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 Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Someone Got Rich and Someone Got Sick

Click here to access article by Chip Ward from TomDispatch. (As usual at this website, you will need to scroll down to the article.)

This writer does what I often try to do: link the degradation of people with the degradation of the environment by the same system of capitalism which turns everything into a commodity to be bought, sold, rented, exploited to satisfy the addiction of the 1% to wealth and power.
The fact is: we won’t free ourselves from a dysfunctional and unfair economic order until we begin to see ourselves as communities, not commodities.  That is one clear message from Zuccotti Park.

Occupy Oakland Protesters Remain in Legal Limbo After Release From Jail

Click here to access article by Elise Ackerman from Truthout. 

The author provides the details on how the enforcers of the ruling class are continuing their intimidating tactics against activists during their stay in jail.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Oakland crackdown backfires: the genie is out of the bottle

Click here to access article by Jérôme E. Roos from Reflections on a Revolution. 
What we are witnessing is a change in the collective consciousness. The shedding of fear and the demise of the invisible dictator inside our heads. This is the awakening from a long and lonesome slumber. Something has changed in our perception of the world. When we see the images of people mobilizing in solidarity around the globe, we realize we are no longer alone. We are part of something infinitely greater than the mere sum of its parts. Each and every single one of us is a magnificent being worthy of dignity and respect. But it is only when we come together that the true essence of our humanity is revealed for what it always already was. At last, we are reclaiming our true nature. We are a social animal. And love and solidarity are the glue that binds us together.
The masters of the present governing system of capitalism will do everything they can to crush, co-opt, or tame the movement that has been born in the Squares and Wall Street occupations, but they cannot succeed against the life affirming nature of the human soul. Everyday it is becoming clearer for more people that the governing class and their system are destructive of both human life and a planet that can support human and other life forms. 

Previously the system was able to support an adequate number of people who found it so easy to just accept things and go along by seeking the rewards and avoiding the punishments of the system. Those that succeeded in the system were very much like "house niggers" who felt and acted superior to those who couldn't or refused to go along with the system. Just as old fashioned slavery has (mostly) disappeared, a system based on wage and debt slavery is now being called into question. 

Presently it appears that humans have reached a critical mass in terms of numbers and political awareness to the point where the system itself is starting to lose all credibility and legitimacy. There are now large numbers of people who realize that they are in a fight for their very survival, not only as individuals and families, but as a human species. 

Can we create a new sustainable human life supporting system, or will we perish along with so many other species that are disappearing daily due to the destruction of habitat caused by human activity under the present system? Stay tuned. Better yet, stay active.

Occupy protests: a movement taking root

Click here to access article by Katharine Ainger from The Guardian. 

I'm always impressed when an article from a liberal source can reveal some truths. This one does by showing how the Occupy movements have, and can, take the next steps in organizing actions that will sustain them. Of course, I'm sure the author doesn't see such actions as growing a revolution, but only as a means to...
...rein in the power of finance...and win so much support that governments are more scared of the people's sheer numbers than of the markets.
Because, after all, "there is no alternative" (to capitalism). [sarcasm]

Americans: Awash In Spin

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from OpEd News.

This article is a much needed antidote to all the positive mad ravings of mainstream media regarding yesterday's announcement of a new Greek bailout agreement and the subsequent erections of the New York stock exchange indexes.
Recovery can only happen in the delusional world created for us by the concentrated media. No longer permitted to utter one word of truth, the presstitutes proclaim non-existent recoveries and weapons of mass destruction and demonize Washington's chosen opponents. 
Note: "presstitutes" is a word the author has coined to combine the words prostitute and press (media), similar to "bankster".

The global wealth pyramid

Click here to access brief article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog. 

Here is a picture that is worth a thousand words

There simply must be an alternative to this kind of human society! Also, read this article by the same author to see how this has been happening here in the US since 1979. If we don't change things, it will only get worse.

