Thursday, May 31, 2012


Green Greed

Part of the attraction of green greed as a solution to all our woes is that for privileged first world consumer societies it appears painless, fostering the illusion that we can still live in five thousand square foot mansions and drive hybrid SUVs and take exotic cruise ship vacations, as long as we use biofuel. It’s magical thinking, of course, but to an infantile audience, it’s very appealing.

Green greed as a system of deception, however, is in public relations terms logical, no matter how illogical its precepts. Given the political illiteracy of first world audiences, hijacking their environmental sentiments makes sense; until enough of the first world citizenry awakens from their consumer coma, PR will remain their reality.

Inducing consciousness, unfortunately, is not as simple as holding rallies, protests or other public events; while they can begin to stir an awareness in some individuals, wakening large numbers of citizens to the limited utility of orchestrated consumer campaigns is not where I’d place my hopes. A few fully conscious, organized and active groups of individuals are more likely to have a lasting impact.

All this is relative, of course, and maybe the global financial crisis will expedite that consciousness raising, but old habits of looking to patrons in the form of corporate bosses and their philanthropic associates die hard. With limited resources and time, we have to ask where our energy is best spent.

When faced with such questions, I have always found it helpful to refer to some simple lessons learned by environmental and human rights organizers over the last half century: practice democracy, oppose fraud, and help those who fight back. Linking green greed to its roots in Free-Market environmentalism — a PR development of the Reagan era — might help to illuminate the hoax.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Revolving Door

As detailed on Antifascist Calling, the drug war and drug trafficking in Mexico are so entangled that competition for control of distribution networks has turned into a revolving door between Mexican police, Mexican cartels, and the Mexican military--all funded by US addicts and taxpayers. While some might wish the political corruption cold be contained at the border, the reality as reported by Antifascist Calling is that US banks, government agencies, military and police are also tainted by the billions of dollars made available by US prohibition laws. Under the cover of Homeland Security, guns, drugs and cash continue to flow with impunity.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The World Tomorrow

On The World Tomorrow, Julian Assange interviews Occupy organizers from London and New York about the evolution of the social challenge to the Free-Market planetary bureaucracy. Catalyzed by the global financial crisis, citizen media is now pushing the dialogue about the rule of law and the institutional panic over the outbreak of unmediated communication taking place in public spaces around the world. As Occupy evolves into organic political structures to effect the changes expressed in its demonstrations and assemblies, facilitating the human need to communicate face to face might have surprising consequences for the world tomorrow.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Exporting Violence

When the US abandoned any pretense at pursuing democratic values, opting instead for an economy based solely on exporting violence and fraud, the window of opportunity for democratic reform in Latin America rapidly closed. As Upside Down World reports, the 2009 US-backed coup in Honduras has set in motion a replay of President Reagan's murderous meddling in Central America, while Plan Colombia and the reintroduction of U.S. military bases in Chile and Argentina preclude even neoliberal independence in South America. As President Obama seeks to emulate and maybe even surpass the ruthlessness of his mentor President Reagan, democracies and democratic movements in the Western hemisphere are no more immune to U.S. military aggression and economic subversion than are Central Asia or the Middle East.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Democratic Renewal

When UK whistleblower Katherine Gunn exposed the Blair government's collusion in defrauding the UN Security Council in the run-up to the US/UK invasion of Iraq, the evidence was reviewed by the Office of Serious Fraud, whose name immediately caught my attention. Today, as state legitimacy is being challenged daily on all continents by Occupy, Spring, and other incarnations of social dissatisfaction, serious fraud as an entrenched system of rule deserves further investigation. As we seek a path to more authentic societies worldwide, attacking fraud in governance seems like a good way to go.

While it's easy to become complacent about such a pervasive corruption of public process, there is no way forward in addressing the myriad crises we face as long as public institutions and private markets respond to all challenges with fraudulent public relations and coverups. As such, the most effective weapon in the pro-democracy arsenal is investigative research, which lays the groundwork for education, organizing and action. Maintaining independence in this effort is the only way to prevent corruption of that process.

