Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Frustrations Building

"The more than 7000 Fourth World nations are the ancient seed of the world’s immigrant populations and the original peoples that populated the world before the formation of modern states over the last 450 years. Fourth World nations are the native populations on top of which were formed many new states since 1948—nations that did not agree to the formation of the state and were not integrated into the political power structure of the state.

Fourth World nations include the Pashtun and Balukis in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Palestinians in the Middle East, Chechens in the Caucasus, as well as the Catalans of Spain, the Ogoni of Nigeria and the Ainu of Japan. The Pashtun along with the Hasara, Balukis, Tadjiks, Uzbeks and Uygurs in Central Asia are now at the center of a mean battle that concerns the whole world. What the people in these Fourth World nations think, decide and do on their own behalf will decide much of the world’s international policies for generations to come.

The terrified United States of America that suffered the debilitating attacks of September 11 has in the last twenty years almost singlehandedly worked in the international arena to deny self-determination to Fourth World nations. A new foreign policy in the United States must now reconsider that approach....

States’ governments in many parts of the world threaten the peace and security of Fourth World nations through their economic, military, political, environmental, and social policies causing cultural disorientation, dislocation, disease, and death. Representatives of states’ governments have been too concerned only with the relations between states and with corporations and with the business of generating wealth that they fail to notice the burning and desperate frustrations building in the FourthWorld—the very frustrations that bin Laden hopes to capture and ignite for his own foul goals....

In 1992, immediately after the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Center for World Indigenous Studies was invited by then president of the Supreme Soviet, Ruslan Kasbulatov, to consult with the withered Russian government on appropriate approaches to dealing with the 150 non-Russian peoples remaining with the Russians in what was left of the USSR. We suggested that Russia, Germany, Japan and the United States of America join ten Fourth World nations including the San Blas Kuna of Central America, Tibet, Sami of Scandinavia, Massai of southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania, Lummi of the United States of America, the Crimean Tartar and others in a planning body to organize an international Congress of Nations and States in Moscow.

The Russian government and the government of Germany were open to working with the ten indigenous nations to plan, organize and convene this unprecedented Congress of States and Nations at a venue in Moscow. ...The United States, under the leadership of President George Bush, held back and finally opposed this hopeful effort at establishing dialogue between Fourth World nations and the world’s states’ governments on a peaceful approach to long and festering conflicts....

The US government subsequently took a harsh stance in opposition to applying the internationally recognized principle of self-determination to indigenous nations at the UN meeting on Human Rights in Austria two years later. The US government vigorously opposed inserting language on the right of self-determination in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Objections during the Clinton Administration effectively halted UN consideration of a carefully developed international declaration by objecting to the self-determination language in the Commission on Human Rights....

If ever there was a time for states’ governments and their international organizations to open a rapprochement with the nations of the world that time is now."
--Rudolph Ryser, Chair, Center for World Indigenous Studies

[read the full article in the CWIS Spring 2006 Newsletter]


Time Has Come

"The social project of this nation can’t be maintained with the lie that evolution happens above and that it happens below. We’ve come to the point where the bill has already been paid. It means, then, that for one to survive the other has to die; the other in terms of its national project.

Thus, why are we going to say that this movement will end with national democracy when we see that what is leaping forward is a direct democracy? What is going to happen to electoral democracy, or the democracy of the political class – which is what it is today – when direct democracy or other kinds of democracy that are emerging arrive? Well, it will have to disappear. And it is not going to resign itself to disappearance. It will then be necessary to destroy it, not as people, but as a political class....

So, what should we do? Lie or tell a half-truth? Say that yes, the situation is very bad in this country, say that there is going to be a rebellion, and what is going to happen after that? No, well, I think that the rich, the government, are going to say yes, it is true, we are going to give them some concessions. Our experience as indigenous Zapatistas is the opposite: what we have achieved doesn’t have anything to do with what they have offered from above. Not the right to live, nor the right to live better. ...

So, what is the political class’ problem? There are two things: we are coming after the rich of this country, we are going to kick them out, and if they have committed crimes, well, we will put them in prison… because this is the time that has come. We say that coexisting with them is not possible, because their existence means our disappearance."
--Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos


Brutal Whirlpool of Capital

"This reconstruction or this reorganization of the national States, that are already inside the perspective of globalization, means, on the one hand, the most important threat to social movements, to popular movements, and in general to the movements of rebellion throughout the world. And on the other hand, this reordering of the States and their governments is going to mean that they have just assured the destruction of the planet. And I don’t refer to that in a symbolic way, but a real one....

This reordering, a dispute over the social project will be, and – as they say up above – what the project of the nation will be, is coming. And if there is no alternative to the proposal from above, a major moral defeat is coming, almost comparable with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Nothing is more worrisome, we say, because this trick being pulled off from above is going to be able to solve the thing in a way that, one way or another, turns each of us into an accomplice to that destruction....

