Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ward Churchill and Academic Freedom

The University of Colorado president has now set in motion a process that is widely expected to lead to Churchill’s dismissal as a tenured professor before students return in the fall. As his supporters mount a last effort to protect him — in the court of public opinion, or quite likely in the courts — they are focused on issues of freedom of expression. Supporters at Colorado’s Boulder campus, where Churchill teaches ethnic studies, and Native American scholars nationwide are calling the campaign to oust him attacks on academic freedom.

But in an interview Tuesday, the president of the university, Hank Brown, strongly defended his actions, and described questions he had considered to assure himself that academic freedom was not being violated. He characterized the Churchill argument of late as a “Paris Hilton defense” — arguing that the professor and the socialite both blame their troubles on being famous, instead of accepting that famous people have to follow the rules just like others do.

The Churchill debate could also prove tricky for the American Association of University Professors, the national group that has traditionally set standards for academic freedom. The campus chapter is strongly backing Churchill and criticizing the conduct of the investigation. But the national AAUP is taking a measured position and in an interview Tuesday, the national group’s chief official on academic freedom defended the right of a university president to take action against someone who becomes notorious for political reasons (as long as the action is related to relevant issues and not the notoriety).

In a memo last week, Brown for the first time called for Churchill’s dismissal. The request awaits a review from a faculty panel and would need approval of the Board of Regents, and follows inquiries by three faculty panels, all of which found Churchill committed multiple instances of academic misconduct.

The investigations of Churchill — who was hired and promoted at Boulder without incident — followed widespread condemnation of his comments about 9/11, and his notorious comparison of World Trade Center victims to “little Eichmanns.” While many political leaders immediately called for Churchill to be fired, the university said it would not. However, when various people came forward with charges of research misconduct, the university investigated those charges and the move to dismiss him cited findings by faculty panels that he had intentionally plagiarized and fabricated work numerous times in his writings.

Churchill has repeatedly characterized any problems with his work as minor, saying that he is being punished for his views. And that is the message his defenders are pushing as he runs out of appeals at Colorado.

Native American scholars from around the country, joined by lawyers, filed new complaints this week against the investigative committees that looked at Churchill’s record. These scholars see an attempt to undercut Churchill’s work and other scholars’ work documenting the atrocities committed by the United States against American Indians.

Michael Yellow Bird, an associate professor in the Indigenous Nations Studies Program at the University of Kansas, said he regularly uses and trusts Churchill’s work for providing “an alternative hypothesis to mainstream thought.” Yellow Bird said that the criticism of Churchill is “clearly an academic freedom issue and politically motivated” because the university “had vetted his stuff” before hiring and promoting him — and didn’t find any problems until there was a national political outcry about the 9/11 writings.

“This is going to make other people think they have to go with the mainstream views,” Yellow Bird said.

James Craven, a professor of economics at Clark College, in Washington State, said that Churchill was subjected to a level of scrutiny that few professors have ever faced or could withstand. “How many scholars could have their own work vetted as his was,” said Craven, who also uses the Blackfoot name Omahkohkiaayo i’poyi. “By impeaching Churchill, they are trying to impeach all of his work, very serious work about the genocide against American Indians,” Craven said. “This sends a message to other academics telling them not to get controversial.”

Margaret LeCompte, a professor of education at Boulder and president of the AAUP chapter there, said that the move to fire Churchill is “an opening wedge in the concerted effort to curb academic freedom and tenure.”

LeCompte acknowledged that faculty members evaluated Churchill’s work and that Brown had relied on professors’ reviews of the evidence. But she said that this left a false impression. “You can have a committee that looks like the right thing but is an absolute corruption of the process,” she said. Anyone “who might have been the least bit sympathetic to Churchill” was kept out of the process, LeCompte said, while those on the panels faced “extraordinary pressure” to find justifications to get rid of Churchill.

Because Churchill wrote about history, she said, the committees should have accepted the idea that different scholars may have different interpretations. “This was not a point of fact like it might be in chemistry or biology,” she said. While there is “probably a chance that there are one or two footnotes out of place” in Churchill’s work, a truly dispassionate review would have found no misconduct, she said. In the “toxic environment” that prevailed at Boulder, there was no way a panel could have cleared Churchill, and that makes the investigations illegitimate, she said.

Brown, the Colorado president, scoffed at the idea that the process had a predetermined outcome. While many legislators have expressed their view that Churchill should be fired, Brown insisted that “no one put pressure on me” to decide the case in a certain way or to pressure professors to do so. Brown noted that he has already announced his intention to leave the presidency, giving him plenty of freedom. “It’s not exactly like I’m worried about keeping my job,” he said.

So how can he be sure that academic freedom isn’t at risk? Brown offered a series of arguments. “None of the charges against Professor Churchill involve his viewpoint or what he said — none of that is relevant to the charges brought against him,” he said. “None of the evidence introduced into the hearings related to what he said [about 9/11] or his views,” Brown added, saying that he had specifically looked to be sure that those political disputes were not cited in any way.

“The only party that has introduced his views into the process has been Professor Churchill,” Brown said.

It is “silly” to say that the process was tainted just because many people know and dislike Churchill’s views, Brown said. “The Paris Hilton defense doesn’t make any sense. The fact that you are a celebrity or you are controversial does not excuse you from being responsible for misdeeds, and in this case there were repeated falsifications or plagiarisms.”

Brown may have backing for that view from the national AAUP. Jonathan Knight, who heads the association’s academic freedom program, said that it was too early to say how the group would end up viewing the case.

But Knight said that even if Churchill’s 9/11 comments prompted scrutiny of his record, that does not negate the possibility that real wrongdoing was found. “There is always a possibility that improper motives are the real reason for dismissing a faculty member. but we’ve never taken the position that an improper motive bars taking a look at whether allegations of misconduct are in fact true,” he said.

He said that any AAUP analysis would look at the process followed to see if Churchill received due process. And in many respects, the process Knight described as appropriate is one that Colorado appears to be following. For example, Knight said that the AAUP believes that after faculty reviews, any presidential move for dismissal should be reviewed one more time by a faculty panel, which could try to change the president’s mind. Colorado is doing that right now, with Brown’s recommendations going back to the last faculty panel that reviewed the case (and recommended 3-2 for suspension, not termination).

Likewise, Knight said, the AAUP did not view it as necessarily a violation of academic freedom if a president doesn’t end up agreeing with a faculty panel — provided the president’s analysis is shared and is “consistent with the standards of the academic profession.” To judge that, he said that the AAUP would need to examine the analysis, the transcript of the hearings involving Churchill, and the evidence — not with the idea of necessarily arriving at a different verdict, but at making sure that the process was fair and the conclusions were an appropriate outcome. In addition, the AAUP would seek to be sure that there was not a “taint” in the very questions asked about Churchill such that he wouldn’t have had a fair shot at defending himself. “The procedure melds with substance in these cases,” Knight said, and may do so even if reasonable people don’t agree.

“The academic profession places important reliance on peer judgment,” Knight said. “But at the same time, the academic profession does not hold that the judgments of faculty committees are absolute. There is in fact a connection between the responsibilities of the faculty and of the administration.”

Scott Jaschik

Presidential Candidate Supports MAPP, Universal Health Care

Presidential hopeful Stewart A. Alexander and the Peace and Freedom Party firmly support the use of medical marijuana and support decriminalizing drugs. Alexander wants to use California Proposition 215 and SB 420 as guidelines for federal legislation that will benefit over 30 million Americans and will reverse 70 years of corrupt laws that have only benefited the greedy capitalist.
Stewart A. Alexander for President Peace and Freedom Party May 31, 2007 Recently Stewart A. Alexander, a Peace and Freedom Party candidate for president, was a guest speaker at a Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project meeting near Palm Springs, California; Stewart Alexander was invited by MAPP Director Lanny Swerdlow. During his presentation Alexander expressed his continued support for a single payer health care program and his commitment to protect the rights of individuals that are in need of medical marijuana. The MAPP meeting was the first public forum that Alexander addressed, announcing his bid to become the next president of the United States. Attending the meeting were many MAPP supporters and other guest that support the rights of medical marijuana patients. Alexander believes the rights of many patients, in need of medical care that could benefit from the use of medical marijuana, have been denied due to local and state road blocks, and corrupt federal laws that hamper the enforcement of voter approved laws. There are presently 26 states, including the District of Columbia that has laws enabling the use of medical marijuana for medicinal purposes under specific guidelines. In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215, The Compassionate Use Act of 1996, by a 56 percent margin of voters. Proposition 215 gave medical patients only some of the following benefits: To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person’s health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, Aids, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief. To ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction. To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana. In September 2003, the California State Legislature passed SB 420. The bill provides patients safeguards for the implementation of Proposition 215. Among many of the provisions of SB 420, this bill provides guidelines to protect patient rights and establishes local and state guidelines for patient use and distribution of marijuana. The use of cannabis, or marijuana, dates back over 4,000 years, before the Greeks, the Romans, and was used as a herb for healing by the early Egyptians and Chinese; and until 1937 marijuana was legal in the United States and was widely used for medical purposes. However in the 1930’s, many special interest groups believed marijuana was too accessible and cut into the profits of the emerging U.S. pharmaceutical industry; therefore its use was made illegal and marijuana was banned in 1937; with the help of a powerful national propaganda campaign. Banning this single drug has created unlimited wealth and trillions for the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. Marijuana has been accepted by many scientist and doctors, to aid patients with relief in more than 100 different diseases and ailments including Aids. The prison industry in California, supported by Democratic and Republican politicians, also has spent tens of billions of dollars on the ever loaded prisons. Tens of thousands of these prisoners are being jailed for non-violent, violations of laws such as possession of marijuana or for violation of parole by possession of this drug. Such incarcerations have led to a situation that more money is now spent in California on the prison industry than on education. This is also the growing situation nationally. In San Francisco, Bush([search]) appointed U.S. Attorney Scott Schools is using federal funds to prosecute medical marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal. Ed Rosenthal is now facing a retaliatory prosecution by a U.S. Attorney who has also prosecuted anti-war protesters in South Carolina and who worked under Jesse Helms Jr. in South Carolina. These laws are propagated by politicians who at the same time allow the pharmaceutical companies continued access on national television and the media to push their drugs on the population. This “legal” drug pushing for profit is another example of the twisted priorities and deadly health results of a society based on the needs of making the profits for two powerful industries, the prison industry and pharmaceutical industry, a priority over social needs. Stewart Alexander and the Peace and Freedom Party firmly support the use of medical marijuana and support decriminalizing drugs. Alexander wants to use California Proposition 215 and SB 420 as guidelines for federal legislation that will benefit over 30 million Americans and will reverse 70 years of corrupt laws that have only benefited the greedy capitalist. For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander for President; Stewart Alexander Addresses Health Care Reform; Alexander: PFP Setting Tone for 2008. stewartalexander4paf (at)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My Mother and I Would Like to Know

by by William S. Burroughs

[From Evergreen Review Reader #67, June 1969.]

The uneasy spring of 1988. Under the pretext of drug control, suppressive police states have been set up throughout the Western world. The precise programming of thought, feeling, and apparent sensory impressions by the technology outlined in bulletin 2332 enables the police states to maintain a democratic facade from behind which they loudly denounce as criminal perverts and drug addicts anyone who opposes the control machine. Underground armies operate in the large cities, enturbulating the police with false information through anonymous phone calls and letters. Police with drawn guns erupt at the senator's dinner party, a very special dinner party too, that would tie up a sweet thing in surplus planes.

"We been tipped off a nude reefer party is going on here. Take the place apart, boys, and you folks keep your clothes on or I'll blow your filthy guts out."

We put out false alarms on the police short wave directing patrol cars to nonexistent crimes and riots which enables us to strike somewhere else. Squads of false police search and beat the citizenry. False construction workers tear up streets, rupture water mains, cut power connections. Infra-sound installations set off every burglar alarm in the city. Our aim is total chaos.

Loft room, map of the city on the wall. Fifty boys with portable tape recorders record riots from TV. They are dressed in identical grey flannel suits. They strap on the recorders under gabardine topcoats and dust their clothes lightly with tear gas. They hit the rush hour in a flying wedge, riot recordings on full blast, police whistles, screams, breaking glass, crunch of night sticks, tear gas flapping from their clothes. They scatter, put on press cards, and come back to cover the action. Bearded Yippies rush down a street with hammers, breaking every window on both sides, leave a wake of screaming burglar alarms, strip off the beards, reverse collars, and they are fifty clean priests throwing gasoline bombs under every car - WHOOSH a block goes up behind them. In fireman uniforms, arrive with axes and hoses to finish the good work.

In Mexico, South and Central America, guerrilla units are forming an army of liberation to free the United States. In North Africa, from Tangier to Timbuktu, corresponding units prepare to liberate Western Europe and the United Kingdom. Despite disparate aims and personnel of its constituent members, the underground is agreed on basic objectives. We intend to march on the police machine everywhere. We intend to destroy the police machine and all its records. We intend to destroy all dogmatic verbal systems. The family unit and its cancerous expansion into tribes, countries, nations, we will eradicate at its vegetable roots. We don't want to hear any more family talk, mother talk, father talk, cop talk, priest talk, country talk or party talk. To put it country simple, we have heard enough bullshit.

I am on my way from London to Tangier. In North Africa I will contact the wild boy packs that range from the outskirts of Tangier to Timbuktu. Rotation and exchange is a keystone of the underground. I am bringing them modern weapons: laser guns, infrasound installations, Deadly Orgone Radiation. I will learn their specialized skills and transfer wild boy units to the Western cities. We know that the West will invade Africa and South America in an all-out attempt to crush the guerrilla units. Doktor Kurt Unruh von Steiplatz, in his four-volume treatise on the authority sickness, predicts these latter-day crusades. We will be ready to strike in their cities and to resist in the territories we now hold. Meanwhile we watch and train and wait.

I have a thousand faces and a thousand names. I am nobody I am everybody. I am me I am you. I am here there forward back in out. I stay everywhere I stay nowhere. I stay present I stay absent. Disguise is not a false beard, dyed hair, and plastic surgery. Disguise is clothes and bearing and behavior that leaves no questions unanswered... American tourist with a wife he calls "Mother"... old queen on the make... dirty beatnik... marginal film producer... Every article of my luggage and clothing is carefully planned to create a certain impression. Behind this impression I can operate without interference for a time. Just so long, and long enough. So I walk down Boulevard Pasteur handing out money to guides and shoe-shine boys. And that is only one of the civic things I did. I bought one of those souvenir matchlocks clearly destined to hang over a false fireplace in West Palm Beach, Florida, and I carried it around wrapped in brown paper with the muzzle sticking out. I made inquiries at the Consulate:

"Now Mother and I would like to know."

And "Mother and I would like to know" in American Express and the Minzah pulling wads of money out of my pocket "How much shall I give them?" I asked the vice-consul, for a horde of guides had followed me into the Consulate. "I wonder if you've met my congressman Joe Link?"

Nobody gets through my cover, I assure you. There is no better cover than a nuisance and a bore. When you see my cover you don't look further. You look the other way fast. For use on any foreign assignment there is nothing like the old reliable American tourist cameras and fight meters slung all over him.

"How much shall I give him, Mother?"

I can sidle up to any old bag, she nods and smiles it's all so familiar "must be that cute man we met on the plane over from Gibraltar Captain Clark welcomes you aboard and he says: 'Now what's this form? I don't read Arabic.' Then he turns to me and says 'Mother I need help.' And I show him how to fill out the form and after that he would come up to me on the street this cute man so helpless bobbing up everywhere."

"What's he saying, Mother?"

"I think he wants money."

"They all do." He turns to an army of beggars, guides, shoe-shine boys, and whores of all sexes and makes an ineffectual gesture.

"Go away! Scram off!"

"One dirhem Meester."

"One cigarette."

"You want beeg one Meester?"

And the old settlers pass on the other side. No they don't get through my cover. And I have a lot of special numbers for emergency use... Character with wild eyes that spin in little circles believes trepanning is the last answer pull you into a garage and try to do the job with an electric drill straight away.

"Now if you'll kindly take a seat here."

"Say what is this?"

"All over ina minute and you'll be out of that rigid cranium."

So word goes out stay away from that one. You need him like a hole in the head. I have deadly old-style bores who are translating the Koran into Provençal or constructing a new cosmology based on "brain breathing." And the animal lover with exotic pets. The CIA man looks down with moist suspicious brow at the animal in his lap. It is a large ocelat its claws pricking into his flesh, and every time he tries to shove it away the animal growls and digs in. I won't be seeing that Bay of Pigs again.

So I give myself a week on the build-up and make contact. Colonel Bradly knows the wild boys better than any man in Africa. In fact he has given his whole life to youth and, it would seem, gotten something back. There is talk of the devil's bargain and in fact he is indecently young looking for a man of sixty odd. As the Colonel puts it with engaging candor:

"The world is not my home you understand here on young people."

We have lunch on the terrace of his mountain house. A heavily wooded garden with pools and paths stretches down to a cliff over the sea. Lunch is turbot in cream sauce, grouse, wild asparagus, peaches in wine. Quite a change from the grey cafeteria food I have been subjected to in Western cities where I pass myself off a one of the faceless apathetic citizens searched and questioned by the police on every corner, set upon by brazen muggers, stumbling home to my burglarized apartment to find the narcotics squad going through my medicine chest again. We are served by a lithe young Malay with bright red gums. Colonel Bradly jabs a fork at him.

"Had a job getting that dish through immigration. The Consulate wasn't at all helpful." After lunch we settle down to discuss my assignment.

"The wild boys are an overflow from North African cities that started in 1969. The uneasy Spring of 1969 in Marrakech. Spring in Marrakech is always uneasy each day a little hotter knowing what Marrakech can be in August. That Spring gasoline gangs prowled the rubbish heaps, alleys, and squares of the city dousing just anybody with gasoline and setting that person on fire. They rush in anywhere nice young couple sitting in their chintzy middle-class living room when hello yes hello the gas boys rush in douse them head to foot with a pump fire extinguisher full of gasoline, and I got some good pictures from a closet where I had prudently taken refuge. Shot of the boy who lit the match he let the rank and file slosh his couple then he lit a Swan match face young pure pitiless as the cleansing fire brought the match close enough to catch the fumes. Then he lit a Player with the same match sucked the smoke in and smiled he was listening to the screams and I thought my God what a cigarette ad: Clam bake on a beach the BOY there with a match. He is looking at two girls in bikinis. As he lights the match they lean forward with a LUCKYSTRIKE CHESTERFIEIDOLDGOLDCAMELPLAYER in the bim and give a pert little salute. The BOY turned out to be the hottest property in advertising. Enigmatic smile on the delicate young face. Just what is the BOY looking at? We had set out to sell cigarettes or whatever else we were paid to sell. The BOY was too hot to handle. Temples were erected to the BOY and there were posters of his face seventy feet high and all the teenagers began acting like the BOY looking at you with a dreamy look, lips parted over the Wheaties. They all bought BOY shirts and BOY knives running around like wolf packs, burning looting killing it spread everywhere all that summer in Marrakech the city would light up at night human torches flickering on walls, trees, fountains all very romantic you could map the dangerous areas sitting on your balcony under the stars sipping a Scotch. I looked across the square and watched a tourist burning in blue fire they had gasoline that burned in all colors by them... (He turned on the projector and stepped to the edge of the balcony)... Just look at them out there all those little figures dissolving in light. Rather like fairy land isn't it except for the smell of gasoline and burning flesh.

"Well they called in a strong man Colonel Arachnid Ben Driss who cruised the city in trucks rounded up the gas boys took them outside the walls shaved their heads and machine-gunned them. Survivors went underground or took to the deserts and the mountains where they evolved different ways of life and modes of combat."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan

Posted by adi11235 on May 29th, 2007

Dear Ms. Sheehan,

You have recently written an entry in your diary which, if you’ll pardon me the metaphor, hands in your resignation to the anti-war movement. Even though I have not gone through the same experiences, I strongly sympathize with everything you say in it, and I think I may help clarify some things you might not yet be aware of.

Your thoughtful disillusionment with left-wing and right-wing politics echoes the feeling that other reasonable people, who desire change for the better but realize that politics is always the same song-and-dance, are eventually faced with. You are far from being alone.

To me, the most poignant passage in your entry is this:

The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think.

You, and at least three thousand other mothers of soldiers, as well as tens of thousands of Iraqi mothers, are justified in demanding justice. But such justice will never be granted you by the government, whether it be Republican or Democrat.

Sending young men to their deaths for the interests of the ruling class is a phenomena that has existed for as long as government has existed as a concept. Every empire, from the Roman Empire to the British Empire to the current “America, World Police,” has had its millions of youths willing to spill their own blood for their “homeland,” indoctrinated in believing in their “homeland” from day one.

You probably understand the impossibility of getting justice for the war through politics by now. Neither will the end of these unjust wars be granted, even when the Iraq War itself eventually ends. The fact of the matter is this:

Political means cannot give lasting freedom. All that can be achieved by political means is the sustenance of political means (in short: politics can only create more politics).

I do not blame you from not knowing this from the onset, as most people have been indoctrinated into believing that the only avenue for change is to “work within the system.” I also used to believe in “working the system.” However, no successful ideology or movement has ever achieved any lasting freedom through doing so, because the ruling class is always in control.

You say you want “peace with justice.” This is a laudable goal, and I agree with you. In your tumultuous association with the peace movement, have you found anyone who was actually willing to understand the root causes of war, and how to eradicate them? Or did you only find people willing to agitate against war, but with no binding force or principle?

I am sure you have thought about the causes of war. I can’t vouch for your reflexions on the topic. I will tell you what I know. There are many factors that cause war, and most of these are outside anyone’s reach. But I can point to one necessary and crucial cause that we can change: government power. And who says government, says taxation.

The 20th Century proved, if you were paying any attention, that taxation is the great enemy of civilization. How do you think Hitler paid for that army? With voluntary contributions? How did Stalin pay for the Gulag Archipelago? With baked goods sales? James Ostrowski

Everyone is forced to comply and finance these wars, whether they like them or not, by taxation. By monopolizing the resources in a society, government has the power of waging war on a grand scale, in the name of interests which otherwise would not waste the money needed for such actions. Government has the power of luring our youth with free educations in order to do its bidding, or outright enslave them for a period of time (through the draft).

Activists love the government because they want to manipulate its power to their advantage. So it is a very hard fact to face for peace activists, but an inescapable fact, that government is necessary for large-scale war. Anyone who desires peace as a primary value of society must realize that lasting peace can only be achieved if there is no government.

In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful. Leo Tolstoy (Christian Anarchist)

As a Market Anarchist, I believe that government, as the monopoly on law and force in a society, exploits people’s resources, children and moral integrity in the name of wars that only benefit itself and its powerful friends. I also believe that the only way to prevent governance abuse is to have a free competition of governance, on the market.

Right now, those who govern us are held accountable to no one. They will never be held accountable unless they have equally powerful competitors able to use the law to get recourse for the victims. They will never be held accountable until we can choose not support them, and support someone else instead, leaving us free to live our lives the way we intend.

It would be absurd for anyone to cooperate with their enemies (the ruling class) in order to try to achieve change! And yet that is what most peace activists do. The ideology of peace, like any other ideology or movement, can only be achieved by disengagement and principled resistance.

All successful improvements in man’s freedom and understanding have been brought about by such means. No positive movement in history has ever succeeded by any other means. And disengagement and principled resistance against government and its criminal monopoly is what we advocate.

You may think that the concepts we advocate sound radical. However, I truly believe they are the only solution to the problem of war. Historically, Market Anarchist societies did not wage war on other societies, simply because war is too costly to wage if you have to bear the cost yourself, and you can’t steal from others or enslave them in order to wage wars for you. Until we understand that having a monopoly of force able to finance war by stealing from our own pockets and enslaving our children is a bad idea, we will never solve the problem of war.

I hope I have been able to clarify some things for you, and perhaps spark some interest in our growing movement. Either way, good luck to you in your future endeavors.

Francois Tremblay

Originally posted at Franc Tremblay’s blog. I give it a 10/10.

Time to Leave the Democratic Party

by Myles Hoenig / May 29th, 2007

Cindy Sheehan leaving the Democratic Party should not come as a surprise. It is believed that she intended to run against Diane Feinstein in the California Democratic Primary but the “progressive” thugs of the party, namely Boxer, Pelosi, and others, convinced her otherwise. They put Party loyalty and Feinstein’s husband’s financial interests (armaments) over principles. Sheehan’s weakness was emblematic of the Party she had hoped would come to the rescue and end this war.

For many wavering Party loyalists, the recent Congressional capitulation to the President?s war plans is the final straw. As David Vest said regarding the evil in choosing one party over the other, it is like being “asked to choose between the village idiot and someone who’s consistently outsmarted by him.”

What choices do Democrats have now? Those who put Party loyalty over principle will clearly stay with their party hoping against hope that the Democrats will redeem themselves. But like waiting for the mythical messiah, or Godot, that will never happen. The alternative choices are simple. Register Green Party, Socialist, Independent, or tear up one?s voter registration card. Forming another party is way too burdensome and expensive, although strong arguments can be made that this country is ripe for such a move.

Missing from the calculus would be that leaving the Democratic Party would give us a right wing in control of all. That’s already here, thanks in large part to the Democrats. Remember when the strongest (but still wrong) argument for not voting for Ralph Nader in 2000 was that a Republican win would give us a right wing Supreme Court? Nader was probably finishing off his “The Seventeen Traditions” when the Democrats gave us Alito and Roberts without a filibuster. We can thank the Democrats for elevating Condi Rice to Secretary of State, rather than turning her over to The Hague for War Crimes. And to most establishment Democrats, Colin Powell still stirs admiration in their hearts and they wish he were one of them. He is. He just has an “R” next to his name.

On issues as labor (secretive free trade agreements lauded by the Chamber of Commerce), immigration, and refusing to support real universal health care with a Single Payer system, the Democrats have no argument left for why progressive should be in their corner. There is no corner in a circle and the Democrats have gone full circle to embrace the tenets of Republicanism.

How ironic that some think the savior of the Democratic Party is someone like Al Gore. Many people foolishly are wishing for him to enter the race. Michael Moore is one of them, as he implied it on Real Time with Bill Maher. The one person least deserving of the presidency is Gore. Not only did he not fight for the theft of his election in 2000, but he never lifted a finger to fight the disenfranchisement of thousands of black Floridians. He wrote an excellent environmental book before becoming VP, (Earth in the Balance), and produced an Academy Award movie on the environment (An Inconvenient Truth) after he left office. Too bad when he had real power as Vice President he was an environmental bastard. As one who has been part of the problem for decades, it is galling that he questions what is wrong with our politics today.

Cindy Sheehan has been known as the Peace Mom. She helped to establish an atmosphere where attacking the war, from its conception to its operations, is only an act of treason to the Fox network and their toadies, like Rudy Guliani. Perhaps she can be a trend setter in the political arena. Leaving the Democratic Party certainly is hard for many, but how can one look at oneself in the mirror if they don’t?

Myles Hoenig is the campaign manager for Ed Boyd, Green Party candidate for Governor of Maryland, 2006. He can be reached at ***

Cindy Sheehan Quits Anti-War Activism

Feels Betrayed, Leaving Democratic PartyVirginia Pearcy, anti-war activist:

"I think Cindy is leading the way to show us that the answer to ending this home is not going to be found in the Democratic Party, it's not going to be found in the Republican party, and so we're going to have to look elsewhere."

Nude Descending a Staircase

duchamp nude descending a staircase * Nude Descending a Staircase
Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind.
We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh.
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by.
One-woman waterfall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair
Collects her motions into shape.
 -- X. J. Kennedy

Monday, May 28, 2007

Jane Roberts - The Seth Video - Part 1/3

Jane Roberts - The Seth Video - Part 2/3

Jane Roberts - The Seth Video - Part 3/3


Chris, December 31st, 2006
Monday, May 28
[This is a pre-produced Memorial Day special that has already been recorded.]

The quick-silver mind of William James — “incandescent, tormented, mercurial” were his wife’s words for a scientist and philosopher who fancied chaos, chance and direct experience — leaps off the page of Robert Richardson’s new biography. Not a surprise, really, from either man. We have stomped the Concord trails of Thoreau and Emerson with Bob Richardson; to be with him is to feel the glow of his “minds on fire.” In William James’s case it’s the reckless, ever-experimental energy, what novelist Henry James remembered from boyhood as “my brother’s signal vivacity and cordiality, his endless spontaneity of mind.”

William James

William James

[Courtesy of William James Society ]

Just to remind you, James was first among the Harvard faculty giants a century ago, a man who’d tutored Teddy Roosevelt, W. E. B. DuBois and Gertrude Stein, a famous international lecturer who also dabbled in drugs and mind-bending gases and who, on his death-bed asked his brother Henry to linger in Cambridge for 6 weeks post-mortem, to receive if possible William’s messages from the next world.

Beyond his imprint on canonical learning and common understanding of psychology, philosophy and the study of religion, Robert Richardson writes: “James’s best is often in his unorthodox, half-blind, unpredictable lunges at the great question of how to live, and in this his work sits on the same shelf with Marcus Aurelius, Montaigne, Samuel Johnson and Emerson.”

Robert Richardson says there will always be three reasons to reacquaint ourselves with William James. I would add two more. Please add your own below.

1. James fathered the study of “consciousness,” about the same time Freud (a passing acquaintance) was developing the unconscious. James conceived of mind as a living stream of activity. His emphasis was on the action in consciousness, inseparable from the physiology and chemistry of the individual brain. The elementary fact of mental life “is not thought, or this thought or that thought, but my thought.” James is the source point of the cognitive sciences and the widespread study today of “how the mind works.”

2. William James was the philosopher of “Pragmatism,” i.e. the now old-fashioned American argument that the truth is something that happens to an idea; that the truth of something is the sum of its actual results. As in his psychology (where he argued: the child is not crying because she’s unhappy; she’s unhappy because she is crying), Pragmatism put the focus on the “fruits, not the roots” of ideas and feelings. President McKinley’s annexation of the Philippines, for example, demonstrated American Imperialism to be a Bad Idea:

… during those three years and more when our army was slaughtering and burning, and famine, fire, disease and depopulation were the new allies we invoked… The most sanguine expect no real assimilation of our prey to us or of us to our prey for fifty years to come, and no one who knows history expects that it can genuinely come at all.

William James, Address on the Phillipine Question, December,1903

3. James was the re-inventor of religion, most especially for the multitudes (then and now) itching to loosen the authority of church and dogma. James created the modern universe of religious studies by shifting the focus from saints, scriptures and creeds toward the actual experiences of individuals — both common and peculiar.

4. As the son and brother of two remarkable Henry Jameses (Sr. and Jr.), William is a human study of endless interest. Growing up in the “gleeful anarchy and high-toned hilarity” of a rich, over-gifted family, eldest-son William felt pressure from his noisy, peripatetic father to be a scientist, and from himself to be an artist. He wrote in a letter from Germany at 16: “I will be prepared for everything.” Will we ever grasp how these James boys (the Good James Boys, as opposed to Frank and Jesse, their contemporary Bad James Boys) came to their enthusiastic mastery of multi-lingual reading, non-stop writing, distillation, argument and style? Richardson is brilliant on another personal secret: the process by which William, near suicide in his mid-twenties, “turned trouble into insight and self-loathing into energy.” James himself wrote later: “Despair lames most people, but it wakes others fully up.”

5. As a prose stylist, William today is arresting, fresh, original and quotable as he ever was — quite as perfect for his own purposes as was Henry, the beloved brother that William never stopped needling for his wordy abstractions in fiction. William James’s sentences have the sound of a man’s voice teaching — and of family-friend Emerson’s rockets going off. As, for example, in the line drawn against Platonism in his essay, “The Stream of Consciousness”:

…A permanently existing ‘Idea’ which makes its appearance before the footlights of consciousness at periodical intervals is as mythological an entity as the Jack of Spades.

William James, The Stream of Consciousness, 1892

When Jimmy Carter in the oil shortage of the 1970s called for “the moral equivalent of war” against a ruinous energy addiction, he was of course drawing on one of William James’s most eloquent, uttlerly ageless essays, a sweeping denunciation of war and at the same time, a paean to military values:

…History is a bath of blood. The Illiad is one long recital of how Diomedes and Ajax, Sarpedon and Hector killed. No detail of the wounds they made is spared us, and the Greek mind fed upon the story. Greek history is a panorama of jingoism and imperialism — war for war’s sake, all the citizens being warriors. It is horrible reading — because of the irrationality of it all — save for the purpose of making “history” — and the history is that of the utter ruin of a civilization in intellectual respects perhaps the highest the earth has ever seen…

…All these beliefs of mine put me firmly into the anti-military party. But I do not believe that peace either ought to be or will be permanent on this globe, unless the states, pacifically organized, preserve some of the old elements of army-discipline. A permanently successful peace-economy cannot be a simple pleasure-economy. In the more or less socialistic future toward which mankind seems drifting we must still subject ourselves collectively to those severities which answer to our real position upon this only partly hospitable globe. We must make new energies and hardihoods continue the manliness to which the military mind so faithfully clings. Martial virtues must be the enduring cement; intrepidity, contempt of softness, surrender of private interest, obedience to command, must still remain the rock upon which states are built — unless, indeed, we wish for dangerous reactions against commonwealths, fit only for contempt, and liable to invite attack whenever a centre of crystallization for military-minded enterprise gets formed anywhere in their neighborhood.

William James, The Moral Equivalent of War, 1910

I think of William James as he thought of John Stuart Mill, “whom my fancy likes to picture as our leader were he alive today.” Or, as the philosopher George Santayana thought of his colleague. William James, Santayana said,

…kept his mind and heart wide open to all that might seem to polite minds, odd, personal, or visionary in religion and philosophy. He gave a sincerely respectful hearing to sentimentalists, wizards, cranks, quacks and imposters… He thought, with his usual modesty, that any of these might have something to teach him…. Thus, William James became the friend and helper of those groping, nervous, half-educated, spiritually disinherited, passionately hungry individuals of which America is full.

George Santayna, Winds of Doctrine, quoted in Richardson’s William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism, page 160.

I think of William James, in short, as our mightiest, most inclusive American mind, still amongst us with an almost neighborly familiarity. Where shall the conversation begin?

Robert Richardson

Women, please be patient - still

By Rowan Wolf


A couple of week’s ago, a young woman in nothern Iraq (Kurdish region) was stoned to death for wanting to marry outside her sect (Yazidi). Since then, the event has kept returning to me as emblematic of the deteriorated status of women in Iraq that has occurred since the United States took control.

The stoning of Doaa Aswad Dekhil of Bashika, aged 17, is tragic in a place that is supposedly becoming “democratic,” but it is consistent with the ongoing segregation of women’s personhood and so called “human rights. This deterioration is expanding. A student of mine from Iran has approached me recently to talk about his concern for women in Iran as conditions for women deteriorate their as well. Part of an overall response and retreat to extremeism that is characteristic of the politics of fear. I wrote the piece below in 2003 in response to the ongoing deterioration of the status of women in Afghanistan and Iraq - places where the US boot print is particularly strong. I share it with you because it seems as appropriate now as it did then.

Women, please be patient

It seems that everywhere there are struggles for freedom and equality women are told to be patient. Afghanistan and Iraq are two interesting examples. Women in Afghanistan were brutally repressed under under the Taliban. There was hope that with the overthrow of the Taliban, women could become active citizens in their nation again. After a brief surge of semi-freedom the veil (literally) is dropping again.

In Iraq under Saddam Hussein, women faced largely the same controls as males, but were remarkably free to pursue education and occupation. For all that Iraq was a dictatorship, it was a secular dictatorship. Women in Iraq are among the most educated in the Middle East.

Now Iraq is “liberated” and the conditions for women are rapidly deteriorating. Women are being ridiculed, kidnapped, attacked and raped. But fear not, a “democracy” is being established.

There is a logical fallacy in the argument that “womens’ rights” somehow are second to liberation. In the US, during the leftist and civil rights movements of the 1960s and 70s, women were told that “their turn would come.” Or that somehow women’s social equality would naturally flow from other struggles for equality. Seeing that was not happening, women started organizing for our own equality.

