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, December 22, 2012

Syriza rep. on historic responsibility of the left in Greece

Click here to access article from Green Left in which the authors Jody Betzien & Sibylle Kaczorek from the Australian Socialist Alliance organization interview Yiannis Bournous, a leading activist from the Syriza party in Greece. 
Syriza came close to winning elections in June on the basis of rejecting the brutal austerity being enforced on the people of Greece. Instead, a coalition of three parties (Greece's tradition conservative party, New Democracy, its tradition social democratic party, PASOK, and and a right-wing split from Syriza, Democratic Left) was formed, committed to greater austerity measures.
First, let me say that I think this article is very important for all activists to read. Initially, I found parts of this difficult to read because of the awkward use of English, and in the earlier parts my attention faded probably because of an overdose of austerity details that I have read about for several years. However, as I entered about half-way into the article my interest started to pick up as I became increasingly impressed with the strategies of the Syriza party as explained by Bournous. As I understand them, they are formulated to deal with three major problems confronting Greek society: 1) limitations posed by national solutions; 2) confronting neo-liberal austerity policies within Greece; 3) dealing with the rise of the fascist party known as Golden Dawn. 

I gradually became aware that these problems and Syriza's strategies for dealing with them had nearly universal relevance, and certainly for the US in the future. I say in the future because the effects of neo-liberal policies have not fully developed here, but are in process; and that it will take much more debilitating effects on our society before a sufficient number of people begin to seriously question information sourced from ideological agencies that have interpreted the world for them 24/7 and from the cradle to the grave. I have little doubt that Greek-like conditions lie ahead for us.  

Hence, the importance of the Greek experience and the excellent strategies of the Syriza party in confronting their crisis which are explained mostly in the last half of this article. As I see it, they consist of two basic organizational principles: think globally or, at least, European and act locally; and construct new, collaborative, politicized social networks from the ground up.

New press freedom group is launched to block US government attacks

Click here to access article by Glenn Greenwald from The Guardian.

The author lists two basic reasons why he and others have established the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
  • The primary impetus for the formation of this group was to block the US government from ever again being able to attack and suffocate an independent journalistic enterprise the way it did with WikiLeaks.
  • The second purpose is to ensure that truly independent journalistic outlets - devoted to holding the US government and other powerful factions accountable with transparency and real adversarial journalism - are supported to the fullest extent possible.

Friday, December 21, 2012

For whom the Syrian bell tolls

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times Online.

I nominate this Brazilian journalist as journalist of the year, if not decade. He reduces major war criminals and chaos creators to the crazed, barbaric fools that they are. Once again in Syria we see the triumph of the Empire operatives in creating chaos by using any means necessary, even the most barbaric, to destroy another society. Who knows where their criminal actions will end, how many lives will be lost, how many families ruined? 

It is a hugely dangerous strategy that the Empire's One Percents are pursuing by destroying not only societies abroad, but also in their own nations. They are truly drunk on capitalist-corporate based power which they firmly believe is superior to that of all societies, and they are determined to destroy any society that stands in their way, and force the rest to work for them for slave wages.

Tell the System: You're Not Getting the Guns. Period.

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from Land Destroyer Report.

The author presents a solid case for another view of the gun control issue that is sweeping the media and public during this time of tragedy and mourning. However, this view is entirely missing in mainstream media in which they present only two views: 1) the NRA's view which is mostly that of the rich who want guns to protect themselves from the "rabble" who want to take away their wealth, and 2) many who simplify the issue as that of guns killing people and want guns severely restricted, if not taken away from citizens altogether.
Walking away from the "left/right" paradigm is...important - "right" leaning individuals need to realize that big-business corporate fascism demands public disarmament to give it the space to grow domestically as its right-wing backed military machine mass murders overseas.  The left must realize that the very big-business interests they point their fingers at are the architects behind most, if not all of their talking points - not only on gun control, but on everything from "climate change" to "human rights" overseas as a new casus belli for perpetual global war. 

The Work of Sartre: Search for Freedom and the Challenge of History

Click here to access article by Dominic Alexander from Counterfire (UK).

This is a review of a recently published book entitled The Work of Sartre: Search for Freedom and the Challenge of History by István Mészáros. Although the review and the book are written for those who are more conversant with the language of philosophy, I think that those who, like myself, are reasonably educated can understand what he is driving at. 

