We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Obama outlines right-wing program in “jobs” speech

Click here to access article by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site.
While hailed by his Democratic supporters as the return of a new combative Obama, his phony populist demagogy about the need for immediate action and commitment to ensuring that every American received a “fair shake” stood in stark contrast to the actual content of the policies advanced in the speech. All the proposals, moreover, will be paid for by even deeper attacks on core social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
The following quote I found particularly interesting as a contrast to the lack of labor militancy that is still mostly typical of today's workers in the US.
Three quarters of a century ago, the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt found the resources to put millions of Americans to work through programs like the Works Progress Administration, that were responsible for nationwide construction and repair of basic infrastructure, from highways to airports to national parks.

Driven by tumultuous struggles of the American working class and the fears that example of the 1917 workers’ revolution Russia could be repeated, Roosevelt set about to save capitalism from itself.
The success of the revolution in Russia inspired working people everywhere and severely shook the capitalist ruling classes. Few Americans realize this and give too much credit to President Franklin Roosevelt and little credit to working class militancy in Russia and the US. The only people who will improve the lot of working people iare working people themselves.

An afternoon with the English Defence League

Click here to access article by Laurie Penny from the New Statesman.

The picture this young journalist paints of the rise of racist/cultural hate groups in England is not one I was expecting to see so soon. Could these scenes on the streets of London be the future everywhere in the advanced capitalist countries? As the capitalist managed economy deteriorates, the ruling class would love to see workers turn on each other rather on them, and will do everything they can to encourage such developments. The code word that the elites use is "multi-culturalism" as in "multi-culturalism has failed".

Behind the mounted, armoured cops, you can see St George's flags waving, and you can hear the thump and echo of smokebombs and the chanting of hate-tourists out to scrap with members of another disenfranchised community that happens to look and pray differently. The East end is in lockdown, and there are hundreds of police everywhere. The horses are spooked, and so am I.

Although from a politically liberal perspective, a more detailed understanding of this phenomenon can be obtained by listening to at least the first 10 minutes of this 38:15 minute interview from KPFA radio (Berkeley, CA, USA) interview with John Bowen.
Why have so many European leaders recently proclaimed the failure of multiculturalism? What should we make of their claims, and of the proliferating rhetoric of blame directed against Muslims and other immigrants of color in Europe? John Bowen distinguishes rhetoric from reality in France, Britain and beyond....

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Gen Y Guide to Collaborative Consumption

Click here to access article by Beth Buczynski from Shareable. 

As corporate run governments are using our tax dollars to bailout banksters and wage wars and social safety nets are being dismantled, we are increasingly being left to fend for ourselves. We are now forced to collaborate to save ourselves. This article provides some great resources and ideas for doing this, and not only for "generation Y" people. And, in the end, our efforts to construct systems for survival could very well provide clues to creating new, sustainable, and just societies. 
If these ideas get your blood pumping, there’s good news: young people all over the world are already making them a reality. It’s called collaborative consumption, (or the sharing economy) and it’s changing the way we work, play, and interact with each other. It’s fueled by the instant connection and communication of the internet, yet it’s manifesting itself in interesting ways offline too.

Moving to Action – workplace organizing beyond recipes

Click here to access article by S. Nappalos from Liam Fox: Irreverence Cafe.

Organizing is absolutely critical in the war against capitalism and for a just, peaceful world. Too often we read or hear people advise about the necessity of organizing, but a discussion of methods and evaluating various tactics and strategies is missing. Hence, I am really impressed with this article which supplies some of this missing discussion. 
We need to move away from models of organizing by lecturing people about why we could rule this world and capitalism is horrible, or believing getting people agitated will automatically lead to organization because the workers are already radical. Instead we need to think about organizing as a relationship, a back and forth between a revolutionary(ies) and their coworkers in dialogue and common struggle.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Documents Claim Intelligence on Bin Laden, 9/11 Targets Withheld From Congress' Probe

From The Real News Network, 23:16m video:

I think that the evidence that this investigator has uncovered offers additional support for my hunch that the 9/11 project was uncovered by Western intelligence sources well before the event and authorities decided to not only let this project go ahead, but to facilitate it in order to produce a Pearl Harbor type of event which has served to justify the never-ending "war on terror" and all the invasions, torture, surveillance of dissidents, human rights abuses, etc that we have witnessed since 9/11.

More at The Real News

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Joint statement by Puerta del Sol Economics Working Group and Syntagma

Click here to access article from Take the Square. 
From the USA to Brussels, from Greece to Bolivia and from Spain to Tunisia, the crisis of capitalism is on the rise. A crisis caused by the same culprits who are imposing the reforms to get over it: pumping public funds into private financial institutions while forcing the citizens to foot the bill. Rather than lifting us out the crisis, their structural adjustment plans sink us even deeper in.
Unlike many liberal-left reforms, their recommendations are truly progressive.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

50 State Attorney General Effort to Sell Out to Banks Makes Even More Egregious Offer

Click here to access article by Yves Smith from her blog, Naked Capitalism. 

Smith's blog is written for liberals in the financial services industry, and as such, it is addressed in their language. This honest blogger who has had a long career in the financial services industry knows of what she writes. This effort by the big banks to be released from legal actions resulting from many of their gross malpractices in relation to mortgages has been largely unreported in mainstream media.  Remember it was the mortgage scam that was mostly responsible for the crash of our economy and the imperiling of the lives of many working people across the globe.

There is presently negotiations being held in an attempt to shield the banks from US state lawsuits. The author sees a big sellout being attempted by the big banks and Iowa's Attorney General Tom Miller who supposedly represents the citizens of Iowa and the interests of citizens across the country. These negotiations are largely being reported only in the financial media, and it is highly distorted in favor of the banks. (If you need further background on this be sure to read this and other links she provides in her article.)