Somehow, consistently, women’s conditions are subordinated to, and considered less fundamental than, the “people’s conditions.” When these kinds of distinctions are made, who then are the “people?” If you extract women’s equality and participation from the collectivity of “people,” what remains are men. Men’s concerns and conditions; men’s freedom and equality; men throwing off the yoke of “oppression;” men creating another society (or reshaping society) for the “people,” and people equals men.

If there is active concern for the full participation of various ethnic and religious groups within Iraq as a prerequisite for a “democratic” Iraq, how can the group which composes over half of each of those ethnic and religious groups be excluded from the table? If it is despicable to oppress the Kurds (for example), then why is it not equally despicable to oppress women? And why can this fabrication go on and on?

The simple answer is that patriarchy systematically excludes women - whether that is the patriarchy of US mainstream society, Afghan society, Iraqi society, etc. But underlying the process is the conceptual doublethink that “people” and “human” equals everyone when in fact it consistently means “men.” Further, because we are so used to this conceptual machination and the systems that support it, it seems only appropriate that somehow the health and freedom of the “people” supercedes the health and freedom of “women.” There is more than a suggestion that women are somehow being selfish and cruel to assert that their issues be considered and accommodated. “Step back ladies, we’ll get to you.”

Excluding women from the processes of the society, especially the reconstruction of societies, seems doomed to recreating the same structures over and over again. Some would argue that this is a cultural issue, and certainly culture plays a huge part in this, but there is something bigger than culture. Certainly in US international policies the often brutal conditions which women experience is not a significant barrier to political and economic exchange. Despite global pleas for pressure to be placed on the Taliban because of the brutality of Afghan women’s lives, the US (and other nations) continued to support the Taliban. It only came up as a public political issue to help justify the invasion of Afghanistan and overthrow of the Taliban. Of course, women are not “equal” in the US either though the myth exists that we are.

So I posit the radical notion that the denial of rights and oppression of women is equally important as the denial of rights and the oppression of any other group in a society. Underlying this notion is that women ARE those other groups and one cannot separate them out from “the rest of the population” seeking a better life.

Articles of interest
Where are Iraq’s Women? Westcott, BBC, 5/08/03.
Iraq: Women’s Rights Put on Hold, Pejman, IPS, 10/04/03.
WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN: A human rights catastrophe Amnesty International 1995.
The Plight of the Afghan Women, Afghanistan Online.
Beaten, Abused, Chained. This is One Afghan Woman’s ‘Liberation’ Monakhov, Observer/UK, 10/05/03

Cindy Sheehan Leaves the Democratic Party

[Thanks to Catharine for this link]

Dear Democratic Congress by CindySheehan Sat May 26, 2007 at 07:03:16 AM PDT

May 26, 2007 Dublin, Ireland

Dear Democratic Congress,

Hello, my name is Cindy Sheehan and my son Casey Sheehan was killed on April 04, 2004 in Sadr City , Baghdad , Iraq . He was killed when the Republicans still were in control of Congress. Naively, I set off on my tireless campaign calling on Congress to rescind George’s authority to wage his war of terror while asking him "for what noble cause" did Casey and thousands of other have to die. Now, with Democrats in control of Congress, I have lost my optimistic naiveté and have become cynically pessimistic as I see you all caving into as one Daily Kos poster called: "Mr. 28%"

* CindySheehan's diary :: :: *

There is absolutely no sane or defensible reason for you to hand Bloody King George more money to condemn more of our brave, tired, and damaged soldiers and the people of Iraq to more death and carnage. You think giving him more money is politically expedient, but it is a moral abomination and every second the occupation of Iraq endures, you all have more blood on your hands.

Ms. Pelosi, Speaker of the House, said after George signed the new weak as a newborn baby funding authorization bill: "Now, I think the president’s policy will begin to unravel." Begin to unravel? How many more of our children will have to be killed and how much more of Iraq will have to be demolished before you all think enough unraveling has occurred? How many more crimes will BushCo be allowed to commit while their poll numbers are crumbling before you all gain the political "courage" to hold them accountable. If Iraq hasn’t unraveled in Ms. Pelosi’s mind, what will it take? With almost 700,000 Iraqis dead and four million refugees (which the US refuses to admit) how could it get worse? Well, it is getting worse and it can get much worse thanks to your complicity.

Being cynically pessimistic, it seems to me that this new vote to extend the war until the end of September, (and let’s face it, on October 1st, you will give him more money after some more theatrics, which you think are fooling the anti-war faction of your party) will feed right into the presidential primary season and you believe that if you just hang on until then, the Democrats will be able to re-take the White House. Didn’t you see how "well" that worked for John Kerry in 2004 when he played the politics of careful fence sitting and pandering? The American electorate are getting disgusted with weaklings who blow where the wind takes them while frittering away our precious lifeblood and borrowing money from our new owners, the Chinese.

I knew having a Democratic Congress would make no difference in grassroots action. That’s why we went to DC when you all were sworn in to tell you that we wanted the troops back from Iraq and BushCo held accountable while you pushed for ethics reform which is quite a hoot...don’t’ you think? We all know that it is affordable for you all to play this game of political mayhem because you have no children in harm’s way...let me tell you what it is like:

You watch your reluctant soldier march off to a war that neither you nor he agrees with. Once your soldier leaves the country all you can do is worry. You lie awake at night staring at the moon wondering if today will be the day that you get that dreaded knock on your door. You can’t concentrate, you can’t eat, and your entire life becomes consumed with apprehension while you are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Then, when your worst fears are realized, you begin a life of constant pain, regret, and longing. Everyday is hard, but then you come up on "special" upcoming Memorial Day. Memorial Day holds double pain for me because, not only are we supposed to honor our fallen troops, but Casey was born on Memorial Day in 1979. It used to be a day of celebration for us and now it is a day of despair. Our needlessly killed soldiers of this war and the past conflict in Vietnam have all left an unnecessary trail of sorrow and deep holes of absence that will never be filled.

So, Democratic Congress, with the current daily death toll of 3.72 troops per day, you have condemned 473 more to these early graves. 473 more lives wasted for your political greed: Thousands of broken hearts because of your cowardice and avarice. How can you even go to sleep at night or look at yourselves in a mirror? How do you put behind you the screaming mothers on both sides of the conflict? How does the agony you have created escape you? It will never escape me...I can’t run far enough or hide well enough to get away from it.

By the end of September, we will be about 80 troops short of another bloody milestone: 4000, and will hold nationwide candlelight vigils and you all will be busy passing legislation that will snuff the lights out of thousands more human beings.

Congratulations Congress, you have bought yourself a few more months of an illegal and immoral bloodbath. And you know you mean to continue it indefinitely so "other presidents" can solve the horrid problem BushCo forced our world into.

It used to be George Bush’s war. You could have ended it honorably. Now it is yours and you all will descend into calumnious history with BushCo.

The Camp Casey Peace Institute is calling all citizens who are as disgusted as we are with you all to join us in Philadelphia on July 4th to try and figure a way out of this "two" party system that is bought and paid for by the war machine which has a stranglehold on every aspect of our lives. As for myself, I am leaving the Democratic Party. You have completely failed those who put you in power to change the direction our country is heading. We did not elect you to help sink our ship of state but to guide it to safe harbor.

We do not condone our government’s violent meddling in sovereign countries and we condemn the continued murderous occupation of Iraq .

We gave you a chance, you betrayed us.

Sincerely, Cindy Sheehan Founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace.

Founder and Director of The Camp Casey Peace Institute

Eternally grieving mother of Casey Sheehan

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day Video

Watch Video: Windows Media Player | Quicktime | YouTube
This is the video I made for this Memorial Day. Regardless of how I feel about past and currents wars, I honor and respect anyone who signs up to defend our country. This video is my Memorial Day tribute to all of those brave men and women.
Posted on 27 May 2007 by Ava

Saturday, May 26, 2007


On the 21st of May a group of students occupied the main hall of the Faculty of arts (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) with an intention of practicing autonomy and freedom of thought. We symbolically opened the Autonomous Tribune for discussion and debated the study problems, higher education reforms, privatization of the university and the question of autonomy. With this initiative we have joined the students in Europe and the World, who have already started the fight against neoliberal reforms of educational system and the submission of all aspects of social life to the logic of market economy. The Autonomous Tribune has come to the following conclusions: 1. We are objecting to the new draft of a bill regarding higher education. Not only was the bill written without involvement of those who should be involved in the first place, that is students and workers of the university, but also its content is a total failure. 2. We demand that any future legal arrangements of this field are based on the next premises: The University is autonomous! The University is not a corporation! Study is free and generally available to everyone! Knowledge must not be a matter of privatization and the capitalist profit-oriented logic! Knowledge should be a commodity available to everyone, serving the whole society and not merely the interests of capital. University is in the hands of the students and not in the hands of the rulers and the capital. Educational process must be collective, containing dialogue and is to be based on the interest and the needs of the future university graduates. It must encourage solidarity, spontaneity, imagination, critique and reflection. All programs that encourage militarization and subject the study to the market logic must be immediately removed from the University. 3. Instead of money being spent for destructive activities, it should be intended for social projects. So to begin with, we demand that both Slovenian soldiers withdraw from Iraq and the money spent on such actions is given to the socially handicapped families. We salute all, who have already publicly defended the existing social rights and we reject any attempts of further reduction of rights. Once again we are appealing to all individuals, formal and informal student organizations, clubs, initiatives, unions, movements and workers in higher education to self-organize and publicly defend basic and universal rights. STUDY IS OUR RIGHT! WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE ON RIGHTS! RIGHTS ARE GAINED, NOT GIVEN! Autonomous Tribune Main hall of the Faculty of Arts (University of Ljubljana) 21.5.2007 Send letters of support to: Photos: Video: Webpage:

The Utter Futility of Lesser Evilism

“By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!” – George H.W. Bush

US Congressional Democrats, in “a wrenching reversal,” backed down on their demand for a timetable on the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.1 It flies in the face of the electoral will of Americans expressed in 2006, and it exposes, again, who the master of the Democratic Party is.

The mere fact that US occupation forces, British occupation forces, client states’ scanty give-a-veneer-of-coalition forces, and mercenaries are still being repulsed in Iraq by lightly armed guerrilla fighters, that the bombardment of the “safe” Green Zone is increasing, that Basra is spiraling, that the “surge” is sputtering, and that the US-UK are looking for a way out not of their choosing or timing, is clear evidence that the “war” is lost. It demonstrates a limitation of the hyperpower: it can wreak destruction from afar, but it is vulnerable when it attempts to impose occupation.

So what prevents the US from immediately pulling its troops completely out from Iraq?

With the end of the Bush administration approaching, Republicans are interested in preserving party fortunes and Bush is scrambling for a face-saving presidential legacy. The self-proclaimed war president dug a Sisyphean hole for himself when he foolishly declared the aggression against Iraq to be a mission accomplished. It is not just an invasion-occupation lost in Iraq; there is also the invasion-occupation that is also lost in Afghanistan. The neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century laid out its military policy in the paper “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” which warned that “even a small failure like that in Somalia or a halting and incomplete triumph as in the Balkans can cast doubt on American credibility.”2

For the Democrats, a troop withdrawal timetable would have hamstrung candidates running for the presidency. It would have put them at odds with their campaign funders (many from the Jewish lobby who support aggression in the Middle East) and the US voters (who now favor removing the forces from Iraq).

What Bush Jr. has done is bring back in full force what his father claimed to have vanquished forever: Vietnam syndrome. A resurrected Vietnam Syndrome will hinder American militaristic ambitions.

Despite the fact that the imperialistic invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are failed, Washington feels compelled to persist. There is so much at stake:

• control of oil. Imagine the shock among US oil oligarchs at seeing the oil in Iran and Iraq being under predominantly Shi’a control • the future of permanent US bases in Iraq. It will be interesting to see how these bases without US forces would be explained • lessons learned: resistance is not futile. Opponents of western imperialism know to develop a deterrent defense, that US occupation forces can be defied and defeated • a potential backlash at the Jewish lobby that goaded the US regime to attack Iraq and is pressing for an attack on Iran • implications for the Zionist occupation of Palestine: will the US continue to pursue a Israel-Palestine policy that supports the theft of land from Palestinians and slow-motion genocide against them? What will the defeat of US occupations forces in Iraq and Israeli occupation forces in south Lebanon portend for the the Zionist occupation of Palestine? • the power of the corporate-political duopoly. Halliburton, Bechtel, and the military-industrial complex profited immensely from unleashing US violence abroad. In the meantime, wealth has been further concentrated among the wealthy few while social programs have been gutted. Will the shrinking middle class and expanding poor classes remain quiescent? • the continued domination of the corporate-political duopoly. The Democrats have stood steadfastly during the Bush presidency behind the Republicans’ malapropistic “war on terrorism.”

What is palpable is that there are negligible differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party regarding corporation-driven and Zionist imperialisms. The two parties are colluding, and, hence, they can be regarded as the same.3

It is clear that Saddam Hussein was duped into attacking Iran and bleeding both countries for eight years. This belligerent policy served naught domestically in the US. But it served US corporate-political and Zionist purposes. Later, the Iraqi government was presented with a false green light to attack Kuwait, which was pressuring Iraq for a speedy repayment of loans used to fight Iran (something that served Kuwaiti oligarchic interests as well) and also, reportedly, slant drilling into Iraq’s Ramallah oil field. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait presented the contrived opportunity for president H.W. Bush to punt Vietnam Syndrome — with the aid of a 28-country coalition.

The Republican administration strong-armed UN Security Council backing for a resolution imposing a punishing disarmament and sanctions regime on Iraq. The Democratic administration of Bill Clinton did not waver an iota on the lethal sanctions regime; US official Madeleine Albright even admitted that the killing of half-a-million Iraqi children was worth attaining US foreign policy goals.

It is transparent that there is little to distinguish Democrats from Republicans on a most substantive matter: aggressive foreign policy. US foreign policy terrorizes, tortures, and violently kills people abroad. This policy did not begin with the “war on terrorism.” It has been around for a long time and is central to US hegemonic aspirations throughout history up to today.4

People who viewed the Republican party, especially while “led” by George W. Bush, as a great evil, identified the logical recourse to be voting for the Democratic Party, reasoning that whatever pain the Democrats inflicted on others would be less than Republican-inflicted pain: something akin to a quick death versus a lingering death. In the end the victim is dead anyway.

The tactics used to prevent or hinder the candidacy of third party contender Ralph Nader in 2004 was condemnatory of the Democrats. What kind of presidential slate did the Democrats offer? A man who vowed to boost troop levels and did nothing to placate the antiwar population. Even the propeace candidate Dennis Kucinich did an about-face and pledged solidarity to his warmongering leader John Kerry.

A Democratic Party breakthrough came in 2006 when they regained the Congress and Senate over public disaffection with US troops dying and being maimed in Iraq. Deluded people expected a change of course, that Democrats would parlay the antiwar sentiment to buttress their chances for a breakthrough in 2008.

Progressives see little attraction in the Republican Party. However, on the flip side of the corporate duopoly, Americans and the world public are presented with the bathos of Democratic presidential contenders prostrating themselves before the Mammon of the Jewish lobby. These candidates mouth platitudes of undying fealty to a foreign state, a state spawned through ethnic cleansing (similar to the US) that cares little for the US that provides sophisticated weaponry and generously pumps billions of dollars into it.5 The US wields its UN Security Council veto in a most irresponsible and self-damaging manner to protect the serial violations of human rights by Israel. This Israel-centric foreign policy means continuing the occupation of Iraq and not “taking anything off the table” regarding Iran.

The foreseeable result: Iraq Syndrome will be indelibly stamped on the American consciousness for years to come.

in November 2007, the American voter will be presented an option. A vote for either the Republicans or Democrats will, in effect, be a prowar vote. For peace to prevail in the policy of the United States, lesser evilism must be consigned to the political scrap heap. Only a propeace “third” party will set the US on a new path. Outside of a revolution, the election of a propeace “third” party is the only feasible direction on the horizon for Americans truly interested in steering their country toward peace and restoring the ensanguined US reputation.

Working-Class Fiction

Compiled by Eric Schocket, Hampshire College


Democrats Retreat before Bush, by Stewart A. Alexander

Stewart A. Alexander for President Peace and Freedom Party May 25, 2007 America and the troops were hoping that Democrats would fulfill the commitment they made to voters in 2006 to end the Iraq War; however on Thursday the Democrats in Congress help the Bush Administration get a blank check to pursue this criminal war. Senate and Congressional Democratic leaders helped facilitate a continued bloodbath in Iraq making this a bi-partisan imperial war. The situation on the ground is deteriorating daily in the Iraq Civil War and the $100 billion of supplemental spending, approved in Congress, will certainly increase American casualties and further disrupt the entire Middle East. Congress has decided to continue funding a war that is without planning, a war that has ripped apart an entire nation; that has created over 4 million Iraqi refugees and has resulted in the deaths of more than a million Iraqis. The Democratic Control Congress has decided to fund a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,400 American troops, a war that is far worst than Vietnam, a war that is destroying our security as a nation, a war that is destroying world peace. This U.S. Congress lacks courage and leadership; they are not fit to lead this nation. The Republicans are still in control despite the fact that the Democrats have the power to halt the money for war. Bush got his money to continue his war and the Democrats cut and ran. Unfortunately the Democrats are failing to support our troops; now the troops must continue to fight and wait for their day of liberation. It is time that the people of this country have a real political choice in 2008. Only the Peace and Freedom Party, which is on the ballot in California, has more than 40 years of history and experience to fight these policies and leadership disasters. For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander for President; Iraq War- Counting the Cost; Presidential Candidate- Senator Reid was Right, War is Lost; Democrats Waffling on Iraq War. stewartalexander4paf [at]

The Simpsons come to life

From Kim Komando Today's Cool Site... The Simpsons, re-imagined The Simpsons is a cultural icon. The family first appeared 20 years ago. And the show’s 18th season will soon start. The show pokes fun at American culture and society. But it isn’t just popular in the United States. At today’s Cool Site, you can watch a video that was created to promote the show in Britain. But you’re in for a big shock! The video features a re-working of the show’s opening credits. It casts the characters in a whole new light. But I won’t ruin the surprise for you.

Girl Wins Geographic Bee -- First in 17 Years

Scott Norris for National Geographic News
May 23, 2007

Caitlin Snaring of Redmond, Washington, is the new National Geographic Bee champion.

The home schooled eighth grader won by knowing which Vietnamese city, split by a river with the same name, was an imperial capital for more than a century. (Answer: Hue.) Snaring is only the second girl to win the national championship, and the first since 1990.

"I knew that I had the upper hand today," Snaring, who faced off with nine boys to claim the top spot, told National Geographic News.

"I saw every answer in my head."

(Video: Watch the final round.)

Following the competition, she was presented with the first place prize: a $25,000 U.S. college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.

Suneil Iyer of Kansas battled Snaring through the final round, but finally had to settle for second place and a $15,000 scholarship award.

Mark Arildsen of Tennessee took third place with a $10,000 scholarship.

Sole Survivor

Snaring emerged as the sole survivor out of more than five million fourth to eighth graders who participated in National Geographic Bee competitions nationwide.

Moderated as always by Jeopardy game show host Alex Trebek, the bee finals were held yesterday and today at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Bee rules allow each contestant to get one wrong answer before being eliminated on their second miss. Snaring was the only contestant to not miss a single question either day.

"It [has] taken years, but there's a girl up here," Trebek said as he called Snaring to the stage to receive her award.

Experience Counts

Each of the top three finishers had competed in the national finals before.

Ten of the 55 contestants had been state champions in previous years, and 7 of those 10 survived elimination and made it into Wednesday's championship round.

The three first-time state champions to reach the finals were Solomon Mayer of Kentucky, Tyler Bowen of Oklahoma, and Benjamin Taylor of West Virginia.

All three were eliminated in the fifth round of questions, leaving only the more experienced contestants to vie for the championship.

Andrew Lee of Alaska stumbled in round seven.

Lee's question: Burushaski, a language isolate—meaning that it is not related to any other known languages—is spoken in the Gilgit District of what country containing part of the Karakoram Range? (Answer: Pakistan.)

In round nine, remaining finalists were given a series of five place names. Four were related in some way, and contestants had to name the one that did not belong and also state why.

Colorado's Antonio de la Peña failed to single out Adelaide as a city in South Australia, listed among four other cities in Queensland state.

Arildsen missed noting that the Nubian Desert is in Africa. The four other deserts listed are in Asia.

And Puerto Rico's Francisco Vargas was eliminated by not naming the Cook Strait as the only one of the five straits mentioned not located in the Northern Hemisphere.

That left only Snaring and Iyer in contention for the championship. But first, a tense elimination round for third place was held among de la Peña, Arildsen, and Vargas.

After de la Peña faltered early, Arildsen and Vargas each answered a series of questions correctly.

Finally, Vargas faltered on the following question: The Ogaden is a dry, sparsely populated region that was fought over by Ethiopia and what bordering country in the 1970s? (Answer: Somalia.)

Final Showdown

To claim the championship, Snaring finally wore down Iyer by answering all of her final questions correctly:

• What is the Arabic term for a valley in the hot desert areas of northern Africa and the Middle East that carries a stream occasionally? (Answer: wadi.)

• In late March 2007, Protestant and Catholic political leaders from Northern Ireland agreed to form a power-sharing government that took effect in early May 2007. The leaders met in what city that lies at the mouth of the Lagan River? (Answer: Belfast.)

• The second largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa is also the richest Portuguese-speaking country in Africa. Name this country. (Answer: Angola.)

• Lampedusa, an island whose geographical location has made it a target for illegal immigrants seeking to enter the European Union from Africa, is administered by which country? (Answer: Italy.)

• A city that is divided by a river of the same name was the imperial capital of Vietnam for more than a century. Name this city, which is still an important cultural center. (Answer: Hue.)

Traci Snaring, Caitlins mother, said that after last year's competition, she asked her daughter if she really wanted to go through the pressure of competing again. But Caitlin had made up her mind.

"She took one day off after the bee last year, and then she started studying," Traci Snaring said.

Asked if she could explain the lack of girls among the bee finalists, Caitlin Snaring said she thought many were more attracted by spelling bees.

"For all you girls out there who like spelling," the champion said, "you might want to try geography, too."

Friday, May 25, 2007

A People's History of the World

by Chris Harman, published by Bookmarks.

Contents Introduction

Part 1: The rise of class societies

Prologue: Before Class The neolithic 'revolution' The first civilisations The first class divisions Women's oppression The first 'Dark Ages'

Part 2: The ancient world

Iron and empires Ancient India The first Chinese empires The Greek city states Rome's rise and fall The rise of Christianity

Part 3: The 'Middle Ages'

The centuries of chaos China: the rebirth of the empire Byzantium The Islamic revolutions The African civilisations European feudalism

Part 4: The great transformation

The conquest of the New Spain Renaissance to Reformation The birth pangs of a new order The last flowering of Asia's empires

Part 5: The spread of the new order

A time of social peace From superstition to science The Enlightenment Slavery and wage slavery Slavery and racism The economics of 'free labour'

Part 6: The world turned upside down

American prologue The French Revolution Jacobinism outside France The retreat of reason The industrial revolution The Birth of Marxism The American Civil War 1848 The conquest of the East The Japanese exception Storming heaven: the Paris Commune

Part 7: The century of hope and horror

The world of capital World war and world revolution Europe in turmoil Revolt in the colonial world The 'Golden Twenties' The great slump Strangled hope: 1934-36 Midnight in the century The Cold War The new world disorder

Conclusion Notes Glossary Further Reading

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Big Picture, by Dean Ferguson

A People's History of the World by Chris Harman

Universal or synoptic histories are not favored by professional scholars. As specialists, they prefer the detailed monograph to sweeping world histories. They look askance at those naive enough to believe that global history can be encompassed in one volume. They know better, they say.

It is our good fortune that Chris Harman doesn't share their caution. Harman, a London journalist and leader of England's Socialist Alliance, has written a lucid, compelling narrative of world events. His People's History of the World is explicitly Marxist. It is also extremely impressive. Its 728 pages are worthy of standing on the same shelf with such classics as Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution and C.L.R. James' The Black Jacobins.

Within the brief compass of this review, it is impossible to do more than suggest the scope of Harman's achievement. This is a massive work, its careful scholarship leavened by the author's passionate commitment. Though a thorough and conscientious historian, Harman disdains any pretense of "objectivity." He favors the oppressed, and makes no secret of his partisanship. From the outset, quoting Brecht's tribute to labor -- "Who Built Thebes of the Seven Gates?" -- he declares his solidarity with the builders.

Harman attacks the received wisdom of the conventional historians. His first chapter explodes the diligently cultivated myth that mankind is selfish and mercenary by nature. His description of "primitive communism" -- the economy of Old Stone Age hunters and gatherers, which prevailed for tens of thousands of years -- puts the lie to the theory that men and women are naturally driven by greed or "enlightened self-interest." In a world where scarcity compelled foragers to move constantly in search of food, property in land was an alien concept. (So was personal property, as the "savage" custom of potlatch shows.) Harman's account of the poor but collectivist society that dominated the "long childhood" of the Old Stone Age makes the ideal of a collectivist future seem less bizarre than problematical.

The succeeding chapters of his People's History are marked by similar insights. A recurring theme is the courage shown by ordinary men and women in resistance to oppression -- from the revolt of Spartacus and his slave army to the Zapatista rising in Chiapas. Harman pays tribute to the rebels of the Paris Commune and the Petrograd Soviet. But his homage to these fighters leaves a troubling question unanswered. If the natural allegiance of the workers -- the "ordinary" men and women whom Harman admires – is to the socialist Left, why has that Left so often failed, sometimes miserably, to win their loyalty?

As a Trotskyist, Harman is too quick to blame the Left's failures on the legacy of Stalinism, with its train of purges and massacres. He is loth to challenge the accuracy of Marxist theory, despite Marx's own insistence on "ruthless criticism of all that exists." For Harman, Marxism is still the theory of "scientific socialism" -- still a science whose hypotheses have been proven by history. Armed with such confidence, he sometimes neglects the role of chance in human events -- what the English historian H.A.L. Fisher called "the play of the contingent and the unforeseen."

Harman's work should not be underestimated, however. To write a global history is an immense undertaking, and it is one in which he has acquitted himself brilliantly. Marxism may lack the exactitude of a true science, but Harman has marshaled its findings to skillfully illumine the past. In doing so, he has helped to restore the history of those whom Brecht addressed in his poem. "Who built Thebes of the seven gates?" Brecht asked. Thanks to Harman, we begin to know who the builders were, and what we owe to them.

A People's History of the World may be ordered from Bookmarks (at <>). A free online version is available at <>.

Dean Ferguson is an editor of Transformation, a newly launched literary journal. He lives and works in San Francisco

How To Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community

Angry people looking for fights will inevitably try to poison successful Internet communities. Columnist Cory Doctorow looks at ways to remove the poison without killing the discussion too.

By Cory Doctorow, InformationWeek May 14, 2007 The Internet Tough Guy is a feature in all Internet social forums. These are people who poison discussions with anger, hatred, and threats. Some are malicious. Some are crazy. Some are just afflicted with a rotten sense of humor. Whatever their motives, they're a scourge. It takes precious little trolling to sour a message-board. A "troll" -- someone who comes onto an online community looking to pick fights -- has two victory conditions: Either everyone ends up talking about him, or no one talks at all. And where two or more trolls gather, they'll egg each other on, seeing who can anger and disrupt the regular message-board posters the most.

It can be distressing. If you're part of a nice little community of hamster-fanciers, Trekkers, or Volkswagen enthusiasts, it's easy to slip into a kind of camaraderie, a social setting in which everyone talks about life, aspirations, family problems, personal triumphs. In some ways, it doesn't matter what brought you together -- the fact that you're together is what matters.

Then, almost without warning, your community goes toxic. Someone in your group undergoes a radical personality shift and begins picking fights, or someone new comes to the party with an agenda. Or, worst of all: Your little clubhouse achieves some small measure of fame and is overrun by newcomers who don't know that Liza is a little bit touchy on the subject of hamster balls, or that old Fred gets into a froth anytime someone asks about retrofitting a bud vase into a vintage Beetle, or that everyone here actually kind of knows Wil Wheaton from reading his blog and he's a total mensch, so jokes about shoving Wesley out the airlock are frowned upon.

Sometimes, you rebound. More often, you tumble. Things get worse. The crowds get bigger, the fights get hotter. Pathologically angry (but often funny) people show up and challenge each other to new levels of vitriol.

In extreme cases, you end up with the kind of notorious mess that Kathy Sierra found herself in, in which trolls directed such bilious, threatening noise towards a harmless advocate for "passionate users" in web-applications that she withdrew from speaking at O'Reilly's Emerging Tech conference.

You can deal with trolls in many ways. Many trolls are perfectly nice in real life -- sometimes, just calling them on the phone and confronting them with the human being at the other end of their attacks is enough to sober them up. But it doesn't always work: I remember one time I challenged someone who'd been sending me hate mail to call me up and say the words aloud: the phone rang a moment later and the first words out of my troll's mouth were, "You f*cking hypocrite!" The conversation declined from there.

Trolls can infect a small group, but they really shine in big forums. Discussion groups are like uranium: a little pile gives off a nice, warm glow, but if the pile gets bigger, it hits critical mass and starts a deadly meltdown. There are only three ways to prevent this: Make the pile smaller again, spread the rods apart, or twiddle them to keep the heat convecting through them.

Making the group smaller is easy in theory, hard in practice: just choose a bunch of people who aren't allowed in the discussion anymore and section them off from the group. Split. Or just don't let the groups get too big in the first place by limiting who can talk to whom. This was Friendster's strategy, where your ability to chat with anyone else was limited by whether that person was your friend or your friend's friend. Users revolted, creating "fakesters" like "New York City," whom they could befriend, forming ad-hoc affinity groups. Friendster retaliated by killing the fakesters, and a full scale revolt ensued.

Spreading the group apart is a little easier, with the right technology. Joshua Schachter, founder of, tells me that he once cured a mailing-list of its flame-wars by inserting a ten-minute delay between messages being sent to the list and their delivery. The delay was enough to allow tempers to cool between messages. A similar strategy is to require you to preview your post before publishing it. Digg allows you to retract your messages for a minute or two after you post them.

But neither of these strategies solves the underlying problem: getting big groups of people to converse civilly and productively among themselves. Spreading out the pile reduces the heat -- but it also reduces the light. Splitting the groups up requires the consent of the users, a willingness to be segregated from their peers.

The holy grail is to figure out how to twiddle the rods in just the right fashion so as to create a festive, rollicking, passionate discussion that keeps its discourse respectful, if not always friendly or amiable.

Some have tried to solve this with software. Slashdot (and similar group-moderated sites like Kuro5hin and Plastic) use an elaborate scheme of blind moderation in which users are randomly assigned the ability to rank each others' messages so that other users can filter what they read, excluding low-ranked posts. These strategies are effective for weeding out the pathetic attention-seekers, but they don't have a great track record for creating rollicking discussion. Instead the tone of the discussions, even read at the highest level of moderation, is an angry, macho one-upmanship. The top posts are often scathing rebuttals of someone else's ill-considered remarks.

I'm not sure why this is, but I suspect that it's because there's something fundamentally unfriendly about a roundtable where the participants are explicitly asked to participate in active, public, quantitative rating of one's peers. Like one of those experimental 1970s communes where everyone has to tell everyone else the absolute truth all the time ("Your laugh irritates me," "You have a fat rear end that I find unappealing"), this does a good job of getting all the cards on the table, but is less successful at inspiring an atmosphere of chumminess.

Then there's the psychological effect of trolling: For a certain kind of person (guilty as charged), flames are nearly impossible to let go of. I get tons of lovely fan mail from people who want me to know how much they liked my books. I love these notes and write short, polite, thank-you letters back to each person. But the memories of these valentines fades quickly. Not so the ill-considered, pseudonymous rant from someone who's convinced that I'm on the take, or who has some half-baked theory about copyright, or who wants to say insulting things about my family, friends, interests or habits.

Those people command my full attention. Many's the time I've found myself neglecting a warm bed, a hot meal, or a chance to go out for a cup of coffee with a friend in order to answer some mean-spirited note from some 16-year-old mouth-breather who achieves transcendence only through pointless debate with strangers. For many of us, our psyche demands that these insults be met and overcome.

I am, by my nature, a scrapper. I come from a family of debaters, and my job for several years has been to win debates over copyright and digital freedom. I think that many technology designers are of a similar bent: Argumentative and boisterous, hard-pressed to back away from even a pointless fight. And it is these people who often end up designing our tool-suites for online communities. We view ourselves as locked in an arms-race with trolls who seek to overcome our defenses.

However -- and thankfully -- many community conveners are of a more amicable bent. Although they're not technically capable of writing their own message-board tools, they are socially qualified to wield them.

Take my friend Teresa Nielsen Hayden, who moderates the sprawling, delightful message-boards on Making Light, a group-blog where the message boards run the gamut from the war in Iraq to Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan-fiction, and where they discussion is almost always civil.

Teresa is a troll-whisperer. For some reason, she can spot irredeemable trolls and separate them from the merely unsocialized. She can keep discussions calm and moving forward. She knows when deleting a troll's message will discourage him, and when it will only spark a game of whack-a-mole.

Teresa calls it "having an ear for text" and she is full of maddeningly unquantifiable tips for spotting the right rod to twiddle to keep the reactor firing happily without sparking a meltdown.

In the wake of the Kathy Sierra mess, Tim O'Reilly proposed a Blogger's Code of Conduct as a way of preventing a recurrence of the vile, misogynist attacks that Sierra suffered. The idea was that bloggers could choose to follow the Code and post a little badge to their sites affirming their adherence to it, putting message-board posters on notice of the house rules. Although it sounds like a reasonable idea on the face of it, bloggers were incredibly skeptical of the proposal, if not actively hostile. The objections seemed to boil down to this: "We're not uncivil, and neither are those message-board posters we regularly see on the boards. It's the trolls that we have trouble with, and they're pathological psychos, already ignoring our implicit code of conduct. They're going to ignore your explicit code of conduct, too." (There was more, of course -- like the fact that a set of articulated rules only invite people to hold you to them when they violate the spirit but not the letter of the law).

O'Reilly built his empire by doing something incredibly smart: Watching what geeks did that worked and writing it down so that other people could do it too. He is a distiller of Internet wisdom, and it's that approach that is called for here.

If you want to fight trolling, don't make up a bunch of a priori assumptions about what will or won't discourage trolls. Instead, seek out the troll whisperer and study their techniques.

Troll whisperers aren't necessarily very good at hacking tools, so there's always an opportunity for geek synergy in helping them to automate their hand-crafted techniques, giving them a software force-multiplier for their good sense. For example, Teresa invented a technique called disemvowelling -- removing the vowels from some or all of a fiery message-board post. The advantage of this is that it leaves the words intact, but requires that you read them very slowly -- so slowly that it takes the sting out of them. And, as Teresa recently explained to me, disemvowelling part of a post lets the rest of the community know what kind of sentiment is and is not socially acceptable.

When Teresa started out disemvowelling, she removed the vowels from the offending messages by hand, a tedious and slow process. But shortly thereafter, Bryant Darrell wrote a Movable Type plugin to automate the process. This is a perfect example of human-geek synergy: hacking tools for civilian use based on the civilian's observed needs.

But there aren't enough Teresas to go around: how do we keep all the other message-boards troll-free? Again, the secret is in observing the troll whisperer in the field, looking for techniques that can be encapsulated in tutorials and code. There is a wealth of troll whisperer lore that isn't pure intuition and good sense, techniques that can be turned into tools for the rest of us to use.

A friend who's active on the Wikipedia community once summed up her approach to life: "Don't let assholes rent space in your head." That is, don't let the jerks who crash your community turn it into a cesspool. It's easier said than done, though.

Assisting the troll whisperers and learning from them recognizes that most of us want a civil discussion, and give us the tools to repel trolls. Instead of implying that we all lack civility, these techniques recognize our good will and help us solve the hard social problems of keeping the pathological personalities renting space in our heads.

Editor's Note: What do you think? How can you prevent trolls from taking over online communities? Leave a message on the InformationWeek Blog and let us know.

Cory Doctorow is co-editor of the Boing Boing blog, as well as a journalist, Internet activist, and science fiction writer. Read his previous InformationWeek columns.

"US Creating a Global Battlefield"-

Amnesty International Report 2007. This report documents human rights issues of concern to Amnesty International during 2006. Download the Amnesty International Report 2007

Click on the links to view the report in PDF format on screen. Right-click to download the PDFs to your computer.


