Sunday, September 30, 2007
International Anarchist Conspiracy Communiqué # 6
(Regarding The Manifold Ways In Which ICE Can Be Fought)
Countless nights have been spent gazing into the Seeing Stones. Many things have been seen inside those murky depths. Everything in there is Black. The future holds much darkness for everyone. We see it spreading already, outside our very doors; the barbed wire fences stretching for miles, the animals in the desert prowling at night for someone to kill, the camps nestled in our backyards, the camps where people hold tightly onto their friends as they slowly die, the camps holding mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers away from each other.
The largest branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE agents have walked through malls, guns in their hands, and searched for people who looked “illegal”. ICE agents have pulled mothers away from their crying children. ICE agents truly believe that the people they detain have no human rights. Because of this someone just died in a detention facility. They died because they did not get their medication. They died in a cage, surrounded by a powerful apparatus that did not view them as human.
Many people simply do not know of ICE’s existence. The raids and the terror do not directly affect them. Some people ignore what ICE is doing. Some people are forced into ignorance by the system’s control of information. Regardless of all that, the raids continue with ICE growing all the more brazen in its efforts. The question is: How do we wake people up? How do we spread knowledge of what is transpiring all around us?
The first problem is that no one is hearing about ICE’s activities. The second problem is that when people finally do hear about a raid it is from the government’s media and paints ICE as an entity that still has a few kinks to work out. The third problem is that when people hear about a raid from someone they are close with they usually have no idea what they could actually do about it.
First problem: A good way to expose ICE to the general public (in the opinion of the IAC) is to disturb or otherwise warp the every day lives of the good citizens of the US. This can be done with fliers, graffiti, wheat paste, flash mobs, and wands. If enough witches and wizards are present around an ICE office or other building, passersby might wonder what all those people are doing. Every action on the part of ICE should be met with audible and visible outrage against them. The only way to break the spell cast on everyone is to break it. If we want to have any hope in revealing reality to those blinded to it, our efforts have to be relentless.
Second problem: The cheap monsters employed by the government’s media might mention the raids now and again but it is always within THEIR discourse. Those who seriously tune into CNN tend to believe what CNN tells them. All of the news on television is presented in such a way as to make the viewer feel a sense of inevitability. The news rolls on and on, one story and then another. All seeming to be graspable, digestible, contained. Reality on the television is a controlled reality where everything is taken care of in advance. Those watching this reality can do no more than sit in their chairs and watch the machine run its course. We need to use all of our powers to bring reality back to those under our enemies spells. Reality must meet them outside of their doors. It must be what they step into, not out of. If people are late to work because some witches and wizards, pissed off about something called ICE, were romping down the street, reality has met up with them. If people learn that the building next door with broken windows is connected with ICE, reality has met up with them. The reality painted on CNN will begin to look out of focus if there are disturbances on the street and none on the screen. Remember, it is their media. The only thing we can hope to do is feed their spectacle with images. We can never break anyone out through the government’s media. We have to do that with our wands.
Third problem: When people finally have broken the last of our enemies spells there should be something they can do about it. Many people are not aware of their own abilities and strengths. These things have been made to seem unimportant in this capitalist nightmare. But if people were encouraged to use their gifts in any manner they chose to, they would find themselves capable of many new things. No one should be forced to join a group or formal organization just because they appear to be the only options for resistance. Resistance should be constant, diverse and cooperative. Everyone is capable of resistance. Our magic should be falling on our enemies from every direction. When everyone understands that every single day that passes is a chance to fight against the dark forces that fill their minds with shadows, the earth will shake and spew fire.
A world of fences and cages is the world the government wants. They want every human being within the borders of the US to be subservient to their plans. We are all supposed to serve very specific roles in their economy. When we do not, when we grow uncontrollable, we are put back in place. Or at least they try and put us back in place. They can never control all of us, though, no matter how thorough they are. We care as little for their plans as we do for them. We will not listen to them. They do not value human life above their dollar or their law.
Nothing about this country is going to get better for a while. The US is quickly disintegrating and shifting into overt Fascism. But with this shift we must expand the resistance or face the darkness we have all glimpsed in our Seeing Stones. They must be opposed whenever possible because they will not stop. The busses keep arriving in the detention centers and the raids continue. The land is destroyed by the capitalists, creating millions of refugees who then flock to the centers of global capitalism where they are attacked once again. They have no hesitation in what they are doing and will continue on their death march, hoping to take us all with them. If we do not wish to join them in the hell they have created for themselves we need to be constantly in motion.
Goodnight, comrades. Remember that we will get through the dark times. They do not understand the magic which is all around them. They have their guns. And we have our wands.
The International Anarchist Conspiracy (IAC)
For further reference:
| Written by EditorsChoice |
| Saturday, 29 September 2007 |
The revolution is here.
It isn't out there in the world with violence and uprisings and upheaval.
It starts within your deepest inner most being.
The energy of the revolution is quiet.
It doesn't create drama or stories that perpetrate drama.
I am a one person revolution.
And so are you.
As we learn to apply all the Universal Laws to each circumstance of our lives: the Law of Attraction, the Law of Vibration,the Law of Karma, (cause and effect), the Law of Gratitude, the Law of Love, the Law of Allowance, we can draw upon the infinite field of all possibilities that these laws represent, and consciously create the world of our dearest dreams.
For many people, the field of unlimited possibilities was first glimpsed when The Secret DVD was released.
This movie changed the consciousness of many and continues to do so.
Of course, these ideas are not new. But as they are mainstreamed into the consciousness of ordinary people, and as more people open their minds to these concepts instead of resisting them, we will realize a much more interesting world to live, move and breathe in.
Old paradigms die hard.
Thoughts such as blame, guilt, shame, poverty consciousness, fear of old age and disease, fear of lost youth, pain and death have previously been the reality of most of the people on the planet.
Now, opportunities abound for releasing these negative beliefs, thus transforming our lives to the One Person Revolution.
Henk Schram and Nikolas Kidd have just launched their beautiful work entitled: "Revolutioniz: Harness The Hidden Laws of the Universe."
I read every word and loved the feeling of Peak Potentiality it released within my psyche!
I love the idea that I am a One Person Revolution, like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and like Ammon Hennacy, friend of Dorothy Day.
Ammon was a family friend in the 1950's and 1960's. He walked everywhere in the name of World Peace and love, like Peace Pilgrim. His headquarters was at the Catholic Worker in New York City where feeding the hungry and raising consciousness was a daily activity.
He refused to pay taxes and landed in jail more than I can count, because of these acts of protest.
He learned from his prison experiences that the prison is in the mind.
He learned that the sadistic warden was a projection of his own mind.
Sources of joy, love and happiness come from the mind, as well.
The Kingdom of God lies within us all, as well as the self-imposed prison of neglect and self-punishment.
Heaven or Hell--it's your choice.
Revolutioniz is a well researched book leading the reader to self-discovery. The ideas presented by the authors are not new, and can be traced to Indigenous Religions, the Tao, ancient China, Greece and Rome.
These ideas can also be traced to the teachings of Jesus Christ, Krishna and Mohammad.
Universal Truth is present in all of these.
Henk and Nikolas have provided a visualization tool software program with the Revolutioniz package.
I am REALLY having fun with this.
The idea is to frame a goal whether in the realm of family, business, relationships etc, in the present tense.
Visualize your goal with all 5 senses. This helps to make the visualization real and believable and helps you get very excited!
As you do the visualization, jump up and down in child-like ecstasy!!
Do this three times a day!! Then let go of outcome completely.
The software program leads you through the process. You then print out the statements and carry them around with you.
Another tool Henk and Nikolas recommend is to always carry around a notebook with you, and write down every idea that flows into your consciousness.
Writers are known to do this as a way of honoring the Muse.
But the Muse is present in all activities, because life itself is a creative process!!
So the notebook serves to record a thought that will be forgotten if this step is skipped.
Believe me, I've learned this the hard way!
The Laws of the Universe mentioned at the beginning of this article guide us in this revolution and are the road map, if you will.
The concept of Gratitude, for instance, is so greatly overused that people walk the talk instead of walking the walk on this one.
But I recently had the revelation that all things in my life serve to make me a better person, certainly a person with greater character, a stronger more resilient person.
The unseen world has far reaching influences. What I see is not the sum total of anything.
And the unseen world is nothing but Love.
How could anything be negative, evil or bad? Only my thinking makes it so.
I love the prison of my mind!!
I love the freedom of my mind!!
All of it is who I am.
The One Person Revolution is a shared journey.
By living it and passing it on, we make the world a better place.
But let it begin with me.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
By Kevin Gosztola
The top Democratic candidates, Obama and Clinton, the two who were the primary focus of the debate yet again (and I make that conclusion by the order that the questions were asked of candidates), proved themselves to be subscribers to faulty logic that involves blaming Republicans and not taking responsibility within the party for failures in the past seven years. Obama used jargon such as “bad options and worse options”, “no promises”, “country at crossroads” and “need someone to bring people together”, “take on special interests”, “telling truth even when it’s tough”, “everything should be on the table”, etc. Clinton used jargon such as “I agree with Barack”, “don’t have votes”, “don’t want to talk about what might or what might not happen” (hypotheticals), “not gonna answer”, “bipartisan commitment”, “fiscal responsibility”, etc. The “top two” candidates, which have been decided to be the “top two” by media coverage and media polls taken, basically spent two hours telling the American people that they will not promise anything, they will not say that change can be made, they will not talk about possibilities even when that may give us insight into the mind of a future leader of America, and they will most certainly avoid answering questions specifically and instead use heavy-handed rhetoric. They will go to Republicans even when president to find out if their plan is acceptable to them or not. In relation to the "top two", the other candidates, appeared to distance themselves from the “top two” and attempt to overhaul their image in the eyes of the American people so they could be more like Kucinich or Gravel. These candidates (Biden, Dodd, Edwards, Richardson) should be thankful that the majority of American people are still unclear on who Gravel or Kucinich is and do not think about them as possiblities for president because they've been blacked out by the media.
Through this article, I intend to look at three key elements of this debate that should be focused on. One, I will look at the answers on Iraq. Two, I will look at the health care discussion. And three, I will examine the overall element of corporate power/special interests that Democratic candidates claim to stand against.
To help you understand where this article is coming from, understand that this Democratic debate had a high level of tunnel vision preventing it from really discussing the issues, which is what most debates suffer from. It neglected the idea that the two parties are the same and subjecting Americans to a two-party dictatorship. It neglected to look at the fact that Democrats are moving away from progressive and liberal ideas that are supposed to be the crux of the Democratic party. In essence, it neglected to ask if the party is anything more than one whose mascot is a donkey. For with recent failures in Congress and all other candidates (except Kucinich, Gravel, and surprisingly, Richardson) unwilling to go after Senate and Congressional Democrats, what can we really expect from these future leaders of America whom we expect to pummel any Republican opponent because polls show a Democrat will skate in whether a Democratic candidate has good policies or not?
Think about that as I move through the three key elements.
The Iraq Question
Tim Russert’s question went something like this: Will you pledge to have all troops out of Iraq by 2013 at the end of your first term as president? Any American who heard that, myself included, must have been put off by the fact that Russert wasn’t framing the debate around getting troops out in the first months in office. Russert had reframed the question so that Obama and Clinton would not refuse to talk because they cannot give “hypotheticals” or make “promises”. So, to play it safe, he moved the date 5 years ahead so that Obama and Clinton could indeed talk about their policies that they have written out and talked of on the campaign trail. This set the stage for Obama, Clinton, and Edwards to become the “war candidates” and not the anti-war ones they claim to be.
Only Kucinich, Gravel, Richardson, and to some extent, Dodd, really said they would be in no way continuing deployment in Iraq until 2013. By some extent, I mean that Dodd kind-of said the troops would be brought home in his first year or second year in office but definitely by 2013. Biden is an exception to the whole 2013 projection because he has a plan for de-facto partitioning of Iraq and federalizing the nation that, according to him, would curb civil warfare and genocide. His plan that I believe few of the top candidates understand but claim to support would mean we stay even further past 2013 if no political reconciliation occurs. This is what Obama is talking about when he calls for a continued military presence. This is why, possibly, Edwards “cannot make that commitment” to end the war. Obama, Edwards, Biden, and even Hillary who spoke out in favor of the Biden Amendment, support Biden whose plan would leave troops in to do what our troops have done in Bosnia for 10 years---“maintain peace.”
It was not until Russert had Gravel speak up that sanity was inserted into the discussion on Iraq, which had been regrettably missing. All the other candidates who had spoken prior to Gravel had failed including Kucinich. This is what Gravel brilliantly stated on Russert’s qustion involving what to do to stop the war (and he was asked this because he takes credit for stopping the draft):
“By voting every day on cloture 20 days at noon, every single day you vote to override, overcome. Forty days [throughout those] American people weigh in putting pressure. You tell me the votes aren’t there? You go get them by the scruff of the neck.”
Russert amplified his remark realizing how important it was to talk about what the candidates thought Congress could do to stop the war. He went and asked Dodd after Gravel said, “If it stops the killing, my God, yes, do it.” Dodd’s response to Gravel’s call to candidates to take action resulted in him saying that this 200 billion dollar request gives Democrats the chance to do what Gravel is asking them to do. What Gravel wants in Dodd’s opinion is unrealistic, but stopping the funding with clarity and leadership is ultimately what needs to be done because this war needs to be halted.
It was also at this point in the debate that Gravel boldly went after Hillary for voting for the Iran bill and after Obama for not being there while congratulating Biden and Dodd for voting against the bill which, as he characterized it, is a “fig leaf to let George Bush go to war with Iran.”
Richardson went after Hillary for wanting to continue any kind of troop operations because that would “prevent movement forward.”
So, it appears that Dodd and Richardson are shifting their position to be more like Dennis Kucinich’s and essentially learning from him.
Kucinich again, as he has redundantly stated in all debates or forums since this race started because it is constantly falling on deaf ears or being ignored by the media, said in his statement on Iraq that he has voted 100% of the time against war and all bills to fund the war. He mentioned his plan H.R. 1234, which he has introduced in Congress. And he spoke of how when the Democrats took power in 2006, they were to end the Iraq War and bring the troops home. Kucinich said it is astonishing to hear Democratic candidates stand up here and say this could continue to 2013 and promised that 3 months after taking office he would end the occupation, close bases, bring troops home, set in motion a program of reconciliation (no partition), implement an honest reconstruction program, have a program of reparations, and give Iraq full control over their oil, which currently all the other candidates up on the stage are ignoring. He quoted Lincoln who said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” And indeed, he added, if we continue and divide Iraq, more war will occur. He also flubbed and said he would do this by April 2007 but made a nice recovery saying “he’s ready to be president today.”
With the recent protest events this September, with all the hullabaloo concerning MoveOn’s ad and this Iran bill, and with more destruction and death occurring each day, there is no doubt in my mind that the American people will not stand the next president being one who plans to continue this war until 2013---and if the Democratic nominee seriously takes this position, he or she stands to lose against a Republican who will challenge his or her anti-war stance heavily and incessantly. Therefore, the candidate must have Kucinich’s stance if they win.
Third party candidates know what it means for other candidates to take their stances and make them their own. It’s an honor. For Nader, it has made him feel good. And I would feel honored to know that Richardson, Dodd, and/or Edwards, whose pretending to be Kucinich lately, would adopt Kucinich’s plan fully and carry it out. It would make me feel better about the upcoming primaries because now there would be three good choices and not just one (or two, if Gravel can keep getting campaign contributions necessary to stay in the race). But Richardson, Dodd, and Edwards do not have the track record or character Kucinich has, which means if they choose to steal Kucinich’s thunder, the American people better damn well be sure either candidate is serious about doing what Kucinich plans to do, which is get us out in 3 months and not more than five years, five years, two to three years, or one year.
The debate last night did not ever hone in on the issue of single-payer health care in America. Russert never stepped in and forced the candidates to clarify what they meant by “universal health care”. In fact, Edward dared to say he had the first plan for universal health care before any of the candidates up here when Kucinich has cosponsored H.R. 676 calling for universal-free single-payer health care in America for quite some time now. As Kucinich could be heard saying in the background, “That’s not true.” All of the candidates except him want this “quality and affordable health care” that private insurance companies have been pushing upon Americans for decades now. They don’t want change---they just want to regulate it better.
As Edwards sought to falsely frame himself as the best health care candidate while Hillary tried claiming to be the “health care president”, he said, “I hear a bunch of people talking who have been in Washington a long time and that everything needs to be done there---it’s like the rest of America doesn’t exist.” He went on to highlight that other candidates are “gonna have a bunch of Washington insiders, insurance companies, drug companies, lobbyists” and they will “figure out together” the health care issue while the rest of America is excluded.
That’s all well and good, but Edwards is misleading the American people. The report on OpenSecrets.org, ranks John Edwards 6th in campaign contributions from “health care professionals” or what I infer to be health care companies who have a stake in privatized health care (and if this is wrong, readers please help me correct my inference) with $246,926 in campaign contributions from them. Kucinich has only taken $10,500 and is in the bottom five. John Edwards has collected $81,750 from Insurance and ranks 8th here, while Kucinich is last with $500. John Edwards has managed to only collect a small sum from Pharamaceuticals/Health Products thankfully and that total is $5,650. Kucinich is at $1,050. But in regards to Edwards’ statement on lobbyists, he has collected $13,500 while Kucinich has collected none because he, unlike Edwards, believes in refusing money from lobbyists. That makes Kucinich more capable of sticking up for the rest of America.
The point of referencing this report is to show that Edwards indeed is allowing health care companies, insurance, pharmaceutical drug companies, and lobbyists to be at the table with him despite what he says. He will be talking to these people when choosing to not support single-payer health care. He cannot stand up here and speak this garbage about Washington excluding Americans when he is actively engaged in the act he's condemning. We Americans call people who do this hypocrites. And while he may have a plan that is expected to have a result like that of the single-payer health care system Kucinich is fighting for, it won’t reform health care. It won’t set America on track and it certainly isn’t the most comprehensive reform out there. A complete revamping through H.R. 676 is more comprehensive than his or any of the candidates’ plans.
All the other candidates’ plans emulate Hillary’s plan in that they resemble a past Republican plan for health care, the Lincoln Chafee plan. For as much as we are concerned with Republicans being evil, the fact that the plans resemble each other or are very similar should frighten people and make Americans steer clear of all candidates except Kucinich.
Democrats Claim That They Stand Against Corporate Power
Every candidate claims they will take on special interests and/or that they will work with corporate interests so the American people can have change. What exactly does that mean? Do these candidates really have that capability?
With the issue of Social Security privatization, only two candidates, Kucinich and Richardson came out and explicitly stated that privatization should be taken off the table. Clinton was talking corporate rhetoric and calling for “fiscal responsibility”, “bipartisan commitment”, and looking at the context of those to see what else can be done. This would involve leaving “all options on the table”. Obama handled the issue exactly like Hillary seconding all of what Hillary said. Both failed to commit to raising the tax cap to a level above $97, 500 and instead, chose to weigh down the discussion with hubris. Hillary even explicitly stated she would put “nothing” on the table for solving social security during the debate.
Biden, Dodd, Richardson, Edwards, and Kucinich all called for raising the taxes because that is what must be done to confront the possibility of cutting benefits or doubling taxes. Others understood, as Dodd referred Obama’s and Hillary’s talk, that we do not have to use “draconian measures.” As Kucinich said “unless we have a president who states very clearly, no privatization” there will be a continuation of problems in America. In short, those who can’t give “hypotheticals” do not deserve to be president.
Smoking made it into the debate and all candidates were asked to say if they would support a national law to ban smoking in public places. Obama and Hillary again chose rhetorical hubris. Obama said, “I think local communities are making nice strides.” Hillary said she was not in favor of a national law. Both were not able to support the law. Could campaign contributions from tobacco companies (Clinton- $32,300 or Obama-$7,885) have anything to do with this? After all, every other candidate was in favor of the ban including Dodd (who surprisingly leads the Democrats in campaign contributions from tobacco companies, according to OpenSecrets.org).
Like Kucinich said, “Wait a minute. I’ve been breathing in a lot of secondhand smoke here tonight. You bet I’ll go for a national law.” Hadn’t we all been breathing in secondhand smoke? Seriously though, he had no problem calling for a ban because he, like Edwards and Gravel, has not accepted campaign contributions from any tobacco company.
Kucinich is the only one who can stand up to corporate powers, and the success story he has in his past, which Americans should be impressed by, proves that. Americans should cease upon the chance to vote for a man who “took a stand on behalf of the people of Cleveland” when mayor “to save a muncipal electric system” that was threatened when “the banks, utilities in Cleveland---private utilities---were trying to force” him into selling the system. As Kucinich states, “On December 15, 1978, I told the head of the biggest bank when he told me I had to sell the system in order to get the city’s credit renewed that I wasn’t going to do it.” He explains that he knew where he came from and remembered his parents struggling to pay for utilities and could not allow utility bills to skyrocket. He added that this act showed he had "the ability to stand up for the people.” He campaigned in 1994 with the slogan “Because I Was Right” and won in the state senate race and later. In 1996, he won a congressional seat on the slogan that he would “Light Up Congress” Having saved the municipal electricity system, he got what he deserved, respect. And he should and will continue to gain respect of Americans because no other candidate has a success story like this to show they can stand up to corporate interests or special interests.
Naturally, this is an extremely biased account of the debate because the entire time I watched it I was looking to see how Kucinich was better than the other candidates. That way I could exploit those pros so that the campaign could make much needed gains on leading candidates. However, Kucinich in a way let me and his supporters down.
In the past, Kucinich has chided candidates who speak in “soundbites”. That was essentially what he did for most of the debate. Kucinich was arrogantly crying out responses that sometimes ignored what had been said earlier. Instead of singling out "FANTASYLAND" remarks, Kucinich chose remarks that wreaked of desperation. Sometimes he just responded to questions and what other candidates had said which is what I want him to do. But most of the time especially in the lightning round everything led to that’s what a Kucinich Presidency would be like or this is the program that I propose to do this and this. I also think he has got to mask that smug smile because it’s offensive to people who don’t understand that he’s right. A more humble approach would mean containing that smile, which I love but realize people are put off by it, and just focusing in on how to bring in all of what the candidates have said and respond to it. He should still smile and still charm people---but I wish he would not look like the comedic relief for the debate always. If he could say what he is saying like Obama or Clinton does, that would boost the American people's confidence in him to lead so much.
Thankfully, he redeemed himself at one point in the lightning round and so, I have to forgive him for not finding a less arrogant way to talk.” And this is the note I will conclude on, the note where he responded to Russert’s question on Greenspan’s call for a phased in three dollar a gallon gas tax. Kucinich said no and said there’s also something else he said:
“He said the Iraq War was about oil something I said on Meet the Press, Tim, on February 23, 2003. I think that we need to make sure that the next president was right about Iraq, was right about the PATRIOT Act. You can have a president who was right about Iraq and voted against it from the beginning and against the funding. You can have a candidate who is for a single-payer health care system, one who would stop the PATRIOT Act, or you can have a president who’s tall.”
We all know you can’t teach an old dog to do new tricks. If you feel like I do, than you know you’ve got to take action and stop putting up with Democratic candidates who are in “FANTASYLAND”.
Watch the debate here:
Stewart A. Alexander for President
Peace and Freedom Party
Socialist Party USA
September 29, 2007
As the opposition to the Iraq War continues to mount across America and around the world, many independent voters are now rejecting the candidates of the two corporate parties, the Democrats and Republicans, and are considering third party candidates.
The Iraq War is the greatest factor that is shifting the political tide in America and the shift is in the favor of third political parties and independent candidates. Yet the war is not the only factor that is causing voter to look beyond the Democratic and Republican Parties; working class people are taking hits from all directions and there are major challenges for all groups.
A majority of Americans are turning off the weekly popularity contest, or debates, that the corporate media continues to air; the debates lack any intrinsic values and are only designed to shape public opinion. Most often voters must research independent media sources, such as the Internet and Indymedia, to gain information about third political parties and third party candidates.
America's corporate media has narrowed the field of presidential candidates down to 5 or 6 Democratic and Republican front-runners to consolidate the political powers for corporate America. The front-runners of both parties are offering no real solutions to the complex issues facing working class people and they are the candidates that have resolved to continue the occupation of Iraq and the Middle East.
The war is the number one issue with most voters and as the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates begin to boaster their commitments to continue the Iraq occupation, many independent voters are beginning to look at third party candidates for answers; to end the war and to address the multitude of issues affecting working class people.
Young voters are greatly concerned about the war and are strongly objecting to any hints of a national draft to continue the occupation. Young voters are also concerned about the cost of education and the weak job market. College tuitions have been climbing across the nation and the prospects of getting a good paying job after graduating is becoming more difficult year after year.
Working families are concerned about the cost of living, shrinking wages and working longer hours. Many unions and union workers are concerned about losing good paying jobs to foreign markets; competing with cheap labor in Latin America and in Asia.
Millions of Baby Boomers have become disenchanted with America's two party system because it is a system that has failed to evolve and the two parties are not meeting the growing needs of today's seniors. Millions of Baby Boomers are approaching their mid-fifties and sixties and retirement only remains a distant hope. Many seniors are coming out of retirement to re-enter the job market well into their sixties and seventies just to make ends meet or to keep food on the table.
Today 47 million Americans are without health care coverage and the Democratic and Republican candidates have failed to offer any viable solutions that will provide for the health care needs of the nation. Both parties have continued to make sure that the profits of the big insurance companies remain protected at the expense of small business owners, voters and working class people.
Millions of independent voters are working class people that have lost their homes during this major crisis in the mortgage lending industry. Today it is being projected that 2 million Americans will lose their homes in 2007 and the projection is that another 3 millions Americans will lose their homes in 2008. While the mortgage lending crisis continues to ravage neighborhood across America, the Democrats and Republicans are only watching millions of Americans lose everything.
It is likely 2008 will produce major changes in the political landscape across America. Millions of voters that are presently registered Democrat or Republican will be voting for the candidates that are addressing the issues that will affect their families, income and their future.
The Republican Party and the Republican presidential candidates are suffering the blows of the Bush Affect. Among independent voters less than 25 percent approve of the president's handling of domestic and world issues. The Republican presidential candidates are making a point to distance themselves from the president; however, both the Democrats and Republicans can not distance themselves from their poor record on Capital Hill. There is less than a 20 percent approval rating among independent voters of the leadership in Congress on domestic and foreign policy.
