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, April 28, 2012

Samir Amin: The US imperial project is to destroy the Arab nations

Sourced from Newsclick website based in India. (I recommend that you skip the rather long-winded introduction by starting at 2:25m into the video, thus reducing its length from 15:01m to 12:36m.)
Professor Samir Amin in conversation with Aijaz Ahmad on the realignment of the reactionary forces -- the US and NATO, the Monarchies in the region, and Israel. In his view, the Islamists -- either in Turkey or the Muslim Brotherhood -- are part and parcel of this reactionary block.
Amin gives provides an excellent overview of various imperial interests that are driving the war crimes and the destruction of countries in the Middle East.


Revolution In The Air [18:04 video]

Click here to access the video of John Pilger's speech from Pacific Free Press. This distinguished independent journalist was invited by an Australian Marxist conference to speak on the theme of "Revolution in the Air". Mostly what he talks about is the clever ways the ruling One Percents have used extreme individualism, "divide and rule" and co-optation (especially of feminism) to divert our attention away from their crimes against the world's 99 Percents and the Earth.

1,000 Reasons to Strike on May 1: A day without the 99%

Click here to access article by Mickey Z. from World News Trust.
This isn’t about skin color, gender, sexual preference, or what parcel of geography you happen to have been born on. I'm not talking about party affiliations, incremental reform, or what sky-god you've chosen to worship (or not). It's all about recognizing a crisis and taking the appropriate measures... now.

And it all starts with us. How lucky are we? We've been trusted with the most vital mission in the history of human struggle: survival.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Confronting the Big Empty

Click here to access article by Phil Rockstroh from ConsortiumNews. 

This is like opening a jewelry box of the mind and being enthralled by all the gems of insight and by the brilliant imagery that sheds light on our individual and collective plights. Look at each paragraph as one of these gems to see which ones dazzle you the most, that help to awaken you from the stupor induced by the cultural drugs of the One Percent.

Oblivion: manifesto for the OVNI festival in Barcelona

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections of a Revolution. 

The article describes two films--The Mahabharata and La Commune, scheduled to be shown at this event in Barcelona in May--that serve to raise consciousness about the current state of affairs facing people all over the world. Cultural work that raises people's awareness of their power as well as their dire situations is critically important revolutionary work.
The Mahabharata...deals with conflict but rather than taking a historical approach it positions itself outside of history, outside of linear time. It plays out in mythical time, the time of constant return and of the dialectic tension between the oblivion and remembrance of true human nature.
La Commune offers a vision of contemporary conflict that transcends political oblivion. A cinematic reflection that looks back to a historical milestone – the emergence and disappearance of the 1871 Paris Commune and, at the same time, questions our own social reality and its representation in the media....

Why anti-authoritarians are diagnosed as mentally ill

Click here to access article by Bruce Levine from Infoshop News.

The author explains how mental health professionals are educated and indoctrinated to view anti-authoritarianism as mental illness. All education in capitalist societies is loaded with indoctrination in values and beliefs that serve the One Percent. Few "educated" people are aware of their own indoctrination. 
Gaining acceptance into graduate school or medical school and achieving a PhD or MD and becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist means jumping through many hoops, all of which require much behavioral and attentional compliance to authorities, even to those authorities that one lacks respect for. The selection and socialization of mental health professionals tends to breed out many anti-authoritarians. Having steered the higher-education terrain for a decade of my life, I know that degrees and credentials are primarily badges of compliance. Those with extended schooling have lived for many years in a world where one routinely conforms to the demands of authorities. Thus for many MDs and PhDs, people different from them who reject this attentional and behavioral compliance appear to be from another world -- a diagnosable one. 
(This subject has been explored in greater detail by Jeff Schmidt in his book, Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-battering System That Shapes Their Lives.)

Can renewable energy sustain consumer societies?

Click here to access article by Samuel Alexander from Energy Bulletin. 
...any transition to a just and sustainable world requires a vastly reduced demand for energy compared to what is common in the developed regions of the world today, and this necessitates giving up growth-based, consumer societies and the energy-intensive lifestyles they support and promote.

The implications of this can hardly be exaggerated. It means that the global consumer class must learn how to live ‘simpler lives’ of reduced resource and energy consumption, as well as build new economic systems based on notions of sufficiency rather than excess.
It's difficult to know if the author is playing it safe by his use of circumlocutions as illustrated in the above paragraphs or if he is really as naive as his statements suggest. What he is only hinting at is the basic incompatibility of capitalism with ecological sustainability, and the necessity of revolution by whatever means necessary if human life is to continue.

Second Coming Shocker! Karl Marx Returns to Earth Instead of Jesus!

Click here to access article by Susie Day from MR Zine. 

