Withdrawing our Consent

"If there is one thing I know, it is that the 1 percent loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over.  And there is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it’s a very big thing: the 99 percent. And that 99 percent is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say 'No. We will not pay for your crisis.'"
                                                                                                                     --Naomi Klein

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"Give me control of a nation's currency and I care not who makes the laws."
--Mayer Amschel Rothschild

 

 

Corporations are not people -- Bernie Sanders Petition

The American Dream -- End the Fed!!!

The Calling

Law & Disorder - Michael Ratner
WBAI - Mondays 9 - 10 AM EST

Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Organizing Notes

Boycott Organizer's Guide

Guide to Researching Corporations

"The Awakening" (2011 Final Version, Full Length Documentary)

“We’re not dreamers.  We’re awaking from a dream turning into a nightmare. 
We’re not destroying anything.  We’re watching the system destroy itself."
--Slavoj Žižek at Occupy Wall Street

John Perkins - The Secret History of the American Empire

Will Potter - Green is the New Red


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"We have to create culture, don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you're worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you're giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told 'no', we're unimportant, we're peripheral. 'Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.' And then you're a player, you don't want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world."
   
                                                                                                                         --Terence McKenna

 

K P F A

Robert Fisk --
The Independent, UK

Public Citizen

Left Forum

Trade Watch

Tim Redmond - 48 Hills

Save CCSF Coalition

ACCE - Alliance of
Californians for Com-
munity Empowerment

XPDNC Links

Truth Out

Counterpunch

The Independent

The Guardian

 

"They (ACCJC) are a rogue operation. They have dug in their heels like some totalitarian regime. I think the time has come for the secretary of education to dismantle them."   --Rep Jackie Speier

Stop The Scam! CCSF AFT2121 Faculty/Students/Supporters of Pub Ed Protest Chancellor Privatization 011113
What is the Scott- Skillman Gap? - AFT Local 2121
City College of San Francisco: An Important Question
Our District colleges are currently in the midst of investing a huge
amount of time, energy and money in preparing for another accreditation by
the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC),
which accredits two-year colleges in California and Hawaii. Sanctions
imposed on colleges by the ACCJC in recent years have far exceeded the
total sanctions by all other accreditation bodies in the country combined.
Who actually runs the ACCJC? What is the basis for the huge number of
sanctions they have been imposing? What laws govern the decisions taken by ACCJC and who oversees their actions? These are some of the many questions that were taken up in an eye-opening report, titled
ACCJC Gone Wild

Save CCSF Coalition

See Tim Redmond - 48 Hills for coverage of trial

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!

DOE: Stop the unfair closure of City College of San Francisco petition

As trial closes, a Big Lie about City College finances 110314

The City College trial: A bit of perspective 103114

City College accreditors try to dig out of a hole 102914

Huge CCSF win: College won't close, deadline extension expected 061214

Accreditation panel tells Pelosi deadline for CCSF is firm 052814

Low speaking turnout at first CCSF public board meeting this year 042514

CCSF beats accreditors on academic playing field 042314

Errors seen in commissioners' opinion piece on CCSF funding 042214

S.F. City College accreditation panelists urge different tack 041514

 

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today [is] my own government. ... [F]or the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”
   
                                                                                                                         --Martin Luther King, Jr.

.

 

 

Capitalism: A Ghost Story - An Evening with Arundhati Roy and Siddhartha Deb

 

Freedom of the Press
Foundation

Save the Internet

Free Press

Fight for the Future

Social Security Works

Campaign for America's
Future

Move to Amend

Democracy for America

 

Videos, audios, etc.

Craig Aaron of Free Press, Kevin Huang of Fight for the Future,
on Net Neutrality
(1st hr) -- Marjorie Cohen and Ahmed Ghappour on Whistleblowers, Obama and Edward Snowden (2nd hr) 111614

Manuel Pastor - Transactions, Transformations, Translations | Bioneers on rapidly changing demographics, growing inequality and movement-building 111114

Arun Gupta -Social movements after Occupy Wall Street 091514

Ralph Nader on TPP, GM Recall, Nuclear Power & the "Unstoppable" Left-Right Anti-Corporate Movement 042814

Frances Fox Piven on Social Movements 031014

Sherry Gendelman - Punitive fines 031214

“Resister: A Story of Protest and Prison during the Vietnam War” with Bruce Dancis (second hour) 030214

"We Want to Fight For This Cause": Nuclear Refugees
from Fukushima Join Anti-Nuke Protests
011714

Protests Grow in Japan: "We Want to Bring Our Message
to the World to Stop Nuclear Power Plants"
011714

Volunteers Crowdsource Radiation Monitoring to Map Potential
Risk on Every Street in Japan
011014

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!

Call the FCC

 

Articles

Guardian Staff Making Plans to Purchase Newspaper From Current Owners 102014

The Decline and Fall of the San Francisco Bay Guardian 101414

SFBG's last issue with 2014
endorsements
-- more issues

48Hills - Tim Redmond's news site

SF Bay Guardian on microfiche

 

 

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"We Need to End the Fossil Fuel Age": Music Legend Neil Young Protests Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Awakening the Dreamer: A Transformative Workshop for People & Planet
Workshops & Communities

Ruth Rosen

Occupy Wall St. West

Occupy Together

ANSWER Coalition

Roots Action

The Occupied Wall
Street Journal

Senators

Make Banks Pay

CausaJusta JustCause

firedoglake

AlterNet

Al Jazeera English

 

 

 

Videos, audios, etc.

Bill Ayers & Bernardine Dohrn, former members of the Weathermen 110713 - begins @ 00:06:15

Francesca Polletta on how the Internet is fueling political protest 110413

Conflicts of Interest, CCSF & The Attack On Public Education Privatization with Kathy Carroll 071313

Thousands Of CCSF Students, Faculty And Supporters March & Rally Against Attack on Public Education 070913

Save CCSF Coalition challenges ACCJC's de-accreditation decision 070613

Save CCSF forum at SF 4 Democracy, Part 2, June 26, 2013

Victor Menotti, Intl Forum on Globalization, and Michelle Chan, Friends of the Earth - the TPP and the pivot to Asia 052913

Chicago to Shutter 50 Public Schools: Is Historic Mass Closure an Experiment in Privatization? 052813

"Hero of War" – Rise Against Song Captures Iraq War Veteran’s Tragic Experience 052713

Memorial Day Special: U.S. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Return War Medals at NATO Summit 052713

City College of San Francisco and Public Education Under Attack 031413

Chris Crass on his book "Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy”
KPFA Against the Grain w/ C.S. Soong 032713

A People’s Revolt in Cyprus: Richard Wolff on Protests Against EU Plan to Seize Bank Savings 032513

Freedom to Connect: Aaron Swartz (1986-2013) on Victory to Save Open Internet, Fight Online Censors 011413

 

Articles

Rep. Speier calls for federal accreditation reform, citing CCSF debacle 110713

CCSF addressed ALL the Accreditor "Recommenda-tions" 071513

The Fiscal Crisis & Mgmt Assistance Team (FCMAT) Report on CCSF 071113

Who Killed City College? 070913

CCSF to seek review of accreditation denial 070513

Ouster of SF Bay Guardian Editor 062713

Hearing on CCSF future on tap 060513

John Stauber - The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats 031513

What's at stake as community colleges face budget cuts? 032713

CCSF approves report aimed at keeping accreditation 022813

CCSF cuts protested as deadline nears 022813

S.F. City College turnaround plan contested 020613

 

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Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Women, War & Peace

  

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                 "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."                -- Edward R. Murrow

 

Making Contact

Pacifica Radio

Open Secrets

Vote No War

Win Without War

Petition Site

ANSWER Coalition

Not in Our Name

Code Pink

Legit Government

Veterans for Common
Sense

Global Research

One Million Tax
Payers for Peace

 

 

 

Videos, audios, etc.

Bangladeshi Labor Activist Finds Burned Clothes With Wal-Mart Labels At Site of Deadly Factory Fire 112712

The Attack on Community Colleges and Privatization / Financialization of Education 100412

Thousands Rally in Chicago Teachers’ Strike, Pushing Back Against Corporatized Education Reform 091112

Trans Pacific Partnership...Trojan horse for global corporate domination? 091312
Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated in secret 080912
The Trans Pacific Partnership - A Corporate Fascist Coup 070812

Who Is Behind The Privatization Of Education:Gates, Broad, KIPP, Pearson, EdWest And The Gulen Schools 080512

Breaking ’08 Pledge, Leaked TPP Trade Doc Shows Obama Wants to Help Corporations Avoid Regulations 061412
Newly Leaked TPP Investment Chapter Contains Special Rights for Corporations 061312
Lori Wallace - A Stealth Attack on Democratic Governance 031312
Why are Obama trade negotiators pushing the extreme Trans-Pacific Partnership, and why is it being negotiated in such an untransparent manner?
NAFTA's Broken Promises: Failure to Create US Jobs

Chris Hedges - Days of revolt
George Lakoff - Framing political debate in U.S.


Audio from KPFA Sunday Show w/ Philip Maldari 062412

Petra Bartosiewicz - FBI stings and informants (1st hour)

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 062212

 

 

Articles

How the Left Can Become a True Political Force to Be Reckoned With 111312

David Glick - The Long Road to Real Democracy 110412

There is No Substitute for Organizing: How Unions Might Help Win Future Battles 070212

Richard Wolff - Yes, there is an alternative to capitalism: Mondragon shows the way 062412

Petra Bartosiewicz - Deploying Informants, the FBI Stings Muslims 061312

Foreign Policy: Barack ORomney 052412

Slavoj Žižek - Occupy Wall Street: what is to be done next? 042412

Lori Wallace - A Stealth Attack on Democratic Governance 031312
 - Why are Obama trade negotiators pushing the extreme Trans-Pacific   Partnership, and why is it being negotiated in such an untransparent manner?

 

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"The economics that permits one country to prey upon another is immoral.
                                                                    --Gandhi

 

 

 

 

Videos, audios, etc.

Glenn Greenwald: Obama’s Secret Kill List "The Most Radical Power a Government Can Seize" 053012

Chomsky: Occupy Wall Street "Has Created Something That Didn’t Really Exist" in U.S. — Solidarity 051412

The Story of Change

What's Up Wit' That? - Peace Action West

OWS Activist Cecily McMillan Describes Seizure, Bodily Injuries in Arrest by NYPD 032312

"How to Survive a Plague": As ACT UP Turns 25, New Film Chronicles History of AIDS Activism in U.S. 032312

Occupy Education: Teachers, Students Fight School Closings, Privatization, Layoffs, Rankings 030112

Chris Hedges and Kristof Lopaur of Occupy Oakland debate
black bloc, militancy and tactics


Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 020812

"Internet Censorship Affects Everybody": Rebecca MacKinnon on the Global Struggle for Online Freedom

Amir, Iran & Zahra's Paradise

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 011212
Zahra's Paradise

 

William Gould - Crippling the Right to Organize 122011

Žižek at Wall Stree - “Don’t fall in love with yourself.” 101111

How Wall Street Profits from the Criminalization of Immigrants and Lobbies for More To Be Locked Up 100810

Senators Demand the Military Lock Up of American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window 112311

Randall Amster: Welcome Home: Building an Inclusive Movement for the 99% 111811

 

"So long as the superstition exists that unjust laws are meant to be obeyed, so long will slavery exist."
                                                                                                                            --Gandhi

 

Cities for Peace

Common Dreams

Green Pages

Occupy Together

Occupy Oakland

Occupy San Francisco

 

 

Videos, audios, etc.

American OccuPie

Paul Dixon and The Bonus Army

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 122811

The War at Home: Militarized Local Police Tap Post-9/11 Grants to Stockpile Combat Gear, Use Drones 122711

The Saving American Democracy Amendment -- Bernie Sanders 120811

Battlefield America: U.S. Citizens Face Indefinite Military Detention in Defense Bill Before Senate 112911

Occupy Everywhere: Michael Moore, Naomi Klein on Next Steps for the Movement Against Corporate Power 112511

60 Minutes -- Congress: Trading stock on inside information? 111311

Arundhati Roy: Occupy Wall Street is "So Important Because It is in the Heart of Empire" 111511

OCCUPY WITH ALOHA: Makana at the APEC Dinner, Hawaii 111311

New Occupy Homes Coalition Helps Homeowners Stay in their Homes 111111

"Corporations Are Not People": Activists Push Amendment to Revoke "Corporate Personhood" 110911

Bank Transfer Day: Kristen Christian on How She Inspired Mass Exodus From Big Banks to Credit Unions 110911

Occupy America - Ying Lee, Phil Hutchings and Kevin Gray

Audio from KPFA Sunday Show w/ Philip Maldari 110611

Round table discussion with activists from Occupy Oakland

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 110311

 

Articles

Noam Chomsky Speaks to Occupy: If We Want a Chance at a Decent Future, the Movement Here and Around the World Must Grow 110111

Naomi Wolf - We May Be Witnessing the First Large Global Conflict Where People Are Aligned by Consciousness and Not Nation State or Religion 110111

Alex Pareene - A New Declaration of Independence: 10 Ideas for Taking America Back from the 1% 103111

 

 

 

Economic sanctions against war

War on Iraq IQ Test

Norbert Goldfield, M.D. - Civil Disobedience: A Necessary Tool To Achieve Universal Healthcare and Fulfill the Universal Declaration of Human Rights March 2000

 

 

Videos, audios, etc.