The 2008 General Election will become a turning point in American politics and will reshape the political landscape for third party candidates. The up-coming election is another turning point for the socialist parties and socialist party candidates; it has been more than 100 years since Eugene Debs first entered the race for president as a socialist candidate at the beginning of the 20th Century.
The National Convention for Socialist Party USA is scheduled for the weekend of October 19-21; the convention will be meeting in St Louis Missouri. There are 11 presidential hopefuls seeking the party's nomination.
For more information search the Web of: Stewart A. Alexander for President; Socialist Presidential Candidates at America's Crossroads.
http://www.dcpoliticalreport.com/pres08.htm homepage: http://StewartAlexanderCares.com
Friday, September 28, 2007
Notes From a Gadfly, by Jonathan Rauch
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The letter to the Washington Post that follows was written as an
experiment, to see just how low the editors would sink in their efforts
to block a book containing evidence and analysis that they do not want
to reach the public. The letter is a response to a crude and vulgar
diatribe, in the form of a review of my collection Interventions. In
response, I wrote a point-by-point refutation of each charge, a
straightforward matter, as the editors doubtless understand. The letter
was sent to the Post immediately, altogether four times, with a request
for acknowledgment of receipt. Unpublished, no acknowledgment of
receipt. Two weeks after the review appeared, Sept. 16, the Post did
publish two letters responding to it. The letters were critical of the
review, but acceptable by the standards of the editors, because they
left the lies and slanders standing -- the authors could have had no way
to refute them without a research project.
I think it is fair to take the editors' silence to demonstrate that they
know precisely what they are doing, and are too cowardly even to
-- Noam Chomsky
Jonathan Rauch's review of my Interventions (WP, Sept. 2) brings to mind
Orwell's famous observations on the "indifference to reality" of the
nationalist, who "not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed
by his own side, but has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing
Submitted by mire on Fri, 09/28/2007 - 8:33am.
(and by the way yes I am Italian)
last nights conversation on anarchy was very interesting and I am fully aware that the thread could go on forever on that theme that circles in an infinite loop upon itself being part utopian philosophy part linguistic riddle and part much else. But if I should conclude I would say my favorite kind of "anarchy" is the one expoused in the early 20th century by italian (and other) immigrant workers like Sacco and Vanzetti (one of two was an anarchist, I don't remember which one, but i know he was the one from northern italy) this could more properly be described now as european style social democratic principles - the main point was social justice and elimination of classes - they were not shying away from violence recognizing that violence was everywhere around them but violence is not what they were about.
anyway, somehow the musings on anarchy got blurred in my mind as the night proceeded with another post concerning a sweet concoction of frozen fruit cognac and nutella and another comment further down claiming "my diet won't permit it!"
well, that posed quite a dilemma as i was fighting the sweet craving and determination to "i'll for sure try that tomorrow" with "actually my diet will too not permit it" - this intereference in the discussion on anarchy was troubling and can't say that the two conflicting thoughts were not undermining each other's arguments!
So, to conclude: I am in favor of no rules and particularly no diet rules and therefore yes to nutella
[Thanks to mire for this post]
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
Miles Davis Live Belgrade 1973
AMERICA has a rest, where you want to be
Untitled (choreographic sketch by by Trisha Brown, 1980)
Structure and Agency in the Global System
La produccion de la nueva geografia, requiere de una serie de nuevos dispositivos de realidad. Es decir este nuevo paradigma reacciona y replaneta no solo una forma deconstruccion de relaciones tanto culturales como sociales. Esta vision GLOCAL es muy importante pues las condiciones tectonicas , las capacidades de las nuevas tecnologias han construdio un hecho, una realidad multiple absolutamenbte evidente pero tambien invisible en sus redes de vinculos y a su vez en el poder de representatividad que estas tiene, es decir ahora con estas nuevas geografias como se representa esta nueva sociedad? cuales son sus espacios de legitimizacion? como son estos espacios de regeneracion, de re-apropiacion y de re-formulacion cultural?
The Internet is the vector of a new geography – not only because it conjures up virtual realities, but because it shapes our lives in society, and shifts our perceptions along with the ground beneath our feet. Networks have become the dominant structures of cultural, economic and military power. Yet that power remains largely invisible. How can the networked society be represented? And how can it be navigated, appropriated, reshaped in its turn?
Reflecting in the early 1980s on the spatial chaos that technological and financial developments had impressed upon contemporary cities, Fredric Jameson pointed to the need for “an aesthetics of cognitive mapping” to resolve “the incapacity of our minds, at least at present, to map the great global multinational and decentered communicational network in which we find ourselves caught as individual subjects.” He conceived this cartographic aesthetics as a collective pedagogy, whose challenge would be to correlate the abstract knowledge of global realities with the imaginary figures that orient our daily experience. Epistemological shifts, pushed forward by the use of sophisticated technical instruments, would need to be paralleled by the deployment of radically new visual vocabularies, in order to produce a clearer understanding of contemporary symbolic relations (social roles, class divides, hierarchies) and a fresh capacity for political intervention in the postmodern world. Only by inventing “some as yet unimaginable new mode of representing” could we “again begin to grasp our positioning as individual and collective subjects and regain a capacity to act and struggle which is at present neutralized by our spatial as well as our social confusion.”
Twenty years later, what has become of the mapping impulse? What new forms of cartography have arisen to chart the virtual/real spaces of the present? What kinds of agency do they permit? What modes of social organization do they foster? Can critical and dissenting maps be distinguished among the established and dominant ones?
Skitter Graph / Centers & Peripheries (click for enlargements)
Let’s start by looking at an impressive technical and aesthetic feat: the “Skitter Graph” by the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (Caida) – an academic offshoot of the military-industrial complex, based in the city of San Diego. This map shows a record of peering sessions between some 12,500 “autonomous systems” (basically equivalent to Internet Service Providers, or ISPs). To produce it, twenty-five different monitoring points run a “traceroute” program known as Skitter over a period of two weeks, following packets from over 1,100,000 IP addresses. The researchers analyze the path of the packet stream, which is only considered significant when it goes outside its autonomous system of origin. Information from the Border Gateway Protocol database is used to track each message back to a localized ISP. The graph displays the major link lines between the autonomous systems, and represents the quantity of outgoing connections per ISP, placing the lower values on the edges, in light blue, with higher intensities as you move toward the center, in dark blue, violet, orange and finally yellow. But to give all this data the form of a world map, it is also organized by the geographical location of the ISPs – or at least, their head offices – which are distributed around the circle according to longitude.
The autonomous systems fall into three major groups. At the bottom are those in North America — from San Jose and Vancouver to the Eastern seaboard — clearly dominating the Western hemisphere. Slightly further east are two exceptions: Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo/Rio, indicating the only significant connectivity in South America. Next comes Europe, with a great arc of ISPs stretching from London to Moscow; Pretoria falls in the middle, the one African city to be mentioned. On the upper left is Asia, with peak intensities in Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong, and lower values in Singapore, Perth and Sydney. The immensely productive population of mainland China barely shows up on this map of outgoing connections.
The Skitter Graph presents the raw facts of location and transmission: a geography of unqualified information flow. But what does it tell us about social relations? It can be compared to the map of “Centers and Peripheries,” elaborated by the geographer Denis Retaillé in 1992 and published in a 1994 volume on the “globalization of capital” by the economist François Chesnais. This map shows three things. First, a circuit linking the United States, Western Europe and Japan, the so-called “Triad” regions, which form a “global oligopoly” accounting for the majority of industrial and financial exchanges. Second, the major nodes of the world network, represented by densely outlined circles. And third, the hierarchical relations between the regions, as described with these categories: center; periphery integrated to the center; annexed periphery; exploited periphery; abandoned periphery. Chesnais performs a Marxist analysis, showing how globally fragmented production lines are coordinated through the computerized circuits of the financial sphere. His map describes the hierarchy of social relations in a post-national era, when no political formation can erect any substantial barrier to the dictates of capital. And it reveals the near-perfect correlation between the graph of virtual flows and the geography of human exploitation.
Having identified a dominant map, I now want to ask the political question. Where do the forces of resistance come from, and how do they gain agency in an era of planetary management and control?
To get an idea, you can log back onto the Caida site and look at an animated version of exactly the same information used in the Skitter Graph (try it here and refresh after the page has loaded for a few minutes, or better, download the flipbook animation). Each frame of this movie-map is a snapshot of Internet usage across the world during a few hours time; five different images were compiled every two days, over a period of some eighteen months. The result is an extraordinary visual experience. The ISPs turn green and advance toward the center as their connectivity increases; the link lines shift as the routing structure reconfigures to meet the moment’s demands. We watch the diurnal flux of the Internet, and feel the complex, disjunctive rhythm of the global information machine. It’s like the pulsing of a hive, a planetary brain: the cognitive and imaginary activity of untold millions of individuals, establishing far-flung connections. What the activation of the Skitter Graph reveals – as though despite itself – is the micro-political dimension of the global production system: not a stratified representation, but a generative diagram.
The visual spectacle of this animated map can help us to sense the presence of an underlying diagram, in the sense described by Gilles Deleuze: “a cartography that is coextensive with the whole social field.” The notion of the diagram, derived from Michel Foucault’s work on the microphysics of power, does not designate a static grid, a preconceived template for the application of a unified force. Rather it describes a productive matrix: a dynamic field where tensions culminate at an almost infinite number of heterogeneous points. Each of these ‘points’ – human beings, but also their material objects and inventions – is entwined in singular and evolving relations to others, relations of power that involve both constraint and freedom. From the interplay of such relations, functional patterns and statistical averages emerge. These can be codified as stratified ‘laws’ within the social sciences. They can be charted in a synoptic table, by representations like the Skitter Graph or the map of centers and peripheries. But beyond the stratified structures, the vital dynamics of each period arise from what Deleuze calls strategies, which can be understood as the generative moves of social experimentation.
Thus we can distinguish between a determinate network map — a geographical representation of structures of networked power, which attempts to identify and measure the forces at play – and an undetermined energy diagram, which opens up a field of possible agency. Deleuze describes the diagram of power as “highly unstable or fluid… constituting hundreds of points of emergence or creativity.” His aim is to indicate the openness, the possibility for intervention that inheres to every social relation, because of the limited but real power that flows through each of the participants. Thus at its point of application, where individual behavior is molded into functional patterns by the convergence of mutually reinforcing constraints, power can also fold in upon itself, producing resistance and alterity through its own redoubling in the subject, then its subsequent dispersal. This understanding of the way that social hierarchies can be altered or dissolved by a deliberate twisting or counter-application of the very forces that make them cohere was the fundamental breakthrough of French critical thinking in the late 1979s and early 1980s, going beyond the deterministic schemas of traditional Marxism (even that of Louis Althusser), but without abandoning the description of dominant structures. At stake here is a fundamental concept of resistance and exodus. Two decades later, that epistemological breakthrough has lent momentum to an aesthetics of critical and dissident cartography, capable of twisting the techniques and visual languages of network maps away from their normalized uses, and thereby pointing to a place for autonomous agents within the global information grid.
Jameson saw the correlation of abstract knowledge and imaginary figures as key to understanding contemporary symbolic structures, and regaining the capacity to act within them. A range of recent mapping projects, all dealing with the forms of social organization, will serve as exemplars of this process. They can be arrayed within a circle marked by four cardinal points and traversed by two major oppositions.
At the top of the compass, an initial group of maps offers critical depictions of hierarchically concentrated cultural, economic and military power. At its polar opposite, another group invokes swarms of self-organizing singularities. In the right-hand quadrant are diagrams of social networks in the process of constitution, represented either in their tendency toward the concentration of power, or in their moment of dispersion into all-channel meshworks. And in the left-hand quadrant, opposite these constitutive diagrams, we find the cartography of dissemination, which traces and effaces the footfalls of wanderers in the global labyrinth.
The cardinal examples of the first group are the flowcharts by Bureau d’Etudes, such as “The World Government” (2003), which can be seen as a culmination of the critical analysis of globalization carried out scholars and social movements since the early 1990s. This information map uses pictograms to represent over forty different categories of actors, linked into a continuous and contradictory network. At the center is a financial core, populated by transnational investment groups. Around these groups, in a structure of nested rings, are the most powerful nation-states, themselves subsumed under regional or strategic ensembles. Major industries, service providers and transnational organizations appear in direct or ambiguous relations to these blocs. The effect is one of arresting detail, compelling the eye to a seemingly endless iteration of links. But if you draw back, this extraordinarily complex map reveals rounded, almost cosmological forms, small enough to be seen in a single gaze.
“To understand a real thing in its totality we always tend to work from its parts. The resistance it offers us is overcome by dividing it,” writes the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss. He compares this analytic process to the effect of artistic miniatures: “Reduction in scale reverses this situation. Being smaller, the object as a whole seems less formidable. More exactly, this quantitative transposition extends and diversifies our power over a homologue of the thing, and by means of it the latter can be grasped, assessed and apprehended at a glance. A child’s doll is no longer an enemy, a rival or even an interlocutor. In and through it a person is made into a subject.” Through miniaturization, the aesthetics of cognitive mapping becomes a way for an individual subject to grasp the complexity of the networked world.
The shift from object to subject propels us from one pole of the compass to its opposite, from hierarchies of power to self-organizing swarms. Howard Rheingold has described this new organizational form, showing how “smart mobs” use mobile devices to coordinate actions in real time. But the momentary convergence of mobile, self-organized groups goes back at least to the Zapatista uprising, and was used extensively by the counterglobalization movements. The best examples of what might be called “swarm cartography” have come from activist groups in Spain. “Transacciones/Fadaiat” is a “geography of the geopolitical territory of the Straits of Gibraltar,” compiled in 2004 by independent media producers of the group “Hackitectura,” with collaborations from Tangiers and the Canary Islands. One sidecity map to help spark protests against the Universal Forum of Cultures, widely perceived as a mere prop for real-estate speculation along the waterfront. is a map of power: on a Mercator projection turned upside-down, it shows sea-going migration routes, refugee camps, destination zones, electronic surveillance systems, military installations, internment centers, etc. But the other side traces a complex meshwork of activist groups on both sides of the Straits, showing their interrelations, their meetings, their evolution over time. The aim is not only to represent, but above all to catalyze a future range of possible interventions by autonomous agents, from direct action protests to immigrant support networks, legal cases, satire, subversion and the production of dissident knowledge. A comparable project was completed in 2004 by activist groups in Barcelona, who created a sophisticated
click detail for whole map
This strategy of diverse, punctual, recurrent interventions was defined by John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt in their study of Zapatista Social Netwar: “Swarming occurs when the dispersed nodes of a network of small (and perhaps some large) forces can converge on a target from multiple directions. The overall aim is sustainable pulsing – swarm networks must be able to coalesce rapidly and stealthily on a target, then dissever and re-disperse, immediately ready to recombine for a new pulse.” Arquilla and Ronfeldt’s formulation has been highly influential – first among activists, but then for the U.S. government, after the attacks of September 11. The glaring contradiction of a direct-democratic strategy defined by military experts and utilized by terrorists might encourage us to ask how networked organizations actually emerge in contemporary society, and how in the best of cases they also dissolve entirely, avoiding the destinies of instrumentalization or hierarchical stratification.
The first question shifts us to the right-hand quadrant of our hypothetical map of maps, to explore the constitutive processes that midway lie between swarm phenomena and hierarchical structures. Social network analysis yields insights here, especially when combined with computerized visualization techniques. The maps by Govcom.org use an “Issue Crawler” to analyze a group of websites, discovering common outgoing links (eg. two included sites both linking to a third one, outside the initial group). Thus they identify a larger network of issues. For example, “Ruckus Camp” starts with the websites of forty-nine organizations, whose common links reveal a remarkably consistent set of almost three hundred activist groups. A more complex document entitled “Climate Change” (pdf) displays a densely interlinked cluster of major international organizations at upper right, relatively isolated from a broader meshwork of NGOs, businesses and domestic governmental agencies. The map illustrates the difficulty for bureaucratic hierarchies to interface with ad hoc civil-society initiatives. But can social network analysis be used to portray the full dynamics of network formation?
Ruckus Camp (detail)
An intriguing sequence of diagrams entitled “The case of Sklyarov versus Adobe on the Web” (pdf) shows how a constellation of ephemeral allies comes together to defend a Russian programmer’s hack of a proprietary software application. We see the timeline of a small-scale swarm phenomenon, from constitution to final dispersal. Unfortunately, few network analyses deal with such dynamics. More characteristic is Josh On’s ingenious database project, They Rule, which uses a “friend of a friend” algorithm to generate charts of overlapping membership on the boards of America’s Fortune 100 companies, revealing what are arguably the most robust networks of power in the contemporary world. “They Rule” clearly moves toward the hierarchical maps of contemporary capitalist power compiled by Bureau d’Etudes. But the weakness of all such studies is precisely to focus on what sociologists call “strong ties” – eliminating the play of chance encounters and the insurgency of events that continually reshape social existence.
When power structures coalesce and harden, the specific opposite of network constitution becomes an issue. The last quadrant of our metamap deals with the cartography of dissemination. The idea of a dispersed, subjective cartography is inspired by Michel de Certeau’s opposition between the representational grid of the modern map and the “spatial practices” of walkers in the city, their “opaque and blind mobility,” narrated through word and footstep. “One can follow the swarming activity of these procedures that, far from being regulated or eliminated by panoptic administration, have reinforced themselves in a proliferating illegitimacy.” That phrase can perfectly introduce the “Geograffiti” proposal on www.gpster.net, which involves spontaneously recording waypoints with a GPS device and associating them with impressions about what’s on that particular spot – all to be inscribed on a website accessible to the mobile devices of other passers-by. The dream is to retell the story of the world with your ideas and emotions, even while moving through it.
Christian Nold gives that dream another twist, with his Biomapping project. A galvanic sensor is wrapped around a person’s finger, to register the so-called “startle response” that provokes a drop in the electrical resistance of the skin. That information, coupled with continuous waypoint recording by a GPS device, produces a map of the participant’s route through the city in cool green dots, punctuated by bursts of stress or excitement marked in red. Psychogeography goes automatic. But Nold foresees critical applications too: the Biomapping unit could be connected to additional sensors correlating stress response with pollution, radiation, noise levels and so forth.
The most beautiful example of cartography in motion is Esther Polak’s “Amsterdam RealTime: Diary in Traces,” where GPS-equipped pedestrians sketch out the city plan of Amsterdam as a record of their everyday itineraries. Their paths appear as lines of light on a black ground, only to be gradually effaced, giving way to the traces of other walkers. But the work is a fragile gesture, fraught with ambiguity: the individual’s wavering life-line appears at once as testimony of human singularity in time, and proof of infallible performance by the satellite mapping system.
The increasing use of Geographic Information Systems to profile the habits and desires of consuming populations makes clear the ways that corporate networks can now reach in to seize the very flux of subjective difference. A company like iMapData sorts such consumer profiles into precise geographic “envelopes” on a digitized city plan (a political jurisdiction, an infrastructure service zone, an area impacted by a major sports facility, a tourist attraction, a natural disaster, etc.). Web access to these maps is sold to businessmen who want to make strategic marketing decisions on the go. Even more impressive is the integration of such private-sector archives to government databases, themselves keyed to the new biometric passports with which security forces seek to track entire populations caught up in the frenetic mobility of the present. An International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance has been mounted to warn the public of the dangers that may lie ahead.
Critical and dissident cartographies arise against the background of these dominant mapping technologies. They appear as counter-behaviors in Michel Foucault’s sense: deliberately denormalized refusals of the reason of state – that is, of transnational state capitalism – elaborated with and against the very tools that consolidate the control society.
Fredric Jameson, “Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,” New Left Review no. 146 (July-August 1984).
See the graph and an explanation of the discovery processs at www.caida.org/analysis/topology/as_core_network. I used the 2003 version. The animated map, discussed below, is accessed on the same page (download the flipbook version).
François Chesnais, La mondialisation du capital (Paris: Syros, 1994), p. 26; adapted from M. F. Durand, J. Levy and D. Retallé, Le Monde: espaces et systèmes (Paris: Presses de la Fondation des sciences politiques, 1992).
Gilles Deleuze, Foucault (London: Athlone Press, 1988), p. 34.
Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (University of Chicago Press, 1966), p. 23.
Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs (Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2003).
D. Ronfeldt, J. Arquilla, et alii, The Zapatista “Social Netwar” in Mexico (Rand Corporation, 1998), chapter 2, available at www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR994.
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley: UC Press, 1984), pp. 91-96.
See Michel Foucault, Sécurité, Territoire, Population (Paris: Gallimard/Seuil, 2004), pp. 195-219 and 362-365. Jose Llano
Arquitecto, Diseñador de Delitos & Coreografo del Deseo
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
That crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,
Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.
No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea.'
William Butler Yeats
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
A citizen's arrest warrant has been issued! Please do your duty and see that it is served!
As George Bush made his appearance and speech today at the United Nations in NYC, 1,000 people issued a citizen's arrest warrant against him for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The day began with twelve separate feeder marches converging from across the city, consisting of perhaps several hundred protesters. The people carried 20 large coffins with them and marched from all five boroughs toward Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza and the UN Building where Bush was speaking. The feeder marches were organized by Arrest Cheney First, the War Resister's League, Witness Against Torture, Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS-NYC) and others.
Police had already set up a protest pen outside of the UN for a rally called by the vanguardist World Can't Wait, and quickly moved to herd the marchers into the pens. When members of the War Resister's League exited the pen to deliver the arrest warrant, police arrested 8 of them and grabbed three or four unaffiliated protesters from the pen as well, at approximately 10:30 am.
Eventually, the original contingent of marchers and several hundred others got tired of the pens and began to march south on Second Avenue toward Washington Square Park. A few attempts were made to march in the street, but police reacted violently, shoving and pushing marchers back onto the sidewalk. In the process, police also seized any megaphones they saw. Several protesters sustained injuries in these encounters, but no arrests were made. In all, about 500 people made their way to Washington Square Park.
The idea of citizen's arrest has its roots in common law, and allows for any citizen to execute an arrest on someone who they witness committing a felony offense. All states in the United States allow for citizen's arrest, except for North Carolina, which follows different statutes. Those undertaking a citizen's arrest can still be held liable in civil or criminal court for any damages they inflict in the process. However, they have full rights to detain and arrest a suspect who they witness in commission of a felony.
Applicable felonies in this case include, but are not limited to: treason, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice, perjury, conspiracy malfeasance in office, fraud, embezzlement, and kidnapping.
Under established international and military law, also, the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, for which, as commander in chief, Bush bears command responsibility for the actions of those under his command as well as for his own policies.
Under the principles of the Nuremburg Trials at the end of World War Two, Bush would be indictable for all four counts established back then:
1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace;
2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace;
3. War crimes;
4. Crimes against humanity.
While the efforts of citizens today to serve an arrest warrant on Bush failed, be advised: the warrant stands. Please do you duty, and try at every opportunity to bring this criminal to justice.
Official Press Release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Antiwar Activists to Bring President to Justice at the UN, Tues., Sept. 25
NEW YORK – George Bush will address the United Nations General Assembly on Tues., Sept. 25. A citywide coalition of antiwar activists are preparing to receive him – and bring him to justice.
In the early morning, as New Yorkers are on their way to work, funeral processions will begin simultaneously from different points in the city, bearing coffins toward the UN and converging there at 8:30am. These will symbolize the unrelenting death and suffering caused by the illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and the illegal detentions at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and the network of secret US prisons throughout the world.
At the UN, a group of activists will say, in the name of the citizens of the world, “Arrest Bush!” The War Resisters' League, Witness Against Torture, Movement for a Democratic Society-NYC, and other groups are calling upon concerned citizens to join them on Tues., Sept. 25, to participate in the morning funeral procession and then to Arrest Bush!
For information on starting locations and times of the funeral processions, please email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We must resurrect the dream that created the UN out of the nightmare of World War II. We must show courage, wisdom, and love by acting now to confront a bullying, rogue Superpower which refuses to allow the UN to act in accord with its own charter as world events bring us closer to the threat of expanded warfare and nuclear annihilation. The alarm has sounded. It blares agonizingly in our ears, beckoning conscientious action.”
– Kathy Kelly, Other Lands Have Dreams
Sep 24th, 2007 by Richard
Posted in Life on Earth
The other day while going through some of my books, I came upon The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events by Jane Roberts (Seth) and couldn’t help reading it again.
Beginning in late 1963 Jane started to receive messages from a male entity who identified himself as Seth. Jane would sit and go into a trance (altered-state of consciousness) and in would come Seth. Jane’s husband, Robert Butts, would sit and write down all that Seth said verbatim using a form of short-hand he had developed. Later they would type the sessions up and eventually a portion of it ended up published in books. There wasn’t much editing for Jane and Robert to do since Seth went chapter by chapter and section by section, and would even indicate punctuation and where he wanted emphasis. Basically Seth dictated it in finished form. As I understand it, there is a mountain of material that has still never been published.
I’ve read The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events several times, as I have many of the Seth books. I first became aware of Jane Roberts and the entity or personality that she channelled for over 21 years, Seth, in the early 80’s when I picked up her (their?) first book, Seth Speaks. Even back then in my mid 20’s, Seth Speaks wasn’t so much providing revolutionary new information or ideas to me as it was organizing it; putting form to my thoughts and feelings. As my friend Frank DeMarco’s “Guys Upstairs” say, it resonated.
The following excerpts are from The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events.
If you want to change the world for the better, then you are an idealist. If you want to change the world for the better, but you believe it cannot be changed one whit, then you are a pessimist, and your idealism will only haunt you. If you want to change the world for the better, but you believe that it will grow worse, despite everyone’s efforts, then you are a truly despondent, perhaps misguided idealist. If you want to change the world for the better, and if you are determined to do so, no matter at what cost to yourself or others, no matter what the risk, and if you believe that those ends justify any means at your disposal, then you are a fanatic.
There is an enchanting suggestion, solemnly repeated many times, particularly after the turn of the [20th] century: ‘Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.’
This might sound like a bit of overly optimistic, though maybe delightful, nonsense. To a degree, however, that suggestion worked for millions of people. It was not a cure-all. It did not help those who believed in the basic untrustworthiness of their own natures. The suggestion was far from a bit of fluff, however, for it could serve – and it did – as a framework about which new beliefs could rally.