Foreword (PDF, 12 pages, 60KB)

Regional overviews (PDF, 23 pages, 96KB)

Country entries (PDF, 242 pages, 1MB)

Year in Campaigning (PDF, 9 pages, 56KB)

Theorising the relationship between transcendentalism and authoritarianism

I have been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between dreams and reality. It is easy to romanticise utopian thought, but I have also been trying to be sober about some of its pitfalls. Martin Luther King had a dream, but so did Mao Tse-Tung. And look at how Mao's dreams manifested in reality: We had the bloodbath of the Cultural Revolution! And just look at the phenomenon of the FIVE-YEAR PLAN in all the former communist countries, and how many fucking lives were sacrificed to the Plan (a concretised dream) and the transcendent ideal of modernisation. Peasants busted their asses in the fields and for what? It's just like that donkey character in George Orwell's Animal Farm ! The problem, I think, is that Mao's dreams became reified as TRANSCENDENT IDEALS. Everyone talks about why utopian revolutionary movements so often turn dystopic... Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro... the list goes on. Everyone talks about absolute power corrupting absolutely, but I don't think anyone has approached it from this angle (i.e. the angle of the dream-reality nexus). For sure, power is transcendance, and this is what I want to talk about here, but I also want to talk about transcendence more broadly. I, personally, would like to mount an all-out war against transcendence, and believe the transcendent ideal to be a cancer on the imagination. Related to this is a critique of the whole notion of IDEOLOGY. Not only are all ideologies transcendent, but they also form closed systems. All beliefs and values thus become closed equations. This then sets the stage for the homogenising, proselytising, evangelising impulses of IDEOLOGUES - whether leftist, rightist, religious, or whatever... And isn't it interesting that activist organisations' epistemologies or beliefs (i.e. whether they have transcendent ideologies or immanent, open systems of thought) seem to map isomorphically with their organisational structure and practice? So my basic thesis at this stage is as follows: those organisations with the most transcendent, closed systems of thought are those with the most hierarchical, vanguardist modes of organising. Those organisations with more immanent, open systems of thought tend to be more democratic, less hierarchical and less vanguardist. Anyway, I think it was at the European Social Forum in London in 2004 that there was a split between those calling themselves the 'horizontals', and those who they called the 'verticals'. These terms were primarily referring to modes of organisation (i.e. democratic vs. hierarchical/centralist/vanguardist). However, I don't believe it was a coincidence that all the organisations labelled the Verticals were also those with the most transcendent philosophies: mostly various forms of Marxism-Leninism. On this same tip, I think an interesting parallel can be drawn: In the Catholic bureaucracy, the archbishops and cardinals and the like are seen as god's representatives on Earth. So already, the relationship between transcendental philosophy and hierarchical (and at times anti-democratic) organisation starts to become apparent. Likewise, in the Marxist-Leninist bureaucracy, those in the executive committees or politburos (as per the dogma of "democratic centralism") are entrusted with being the representatives (or true interpreters) of the Objective Truth and the One True Way, as shown to us by Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, etc. ... With transcendence comes authoritarianism!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Former Diebold Sales Rep Becomes Registrar of Voters in San Diego

[For MMRules..wherever the hell he is from] By Kim Zetter 5/11/07 Deborah Seiler, a former sales representative for Diebold Election Systems, has been made the new registrar of voters for San Diego County in California. Diebold makes the voting machines used in San Diego. I previously wrote about Seiler's prior appointment as registrar of Solano County in 2004 -- a one-time Diebold county. From that story:
As the Diebold sales rep, Seiler sold Solano County nearly 1,200 touch-screen machines that were not federally tested or state certified. When the state banned the machines because of Diebold's business practices, the county had to find a replacement for the machines and pay Diebold more than $400,000 to get out of its contract.
Joining Seiler in the San Diego elections office is another election official beleaguered by controversy -- Michael Vu. Until recently, Vu was the elections director in Cuyahoga County in Ohio. He resigned in the wake of a number of critical reports depicting problems with how his office conducted elections and how machines made by Diebold performed. His resignation also followed the conviction of two election workers in his office who were found guilty of rigging a recount in the 2004 presidential election. Vu was recently made assistant registrar of voters in San Diego. The announcement was made today by San Diego's interim registrar, Mischelle Townsend. Townsend was previously the registrar of voters in Riverside County but left that office under the cloud of a financial conflict-of-interest controversy involving Sequoia Voting Systems -- the company that made the machines used in Riverside. Townsend has been acting as registrar of voters in San Diego until the county could find a permanent registrar. Seiler will start her new job on June 4th.

The great global action 2007/ Die weltweite aktion 2007

A Revolution without Enemies

Anu Bonobo

A longer version of this essay originally appeared in Fifth Estate, North America's longest-running anti-authoritarian periodical.


Do ravers, psytrance deejays, and general devotees of dance parties have anything to offer the social revolution? Do we need faith freaking and fomenting connections between communal tripping and collective transformation? In the radical activist milieu, our co-revolutionaries remain unconvinced that ingesting a substance and gyrating ‘til dawn could have any impact on the general insurrection. But in Croatan, this is possible.

The idea of Croatan as I understand it was first envisioned by Hakim Bey in the Temporary Autonomous Zone, and then, by many more authors in Gone to Croatan: Origins of North American Dropout Culture, edited by Ron Sakolsky and James Koehnline. The idea has since been invoked in name and game at a rural dance and philosophy gathering called Croatan held in Western, North Carolina in 2006.

As Bey tells it, some of the first colonial settlers who came to this continent rejected the imperialist imperative and became “gray eyed” Indians who “opted for chaos over the appalling miseries of serfing for the plutocrats.” This chaos, of course, differs from what the fear-mongers mean when they condemn chaos: this chaos combines wildness, organic ecstasy, wilderness, and an unkempt and untrammeled riot of green beauty. Always a rejection of slavery and subjugation, chaos is anarchy before ideology. Few things have captured this primordial impulse in the modern world like the psychedelic experience, and I find it resonant with the “origins of American dropout culture” impulses expressed by Bey and expanded upon in the Sakolsky-Koehnline anthology.

We are all one

Since Tim Leary still steals most of the headlines—and many of them bad—for psychedelic proselytizing in the ‘60s, I thought Allen Ginsberg deserved his due as one of Leary’s most articulate defenders, colleagues, and fellow-travelers. Ginsberg’s shameless integrity and sultry innocence offer charismatic counterpoint to Leary’s more superficial and self-serving crusades for psychedelic freedom.

Reviewing the new Leary biography in a recent issue of the Nation, Neal Pollack portends that today “it’s harder than ever to swallow the idea that mind-altering drug use could transform our staggering society.” My thesis pursues another possibility—at the same time I realize that Pollack has a point and that many of the younger psychonauts I encounter at festivals fail to focus on the revolutionary force flavoring their recreational mindfood.

Ginsberg’s old words give new juice to the eternal debate about the social implications of the cultural rituals shared by those who imbibe power plants and pills—reminding us that LSD “teaches one not to cling to anything, including LSD.” For Ginsberg as for me, insights gained in the Gaian mind of great visions have the inherent but often unrealized potential to renovate daily life forever—and this notion is inextricably linked to poetry and spirituality. While the psychedelic warrior’s mission to change consciousness engages in combat on an internal battlefield, Ginsberg never avoided more public confrontations with what he called “a vast conspiracy to impose one level of mechanical consciousness on mankind and exterminate all manifestations of that unique part of human sentience.”

All the Ginsberg quotes come from the Barry Miles biography and two indispensable, posthumous volumes of prose that I finally picked up last spring, even though both were published around the turn-of-the-century, shortly after Ginsberg’s death in 1997—Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays, 1952-1995 and Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews, 1958-1996. While Ginsberg will always be known best as a poet, these two texts reveal his prose voice in essay and interview form to be as lucid and liberating as anything in his innumerable volumes of verse. Like his spiritual mentors Whitman and Blake, Ginsberg would never confine his poetics to the prison of short-sighted definitions concerning genre and category.

As articulated by surrealists and Situationists, poetry occurs at the moment desire erupts to dissolve the boundary between art and life—so much more than stanzas and rhyme schemes. Or, as Lautréamont suggested, “Poetry must be made by all.” Ginsberg’s statement to the underground press after the summer 1968 protests outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago was called “All is Poetry.” To Vaneigem, poetry equaled revolt equaled radical self-management, where pleasure and attraction are the only basis for meaningful work. Most utopians see turning work into poetry as the bliss-based infrastructure for creating the new society. Following 19th century philosopher Charles Fourier, Peter Lamborn Wilson describes this new world as a place where “our quotidian routine has the same texture as your highest adventure.”

If all is poetry, if everything’s sacred, then everything’s sacred poetry—even the mundane, concrete, toxic tourist-traps of plastic utopias and paved-over wilds. This logic, of course, has lead to preposterous hypotheses of numinous nonsense. But at the same time, if one is to believe the basic postulates of everything from quantum physics to chaos science, from eastern philosophies to the North American, indigenous world-view, the seemingly sappy slogan that we are all one is truer than truth. Abandoning the poison of hyperrational materialism, ignoring the annoying appropriations of new age charlatans, and accepting inherited wisdom that is both intuitively and intellectually irresistible leads us to both shocking and comforting conclusions.

Ginsberg imported the conversation on the psychedelic experience into poetic form. Admitting that he wrote not only about his experiences tripping, Ginsberg would compose whole poems while stoned on various substances. While it was still legal, Ginsberg was given LSD -25 in 1959 by Gregory Bateson at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto. The results were discussed with his father and shared with his readers in the visionary verse of “Lysergic Acid,” included in Kaddish and Other Poems, first published by City Lights in 1961. “This drug seems to automatically produce a mystical experience,” he reported to his father. In a trance, he visited a “Coleridge world of Kubla Khan” and saw “Hindu-type Gods dancing on themselves.”

With the raving epiphanies that Ginsberg and others achieved while on acid and within what he called “the ocean of heaven,” we become “one giant breathing being—one giant beating being that we are a part of and which we always forget that we are together the God of the universe.”

A decade later, he was still promoting LSD’s liberatory potential. In his famous Playboy interview, he cited a psychiatrist who noted how the drug “inhibits conditioned reflexes” and argued, “That’s what’s really significant—and so political—about LSD. That’s why there’s what’s called an acid revolution, as well as why police are against its use.”

While Ginsberg’s commentary during the interview itself doesn’t seem infused with medicine of any kind, he responded with detail when asked to discuss the LSD experience.

“What does a trip feel like? A creeping sensation comes over your body, a change in the planetary nature of your mammal eyeballs and hearing orifices. Then comes a sudden realization that you’re a spirit inhabiting a vast animal body containing giant apertures, holes, circulatory systems, interior canals and mysterious back alleys of the mind. Any one of these back alleys can be explored for a long, long way.”

As he elaborates in illuminated tangents, the revelatory refrain—however worded—remains a constant: “At the height of the acid experience, your mind’s the same mind that’s always existed in all people at all times in all places: This is the Great Mind—the very mind men call God. Then comes a fascinating suspicion: Is this mind what they call God or what they used to call the Devil? Here’s where a bum trip may begin—if you decide it’s a demonic Creator. You get hung up wondering whether he should exist or not.”

Hippy claptrap & the hierarchy within

Ginsberg’s public and profound statements were confirmed by the exploratory masses in internal cathedrals of cacophonous beauty and beatific terror. But by the late 1960s and early 70s, many cultural critics—parroting government propaganda—dismissed this kind of transcendent transparency as outrageous hippy claptrap; today’s naysayers would simply snub similar pronouncements as obsolete hippy claptrap. The legacy left by the so-called “hippies” deserves the primary research of intimate conversations—not media-friendly condemnations as superficial as what the critique argues the hippies were.

Here in Tennessee, we have the benefit of knowing many elders who came here 35-years ago, wide-eyed and wild—to be the new world as part of The Farm’s dedicated fusion of the spiritual and psychedelic. Many of these postmodern refugees from the hippie revolution of their youth defy the blanket generational criticisms that crusty young critics make.

One of Ginsberg’s many gifts to us is that he did not segregate the battle against this society from the war within our souls, including the dark place where we see that the enemy is ourselves and is an illusion.

What if we would collectively—with or without drugs—uncover the biosocial reality of unique sameness and interminable interconnectedness? Would we discover that the psychedelic, shamanic sensibility is, in fact, factual on a level more authentic than our approximate notions of authenticity itself?

Blake—who proclaimed in the Marriage of Heaven and Hell that “man has no body distinct from his soul” and that “everything that lives is holy”—would likely agree with such a crushing indictment of dualism and dreary materialism. In the preface to Gone to Croatan, Ron Sakolsky proposes, “If we can question the division of our world into the categories of ‘civilization’ and ‘barbarism,’ then we have begun to question all forms of hierarchy.”

Those who cling to strictly oppositional ideologies of radical resistance might take issue with such a sweeping collapse of any us-versus-them dialectic. What if questioning “all forms of hierarchy” included challenging the stance of moral superiority adopted in radical circles by those who claim righteousness as a badge and use it as a bludgeon on anyone who disagrees?

Without a higher synthesis, without a way out from this either-or dance, we see an almost infantile attachment to moral authority, the preschool preoccupation with absolutist notions of right and wrong that lead to fanaticism and fundamentalism. Since any constructed binary from light-versus-dark to self-versus-other requires placing one side on top, any dualistic thinking, then, is inherently hierarchical. When people adhere to a vision of revolution that requires enemies, they see themselves as always justified, as the perennially oppressed underdog, focusing on the hierarchy without and ignoring the hierarchy within—their own sense of ethical pre-eminence.

As we live through the tumult and terror of today, we need colleagues and comrades and loving companions to join us on the adventure of abolishing the society that abolishes adventure—not new reasons to purge friends from the club after verbal jousting over ideological minutiae.

Life should be ecstasy

In psychedelics or poetics, in spirituality or anarchism, I’m not looking for the answer or any answer—only tempting options and tantalizing offers. A quest that seeks the answer, I’m afraid, begins with the wrong kind of questions. Yet we seek in heretical religion, radical poetry, and psychedelic revolution what people have always sought in sex, drugs, and rock and roll: unencumbered joy.

Even an enlightened hedonism freaks out the rigid, repressed, monastic, and self-righteously ascetic set that loves to lecture the rebels as to how widespread collective sobriety would bring the revolution sooner. Ginsberg always rejected such self-induced mass misery and reiterated his most irrepressible themes: “Life should be ecstasy. We need life styles of ecstasy and social forms appropriate to whatever ecstasy is available for whoever wants it.” To Ginsberg, the pleasure paradigm is the program. “We need a million children saints,” he demanded, “adept at high unhexings, technological vaudeville, rhythmic behaviors, hypnotic acrobatics, street trapeze artists, naked circus vibrations—magic politics to exorcise the police state.” For Ginsberg, this is what’s practical: “ecological reconstruction and the achievement of clear ecstasy as a social condition.” Such a simultaneous focus on earth and earthiness terrifies the teetotalers that inhabit even the most alternative of cultural enclaves.

Of course, we expect such well-lubricated rhetoric to rile the crude curses of the christocrats, but what of the fundamentalist leftists? We need a counterargument to counter Theodore Roszak’s antiseptic critique that our medicine-made mystical aspirations are nothing more than what he calls a “counterfeit infinity,” a religious commodity, a pseudospiritual fantasy in a pharmacological package. An important, radical writer whose The Making of a Counterculture and numerous other books are brilliant on so many other levels, Roszak puts quotes around the words “psychedelic revolution” to signal his disdain and principled denial of the transformative power that the hippies found in acid. Roszak called Timothy Leary’s mysticism a mystique, relegating the idea of a revolution based on turning-on and blowing minds to the illusory status of “private little trips” that have “nothing to do with radical social or cultural attitudes.”

Even if the manna of mind-altering is a private indulgence as Roszak and too many others insist, even if the psychedelic expedition is more shortcut and sham than shamanic journey, even if all recreational drugs are just a calculated conspiracy to keep the masses stoned and politically impotent, we still might need a revolution to protect our prerogative to experiment.

To this day, an antithesis to the experimental and experiential path postulates that any inspiration or insurrectionary altitude induced by a substance is somehow a sordid soulfulness, a second-rate spirituality, a bargain-basement buddhahood. Of course, aerobic exercise, focused meditation, careful breathwork, body arts such as yoga and tai chi, and so much more can also help people elevate consciousness.

But the judgment that those who want to face the mind-expanded mystery through particular substances are merely too lazy to try the other methods belies a moralistic bias that rejects or refuses to understand the depth of the drug experience. Moreover, while altered and ecstatic states achieved through non-chemical means are amazing unto themselves, they are not necessarily the same as the psychedelic journeys. Unfortunately, advocates of the former too often employ a moral barometer when lambasting those who choose drugs for sacramental reasons.

Even while imbibing powerful intoxicants does not guarantee instant or even gradual change at the personal or political level, many still find an intrinsically anti-authoritarian quality within these experiences. Ginsberg asserted: “If acid helps people see through conditioned hallucinations, then acid’s a threat to such police states as now exist in America and Russia.” The late psychedelic crusader Terence McKenna corroborated such claims, “Psychoactive drugs . . . challenge the modern idea of the ego and its inviolability and control structures. In short, encounters with psychedelic plants throw into question the entire world view of the dominator culture.” These bold hypotheses are more than hippy hype—they suggest an inherently anarchic kernel in the psychoactive coinage.

The mystical experience, if anything, offers a gargantuan glimpse of the possible. And often, we need to describe the possible in practical as well as poetic terms. Pressed by the Playboy interviewer to define his vision as socialism, collectivism, or anarchy, Ginsberg retorted, “Those are just words, To say that nature’s resources—sun, water, and air—should be available to all makes more sense.”

Further into the discussion of actual solutions, Ginsberg gave his version of what a new world might include: decentralized society, economy, and “new forms of social credit”; “organic Adamic communes”; “healthy foods” and “seasonal and communal rituals” to “respect the sacred body of the land we inhabit”; “enlarged variant family structures”; “the reorganization of educational systems in order to provide proper training in nonconditioned, spontaneous consciousness”; the end of “hang-ups like fear of death, sexual obsession, and either love or hate for the American flag.” To summarize, Ginsberg implored, “Progress requires abolition of race ego, national ego, boundaries: it requires planet-citizen consciousness.” Without naming it communal anarch or what the Living Theater called the Beautiful Nonviolent Anarchist Revolution, it sure sounds like both.

After living cloistered lives in the cells of modern tedium, after too much television and telephone or mediocrity and microwave, after a life where what passes as spiritual truth is more like a faked orgasm for the jaded soul, the psychedelic moment can open a wide window on the world, different worlds, more beautiful revolutionary heavens and more terrifying reactionary hells.

God is an earthquake

Indeed, the psychedelic life is not all love and light, incense and peppermints, gnomes and nirvana. Much hubbub has been made about the self-induced insanity of the bad trip, a self-made misery borne of miscalculations of dose, context, and psychological predilection. As real as these torturous, brain-ripping travails in the darkest cave of our mental mortality can be, they cannot really be called “bad trips” by the serious practitioner.

Visionary artist Alex Grey—whose accomplished, intricate renderings are overtly the product of a psychedelic world view—warns about the weirdness one might find in the divine matrix. In The Mission of Art, he explores this problem found in a saccharine softening of the mind-bending blow: “The mystical experience is not some dreamy fantasy”, as anybody who has been there can agree. In his book The Idea of the Holy, Rudolf Otto writes of the ‘mysterium tremendum,’ the experience of losing control and of awe, dread, and terror when confronting the transcendental. This is something that a lot of New Age artists and musicians forget about. As Rabbi Hillel said, “God is not just flowers and bird songs, God is an earthquake. One is shaken to the core and the ‘little self’ dies (rarely permanently).” After the self of selfish conformity to the consumer culture dies, a radical awareness can awaken from the amnesiac ashes and usher in universally selfless selves no longer slumbering in the nightmare of history.

Such notions have an inevitably religious component. If we’re going to invoke religion, it’s so important to invoke the idea of a Heretical Religion. I’ve borrowed this idea from Peter Lamborn Wilson, inspired by his work on the margins of Islam in the books Scandal and Sacred Drift.

Religion as heresy varies from all systemized and standardized beliefs. Heresy means “to choose.” According to Wilson, this inherently poetic project is a “cooperative venture among world heretics, rebels, artists, visionaries” and cannot be “based on theology or politics or any other one dimensional grid.”

Obviously, one seeker’s revelation is another cynic’s abomination. Eternal epiphanies get rewritten as code. To the neopagan, the only code is “Harming none, do as you will.” For the radical Christian, the communist egoist, and the veteran psychonaut, “loving your neighbor as yourself” is easy after any mystical moment because you do not see your own or your neighbor’s separation from the cosmic self. Such duality-dissolving and divinely dialectical anti-dogma lead us to the synthesis that steeps religion in the elixir of its own disappearance.

Heretical religion might mean playful and purposeful deviance and defiance within a religion—here, I’m thinking of the renegade mystics within established denominations who regularly drop revolutionary thought-bombs on their peers in the pews. Religious Heresy might mean the passionate devotion to variety, freedom, choice. So devoted are we to freedom, we might call it a kind of pious promiscuity or promiscuous piety.

The stadium-nature of the postmodern megachurch is religion as mass-media spectacle. Imagine a first century Gnostic getting lost in an amphitheater like that. At our festivals, heretical religion is for participating clergy only, where our religion might compel us to jettison believing in god for actually being god. This beatitude in becoming is a blossoming of our goddess-buddha-mary-christ-dionysus nature—it feels like yoga, breathing, dancing, fucking. That groovy blooming—dynamically colorful and dizzy like Godfrey Reggio’s celluloid—certainly comprises a central component in our fascination with the psychedelic, the tantric, the shamanic.

Reversing the apocalypse

Undoubtedly, based largely on his mystic, mantra-moaning mania, some people saw Allen Ginsberg as a simplistic and syrupy prophet in the Timothy Leary vein, and as such, they could not take him seriously as a poet. As early as 1961, Ginsberg responded to the collective rejection of Beat wisdom by the literary and journalistic establishment with an almost evangelical fury: “That these horrible monsters who do nothing but talk, teach, write crap and get in the way of poetry, have been accusing us, poets, of lack of ‘values’ as they call it is enough to make me vow solemnly (for the second time) that I’m going to stop even trying to communicate coherently to the majority of the academic, journalistic, mass media and publishing trade and leave them stew in their own juice of ridiculous messy ideas . . . . But alas the square world will never and has never stopped bugging the hip muse.”

Of course, Ginsberg never stopped. He communicated quite coherently to the United States Senate about the benefits of LSD in 1966, helplessly hoping to keep it legal. He consented to interviews with conservative commentators on national television and shared intimate details of his pansexual sluttiness with puritanical audiences. To study the frank, fearless disclosures concerning promiscuous gay sex, mind-altering drugs, and magical anarchy that Ginsberg gave the straight, conservative, uptight media during the days of J. Edgar Hoover and COINTELPRO should give hope to contemporary rebels facing our own fears of being spied on, infiltrated, and otherwise harassed by the undercover creeps who support the endless war on everything based in the brutal Bush agenda.

If we want to undo the dire reality of ecological and military destruction, we must be proponents of love and change. But can we really make a revolution with pills and prayers, potions and poems?

In 1969, Ginsberg considered the problem of revolutionary tactics in the following manner, a magickal approach that I think is worthy of considering once again:

“Although a minority is aware what the next step is, what about the majority who are plunged in darkness, flood, apocalypse, and destruction? How to redeem these ‘ignorant armies’ who clash by night from their own bad karma?” Already, Ginsberg crystallized the quandary that placed his Weatherpeople contemporaries in an ethical quarantine. What to do when the moral minority wants to redeem the ignorant majority? Ginsberg confronted the question that troubles anarchists still: “Violent confrontation? Violence begets violence. Revolutionary violence begets fascist tyranny. So, though the noble impetuosity of confrontation by some New Leftists may seem appropriate to a situation in which long-haired angels are surrounded by pigs, the problem remains: how to cast the Devil from the hearts of swine?”

Ginsberg followed with his concept of a mystical cure: “Since we’re in an apocalyptic situation, old historical dialectics no longer apply. I prophesy that the only way to reverse the apocalypse is white magic, since the apocalypse itself is incarnate black magic. What would be the effect of total sacramental harmonious shamanistic ritual prayer magic massively performed in the American or Russian political theater?”

Are we any less troubled today? If any human can be called “swine” in the sense that the 60s’ radicals meant when they said “off the pigs,” it’s the puny-minded punishers who pummel the earth and imprison her defenders. At least today, we have the benefit of a majority of people the world over acknowledging the severity of the ecological crisis. Each day that passes in the automobile-centric culture that Henry Miller dubbed the “air-conditioned nightmare,” the planet burns itself towards meltdown through mass resource extraction and consumption on an incalculable scale. Kurt Vonnegut puts it bluntly in a recent interview with Rolling Stone: “We have destroyed our entire planet over transportation-whoopee.”

While I’m not ready to join Vonnegut’s “humans are a mistake” eviction of evolution, who can blame him for suggesting such in a culture driven by drivers of SUVs and breeders of large families. You may not believe in magick—but at least admit you’d accept some sorcery if it showed up tomorrow to put the oil-pushers out-of-business.

Consider what I learned the other day doing research on the Green Scare: the vehicles that jailed earth-warrior Jeff Luers destroyed in a symbolic, desperate, and heroic act of defiance were rebuilt and resold. A car is reborn! That’s how sacred property is to those who have sold our common ancestor—the land—for the temporary thrill of cruising on pavement at 80 miles per hour.

As early as the late 1970s, Ginsberg reckoned that redeeming America was a “lost cause,” quoting Kerouac’s dictum that “it doesn’t matter.” Invoking Dostoyevsky, Ginsberg confronted such millennial despair: “Free from hope and fear, the great liberation doesn’t deny our delight in the ‘sticky little leaves of spring,’ a green insight that once saved the despairing hero of a Russian novel. This ‘Hopelessness’ is not the same as pathogenic despair, it means freedom from egocentric preconception.”

Such a fatal unmooring from faith in any future may free us to do the magickal street theater of our time. From pie-wielding pranksters creaming creeps with banana cream to the Center for Tactical Magic’s tricksterly tactics, street theater is the place where acid-flavored antics have always married anarchy.

Such a daring endeavor as dancing into the halls of power to proclaim the moneyless, propertyless, psychedelic jubilee should not be parodied and petrified by mass unconsciousness. Only Ginsberg’s fearless and reckless demeanor demanded the attention of a generation.

In 1966, he went to a Unitarian church to preach his preposterous gospel: “I propose, then, that everybody including the President and his and our vast hordes of generals, executives, judges, and legislators of these States go to nature, find a kindly teacher or Indian peyote chief or guru guide and assay their consciousness with LSD ... Then, I prophesy, we will all have seen some ray of glory or vastness beyond our conditioned social selves, beyond our government, beyond America even, that will unite us into a peaceable community.”

Candidate Alexander: Labor, War and Education Connects

Stewart A. Alexander, a presidential hopeful with the Peace and Freedom Party, applaud the actions of the ILWU Local 10 and Local 34 for lending their strong support to anti-war protesters at the SSA shipping terminals in Oakland, California. On May 19 the Port Action Committee, the Oakland Education Association, along with teacher, students and community activist demanded that the U.S. get out of Iraq and called on other unionists throughout the United States to mobilize in action to stop the war.
Stewart A. Alexander for U.S. President Peace and Freedom Party May 22, 2007 Anti-war protesters were on the picket line this past weekend at the SSA (Stevedoring Services of America) shipping terminals in Oakland, California to protest the Iraq War and the lack of funding for schools in Oakland. The picketers demanded that the U.S. get out of Iraq and called on other unionists throughout the United States to mobilize in action to stop the war. The May 19th action which began in the early morning before the first day shift of ILWU Local 10 longshoremen and women, as well as longshore clerks of ILWU Local 34, was organized to encourage the dockworkers to honor the picket line which they are allowed to do under their contract. As a result of a political educational campaign in the ILWU Local 10, most workers were fully in support of the picket and did not cross the line. Newly elected Democratic Mayor Ronald Dellums had also sent a letter, to the Port Action Committee that organized the picket, which declared that the war “had been a blunder” and said he opposed the war. The picket line, which swelled as the morning went on, was manned by a large number of teachers and leaders of the Oakland Education Association (OEA) who were not only angry about the Iraq War, but to protest the role of port companies like SSA and American President Lines (APL) that are profiting off the war and are operating privatized docks in Iraq. The picket was also organized to protest the fact that West Oakland students, who live next to the port, have some of the worst conditions in the schools while the port of Oakland does $33 billion in business annually. OEA President Betty Olsen Jones pointed out that while Oakland is making a tremendous income from the port operations, and could help to provide funding for the schools, they refuse to help. As a result of the crisis in the schools, the state has taken over in a trusteeship and is proceeding to privatize the schools with charters including a military charter set up by former mayor and now California Attorney General Jerry Brown. Many of the Black longshore workers were angry that a Black community in Oakland is not benefiting from the massive income the port is making. Presently the Oakland Education Association is supporting a $20 tax on each container that comes into the port that would go to the schools in Oakland so the education system would benefit from being home to the fourth largest port in the United States. The cost of the war and the lack of funding for the Oakland schools is another example of the sacrifice and financial burden the Iraq War is creating for working class people and students; and how big corporations are earning their billions from Bush’s war. Stewart Alexander, a presidential hopeful with the Peace and Freedom Party, applauds this action and support the unions, the teachers and the community. “Even though Bush will not listen to the American people or the world community, this action has significant lessons for successful workers actions against the war nationally and internationally.” For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander for President; Iraq War: Counting the Cost; Senator Reid was Right, the War is Lost; Democrats Waffling on Iraq War.

Militant Investigations // Collective Theorization

From the ivory tower to the barricades! Radical intellectuals explore the relationship between research and resistance.

What is the relationship of radical theory to movements for social change? In a world where more and more global struggles are refusing vanguard parties and authoritarian practices, does the idea of the detached intellectual, observing events from on high, make sense anymore? In this powerful and unabashedly militant collection, over two dozen academic authors and engaged intellectuals--including Antonio Negri and Colectivo Situaciones--provide some challenging answers. In the process, they redefine the nature of intellectual practice itself.

Includes materials from Brian Holmes * Ben Holtzman // Craig Hughes // Kevin Van Meter * Antonio Negri * Colectivo Situaciones * Gavin Grindon * Maribel Casas-Cortes + Sebastian Cobarrubias * Angela Mitropolous * Jack Bratich * Harry Halpin * Jeff Juris * Gaye Chan + Nandita Sharma * Ben Shepard * Kirsty Robertson * Bre * Anita Lacey * Michal Osterweil + Graeme Chesters * Dave Eden * Uri Gordon * Ashar Latif + Sandra Jeppesen


Just as we use narratives to construct and deconstruct our social world, so narratives about forms of politics open up or delimit possibilities for organization. But the relation of radical academics and intellectuals and the social movements we work with (or more often talk about with little real connection) has had a tenuous and not always positive history. Far too often radical theorists have used their knowledge or ideas to claim leadership roles and positions of power within movements, attempting to control and direct through vanguard structures, leading to many problems despite their positive intentions. The practices of the interwoven strands of the global justice movement, creating and enacting horizontal networks instead of top-down structures like states, parties, or corporation, demand that radical theorists and academics critically rethink their role in and relation to movements, and the nature of intellectual practice itself.

Constituent Imagination was released by AK Press in May 2007. For further information and updates will be posted in this site as they become available. Interested individuals are also encouraged to check out the "Inscribing Organized Resistance" of the journal ephemera, which grew out of this project.

Noam Chomsky on Mumia

Noam Chomsky on Mumia Interview by Hans Bennett, 2002 In early October 2002, MIT Linguistics Professor and anarchist, Noam Chomsky visited Philadelphia. The first day here he spoke at the University of Pennsylvania about the war waged on Iraq and the rest of the Middle East by the United States. During the question and answer session, I asked him about Mumia Abu-Jamal. The next day Noam spoke about the media at a church in Center City. Afterwards I asked him about the post Sept. 11, 2001 political repression.

Chomsky Columnist without a Place

rec. 5-20-07

1) 2:16 Radio Essay Mp3

[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the remarkable women who helped build and defend the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM: A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South End Press (; Ph. #1-800-533-8478.] =============================== "When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal MUMIA'S COLUMNS NEED TO BE PUBLISHED AS BROADLY AS POSSIBLE TO INSPIRE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT AND HELP CALL ATTENTION TO HIS CASE. The campaign to kill Mumia is in full swing and we need you to **please** contact as many publications and information outlets as you possibly can to run Mumia's commentaries (on-line and **especially off-line**)!! The only requirements are that you run them *unedited*, with every word including copyright information intact, and send a copy of the publication to Mumia and/or ICFFMAJ. THANK YOU!!! Keep updated by reading ACTION ALERTS!! at, and their links. ======================================== To download Mp3's of Mumia's commentaries visit or ==============================================> The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia! PLEASE CONTACT: International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ P.O. Box 19709 Philadelphia, PA 19143 Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180 E-mail - AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES! Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at: Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335 SCI-Greene 175 Progress Drive Waynesburg, PA 15370 WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!! Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa governments


Oh governments jealous to make me your slave &SHY; to own me and push me from cradle to grave: If I run from your claws, you just cast me out from that portion of mankind you call your devout. Exalting your image, you say we are free if we choose not to have any idols but thee. You take our money and hang up your flags demanding we worship idolatrous rags. You say it´s an honor to die for your sake, but your claims are all false, and your honor is fake. For thousands of years you have led us astray proclaiming that you are the Light and the Way. You use all the best and likewise the worst to quench your insatiable powerthirst. You steal all the men and make them all yours, and their women you turn into comforting whores. Your wealth is not founded on free, honest trade. Your tool is extortion; that's how you get paid. And what you hand back is only what's due to make everybody dependent on you. From the Greeks and the Romans exploiting their times to America using her nickels and dimes - England and France and the U.S.S.R: You're all just the same, and I know what you are.

- Tarjei Straume, Los Angeles 1976

The Energy Blues

Energy ... We're looking to try and find some new kinds. Energy ... Exploring to try and make a new find. Nuclear and thermal and solar, If we miss we'll get colder and colder. Energy ... We've gotta stop usin' you up.

So don't be cross when momma says turn that extra light out. Just turn it off till we find us a fuel that never runs out. If everyone tries a bit harder, Our fuel will go farther and farther. Energy ... We're gonna be stretchin' you out.