Occupy Oakland Prepares for General Strike as War Veterans Organize Day of Action at Occupy Camps

Gifford Hartman, Cynthia Kaufman and Eddie Yuen
Occupy and Strike


Audio from KPFA Against the Grain

Glenn Greenwald, author of Liberty & Justice for Some - second hour

Audio from KPFA Sunday Show

"Blood on the Tracks": Brian Willson’s Memoir of Transformation from Vietnam Vet to Radical Pacifist 102811

Oakland General Strike

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 102711

WikiLeaks suspends publishing to fight financial blockade

Robert Reich, the Occupy Movement and the People's Agenda

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 102411

Marianne Williamson speaks out at Occupy LA- City Hall 10-12-11

Occupy Wall Street Protest Song

As Unions, Students Join Occupy Wall Street, Are We Witnessing
Growth of a New Movement?
100511

American Spring? 'Occupy Wall Street just the beginning' 100211

Immigrant Money Making Machine: Wells Fargo 061111

 

 

Solution For Salvation, Not Slaughter 030903

Kelpie Wilson - The Lysistrata Strategy

Arundhati Roy - Confronting Empire 012803

David Glick -: Anti-war organizing strategy re oil  120402

Inspiration for this page - The people of Denmark during WWII

The peace of women is intimately bound up with the peace of men

Martin Luther King, Jr. on Conscience

10 reasons women should oppose U.S. "war on terrorism"

War is an extreme form of criminality

Riane Eisler - The Chalice and the Blade

Compare for yourself - Evolution of Bush agenda for Iraq invasion

John Michael Greer - A Critique

 

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1989 Raw Video: Man vs. Chinese tank Tiananmen Square      -        The Tank Man

 

THE LONG ROAD TO REAL DEMOCRACY

David Glick
November 4, 2012

In 1975 the elite Trilateral Commission issued a report entitled, "The Crisis of Democracy." It held that an "excess of democracy" was disrupting the smooth functioning of government and undermining its authority. The report asserted this crisis was caused by previously marginalized members of society organizing to demand that their needs and interests be addressed. Clearly an intolerable situation in the eyes of the Commission. In the ruling class version of democracy, the general public is to be passive and obedient and must be excluded from meaningful political involvement. Its role is to do nothing more than cast a vote on election day for one of the officially approved candidates of our two party system and then go home having fulfilled its duty.

In this elite view there is no public interest, only a fragmented electorate comprised of so called "special interests" such as racial and ethnic minorities, women, workers, students, farmers, the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and increasingly the middle class. In other words--all of us except the very wealthy. In the trenchant words of the Occupy Movement, it's the 99% versus the 1% whose wealth and power enables it to identify the nation's interest with its own; and to date the 1% is winning. In this perverted arrangement where the "national interest" is identified with the interests of the giant corporations and huge financial institutions, corporate profit masquerading as the national interest will always trump the common good.

The real crisis of democracy is not an excess of democracy but the lack of real democratic participation. The choice before us is either a genuine democracy or a government that is simply the handmaiden of the super rich, the corporations and financial institutions--a condition better understood as the authoritarian rule of a plutocracy. If we ever needed further proof of this, the 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, should make this abundantly clear. In a 5 to 4 decision, the Court ruled the speech of corporations must be treated the same as that of human beings, thereby empowering corporations and billionaires to fund superpacs which are allowed to spend unlimited money in support of a candidate as long as they don't coordinate that expenditure with the candidate (a slippery condition that is unenforceable) and as long as they disclose where the money comes from.

In the current federal election, the voice of the little guy is further drowned out by what has come to be called "dark money." These are so-called "social welfare" non-profits such as Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads GPS, two Republican organizations, as well as trade associations like the Chamber of Commerce, organized respectively as 501 (c)4s and 501 (c)6s under the U.S. tax code. This designation allows them to spend unlimited money in elections without disclosing their donors so long as they don't explicitly call for the election or defeat of a particular candidate. However, this murky distinction does allow them to run ads which do raise issues clearly designed to support or defeat a particular candidate.

Big money has even managed to subvert the initiative process which was originally designed to enhance democracy by allowing voters to propose legislation through ballot initiatives. But here again the corrosive effect of big money usually wins the day by using the power of that money to pass or defeat legislation deemed to be in the interests of big business and the wealthy elite. There can be no doubt that here in America we have the best democracy money can buy.

The current Supreme Court is comprised of five activist conservative justices who are decidedly pro big business and anti-labor. On June 25 of this year, this right-wing Court, in another 5 to 4 ruling, summarily struck down a 1912 Montana law which barred direct corporate contributions to political parties and candidates, a law which had been enacted because of a history of electoral interference on the part of the state's copper kings. Then on June 21 of this year in KNOX v SEIU, the Court took a crippling swipe at labor when it ruled that unions had to get "opt-in" permission from non-members, who are covered under union-negotiated contracts, before it could use their dues for political purposes. Yet there is no requirement under the law for corporations to get "opt-in" permission from shareholders in order to use company resources for political purposes. No level playing field here. Clearly the rulings of this right-wing Court are a roadblock to any semblance of economic justice without which there can be no real democracy.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties are the instruments of an elite ruling class which maintains control through the illusion of choice since each party is but a separate wing of the same party of wealth and privllege. Despite their differences, they share a common allegiance to the capitalist system and U.S. imperialism. They play different roles, yet function together to ensure that whoever the voters choose, the outcome will never challenge U.S. military hegemony and the capitalist system of putting corporate profits above the common good.

Capital maintains its rule through a clever combination of deception, coercion,
accommodation, and when necessary, violence. The role of the Republicans is to be the unembarrassed and unmitigated friend of Big Business. To the working class and the poor, the Republicans are seen as the greater of two evils. Within this good cop bad cop arrangement, the role of the Democrats is to be the lesser of two evils. Their job is to deliver just enough crumbs and benefits to blue collar workers, the poor, and middle class to keep them playing within this rigged electoral game.

To be fair, what may seem like crumbs in the big picture can be a matter of survival for those struggling to get by. Nonetheless, should the collusion of this bipartisan charade fail, both parties hope voters will become so disillusioned that they drop out of the electoral system without ever challenging it by building a mass movement rooted in independent politics. This duplicity and the rigged nature of our electoral system has caused the Democratic Party to become the graveyard of the very social movements necessary to reinvigorate our democracy. If the Democrats were truly committed to social change, they would work to expand the electorate by bringing in new voters from among the disaffected and marginalized of our society, but having nothing of substance to offer they make no such efforts. Hence the embarrassingly low voter turn out in this country.

We are living in a time when there is a fundamental struggle going on as to what kind of country we and our children are going to inhabit. On the one hand there are those who believe there is something we can all recognize as the common good. These are basic things that make for a viable and sustainable economy, a healthy environment, and a healthy population. These are things such as clean air, clean water, public education, public parks, roads, bridges and infrastructure, and a universal, comprehensive health care system to name just a few of the most obvious ones. These are the functions of government and they require taxes. Taxes then are simply the dues one pays for living in a just and functioning society that provides an abundance of opportunity and recognizes there is a public good and a commons from which everyone benefits.

On the other hand, we have the ideology of the ruling elite that denies there is such a thing as the commons or the public interest and that treats all such matters as commodities to be delivered by corporations whose primary goal is corporate profit, not the welfare of its workers or those to whom it sells its goods and services. This pernicious ideology is turning our country into a market society in which we know the price of everything, but have lost a sense of the value of anything be it clean air, clean water, the arts, education, leisure, happiness, or family life.

This privatization movement is an explicit attempt to turn over to corporations public resources, services and functions, which for centuries were operated by government. Privatization is the means by which corporations take over and run for profit what the public sector of the economy has traditionally done for the welfare of the population as a whole. Even prisons have become a source of corporate profit as more and more of them are being privatized. This privatization movement seeks to limit and defund government and ultimately control any aspect of the public sector that stands in the way of corporate profits. It is eviscerating public control and accountability of crucial govern-mental functions such as public health and safety, education, environmental protection, and the public broadcast airways, the latter of which is vital if we are to be informed citizens in a functioning democracy.

The mantra of these corporate privatizers is to let the market decide everything and have less government. Of course they don't really want less government but rather a government that works for the interests of corporations, not the interests of the people and the common good. The difference between the values of corporate privatizers and the values of those of us committed to the common good is perhaps the great divide of our time. If we lose this battle, we are putting our democracy up for sale and endangering the very environment that sustains us all. The ruling elite equates democracy with nothing less than unfettered, unregulated capitalism and equates freedom with corporate license to make ever greater profits, regardless of the social costs to our communities, our health, and our environment.

We will not have real democracy in this country until we take big money out of politics and that means overturning Citizens United and instituting federally funded elections. We must end forever the idea that money is the equivalent of speech and that corporations have the same rights that were given to natural persons by the Constitution of the United States. We must also end the revolving door which shuffles former industry lobbyists into government positions and returns those same legislators and government regulators into the industries over which they previously had oversight.

If we are to have a real democracy, we must overturn restrictive ballot access laws and have viable third parties that represent the broad spectrum of issues and solutions that people care about. We need instant run off voting and proportional representation like so many of the Western democracies of the world. We must have substantive presidential debates open to third party candidates, not the charade we have now which is sponsored by the corporate funded presidential commission entirely controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties. The function of these sham debates is to limit discussion to those issues which do not threaten the capitalist structure of domination and privilege or the U.S. empire, with its more than 900 military bases in at least 120 countries.

If we are to have a real democracy, we need a media whose job is to create an informed electorate and that requires real investigative reporting and challenging the lies and deceptions of those running for public office. We must reclaim the public airways so that they serve the public interest rather than the financial interests of corporate America. The major media must be required to provide free air time to all ballot qualified candidates so we can have a robust airing of diverse political views.

If we are to have real democracy, we must eliminate the arcane Electoral College where someone can become president by winning a majority of the Electoral College votes even though they have not won a majority of the popular vote. We must totally reform our electoral system and insure that every citizen has the right to vote and every vote is counted on voting machines that have verifiable paper trails. To insure that end we must criminalize the efforts of those engaged in voter suppression-- today's equivalent of yesterday's abhorrent Jim Crow laws.

On that day we will have honored the heroic struggles of those who faced fire hoses and police dogs and were jailed and even murdered to secure the sacred right to vote. On that day our vote will be meaningful and on that day America can proudly proclaim that at long last we are indeed a democracy.

David Glick is a poet, psychotherapist and a member of the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Health Care for All--California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Michael Greer
critiquing Globalize Liberation

[The following critique full of provocative ideas for the environmental community is a personal letter printed with the author's permission to circulate it widely. But to identify the people and context:

The author is John Michael Greer, who explains quite a lot about himself in the letter. We've also put a bio at the end of the letter.

The recipients are Patrick Reinsborough and James John Bell, members of the smartMeme collaborative, the activist-oriented message-and-media consultants. For more about smartMeme go tohttp://smartmeme.org/

Greer is critiquing a book edited by David Solnit, "Globalize Liberation" (SF: City Lights Book, 2004). He focuses on Patrick's chapter, "Decolonizing the Revolutionary Imagination: Values Crisis, the Politics of Reality, and Why There's Going to Be a Common-Sense Revolution in This Generation." You can read that chapter on the Rachel site at http://www.rachel.org/library/getfile.cfm?ID=508. Peter Montague is also publishing the chapter in several parts in Rachel's.

The letter is perfectly understandable without reading either the chapter or the book, but it also frames a way to read or reread both. Enjoy! Discuss!]


John Michael Greer writes:

James asked me for my thoughts on "Globalize Liberation," and I hope neither of you will mind a lengthy, even labored, response. The book is extremely thought-provoking in its strengths and weaknesses alike, and it's given me an opportunity to rethink many of the assumptions I've had about social change and the potential shape of the future. Since I come to these issues from a somewhat unusual perspective -- the perspective of a practicing mage and initiate of several magical orders -- I recognize that the ideas "Globalize Liberation" evoked in me are perhaps a little different from those common in the progressive community. Thus I've chosen to explain those ideas here at some length.