Sartre, like most others, started with the pervasive indoctrination of this age--capitalist assumptions about human nature that are totally focused on the individual pursuing his/her own interests. In spite of his humanist orientation, he was never able to transcend this capitalist ideological axiom which has been best expressed by the infamous quote from Margaret Thatcher who declared that "there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families."
As always, it is where thinking starts from that is crucial; if you accept the premise, almost everything else a good philosopher has to say will necessarily follow. Sartre’s philosophical premise shows the same flaw as the generality of western thinking in the modern era; he starts from the point of view of the individual. In the consistency of this one intellectual move, the link between the intellectual sphere and the prevailing social order is revealed.
Sartre failed to overcome this assumption to fully grasp that humans are profoundly social creatures. His philosophy was defeated from the beginning by a view of humans torn out of the essential fabric of social connectedness. This is the ideology that has been foisted on us by a new class of people called capitalists who took control of societies over the past 300 years. To the extent that we continue to accept this ideology, we will inevitably be left at the mercy of individuals who gain power through cunning and violence.  

It will only be in the bosom of self-organized, autonomous, and inter-related groups that will enable us to overcome the scourge of barbarism and allow for the full flowering of our human potential. It is also our only hope for survival on a planet that we are currently in the process of destroying with our individualist ways of thinking.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Controlled chaos theory - practical application

Click here to access article by Nikita Sorokin from The Voice of Russia. (Note: the article is a transcript of the audio recording.)

This is, in my opinion, a too brief exposition of what she refers to as "chaos theory" otherwise identified by others as the Salvador Option and the "Somalia model" or "Somalisation". It is an Empire strategy all too evident in the Middle East where one country after another, countries outside of control of the Empire, have been, and currently are, deliberately targeted for terrorist and divide and conquer tactics with the objective of sowing chaos in those countries and thereby destabilizing them.

See also this for more explanations and illustrations of this strategy.

“Collective Economy. Europe’s last Revolution” --a documentary

Click here to access article from verkami.

This is about a film currently under production in Spain, and the producers need financial help to complete it. Because so much of our heritage and history has been destroyed by capitalist ruling classes, any efforts at recovery must be supported. Also, the history revealed in this film may make a direct contribution to dealing with today's crises. Here is the trailer:

The Great Oil Swindle: why the new black gold rush leads off a fiscal cliff

Click here to access article by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed from Ceasefire (UK). 
A recent spate of official reports from energy agencies are predicting a rosy future of economic growth underpinned by cheap oil abundance. However, as Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed shows, scientific evidence largely ignored by mainstream media confirms that while we have enough oil and gas to burn our way to climate catastrophe, the age of cheap oil abundance is a myth. 

Climate change already playing out in West, report says

Click here to access article by Amy Joi O'Donoghue from Deseret News.
The report, Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecoystems and Ecosystem Services, was peer-reviewed by the U.S. Geological Survey and drew on the expertise of 60 contributors from government agencies, universities and private, non-profit organizations such as The Nature Conservancy.

I live in Washington state where one sees such images all over this area, and it's worse north of here in British Columbia. This effect is caused by bark beetles that are allowed to proliferate due to warmer winter temperatures.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Curious Case of Economic Bondage

Click here to access article by Mat Little from New Compass (based in Scandinavia).

The author points to a self-defeating quandary which hampers any progress out of the economic bondage that is affecting workers the worst in the West as capitalists go global in their operations and their allegiance. But, what is the quandary really? Is it a flaw of human nature to look only after one's immediate interests? Is it the ideological blinders that capitalist organs of indoctrination have placed on all of us to believe that there is no alternative? Another aspect of this quandary is that the more capitalism develops, the more dysfunctional it becomes for societies.

Capitalism is a system that promotes the individual control of wealth, and as the system evolves more and more wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Along with wealth comes power, and the increasing concentration of power now creates individuals and families that control entire economies of societies that consist of wage slaves and disposable people. It seems that the more desperate the latter become, the more they are willing to do anything to please their masters.

This reminds me of Phil Knight of Nike Inc. (I attended the U. of Oregon about the same time as Knight.) He has so much power over the people of the state of Oregon that their legislature recently surrendered to his demands for a tax break or else he would move his company elsewhere. According to Wikipedia he has a net worth of about $15 billion. 

He would much rather spend this tax money on his favorite projects, a major one of which is building an athletic powerhouse at the University of Oregon. I have read and heard numerous reports of the palatial athletic facilities he has been building there, and more are planned. 

As a result of the cancer-like growth of individual wealth, entire societies are in the process of deterioration and disintegration, where families and communities are faced with poverty, pointless and mind-numbing violence, and alienation; and states controlled by these individuals are relying more and more on methods of surveillance and coercion to maintain their control.

'Government Allowed 9/11 | Interview with Sibel Edmonds'

RT interviews Sibel Edmonds in this 13:51m video. (Updated post at 1:30 pm PST.)

I can't recommend Edmonds' book entitled Classified Woman enough. It is a story of her Kafkaesque experience working for the FBI and trying courageously in spite of them to protect her country. One caveat--once you start reading it, you may not be able to put the book down until you've finished it. 