- Music & Lyrics: George R. Newall

Nintendo Cartoon Hour

The Rosicrucian Mysteries, by Max Heindel






Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Looks like FuckTard Bush Is Preparing to Hit a Home Run For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary May 9, 2007 National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive RSS Feed White House News NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/NSPD 51 HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD-20 Subject: National Continuity Policy Purpose (1) This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes "National Essential Functions," prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency. Definitions (2) In this directive: (a) "Category" refers to the categories of executive departments and agencies listed in Annex A to this directive; (b) "Catastrophic Emergency" means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions; (c) "Continuity of Government," or "COG," means a coordinated effort within the Federal Government's executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency; (d) "Continuity of Operations," or "COOP," means an effort within individual executive departments and agencies to ensure that Primary Mission-Essential Functions continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies; (e) "Enduring Constitutional Government," or "ECG," means a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed and the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency; (f) "Executive Departments and Agencies" means the executive departments enumerated in 5 U.S.C. 101, independent establishments as defined by 5 U.S.C. 104(1), Government corporations as defined by 5 U.S.C. 103(1), and the United States Postal Service; (g) "Government Functions" means the collective functions of the heads of executive departments and agencies as defined by statute, regulation, presidential direction, or other legal authority, and the functions of the legislative and judicial branches; (h) "National Essential Functions," or "NEFs," means that subset of Government Functions that are necessary to lead and sustain the Nation during a catastrophic emergency and that, therefore, must be supported through COOP and COG capabilities; and (i) "Primary Mission Essential Functions," or "PMEFs," means those Government Functions that must be performed in order to support or implement the performance of NEFs before, during, and in the aftermath of an emergency. Policy (3) It is the policy of the United States to maintain a comprehensive and effective continuity capability composed of Continuity of Operations and Continuity of Government programs in order to ensure the preservation of our form of government under the Constitution and the continuing performance of National Essential Functions under all conditions. Implementation Actions (4) Continuity requirements shall be incorporated into daily operations of all executive departments and agencies. As a result of the asymmetric threat environment, adequate warning of potential emergencies that could pose a significant risk to the homeland might not be available, and therefore all continuity planning shall be based on the assumption that no such warning will be received. Emphasis will be placed upon geographic dispersion of leadership, staff, and infrastructure in order to increase survivability and maintain uninterrupted Government Functions. Risk management principles shall be applied to ensure that appropriate operational readiness decisions are based on the probability of an attack or other incident and its consequences. (5) The following NEFs are the foundation for all continuity programs and capabilities and represent the overarching responsibilities of the Federal Government to lead and sustain the Nation during a crisis, and therefore sustaining the following NEFs shall be the primary focus of the Federal Government leadership during and in the aftermath of an emergency that adversely affects the performance of Government Functions: (a) Ensuring the continued functioning of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government; (b) Providing leadership visible to the Nation and the world and maintaining the trust and confidence of the American people; (c) Defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and preventing or interdicting attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests; (d) Maintaining and fostering effective relationships with foreign nations; (e) Protecting against threats to the homeland and bringing to justice perpetrators of crimes or attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests; (f) Providing rapid and effective response to and recovery from the domestic consequences of an attack or other incident; (g) Protecting and stabilizing the Nation's economy and ensuring public confidence in its financial systems; and (h) Providing for critical Federal Government services that address the national health, safety, and welfare needs of the United States. (6) The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, shall coordinate the development and implementation of continuity policy for executive departments and agencies. The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, shall be the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination. (7) For continuity purposes, each executive department and agency is assigned to a category in accordance with the nature and characteristics of its national security roles and responsibilities in support of the Federal Government's ability to sustain the NEFs. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall serve as the President's lead agent for coordinating overall continuity operations and activities of executive departments and agencies, and in such role shall perform the responsibilities set forth for the Secretary in sections 10 and 16 of this directive. (8) The National Continuity Coordinator, in consultation with the heads of appropriate executive departments and agencies, will lead the development of a National Continuity Implementation Plan (Plan), which shall include prioritized goals and objectives, a concept of operations, performance metrics by which to measure continuity readiness, procedures for continuity and incident management activities, and clear direction to executive department and agency continuity coordinators, as well as guidance to promote interoperability of Federal Government continuity programs and procedures with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate. The Plan shall be submitted to the President for approval not later than 90 days after the date of this directive. (9) Recognizing that each branch of the Federal Government is responsible for its own continuity programs, an official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President shall ensure that the executive branch's COOP and COG policies in support of ECG efforts are appropriately coordinated with those of the legislative and judicial branches in order to ensure interoperability and allocate national assets efficiently to maintain a functioning Federal Government. (10) Federal Government COOP, COG, and ECG plans and operations shall be appropriately integrated with the emergency plans and capabilities of State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to promote interoperability and to prevent redundancies and conflicting lines of authority. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate the integration of Federal continuity plans and operations with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency. (11) Continuity requirements for the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and executive departments and agencies shall include the following: (a) The continuation of the performance of PMEFs during any emergency must be for a period up to 30 days or until normal operations can be resumed, and the capability to be fully operational at alternate sites as soon as possible after the occurrence of an emergency, but not later than 12 hours after COOP activation; (b) Succession orders and pre-planned devolution of authorities that ensure the emergency delegation of authority must be planned and documented in advance in accordance with applicable law; (c) Vital resources, facilities, and records must be safeguarded, and official access to them must be provided; (d) Provision must be made for the acquisition of the resources necessary for continuity operations on an emergency basis; (e) Provision must be made for the availability and redundancy of critical communications capabilities at alternate sites in order to support connectivity between and among key government leadership, internal elements, other executive departments and agencies, critical partners, and the public; (f) Provision must be made for reconstitution capabilities that allow for recovery from a catastrophic emergency and resumption of normal operations; and (g) Provision must be made for the identification, training, and preparedness of personnel capable of relocating to alternate facilities to support the continuation of the performance of PMEFs. (12) In order to provide a coordinated response to escalating threat levels or actual emergencies, the Continuity of Government Readiness Conditions (COGCON) system establishes executive branch continuity program readiness levels, focusing on possible threats to the National Capital Region. The President will determine and issue the COGCON Level. Executive departments and agencies shall comply with the requirements and assigned responsibilities under the COGCON program. During COOP activation, executive departments and agencies shall report their readiness status to the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Secretary's designee. (13) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall: (a) Conduct an annual assessment of executive department and agency continuity funding requests and performance data that are submitted by executive departments and agencies as part of the annual budget request process, in order to monitor progress in the implementation of the Plan and the execution of continuity budgets; (b) In coordination with the National Continuity Coordinator, issue annual continuity planning guidance for the development of continuity budget requests; and (c) Ensure that heads of executive departments and agencies prioritize budget resources for continuity capabilities, consistent with this directive. (14) The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall: (a) Define and issue minimum requirements for continuity communications for executive departments and agencies, in consultation with the APHS/CT, the APNSA, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Chief of Staff to the President; (b) Establish requirements for, and monitor the development, implementation, and maintenance of, a comprehensive communications architecture to integrate continuity components, in consultation with the APHS/CT, the APNSA, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Chief of Staff to the President; and (c) Review quarterly and annual assessments of continuity communications capabilities, as prepared pursuant to section 16(d) of this directive or otherwise, and report the results and recommended remedial actions to the National Continuity Coordinator. (15) An official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President shall: (a) Advise the President, the Chief of Staff to the President, the APHS/CT, and the APNSA on COGCON operational execution options; and (b) Consult with the Secretary of Homeland Security in order to ensure synchronization and integration of continuity activities among the four categories of executive departments and agencies. (16) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall: (a) Coordinate the implementation, execution, and assessment of continuity operations and activities; (b) Develop and promulgate Federal Continuity Directives in order to establish continuity planning requirements for executive departments and agencies; (c) Conduct biennial assessments of individual department and agency continuity capabilities as prescribed by the Plan and report the results to the President through the APHS/CT; (d) Conduct quarterly and annual assessments of continuity communications capabilities in consultation with an official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President; (e) Develop, lead, and conduct a Federal continuity training and exercise program, which shall be incorporated into the National Exercise Program developed pursuant to Homeland Security Presidential Directive-8 of December 17, 2003 ("National Preparedness"), in consultation with an official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President; (f) Develop and promulgate continuity planning guidance to State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators; (g) Make available continuity planning and exercise funding, in the form of grants as provided by law, to State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators; and (h) As Executive Agent of the National Communications System, develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive continuity communications architecture. (17) The Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall produce a biennial assessment of the foreign and domestic threats to the Nation's continuity of government. (18) The Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall provide secure, integrated, Continuity of Government communications to the President, the Vice President, and, at a minimum, Category I executive departments and agencies. (19) Heads of executive departments and agencies shall execute their respective department or agency COOP plans in response to a localized emergency and shall: (a) Appoint a senior accountable official, at the Assistant Secretary level, as the Continuity Coordinator for the department or agency; (b) Identify and submit to the National Continuity Coordinator the list of PMEFs for the department or agency and develop continuity plans in support of the NEFs and the continuation of essential functions under all conditions; (c) Plan, program, and budget for continuity capabilities consistent with this directive; (d) Plan, conduct, and support annual tests and training, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, in order to evaluate program readiness and ensure adequacy and viability of continuity plans and communications systems; and (e) Support other continuity requirements, as assigned by category, in accordance with the nature and characteristics of its national security roles and responsibilities General Provisions (20) This directive shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. 19), with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved. Heads of executive departments and agencies shall ensure that appropriate support is available to the Vice President and others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those provisions. (21) This directive: (a) Shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and the authorities of agencies, or heads of agencies, vested by law, and subject to the availability of appropriations; (b) Shall not be construed to impair or otherwise affect (i) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, and legislative proposals, or (ii) the authority of the Secretary of Defense over the Department of Defense, including the chain of command for military forces from the President, to the Secretary of Defense, to the commander of military forces, or military command and control procedures; and (c) Is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person. (22) Revocation. Presidential Decision Directive 67 of October 21, 1998 ("Enduring Constitutional Government and Continuity of Government Operations"), including all Annexes thereto, is hereby revoked. (23) Annex A and the classified Continuity Annexes, attached hereto, are hereby incorporated into and made a part of this directive. (24) Security. This directive and the information contained herein shall be protected from unauthorized disclosure, provided that, except for Annex A, the Annexes attached to this directive are classified and shall be accorded appropriate handling, consistent with applicable Executive Orders. GEORGE W. BUSH # # #


[What?! It's tired I'm late & I can't even remember where I got this link...all I know is my blog is done for tomorrow so I can sleep in if I want to... :)]


Neurobiologists are working on how perception, cognition, and memory are coded and stored within the brain. Recent studies are based on simultaneous monitoring of the activity of hundreds of associated, localized neurons. The functional properties of these groups of neurons have been identified. These studies seem to indicate the theory of distributed coding is the operable methodology.

Two theories of brain function currently hold sway. One, the "Grandmother cell" theory states that the brain contains a single cell which recognizes your (or its) grandmother. When this happens, the cell "fires" a set of synapses which send electrons speeding to a series of specific locations, identifying for your conscious your grandmother.

The other, the theory of distributed coding states that a group of cells, one hundred or more recognize grandmother and other similar humans, sending signals out in the same manner as the single cell. This theory has gained favor in the Hippocampus and the cerebral cortex studies.

Grandmother cell theory seems to work best in the area of the inferotemporal cortex, the higher visual area of the brain. Some studies of the hippocampal regions seem to indicate single cell storage of memory. To date, this divided view has not been reconciled.

Present studies agree that the brain is highly specific and divided. Some areas handle speech, others visual, others touch, etc. Most of the brain works automatically outside of the ability of the individual to control the process of cognition. Research has shown that the brain has grown larger from the tiny reptile brain by overlaying each previous brain set with a new brain capable of new abilities. This is done much like building a house. You may start out with a one room house. As you add on, the one room is not stretched and made larger, more rooms are added and each new room has a specific function such as kitchen, bedroom, playroom, den, etc. Scientists have identified eight such layers, each containing specific capabilities and characteristics. The capability of each brain segment has been mapped and identified.

Various other groups have mapped these segments and published their findings. A summary of these maps is included in this text. Please notice the similarity of these findings, even in such a brief summary.

Drug gurus

Research into brain circuitry through circuit-specific drugs has been spearheaded by Dr. Timothy Leary. This research has shown eight brain circuits. These eight circuits are the same as those discovered by scientists.


Philosophers study the functioning of the human brain from the outside. This is a cause and effect system which is slow and imprecise. Currently, philosophy works on a broad mind set and has not identified brain segments. Techniques for input and mind control exist but do not specify brain circuits.


Psychologists have worked long to understand the functioning of the human brain. These researchers lead the way to modern knowledge of brain circuits. They identified individual brain circuits prior to their discovery by Neurobiologists. Psychologists discovered as many as seven individual brain circuits but most only found four or five.

Psychotherapists also mapped the function of each circuit and reported of these discoveries. These functions are similar to those found by scientists and drug gurus.


This group of people includes a broad range of characteristics and include such disciplines as shamans, priests, pastors, enlightened gurus, body workers, holistic health workers, and more. Studies are as varied as those of scientists and, indeed, tend to parallel scientific endeavors.

Studies of the brain are based on yogic techniques, meditation, focal point studies, and many other methods which focus part or all of the brain onto a chosen path. Of all these, the oldest, the Tree of Life is the one that most completely agrees with modern studies.

The Tree of Life contains ten levels, the first eight of which exactly (97 percent statistical) reflect modern knowledge. Perhaps modern science will catch up and finally identify all of the brain circuits noted in the Tree of Life.


General characteristics

The language used to describe the brain and its functioning may be so technical that only a highly trained neurobiologist will be able to understand what is said. At the other extreme, the language can be so simplified that it no longer conveys the meaning and message needed for imparting information. Thus, although you may have to look up a few words and some concepts will be made too simple, a middle ground for the language of brain chemistry, research, circuits, and concepts will be used.

The language of spiritualism is as technical and specific as that of neurobiology. With this in mind, a middle ground in the language of spirituality will also be taken.

Science generated knowledge

The eight circuits discovered range from primal and instinctive to highly advanced and out-of- body only circuits. The first two or lower circuits are automatic and not controlled directly by the individual. Above these two is the rational mind, the only brain circuit a human has direct control of. One more circuit makes up the normally functional brain circuits of the average person and is the fourth, the sexual circuit. The next three brain circuits are those of our higher powers and are not normally used by any except highly trained yogis and spiritualists. The last brain circuit discovered by scientists is only encountered in out-of-body experiences and is used only by those humans practicing special forms of Tantra. The text will now give a summary of the scientific description of the known brain circuits. Please understand that much of the descriptive phrases have been simplified and the concepts also condensed for understanding.

CIRCUIT ONE. Instinctive Biosurvival circuit.

This brain circuit is the oldest in terms of evolution and is the one we have the least control over. When this circuit takes charge, all other brain functions are over-ridden. The physical body is made safe by this circuit and it will run away from danger unless otherwise trained.

Mothering the newborn and the child in its first year of life imprints this brain for flight or fight. Since this is the only brain circuit functional during the first year of life, virtually no one can remember any portion of this time. Fear imprinted during this vulnerable year may be impossible to remove from the individual. This circuit is unconscious.

CIRCUIT TWO. Primitive Ego.

Your response to territory, domination vs. submission, top dog/bottom dog status, and other Ego associated emotional defenses are controlled by this circuit. Becoming functional at about age one, you find your place in the pecking order from how this circuit is imprinted in its most vulnerable years from age one to three. During this formative time the impressional mind is locked into a mind set by events and attitudes around the child. This circuit is sub-conscious.

CIRCUIT THREE. Rational mind.

This circuit constitutes the logic demanding and rational aspect of our mind. It is the one which demands that in the sequence of 1,2,3,4,... the next number must be 5. When things don't happen logically, this circuit gets confused. Imprinting this portion of your brain begins at about age three or four and continues to about age seven. The child begins to want to identify everything, label everything, and ask why all the time. People who enjoy science, math, debates, and other academic exercises are strongly imprinted in this circuit. This circuit is conscious.

CIRCUIT FOUR. The sexual circuit.

This circuit begins to activate in a child at about seven years of age. During this time and until past puberty, the child is learning their sexual role and their role for their gender. The boys become macho or learn friendly strength or other male role models. The little girls learn feminine role models of various types. Parenting is learned during this time along with the rules of society. The sexual circuit carries a large energy potential and is the source of the energy of artistic endeavor. This circuit is normally super-conscious but may be made conscious with effort.

With these four circuits, the normal personality is completed. Circuits five through eight are available to those lucky enough to open them or to those willing to work on the techniques needed to make these higher circuits available to the functioning mind.

CIRCUIT FIVE. The enlightened Ego.

This is imprinted by ecstatic experiences. Some of the experiences which open the bliss of this circuit are found in the old-time religion "born again" revivals, during orgasm, during intense and complex music, when you focus your mind on the patterns of eternity, when you make a new discovery, find new ideas, etc. Faith healing starts out of this circuit. Opening this circuit is fundamental to all higher spiritual endeavors. This circuit is super-conscious.

CIRCUIT SIX. Enlightened instincts.

Usually only awakened by advanced yogis or Tantrics, this circuit along with the fifth circuit brings faith healing into reality. When focused internally you can use this circuit to heal your physical ills, and when focused outward to an individual, can heal others. When opened and unbalanced by the fifth circuit can lead to mental illness such as paranoia, schizophrenia, and psychosis.

CIRCUIT SEVEN. Enlightened intelligence.

A realm of pure idea and intelligence, this is your intuition area. This circuit knows what is going on and makes you uncomfortable when you don't follow its suggestions. Few people open this circuit to full consciousness but most have it fully functioning and acting as a kind of conscience and voice of god. When most people pray, this is where they are praying to.

This is as far as even the most unusually adept and hard working, dedicated spiritualist or yoga can reach. Tantric methods will reach the eighth circuit with relative ease when the practitioner is capable of using the methodology. No other method known will reach the eighth circuit with any assurance of attainment.

The next circuit found by scientists is reached only in out-of-body experiences, near-death episodes or other life threatening occurrences.

CIRCUIT EIGHT. Transfiguration circuit.

Only during out-of-body experience is this circuit directly experienced by the individual. Scientists suggest this circuit communicates with a greater realm of knowledge from whence comes E.S.P. experiences. The circuit has been suggested as being a "non-local quantum communication system."

The Tree of Life notes that this circuit can only be reached during out-of-body experience and that it is actually divided into a ninth and tenth circuits. Science ends at the eighth circuit at this time.


The names may be weird and the spiritual nomenclature may sound odd to you scientists but you'll see that the system is the same as that of the scientific discoveries. Tree of Life descriptions of the brain circuits are different from those of scientists because the use of the descriptions are different.

Scientists attempt to describe function only. Tree of Life describes function and how the individual can utilize these circuits. The Tree of Life also describes how the individual can learn to access these circuits and how to successfully link the circuits up for a greater level of usefulness.


This sephiroth or circuit is the lowest and most primitive on the Tree of life. Malkuth operates on a primal level and affects the whole physical body. An action made by this Sephirah is an action on the physical plane. Activity within Malkuth is felt physically throughout the body as physical phenomena.

Malkuth represents the primal "I", the very base of personality. Ones very life force is held and protected here. Within this Sephirah only symbols are understood. Logic is not a part of Malkuth. The organization of Malkuth is based on a strong body awareness and protection.


This Sephirah is described as the engine room of a great ship. This is the unconscious driving force of Ego. It is the realm of the subconscious. Yesod connects with Malkuth through identification of the identity of the individual. The name Yesod means "foundation" and it is a proving and testing ground for information coming to the individual. Decisions are made in Yesod as to the usefulness or "rightness" of happenings to the person. All information received in the higher circuits must be tested for survival by Malkuth and for Ego-status by Yesod. These two circuits are said to make up the basic foundation of the human personality.


The sphere of Hod has been called Perfect Intelligence, absolute intelligence, the sphere of form. It is the discriminating power of the intellect, the concrete mind. This Sephirah is the rational mind and the image making consciousness. Hod uses and develops information and patterns into concrete form and ideas. Hod is the scientific mind of the Tree of Life.


This is the "sphere of the desire nature" which means the sphere of sensuality. "Contacts to Netzach are made by feeling with." Thus rational and logical thinking won't function here. Sexuality, sensuality, morality, parenting, and the arts are found here. Hod is the concrete mind and Netzach is assigned to Venus, the goddess of sexuality.

Dion Fortune says "Netzach is the artist in us, Hod the scientist." She further notes that the science will be sterile without influence of the fourth circuit. Netzach brings a dynamic and vitalizing force through the Venus influence.

According to all studies of the Tree of Life, these four sephiroth make up the complete personality of the average person. With Sephirah 5, we begin higher spiritual levels called adepthood or other special attainment names.


Enlightened Ego could well describe this Sephirah. As Jan Kennedy says, "In Tiphareth, the human Ego is a direct expression of the One Self ..." This is the Christ center, the ecstatic religious experience. This circuit produces an exaltation of consciousness and a quickening of life, and an intensification of awareness. Sometimes called the bliss or ecstasy Sephirah, this sphere must be awakened for the success of all higher spiritual operations.


Geburrah has been called the sphere of the catabolic expression of the metabolism. This Sephirah aims at the production of change and results in action. Called the Celestial Surgeon, Geburrah wields the pruning shears to trim out useless aspects of our personalities. Faith healing is done from here. From this sphere form is controlled and direct healing takes place.


Chesed has been described as the Cosmic record of every event. Called the Receptive Intelligence, a Measuring Intelligence, and a Sphere of Intelligence, Chesed is the basis for all adjustment, measurement, order, and adaptation. This circuit organizes resources into a whole for the individuals good. Dion Fortune says "When the abstract principle that forms the root of all new activity is formulating in our minds, we are operating in the sphere of Chesed".

When unawakened, we hear this intelligence only dimly and, if we listen at all it is to the tune of "hunches", "lucky guesses", intuition, conscience, etc. When awakened we see clearly the relationships between all things about us.

Between the seventh sphere and the eighth Sephirah the Tree of Life describes a great abyss. The Tree of Life states the eighth sphere can only be approached during out-of-body experience. This last triad of circuits or spheres of influence is called the Supernal Triangle. The intelligence represented by sephiroth eight to ten are those of highly esoteric, near-god, extreme awareness experiences.


Binah is the source of intuitive knowledge of spiritual truth. It is the receptive feminine energy of form. It is the syntheses or penetration into the significance of relationships and patterns. Binah is named Understanding in the old texts and called the foundation of primordial wisdom. In Binah is the power to perceive. The essence and interrelation of ideas, matter, patterns, and form.


Called the illuminating intelligence, Chokmah is the male sphere of highest penetrating intelligence. Wisdom is assigned here and understanding to Binah. The intelligence here is not organized and passes pure knowledge to Binah for such organization.


According to the Tree of Life, the manifestation of everything on earth comes from that which is not manifest on earth. This is the great white light, the source of all knowledge past, present, and future. Kether is as close to god as the human can presently get. Called the Hidden Intelligence, access to this sphere brings all knowledge.

This completes the comparison of the scientific and Tree of Life descriptions of the brain circuits. Next we'll discuss some physical aspects of brain power and limitations.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Impeachment by The People

Using tools the Founding Fathers gave us can energize calls for impeachment of Bush and Cheney

By Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn

he realities of the Iraq War cry out for the overthrow of a government that is criminally responsible for death, mutilation, torture, humiliation, chaos.

But all we hear in the nation's capital, which is the source of those catastrophes, is a whimper from the Democratic Party, muttering and nattering about "unity" and "bipartisanship."

These are the Democrats who were brought to power in November by an electorate fed up with the war, furious at the Bush administration and counting on the new majority in Congress to represent the voters.

But if sanity is to be restored in our national policies, it can only come about by a great popular upheaval, pushing both Republicans and Democrats into compliance with the national will.

The Declaration of Independence, revered as a document but ignored as a guide to action, needs to be read from pulpits and podiums, on street corners and community radio stations throughout the nation. Its words need to become a call to action for the first time since it was read aloud to crowds in the early excited days of the American Revolution: "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and institute new government."

The "ends" referred to in the Declaration are the equal right of all to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." True, no government in the history of the nation has been faithful to those ends. Still, there seems to be a special viciousness that accompanies the current assault on human rights, in this country and in the world. We have had repressive governments before, but none has legislated the end of habeas corpus, nor openly supported torture, nor declared the possibility of war without end. No government has so casually ignored the will of the people, affirmed the right of the president to ignore the Constitution, even to set aside laws passed by Congress.

The time is right, then, for a national campaign calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Representative John Conyers, who held extensive hearings and introduced an impeachment resolution when the Republicans controlled Congress, is now head of the House Judiciary Committee and in a position to fight for such a resolution. He has apparently been silenced by his Democratic colleagues who throw out as nuggets of wisdom the usual political palaver about "realism" (while ignoring the realities staring them in the face) and politics being "the art of the possible" (while setting limits on what is possible).

Judging by the public opinion polls, there are millions of Americans, indeed a majority of those polled, who declare themselves in favor if it is shown that the president lied us into war (a fact that is not debatable).

There are at least a half-dozen books out on impeachment, and it's been argued for eloquently by some of our finest journalists, John Nichols and Lewis Lapham among them. Indeed, an actual "indictment" has been drawn up by a former federal prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega, in a new book called “United States v. George W. Bush et al.”

There is a logical next step in this development of an impeachment movement: the convening of "people's impeachment hearings" all over the country. Such hearings would bypass Congress, which is not representing the will of the people, and would constitute an inspiring example of grassroots democracy.

These hearings would be the contemporary equivalents of the unofficial gatherings that marked the resistance to the British Crown in the years leading up to the American Revolution. What is usually forgotten about that struggle is that the American colonists, unable to count on redress of their grievances from the official bodies of government, took matters into their own hands, even before the first battles of the Revolutionary War.

In 1772, town meetings in Massachusetts began setting up Committees of Correspondence, and the following year, such a committee was set up in Virginia. The first Continental Congress, beginning to meet in 1774, was recognition that an extralegal body was necessary to represent the interests of the people.

Throughout the nation's history, the failure of government to deliver justice has led to the establishment of grassroots organizations, often ad hoc, dissolving after their purpose was fulfilled. For instance, after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, knowing that the national government could not be counted on to repeal the act, black and white anti-slavery groups organized to nullify the law by acts of civil disobedience. They held meetings, made plans and set about rescuing escaped slaves who were in danger of being returned to their masters.

More recently, we recall the peace groups of the 1980s, which sprang up in hundreds of communities all over the country and provoked city councils and state legislatures to pass resolutions in favor of a freeze on nuclear weapons. And local organizations have succeeded in getting more than 400 city councils to take a stand against the Patriot Act.

Impeachment hearings all over the country could excite and energize the peace movement. They would make headlines and could push reluctant members of Congress in both parties to do what the Constitution provides for and what the present circumstances demand: the impeachment and removal from office of George Bush and Dick Cheney. Simply raising the issue in hundreds of communities and congressional districts would have a healthy effect, and would be a sign that democracy, despite all attempts to destroy it in this era of war, is still alive.

CCCO Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors

The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors supports and promotes individual and collective resistance to war and preparations for war.
While most of us are teaching our kids to avoid violence, the US military is extolling the virtues of war. Junior ROTC programs are sprouting like weeds around the country — they’re now in over 2800 high schools.

The draft ended and the military had to get sneakier — along with JROTC we now have the poverty draft. The Pentagon spends $2 billion on recruiting. They entice youth into the military with promises of college and job training: sounds like a great way out. Eventually, young people learn the truth — instead of being caught in drive-bys, they’re doing fly-bys.

In 1968 we joined together to protest killing and war. We mobilized successfully against the Vietnam War, but haven’t been able to free our government from its militaristic ways. The Gulf War, the poverty draft, Junior ROTC, hazing, racism, sexual harassment and abuse are all dangers of an unchallenged military. It’s time again to act.

The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors has been there continuously since 1948, helping people who get caught in the military’s we. We still help them get out, just like we helped people get out of the tragedy of Vietnam. Now we need your help.

CCCO is an independent, non-profit organization funded primarily by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions. Because of the nature of our work, it is difficult for us to obtain support from large foundations or corporations. Not surprisingly, none of our money comes from the government. Thus, we rely on people of conscience — people like you — to give generously. You make this work possible.

Our Programs

Military Out of Our Schools

The military and its recruiters are present in almost every school in the United States. Recruiters are at schools to sell students military enlistment, using half-truths and outright deception. We believe the military’s sales pitch should not go unchallenged.

Despite the military's yearly recruiting budget of $1.9 billion, activists in local communities have gained some astounding organizing victories.

The GI Rights Hotline

200,000 young people enlist in the military every year. Those who made a mistake don’t know where to turn.

In the year 2000, CCCO and our partners on the GI Rights Hotline will answer 11,800 calls from members of the military seeking information about discharges, grievance and complaint procedures and other civil rights.

We also publish Helping Out: A Guide to Military Discharges and GI Rights, the most comprehensive reference work on military discharges in print.

Third World Outreach Program

CCCO’s Third World Outreach program seeks to address the historical relationships between Third World people and militarism; establish community-wide dialogues on issues of military recruiting, militarism of public schools, and our rich tradition of resistance to militarism; and to work in coalition with other national and local groups and organizers, and to organize, inform and aid our communities in fighting the “economic conscription” of young people. Our REAL STORY campaign focuses on organizing 50 or more Equal Access presentations in inner city schools in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Washington, DC, and Oakland.

AWOL! Youth for Peace and Revolution

The fourth edition of CCCO’s youth ‘zine, produced in collaboration with War Resister League’s YouthPeace program, will include a Hip Hop CD sound track! Over 25 artists affiliated with CCCO’s Third World Outreach Program will contribute to the expanded ‘zine.

Volunteering with CCCO

We are looking for a few good men and women to work for peace — both in our Oakland and Philadelphia offices and in communities across the country.

Volunteer to answer the GI Rights Hotline in our Oakland office! Or support the Hotline by helping out with mailings and other support work.

Confront the military recruiting trucks when they come to your community. Contact us to be put on our alert list.

Don’t let the recruiters have access to your local school unchallenged. Take CCCO materials to your local guidance counselors office and ask that they be placed next to the recruiting brochures, table at a career day fair, or place ads in the high school newspaper telling young people they can get out of the Delayed Enlistment Program.

Our Freeman Bristol Internship is open to young people every summer. Contact us for details at (888) 236-2226 or

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rethinking Left and Right

Okay, so it's probably pretty clear that, in terms of political orientation, I'm of the Far Left - at least according to conventional modes of talking about political positions. But somehow, "Far Left" makes me sound like some kind of "extremist". Am I? Is believing in love, justice, peace, democracy, equality, and freedom extreme? Let's consider for a moment those who usually label us in the Far Left as extremists. They're usually people in the media or state apparatuses, whom we know are in bed with each other. Maybe we could even speak in terms of a "state-media complex"... a friend of mine even advocates a renaming of the "nation-state" to a "nation-market-state"... anyway, that's a digression. Back to my earlier point: economic elites are threatened by the Far Left and thus label us "extremist", but let's think about this: The neo-cons are busily killing hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, and the Far Left is calling for an end to the war, and for peace and justice. Isn't there a disconnect here? This scenario clearly shows who the real extremists are! It's the market fundamentalists who are extreme, not those who oppose them in favour of a more humane world. But actually, the main point I wanted to make in this post was to rethink the whole Left-Right spectrum. I'm not so comfortable with the whole "Far Left" label anymore - not just because it lends itself to being labelled "extreme", but also because it conflates me with other tendencies in the Far Left which I despise - those various forms of authoritarian communisms. I'm sick of being strange bedfellows with those motherfuckers. What if we plot political positions along a new spectrum of Democracy-Authoritarianism? What then happens? Well, all of a sudden fascism, Stalinism, Maoism, and the like all get lumped together at one end. That destroys the traditional Left-Right distinction, and places me (and the comrade-dreamers with whom I associate) at the opposite end: that of Democracy. I now refuse the labels communist, anarchist, socialist, and the like... I'm simply a "radical democrat"... ...but even the term "radical" has huge problems! Such a tricky thing is language. Another problem arises as well: My conception of democracy is completely different that which you'll see defined in conventional political science textbooks. When I talk about democracy, I mean REAL democracy: the rule of all by all. Not the bullshit democracy that George Bush talks about - that belongs at the authoritarian end of the spectrum! But anyway, with those issues clarified, if we begin to think of political orientation in terms of Democracy-Authoritarianism, and not Left-Right, then it is in this way that we in the so-called "Far Left" with more libertarian leanings might be able to dissociate ourselves from those who have given us a bad name. Of course, this new spectrum is merely a device, a tool... it is still linear... It's something I will continue to think about through my work.



Marta said...

Do you remember Donnie Darko? At one stage in the movie, someone asks him to position himself on a line with two tips: bad on the one side and good on the other. Or something like that. And he freaks out. And I would have done the same. Now, if I understand your proposal, you advocate the reconsideration of the spectrum ‘left right’ not just criticising its content but involving more criteria, more spectra, more arguments to define your political position. In other words you are not just saying no, I don’t fit there. Or no, this is senseless. You are saying that there is left-right but there is also extreme-moderate and authoritarian-democratic and just-unjust and love-hate and war-peace and…and…and. And I like this! :) This is multiplicity in action! Maybe one line is linear but a bunch of them, intersecting of moving together, can be everything! Great!

J A G U A R I T O (Marco Hewitt) said...

Hey Marta: Yes, you would have sensed my unease at replacing one linear spectrum with another... I am still thinking how to think "rhizomatically" about it, and your little comment just really helped. Thanks! Each new spectrum when added and overlayed on the other disturbs and displaces earlier notions. When we have a multiplicity of these at our command, we can then show that what people believe to be a binary truth or certainty is but a construction. All that is solid melts into air! (thanks Karl).

Saturday, May 19, 2007 on Global net censorship

May 18th, 2007 by Dan Gillmor

The Open Net Intitiative global Internet filtering study was posted this morning, and it’s an incredible piece of work. From the BBC story on the launch:

The level of state-led censorship of the net is growing around the world, a study of so-called internet filtering by the Open Net Initiative suggests. The study of thousands of websites across 120 Internet Service Providers found 25 of 41 countries surveyed showed evidence of content filtering.

Not surprisingly, Google Maps and Skype were among the most-censored material.

Before Americans get smug about things, let me remind folks that while our federal government doesn’t do all that much of this stuff –a noteworthy recent exception is banning social networking sites from computers where the military has any influence — there’s all kinds of censorship taking place at state and local levels.

Schools and libraries around the country are routinely censoring computers to prevent kids from seeing even the most remotely objectionable material. It’s to the stage in many places where a student trying to gather material for a school report will be unable to find even relevant and useful sites.

Censorship is growing everywhere, it seems — and that includes America.

Meanwhile, congrats to my Berkman Center colleagues and others who worked on the project.

UPDATE: And props to Seth Finkelstein, frequent commenter here, who has been doing great work in this area for years.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

One Response to “Open Net Initiative Launches Pathbreaking Study”

  1. Seth Finkelstein Says:

    Actually, while not an outright ban, the Federal government does have a funding-based law - CIPA - that requires censorware in libraries.

    [remainder of planned comment skipped]

Friday, May 18, 2007


After tornado, FEMA disarms town, turns away help

On Friday, May 4, an F5 tornado wiped the town of Greensburg, Kan., almost entirely off the map. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with the National Guard and local police from all over Kansas, then systematically kept out relief workers while they went house to house disarming the residents.

One bit of good news, though, is that some left-leaning anarchist types are beginning to understand the importance of ordinary citizens having firearms to defend themselves from the government, a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

On May 12, Dave Strano and three other members of Kansas Mutual Aid, an anarcho-communist organization based in Lawrence, traveled to Greensburg to find out what was happening on the ground and try to assist with relief efforts.

They learned that a week after the tornado, FEMA finally began allowing relief workers into the area, long after they had disarmed everyone in the city they could, bungled initial relief efforts, and established a virtually complete police state.

We intended to analyze the situation and assess how our organization could help from Lawrence. If long term physical aid was needed from us, we had to make contacts within the local populace that could offer a place to set up a base camp. We also intended to find out what happened to the prisoners in the county jail during and after the storm, and what the current procedure for those being arrested was. In a highly militarized city, the police and military were the biggest threat to personal safety. . . .

After a short while, we met with several people evacuating belongings from their home. They told us that FEMA had been there for a week, and that all FEMA could offer them was a packet of information. The packet, however, had to be mailed to the recipients, and they had no mailing address! Their entire house had been destroyed. Their mailbox was probably in the next county. . . .

FEMA’s mission was to safeguard the property of businesses in the area and offer “low interest” loans to property owners affected. The National Guard was on hand along with the local police, to act as the enforcement mechanism for FEMA, while occasionally hauling debris and garbage out of the city. . . .

In the immediate recovery after the storm, FEMA and local police not only worked to find survivors and the dead, but also any firearms in the city. As you pass by houses in Greensburg, you notice that some are spraypainted with how many weapons were recovered from the home. This is central Kansas, a region with extremely high legal gun ownership. Of the over 350 firearms confiscated by police immediately after the storm, only a third have been returned to their owners. FEMA and the police have systematically disarmed the local population, leaving the firepower squarely in control of the state. — Dave Strano, Kansas Mutual Aid

FEMA’s top priority going in was clear. It was not to help people, but to establish control and cow the population. These, of course, are the same things they did during Hurricane Katrina, with much more disastrous results.

It’s time to get rid of FEMA, and along with it, any federal government responsibility for disaster response. Ordinary people and businesses, acting on their own and collaborating, have already proved they can respond to a disaster much more effectively than government force ever could.


A weekly anarchist radio show hosted by John Zerzan

Submitted by a radio on May 17, 2007 - 8:57pm.