We often have in your society the opposite suggestion, however, given quite regularly: ‘Every day, in every way, I am growing worse and so is the world.’ You have [group] meditations for disaster, beliefs that invite private and mass tragedies. They are usually masked by the polite clothing of conventional acceptance. Many thousands may die in a particular battle or war, for example. The deaths are accepted almost as a matter of course. These are victims of war, without question. It seldom occurs to anyone that these are victims of beliefs (emphatically) – since the guns are quite real, and the bombs and the combat.
The enemy is obvious. His intentions are evil. Wars are basically examples of mass suicide – embarked upon, however, with all of the battle’s paraphernalia, carried out through mass suggestion, and through the nation’s greatest resources, by men who are convinced that the universe is unsafe, that the self cannot be trusted, and that strangers are always hostile. You take if for granted that the species is aggressively combative. You must out-think the enemy nation before you yourself are destroyed. These paranoiac tendencies are largely hidden beneath man’s nationalistic banners.
The end justifies the means. This is another belief, most damaging. Religious wars always have paranoiac tendencies, for the fanatic always fears conflicting beliefs, and systems that embrace them.
If you have not read any of the Seth books and would like to, these are a good starting place.
- Seth Speaks
- The Nature of Personal Reality
- The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events
- The Unknown Reality (Volumes 1 and 2)
Monday, September 24, 2007
| A. Lin Neumann |
| 24 September 2007
| Eyewitnesses in Rangoon describe a protest movement growing daily. The stakes are rising for Southeast Asia’s most authoritarian government. |
Stopping traffic and streaming into the center of Burma’s largest city, red-robed monks, the religious heart of one of the world’s most repressive countries, are continuing to defy a brutal military junta, their numbers swelling daily.
On Monday, witnesses told Asia Sentinel that tens of thousands of monks could be seen in strategic areas of the city being joined by civilian supporters as the military junta’s armed forces stayed off the streets, apparently unsure how to handle the largest outburst of protest seen in the country in nearly twenty years.
“Some were carrying yellow peacock banners,” an eyewitness said, noting the presence of the flag that symbolizes the National League for Democracy, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party.
Throughout the day, a witness said, the atmosphere was lighthearted, “almost like a party,” as Rangoon’s residents seem suddenly emboldened by the bravery of the revered clergy in this overwhelmingly Buddhist nation. Earlier, the monks had withdrawn religious services from the military, refusing to accept alms from anyone connected to the junta in a virtually unprecedented boycott. Marching with empty alms bowls, the religious boycott has become a symbol of the new uprising.
In one scene near the upscale neighborhoods in the Inya Lake district, the monks marched in a phalanx 10 to 15 abreast, surrounded by middle class residents who flocked to the streets to guard them. “It took 45 minutes for the crowd to go by my vantage point,” said a woman reached by phone.
There were no authorities visible during the protest, another witness said. “People are cheering, clapping, standing outside their houses,” said the witness, who added that it was unlike anything she had seen in several years in Rangoon.
Marchers were also joined by members of the National League for Democracy, including members of the parliament elected in 1990 in polls that were voided by the junta. Two days ago NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared at the gate outside of her residence, where she is under house arrest, to greet protesting monks.
“Today we saw the most widespread demonstrations since 1988,” said Bangkok-based Burmese analyst Win Min. “Things are moving very quickly.”
Win Min characterized the current situation as a spiritual rebellion, an economic protest and a reaction to longstanding suffering. “I’m worried that they will crack down,” he said, “but for now they are taking a wait-and-see approach and won’t announce martial law due to China’s influence. The Chinese won’t say it explicitly, but they don’t want to see bloodshed as it would damage China’s interests.”
"There's no prospect now of the monks just deciding to abandon this. They are getting braver every day and their demands are getting greater every day, and it's much more overtly political," a Yangon-based diplomat told Reuters.
In another sign that even people with something to lose are willing to join the protests, movie stars and celebrities are joining the movement. Tun Eindra Bo – the country’s biggest female star – has reportedly begun a "Sangkha Support Committee" to help the monks. The country’s most famous comedian, Zargana, has also joined the movement, according to Win Min – “Everyone in Burma knows him, just like Aung San Suu Kyi. This has a big impact.”
On Monday, rallies were held in several parts of the city, with a witness saying that one large group of monks appeared headed to the airport north of the former capital. Other reports described monks and supporters gathering in the center of the city.
Many of the monks, who were also joined by Buddhist nuns, began their protests, as they have each day for six days, with prayers at Shwedagon Pagoda, the country’s holiest shrine, near the center of the city. Bystanders gave the monks water as the boldness of onlookers is growing with each passing day.
Rallies were also reported in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city, and in the northwestern city of Sittwe and in Bago, just north of Rangoon, according to Reuters. The Burmese exile magazine Irrawaddy, which is based in Thailand, noted the presence of protesters nationwide, claiming that 100,000 people had joined the Rangoon protests.
The magazine said monks led protests along the border with Thailand, and in townships scattered throughout the country. A monk involved in the protests told Irrawaddy that in Pakokku Township in central Burma, where the first monk-led protests began earlier this month, hundreds of monks left a group of monasteries to chant the “Metta Sutta” (the Buddha’s words on loving kindness). The same chant was heard in other protests.
With witnesses telling Asian Sentinel that a political tinge has been added to the protests, the stakes are rising along with the numbers in the streets. Under military rule since 1962, the country’s leaders have impoverished the country while keeping themselves in power. Burma has watched as Thailand and its other neighbors have prospered, while it has moved steadily backwards from the days in the 1950s when it was considered one of the region’s wealthiest and most sophisticated countries.
The State Peace and Development Council, as the junta calls itself, appears even more isolated than ever. Having moved the government in 2006 to the new capital of Naypyidaw, which means literally "abode of kings," 220 kilometers north of Rangoon, the generals seem almost to have anticipated the need to hide from their own people.
As with the protests in 1988, the current unrest began with an economic grievance. In 1988 it was the demonetization in September 1987 of about 80 percent of the currency then in circulation. That step, reportedly taken to accommodate the belief in numerology of then-dictator Ne Win, eventually spawned a student-led movement that became one of the largest mass protests in modern Asian history.
By September 1988, virtually the entire country was shut down by hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding change. When the military reasserted itself and proclaimed the birth of the current junta on September 18, 1988, thousands of people were gunned down in the streets of Rangoon by combat-hardened soldiers from rural areas who had been informed that Rangoon was taken over by communists.
The current unrest began on August 19 as a result of fuel price increases. But with student organizations banned and campus life fragmented after 1988, this time the monks have come to the fore. As the only non-military organization with a nationwide network, the monks could prove to be formidable foes. Even in 1988, when thousands of monks were also involved, the military was careful not to kill members of the clergy, perhaps uncertain how even their own soldiers would react to orders to commit such an act against the respected clerics.
In 1988 also there were often few signs of the military on the streets – until the killing began. The night before the junta seized power that year, Rangoon was completely in the hands of protesters who were dancing in the streets, forming neighborhood defense committees and organizing the looting of abandoned government buildings, often with the help of civil servants.
But when the military decided to act, it was over in a matter of hours.
With reporting by Daniel Ten Kate
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Dedicated to the deconstruction of the Democratic Party.
The American Left may not be much, but it won't be anything at all until it ditches the Democrats.
Ira Jones 23 Sep 2007
Dear Cindy Sheehan,
I feel it is important to comment on the post yesterday (Common Dreams) in which you supported MoveOn.org’s “Petreus/Betray Us” ad in the face of attacks on it by none other than the Imperialist-in-Chief. That Bush would choose to mention, let alone castigate at length, MoveOn.org demonstrates the growing strength of the anti-war movement, which is continuing to mobilize dedicated activists like yourself. However, I’m writing to stress that the movement will stand little chance of effectively thwarting US imperialism’s war plans if the prevailing views concerning the reliance on the Democratic Party are not discredited.
The role of the Democrats as the other imperialist party became clear to people in their millions when they gained control on Congress yet continued to do nothing to pull the US out of Iraq. This is an important development in consciousness that needs to be encouraged and deepened. Activists taking matter into their own hands, in the streets, disrupting all aspects of society, are the only force capable of challenging the ever-growing militarism of this dying empire. The Democrats are dead-set against such disruption. In fact, whether politicians understand it or not (Kucinich comes to mind), the key political function of the Democratic Party is to prevent activists from gravitating towards views that lead to such action. Look at FDR’s New Deal or the function of George McGovern on the Vietnam anti-war movement in that light.
MoveOn.org is one of a broad array of organizations in the movement that works to shore up confidence in the Democrats, portraying them as a force that, if nudged just a bit to the left, could challenge the neo-cons. In this respect, the politics of such groups as MoveOn.org serves to WEAKEN the movement. I’m in favor of activists, such as those who work with MoveOn.org, of grasping this truth, defecting from such organizations, and building their own organizations that promote militant actions and anti-reformist political views.
Cindy, I’m glad that in previous posts you have stressed the need of activists to take to the streets. The action I fantasize about here in Seattle would be 20,000 activists sitting in the streets surrounding the Federal Building downtown on a weekday to shut it down. To achieve that would take a big leap in consciousness. I’m sorry to say, however, that your comments about MoveOn.org serve to build confidence on the fighting ability of what is essentially indistinguishable from the left wing of the Democratic Party. For example, you “…applaud MoveOn for moving a little closer to the true anti-war movement and encourage them to come with us farther”.
Again, let me stress that I too am in favor of people active with MoveOn.org to “come with us farther”, but they can only do that by breaking with that organization and its politics and, preferably, forming a new organization that helps clarify the role that such pro-Democratic Party politics plays in weakening the movement. Thanks very much for taking the time to listen to my views.
Bill Clinton has written a new book. It is called “Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.” He will give a portion of the proceeds to charity. Giving, the former president informs us, gives us fulfilment in life and is “the fabric of our shared humanity.”
His book is the political equivalent of “Marley & Me” It is filled with a lot of vapid, feel-good stories about ordinary and wealthy Americans setting out to make the world a better place. It smacks of the philanthropy-as-publicity that characterized the largesse of the robber barons — the Mellons and the Rockefellers — and has become a pastime for our own oligarchic elite. Clinton’s call for charity is the equivalent of well-scrubbed prep school students spending a day in a soup kitchen, doling out food to the people whose jobs were outsourced by their mommies and daddies. It does little to alleviate suffering. But it is a balm to the conscience of the oligarchic class that profits handsomely from the impoverishment of the working class, globalization and our anti-democratic corporate state. The rich love to dine out on their own goodness.
The misery sweeping across the American landscape may have begun with Ronald Reagan, but it was accelerated and codified by Bill Clinton. He sold out the poor and the working class. And Clinton did it deliberately to feed the pathological hunger he and his wife have for political power. It was the Clintons who led the Democratic Party to the corporate watering trough. The Clintons argued that the party had to ditch labor unions, no longer a source of votes or power, as a political ally. Workers would vote Democratic anyway. They had no choice. It was better, the Clintons argued, to take corporate money and use government to service the needs of the corporations. By the 1990s, the Democratic Party, under Clinton’s leadership, had virtual fund-raising parity with the Republicans. In political terms, it was a success. In moral terms, it was a betrayal.
The North American Free Trade Agreement was sold to the country by the Clinton White House as an opportunity to raise the incomes and prosperity of the citizens of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Goods would be cheaper. Workers would be wealthier. Everyone would be happier. I am not sure how these contradictory things were supposed to happen, but in a sound-bite society, reality no longer matters. NAFTA would also, we were told, staunch Mexican immigration into the United States.
“There will be less illegal immigration because more Mexicans will be able to support their children by staying home,” President Clinton said in the spring of 1993 as he was lobbying for the bill.
But NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, had the curious effect of reversing every one of Clinton’s rosy predictions. Once the Mexican government lifted price supports on corn and beans for Mexican farmers, they had to compete against the huge agribusinesses in the United States. The Mexican farmers were swiftly bankrupted. At least 2 million Mexican farmers were driven off their land from 1993 through 2002. And guess where many of them went? This desperate flight of Mexicans into the United States is being exacerbated by large-scale factory closures along the border as manufacturers leave Mexico for the cut-rate embrace of China’s totalitarian capitalism.
Clinton’s welfare reform bill, which was signed on Aug. 22, 1996, obliterated the nation’s social safety net. It threw 6 million people, many of them single parents, off of the welfare rolls within three years. It dumped them onto the streets without child care, rent subsidies and continued Medicaid coverage. Families were plunged into crisis, struggling to survive on multiple jobs that paid $6 or $7 an hour, or less than $15,000 a year. But these were the lucky ones. In some states, half of those dropped from the welfare rolls could not find work. Clinton slashed Medicare by $115 billion over a five-year period and cut $25 billion in Medicaid funding. The booming and overcrowded prison system handled the influx of the poor, as well as our abandoned mentally ill.
The growing desperation provided a pool of broken people willing to work for low wages and without unions or benefits. And while Clinton was busy selling out the poor, he lowered the capital gains tax from 28 percent to 20 percent, a reduction that permitted the wealthiest 1 percent of the population to derive 80 percent of the tax savings. Clinton, like George W. Bush, also provided lavish government funding for his corporate backers, including in 1998 a $200-billion highway and transportation package for the big construction companies and a $17-billion increase in the military budget. This was the largest increase in military spending since the end of the Cold War. Corporations, flush with government aid, saw their taxes dwindle. Amway, for example, had its taxes cut during the Clinton years by an estimated $280 million. The Clinton and Bush administrations, through tax breaks and corporate bailouts, have squandered billions of our tax dollars on corporate welfare.
The appreciative oligarchs and corporate class have made Bill rich. He is fond of boasting in public about how wealthy he has become. Hillary raised $26 million in the first quarter of the year, almost three times as much as any politician previously raised at that point in a presidential election.
We face the prospect of having two families govern the country for 16 years. The system is rigged. Our democracy is a consumer fraud. The government has given up any pretense of serving the interests of citizens. The corporations rule. And for all Clinton’s charm and talent for self-promotion, he is largely to blame.
Half a century ago, corporations paid 45 percent to 50 percent of the income tax. Today they pay 6 or 7 percent. This is why our infrastructure is crumbling, there is no universal health care, our public education is in crisis, regulatory agencies are impotent and our poor and working class are desperate. The bottom line is that the Democrats, including John Edwards, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, will never govern on our behalf. They are hostage to those who put them in power. And it is not us. Until we throw our weight behind fringe candidates such as Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader, if he runs, we will continue to be fleeced by corporate pawns such as the Clintons and the Bushes. It is no longer possible to argue between the lesser of two evils. The corporate state, which is carrying out a coup d’etat in slow motion and has already shredded most of our constitutional rights, is an unmitigated evil. We do not need charity. We need justice. And all of Bill Clinton’s heart-warming stories about giving are not going to save us from the corporations who sucked out his soul and seek to imprison the rest of us.
Chris Hedges, who graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, is the author of “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on Ameri
Saturday, September 22, 2007
the unauthorized online version of The Psychic Mafia, the self-styled Anonymous Typist adds various footnotes stating his own (highly skeptical) opinions. When the book's introduction states that there are some genuine mediums, Anonymous Typist contributes this combative comment: Name ONE!
Vitor Moura points out to me that, contrary to what I assumed, The Psychic Mafia is online. It really shouldn't be; the fact that the book is out of print does not mean the copyright has lapsed. But since it's out there, I'm linking to it.
The heart of the book is Chapter 5, "Secrets of the Seance." (This link takes to you to end of Ch. 4; scroll down a few paragraphs for Ch.5.) But read the whole book for an eye-opening look at the cynicism and chicanery of far too many self-styled mediums. The bibliography is very good also.
The footnotes were added by the online version's anonymous typist. The typist is a James Randi fan and gung-ho superskeptic whose opinions are mostly irrelevant and sometimes irritating, but since these are not part of the original book, they can be easily ignored.
This got me thinking. Who are some mediums I would name as genuine? The following is a partial, by no means complete, list. I am listing "mental" mediums only. I'm also listing some of the work that impresses me about each of these women (and they are all women, for some reason).
There are others, of course. I tend to focus on those who have been the most thoroughly studied (Piper was studied continuously for twenty years!), or those who produced extraordinarily evidential material (Cummins, Garrett, the Verralls et al). None of these cases are recent; there has not been much sustained, high-quality investigation of mediums in the last few decades.
Some famous names didn't make the cut. Arthur Ford was found to have done research on his sitters. Edgar Cayce got many of his medical diagnoses uncannily right, but seems to have been way off base in his readings on history and archaeology. Emanuel Swedenborg was probably a genuine medium, but a case from the 18th century is a little too musty, even though it was well investigated at the time.
I think Pearl Curran ("Patience Worth") had genuine psi abilities, but since the earthly existence of Patience Worth was never established, it's hard to insist that she was a medium per se. Some of Jane Roberts' writings have the ring of truth to me, but again, there is no evidence for the earthly life of her principal communicator, Seth, and even Roberts herself was unsure who or what Seth was.
Any other names come to mind?
Friday, September 21, 2007
The Iraq War and Liberty Quarry
Stewart A. Alexander for President
Peace and Freedom Party
Socialist Party USA
September 21, 2007
When I think of the Iraq War and Liberty Quarry there are two similarities between one and the other; they both represent a gigantic pit and Americans are being excluded from crucial decisions that will affect their lives and the lives of their children for decades.
Liberty Quarry is a planned quarry site that will be located in Southern California on the southwest corner of Riverside County and the northwest corner of San Diego County; it is the fastest growing region in the United States. The quarry will be owned and operated by Granite Construction, Inc. and will be one of the largest open pit mines in the nation. This quarry will be located next to several communities with a combined population of more than 300 thousand people.
A grassroots citizen action committee, Save Our Southwest Hills (SOS), is leading the charge against the multi-billion dollar corporation Granite Construction. The small group has charged that opening a 155 acre quarry is not right for the local communities. The greatest concern of SOS and local residents will be the possibility of exposure to deadly silica dust.
SOS is also concerned about the increased traffic the quarry will bring to the area. There will be up to 1,500 dump trucks servicing Liberty Quarry and the local communities are presently experiencing serious traffic congestion that regional and state officials have failed to resolve. Within the past decade traffic in the area has increase by more than 400 percent.
Liberty Quarry will operate 20 hours a day using explosives to remove granite rock. The quarry, which will be located on 311 acres, will be next to a 4,300 acre nature ecological reserve operated by San Diego State University.
Granite Construction has embarked on a propaganda campaign to sway public opinion to accept Liberty Quarry; it is a campaign that is more than questionable. Company literature presents the quarry to be cleaner than most up-scale neighborhoods in Southern California.
Representatives for Granite Construction wants the public to believe that an additional 1,500 trucks coming into these communities will not increase air pollution; and moving 250 million tons of granite will not pollute the air with silica dust. The company's representatives also want the public to believe the mine will improve the quality of living for the general community.
California's two top executives, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi have remained silent on this most important issue that will impact the lives of millions of people in Southern California. The five members on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors are ignoring the growing community concerns regarding the planned quarry.
Symbolically to what Liberty Quarry will become, Iraq is a pit that has been created by President Bush, the Democrats and Republicans and the pit is getting deeper everyday. Americans have sent Democrats and Republicans to Washington in hopes of ending the Iraq War; however the voices of Americans are being ignored.
President Bush is projecting that the US will remain in Iraq for decades in opposition to a national majority of Americans that want the troops back home. The president is saying our presence in Iraq is for the good of the Iraqi people and the US; however the war is creating death and destruction, destroying the nation of Iraq, and is creating a severe strain on the working class in America.
In the grand scheme of events President Bush, the Democrats and Republicans are only protecting the interest of the world petroleum giants; and as the events unfold around Liberty Quarry we see local Democrats and Republicans protecting the interest of the capitalist over the democratic needs of local communities and working class people.
This is the reality of what is happening in America today; the two corporate parties, the Democrats and Republicans are excluding Americans out of the democratic process on important decisions that will affect our lives, in our communities, the nation and the world.
Liberty Quarry and the Iraq War are testing democracy in America. Will the people in Southern California get a quarry they do not want or will the fate of these communities be left in the hands of five Riverside County Supervisors? On the bigger issue of Iraq, will the Democrats and Republicans have the resolve to end the Iraq War and bring our troops home, or will our fate as a nation be left in the hands of one man?
For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander for President; Socialist Presidential Candidates at America's Crossroads.
*Silence* and other blessings...
We want America to be a great place to live for everyone.
Submitted by Catharine
on Thu, 09/20/2007 - 9:29pm.
We will do what we think we have to, to make it that way. The party system has it's downfalls, and a name is only a name. We want good people to be in charge, but there are hurdles to getting those good people elected. We may have voted for a Democrat we didn't like because it was better than the Republicans gaining control of the Congress. We have to make those decisions with as much knowledge as possible.
I don't care about the party, only how it serves me. This isn't a football game.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Parents of Slain Peace Activist Rachel Corrie Denied Caterpillar Suit
The parents of the slain American peace activist Rachel Corrie have been denied an attempt to sue the manufacturer of the bulldozer that claimed her life. A federal appeals court has ruled Craig and Cindy Corrie can’t sue the Illinois-based Caterpillar because that would force the judiciary to rule on a foreign policy issue decided by the White House. In their ruling, the three-judge panel said the case can’t go to court: “without implicitly questioning, and even condemning, United States foreign policy towards Israel.’ Rachel Corrie was killed on March 16 2003 in the Palestinian town of Rafah. An Israeli military-operated bulldozer ran her over as she stood in front of a Palestinian home set for demolition. She was wearing a fluorescent orange vest in full view of the bulldozer’s driver. The Corries want Caterpillar held liable on grounds it knew the bulldozers were to be used to demolish homes in violation of international law. Caterpillar based its defense on proving the bulldozers were in fact paid for by U.S. military aid to Israel. The Corries say they will continue to challenge Caterpillar and the U.S. government.
Posted September 19th, 2007 by crockford
The Peace and Freedom Party is proud to introduce Andrew Bligh, candidate for State Assembly for the 31st District.
An excerpt from Andrew's biography:
"I am an English Instructor at Fresno City College and have also taught courses at the Madera Center following completing my Master of Arts degree in English at University of California, Riverside, in 2005. I currently also serve as an advisor for the Diversity Club at Fresno City College. I was born and raised in the Central Valley and received my Bachelor of Arts degree in English (with a minor in Linguistics) from California State University, Fresno, and am also a Fresno City College graduate myself. It is an incredible opportunity to give service back to the campus and community that gave so much to me through education. While a student at CSU, Fresno, I also tutored at McLane High School, served as President of United Student Pride (an LGBT student organization at CSU, Fresno), co-organized speaking engagements for Leslie Feinberg in Fresno, and assisted in the efforts of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network towards a safe and sane environment for the Central Valley's youth. Central Valley schools have, unfortunately, proved to be a gauntlet for many of our youth who do not feel safe to be themselves at school, and I have not and will not waver in speaking up for this changing in our schools and communities."
If you would like to meet Andrew, he will be at the Peace and Freedom Party table at Thursday's San Francisco Mime Troupe performance at Roosevelt High School's Theater for the Performing Arts.
For more information about Andrew and his campaign, go to http://andrewbligh.com
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
By Emily Burnham
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - Bangor Daily News
The irony of living communally in an old lumber baron’s home in downtown Machias has not escaped the Beehive Collective, a group of artists and activists based in the Washington County town.
"Where else can you eat under crystal chandeliers, and have a poster for an anarchist book sale on the wall?" asked Emma Bee, one of the members of the collective, who choose to remain mostly anonymous by not sharing their last names.
The Beehive Collective has been based in Maine since forming in 2000, growing out of the work several anonymous Washington County artists were doing in the late 1990s. They operated first out of the Machias Grange Hall, which they purchased in 2001 and which now operates mostly as a community center. As the "hive" has grown, they have added the house.
At any given time, six "bees" may live full-time at the house, where they now make the stone mosaics, fliers and the huge, incredibly detailed, deeply political posters that have since become their trademark.
"We deal with issues of globalization, of militarization, of conservation. There is a lot of information built into our posters," said Emma Bee. "We try to communicate visually, rather than through text. People can understand images, no matter what language they speak, or if they can read or not."
The first big poster the hive ever did was inspired by the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and the adverse effects its policies have had on workers, indigenous peoples and the environment. That poster is currently on display through Sept. 28 at the Without Borders IV exhibit at the Lord Hall Galleries on the University of Maine campus in Orono. They will also give a talk at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, in Lord Hall.
Thousands of prints of that poster and others have been distributed all over North and South America, at college campuses, fairs, conferences and at protests. The hive’s primary means of revenue are fees received from the lectures they give all over the country, but the images remain copyright free, and downloadable from the Beehive Collective’s Web site (www.beehivecollective.org).
To really grasp the density and detail of one of the posters, you’ve got to see it full size — some of them are more than 20 feet high. It’s similar to reading a map. Each animal and object contained within the poster symbolizes a different concept — from the sheep wearing a scholar’s hat, wrapped in chains, to the mechanical spiders ensnaring the Western Hemisphere with their silk.
Together, all the smaller images contribute to a larger concept.
"We use a lot of metaphor," said Emma. "We also like to use animals so we can avoid cultural stereotypes. And it’s also hard to argue with a cartoon."
The open-ended metaphors allow for a greater dialogue between the art and the observer — people can take away from it whatever they want, though the basic concepts (globalization, the environment) are hard to avoid.
"The beautiful thing about images is that you can interpret it any way you want," said Emma. "People can read images. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, or even if you can read. We laid out the banner in Honduras, for some students, and they told the story of it in terms of their own lives."
Latin American issues are at the heart of the collective’s latest project, another huge poster explaining the issues surrounding the Plan Puebla Panama. The PPP is a development plan linking the southern states of Mexico with the rest of Central America and Columbia. Though purportedly designed to stimulate trade and create more infrastructure within those countries, much criticism has been levied at it, similar in many ways to the criticism of the FTAA and NAFTA.
Every poster the group makes is truly a collaborative effort. No single individual puts his or her name on a piece, and everyone contributes their unique skills, whether it’s drawing, inking or printing.
