Monday, March 31, 2008
Lacking the social infrastructure to nurture honest people and affect sane public policy, those who endeavor to disperse political power in the US are largely limited to ad hoc heroics. While admirable and noble, this inability to accommodate learning, mentoring, and memory within a framework of social continuity means no positive change will be lasting.
Networks of individuals and organizations have had an ameliorating effect on the insanity of US institutions and markets, but other than tribal political structures, there is no sustainable means for good faith involvement in public affairs. Political parties, universities, churches, lobbies, and unions are mostly part of a corrupt, exclusionary system.
Successful long-term engagement in constructing sanity thus requires imagining new structures, procedures, and relationships to those presently offered. Discussing this with family, neighbors, colleagues, and friends is a good way to start.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
We don't doubt the sincerity of Sierra Club poobahs when they claim that endorsing new Clorox green products was meant to promote less toxic alternatives. We are curious, though, about how big a bag of cash the Oakland-based Clorox sent across the Bay Bridge to the San Francisco-based national headquarters of Sierra Club to clinch the deal, but the main hitch seems to be that the club's corporate honchos failed to follow their own rules of procedure for making the marketing decision. By neglecting to consult its staff and membership, and trying to hide the deal until it was done, Sierra's top brass seems to be acting more like the industry it supposedly keeps an eye on. Their recent punishment of a membership chapter that complained about the secret, illegal deal cut at headquarters sounds like really bad PR
If you look under Favorites in the sidebar, and click on Reading for Pleasure, you might find some exceptional authors you haven't encountered.
Friday, March 28, 2008
For those who haven't stumbled across the Search Suggestions in the sidebar, we recommend typing one of the key words listed there into the search box at upper left. As an icebreaker, we suggest the word gift
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Barbara Gray and Pat Lauderdale, in their paper The Great Circle of Justice
, refer to narratives and stories as
basic life forces needed to establish and to preserve communities and develop a common culture of shared understandings, and deeper, more vital ethics…how humans are to live with each other…a blueprint that provides the communities’ structures (e.g., political and spiritual forms of governance, kinship relations, and societies that have specific duties and responsibilities in maintaining justice within the community).
Through participation in narrative events, they claim, those who feel as if they are alone become connected to their community.
Gray and Lauderdale’s paper, oriented toward American Indians, applies as well to the rest of us here in Indian country; the stories we tell help to model the type of society we want to live in, who we are, and where we came from. And it is this role of storytelling, the use of history, the preservation of memory, that enables us to recognize patterns of conduct and rhetoric our communities have witnessed previously, in order for us to comprehend new threats and dangers. Replenished, renewed, and repeated, these stories build a cohesive narrative of our collective understanding—our institutional memory.
Memories, however, do not reside in books or aging minds alone; indeed, they require the regular nourishment of ceremonies and conferences and public gatherings where they are spoken and heard and embellished with the perspective of time and maturation and contextual change. And by making the linkages between the past and the present, our stories--with luck--allow us to create the narrative of a future that embraces both.
In his occasional paper, Tribes Institutions Markets Networks, David Ronfeldt examines the framework of societal evolution, contending that, “Civil society appears to be the realm most affected by the rise of the network form, auguring a vast rebalancing of relations among state, market, and civil-society actors around the world...a new center of meaningful citizenship.” These networks—emerging in response to broad societal conditions—embody, he notes, “a distinct cluster of values, norms, and codes of behavior” that, combined with other forms, “allows a society to function well and evolve to a higher level.”
Absent a widespread tribal support system or reliable public or private institutions (let alone markets) for the regular exercise of our new narratives incorporating our vital stories, values, and norms, it is the network form we must now rely on as “curator” of these tales. Organizations within a civil-society network, more precisely, the individuals who retain these collective memories, are then crucial to keeping them alive. The communication of our stories will then determine who we will become.