For us, the fight against that offers the only possibility of survival as a nation. The new National State, or the new confederate of the multinational one that is being created, means the destruction of what we call homeland and everything that is part of it. Thus, the Sixth Declaration makes this analysis, takes that decision, and says: what remains to be seen is whether in our country and in the world there are others who are seeing what we are seeing and are thinking about the same thing. ...

If we let this crisis pass and let it be solved from above, the cost for all social movements, not only of the left, defined as of the left, but including the spontaneous ones, will be death. That’s how we see it....

In the case of the poorest and most marginalized sector of this country, which is the Indian peoples, it’s crystal clear: its about kicking them out of their home, because now their home has become a product. And I am referring to the forests, to the springs, the rivers, the coasts, that is, the beaches, and even the air.

Thus, we have also posited that this is happening in other sectors, like that of the workers’ movement, like that of the non-indigenous farmers’ movement, in social security, in health care, in everything, well, that the system begins to do to a society. What is happening is that in the central nucleus of capital, which is its exploitation of the workforce and all the tricks that are pulled in turn, a kind of brutal whirlpool begins to form against all the sectors to take everything away from everyone."
--Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos


Centre of the World

"The whole world should come and see how well the Huaorani live. We live with the spirit of the jaguar. We do not want to be civilised by your missionaries, or killed by your oil companies. Our land is priceless. Must the jaguar die for you to have still more pollution and television?

There are so many cars in your world. In ten years, it will resemble pure metal. Was it your god who achieved that? More people, more cars, more oil, more chaos. But here, the Huaorani are alone at the centre of the world.”
--Moi, Huaorani, Ecuador


Learning to Survive

International Forum of United Indigenous Peoples.

Dialogue and celebrate the Peoples of the Land.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Big Changes, Small Steps

Some of our readers and colleagues have astutely observed in recent correspondence that humanity's been through a lot over the last seven centuries, and that the lingering symptoms from the severe traumas brought on by such horrors as poverty, disease, diaspora, famine, genocide, religious fanaticism, and brutal warfare still reside in our individual and collective conscience.

As each of us summons the courage and energy to contribute in some small but significant way to restoring the psyche and soul of the global humanscape, through venues like the world indigenous movement, we expect the unforeseen achievements of this noble project will yield personal and communal rewards beyond our all too limited imaginations.

Big changes, small steps.


Point of Few

States and markets collaborate against inter-network freedom of expression. International human right to communicate versus power to control information now on the table, and, on the street.


Humanscape Restoration

Like other diaspora nations evicted from their homelands by modern states over the last few centuries, the former Caucasus peoples known as Circassians--removed and massacred by Czarist Russia--are seeking acknowledgment of their tragedy in international fora as a means of restoring both their memory and identity as an integral part of their cultural trauma recovery.

Monday, May 29, 2006


A Lesson for Us All

Ethiopia's largest ethnic minority, the Oromo
have issued a call to conference
to the other half dozen minorities excluded from power sharing by the current regime.

In their own words:

The ultimate aim of the Alliance is to establish a just, representative and a genuine democratic process through the convening of an all-inclusive conference where the country’s problems will be discussed and resolved.

We are confident that the formation of this Alliance will be a vehicle to eliminate mistrust and suspicion between political groups and communities so that all will work together in the spirit of mutual understanding and to the benefit and well-being of all. We believe the collective effort behind the Alliance will put an end to the existing destructive mentality of winner takes all and the habitual indifference towards the excluded.

The Alliance aspires to purposefully cultivate the values of compromise, tolerance, inclusion, reconciliation and mutual understanding. That is the only way to end the underlying causes of repression, bloodshed, insecurity, political instability and exclusion in Ethiopia and the region, which are inflicting severe hardships and suffering on all people, and seriously hampers the prospects for development and the attainment of equality, justice and prosperity. ...

What stands between the aspiration for freedom and democracy and its realization is the unwillingness of the incumbent EPRDF regime to submit to the expressed will of the people and its flagrant violations of human rights and civil liberties and failure to even respect and abide by its very own constitution.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Fuel to Fight

Annual income data for 1999:

Christian Coalition--$12 million
Concerned Women for America--$12 million
Family Research Council--$14 million
American Family Association--$15 million
Promise Keepers--$51 million
Coral Ridge Ministries--$66 million
Focus on the Family--$121 million
Christian Broadcasting Network--$196 million
Campus Crusade for Christ--$360 million



Friday, May 26, 2006


Art of War

“Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
--Sun Tzu, Art of War


Moral Crisis

William Vega, an American public health researcher at Rutgers, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 1998, observed that Mexican immigrants have roughly half the incidence of psychological dysfunction as Americans. After 13 years, though, these immigrants develop depression, anxiety and drug problems at the same level as the general population (32%).

