Al Kagan’s Council Report to SRRT

ALA Annual 2006 Report to SRRT

By SRRT Councilor Al Kagan

Having our meeting in New Orleans after Katrina was strange, sad, and even heartbreaking for those who saw the worst of the devastation up-front. But those who volunteered to put libraries back together and gut houses came away with a great sense of satisfaction. Of course, the very special New Orleans food and music sustained us. We indeed put New Orleans back on the convention map, and our spending of millions of dollars was a great help to the city. The Chapter Councilors passed a resolution through the ALA Council commending the members of the local library community for their hard work, urged us to bear witness to our communities back home, urged us to be prepared for local emergencies, and urged state chapters to work with the ALA Chapter Relations Office to aid Gulf Coast libraries, including through the Adopt-A-Library Program. SRRT developed its own statement, which elicited a burst of applause when I read it on the Council floor. It was the highlight of the meeting for me. One thing in our statement that was left out of the resolution was that “political negligence” was behind this catastrophe. We also stated “?¢‚Ǩ¬¶the greatness of the United States lies, not in its military power, mammoth bank accounts, mighty corporations, and culture of consumption, but rather in the simple humanity, generous hearts and helping hands of its ordinary people.” Many thanks to Elaine Harger for drafting this eloquent statement.

SRRT developed only one resolution for ALA Membership Meeting and Council, a resolution on the Darfur Genocide. Since we now have a reasonable quorum of 75, it was heartening to see the Membership Meeting being used again to good effect to put this topic on he Council agenda. We then discussed the resolution at the Council Forum (an informal discussion) where it was evident that many Councilors have forgotten the importance of resolutions rising up from below. This discussion set the stage for Council approval as well as the thought that there should be more action in the resolved clauses. The final resolution included not only urging libraries to highlight and explain the genocide through collections, programs, displays, etc., but always to call on publishers of both the academic and popular press to publish more on Darfur and other genocides. Thanks go to Sandy Berman for writing the original resolution.

SRRT activist Ann Sparanese partnered with Melora Ranney-Norman to introduce a resolution endorsing two bills on better access to health care before Congress. The first on single-payer universal health care has no chance of passing, but the second on the Health Partnership Act has more chance of success. It was referred to the Legislation Committee and passed along with the other COL resolutions.

It is a pleasure to report that SRRT members were elected to both the Council Committee on Committees and the Planning and Budget Assembly, Bernadine Abbott-Hoduski and Theresa Tobin, respectively.

The ALA-APA (Allied Professional Association) considered its first resolutions in New Orleans, both on labor legislation and regulations. The first one on supporting the Employee Free Choice Act, the ability to easily form unions, squeaked by but the second one on overtime pay failed. When I spoke, I reminded the body that we were sitting as APA, an advocacy body, and that we were formed explicitly to advocate for bills to promote better salaries and working conditions.

The Intellectual Freedom Committee brought two resolutions that were duly passed, the first on Retention of Library Usage Records, and the second promoting a National Discussion on Privacy. The Chapter Relations Committee resolution on opposing Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) state legislation sailed through. These bills are constitutional amendments restricting spending through a formula based on population change plus inflation and require voter approvals. So far only Colorado has passed this type of legislation.

The Committee on Legislation brought seven resolutions of its own and forwarded two more for action. All were approved. COL’s seven were on support for: EPA libraries, federal libraries, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006, online social networks, network neutrality, e-rate discounts, and Patrice McDermott (on leaving the ALA Washington Office). Council also endorsed the American Association of Law Libraries resolution on No-Fee Access to PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). Finally, the resolution on health care legislation described above was approved.

Let me take the opportunity now to thank all the SRRT members who elected me for another term as your SRRT Councilor. It is indeed an honor and a pleasure to do this work. As usual, I will be happy to try to answer any questions.

Al Kagan
SRRT Councilor

One comment on “Al Kagan’s Council Report to SRRT


    We are years, YEARS behind in stopping this Genocide; a tragic, inexcusable failure of will and humanity on our part. We must bring this to an end. Bashir’s Genocide is exterminating 500 people per day, more than one 9/11 per week. We are giving crystal clear signals to Bashir that he has the time to exterminate, NOW, the remaining 3,000,000 people. Oxfam is pulling out, and the other aid groups are on the verge of following – too hostile on the ground. We are training ourselves to the “gradualism” that was Dr. King’s greatest enemy and horror. We are fast depleting the energy that was so valiantly raised by so many of you by April 30th.

    Nonviolent wars are not started with tricks and manipulation, emails, four hour demonstrations, letters or phone calls (although, brilliantly, the efforts by many of you thus far have set the stage). We can now win the war if we unleash the masses. Now. ALL-OUT NONVIOLENT WARS OF THE MASSES are ALWAYS STARTED by a small group of NONVIOLENT “MARINES”, fully acting out their anguish, agony and horror at the suffering of others (In APPENDIX below: Gandhi in India, Civil Rights Movement…). When these “Marines” do so and sufficiently pay an honest price, it is an irresistible media spectacle. The radical self-sacrifice of these “Marines” ignites the hearts of the masses – possessing less vision, imagination and information. Here is the idea:

    STAGE #1. IGNITE THE ALL-OUT NONVIOLENT WAR – DEPLOY THE NONVIOLENT “MARINES” to Rescue and Restore Darfur. Nonviolent campaigns need to be started by the few on the nonviolent side.