Monday, March 24, 2008
interviews the director of the documentary Sir, No Sir!
about the GI movement against the war in Vietnam. As a widespread movement of conscience and resistance within the US military, American media went to great lengths to suppress the story, and ultimately to create a counter-insurgence mythology propagated by Hollywood.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
, selected discussions on how liberalism is killing culture.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Right to Know
, the recent Iraq Veterans Against the War public testimonial in D.C., was blacked out by all US corporate media. Believing Americans have a right to know what is happening, Real News
TV covered the conference. Listen to what the veterans had to say
Most of what I know about our society I learned in the school yard at age ten. There were bullies and victims, heroes and cowards, disinterested bureaucrats. After that, it became a simple matter of recognizing these patterns.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Human rights organizations protest Waldorf-Astoria fundraiser for Israeli militarism
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
M. K. Gandhi once said the only thing worse than violence is cowardice. Those who are unwilling to confront the unjust, fight the corrupt, or challenge the lazy cause just as much harm as those who threaten the courageous.
One can always educate the brave, but one cannot make brave the educated.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Seeing is Believing
In her recent letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, my colleague Amy Eisenberg describes racial violence in Tibet as reminiscent of stories told by her own family members who survived the Nazi Holocaust. As a long-time researcher in China working through the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Dr. Eisenberg has been an eyewitness to the mounting ethnic brutality of Chinese fascism. You can read her latest report here
Monday, March 17, 2008
More on Beijing 2008
The list of corporate sponsors of Beijing 2008 is lengthy, but there are a few profiles available. The top backer is Coca-Cola, but other familiar brands like GM, GE, McDonald’s, Kodak and Budweiser are also easy for consumers to avoid.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
White Man's Burden
In this Time/CNN article, we get a glimpse of the type of psychological warfare we can expect as the transnational corporate pals of Western media intensify their looting of the African continent. With approximately half the world’s unmined minerals, ores, and fossil fuels located there, we can also anticipate Western governments to continue pouring ever more armaments into the hands of gangster heads of state in order to assure that pro-democracy and self-determination movements of Fourth World nations are thoroughly crushed.
Not that Western media has ever refrained from promoting white supremacy; it’s just become more subtle and brazen. How else could they keep a straight face suggesting former colonies, founded on slavery by brutal empires, were a benign influence on the bedrock aboriginal nations forced into the subjection of colonially-constructed modern states?
Law of Force
Algonquin negotiator Bob Lovelace jailed by Ontario court for opposing illegal mining on Algonquin lands. University professor Lovelace and Algonquin chief arrested
at tribal blockade after Ontario provincial government issued mining permits in violation of Canadian constitution.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Roadblocks to Tenure
Steve Russell discusses academia's insular customs
that still stack the deck against American Indian scholars.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Still in Denial
US chastized by UN for institutionalized racism
Listening with Respect
Canada endeavors to learn the truth about the experience and legacy of aboriginal residential schools. Remembering the Children
tour, now in progress, is prelude to a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Monday, March 10, 2008
In the ideological buildup to the US Civil War, fundamentalist Christian scholars in the slave states published biblical justifications for white supremacy and the institution of slavery. In Israel today, Zionist scholars perform the same function in dehumanizing the Palestinians. One of the Zionist centers for producing racist policy and publications there was recently attacked, provoking a retaliatory massacre in Gaza.
Some now think the only way to end the murderous discrimination is to form one country
Friday, March 07, 2008
Robert Tim Coulter of the Indian Law Resource Center notes that an apology from Congress
to American Indians for past discrimination rings hollow absent a willingness by Congress to cease committing discriminatory practices in the present.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Since June, when the end of New College of California was a foregone conclusion, New College trustees have been busy liquidating assets. Not -- as one would expect -- to pay bills or make payroll, but rather to retire loans and liens held by New College trustee Peter Gabel and his private Arlene Francis Foundation.
In fact, it seems that by squeezing every last drop of blood out of the school's assets, Gabel and his cronies on the New College board assured that nothing would be left for other creditors once it closed
. Unfortunately, those creditors include the school's employees who haven't been paid since November.
Near as we can tell, the refinancing of New College properties in January -- just prior to Gabel's forced resignation as trustee -- was the last attempt by him and his pals to put this blood money beyond the reach of faculty and alumni considering class-action lawsuits against them.
Having now stripped the school to the bones through golden parachutes to friends and family, the only remedy left is to involve United States Trustees in undoing inappropriate asset transfers from the school to Gabel and his family foundation. From what we understand, that requires forcing New College into involuntary bankruptcy.
Things could start to get interesting.