Additional studies have extended these findings to other ethnic groups, leading to the conclusion, that "socialization into American culture and society increase susceptibility to psychiatric disorders."


Capitalist Activists

Perhaps activism’s most lethal vice is the capitalist-style thinking that one’s role in a movement is akin to a McDonald’s franchise. Those who fall to that weakness traditionally panic if they see any similar operation, which they view as a Burger King, setting up shop across the street. It typically culminates in each outfit pointing the finger and accusing the other of selling junk food.

Similar vices had been practiced notoriously by some non-governmental human rights and alternative media organizations in the orbit of the first twelve years of Zapatismo. In efforts to protect the turf or franchise that some activists or organizations seemed to think they owned, it was a regular occurrence that rank-and-file supporters of the movement would have to endure indignities and obstacles at the hands of the aspiring gate-keepers.

And on the left, where personal disputes and franchise-wars often fall prey to the disqualification of other individuals or organizations, where smear campaigns play into the hands of still more malevolent counter-insurgency tactics (because speaking ill or falsely in public about compañeros is, by definition, an act of counter-insurgency), the Zapatistas had a key challenge of both clearing away the bureaucratic brush and making room for everybody, large or small, to find and keep a place in the Other Campaign.


Doctrine of Discovery

There is no ambiguity in the language of the 15th-century papal bulls issued by the popes of the Roman Catholic Church as they encouraged the kings of Portugal and Spain to conquer ''undiscovered'' lands, enslave their non-Christian populations and expropriate their possession and resources. Now, more than 500 years later, the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has called on Pope Benedict XVI to revoke and renounce those documents.

The bulls, according to the forum, formed the ''doctrine of discovery'' - a philosophy that sanctified the massacre of millions of indigenous people and continues to influence U.S. Supreme Court decisions today. ...

These bulls provide the foundation for the theft of indigenous lands throughout the world that continues up to this day. These bulls subjugated innocent and unsuspecting Native peoples and subjected them to more than 500 years of slavery, genocide and a less than human identity. We continue to suffer from what could be called an international conspiracy of nations, now ... become nation-states, to continue to perpetuate this racist doctrine promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church. This doctrine is a crime against humanity.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Loss of Choices

"Everyone who's ever looked across the table at a manager using time and trivia as a weapon knows how every undocumented person feels in a universe of sadists using documentation as a weapon."


American Taliban

In his article Young Christian Soldiers, Orcinus editor David Neiwert exposes the growing attraction of the Christian nationalist movement's proto-totalitarian ideology, and the terrifying tactics used to frighten confused American youth into submitting to its increasingly fascist agenda.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


An Imperfect Society

Latest installment by Chip Berlet--Apocalypse and Social Welfare.


Make Partition History

Ard Fheis 2006. Gerry Adams' presidential address.


Seattle Die-In

In our unintended continuing saga on military nerve gas, we happened on this article about opposition to shipping these products through Puget Sound on their way from Okinawa to Umatilla back in 1970.


You Are Going to Have to Fight

Winona LaDuke speaks about protecting sacred land.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Who Are We?

In our recent post Life v Fiction, Juli Meanwhile and I discussed the morbid aspects of chemical warfare nerve agents housed (and leaking) along the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon, just a short drive from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where nuclear waste in the groundwater is now headed for the river.

In the course of our conversation, Juli rhetorically asked what kind of people would make such stuff. The answer, technically, is scientists, but I rather think she was referring to our heinous capacity as a country for gruesome murder. Still, a perhaps more apropos question--given the usage of chemical warfare by the US military against the residents of the Iraqi city of Fallujah last year--is who would authorize its manufacture and utilization?

The answer to that's really quite simple--Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. The same person who, as President Reagan's envoy, made available these weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein in the 1980s for use against Iran. Their later use against the Kurds aside, the mere existence of WMD nerve agents in our arsenal should horrify us--it does everyone else.


Drive-By War

"According to authoritative estimates obtained by Asia Times Online, about 27,000 fighters are gathered in North Waziristan alone. More than 13,000 are believed to be in South Waziristan. The Taliban leadership there had formed about 100 suicide squads by February, assembled under the motto "fight until the last man and the last bullet". …

Consider that a genuine Afghan war hero of Soviet Occupation vintage now stands at the head of the Taliban Army. A man charismatic and powerful enough that George Bush actually offered him Karzai’s job -- the presidency of Iraq -- and who turned it down....

These are not the “final throes” of a beaten enemy in retreat.This is, instead, the direct consequence of a Commander-in-Chief who never took his Drive-By war in Afghanistan or the men and women who he sent to die there seriously as anything other than the opening act for PNACs Real War -- the one they had been plotting to launch for a decade."