Anarchy Radio 5-15-2007 Quack Smack 5-14 Media link | Details page

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Politician, the Intellectual, and the Artist, by (The AWESOME!) J A G U A R I T O

The radical Italian political theorist and philosopher, Giorgio Agamben, once wrote: "The goal of revolutionary politics is the destruction of politics itself". What he meant was the destruction of politics as an autonomous sphere; something separated out from the rest of society, and from everyday life; something transcendent which has become the domain of "specialists" whom we call "politicians". In effect, when we separate out politics from everyday life, we leave so-called "democracy" up to the politicians. They say "Shut the hell up, and just let us do our job - let us rule over you", and we consent, most of the time. Though, I believe, of course, that politics is far too important to be left up to the politicians. That's why the abolition of politics as an autonomous sphere would be an act of radical democratisation. It would mean dismantling the very state apparatus of rule, so that we may govern ourselves; so that we may be full participants in society, and not merely spectators and consumers. This is the goal of anarchy; "anarchy" simply meaning "without rulers". Instead of a state, we would have a federation of freely-cooperating collectives - and these collectives would collectively and collaboratively own and manage workplaces, schools, neighbourhoods, and the like. This would be a post-political politics. Forget outdated notions of communism. This is simply RADICAL DEMOCRACY. The division of labour under capitalism has not only carved out an autonomous domain for politics in the form of the state, but it has also carved out autonomous domains for artistic and intellectual activity. Hence, I wish to apply the same critique to bourgeois art and bourgeois intellectualism that Giorgio Agamben applies to bourgeois politics. Let's begin with the figure of the intellectual. For a long time, I proudly considered myself a radical intellectual or "scholar-activist", but now I am beginning to rethink this. I always disliked the term "academic", as to me this conjures the image of an "embedded intellectual" - embedded, that is, in the university system, just like embedded journalists in Iraq are beholden to the institution of the United States military. Opportunity for genuine critique thus becomes stifled. And so, the term "intellectual" always seemed more democratic to me, as there are plenty of intellectuals who don't work in academia: these include writers, poets, political activists, armchair theorists, and the like. But just as I advocated a post-political politics above, maybe we also need a post-intellectual intellectualism. By this I mean that we have to abolish the idea of an elite specialised stratum of people who we allow to produce knowledge, which then, by default, dictates what we are to know and not know. Just as the politician rules with power, so does the intellectual rule with knowledge. To democratise society, surely we need to democratise knowledge production. This would mean refusing the illusion that self-proclaimed "intellectuals" have a monopoly on knowledge production, and instead valorising the knowledge that EVERYONE produces, and allowing that to proliferate and flourish. The figure of the Intellectual has largely been construed as white and middle-class. What, then, of indigenous and Third World knowledges? These are precisely the knowledges that have been marginalised by the capitalist division of labour which has marked out knowledge production as the specialised domain of intellectuals. We are all intellectual in our own way, and we need to find new ways to pool our knowledge and learn off each other. This would mean calling into question the entire education system, the media, and the elitist nature of the publishing industry. When it comes to book publishing, who decides what constitutes valid knowledge worthy of publication? Only a small circle of elite editors, who aren't accountable to us! And so we need new democratic forms of knowledge production. Wikipedia and Indymedia have been very early and inspiring examples of this! With these two sites, EVERYONE is an intellectual! Lastly, I wanted to talk briefly about art. I contend that art does not belong in the dead spaces of galleries, but rather, that it belongs in everyday life. Destroying art as an autonomous sphere separate from the rest of society would mean infusing artistic production into the quotidian fabric of our very existences. And all of us are already artists! As Hakim Bey writes: "Artists are not special kinds of people. Each person, rather, is a special kind of artist". Dada was a very early example of a radical critique of bourgeois art. In fact, the Dadaists labelled their works as "anti-art"; Anti-art, that is, in the same sense that Giorgio Agamben is anti-politics. And so a "post-art art" would mean the democratisation of artistic production. Rather than a few specialists producing art, and the rest of us passively consuming it, all of us would become producers and creators. And the powers of aesthetic creation need not solely be deployed in the fashioning of traditional works-of-art! These powers of creation could also be deployed in politics and in the business of living! We could envisage each of us as paintbrushes, and reality as our canvas! This would mean destroying the distinction between art and life itself! And so, in a nutshell, I am calling for a political, intellectual, and artistic project that seeks to abolish the figures of the politician, the intellectual, and the artist as transcendent, specialised roles. Instead, we would have the rule of all by all. We would govern ourselves and all of us would be free to produce knowledge and art that would circulate in the commons for the mutual enrichment of humankind.

The Internet and the Noosphere

The shaman seers of the Fourth World generally agree that those who tenaciously cling to the past will fall into mass insanity. The serpent power of the Aquarian Age is upon us. The Kundalini of Gaia is about to awaken. No one can avoid being affected. Most human beings may go out of their minds; others will go beyond mind." -John Hogue In 1938, a Jesuit priest wrote a book in which he postulated the existence of "a sphere of thought" enveloping the Earth. (2) This book, The Phenomenon of Man, wasn't published until the late 1950s, after its author, Teilhard de Chardin, had died. In it, he called this enveloping sphere of thought the noosphere and described it as "a living tissue of consciousness" enclosing the Earth and growing ever more dense. For several years after the book's first English publication in 1959, Chardin's concept of a thinking membrane surrounding our planet provoked significant controversy in both religious and academic circles. Like many revolutionary ideas, however, the concept of a noosphere was eventually passed over by most mainstream thinkers and largely forgotten. Imagine my surprise then when I discovered that I wasn't the only one who remembered Chardin's work and had begun thinking about the Internet in terms of the noosphere.

Chardin believed that because of the spherical shape of the Earth, ideas will eventually encounter other ideas resulting in a cultural convergence of thought. This, he believed, would eventually lead to a single, self-developing framework of pure mind. Chardin used the term "noosphere" (possibly first coined by Vladimir Vernadsky (3) to represent a sphere of mind encircling the Earth. As he saw it, the noosphere encased what we call the biosphere, or sphere of life. Within this framework, Chardin saw the ongoing evolution of the human species manifesting itself as changes and advances in mind more than in body. In other words, human evolution would henceforth take place mainly in the noosphere.

As Sir Julian Huxley explained in his introduction to the first English translation of The Phenomenon of Man:

[Chardin was] deeply concerned with establishing a global unification of human awareness as a necessary prerequisite for any real future progress of mankind.

Huxley goes on to say,

In Père Teilhard's view, the increase of human numbers combined with the improvement of human communications has fused all the parts of the noosphere together. . . . But when it is confined to spreading out over the surface of a sphere, idea will encounter idea, and the result will be an organized web of thought, a noetic system operating high tension, a piece of evolutionary machinery capable of generating high psychosocial energy. (4) [Emphasis added]

This is a perfect description of what is taking place on the World Wide Web. Huxley and Chardin would be amazed and delighted if they were alive today.

Many people involved with the Internet and who are familiar with The Phenomenon of Man accept as fact that the Internet and the noosphere are interrelated in some way. If you are new to this concept, however, you most likely have a few questions, such as:

In the following discussion, it is important to keep one essential fact foremost in your mind: the Internet is not the noosphere. An Internet connection is not required, for all of humanity is already an integral part of the noosphere. This statement will become clear in the following pages as we explore the deeply woven interconnections of the mechanical Internet and the ethereal species-consciousness we call the noosphere.

What is the Noosphere?

In The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard de Chardin observed that, from a historical point of view, the "stuff" of this universe is becoming ever more complex, that information is becoming ever more concentrated. He further observed that, at least in this corner of the cosmos, human beings are the most complex of all known forms found in nature. From an evolutionary standpoint, he also saw that changes taking place in the human species are occurring in the domain of mind at a much faster rate than changes seem to appear in our biology. (5) For example, many users of cigarettes understand that their smoking habit is unhealthy, yet their biological make-up continues to crave the nicotine, which brings with it all of the carcinogens found in cigarette smoke.

According to the Big Bang Theory, our universe is becoming ever more complex as it continues to cool. From an initial point of intensely concentrated and homogeneous matter, we see the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies, and planets as the primordial ball of plasma expanded, cooled, and formed structures of ever-increasing complexity. In the case of our own planet, we also see the development of biological life with its even more complex forms of matter. These organic structures are actually containers of sorts-densely packed with information. The more information an object carries in a given volume, the more complex it is. A strand of DNA is not only smaller than a grain of sand, it is also considerably more complex because it contains more information than the silicon in the grain of sand.

The densest collection of complex information we know of thus far is the human being, and human activity gives rise to even greater complexity. If Chardin is correct in asserting that reflective consciousness is "the specific effect of organized complexity," it follows that some sort of intensification of human consciousness is at least possible within the laws of biological evolution. If consciousness does expand as complexity increases, how will this expansion or intensification of mind become manifest? Will the noosphere, this "envelope of thinking substance," as Chardin called it, one day become so complex and full of information that it evolves into a higher form of consciousness in its own right? Perhaps. What Chardin foretold was an awakening of the noosphere as the result of:

In other words, a massive amount of information is building up within the relatively small confines of the planet Earth. This, Chardin believed, will result in the blossoming of the noosphere into some form of super-consciousness, once the amount of information it contains reaches a critical density.

To illustrate this phenomenon, Chardin suggested we consider our current understanding of the atom. It goes without saying that no one person could have possibly developed the complete body of knowledge we now have about the atom. He further suggests that this is not a mere accretion of information, but rather a synthesis of information that erects "as though it were a vault above our heads, a domain of interwoven consciousness." Nuclear physicists and mathematicians are not the only ones who are a part of this interwoven consciousness; also included is every child, woman, and man on the planet who has any knowledge of the atom. Awareness of the smallest tidbit of information about the atom is all that is required for the mind containing that awareness to become joined in the noospheric web of thoughts about particle physics.

Just as hypertext documents on the World Wide Web are interconnected, information in the noosphere may be conceived to be structured as webs of thought. Seemingly unrelated information becomes interconnected when two or more of these webs of information intersect in individual minds. The moment our species attains the ability to tap into the complete body of human-created information at will is the point at which Chardin hypothesizes the collective consciousness of the noosphere becomes an aware entity of some sort in its own right. As he says:

. . . and the noosphere tends to constitute a single closed system in which each element sees, feels, desires and suffers for itself the same things as all the others at the same time.

We are faced with a harmonised [sic] collectivity of consciousness equivalent to a sort of super-consciousness. The idea is that of the earth not only becoming covered by myriads of grains of thought, but becoming enclosed in a single thinking envelope so as to form, functionally, no more than a single vast grain of thought on the sidereal scale, the plurality of individual reflections grouping themselves together and reinforcing one another in the act of a single unanimous reflection. (6)

In other words, it is the moment in time when the entire human species acquires super-psychic abilities. Speculation as to what this may mean and how it might come about is the subject of following chapters.

It isn't just in the sciences where these webs of thought are forming. For those of us fortunate enough to travel throughout the world, it is clear that the interchange of customs and ideas is taking place more frequently than at any other time. Discerning world travelers can see a beautiful tapestry of global awareness being woven through the interactions of diverse cultures. Exchanges ranging from the casual-like a London taxi driver telling a Japanese passenger about a recent Australian vacation-to the more complex-as with business meetings hosted by multi-national corporations-continue to make new connections in our psychic web, the noosphere. These connections are now being made at an ever-increasing rate, thanks to the Internet.

Another way to think of the noosphere is to see it as Sir Julian Huxley did, "the union of the whole human species into a simple inter-thinking group based on a single self-developing framework of thought." This, in Chardin's view, is nothing less than a collective human organism. It may take a giant leap of faith for some readers to "consider inter-thinking humanity as a new type of organism whose destiny it is to realize new possibilities for evolving life on this planet," (7) as Huxley suggests in his introduction to The Phenomenon of Man. However, if we can believe without personally seeing it demonstrated, that a nanoassembler can actually build things one atom at a time, or if we can believe that humans now have the ability to alter the structure of specific genes, is it that much more difficult to accept the existence of the noosphere?

Is the Internet the Mechanical Infrastructure of the Noosphere?

Like many of my colleagues, I view the Internet and the noosphere as inseparable, yet not the same. More precisely, I see the Internet playing the role that Chardin termed "the mechanical apparatus" of the noosphere. The following is from a paper he wrote in 1947:

To an increasing extent every machine comes into being as a function of every other machine; and, again to an increasing extent, all the machines on earth, taken together, tend to form a single, vast, organized mechanism. Necessarily following the inflexive tendency of the zoological phyla, the mechanical phyla in their turn curve inward in the case of man, thus accelerating and multiplying their own growth and forming a single gigantic network girdling the earth. And the basis, the inventive core of this vast apparatus, what is it if not the thinking-centre of the noosphere? (8) [Emphasis added]

Today you can purchase and rent cars that have satellite navigation systems which monitor the auto's movements. This information is transmitted over a communications network to companies that provide emergency roadside assistance. Thus, today's cars are actually connected to communications networks. In turn, some of these automobile monitoring networks are managed as Virtual Private Networks, otherwise known as VPNs, which use tunneling technology with the Internet for their backbone . It is now clear that the automobile is on its way to becoming a small part of a much larger machine that uses the Internet for its nervous system. This is only one example of where we are headed. Soon we will see many of our everyday household appliances and other devices Internet-enabled. Your pager will be synchronized with your daily activity planner so it automatically shifts to quiet mode during times you are scheduled to be in meetings. Your refrigerator will be connected to its manufacturer's service network through which it will be routinely checked for worn-out parts. Within a few years, there will be millions of people around the globe who will be immersed in the continuous computer environments now being designed for the "personal electronic companions" that are about to enter the market. (9) All of these examples point to the fact that we seem to be building a single, complexly interconnected, global-sized machine of some sort.

What then is the relationship of this immense machine to the noosphere? In Chardin's words:

When Homo faber came into being the first rudimentary tool was born as an appendage of the human body. Today the tool has been transformed into a mechanized envelope (coherent within itself and immensely varied) appertaining to all mankind. From being somatic it has become 'noospheric.' And just as the individual at the outset was enabled by the tool to preserve and develop his first, elemental psychic potentialities, so today the noosphere, disgorging the machine from its innermost organic recesses, is capable of, and in process of, developing a brain of its own. (10)

Can you see how the Internet has been "disgorged," or come out of, "the innermost organic recesses" of the noosphere? What are the innermost organic resources of the noosphere if not humankind? Is it not we humans who are building the Internet? Could it be that the Internet is the noosphere's "brain of its own" he refers to? Chardin goes on to say:

But in addition to its protective role, how can we fail to see the machine as playing a constructive part in the creation of a truly collective consciousness? It is not merely a matter of the machine which liberates, relieving both individual and collective thought of the trammels which hinder its progress, but also of the machine which creates, helping to assemble, and to concentrate in the form of an ever more deeply penetrating organism, all the reflective elements upon earth. [Emphasis added] (11)

By "reflective elements" Chardin means individual human beings. In other words, he sees the mechanical infrastructure of the noosphere as "helping to assemble, and to concentrate" the collective consciousness of the human species. Again, keep in mind that the Internet is not the noosphere. It is merely an infrastructure that is now available for the noosphere to use. Chardin continues his speculations about the form this mechanical infrastructure might take:

I am thinking, of course, in the first place of the extraordinary network of radio and television communications which, perhaps anticipating the direct inter-communication of brains through the mysterious power of telepathy, already link us all in a sort of 'etherized' universal consciousness.

But I am also thinking of the insidious growth of those astonishing electronic computers . . . (12)

If, as Chardin theorized:

Does this mean that there is a parallel between our association of brain/mind and the association of Internet/noosphere? If we commonly understand the brain/mind combination to compose an individual human being, then what can we say about the Internet/noosphere combination? What kind of "being" will this combination give rise to?


In Philadelphia, Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal team is preparing for a hearing that could decide the fate of the imprisoned former Black Panther. Abu-Jamal has been on death row for 25 years after being convicted of killing a police officer following a controversial trial before a predominantly-white jury. On Thursday, the Third Circuit Court Of Appeals will hear oral arguments to decide whether Mumia gets a new trial, life in prison without parole, or execution. Hundreds of supporters are planning to rally outside the courthouse. We’re joined by Linn Washington of the Philadelphia Tribune, and hear a recent audio commentary Mumia recorded behind bars. ...(excerpt of Linn Washington of the Philadelphia Tribune...) But you have to understand, there's been such politicization of this court, five members of the seven-member Supreme Court that upheld Abu-Jamal's conviction in 1998 received campaign contributions and campaign support from the Fraternal Order of Police, which is a Philadelphia police union, the main group that is pushing for his execution. Does that give the appearance of impartiality? It doesn't to a lot of people, because of the campaign finances.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Beyond Treason

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Anarchism, in the present

by fuckauthority

If you were to ask an anarchist at random to define the word “anarchy,” chances are, he or she would probably describe a utopian society without government, capitalism, religion, or other oppressive forces, where people live in free association with one another. This idea of an anarchist utopia has historically been at the heart of anarchist thinking, and while it is undoubtedly important and useful, placing too much emphasis on it can be problematic. The problem with emphasizing the anarchist vision of a future libertarian society is that, to many people, the prospect seems to be too distant to be of much relevance.[1] This is understandable; it’s easy to see why someone living in Bush’s America would have trouble imagining a society without horrific oppression and exploitation. Perhaps our ideas would have more resonance with ordinary people if we reframed our discussion of anarchism, to focus on its immediate relevance.

We should not think of anarchism as just a thing of the future, as something that will happen someday after “the revolution.” Neither should we think of it as just a thing of the past, as a movement that reached its peak with Bakunin, Proudhon, Kropotkin, Emma Goldman, the Haymarket martyrs, or the Spanish Revolution. Rather, we should think of anarchism as primarily a thing of the present. Anarchism is a tool box that can be used to enrich our lives and improve the societies that we currently live in.

Anarchism is all around us. Anarchism exists wherever nonhierarchical grassroots organizations are fighting tyranny and injustice. Anarchism exists wherever people are using direct action to create situations in which individuals can experience liberty and self-actualization. Anarchism exists wherever people are acting according to their own consciences instead of deferring to the dictates of external authorities. While it is useful to look at past libertarian movements for inspiration and ideas, and to think of a future anarchist society as an ideal to strive for, it is important that we live in the present, because that is when we can actually change things.

Even though mass-scale anarchist revolution seems like a remote prospect at the moment, anarchism is still relevant and important to modern society. Without a vision of what a libertarian, egalitarian, and ecologically-sustainable society could look like, a coherent critique of existing systems of oppression and exploitation, or an effective tactical strategy for dismantling the existing society and replacing it with a liberated society, we have no hope of changing society. Anarchism is important to any modern struggle for social justice—be it the anti-capitalist movement, the anti-war movement, the feminist movement, the animal rights movement, or the environmental movement—precisely because it offers a vision of a transformed society to strive for, a critique of state-capitalism, and a tactical strategy (direct action) which ordinary people can employ to achieve concrete results. It is our hope that anarchist revolution will occur in the future; however, until the day that it does, anarchism will still play an important role in enriching our lives and improving our society.

[1] The other problem is that most anarchists can’t seem to agree on what exactly this future libertarian society should look like, and too often this prevents people who share common values from working with each other.

Monday, May 14, 2007


YouTube Censors Stoning Video Censored video here-(might not work) Reaction to Kurdish Girl Stoned to Death Sometimes I'm ashamed to be a member of the human race. Sometimes I find myself crying like a baby and howling to the wind in despair. Sometimes I think to live in this world as we know it is hopeless. Nothing changes. Mans inhumanity to man goes on. I came across the cellphone videos of the brutal killing of a 17 year old Yezidi/Kurdish girl in a "honor killing" (see the story and video below)and it stunned me. I don't think I've ever seen such sickening mindless brutality. But I thought "the world should know about this" so I posted it to YouTube where it was promptly removed after 20 minutes. So I thought on it some more and then recorded a video of myself watching the Stoning video here on my site. I called it "YouTube Censors Stoning Video" and it quickly became one of the most watched and most commented videos over the past two days. At last count some 6,500 people had watched it. Most share my horror and abhorrence. But some have criticised me for posting the original cellphone videos again on YouTube. This time they lasted a day and were seen by over 2000 people before being removed for "Inappropriate Content". "The Daily Reel" vlog site ran a feature on it and said " angry YouTube user is crying foul, trying to raise awareness (and possibly self-promotion), by creating another YouTube post titled "YouTube Censors Stoning Video," which includes links to his own site -- which also includes the offensive clips. Human-rights activism or exploitation, you decide." A prominent YouTube "celebrity", Blunty3000, wrote "...tell me exactly WHY do we need to SEE it happen? what do we gain from WATCHING this girl die? ESPECIALLY from footage taken from people standing by and watching it happen. I'm revolted you're so anxious to have everyone watch this horrifying event. Tell the story, please, but the video is purely unnecessary and vulgar." And there have been other derogatory comments questioning my motivation. The thing is. After I posted this, BoingBoing picked it up. As did FoxNews, The Sydney Morning Herald, Digg and God-knows-who-else. It's out there. Over the past two days I've had over 7000 vistors to this site - most of them coming to that video. I've had to purchase more Bandwidth to keep up with it. But the few comments have been encouraging. People are actually applauding me for doing it. So what I'm feeling now is "What can we do to stop these "honor killings" happening? Is joining or donating to Amnesty enough? Should we be signing the petition to the Kurdistan Government that's going around? Maybe we should be making a collaborative video to send to the Yezikis, for a starter, telling them what we think of "honor killings"? Have you any ideas? How do we stop hundreds if not thousands of years of cultural custom? How do we stop this madness? * I agonised about posting this but I think it needs to be seen. Iraq: Amnesty International appalled by stoning to death of Yezidi girl and subsequent killings. Amnesty International is appalled by the killing of Du'a Khalil Aswad, aged about 17, who was stoned to death on or around 7 April 2007 for a so-called honour crime. A member of Iraq's Yezidi religious minority from the village of Bahzan in northern Iraq, she was killed by a group of eight or nine men and in the presence of a large crowd in the town of Bashika, near the city of Mosul. Some of her relatives are said to have participated in the killing. Du'a Khalil Aswad's murder is said to have been committed by relatives and other Yezidi men because she had engaged in a relationship with a Sunni Muslim boy and had been absent from her home for one night. Some reports suggested that she had converted to Islam, but others deny this. Initially, she was reportedly given shelter in the house of a Yezidi tribal leader in Bashika, but her killers stormed the house, took her outside and stoned her to death. Her death by stoning, which lasted for some 30 minutes, was recorded on video film which was then widely distributed and is available on the internet. The film reportedly shows that members of local security forces were present but failed to intervene to prevent the stoning or arrest those responsible. ... "Honour crimes" are most often perpetrated by male members of the woman's family in the belief that such crimes restore their and their family's honour. While the Kurdish authorities introduced legal reforms to address "honour killings" they have, however, failed to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such crimes. Amnesty International has documented its concerns about Iraqi women victims of human rights violations, including "honour crimes", in a report issued in February 2005 (Iraq: Decades of suffering-Now women deserve better, AI Index: MDE 14/001/2005, Another video here - 17 year old girl stoned to death Posted on Sunday, May 6, 2007 Photo Yanar Mohammed of Iraq and Dr. Sima Samar of Afghanistan on the Dire Situation for Women Under U.S. Occupation and Rising Fundamentalism

* In a short mobile video clip which appears to have been taken by locals at seen of the murder, the girl is seen being ambushed on her way home by a group of up to 1000 men who were waiting for her to return; the men killed her in the most brutal way possible, by throwing large stones on her head. The following clips show that while she is alive and crying for help she is taunted and kicked in her stomach until someone finishes her off by throwing a large stone on her face. From the clips it appears that the girl was first stripped naked to symbolize that she had dishonored her family and her Yezidi religion. She is lying on the road naked while her smashed face is covered with blood and still breathing.

Our view on prosecutors and the press: Jailing of reporters chills free flow of information

Proposed shield law would enable journalists to protect their sources.

Josh Wolf is finally free — after seven months in prison for refusing to let federal agents use him and his videotape as a substitute for their own investigative work.

Wolf, 24, a freelance video photographer who was never accused of a crime, served more time behind bars than many felons. His offense? He shot videotape of a chaotic anti-globalization street protest in San Francisco, then refused to hand it over to federal prosecutors or testify before a grand jury. His purpose, as he often stated, was to defend the principle that, in a nation in which the Constitution supposedly protects freedom of the press, the government has no business meddling in newsgathering processes.

Wolf, released last month, was just the latest victim of prosecutors' increasingly frequent attempts to make people who gather news de facto agents of the government — a practice that members of Congress from both ends of the political spectrum are labeling an assault on the free flow of information. Among others:

*Judith Miller, then a reporter for The New York Times, spent 85 days behind bars in 2005 because she refused to respond to pressure from the special prosecutor charged with finding out who was responsible for the public "outing" of CIA officer Valerie Plame. Miller had never written a story on the subject, and it turned out that the special prosecutor knew all along who the initial leaker had been.

*Jim Taricani, a TV reporter in Providence, was hauled before a judge in 2004 because he refused to reveal who gave him a videotape showing a former city official taking a bribe from an FBI informant. Taricani was placed in electronic shackles and confined to his home for four months.

No reliable figures exist, but anecdotal reporting by watchdog groups shows a clear jump in recent years in attempts by prosecutors and private attorneys to commandeer journalists' work and turn them into little more than investigators for anyone who can wield a subpoena. The Justice Department admits at least 45 such cases in the past four years and says the list is incomplete.

The principle at stake is simply this: Journalists cannot act as independent watchdogs on government officials and others in power if they are routinely conscripted to be agents of the government. Strip away that role, and the nation — which is built in part on the existence of a free and independent press — can suffer grievously.

Journalists who relied on unnamed sources, and protected unpublished notes and photos, are responsible for exposing major scandals such as Watergate, Enron and the Abu Ghraib prison abuses. But when whistle-blowers have reason to fear they might risk retaliation because their names and information won't be protected, such sources will dry up and the public will be the loser.

Two weeks ago, Washington state joined 32 others that have "reporter shield laws," which allow reporters to keep their sources private. But no such law restricts the long arm of the federal government.

Bipartisan legislation introduced this month would fix that. The Free Flow of Information Act would require lawyers seeking to commandeer a reporter's or photographer's work to convince a judge first that the information being sought serves a greater public interest than maintaining the public interest in gathering the news and protecting the free flow of information. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., one of Congress' most rigorous conservatives and one of the bill's prime sponsors, says "a free and independent press is the only agency that has complete freedom to hold government accountable."

The news media are far from perfect, but the government's abuse of people such as Wolf, Miller and Taricani shows the danger of allowing federal agents unfettered power to engage in punitive fishing expeditions in the name of the law.

Welcome to my online life Federal Fucks! Monday is Wiretap the Internet Day

May 14th is the official deadline for cable modem companies, DSL providers, broadband over powerline, satellite internet companies and some universities to finish wiring up their networks with FBI-friendly surveillance gear, to comply with the FCC's expanded interpretation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.

Congress passed CALEA in 1994 to help FBI eavesdroppers deal with digital telecom technology. The law required phone companies to make their networks easier to wiretap. The results: on mobile phone networks, where CALEA tech has 100% penetration, it's credited with boosting the number of court-approved wiretaps a carrier can handle simultaneously, and greatly shortening the time it takes to get a wiretap going. Cops can now start listening in less than a day.

Now that speed and efficiency is coming to internet surveillance. While CALEA is all about phones, the Justice Department began lobbying the FCC in 2002 to reinterpret the law as applying to the internet as well. The commission obliged, and last June a divided federal appeals court upheld the expansion 2-1. (The dissenting judge called the FCC's position "gobbledygook." But he was outnumbered.)

So, if you're a broadband provider (separately, some VOIP companies are covered too) … Hurry! The deadline has already passed to file an FCC form 445 (.pdf), certifying that you're on schedule, or explaining why you're not. You can also find the 68-page official industry spec for internet surveillance here. It'll cost you $164.00 to download, but then you'll know exactly what format to use when delivering customer packets to federal or local law enforcement, including "e-mail, instant messaging records, web-browsing information and other information sent or received through a user's broadband connection, including on-line banking activity."

There are also third party brokers who will handle all this for you for a fee.

It's worth noting that the new requirements don't alter the legal standards for law enforcement to win court orders for internet wiretaps. Fans of CALEA expansion argue that it therefore won't increase the number of Americans under surveillance.

That's wrong, of course. Making surveillance easier and faster gives law enforcement agencies of all stripes more reason to eschew old-fashioned police work in favor of spying. The telephone CALEA compliance deadline was in 2002, and since then the amount of court-ordered surveillance has nearly doubled from 2,586 applications granted that year, to 4,015 orders in 2006.

* Use Google anonymously

Love The Transformer

From Norma Gentile:

This is channeled material, and as such, each of you reading must feel for yourself where the truth of any statement may be. As a channel, my task is to translate the impulses of energies from Guides and Angels into words. If I have done my job well, it is not because my words are perfect, but rather that the telepathic energies with which I was touched by the Guides and Angels have been made available to each of you. In this fashion, you will 'hear' or 'know' the truth arising from within yourself as you read the words of this article.

Years ago Thoth told me that the key to our planet's survival lay at the base of the tailbone of the male physical body. "Therein is hidden the secret key which unlocks consciousness. When your [humanity's] consciousness is unlocked, then and only then may you see us with your eyes."

In order for humanity to 'see' beyond the third dimension, we must unlock what has been hidden within men's bodies. Thoth has declined to say more about this, indicating instead the importance of inviting men into the ongoing process of awakening. The following information is a part of that process.

From Atamira and Amano:


Love is above all the transformer of your planet. In a radical statement, we would add that this quality of love does not act, nor is it so readily available on other planets. Strange, that in your area of free will you have also developed the potential for a deeper resonance, through the human heart, with the intricacies of Nature, and so with the threads of creative energy that weave together the universe.

Sacred Energies which are drawn into partners during the act of sex are strong enough nowadays to release the partners from Karma. This includes their own personal Karma, shared Karma between them, and even those resonant patterns of Karma shared with other aspects of their souls and other beings out into the Universe.


Yes, there is a correlation between the rise in the use of male sexual enhancement drugs and the rising tendency towards war.

How is this possible? In the present moment of human consciousness, the mind acts as the male principle, giving structure, shape and form to the emotional energies generated during any acts of sexual intimacy.

For most couples there is an agreement of potentialities that they will explore in their relationship. This is largely unspoken, and agreed upon in higher realms near the soul level.

At some point one or both partners might decide to create new potentialities, usually in response to the availability of new earth energies. Oftentimes this has been the partner whose soul has the highest amount of female energy (the physical gender does not matter here), as it is the Sacred Feminine earth energies which are awakening before the Sacred Masculine in this cycle. A new job, perhaps a new interest in a field of spiritual healing; a desire to connect deeply with others or with the natural world are common signs of a soul shifting into new potentialities.

The shifting partner then has a choice — to move alone, separating some energies from the partner's energies, or to wait, growing only so far, so as not to leave him/her behind.

For some the choice of growth has meant the need to disconnect from the shared energy field of relationship. There may be divorce, or in some cases marriage may not include sexual relationship with a partner for an extended period of time.

Remember too that by relationship we mean not just with another but within yourself. If your female emotional energies are being untruly patterned by your male mind during sexual arousal your own process is one of disconnecting that patterning. This is, in our view, the primary cause of impotence in the male of your species today.

As the male heart awakens, he feels the wounds that the profane masculine has inflicted into the world. Not wishing to maintain his contribution, he disconnects his ability to act. This is true of all of your species, be you in male or female bodies.

Where the mental pattern is inappropriate to the growth of the soul, the sexual urge is shut down as a safety precaution. This allows time and possibility for emotional and spiritual growth. As these come into balance with the soul's journey, the ability and interest in sexual energies returns.

From Norma:

In our culture orgasm is seen as a goal, rather than a process. Yet Sacred Sex is about creating a quality of energy between the partners, which is then magnified and directed by the sexual orgasm. The quality of thought and attention acts like a match, and in the moment of orgasm that match is struck upon the emotions. In the moments following orgasm the match has the potential to heal as it ignites the aura of the physical body.

When the sexual urge is extinguished, it is much like blowing out a match, rather than igniting a gas burner which has been left on too long, and gas has filled the room. The match would ignite the gas throughout the entire room, not just at the burner!

In using sexual enhancing drugs, a bridge is rebuilt between the mind and body. But the heart is not clear, nor is it included! For this reason many women are not happy about the rise in the use of these drugs. We would say that easily 70 percent of those using enhancements, are circumventing their own growth in the short term.

The use of sex drugs allow for the unresolved anger that most men carry to continue to flow through their sexual fluids and energetic emissions during intercourse into the pelvis of their female partners. It allows the man's fantasies and thoughts to dive into the golden pond of a woman's energy, held next to her internal G spot.

Oftentimes, the impotence of a male is initiated by the female partner's rejection of continuing to accept his unresolved anger or mental fantasies on an energetic level. This is an unconscious level agreement made by both partners. The male then is under pressure to resolve and grow again the connections through his heart in order to enjoy the sexual embrace and pleasure once again.

With the use of enhancement drugs, this bridge is rebuilt between mind and body, without the cleansing actions needful in the heart. And so the Holy Grail within the female body, which contains the creative potential between partners, is again patterned by the outdated thoughts and unresolved emotions.

As before, we note that the male role need not be solely the male body nor the male mind or thoughts. The male role can be played by a male or female physical body. It is the mind, the quality of focus, to which we refer.


The use of conscious sexuality can break or release individuals and partners from Karma. It is possible because the quality of heart energies generated during passion flow through the grids of energy interlocking the partners. These grids of energy match grids around and through the earth, as well as grids around and throughout the creation matrix of the universe. Put bluntly, your thoughts during orgasm can create a star galaxies away. Or heal your body. Or heal your partner's body.

Know that we and all others in the universe, support you, challenge you when needed, and honor you always in your journey.

With the deepest of love we both leave you now,

Atamira and Amano

Channeled by Norma Gentile


18 states can't be WRONG!

16 states have pending Anti-NAU legislation and 2 states have passed Anti-NAU or Anti-SPP legislation in both their House and Senate!!! Join the FIGHT!

Detailed Analysis of the North American Union (Jump) North American Union Overview
  • Established in March 2005, the "Security & Prosperity Partnership of North America" (SPP) is "integrating" core aspects of the United States, Canada and Mexico into a European Union (EU) style political, economic and strategic entity.This "Fully" developed "Union" includes an "Economic Union", a "Currency Union" and a "Political Union" in essence making a regional "super-nation" whereas the individual nations are subordinate to the larger "Union" body. The SPP Agenda is integrating the U.S., Canada and Mexico into a Common Economic Community or "Economic Union" where the "FREE" movement of people and labor within the "North America Community" ("the region"), will result in corporations within the North America Community becoming more competitive while reducing the standard of living for most U.S. citizens while wages within the region equalize across the three nations. Refer to the formation of the "North American Competitiveness Council" (NACC), which is comprised of major U.S., Canadian and Mexican corporations directing significant aspects of the SPP Agenda. The "Comprehensive Immigration Plan" proposed by President Bush is part of the SPP Agenda.. Refer to the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007" (S.9). To lookup legislation go to: Core aspects of this integration under the SPP include commerce, financial, regulatory and security (including military) elements of our three nations. To review the current progress click HERE. A "Currency Union" has been discussed and proposed. This would result in a common currency used throughout the region similar to Euro used within the EU. Many refer to this new currency as the "Amero" This integration is REAL and the final phases of implementation are "On-track" for a 2007 phased roll-out. Significant aspects under the SPP Agenda have already been implemented!!Some call this a "Conspiracy Theory" - in truth they are RIGHT!!!
  • This "Conspiracy" is transpiring between top U.S., Canadian and Mexican officials, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security and the Media who are keeping these plans out of the public spotlight!
If you care about our national sovereignty, our cherished American freedoms, the United States Constitution, American independence, retaining the American standard of living, and other unique values and features that adhere to the American
  • way of life - then you should support ALL efforts to STOP the North American Union!
  • If you are concerned about our "Open" borders policies then you should understand the SPP Agenda and how enforcing our current immigration laws are contrary to these policies.
  • If you are concerned about U.S. manufacturing job losses under the policies of NAFTA then you should be concerned about how the implementation of the North American Union will devastate the middle and lower class wage earners here in the U.S. Under the SPP, the failures of NAFTA are not being used to repeal the policies but rather to expand them and increase foreign aid to Mexico.
BYE BYE AMERICA .... and no one in the main stream media. (Except Lou Dobbs) - seems to care....