Organizing the Precariat

Click here to access article by Tom Judd from Shareable.

Although not inspiring, the article provides an illustration of all the management tactics used to stifle union organizing, lack of organized labor support, and NGO's funded by the ruling class that acted like any other for-profit corporation. It must be understood that discouraging union organizing and busting unions has become a major industry in the US and employers have a storehouse of information on such strategies. I don't offer this piece to discourage such organizing efforts, but to inform others as to the forces that they are up against so that more effective strategies can be devised. We must all share ideas in this fight back if we are to take control of our societies for the benefit of all.
Our preliminary organizing efforts, ranging from clandestine e-mails to workplace meetings, was initially met with indifference by the bosses. However, when workplace discontent was detected by management and did not rapidly disappear on its own, our demands were strangled by a massive management counteroffensive. The anti-union backlash took a number of forms; ultimately unhappy workers were sidelined or promoted, and part-timers crowded out in favor of salaried replacements. The previous sense of community was destroyed as workers were isolated and their hours disrupted by new, full-time hires. Strong organizers were lured to accept coveted promotions.to positions which gave them higher wages and kept them busy with new responsibilities. In the face of this restructuring, part-timers were left scrambling to keep their jobs.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Stung by the President on Air Quality, Environmentalists Weigh Their Options

Click here to access article by Leslie Kaufman from The NY Times.
In late August, the State Department gave a crucial go-ahead on a controversial pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Then on Friday, leading into the holiday weekend, the Obama administration announced without warning that it was walking away from stricter ozone pollution standards that it had been promising for three years and instead sticking with Bush-era standards. 
These shocked environmentalists are an example of North American progressives refusing to grow up. (See masthead statement) Obama is simply carrying out orders from his employers, the political operatives of the global ruling class of capitalists. If he failed to do so, he would be removed one way or another. But, liberals need not worry because Obama was raised by his white banker grandmother to please powerful white folks and serve their interests. These political operatives knew what they were doing when they groomed him to be President.

See also this and this

Manipulating Video Images: Sloppy Journalism or War Propaganda? The BBC's Fake Images from Tripoli

Click here to access article by Michel Chossudovsky from Global Research. 

I find it hard to believe in that they were simply sloppy--they were desperate. This ruling class propaganda organ simply needed the "victory" in Libya to be celebrated by Libyans to legitimate NATO's involvement, and this is the best they could come up with.

Global - Guardian journalist negligently disclosed Cablegate passwords

Click here to access article which is a Wikileaks Editorial.
Guardian investigations editor, David Leigh, recklessly, and without gaining our approval, knowingly disclosed the decryption passwords in a book published by the Guardian. Leigh states the book was rushed forward to be written in three weeks—the rights were then sold to Hollywood.
It will be interesting to see how the mainstream media, the propaganda organ of the ruling global capitalist class, manages this event. So far, they have ignored it. But, I'm sure, that they are still  formulating plans on how to turn the event into blaming Wikileaks.

Arab revolutions: “natural allies in a common struggle”

Click here to access article from Klasse! (Netherlands)

The article argues that the Arab Spring uprisings must be seen as an integral part of resistance to neo-liberal policies that are having catastrophic effects on working people throughout the world. Therefore, Arabs must be seen as allies and we working people in the West must join with them in casting off the common oppressor of international capitalism.
...Mohammad-Reza Shalgooni argues that the situation in the Middle East is comparable to revolutionary Russia in 1917, about which Lenin said that because there the contradictions of capitalism were most critical, it had become "the weak link in the imperialist chain". If this is true, the Arab uprising is of such great historical and global proportion, that the success of the Arab uprisings, and solidarity from our parts towards it, might determine the future of capitalism far beyond the region itself.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sustaining Our Better Angels

Click here to access article by Kathy McMahon from her blog, Peak Oil Blues.

This psychologist takes a part another convenient representation of human nature that "explains" and justifies the system of capitalism. Dr. William E. Rees has written:
From a systems perspective, we might say that our current “unsustainability” is a product of the natural system…

There are certain behavioral adaptations that helped our distant ancestors survive—and thus those predilections were passed on to us. But those same (now ingrained) behaviors today are decidedly not helpful in solving our sustainability crisis—they have become maladaptive.

…we habituate to any level of consumption (once a given level is attained, satisfaction diminishes) so the tendency to accumulate ratchets up. This is particularly so if we perceive that another social group—or country—is “getting ahead” faster than we are. 
McMahon argues that such views are a product of a narrow group of people from capitalist academic institutions. She writes:
The values of Homo Economicus are deadly to the planet.  But it is dangerous to confuse the dysfunction of humans impacted by global free market capitalism, with the norms of human psychology or psycho-evolutionary biology.

Full-Blown Civil War Erupts On Wall Street: As Reality Finally Hits The Financial Elite, They Start Turning On Each Other

Click here to access article David DeGraw from Amped Status.

I wouldn't get too excited about the outcome of all this. Like many predators various capitalist actors will turn on each other when the easy prey (working people) isn't enough to satisfy their voracious appetites. But the article provides an interesting survey of legal battles to keep us informed with what's happening among the class of people who rule over us. The author seems very upbeat about the outcomes of these battles, but I seriously doubt that they will result in any benefit for us. The people who will definitely benefit are corporate lawyers--I'm sure that they are ecstatic over these developments.

The following 6:32m video provides a rather clear explanation of how the Fed has been running a scam on the American people in their money creating operation, money that they gave to the troubled banks who in turn bought government securities which are debts to be paid back by us, our children, our grandchildren, and so on. This operation has been largely kept from public view. Mainstream media has focused on only the TARP program, but have grossly distorted how that scam also worked.