Since most states are stuck in a system of serious fraud, coming unstuck is now the task of indigenous nations and civil society networks, whose authenticity serves as a model for democratic renewal.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Maple Spring

Occupy 2012 features the evolution of the Quebec student strike into nightly demonstrations in Montreal for a different kind of society. As noted on the video, the attempt by the Quebec parliament to quell dissent by making public assembly illegal, has been met with public marches in the hundreds of thousands every night. As other segments of Quebec society join the students in challenging the legitimacy of state-imposed austerity and security measures, Montreal -- like Chiapas, Mexico -- has become a center of opposition to neoliberalism in North America.

Montreal ca ira!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Dismantle NATO

As NATO renews its mission of aggression in Afghanistan for another ten years, U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich calls for dismantling NATO. As an anachronism whose mission ended twenty years ago, NATO, says Kucinich, has turned into an enforcement arm for US policy, serving no defense purpose whatsoever.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Unity in Diversity

As UN member states and agencies escalate repression of liberation movements worldwide, more of us will be confronted with a choice of how to participate in the human rights struggle. Whether we protest or resist, it will be advantageous to understand how our participation relates to that of others. Through that understanding, we can create a beloved community where all roles are respected and supported. Unity in diversity.

For those of us in the United States, the fight to abolish segregation and other forms of racial discrimination still resonates in how we oppose tyranny. I suppose that’s why they call the strategy of Freedom Summer in 1963 Mississippi civil disobedience. Disobedience is by definition resistance.

Compliance with rules about marching, asking permission to assemble, staying within the barriers–these are not acts of resistance. While they are ancillary to resistance, they are nevertheless important. For those who want to learn more about integrating the various roles required, James Forman’s book The Making of Black Revolutionaries remains instructive.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Gendarmerie Royale

Back in January when Canadian Prime Minister Harper and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver demonized environmentalists and First Nations opposed to government plans to violate the Canadian constitution and international law on behalf of the Enbridge oil pipeline, we noted that characterizing political opponents as enemies of the state would have unsavory repercussions. As reported recently by David P. Ball in Indian Country Today, RCMP spying on First Nations working with environmental organizations not only undermines trust, but also exposes indigenous activists to unsafe conditions. As we know from earlier confrontations between First Nations and the Government of Canada, spying is the tip of the iceberg; infiltration, agent provocateurs, and malicious harassment go hand in hand--especially when the federal police believe they are above the law.

Monday, May 21, 2012



Exercising the new powers made possible by his friend President Obama, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has preempted the right to peaceful assembly and free expression by sending police to arrest anti-NATO protestors in their apartment, before they could protest. As apart of the new martial law denying the right to due process, preemptive arrests of law-abiding citizens is now the game plan of the Obama Administration. As noted in this article, opposing militarism or globalization — for which NATO is the enforcement arm — is perhaps Occupy’s moment of awakening. After all, when it comes to corrupting democracy, it’s a short walk from Wall Street to the Pentagon.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Before It's Too Late

In his commentary at The Real News, Senior Editor Paul Jay notes the anti-democratic legislation of Canada and the United States -- aimed at denying Canadian and American citizens the right to assemble, speak and protest their respective governments' crimes against humanity -- demands an answer. As Jay observes, if protesting crimes against humanity cloaked as security and austerity measures is now against the law, then we better find ways of holding the criminals on Wall Street and the politicians they own accountable before it's too late.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The Time That Has Come

When the Zapatista uprising appeared in world media in January 1994, it wasn't out of the blue; Mayan communities had been holding assemblies to discuss the ramifications of armed defense of their democratic way of life for well over a decade.

What was new was the alliance with non-indigenous Mexican revolutionaries, born in the national conflict of 1968 -- where students were murdered by the army in Mexico City -- and a working relationship with international NGOs and civil society human rights  networks.  Common to them all were principles of participatory democracy, but the driving force was the social base of indigenous communities and their authentic culture.

Today, with Occupy looking to find its feet in fighting globalization and oligarchy -- the same foes as confronted by the Zapatistas -- NGOs and civil society networks are again essential to the liberation movement. While liberation news outlets and network communications are critical infrastructure for liberation, a social base is equally important.

As Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos remarked during the national campaign for democracy in Mexico,

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.

For readers looking to better understand the relationships between indigenous peoples, revolution and democracy, my friend David Ronfeldt's book The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico might be both interesting and informative.