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Associated Press - Study Finds Lapses in Battlefield Ethics

[From:] May 14th, 2007 by Richard

I know I really shouldn’t be surprised, but it still makes me sick that this sort of culture exists in any sort of institution. Is this what people are talking about when they say they ’support the troops’?

The worst statistic here would probably have to be this one:

– Only 47 percent of the soldiers and 38 percent of Marines said noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect.

How can this possibly be justifed under ANY sort of moral code? They don’t deserve respect, because….? I assume it must be a case of racism and xenophobia, but obviously could point to a deeper issue of misanthropy.

California Attorney General to sue Bush Administration over gas mileage standards

California Attorney General Jerry Brown Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Ari Barak May 13, 2007

A San Francisco federal appeals court on Monday morning will hear a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Jerry Brown and several other states against "weak" gas mileage standards adopted by the Bush administration, the Attorney General's office reported.

Brown is scheduled to hold a news conference on the steps of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco announcing the lawsuit, which alleges that a recent increase by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in vehicle mileage standards for sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and minivans runs contrary to federal rules mandating energy conservation, according to the Attorney General's office.

"It is unconscionable to have a one-mile-per-gallon mileage boost," Brown said in a statement released by his office. "We are asking the court to reject this dangerously weak mileage plan."

According to the Attorney General's office, the Bush administration's approval last year of an increase in vehicle mileage standards from 22.2 mpg to 23.5 mpg by 2010 "primarily emphasized the financial costs to the auto industry instead of seriously considering the cost to the environment and people's health."

Accompanying Brown in the lawsuit are the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia, New York City and several environmental groups.

Brown's news conference is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on the front steps of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at 95 Seventh St. The case is expected to be heard at about 10 a.m., according to the Attorney General's office.

The NHTSA, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, oversees motor vehicle and highway safety education, research, standards and enforcement.

A pivotal hearing on case of Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Emilie Lounsberry Inquirer Staff Writer On July 3, 1982, a Philadelphia jury took just four hours to sentence mumia Abu-Jamal to death for murdering Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Nearly a quarter-century later, Abu-Jamal has remained alive through a series of appeals. His bid to escape the death penalty is now at a critical stage. The case will be argued this week in the region's federal appeals court, and if Abu-Jamal loses, Philadelphia's most controversial death-row inmate will be in imminent peril of lethal injection. "He realizes that death is just a few doors away," said his attorney, Robert R. Bryan, a San Francisco lawyer who specializes in death-penalty appeals. On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia will hear legal argument on whether the death sentence should be upheld, or whether Abu-Jamal should get a new trial or a new sentencing hearing. Bryan said that Abu-Jamal, now 53 and known as "Pops" to younger inmates, realizes that his life is on the line. "He and I are very realistic about what's at stake," said Bryan. The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office declined to comment on Thursday's proceeding. In voluminous court papers, prosecutors contend that Abu-Jamal had a fair trial, and that he should be executed. Abu-Jamal is one of 225 inmates awaiting execution in Pennsylvania, which has the fourth-largest death row in the nation behind California, Florida and Texas. More than half of the death-row inmates are from Philadelphia. Since Pennsylvania reinstated the death penalty in 1978, three prisoners have been executed; they gave up their appeals and asked to die. The Third Circuit, which handles appeals over federal cases in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and the Virgin Islands, moves cautiously on death-penalty cases. A number of other death-row appeals are pending in the court. Though a decision in the Abu-Jamal case is not expected for months, the two-hour proceeding this week promises to refocus national and international attention on one of the city's most notorious cases. Bryan said that lawyers and lawmakers from France and Germany are planning to attend the proceeding at the U.S. Courthouse at Sixth and Market Streets. Abu-Jamal, a former radio reporter then driving a cab, was convicted in 1982 of the shooting death of Faulkner, who had just pulled over Abu-Jamal's brother near 13th and Locust Streets in the early-morning hours of Dec. 9, 1981. Abu-Jamal ran from a parking lot across the street. Faulkner was shot and killed, and Abu-Jamal was wounded in an exchange of gunfire. Prosecutors contended that Abu-Jamal fired the shots that killed Faulkner; Abu-Jamal contended that another man killed Faulkner and then fled the scene. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld his conviction and sentence in 1989 and also rejected subsequent appeals. In 2001, after the case proceeded into federal court, U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. upheld the conviction and rejected all but one of the 29 legal points raised by the defense. Yohn overturned the death sentence, ruling that the jury may have mistakenly believed it had to agree unanimously on any "mitigating" circumstance - a factor that might have caused the jury to opt for life. As a result, Yohn said that Abu-Jamal should be sentenced to life in prison or get a new hearing only on the question of whether he should get death or life. The District Attorney's Office appealed Yohn's decision to vacate the death sentence; Abu-Jamal and his lawyers have appealed, contending that Yohn also should have granted a new trial on the question of guilt. The Third Circuit panel will now review Yohn's decision. The court also will consider whether there was racial bias during jury selection and whether Abu-Jamal's constitutional rights were violated by the prosecutor's closing argument and by the alleged bias of the trial judge, Albert Sabo, during post-conviction review. Bryan said the case boils down to the fundamental right to a fair trial, and that he believes there is plenty of reason for the Third Circuit to order a new trial. He said that if the Third Circuit reverses Yohn and upholds the death penalty, that would result in a "fast-track to the death chamber" for Abu-Jamal. He said the Third Circuit also could: Uphold Yohn and order a new sentencing hearing. Grant a new trial. Send the case back to Yohn for a hearing. Abu-Jamal also has a petition pending in the state Supreme Court. If the death sentence is upheld, he still could try to persuade the state Supreme Court to review the case again, or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal. But the nation's highest court considers only a select number of cases each year, and once a death-row defendant is in a federal appeals court, that is generally considered one of the final stops in the long appellate route of capital cases. Abu-Jamal has long been a lightning rod in the debate about capital punishment in America. While law-enforcement officials have despised him for killing one of their own, entertainment figures, academics and anti-death-penalty activists have rallied on his behalf. From prison, Abu-Jamal has become a prolific writer who speaks out about his view of injustices on a range of issues. But at his trial, Abu-Jamal came across as angry and arrogant. He insulted the jury and referred to Sabo as "a hangman." And when jurors announced the sentence in a hushed courtroom, Abu-Jamal glared at them. Center City lawyer Joseph J. McGill, who prosecuted the case, said last week that the Abu-Jamal of 1982 was an angry defendant who tried to mount a 1970s style defense of police persecution. Abu-Jamal was repeatedly removed from the courtroom because of his behavior, McGill said, and the atmosphere was tense. "It was like a circus, and he wanted to be the ringmaster," McGill said of Abu-Jamal. McGill said that it will be interesting to see what the Third Circuit decides - and that he plans to be there on Thursday. "I wouldn't miss it for the world," he said.

The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System

Preview Here

A Fond Kiss, by Robert Burns

... Had we never lov'd say blindly, Never met--or never parted-- We had ne'er been broken-hearted. Fare thee well, thou first and fairest! Fare thee well, thou best and dearest! Thine be like a joy and treasure, Peace. enjoyment, love, and pleasure! A fond kiss, and then we sever; A farewell, alas, forever! Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!

The anarchist and the leak

Jeffrey Monaghan, 27, leaves Parliament Hill after holding a news conference on May 10. He was taken away from his Environment Canada workplace in handcuffs on Wednesday morning by two RCMP officers and is under investigation for potential breach of trust.
RCMP arrest temporary employee with Environment Canada – a punk rocker in band that compares Harper to Hitler
May 11, 2007
Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA–The man arrested for allegedly leaking the Conservative government's environmental plan was a temporary employee, a self-described anarchist and drummer in a punk band that sings an angry screed against the Prime Minister and the "rise of the right."

The website for the band, the Suicide Pilots, depicts an airplane flying into the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

Those are just a few of the details that emerged yesterday about Jeffrey Monaghan, 27, who was taken away from his Environment Canada workplace in handcuffs Wednesday morning by two RCMP officers.

He is under investigation for potential breach of trust, an offence that could land him five years in prison, but has not been charged with any crime.

Monaghan said he has been working with the federal government for the last four years, employed through a local human resources firm.

For his job at Environment Canada's offices in Gatineau, Que., he began at 5 o'clock each morning and read about 48 newspapers a day to summarize daily coverage.

He also managed the department's internal communications website.

He said that in his job he was the "lowest ranking temp employee in the department, possibly the entire government."

It is unclear how he could have come into contact with a secret draft of the document.

At a news conference yesterday, Monaghan, his voice shaky and nervous, launched into a diatribe against the Tory government's public relations strategies. He also spoke in favour of decisive and immediate action on the environment, leaving little doubt where his sympathies lie in the matter even if he is cleared of any wrongdoing.

"I have not been charged with a crime," he said.

"What I can tell you is that the proposed charges against me pose a profound threat to the public interest.

"They are without precedent in their disproportionality, they are vengeful, and they are an extension of a government-wide communications strategy pinned on secrecy, intimidation and centralization."

The police investigation is looking into who sent a copy of Environment Minister John Baird's climate change plan to some media outlets and to environmental organizations on April 16, one week before the government was to release it publicly. Environmentalists said the document was faxed to them from a machine that they were able to identify as belonging to a Staples business centre.

They also received an email version of the document from what they said was a generic Staples email address.

Along with the leaked documents was a sort of manifesto from the source of the leak, saying that it was an act of protest against the "secrecy of the Harper government, its continuous PR campaign and the abandonment of international standards for (greenhouse gas reductions)."

The source added that the action was taken out of a feeling that the need for public information outweighed the importance of "due process."

The leak is unrelated to an incident that occurred a week later when a copy of a Baird speech on parts of the environment plan was accidentally faxed to the Liberal opposition.

Yesterday, Monaghan said the leak that police are investigating is the "first explicit document" the Tories have presented to state that the government will not meet its obligations under the Kyoto accord.

He said the Conservatives were "disguising" what they were doing by using Kyoto's 1990 benchmark for emissions reductions with a much easier 2006 benchmark. Canada's emissions have risen 35 per cent between 1990 and 2005.

"That is not due process," Monaghan said.

Monaghan was joined at the Parliament Hill news conference by two people identified only as his best friend and his girlfriend. He wore black jeans, a white shirt, black tie and black canvas running shoes as he addressed the television cameras and delivered a brief statement, taking no questions on the advice of his lawyer.

Monaghan has been involved in various causes – at Carleton University he hosted a weekly radio show, and was co-organizer of an anarchist bookshop in downtown Ottawa.

The Suicide Pilots, the four-piece punk band where Monaghan is known as "Bones," sings about the rise of the right-wing and the rich in a song called "Harper Youth" that compares Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Adolf Hitler.

"Give me your fear, give me your hate, give me your intolerance and I'll give you a place in the Harper Youth," goes the song.

The Suicide Pilots also provide a link on their website to Earth First, a radical environmental group founded in 1979 that endorses a "front-line, direct action approach to protecting wilderness," according to the group's website.

"We believe in using all the tools in the tool box, ranging from grassroots organizing and involvement in the legal process to civil disobedience and monkey-wrenching."

Opposition politicians were quick to line up on the side of the young radical yesterday.

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said that while he has "no sympathy at all for leaks," he was uncomfortable with the RCMP's handling of the matter.

"It looks like an attempt of intimidation and this is going very, very far, very, very far," he said. "It doesn't look good. It looks quite ugly."

RCMP Sgt. Monique Beauchamp said yesterday that while officers have "some leeway" in how they carry out an arrest, handcuffing a suspect is "standard procedure."

She added that Monaghan was "very co-operative" when he was arrested. * Alleged document leaker describes arrest as ‘witch hunt’ * <a href=""> his arrest may put a chill on civil servants wishing to speak out.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Noor: Let's reclaim Mother's Day for peace

May 11, 2007

By Queen Noor
Special to CNN
Editor's note: Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan is an international humanitarian activist, a leading voice on issues of world peace and justice, and honorary chair of Rediscover Mother's Day , which celebrates the role of women as peacemakers.
AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) In 1982, during a period of dangerous stalemate in the Middle East peace process, I gave a speech at Georgetown University about the critical need for a more engaged and balanced role for the United States in the region.
The newspapers the next day covered my handbag, my rings, and my dress. When asked about the substance of my message, one U.S. Senator said, "It's a great public relations weapon to have an attractive queen."
Twenty-five years later, the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East still reflects some of the most pressing global challenges confronting the contemporary world -- the stagnant Palestinian/Israeli peace process, the increasingly dangerous conflict in Iraq, the escalation of extremism, the debate over emerging democracies -- all point to the need for visionary and transformative leadership. I firmly believe that peace will only come to the region when mothers find their voice and say of the violence, "Enough is enough!"
Mother's Day -- whether it is the U.S. tradition of celebrating mothers on the second Sunday in May, or on the first day of spring, when we observe the holiday in Jordan -- is universally meant to be a tribute to motherhood and the blessings of peace. In fact, in America the holiday was originally called "Mother's Day for Peace." It was proposed over a century ago by Julia Ward Howe, the famous abolitionist and suffragist, after she witnessed first-hand the terrible bloodshed of the Civil War in America and the Franco-Prussian War in Europe. Howe hoped that the powerful maternal desire for security could shape world events, and she called on mothers of the world to unite against war.
Howe's vision and her call to action could not be more relevant today. As a mother, stepmother and grandmother, nothing is more important to me than the safety of my family. I am not alone. Studies show that women's priority, when given either money or opportunity, is the well-being of their families. They invest their time and devote whatever resources they have to reducing poverty and hunger, improving maternal, child and general health and promoting educational opportunity. That is why the position of women is the best marker of a country's development and stability.

Mothers prove every day, all over the world, that peace and security require cooperation and compassion. Having traditionally occupied a paradoxical position at the heart of society but on the fringes of power, women often bring unique strengths, talents, and perspectives to the quest to resolve conflict and establish freedom. They are willing and able to cut across ethnic, religious and tribal barriers, and break through obstacles through peace in order to do what is best for their families.

It is no coincidence, then, that so many of today's leading peacemakers are themselves mothers. All of us must do everything we can to support their efforts. People like Swanee Hunt, who served as the United States Ambassador to Austria and has spent her life advocating for peace and for the inclusion of women in the peace process through her work and by creating Women Waging Peace. Or Trish Malloch Brown, who travels the world advocating for people affected by war and conflict on behalf of Refugees International. Or Lisa Schirch, the director of the nonprofit 3D Security Initiative, who uses development projects like building schools and water wells to disarm conflicts from Lebanon to Ghana.

But the day has come for something more than individual efforts. Millions of mothers from Nablus to New York and from Baghdad to Beersheba must begin to find common cause in peace and work together to give their quiet power a louder voice. We need a movement of what Naila Bolus of Ploughshares Fund calls "global security moms," who can work within their families and communities, and in national and international arenas to temper extremism and to hold their leaders accountable for decisions that escalate the cycle of violence rather than address underlying problems. Such a movement of mothers would be impossible for our leaders to ignore, and would be more powerful than all the tanks and suicide bombers combined.

So from one mother to many others, let us be silent no longer in the face of war and violence. May all mothers and families around the world be blessed with a happy Mother's Day for Peace.

Noor Queen Noor of Jordan calls for a worldwide movement of mothers to fight for peace.

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Washington, DC, June 10-11


Tens of thousands to mobilize for protest rally and lobbying day on June 9th and 10th in Washington, DC.

The Council for the National Interest Foundation invites its supporters to Washington, DC, to attend The World Says NO to Israeli Occupation, a two-day mass mobilization that includes a protest rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building on Sunday, June 10th and a lobbying day on Capitol Hill the following day, Monday, June 11th. The weekend events will mark the 40th anniversary of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Golan Heights, which began with the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war and continues today under worsening conditions for Palestinians. The organizers include the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition of more than two hundred national and grassroots organizations that includes the CNI Foundation, and United for Peace and Justice, the largest American anti-war coalition.

The participating groups and individuals (see state organizations below) will make two demands:

* An end to U.S. military, economic, diplomatic, and corporate support for Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.

* A change in U.S. policy to one that supports a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis based on equality, human rights and international law, and the full implementation of all relevant UN resolutions.

You can learn more about getting to and from Washington and how to volunteer or make a donation supporting the June 10th and 11th events by visiting the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation website or by contacting them by telephone at 202-332-0994.

The picture at the left shows the US Campaign staff displaying, in front of the White House, a copy of the ad campaign set to go up in the Washington, DC metro system on May 13.

This link takes you to others that invite you to participate at various levels from home, in your home state region, or in Washington, DC. Click on: End the Occupation.

Get Involved: Become a June 10 Organizer, Volunteer for Local Organizing Committee, Volunteer to Help on June 10, Download Organizing Resources.

Endorse and Sign Petition: Endorse (For Organizations), Map of Endorsing Organizations, Sign Petition (For Individuals).

Logistics: Schedule of Events, Bus Parking Info, Get on the Bus,Logistics, Ride Board, Housing Board, Affordable Housing Options in DC Area.

June 11 Lobbying Day: Frequently Asked Questions, List of Meetings Scheduled, How to Set Up a Meeting, Sign Up for Lobbying Day.

More: Donate, Get Your June 10 T-Shirt, Call to Action, ADC 2007 Annual National Convention, View the DC Metro Ad Campaign, Letter of Response to Tikkun, In the News

Participating groups throughout the country are listed here and as follows:

Alaska Anchorage: University of Alaska Palestine Solidarity Committee

Alabama Hoover: Birmingham Islamic Society Arizona Phoenix: Local to Global Justice Phoenix: Women in Black - Phoenix Phoenix: Progressive Democrats of America

California Anaheim: Council on American-Islamic Relations–Los Angeles Area Berkeley: Friends of Deir Ibzia Berkeley: Trees of Hope Committee Berkeley: Middle East Children’s Alliance Crescent City: College of the Redwoods-Students for Peace and Justice Culver City: Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid (CEIA-SC ) Davis: Jewish Voice for Peace - Sacramento El Cerrito, CA: ISM Northern California Support Group Emeryville: War Times/Tiempo de Guerras Emeryville: Bay Area Women in Black Fairfax: Marin Peace and Justice Coalition Foster City: Progressive Independent Greenbrae: Global Information Services Hawthorne: Hajar Enterprises, Inc. Hawthorne: Islamic Center of Hawthorne Los Angeles: American Friends Service Committee - Pacific South West Regional Los Angeles: Students for Justice in Palestine–USC Los Angeles, CA: Students for Justice in Palestine- UCLA Chapter Oakland: South Asians for the Liberation of Filastin Oakland: Beacon Presbyterian Fellowship Oakland: Jewish Voice for Peace - Bay Area Chapter Oaland: Americans for a Palestinian State Palo Alto: Rebuilding Alliance Palo Alto: Peninsula Peace and Justice Center Pasadena: Middle East Fellowship Placentia: Holy Cross Melkite-Greek Catholic Church Riverside: Peace and Freedom Party, California State Central Committee San Francisco: Arab American Union Members Council San Francisco: Global Exchange San Mateo: Green Party of San Mateo County, California San Mateo: Peace Action of San Mateo County San Rafael: Dominican Sisters of San Rafael San Rafael: 14 Friends of Palestine, Marin Santa Barbara: Americans for a Just Peace in the Middle East Santa Cruz: Resource Center for Nonviolence Santa Cruz: Peace Resource Project Santa Monica: Women in Black–Los Angeles Stockton: Children First Venice: Code Pink?Women for Peace Walnut Creek: Business to Business Link, Inc.

Colorado Boulder: Friends of Sabeel–Colorado Denver: Colorado Palestine Solidarity Campaign Denver: Front Range Coalition

Connecticut Burlington: Artists Garden Moodus: Ask Slim New Haven: Greater New Haven Peace Council New Haven: Promoting Enduring Peace West Hartford: People of Faith CT

District of Columbia Washington: US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Washington: Students for Justice in Palestine - American University Washington: Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace Washington: DC Antiwar Network Washington: Methodist Federation for Social Action Washington: Interfaith Peace-Builders Washington: Palestine Center Washington: Malcolm X Day Committee Washington: American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Washington: Black Voices for Peace Washington: Council for the National Interest Foundation Washington: Nonviolence International Washington: Pax Christi USA: The National Catholic Peace Movement Washington: Imagine-Life Washington: Washington Peace Center Washington: DC Statehood Green Party Washington: Brian Mackenzie Infoshop

Delaware Millsboro: Coalition of Community Organizations

Florida Clearwater: R.R.R. Enterprises/Goldstein & Company Clermont: We Are Wide Awake Fort Lauderdale: Eyes Infinite Foundation Gainesville: Students for a Human Society Miramar: Senior Citizens Islamic Society Pensacola: Veterans for Peace, NW Florida Chapter 135 Pensacola: Florida Palestine Solidarity Network Riverview: World Can’t Wait –Tampa Chapter St. Petersburg: Tampa Bay Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation West Melbourne: Hindus for Peace and Justice

Georgia Atlanta: Atlanta Palestine Solidarity Atlanta: Free All With Truth Atlanta: American Friends Service Comm-Southeast Atlanta: Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition Decatur: Atlanta Friends Meeting (Quakers) Kennesaw: Kennesaw State University Campus Greens

Hawaii Honolulu: Friends of Sabeel–Hawaii Honolulu: Hawaii Coalition for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel

Iowa Muscatine: Sabeel–Iowa

Illinois Chicago: 8th Day Center for Justice Chicago: Tikkun Chicago Chicago: Support Sanity Chicago: American Friends Service Committee-Great Lakes Countryside: Franciscan Sacred Heart JPIC Office Evanston: Not In My Name/Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago Homer Glen: Society of Helpers/Provincial Leadership Oak Park: Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine

Indiana Richmond: Earlham College Progressive Union

Kansas Fairway: Citizens for Justice in the Middle East, Kansas City Wichita: Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas

Kentucky Louisville: Louisville Committee for Peace in the Middle East

Massachusetts Acton: Boston Committee Against Zionism Amherst: Students for Justice in Palestine Amherst: Episcopal Peace Fellowship of Grace Church, Amherst Arlington: United for Justice with Peace, Israel-Palestine Task Force Boston: Grassroots International Cambridge: 1% A Peace Army Cambridge: Jewish Women for Justice in Israel/Palestine Cambridge: Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East Cambridge: United for Justice with Peace Cambridge: Massachusetts Peace Action Jamaica Plain: Birthright Unplugged Northampton: Middle East Peace Coalition Northampton: Northampton Committee to Stop the War Against Iraq South Yarmouth: Cape Codders for Peace and Justice Watertown: Watertown Citizens for Environmental Safety Wayland: Jewish Voice for Peace, Boston

Maryland Baltimore: Baltimore Tikkun Community Brookeville: Peace Action Montgomery Columbia: Howard County Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Silver Spring: Maryland Christians for Justice and Peace Silver Spring: Peace Action Silver Spring: Maryland Arab American Committee Takoma Park: Democracy Rising http://www.DemocracyRising.US

Maine Portland: Maine Peace and Justice in Israel/Palestine

Michigan Ann Arbor: Palestine-Israel Action Group Ann Arbor: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom–Ann Arbor

Cedar: MidEast: JustPeace Dearborn: Palestine Office Monroe: Leadership Council of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate He

Minnesota Minneapolis: Middle East Committee, Women Against Military Madness Minneapolis: Communist Party USA, Minneapolis, Minnesota Club Minneapolis: Coalition for Palestinian Rights St. Paul: Middle East Peace Now of Minnesota

Missouri St. Louis: St. Louis, MO Women in Black St. Louis: St. Louis Citizens for Justice in the Middle East St. Louis: Veterans for Peace St. Louis: Black Radical Congress

North Carolina Chapel Hill: Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions — USA Chapel Hill: Coalition for Peace With Justice –NC Charlotte: Action Center For Justice Charlotte: Islamic Political Party of America Greensboro: International Solidarity Movement - North Carolina Raleigh: Muslim American Public Affairs Council (MAPAC)

New Hampshire Portsmouth: Meetinghouse Psychological Services

New Mexico Placitas: Justice First! for Peace in Palestine-Israel

New York Brooklyn: Solidarity Brooklyn: New Alliance for Middle East Solutions (NAMES) Brooklyn: Brooklyn Parents for Peace Buffalo: Western New York Peace Center Hemlock: Concerned Citizens for Peace Jackson Heights: Palestine Solidarity Project Massapequa: Peace Smiths Milton: Palestine: The Voices of the Next Generation New York: United for Peace and Justice New York: NY Peace in the Middle East New York: American Council on Middle East Policy New York: National Lawyers Guild New York: Pax Christi Metro New York New York: Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism New York: National Youth and Student Peace Coalition New York: Women’s Division, GBGM, United Methodist Church New York: General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church New York: Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East New York: Left Turn Wainscott: Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine White Plains: WESPAC Foundation Woodstock: Middle East Crisis Response

Ohio Cincinnati: Cincinnati Palestinian Rights Meetup Cleveland: Justice Committee, Congregation of St. Joseph Cleveland: Interfaith Council for Peace in the Middle East Cleveland: Every Church A Peace Church Cleveland: Common Global Ministries Board of the Christian Church (Disciple Columbus: Columbus, Ohio Chapter of World Can’t Wait Columbus: National Association of Muslim American Women

Oregon Lake Oswego: Wordsmith Collection, Inc. Portland: Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights Portland: Friends of Sabeel–North America Salem: Salem Palestine Solidarity Group for Peace & Justice

Pennsylvania Gettysburg: Harrisburg Middle East Justice & Peace Grantham: Messiah College Peace Fellowship Lancaster: Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness Philadelphia: Jewish Voice for Peace–Philadelphia Chapter Philadelphia: SUSTAIN Philly Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee Philadelphia: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section Philadelphia: Ecumenical Working Group for Middle East Peace Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee Pittsburgh: Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East–Pittsbur Prospect Park: American-Arab Anti-Descrimination Committee-Philadelphia Chapter

South Carolina Aiken: Aiken Peace Aiken: Carolina Peace Resource Center Hilton Head: Hilton Head for Peace Lake Wylie: Rock Hill For Action to Organize Resistance (RHFACTOR)

Tennessee Knoxville: Pax Christi Knoxville Memphis: SUSTAIN-Memphis

Texas Austin: Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights (ICPR) Austin: Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund Austin: Alliance of Community Trainers Bellaire: Seth & Associates Dallas: United for Peace and Justice Houston: Worldwide Movement for Justice and Peace San Antonio: Palestinians For Peace And Democracy San Antonio: San Antonio Muslim Group

Utah Kamas: Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land

Virginia Arlington: Arlington Green Party Dunn Loring: Palestine Media Watch Falls Church: Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice McLean: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee - Washington DC Area Richmond: Palestinian American Congress

Vermont Randolph: Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel

Washington Mazama: Chapel of the Friends of God Olympia: Olympia Friends Meeting (Quakers) Olympia: Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project Olympia: Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace Olympia: Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice Seattle: Palestine Solidarity Committee - Seattle Seattle: Poets West Seattle: Freedom Socialist Party National Office Seattle: Jewish Voice for Peace–Puget Sound Chapter Tacoma: Northwest Middle East Peace Forum Vancouver: Vancouver for Peace

Wisconsin Madison: Madison-Rafah Sister City Project Milwaukee: Peace Action Wisconsin

Join a local participating organization in or near your home state or location and act on behalf of peace.

The Council for the National Interest has given its permission to reproduce this ad.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Fire in Griffith Park, Bambi in Los Angeles

From: May 9th, 2007

Once again, fire is burning the hillsides of Los Angeles.

Once again, smack dab in the middle of the city, in Griffith Park; near the much-hyped Hollywood fire from a month ago.

I saw it live before I heard it on the radio. I got on the 101 and saw the smoke towering over Burbank and got a whiff of deja vu big time. There was no doubt about it: that smoke, tall and billowy as it was, was being caused by brittle, tinder brush going up in flames, and fast, a lot of it.

Four measly inches of rain this year. That’s all we’ve gotten. Scary.

Those hillsides must be like matchsticks, so dry and flammable, just waiting to explode.

It’s time for a massive rain dance, Los Angeles.

Where a month ago they threatened the Hollywood sign, the flames this time raced towards the Griffith Observatory, iconic landmark that was the location for such classics as Rebel Without a Cause staring the inimitable James Dean and Paula Abdul’s video reinterpretation, “Rush Rush”, featuring the insult-to-actors-everywhere Keanu Reeves.

The park and observatory is named after, no joke, Griffith J. Griffith, a real estate mogul who owned it and most of Los Feliz, a man also convicted for shooting his wife. At first the city turned down the donation on ethical grounds.

In 1912 he offered to donate $100,000 to the city of Los Angeles to build an observatory, but the city refused the offer and responded, in part “On behalf of the rising generation of girls and boys, we protest against the acceptance of this bribe … This community is neither so poor nor so lost to sense of public decency that it can afford to accept this money.”

Then again, this is Los Angeles.

However several years after his death the city did accept the offer and the Griffith Observatory was built.

It’s not something they put on the trail maps.

The fire only got worse at night. Instead of dying down the fire jumped canyons and began to spread down the hillside towards Los Angeles.

They had to evacuate parts of Los Feliz.

Orange flames roiling from the rugged wilderness in the midst of the nation’s second-largest city eerily lit up the night sky as winds suddenly stoked the blaze at dusk, hours after it erupted in the hills above Hollywood.

Helicopters flew dangerous water-dropping missions after dark and no homes had been lost by late evening.

Police officers drove through the parkside Los Feliz district ordering people out. “You need to evacuate, you need to evacuate your houses immediately,” one said. “The fire is coming toward the neighborhood.”

Tom Lebonge, city councilman for the district, was on the television with tears in his eyes. He lay witness to a deer running across the hills with a look of panic and terror in its eyes, he said it reminded him of Bambi. The reporter then spoke of a coyote fleeing across a golf course.

I once saw a coyote running through West Los Angeles, far away from any mountains or canyons. Already a strange occurrence, I followed the coyote for a few blocks until it stopped to rest on none other than the science fiction writer Ray Bradbury’s lawn. He lived in the neighborhood I grew up in and I knew his house from trick-or-treating. (yes, it’s a lucky kid who gets to trick-or-treat at Ray Bradbury’s house) I pulled the car over and sat there watching the coyote watch me. I had the very real sensation that I was a character in a story and so was the coyote and this meeting meant something profound, something life-changing.

I stayed in my car for five, ten, twenty minutes trying to figure it out. The coyote laid down with its nose between its front paws and stayed like that, too, the two of us taking notes on the other.

Then I got bored first and drove off.


Life is.

As is Los Angeles.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Nightengale Sang In Zocalo Square

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Anarchism versus Marxism

by Richard from

Although anarchism and Marxism are both socialist political theories, and they share the view that a communal, participatory, voluntary, de-centralised society is an end goal worth pursuing, they differ in many respects, and should not be confused. Of course they are far from internally homogeneous theories themselves, but I’ll leave that issue to another entry. They tend to differ more when in comes to means, rather than ends. So they both criticise capitalist economy, bourgeois society, and the liberal democratic state, and they have both looked to the working class movement to bring their respective visions into fruition. But there differences are not trivial: for example, one of the most basic distinctions between Marxism and anarchism is that Marxists generally do not have an issue with organising themselves into hierarchies, whilst anarchists cannot countenance hierarchical structure within their organisations, they must always be based on equality and pure democracy.

In this entry I will discuss (in as few words as possible) the anarchist and Marxist views on: capitalism, class, the state, history, parliamentary reform, revolution and culture. I am an anarchist so I will not promise to be impartial or objective, but merely tell it how I see it.


Both anarchists and Marxists criticise capitalism as a cause of alienation and exploitation. This criticism of capitalism is probably where the two theories have most in common. Consumer society, the rise of the corporation, and the military-industrial complex are all considered intensely undesirable by both theories. Capitalism, anarchists and Marxists contend, causes an ugly cheapening of human life where many people are subject to wage slavery at the hands of dictator-like CEOs and management. Wants are created in capitalism by the huge power of the corporate media, which greatly influences today’s culture. Institutions such as the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund (along with the UN more covertly) hold down developing nations with the hypocritical myth of globalisation and free trade, to maintain the hegemony of the world’s superpowers.

Anarchists and Marxists believe that private property, profit, interest, rent and all other tools of the capitalist class should all be abolished, and the means of production taken over by the workers. The main difference between the two theories’ analysis of capitalism is that Marxists see it as an inevitable stage in the progression towards communism, while anarchists believe that anarchism can - and should - be achieved in any society, in other words, capitalism is not a necessary stage of the development of a society.


Marxists and anarchists see the agents of revolutionary change differently. Anarchists in general have a broader notion of the working class - which includes artisans, peasants, down-and-outs, and so on, because they do not tie the revolution to the development of the capitalist mode of production. And while Marxists consider factory workers or the ‘urban proletariat’ as the chief class of revolution, anarchists doubt whether they have the most revolutionary potential. Anarchists believe that revolutions are usually born of poverty and elemental passions. The urban working class is generally too well-cushioned materially and intellectually, so when they do revolt, it may be at the expense of other dispossessed classes, which they hold to be inferior.

Anarchists tend to concentrate much less on class analysis: they take it as a given that people are exploited and prefer to spend time considering how to overthrow capitalism than arbitrarily dividing people up into classes. For anarchists, it is simple: there are those with power, and those without; the latter need protecting and the former need removing. As Murray Bookchin says, those who ‘live subversive lives’, and are capable of recognising and rising up against exploitation, have revolutionary potential.

Marxists respond that the classes that anarchists look to are prone to radical shifts in political consciousness - they are politically fickle. However, the urban proletariat seems no less fickle - the urban proletariat do not seem to have any more revolutionary potential than any other class. Marxists say that classes such as the petty bourgeoisie and peasantry are doomed to be swept away by historical forces as large capitalist property absorbs small. This has happened in the case of the peasantry in developed nations (although ultra-low-paid work such as cleaning and farm labouring seem to have filled the gap somewhat). The petty bourgeoisie still very much exist, but their revolutionary potential is questionable anyway. But these are of course not the only classes anarchists look to.

View of State

Marxists view the nation-state as basically inseparable from capitalism - that is, the capitalist class also controls the state. Anarchists do not believe this to be entirely true, politicians can often be quite separate from the capitalists, although they are nonetheless often influenced by them. The Marxist view of the state is attacked by anarchists on the grounds that Marxists are unwilling to recognise that the state is able to escape the economically dominant class.

Marxists also believe in a transition state between capitalism and communism: the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, where the working classes take over repressive and ideological state apparatuses. Anarchists believe this to be the fatal flaw in Marxism; states always have certain properties by virtue of being states. Marx, anarchists claim, did not see what a state implied: foreign conquest, censorship, state education, police force, minority rule, and suppression of the individual. Retaining state power will simply lead to authoritarianism once again, and those who took power (even if they are workers) will not want to give it away and allow their state to simply ‘wither away’.

View of history

Marxists have a materialist view of history, as do some anarchists. Most anarchists, however, say that the notion of a series of historical stages is too inflexible and too deterministic (not to mention unfalsifiable in terms of a scientific theory) considering the revolutionary possibilities of different societies: societies at similar levels of economic development are/were far from equal in revolutionary potential. Historical materialism also underestimates the role of ideas and people in historical change and thus the importance of a ‘revolutionary shift’- this encourages a quiescent attitude which is anathema to anarchists.

Even though it is arguable whether Marx was a determinist in the normal sense, anarchists certainly reject the idea that revolution is inevitable - if it happens it will only because it is the people’s will.

Scientific socialism

Marxists consider their political theory ’scientific’ socialism, that is, using scientific methods to determine the optimal organisation of society. However, it can also mean a bunch of self-identified ’scientists’ can invent a theory and tell the people what’s good for them, justifying themselves with ’science’. It can lead to elitism because scientific truth is the preserve of the few.

Marxists respond by criticising anarchists for being too idealistic, with no idea of the social conditions required for revolution, and blind to the differences between the various economic modes of production found in history. They also criticise anarchists for offering a cult of ignorance and appealing strongly to people’s emotions rather than rationality. An anarchist could respond to this as Peter Kropotkin did: science can only show us how best to achieve the ends the people decide to pursue so the social scientist has no claim to direct the new movement, only inform it of what science has found. Anarchists do not ignore rationality, they just do not allow it as another tool of elitism and exploitation.

