Cornel West's note to Obama - January 20, 2010
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Thanks to Anderson @ Shockfront and Ladypolitik for this tid bit.
Zinn was born into a poor family in a New York City slum. During the 1930s, he worked in the shipyards where he organized laborers in the fight for better conditions. He recalls - in one of his many interviews - the first beating he took at the hands of police, which prompted his understanding that police aren’t neutral in concerns of state. In the 1940s, he met his wife, enlisted in the Air Force, and was sent to Europe as a World War II bombardier. He was ordered, late in the war, to drop the U.S.’s first batch of napalm on a French village where the German occupiers had all but surrendered. This led to Zinn’s unwavering pacifism.
His uncharacteristically blunt message to financial giants and their political defenders said it all: "If these folks want a fight, it's a fight I'm ready to have." 
We can understand Obama's behavior if we view him as a prisoner of the wealthy establishment. The aristocracy is loosing its grip, papering over the financial mess for instance. While that teeters, we need to be engaged in diffusing the fringe right wing.
"We cannot close our doors and say to hell with everyone else. Nothing is clearer than the danger of having an island of prosperity in a sea of poverty."