James, we've talked extensively about magic, but I don't know how much of that you've shared with Patrick. For that reason, not to mention the off chance you might pass this around to others, I should probably take a moment to explain what I mean by magic and why it's relevant to social change at all. Dion Fortune (Violet Firth Evans), one of the most important magical theorists of the twentieth century, defined magic as "the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will." While magic as I understand it is more a craft than an art or a science, the basic principle holds. The medium of magic is consciousness -- one's own consciousness, that of other people, and (more controversially, at least within the worldview of modern industrial culture) that of other-than-human entities of various kinds. The tools of magic are will, imagination, and the innate structures of consciousness itself, constellated through formal patterns of symbol and ritual. The goals of magic are defined by the individual magician.

The relevance of all this to social change and society in general was pointed out powerfully by the late Ioan Culianu, one of the few significant modern scholars of magic who was also a competent mage. In his groundbreaking "Eros and Magic in the Renaissance" (1984) Culianu argued that modern advertising is a form of magic, and proposed that modern consumer societies can be seen as "magician states" in which social control is primarily maintained not by violence but by manipulation through magically charged images. It's a crucial insight; when people treat, say, fizzy brown sugar water as a source of their identity and human value, their resemblance to fairy-tale characters under an enchantment isn't accidental. They're quite literally caught up in a spell.

Those who aren't used to magic may find it easier to think of spells as stories. Quite a lot of magic, in fact, can be understood as storytelling. The mage uses symbol and ritual to tell a story, and makes it so spellbinding that the listeners come to believe that it's real -- and then make it real by their actions. Magical combat is a struggle between storytellers, in which each mage tries to define a common reality in terms of the story that best serves his or her purposes. The struggle between the global corporate system and the activist community, to build on Culianu's insights, can be seen as a
conflict of magicians telling opposing stories.

One obvious danger in magical combat is that of falling under the spell of the other mage's story -- but there's also the subtler danger of falling under the spell of one's own story, losing track of the fact that it's a story rather than the raw undefined reality of human experience out of which stories are assembled. When that happens, the self-enchanted mage may not be able to let go of the story, even when it's no longer relevant and another story would be more useful. As the old tale of the Sorcerer's Apprentice points out, if you lose control of the magical forces you summon, you're in trouble. Something of this sort seems to have happened in large parts of the progressive community.

Reading "Globalize Liberation" highlighted for me three stories, or spells, in which many of today's progressives seem to be caught. Let's call them the spell of reification, the spell of corporate triumphalism, and the spell of rescue. (This last has another name that's more revealing, but I'll save that for a bit; I'm sure you know that mages don't bandy about true names too freely.) I'd like to talk about those spells first, and then go on to talk about the more hopeful side of the book: some of the ways in which today's progressive community has begun to master its own magical powers and, with them, the future of the world.

I. The Spell of Reification

To my mind, one of the most striking essays in "Globalize Liberation" is Van Jones' piece "Behind Enemy Lines: Inside the World Economic Forum" (pp.87-96). It's especially valuable because it brings core assumptions of the progressive community up against the very different world of industrial society's ruling elite.

Jones was astonished to find that the vast corporate structures against which he and many other progressives had been campaigning so hard -- the WTO, the World Bank, and so on -- were treated, by the people who run them, as mere tools to be used or tossed aside at will. The elite see themselves personally as the holders of power, and institutions as their means and modes of power. The activists outside the police barricades, by contrast, see the institutions themselves as the problem. The scene from "The Wizard of Oz" comes forcefully to mind; Dorothy and her friends try to figure out some way to deal with the terrifying apparition of Oz, the Great and Powerful, but never notice the little man behind the curtain.

This is only one form of a pervasive problem in today's progressive politics: the way that identification so often transforms itself into reification. In magical tradition, names are a source of power, since to name something is to give it a context and meaning of the mage's choosing. In struggles for social change, it's therefore crucial to name what one is fighting; that's identification. But to go beyond this, to forget that every name is an abstraction imposed on a complex reality, and to treat the name as though it's an independent reality lurching around all by itself causing problems -- that's reification, and it's fatal.

The economic elite Jones encountered at the World Economic Forum use reification as a form of protective camouflage. The WTO and its like distract protest from the people and interests who shape, operate, and profit from them. The elites could discard any of them in a heartbeat without bringing the world one step closer to progressive goals. But this isn't the only form of reification that gets in the way of effective social change.

Starhawk's essay "A Feminist View of Global Justice" (pp. 45-50) shows another kind of reification at work. Starhawk's a capable mage, and her essay is a good example of name magic. Responding to claims that the world's problems are caused by corporations pursuing their own good under the banner of neoliberal ideology, she argues that corporations and neoliberalism alike are simply forms of patriarchy. By this act of renaming she subordinates anticorporate language and analyses to the feminist philosophy she's defended so ably in her many books.

But what is this thing called "patriarchy"? As feminist philosophers have rightly pointed out, there's nothing in American society or culture that isn't part of the system of privilege subordinating women to men. It's useful to glance a few pages ahead to Betita Martinez' article on racism, which argues that the system of white supremacy (the name she places on racism, in another act of name magic) similarly embraces every institution in American society. If every part of American society is part of the system of patriarchy, and every part of American society is likewise part of the system of white supremacy, are the two systems actually different?

I'd point out that human relations and exchanges in American society (and indeed most others) suffer from systematic inequalities along lines drawn by gender, color, age, ethnicity, social status, sexual orientation, body weight, physical appearance, and many other factors. None of these divisions exist outside the whole system of privilege. It can be good strategy to use labels such as "patriarchy" to focus attention on some particular group suffering under the system, but it's crucial not to fall into the same mistake as those who protest the WTO, and forget that patriarchy is simply one mode of privilege, a manifestation rather than a cause.

Failure to realize this burdened an earlier generation of activists with bitter, divisive, and utterly futile quarrels between men of color and white women as to whether racism or sexism was the "real problem," when the real problem is a system of privilege that treats gender and color, among many other things, as grounds for unequal treatment. But reifying privilege as something separate from society as a whole doesn't advance understanding either. The word "privilege" is merely a way of describing systematic patterns of inequality in the fabric of human relations and exchanges; it doesn't exist outside that fabric, and it can only be changed by changing the fabric thread by thread, weaving it into new patterns of equality and mutual respect.

Of course systematic oppression of women on account of their gender is a reality, and something that any progressive movement worth the name needs to confront. In that Starhawk's essay focuses attention on this, it's performing a valuable service. But it's crucial to remember that many women also suffer oppression and injustice for reasons unrelated to their gender -- reasons such as color, ethnic background, and body weight -- and that women can also be privileged by social divisions, and inflict oppression and injustice on others. Using a label such as "patriarchy" for the whole problem obscures these issues and, as I'll show a little further on, closes off potential avenues for effective action. Beyond this, insisting that one particular mode of privilege is more important than others is itself a claim of privilege, and -- as in the case of the quarrels just mentioned -- commonly accompanies attempts to claim that one group's experience of oppression and injustice deserves more attention from the activist community than others.

Reifications are problematic because they can distract progressives from points of access where their actions can make a difference. Consider George Lakey's fascinating account of the Otpor movement against Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic in his article "Strategizing for a Living Revolution" (pp. 135-160). One of the tactics Otpor members used to halt police violence against them was to take photos of their wounded and make sure the family members, neighbors, and children of the police got to see them. This was a brilliant bit of magic. The individual human beings who made up that reified abstraction, "the police," were stripped of that identity by a spell of unnaming, and turned back into neighbors, husbands, children, parents: people who were part of civil society, and subject to its standards and social pressures. That couldn't have been achieved if Otpor had reified and protested "police brutality," since that act would have strengthened the reification of police as something other than ordinary members of society.

The same point should be made about one of the most pervasive reifications in "Globalize Liberation," the reification of the existing order of society itself. David Solnit's otherwise excellent introduction (pp. xi-xxiv) falls headlong into this trap. Solnit confidently proclaims that "the system" is the cause of the world's social and ecological problems, and then goes on to define "the system" as the sum total of those problems: war, economic exploitation, and so on. It's a breathtaking display of circular logic, and invites the retort that "the system" is simply an abstract reification of everything about the world that the progressive community doesn't like.

Again, Lakey's account offers a potent alternative. Otpor strategists recognized that the Milosevic dictatorship wasn't an independent reality imposing itself from above on a passive society. It was simply an arrangement of things within Serbian society, and could only exist with the constant cooperation of millions of ordinary Serbs. The same is true of today's global corporate economy; it exists because people throughout the world, and especially people in America, uphold it by their actions. In effect, we are "the system." If we recognize that fact, instead of reifying "the system" as some force alien to us, we can own and then wield our power over it.

II. The Spell of Corporate Triumphalism

The notion that "the system" is something outside the society that constitutes it goes hand in hand with the claim that the struggle against "the system" is entering its most desperate phase right now. Patrick, I'm going to pick on you here, mostly because you indicated a willingness to accept scathing criticism; plenty of other essays in the book fall into this same rhetoric. You start your thoughtful essay "Decolonizing the Revolutionary Imagination" (pp. 161-212) with the words: "Our planet is heading into an unprecedented global crisis. The blatancy of the corporate power grab and the accelerating ecological meltdown is evidence that we do not live in an era where we can afford the luxury of fighting merely the symptoms of the problem." Language like "doomsday economy" and repeated insistences that we have no choice except all-out struggle feed this sense of desperation.

There's a strong confirmatory bias at work in discussions of these topics in the activist community, which has resulted in the widespread acceptance of statements that can't be justified by the facts. You comment, for example, that the current ecological transformation is "the sixth great extinction," that it's more rapid than any other, and that it threatens the survival of the Earth's biosphere itself. This rhetoric is extremely common in activist circles these days but it's not actually supported by scientific research into the Earth's past extinction crises, which I'd encourage you to look into. There have been more than twenty great extinctions since the end of the Precambrian Period, not five (or six); many past extinctions were much swifter than the present example (the K-T event that wiped out the dinosaurs was almost instant, since it involved an asteroid smashing into the Earth); and the Earth's biosphere has easily weathered crises much more drastic than anything it's facing now. The current crisis is a reality but it doesn't threaten the survival of life on the planet.

Does this mean that we needn't worry about the ecological and climatic shifts now under way as a result of human blundering? Hardly. Given that global warming alone may well drown every coastal city in the world under rising oceans, wreck the global agricultural system on which six billion people depend for their daily meals, and send tropical epidemics raging through the temperate world, just in the next century, we have plenty to fret about. As James Lovelock has shown, the earth's biosphere is an intricate, powerful system that responds homeostatically to cancel out imbalances. Our society's inept prodding at the biosphere risks kindling a homeostatic response that could flatten the proud towers of our cities and push Homo sapiens to the brink of extinction.

This view of the situation has a solid foundation in science. As a tool for raising questions about the existing order of society and mobilizing individuals and communities, it's likely to work at least as well as the rhetoric of desperation described above. Yet it's received very little attention in progressive circles. Partly that's an effect of the third spell I'll discuss in this essay; partly, it's a rhetorical habit, common on the American left from colonial times to the present, of using apocalyptic rhetoric to prod people into listening (though by this point people are pretty well immunized to it). Partly, though, it's the result of another factor.

This factor is a mythology of corporate triumphalism. Today's global corporate economy presents itself as the inevitable wave of the future, a rising power that will master the destiny of the planet sometime soon if it hasn't done so already. Francis Fukuyama's widely read essay "The End of History" typifies this myth: "liberal democracy" (that is, corporate socialism manipulating the republican systems of an earlier era of politics) is the most efficient and therefore the best possible form of government, and so history defined as the evolutionary clash between competing forms of government is at an end.

Fukuyama's essay is a masterpiece of unintentional comedy, with its implied portrayal of George Herbert Walker Bush as Hegel's "world-historical personality" -- am I the only person who thinks that Bush the First talks like Hardy Har Har, the chronically depressed hyena in the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons? -- but it also offers a glimpse into the workings of the myth. It starts with a clever reification, turning six thousand years of wildly diverse events into a single process called "history," which by Hegel's definition has one driving force (conflict between forms of government) and one goal (the triumph of the "best," or rather, the most efficient form of government). By this act of name magic, all previous time becomes a process leading inevitably to today's global corporate system, and the total triumph of that system becomes the natural conclusion of everything that's come before: the end of history.

Progressive activists might be expected to challenge this forcefully, and present new ways of seeing the past that either dissolve "history" altogether or redefine it in ways that foster social change. Instead, most modern progressive thought accepts the myth of corporate triumphalism intact, merely changing the moral signs ("good" becomes "bad" and vice versa) and tacking on a final chapter in which, at the last possible minute, the good guys win out anyway. The resulting story makes for good fantasy (it's the basic plot of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings") but bad strategy. Worse, by fitting the social change community into the dramatic role of heroic fighters for a lost cause, it subtly encourages activists to put themselves in positions where they will heroically fail to accomplish their goals, thus playing the part the story defines for them.