Parliament, elections and political parties

Anarchists don’t believe in a ‘worker’s party’ or ‘vanguard’, as many Marxist’s do, we instead advocate the direct expropriation of the means of production. We are against parliamentary reform because political parties must adjust their platform to reflect the current views of the proletariat, which are influenced by the imprint of dominant capitalist ideology. Even radical political parties end up being forced to present a moderate face to the electorate. In Kropotkin’s words, the radical politician becomes involved in ‘the sad comedy of elections’ which include, as we all know, false promises, bribery, patronage, nepotism, and out-right deception and corruption. Genuine socialists (if any at all) will be in a small minority because parliament is designed for the bourgeoisie by the bourgeoisie.


Although Marxists share the same general end goal as anarchists they choose to pursue means that are diametrically opposed to the spirit and practise of the goal they seek. They choose to delay the revolution by the implementation of a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ in which the state remains. Marx assumes that ‘a worker remains a worker’ when given these sort of powers, but this assumption is quite ridiculous from an anarchist standpoint. When a worker is given the powers of the state, what they lose is precisely their membership in the working class. The ‘worker’ who becomes a ‘ruler’, by definition, becomes a member of the ruling class. It is now in the worker’s interest to maintain his position and consolidate his powers rather than sharing them with the rest of society.

Even if this point is not granted (that the worker does not remain a worker when given state power), it is clear that when it comes to Marxist-Leninist revolution, it is not the actual proletariat that even takes power, it is an elite group of professional revolutionaries acting in their name. This is obviously even more cause for alarm; elitism exists here even before the revolution begins, which is surely not a recipe for a communistic society.

There have been many studies done on the effect power can have on the individual. It has been found to be a corrupting influence, leading the individual to ruthlessness and exploitation of others. A separation between rulers and the common man comes naturally with notions of superiority and elitism.

Anarchists do not believe that the state will just ‘wither away’, and as history has shown us the dictatorship of the proletariat invariably leads to authoritarianism and barbarism. Marxists believe in the conquest of state power, while anarchists believe in its total destruction.

Other classes

In their theories, Marxists tend to give priority to economic class, often at the expense of the position of other marginalised classes: members of different races, genders, sexualities, etc. The expression of these classes of people often occur independently of economic class. For example, a gay man who is also the member of the capitalist bourgeoisie can still be mistreated for his homosexuality, regardless of the fact that he owns capital.

Base and superstructure

Marxists believe that society can be strictly divided into base (economic means of production) and superstructure (the state, culture, morality, every other aspect of society). The economic base is seen as directly influencing the superstructure. Anarchists believe that they are certainly interrelated, but can be seen as quite independent also. Aspects of the superstructure have developed independently of the economic base. As I discussed earlier, even the state can sometimes escape capitalist influence. Society is simply too complex to be divided into two this way. This is certainly not to diminish the importance of capitalism, it is obviously the largest influence on other aspects of society, but not the only one.


Marxists often accuse anarchists of anti-intellectualism, and they see us as uncritically worshiping action over theory. This is not the case. Anarchists are not against intellectuals who genuinely try to find out about the world around them and develop ideas and theories on how to help people, but we are against members of the intellectual community who slavishly and dogmatically stick to ideology against better reason or those who use their intellectual might for exploitative means (such as nuclear physicists working for corporations developing nuclear weapons).

We should not overstate these differences; we can still achieve many socialist goals together - the Marxists just need to be re-educated! I generally avoid using the word ‘comrade’ (mainly because of it’s historical misuse), but they are our comrades and socialists do need to support one another in the most important goal: to overthrow capitalist society and bring about a socialist one.

If you’re a Marxist - or an anarchist for that matter - and feel I’ve left anything out or misrepresented your views please leave a comment and we can discuss it further. I realise many of these points require extrapolation.

Killer orders pizza for homeless as last meal

Just hours before his execution by injection, a Tennessee death row prisoner who was convicted of killing a police officer ordered his final meal -- pizza for a homeless person.

Philip Workman, 53, requested a vegetarian pizza be delivered to a homeless person in Nashville, Workman's attorney confirmed.

Riverbend Maximum Security Institution refused, said Riverbend spokeswoman Dorinda Carter.

"We can get some special things for the inmate but the taxpayers don't really give us permission to donate to charity," Carter said.

According to the state's protocol, a last meal's cost cannot exceed $20.

Workman was executed early Wednesday.

A shining light goes out in Africa

by Amy Goodman On Saturday, May 5, Anthony Mitchell died in the crash of Kenyan Airways Flight 507, which killed all 114 people onboard. Based in Nairobi, he was an Associated Press reporter who had recently broken a story on secret prisons in Ethiopia and the U.S. involvement in the detention and interrogation of prisoners there. The world has lost another journalist, one who was taking the necessary risks to get at the heart of the complex and often ignored story of Africa. Most Americans know of Somalia as the setting for the feature film "Black Hawk Down." This film depicted the failed 1993 U.S. military assault on Mogadishu. Eighteen U.S. soldiers died. Less well known, more than 1,000 Somalis also were killed. Somalia, which had been mostly ignored by the U.S. media, was briefly in the news as the U.S.-backed Ethiopian military overthrew the Islamic Courts Union, which had been controlling most of Somalia. Mitchell's exposé detailed the fate of some of the hundreds of thousands of refugees. They were fleeing war, but to the United States, they were possible al-Qaida operatives who had found a safe haven in Somalia. According to Mitchell, dozens of refugees were "transferred secretly and illegally in recent months from Kenya and Somalia to Ethiopia, where they are kept without charge or access to lawyers and families." In his groundbreaking report, Mitchell wrote, "CIA and FBI agents hunting for al-Qaida militants in the Horn of Africa have been interrogating terrorism suspects from 19 countries held at secret prisons in Ethiopia, which is notorious for torture and abuse." The U.S. State Department documented Ethiopia's use of torture, and the FBI admitted to Mitchell that it was interrogating prisoners there. Several prisoners have since been released, including 17-year-old Safia Benaouda, a Swedish citizen. She was the first to report that uniformed U.S. military personnel arrested her and directed the Kenyan soldiers who took her captive. Amir Mohamed Meshal is also being held there. The 24-year-old U.S. citizen is from Tinton Falls, N.J. His family's lawyer, Jonathan Hafetz, of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, told me: "The U.S. admits that the FBI has interrogated him. The Red Cross and family have been denied access. We can't get a lawyer to see him because we don't know where he's being held. It has been over two months, with no charge. We are calling for congressional hearings." Salim Lone, a columnist with the Daily Nation in Kenya, knows about terrorism. He was the U.N. spokesman in Iraq when the U.N. compound there was bombed in 2003. After the U.S. launched airstrikes against Somalia last January, Lone told me, "The world does want to help the U.S. end terror, but the way the U.S. repeatedly is doing it, from Iraq and Afghanistan to now in Somalia, this will increase the amount of terrorism that exists in the world." Make no mistake about it, the Horn of Africa is in the crosshairs of the United States. There is oil in Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia. The New York Times reported that after the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, the U.S. allowed Ethiopia to buy arms from North Korea even though the U.S. had just won tough U.N. sanctions against North Korea. The Pentagon recently announced the formation of Africom, the "new unified, combatant command" for Africa. Columnist Salim Lone's response? "It's the last thing Africa needs. ... It's going to militarize Africa; it's going to inflame conflict. There is so much anger against the United States, especially if it's in the Horn of Africa, which is primarily Muslim." Marc Lacey covered Africa for The New York Times from 2001 to 2006: "Africa correspondents spend a lot of time in the air, often on old planes. I think crashes are in the back of every reporter's mind. Anthony Mitchell was a fearless reporter. He understood the complexity of the continent and cared." Our exchange with Africa must involve more than oil, guns and secret prisons. Once people know, they care. Shining a light, journalists provide a bridge of understanding. We need more coverage of Africa, from African journalists and from reporters like Anthony Mitchell. Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 500 stations in North America.

Aluna: The world's first tidal-powered moon clock

Aluna is a unique proposal for the world’s first tidal powered Moon Clock. It will change the way we consider time and understand our planet. Larger than Stonehenge, Aluna’s forty metre wide, five storey high structure is made up of three concentric translucent recycled glass rings. By looking at how each ring is illuminated, you can follow the Moon’s movements, its current phase and the ebb and flow of the tides. This animation of light is called Alunatime. Using the latest design and technologies, Alunatime will be powered directly by the tides using turbines. A waterside landmark and a public sculpture, Aluna unites art, science and spirituality and is an ever-changing reminder of the natural cycles that have shaped our past and will determine our future.

click to enlarge image by Mark Glean click to enlarge image by Mark Glean

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Friedrich N. said... "The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." * They who look upon Liberty as having accomplished her mission when she has abolished hereditary privileges and given men the ballot, who think of her as having no further relations to the everyday affairs of life, have not seen her real grandeur -- to them the poets who have sung of her must seem rhapsodists, and her martyrs fools! As the sun is the lord of life, as well as of light; as his beams not merely pierce the clouds, but support all growth, supply all motion, and call forth from what would otherwise be a cold and inert mass all the infinite diversities of being and beauty, so is Liberty to mankind. It is not for an abstraction that men have toiled and died; that in every age the witnesses of Liberty have stood forth, and the martyrs of Liberty have suffered. Our primary social adjustment is a denial of justice. In allowing one man to own the land on which and from which other men must live, we have made them his bondsmen in a degree which increases as material progress goes on. This is the subtile alchemy that in ways they do not realize is extracting from the masses in every civilized country the fruits of their weary toil; that is instituting a harder and more hopeless slavery in place of that which has been destroyed; that is bringing political despotism out of political freedom, and must soon transmute democratic institutions into anarchy. In the very centers of our civilization to-day are want and suffering enough to make sick at heart whoever does not close his eyes and steel his nerves. Dare we turn to the Creator and ask Him to relieve it! Supposing the prayer were heard, and at the behest with which the universe sprang into being there should glow in the sun a greater power; new virtue fill the air; fresh vigor the soil; that for every blade of grass that now grows two should spring up, and the seed that now increases fifty-fold should increase a hundred fold! Would poverty be abated or want relieved! Manifestly no! Whatever benefit would accrue would be but temporary. The new powers streaming through the material universe could be utilized only through land. And land, being private property, the classes that now monopolize the bounty of the Creator would monopolize all the new bounty. Land owners would alone be benefited. Rents would increase, but wages would still tend to the starvation point! This is not merely a deduction of political economy; it is a fact of experience. We know it because we have seen it. Within our own times, under our very eyes, that Power which is above all, and in all, and through all; that Power of which the whole universe is but the manifestation; that Power which maketh all things, and without which is not anything made that is made, has increased the bounty which men may enjoy, as truly as though the fertility of nature had been increased. Into the mind of one came the thought that harnessed steam for the service of mankind. To the inner ear of another was whispered the secret that compels the lightning to bear a message around the globe. In every direction have the laws of matter been revealed; in every department of industry have arisen arms of iron and fingers of steel, whose effect upon the production of wealth has been precisely the same as an increase in the fertility of nature. What has been the result? Simply that land owners get all the gain. The wonderful discoveries and inventions of our century have neither increased wages nor lightened toil. The effect has simply been to make the few richer; the many more helpless! Henry George. Can it be that the gifts of the Creator may be thus misappropriated with impunity? Is it a light thing that labor should be robbed of its earnings while greed rolls in wealth -- that the many should want while the few are surfeited? Turn to history, and on every page may be read the lesson that such wrong never goes unpunished; that the Nemesis that follows injustice never falters nor sleeps! Look around to-day. Can this state of things continue! May we even say, "After us the deluge!" Nay; the pillars of the state are trembling even now, and the very foundations of society begin to quiver with pent-up forces that glow underneath. The struggle that must either revivify, or convulse in ruin, is near at hand, if it be not already begun. The fiat has gone forth! With steam and electricity, and the new powers born of progress, forces have entered the world that will either compel us to a higher plane or overwhelm us, as nation after nation, as civilization after civilization, have been overwhelmed before. It is the delusion which precedes destruction that sees in the popular unrest with which the civilized world is feverishly pulsing only the passing effect of ephemeral causes. Between democratic ideas and the aristocratic adjustments of society there is an irreconcilable conflict. Here in the United States, as there in Europe, it may be seen arising. We cannot go on permitting men to vote and forcing them to tramp. We cannot go on educating boys and girls in our public schools and then refusing them the right to earn an honest living. We cannot go on prating of the inalienable rights of man and then denying the inalienable right to the bounty of the Creator. Even now, in old bottles the new wine begins to ferment, and elemental forces gather for the strife! The economic and political struggles of the past two centuries are not finished. Old Marx's dialectical materialism hasn't yet played out to it's logical conclusion. The jury is still out. The big wave hasn't crested. May 9, 2007 1:44 AM ..George began as a Lincoln Republican, but then became a Democrat, once losing election to the California State Assembly. He was a strong critic of railroad and mining interests, corrupt politicians, land speculators, and labor contractors. One day in 1871 George went for a horseback ride and stopped to rest while overlooking San Francisco Bay. He later wrote of the revelation that he had: “ I asked a passing teamster, for want of something better to say, what land was worth there. He pointed to some cows grazing so far off that they looked like mice, and said, 'I don't know exactly, but there is a man over there who will sell some land for a thousand dollars an acre.' Like a flash it came over me that there was the reason of advancing poverty with advancing wealth. With the growth of population, land grows in value, and the men who work it must pay more for the privilege.[1] ” Furthermore, on a visit to New York City, he was struck by the apparent paradox that the poor in that long-established city were much worse off than the poor in less developed California. Mankind has obviously reached the end of something. The crisis is absolute. Bourgeois civilisation is falling apart, and even while it collapses, devotes its main energies to the preparation of further holocausts. Not remote states on the periphery but regimes contending for world power achieve the most advanced stages of barbarism known to history. What civilised states have ever approached Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia in official lies, official murder and the systematic brutalisation and corruption of their population? Only a shallow empiricism can fail to see that such monstrous societies are not the product of a national peculiarity (the German character) or a system of government (“communism”) but are part and parcel of our civilisation. Everything that has appeared in these monstrous societies is endemic in every contemporary nation. Millions in the United States know that Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia will have nothing to teach the American bourgeoisie when it finds itself threatened by the revolutionary American workers seeking the complete expression of democracy which is socialism. C L R James Writings on Cricket CLR James is most widely known as a writer on cricket, especially for his autobiographical 1963 book, Beyond a Boundary. This is considered a seminal work of cricket writing, and is often named as the best single book on cricket (or even the best book on any sport) ever written. The book's key question, which is frequently quoted by modern journalists and essayists, is inspired by Rudyard Kipling and asks: What do they know of cricket who only cricket know? James uses this challenge as the basis for describing cricket in an historical and social context, the strong influence cricket had on his life, and how it meshed with his role in politics and his understanding of issues of class and race. The literary quality of the writing attracts cricketers of all political views. [Two] hundred years have passed since the fast friend of American liberty - the great Earl Chatham - rose to make his last appeal for the preservation, on the basis of justice, of that English-speaking empire, in which he saw the grandest possibility of the future. Is it too soon to hope that the future may hold the realization of his vision in a nobler form than even he imagined, and that it may be the mission of this Republic to unite all the nations of English speech, whether they grow beneath the Northern Star or the Southern Cross, in a league which by insuring justice, promoting peace, and liberating commerce, will be the forerunner of a world-wide federation that will make war the possibility of a past age, and turn to works of usefulness the enormous forces dedicated to destruction.... "Look over the history of the past. What is it but a record of the woes inflicted by man on man, of wrong producing wrong, and crime fresh crime? It must be so till justice is acknowledged and liberty is law." Reminds me of someone else... "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Take this carefully; it seems to imply a theory that if every man and every woman did his and her will--the true will--there would be no clashing. ``Every man and every woman is a star,'' and each star moves in an appointed path without interference. There is plenty of room for all; it is only disorder that creates confusion. From these considerations it should be clear that ``Do what thou wilt'' does not mean ``Do what you like.'' It is the apotheosis of Freedom; but it is also the strictest possible bond. Do what thou wilt--then do nothing else. Let nothing deflect thee from that austere and holy task. Liberty is absolute to do thy will; but seek to do any other thing whatever, and instantly obstacles must arise. Every act that is not in definite course of that one orbit is erratic, an hindrance. Will must not be two, but one. Who is Liberty that we should doubt her; that we should set bounds to her, and say, "Thus far shalt thou come and no farther!" Is she not peace? is she not prosperity? is she not progress? nay, is she not the goal toward which all progress strives? Not here; but yet she cometh! Saints have seen her in their visions; seers have seen her in their trance. To heroes has she spoken, and their hearts were strong; to martyrs, and the flames were cool! She is not here, but yet she cometh. Lo! Her feet are on the mountains - the call of her clarions ring on every breeze; the banners of her dawning fret the sky! Who will hear her as she calleth; who will bid her come and welcome? Who will turn to her? who will speak for her? who will stand for her while she yet hath need? -Henry George

Monday, May 07, 2007

From: Musings Morphing

From Anarchist Guerrilla Militia (see link on right column):

We are in precarious times. While the powers that be try to work their illusion for their own benefit, the rest of the biosphere walks in a haze of tyranny as we are raped, exploited, managed as slaves, and terrorized in a multiplicity of, a complex syndrome of, terrorism. With an assumed (and for convenience not articulated initially here) set of a priori positions and values, I would like to begin a discussion of how we, as anarchists manifesting in the world in our myriad ways, are going to free our passions in the face of said violent terrorism. I believe in working for the best while preparing for the worst. To be clear, this is about shedding our socially enforced behaviors of learned helplessness, victimhood, and reclaiming (regardless of any one's definition of a legal or sanctioned act) the right to defend our communities and their physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, manifestation and the space it requires to be actualized. We need to prepare ourselves with skills to come to this defense in what ever form most effective in the moment. I no longer wish or choose to compromise my perspective and desire for freedom to match anyone else's idea of ethic or appropriate and socially acceptable action. I say this: as a compassionate, honest, humble, life-honoring, genuinely peaceful person, if I and all my relations are threatened by any force contrary to the their highest good, I will defend them in an uncompromised and aggressive manner period. As this world ravels into the void of the future, I see this as an extremely necessary role and stance to contribute to the liberation of all beings, on all levels. I am not saying life needs my help, or that I will impose on life my conditions. I am saying I will fight by any appropriate means those that would do so. I nor any realistic assembly of any conceivable allies could match pound for pound the de facto military-industrial-capitalist complex and its hammer of self-justified righteous justice and power that they wield. But I will use what ever means and allies available to carve out and defend any neophyte community: of plants, animals, ecosystems, habitat, people, ad infinitum, that is to push back and enforce a boundary to let the 'new growth' grow and evolve. It is in this vein I would like to start this exploration. I want this to be a forum where my voice isn't dominant, maybe at most facilitative, but where we can talk candidly about D.I.Y., about creating alternative infrastructure, about using defense technologies effectively and responsibly to protect these rights of a community to determine for itself its structure without corrosion or intimidation by another. In actual clear statement, to create the means to empower and skill share on every level the ability to, as needed, use whatever means to defend the biosphere.
Here is a simple pre-amble, but a important idea to nurture: to reclaim such abilities from the mainstream's confines and judgements, a higher and collective need that the integrity of life's wild organic nature must be preserved so that we may all live peaceably and sustainably, while being aggressively defended without compromise on the path to its creation.
Let this seed be planted: The Anarchist Guerrilla Militia.
Check back soon.

Stray Thoughts at a Late Hour,

[I LOVE THIS BLOG!] :) May 6th, 2007

I like to think that I would have answered Poncho Villa’s call and riden with him in the Mexican Revolution. Of course I can’t ride a horse and I’m opposed to guns, but perhaps he needed a person to roll his cigars for him or take notes during their meeetings.

I can do that.

There’s no good causes anymore, none worth dying for at least. Of course, I don’t know if Poncho Villa was worth dying for either.

To tell you the truth, I’m not sure I would have risked my life to avoid paying a tax on tea either. Contrary to popular perception not everybody in 17767 was jumping on the Red Coats’ bayonets.

Twenty percent of the population were Loyalist and a bunch were just waiting it out to side with the winner. After spending two years at college in Boston, I learned to be weary of the public proclamations of priveleged men gathered in pubs and boasting of revolution.

If the minutemen lost they’d be referred to as insurgents in the history books.

For a time Philadelphia couldn’t sell the Liberty Bell off for scrap metal.

The photo from Iwo Jima was just some grunts on a routine mission to right the flag, the hill had been long conquered.

Jessica Lynch herself admits to being no GI Jane.

History is full of beautiful lies and ugly truth.


2am in the morning stalking my thoughts through the high grass quietly as a leopard till I sense weakness then I lunge! ******************************

What can one man with one measly blog, sixteen fingers, a blowhole, and a dancing monkey do to find himself some truth in this world?

Hell, I’d settle for a small dose of enlightenment.

Fuck it! Just happiness. Just mind-crushingly dull, satiated happiness.

What is happiness?

It’s all about your perspective, your vantage point, how close you are to zero.

They say three is a magic number, but they’re wrong; it’s zero.

Everything starts at zero. You’re nothing and then you’re something and you don’t know any words and then you do, but you can’t read any words and then you can and so and so and hopefully, eventually, you’ll learn how to write and write well and possibly even one day know what a run-on sentence looks like.

Anyway, you get it.

Because of this everything is judged against zero, depending on the index, up is good and down is bad, or down is good and up is bad.

Your bank account: you hope the numbers go way higher than zero, your phone bill: as close as possible to zero.

But zero doesn’t always mean nothing. If you start with a million dollars in the bank that’s your zero. If by some financial misfortune, that sum is reduced to $800,000, oh boy, are you crying buckets!

It’s all about where you start.

What you start with.

But to answer my own question, what is hapiness?

A deep fried love twinkie, baby!


Thursday at the Republican debate, (yes, I’m that disturbed that I even watch the elephants go at it) a very revealing question was posed to the candidates by that babbling blond babboon Matthews.

By a show of hands he asked them who doesn’t believe in Evolution?

Fair question.

Three of these monkeys raised their hands. Is it any shocker that these three candidates are in the lower tier? Out of the running.

Out to left field, you could also say.

Huckabee explained the nuance of his position.

Huckabee, in a conference call with reporters, complained that the debate format didn’t give him a chance to elaborate on his views about evolution.”

And the main thing … I’m not sure what in the world that has to do with being president of the United States,” said the former Arkansas governor.

Huckabee said he has no problem with teaching evolution as a theory in the public schools and he doesn’t expect schools to teach creationism.

I like how Huckabee laughed off the question, as if it has nothing to do with being president. Your belief about how the world came to be and man’s place on the planet might infuence or affect your performance as leader of the most powerful tribe of humans on this planet. It affects the rest of us whether you place your trust in science and reason, or in “faith”. We like to know exactly what level of delusional primate we’re dealing with.

So, yeah, it matters.

But at least he’s sticking to it. Watch the other 7 candidates unfurl God at every campaign stop like a worn-out hankercheif but when they have to admit to what this naturally implies at the other end of the argument, that evolution is false, they all clam up like broken garage doors.

Our current president doesn’t believe we came from the sea, and come to think of it, one of his most famous and ditziest of supporters isn’t quite what sure chicken of the sea is.

Is this mere coincidence?

I think not. Everywhere are wires.


99.9% of all kings and queens, prince and princesses across the world, I am unable to recogize.

The Queen and Charles are about it.

And Fergie, if she still counts.


When you’re from California, where do you flee for some sun? ——– ARTOFSTARVING


A Revenge Tragedy

By John Steppling


(Editor's Note: This stream of consciousness-style piece is excerpted from an ongoing online dialogue between Steppling and fellow radical, Guy Zimmerman. They are Co-Senior Editors of Arts and Culture at Cyrano's Journal Online. "A Revenge Tragedy" is but a small sampling of the brilliant conclusions drawn during the exchanges between these highly refined thinkers.)

Originally published in the Voxpop section of Cyrano’s Journal Online

I spent Easter weekend watching all of Adam Curtis’ documentaries, but I was especially struck with Century of the Self . And it spawned many observations on Karl Rove.

The mechanisms of control are more and more obvious. As for accusing your opponent of your own dark intentions, yes, this is absolutely crucial to remember. First cousin to this can be seen in anti-insurgency thinking. There was, during the Mau Mau resistance in Kenya, a certain colonel — Kitson, I think (but his name hardly deserves to be remembered anyway) who wrote a book with a title something like Low Intensity Operations. It suggested creating a problem….violence….in the case of Kenya, with people looking and dressed like the resistance, and then ordering a response. This is second cousin to false flag operations, which are a staple of the CIA and Mossad. Blame violence and terrorism on the resistance, wear the uniforms of the resistance, and create anti-resistance sentiment in the general populace, and then whatever draconian response you come up with will have widespread sympathy. One sees this now in recent terror attacks in Algeria. Following conveniently on the heels of the Pentagon’s formation of AFRICOM. In fact, one wonders often at the *real* Osama Bin Laden…..since onetime CIA assets have a tendency to remain CIA assets. (I can hear the term conspiracy theory being tossed about now….but I think to use that term as a knee jerk epithet is to buy into the very strategies of the Empire and Rovians).

Ok, well, as for dark intentions. I think a huge problem is that people, even a Karl Rove, tend to not know what their dark intentions are. Or rather, to not know what is beneath them. I had a big argument recently about Miami-Dade courts allowing released sex offenders to live under freeway overpasses. They couldn’t find normal housing and the police just said, ok, well, live under the bridge. That our supposedly great society now houses *anyone* under bridges speaks to a martial and mean spirited social center. One tends to notice the hysterical responses from a lot of parties when this topic comes up. “Cut off their dicks”, “castrate them”, etc. I always wonder at why dropping daisy cutters on families doesn’t create this kind of frothing fury, but only a sexual crime. Well, I suspect because our own dark intentions, no matter how well and appropriately sublimated, still are white hot exposed nerve endings that excite at the slightest touch (of Eros) in the lightless caves of our inner Id.

Now, with Rove and his friends, their malevolence is extreme; and they exhibit pure sociopathic personalities. But this deep hidden reservoir of instinct and inarticulate desire gets somehow channeled in people like Rove into a more pure sadism. Notwithstanding this, I suspect their inner turmoil to be extreme. The culture altogether is more sadistic, and I fear more accepting of certain kinds of sadism… or takes more pleasure in sadism. Shows like Big Brother for example are complex exercises in humiliation and sadism, and yet also (and this is a separate topic) they express something about leisure time fantasy — so they are both reinforcing Capital and attacking it somehow. Anyhow, the marketing of political reality by the neo-cons and Rove is just a more sophisticated extension of what Reagan started. Or maybe what Machiavelli started, who knows. Ghouls like Elliott Abrahms, Frank Gaffney, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen (though I doubt anyone really takes that clown seriously) and folks like Cheney and Rumsfeld, are not, finally all that different from Richard Holbrooke or Mad Maddie Albright, and certainly not from Kissinger. The historical moment though, is such, that these poorly educated madmen seem more nakedly satanic. There is desperation now, where under Nixon the assumption was that the world was perfect and the system sustainable. I think Rove knows that isn’t the case. So issues like Peak Oil and clean water and climate change signal the need for several Plan Bs. And it is quite right that one of these plans (per the trial balloon of Katrina-N.O.) is for some form of martial law enforced largely by private security firms.

I believe Burroughs, circa Soft Machine, used to write about the typewriter writing us. This is the same dream dreaming the dreamer motif in a sense….but in advanced capital almost all media and Hollywood product is interchangeable. Not totally, yet, but close. The endless assault of MTV reality shows, network reality shows, and faux news-ertaintment, is now writing our lives. The system has colonized our unconscious to some degree……not as totally as it has colonized our ego, but its growing. The cyborg quality of people hence needs outlets of appropriate rage. Road rage is a useful one, but child predator hysteria and drug hysteria is even better. Since 90% of all child abuse (sexual or otherwise) happens in the home and involves close family members, it sort of suggests that there aren’t guys lurking at every schoolyard with offers of candy. Bush and his pals won’t address this because it flies in the face of *family values*. One can (and Adam Curtis does) harken back to the work of R.D. Laing and Wilhelm Reich. The family is the seat of our darkest internalizations. To accept this contradiction (because the family is also the seat of our grace and brings us closest to something divine) is a big first step to backing away from knee jerk responses of punishment. The Buddhist notion of our greatest sin being seeing the other as an *other*, as separate from oneself is very significant in this context.

So, Rove-Iago, a man of great hypocrisy, too. Funny how Hastert, Gingrich, etc etc etc, all have such rather obvious skeletons in their closets (sic). The Puritanism of America can’t be emphasized enough. Put all this together and we return to the state of modern consciousness. It’s reflected in the US in the supreme sense of entitlement, exceptionalism, at work in even liberal thought. Curtis’ other documentary, The Power of Nightmares, addresses this by tracking the rise of Islamic movements over the last 50 years or more. One begins to see the absolute sophistication of Islamic thought, albeit very different in logic from western colonial thinking. In The Trap, the weakest of his films, but still worth viewing, one arrives at Frantz Fanon and Sartre. I find myself returning to Sartre rather more often than I might have guessed I would. Both he and Fanon were exceptionally articulate on the role humiliation plays and has played, in colonial adventures and in all occupations. One can forgive torture and arrest, but cannot and never will forgive humiliation. One of the greatest examples of American ignorance is to not see this, and hence to act out our inner aggressions in places like Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and Baghdad. This isn’t new….in fact the Balkan conflict was the immediate precursor (see, also on line, The Avoidable War, a very sound look at the history of the former Yugoslavia and the PR campaign to demonize the Serbs).

US foreign policy has always reflected the desire for control and domination. When we reduce this from support for a Pinochet or a Mobutu, and take it down to an individual level, we find ourselves struggling to understand such lack of compassion. In Curtis, he speaks a lot of modern governments looking (Clinton and Blair in this case) to let people behave in their own interests. This sort of systems management style real politik has one basic flaw…and that is, that most of us, if not all of us, don’t know what’s in our best interest. I certainly don’t. Or at the very least, I have endlessly shifting criteria for what those interests might be. This is why all Rand Corporation think tank slide rule wonk planning always goes so fucking wrong.

The increasing use of media and cultural product for heteronymous thought and social passivity is starting to reach fail safe. Maybe that’s being too optimistic, but one senses a lot of psychic unrest in the west. No amount of NBA or NFL, or American idol or Survivor, or internet porn is going to quiet the collective forever. What forms out of this unrest remains to be seen. I think this is a separate topic, but I do think, as I’ve said before, that small acts of refusal are a solid place to start.

Rene Girard’s book on scapegoating is essential reading in this respect. Selling evil….from child *predators* to *terrorists* is deflect attention away from state terror. The culture keeps intensifying its moral-outrage….but only at the powerless. A child molester may be at the bottom of the moral food chain (well,alongside weapons dealers and 99% of politicians)…but he is also, usually, powerless to fight back. The countries that *harbour* terrorists seem to keep being the rock bottom poorest countries in the world. Drug users and drug dealers — on the street level — are tossed into super max prisons (which even Amnesty International calls among the world’s worst) and yet rarely if ever does the state put the big mafia/corporate/CIA managerial class in jail. If a white collar criminal is convicted there is almost total certainty that he or she wont do hard time, but rather will be sent to an easy minimum security country club facility. And few people object to this, it’s just another example of how deeply internalized class privilege has become to most Americans. The point is that fever pitch moral hysteria is the result of targeted enemies and scapegoating. The entire victims’ justice movement is selective in its focus, too. Prosecutions are highly selective, and both a local and an international level, the US likes to have its scapegoats easily targeted. The perfect example is Lynndie England, who somehow absolves the sins of Abu Ghraib all by herself. She is the fall girl, the scapegoat. The movement away from compassion is clear on levels of our culture, and especially in talk radio or talk TV. It’s all an excuse to get *righteous*, and demand justice or revenge. Revenge is an empty emotion, perhaps the emptiest man has, and hence fits perfectly in our ever more empty society.

Cruelty and exploitation are what all sane individuals want to help do away with. A more equitable society, a society that lifts everyone up and protects the weakest and most vulnerable. Children, the poor, the disadvantaged, are obvious signifiers for what should be protected. The answer to creating a society that protects its people is not found in hysterical demands for punishment …. nor in our utter incapacity to forgive….but it’s in an awakening to the systematic exploitation that goes on under different banners. The tragedies of dead Palestinian children, Iraqi children, Afghan children, dead children all over Africa, and the endless list of destroyed families in these places, never seems to register on the moral radar. Recently right wing columnists attacked the released British seamen (and woman) for not resisting enough. Not one of these critics has ever had a gun pointed at them. The statistics of men on death row suggests that a VERY high percentage of them were physically beaten as children. There should be, but isn’t, a profound sense of cognitive dissonance here. Why is compassion so selective? One answer is found in something that the Curtis documentary touches on, and that is how marketing took over western culture. It’s both the creating of enemies, both domestic and international — a means to distract from State abuses and corruption — and the creating of easy to digest feel-good balms for our deep guilt and shame. Projection is acute in our culture. Our own feelings of powerlessness are projected outward, and find marketed targets. Pop-psychology and New Age gurus still have traction because they make people feel special and unique — when the totally administered society keeps all real individuality at arm’s length, or simply erases it. What brand of spiritual commodity you *buy* isn’t really important, same as most toothpastes are more or less the same. Real individuality is a long process that costs, and must be paid for to some degree with suffering. In the Curtis doc, Arthur Miller is quoted (after Marilyn Monroe’s suicide) and he says, we must accept suffering, it’s how we learn. The dharma road is by necessity a long and pot holed one. We don’t get there by demonizing anyone and we don’t get there begging for approval from the masters above us. The greatest target of our sense of betrayal should be a system that is based on (!!) exploitation. A system run by men willing to send *others* off to face guns and to risk death and maiming, without ever having to do so themselves.

Click here for links to a number of worthwhile documentaries available for viewing online.

John Steppling: Playwright, director, screenwriter and teacher, Steppling was an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival and has had his plays produced in London, LA, New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Poland. Plays include The Shaper, Teenage Wedding, Neck, Dog Mouth, The Thrill, Wheel of Fortune and My Crummy Job. A collection of his work was published by Sun and Moon Press in 1999 (Sea of Cortez and Other Plays). He is a Rockefeller Fellow, multiple NEA recipient, and PEN-West winner. His last film credit was Animal Factory (directed by Steve Buscemi 2000). Steppling lives in Lodz with Norwegian director Gunnhild Skrodal, and teaches at the Polish National Film School.

JOHN STEPPLING now helms a new special Cyrano blog on the theater and culture, along with fellow wordplayers Guy Zimmerman, Patrice Greanville and Phil Rockstroh. Check and be sure to join this lively dialog at . A treat for hard core theater fans of all stripes.

Raw With Charles Bukowski

* little dark girl with kind eyes when it comes time to use the knife I won't flinch and I won't blame you, as I drive along the shore alone as the palms wave, the ugly heavy palms, as the living does not arrive as the dead do not leave, I won't blame you, instead I will remember the kisses our lips raw with love and how you gave me everything you had and how I offered you what was left of me, and I will remember your small room the feel of you the light in the window your records your books our morning coffee our noons our nights our bodies spilled together sleeping the tiny flowing currents immediate and forever your leg my leg your arm my arm your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again. little dark girl with kind eyes you have no knife. the knife is mine and I won't use it yet. *

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Shared joy is double joy!

The idea is simple: Let's liberate love and joy from the confines of the individual, the couple, and the family, and let's create new forms of shared joy and shared love! Write poetry on post-it notes and stick them up all over town! Steal children's books from your local mega-chain bookstore, and give them out to random kids on the street! Steal food from your local chain supermarket, and give it to the homeless! Let's turn commodities into gifts! Raid some bourgeois suburban gardens for their roses, and walk around the city giving free flowers to all and sundry! It's like the Situationists used to say: "You can't buy happiness, so steal it!" This is true liberation! Liberating commodities from the market and reclaiming the commons! We need a new theory of value too... Capitalism is all about exchange value - the worth of goods and services becomes reducible to its exchange value on the market. Marxists argued against this, in favour of "use value" - that goods and services should be valued according to their utilitarian value, not their exchange value. How boring though!!! Why reduce joy and love and art and beauty to either exchange value OR utilitarianism??? Maybe we can argue for "gift value" as that which enables joy and love and desire to flow and to become COMMON. Let's create a "gift economy", as Marcel Mauss called it! Think for a moment about the joke that is the capitalist "free market". Of course we know that it means freedom for business, not freedom for people. And it is anything but free! Think of all the human and environmental costs! The true "free market" would be the gift economy! The true free society would be a kind of "wiki-society"! A few years ago, I read about an anarchist group in Berlin who used to gather all their unwanted stuff every Christmas, and give it away for free in the centre of Berlin. I thought this was brilliant! It totally challenges the capitalist consumerist orgy that it Christmas, but not in a head-to-head antagonistic way. It redefines the gift in a Maussian sense, and challenges the commoditisation of giving and the way in which this has been institutionalised through Christmas. Love needs to be redefined as LIFE IN COMMON!