NYTimes eXaminer

Click here to access online newspaper

Contrary to my other posts, this is not an article, this is a whole new newspaper. Given that it is a direct challenge to the NY Times and by people with very "respectable" credentials, this new source of information can provide another important launching pad for the flight of revolutionary consciousness and action! I think it is worth supporting, at least, initially to see if it can really reflect the interests and views of the 99%. To do this, they must incorporate into their operations people from the OWS movement. Check it out.
About NYTX
The NYTimes eXaminer (NYTX) was launched October 2011. The idea was proposed to a number of leading media critics, intellectuals, and alternative media activists, organizers, and producers earlier in the year. Many of these people expressed their support for the project and have since joined NYTX’s “Advisory Council.” The project’s mission statement and list of Advisory Council members can be found below. NYTX staff information can be found at the bottom of the page. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Spanish Summer: Notes Towards a Comparative Revolutionology

Click here to access article by J.E. Hamilton from Guernica.

I am beginning to see articles appearing that are attempting to summarize the meaning of the Occupation movement across the globe and to look for future direction. While focusing on the experience of Spanish activists, the discussion here is relevant for all global activists to think about. I suggest you specifically read the content under section 3 of this article which asks and attempts to answer some key questions:
What exactly is it that will last? Direct, horizontal, and leaderless democracy? For those involved with 15-M—the number continues to grow, according to Lara and Juan Miguel—the feeling is that this year’s experiments in confrontation and horizontal democracy will not soon be forgotten. This is a lesson politicians and bureaucrats may soon shudder to learn: it’s not easy to placate a demographic whose greatest public pleasure thus far has been shutting you out of the conversation.

US cops tried to erase online evidence of brutality

Click here to access article from Russia Today. Also, included in the article is this 5:14m video interview with Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group


As the ruling classes across the globe become increasingly concerned about the spread of people power and protests, they are beginning to use rather desperate measures that include obstructing protests by onerous permit requirements, censorship, terrorizing activists, and stopping online payments to activists by banksters: PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, etc. We, the people, must meet these challenges.

Just this morning I heard on my local TV station (Seattle) that several thousand dollars of PayPal donations had disappeared temporarily from a Portland (Oregon) OWS account.

The 9/11 Best Evidence Panel: The 9/11 Consensus Points

Click here to access article from Consensus 9/11. 

I encourage you to read about the background of the panel members, and then the methodology in addition to the findings linked to here in a report on which the panel reached 90% consensus.

Debt crisis splits Europe

Click here to access article by Peter Schwarz from World Socialist Web Site.

The ruling capitalist classes are ecstatic over this morning's news: European leaders reached a deal with Greek debtholders on Thursday morning after nearly 11 hours of talks. The agreement includes a large bailout of Greece by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The latter institution means that more US tax dollars will be tapped. 

Meanwhile the stock markets are engaging in an orgy of stock buying. And ruling class media is likewise hailing this news. For more balanced and accurate coverage, read this article and also one by financial expert, Yves Smith, in her blog article entitled, "Eurozone Leaders Agree a Few Rescue Details, Like 50% Haircut on Greek Bonds; Plan to Develop a Plan Gooses Markets".

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

David Graeber: On Playing By The Rules – The Strange Success Of #OccupyWallStreet

Click here to access article by David Graeber from Naked Capitalism.

This fairly length piece provides a very good description of how opposition to our Wall Street run government reached critical mass this Fall and materialized as the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Clearly, if progressive change was not possible through electoral means in 2008, it simply isn’t going to [be] possible at all. And that is exactly what very large numbers of Americans appear to have concluded.

The State of Everything

Click here to access article by Peter Radford from Real-World Economics Review Blog. I have had difficulty in finding a biography for this writer, but being on the board of editors for this widely read professional website, he clearly is an economist of some reputation.

I post this piece because it provides more evidence to support my (and others) thesis that the middle class is dramatically becoming disillusioned with the system of capitalism, and that this poses a major threat to the maintenance of the system. 