    I pray that anyone that passionately wants to join will emulate the Gandhi/India campaign (APPENDIX) as follows:

    We will begin a long, drawn out series of rolling arrests. Where? The White House. Alternate targets could be the Sudan Embassy, Chinese Embassy, Russian Embassy, United Nations in NYC, or one of the network headquarters for their profound non-coverage of Darfur. If it is the White House, this is not a protest aginst the White House, or President Bush. Why?

    WE THE PEOPLE ARE THE PROBLEM AND THE ONLY SOLUTION. WE MUST DELIVER A MANDATE THAT 20-30,000 PEACEKEEPERS (preferably African Union and non-Western UN) BE ON THE GROUND IN DARFUR, BEGINNING OCTOBER 1, with sufficient empowerment/funding/support. With an unmistakable outcry from the masses, the administration and congress have given every sign that they will happily comply. They need a “win.”

    PHASE A: A minimum of 20 people are required for us to enter this phase. We need to dramatically demonstrate and HONESTLY EXPRESS the despair we feel over the agony of our Darfur family.

    Every 3 hours (so it stretches over days) one of us nonviolently violates the rules at the White House President’s Park so as to get arrested. The law is that for the first arrest there is likely to be a 12 hour or less holding period, a $50 fine, and then release.

    Phase B. If by the end of this cycle of arrests (3 days elapsed?) we do NOT see the beginning-of-the-end of Hell for Darfur in sight the same group immediately goes through the process a 2nd time, knowing full well that 6 MONTHS IN PRISON may well be the price. This phase goes on until 1. all of us are in prison, OR, 2. the end of Hell for Darfur is assured.

    Obviously numbers count for this initial action. If instead of the example of 20, it is 200 or 2,000 people, the impact goes up astronomically. Maybe “prison” will be avoided, but this CANNOT be our goal.

    Those involved must fully accept responsibility for staying the course and make certain over the months and years ahead that US Imperialist Tendencies do not come to bear, and that we Rescue, AND Restore Darfur.


    For every one of the initial “Marines” (just one riding alone across the battlefield in “Dances with Wolves”/100’s walking into swinging clubs in Gandhi’s India/100’s facing the fire hoses down South – APPENDIX) the numbers multiply: 1,000, 10,000, 100,000. The masses become warriors too. National organizations (Africa Action, Save Darfur Coalition, STAND, Genocide Intervention) and other vehicles exist to register this 2nd tier of 100,000’s, 1,000,000’s of nonviolent fighters and to effectively utilize and deploy them; radically for the Save Darfur Coalition 9/17 event at the United Nations for example.


    Let’s not care whose idea or what idea we implement. Instead, let us care that it is the best possible shot at raising the mass army THAT FIGHTS TO WIN, immediately. We must “be” the Truth Force that Gandhi so powerfully weilded. We must be the Truth of Darfur’s desperate need at the White House, at the United Nations, and wherever we go.

    Got any ideas you think are good? Better? AWESOME! Contact me or tell me how to contact YOU! Want me to come and talk with you or your group? Want me to join and follow your group? Let’s do it. Contact your friends, associates, acquaintances who might be interested.

    Let’s make this happen. We’re killing time. Lets stop the Genocide This Summer, while there is life in Darfur to save.

    Sincerely, Jay McGinley
    phone: 484 356 6243



    EXAMPLE: Do you remember the scene from “Gandhi” when for days, man after man after man walked headlong into swinging British clubs? Well, so did the millions of India, and the entire civilized world watch and remember, and ACT.

    EXAMPLE: Do you remember the beginning scene from the movie “Dances With Wolves,” when, impossibly, the hero rode across a Civil War field raging with gunfire, both sides behind stone walls, totally in stalemate? His insane ride miraculously shocked his side out of passivity and denial to follow him across the field and rout the opposition. (Yes, this was a violent war but it still illustrates the dynamic that radically committed leaders cause the masses to fight; no other way does it as well. Ever.)

    EXAMPLE: Do you remember the TV images of the Civil Rights marchers getting fire-hosed, beaten, and attacked by Police Dogs then doing it all again? And how only then did the MILLIONS of US Citizens go to war? And, on, and on….

    Harvard’s Samantha Power’s Pulitzer Prize winning Genocide study of the last 100 years presents a clear conclusion: “the battle to stop genocide has thus been repeatedly lost… [because] Americans outside the executive branch were largely mute….” From “Problem from Hell.”

    Isn’t God/Goodness/Justice/Humanity/History asking us: “WHY DON’T YOU GO TO ALL-OUT NONVIOLENT WAR FOR YOUR FAMILY IN DARFUR?” We must start BEING THE ANSWER to this question by July’s end.

    I am open to any appropriate way to go to nonviolent war as long as it equates to fighting to win and doing the very best that we can do.

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