[on edit after reading the sticky note at top of the forum-
I will never in any way advocate the use of violence as social activism.
Jesus, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King were right in their non-violent ways.
Ward Churchill has said he does not rule violence out and this is where I can't agree with him though after the FBI murdering lots of activists
I can understand why some take this 'last resort defensive posture.' ]
I'm still trying to figure this AIM-Ward Churchill history out but have gotten a start, anyway.
First I thought Ward Churchill heroic but a hothead and so easy to badjacket.
Then I thought he was a COINTELPRO agent.
Then I read yet some more and decided I was right in the first place, 'flawed hero.'
Close examination of the divisions in the American Indian Movement are very instructive on how normal differences of view can have the same appearance as intentional disruption by agents.
And things ain't as you might think, whether you start from conventional wisdom or cynical suspicion.
Not suprisingly, it seems that people can be a bit corrupt, authoritarian, insulting, divisive, defensive, and ego-driven as Indians AND white activists without even being a spook on a mission to destroy a movement as some were and still are.
In the early-mid 1970s the FBI attacked both the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement (AIM). People were murdered, framed up and jailed, terrorized, driven from homes and jobs, etc.
Academic and activist Ward Churchill came to be one of the most outspoken and prolific AIM activists and in 1986 was 'excommunicated' by Vernon and Clyde Bellecourt of AIM and portrayed as another agent attacking from within.
Differences over how to deal with the Sandinistas treatment of Nicaraguan Indians led to this final damning of Ward Churchill and fellow academic Glenn Morris.
This schizm flared up again in 1993 after Ward Churchill and others tried hard to stop the Columbus Day parade claiming it amounted to hate speech. People were arrested.
A string of accusations against Ward Churchill portrayed him as a disrupting agent.
Churchill denied this and countered that Vernon Bellecourt's behavior was even worse for the movement and without Bellecourt even being 'a cop.'
There was a kind of schizm led by a few go-slow-protect-your-turf AIM leaders like the Bellecourts and the Indians they were able to influence and the decentralized regional Indians, many of whom were supportive of Churchill and the more fired-up activist academic college professors working with and for and in the name of AIM despite having less Indian blood in them, an easy point of contention and mistrust.
On 9/12/01 Ward Churchill wrote an essay describing the 9/11 'attacks' as blowback for the atrocities of empire and that not all the people who died in the World Trade Center towers were "innocent" victims since some were CIA and therefore working "like little Eichmanns" to destroy other nations as they had been for decades.
By no coincidence, the CIA actually had hired five of Nazi 'final solution' planner Adolph Eichmann's aides after WWII and Congress mandated the release of these records.
So the CIA-mainstream media on 1/29/05 began screaming outrage over Churchill's use of the expression "little Eichmanns" and created a diversion for the releasing those actual Eichmann documents a few days later on 2/4/05.
This is how most people first heard of Ward Churchill and why. He was used as a scapegoat and a decoy, a psy-ops tactic called 'keyword hijacking.'
Churchill was used to being the scorned truth-teller and had no idea what this scam was.
That's Ward Churchill in the 1970s, 1980s, and lately.
Anyway, reading this AIM history closely can warn us what not to do in a social movement and what to do, too, besides revealing some important US history of a movement trying to survive its own members and attacks by federal agents at the same time during the end of the Vietnam War.
Here are lots of declassified CIA-FBI-DOJ documents on AIM with lots of the infighting and accusations being thrown around-
Here is the most complete rebuttal history written in 1998 (10 years ago!) from supporters of 'the Ward Churchill faction or school of activism' that covers most of the AIM history and issues very thoroughly and, more importantly, relates it to The Big Picture-
While trying to figure out which side he is on, I keep finding great quotes by Ward Churchill that sound like they could only come from a 'blue flame' committed-to-the-struggle activist on a mission to save the world 'despite everyone else.'
excerpt from Ward Churchill interview-
"What I call the "Duh Factor" is pretty pronounced in this case, but it's hardly unique. On the contrary, you see the same thing everywhere you look. We have a population conditioned to believe it doesn't have to work to attain critical consciousness, that it can understand things on the basis of a few media sound bites and sentiments passed along in popular music lyrics. Well, the sound bites you get on Pacifica are okay, and there's nothing wrong with a lot of the pop sentiments I hear, from Sinead O'Connor to Tupac Shakur. But these should serve to provoke the desire for a deeper, fuller knowledge base, not as a surrogate for it. Relying on prepackaged answers to questions you haven't even asked yet precludes your ability to think critically. What that spells is i-g-n-o-r-a-n-c-e, and ignorance is the breeding ground of sectarian dogmatism and authoritarianism."