Friday, May 04, 2007

[Thanks to Pink Moon for the link!] Psychedelic Videos
» Alex Grey
» Blue Man Group
» Brothers Quay
» Chris Cunningham
» Fractals & Visuals
» Terence McKenna
» Tool
» Waking Life
» Ween
» Miscellaneous I
» Miscellaneous II

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Stewart A. Alexander for President, Peace and Freedom Party

May 2, 2007 Los Angeles police officers brutally assaulted peaceful marchers and supporters at a rally in Los Angeles creating outrage and anger from millions nationwide. The May Day events throughout the day had been peaceful and well organized and it was approximately 6:00 PM when the Los Angeles Police Department stormed McAuther Park; shooting rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowds that were present. Many of the people that were present in the park were mother, children and babies. The cops were seen beating many with sticks on television; people and children that were offering no resistance. Also there were members of the press that were brutally assaulted. Members of the Peace and Freedom Party were present supporting the May Day events and observed no misconduct from marchers, May Day supporter or citizens. The LAPD failed to act professionally and dealt with the situation like a bunch of street thugs. The actions of the LAPD need to be investigated by an independent investigation and the federal government for human and civil rights violations. An investigation must also be conducted to determine if the officers acted beyond the scope of the department’s guidelines and jurisdiction. The LAPD and the Los Angeles City Council must obtain a full and complete disclosure from the LAPD officers present, any people that were arrested or hospitalized, and the press that was present; to assure a comprehensive investigation will occur. This is not the first time the Los Angeles Police Department has violently and viciously violated human and democratic rights. They have attacked protesters at the last Democratic Party convention and they have a record of violating labor and immigrant rights. The nation must also note that the silence of the Democratic and Republican candidates for president. Their silence over this police assault on workers during the Los Angeles May Day protest again indicates their complicity in these attacks on Democratic rights. I encourage anyone to address your concerns regarding the May Day McAuthur Park incident to: Stewart A. Alexander, 40485 Murrieta Hot Springs Road, Unit 149, Murrieta, CA 92563, or e-mail stewartalexander4paf [at] You may also contact: Peace and Freedom Party, PO Box 24764, Oakland CA 94623 To receive additional details regarding this incident, search the Los Angeles Indymedia site:

Ottawa’s anarchist bookshop a spot for ‘fringe’ thinkers to gather

Exile Infoshop opens on Bank Street to offer alternative media, resources

Garrett Zehr, Ottawa Citizen Published: Wednesday, May 02, 2007

You won’t get any Starbucks coffee at Exile Info-shop, Ottawa’s first anarchist bookstore. And don’t try to pay with your capitalist credit cards, either.

Chapters, this is not.

The new Ottawa bookstore opened this week to “provide access to alternative media and resources.”

The opening of the bookstore and community space, at Bank and Cooper streets, was set to mark international May Day, an occasion long celebrated by anarchist and socialist movements.

Exile Infoshop will sell alternative and anarchist independent books and other merchandise that would not be found in a more typical bookstore.

But Jeff Monaghan, a member of the group’s organizing collective, said the project is much more than just another bookstore.

“This is a community space,” he said. “Infoshops are part of a much larger social movement, putting complex theories of social equality into practice and identifying with related movements and struggles demanding freedom and dignity.”

The shop will be kept open by volunteers and the money raised from the sale of merchandise will go toward operating costs. Currently, the shop is selling books, zines, clothing and vegan snacks.

People are also invited to just drop by and read a book or engage in discussion with other members. A key goal of the Infoshop is to create a space for critical thought and dialogue.

“We base ourselves on anarchist principles,” said Pascale Arpin, a member of the collective. These include such things as anti-oppression, equality, community building and worker control, she said.

“Considering that Ottawa is the country’s political capital, it is surprising that there was never been a space so overtly dedicated to fostering dissent,” a statement from the group said. Decisions about the shop are made by the eight-member collective, based on a model of non-hierarchy where every member has an equal say.

Members of the collective contributed their own funds to open the space and also received a grant from a private American citizen to contribute to the lease and the purchase of merchandise.

The collective has been planning and brainstorming over the past seven months in preparation for the opening. The idea came from similar organizations, which can be found in many European and North American cities.

In a statement, the group said that the goal is “to provide community members with access to alternative media and resources, to provide a base and meeting space for anti-poverty and social justice organizations, and to support mutual aid and the growth of grassroots community organizing.”

The collective hopes that this location will provide the much-needed space for Ottawa’s advocate and anarchist groups to meet.

“Before, there was no physical space,” said Ms. Arpin.

The resource and lounge area were quite busy at Tuesday’s opening, as volunteers welcomed people to the lounge and bookstore.

“It’s a comfortable space — very warm and happy,” said Zander MacDonald, a first-year humanities student at Carleton University who had heard about the opening from a friend.

He was quite impressed by the books that were available and said he is considering volunteering with the organization next year.

“I’m always interested in the fringe,” he said.

Exile Infoshop will host regular events to try to attract a broader interest. Examples include a recent meeting of the Ottawa Panhandlers’ Union and an upcoming radical discussion of climate change.

Ms. Arpin said the group hopes to continue building financial and volunteer support from the community and increase awareness about its resources and principles.

Collective member Sarah Armstrong summed up what she hopes to accomplish through the shop: “We shouldn’t just rock the boat — we have to sink the f-----!”

Exile Infoshop will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. It is located on the second floor at 256 Bank St.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

From: Art of Blog

LAPD Went Bananas on the Press: What’s Up With That?

So what happened yesterday?

Suddenly at the end of a peaceful rally a commotion flared and the police began marching and clubs started flying and cameramen and women were dropping and rolling around in the dust.

That we know.

Why the police felt the need to get all buck-crazy is still unexplained.

For those that didn’t catch the news, LAPD used excessively strong tactics to clear a street of protesters at the end of yesterday’s march in Los Angeles. The police say there were bottles being thrown at them. Word is anarchists were provoking the police. As someone who has been to many protests I don’t doubt that.

The clash at MacArthur Park started after 6 p.m. when police tried to disperse demonstrators who had moved off the sidewalk onto the street. Authorities said several of the few thousand people still at the rally threw rocks and bottles at officers, who fired rubber bullets and used batons to push the crowd back onto the sidewalk.

Their response, however, was neither justified nor reasonable. What I saw was a police force going wild, taking advantage of the provocation to unleash a little whup-ass. It’s almost as if they were trying to send a message.

I didn’t see many anarchist getting hit.

“They were pushing children, elderly, mothers with their babies and beating up on the media,” said Angela Sambrano, director of the Central American Resource Center. “The aggressiveness against the immigrant community is unbelievable.”

Video of the conflict shows officers pushing women down to the ground, whacking the back of people walking away from them, shooting rubber bullets at close distances to women and children. In one, all-too-symbolic, image the police are swinging their batons at the legs of an immigrant holding the American flag while trying to help another protester that had fallen in front of the police and was trying to get up.

If you haven’t seen any of the footage, go to Youtube to check it out.

You can see that Christina Gonzalez, the reporter who was attacked in the footage, is royally pissed as she broadcasts from MacArthur Park, the scene of the clash just hours before.

What I find troubling is the rather sloppiness, the dumb brute force, the LAPD showed. This was not a necessary action to quell a riot, this was a human battering ram mowing down everyone in its path, mostly journalists and innocent protesters that didn’t get out of the way fast enough.

Stranger that they seemed to be discriminately attacking journalists.

That’s just not good PR.

The Radio and Television News Association of Southern California called for an investigation.

“There is evidence that officers knocked reporters to the ground, used batons on photographers and damaged cameras, possibly motivated by anger over journalists photographing efforts by officers to control the movements of marchers,” the group said in a statement.

At the end of the video you can sense Christina Gonzalez’s frustration and indignation as she reports that the LAPD told her to get in their truck and “shut the door”. I find that portion of the story especially troubling. They weren’t ordering them inside their vehicle for their safety but to restrict their ability to cover the actions of the police.

Not lost to irony: this brutal crackdown on freedom of the press happening in a park named after a war general. A soldier that first distinguished himself going after Poncho Villa, who was fighting an American-supported Mexican government.

I don’t think it would be too childish and snide to point out that history is just one big riot.

Back to 5/1/07.

Why would the LAPD overreact so aggressively? Attacking innocent people and the news media, where they must have known they would come under fierce criticism?

There are only two reasons I can see:

1. They’re stupid. 2. It was an intentional assault on the immigrant movement and the media covering it.

Crowds were down, the media attention was low, it had been a long day, a provocation flared up, once the order was given officers seemed intent on exterting their power with violence. Christina Gonzalez herself heard the cops announce as they passed, “double time it’s tussle time.” (whatever the hell that means)

It seems at worse this was an authorized tactic to intmidate immigrants, their supporters and the press. At best it’s a case where a good number of cops lost their heads and went overboard, waaaaay overboard.

Here’s another chance to watch the video and decide for yourself.

I’m spent.

For A World Without Borders!, An Article from The New York Rat

Mayday Mayday Mayday!! The international code word for distress, said three times, is the official call-out for immediate help in a life-threatening situation. “A Mayday situation is one in which a vessel, aircraft, vehicle, or person is in grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance. Examples of ‘grave and imminent danger’ in which a Mayday call would be appropriate are fire, explosion, or sinking.” Usually, this is a call towards state authorities to intervene and “save” the people at hand. For A World Without Borders! An Article from The New York Rat Issue #8

By Onto, New York Rat Senior Border Analyst

“But if I don't get my desire / I will set the plantation on fire” - Gregory Isaacs

Mayday Mayday Mayday!! The international code word for distress, said three times, is the official call-out for immediate help in a life-threatening situation. “A Mayday situation is one in which a vessel, aircraft, vehicle, or person is in grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance. Examples of ‘grave and imminent danger’ in which a Mayday call would be appropriate are fire, explosion, or sinking.” Usually, this is a call towards state authorities to intervene and “save” the people at hand. Well, we’re sure as hell fucked so we might as well start the screaming. But to whom? And for what? When the imminent danger comes in the guise of “assistance”, it’s time to start rethinking what we mean by danger. While governments see fire, explosion and sinking as mayday situations, we see the government itself as one. Today, on this May Day, we will use this code against the state, and against all forms of authority that attempt to “save” us at all. Our call on May Day for Mayday will remember the Haymarket anarchists along with all the undocumented migrants of today as we call upon only each other’s support, autonomy and power to take back our lives.

What is the danger we are alluding to, the danger that comes in many forms, places, times, shapes and names? What is the danger that captured native Americans for hundreds of years (still does), anarchists in the 19th century (and 20th), immigrants in the 20th (and 21st), and is still alive today, still mutating its form like a virus going up against new immunities? What is this danger that exploits your differences, alienates you from your land, cuts off your family, arrests you, detains you, starves you, stabs you, all the while proclaiming your safety, sovereignty and freedom? What is the manufactured violence that combines state authority with capital accumulation, sexist work with racist laws?

This is nothing but the global regime of borders. Its weapons are detention and deportation; its lackeys are government agents, capitalist bosses, and racist neighbors; its protocols are immigration laws; its prisons are maquiladoras; its technology is surveillance; its dissemination is viral; its form is a decentralized network; its message is “homeland security”, but its meaning is “submit or die.” The border is a ghost that haunts every workplace, every highway, every courthouse, every field, every suburb, every city. It’s the foundation of our nation, and we all know what that means: without it, the nation falls.

Unfortunately, anarchists and other radicals still think the border is just a wall. Something that just sits there, passively, in the middle of a game between capital and labor, state and migrant, civilization and anarchy. We need to eradicate this mental weed from the ecology of our minds if we are to undermine and abolish the borders from below.

So let’s take a journey through the evolution of the meaning of the border. (And please leave the green anti-immigrant scapegoating at home; that alibi is sick and old.) This story is more logical than chronological. For all these pieces can occur together or in parts, in succession or simultaneous. To be strategic, every site of the border must be seen in its specificity.

What is a border?

First off, it’s War. Literally, the border is a relic of the Mexican-American war of 1848, when America “bought” half of Mexico’s territory (about 500,000 sq. miles) at gunpoint. The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo still stands, marking the Rio Grande as the ‘line’ which ‘separates’ us from them. The border is a monument without a museum, doused with techno-media and military machines in order to revive its symbolism with a vengeance. Yet the war never really ended, only moving underground, in shadows, in stealth. Bodies still pile up at the edges, and governments still negotiate new treaties (trade agreements) all the time.

Through such agreements, the border becomes a form of Property. It is enclosure, forming the body proper of the country, its outline, its image in the sand. Once this illusion becomes solidified in the minds of the citizens, its defense becomes unquestionable. Who wouldn’t want to defend their property? The border becomes the consensual hallucination of an imagined community of ‘citizens’ who share nothing but a relationship to what’s “outside.” We’re not them, they say, those are ‘aliens’. If to be an alien means to embody the subversion of their entire system of property, then by all means indict us! Property does not make the border possible, but on the contrary, the border makes all property possible. And with that, Capital as well.

Property, we know, is theft. And theft, capture, and control are the main functions of any State. Besides cops, prisons, and government buildings, the border is the closest thing you’ll get to the material manifestation of the state in all its naked force. The collusion between capitalists, militarists, racist libertarians and ‘pluralist’ democrats to “contain the state of emergency”, i.e., the loss of their profit, is blatant at every border site. Every “border zone” is chaos, and so the state tries to covers it up with a thousand bureaucracies, rules, and technologies. Invoke the border and you are on standing on their ground, so be ready to fight dirty. But that ground can be broken, like tree roots smashing upwards through concrete. The state tries to organize the chaos from above, but we all know how that goes: more resistance from below.

To contain the resistance, the border becomes a Prison. With 17 federal detention centers, hundreds of county ones and thousands of private ones, the border escapes its geography and encroaches inland. By the fall of 2007 the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will spend an estimated $1 billion per year to detain over 27, 500 immigrants. ICE operates eight Service Processing Centers (SPCs) and seven contract detention facilities. Additionally, immigration detainees are being held in local jails and private prisons across the United States. This is the deterritorialization of the border, when the border traps you in time and holds you indefinitely, instead of trapping you in space. Shutting down detention centers, liberating detainees, and breaking the time trap becomes essential.

To guard this mobile prison, they need Police. But how can the border also be a police force? By militarizing itself, and distributing the mindset of militarization to everyone it can. Everyone becomes a border guard, with ICE being just the last step in the long chain of control. Neighbors, colleagues, workers, friends – no one is safe. With a little help from the fear-mongering media, the Virus of the bordermind sets in and spreads. Migrants – living in hiding, working in backrooms— are killed coming in and killed getting out. The Minutemen are only the most recent and deadly strand of the border virus. So how do you kill a virus? We should look to biology to see how self-organized NK (Natural Killer) immune cells use antibodies to destroy viruses naturally: infiltrate, proliferate, eradicate.

Doubly precarious, both at home and in the workplace, migrants live on the edges of a Network. There are at least three networks at work here. The border network, the migrant network, and the network in between. All overlap, none are isolated. The nodes that make up the border network consist of check-points, fences, government institutions, surveillance technology, Private detention corporations (Halliburton and Wackenhut especially), vigilante groups, anti-immigrant think tanks (FAIR, for instance), maquiladoras, and anti-terrorist legislation. The migrant network is composed of extended families, day labor sites, coyotes, deserts, fields, slave labor, humanitarian aid groups, churches, worker centers, mosques, synagogues, anti-detention and anti-deportation groups, ESL classes, and no border camps. In between are drug cartels, unions, political parties, media, contractors and middlemen. Each network is resilient, decentralized and dense. Every crack in one is an opening for another. Hubs emerge when links become more and more dense, for instance, at churches, during elections, at labor sites, and after an economic recession. The question is not how do we create or destroy this or that network, but how do we get in and get out, alter or deform it, add, subtract, multiply new links, nodes or edges. We’re already in it, so we might as well figure out how to use it.

The border network operates more like a Technology than a system, a Code not a language. It codes the movement of bodies across the world as “immigration” and then decodes that as “illegal.” The border itself is seen to be “neutral.” It’s just a technical issue, they say, the problem of immigrants. It can be solved technically, mathematically, economically. It is both an actual matrix of technology (weapons, walls, planes, beds, buildings, lights, sensors, radios, cameras) and also a virtual technology of symbols (status, passports, flags, laws). By technology, we mean a way of dominating and controlling nature. Migration is treated as a problem of nature, an ecological obstacle that can be solved by technological progress. Just like global warming or water pollution, the “solution” to the “problem” of migration is never about getting to the cause (i.e., the capitalist ravage of the planet which forces people to flee their homes in search of sustenance) but always about how to make more money off of it while deferring the effect to the next generation. The border is exactly that technological fix, that addiction that delays reality for just one more infinite second. The border is the opiate of the nation.

And what do drugs do but satisfy some Desire? Well what is the desire for people to move around the planet, and what is the desire for others to stop them? Why do some people desire to be fascist and others desire to be anarchist? Why do people want a border in the first place? What is the fascism of everyday life that extends the border into ones habits, relationships, and conversations? What is the anarchy of everyday life that resists all manifestations of the border, that creates spaces for freedom and creativity in every moment? What we’re getting out is the cultural practice of borders, how they are a style, a way of life for people to live in and live out. It’s an aesthetic, its “cool” to be a border. It’s even cooler to co-opt migrants into being borders against other migrants, the ‘good’ vs. the ‘bad’, the ‘legal’ vs. the ‘illegal.’ The idea of ‘illegal’ in the first place fulfills someone’s desire for maintaining a value system of right and wrong in a world where that value system makes no sense at all. Racist ideologues desire purity of race while vulture capitalists desire purity of profit. The former are anti-immigrant while the latter are “pro” immigrant (as long as they can determine what that means). Whose desire will be stronger? Or better yet, who will use the others desire for their own benefit better? This struggle of desires plays out in the social field everyday. And what about the migrants themselves? The desire of people to migrate cannot be reduced to just economics. People are not simply victims of global capitalism, they are people with desires for freedom, from poverty, corruption and destitution. These desires get funneled into the American dream before they are even allowed the possibility of moving towards something else, something that wouldn’t translate “freedom” into wage-slavery. Cut at the root and replanted in different soil, the desire against borders is blocked before it can truly grow. To cultivate that desire is our goal.

How do we escape from this long borderwar? Where they have ideology, we must have Imagination. In some sense, we know the border is an imagined act, albeit an enforced one. To overcome this, we must imagine as well, and we must enforce our imaginations too. A world without borders is not a dream, it is how you live. Some say that migrants are the most victimized social class in the world. Others say that the global movement of migrants is the largest Social Movement in the world. Both are exaggerations, yet both are somewhat true. For the constant ability of millions of people to evade state machines and border networks is possibly the largest scale of subversion in the history of mankind. But we know now that border networks and state machines aren’t necessarily there to stop migration, only to control it. In fact, they desire migrants. They need them. And with this need, the extreme vulnerability of the state becomes apparent.

Resistance doesn’t begin at the fence because the border doesn’t begin there either. Borders are massive investments, they are literally their own economies, and every economy, in the end, is based on debt, credit, and the faith that everything will be paid back in full. Resisting the border means breaking that faith, that credit in the ideology of exclusion. This resistance is as layered as the border itself, and hence is inconsistent, contradictory and unpredictable. From underground railroads to class solidarity, lobbying to strikes, boycotts to riots, childcare to legal defense, noborder camps to farmworker rights, the resistance is as open as the air. There is no ‘resistance’ itself, only resistances which could link up to tear down, break away, and immunize the border regime wherever it emerges. It’s not when the border is gone that Anarchy will be our fate. Rather, it is only when we stop living and believing in anarchy that the border becomes permanent. Then we might really have to scream louder across the fences, MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY!!!

For more info, see

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If you are in New York City, you can get your issue of the New York Rat at radical events throughout the city, and ALWAYS at the following places: ABC No Rio, Bluestockings, Time's Up!, St. Mark's Church, St. Mark's Books, and Vox Pop.

Her Hair O fleece, that down the neck waves to the nape! O curls! O perfume nonchalant and rare! O ecstasy! To fill this alcove shape With memories that in these tresses sleep, I would shake them like penions in the air! Languorous Asia, burning Africa, And a far world, defunct almost, absent, Within your aromatic forest stay! As other souls on music drift away, Mine, O my love! still floats upon your scent. I shall go there where, full of sap, both tree And man swoon in the heat of the southern climates; Strong tresses be the swell that carries me! I dream upon your sea of amber Of dazzling sails, of oarsmen, masts, and flames: A sun-drenched and reverberating port, Where I imbibe colour and sound and scent; Where vessels, gliding through the gold and moiré, Open their vast arms as they leave the shore To clasp the pure and shimmering firmament. I'll plunge my head, enamored of its pleasure, In this black ocean where the other hides; My subtle spirit then will know a measure Of fertile idleness and fragrant leisure, Lulled by the infinite rhythm of its tides! Pavilion, of autumn-shadowed tresses spun, You give me back the azure from afar; And where the twisted locks are fringed with down Lurk mingled odors I grow drunk upon Of oil of coconut, of musk, and tar. A long time! always! my hand in your hair Will sow the stars of sapphire, pearl, ruby, That you be never deaf to my desire, My oasis and my gourd whence I aspire To drink deep of the wine of memory. ~Charles Baudelaire~

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Vampires, Karma, Ugly Prisoners, and a Headless Writer

My God. These things still happen in the world. GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) - A crowd of Guyanese villagers lynched an elderly woman they accused of being an evil spirit who drinks the blood of human babies, police said Monday. Authorities in the South American country said the woman raised suspicions with unusual behavior and was set upon by villagers who apparently believed she was an “Old Higue”—the equivalent of a vampire in the local Obeah religion that blends folk magic and African rituals. What I love about the Internet is that right at the bottom of this article there is an advertisement for property in Guyana. How tragically ironic. How morbidly poetic. Visit Guyana: come for the beaches, stay for the witch hunts. ******************************* My chi is out of whack. I need to swallow a cobra heart to get my chemicals to cooperate again. Gotta get my karma on track. Do some yoga with a magic crystal taped to my shoulder and to my shin. Anyone know a good shaman?

Little Lobbyist on the Prairie

"I think if I had to be America's sweetheart, I'd have gone crazy," says Alison Arngrim, who played mean-girl "Nellie Oleson" on Little House on the Prairie. "I really admire Melissa Gilbert for not pulling out an Uzi."

April was National Child Abuse Prevention Month. But millions of child sexual abuse survivors, including Arngrim, can't just shelve their memories now that May has arrived.Looking back, Arngrim's grateful that as a child she could use her nasty Nellie character to vent her smoldering rage in a healthy way.

When Arngrim went on Larry King Live in 2004, she bravely told her truth to the world - something not everyone in her life knew about. But first she sent an email to her friends and family to give them a heads up.

"I said, 'This is what I'm going to talk about, but don't cry for me, Argentina.'" She didn't want pity - she wanted tougher laws on pedophiles, and she's getting them. She's left the prairie and now hits the Hill as the California chair for the National Association to Protect Children, or PROTECT. This group isn't satisfied with "raising awareness" but aggressively lobbies to make laws that keep kids safe from sexual predators.

Unlike the helpless and isolated child victims they fight for, Arngrim and PROTECT have some powerful allies, like The California Correctional Peace Officers Association. These folks are the prison guards and parole agents who tell convicted murderers when to take a time out. Who wants to mess with them? They're almost as bossy as Nellie Oleson.

The CCPOA and PROTECT teamed up to support AB 487, the California bill that would put all paroled sex offenders with victims under age 14 on intensive supervision. Sounds like a no-brainer, but you can't always count on common sense in a system where sex offenders who molest "only" their own babies are sometimes labeled "low risk."

The bill, which just got sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 10, would also provide funding for specialized training of parole agents who supervise sex offenders. Yep, there's more to dealing with pedophiles than what you see on NBC's Dateline: To Catch a Predator.

"It takes trained professionals to understand and be able to monitor these people," says Ramon Ortiz, a former public defender with the Sexually Violent Predators Unit.

If the bill passes, each parole agent handling high-risk sex offenders would also have a more reasonable caseload of eight, instead of the 40 high-risk offenders each officer is currently responsible for keeping away from your kids. Not everyone supports the bill, though. "If you get them alone and buy them a drink, there are people who will happily tell you how it's okay to have sex with children," Arngrim says.

The California Attorneys for Criminal Justice are also against it. They think it would cost too much. With all those new parole officers on the payroll, and with each inmate costing about $35,000 a year to house, maybe it's more cost effective to let California's 109,000 registered sex offenders settle into your communities with minimal supervision. This group of attorneys also feels that GPS monitoring is adequate protection.

Great, now we'll know where the pedophiles are. But it's kind of like when Lojack alerts you that your stripped-down-stolen car has turned up in Tijuana -- the damage is already done.

Other groups push for rehabilitation...since counseling worked so well for Catholic priests.

"You don't see a lot of people who commit armed robbery sent to therapy," Arngrim says. "For some reason if he rapes a 5-year-old girl, he needs therapy."

Sure, the bill's protection could cost a bundle, but ask victims how much money they'd pay to never have endured a pedophile's soul-stealing acts. Or ask non-offending parents how many tax dollars they'd spend to stop their sexually abused child's nightmares and flashbacks. Our laws shield children from secondhand smoke. How about from rape by previously convicted offenders?

In fairness, we tried to contact about 33,000 registered sex offenders in California to get their opinion of the Assembly bill. That's about how many are currently missing from the system, so understandably they were unable to be reached for comment.

Still, Arngrim is hopeful. She says that a couple years ago, it was a lot tougher to get lawmakers' attention. "But now," she says, "we see people in Sacramento jumping to introduce child protection legislation. I think this is an excellent trend."

by Amy and Linda Tenowich

An anarchist May Day

Posted by Andreas The 1st of May is celebrated as worker’s day in most countries around the world, but few people are aware of the fact that the tradition began in commemoration of four anarchist trade unionists executed in the United States. On the evening of May 3 1884, a rally was held in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, a busy commercial centre at the time, as part of a nationwide campaign for an eight-hour working week. The event and speeches were calm and orderly until police attempted to disperse the assembled workers. A bomb was thrown towards the advancing police, killing a policeman by the name of Mathias J. Degan . The police opened fire immediately and in the fighting that ensued seven more policemen and at least four workers were killed and many more injured. The bomb-thrower was never found, but eight men (August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Louis Lingg, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden and Oscar Neebe) connected directly or indirectly with the rally and its anarchist organisers were charged with Degan’s murder. The trial, which is often described by legal experts as one of the worst cases of miscarriage of justice in United States history, resulted in a 15 year jail sentence for Neebe and the death penalty for the other seven. Fielden and Schwab’s sentences were subsequently commuted to life in prison and Lingg committed suicide on the eve of his scheduled execution. Spies, Parsons, Fischer and Engel were hanged on November 11 1887. * Police charging the mob after the explosion, Explosion of the bomb, and Hospital scene. Border images include clockwise from left: A.R. Parsons, Louis Lingg, Inspector Bonfield, Captain Schaack, Sheriff Matson, Michael Schwab, August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Officer Mathias Degan, Mrs. Parsons, Oscar Neebe, Nina van Zandt, Captain Ward, George Engel, and Adolph Fischer

Little Lobbyist on the Prairie

"I think if I had to be America's sweetheart, I'd have gone crazy," says Alison Arngrim, who played mean-girl "Nellie Oleson" on Little House on the Prairie. "I really admire Melissa Gilbert for not pulling out an Uzi."

April was National Child Abuse Prevention Month. But millions of child sexual abuse survivors, including Arngrim, can't just shelve their memories now that May has arrived.Looking back, Arngrim's grateful that as a child she could use her nasty Nellie character to vent her smoldering rage in a healthy way.

When Arngrim went on Larry King Live in 2004, she bravely told her truth to the world - something not everyone in her life knew about. But first she sent an email to her friends and family to give them a heads up.

"I said, 'This is what I'm going to talk about, but don't cry for me, Argentina.'" She didn't want pity - she wanted tougher laws on pedophiles, and she's getting them. She's left the prairie and now hits the Hill as the California chair for the National Association to Protect Children, or PROTECT. This group isn't satisfied with "raising awareness" but aggressively lobbies to make laws that keep kids safe from sexual predators.

Unlike the helpless and isolated child victims they fight for, Arngrim and PROTECT have some powerful allies, like The California Correctional Peace Officers Association. These folks are the prison guards and parole agents who tell convicted murderers when to take a time out. Who wants to mess with them? They're almost as bossy as Nellie Oleson.

The CCPOA and PROTECT teamed up to support AB 487, the California bill that would put all paroled sex offenders with victims under age 14 on intensive supervision. Sounds like a no-brainer, but you can't always count on common sense in a system where sex offenders who molest "only" their own babies are sometimes labeled "low risk."

The bill, which just got sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 10, would also provide funding for specialized training of parole agents who supervise sex offenders. Yep, there's more to dealing with pedophiles than what you see on NBC's Dateline: To Catch a Predator.

"It takes trained professionals to understand and be able to monitor these people," says Ramon Ortiz, a former public defender with the Sexually Violent Predators Unit.

If the bill passes, each parole agent handling high-risk sex offenders would also have a more reasonable caseload of eight, instead of the 40 high-risk offenders each officer is currently responsible for keeping away from your kids. Not everyone supports the bill, though. "If you get them alone and buy them a drink, there are people who will happily tell you how it's okay to have sex with children," Arngrim says.

The California Attorneys for Criminal Justice are also against it. They think it would cost too much. With all those new parole officers on the payroll, and with each inmate costing about $35,000 a year to house, maybe it's more cost effective to let California's 109,000 registered sex offenders settle into your communities with minimal supervision. This group of attorneys also feels that GPS monitoring is adequate protection.

Great, now we'll know where the pedophiles are. But it's kind of like when Lojack alerts you that your stripped-down-stolen car has turned up in Tijuana -- the damage is already done.

Other groups push for rehabilitation...since counseling worked so well for Catholic priests.

"You don't see a lot of people who commit armed robbery sent to therapy," Arngrim says. "For some reason if he rapes a 5-year-old girl, he needs therapy."

Sure, the bill's protection could cost a bundle, but ask victims how much money they'd pay to never have endured a pedophile's soul-stealing acts. Or ask non-offending parents how many tax dollars they'd spend to stop their sexually abused child's nightmares and flashbacks. Our laws shield children from secondhand smoke. How about from rape by previously convicted offenders?

In fairness, we tried to contact about 33,000 registered sex offenders in California to get their opinion of the Assembly bill. That's about how many are currently missing from the system, so understandably they were unable to be reached for comment.

Still, Arngrim is hopeful. She says that a couple years ago, it was a lot tougher to get lawmakers' attention. "But now," she says, "we see people in Sacramento jumping to introduce child protection legislation. I think this is an excellent trend."

by Amy and Linda Tenowich

What is Anarchism?

by david

Anarchism is a political philosophy rooted in the idea that all living creatures should enjoy autonomy and freedom. This emphasis on the need to maximize individual freedom can be seen as fundamentally rooted in utilitarian ethics. If one is interested in minimizing global suffering, maximizing global happiness, and maximizing the number of individuals who achieve self-actualization and personal fulfillment, as utilitarians are, it seems clear that one must first seek to maximize individual freedom. No one is better equipped, at any given time, to take action to reduce an individual’s suffering, increase an individual’s pleasure, or increase an individual’s feelings of self-actualization and personal fulfillment than the individual himself, because no one else can completely know the individual’s intimate desires or psychology. Anarchists take it to be an empirical fact that people who exercise the greatest control over their own affairs are the happiest and most fulfilled, while people who exercise the least control over their affairs are the most unhappy and unfulfilled; therefore, if we want people to experience maximal satisfaction and minimal suffering, it is best to allow them to control their own lives and make their own decisions, and to dismantle any institution which prevents them from doing so.

In order to create a society in which people could experience maximal happiness and minimal suffering, it would be necessary to abolish authoritarian government, as it is by definition a violent, oppressive, and hierarchical organization which exists for the sole purpose of imposing the will of a minority on a majority and limiting the scope of human freedom. Government has been responsible for the worst atrocities in human history including holocausts, genocides, gulags, wars, and slavery. They incarcerate, torture, and execute people on a daily basis. During the 20th Century alone, governments were responsible for an estimated 262 million deaths (See: It hardly seems that it should be controversial to suggest that an institution responsible for the destruction of so many human lives should not have a place in a free and decent society.

Corporations would also have to be abolished, as they are inherently exploitative and undemocratic institutions which exist for the sole purpose of enriching a tiny elite. In the process of accruing profit, corporations routinely exploit and oppress workers, devastate the environment, abuse animals, endanger consumers, and destroy small business. Again, it seems obvious that anyone interested in establishing an ethical society would have to support the abolition of economic institutions which have caused such immense suffering.

But what institutions would replace government and corporations in an anarchistic society? Anarchists envision a society run by voluntary, egalitarian, nonviolent, and democratic community institutions such as municipal councils and worker’s cooperatives. Community-based institutions are clearly superior to massive, centralized institutions, in that they are less corrupt, more efficient, and more democratic than large-scale institutions. This is because it is relatively easy to hold community institutions accountable for their actions, but it is virtually impossible to hold massive, centralized institutions accountable for their actions, as any attempt to do so requires the creation of another massive, centralized institution which itself will become corrupt, abusive, and unaccountable.

In an anarchistic society, policy concerning labor, the economy, social services, education, the environment, medicine, science, technology, and other issues could be decided upon in democratic municipal meetings attended by citizens of the community. Individuals who did not wish to participate in these organizations would have no obligations to them, but would not reap their benefits either. Conflicts between individuals would be resolved organically through cooperation, compromise, and consensus, rather than through institutional violence. People would form reciprocal relationships with other members of their community to defend each other, rather than relying on coercive and often predatory institutions for protection.

In economic matters, workers would be completely self-managed and self-employed. All workers would participate in decision-making at their workplaces and would have the freedom to work in different sectors of the economy at different times and to split time between intellectual and physical labor. Productive property would have to be collectively owned—for if it was privately owned, the owner would inevitably place conditions on the right of workers to use the productive property, limiting worker freedom and autonomy—but workers would decide how to divide up the fruits of their labor amongst themselves. An autonomous worker, freed from the humiliating constraints of wage-slavery and completely in control of his own work experience, would reap all the fulfillment and enjoyment from growing food or building a house or making clothes that the poet reaps from writing a poem and the scientist reaps from discovering a new principle.

Could an anarchistic society work? On the face of it, the answer to this question seems rather obvious. The state is, after all, a relatively new development in human history, and certain organs of the state, such as the police force, came into existence within the last 500 years. There are also clear precedents of successful anarchistic societies that have existed in the modern era: Revolutionary Spain in the 1930s, the Zapatista communes in modern Mexico, Freetown Christiania in Denmark, and the Israeli kibbutzim, to pick a few noteworthy examples. The real question, then, is not whether or not an anarchistic society could work, but whether or not authoritarian institutions would reemerge.

While authoritarians would almost certainly attempt to reestablish coercive institutions, it seems unlikely that they would succeed, as they could only do so by convincing a large number of people to knowingly and willingly submit to domination. Freed slaves do not typically renounce their freedom. However, it is also clear that as long as humanity exists, there will be struggles between individuals who wish to oppress and dominate other human beings, and individuals who wish to protect liberty. So long as those individuals who wish to protect liberty remain united, proactive, and vigilant, however, they will always be able to defeat an authoritarian elite.

I'm an under 25 anarchist in Texas. I'm involved in anti-capitalist, anti-war, anti-authoritarian, and animal rights activism.

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