Annual Fundraising Appeal

The US Geological Survey recorded a minor earthquake this morning with its epicenter near Wasilla, Alaska, the probable result of Sarah Palin opening her mail box to find the latest issue of CounterPunch magazine we sent her. A few moments later she Instagrammed this startling comment…

Ayers

The lunatic Right certainly has plenty of problems. We’ve made it our business to not only expose these absurdities, but to challenge them directly. With another election cycle gaining steam, more rhetoric and vitriol will be directed at progressive issues. More hatred will be spewed at minorities, women, gays and the poor. There will be calls for more fracking and war. We won’t back down like the Democrats. We’ll continue to publish fact-based critiques and investigative reports on the shenanigans and evil of the Radical Right. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.

Day10

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
button-store2_19

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Let the Mothers Do It

The Iroquois Way of Impeachment

by KAZ DZIAMKA

Not only does American democracy rank a miserable 17th on the list of the world’s modern democracies (according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracy); it also doesn’t fare well when compared with traditional Native American democracies, in particular, with the Iroquois Confederacy–the Haudenosaunee–"the oldest living participatory democracy on earth."

In "Perceptions of America’s Native Democracies," Donald A. Grinde Jr. and Bruce E. Johansen point out that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, among others, could benefit–and did benefit to some extent–from Native Americans’ experience in designing functional democracies. Unfortunately, being racist and sexist as well as mostly contemptuous of direct democracy, our Founding Fathers failed to take full advantage of the political genius of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy: The Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, the Senecas, and the Tuscaroras. Among the Iroquois provisions absent from the U.S. Constitution is the law that allows Iroquois clan mothers to initiate impeachment against incompetent or criminal political leaders, or "sachems":

The rights, duties, and qualifications of sachems were explicitly outlined, and the clan mothers could remove (or impeach) a sachem who was found guilty of any of a number of abuses of office–from missed meetings to murder.

Had our Founding Fathers been less prejudiced and more inclined to study Native American political philosophy seriously, they would have learned a valuable political lesson from the Iroquois. Today the mothers of U.S. soldiers killed in wars started by the neocon armchair warriors in the White House would have the moral and legal authority to initiate impeachment of these immoral "sachems." In the case of the worst crime of the 21st century–the U.S. war on Iraq–the Iroquois law would give Cindy Sheehan and thousands of American mothers the legal power to force impeachment proceedings in the Supreme Court by bypassing an irresponsible or incompetent Congress.

Once removed from office, Bush and other warlords like Cheney and Rumsfeld would be subject to our criminal laws–no pardon or parole being available to officials thus impeached. (Consider the advantage of this provision if Nixon had been sent to prison, instead of being pardoned by President Gerald Ford, an immoral decision that has had tragic consequences.)

The genius of Iroquois democracy to empower mothers, "the Lifegivers of our Mother Earth," with impeachment authority is that such a law restrains expedient political power with apolitical moral judgment. Iroquois women were not part of the political/military elites and did not feel compelled to compromise moral principles under political pressure. Not our elected representatives in Congress, not our career female politicians like Clinton or Pelosi–but ordinary American citizens, mothers of U.S. soldiers, should ultimately keep executive power in check.

It may be that the Iroquois impeachment law is the only efficient way for modern democracies to balance political expediency with moral responsibility.

KAZ DZIAMKA is editor of the American Rationalist and teaches English and Native American Studies at the Albuquerque Central New Mexico Community College. Email: kazd@nmia.com