Humor is always a precious resource to sustain our challenging lives. I didn't know that Marxists have such a great sense of humor.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A History of the World, BRIC by BRIC

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from The Huffington Post.

There are few people who can cut through the haze of official rhetoric and mainstream media propaganda like this author can. He is a master at describing the real power plays on this chessboard of big power politics, also known as the 21st century's Great Game. I truly respect his knowledge of the game. 

Unfortunately, salvation for the human race does not lie in the outcomes of these games. In fact, I think they will lead to the demise of the human race. A positive outcome lies elsewhere--with ordinary people. Are the 99 Percent going to passively wait and see how these games are played out? Or are they going to take control away from the One Percenters who are playing these dangerous games? Stay tuned,,,or better yet, stay active.

Wall Street has always been War Street

Click here to access article by Mickey Z from World News Trust. 
There's plenty that feels new and fresh about Occupy Wall Street (OWS): the younger participants, the scope of the coalition, the endurance, the creativity, and the outrage. What's not new is the target of that outrage: Wall Street, Corporate America, and the politicians they fund have been at this deadly game for more than a century.
Mic Check: The pursuit of profit long ago transcended national borders and well... anything resembling justice, community, solidarity, or morality.
The headline is especially true if Wall Street is a synonym for capitalism, or its brutal sibling, fascism.

Did you know that the infamous CIA is a direct creation of Wall Street people? Read The Old Boys by Burton Hersh and The Mighty Wurlitzer by Hugh Wilford for the details.

A Nation of Morons

Click here to access article by Stephen Lendman from his blog.

The author reports on the appalling ignorance of ordinary Americans. He makes numerous statements that suggest that this is intentional, but fails to really delve into that dangerous topic, that is, dangerous for a liberal critic of capitalism. The following is as far as he is willing to go in that direction:
Today, it's a national disaster by design. So-called education reform's a fraud. It masks privatization schemes, a society of growing haves and have nots, and no desire to educate masses for low pay, low skill jobs if they can find one.
It appears to me that most of his article focuses on blaming the victims--ordinary Americans.

All class structured societies function through some combination of violence and disinformation. The solution lies in efforts devoted to transforming such societies by establishing our own media, our own educational systems, and creating models that insure full participatory involvement of all citizens in social-economic arrangements. Given that capitalism is fast approaching ecological crises of profound consequences for human and other life forms, it is now urgent that such efforts being undertaken immediately. Now, more than ever, Francis Moore Lappé's statement must be heeded:
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, Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Behind the Mexican Drug War

Click here to access 50:00m audio interview at KPFA (Berkeley, CA) with author John Gibler. 

I think that there are few other subjects so mystified and obscured by mainstream media than the so-called drug wars that have been waged by US, Mexican, and other government administrations in the past 40 years. Of course, this has happened before involving other ruling classes. Probably the most notorious and widely obscured was the British opium imposed trade with China in the 19th century. 

The present drug-related incidents of violence in Mexico have grown in scale so large that we simply must understand the realities behind the violence and the fictitious reports coming from mainstream media. Although drug trafficking and the so-called drug wars are intimately a part of capitalist exploitation and social control, it is a complicated story. I assure you, that this interview can only serve as an outline that must be followed up by reading books on the subject such as the one this author has written.
It's incredibly bloody -- and incredibly misunderstood. What has come to be known as the Mexican drug war, but would be better viewed as the US-Mexico drug trade, has claimed nearly 50,000 lives since 2006, including those of many journalists. Mexico-based writer John Gibler talks about the politics and economics of an industry that involves enormous sums of money, territorial violence, mega-profits, and the collusion of governments and banks.

Cybersecurity Myths: Beware the Hype

Click here to access article by Zachary Katznelson & Jay Stanley from American Civil Liberties Union.

The political operatives of the One Percent are at it again: spreading fear in order to enact more control and surveillance over the internet to limit your freedom of expression.
Alarming cybersecurity stories continue to appear in the media. Even an attentive reader of the news over the past half-decade could be forgiven for believing that hackers have infiltrated the U.S. electricity grid, caused blackouts, and vandalized a local U.S. utility. When examined closely, however, none of those incidents holds up as an example of the dangers of cybersecurity vulnerabilities....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

US college grads confront the dead end of the profit system

Click here to access article by Andre Damon from World Socialist Web Site.
At the center of the crisis facing young people is not simply the policies of one administration, however, but a social and economic system dedicated to the profit interests of the corporate and financial elite. Both of the official parties, the Democrats and Republicans, represent a ruling class that is seeking to resolve the crisis of capitalism by destroying the living standards of working people.
This is an international phenomenon.

Anti-War Means Anti-War: Voices of Occupy

Click here to access article by Mickey Z from World News Trust. 