As a contrarian thought experiment, imagine that by some accident (a head-on collision between two time machines?) you find yourself holding a history of the world published in San Francisco in the year 3004. You eagerly turn to the pages about the early 21st century, hoping to find out how a triumphant, expansionistic corporate system was defeated by a heroic minority of global activists. What you find instead is something quite different...

"By the dawn of the 21st century it was clear that the ramshackle structure of economic and political compromises that followed the disastrous Great European War of 1914-1945 was falling apart, and taking Euro-American global hegemony with it. Efforts to expand that hegemony's technological base in the late 20th century by introducing supersonic transports, large-scale nuclear power, and other dubious advances went nowhere in the face of popular resistance and economic realities, while spectacularly inept handling of currency exchange problems by would-be "global managers" among the governing elites put formidable strains on a faltering system. The triumphant imperialism of the 19th century had given way, and the global capitalism that followed it proved too weak to resist the forces of change.

"From 1970 on, elite groups knew they faced severe resource and energy shortages in the near future, and from 1990 on the catastrophic threat of global climate change could no longer be ignored (though it was publicly denied), but the system they were expected to manage lacked the flexibility and resources to respond to these hard realities. Nor could it cope with the ballooning of a fictive economy built on exotic financial instruments -- essentially unpayable IOUs with nothing backing them -- which emerged in response to pervasive weakness all through the productive sectors of the economy. Increasingly frantic transfers of jobs, resources and wealth across nation state borders propped up the system over the short term, but the resulting ecological and economic damage fanned the flames of popular discontent and brought the final collapse steadily closer.

"2001 marked the beginning of the end. In that year, another fiscal crisis mismanaged by the elites pushed the nation state of Argentina (now part of the Confederacion de Vecindades de America del Sur) into economic and political meltdown. Argentines responded by building new, locally based networks for decision making and exchange, and as these expanded the remnants of national government slowly flickered out. Fiscal and ecological crises elsewhere in Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe in 2005, 2008, and 2010 saw more than a dozen nation states start coming apart in the same way. Even in those nation states that managed to hold together through the troubled first decade of the 21st century, economic dislocation and political failure drove the growth of new local systems on the Argentine model. As news of these spread over the Internet, it fed a growing awareness that the old order's days were numbered.

"In the end, the breakup of the West Antarctic ice sheet in 2012 proved to be simply one crisis too many for a beleaguered, malfunctioning, and overloaded system. Faced with rising sea levels and coastal flooding worldwide, hamstrung by an unmanageable burden of unpayable debt from the fictive economy, and targeted by overwhelming popular resentment due to their failure to take preventive action against the global warming crisis, the world's economic and political elites were left without any viable options at all. Most members of the elites were killed outright or fled into hiding. In their absence, the old society fell apart in a matter of months, leaving local networks and neighborhood councils to pick up the pieces."

Take a moment to think of your own place today in that history of elite failure and collapse. To mimic the effects of confirmatory bias, think of everything you know that fits that vision of the future. Make an effort to experience the world around you as though today's global corporate system isn't a triumphant monster, but a brittle, ungainly, jerry-rigged contraption whose managers are vainly scrambling to hold it together against a rising tide of crises. See the issues that engage your activism in that light, not as though you're desperate, but as though the system is. It's a very different perspective from that of most activists, and reaching it even in imagination might take some work, but give it your best try.

The point I'd like to make, once you've tried on both stories of the future, is that both of them -- the story of corporate triumph and the story of corporate failure -- explain the past and present equally well. The actions of the IMF and the World Bank in the last decade or so, for example, can be explained as a power grab by a doomsday economy in the driver's seat, but they can equally well be explained as desperation moves by a faltering elite faced with a world situation that's more unsteady and ungovernable by the day. The same is true of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and anything else from the current-events page you wish to name.

Which of these stories is true? Wrong question. The events that define either story haven't happened yet, and which story people believe could well determine which way the ending turns out. If people believe that the global corporate system is invulnerable, most of them will make their peace with it and come to rely on it, and their actions will give it more power. If people believe that the global corporate system is doomed, most of them will withdraw their support from it and begin seeking alternatives -- and that in itself could doom it. Ask yourself, then, which of these stories fosters more hope, gives more encouragement to alternative visions of society, and more effectively cuts at the mental foundations of today's economic and political systems.

Yet of course these aren't the only two choices. Philosophers of science have agonized over the hard realization that any given set of facts can be explained by an infinite number of hypotheses. Mages, by contrast, revel in the freedom this implies. The freedom to reinterpret the world, to abandon a story of desperation for one of possibility and hope, is basic to the worldview of magic. It's a freedom that today's progressive community might find it useful to embrace as well.

III. The Spell of Rescue

But the progressive community's embrace of the rhetoric of desperation and the mythology of corporate triumphalism have another source, as I've suggested above. Another spell or, to use a model that's particularly appropriate here,another story keeps these patterns in place.

Patrick, I'm going to pick on you again, though I could as well discuss most of the essays in the book. "Decolonizing the Revolutionary Imagination" tells a story with three characters. One is innocent, helpless, and in need of rescue. The second is sinister, devious, and the cause of the first character's predicament. The third is heroic, idealistic, and the first character's only hope of rescue. The biosphere, the corporate "doomsday economy," and the activist community are the names you give these three characters. Other essays in the book tell the same story but give the characters different names. Still, you know whose story I'm talking about. It's the story of Dudley Do-right.

On the off chance that you somehow missed out on watching the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, where he originally appeared, I'll summarize. Dudley Do-right was a Mountie, blond, heroic, and as thick as a brick. His girlfriend Nell Fenwick was always being tied to railroad tracks by the villainous Snidely Whiplash. Dudley rescued her time after time, to the sound of Snidely's trademark line, "Curses, foiled again!" The next episode, though, there's Snidely tying Nell to the tracks again as Dudley gallops to the rescue. The roles of the three characters are as predictable as a corporate press release: Snidely has the active role and gets the action going in each episode, Nell's role is passive (getting tied up and rescued), and Dudley's is reactive (foiling Snidely and rescuing Nell).

Map the story of Dudley Do-right onto your article and it fits down to the fine details. "The system" has the active role, and it's always tying someone or other to the railroad tracks. The biosphere, in this case, waits passively to be rescued. The progressive community reacts by galloping to the rescue, and Whiplash Petroleum issues a press release saying "Curses, foiled again!" Dudley uses direct (re)action of various kinds -- at the point of assumption (he tries to talk Snidely out of tying people to railroad tracks), destruction (he unties Nell from the tracks), production (he flags down the train), and so on. The next episode, though, there's Snidely tying Nell to the tracks again. And again. And again...

What's happened here is another bit of magic gone awry. The magic in question is what the system of magic I practice calls "assuming a godform." For certain kinds of magic, mages in my tradition choose one of the gods or goddesses of ancient Egypt, based on the energy they want to bring into focus -- Isis for love, Horus for power, Nephthys for wisdom, and so on -- and first visualize, then actively experience themselves as that deity. In its psychological dimension (it has others) assuming a godform is a way of temporarily redefining self-concept. Who you think you are defines what you think you can do, and that sets the limits on what you can do. Assuming a godform allows the mage to step outside the limits of ordinary self-concepts by taking one aspect of human potential and raising it to the power of infinity.

People do this in a less conscious way all the time. Kids assume popular culture "godforms" right and left -- look, I'm Spider-Man! Most adults do it a bit more subtly, but if you watch them and know your pop culture you can usually figure out what images they've assumed. You'll also notice, though, that many of them are stuck in a single image, repeating the same role over and over, even when it's conterproductive. I suggest that this is what's happened to the American progressive community; it's gotten stuck in the godform of Dudley Do-right.

No, I don't think today's activists literally spent too much time watching the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and got mesmerized by Canada's least intelligent Mountie. Like any satire, Dudley Do-right pokes fun at familiar themes; we laugh at him because we all know the story he's lampooning. The self-concept that the progressive community has embraced is the one Dudley Do-right makes fun of, the image of the heroic rescuer. Assuming that image in the first place was good strategy: an effective counter to negative images of "protesters," not to mention a way to impose the image of Snidely Whiplash on defenders of privilege. What makes it a problem is that activists got stuck in the role and can't step out of it. They can't see themselves as anything but heroic rescuers. As confirmatory bias comes into play, they inevitably see the world around them in terms of Nells to rescue and Snidelys to vanquish.

The spell of Dudley Do-right has much to do with the purely reactive stance of the American activist community. When activists define their role wholly in terms of resistance and refusal, of "articulat[ing] a NO to the system" (David Solnit's phrase, p. xv) rather than pursuing a positive ideal, they guarantee that they'll perpetually be scrambling to counter some new assault by the system, trying to maintain an inadequate status quo against the threat of further losses, rather than making the system and its defenders scramble to counter efforts to change the status quo for the better. This reactive stance comes out of the Dudley Do-right role, since the heroic rescuer is always reactive; it's the Snidelys of the world who get each episode moving by grabbing another Nell and tying her to the railroad tracks.

Dudley also underlies some of the less productive rhetorical habits of the activist community. Patrick, I'm going to use your sidebar "Framing the Climate Crisis" on p. 182 as an example; it's fairly mild compared to some of what we've all seen, but it'll make the point. You argue that "[i]t's up to activists to ensure that people understand that a small cartel of energy corporations and their financial backers knowingly destabilized our planet's climate for their own personal gain. This may turn out to be the most devastating crime ever perpetrated against humanity, the planet, and future generations." Grand rhetoric, but I trust you're aware that it's a fantastic hypersimplification of a hugely complex issue. To be precise, it's a Dudley Do-right definition, in which activists are Dudley, energy corporations are Snidely Whiplash, and "humanity, the planet, and future generations" are a collective Nell.

Is it a useful redefinition? Depends on what you're trying to achieve. It sounds as though you hope to target the energy companies for destruction by using them as scapegoats for disasters caused by global warming. If that's indeed your intention, it might work, but since global warming's sources go far beyond the mere Snidelyhood of oil companies (and include the actions of the energy-squandering American middle class you skillfully dismiss as "soccer moms"), having oil company CEOs torn to pieces by howling mobs won't actually do much for humanity, the planet, or future generations. In the meantime, the rhetoric of demonization helps guarantee that the issue of global warming will become more fiercely polarized and further from a solution than ever.

An alternative approach might be worth considering. Again, George Lakey's discussion of the Otpor movement is relevant. The Otpor strategists deliberately avoided polarization of the sort that American progressives embrace reflexively. Instead of demonizing the police, they pursued a policy of outreach, building bridges that ultimately reached into the upper levels of the police bureaucracy. That paid off handsomely in the final crisis of the Milosevic regime, when the police stood by and did nothing as crowds seized the Serbian Parliament building. If activists in this country took an Otpor approach to people in the energy companies, instead of painting Snidely Whiplash's long black mustache on them, they could get similar results.

Of course this would require giving up the very real emotional payoffs of the Dudley Do-right role; the rush of being a rescuing hero is a potent drug, and so is the righteous indignation of knowing your enemies are Satan (or Snidely) incarnate. Letting go of Dudleyhood can also require giving up more tangible payoffs; as Patrick points out in an excellent analysis of the professionalization of dissent (pp.193-199), significant parts of the activist community have been bought out and turned into junior partners in the corporate system. Playing Dudley Do-right is among other things an effective way to ignore one's own complicity in arrangements of privilege and exploitation, since everything can be blamed on a Snidely Whiplash of one's choosing (such as "the system").

IV. Binaries, Ternaries, and Shifting Levels

I'd like to shift gears here and talk a little more directly about the magical dimension of all this. One of the interesting things about the spell of Dudley Do-right is that it's a dysfunctional ternary. James, we've discussed magical number theory at quite some length, but again I don't know how much of that you've shared with Patrick, and if either of you show this to anyone else the chance that they'll have the least idea of what I'm talking about is pretty slim. So I'll try to sum up the elements of magical philosophy in 500 words or less.

Toward the beginning of this letter I mentioned that the structures of consciousness are tools of magic. In the system of magic I practice, those structures are identified with the numbers from 1 to 10, understood not as quantities but as abstract relationships. You can experience anything through any number (though numbers above 10 denote relationships too complex for the human nervous system to handle). Each number has its strengths and its weaknesses. If you're working deliberately with the structures of consciousness -- which is to say, if you're a mage -- you choose the structure/number you use based on the effects you want to get. Most of the time, for reasons too complex to get into here, you choose one, two, or three.