"This is really what it means to be collaborative," said Emma. "We want to break down the art ego, and show that this is many people’s work. We’re just the transmitter for the conversation."
The political nature of Beehive’s art leaves them slightly out of the mainstream in both activist and art circles.
"The art world calls us political, and the political groups call us art," said Emma. "People don’t know what to think. They aren’t used to seeing something like this."
As for the hive’s presence in Machias, they’ve kept a relatively low profile over the years, working quietly and trying not to intrude too much on local life. They host a weekly open mic night at the Grange Hall, and put on several special events, including the Black Fly Ball during Machias’ Wild Blueberry Festival, which has been a resounding success each year. The Grange Hall is still a work in progress, as some more winter-proofing needs to be completed before it can stay open all year.
"We’ve been quiet in the community, so far. We all recognize that we have to offer something before we can ask them to be our friends," said Emma. "We’re honoring the DIY culture by fixing up the Grange Hall ourselves. We don’t need the government or a company to help us."
Though more resources and bodies might be available in an urban setting, Beehive remains committed to Machias and to rural living.
"What’s amazing about Beehive is that it’s an activist organization that isn’t a farming project, that is rurally based," said Emma. "Most groups are based in urban settings, where the issues are more in your face. But all those issues of class, race, gender and the environment are present here — you just have to dig deeper. Plus, it’s beautiful and peaceful and a great place to work."
on the Beehive Collective can be found at www.beehivecollective.org. To learn more about the Without Borders exhibit at the University of Maine, visit www.intermediamfa.org. Emily Burnham can be reached at email@example.com.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Stewart A. Alexander for President
Peace and Freedom Party
Socialist Party USA
September 18, 2007
Yesterday John Reiger, a member of Peace and Freedom Party, was among ten war protestors that were arrested at the office of Congresswoman Doris Matsui in Sacramento California. The protestors were part of a nationwide movement of anti-war protestors that oppose the Iraq war and congressional support for the war.
This month the Democrats and Republicans are expected to vote on another war funding measure, giving President Bush $148 billion to continue his war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Democrats and Republicans continue to support the war against the growing opposition of the American people and the world community.
Among those arrested at Representative Matsui’s office were four veterans and the mother of a US soldier now in Iraq. John Reiger is the husband of Debra Reiger, State Party Chair of Peace and Freedom Party.
John Reiger said, “Today we paid another visit to Representative Matsui’s office. We wanted her to sign a pledge to, among other things, stop voting for money for the war. We just sat down throughout the office and waited.”
Cres Vellucci, a Vietnam veteran and member of Veterans for Peace Coalition to End the War, says, “For the past several years we have repeatedly and politely met with the representative’s staff, and asked her for a meeting, but it has not worked. She still supports the policies of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which includes providing more money for the war.”
Recently President Bush spoke to the nation attempting to gain support for an increasing unpopular war. The president recently made a visit to the troops on the ground in Iraq; and his top US Commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker spoke before Congress trying to gain support and funding for the war.
Today most Americans have grown tired of a war that seems to be without an end and without a plan. Recently Bush admitted that the war will continue for years and will continue into the administrations of future presidents. More recently Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden said regarding the war, “There is no plan to win, no plan how to leave, no plan how to end this.” Still, it appears that Congress is prepared to write President Bush another blank check to continue his war.
The Iraq War has been a complete failure and a disaster for America. All the information and intelligence leading into the war was fabricated and untrue, and the reasons for remaining in Iraq is to “protect American interest;” the oil that belongs to the people of Iraq and the Middle East.
The war in Iraq and Afghanistan has already claimed the lives of over 4,000 Americans and over a million Iraqis. There is presently over 4 million refugees and over 2,000 Iraqis are leaving their homes everyday.
The Iraq government has lacked the ability to bring order to the nation and less than half of the 18 benchmarks necessary for the Iraq government to achieve have been accomplished. Still, with the evidence of failing results, Representative Matsui along with other Democrats and Republicans are preparing to give Bush the funding to continue the bloodshed.
All the socialist candidates with Peace and Freedom Party and Socialist Party USA are supporting American troops calling for an immediate withdrawal of American forces and are demanding that Congress cut all funding for the war.
John Reiger has been a lifetime peace activist and is vowing to continue his protest against the Iraq War and to support the struggles of working class people.
For more information search the web for: Stewart A. Alexander for President; Democrats Retreat before Bush; Socialist Presidential Candidates at America’s Crossroads.
By Mr Ethanol | September 18, 2007
Brazil’s environmental Minister Marina Silva, long seen as unfriendly toward Brazilian agribusiness, told the press at a sugar and ethanol conference Monday that Brazil ethanol production is drastically cutting the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“Ethanol is an alternative for reducing carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, and is a major contribution to decarbonizing countries that are heavy fossil fuel users,” Silva told reporters.
However, another ministry official said that while ethanol might be beneficial for climate change, it remains to be seen whether ethanol is good for the environment. Over the last three years, reductions in deforestation and increased ethanol use has reduced Brazil’s CO2 emissions by 500 million tons, Silva said. That’s roughly 30% of all CO2 reductions being required of richer nations.
Monday, September 17, 2007
The Canadian government has set up a C$500MM fund to support the construction of next generation biofuel production facilities.
Read the press release.
This announcement is encouraging. But after closer examination, I could see some concerns.
First, you have to pay the money back:
The NextGen Biofuels Fund™ will support up to 40%, of eligible project costs for the establishment of first-of-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels. The contribution will be repayable based on free cash flow over a period of 10 years after project completion.
This amounts to a loan of sorts. It's not clear that there is any interest paid, etc. But it amounts to a 10 year loan or bond. That's actually a good thing if it's low-interest (the lower the better). But coming from the government, it begs the question why they don't just give the money to projects in the form of a grant. Even the U.S. DOE does that. I mean, if there's a social benefit to Canada, why not? Maybe they don't have the money. But if it means more business for their population, then they should find it.
Second, this would seem to advantage companies like Iogen over others. They're really the only Canadian company that is in a position to develop another 1st gen plant (although they could potentially not qualify). One might wonder if this fund was set up because Iogen is starting a U.S. operation to build cellulosic facilities - using free grant money from the U.S. DOE. But that not withstanding, at least some of this money might already be tagged by a leading player in that market.
Third, this seems like money that would feasibly compete with venture capital money. While low-cost debt is certainly good U.S. VC money has its own set of benefits. However, U.S. Venture money can make its way into Canada for the right investment. There's so much money in U.S. VC funds that they would jump at a company that has a sound technology that is ready for its first manufacturing facility. So when matched with the opportunity to have access to U.S. VC money and the benefits thereof (access to great managers, other technologies, other debt financing and others). So while this fund sounds like a great opportunity, it doesn't seem better than other options.
The two hemp milk products to be released in Canada are Living Harvest Hempmilk and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Bliss. Both are going to be available in original, vanilla, and chocolate flavors.
Hemp milk is somewhat similar to soy milk. It is made from the seeds of the industrial hemp plant, the cousin to the illegal or unlawful psychoactive plants known as marijuana (cannabis sativa and cannabis indica), that folks smoke to get high. Industrial hemp contains such minutely low levels of THC and other cannabinoids, the substances in marijuana that get you buzzed, that it has basically no psychoactive effect on consumers. In Canada hemp farming is legal, as are products made from industrial hemp. Interestingly enough the US is the only industrialized country where hemp is illegal to grow, although some products made from it are legal.
Some of the benefits of Hemp milk are: it is high in protein and is a good source of balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and has lots of vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, thiamin, folic acid, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and iron. It is the only product made from seeds that contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a controversial substance that may help fight cancer, treat problems with inflammation, and auto-immune diseases. It does not contain trypsin inhibitors (trypsin is an enzyme essential to nutrition) or phytic acid which is a strong chelator of important minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc and can therefore contribute to mineral deficiencies (although research shows that phytic acid may prevent colon cancer.)
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
PJ Harvey - This Is Love
What is it like to have a relationship with Dionysos? Well, to begin with, he is a very intense god, whose presence intensifies everything, often to a fever pitch. He comes into our lives like a whirlwind, frenzied, ecstatic and beautiful, melting, changing, heightening everything he touches. Those walls we built up, those masks we carefully constructed to shield us from the painful and frightening things in our past and in the world dissolve before him like brittle clay submerged in water. He coaxes us out of the shadows into the light of day, unfolding us gently like a flower to behold the beauty and warmth of a world enchanted and infused with his radiance and life-nourishing essence. He drives off our sorrows and fears, leaving us free and alive, a whole vista of unexplored sensations and emotions now open to us. He holds out a cup full of the wine of life and bids us drink deeply from it, then courses through our bodies: a dizzying, maddening, blessed fire which drives us to dance and shout and laugh in a state of unparalleled bliss. This is what it means to touch god and be touched by him in return - and having felt the ecstasy of an encounter with Dionysos you will never forget it.
But sometimes that's the problem. We are mortals. It's not possible for us to maintain that peak of pure experience, of divine joy, indefinitely. Some try and manage an intimacy with him which most can only dream of - but even the greatest mystic must eventually come down from the mountain and walk amid the mortal world. And for some this can be a sad and disheartening experience. But it needn't be - in fact, it shouldn't be. Because Dionysos is no world-denying, body-hating ascetic contemptuous of the commonplace, dreaming of a fantasy land that doesn't exist. His world is here, now, and he recognizes no dichotomy - and in fact tears down all barriers which might impede the flow of life and spirit.
The goal of the Dionysian is not to have great mind-blowing trips, to cultivate strange powers and unique experiences like notches on a belt, with all the time between as this dull, dismal interlude to real existence. Rather, the purpose of the true Dionysian is to resist such spiritual dilettantism and to work a much more subtle and powerful form of magic than the maenads of old did when they drew fountains of wine from the earth or tore apart wild bulls with their bare hands. Our task is to gradually transform consciousness, to awaken ourselves to an awareness of the world as it truly is, to its beauty and complexity and contradictory nature, the inherent rhythm of creation and destruction which beats through the hearts of all living things. This pulse is so omnipresent that we often cannot hear it, since it has been with us from the moment we drew our first breath and before that even. It sounds in even the humblest of circumstances, in the cadence of our footfalls as we walk through the hallway at work, in the splash of water as we do the dishes after dinner. It is with us always, and so we never hear it; but Dionysos urges us to open our ears and listen, for that song is his song, the song of life which he performs for all creation. Such a simple thing, really, this mindfulness, this being present in the world around you - and yet for many in our fast-paced, hectic society it's next to impossible to accomplish. And so they feel disconnected, alien, cut-off from the source of life. But how much of that is just in their heads?
The biggest barrier to a rewarding spiritual life is usually one's own self. Not the true self, the primal core of their being whose fiery essence is composed of the same essential stuff as the stars in heaven and Dionysos himself - no, not their true self, but the illusionary self that we create for ourselves, composed of fears and self-doubt and the internalized criticism of our family, friends, and society. Our wants and petty aspirations, our material desires, that part of us which is defined by the work we do during the day, the clubs we belong to, our political, racial and even familial identity - all the things that we take to us and wrap around our true selves, weaving a cocoon of illusionary identity in order to fit in with other people who have a similar identity. But none of this is who we truly are, as we find when those strands are cut and fall away. It may be painful to lose them, since we can grow attached to our carefully constructed ego, but we will not cease to be if they are lost. And that is an important distinction to keep in mind. Because if we should begin to lose part of our true selves, a process of death begins. And sometimes the weight of all these masks, all these layers of ego can begin to smother our true selves, snuff out the flame of our immortal being.
And when Dionysos senses that happening he intervenes. He comes to us and challenges us to remember who we truly are, to loosen the threads that bind us, to lift the masks and stare out at the world with our own true eyes once more. And when gently coaxing and subtle reminders are not enough, Dionysos will put on a frightening visage and he will begin to tear all of that stuff away from us, devouring it with his sharp and vicious teeth, and that can be the most painful experience imaginable if you are deeply attached to the false layers. It can feel like you are being torn apart alive, the flesh peeled from your body to reveal muscle and blood and raw nerve endings. And if you resist, if your fear gets the better of you and you fight to stay trapped in ego-snares, you can even die. But if you trust him, if you let him dissolved the falseness, you will find him to be gentle and kind and full of greater love than you could ever have imagined. Not a soft, sentimental, indulgent love - for Dionysos' love is a challenge which we must always strive to meet. His love is freedom and truth, an erotic attraction to our primal being and the transcendent unity of all creation. With that love blazing in our hearts we flee from our homes, our settled, conventional existence, to run free through the forested mountain heights, proclaiming our adoration of him through ecstatic song and dance. Io euoi! Io Dionysos the liberator!
The meadow and the mountain with desire
Gazed on each other, till a fierce unrest
Surged ‘neath the meadow’s seemingly calm breast,
And all the mountain’s fissures ran with fire.
A mighty river rolled between them there.
What could the mountain do but gaze and burn?
What could the meadow do but look and yearn,
And gem its bosom to conceal despair?
Their seething passion agitated space,
Till lo! the lands a sudden earthquake shook,
The river fled: the meadow leaped, and took
The leaning mountain in a close embrace.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Ethanol Boom, Rising Prices Divide Corn Lobby
By Mr Ethanol | September 14, 2007
As a chief advocate for corn farmers around the country, Rob Litterer will be working the halls of Congress this fall to push for increased ethanol production. But he’s facing stiff opposition from what on the surface seems an unlikely source — the farm lobby.
The burgeoning ethanol industry is creating a wave of prosperity for rural towns throughout the Midwest, but the energy bonanza is also pitting farming groups on separate sides of the fence.
Corn farmers are pushing for more ethanol production as the industry creates an enormous new market for their crop, giving corn prices the kind of lift they haven’t seen in years. But the corn farmer’s win is the hog farmer’s loss. Meat, dairy, and other food producers are pushing back against the ethanol boom as higher grain prices cut into their already slim profit margins.
So as Litterer, incoming president of the National Corn Growers Association, visits with members of Congress in coming months, he knows that meat and dairy lobbyists will be close behind, delivering the opposite message.
“There is no question they have a policy that they are opposed to an increase,” Litterer said. “But I don’t think their opposition carries any water.”
Ethanol Shifting Research to Pipelines
Posted by John Davis
Research and development efforts to get ethanol into the nation’s already-existing oil pipeline… a key issue into getting more ethanol into the nation’s gas tanks… took a step forward this week.
This story in Ethanol Producer Magazine says the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) is expanding its ongoing research and development efforts to get past the technical barriers to pipeline transportation of ethanol:
APOL President Shirley Neff said the expansion in research and development has the support of the U.S. DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
One project being expedited by the new focus on ethanol research and development is testing the feasibility of transporting ethanol blends in existing pipeline infrastructure without significant modification. The low-level blends with gasoline will be tested to see if E10, E15 or E20 can be transported without causing stress corrosion cracking in the pipeline—one of the bigger hurdles associated with fuel ethanol. Initial test results are expected within 12 to 18 months.
The AOPL has also announced it will continue its study looking at the environmental and stress conditions that causes stress corrosion cracking. Researchers are looking at lessening that problem.
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 12, 2007
Notice: Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks
Consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, in Proclamation 7463, with respect to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York, the Pentagon, and aboard United Airlines flight 93, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.
Because the terrorist threat continues, the national emergency declared on September 14, 2001, last extended on September 5, 2006, and the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond September 14, 2007. Therefore, I am continuing in effect for an additional year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, with respect to the terrorist threat.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
GEORGE W. BUSH
# # #
Last week, I was walking around a fishing village in Mindoro, Philippines with my uncle, trying to find a fisherman who would be willing to hire his boat to us. We wanted to go island hopping and do some snorkelling at some nearby coral reefs.
As we were walking around, I noted several things of interest. First was a game I had never seen before: Spider-fighting! It's just like cock-fighting, but they use spiders instead, who battle each other on a string suspended between two wooden posts. Just crazy! The fisherman were on their downtime, since they mainly work at night. This is one of the ways they keep themselves entertained. Of course, there's gambling involved.
The second thing I noted were the fisherman's bodies: So lean, fit, muscular, sculpted, and brown. It made me so envious! These are men who really work for a living, who know the sea, who are rich repositories of local knowledge and wisdom, who really use their bodies, and for whom physical labour is just a way-of-life... Whereas me, I'm so out of touch with my own body. I sit in swivel chairs and type. I love the idea of being out in the sun and really using my body; feeling the salt water against my skin, feeling the earth in my hands, or what have you. You see, this type of work doesn't just put one in touch with one's own body, but also with the Earth. The elements are more real to them. The rest of us sit in our air-conditioned cocoons, alienated from the natural world.
I need so badly to feel the Earth again as part of my life. And to get back in touch with my body. To feel the unity of body and Earth, since we are made of the same elements and we each cycle through the other. I feel like such a fat, pudgy, pale-ass, middle-class, lumbering fool, compared to those lithe brown fisherfolk. To use a phrase that my friend uses (a fellow academic), I feel like such a "head without a body". How can I do the intellectual work I'm doing, but still stay in touch with my body and the Earth? I need to go for more hikes!
...and there's another idea I've been seriously thinking about. My uncle has a friend who runs a rice farm, and I've been thinking about coming back next year to help plant or harvest the rice - voluntarily of course. I want to put myself in a peasants' shoes. Of course, it will be back-breaking labour, but I need that kind of shock to my system. I feel I just really need to "keep it real", if you know what I mean. Just live the simple life for a while, in tune with the elements, the raw Earth, and raw existence. In such a state, I imagine I will come to see how superfluous all those other things are - like I-Pods and Blackberries. Everything we need is already right here between us. It's just a matter of mobilising the commons. And how many of us really think about where our food comes from? When we sit down with rice on our plate do we realise the journey that rice has made, and how many peasants worked day and night to put that food on our plate? I'm not one to say grace before meals (since religion to me is mental slavery), but I do like the idea of thinking about our food before we eat it. Working in the rice fields could be so good for me in that way.
And dammit, whether or not it's through work, I just really need to FEEL the Earth, to play with Earth, to hold it in my hands, to get sweaty and dirty, to feel my muscles being used in communion with the Earth, to be exposed to the elements, to sense that love between the Earth and my body (that they are connected), to experience the raw intensity of BEING-IN-THE-WORLD, with no mediation, no superfluities; Just PURE BEING, dammit! (Speaking of "pure being", has anyone seen the movie I Heart Huckabees? Hahaha! That's what I'm talking about!).
The last time I experienced this kind of raw intensity was in Zambales province in the Philippines, at a rainforest reserve. An Aeta tribesmen was taking us on a hike through the jungle, when all of a sudden a major thunder and lightning storm hit. The forest took on such an epic quality! So thrilling! Branches were falling everywhere, electricity was crackling through the air, our bodies were being pounded with thick, heavy, warm rain, mud slushed underfoot, and the trees roared with the wind. Our guide said it was too dangerous, and we immediately started making our way back... But I just wanted to revel in it! I just wanted to scream and splash around in the mud, to feel the raw elements. And in fact, that's just what I did! A stream of water and mud had formed with the heavy rains, and was flowing down a hill-slope. I launched myself on the mudslide, and was carried about 10 metres down the hill in a few moments of pure bliss.
I was so charged with adrenalin. I was soaking wet and didn't give a fuck! The Earth was making itself felt and known to me again. It's really hard to describe the feeling. It's as if a strange transgression had taken place; Almost as if my body had deterritorialised from itself and had become the Earth. And it made me think: Happiness lies in the Unself.
"OUR STREETS 'R OUR MEDIA -WE have TOTAL access"
The pavements are an untapped media resource through which we ordinary
peace loving folk can share our messages, hopes, dreams, ideas and
create a new momentum towards peace - at a certain point there is
critical mass in the cultural conversation which transforms into ACTION!
Chalk4Peace2007 SEPT 15 -23 - The Global Street Art Event
Please copy this & forward this to your contacts
For Your Local Organiser LOOK In The Mirror
Mission Possible - "Our World Working For ALL of Us"
Chalk4Peace2007 SEPT 15 -23 - The Global Street Art Event - ITS
HAPPENNING - United Kingdom.. United States.. Egypt.. Austria..
Germany.. Canada.. Ecuador.. Puerto Rico.. France.. Chile.. Iran..
Iraq.. Mexico.. Spain.. Italy.. Cypress.. Israel.. Your Town..
see video from last year
We CAN Make THE Difference!
THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 15th to 23rd Chalk4Peace!
You are invited to Take Action! - ("Scroll down for WHAT CAN YOU DO?")
To Participate in this GLOBAL outpouring of public art. Where we
makeour personal statements for peace on the pavements and sidewalks
of our cities all over our world.
Chalk4Peace IS HAPPENING!
All around the globe, together we are decorating, dedicating and
declaring, in deep sincerity our collective call for peace.
Chalk4Peace is about our empowerment. We The People, our global
culture, all people everywhere and our common desire to live in peace.
The Chalk4Peace project has already transformed the experience of
thousands of people attending demonstrations for peace all over the
world during the past 4 years. Chalk4Peace is both a tool and a
conduit for non violent public self expression, and participation in
the growing global movement for peace.
Chalk4Peace is an opportunity for all of us of all ages to make our
feelings known, especially the young, whose future is in dire jeopardy
as our global village falls faster and faster into the fear breeding
fear breeding fear spiral.
Our global culture is teetering on the edge of extinction.
No 1 person alone can turn this around, but together WE CAN!
"The Structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, one
party,or one nation. It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative
effort of the whole world" ... Eleanor Roosevelt
Our basic human instincts drive us to seek safety. This is what this
chaos is all about.Our essential human survival instincts are acting
out of context with the wider global cultural need resulting in
mistrust, fear and conflict.
Everywhere the media bombards us with WAR TALK, distractions and
negative belief patterns that encourage us to believe that the future
of our world is out of our hands entirely.
One place we still have communal access to, is OUR STREETS.
We can balance our GLOBAL CONVERSATION with collective self-expression
using OUR STREETS AS OUR MEDIA!
Chalk4Peace is one step, a catalyst that can transform our global
conversation as "we the people", en masse make our statement that is
our common aspiration for PEACE.
START NOW! Just DO IT!
Carry some chalk with you, invite a friend with you, to chalk
inspirations on the pavement whenever and wherever you fancy.
Chalk is harmless, cheap and washes away within a few days.
Especially PARTICIPATE in the Sept 15th to 23rd GLOBAL Chalk4Peace ACTION!
Make it happen in your Community!
(Scroll down for "WHAT CAN YOU DO?")
Lets us turn our grey streets into a living river of colour and
possibility - With poetry, hearts, peace symbols, empowering
statements, also expressions of our frustrations and despair.
All will be seen for several days by thousands of people, then as they
are washed away by the elements WE CAN CONTINUE to find fresh places
We don't need to be an artist to Chalk4Peace. Every statement, however
small or large becomes part of the amazing tapestry that is our global
This unique event conceivably, could be the largest of its kind in
modern history. It is a global effort that is happening.
We The People are spreading the word and making the effort to be a
part of this huge creative endeavour to bring Peace back into the
It is our goal for at least one million or more of us to participate
with this sidewalk/pavement chalk extravaganza, at thousands of
locations, in as many countries, cities and towns around the world as
So WHAT CAN YOU DO to help make this happen?
1. NETWORK/POST this email to your friends, contacts and where ever
else seems appropriate
2. JOIN the Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Chalk4Peace
send a blank email to:
to network with others around the world who will be Chalking4Peace.
3. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
to let us know what you are doing in your community, and please send
us pictures. Or to find out how you can participate in the project.
4. ARRANGE with you local businesses, libraries, churches, mosques,
synagogues, restaurants, supermarkets etc to chalk on the pavement
outside their premises on the 15th - 23rd of September and whenever
else. IDENTIFY public squares such as Trafalgar Square in London and
invite all your friends and your friends' friends to show up with a
few boxes of chalk, or even get some from your local quarry. TAKE
extra chalk with you to hand out to passers-by.
5. USE this Email as a press release for you local TV, Radio and
Newspapers. Let them know that Chalk4Peace is happening ASAP to get
the momentum going.
6. DOCUMENT YOUR Chalk4peace actions with photos and video. Send them
to your local media - copies for our website will be greatly
appreciated - send to:
7. ENGAGE co-creatively in local communal efforts, strengthen working
relationships and find what it takes to stand for peace and freedom.
8. Have lots of FUN and keep on Chalking4Peace after the September event.
"FUN The Final Frontier"
How did Chalk4Peace begin? "Message in a bottle"
for Chalk4Peace locations in America
Its time for us to move beyond the "No to War" position and come
together "Saying Yes2Peace"
"If we don't create our future, our past will create it for us"
Lets skip the war bit and just get to the peace
Greet someone new today, look into their eyes, smile, say hello, shake
their hand ... LET THE PEACE BEGIN!
"There is nothing wrong with our world,
we are just having a weird conversation"
"Reclaim the conversation"
"Our New World Order IS Love
"when the conversation reaches critical mass, it transforms into ACTION"
..... Social Acupuncture
The Synergy Project video
"Celebration, Our Journey, Our Destination"
Dedicated to the child inside each one of us,
All the children and
All the children to come
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
“I believe it is imperative that we never lose our voice of dissent, regardless of political pressure. As Martin Luther King, Jr said: ‘there comes a time when silence is betrayal’…However, it is unforgivable that Congress has been unwilling to examine these matters or take action to prevent these circumstances [executive branch crimes] from occurring again.”
– Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), Introduction to Constitution in Crisis (2006)
Pigs of War come in both political colors of red and blue. We are all unfortunately very familiar with the red pigs. The pigs of war who manipulated, cherry-picked, stove-piped and manufactured intelligence to suggest to the world that Saddam had mushroom cloud producing WMD and something to do with the tragic events of 9-11 that occurred six years ago now.
Many blue politicians are pigs of war and they willingly went along with the deceptions and even parroted red pig talking points whenever they got a chance but now claim that the “fiendishly clever” George fooled them into believing the nearly unbelievable. I don’t know about you, but I take small comfort in that excuse. When we have a system of government where our supposed public servants can profit off of war along with the corporations that pad their bank accounts both blue and red pigs benefit and young people needlessly lose their lives sometimes killing other humans in the process.
