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While in San Miguel de Allende last month, I attended the 7th Annual San Miguel Writers Conference. Much to my surprise, one of the speakers was political activist Naomi Wolf. Everyone was talking about her appearance and the documentary “End of America” (based on her NY Times bestseller book) which was to be shown. The buzz was that there were no tickets to be had. Well, never believe buzz unless you hear it directly from the powers that be. I went to the desk where tickets were being sold to the various Conference events at the Hotel Real de Minas and, to my surprise, there were still some to be had the day prior.
I arrived early in the 800 seat ballroom so as to score a seat close up enough to watch the movie and hear her speak. Her bestseller is a stunning indictment of sweeping policy changes made during the Bush years in which she makes a chilling case that American democracy is under threat. Investigating parallels between our current situation and the rise of dictators and fascism in once-free societies, Wolf uncovers a number of deeply unsettling similarities—from the use of paramilitary groups and secret prisons to the targeted suspension of the rule of law. With this galvanizing call to arms based on “End of America,” she urges regular citizens to take back our legacy of freedom and justice.
Along with Ms. Wolf, was an appearance by Avram Ludwig who produced the film after meeting Ms. Wolf at a party. According to him, he was so taken with what he was hearing about her book that right then and there he said he wanted to make the movie. (he is currently directing a retrospective of all of the films of Elia Kazan for the Actors Studio and Tribeca Film Festival).
The presentation by Ms. Wolf and Q & A that followed the film had chilling inferences. She not only blames the Bush administration for the fact that we are slowly losing our liberties, but comes down hard on the Obama administration for championing the same principles, but even worse.
She has written the sequel to “End of America” called “Give Me Liberty (A Handbook for Revolutionaries)” where she professes a glimmer of hope if the citizenry unites and, most importantly, follows the rule of law. Changes can take place when ordinary citizens engage in the democratic system the way the founders intended and she gives the tools needed and tells how to use that system right now, to change your life, your community, and ultimately, the nation.
She was among those arrested at Occupy Wall Street and succinctly related the incident and the importance that all Occupy movements must do so peacefully akin to the marches ala Martin Luther King. No violence. She couldn’t have been clearer about the negative effects that fringe elements have on the Occupy movements. She talked about the importance of leadership, a spokesperson, and an organized Occupy movement and her belief in a capitalist system. “It will take a long time, but it can be done,” said Naomi Wolf.
For more information: www.naomiwolf.org