The author argues that the present focus on social justice by the Occupy movement must be expanded to opposition to the whole military-industrial complex and their never-ending wars.
Despite the insidious and pervasive pro-military propaganda, the U.S. war machine is not only destroying entire cultures abroad, killing our ecosystem, and pillaging our economy, it also runs on the blood of what it views as "expendable" humans.

#London2012: an Olympian exercise in corporate greenwashing

Click here to access article by Phil England from Ceasefire. 

Global corporations that trash our environment and our health will, once again, use the Olympics to enhance their image. Global corporations are co-opting and soiling some of the best contributions that youth have to offer the world--health, fitness, and physical prowess.
Amidst its lofty rhetoric about excellence and sustainability the London Olympics have chosen some of the world's most unethical companies as corporate sponsors. Phil England presents powerful first-hand testimonies from victims and campaigners dismayed and angry at this betrayal.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why Austerity Makes Sense For Capitalism

Borrowed from this posting by Charlie Post from Solidarity. 
For the Solidarity Midwest Regional Crisis School, Charlie Post delivered a talk explaining the political economy of the crisis, or why austerity is rational from the point of view of capital. In contrast to Keynesian explanations of the crisis (a la Paul Krugman), Charlie suggests that you can't simply stimulate demand to get out of the crisis because the source of the problem is a falling rate of profit rather than low demand.

I found this lecture to be challenging and very thought-provoking. It seems to me that it might explain a lot of the history of capitalist crises in the 20th century and beyond and how ruling class have dealt with these crises. 

For example, in the 1930s New Deal programs were instituted by the US ruling class because they felt very threatened both by domestic radical activity and the rapid economic gains that were being made at that time in the Soviet Union which had no unemployment. Thus, instead of austerity in response to the 1929 crash, they pursued the New Deal to provide political stability for the capitalist economies. The solution to the crisis was solved by the destruction of capital in WWII, a war that was permitted and encouraged by Western ruling classes.

Thus, Post's conclusion for this current crisis: working people must organize a massive disruption of economies so that the political operatives of the One Percent feel sufficiently threatened into abandoning austerity policies. But, is he suggesting that we should disrupt the capitalist economies in order to force the ruling classes to use Keynesian policies to solve the present crisis of capitalism? (From scanning his other writings, I don't think so.) Their steadfast actions to pursue austerity policies in the face of widespread militant protests suggests that they feel there is no alternative. I think it is likely that the political operatives of the One Percent do not see Keynesian policies as a realistic option because of increasing costs of energy due to depletion of easily accessible fossil fuels.  

Therefore, a revolution in our social-economic arrangements is the only answer not only for the salvation of the lives of working people, but for the salvation of the ecological system that can sustain human life.

Media Scoundrels Promote War on Syria

Click here to access article by Stephen Lendman from his blog.

The author deconstructs the lies spread by the US propaganda machine (also known as US mainstream media) about the civil war in Syria as well as other war crimes perpetrated by the political operatives of the One Percent. 

We will not be hijacked: Voices of Occupy

Click here to access article by Mickey Z from World News Trust. 

The author reviews the current efforts being made to co-opt the Occupy movement by liberals and the Democratic party.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The consequences of failure

Click here to access article by David Spratt from Climate Code Red (Australia). 
If you avoid including an honest assessment of climate science and impacts in your narrative, its pretty difficult to give people a grasp about where the climate system is heading and what needs to be done to create the conditions for living in climate safety, rather than increasing and eventually catastrophic harm. But that’s how the big climate advocacy organisations have generally chosen to operate, and it represents a strategic failure to communicate. 
There main problem is the failure of most environmentalists to identify the real problem: climate scientists and their media organs are not addressing the basic source of the problem--the capitalist system with its growth imperative. The problem is this system, but they refuse to name it simply because the political operatives of the One Percent have been very successful through their ubiquitous organs of indoctrination to instill the belief in nearly everyone that "there is no alternative", and through their direct control of most organizations which inhibits most aware people from mentioning any link of climate emergency to the capitalist system. Those who fail to conform to the "party line" often sacrifice their careers.

What should we call our socio-economic system?

Click here to access article by Jim O’Reilly from his blog, Comments on Global Political Economy. 

Because this blogger has had a lifelong career in banking and finance, you might be shocked to read his views about some key features of our society.

New Occupy Crackdown Documents Just Obtained by the PCJF

Click here to access article from Partnership for Civil Justice Fund [PCJF]

Documents are slowly being received from the government that confirms what many activists suspected--there was a coordinated effort to influence local police departments all over the US in the management and oppression of Occupying activists.
"What these documents are beginning to reveal is also the coordination between law enforcement agencies and private corporate entities representing the 1% that wanted to see the Occupy movement removed from public view and shut out of America's parks."