Our troops and the people of Iraq are the ones getting trapped between our pusillanimous politicians. These dear human beings become ciphers in purely political calculations from Congress and only an exercise in abstraction from pundits, poets, publishers and the majority of the average American who has not been personally touched by this excremental occupation. In Iraq, every citizen has been personally touched and the American occupation is a living, fire-breathing, palpable entity that has intruded its imperialistic self into every aspect of their daily lives.
How do I know that Congress is playing politics with human hearts? All one has to do is observe the lack of action on the part of the red and blue pigs to come to this sad but inevitable conclusion. Apparently, MAJORITY Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) has spent more time over his summer recess trying to convince red pigs to go against George’s war plan than he spent trying to coalesce his blue caucus into something that would not resemble the red pigs so closely that the blur becomes purple. He and Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) have already decided that they do not have enough votes to end the occupation just as they decided that impeachment was “off the table” even before they were elected! So they will happily hand over to George more of your tax money and China’s money to continue the killing fields in Iraq. Why are they so miserly with democracy, but generous with our treasury and with our dear human treasure?
I got two very overt answers to this question one day in Congress this past spring when I was on the Hill. In one of my meetings with Congressman Conyers, he told me that it was more important to put a Democrat back in the White House in ‘08 than it was to “end the war.” After I recovered from my shock, I knew it was confirmed that partisan politics is exactly what is killing our children and the innocent civilians in Iraq. My next stop was in a Congresswoman’s office who has always been 100% correct about the war. She is a lovely woman with a lovely heart and does not in anyway qualify (and there are a few dozen others who do not) as a blue pig. She had tears in her eyes when she told me: “Cindy, when I go to Speaker’s meetings and we talk about the war, all the talk is about politics and not one of them mentions the heartbreak that will occur if we don’t pull our troops out, now.” People are dying for two diverse but equally deadly political agendas. The red pigs want to keep the war going because they feed out of the trough of carnage and the blue pigs want to keep it going for votes! Either way is reprehensible.
There is a lot of chatter about the Petraeus (written and produced by the White House ) report.
Will the general recommend drawing down troops — even if he does, three-five thousand doesn’t even bring the number down to pre-surge levels — and the report says, in direct contradiction to the GAO report on the surge, that sectarian violence in Iraq is down 75%, without saying that the red pigs have re-defined the term “sectarian violence.” All I know is that the report will paint a rosier picture than what really exists on the ground in Iraq and like Ron Paul said the other day in the Fox News “Leader of the Red Pigs Wannabe” debate: “How can anyone believe anything they say?”
The blue pigs won’t believe the report, but they will expediently go along with the red pig request to further fund the disaster because they believe that it will mean political victory in ‘08.
It is up to we the people to care more about humanity and democracy than either the reds or the blues and it is mandatory that we mount campaigns to defeat the pigs and their masters: the war machine.
Twenty-one families here in America and dozens more in Iraq have felt the sting of the lethal politics of war just since the beginning of September, and the beat goes on.
What if instead of pigs of war in our government, we had elected officials who put humanity before politics and people before profits? Maybe the horrible twin tragedies of the Bush Regime and 9-11 would have never occurred within our borders and the rest of the world could look up to the USA with respect as a true leader in world peace instead of glaring at our shocking and awful quest for empire off the backs of the many who benefit the pocketbooks of the few? It’s not to late, but we are getting there.
Silence is betrayal and the silence of a host of blue pigs is the biggest betrayal of all.
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan who was killed in Bush's war of terror on 04/04/04. She is the co-founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace and The Camp Casey Peace Institute. Read other articles by Cindy.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Israel's population today is about 7,150,000. About 5.4 million are Jews (76%) plus another 400,000 Jewish settlers in over 200 expanding settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank that includes Palestinian East Jerusalem. They're the chosen ones afforded full rights and privileges under the laws of the Jewish state for Jews alone.
Palestinian Arabs are another story. Their population is around 5.3 million (plus six million or more in the Palestinian diaspora). Around 3.9 million live in occupied Gaza and the West Bank, and another 1.4 million are Jewish citizens of Israel (20% of the population), including about 260,000 classified as internally displaced. Palestinians get no rights afforded Jews even though those inside Israel are citizens of the Jewish state, have passports and IDs, and can vote in Knesset elections for what good it does them. They're subjected to constant abuse and neglect, are confined to 2% of the land plus 1% more for agricultural use, and are treated disdainfully as nonpersons.
Arab Israeli citizens live mainly in all-Arab towns and villages in three heartlands - the Galilee in the north; what's called the "Little Triangle" in the center that runs along the Israeli side of the Green Line separating Israel from the West Bank; and the Negev desert region in the country's south. These communities aren't geographically consolidated and are surrounded by established Jewish communities, hostile to Arab neighbors, and with Israel's full military might backing them. A minority of Palestinians also live uneasily in mixed Jewish-Arab cities like Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, Jerusalem in the West Bank and others.
The Plight of Palestinian Nonpersons in "Unrecognized Villages"
The term is Orwellian in its worst sense. How can something real not officially exist? Around 150,000 or more (accurate numbers are hard to come by) Palestinian Arabs today live in over 100 so-called "unrecognized villages," mainly in the Galilee and the Negev desert. They're unrecognized because their inhabitants are considered internal refugees who were forced to flee their original homes during Israel's 1948 "War of Independence" and were prevented from returning when it ended.
These villages were delegitimized by Israel's 1965 Planning and Construction Law that established a regulatory framework and national plan for future development. It zoned land for residential, agriculture and industrial use, forbade unlicensed construction, banned it on agricultural land, and stipulated where Israeli Jews and Palestinians could live. That's how apartheid worked in South Africa.
Existing communities are circumscribed on a map with blue lines around them. Areas inside the lines can be developed. Those outside cannot. For Jewish communities, great latitude is allowed for future expansion, and new communities are added as a result. In contrast, Palestinian areas are severely constricted leaving no room for expansion. Their land was reclassified as agricultural meaning no new construction is allowed. This meant entire communities became "unrecognized" and all homes and buildings there declared illegal, even the 95% of them built before the 1965 law passed. They're subject to demolition and inhabitant displacement at the whim of Israeli officials. They want new land for Jews and freely take it from Arab owners, helpless to stop it.
All Israeli public land is administered by the Israel Land Authority (ILA) that has a legal obligation to treat all its citizens fairly. Instead and with impunity, it serves Jewish interests only using various methods to do it.
It restricts and prohibits Palestinian land development by:
-- putting large Arab areas under its control through the creation of regional councils;
-- zoning restrictions mentioned above;
-- transferring public land adjacent to Arab communities to Jewish National Fund (JNF) ownership that mandates it's only for Jews;
-- connecting the cost of leasing land to military service that discriminates against Palestinians not required to serve and almost none do;
-- declaring national priority town areas for Jews only;
-- delaying, restricting and prohibiting local development in Arab communities;
-- ignoring Arab needs in regional and national plans;
-- allowing Palestinians little or no representation on national planning committees;
-- enforcing a policy of forced evictions and demolitions of buildings without appropriate permits. In "unrecognized villages," no permits are allowed Palestinians on their own land. Entire villages thus face prosecution in the courts and loss of their homes, land and possessions through a state-sponsored policy to remove them judicially.
It gets worse. No new Palestinian communities are allowed, and existing "unrecognized villages" are denied essential municipal services like clean drinking water, electricity, roads, transport, sanitation, education, healthcare, postal and telephone service, refuse removal and more because under the Planning and Construction Law they're illegal. The toll on their people is devastating:
-- clean water is unavailable almost everywhere unless people have access to well water,
-- the few available health services are inadequate,
-- many homes have no bathrooms, and no permits are allowed to build them,
-- only villages with private generators have electricity enough for lighting only,
-- no village is connected to the main road network,
-- some villages are fenced in prohibiting their residents from access to their traditional lands,
-- in the North, only one school remains open and children must travel 10 - 15 kilometers to attend another; as a result, achievement levels are low and dropout rates high.
It's worse still when home demolitions are ordered. It may stipulate Palestinians must do it themselves or be fined for contempt of court and face up to a year in prison. They may also have to cover the cost when Israeli bulldozers do it under a system of convoluted justice penalizing Palestinians twice over.
Discriminatory Israeli Law
Israel is a signatory to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Its Preamble states "the obligation of (signatory) States under the Charter of the United Nations to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedom." It then covers what states must observe in 53 Articles that stipulate the following:
-- "All people have the right of self-determination."
-- "Each state party....undertakes to respect and ensure to all individuals within its territory the rights in this Covenant, without distinction of any kind" for any reason.
-- "Every human being has the inherent right to life," to "be protected by law," and no activity may be undertaken to destroy any rights and freedom covered under this Covenant.
-- "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
-- "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention."
-- "Everyone....within the territory (shall) have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to chose his residence (and) to be free to leave any country (and not be) deprived of the right to enter (or return to) his own country."
-- "All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals."
-- "Everyone shall have the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law."
-- "All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law."
-- In states with "ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities (those persons) shall not be denied the (same) right(s)....as the other members."
In Israel, for all intents and purposes, the ICCPR is a nonstarter. It applies to Jews alone, not to Arabs and other non-Jews. Israeli laws allow it by subjecting non-Jews, and specifically Arabs, to three types of discrimination:
-- legal direct discrimination guaranteeing Jews alone the right to immigrate and become citizens; it also gives various Jewish organizations in the country quasi-government status serving Jews only.
-- indirect discrimination through "neutral" laws and criteria applying principally to Palestinians; government preferences and benefits are predicated on prior military service most Palestinians don't perform; the categorization of the country into preferential zones for Jews provides them privileges and benefits denied Palestinians.
-- institutional discrimination through a legal framework facilitating a pattern of privileges afforded Jews only; they're allocated through budgets and resources showing preferential treatment for Jews and discrimination against Palestinians; Israeli courts enforce the bias by refusing to hear cases where Palestinians claim their rights have been denied;
-- even when courts hear cases and rule favorably, Palestinians get only crumbs; an example was in the early September Supreme Court decision that Israel reroute part of its illegal apartheid wall and return a small portion of stolen land to the people of Bil'in; a far greater issue was ignored by allowing the illegal Modiin Illit settlement on Bil'in land to remain intact; for anti-occupation Gush Shalom, the court decision message to settlers is do as you please, build fast and expect court approval retrospectively.
Israel professes to be a democracy. It is not by any reasonable standard. It defines itself as a Jewish state which contradicts its claimed democratic credentials. It treats Jews preferentially and entitles them to special consideration denied non-Jews who are discriminated against as second-class citizens and denied comparable rights.
Israel has no formal constitution and instead is governed by its Basic Laws that before 1992 guaranteed no basic rights. That year, the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom passed authorizing the Knesset to overturn laws contrary to the right to dignity, life, freedom, privacy, property and to leave and enter the country. The law states "There shall be no violation of the life, body or dignity of any person. All persons are entitled to protection" of these rights, and "There shall be no deprivation or restriction of the liberty of a person by imprisonment, arrest, extradition or otherwise."
For a nation committed to violence, the irony is particularly galling that a section of the Basic Law also deals with "The Right to Life and Limb in Israeli Law." It states "Israeli law has abolished the death penalty for murder (and corporal punishment)." It notes this penalty exists in principle but only under limited circumstances such as for treason during war and under the Law for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. It further notes Israel's 1998 Good Samaritan Law requires assistance be given in situations "of immediate and severe danger to another." Omitted from the Basic Law is the right to equality so all rights in it apply to Jews only.
Palestinian Arabs have none, yet can stand for public office in the Knesset. Some do, a few are elected but have no power beyond a public stage to state their views and be shouted down or ignored. They're also constrained by the 1992 Law of Political Parties and section 7A(1) of the Basic Law that prohibits candidates for office from denying "the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people." No candidate may challenge the fundamental Jewish character of the state or demand equal rights, privileges and justice under the law for Arabs and Jews. The essential Zionist identity is inviolable, the rule of law works for Jews alone, and Palestinians are denied all rights, equal treatment and justice under a legal system for Jews that discriminates against Arab Muslims. In South Africa it was called apartheid.
The Current Plight of Palestinian Israeli Citizens in the Negev
About half the 160,000 Bedouin Arabs today face forced displacement in the Negev. Why? Because they live in dozens "unrecognized villages" making their homes illegal under Israeli law. They face imprisonment and fines if they refuse to leave so their land can be cleared, homes demolished, and the area Judaised for a Negev development plan. It's described as "A Miracle in the Desert" that aims to populate the area with a half million new Jewish residents in the next decade. Plans are for 25 new communities and 100,000 homes on cleared Bedouin lands. For the past two years, Israel has been ethnically cleansing the Negev and erasing Bedouin villages to make it possible.
All Bedouin Arabs in "unrecognized villages" face what those living in Tawil Abu Jarwal endured in January. The entire village was destroyed when the Israeli military (IDF), a large police contingent and special task forces, a helicopter and bulldozers came in January 9. They demolished all 21 of its homes that consisted of shacks, brick rooms and tents. It followed a month earlier assault when 17 other homes were destroyed and their residents forcibly displaced. The people became homeless, and 63 of them in January were children. In late 2006, Israel's interior minister, Roni Bar-On, announced his intention to destroy all 42,000 "illegal structures" in the Negev in a bandit declaration of planned forced ethnic cleansing against people helpless to stop it.
It's happening in Al-Sadir, Tel-Arad, Amara-Tarabin and on June 25 to Bedouin families in the small villages of Um al-Hiran and Atir that are homes to about 1000 people. Hundreds of police and Israeli security forces destroyed over 20 of their homes to make way for a Jewish community called Hiran to replace them. People living in them lost everything including their possessions they had no chance to remove. Haaretz reported Atir villagers lived there for 51 years after being transferred to the area in 1956 under martial law. The article continued saying the Israeli Regional Council of "Unrecognized Villages" will move displaced families to a refugee camp in the center of Jerusalem (where Bedouins don't wish to live) "as part of the government's (forced ethnic cleansing) relocation project" to make the "desert bloom" for new Jewish only communities.
This is what all Negev Bedouin Arabs now face unless something can stop it. Large numbers of them attended an early August protest conference. It was held in solidarity with unaffected Palestinians who together called on Arab and other countries to support their right to remain in their homes and denounce Israel's racist apartheid laws.
Arab Knesset member, Talab Al Sane, spoke on their behalf. So did Hussein Al Rafay'a, head of the regional council of the "unrecognized villages," who said Israel wants Palestinians to be refugees in their own lands and has been forcing them into this status by a policy of home demolitions and continued displacement. Arabs once owned 5.5 million dunams of land (550,000 hectares) in the Negev, he said. They now own less than 200,000 (20,000 hectares) and are threatened with losing all of it. "We will resort to the Security Council, and the international court (in the Hague) to provide the residents and their lands with needed protection."
With an assured US veto in the Security Council and Israel's record of ignoring UN resolutions and World Court rulings against it, there's little chance for success and every likelihood legal Israeli Arab citizens will continue being displaced from their own land.
Advocacy for Palestinian Arabs in "Unrecognized Villages"
Israel denies all Palestinians their basic rights. However, those living in so-called "unrecognized villages" face a special threat - demolition of their homes, loss of their land and possessions, and frightening displacement that will make them refugees along with millions of others in their own land. Few organizations advocate on their behalf, but a group that does is called The Association of Forty.
It's a grassroots NGO in Israel committed to promoting social justice for Israeli Arabs and to gain official recognition for their "unrecognized villages." It was formed in December, 1988 when Arab and Jewish residents from several of the affected villages and other areas formed the Association. It now "represents the residents of the 'unrecognized villages' and their problems, and promotes support locally and internationally" on their behalf. It seeks official recognition for the villages, an improvement in their living conditions, and "full rights and equality for the Arab citizens of the state" of Israel.
Its work consists of initiating "the preparation and implementation of active projects within these villages such as paving roads, improving existing roads and helping the residents to achieve their rights, to connect their villages to the network of water, electricity and telephones, to establish and operate kindergartens and clinics for mother and child care, and to obtain educational non-curricular activities for the schoolchildren...." It publishes a monthly newspaper, Sawt Al-Qura, has photographic exhibitions, films and documentaries that reflect the plight of the villages. It also organizes study days, holds local and international conferences, and participates in other international ones.
The Palestinians Enduring Struggle for Freedom and Justice
Palestinians today live under horrendous conditions. By any standard, they're appalling, repressive and in violation of fundamental human rights principles under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating:
-- "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."
-- "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms....in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind."
-- "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
-- "Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law."
-- "All are equal before the law and are entitled....to equal protection."
-- "Everyone has the right to own property (nor shall anyone) be arbitrarily (be) deprived of his property."
Israel offers these rights to Jews alone. It denies them to Palestinian Arab Muslims in violation of its own Basic Law professing "Fundamental human rights....founded upon recognition of the value of the human being, the sanctity of human life, and the principle that all persons are free." It continues stating the Basic Law of Israel "is to protect human dignity and liberty....(that) There shall be no violation of the property of a person....(that) All persons are entitled to protection of their life, body and dignity....(that) All government authorities are bound to respect the rights under this Basic Law."
The Basic Law also states Israel is a Jewish state, and the message is clear. All rights, benefits, privileges and protections are for Jews alone. All others are unwelcome, unwanted, unprotected, and unequal under the law. For them, justice unrecognized is justice denied and for Palestinians it's willful and with malice.
They face constant harassment, abuse and near daily assaults in the West Bank and even worse treatment under virtual imprisonment in Gaza. Their democratically elected government was ousted by a US-Israeli orchestrated coup in June to the shameless applause of Western leaders and silence from Arab ones. They're now isolated, surrounded and dangerously close to a humanitarian disaster affecting 1.4 million people.
It's no better for Israeli Palestinian citizens. They're nonpersons in their own land, are treated like intruders, given no rights, face constant harassment and mistreatment, get no justice, and face imminent loss of their homes, land, freedom and lives any time Israeli authorities wish to act against them. Yet they persist and endure as do their brethren in the Occupied Territories. They reach out to the world community, press their case, and a delegation from occupied Palestine stated it at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya in January.
It was a call to action and cry for help for "freedom, justice and (a) durable peace" and an end to six decades of repression. It called for a "global Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it ends its apartheid-like regime of discrimination, occupation and colonization, and respects the right of return of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons."
It called for "Consumer boycotts of Israeli products; boycott of Israeli academic, athletic and cultural events and institutions complicit in human rights abuses; divestment from Israeli companies (and) international companies involved in perpetuating injustice, and pressuring governments to impose sanctions on Israel...."
Silence is not an option, and people of conscience can help. Noted author and documentary filmmaker, John Pilger, believes "something is changing," and he saw it in a recent full page New York Times ad having a "distinct odour of panic." It called for boycotting Israel, and Pilger senses the "swell....is growing inexorably, as if an important marker has been passed (and it's) reminiscent of the boycotts that led to sanctions against apartheid South Africa.....once distant voices," notes Pilger, have "gone global," it caught Israel off guard and may signal change. But not easily or fast and may not happen at all unless global pressure becomes mass public outrage that this injustice no longer will be tolerated by people of conscience anywhere.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on TheMicroEffect.com Saturdays at noon US central time.
posted by Steve Lendman @ 4:16 AM
After much speculation (and denials) this Summer, it would appear that the rumours of a one-off Led Zeppelin reunion are true.
The PR company who are handling the forthcoming double-disc Led Zepp best of 'Mothership' are holding a press conference this Wednesday (September 12).
The press call at the 02 Centre is being hosted by concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith, leading us to believe that an official announcement about the Led Zeppelin reunion will be made. Possibly to be at the 02 Arena, but the date of which is yet to be confirmed.
By all accounts, Robert Plant somewhat let the proverbial cat out of the proverbial bag last week when he turned up at the Gibson Guitartown London charity exhibition, where he signed a special 10-foot hand-painted Gibson Les Paul.
Asked by a fan if he was looking forward to the show at the O2, Plant replied: “How did you know about that?” He then added that there was a band meeting that very afternoon to discuss the show.
In other Led Zepp related news, Robert Plant is to release a new album Raising Sand, next month. Recorded with bluegrass singer and fiddle virtuoso Alison Krauss and producer T-Bone Burnett you can find out more about it on John Mulvey's blog here.
Come back to uncut.co.uk on Wednesday, when hopefully we'll be able to reveal the date that everyone seems to be talking about.
The US government is somehow involved in the attacks on the September 11, 2001, El Diario-La Prensa daily reads in an editorial, based on suspicions by thousands of US nationals.
According to Zogby polling firm, 51 percent of US nationals believe Bush and his Vice President Richard Cheney orchestrated a self-aggression to justify militarism in the last years.
Journalist Luis Barrios says in his weekly column that Osama bin Laden may possibly work for intelligence services subordinated to the White House, which he benefits with each appearance.
Barrios added that every statement by Osama favours the US president, either to join forces over his alleged anti-terror fight, or defend the extension of troops in Iraq.
Yesterday, Bush made good use of Osama's latest recoding to stress it is necessary to maintain the Pentagon troops in the Arab nation and Afghanistan as guarantors of the US safety.
hr dig iep
Monday, September 10, 2007
Finkelstein’s Legacy at DePaul University
In his report, the Dean bases his argument that Finkelstein’s scholarship doesn’t meet DePaul’s standards on a single chapter from The Holocaust Industry. As it turns out, the Dean, in the course of advancing his argument, reveals he hasn’t read any of Finkelstein’s books, much less the one he is referencing. Suchar got so confused in his borrowings from another text, which was perhaps provided to him by Dershowitz or some other third party, that he misspelled the word “huckster” as “huxter”—just as Dershowitz misspelled it in his propaganda package, [see p. 5 of 21], which he sent Finkelstein’s former department chair.
posted by birdie
on Monday September 10
The New York Times
reports: A tenure bid by an assistant professor of anthropology at Barnard College who has critically examined the use of archaeology in Israel has put Columbia University once again at the center of a struggle over scholarship on the Middle East.
The professor, Nadia Abu El-Haj, who is of Palestinian descent, has been at Barnard since 2002 and has won many awards and grants, including a Fulbright scholarship and fellowships at Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. Barnard has already approved her for tenure, officials said, and forwarded its recommendation to Columbia University, its affiliate, which has the final say.
Ideally, masturbation is learned
before the age of five,
but far too often it isn't learned
until a women is in her
late teens or early twenties
It's nonsense to assume that children
have no sexuality and they should be
protected from its 'evils'
Ideally, masturbation is learned
before the age of five,
but far too often it isn't learned
until a women is in her
late teens or early twenties
It's nonsense to assume that children
have no sexuality and they should be
protected from its 'evils'
The fact that pre-adolescent girls masturbate
proves that hormonally induced sex drives
are not the only reason to masturbate
Young girls do it for no other reason than it feels good
Since it does feel good,
there is no reason to expect women not to
There is nothing wrong with a woman
giving herself pleasure on a daily basis
Nearly all males masturbate daily, or even more frequently, well into their 20s and sometimes far beyond.
This decline is more drastic among females, and more gradual among males.
While females aged 13–17 masturbated almost once a day on average (and almost as often as their male peers), adult women only masturbated 8–9 times a month, compared to the 18–22 among men.
Female masturbation techniques
These include a woman stroking or rubbing her vulva, especially her clitoris, with her index and/or middle fingers. Sometimes one or more fingers may be inserted into her vagina to repeatedly stroke the frontal wall of her vagina where her g-spot is located.
Masturbation aids such as a vibrator, dildo or Ben Wa balls can also be used to stimulate the vagina and clitoris.
Many women caress their breasts or stimulate a nipple with the free hand, if these are receptive areas for sexual stimulation. Anal stimulation is also enjoyed by some.
Lubrication is sometimes used during masturbation, especially when penetration is involved, but this is not universal and many women find their natural lubrication sufficient – some even produce more lubricant alone than with a partner.
Common positions include lying on back or face down, sitting, squatting, kneeling or standing.
In a bath or shower a female may direct tap water at her clitoris and vulva.
Lying face down one may use the hands, one may straddle a pillow, the corner or edge of the bed, a partner's leg or some scrunched-up clothing and "hump" her vulva and clitoris against it.
Standing up, a chair, the corner of an item of furniture or even a washing machine can be used to stimulate her clitoris through her labia and clothing.
In the 1920s, Havelock Ellis reported that turn-of-the-century seamstresses using treadle-operated sewing machines could achieve orgasm by sitting near the edge of their chairs.
Some women can reach orgasm merely by crossing their legs tightly and clenching the muscles in their legs, which creates pressure on the genitals.
This can potentially be done in public without observers noticing. Some prefer to use only pressure applied to the clitoris without direct contact, for example by pressing the palm or ball of the hand against underwear or other clothing.
A few women can orgasm spontaneously, after experiencing prior sexual arousal, due to intellectual stimulation alone, for instance listening to certain pieces of music.
Often, these mental triggers have associations with previous instances of arousal and orgasm.
Some women even claim to be able to orgasm spontaneously by force of will alone, but that ability, if it exists at all, may not strictly qualify as masturbation as no physical stimulus is involved.
Sex therapists will sometimes recommend that female patients take time to masturbate to orgasm, especially if they have not done so before.
Masturbation gives women the opportunity to explore their body while at the same time giving them a high degree of sexual freedom.
It allows women the opportunity to experience sexual pleasure without relying on a partner, and to release sexual tension when they feel the need to.
Masturbation can be very empowering teaching tool for women, it teaches them about their bodies, and how it responds to sexual stimulation.
Many normal and healthy women only experience orgasm while masturbating, or it is their most intense type of orgasm.
Masturbation is the first and most important sexual skill a woman should learn, as it holds the key to enjoying other forms of sexual activity.
Ideally, this skill is learned prior to the age of five, but far too often it is not learned until a women is in her late teens or early twenties.
This stems from the incorrect notion that children are entirely devoid of sexuality and they are to be protected from the 'evils' of sexuality.
Children, especially infants, are incredibly curious individuals who will undoubtedly discover masturbation on their own.
A parent, if they catch their child masturbating, should not chastise their child for it, but rather, tell them about private and public actions.
In spite of the sexual revolution, female masturbation is still somewhat taboo.
Even though popular songs, movies, and television shows make mention of female masturbation, or the use of vibrators or dildos, it is not a common topic of discussion.
Men and women are more likely to make mention of boys and men masturbating than girls and women. I
t is given that men and boys masturbate, but for girls and women, even though it is commonly accepted that it is okay for them to do it, they are not expected to.