Anything seen through the filter of the number one is called a unary. When you see something as a unary, you highlight qualities in it such as wholeness, indivisibility, and isolation. See it through the number two, as a binary, and you'll highlight different qualities such as division, conflict, balance, and complementarity. See it through the number three and still different qualities such as change and complexity will be highlighted. All these have practical implications. If you want people to cooperate and build community, get them to think of themselves as part of a unary; if you want them to quarrel and resist change, convince them they're on one side of a binary; if you want them to make change, make them think of their community and their world as a ternary.

Our society has a persistent habit of always seeing things in binaries. The binary is symbolically masculine -- think of the ithyphallic straight line, defined by any two points -- so this isn't surprising! Our politics divide up into left and right, our ethics into good and evil, our most popular religions oppose one god and one devil, and so on. Campaigns for social change are no different, and plenty of activists think they can get where they want by opposing something. In a binary, though, every action is balanced by an opposite reaction, so thinking in binaries is very problematic if you want to foster change.

If you're a mage, you respond to dysfunctions of this sort by shifting numbers. The traditional rule here is that numbers always change in a specific order: one becomes two, two becomes three, and three becomes one and shifts to another level. (The reasons for this rule, again, are too complex to go into here.) Thus if you've got a situation that presents itself as a binary, and you want to change it, you can't effectively turn it back into a unary -- it'll just pop back into being a binary again -- but you can turn the binary into a ternary by redefining the situation in terms of three independent factors, rather than two. This is called neutralizing a binary, and it's a very common bit of magical strategy.

The "good cop/bad cop" routine is a move of this sort. The cops redefine the binary between policeman and suspect by having one officer act friendly, while the other comes on like Attila the Hun. The binary opposition dissolves, and fairly often the suspect talks. The American political establishment uses the same move on the progressive community every four years, with the Democrats playing good cop and the GOP playing bad cop; activists time and again get sucked into the ternary, and put their time and energy into a candidate whose only claim on their attention is that he's not quite as bad as the other guy. It doesn't help that the two parties switch roles and do the identical move on conservative activists too.

James, you and I have talked at quite a bit of length about ways that activists can take control of this dynamic and use ternaries for their own purposes -- for example, by having "good cop" moderate progressives and "bad cop" radicals double-team a corporation or a government. But it's a crucial mistake to oppose "good" ternaries with "bad" binaries, and thus turn the relationship between them into a binary. Every number is appropriate in some places and a waste of time in others, and the Dudley Do-right scenario is an example of a ternary that's a waste of time. The three characters circle endlessly around one another; you've got action, complexity, and an addictive emotional payoff of self-regarding heroism and self-righteous indignation. What you don't have is a resolution of the problems the progressive community thinks it's fighting.

The magical response to the Dudley Do-right trap is to shift from ternary to unary, which means recognizing that Dudley, Nell, and Snidely aren't three independent factors at all, but three interdependent elements of a single structure of experience. As long as activists see themselves as heroic Dudleys, they'll inevitably see every problem in terms of Nells to rescue and Snidelys to rescue them from. Any one role defines the other two. Leaving that behind, in turn, involves shifting to a new level of self-awareness. Many activists these days honestly believe that the three roles are out there in the world, that the biosphere really is tied helplessly to the railroad tracks and the board of directors of Whiplash Petroleum really are twiddling their black mustaches and going "nya ha ha" as the train approaches. Banishing the spell requires waking up to the fact that these roles are in the mind of the observer, and that it's possible to define the situation in other ways.

This is one of the reasons why, earlier on, I deliberately proposed several models for the current situation that don't fit the Dudley Do-right scenario at all. For the biosphere to be a suitable Nell for Dudley to rescue, she has to be helplessly tied to the railroad track; the fact that this particular Nell might actually be an irritated grizzly bear, fully capable of breaking the ropes and tearing Snidely (and Dudley) limb from limb, doesn't fit the story even though it may fit the facts. In the same way, the future history that shows Snidely himself tied to the railroad track, flailing about helplessly as the train approaches, chucks the Dudley scenario out the window. Redefine one role and the entire story changes.

It may be high time for some such redefinition. I'm heartened by the words of the anonymous aboriginal woman quoted on p. 417: "If you come only to help me, you can go back home. But if you consider my struggle as part of your struggle for survival, then maybe we can work together." In the terms I've used here, she's saying that she isn't a helpless Nell awaiting rescue, and progressives from the industrial world aren't heroic Dudleys riding to her help. She's cast a spell of renaming that turns the Dudley Do-right ternary into a unary of equals working together for survival. Can that same spell be extended to the entire project of social change? I believe so.

V. Learning New Magics

I've put quite a bit of time into critiquing aspects of the activist community in this letter, and for all I know one or both of you may see that as a frontal assault against everything you believe. That's not my intention, though. I've tried, borrowing your language, to apply some direct action at the point of assumption -- that is, to challenge some of the inadequately examined assumptions that are hindering a powerful global movement for positive change.

What I see in "Globalize Liberation" generally is a situation in which theory hasn't caught up to practice. Shopworn slogans and reifications long past their pull date jostle new tactics and strategies that the old language doesn't really describe. Patrick, I've lambasted your essay "Decolonizing the Revolutionary Imagination" several times, but it's also in many ways the most impressive and magically sophisticated section of the book. Yes, it suffers from each of the problems I've noted, but it also breaks very promising ground.

I'd like to point out two things it does that put it way past many other attempts to analyse the situation and propose strategies. First, it focuses on the central place of imagination in the making and unmaking of social reality. That's spectacularly important. The politics of reality, as Theodore Roszak pointed out in "Where the Wasteland Ends" (1972), is a politics of the imagination. It's not just that change has to be thinkable before it's possible, though this is true and important; it's also that imagination can change the world by itself. The collapse of eastern Europe's communist bloc in 1989 happened because people stopped imagining themselves and their societies in ways that made putting up with a bad system reasonable. Remember the dazed expressions on the faces of so many former communist heads of state and secret police chiefs? Their power had always been imaginary; political power always is. What happened in 1989 was that people recognized that, and imagined it out of existence.

The essay goes on to say that "[i]f we want to talk about reality in the singular...we must talk about ecological reality" (p. 200). Here you're selling your own insights short. I grant that as mental maps go, ecology -- with its keen awareness of limits and consequences -- is a helluva lot more useful now than the economic models that powered industrial society through the glory days of the Age of Exuberance, but it's still a map, not the territory it tries to describe. If it's allowed to fossilize into a dogmatic ideology, it could become just as toxic as the mental maps it's starting to replace.

If we want to talk about reality in the singular, we haven't yet grasped the power of the imagination, because "reality" is always in flux, shaped by a complex dialogue between the blooming, buzzing confusion of the universe of our experience and the world-defining powers of the imagination -- and the result is never quite the same for any two individuals, ever. The Zapatista quest for "a world where many worlds fit" offers more than any one vision of what's real. That being said, I find the idea of earth-centered politics very useful, since it focuses attention on the raw experience of natural systems. If I may speak briefly from a position wholly within the magical worldview, how trees and stones imagine the world is at least as important as how human beings do so, even if the human beings are ecologically literate.

The second crucial thing "Decolonizing the Revolutionary Imagination" does is encourage self-awareness in the activist community. The edgy discussion of the professionalization of dissent, and the brief but lethal definition of "defector syndrome" in the appendix, challenge two of the most obvious places where activism has become its own reward rather than a means to an end. My comments about the spell of Dudley Do-right are aimed at another. When activism becomes a masturbatory act of self-gratification, as it sometimes does, it's just another part of the existing order -- a pressure valve that allows the disaffected to vent their passions harmlessly.

This is where "Globalize Liberation," with its focus on Third World activism and experience, has the most to offer American progressives. The essays on Zapatismo and the Argentine experience are among the most promising things I've read in social change literature in the last two decades. They point to powerful redefinitions of activism and the transformation of society, and if activists here in America pay close attention the results could be spectacular. The principles Manuel Callahan cites in his essay "Zapatismo Beyond Chiapas" (pp. 217-228) -- refusal, space, and listening -- would be worth applying within the activist community, as well as in interactions with the rest of American society. Can you imagine a group of radicals from San Francisco moving to Pittsburgh, and subordinating themselves to the community in the middle of the Rust Belt? If you can't, work on the idea until you can.

I could go on about many other strong points in the essays in "Globalize Liberation," but this letter has already ballooned to unjustifiable size and I'll limit myself to one: the theme of Marina Sitrin's brilliant piece "Weaving Imagination and Creation: The Future In the Present" (pp. 263-276). The notion of prefigurative politics itself is profoundly magical. Ritual magic, after all, is prefigurative politics on the individual level; the mage works with symbols, and focuses will and imagination through that act to make the symbol prefigure the reality. To do the same thing on the scale of nations and peoples is an immense challenge, but it's also a powerful possibility. It also points toward modes of politics -- parapolitics might be a better term -- that use the prefigurative power of the imagination to change the world without using anything that looks like politics in any sense we'd recognize today.

What I'm seeing most clearly in "Globalize Liberation" is a movement in transition, partly anchored in tactics and analyses from past decades, partly working with the improvisations of the present, partly reaching out to the new possibilities of the future. It's a promising sight. As I've suggested in talking about the myth of corporate triumphalism, the existing order may not be nearly so solid as it tries to make itself appear. It can't be repeated often enough that the modern industrial state isn't the natural endpoint (or endgame) of some inevitable historical process. It's what philosophers call a contingent reality; things happened to turn out this way, but they didn't have to, and there are good reasons why the future probably won't be a duplicate of the past. As we move into the twilight of the industrial age, the old bets are off.

So those are my responses. I hope some of this turns out useful. Call me or drop me an email any time if you want to talk about any of it.

With my best as always,

John Michael Greer


(added bio):
John Michael Greer is the author of eleven books and many articles on
magical philosophy and practice, including "Inside a Magical Lodge"
(Llewellyn, 1998), "The New Encyclopedia of the Occult" (Llewellyn,
2003), "A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism" (ADF, 2005), and the forthcoming "Druidry: A Green Way of Wisdom" (Weiser, 2006). An initiate in the Golden Dawn tradition, he has also been active in the Druid community for many years; he currently heads the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA), holds the highest level of initiation in the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids (OBOD), and received OBOD's Mount Haemus award in 2003 for his research into Druid history. He lives in Ashland, OR, with his wife Sara.

More information and a complete list of his book publications are online
at http://www.aoda.org/about/greerbio.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Economic sanctions against war

"The economics that permits one country to prey
upon another is immoral."
--Mahatma Gandhi

Click on the following links to make your dollars speak for you.

               Groups

Adbusters : Media : Oil
As You Sow Foundation
Be the Cause - Boycott
Buy Nothing Day
Church of Stop Shopping
Co-opAmerica
Ethical Traveler
Global Exchange 
Green Pages Online
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Responsible Shopper
War Resisters League

               Resources

Boycott Organizer's Guide
Guide to Researching Corporations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

War on Iraq IQ Test

Do you know enough to justify going to war with Iraq?