Contrary to popular usage in the US, sociologists define the middle class as workers who are given special privileges and higher pay to manage and support the system. You see, capitalists know diddly-squat about managing any kind of economy. They live off their money and the system of capitalism that makes this possible. They have a faith-based belief that everything must be a commodity to be bought, owned, and rented or sold. Money is the lubricant that makes the machine of capitalism function. And, capitalists control the money supply through their central banks. They only know how to use people to serve their sole interest of accumulating more wealth and power. Hence, they hire (rent) people--managers, scientists and highly trained technician, academicians, and other professionals to run the system--and, they reward them well. These are the true middle class; and as you can see by the example of this writer, they are becoming seriously demoralized.
I have been mightily diverted by technological and personal matters recently and so am struggling to catch up. As I do so one theme has stood out: exhaustion. We are exhausted. Morally, intellectually, politically, and every other way. We seem to have fought our way into a state of enforced lassitude within which we can no longer even imagine progress. We are suffering from a form of trench warfare. Our leaders are exposed as inept. Brilliantly educated, earnest, well informed, and well intentioned. They are inept. So much for all those advanced degrees and professional qualifications. In our hour of need they amount to not much more than paper. Those achievements are nice to hang on walls to remind us of the hours spent poring over books in the library, or yawning through interminable, and marginal, classes on subjects no one but the professors were interested in, but they don’t appear to guarantee solutions to actual economic problems.

The state of everything is a mess.   

What Do We Mean By “Works”? Anarchist Economics and the Occupy X Movement

Click here to access article by Deric Shannon from The New Significance. (A must read.)
...one of the near-constant criticisms of these sorts of ideas [anarchist] goes something like this:

“That kind of system would never work
[the implication being that the current system, although faulty, does work] because of human nature. We’re just wired to be greedy. It’s evolution, survival of the fittest, and all that.”
Many people have been so indoctrinated in the faith-based religion of capitalism with its mantra, "there is no alternative", that they can't think straight anymore.

The arms firm behind the suppression of #OccupyOakland and Palestine’s popular struggle

Click here to access article by Max Blumenthal from New Significance. 
With the rise of the Occupy Wall Street, a new generation of mostly middle class Americans is learning for the first time about the militarization of their local police forces. And they are learning the hard way, through confrontations with phalanxes of riot cops armed with the latest in “non-lethal” crowd control weaponry. Yesterday’s protests in Oakland, California were the site of perhaps the harshest police violence leveled against the Occupy movement so far.
As the global ruling class attempts to deal with the OWS protesters, they are clearly experimenting with the methods of inflecting as much harm on protesters as possible stopping just short lethal weapons. The intent, of course, is to terrorize participants in these occupations and others who might be thinking about joining them. You can be sure that they are carefully studying these terrorist methods to measure their effectiveness in places such as Oakland, California, Athens, Greece and Melbourne, Australia in order to improve their chances of winning the class war that is being waged throughout much of the world. 

Hence, I would agree with our oppressors: there is indeed forces of terrorism at work in the world today. But, who are the terrorists? With whom should we be at war?

It very much appears to me that we are entering a pivotal stage in this war, and the outcome may be decisive as to whether we the 99% will live as free human beings or debt slaves. We must also keep in mind that the same system which attacks us also attacks the planet which supports all human life. Thus, so much is at stake, and we simply must win.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

They Don’t Get It (Revised)

Click here to access article from Internationalist Perspective. 
They don’t get it that the absence of leaders in this movement is not a weakness but a strength, testifying to our collective determination, to our refusal to remain followers. They don’t get it that the absence of a narrow set of demands that can be recuperated by this or that institution, results from our understanding that the problem lies much deeper. That there are no quick fixes for a system that produces growing inequality, mass unemployment and misery, wars and ecological disasters.
There are so many gems in this article that I have tagged it as a "best post".

Will Congress Kill Youtube and Twitter to Please the 1%?

Click here to access article by David Swanson from War Is a Crime. 

Using a typical Orwellian bill entitled, "Protect IP Act", Congress is poised to pass a bill that...
...creates new legal liabilities for sites like Twitter, YouTube, and others that rely on user-generated content -- exposing the sites' proprietors to prosecution for certain acts taken by their users.
This, of course, would cause these internet services to act as policeman over content that might incur the wrath of the ruling class. As it becomes clear that an unintended consequence of the creation of internet-access gadgets and services is to enable activists to organize and collaborate better, we can expect more such attacks in the future.

The Patriot Act, 10 Years Later

Click here to access article from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Not only was the 9/11 incident used to launch never-ending wars of aggression, they have also installed in the US all the necessary infrastructure of a police state just in case Americans start getting in the way of the imperial project.
Pushed through Congress without debate, the massive surveillance bill was hastily passed just 45 days after 9/11, and was the first of many changes to surveillance laws over the past decade that made it easier for the government to spy on innocent Americans. 