Excerpt in a footnote about "badjacketing"-
# The degree to which "badjacketing" or"snitchjacketing" tactics succeed is dependent upon the degree to which the targeted audience retains, among other things, strong proclivities toward soundbite responses and intellectual laziness. From whatever source, these tactics have been applied most commonly against activists demonstrating leadership capacities that might be able to transcend the already-rampant divisiveness of the Left. They have also been devastatingly effective. Dating from as early as 1918, the FBI has applied badjacketing techniques against anarchists, communists, radical union organizers and other "subversives;" Sanford J. Ungar, FBI: An Uncensored Look Behind the Walls (Boston: Little, Brown, 1975) pp. 41-58. By the mid-1950s the Bureau's perfected badjacketing techniques had proven so successful in undermining opposition groups that they were incorporated as a mainstay in its highly secret COINTELPRO. Hence, during the 1960s, badjacketing was widely used to discredit "key activists" in targets as diverse as the civil rights movement, "old left" groups like the Communist and Socialist Workers parties, "new left" organizations like Students for a Democratic Society, and the antiwar movement. Especially vicious efforts were directed against the membership of the Black Panther Party and other national liberation movements such as the Revolutionary Action Movement, Republic of New Africa, Brown Berets and Puerto Rican independentistas. See Brian Glick, War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It (Boston: South End Press, 1989) pp. 7-18; M. Wesley Swearingen, FBI Secrets: An Agent's Exposé (Boston: South End Press, 1995). Although the FBI supposedly abandoned its campaign to "disrupt, destabilize and destroy" political dissidents during the 1970s, its use of badjacketing techniques and related COINTELPRO techniques was plainly continued against the American Indian Movement later in the decade (Matthiessen, In the Spirit). The same can be said with respect to the FBI's "investigation" of CISPES (Committee In Support of the People of El Salvador) and hundreds of other Latin American solidarity groups during the mid-to-late 1980s [Ross Gelbspan, Break-Ins, Death Threats and the FBI: The Covert War Against the Central America Movement (Boston: South End, 1991)], as well as Palestine support organizers and radical environmental groups like Earth First! at about the same time [Ronald Soble, "Deportation of Alleged PLO Members Tied to FBI Report," Los Angeles Times, Feb. 22, 1987; Jeff Gottlieb, "Immigrants say they're target of FBI harassment," Los Angeles Herald Examiner, May 22,1988. Judi Bari, Timber Wars (Monroe, ME: Common Courage, 1994); Ward Churchill, "The FBI Targets Judi Bari: A Case Study in Domestic Counterinsurgency," Covert Action Quarterly, No. 47, Winter 1993-1994]. In view of all this, there is every reason to assume that such practices have been sustained into the 1990s. Indeed, several Reagan/Bush-era statutes and executive orders, and the recently-passed "Omnibus Anti-Terrorist Crime Bill," make it clear that official reliance on political counterintelligence operations has been steadily increasing, not decreasing. Of particular relevance is Ronald Reagan's Executive Order 12333 (December 4, 1981) which, under Section 2.9, expressly authorizes government infiltration of political organizations for purposes of "influencing" them politically. Under Section 1.8(c) and Section 1.12(d), it also authorizes not only the FBI but the CIA and military intelligence agencies to engage in other previously illegal counterintelligence activities. Under Section 2.6(c), these agencies are authorized to provide "technical assistance" to local police in acquiring the capacity to do the same thing, while under Section 2.4 and Section 2.5, all of them are authorized to engage in warrantless burglaries for purposes of political intelligence. These provisions are incorporated into the current Attorney General's "Guidelines on General Crimes, Racketeering Enterprise and Domestic Security/Terrorism Investigations (March 7, 1983)."