1:30 PM: I little while ago I stumbled on the following 51:23m interview with Sibel Edmonds. The interviewers to a considerable extent allowed her to free associate on a lot of related topics, however it worked. Few people are as articulate and brilliant as she is, and this is revealed in the number of very insightful observations she explains so clearly in the interview. The topics she covers include the corrupting influence of funders, NGOs, phony or corrupted alternative media, consumer pressures, Hollywood, and academia; the futility of attacking lower levels of symptomatic issues; and the use of "conspiracy theorists" to marginalize critics. 

Let me be clear: she is not a political radical--at least, not yet. But, she is a very independent thinker and a very brave and decent person. In the past 11 years of her ordeal with the FBI she has learned what has taken much of my adult life of 55 years to learn.

Thanks go to the folks at Smells Like Human Spirit for arranging and posting this interview: 

The U.S. Kill List: Panama, Iraq… Everywhere

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

The author elaborates on the following themes:
  • The United States government has a long, sordid, and brutal history -- and it’s our job to see past the media and educational conditioning.
  • Both major U.S. political parties have been equal partners in this catalogue of crime -- so it’s been left to us to create the urgent change needed.
  • International law does not protect the guilty U.S. soldiers and cops -- but international law does demand our intervention. 
  • Despite all this, the vast majority of Americans remain willfully uninformed and silent.  

Coal May Pass Oil As World's No. 1 Energy Source By 2017, Study Says

Click here to access article by Bill Chappell from npr.

NPR, a major radio network in the US, is one of those "public-private partnerships", a benign term used to hide the real meaning of this arrangement: private control using public funds. Thus, the article ends by subtly implying that natural gas can save us from radical climate change and that China and India are the bad guys. "Natural gas can save us" is the same mantra-like theme permeating all other major media discussion of the climate change issue.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Insurgent Anarchism; An Idea Whose Time Has Come – Part 1 of 3

Click here to access article by Nozomi Hayase from Associated Whistleblowing Press.
In this series,  Nozomi Hayase develops deep and incredibly up-to-date reflections on an entirely contemporary political phenomenon. Social movements – both on-line and off-line – are synthesized, compared and analyzed in a very elaborated fashion. Occupy, cypherpunks, peer-to-peer and whistle-blowing are elements of this the first part of Hayase’s masterpiece on Anarchism.
By posting this Part 1, I am doing something I've never done before: posting an article I haven't read (yet ). However, I did read the lengthy Part 2 of this series of 3, and was quite impressed.

I can't say that I agree with every point that the author has made in Part 2, and she has made many. However, she makes the best case, I have seen, in celebration of the benefits of the new internet based media to change the world. For her, it seems to be the final flowering of the essence of anarchism. As such it is not a critical examination of the influence of this new technology on world events now or in the future--especially the latter. In any case, she provides an abundance of thought-provoking arguments and evidence to build her case.

Here are two samples from Part 2:
  • Anonymity offers freedom from being formed by other’s outer perception which often oppresses one’s existence. Whether it is a defiant protester with a Guy Fawkes mask on the street or an alias activist online, anonymity frees one from restrictions that are associated with social identity and pressures to conform. It is an act of dissension, an insurrection in the best sense of the word. One can engage in actions that are usually suppressed or discouraged in the belief that they do not fit social norms and may disrupt the existing social structure.
  • What is emerging now is innovative citizen diplomacy, alternative currencies and peer-to-peer journalism. These horizontal structures and ideas are breaking down traditional vertical structures and shaking up dependent identities embedded within them. A torrent of civic imagination is swirling through the disintegrating corporate political structures. Beneath the turbulent system error of outer calamity, a current of shared creativity is silently rebooting civilization.   
Here are links to Part 2 and Part 3.

Revealed: how Wal-Mart bribed its way into Mexico

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution
Wal-Mart’s activities in Mexico should therefore not be read as a single episode of “corruption” subverting the pure operational logic of the free market and the proper functioning of representative democracy. Rather, this type of behavior is the logical ougrowth of the operational logic of the free market and the proper functioning of representative democracy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Nike Blackmails Oregon: Just Do It, Or Else…

Click here to access article by Ben Schreiner from Dissident Voice. (Please excuse my descent into cynicism. I occasionally lapse into such moods.)

This is only the latest example of corporation power trumping the power of governments. It is a crude, blatant, no-bullshit example of how our masters in the One Percent now rule over our their country, and much of the world. This surrender by the state of Oregon to Nike over tax policies is happening all across our country, and the result is that state and local governments are forced to cut back on all public services. Public political institutions are becoming little more that an empty shell behind which rule our masters in the financial and industrial corporations. Meanwhile, their agents in all institutions of indoctrination--media, education, Hollywood, etc--keep trying to maintain the delusions of "democracy". 