If a woman does not know that her peers masturbate and that they presume that she does, she is less likely to do it, or if she does, she feels guilty for doing it.
Even if it is acceptable to do something, people are less likely to do it if they do not know that their peers do it. Since women do not generally talk about it, it is presumed that they do not masturbate.
While it is extremely untrue, the majority of people believe that women are less sexual than men. We are led to believe that women think about sex and desire sex much less. Society creates outcasts of women who are openly sexual.
This results in women believing they should not have strong sexual feelings and desires. Unfortunately, many women are ashamed to admit they become horny.
This results in women introverting and denying their own sexual feelings and desires.
While a woman's desire for sex may change with time as the result of hormonal influences, they are just as sexual as men.
If a woman accepts that she is equally as sexual as a man, she is more likely to feel comfortable with her desire to masturbate.
The main reason a woman should masturbate is because it feels good. Women with strong sex drives may masturbate frequently, but they do so because it feels good, not because they are driven to.
If it did not feel good, it is not likely that they would, no matter how aroused they were. A woman should
not forgo masturbating just because she does not have a strong sex drive. Even if you have no desire for partner sex, you should still enjoy giving yourself pleasure.
The fact that pre-adolescent girls masturbate proves that hormonally induced sex drives are not the only reason to masturbate. Young girls do it for no other reason than it feels good. Since it does feel good, there is no reason to expect women not to. There is nothing wrong with a woman giving herself pleasure on a daily basis.
For masturbation to be pleasurable, it does not have to end in orgasm. Masturbation may involve nothing more than placing your hands against your vulva when you go to sleep at night, because it feels good.
Women are increasingly developing very positive attitudes towards masturbation and the pleasure it can bring them. If given the opportunity, women will often discuss their masturbation habits with pride, without the least amount of guilt.
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, September 10, 2007; 2:26 PM
Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan and three other protesters were arrested shortly after noon today outside the Capitol hearing room where Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker were testifying in a joint hearing of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees.
Capitol Police charged Sheehan with disorderly conducted for shouting during the hearing.
Desiree Fairooz of the District and Christy Anne Miller, a California resident and Sheehan's sister, were charged with disorderly conduct for shouting in the hallway of the Cannon House Office Building, where the hearing is taking place.
The fourth person arrested, the Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. of the D.C.-based Hip Hop Caucus, was transported to George Washington University Hospital after complaining that he was injured during his arrest. Yearwood was charged with disorderly conduct and assault on a police officer.
Police said he jumped in front of the line and refused to move to the end of the line.
Lori Perdue, an eyewitness and Code Pink protester from Indianapolis, said eight Capitol Police officers "piled on" Yearwood while he waited to enter the hearing room.
In addition, three other protesters who shouted at Petraeus were taken from the room by police following his testimony.
Stewart A. Alexander for President
Peace and Freedom Party
Socialist Party USA
September 10, 2007
Today Americans are faced with a broad range of complex issues not seen since the American Civil War; a war that divided America and created a clash of ideologies. Now, more than 140 years since the end of Civil War, Americans are faced with greater challenges and 11 socialist presidential candidates with Socialist Party USA and Peace and Freedom Party believe a new direction for the nation is critical.
All 11 presidential candidates embrace the principles of socialism and believe that it is the direction that America must take to survive. The Democrats and the Republicans are the capitalist parties and they only represent the interest of the capitalist.
Most Americans have a limited understanding about what the socialist presidential candidates have to offer; however today many Americans are beginning to realize that the promises of the capitalist are not intended to meet the needs of working class people.
America’s working class is suffering the effects of a two party system that is taking over 90 percent of the nation down a road of financial destruction. Under the poor leadership of the Democrats and Republicans, close to 2 million Americans will lose their homes this year and it is being projected that another 3 million will lose their homes in 2008.
The mortgage lending crisis is jeopardizing the financial security of millions of Americans and will impact the income of working class people nationwide; in the housing market, construction, retail and commercial markets, and the transportation industry.
The working class paychecks are getting smaller while the cost of living is consuming the checks of entire families. By contrast, American CEO’s and top corporate executives are receiving incomes and benefits in the millions of dollars and the gap between those that have and those that have not is wider than ever.
The socialist candidates do not all agree on the same approach in addressing the needs of America’s working class; however all the candidates agree that a new direction is needed and that direction is socialism.
Recently Congress approved legislation to increase the paychecks of millions of Americans by $2.10 per hour. Socialist Candidate Eric Chester from Massachusetts emphasizes “The Socialist Party stands for fair wages starting with a $15 minimum wage.” The Congressional package of the Democrats and Republicans will only raise the minimum wage to less than half of what is being proposed by the socialist candidate.
Candidate Brian Moore from Florida says, “I will emphasize a guaranteed income (approximately $10,000 per family per year) and a decent housing for all families.” Candidate Moore is also calling for “the elimination of exorbitant executive salaries, outsourcing of jobs and companies, and calls for an end to for-profit corporations.”
Candidate Mary Alice Herbert from Vermont, a socialist vice presidential candidate, is campaigning for “socialize healthcare, free education from pre-school through graduate school and affordable housing.” Candidate Herbert would also support federal spending on rebuilding this country’s infrastructure to create jobs.
Candidate Tino Rozzo from New Jersey notes, “No doubt the working class and wealthy class have nothing in common. The divisions are too extreme and the working class must be free from the exploitation of the capitalist class.”
All 11 presidential candidates differ sharply with the Democrats and Republicans on the issue of protecting the healthcare needs of the nation. Over 47 million Americans are without healthcare coverage and America has fallen behind all the industrialized nations in matters involving healthcare. All of the socialist candidates oppose having private corporations managing the nation’s healthcare needs; a system that is based on corporate profits.
Candidate Stanley Hetz from Pennsylvania says, “I believe that all citizens of the United States should have free medical care.” Candidate Dwight Welch from Illinois says, “I would make this the central issue of my campaign. I support Socialist Party’s position working with the model of the British NHS but I am willing to consider the possibilities of Canada’s single payer healthcare system.”
All of the socialist candidates have strong opinions on most national issues, supporting a woman’s right to choose, supporting Affirmative Action, supporting equal rights for non-heterosexuals, supporting equal rights for non-citizens, supporting free education for students, and providing for the needs of seniors.
The Democrats and Republicans differ sharply from the socialist candidates and with most Americans regarding the Iraq War. While the two corporate parties are considering giving President Bush another $145 billion to continue the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the socialist candidates are demanding an immediate withdrawal from both countries and bringing the Americans troops home.
The socialist candidates lack the financial resources of the Democrats and Republicans and are not receiving the free publicity from America’s corporate media; however these candidates share a single belief that America’s working class is at a critical junction in American politics that will determine our rights, privileges and freedoms for the next 300 years.
For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander.
Two years ago, I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients--without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would study an inmate's chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person's illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved.
When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane? It didn't make any sense. It wasn't logical, so I dismissed the story.
However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian healing process called ho'oponopono. I had never heard of it, yet I couldn't let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more. I had always understood "total responsibility" to mean that I am responsible for what I think and do. Beyond that, it's out of my hands. I think that most people think of total responsibility that way. We're responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does--but that's wrong.
The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility. His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete story of his work as a therapist.
He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. That ward where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to live, work, or visit.
Dr. Len told me that he never saw patients. He agreed to have an office and to review their files. While he looked at those files, he would work on himself. As he worked on himself, patients began to heal. "'After a few months, patients that had to be shackled were being allowed to walk freely,' he told me. 'Others who had to be heavily medicated were getting off their medications. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed.' I was in awe. 'Not only that,' he went on, 'but the staff began to enjoy coming to work.Absenteeism and turnover disappeared. We ended up with more staff than we needed because patients were being released, and all the staff was showing up to work. Today, that ward is closed.'
This is where I had to ask the million dollar question: 'What were you doing within yourself that caused those people to change?'
'I was simply healing the part of me that created them,' he said. I didn't understand. Dr. Len explained that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life - simply because it is in your life -- is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is your creation.
Whew. This is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing. Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another.
Yet, the truth is this: if you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life. This means that terrorist activity, the president, the economy or anything you experience and don't like--is up for you to heal. They don't exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you.
The problem isn't with them, it's with you, and to change them, you have to change you. "I know this is tough to grasp, let alone accept or actually live. Blame is far easier than total responsibility, but as I spoke with Dr. Len, I began to realize that healing for him and in ho 'oponopono means loving yourself.
If you want to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you want to cure anyone, even a mentally ill criminal you do it by healing you. I asked Dr. Len how he went about healing himself. What was he doing, exactly, when he looked at those patients' files?
'"I just kept saying, 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you' over and over again," he explained. "That's it?" That's it.
Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your world. Let me give you a quick example of how this works: one day, someone sent me an email that upset me. In the past I would have handled it by working on my emotional hot buttons or by trying to reason with the person who sent the nasty message.
This time, I decided to try Dr. Len's method. I kept silently saying, 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you,' I didn't say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evoking the spirit of love to heal within me what was creating the outer circumstance. Within an hour I got an e-mail from the same person. He apologized for his previous message. Keep in mind that I didn't take any outward action to get that apology. I didn't even write him back. Yet, by saying 'I love you,' I somehow healed within me what was creating him.
I later attended a ho 'oponopono workshop run by Dr. Len. He's now 70 years old, considered a grandfatherly shaman, and is somewhat reclusive. He praised my book, The Attractor Factor. He told me that as I improve myself, my book's vibration will raise, and everyone will feel it when they read it. In short, as I improve, my readers will improve. "What about the books that are already sold and out there?" I asked. "'They aren't out there," he explained, once again blowing my mind with his mystic wisdom. "They are still in you".
In short, there is no out there. It would take a whole book to explain this advanced technique with the depth it deserves. Suffice It to say that whenever you want to improve anything in your life, there's only one place to look: inside you. When you look, do it with love.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance left by the violet on the heel that crushed it.” - Mark Twain
Sunday, September 09, 2007
In “Their Globalization or Ours?” (ZNet, August 27, 2007), I stated that free trade and protectionist policies both serve the capitalist class and that working people must unite across national borders to raise their living standards. In response, one reader wrote,
I also believe that if all unions in the world work together we can achieve more, but many countries don't have unions, and in some that do, like my birth country Iran, union leaders get arrested all the time. So, my question is, how can we support unions in other counties?
The answer to that question lies in two basic principles of the labor movement: self-determination (what we wish for ourselves, we want for all) and solidarity (an injury to one is an injury to all).
“What we wish for ourselves, we want for all” means that all people must have the right to determine their own affairs. That includes dealing with their own leaders and governments, however corrupt.
The more the U.S. threatens Iran, the more the Iranian government can silence internal dissidents by claiming they are American agents. To support workers in Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Cuba, Columbia, Africa, Asia, etc., American workers must oppose any U.S. intervention in those nations for any reason.
In The New Military Humanism: Lessons From Kosovo, Noam Chomsky documents how NATO bombed the former Yugoslavia “in the name of principles and values.” The actual goal was to take control of a portion of eastern Europe that was formerly under Russia’s influence.
Imperialism presents itself as humanitarian intervention in order to override domestic opposition to war.
The U.S. invaded Iraq on the pretext of protecting the world from nuclear attack, protecting the Iraqi people from a cruel dictator and establishing democracy. These have all proved to be lies. The majority of Iraqis want U.S. troops out of their country, and the majority of Americans and American soldiers agree. Yet, Washington continues its military occupation because, from the beginning, this has been a war for oil.
It is impossible to support workers in other nations and also support our own government invading or meddling in those nations. Capitalism forces us to choose: be loyal to your nation and betray your class or be loyal to your class and betray your nation. (By “nation,” the capitalist class means its own interests, not those of the majority.)
The loyalty of the labor movement is divided. Without the awareness or consent of their members, top executives in the AFL-CIO have helped Washington to overthrow democratically-elected governments, prop up anti-union dictators and support right-wing unions against progressive governments. When the AFL-CIO backed the short-lived coup against Venezuela’s democratically-elected President, Hugo Chávez, many rank-and-file workers were outraged. As the South Bay (California) Labor Council protested,
There’s no solidarity when labor becomes a go-between, laundering funds and resources from the Bush administration and passing them to groups abroad. That role is more appropriate for government agents — agents of empire…We believe that international labor solidarity must come from the heart of the workers in one country to the heart of workers in another country — a…reciprocal relationship.
My first demonstration was at the U.S. embassy in Toronto in the spring of 1965. It was a solidarity rally, protesting police violence against civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama. I was amazed that a group of predominately White people would stand for hours in a cold rain to defend the rights of Black people in another country.
Mutual aid (solidarity) is basic to human nature. Over 70 percent of Americans think that the government should ensure that no one goes without food, clothing or shelter. More than three-quarters of the billions of dollars raised by U.S. non-profit organizations every year is donated by individuals. In every disaster, 9/11, Katrina, the Asian tsunami, ordinary people rally to provide aid.
Worker solidarity has a special power. In the fall of 2003, thousands of dockworkers shut down ports in Los Angeles in solidarity with striking grocery workers. In Brazil, unionists organized a solidarity campaign against U.S. intervention in Colombia and supported striking Volkswagen workers in South Africa.
As the world becomes more integrated, the need for solidarity grows. An increasing number of goods are now manufactured by Chinese workers, assembled by Mexican workers, sold by American workers and serviced by Indian workers. Although workers are divided by national boundaries, global capitalism is forcing them to unite to defend their common interests.
United we stand. Divided we fall. The political relationships we build today make possible more effective solidarity actions tomorrow.
American unionists are sponsoring Iraqi unionists to tour the United States. Talking person-to-person about what’s really going on in Iraq helps break through the web of self-serving lies spun by the people in power.
Every year, people from around the globe gather at World Social Forums and demonstrations against the G-8 summits. Last year, I attended a Labor Notes conference in Detroit. The most memorable meeting was the one where union activists from more than 17 different countries met in one room.
Workers from Northern Ireland, Iraq and Palestine shared their experiences of organizing under military occupation. Auto workers from Germany, France and the U.S. exchanged tactics on fighting assembly-line speedups. Despite language barriers, our similarities were overwhelming. After the meeting, people traded names and email addresses with great excitement.
An Irish nurse and I found much in common and began writing to each other. One by one, we have included other health workers in our discussion. There are now six of us, from three different countries, corresponding by email. The challenges we face on the job and in our lives are remarkably similar. We want to build an organization of international health workers.
You might be wondering what six people in three different countries could possibly do. Knowing that you are not alone, that others are struggling with the same rotten system, is essential to staying sane and continuing the fight. That, alone, is priceless. But we want more than that. The relationships we are building today will be the foundation of tomorrow’s solidarity actions.
There is only one world. Economic booms and slumps spill over national borders and ripple around the globe in synchronous waves. Internet technology allows people to communicate from anywhere on the planet in seconds.
To keep us divided, our rulers insist that we are more different than similar. We are discovering that the opposite is true. And in the process, we are beginning to build a very different world based on sharing and cooperation.
Susan Rosenthal is a practicing physician and author of Market Madness and Mental Illness (1998) and POWER and Powerlessness (2006). She belongs to the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981. She can be reached through her web site: www.powerandpowerlessness.com or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
- VOTE 4 Sam Seder! :)
The Best of 2007
Vote for your favorite liberal/progressive radio show host/hostess
Ballot is in the right column
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Paris 1968 2006 Manifestations
Dialogue between John Holloway and Vittorio Sergi
The events at the end of the anti-G8 march in Rostock on Saturday 2 June, when there was an outbreak of prolonged and violent fighting between some of the demonstrators (the so-called “black block”) and the police, disturbed and challenged me. I felt critical of the violence of the black block, but also felt the need to discuss and understand. I think a lot of people on the march felt the same way – critical but wanting to talk and understand rather than condemn (there were, of course, others who simply condemned the action, but that is not my position).
I wanted to discuss with you in particular because I know you were in the middle of the battle and because I have a very great respect for you and I think we can discuss honestly and without disqualifications. The aim for me is not to win an argument, not to come to an agreement, but to understand.
1) Let me explain the way I experienced the march:
My friends and I did not have a pre-established place of affiliation on the march. We walked along the march before it started, looking for an attractive place to insert ourselves. We walked past the large block of people (generally young, mostly men) dressed in black, many with hoods and many with their faces masked. We inserted ourselves finally near the front of the march, just behind the samba group with their drums and their dancing. From our perspective, the march was very big, colourful and fun. There was a massive, but at that stage inactive, police presence at the side of the road. We were particularly impressed by the clowns and the way in which they went up to the squadrons of police and made fun of them, imitating them, blowing bubbles at them, dancing around their cars and so on.
When the march reached its end-point, the harbour, I felt it had been a successful, enjoyable and colourful march. The “black block” arrived shortly afterwards and a friend I was with remarked that it looked as if they were ready for a fight. A minute later the fighting broke out, with columns of heavily-armoured police rushing back and forth and lots of young people dressed in black throwing stones at them. This was the first I saw of the violence which would dominate both the reports in the media and many of the discussions in Rostock over the next few days.
2) I think there are three main reasons why I found the violence disturbing.
Firstly, I felt that it was the unfolding of a two-sided, predictable ritual. There were two sides prepared for battle, two sides who knew that, once the preamble of the march was completed, there would be open, violent conflict, in which the majority of people present on the march would be mere spectators. What was disturbing was the predictability and the symmetry of the conflict. In this there was a sharp contrast with the clowns who confronted the police in an unpredictable and absolutely asymmetrical way: in terms of sexuality, movement, dress, behaviour, solemnity and so on, the clowns were the opposite of the police, whereas the black block, in terms of uniform, sexual composition, disposition to violence, solemnity were very like the police.
Secondly, I was disturbed by the macho tone of the black block. Although there were some women and perhaps some older people, the block was dominated by young men, and the atmosphere generated was of the sort often associated with large gatherings of young men: aggressive, boastful, insensitive to the feelings of those who surrounded them.
Thirdly, the action was divisive. It seemed to me to go against the wishes of the great majority of those present, and caused considerable resentment among many. The participants in the action seemed to dismiss the feelings of the other demonstrators as irrelevant. I had the feeling that the other demonstrators were in some way being labelled as reformist or non-revolutionary. In other words, the action was identitarian, imposing a label upon others and dismissing their feelings as unimportant. An anti-identitarian approach would recognise other people as being self-contradictory and try to find a way of stirring the contradictions within them.
A very different and more sympathetic reading of the action would be to say that that was precisely the aim of the violence: to appeal to the hatred of the police and to move people to action. Someone in one of the discussions compared throwing stones at the police to occupying a house: in both cases you help people to overcome their fear of authority. This argument I can understand, but I think it is probably not true, in the sense that I think the action probably did not have this effect. I think the clowns’ mockery of the police was probably far more effective in demystifying state authority.
Perhaps I am saying that in any action, the question of its resonance is very important: not that the action should be judged simply by its resonance, but that its capacity to resonate with the rebelliousness that exists in repressed form in most people is of very great importance. Not only that but that resonance is a question of a-symmetry. That which we want to stir inside people is their anti-capitalism, and the only way in which we can do that is through actions that are anti-capitalist in their form, actions that propose ways of behaving and ways of relating that are quite unlike those of capitalism. The resonance of asymmetry seems to me the key to thinking about forms of anti-capitalist action.
3) In explaining why I feel disturbed and challenged by the events of 2 June, I do not simply condemn the violence. It is clear that the violence used by the demonstrators was virtually nothing compared with the violence exercised every day by capital against us. I accept too that there may be circumstances in which the use of violent methods strengthens the movement against capital. But this is the problem: the action in this case seemed to be separated from any consideration of its effect on the movement as a whole. I may well be wrong about this and I may be quite unfair in much that I have said, but then I would be glad if you could explain it to me (and to anyone else who may read this).
Your letter, in which you express your criticism towards the violent clashes of the 2nd of June in Rostock, seemed to me an excellent opportunity to begin an honest and necessary discussion. I will try to answer all your major questions. My reply is not motivated by the abstract need to bring forward an apology of violence or of the “black block”, but by the urgency to explain, as a participant myself, the reasons, problems and state of an open process of rebellion.
The march of June 2nd had, in all its aspects, a ritual and predictable character. The fact that it would take place before the beginning of the summit cast a shadow on the following days, when more radical groups would confront a long week of actions without the coverage of a great event during the days of the summit. The march also constituted an effort to represent a united movement, despite its differences. This aspect is closely linked to the customary dynamics of summits and counter summits which has, for the past ten years at least, constituted one of the main public expressions of anti-capitalist movements around the world.
On the other hand, due to the precedents in Germany and the rest of Europe, the march of June 2nd had a different air to it; there was energy and hope for a new drive for social movements: that also explains the large number and strong militant spirit of the participants.
All organized political subjects, from the clowns you mention to ATTAC and the “black block” itself, wished to be represented and have their space of representation on the big stage. And so did the police, actually... it had announced the biggest security operation of its history, with a contingent of 17,000, and it couldn’t fail...
The so-called black block was created as a large group of affinities, made up by various smaller groups which varied as to composition and geographical origin. The etiquette (black clothes, covered faces) should not fool anyone as to the diversity of subjects present.
The Dissent! group took up the role of a “hub”, i.e. a centre of connection and distribution of information amongst groups which were more inclined towards direct action and did not consider it convenient to participate in the Block G8 alliance, which due to its broad and plural character included, amongst others, important reformist subjects such as ATTAC and the German section of the European Left party, known today as “Die Linke”.
Thus, the block included anarchist groups from many different places (Poland, Germany, Denmark, Holland, England, United States, Greece, Catalunya), as well as autonomous groups from Italy, Sweden, France, Euskadi, Switzerland and Germany, amongst others.
Also, many anti-fascist groups which in Germany do not have a sole organization but are largely influenced by the Antifascistiche Linke Berlin (part of the Interventionist Left, i.e. also of the Block G8 coalition) joined the Block from the bus bearing the slogan “Make Capitalism History”.
The block thus included 3,000 to 5,000 people who defied the ban on covering their faces and carrying sticks and other instruments of self-defence in the marches. The common intention of the participants in the block was to directly attack the private property of banks and corporations, as well as the police. There were also discussions as to measuring the amount of force which could be employed according to the response of the rest of the march; almost the majority agreed on acting in a way which would not harm it.
So I do not believe that this choice was in total contrast with the spirit and intentions of the rest of the march. Maybe of one part, but then again there is always a great deal of differences in this kind of international marches. However, throughout these years it has been established that all forms of protest should have the right of “citizenship”, in the boundaries of respect for others. Also, the block did not wish to stay in the background or fringes of the march for a political reason. Radical forms of direct action are also a part of the movement and militant groups involved in that kind of action, or simply those who support it or individually participate in it, respect other forms of struggle; there would be no sense in separating them.
The tactics of the block was an escalation of actions which would lead to a direct confrontation once having reached the harbour, where most police forces were concentrated.
It is true that, as you mention, the block also aimed at motivating and involving the rest of the march in a resistance against the police and in attacking corporations and their façades. Indeed, that did happen when the police, frustrated at not being able to defend itself from the beginning, attacked the entire march as well as the people watching the concert. Those present reacted in many ways when that happened, from throwing stones to creating chains and advancing with their hands in the air, managing to contain the offensive of the police, despite the armoured cars and water tanks.
It is true that the block was made up mostly of young people and the fact that there were not so many women as men is an aspect of a differentiated participation in actions and initiatives; however, that is something that occurs in many communities and organizations and depends on a broader problem surrounding the forms and languages of political action. Nonetheless, I was surprised by the number of women participating in the clashes, by much larger than what could have been observed in Italy.
You also consider the majority of young radicals as a lack of comprehension towards other forms of life and ages. On the contrary, I consider it to be a starting point, as well as a necessary form of construction of a common movement which, as always, begins amongst the young, due to the urgency, rage and passion with which the negation of the existing is exercised, “the negation of the negation” in practice.
Turning our gaze towards Mexico, Oaxaca for example, we observe a very different composition in the barricades, but that is due to a political and social “popular” form that exists only in few occasions and places in Europe. The division between young generations and the rest is deeper and relates to complex causes which also bear political implications; however, this issue cannot be solved in one march.
Against those who speak of a depressed and apathetic generation, I felt, on the contrary, a lot of positive energy and passion in this contingent. Many different ways of living and a lot of decisiveness and will for conspiring and cooperating altogether in order to achieve a radical social change.
Action, in the case of a march, is not simply symbolic; it seeks direct effectiveness. It has shown, for example, that the police is not invincible when put up against a multitude that seizes the initiative and cooperates. It has also shown that the struggle against an economic, social and military system cannot limit itself to events or public moments of representation (and mediation), but that it rather overflows and takes the initiative, it can mark the time, space and form of a confrontation that can also be called class struggle, that it does not have to restrain itself to defending the few collective riches that still remain in hands of the people.
For this reason, I attach the document which resulted from the discussion between various groups that participated in the confrontation march of June 2nd and has been put up on the Dissent! website.
Plan B has started already: join to the battle of joy
4 June 2007 – international brigades
There are certain moments when it seems appropriate, without it ever being a matter of calculation, to address everybody in a manner as simple and direct as possible. One of these moments has arrived.
We want to speak briefly about what happened on the 2nd of June in the city of Rostock during the demonstration against the G8. We speak, of course, from a partisan position, but one forged of multiple voices which at certain moments manage to become singular. One of these moments has arrived.
This 2nd of June, thousands of people didn’t wait for the ritual which we have so often been subjected to in this movement to play itself out: mobilizations, demonstrations, less than symbolic actions, conferences crowned with pat conclusions long ago prepared by some obscure functionary. Nor did they accept donning the worn out postures of those who pretend to be concerned with the state of the world and abandon themselves to a pious compassion for the most misfortunate.
These thousands, on the contrary, did not content themselves with reacting or resisting, but took the initiative, consciously attacking the places where, day after day, capitalist exploitation and the material effectiveness of the global civil war are extended. The G8 is not only the expression of the domination of capital over the world, a theatre of dubious quality where the leaders put onto the stage another ritual, one that serves to codify their rule over the lives of subjects. The G8 is the symbol of the suffering inflicted daily on millions of people. That we should be reproached for our violence when it is they who have their hands full of blood!
In the end what happened was very simple: free beings decided to collectively and practically oppose the symbols of capitalism and the baleful face of the state incarnated by all the police of the world. The assemblies and long speeches, if they are not followed by irruptions in the streets of our metropolis, produce only suspicion and resignation.
