Academic Freedom: Suspension Retrospective III: Bringing It All Back Home, Jane Fonda, Karl Marx

In Dylan’s album, “Bringing It All Back Home” there is a very complex cover. Albums of The Impressions, Robert Johnson, his cat named Rolling Stone, a glass collage he designed, a fall-out shelter sign warning of nuclear war, Sally Grossman, his manager’s wife in the background. Well on page 2 of the article on my life after my suspension, there is a photo of my bulletin board outside my office.

In the middle of a scanned version linked on my website, if you look hard, you will see a picture of a woman with a combat helmet on. That is Jane Fonda on her 1972 peace mission to Hanoi. In 1988 she apologised for making the trip which reflects her bowing to pressure from veterans’ groups. I believe in part the rage against her was her status as a wealthy, beautiful, outspoken woman who left the silver screen to voice her opposition to a war of genocide: one of the greatest war crimes in modern history which forever created a generation that while loyal will always have some detachment from America. I think it took courage to travel to the capital of a nation with whom we were at war and express her solidarity with the Vietnamese people who were being exterminated and butchered in that widowed and napalmed land.

I would not have sat in an anti-aircraft artillery piece and staged a shoot down of invader aircraft. Peace activists should not wish death on anyone but overall she exhibited qualities of courage, commitment to peace and justice and a rather strong feminist commitment to denounce the “manly activity of war and conflict.”

Former Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara did apologise for the war as well but that apology was criticised by many veterans’ groups. When will an American president apologise for this war in which two to three million Vietnamese were killed in a war for empire, colonisation and Cold War expansionism?

In the same photo, I appear in the background in my office. To the left and above my head is a photo of a man with a beard. Look closely and you will see it. That is Karl Marx and I will eventually post considerable commentary on how his views have been perverted by many communist nations and by capitalist countries as well. Part of my role here is to be informed and to break through the mythology of conformist thinking that may be at variance with more nuanced topics.

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