  1. Q: What percentage of the world's population does the U.S. have?
       A: Less than 6%
  2. Q: What percentage of the world's wealth does the U.S. have?
       A: 50%
  3. Q: Which country has the largest oil reserves?
       A: Saudi Arabia
  4. Q: Which country has the second largest oil reserves?
       A: Iraq
  5. Q: How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?
       A: $900+ billion
  6. Q: How much of this is spent by the U.S.?
       A: 50%
  7. Q: What percent of US military spending would ensure the essentials
           of life to everyone in the world, according the UN?
       A: 10% (that's about$40 billion, the amount of funding initially requested
            to fund our retaliatory attack on Afghanistan).
  8. Q: How many people have died in wars since World War II?
       A: 86 million
  9. Q: How long has Iraq had chemical and biological weapons?
       A: Since the early 1980's.
10. Q: Did Iraq develop these chemical & biological weapons on their own?
       A: No, the materials and technology were supplied by the US
            government, along with Britain and private corporations.
11. Q: Did the US government condemn the Iraqi use of gas warfare against
            Iran?
       A: No
12. Q: How many people did Saddam Hussein kill using gas in the Kurdish
            town of Halabja in 1988?
       A: 5,000
13. Q: How many western countries condemned this action at the time?
       A: 0
14. Q: How many gallons of agent Orange did America use in Vietnam?
       A: 17million.
15. Q: Are there any proven links between Iraq and September 11th terrorist
            attack?
       A: No
16. Q: What is the estimated number of civilian casualties in the Gulf War?
       A: 35,000
17. Q: How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the western
           forces during the Gulf War ?
       A: 148 combat-related deaths  --   Source
           Many thousands more --untallied-- developed Gulf War
           syndrome from exposure to the depleted-uranium of U.S.
           bombs.
18. Q: How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were buried alive by U.S. tanks
           with ploughs mounted on the front?
       A: 6,000
19. Q: How many tons of depleted uranium were left in Iraq and Kuwait after
           the Gulf War?
       A: 40 tons
20. Q: What according to the UN was the increase in cancer rates in Iraq
           between 1991 and 1994?
       A: 700%
21. Q: How much of Iraq's military capacity did America claim it had
           destroyed in 1991? A: 80%
22. Q: Is there any proof that Iraq plans to use its weapons for anything
           other than deterrence and self defense?
       A: No
23. Q: Does Iraq present more of a threat to world peace now than 10 years
           ago?
       A: No
24. Q: How many civilian deaths has the Pentagon predicted in the event of
           an attack on Iraq in 2002/3?
       A: 10,000
25. Q: What percentage of these will be children?
       A: Over 50%
26. Q: How many years has the U.S. engaged in air strikes on Iraq?
       A: 11years
27. Q: Was the U.S and the UK at war with Iraq between December 1998
            and September 1999?
       A: No
28. Q: How many pounds of explosives were dropped on Iraq between
           December1998 and September 1999?
       A: 20 million
29. Q: How many years ago was UN Resolution 661 introduced, imposing
            strict sanctions on Iraq's imports and exports?
       A: 12 years
30. Q: What was the child death rate in Iraq in 1989 (per 1,000 births)?
       A: 38
31. Q: What was the estimated child death rate in Iraq in 1999 (per 1,000
            births)?
       A: 131 (that's an increase of 345%)
32. Q: How many Iraqis are estimated to have died by October 1999 as a
            result of UN sanctions?
       A: 1.5 million
33. Q: How many Iraqi children are estimated to have died due to sanctions
            since 1997?
       A: 750,000
34. Q: Did Saddam order the inspectors out of Iraq?
       A: No
35. Q: How many inspections were there in November and December 1998?
       A:300
36. Q: How many of these inspections had problems?
       A: 5
37. Q: Were the weapons inspectors allowed entry to the Ba'ath Party HQ?
       A: Yes
38. Q: Who said that by December 1998, "Iraq had in fact, been disarmed to
            a level unprecedented in modern history."
       A: Scott Ritter, UNSCOM chief.
39. Q: In 1998 how much of Iraq's post 1991 capacity to develop weapons
           of mass destruction did the UN weapons inspectors claim to have
           discovered and dismantled?
       A: 90%
40. Q: Is Iraq willing to allow the weapons inspectors back in ?
       A:Yes
41. Q: How many UN resolutions did Israel violate by 1992?
       A: Over 65
42. Q: How many UN resolutions on Israel did America veto between 1972
           and 1990?
       A: 30+
44. Q: How many countries are known to have nuclear weapons?
       A: 8
45. Q: How many nuclear warheads has Iraq got?
       A: 0
46. Q: How many nuclear warheads has US got?
       A: over 10,000
47. Q: Which is the only country to use nuclear weapons?
       A: the US
48. Q: How many nuclear warheads does Israel have?
       A: Over 400
50. Q: Who said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about
            things that matter"?
       A: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Campaign against Sanctions on Iraq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solution For Salvation, Not Slaughter

by Michael Anne Conley
VisionHopePeace@aol.com
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA, Earth

March 9, 2003 -- When I was a very young woman, after being "dumped" by a boyfriend, my mother offered some wisdom that remains today. She invited me to consider that as bad as it is to suffer at the hands of another, it is
far, far worse to be the one who makes the suffering happen.

As a therapist, I have been reminded of this lesson over the years by Vietnam
veteran clients, whose suffering makes it clear that the horrors of violence
are not just visited upon the victims. The wounds are at least as deep and
often more difficult to heal in those who are the perpetrators. In Vietnam,
this was true for the many young men who took actions while swept up in the
dynamics of battle that normally they would abhor. In my work, I know all too well the cost to them, their loved ones and others who have paid a price for their unresolved guilt and grief.

Please join me in supporting a path out of our current world dilemma. This
alternative to war is presented by Sojourners, a Christian group whose
mission "is to proclaim and practice the biblical call to integrate spiritual
renewal and social justice."

Their solution, developed by a group of U.S. church leaders, offers concrete
actions, not the least of them a way for American soldiers to be the source
of salvation rather than slaughter.

This is a form of freedom that we cannot in good conscience withhold.

We must remember that our citizens in the military largely come into service
not out of desire for aggression, but in search of economic and educational
opportunity. We owe them our allegiance and our refusal to burden them with
the role of perpetrators.

Although the Sojourner solution specifically relates to the current world
situation, it embodies an attitude that is necessary if the human family is
to end our history of domination and the violence that accompanies it -- in
order to build a future where partnership is the norm for human relationship.

Please go to Sojourner's website and join their petition. Then send their
message out -- not just to those with whom you agree, but those with whom you have differences. Let us join forces in a creative solution that works for
all.

http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=action.home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lysistrata Strategy

by Kelpie Wilson


Can you imagine what life would be like if everything weren’t always getting more crowded, dirtier and poorer every day with the threat of war and ecological collapse hanging over our heads? The root cause of our global impoverishment is growth. Growth both the economic kind and the population kind, makes every ecological and social problem worse and more unmanageable. Growth may bring vast wealth to a few, for a limited amount of time, but the legacy of growth is topsoil loss, over-fished oceans, deforestation, global warming, species extinction, pollution, disease, starvation and war. The world needs a strategy to stop growing and start living sustainably. We now have 6 billion people and may grow to twice that number in the next few generations if we don’t do something. Growth not only needs to be stopped, it needs to be reversed, for a time at least. Some ecologists think that two billion is a reasonable number for the Earth to support in perpetuity.

The good news is that we could humanely reach an optimum global population of two billion in only three generations. Looking back, when my parents were born, there were only two billion people in the world. If every woman on earth today had no more than one child, the number of people of reproductive age would halve in the next generation. In another two generations, we could achieve our goal of two billion. Think of what a bright new day it would be for those two billion people and the other species they share the planet with. There would be enough of everything, including clean air, clean water and wilderness. War would become a thing of the past and the human war against nature would end.

If we had the will, we women could put the brakes on growth by simply stopping up our wombs for a while. With the planet headed toward ecological collapse, someone’s got to take charge. Could women do it? The only precedent I can think of is a literary one: the classical Greek comedy Lysistrata, by Aristophanes. Lysistrata whose name means “she who disbands armies” organizes Athenian and Spartan women in a sex strike in order to force their men to abandon the war between the two city-states. The women are tired of losing sons and husbands. Lysistrata’s bold plan works because the men, befuddled by horniness and tripping over erections, give in and decide they prefer to make love, not war. The play ends in a celebration of pan-Hellenism with Athenians and Spartans singing of their common battles against the Persians who are “numberless as the sand on the shores.”

By 300 BC, when Lysistrata was written, Greece had supported a civilization with an intensive agriculture and high population density for more than a thousand years. Greek soils were thin and eroded easily. The land was not as productive as it once was, and the cities were overcrowded. Athens and Sparta made peace several times during the Classical period, but war always broke out again because the underlying causes were never addressed. Lysistrata may have been based on an actual revolt by Athenian women against these debilitating Peloponnesian wars.

If Lysistrata had been a real person, what would she have had to do, to end war permanently? First, she would have had to convince Greek women to continue their reproductive strike long enough to reduce population pressure on the crowded and ecologically depleted peninsula. Then a new era of plenty might have encouraged Athens and Sparta to live in peace. Ultimately, to really end war, a Lysistrata would have needed to organize the enemy Persian women in a sex strike as well.

The Lysistrata strategy then, requires women to take control of the means of reproduction in order to reduce population to ecologically sustainable levels. Surprisingly, the Lysistrata strategy is not a new idea. We know that hunter-gatherers practiced population limitation as an important part of their overall survival strategy for thousands of years. It was only when agriculture opened up the possibility of food storage during lean times that populations could afford to grow.

Once we learned how to grow, it seems we can’t learn to stop. It’s like eating potato chips. You can’t eat just one and it’s awfully hard to stop before you’ve consumed the whole bag. The Lysistrata strategy challenges us to stop at just one --one child that is.

What I’m calling “the potato chip factor,” really is related to food. Studies of modern hunter gatherers like the !Kung people of the Kalahari, show that the average woman bears four children. Only two survive to reproduce, keeping numbers stable. A long period of nursing serves to suppress ovulation so that pregnancies are spaced by four to five years. Called lactational amenorrhea, this is the critical factor in keeping birth rates down, but it exists only under certain conditions: nursing must be constant and regular, and a woman’s body fat percentage must be low. When agricultural grains are substituted for grubs, leaves and nuts, body fat increases and natural contraception is destroyed.

Intensive, grain-based agriculture had another effect besides increasing women’s body fat; it also gave an incentive to produce large families. More hands to thresh and sow meant more grain produced and the ability to feed more mouths.

As populations grew, unavoidably there was more conflict between tribes. Metallurgy and the horse provided formidable war machinery. Military technology combined with large-scale food production, storage, and redistribution systems allowed the first expansionist empires of the Near East to form. With agriculture as sower and war as reaper, humanity was now locked into the patriarchal large family system.

Civilizations formalized their new survival strategy in the first written codes of law. Gerda Lerner, in her book, The Creation of Patriarchy (1986) has analyzed four of these codes: the Codex Hammurabi, Middle Assyrian law, Hittite laws and biblical law. She found that up to fifty percent of these laws concerned the reproductive and sexual behavior of women. Under Middle Assyrian Law, for example, abortion was a capital crime punished by a stake through the heart of the offending woman. So much for reproductive choice.

Everywhere in the pre-modern world, women’s reproductive function was the foundation of politics because a man was powerful in proportion to the number of kin he could rally to his cause. But outside the empires, in small-scale, tribal societies, this political power took a completely different shape. Maximizing the number of offspring was not the always the best strategy, because as a couple’s progeny increased, the balance of power in the community could shift and kinsmen would begin to feel threatened.

Because population limitation in tribal societies was so critical, there was also a lack of privacy in family life: sex and babies were everybody’s business. With the coming of big agriculture and the military state, inhibitions on family size were loosened. Family life became a private affair, under the control of the father who was the only family member answerable to the state as a citizen.

Conflict between the private and public spheres was a prominent subject in Greek drama of the classical period. One of the themes of Lysistrata is the men’s denial of women’s right to an opinion on political matters like war. Lysistrata must point out to them that women make a contribution to war --their sons-- and so have the right to a say in the matter. Aristophanes used the device of inverting the established order (putting women in charge) to dip into the domestic sphere for feminine values to apply to the problem of war. In the end though, the spheres remain separate and the problem of war in real life remains unsolved.

The Greeks, like every other civilization of the time, were locked into the large family system. Not to produce cannon fodder would lead to their downfall. Through their literature, though, we know that they valued the egalitarianism of a small-scale society. Aristotle was among the first to advocate limiting population. He advised abortion for parents with too many children, writing in Politics that "... neglect of an effective birth control policy is a never failing source of poverty which in turn is the parent of revolution and crime." Democracy itself is a holdover from small-scale, tribal society, not a hallmark of civilization at all. Ultimately, Greek democracy was devoured by internal warfare that weakened its ability to fight off conquerors from outside. Within 200 years of Aristophanes, the Greeks were nothing but a backwater Roman colony.

Our modern form of civilization has been advanced by people who lift their ideals from Greek rationalism and democracy and who hope for an end to war and injustice. These hopes have been based on a projected end to scarcity brought about by technology. Modern progressives often take the position that overpopulation will end only after development is brought to the world and poverty is ended.

What most progressives don’t seem to realize is that overpopulation among the poor is strategically beneficial to the wealthy classes. The French term, proletariat, literally means “breeders.” Marvin Harris and Eric B. Ross provide enlightenment on this issue in their important history of population regulation: Death, Sex and Fertility, Population Regulation in Preindustrial and Developing Societies (1987). They use the fabled Irish potato famine to illustrate the impact of economic exploitation on population growth. Contrary to myth, the potato was an established food crop in Ireland long before the famine of the 1840’s and did not by itself cause the Irish population boom.

Landlords who wanted to switch from cattle grazing to grain production, which required a larger work force, brought about the Irish population boom. Landlords manipulated population growth through the tax structure. They encouraged peasants to marry earlier by allowing them to grow potatoes tax-free in order to feed their large families. But after only a few decades, landlords switched back to grazing to cash in on the market for meat to supply English colonial armies. At the very height of the famine, shiploads of Irish grain and meat were delivered to England’s shores while English politicians and men of letters blamed the profligacy of the starving Irish.