Demonizing Made Easy

Institute for Hitlerology comes up with formula.


To Pay the Cost

Gracias bracero audio slideshow.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Columbia Plateau

Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla.


Give Me a Home

Return of the Buffalo.


Hot Beach

Coming soon to the Oregon coast.


Good High-Tech Jobs

Travelogue from a low-budget Chernobyl tour. Good photos.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Life v Fiction



Patience a Virtue

Patience is something I'm only beginning to acquire and appreciate as a virtue. Having spent time working with Indian tribes has something to do with that, but also the comprehension that what we are dealing with is changing an entire way of life, not merely the programs of an existing malign culture.

We, and those who come after us--through research, education, organizing, and community action--have to affect a conversion of consciousness as a matter of survival. Like Jimi Hendrix said, we can choose the love of power, or the power of love, but not both.


Mirror Dance

I was only nineteen when I first saw the tumbling falls of the upper Skagit from behind some huckleberry bushes that grew along a river path that I’d stumbled on while picnicking. Having just moved from the dusty pines of the Yakima where Peregrine falcons nest in the volcanic cliffs, I was still absorbing the lush mossy green of the west slope.

I’d recently heard of the “Magic Skagit” and was curious to know how it differed from the middle Columbia where I grew up.

Walking on in silence, I overheard a soft, solemn, baritone song mixing in the wind with the sounds of water and muted footsteps. Turning my head toward it, I glimpsed a lone man gently dancing and singing aside the rock promontory above the falls, completely enthralled in the moment of being.

Startled by this unexpected encounter to which the Indian I watched was unaware, I found myself unable to move for fear I might disturb the sacred poetry he was offering in his native tongue, and was only jarred into making a stealthy retreat after witnessing the splendid leap of a steelhead trout as long as my arm into the dip net swung swiftly under its belly by the dancer who’d swept the long pole handle from the ground in a seemingly effortless fancydance spin.

Today, in my fifties, I remember that mirror into my childhood when I watched the Yakama dip salmon from platforms on the Columbia, and wonder if my memories include the great Celilo on the gorge where the buffalo and the salmon peoples met to trade stories and goods. I know I was there.

--Jay Taber

Friday, May 19, 2006


Enrich your Life

Series Three of Wisdom of the Elders radio programs from American Indian storytellers. Listen in.


The World is a Conscience

"It's the impulse for freedom. The desire for one's destiny not to be decided by someone else. That's the motive. It's a very powerful universal motive."

--from World War and the Fourth World, a dialogue about indigenous nations and conflicts in defense of peoples, territories, and movements of self-determination within the context of the War on Terror.

transcript download available at:


Wonderfully Wicked

[Ed. note: we were recently challenged for citing a Wikipedia article on Mario Savio. This was our response.]

Wikipedia is indeed a free-content encyclopedia, administered by the Wikipedia Foundation, and, as a highly popular reference resource, has been challenged on grounds of its authoritative reliability. That said, its utility should not be so casually dismissed, for its content -- like all publicly-created knowledge and memory -- is constructivist in the sense that we build, negotiate, and rebuild it every day. As an example, just look at the relationship between weblogs and corporate-owned media regarding news and information.

This is not to say we should abandon our discretion or skepticism when it comes to the Internet any more than we should at the doors to state-owned universities or at the windows to pro-market TV. It is merely to acknowledge the value of contributions to human understanding made by scholars and concerned individuals outside those authorized by governments and approved by corporations.

It's a new world order.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Everlasting Shame

"If one accepts the possibility that a majority of Americans regards Bush, Inc., as having “stolen the 2004 election” - the finding only underscores the moral deficiencies of our present day national character. We’re going about our daily business with an unelected, war-mongering dictator in the White House. We carry on as though we have no responsibility for allowing him the freedom to commit his crimes against us and the world.

There have been many times in our history when Americans would have filled the streets and ejected a petty tyrant like George W. Bush. That we do not do so now will be to our everlasting shame."
--Arvin Hill


Chaos Through Neglect

Letting Afghanistan go to hell--again.


Creating Chaos

Undermining democracy in Palestine by US/Israel nurtures al-Qaida recruitment.


Stabilized Chaos

Tactical unity in post-Fallujah Iraq.


Mobilization Against Globalization

Indigenous of Colombia fed up.


Fourth World War

An uprising of consciousness.


Viva Mario

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Symbiotic Learning

An essential part of the decolonization process underway in the world today is respecting the pre-colonial types of knowledge, economic forms, and ways of life that provided both more freedom and greater harmony than the authoritarian mechanisms imposed by Western educational and religious systems. One of the crises of identity instigated by the invading technical civilization and market production is the rationalization of consciousness. Read more about what can be done:


New World Order

[Overheard atop Arvin Hill]

Spartacus O'Neal said...
Three of my favorite blogs--Narco News, Wampum, and Whiskey Bar--have offered especially thoughtful and constructive commentary of late on our prospects for fundamental social change in North America. While their writers often disagree on strategies of reform--or even its possibility anymore--they all agree our system of governance has become completely dysfunctional; no longer even pretending to serve those who pay the taxes.