Friday, May 18, 2012


International Intervention

Writing at Indian Country Today, Karla E. General examines the conflict between the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and US law. In the wake of the Ninth Circuit decision that desecration of sacred Native sites does not represent a substantial burden to Native American religious practices, tribes like the Navajo Nation are seeking review from such bodies as the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. As General notes, there is a compelling need to bring US law into compliance with international human rights law. Given the bias of the US legal system, relief for the indigenous peoples within US boundaries requires international intervention.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Legitimizing Theft

The Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, presenting at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recently, made a case against the UN World Intellectual Property Organization as a monopolistic manifestation of piracy. As Gale Courey Toensing reports at Indian Country Today, one of WIPOs main functions is to legitimize theft of Indigenous Peoples genetic resources and traditional knowledge by transnational corporations.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Fascist Infrastructure

Writing at Black Agenda Report, Dave Lindorff examines the National Operations Center through which the White House directs the coordinated efforts of federal, state and local police against Occupy. Also writing at BAR, Glen Ford looks at the growing fascist infrastructure of NATO, which meets in Chicago this week where -- thanks to President Obama and Congress -- police are now able to arrest and detain protestors without due process of law. Rounding out this edition of BAR, Jemima Pierre compares Black liberation in 1960s America with Palestinian liberation today. Focusing on the plight of Palestinian political prisoners of Israeli apartheid, Pierre highlights the arbitrary system of military law where political activists are imprisoned for years without due process--a model of political incarceration currently being implemented in the United States.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Occupy 2012

If you’re trying to get your mind around the anti-austerity movement and the emerging new world order, Occupy 2012 is a good place to start. When it comes to pro-democracy mobilizations against neoliberalism, things aren’t as bleak as mainstream media would like you to think. As a matter of fact, we have a lot of friends out there, who are doing some amazing things.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


A Lucrative System

Sometimes, the overwhelming violence in Mexico due to the drug trade can be bewildering, especially when innocent civilians, human rights activists and journalists are brutally murdered. But this violence, of course, is not created out of thin air; it is the consequence of corrupting policies in the United States. Like the earlier Prohibition against alcohol, the prohibition of other drugs like cocaine and marijuana benefits both organized crime and law enforcement agencies, arms manufacturers, and the financial services industry that launders the illicit proceeds. Taken as a whole, it is a lucrative system that works very well for corrupt governments and enterprises on both sides of the border, but is a living nightmare for everyone else.

As Antifascist Calling reports, the escalating violence in Mexico is a direct consequence of US policy, including the arming of that policy that distributed military grade weapons throughout the region, often into the hands of narcotics cartels that provided protection to traffickers, but also targeted political opponents of corrupt officialdom. Given the new gifts from the US Government to the Mexican Government for surveillance of communications, that means that whistleblowers, activists and journalists attempting to restore sanity to their country will be easier to identify and terminate.

For the moment, that kind of data in the US is used mainly by law enforcement against political opponents of neoliberalism, but if things work well for them in Mexico, national security criminal enterprises in the US could start using it themselves--against us.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


A Real Reckoning

Jenni Monet at Indian Country Today recently interviewed James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, who remarked, "There needs to be a real reckoning of the history that indigenous people suffered and an understanding that the social conditions [of today] are a direct consequence of this inter-generational trauma." And though this remark on its face seems encouraging, in that it acknowledges a reality any thinking and caring person can embrace, Anaya then goes on to characterize the relationship of Indigenous nations and modern states as one where the former are subsumed in the latter. It's almost as though Anaya sets up his audience with an emotional appeal, then subtly attacks their intelligence.

While this colonial characterization might easily slide past careless readers, or small minds captured by the platitudes of corporate compliance, it nonetheless seamlessly undermines the Indigenous resurgence to reclaim their legitimacy as self-governing political entities.

One thing to keep in mind about the UN is that its primary loyalty is to its member states and their governments that currently frustrate the realization of self-determination by Indigenous nations. While Mr. Anaya is arguably doing the best he can within this colonial framework, his remark that Indigenous peoples rights may be sacrificed to the compelling interests of UN member states signals recalcitrant governments worldwide that all they have to do to satisfy the UN is endorse human rights for Indigenous nations on paper, then abrogate those very rights under the charades of economic austerity or national security. Given such a monstrous loophole by the very man in charge of promoting Indigenous sovereignty, transnational corporations must be popping the corks on champagne.