The War on Libya is a War on Africa [11:55m video]

From Global Research TV we listen to an independent UK journalist who speaks (in English with French subtitles) truth to the lies of mainstream media regarding NATO's invasion of Libya. She concludes her talk with some brief remarks about the implications the invasion of Libya has for other independent countries in the area. I found this to be a much needed antidote to the orgy of triumph that characterizes US mainstream media coverage.
Back in the UK, after several months spent in Libya covering NATO war crimes and uncovering mainstream media lies, freelance journalist Lizzie Phelan continues to fight for truth and justice on behalf of the Libyan people. Her testimony below is a gripping example of her commitment.

Lizzie Phelan spent her last days in Libya - where she was reporting for PressTV - trapped in the Rixos Hotel, together with Thierry Meyssan, Mahdi Nazemroaya and two other members of the Voltaire Network team.

She said a Western-backed genocide is taking place in Libya and there are no independent journalists left on the ground to cover the story.


See also this excellent piece from Global Research entitled, "Murder of Gadhafi is next step to wider U.S. wars in Africa by Sara Flounders.

Deepening OWS ties to labor

Click here to access article by Mariano Silva from Socialist Worker. 
In particular, the connections between organized labor and the OWS continue to deepen--with ongoing protests against the Sotheby's auction house where Teamsters have been locked out of their jobs, a big rally in support of Verizon workers who are fighting for a fair contract, and a planned action against the Department of Education in support of teachers.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Not Just a Protest, But a Little Utopia

Click here to access article by Ben Case from Inter Press Service (IPS).

In my opinion a better title for this excellent article would be "Not Just a Protest, OWS is creating a New Society". Because that is the essence and the power of what is occurring at the various OWSs throughout the world. They are in the process of creating new mechanisms for a genuine democracy. They are creating a new communication structure which can undermine the ruling class media which functions to indoctrinate people in their values and perspectives and to filter out any ideas that challenge their rule. These accomplishments are highly dangerous to the existing order because it can be addictive to people in a very positive way:
More than a month old, OWS feels like a town of its own, one governed intentionally by institutions and actions based on empathetic, egalitarian principles. As a protest, the occupation tactic is successful because of its constant presence and as a base for organising actions.

But at least as important to participants is the opportunity the occupied space provides to organise a microcosm of the society they want to live in. As the movement continues to grow, it is clear that this new society resonates with many people disaffected with the failures of society at large.
[my emphasis]

"We're dismantling capitalism and building something better right here,".... 

Throw Them Out With the Trash

Click here to access article by Barbara Ehrenreich from TomDispatch. (You will need to scroll down to the article.)
...to be homeless in America is to live like a fugitive. The destitute are our own native-born “illegals,” facing prohibitions on the most basic activities of survival. They are not supposed to soil public space with their urine, their feces, or their exhausted bodies. Nor are they supposed to spoil the landscape with their unusual wardrobe choices or body odors. They are, in fact, supposed to die, and preferably to do so without leaving a corpse for the dwindling public sector to transport, process, and burn.

Stimulus Money Used to Employ Foreign Guest Workers Instead of Americans

Click here to access article by Robert Oak from The Economic Populist.

The practice of using the cheapest labor through either outsourcing or importing such labor illustrates the logic of capitalism. Given that the system is designed to maximize profits for the few ("owners") which is wealth extracted from the labor of rented workers, then it is entirely rational that capitalists will rent workers who are desperate enough to work at the cheapest rate. In contrast to workers who face all kinds of restrictions should they want to move across national boundaries in search of work, the ruling class can easily move workers across the world to reduce their labor costs to a bare minimum.

This report refers to four "employers" screwing the American public in an additional way by using American taxpayer funded subsidies to do this. (You will have to look long and hard to find out the names of these employers.) But then, capitalists see the law as merely impediments to their prosperity. That is why they so vigorously oppose all laws and regulations which stand in their way. When they exist, they nearly always find ways of working around them.