We want to also recall another truth in relation to the combatants in the battle of Rostock: they are women and men originating from every corner of the world and have no need of an identity card to recognize each other, constitute gangs, and experiment new forms of life. We are the nationless who seek to destroy the frontiers – as much material as symbolic – which separate our lives, thought and bodies. We are made of multiple singularities who desire to join in order to create the conditions of a more ecstatic life. We come from everywhere, it is why we are everywhere. Those who affirm the contrary are brazen-faced liars.
There is another truth: under every black mask was a smile, in every stone thrown against the common enemy there was joy, in every body revolting against oppression there was desire. We don’t harbor sad passions and resentments, if that had been the case we wouldn’t have fought and resisted for so long. Thus don’t be deceived, look at those with whom you are connected, or whom you love; perhaps you will find one of these bodies, one of these smiles, one of these hands engaged in the struggle. Joyful passions placed in common and joined to the assault on command – such is the secret of the battles waged in the heart of the asymmetrical conflict which opposes us to the sadness of the weapons and bodies of power. Individually we are nothing, together we are a power. Together we are a commune: the commune of Rostock.
We all arrived here with a personal and collective history, a history of struggle and battle waged in every corner of the earth. We don’t want this event to be perceived as a simple continuation of the old cycle of struggle which, since September the 11th, has known so many disappointments. We believe on the contrary that the 2nd of June was the signal of a powerful and determined rupture with this phase of defeat and that this battle inaugurates new offensives. That this breach permits us to flee together to the other side of the mirror, the side of freedom.
And now comrades, we block the flows...
Long live the commune of Rostock and Reddelich!
June 2nd must also be judged in a broader time frame. During the following days, the same people that encouraged the clashes were involved in constructing and participating in many self-managed camp activities: from the kitchen to the collective bars, workshops, alternative media, parties, political and artistic workshops, the multitude (yes, mostly young...) returned to its everyday positive forms of action.
The massive blockades of the 6th, 7th and 8th were in benefit of the variety of forms of struggle and action; none was more determinant than the others. Dissent!, as well as Block G8 and non-organized groups and individuals joined the marches and blockades, other forms of swarms... Everyone, from the most radical pacifists to the toughest anarchist groups, cooperated in order to avoid a violent escalade of the conflict and to make blockades effective.
That leads us to the conclusion that in the minds of most of the participants in the June 2nd march, the black block is but a transitory form, a swarm, and not the “army of the movement”. It also adopts an aesthetic form that is closely linked to the influences of the “Autonomen” German movement of the 80s, as well as to the Anglo-Saxon anarchist movement, especially active in the environmental struggle. It is, thus, a transitory form, a kind of intelligent mob with a long history in radical dissent in Europe and the United States. The donning of black clothes and covered faces is of a practical utility in times of generalized video control. It also reflects the resonance of powerful symbols of rebellion such as the balaclava. From the Zapatistas of 1994 to Carlo Giuliani in Genoa in 2001, the rebels cover their faces in order to be seen.
The clashes of June 2nd and the following days urgently pose the question as to how to react against the repressive apparatus. Pacifism and its ethics cannot be an alibi for impotence, or worst, as in the case of ATTAC, for the collaboration with the repressive military apparatus. However, there have been consistent pacifists, whom I have seen receive blows and gas discharges in the face for trying to break the police lines or resist in a blockade, on the ground with dogs and truncheons biting their skin. Nonetheless, we must work together in a wider and more coordinated sense in order to be able to defend autonomous spaces, in the countryside as well as the cities, defend strikes, road and train blockades, marches and meetings, in a growing state of siege and militarization, in Mexico as well as in Europe.
That is why I do not believe that the clowns that you so admire are an efficient response to these matters either. They have a very positive role in confusing and delegitimate the authority and aggressiveness of the police, but we cannot all become clowns, neither will we always be able to stop tanks with flowers. We need everyone, we cannot disqualify anyone in this movement and uneven power relation.
By the way, we will always love flowers, but the days of putting flowers in gun barrels have gone by. The images of military helicopters flying above the heads of thousands of unarmed protestors, launching police assault troops, gas charges, water tanks and horses against the defenceless crowd speak of the madness and dangerousness of the police apparatus in our days. That is not insignificant. Put up against this phenomenon, most radical groups do not respond with militarization; on the contrary, there is a conscience and a rejection of symmetrical violence, of hierarchic organization and authority. However, this does not mean there is not a search for forms of power, for ways of changing power relations through asymmetrical forms of resistance and attack.
I hope I have answered a few questions and maybe cleared some doubts. However, everything is under an open process of discussion and creation; that is the positive aspect of today’s movement. Rostock was a partial, but encouraging victory. We continue to walk and discuss!
We agree on much, but not on all. The question of the composition of the “black block” (or perhaps “black non-block”) is not so important – although I do remain suspicious of any group composed largely of young men, and I would be even more suspicious of one composed largely of old men. And I agree that is important to see the march in the context of the week’s actions, where the atmosphere was certainly a very good one of respectful unity-in-diversity. I also agree that violence is not the central issue: my argument is not a pacifist one. And yet the whole thing of the stone-throwing keeps worrying me.
Let me emphasise again that I respect those who throw stones at the police. But for me respect cannot mean just a side-by-side co-existence: it means saying “we are comrades, that is why we must discuss our differences and doubts openly”. That is what these notes are about.
We are at war. Let’s start from there. The last twenty years or so (and especially the last five years) have seen a great intensification of capitalist violence against humanity. We can see this as the Fourth World War (as the Zapatistas put it) or as the war of all states against all people (as Eloína and I put it in an article a few years ago). The question then is how we should fight this war.
The notion of war is perhaps unfortunate, because it usually suggests a symmetry: one army fights another army, and there is not much difference between the organisation (the social relations) of the two sides. Generally, it does not matter very much which side wins: either way, the war and the militarization which accompany it signify a defeat for humanity, for the sort of social relations that we want to construct. It is generally the more numerous, better equipped, more cleverly aggressive side that wins.
There are two problems about thinking of the struggle for a new world in these symmetrical terms. Firstly, we would probably lose: there is no way we can match the military power of the capitalist states. And secondly, and even more important: symmetrical organisation means that we are reproducing the social relations that we are struggling against.
The question then is how we think about fighting this war asymmetrically. The enormous strength of the flowers in the guns and of the clowns confronting the police is that they emphasise this asymmetry. They say clearly “our strength is that we are not like you and that we shall never be like you.”
You suggest that clowns and flowers may be important but that it is not enough. You say “we must work together in a wider and more coordinated sense in order to be able to defend autonomous spaces, in the countryside as well as the cities, defend strikes, road and train blockades, marches and meetings, in a growing state of siege and militarization, in Mexico as well as in Europe. That is why I do not believe that the clowns that you so admire are an efficient response to these matters either.” But what does “defence” mean? It does not mean “defence” in any absolute sense. The armed force of the state could overcome stone-throwers just as easily as it could overcome flower-carriers or clowns. Defence really has to be understood as dissuasion. How do we dissuade the state from exercising the full force of its armed power? Is stone-throwing more effective in this respect than flower-carrying? Probably not, because the dissuasive effect is not a question of physical strength but of resonances: of the resonances that the participants succeed in stirring throughout society. It is above all these resonances that impose limits on state action: the degree to which the resonances make the state afraid of the social reaction that might follow from a violent repression. Thinking in terms of resonances and reactions, we must ask: is it easier for the state to violently repress a group of stone-throwers or a group of flower-carriers? Violent repression is possible in both cases, but I think it is probably easier for the state in the case of stone-throwers.
Take the Zapatistas, for example. How do we explain the ability of the Zapatistas to resist (so far) a violent repression by the state? Not so much in terms of “defence” but in terms of dissuasion. The Zapatistas have dissuaded the state from violent repression by being armed for self-defence, but above all by their communiqués which have resonated so strongly through the world. Maybe we should see the Zapatistas as armed clowns: by being armed but always acting in a way that emphasised their asymmetrical relation with the state. Their flight, with marimba and all, when the army attacked on 9 February 1995, is an outstanding example of that. Perhaps the greatest strength of the Zapatistas is that they have always understood war as a question of aesthetics, of theatre. The obvious contrast in Mexico is with the EPR, which is a classical armed organisation and has never succeeded (or perhaps tried) in stirring the sort of resonances that would act as a defence against a state.
Which is more radical, the EZLN or the EPR? For me, without doubt, the EZLN, because they are constantly re-thinking the struggle, above all because they are far more asymmetrical in their relation to the state. But I can see that for some people, groups like the EPR may appear more radical, because they appear to represent a more direct and violent confrontation with the state.
The state, in its fight against us, constantly tries to weaken the social resonances of our movement, in part by pushing us more towards direct, symmetrical confrontation with it. If they succeed in doing that, then open repression becomes politically more easy for them. That is my worry: not a moral condemnation of stone-throwing, but that what appears to be more radical is in fact less radical and weakens the struggle against capital.
If we think of the issue in terms of the Fourth World War and how we fight that war, then I would suggest as a principle of the effectiveness of struggle that our struggle must be asymmetrical to that of capital. Asymmetry (the clear manifestation that we are not like them and will never be like them) is crucial to the strength of anti-capitalist resonances. There should be room for people who throw stones, but there must also be room for people who say that stone-throwing is not a very effective way of fighting (and of course that guns would be an even less effective way).
By a strange coincidence, I write these lines while returning to Italy from Mexico. I had to return for personal reasons, today, when a new confrontation is feared in the town of Oaxaca, where I was last week, when thousands of people who wished to celebrate the popular festivity of Guelaguetza were violently repressed by the police and the army, resulting in many men and women imprisoned and injured.
The reality of violence, of its menace and its use against the nonconformists, is presented over and over again as the reality of oppression, of inequality, of exploitation. That is, as a social relation.
And also as a form of organization, of military and militarized groups and apparatus, such as the army and the police. The history of these people is filled with this violence, its memory, in America as well as in Europe, records a long chain of violations, injustices, unpunished crimes perpetrated by these organizations, whose reason of existence lies in the defence of the State and capital.
Now, our discussion has led us to some important points, on which I still disagree with you:
I agree with your approach on asymmetry. It is of great importance and an obvious significance in relation to the current situation. Parting from the inequality of power in the current social power relations, it is reasonable to think that no radical change will be accomplished in a symmetrical revolution, in a sort of topsy-turvy world, but rather through a diagonal change, a tearing, thousands of ruptures. This perspective obviously affects political practices and, therefore, practices of confrontation with the established powers. However, I believe it does not exclude open confrontation. I see the need for blending various forms of action in this asymmetrical confrontation, in the same way that the forms of breaking the relation of violent domination which imposes relations of exploitation depend greatly on cultural differences and different historical heritages. For example, the same practice of participating in a demonstration is very different in Germany, against the G8, or in Oaxaca, this morning, in order to boycott the Guelaguetza of the authoritarian PRI government, in the same way that participating in a pacific march in Pakistan, Guinea Conakry or Colombia can mean risking one’s life. Thus, according to the context, the violence used by the people for their defence is of different forms and natures than the ones used by those in power, it has different political aims, it responds to different criteria, to that of the defence of dignity and not of the imposition of an abstract order and legality.
Obviously, aspects of symmetry and forms of coordination are also present. When we think of an asymmetrical confrontation with power we cannot ignore the issue of organization. Our action must be spontaneous and creative, but it must also be coordinated and organized along with others, so as to consider three fundamental aspects of the development of all revolutionary politics: time, space and, as Machiavelli pointed out, opportunity. Referring to a violent confrontation with the state forces, you say: “Firstly, we would probably lose: there is no way we can match the military power of the capitalist states. And secondly, and even more important: symmetrical organisation means that we are reproducing the social relations that we are struggling against.”
I do not agree. Given that we are going through the “Fourth World War” and that the violence of power is not simple defensive, i.e. it is not presented as a police officer safeguarding a bank, but rather as a thief who enters our house in order to steal, we must consider defence as necessary and pledge our commitment to the possibility that asymmetrical forms of confrontation could also put the military power of capitalist states in a difficult position.
If we think that it is not possible, that it is not possible to put an end to the oppression of the armed groups of the state, then symmetrical confrontation for gaining power (and control over the repressive bodies) would once again be the only tragic options for us, who are underneath.
My second comment is on your mention of the EZLN. I agree with your observation about the theatrical and ritual sense of this army of indigenous peasants. From their point of view, I have even heard the militaries being called “brothers”. The Zapatistas do not dehumanize the enemy, they try to conserve its human face and, to this moment, they have managed to avoid fratricide war with the paramilitary groups despite their numerous crimes. Their form of political struggle has been, without doubt, peculiar and the fact that the conflict in the South East of Mexico has not ended in carnage, as happened ten years ago in Guatemala, is without a shred of doubt something positive that partly depends on the EZLN itself. However, we must consider that the EZLN had, and still has, a disposition to war. In this sense, I do not believe this organization should be considered more or less radical than the EPR, for example. To this day, the latter has a modus operandi which is much closer to forms of the past, more openly confrontational and focused on the enemy army; however, despite its clear Marxist-Leninist political positioning, it would adopt markedly asymmetrical forms of guerrilla warfare if that were to lead to a tactical advantage. We could rather say that, from our point of view, the EZ had the capacity to adapt and innovate its forms of political action, and its experience of “asymmetrical” struggle is a good base for thinking about possible forms of revolutionary political struggle in the near future.
Despite our differences, I agree with your concern about the need to turn asymmetrical struggle into a virtue of the anti-capitalist movement, to express our rejection towards the system in a negative, non-dialectical way.
Taking “Fourth World War” seriously amounts to admitting that there is a system of violence set up against us. Therefore, our strategy of confrontation cannot be accused of triggering the repression; maybe it can supply media elements for its justification, but then again we know that the latter can occur without the need for an effective excuse.
You say: “It is above all these resonances that impose limits on state action: the degree to which the resonances make the state afraid of the social reaction that might follow a violent repression.” The resonances of our action can indeed put a limit, dissuade the State, and there will be, no doubt, marches and actions where it will be better to throw flowers instead of stones. However, as the recent history of the people of Oaxaca shows, there are moments when it becomes clear that violence comes from above, against our flowers and our dancing.
We began our discussion in the protests against the G8 in Germany and ended up in the streets of Oaxaca, without a conclusion, it would seem...
We know there is an ongoing confrontation, made up by different simultaneous confrontations, and that the security machinery of all States is being militarized and organized against the “internal enemy”.
However, we also know that our victory, from a revolutionary perspective, has to commit to the defeat of war and of the enemy at the same time.
It would be meaningless to win a war and lose dignity.
How this is possible, we can only found out in practice.
Ciudad de México – Madrid, 23 de julio de 2007.
You are right, of course, that we are talking not just of Rostock but of many different situations in the world that require different responses.
Thinking of Mexico, there is one image that keeps on coming to my mind in the last few days: the famous photo of the Zapatista women literally pushing back big armed soldiers who were trying to invade their village. This photo has been very widely circulated all over the world and has undoubtedly had an enormous political impact. For me it illustrates the force of asymmetry, but it could be argued that it also creates a romantic, unreal image of the conflict in Chiapas. Perhaps one way to close the dialogue (for the moment) would be to leave that image as a question.
Friday, September 07, 2007
[I use a website called http://bookmooch.com - I received a book that I ordered from someone called "The Wordsworth Dictionary of the Occult" yesterday. Inside the cover the sender put a single tarot card. And a bookmark that said "Compliments of Jo Howe". I just thought that was a brilliant idea and I intend to do so myself when I send out books now... - anyway..it was THE MAGICIAN card]
Basic Card Symbols
Red & White coloring, the lemniscate (infinity symbol), a small wand, a table displaying a chalice, a pentacle, a staff (wand) and a sword.
Basic Tarot Story
Traveling on his way, the Fool first encounters a Magician. Skillful, self-confident, a powerful magus with the infinite as a halo floating above his head, the Magician mesmerizes the Fool. When asked, the Fool gives over his bundled pack and stick to the Magician. Raising his wand to heaven, pointing his finger to Earth, the Magician calls on all powers; magically, the cloth of the pack unfolds upon the table, revealing its contents. And to the Fool's eyes it is as if the Magician has created the future with a word. There are all the possibilities laid out, all the directions he can take. The cool, airy Sword of intellect and communication, the fiery Wand of spirituality and ambition, the overflowing Chalice of Love and emotions, the solid Pentacle of work, possessions and body. With these tools, the Fool can create anything, make anything of his life. But here's the question, did the Magician create the tools, or were they already in the pack? Only the Magician knows - and on this mystery, our eloquent mage refuses to say a word.
Basic Tarot Meaning
At #1, the Magician is the male power of creation, creation by willpower and desire. In that ancient sense, it is the ability to make things so just by speaking them aloud ("And God said 'Let there be Light!' and there was Light"). Reflecting this is the fact that the Magician is represented by Mercury. He represents the gift of tongues, a smooth talker, a salesman. Also clever with the slight of hand (Mercury *was* the god of thieves!) and a medicine man - either a real doctor or someone trying to sell you snake oil. The 4 suits laid out before him remind us of the 4 aces, which in the Tarot symbolize the raw, undeveloped, undirected power of each suit. When the Magician appears, he reveals these to you. The reader might well interpet this card as telling the querent that they will be given a vision, an idea, a magical, mental image of whatever it is they most want: the solution to a problem, an ambitious career, a love life, a job.
If any card in the Tarot is the Tarot, it is the Magician. He's one of the most recognizable cards, always a favorite. He's also the only card in the Majors that refers to the minors with the "trumps" displayed upon his table. If the reader believes the Magician stands for the Querent, then the Querent either is, or is currently finding himself eleoquent and charismatic at this time. Both verbally and in writing, he is clever, witty, inventive and persuasive. People listen and agree with him. He also has an interest in science. He might be, in fact, a doctor or scientist or inventor.
Standing for someone other than the querent, the Magician could be a skillful doctor, scientist, inventor lecturer, salesman, or con-man. It's important to remember that the Magician can as easily be clever as skilful, a trickster as well as a magician. This is someone with a magnetic personality, someone who can convince people of almost anything. For better or worse, his words are magic.
Most importantly, the Magician card stands for the "reveal" - as in a magic trick. The handkerchief is draped over an empty box, the Magician waves his wand, *presto!*--now there is a dove in the box. The Magician card does the same for the Querent--only what it reveals is not birds or rabbits but NEW ideas. Emphasis on NEW. When the Magician card appears, the Querent is likely to say: "Now there's an idea! Why didn't I think of that before?" Truth is, the Querent had that idea in his head all along. The Magician merely revealed it to him. But what will the Querent do with this idea? That's a question for the next card....
Thursday, September 06, 2007
By Gary Corseri
“Politics is the gizzard of society, full of grit and gravel, and the two political parties are its opposite halves - sometimes split into quarters - which grind on each other.”
–Henry David Thoreau
“It is better to be almost right than precisely wrong.”
“Can we all just get along?”
How well Thoreau, our best philosopher and political thinker, would have “gotten along” with Buffet, our Empire’s investor-sans pareil, is a matter for speculative fiction, but I suspect the open-minded Naturalist would have endorsed the financier’s caveat against overweening pride in one’s own judgment. Not only must we look before we leap, but, once sure-footed on the other side, we must also look behind to inspect the ground we’ve covered, and to assure ourselves we’re not about to topple backwards.
We are fast approaching one of those “benchmark” moments of back-looking which are becoming noisome, ritualistic affairs of hearty self-congratulation, vacuous critiques, and paralytic inaction. The Empire has lost its rudder in the quicksand of Iraq, and neither General Petraeus’s upcoming, indubitably rosy, assessments nor the General Accounting Office’s countervailing grade of “F” will extricate that rudder any time soon. Congress will balk, Cheney will snarl, and the “dogs of war” we unleashed nearly five years ago will continue to ravage that once-prosperous land that had the misfortune to fall for a dictator we supported.
Continue Reading »
And in academic news, professor Norman Finkelstein has resigned from DePaul University after the two sides agreed on a private settlement. The deal was announced Wednesday just before a scheduled protest against the school's decision to deny Finkelstein tenure and to cancel his classes this semester. Finkelstein spoke before a crowd of about 125 supporters wearing t-shirts that read "We are all Professor Finkelstein."
As part of the settlement DePaul issued a statement that described Finkelstein as a "prolific scholar and an outstanding teacher." Finkelstein has said DePaul's decision to deny him tenure was a result of political opposition to his speaking out about the Israel-Palestine conflict. For years Finkelstein has been one of the most prominent critics of the Israeli government in American academia. On Wednesday, MIT professor Noam Chomsky said: "The whole affair was an utter outrage, a cowardly attack on academic freedom."
- Norman Finkelstein: "I have been recognized as a public intellectual at many of the leading universities in the United States and Europe and have become an internationally recognized scholar in my academic specialties. Based on this record, I should have received tenure. It is now time for me to move on and hopefully find new ways to fulfill my own mission in life of making the world a slightly better place on leaving it than when I entered it."
DAMASCUS, Syria - Syrian air defenses opened fire on Israeli aircraft that violated Syrian airspace, a Syrian military spokesman said Thursday.
The Israelis broke the sound barrier and "dropped ammunition" over deserted areas of northern Syria overnight, the spokesman was quoted by the official Syrian Arab News Agency.
"We warn the Israeli enemy government against this flagrant aggressive act, and retain the right to respond in an appropriate way," the Syrian spokesman said.
It was not clear if Syria was accusing the Israelis of using warplanes or some type of other aircraft such as drones.
"The Israeli enemy aircraft infiltrated into the Arab Syrian territory through the northern border, coming from the Mediterranean heading toward the eastern region, breaking the sound barrier," the spokesman said. "Air defense units confronted them and forced them to leave after they dropped some ammunition in deserted areas without causing any human or material damage."
Israel's army said it was looking into the report.
Israel acknowledges flying over Lebanon routinely, but it is unclear how often its aircraft fly over Syria.
At the beginning of last summer's war against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, Israeli warplanes buzzed the palace of Syrian President Bashar Assad in what analysts called a warning to Damascus. They also flew over Assad's summer home in the coastal city of Latakia, after Syrian-backed Palestinian militants in Gaza captured a young Israeli soldier.
by Eileen Fleming / September 5th, 2007
In a verdict released on Sept 4, 2007, justice ruled in the Holy Land!
In the petition of the village of Bil’in against The Wall (HCJ 8414/05), which in that area of the occupied territory of the West Bank, is mostly an electrified fence with miles of rolled barbwire that prevents the indigenous landowners access to their olive groves, Judges Beinish, Prokachya and Rivlin, of the Supreme Court ruled against the current route of The Wall/separation barrier and ordered the State to prepare a proposal for an alternative route.
Due to the power of nonviolent persistent people the empire and military occupation of Israel has now been justly ordered to leave the agricultural lands of Bil’in on the legally owned Palestinian side of the apartheid-separation barrier!
Now that the highest court in Israel; the Supreme Court has ordered the State to redraw the route of its West Bank, what happened in Budrus and now Bil’in is all due to the persistence of people power and anarchy.
Palestinian farmers, workers, mothers, and students, together with Israeli and international volunteers, have been braving teargas, beatings, bullets, arrest, and even death to block the construction of The Wall with nothing more than their bodies.
Two Anarchists Against the Wall, Palestinian Ayed Morrar and Israeli Jonathan Pollak toured the United States in 2005 to wake up Americans about the persistent struggle and nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation and their illegal actions in Palestine. This reporter attended their Gainesville, Florida session and learned from Ayed Morrar, a community leader from the West Bank village of Budrus, how a few committed, thoughtful, persistent and nonviolent citizens changed their part of the world.
LETS GET MORE HONEST-from IF AMERICANS KNEW:
118 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 952 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000.
1,024 Israelis and at least 4,228 Palestinians have been killed since September 29, 2000.
7,633 Israelis and 31,531 Palestinians have been injured since September 29, 2000.
1 Israeli is being held prisoner by Palestinians, while 10,756 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel.
0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and 4,170 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since September 29, 2000.
Lastly, the notion that the Israeli system is an apartheid system is contradicted by the premise of the article, which is that the Israeli court sided with Palestinian Arabs and against the position of the Israeli government - possibly to the disadvantage of Israelis, including the possibility that a greater number of Israelis might die as a result of the re-rerouting of the barrier. The apartheid theory is also contradicted by the fact that Palestinian Arabs in Israel are /citizens with the vote, have held cabinet positions in the Israeli government, have held ambassadorships representing the country and have had judges on the bench including a judge on the country’s highest court.
I REFER YOU TO:
Prophets on Apartheid: Part 1
Prophets on Apartheid: Part 2
In the captured territories, if Palestinian Arabs want to live in a separate country, then taking the view that Israel refuses them the vote is disingenuous. It is one way or the other. If they want to be Israelis, then demanding a vote makes sense. If they do not want to be Israelis, then such is just politicking and propaganda by Ms. Fleming.
FIRST OFF, I NEVER WROTE A WORD ABOUT VOTING RIGHTS, AND YOU ARE APPARENTLY IGNORANT ABOUT THE OVER 100,000 ARAB ISRAELI CITIZENS IN THE UNRECOGNIZED VILLAGES:
EXCERPTED JANUARY 2005 WAWA BLOG;
In 1948 when most of the indigenous population fled their homes and property, some citizens held their ground, dug in and have nonviolently endured being treated like sub-human beings.
The Unrecognized Villages are not on any map and yet these people all have Israeli citizenship, pay taxes but receive no services. The Israeli government had deemed these scattered villages as military zones and agricultural areas so homes were demolished, and people live without water, electricity, schools or medical care. Yet the settlers 400 meters away have swimming pools and every comfort known to man.
On the fortieth anniversary of The Declaration of Human Rights in 1998 Mohammed and others formed the “Association of 40″ and they have worked in solidarity and nonviolently through the court system to be recognized, to receive water, electricity, roads and human rights.
100 villages with over 100,000 people living in third world conditions in Israel remain unrecognized to this day.
NEAL CONTINUED ON ABOUT HAMAS-A TOTALLY DIFFERENT STORY-BUT LET US BE HONEST AND RECALL THEY WERE TRANSPARENTLY AND DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED.