For myself, I tend to agree with the strategy espoused in Narco News that only by bringing down these corrupt institutions entirely can we get on the right track. Short-term objectives might involve tactical support for reform-minded institutional players, but our long-term interests involve much more than "just changing managers while the economic blueprint remains the same."

Eventually, the ruling class and its two political parties in the US have got to go. Otherwise the downward spiral of humanity continues, as it has under both Democrats and Republicans for over half a century.
7:03 PM, May 14, 2006

Arvin Hill said...
A system now commonly referred to as "a stable democracy."...

When The People are held to standards of behavior and accountability which, show trials aside, differ significantly from those imposed on the Government, the entire system invalidates itself. ...
1:13 AM, May 15, 2006

ThePoetryMan said...
"Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy." Brandeis puts it succinctly...if Bush is allowed to skate we will no longer call America anything but a dictatorship!
9:58 AM, May 15, 2006

Jonathan Versen said...
...maybe we could be talking about what else is possible. Any ideas?
11:16 AM, May 15, 2006

Spartacus O'Neal said...
You once remarked on the failure of imagination by our fellow citizens as an inability to think of an alternative worth working for. But fundamental change of how we pursue happiness doesn't require that we abandon the principles which inspired such things as our Constitution, just the methods by which we honor them.

Altering our way of life to better conform with these values requires effort, and imagination, but not the repudiation of every noble aspect obtained through our painful experience as a people. It's OK to be both revolutionary as well as magnanimous.
11:31 AM, May 15, 2006

Arvin Hill said...
As I've said many times and will no doubt keep saying, neoconservatism didn't blow in like a thunderstorm. It was seeded and cultivated with a great deal of money and, more importantly, deliberation and commitment. They had a plan - a horrible one, but a plan nonetheless - and they brought it to fruition within a couple of decades. Progressives have no plan. ...
12:31 PM, May 15, 2006

Jonathan Versen said...
... once you allow such massive tinkering with the constitution, you open a pandora's box of truly-crazy-ass reactionary ammendments to follow...What the social conservatives did was easier because it didn't threaten Wall Street, but I think it's possible. And yes, as you said, this requires a long-view approach.
1:34 PM, May 15, 2006

Arvin Hill said...
... It is the illusion of opposition that enslaves us, that deceives us into thinking there's an actual struggle occurring instead of the choreographed bs we see presented as a legitimate, functioning democracy. ... Lurking behind every shadow of oppression is our ravenous appetite for the world's resources. Politically, socially and culturally, we are SO wrong track, only an epic social movement can alter the present course ...
10:44 PM, May 15, 2006

Spartacus O'Neal said...
We don't even have to use our imagination to see the irrelevance of electoral politics, political parties, and institutional forms of social organization to the furthering of humanity. We can just look at the Other Campaign in Mexico for ideas.

Once we free our minds from the constraints of elite-sponsored activities--otherwise known as The Spectacle--we can start to put our energy into something more useful.
10:57 AM, May 16, 2006

Monday, May 15, 2006


Generosity for Life

Values for survival. Accessing spiritual knowledge through humility. One of the most important interviews of our time. Listen in.


Weaving a Social Safety Net

Continued discussion of the underlying theology of American public policy.


Whose Honor?

British Columbia First Nations sue for aboriginal title to fisheries.


Corporate Eco-terrorism

Global indigenous network attacks values of major mining corporation.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Change the System

"The ruling class in the government is destroying everything, it’s time to get rid of them, but we shouldn’t stop there. We have to change the system once and for all. ...

This [presidential election] is just a change of managers, while up there in the United States they are saying “It doesn’t matter who governs, the right or the left, we will fix it so that the economic blueprint doesn’t change.” The manager can be anyone, but the company stays the same: Mexico Inc. ...

The polls are close and the mass media decides, because they have already been put in charge by all the candidates. And so the vote doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter to them if people don’t vote or if they do. What matters is that they are the ones that stay in control. ...

The ruling class is more powerful, but they continue to have less and less moral importance for the people, they move the people less and less. ...

Order is imposed through legitimacy, not through violence. And what the governments want to do is impose it through beatings and incarceration, and repressing the people who hold blockades and protests and rallies, and sending more and more people to prison. ...

When there is no longer a possibility for popular, non-violent mobilization, such as the Other Campaign, then the only thing left is the other option. ...That’s the signal they are sending, and they have to correct that, because if they think they can maintain control with police and with television, radio, and newspapers, they’re wrong. We’ve already seen it in the twenty states where the Other Campaign has gone. We can’t be controlled. ...