Durban May Be Last Chance to Stabilise Climate Under Two Degrees

Click here to access article by Stephen Leahy from Inter Press Service (IPS). 
The window to limit global warming to less than two degrees C is closing so fast it can be measured in months, a new scientific analysis revealed Sunday.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unite the struggles

Click here to access article issued by the Anarchist Federation (UK) posted at InfoShop News.

The article provides some very good ideas about a general strategy for the "wave of occupations and upsurge in class struggle as austerity bites...." It also lists the many ways that the ruling class has attempted, and will attempt, to contain and destroy the struggles. Its focus is on the UK, but the ideas and insights apply nearly everywhere in the world. Just as capitalism has gone global, so has the need for social justice gone global.

Occupy Oakland March Shuts Down Chase Bank Branch [4:38m video]

(The source is from IndyBay at Oakland, California.) The scenes depicted here are very familiar to me because I lived near this section of Oakland in the early 1980s.
 After marching from Oscar Grant Plaza and around Lake Merritt on October 22nd, Occupy Oakland occupiers and supporters stopped in front of the Chase Bank branch on Lakeshore Avenue. Demonstrators began to stream into the bank, filling the branch and chanting, "Chase got bailed out, we got sold out." Bank withdrawal and deposit slips were thrown into the air and within a few minutes demonstrators exited the bank and returned to the thousand-plus marchers in the street. Several protesters remained behind to pick up bank slips from the floor and were locked inside when police moved in to secure the bank. With loud chants of "Let them go, let them go" from the street, those inside were allowed to leave and the march continued on to shut down a Wells Fargo Bank branch by surrounding it before returning to Oscar Grant Plaza.

Your browser is not able to display this multimedia content.


This is a good illustration of the Occupation movement targeting sites that are directly benefiting from their theft of homes, jobs, and wealth from the people. This creates a concrete and meaningful way for people to connect the issues with banking institutions.

Adbusters Senior Editor talks about Occupy Wall Street [9:50m video]

From YouTube.

I think that Micah White of Ad Busters captures the essential democratic spirit of the Occupy movement.

Where Did Global Warming Go?

Click here to access article by Elisabeth Rosenthal from the NY Times. 
IN 2008, both the Democratic and Republican candidates for president, Barack Obama and John McCain, warned about man-made global warming and supported legislation to curb emissions. After he was elected, President Obama promised “a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change,” and arrived cavalry-like at the 2009 United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen to broker a global pact.

But two years later, now that nearly every other nation accepts climate change as a pressing problem, America has turned agnostic on the issue.
Some people think it's worse than that:
“In Washington, ‘climate change’ has become a lightning rod, it’s a four-letter word,” said Andrew J. Hoffman, director of the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Sustainable Development.
It is clear to me that because capitalism cannot deal with global warming, it simply won't. Are we going to let them destroy our habitat? I know of no other creature that does that deliberately.

It is not as the author argues: a Democratic versus Republican issue. 
“We are seeing doubts in the U.S. largely because the issue has become a partisan one, with Democrats” — 75 percent of whom say they believe there is strong evidence of climate change — “seeing one thing and Republicans another.”
The responses in the Pew pool were from people who vote in elections as Democrats or Republicans. There is no other choice. The leadership of these parties are controlled by the same class of people who have the same interests. The fact that Democratic party leaders sometimes mouth empty phrases reflecting environmental concerns never translates into action.

Also, it is not the US versus the-rest-of-the-world issue. Certainly some other countries have done more than the US to curb carbon emissions, but most are failing to meet commitments and/or using carbon trading to cheat. Read the following:
Kyoto's Carbon Offsetting Moves from Tragedy to Farce
A Grim Outlook for Emissions As Climate Talks Limp Forward

Trouble in the algae lab for Craig Venter and Exxon

Click here to access article by Steve LeVine from Foreign Policy. 

Just to keep you up to date on the energy front, I thought you should know about this latest development. All is not so bright and promising with Exxon-Mobil's widely touted research on bio-fuel created from algae as shown in this commercial:

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Venter could invent a new algae cell? Just imagine all the money that could be made by capitalists from that intellectual property right! (sarcasm) They would have a monopoly on this fuel and they could, and would, charge the limit for it.