Monday, May 07, 2012


Fantasy of the Fatherland

Someone famous once remarked that fascism would come to America with someone waving an American flag. At the time, I doubt the person making this noteworthy comment envisioned the flag-waver as the first Black American president, but stranger things have happened. Obama, of course, could not have risen to the position of power that enabled him to deprive us of our civil and human rights with the stroke of his pen without a lot of help from Wall Street and America's aristocracy, but that doesn't make his commitment to furthering the fascist agenda laid down by his predecessors and mentors any less onerous.

In our Orwellian America, independent thought is a truly herculean achievement; with the indoctrination of young and vulnerable minds through media, education, and propaganda, it is amazing that any of us escapes the coordinated corrosion of democratic principles and practices, let alone manages to rethink, recover, regroup, and resist. From CIA-sponsored color revolutions to corporate paternalism, we are taught to be intellectually infantile and politically illiterate. Those who awaken from this L-dopa state are quickly categorized as non-conforming and shuttled off to re-education camps, prison plantations, or meaningless lives of poverty.

To accomplish this state of collective unconsciousness through mass communication, Madison Avenue played an essential role, often overshadowed by Wall Street, but always close to official engineers of the psychological warfare deployed by government agencies. Hijacking history helped, but even more effective are campaigns of racially diverse kids on TV singing songs about sharing Coca-Cola with the other kids of the world, or happy idiots waving CIA-purchased colored banners as oblivious dupes of Soros' Open Society. Fascism, after all, cannot be billed as a hate campaign (even though it eventually foments them), but rather as a family friendly frolic in the festive fantasy of the fatherland. Now where did we see that before?

Sunday, May 06, 2012


Cultural Conflict

As illustrated by this Indian Country Today article about the Winnemem Wintu, the war between the United States of America and the Indigenous nations that underlay its boundaries is ongoing. No longer an armed conflict between the U.S. Army and Indigenous warriors, the American agenda of assimilating Indigenous peoples and annihilating Indigenous cultures continues.

Friday, May 04, 2012


Fighting Privatization

As noted on The Real News, democratizing student union protocols was key to the successful mobilization of the Quebec student strike, now in its eleventh week. Initially mobilized around opposition to tuition increases, the strike is now involved in fighting against the cultural revolution of privatization. Defending social democracy from the neoliberal iceberg connects the students with a society that is under attack on all fronts.

Thursday, May 03, 2012



As tribes of the lower Columbia River work to restore fisheries destroyed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1957, they recall that the flooded village of Celilo was the oldest continually inhabited settlement in North America. As the largest Native trading center in what became the United States, the loss of Celilo was devastating. Today, tribes like the Yakama are still recovering from that loss.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


The Heart of Africa

When President-elect Barack Obama selected Rick Warren to read the invocation at his swearing-in ceremony, American liberals wondered why human rights activists were in an uproar. As Pastor Warren's fervent bigotry came to light, though, even ill-informed liberals came to understand that maybe promoting an avowed anti-gay Christian evangelical might not be a good idea for the newly-elected president.

Now that the proteges of Warren in Uganda have passed legislation denying gays civil rights, and nearly succeeded in making homosexuality punishable by death, one has to ask why even a neoliberal like Obama would reach out to right-wing Christian hatemongers. While we wait for the answer to such questions, Political Research Associates takes a closer look at the US Christian right and the attack on gays in Africa.

In Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia, PRA examines the projection of American bigotry into the heart of Africa.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Synthetic versus Natural

For scholars of psychological warfare, the debate over synthetic pharmaceutical cannabinoids versus natural cannabis is illustrative. Reading the U.S. Department of Justice propaganda, one is left with the impression the pharmaceutical derivative is the prescribed answer to our health needs, but if one reads the NORML literature on the topic, it's clear there is more to it than the government would like you to know.

For instance, aside from the ridiculously high price of the pharmaceutical version, the natural product is safer, more effective, and enables users to self-administer just the right dose as needed. The pharmaceutical version, however, has serious side effects, lacks the ameliorating compounds found in the natural plant, is slow acting, and cannot be administered to suit the level of relief the individual patient needs.

Of course, in the end, the debate is really about government control, law enforcement agency budgets and pharmaceutical company profits, not what is in the best interest of public health. At least from the government side, that is, and they are the ones with guns.

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