The Other Campaign is going to ...create an unprecedented cultural, political, scientific, humanist movement in this country, from below and to the left."


No Excuse

From a scholarly viewpoint, the current campaign against Mexicans is a component of the ongoing global anti-indigenous crusade begun by European states five hundred years ago. As we glimpse in the alternative news now and then, the white supremacy crusade is still very active in places like Nigeria, the Middle East, and Latin America.

While much confusion surrounds the crusade due to the religious differences and economic aspects of expropriating the mineral and hydrocarbon wealth of the fourth world, it is only in the belief of racial superiority that such criminal behavior can be justified to–as some say–conduct such hateful programs as slavery and genocide. And of course, once the inherent privileges based on race begin to erode–whether from the political liberation struggles of the autochthonous populations, or from the exhaustion of their natural resources, it is tempting to look for a means to bolster this unearned status through less than humane ways.

Given the ownership of all major media in the US by the dominant society in this crusade, it is no wonder that so little learning takes place around issues like immigration or foreign policy or economics or militarism, but with the Internet there is really no excuse for remaining ignorant. The facts are available.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Ten Years After

The resource extraction and real estate industries' Wise Use provocateurs made it onto CBS 60 Minutes on September 20, 1992. It wasn't until July 1996, though, that their associates--specifically the Anti-Indian/property-rights militia members engaged in manufacturing explosives and machine guns to murder public officials and human rights activists--were arraigned before a US District Court judge in Seattle. On average, they did seven years in the federal pen.


Southern Comfort

Ask anyone who was actually involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the South, and they'll tell you that committing yourself to a non-violent movement for human rights doesn't mean you have to be unprepared to defend yourself against physical violence incited by right-wing social movement entrepreneurs. If we were in Europe, it's likely these hatemongers would be in jail by now, but we're not, and here in the US, you're on your own until after you've been personally threatened, assaulted, or murdered. At that point, our valiant law enforcement springs into action to examine your corpse.

Some comfort, huh?


Nowhere to Run

People who don't give a lot of thought to illegal phone-tapping--or apparently to much of anything for that matter--used to repeat the non-sensical phrase, "if you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything to worry about." Although, since Nixon bugged his political opponents in the 1960s and 1970s and had them harassed by the FBI and IRS, you'd think that even liberals would be able to call bogus on that mentally deficient argument.

Still, even now, after five years of threatening their opponents on TV no less, the White House still manages to bamboozle the weak-minded into Pavlovian responses of agreement.

I don't know about you, but worrying about getting fired, losing one's health care or pension, being beaten by vigilantes, or thrown into solitary confinement without access to legal representation, just might be worth worrying about. Of course, all this fretting can sometimes be avoided by relinquishing one's rights under the Constitution.

I guess that fighting to keep those rights is what the conservatives are referring to by nothing to hide.


Carcinogenic Ideas

"...But the modern bureaucracy (and I would include the modern megacorporation in that category) functions more like a machine, or perhaps a colony of one-celled organisms like a coral or a sponge. It’s essentially mindless, driven by a set of basic imperatives, of which the most relentless is the urge to grow, to expand both in size and power. To paraphrase Edward Abbey: It has the ideology of a cancer cell. ...

However, it definitely doesn’t take much imagination to see how handy a database like that could be to a bunch of would-be police state captains – for everything from political dirty tricks to tracing the phone calls of suspected whistleblowers and reporters. In fact, it doesn’t take any imagination at all, not when the RNC, the Justice Department and the CIA are already doing just those things. ...

The lesson learned is submission to authority, or at least the passive acceptance of hierarchical relationships. It teaches people to be good bureaucrats, and good bureaucrats understand that if the organization is tapping phones – or infecting test subjects with syphilis or dumping toxic waste in rivers or shipping undesirable people off to concentration camps – it must have a good reason. ...

The creature doesn’t know all the things it can do, but only because it hasn’t tried to do them yet. But it’s starting to figure this out, and it’s going to take more than an election and a few corruption probes to make it back down."

Friday, May 12, 2006


Business As Usual

We wrote about the gross inequities in Africa's largest oil-producing state of Nigeria a short while back, and the desperate measures taken by impoverished inhabitants of the toxic delta to protect themselves from the likes of Shell and Chevron's death squads, so we won't elaborate on that on this grim occasion. In fact--out of respect for the hundreds of charred corpses of villagers killed today while stealing pipeline gasoline to sell on the black market--we're just going to refer you to the AP story:

What we thought about, though--as we read the report from Lagos, Nigeria--was our visit seven years ago to the southern Portuguese coastal resort town of the same name, where ancestors of those incinerated were auctioned off as slaves four hundred years ago in the now quaint plaza and fountain surrounded by cafes that were once the slave trade places of commerce.


