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Hope (on my banning from

john.halle's picture

To the editorial staff,

I will take your banning me from your comment section as a badge of honor.

I take particular comfort and inspiration in the words of Chris Hedges from Thursday's march:

Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. It is not about the right attitude or peace of mind.

Hope is action, hope is doing something-the more futile, the more useless, the more irrelevant and incomprehensible an act of rebellion is the vaster and more potent hope becomes.

Hope never make sense. Hope is weak.

Hope is unorganized and always absurd.

These are words I am now living by. No one needs to tell me that I have moved from a relatively respectable individual-an associate professor formerly at Yale, now at Bard, a somewhat recognized composer and scholar in music theory and cognition now joining the ranks of the absurd, ridiculous and despised.

And I am entirely comfortable with this.

As for you, individually and collectively, you have shown through your editorial actions that you belong to what Hedges has correctly characterized as a "dying" Liberal Class.

Let us all hope that death comes quickly-sufficiently quickly for other more viable and credible institutions to take your place.

Here's to the hope that this happens before you bring us all down with you.

John Halle

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scoutt's picture
Submitted by scoutt on

Can you describe why you were banished from the village?
Love the Hedges quote about hope.

john.halle's picture
Submitted by john.halle on

Certainly. I made several postings referring to the Open Letter to the Left Establishment, linking to the website where it is posted. (update: one of these is still there at Let's see how long it takes them to pull it down.)

These were all done in comments to articles they ran by some of the signatories-e.g. Hedges and Flowers and made direct reference to the articles establishing a connection between the articles and the objectives of the website.

Initially they were open to them, and others commented on my comments (see the quick hit) but apparently they got nervous when the discussion took off.

john.halle's picture
Submitted by john.halle on

Possibly it was for circulating the on their site. But I think it was really for questioning their editorial judgement-which is to say implicitly accusing them of censorship, which they then preceded to convict themselves of by banning not just me, but several others who were involved in the discussion.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"We don't censor, and we'll ban anyone who says we do!"

Submitted by jm on

This has been going on for years. I stopped reading Common Dreams back in 2007 when they banned John Caruso. His crime was arguing that a vote from a liberal/progressive voter for the Democratic Party was a wasted vote.

Neither is the erasure there of comments referring to banned content a new thing. If you're going to airbrush history of any dissent, you have to airbrush all references to dissent.

john.halle's picture
Submitted by john.halle on

I'm corresponding with John about that. But I think I may be the first commondreams columnist who they've banned! So don't I get some props for that?

Also, here's a note form Sunil Sharma formerly of Dissident Voice about what scumbags they are-I don't think he will mind me sharing it.

Hi John,

Common Dreams is run by bunch of assholes!

In the early '00s, they had posted a few articles by Dissident Voice without citing us as the original source or posting any link to DV (they've done the same with CounterPunch as Jeff can tell you). I let it slide the first couple of times, but got annoyed when they again posted an article by one of our most popular writers without proper credit. They have a huge audience, small publications like DV need the help, and it's not cool to steal regardless. I sent a few e-mails and left some voice messages politely asking them to give proper attribution, just like they would with an AP or Guardian article or such, but got no reply. After being ignored by them for a few days, I sent a lengthy e-mail threatening CD with a potential copyright lawsuit if they didn't respond (I was actually bluffing). I finally got an e-mail from Craig Brown (if I remember the name correctly), Common Dreams' founder. He had the nerve to say that he was taken back by the tone of my e-mail, and tried to make it sound like was out of line for calling them on their copyright infringement. He said he would direct his staff never to post anything from Dissident Voice, and indeed Common Dreams has refused acknowledge our existence, let alone post any articles our writers submitted to them directly.

Just over the weekend I found out that CD's attitude towards DV hasn't changed. Following the death of Richard Holbrooke last week, an article I wrote eleven years ago about Holbrooke's role in Indonesia's genocidal war against East Timor received renewed attention. CD featured an article about Holbrooke (forget the author's name) last Wed. or Thurs. A reader posted a comment with a snippet and a link to my article on Dissident Voice. The comment was quickly removed by Common Dreams. I only know this from a Google search I ran on my article, and found the earlier cached version of the CD article with the comment referencing my article. After all these years Common Dreams won't even allow so much as a comment to mention Dissident Voice on their site!

So you're indeed correct to take your ban from Common Dreams as a badge of honor.


-- Sunil

Seems to me that a boycott is in order.

Submitted by jm on

(which is saying something given your Yale connection ;) ).

john.halle's picture
Submitted by john.halle on

Censorship campaign continues. The Zhdanov of Znet Michael Albert has purged the original piece from the archives. Accessing the original piece returns a blank page.

Enjoy-if you're into such things!

By the way, have you signed onto the letter jm?

It's easy-go to and follow the link.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Here's to the hope that this happens before you bring us all down with you.

I'll drink to that!

Submitted by Fran on

I guess you probably know it.

"Last week’s anti-war demonstration at the White House, where 131 protesters were arrested, would have been “larger by a factor of 100” if it had been backed by “a unified Left,” says upstate New York activist John Halle. Halle is author of a widely circulated letter criticizing members of what he called the “establishment Left” for continuing to support the Obama administration. “Critical support” of Obama “is no longer sufficient,” said Halle, singling out Bill Fletcher, Tom Hayden and other founders of Progressives for Obama."

I got very annoyed with CD awhile back - probably during the infamous Primary - and stopped going there.

john.halle's picture
Submitted by john.halle on

Yes, and he had me on the Black Agenda Report Radio hour. A superb show-my contributions notwithstanding.

By the way, if you are interested, I've put up a page with links to various discussions of the open letter from across the political spectrum.

Have a look here.

Submitted by Fran on

I am a little late responding, so I don't know whether you will see this. (Family crisis.)

An interesting, to me, little incident. My son's girlfriend and her family were Obama supporters, so I have been reluctant to bring up the subject. When I was signing the petition, I looked through the names from my state - and I saw that the girl's Mom had signed!
When I see her tomorrow I am going to bring it up. (We may be in-laws soon, so I am glad for this connection.)

Right now my local Green Party affiliated group (a sort of community peace oriented group with many Green Party activists) is deciding in a poll, whether to go to the NY protest sponsored by the National Peace Conference in April (which we have already endorsed), or the DC protest sponsored by Answer Coalition in March (which we have not endorsed as of now), or both. I am inclined to support the former only. I think we need to shift to different leadership.