Modernity has seen the final shift of political power from kinship relations to the bureaucratic control of large populations of workers. The corporate state profits from a surplus of people and has every reason to encourage breeding among the masses. Otherwise how will wages be kept so low? Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was an American labor radical and an early proponent of family planning who articulated this relationship back before 1920: “The large family system rivets the chains of slavery upon labor more securely. It crushes the parents, starves the children, and provides cheap fodder for machines and cannons.”

In our day, capitalism finds its cheap labor among the masses of the third world, so there’s no immediate threat to the system by stabilizing population in the so-called first world. But as women step out of enforced motherhood and into other societal roles, the backlash against reproductive choice is coming from a different segment of the patriarchal power structure. As Susan Faludi pointed out in Backlash (1991), the leaders of the anti-abortion movement are often working class white men whose relatively privileged place in society has recently evaporated. Without the little woman under their thumb, they have no basis for self esteem.

In the United States, fundamentalist terrorists have robbed women of their choices. Abortion and family planning services are ever more scarce. The US is the fastest growing industrialized nation in the world and only one-third of that growth comes from immigration. We also have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. Here in my rural Oregon community, where the problem is particularly acute, almost 30% of the female high school students are pregnant or already mothers. Teenagers are less likely to use contraceptives effectively, but for a teenager in my community to obtain an abortion she would have to travel between 75 and 200 miles, depending on which clinics were open. And the fundamentalist right has managed to stigmatize abortion to the extent that most of these teens would not even consider it. Conception happens, and even for responsible adults, abortion will always be a necessary option.

Ginette Paris, in her provocative book, The Sacrament of Abortion (1992), gets to the heart of the matter: “Men have the right to kill and destroy, and when the massacre is called a war they are paid to do it and honored for their actions. War is sanctified, even blessed by our religious leaders. But let a woman decide to abort a fetus that doesn’t even have the neurological apparatus to register suffering, and people are shocked. What’s really shocking is that a woman has the power to make a moral judgment that involves a choice of life or death. That power has been reserved for men.”

In the less developed world, women need more than just attitude changes to give them choices. The 1994 UN Population Conference in Cairo reached a consensus on what is required: Women need basics such as food, clean water, health care and access to contraceptives and abortion. The Cairo Conference concluded that providing better reproductive care worldwide would cost $17 billion annually, which is less than the world currently spends each week on armaments. Again, we must follow the example of Lysistrata who knew that a sex strike alone wouldn’t be enough --she had her women seize the treasury of Athens as well.

But if the stakes in these matters of sex and war were high before, they are even higher now. In 1970, Stephanie Mills, in her speech as college valedictorian, declared that she would refrain from bringing any children into the world since overpopulation was threatening global ecological collapse. Since 1970, a few more women have made such public declarations, and an unknown number have privately decided to forego or limit childbearing out of ecological considerations. But, there has been no large-scale, public “procreation strike.” The reasons for this, I believe, are partly found in the public/private dichotomy that is an integral part of patriarchy. It is not socially acceptable to interfere in the reproductive decisions of families, even by verbal persuasion. Even the pro-choice movement defends abortion by using the right to privacy. But given the threat to biodiversity and ecological integrity that is posed by our increasing population, a truly pro-life movement is desperately needed to beat the drum for voluntary limits on reproduction.

We must imagine a world without runaway growth, where war cannot exist because there is enough for all. We must seize the treasury and make full reproductive health services available to every woman in the world. We as women must think globally and act as locally as our own bodies, recognizing that we own the means of reproduction and that we must choose small families in this time of resource shrinkage. That is the message that the postmodern Lysistrata needs to take to the women of the polity.

Kelpie Wilson
Development Director
Siskiyou Project
www.siskiyou.org
www.siskiyourivers.org

 

 

 

 

 

Confronting Empire

By Arundhati Roy

I've been asked to speak about "How to confront Empire?" It's a huge question, and I have no easy answers.

When we speak of confronting "Empire," we need to identify what "Empire" means. Does it mean the U.S. Government (and its European satellites), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and multinational corporations? Or is it something more than that?

In many countries, Empire has sprouted other subsidiary heads, some dangerous byproducts -- nationalism, religious bigotry, fascism and, of course
terrorism. All these march arm in arm with the project of corporate globalization.

Let me illustrate what I mean. India - the world's biggest democracy - is currently at the forefront of the corporate globalization project. Its "market" of
one billion people is being prized open by the WTO. Corporatization and Privatization are being welcomed by the Government and the Indian elite.

It is not a coinidence that the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Disinvestment Minister - the men who signed the deal with Enron in India, the men who are selling the country's infrastructure to corporate multinationals, the men who want to privatize water, electricity, oil, coal, steel, health, education and telecommunication - are all members or admirers of the RSS. The RSS is a right wing, ultra-nationalist Hindu guild which has openly admired Hitler and his methods.

The dismantling of democracy is proceeding with the speed and efficiency of a Structural Adjustment Program. While the project of corporate globalization
rips through people's lives in India, massive privatization, and labor "reforms" are pushing people off their land and out of their jobs. Hundreds of impoverished farmers are committing suicide by consuming pesticide. Reports of starvation deaths are coming in from all over the country.

While the elite journeys to its imaginary destination somewhere near the top of the world, the dispossessed are spiraling downwards into crime and chaos. This climate of frustration and national disillusionment is the perfect breeding ground, history tells us, for fascism.

The two arms of the Indian Government have evolved the perfect pincer action. While one arm is busy selling India off in chunks, the other, to divert attention,
is orchestrating a howling, baying chorus of Hindu nationalism and religious fascism. It is conducting nuclear tests, rewriting history books, burning
churches, and demolishing mosques. Censorship, surveillance, the suspension of civil liberties and human rights, the definition of who is an Indian citizen and who is not, particularly with regard to religious minorities, is becoming common practice now.

Last March, in the state of Gujarat, two thousand Muslims were butchered in a State-sponsored pogrom. Muslim women were specially targeted. They were
stripped, and gang-raped, before being burned alive. Arsonists burned and looted shops, homes, textiles mills, and mosques.

More than a hundred and fifty thousand Muslims have been driven from their homes. The economic base of the Muslim community has been devastated.

While Gujarat burned, the Indian Prime Minister was on MTV promoting his new poems. In January this year, the Government that orchestrated the killing was voted back into office with a comfortable majority. Nobody has been punished for the genocide. Narendra Modi, architect of the pogrom, proud member of the RSS, has embarked on his second term as the Chief Minister of
Gujarat. If he were Saddam Hussein, of course each atrocity would have been on CNN. But since he's not -- and since the Indian "market" is open to global
investors -- the massacre is not even an embarrassing inconvenience.

There are more than one hundred million Muslims in India. A time bomb is ticking in our ancient land. All this to say that it is a myth that the free market
breaks down national barriers. The free market does not threaten national sovereignty, it undermines democracy.

As the disparity between the rich and the poor grows, the fight to corner resources is intensifying. To push through their "sweetheart deals," to corporatize the crops we grow, the water we drink, the air we breathe,
and the dreams we dream, corporate globalization needs an international confederation of loyal, corrupt, authoritarian governments in poorer countries to push through unpopular reforms and quell the mutinies. Corporate Globalization - or shall we call it by its name? Imperialism - needs a press that pretends to be free. It needs courts that pretend to dispense justice.

Meanwhile, the countries of the North harden their borders and stockpile weapons of mass destruction. After all they have to make sure that it's only money, goods, patents and services that are globalized. Not the free movement of people. Not a respect for human rights. Not international treaties on racial discrimination or chemical and nuclear weapons or greenhouse gas emissions or climate change, or -- god forbid -- justice.

So this -- all this -- is "empire." This loyal confederation, this obscene accumulation of power, this greatly increased distance between those who make the decisions and those who have to suffer them. Our fight, our goal, our vision of Another World must be to eliminate that distance.

So how do we resist "Empire"?

The good news is that we're not doing too badly. There have been major victories. Here in Latin America you have had so many - in Bolivia, you have Cochabamba. In Peru, there was the uprising in Arequipa, in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez is holding on, despite the U.S. government's best efforts. And the world's gaze is on the people of Argentina, who are trying to refashion a country from the ashes of the havoc wrought by the IMF.

In India the movement against corporate globalization is gathering momentum and is poised to become the only real political force to counter religious fascism. As for corporate globalization's glittering ambassadors -- Enron, Bechtel, WorldCom, Arthur Anderson -- where were they last year, and where are they now?

And of course here in Brazil we must ask …who was the president last year, and who is it now?

Still, many of us have dark moments of hopelessness and despair. We know that under the spreading canopy of the War Against Terrorism, the men in suits are hard at work.

While bombs rain down on us, and cruise missiles skid across the skies, we know that contracts are being signed, patents are being registered, oil pipelines
are being laid, natural resources are being plundered, water is being privatized, and George Bush is planning to go to war against Iraq.

If we look at this conflict as a straightforward eye-ball to eye-ball confrontation between "Empire" and those of us who are resisting it, it might seem that we are losing.

But there is another way of looking at it. We, all of us gathered here, have, each in our own way, laid siege to "Empire."

We may not have stopped it in its tracks - yet - but we have stripped it down. We have made it drop its mask. We have forced it into the open. It now stands
before us on the world's stage in all it's brutish, iniquitous nakedness.

Empire may well go to war, but it's out in the open now - too ugly to behold its own reflection. Too ugly even to rally its own people. It won't be long before
the majority of American people become our allies.

Only a few days ago in Washington, a quarter of a million people marched against the war on Iraq. Each month, the protest is gathering momentum.

Before September 11th 2001 America had a secret history. Secret especially from its own people. But now America's secrets are history, and its history is
public knowledge. It's street talk.

Today, we know that every argument that is being used to escalate the war against Iraq is a lie. The most ludicrous of them being the U.S. Government's deep commitment to bring democracy to Iraq.

Killing people to save them from dictatorship or ideological corruption is, of course, an old U.S. government sport. Here in Latin America, you know
that better than most.

Nobody doubts that Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator, a murderer (whose worst excesses were supported by the governments of the United States and
Great Britain). There's no doubt that Iraqis would be better off without him.

But, then, the whole world would be better off without a certain Mr. Bush. In fact, he is far more dangerous than Saddam Hussein.

So, should we bomb Bush out of the White House? It's more than clear that Bush is determined to go to war against Iraq, regardless of the facts - and
regardless of international public opinion.

In its recruitment drive for allies, The United States is prepared to invent facts.

The charade with weapons inspectors is the U.S. government's offensive, insulting concession to some twisted form of international etiquette. It's like leaving the "doggie door" open for last minute "allies" or maybe the United Nations to crawl through.

But for all intents and purposes, the New War against Iraq has begun.

What can we do?

We can hone our memory, we can learn from our history.

We can continue to build public opinion until it becomes a deafening roar.

We can turn the war on Iraq into a fishbowl of the U.S. government's excesses.

We can expose George Bush and Tony Blair - and their allies - for the cowardly baby killers, water poisoners, and pusillanimous long-distance bombers that they are.

We can re-invent civil disobedience in a million different ways. In other words, we can come up with a million ways of becoming a collective pain in the ass.

When George Bush says "you're either with us, or you are with the terrorists" we can say "No thank you." We can let him know that the people of the world do not need to choose between a Malevolent Mickey Mouse and the Mad Mullahs.

Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our
literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness - and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones
we're being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling - their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of
inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

Arundhati Roy
Porto Alegre, Brazil
January 27, 2003

ZNet January 28, 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

War is an extreme form of criminality

 

Those who've seen battle say war is hell. Many veterans feel deep alienation on their re-entry to society, unable to reveal what they've seen. Others return home violently unrecognizable to their own families, racked with addictions, driven by the demons of what they themselves have done.

Patrick J. Sloyan in his Nov. 17, 2002, article "War without death" gives a glimpse of the hidden horrors of the gulf war. What follows is a letter to the editor following the article's publication:

Editor -- Patrick J. Sloyan's article ("War without death," Insight section, Nov. 17) has haunted me since I picked up that Sunday paper.

The image of the U.S. military's "grisly innovation" during Desert Storm of burying, alive or dead, every Iraqi soldier in more than 70 miles of trenches, and then bulldozing the evidence and lying to the press about casualties, was bad enough. Adding to my sense of horror was the description of then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney's cynical manipulation of the press and self-congratulation on sanitizing the war.

He said, "The American people saw . . . through the magic of television what the U.S. military was capable of doing." But he made sure we never saw a dead body, only tidy bombs from a distance.

And now we read through the magic of the press what the U.S. military and members of both Bush administrations are capable of doing: butchering people in innovative ways, hiding the evidence, lying to the press and the people and patting themselves on the back for substituting secret government for an open and accountable democracy.

Does anyone think this Bush administration's methods of waging and reporting war will differ from the last one's?