Flying Colours

If you're learning to write stories, or just in need of an engaging adventure story to read, the Hornblower Saga by C.S. Forester is tough to beat. For those unfamiliar with the author, he also wrote The African Queen.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Torture Begins at Home

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Emerging Communications

Therese from Sweden explores computer-mediated communication, blogging, and learning on the Internet.


That's History

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


The American Way

Why We Fight

Monday, May 08, 2006


War/Not War

[Overheard at Mercury Rising]

Type in "World War III" and "Armageddon" into Google and you get over 130,000 hits. It is commonly believed among many Muslims and Christians that the third time is a charm, that the Third World War brings the end of the world.

So, what kind of moron says this:
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush said the September 11 revolt of passengers against their hijackers on board Flight 93 had struck the first blow of "World War III."...The same guy who called it a "Crusade," of course. You'd think he might have mentioned this when he was telling us to just go shopping. We could have bought harps and white smocks while they were on sale. I'm sorry, but people who want to be world leaders need to measure their words more carefully than this.
# posted by Charles @ 2:46 PM

Some historians would argue that the systematic subversion of the prodemocracy movement worldwide by both the US and USSR--also known as the Cold War--was World War III. Which would make what's taking place now World War IV, a somewhat ironic corollary seeing how the human rights movement against globalization is effectively led by indigenous peoples and stateless nations such as the Zapatistas, who comprise what are often described as the Fourth World.
# posted by Spartacus O'Neal : 5/07/2006 06:44:24 PM

It gets pretty arbitrary. Alexander the Great's hijinks amounted to a world war, as did the wars forming the Roman empire, and the wars in which it was destroyed. The Crusades, too. So, depending on how one counts, we might be on World War VIII or World War XVII. But I think the Cold War and the present conflict should not be called world wars. Between them, the only countries that got occupied were Hungary, Korea, Nepal, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq... I'm sure I'm missing a couple. Relatively little territory changed hands. What really distinguishes war from low intensity conflict is occupation. Granted, a nuclear exchange without occupation would be war, for certain.
# posted by Charles : 5/08/2006 12:10:38 AM

I doubt those on the receiving end of the right-wing death squads would have called it low intensity.
# posted by Spartacus O'Neal : 5/08/2006 11:22:33 AM

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Another Teachable Moment

Televised WA State Human Rights Commission April 27 public forum on the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and the issue of immigrants in Whatcom County:


Choreographed Insanity

As choreographed sociopolitical drama, the right-wing hyperbole around immigration often reverberates between the industry-funded conservative think tanks, their handmaidens in Congress, and their spear carriers on the street, or in this case, on the border. When we encountered this phenomenon in the early 1990s around Indian treaties and environmental protection, the professional hatemongers--hired by industry to organize and incite blue collar vigilantes to assault public officials and community activists--subsequently created a white collar corollary that claimed to be responding to a grassroots call for curtailing sane and humane public policy.

The white collar bigots--some of whom had initially catalyzed the spear carriers into threatening their political opponents--then claimed to be calming the rowdies, and went on to reap the political and economic gains from the scapegoating and intimidation the delinquents unwittingly carried out on their behalf. Meanwhile, the GOP--like now--stamped both the contrived grievances and violent behavior with its seal of approval.

The entire affair was a sort of good cop/bad cop scenario, that used a wittingly clueless media to amplify and obfuscate their fraudulent theatrics. Thus by following the bogus storyline from start to finish, even liberals frequently repeated the false claims as though they were true, which effectively removed any possibility of public support for anyone opposing either the media deception or vigilante harassment of good faith participants.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Get Out of Town

Our secret agent in Costa del Sol expands his repertoire with home photos of exotic locations in Andalusia and Lusitania--complete with Roman, Moorish, and Sephardic architecture:


Ancestors History Values Dreams

Orcinus discusses some of the bogus charges levied against Mexican immigrants, which, not surprisingly, are reminiscent of the Anti-Indian Movement rhetoric regularly recycled through the Republican Party, property-rights militias, Wise Use associations, and other vigilante groups.

When all is said and done, what this fraudulent scapegoating signifies more than just racism as a political tool, is a fundamental difference in values with the hemispheric indigenous peoples, that--despite historical awareness and scientific evidence--is apparently too great an obstacle for the descendants of domination to overcome. As several Indios spokesmen have repeatedly said over the centuries, the white man's dream is our nightmare.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Criminal Continuity

[Ed. note: Washington proimmigrant activists were forewarned of the following at the December 2005 human rights conference, reported on as Precursor to Domestic Terrorism in the sidebar under Reports. Background on some of Whatcom's GOP stalwarts with a history of supporting racism and violence is available in the article Reign of Terror under Memoirs, also located in the Skookum sidebar.]