I ALSO ALWAYS HAVE AND WILL DENOUNCE ALL VIOLENCE AND TERROR!
AND AS FAR AS THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS, I HAVE NEVER READ IT, BUT UNDERSTAND IT IS HATE-FILLED PROPAGANDA, SO I WON’T!
AND NO, I DO NOT KID ABOUT INALIENABLE HUMAN RIGHTS, JUSTICE AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
BUT, YES, I DO HAVE SYMPATHY AND COMPASSION ON ALL WHO SUFFER INJUSTICE.
NICE TALKING TO YOU NEAL,
gerald spezio said on September 5th, 2007 at 2:39 pm #
Israeli cyber typist Neal refers us to the Yale Law School for a major dose of not-so-slick Israel/First propaganda.
If you thought that the Protocols of Zion was bad, try a dose of the Hamas Covenant out of the Avalon Project at sacred Yale Law School.
Let’s check with Alan Dershowitz and Noah Feldman, Harvard Law faculty, for an “objective legal” opinion.
We can then ask mad dog kill-en-all Yalie lawyers Joe Lieberman, Michael Chertoff, and Bruce Fein to check over the legal facts and express their Ivy League opinion.
Boola, boola, give the schmuckery the hoopla.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Wednesday, September 05 2007 @ 09:34 AM PDT
Contributed by: Anonymous
Tree-sitters in the Nanning Creek tree village sent a text message today saying that Pacific Lumber climbers were raiding the tree-sits. Also two forest defenders were arrested on the ground for trespassing. Activists are heading to the gate to protest against Palco's actions. Some activists have raised concerns that the company is violating the law by cutting branches during Marbled Murrelet nesting season, which ends on September 15. Much of the tree-sitter's gear has been taken or destroyed. Spooner is a huge, ancient redwood tree that is almost 300 feet tall and is estimated to be as much as 2,000 years old. Marked to be cut down by Pacific Lumber Company, Spooner is located in the Nanning Creek watershed, near Scotia, Ca. Activists began sitting in Spooner two summers ago and have set traverse lines to protect the surrounding grove of trees. A direct action forest defense base camp will be taking place September 6th-10th.
For more information please call 707-834-3100 or 949-274-0998 or 707-845-9046
Noam Chomsky on survival of our civilisation.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Daily dawns another day;
I must up, to make my way.
Though I dress and drink and eat,
Move my fingers and my feet,
Learn a little, here and there,
Weep and laugh and sweat and swear,
Hear a song, or watch a stage,
Leave some words upon a page,
Claim a foe, or hail a friend-
Bed awaits me at the end.
Though I go in pride and strength,
I'll come back to bed at length.
Though I walk in blinded woe,
Back to bed I'm bound to go.
High my heart, or bowed my head,
All my days but lead to bed.
Up, and out, and on; and then
Ever back to bed again,
Summer, Winter, Spring, and Fall-
I'm a fool to rise at all!
Monday, September 03, 2007
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Saturday, September 01, 2007
By , High Times
Posted on September 1, 2007, Printed on September 1, 2007
Editor's note: There are millions of regular pot smokers in America and millions more infrequent smokers. Smoking pot clearly has far fewer dangerous and hazardous effects on society than legal drugs such as alcohol. Here is High Times's top 10 reasons to marijuana should be legal, part of its 420 Campaign legalization strategy.
10. Prohibition has failed to control the use and domestic production of marijuana. The government has tried to use criminal penalties to prevent marijuana use for over 75 years and yet: marijuana is now used by over 25 million people annually, cannabis is currently the largest cash crop in the United States, and marijuana is grown all over the planet. Claims that marijuana prohibition is a successful policy are ludicrous and unsupported by the facts, and the idea that marijuana will soon be eliminated from America and the rest of the world is a ridiculous fantasy.
9. Arrests for marijuana possession disproportionately affect blacks and Hispanics and reinforce the perception that law enforcement is biased and prejudiced against minorities. African-Americans account for approximately 13% of the population of the United States and about 13.5% of annual marijuana users, however, blacks also account for 26% of all marijuana arrests. Recent studies have demonstrated that blacks and Hispanics account for the majority of marijuana possession arrests in New York City, primarily for smoking marijuana in public view. Law enforcement has failed to demonstrate that marijuana laws can be enforced fairly without regard to race; far too often minorities are arrested for marijuana use while white/non-Hispanic Americans face a much lower risk of arrest.
8. A regulated, legal market in marijuana would reduce marijuana sales and use among teenagers, as well as reduce their exposure to other drugs in the illegal market. The illegality of marijuana makes it more valuable than if it were legal, providing opportunities for teenagers to make easy money selling it to their friends. If the excessive profits for marijuana sales were ended through legalization there would be less incentive for teens to sell it to one another. Teenage use of alcohol and tobacco remain serious public health problems even though those drugs are legal for adults, however, the availability of alcohol and tobacco is not made even more widespread by providing kids with economic incentives to sell either one to their friends and peers.
7. Legalized marijuana would reduce the flow of money from the American economy to international criminal gangs. Marijuana's illegality makes foreign cultivation and smuggling to the United States extremely profitable, sending billions of dollars overseas in an underground economy while diverting funds from productive economic development.
6. Marijuana's legalization would simplify the development of hemp as a valuable and diverse agricultural crop in the United States, including its development as a new bio-fuel to reduce carbon emissions. Canada and European countries have managed to support legal hemp cultivation without legalizing marijuana, but in the United States opposition to legal marijuana remains the biggest obstacle to development of industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity. As US energy policy continues to embrace and promote the development of bio-fuels as an alternative to oil dependency and a way to reduce carbon emissions, it is all the more important to develop industrial hemp as a bio-fuel source - especially since use of hemp stalks as a fuel source will not increase demand and prices for food, such as corn. Legalization of marijuana will greatly simplify the regulatory burden on prospective hemp cultivation in the United States.
5. Prohibition is based on lies and disinformation. Justification of marijuana's illegality increasingly requires distortions and selective uses of the scientific record, causing harm to the credibility of teachers, law enforcement officials, and scientists throughout the country. The dangers of marijuana use have been exaggerated for almost a century and the modern scientific record does not support the reefer madness predictions of the past and present. Many claims of marijuana's danger are based on old 20th century prejudices that originated in a time when science was uncertain how marijuana produced its characteristic effects. Since the cannabinoid receptor system was discovered in the late 1980s these hysterical concerns about marijuana's dangerousness have not been confirmed with modern research. Everyone agrees that marijuana, or any other drug use such as alcohol or tobacco use, is not for children. Nonetheless, adults have demonstrated over the last several decades that marijuana can be used moderately without harmful impacts to the individual or society.
4. Marijuana is not a lethal drug and is safer than alcohol. It is established scientific fact that marijuana is not toxic to humans; marijuana overdoses are nearly impossible, and marijuana is not nearly as addictive as alcohol or tobacco. It is unfair and unjust to treat marijuana users more harshly under the law than the users of alcohol or tobacco.
3. Marijuana is too expensive for our justice system and should instead be taxed to support beneficial government programs. Law enforcement has more important responsibilities than arresting 750,000 individuals a year for marijuana possession, especially given the additional justice costs of disposing of each of these cases. Marijuana arrests make justice more expensive and less efficient in the United States, wasting jail space, clogging up court systems, and diverting time of police, attorneys, judges, and corrections officials away from violent crime, the sexual abuse of children, and terrorism. Furthermore, taxation of marijuana can provide needed and generous funding of many important criminal justice and social programs.
2. Marijuana use has positive attributes, such as its medical value and use as a recreational drug with relatively mild side effects. Many people use marijuana because they have made an informed decision that it is good for them, especially Americans suffering from a variety of serious ailments. Marijuana provides relief from pain, nausea, spasticity, and other symptoms for many individuals who have not been treated successfully with conventional medications. Many American adults prefer marijuana to the use of alcohol as a mild and moderate way to relax. Americans use marijuana because they choose to, and one of the reasons for that choice is their personal observation that the drug has a relatively low dependence liability and easy-to-manage side effects. Most marijuana users develop tolerance to many of marijuana's side effects, and those who do not, choose to stop using the drug. Marijuana use is the result of informed consent in which individuals have decided that the benefits of use outweigh the risks, especially since, for most Americans, the greatest risk of using marijuana is the relatively low risk of arrest.
1. Marijuana users are determined to stand up to the injustice of marijuana probation and accomplish legalization, no matter how long or what it takes to succeed. Despite the threat of arrests and a variety of other punishments and sanctions marijuana users have persisted in their support for legalization for over a generation. They refuse to give up their long quest for justice because they believe in the fundamental values of American society. Prohibition has failed to silence marijuana users despite its best attempts over the last generation. The issue of marijuana's legalization is a persistent issue that, like marijuana, will simply not go away. Marijuana will be legalized because marijuana users will continue to fight for it until they succeed.
Learn more about High Times's 420 Campaign marijuana legalization strategy.
© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/60959/
Submitted by Autonomy and So... on February 6, 2004 - 4:33am.
THE CONCEPT OF THE "POLITICAL CENTER"
A Draft Document by Tom K.
1. ORGANIZATIONAL PRACTICES COMMON ON THE FAR LEFT.
There are a variety of different organizational models that people on the radical left are involved in. Some of these include:
a) Doing a lot of rather random activism, hopping from issue to issue, working in different coalitions or groups as they rise and fall, doing good work, but remaining a radical minority in groups which have a very high turnover rate and a lack of continuity. The same political battles are often fought over and over again, leaving you feeling burned out and stressed that you never seem to be going anywhere in the long term. campus action committees, ad-hoc groups planning for a specific event or protest, organizations like Mob4Glob or various loose anti-war coalitions etc.
b) Working as a staff person in an NGO such as a PIRG, Women's Centre, housing group, front-line social support organization, or Student Union. In these cases while there is a lot of important and much needed organizing going on, you are completely overwhelmed with a high stress workload and stuck lurching from crisis to crisis. This makes it hard to do much in the way of long term radical work outside of your job which often becomes your activism.
c) A member of a small "revolutionary" socialist group which directs the activity of its members and tries to replicate to varying degrees the model of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. You sell papers on street-corners, have top-down leadership structures, focus on recruiting to build your group, and have a parasitical relationship to activist movements. In spite of your words, the practice of your organizing has the effect of the demobilizing and undermining autonomous and radical movements, and you often act as an adjunct to trade union, student union, or NGO bureaucrats.
d) You are part of a leftist grouping that has less of political basis of unity than the "revolutionary" socialist group listed above, but more than most social movements do. While these groups are "anti-capitalist" formations, and they have the potential to become something very positive, they often do not live up to this potential. Due to a lack of a coherent political vision and an uneven involvement of all of its members in the group's work, this group often: 1) reverts to the Leninist model of a socialist organization; or 2) devolves into a social clique of its most active members; or 3) dissolves itself in the face of contradictions. [examples of this could include the Rebuilding the Left project, the NSG or radical anti-poverty and anti-war groups.
2. AN ALTERNATIVE: THE "POLITICAL CENTER" METHOD OF ORGANIZING.
a) One option that has been put forward by libertarian marxists and anarchist-communists as an alternative to these approaches is the idea of building an organization which is a political center, a pole of attraction around which radical ideas and revolutionary practice can coalesce. Hal Draper in his work Toward a New Beginning – On Another Road The Alternative to the Micro-Sect (http://marxists.org/archive/draper/works/1971/alt/alt.htm)*, the writers of the Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists (http://anarchism.ws/platform.html), CLR James et al. in Facing Reality, as well as the Situationist International (http://bopsecrets.org/) all put forward variations on this idea.
(*note: Hal Draper still had the intention of building a "revolutionary socialist party" from this process of building a political center, but his conception of a "party" and interpretation of Marx and Lenin's activity is one of the more libertarian ones out there…)
There are a number of examples of building a political center (as opposed to a building a "vanguard" or quasi vanguard socialist group). These would include:
b) The work that the folks around ZNET and its assorted projects do with their website, Z magazine, South End Press, and the various debates, public meetings, activist trainings, is one of the best examples of what building a political center means in practice. (See their website at: http://www.zmag.org/weluser.htm for more info.)
b) Democracy Now (http://www.democracynow.org/) and the Indymedia projects (http://indymedia.org/) are good examples of radical activists putting out an alternative to mainstream lies and distortions, and reporting on social movements and struggles. Although their politics are not explicitly revolutionary, they do serve as an important political center for the left.
c) Small publishing and distribution centers such as Turning the Tide, Kerspebedeb and Arm the Spirit/AG Press are also smaller scale versions of such projects. Coherent groupings carrying out solidarity work with various struggles elsewhere in the world (Columbia, Palestine, etc.) might also be considered to be following this model. (LeftTurn in the US also strikes me as an example of this kind of a model on a larger scale...)
d) In the Marxist tradition, the journal Monthly Review stands out (www.monthlyreview.org) as perhaps the best contemporary example of this model, but the newspapers and journalism of Marx and Engels served as a political center from which to develop and disseminate revolutionary ideas and as part of creating a revolutionary movement inspired by communist ideas. Anarchist-communist traditions such as the FAI in Spain as well as the Platformists, also believed in developing a political center surrounding a common organization and its publications.
The concept of a political center is distinct from the project of building a vanguard political party, which is a flawed approach which has proved its historic obsolescence in a number of different ways. While creating a "political center" involves building an organization, made up of members working within an organizational structure, its approach stresses the development within mass movements of a preponderance of liberatory ideas and practices. This "leadership of ideas" as the anarchist-communists put it, is not a method to build a hegemonical, top down party which will seize and wield power on behalf of the masses, but rather a process of actualizing people's own capabilities for self-organization against capitalism and all forms of oppression.
3. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN PRACTICE?
a) Creating a political center is about creating revolutionary theory intimately linked to a revolutionary practice. What does "theorizing" mean?
"To theorize is simply to try to understand what we are doing. We are all theorists whenever we honestly discuss what has happened, distinguish between the significant and the irrelevant, see through fallacious explanations, recognize what worked and what didn’t, consider how something might be done better next time. Radical theorizing is simply talking or writing to more people about more general issues in more abstract (i.e. more widely applicable) terms. Even those who claim to reject theory theorize — they merely do so more unconsciously and capriciously, and thus more inaccurately… Radical theory has nothing to respect and nothing to lose. It criticizes itself along with everything else. It is not a doctrine to be accepted on faith, but a tentative generalization that people must constantly test and correct for themselves, a practical simplification indispensable for dealing with the complexities of reality."
-Ken Knabb from the joy of Revolution- (http://bopsecrets.org/PS/joyrev2.htm#Theory%20versus%20ideology)
b) A political center is a place where revolutionary activists are able to regroup and to build themselves, gaining and developing a wide range of skills and capabilities. It is not just for regrouping existing activists, but also for developing new ones. It does not serve to simply affirm the politics of existing radicals, but to challenge us all in a process of engagement and action.
c) The ideas developed by this political center arise from activity in actual resistance movements and are related back to those movements by the participation of activists where they are further tested in practice and developed. Revolutionary theory is created by trying in practice to understand the nature of class struggle today in terms of how relations between capital and labour are gendered, racialized and sexualized through cultural, geographical, and historic realities.
4. THE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF A POLITICAL CENTER.
The kind of organizational structure that makes sense for this perspective would require:
a) A common political basis of unity arising from similar experiences of radical struggle which is the basis for the concentration of these ideas.
b) A common commitment to carrying out a shared plan of activity supported through the labour and finances of the members.
c) The holding of regular meetings/conferences to discuss and work out political perspectives and vision for the organization over the next 6 months to a year. This would also include the creation of structures such as email lists and means of communicating and making decisions in between conferences.
d) The development of distinct projects arising out of the political basis of unity and the decision making meetings aimed at advancing it, i.e. committees or collectives to produce webpages, pamphlets, newspapers, documents, and to organize public meetings, lectures, reading groups, etc. These various groupings would develop out of membership as needed, would be accountable to regular conferences or meetings of the membership, and would develop means of relating to each other as needed.
5. AVOIDING THE PAST FAILURES OF REVOLUTIONARY GROUPINGS.
How do we go about building a political center and what are concrete things that we can do to make sure that a healthy and democratic group develops?
a) There must be a central focus on organically building a unity and coherence of the group in political as well as technical matters. The project needs to become the collective expression of every member, and we must strive to eliminate all barriers to participation from the membership. As the Situationist International (http://bopsecrets.org/) put it:
"Such an organization refuses to reproduce within itself any of the hierarchical conditions of the dominant world. The only limit to participating in its total democracy is that each member must have recognized and appropriated the coherence of its critique. This coherence must be both in the critical theory as such and in the relation between this theory and practical activity."
The organizing of the political center, must strive to prefigure the kinds of revolutionary change that we wish to create. As the Situationists put it: "such an organization sees the beginning and end of its program in the complete decolonization of everyday life. It thus aims not at the masses’ self-management of the existing world, but at its uninterrupted transformation." The same should be true for the day to day life of the organization.
b) While recognizing that different people will have different interests and focuses, a real attempt must be made for all members of the grouping to be proficient in such things as meeting facilitation, public speaking, child care, production of "theory", building web pages, bookkeeping, radio technology, poster, leaflet and publications design and layout etc. etc. Skills training should develop from a process of "each one teach one", not from an approach of a few "specialists" in certain skill sets training and "building up" everyone else. Members of the group should make an inventory of the skills they have and the skills they want to learn, and skills should be shared on the basis of people's own interests and of the work that needs to be completed.
c) The group must create horizontal networks amongst its various structures through which information and power are shared evenly. As much as possible all people should take part in the work of contact building between members in various geographical areas.
d) Political development and a sense of ownership to the project are the fundamental key to the health of the organization. This includes the ability of the organization to deal with issues of oppressive behaviour within the organization, as well as the overall internal functioning of the group.
5. COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY AND THE FUNCTIONING OF THE GROUP
a) The group is not a collection of individuals, but rather a collective united by a common commitment to shared political perspectives. The development of theory and the future of the group is shared by all members, and continues throughout the course of the group's life, not just at the founding of the group or in moments of political tension.
b) There is a political commitment to each other on an organizational basis. Meetings start promptly on time, members show up to them or send regrets if they can't make them, the meetings deal with the agreed upon issues to be addressed, minutes are taken and shared with all members who were unable to make the meeting. Decisions passed at previous meetings are examined at future meetings, to make sure that they have been carried through.
c) There must be a focus upon the external struggles taking place outside of the organization and a relation to ongoing struggles. The organization of a political center needs to have a way of reaching people and to be reached by people. This means that public and semi-public events must be regularly held, and that the ideas of the political center are disseminated through such mediums as web pages, publications, pamphlets, newsletters or via newspapers, journals, radio shows, video footage, etc.. It is in the process of relating to larger struggles and the world itself that technical skills are developed and shared amongst the members of this organization.
d) In developing these plans structures should not be created in the abstract, but rather shaped around the needs of the concrete tasks to be achieved. The organization should try to build through a steady and methodical way, and not overstretch itself or try to grow too quickly. Attention to the process of decision making is as important as a focus on the end result.
An excerpt from the Tyranny of Structurelessness by Jo Freedman
While engaging in this trial-and-error process, there are some principles we can keep in mind that are essential to democratic structuring and are politically effective also:
1.) Delegation of specific authority to specific individuals for specific tasks by democratic procedures. Letting people assume jobs or tasks by default only means they are not dependably done. If people are selected to do a task, preferably after expressing an interest or willingness to do it, they have made a commitment which cannot easily be ignored.
2.) Requiring all those to whom authority has been delegated to be responsible to all those who selected them. This is how the group has control over people in positions of authority. Individuals may exercise power, but it is the group that has the ultimate say over how the power is exercised.
3.) Distribution of authority among as many people as is reasonably possible. This prevents monopoly of power and requires those in positions of authority to consult with many others in the process of exercising it. It also gives many people an opportunity to have responsibility for specific tasks and thereby to learn specific skills.
4.) Rotation of tasks among individuals. Responsibilities which are held too long by one person, formally or informally, come to be seen as that person's 'property' and are not easily relinquished or controlled by the group. Conversely, if tasks are rotated too frequently the individual does not have time to learn her job well and acquire a sense of satisfaction of doing a good job.
5.) Allocation of tasks along rational criteria. Selecting someone for a position because they are liked by the group, or giving them hard work because they are disliked, serves neither the group nor the person in the long run. Ability, interest and responsibility have got to be the major concerns in such selection. People should be given an opportunity to learn skills they do not have, but this is best done through some sort of 'apprenticeship' programme rather than the 'sink or swim' method. Having a responsibility one can't handle well is demoralizing. Conversely, being blackballed from what one can do well does not encourage one to develop one's skills. Women have been punished for being competent throughout most of human history - the movement does not need to repeat this process.
6.) Diffusion of information to everyone as frequently as possible. Information is power. Access to information enhances one's power. When an informal network spreads new ideas and information among themselves outside the group, they are already engaged in the process of forming an opinion - without the group participating. The more one knows about how things work, the more politically effective one can be.
7.) Equal access to resources needed by the group. This is not always perfectly possible, but should be striven for. A member who maintains a monopoly over a needed resource (like a printing press or a darkroom owned by a husband) can unduly influence the use of that resource. Skills and information are also resources. Members' skills and information can be equally available only when members are willing to teach what they know to others.
When these principles are applied, they ensure that whatever structures are developed by different movement groups will be controlled by and be responsible to the group. The group of people in positions of authority will be diffuse, flexible, open and temporary. They will not be in such an easy position to institutionalize their power because ultimate decisions will be made by the group at large. The group will have the power to determine who shall exercise authority within it.
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was born in 1873 in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye in Burgundy.
A contemporary of Proust, André Gide, Jean Cocteau, Gertrude Stein, and Edith Piaf, her life was her art, her lifestyle was left-bank, and no matter what else was going on (war, husbands, lovers, near-death illnesses, day jobs), she was writing.
Deep Inside the Paris Boudoirs
But when I read her novels - any of more than 50 of them! - I follow her characters like Alice following the white rabbit - into Colette approximately 1890their fringe, backstage worlds. I am seduced by the depth and color of these vibrant, foreign rooms, roads, boudoirs, dressing rooms, and after-hours dining establishments.
Relationships were her "thing." Men and women. Mothers and daughters. Women and women. Young girls dreaming of love. The layers of these relationships are deep, complex, and profound.
She started writing for Monsieur Willy, her older first husband, who (so the story goes) would lock her in a room until she finished writing the day’s required number of pages. Willy also had a nasty habit of putting his name on her books. Needless to say, the marriage didn’t work out.
Scandal and Liberation
Colette filled every moment of her life fulfilling her desire to experience, and then record. She worked as a dancer, singer, and mime in Parisian music halls and stages, and the Moulin Rouge. In 1906, she flashed a bare breast on stage - Parisshaking up even the most liberal of Paris society.
Excerpt from "The Lover" by Marguerite Duras
Outside it’s the end of the day, you can tell by the sound of the voices, the sound of more and more passers-by, more and more miscellaneous. It’s a city of pleasure that reaches its peak at night. And night is beginning now, with the setting sun.
The bed is seperated from the city by those slatted shutters, that cotton blind. There’s nothing solid seperating us from other people. They don’t know of our existence. We glimpse something of theirs, the sum of their voices, of their movements, like the intermittent hoot of a siren, mournful, dim.
Whiffs of burnt sugar drift into the room, the smell of roasted peanuts, Chinese soups, roast meat, herbs, jasmine, dust incence, charcoal fires, they carry fire about in baskets here, it’s sold in the street, the smell of the city is the smell of the villages upcountry, of the forest.
I suddenly saw him in a black bathrobe. He was sitting drinking a whiskey, smoking.
He said I’d been asleep, he’d taken a shower. I’d fallen asleep almost unawares. He’d switched on a lamp on a low table.
He’s a man of habit - I suddenly think of him - he must come to this room quite often, he’s a man who must make love a lot, a man who’s afraid, he must make love a lot to fight against fear. I tell him I like the idea of his having many women, the idea of my being one of them, indistinguishable. We look at each other. He understands what I’ve just said. Our expressions are suddenly changed, false, caught in evil and death.
I tell him to come over to me, tell him he must possess me again. He comes over. He smells pleasantly of English cigarettes, expensive perfume, honey, his skin has taken on the scent of silk, the fruity smell of silk tussore, the smell of gold, he’s desirable. I tell him of this desire. He tells me to wait awhile. Talks to me, says he knew right away, when we were crossing the river, that I’d be like this after my first lover, that I’d love love, he says he knows now I’ll deceive him and deceive all the men I’m ever with. He says as for him he’s been the cause of his own unhappiness. I’m pleased with all he’s foretold, and say so. He becomes rough, desperate, he throws himself on me, devours the childish breasts, shouts, insults. I close my eyes on the intense pleasure. I think, he’s used to it, this is his occupation in life, love, nothing else. His hands are expert, marvelous, perfect. I’m very lucky, obviously, it’s as if it were his profession, as if unwittingly he knew exactly what to do and what to say. He calls me a whore, a slut, he says I’m his only love, and that’s what he ought to say, and what you do say when you just let things say themselves, when you let the body alone, to seek and find and take what it likes, and then everything is right, and nothing is wasted, the waste is covered over and all is swept away in the torrent, in the force of desire.
The sound of the city is so near, so close, you can hear it brushing against the wood of the shutters. It sounds as if they’re all going through the room. I caress his body amid the sound, the passers-by. The sea, the immensity, gathering, receding, returning.
I asked him to do it again and again. Do it to me. And he did, did it in the unctuousness of blood. And it really was unto death. It has been unto death.
He lit a cigarette and gave it to me. And very quietly, close to my lips, he talked to me.
And I talked to him too, very quietly.
Because he doesn’t know for himself, I say it for him, in his stead. Because he doesn’t know he carries within him supreme elegance, I say it for him.
Now evening comes. He tells me I’ll remember this afternoon all my life, even when I’ve forgotten his face and name. I wonder if I’ll remember the house. He says, take a good look at it. I do. I say it’s like everywhere else. He says yes, yes, it’s always the same.
I can still see the face, and I do remember the name. I see the whitewashed walls still, the canvas blind between us and the oven outside, the other door, arched, leading to the other room and to an open garden-the plants are dead from the heat-surrounded by blue balustrades like those at the big villa in Sadec with its tiers of terraces overlooking the Mekong.
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