SUSAN RICHARDSON
Berkeley
San Francisco Chronicle

For all the sanitized versions our media gives us, war involves: the dismissive killings of civilians termed "collateral damage"; the slow killings of millions more through bombing of hospitals, water treatment plants, crops and through malnutrtion and disease caused by sanctions; the destruction and poisoning of the environment with landmines that go on killing and maiming and with radiation that goes on producing congenitally malformed infants; the covert assassinations and topplings of legally elected governments; the trafficking in drugs and diamonds to bankroll clandestine operations; the coverups of torture and massacres; the beatings and killings of journalists; the scapegoating and imprisonment of minor players to remove attention from the real atrocities; and the lying to the American public every step of the way, knowing we would not allow it if only we knew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Basra, Iraq. March 22, 2003 Man carries body of small girl
killed during the siege of Basra.       Photo: Amr Nabil, AP
"We need to humanize the reality of this terrible conflict. When they say today that there's a massive bombardment, what they mean is that in a country in which 50% of the people are 15 or younger, what we are really doing is murdering children. We can't give up the plea for sanity."
                           --Frieda Engel, 84, Seniors for Peace

 

 

 

 

 

Anti-War Organizing Strategy re Oil

David Glick -- 12/4/02

I suggest we organize a nation-wide two- or three-day gasoline boycott to demonstrate broad-based opposition to the impending war on Iraq and to demonstrate our understanding that this war is neither about disarming Iraq nor democratizing Iraq but about securing control over Iraq's oil fields.

I would suggest the boycott start January 19, 2003, the day after the national mobilizations against the war and the day before the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. Dr. King was the spokesman for the historic 381-day Montgomery bus boycott that ultimately resulted in the desegregation of that city's bus system. He also spoke out powerfully against the U.S. war on Vietnam . This form of nonviolent direct action is a wonderful way to honor Dr. King and involve many people who might not otherwise participate in more overt or militant forms of protest.

There are many segments of the population that we can reach using the internet and personal contacts and possibly using advertisements in progressive magazines if we have time. We can reach out to the membership of human rights organizations, environmental organizations, peace and justice organizations, organizations focused on the Middle East, labor groups, religious groups (especially Black churches, mosques and progressive pro-Palestinian Jewish organizations) as well as student organizations across the country on college campuses.

A corollary idea would be a month-long, rotating boycott of major gas stations. For example, the first week of the month people could boycott Shell stations, the next week Exxon-Mobil, then Chevron-Texaco, then BP-Arco-Amoco. The down side of this latter idea is the impact on local franchise owners of service stations. However, it sends a strong message to the government and big oil conglomerates that this war is about oil and we oppose it.

The over-all theme of the campaign could be something as simple as "no blood for oil profits". This would also give us an opportunity to emphasize how critical it is, both for the security of our nation and the health of the environment, to shift our energy base from fossil fuels to renewable energy. During the boycott we would be on the street with signs and banners.

Our literature should be simple. It should emphasize that this is a war to advance American global domination and that the war is immoral, illegal and insane in that it will destabilize the Middle East region and encourage more acts of terrorism directed at the U.S. because the war will understandably be experienced by many as a war against Arabs and Muslims. We must also emphasize that not only will innocent Iraqis die in the tens of thousands, but that we are sending U.S. soldiers into a country poisoned with the depleted uranium the U.S. used in the last Gulf War. Thus the Bush policy shows a callous disregard not only for Iraqi lives but American lives as well.

The campaign should also focus on the Bush administration's assault on our constitutionally protected civil liberties and emphasize that our protest is part of a deep American tradition of dissenting from tyranny and upholding fundamental human rights. Finally, we must emphasize that the anticipated cost of the war--estimated at between $100 to $200 billion--will divert much needed money from critical domestic needs such as housing, education, health care, job development and environmental protection and restoration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The peace of women is intimately
bound up with the peace of men

Email from Bob Pope,

responding to Joan Ryan's news articles
"Women and Uncle Sam" and "Women, get angry!"

I just discovered the Lysistrataproject website. I think
it is wonderful. I am elated by it. ...
I have but one demurrer. ...
[T]he Joan Ryan piece made my heart sink!
Look....if we are
going to argue against the draft, we must argue not only against
the draft of women but surely against the enslavement
of young men by this odious institution.

The peace of women is intimately bound up with the peace
of men, and, conversely, the peace of men is intimately
connected to the peace of women. This is about as
fundamental as we can get. I believe that is also the major
premise of Riana Eisler's partnership community
as described in The Chalice and the Blade.

That concept has to be the lens through which we
read articles such as those by Joan Ryan. How consistent
are her writings with the central premise? Before we apply
this criterion to her two articles in question, I need to
state that my understanding of "peace" is wholeness or
well-being. It is a holistic concept embracing the totality
of life. It is not merely the absence of tension but the
presence of justice. In my mind, I equate peace with
comprehensive well-being.

Now, having said that, we revisit the articles by Joan
Ryan. How, I ask, can she call for women to enjoy
the well-being of an equal share in power with men
on the one hand (in Women, Get Angry!) while at the
same time denying to men the well-being of freedom
from the shackles of war-slavery (as in Women and
Uncle Sam) on the other hand? And she even sets this
into the context of the existence of the Women's
Movement for thirty years! The point is probably lost
on men that their peace is intimately connected to the
peace of women, but I sort of thought most women
were operating out of a consciousness that their peace
cannot be attained apart from the peace of men. Is this
clear or is this murky? I mean: is this my imagination or
a delusion on my part or does it have a basis in reality?

If this is even close to being correct, then I think that
women have an enormous stake in helping men win
their freedom from enforced warriorhood. One of the
major sources of violence against women is militarism
and war. The ability of a government to subject young
men to compulsory military service is one of the major,
if not the major, underpinnings of warmaking. Without
the ability to coerce young men into military violence,
it would severely hamper the ability of governments
to wage long, protracted wars.

Therefore, whatever works to abolish that terrible,
oppressive power over young men also works powerfully
against militarism and war, and also works toward
reducing violence against women from that source.
For that reason alone, women have an enormous stake
in the freeing of men from these shackles. How it is
that a woman like Joan Ryan can fail to see that is
beyond me!

She needs to be calling for women to get angry about
this and to start acting to end this most salient form of
oppression of men. Yes, I agree, men are not oppressed
like women are under patriarchy. Not even close. I agree.
But how can a consciousness of women's oppression exist
in one's mind, and, in that same mind not find a consciousness
of this awesome form of oppression men are forced to endure
under that same patriarchy?

Joan Ryan needs to call women to get angry because women's
own peace is at stake in all of this. The Masters of War could
not massively commandeer the bodies of young men without
the consent of society, fifty percent of which is women! Even
if all the men supported this system (which is far from the case),
if women massively withdrew their consent ---the mothers of
these young men most especially, but certainly all women---
then they could stop this oppression in its tracks! It would fall!
Only the awesome silence and massive consent of women
allow this war-slavery to exist. To withdraw that consent
would truly be Lysistrata-esque!

So, perhaps you can understand, that when I read articles like
Women and Uncle Sam and find there a woman advocating
the perpetuation of the status quo with respect to the rape
and enslavement of young men into the violence of war --
and at the same time calling for the peace of women by
preserving their freedom from it--- I find my jaw dropping
onto my chest, my arms lifted over my head, and a feeling
inside that just wants to collapse onto the ground in utter
shock and disbelief! How can this author be so blind?
How can she be so utterly blind to the notion that the peace
of women ---if it must be cast in such a narrowly self-interested
form---is bound up with the peace of men?

Please, just call for women to massively withdraw their consent
to this enslavement of men and not be satisfied to simply
preserve their own freedom from it. I understand that
Russian women have gone so far as to pull their young
sons off those buses which were driving them away to
the brutalization of the military training camps. Only
when women and men link arms to do something like
that here if necessary will that glorious vision, so
prominently featured on your website, be realized:
that the women of the world will demand an end to
the enforced warriorhood of young men and thus
put an end to their sons being forced to kill other
mothers' sons.

Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote: Save us from weak
resignation to the evils we deplore.

Bob Pope

 

 

 

 

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. on Conscience

"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?'
Expedience asks the question, 'Is it politic?'
Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?'
But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?'

There comes a time when a man must take a position
that is neither safe nor politic nor popular but he must do it
because conscience tells him it is right."

 

 

 

 

 

10 Reasons Why Women Should Oppose
the U.S. "War on Terrorism"

1. "Smart wars" save the lives of US soldiers while civilians largely women and children become "collateral damage."

2. War and militarism subject women and girls to rape and sexual violence; the culture of aggression encourages domestic violence against women.

3. Weapons of mass destruction, produced and used by the US, poison the soil and sea, causing miscarriages, birth defects and cancers.

4. The "war on terrorism" gives other governments an excuse to strike out at political opponents, with disastrous consequences for women in war zones.

5. The "war on terrorism" is a cover for US global domination, which impoverishes women worldwide.

6. When Arab, Muslim and immigrant men are locked up without cause and without charges, women, children and communities suffer.

7. A women's rights agenda cannot be advanced while human rights and civil liberties are trampled.

8. US war industries reap enormous profits, while programs that benefit women and girls healthcare, education, welfare and childcare, for example face budget cuts.

9. Bush's war reinforces global racism, negatively impacting women of color worldwide.

10. The Pentagon cannot liberate Afghan women or any other women.

Women of Color Resource Center
http://www.coloredgirls.org

 

 

 

 

The inspiration for this page are the acts of the people of Denmark during World War II

On being occupied by the Nazis they raised no weapons, knowing that violent resistance would result in their country being destroyed and their people killed, as they had witnessed with their neighbors. Rather, they spent the war years inventing and applying methods of noncooperation that were nonconfrontational but that undermined German authority.

Factory workers who had been pressed into service manufacturing munitions and parts opted against striking. Instead, they sabotaged the rate of production. They worked at snail's pace, finding myriad excuses to interrupt their labor. They blundered, requiring work to be done over. They left work early each day to go water their gardens, citing the fact that they had to be home before curfew.

When news spread of Germany's intention to round up Denmark's Jews, the country quickly mobilized. Within a matter of weeks, individual citizens and small groups were able to smuggle nearly all 8,000 Jews living in Denmark across the narrow body of water into neutral Sweden.

Ultimately the Danes wore down the system and made themselves ungovernable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riane Eisler
Author of The Chalice and the Blade

In 1994, I had the opportunity to express my gratitude to a country that did take such a strong stand. That year marked the publication of The Chalice and the Blade in Denmark, the only European country in which the people joined together to nonviolently resist Hitler's orders~where, beginning with King Christian, people openly refused to collaborate in the Nazi extermination of those who, like me, happened to be born to Jewish parents.

That publication ~for which I wrote a special epilogue that honored the courage of the Danes~ was also intensely meaningful for me. It was a reminder that if enough of us join together, we can halt the drift back to domination, that if we hold fast in our resolve, we can put into action our vision of creating a partnership world. And particularly at a time when what is daily presented to us by the media as "news" focuses almost exclusively on the bad news, on violence and regression and repression, we need many such reminders~lest we forget that each of us can make a difference, that, in the end, the choice of what kind of world we live in is up to every one of us.

 

 

 

 

 

Compare for yourself

Evolution of Bush agenda for Iraq invasion

"National Security Strategy of the U.S."
Released September 20, 2001 by
George W. Bush

( http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html )

The espoused program of world dominance is known by insiders as "Pax Americana" (Amer. peace). "The United States will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia, as well as temporary access arrangements for the long-distance deployment of U.S. troops."

Architects: (all serving in Bush administration)

Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary; John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for arms control and international security; Eliot Cohen, on Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board; I. Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff; Dov Zakheim, Undersecretary of Defense (comptroller) and CFO for the Pentagon; Stephen Cambone, head of the Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation at the Defense Department

The report's repeated references to terrorism would seem to be inspired
by the events of September 11, 2001.
Yet its approach can be found in much the same language in the following earlier document:

"Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century"
Released September 2000 by
Project for the New American Century,
a group of conservative interventionists.
( http://www.newamericancentury.org/
defensenationalsecurity.htm
)

"At no time in history has the international security order been as conducive to American interests and ideals. The challenge of this coming century is to preserve and enhance this 'American peace.'"

Architects:

27 people listed as having contributed to report, among them Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Eliot Cohen, I. Lewis Libby, Dov Zakheim and Stephen Cambone






"Rebuilding America's Defenses" directly acknowledges an earlier document

Draft by the Defense Department, 1992

Leaked in final draft form, the proposal drew so much criticism that it was hastily withdrawn and repudiated by then president, George Bush Sr.

Architect:

Drafted by Paul Wolfowitz, then Defense Undersecretary for Policy


(Dick Cheney was Defense Secretary)

 

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