Stemming The Tides Of Protest

Click here to access article by William T. Hathaway from CounterCurrents.
The friendly mask that capitalism wore in the USA and Europe has been stripped away, revealing the predatory beast beneath. We are beginning (just beginning) to get the same treatment as workers in the client states. This process is not generated by the greed of a few individuals, nor can it be reversed by social democratic reforms and regulations. This process is inexorable because it's the essence of capitalism. It's the nature of the beast to devour.
The author reviews how liberal political operatives of the One Percent have in the recent past duped people into believing that things were going to get better if you just vote for Tweedledee instead of Tweedledum, and warns them of current efforts to dupe them once again. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Student Movement: Radical Priorities

Click here to access article by Matthew Brett from Canadian Dimension. 

It is quite amazing to see how grassroots resistance and actions against neo-liberal policies are springing up in one place after another across the globe. This report is based on recent actions in Quebec which has seen nearly 200,000 people on the streets protesting. Most of this energy is being generated by students and faculties, but is reaching many other segments of society as austerity measures are being implemented.

The author tries to assess both the potential for radical social change and the oppressive reactions coming from the enforcers of the ruling One Percent.
There are some encouraging signs that social movements will continue to expand in the coming months and years. But the challenges are overwhelming.... The Occupy movement has effectively changed the contours of debate, and it has done so across a fairly broad stratum of society. It was unthinkable to hear mainstream commentators talking about capitalism, poverty and radical alternatives prior to the economic crisis and the Occupy movement.  ...Efforts will be made to oppress, distort and co-opt this more radical discourse as the Occupy movement prepares to re-expropriate public spaces from the status quo. There is a need for supporters and participants of Occupy to dedicate time, energy and resources to insuring that the movement remains vibrant.

Another priority is the need to overcome fear and oppression in all its forms. State elites and media outlets are fostering rhetoric that is readily comparable with the McCarthyism of the Cold War era....

Oppression is not merely taking the form of rhetoric. The Occupy and student movements were treated naively when they began, but youth are now pepper sprayed and beaten on a near-daily basis in Montreal and elsewhere. Police have begun to deploy riot squads immediately to dismantle actions, whereas some effort was made at conciliation in the past. “Our job, as police officers, is repression,” said the President of the Police Fraternity of Quebec, Yves Francoeur. “We do not need a social worker as a director, we need a general. After all, the police is a paramilitary organization, let’s not forget it.”
See also this and this.

The Myth That the US Will Soon Become an Oil Exporter

Click here to access article by Gail Tverberg from The Oil Drum. 

The author keeps trying to correct misleading claims regarding oil production by mainstream media and political figures. It's all about the complex nature of imports, refining, heavier and more expensive oil, and biofuels. She sorts it all out for us to provide a much more accurate picture. 

Disregarding all the environmental costs (and, we can't really!), the implications for economic growth, on which the capitalist system depends, is not very favorable. The cheap, easily accessible oil is rapidly disappearing.

Brutal occupiers quite nice once you get to know them

Click here to access article by Carlo Sands from Green Left (Australia).

There is a streak of sarcastic irony running through this article which throws the spotlight of hard truth on the Empire's occupation of Afghanistan.
As the occupation staggers from one disaster to another, pressure is growing in the countries taking part in the occupation to pull their soldiers out. But the media commentators are quick to pose the most important question: Is the job done?

...In other words, will the Afghan security forces — who keep refusing to kill other Afghans and instead turn their guns on the occupiers — prove willing and able, once the occupiers are gone, to kill enough other Afghans to allow the corrupt warlords the West put in power to stay in power?

In Poll, Many Link Weather Extremes to Climate Change

Click here to access article by Justin Gillis from The New York Times. (If you are not registered with this website, you can access the article here.)
Past survey work had suggested...that people tended to see the climate change problem as “distant in time and space — that this is an issue about polar bears or maybe Bangladesh, but not my community, not the United States, not my friends and family.”
If one only followed mainstream media, this would be a surprise because this trend, connecting extreme weather with global warming, is almost never reported. It's clear that recent extreme weather events in the US are having an impact.
“During that crazy heat wave in March, everyone in Chicago was out enjoying the weather, but in the back of their mind they were thinking, this is not right.”
Happy Earth Day! 

Speaking of Earth Day, judging by the lack of coverage of this day in US mainstream media today and in recent years, it's obvious that the political operatives of the One Percent have decided to downsize the event. Although Earth Day began here in the US in 1970, it apparently is not seen by US capitalists as a very good fit with the growth imperatives of capitalism. On the other hand, where I am situated near the Canadian border, I have seen and heard considerable evidence that the commemoration of this day is very much alive in Canada. For example, see this.