Friday, July 27, 2012


Normal Behavior

How did we become a society where police slamming kids against the pavement and kicking them in the face is considered normal behavior?

As Nicholas Mirzoeff notes, this is a question now being pondered in New York -- birthplace of Occupy Wall Street -- where free assembly and free speech are still being challenged by police batons and pepper spray. While hardly a new phenomenon when citizens rise up against tyranny, excessive force and police brutality since the 1999 Battle in Seattle has taken on a new function; not just to protect the interests of the rich and powerful, but to prevent the rest of us from even talking about it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Clearing the Land

In most societies, six million murdered and two million homeless would be considered a catastrophe. Yet, in the Congo, this is merely a procedural clearing of the land for the benefit of US and European mining companies. As Glen Ford reports, the Rwandan and Ugandan mercenaries funded and armed by the US for this purpose may be worse than the Ethiopian mercenaries the US hired to invade Somalia, but that's only a statistical difference. Any way you slice it, they both constitute crimes against humanity.

Monday, July 23, 2012


People Land Truth

People Land Truth -- a free anniversary eBook by Intercontinental Cry, with contributions from the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Sacred Land Film Project -- is now available. Supporting independent journalism for the global indigenous movement, IC news magazine publishes daily online.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Full Body Burden

From 1952 to 1989, the Atomic Energy Commission operated a plutonium trigger factory in Rocky Flats, Colorado. The 70,000 triggers made there by Dow Chemical and Rockwell International each contained enough plutonium to kill every human being on earth.

Contamination of the air, land and water in the region was initially covered up by the government and the contractors. Then, after several fires and other leaks, the contamination became the subject of lawsuits and grand juries, both of which were quashed by the U.S. Supreme Court and, most recently, by the Obama Administration.

Writing at Alternet, journalist Brad Jacobson interviews Kristen Iversen, author of Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


The Quaker Threat

Some might recall the 2008 national conventions of America's two largest political parties, where anti-war activists, including Quakers, were arrested at home in advance of planned protests. The preemptive strike by federal law enforcement against peace advocates was made possible, in large part, by illegal wiretapping.

As Tom Burghardt reports, warrantless wiretapping and illegal invasions of privacy, such as monitoring all cell phone usage and content by anti-war activists, is worse now than ever. By keeping an eye on political opponents, the U.S. Government can now harass and intimidate people for merely thinking and talking about protesting U.S. policy.

Since war is America's largest export, anti-war activists will always be a threat in the eyes of the National Security Agency and the Department of Justice. Under this scenario, the Quaker threat could conceivably become public enemy number one.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Killing Children

Three countries in the world have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Somalia, South Sudan, and the United States of America. David Swanson reports on current UN concerns about the U.S. military recruiting, killing, imprisoning, and torturing children.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Myth of America

As Charles Davis notes in his post on the myth of America, the revolution favored by the small minority of white aristocrats who founded the US Government was a revolution to protect slavery from the abolition movement then on the rise in Great Britain. Given that 20% of the American population at the time of the revolution were slaves, this was a major economic concern to the landed aristocracy who'd been granted their lands by the British Crown. Of course, British laws prohibiting expansion of the American colonies into Indigenous lands west of the Appalachias also motivated American aristocrats eager to benefit from acquiring more real estate, but we'll leave that story for another day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Desperate Necessity

In The Society of Debt, Nicholas Mirzoeff examines the product of desperate necessity, where debt as a social space is replacing the public square, and has become the primary means of social connection.

Saturday, July 07, 2012


Practice of Denial

Writing at Monthly Review, Bill Blackwater examines the wishful thinking of progressives who, despite the crises of capitalism, extoll the genius of capitalism to save the environment. Critiquing their leaps of logic and lapses of reason, Blackwater notes this practice of denial across Western society in support of an unsustainable economic system -- that holds unlimited consumption as an article of faith -- involves a lot of intellectual sleight of hand. In their version of reality, he observes, having their cake and eating it too requires ignoring the evidence that others must pay for their far-fetched fantasy.

Friday, July 06, 2012


Living the Revolution

Speaking at Women’s Worlds 2011,  Cherokee activist scholar Andrea Smith discussed the liberation of Indigenous women from the non-profit industry and state institutions attempting to co-opt their movement for colonial purposes.

Thursday, July 05, 2012


On Our Guard

Stella Marr, a survivor of prostitution who writes about the brutality of the industry, discusses the repercussions of speaking out against this most vicious aspect of organized crime. As she notes, exposing the pimps and traffickers for what they are involves confronting as well those who naively believe the pimp propaganda.

While it is still popular among some progressive milieus to be seduced by the sex worker mythology promoted by brothel owners in order to undermine prostitution abolition, it is increasingly clear that this myth is full of holes. When former prostitutes like Marr confront madames like the founder of COYOTE and other gangsters, harrassment and threats inevitably follow. Since violence and threats are what make the industry possible, this should come as no surprise.

Years ago when we defeated a proposition to legalize prostitution in San Francisco, I was surprised we were rebuffed by the California Peace and Freedom Party whom I invited to join us in opposing making it easier for organized crime to traffick and abuse women and children. As a feminist socialist political party I expected better, but as I came to learn, ignorance and arrogance aren't limited to the right-wing; when the avant garde is unwilling to examine its habitual opinions, then the rest of us had better be on our guard.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Celebration of Domination

As Steven Newcomb notes at Indian Country Today, the Independence Day holiday in the United States is really a celebration of domination. The militaristic theme to the holiday is perhaps so obvious that it is not discussed, but for the nations and peoples who suffered loss of independence and freedom due to that domination, it is a painful reminder of ongoing cruelties based on White Christian Nationalism.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Dispatch from the Protestant Vatican

Paul Harvey reports from Colorado Springs -- home of the U.S. Air Force Academy and numerous Free-Market conservative Christian organizations -- on the hypocrisy of libertarian, suburban sprawl into the fire zones of the wildland-urban interface now crying for the U.S. Government to save them. As one of the most concentrated sources of religious bigotry in the country, it's somehow fitting that Mother Nature is teaching the residents of the Protestant Vatican a lesson.

Sunday, July 01, 2012



In her graduate thesis, Center for World Indigenous Studies associate scholar Renee Davis examines the cultural use of local plants to enable coping with diabetes and generational trauma in Salish tribal communities, and how storytelling and narrative might be employed to potentiate cultural revitalization and health education.

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