicalism and his call for pan-African independence, Robeson had become a virtual non-person in his own country, denied an income, venues for concerts, and the right to travel. In 1952, in a very public act to break the curtain of silence around Robeson, Einstein invited him and his accompanist Lloyd Brown to lunch. The three spent a long afternoon discussing science, music, and politics, all subjects of mutual interest. At one point, when Robeson left the room, Brown remarked about what an honor it was to be in the presence of such a great man. To which Einstein replied, “but it is you who have brought the great man.”

Einstein’s last years were taken up with both private and public acts of resistance. He used his still considerable network of acquaintance and influence to try to find jobs for those, who, like Frauenglass and others, who had been fired for non-cooperation with investigating committees. And in 1954 he permitted the celebration of his seventy-fifth birthday to be the occasion for a conference on civil liberties fight-back by the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee (ECLC). The committee had been formed in response to the failure of the American Civil Liberties Union to defend Communists and to take on civil liberties questions raised by the Rosenberg case. The conference, with speakers including I. F. Stone, astronomer and activist Harlow Shapley, sociologists E. Franklin Frazier and Henry Pratt Fairchild, and political scientist H. H. Wilson, launched ECLC on a forty-six-year trajectory defending freedom of expression, the rights of labor, and multifaceted campaigns for civil rights.

It is difficult to know how to conclude this brief and necessarily incomplete summary of Einstein’s politics. Not discussed here, for example, are Einstein’s lifelong commitments to pacifism and to some sort of world order, nor his long association with the physicist and Marxist Leopold Infeld. Einstein was also deeply committed, as were a number of other left-wing scientists, to mass education in the sciences as a tool against obscurantism and mystical pseudo-science, often used then—and again today—in aid of political and social reaction.

Days before he died on April 18, 1955, Einstein signed what became known as The Einstein-Russell Manifesto. In it, the theoretical physicist and the philosopher-mathematician Bertrand Russell, go beyond vague moral arguments for pacifism. Instead they posed political choices: “There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.”

Einstein was a radical from his student days until his dying breath. In the last year of his life, ruminating about the political affairs of the day and his world outlook, he told a friend that he remained a “revolutionary,” and was still a “fire-belching Vesuvius.”

Note on Sources and Suggested Further Reading

Fred Jerome, The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret War Against the World’s Most Famous Scientist (New York: Saint Martin’s Press/Griffin, 2002); see also Fred Jerome, “The Hidden Half-Life of Albert Einstein: Anti-Racism,” in Socialism and Democracy 18, no. 2 (http://www.sdonline.org/33/fred_jerome.htm).

Jerome’s important work uses the huge FBI-compiled file on Einstein, not only to expose Hoover’s machinations as well as the covert mechanisms and techniques of character assassination, but as a vehicle to introduce readers to the much hidden activist radical and socialist the scientist was. Forthcoming in July is Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor, Einstein On Race And Racism (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press).

Two useful biographies are: Jeremy Bernstein, Einstein (New York: Viking Press, 1973); and Ronald W. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times (New York: Avon Books, 1984), the standard biography, but with almost no mention of Einstein’s politics other than Zionism.

Books by Einstein for the general reader include: Ideas and Opinions (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1995); The World As I See It(New York: Citadel Press, 1993); Out of My Later Years (New York: Gramercy Books, 1993); and (with Leopold Infeld) The Evolution of Physics (New York: Free Press, 1967), still the most accessible and the best description of the progression from Newtonian to modern quantum mechanics and relativity.

Notes

* This narrative makes extensive use of research and insights found in Jerome’s book (its full title is The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret War Against the World’s Most Famous Scientist [New York: Saint Martin’s Press/Griffin, 2002]), for which this writer is grateful.

* This article has been frequently reprinted in Monthly Review over the last half-century and can be found on the MR website at http://www.monthlyreview.org/598einst.htm.