Why keep up this pretense? Why not just dispense with all the expensive election campaigns and have our government representatives directly appointed by the Chamber of Commerce, Goldman Sachs, and other major corporations. (Anyway, I hate all those inane campaign ads on TV!) That would be refreshingly honest. The American sheeple will bleat for a while, but they will get over it.

We Call This Progress

Click here to access article by Arundhati Roy from Guernica

Apparently, things are basically the same in India as the US (see the above article.)

This fighter for social justice explains many things that are happening in India and across the world under the policies of our neoliberal masters.
As a writer, if you know something and then you keep quiet, it’s like dying.

The Great Social Security Robbery

Click here to access article by James Petras from his blog.

This retired sociology professor and political analyst demonstrates that he thoroughly understands the Social Security and Medicare programs that our masters in the One Percent are attacking. You see, they have been robbing this fund for years; but now when the surplus in our funds is decreasing, they want to reduce the payments that go to us so that they can obtain more support their never-ending wars for world domination. His essay provides an excellent antidote to the powerful, obsessive media campaign of lies and distortion. This attack represents another battleground in the current, raging class war. Unfortunately, its seems to be waged by mostly one side.

What Quantitative Easing Really Means

Click here to access article by Ismael Hossein-zadeh from Huffington Post.

The author essentially describes what the current class war looks like by translating obscure financial jargon into ordinary terms to show how these operations complement others of our financial/corporate aristocracy to further oppress and exploit all working people.

Morsi's Sins beyond the Constitution

Click here to access article by Dina Amer from Jadaliyya

What recommends this piece is that the author provides the views of ordinary Egyptians from various stations in life. This is an inexpensive way of discovering what ordinary Egyptians are currently thinking instead of having to travel to Egypt and interview them yourself. Here is one example:
Aisha Ibrahim, a sixty-three year-old woman manning a kiosk in Cairo’s poor neighborhood of Sayeda Zeinab, has been struggling to keep her family afloat with finances dwindling since the revolution began. “It is a good day now when we make over fifty pounds.”
She has not participated in any of the constitution dominated demonstrations of the past week, but said: “Since we elected Morsi, we have not seen one positive decision that benefits the poor forgotten people of this country. I thought one of the demands of this revolution was social equality. He has not taken one step to realize that." Ibrahim has not read the constitution but said it is enough that so many people are opposed to it for President Morsi to take pause and address their contestations.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Exploring the ‘darker mechanisms of reality’: prologue to new 9/11 book hits home

Click here to access article by Craig McKee from Truth and Shadows (Canada).

The author sees many parallels with the experience of 9/11 critical thinkers and the concept behind The Matrix series. Referring to the concept, he writes:
It shows us a world that most accept as being real. People have jobs, have friends, have lives, and they don’t ask questions. But Thomas Anderson/Neo has a different future ahead of him. We follow him as he takes the red pill, and we all find out “just how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
As a person who has gotten involved with the 9/11 Truth movement, McKee writes:
I am very conscious of the transition process from a state of accepting the surface reality we’re presented with to one of wanting to understand – and expose – the hidden and insidious manipulations of our world for the benefit of a few. Although I’ve always felt unsatisfied with the reality presented to us (I began obsessing about the Kennedy assassination in my early teens), that feeling has been brought to a new level since I got involved in the 9/11 Truth movement. Frankly, some of my long-time friends think I’ve gone off the deep end, seeing conspiracies everywhere. I, on the other hand, am increasingly frustrated at their resistance and denial of what I am now just starting to see.
He found that this phenomenon was articulated exceptionally well in a prologue by Peter Levenda to a new book entitled The Most Dangerous Book in the World: 9/11 as Mass Ritual by S.K. Bain from which he quotes extensively.

American Students Are Educated To Be Only Consumers: Prof. Henry A. Giroux

Click here to access article by Kourosh Ziabari from CounterCurrents.

Ziabari, who is "an award-winning Iranian journalist and media correspondent" interviews US educator and culture critic, Henry Giroux, on a variety of topics. This very articulate professor provides several insights on current US cultural and political subjects. Here is one where he describes the global nature of capitalism in which local governance has little chance to serve the public interest:
...the U.S. has no way to challenge, within the usual rules, the power of multinational corporations that now write the rules for domestic and foreign policy. Moreover, this power is global and has no allegiance to the nation state except to use it to further its own financial interests. Hence, the full-fledged attack on the welfare state, women, minorities of class and color, public servants, and the institutions that do not buy completely into market driven values. As the power of the state crumbles, the state is reconfigured largely as a punishing state used increasingly to criminalize the behavior of those caught in dire social problems such as homelessness, debt servitude, unemployment, poverty, and various disabilities.