- Whatcom County Republican Party 2006 convention -The platform includes support for the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.


Mexican Powder Keg


The Day the War Came Home


Resemblance is Intentional

New screenplay from Jay Taber:


Blink and Swallow

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist today denied reports that his presidential ambitions have slipped into a persistently vegetative state, saying they are alert and responding to visual stimulus.

“Based on the videotapes I’ve seen of recent GOP dinners in New Hampshire and Iowa, I would say my political prospects definitely display signs of higher brain functions,” Frist told reporters in Washington. “They can blink and swallow, and their eyes will still track objects – such as large contribution checks – waved in front of them.”

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


No Proud People

"The conflict which is presently draining South Africa's lifeblood, either in the form of peaceful demonstrations, acts of violence or external pressure will never be settled until there is an agreement with the ANC. ...

The government insists on the ANC making an honest commitment to peace before it will talk to the organization. ...No serious political organization will ever talk peace when an aggressive war is being waged against it. No proud people will ever obey orders from those who have humiliated and dishonored them for so long."

--part of December 1989 memorandum from Nelson Mandela to State President FW de Klerk, included in A Prisoner in the Garden


What We Have Done

"The history of our country is characterized by too much forgetting. A forgetting which served the powerful and dispossessed the weak. ...

One of our challenges as we build and extend democracy is the need to ensure that our youth know where we come from, what we have done to break the shackles of oppression, and how we have pursued the journey to freedom and dignity for all."

--Nelson Mandela, 21 September 2004
from A Prisoner in the Garden

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Fabric of Identity

"In the life of any individual, family, community or society, memory is of fundamental importance. It is the fabric of identity. ...

The struggle against apartheid can be typified as the pitting of remembering against forgetting. It was in our determination to remember our ancestors, our stories, our values and our dreams that we found comradeship. ...

It is the task of the Centre [Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and Commemoration Project] to continue to unravel the many silences imposed by our apartheid and colonial pasts, to find space for the memories suppressed by power."

--NR Mandela
from the foreword to A Prisoner in the Garden


Fuelling Resentment

How would a revolution in Nigeria affect the rest of Africa? America?


Spread the Word

It seems obvious in retrospect that people base their opinions largely on their point of view. Tax breaks for rich people seem great to the aristocracy, not so wonderful to working stiffs or the unemployed.

But often times things are more complicated than that. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal program put people to work, gave them hope, and likely avoided class warfare. On the other hand, the Grand Coulee Dam completely wiped out salmon runs on the Columbia River that Spokane and other Indian tribes had depended on as the basis of their economy and culture for thousands of years. From where they stood, the WPA didn't seem so hot.

Presently, grassroots members of Roosevelt's political party, the Democrats--especially those who experienced the Depression and the Civil Rights eras--have come out in support of the human rights campaign for immigrants in America. But immigrants, most notably those who are indigenous to North America, have been around long enough to know better than to trust electoral politics or political parties to look out for their interests.

I expect this time around they'll be more than a little cautious in whose advice and assistance they take, and understandably leery of the potential for treachery and betrayal as they prepare to negotiate with more powerful levels of the dominant society. From their point of view, power is too dangerous in concentrated form; to reduce its potential for lethal consequences, it needs to be spread around.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Stumbling Block

One of the recurring stumbling blocks for reasonable people in comprehending right-wing terrorists in the US is that their spokesmen and women don't play by the same rules as the rest of us. While most of us are truthful and concerned if not active citizens, American terrorists are neither. And practice at lying--like many activities--does make perfect, at least, good enough to dupe most journalists and other largely inattentive people.

Fortunately, facts, like background records, are verifiable, and when there are none to back up right-wing assertions of such things as righteous public service or lack of bigotry, we can readily dismiss this as bogus propaganda. When the facts are glaringly to the contrary--as they are with the Minutemen--then we can repudiate them with all the moral sanction at our disposal.

But there is another aspect to this dilemma that many are hesitant to consider, let alone indict, and that is mental illness. Perhaps out of kindheartedness, most decent folks are reticent to bring up this contributing factor. Yet, how often does one here people say, "they're nuts," or some other similar comment about the violent, racist right-wing?

There are, of course, many types and degrees of mental illness, but taking the Minuteman national leader, Chris Simcox, as an example, would most of us not think bashing his head against walls, smashing up furniture, breaking windows, threatening his family members, and talking to himself repeatedly about wild 9/11 conspiracies is reason for concern about his mental health? How about organizing vigilantes to kill Mexicans who've done him no harm?

Do normal adults go around playing soldier with live ammo believing all the while they're saving the United States from a Chinese invasion based in Mexico?


Open Season

ADL report on escalating organized violence against "Mexicans" in the fourth year of the current anti-immigrant campaign.

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