How Corporations Have Bought The First Amendment — An Interview With Robert McChesney
Thomas Jefferson and like-minded individuals included freedom of the press in the First Amendment because they knew that if the party in power were able to outlaw dissident newspapers, it could essentially abolish any dissent whatsoever. And, just as Jefferson had foreseen, in the late 1790s, President John Adams and the significantly antidemocratic Federalists who supported him tried to purge many of the radical newspaper editors in the country by means of the Alien and Sedition Acts: So the First Amendment wasn’t something the Founders dreamed up in order to protect Philip Morris investors two hundred years later. They had a very real, immediate political cause: the survival of democracy.
I have had with my friend Wes Jackson a number of useful conversations about the necessity of getting out of movements — even movements that have seemed necessary and dear to us — when they have lapsed into self-righteousness and self-betrayal, as movements seem almost invariably to do. People in movements too readily learn to deny to others the rights and privileges they demand for themselves. They too easily become unable to mean their own language, as when a “peace movement” becomes violent.
The young woman lying in the grass in front of Block Two was evidently a problem, but it was hard for me to tell how much of one, or whether I, as a doctor, was supposed to respond. She appeared to be asleep, like some of the other patients who had vacated their mangy hospital beds in order to stretch out on the grass and absorb the warm Nairobi sun. But in her case, something had clearly gone wrong.
Last Year, not long before I left New York, I went to Queens to see the Virgin Mary. I went with a girl named Catherine, whom I knew only slightly, though I saw her around all the time; we had a lot of friends in common. I guess you could say Catherine and I were both part of a particular group — queer girls in their early twenties, living in New York City.
When Sligo and I got there, Mr. Albert was out in front of his place, painting the trim on an antique cash register. He drew characters, too: yellow giraffes spotted with orange, motorized cows, and chariots with little black boys drawn along by giant brown horses. He painted everything eventually, using high-gloss exterior latex from little cans. His work was lousy with redemption. You couldn’t look at it for very long without wanting to forgive someone.