Wednesday, October 31, 2012

 

God Hates Labor Unions

At the Reclaiming "America" conference held at City University of New York last Friday, my friend Chip Berlet presented his paper God Hates Labor Unions: Christian Conservative Anti-Collectivism from the Civil War to the Tea Parties. While unable to attend the gathering, I think I can still say something about Chip's thesis.

To wit, anti-collectivism in the United States -- whether mobilized against indigenous communities, labor unions, or socialists -- is rooted in the Christian, white, male privilege that accompanied the founding of the American republic. That privilege -- dependent on slavery, genocide and murderous attacks on organized labor -- in essence derives from the Golden Age of conservatism. Attempting to re-establish the conditions of that privilege by rolling back civil rights and undermining human rights is the primary motivation for mobilizing resentment under the banner of the Tea Party.

While religious racism plays an important part in this mobilization, the misanthropic objective of crushing all attempts to establish strong communities capable of resisting white, Christian tyranny transcends racism; indeed, it is an apocalyptic vision that dooms all humanity.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

 

A Lawless Society

To be sure, I’m glad PEN and ACLU are fighting the US Government in the Supreme Court over National Security Agency spying on human rights activists, but I suffer no illusions that the NSA or FBI will cease spying on or harassing activists opposed to US domestic and foreign policy. With so much money to be made robbing the US Treasury and bombing other countries for their oil and minerals, the spying will go on, regardless of what the courts say. As the Indignados of Spain remarked, all they tell us are lies.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

 

Communities of Resistance

Frida Berrigan shares Stories From an Insurrectionary Childhood.

Friday, October 26, 2012

 

Hand of God

While theft of the public treasury is an agenda item Obama and Romney both support, how they would go about achieving that deserves greater attention. Given Romney's running mate Paul Ryan's close ties to the ultra-conservative Koch brothers and the Chilean fascist economist Jose Pinera, the Romney version of creating poverty adds another dimension to neo-liberal, free-market greed. Part of that dimension is the religious-based glee of inflicting punishment on the poor.

As Bruce Wilson reports, Romney's ties to Latin American financiers with links to government-backed death squads might help shed light on the Pinochet style privatization he and Ryan envision. As one of the most brutal of South American dictatorships to emerge under U.S.-backed state terrorism in the 1970s, Pinochet and Pinera, his Secretary of Labor and Social Security, invoked the Chicago School plan that plunged half the Chilean population into poverty, and terrorized everyone but the ruling elite.

While Romney and Ryan may see the hand of God in their vision, others see a brutal and feudal society of rape and ruin. Oddly, that doesn't seem to bother them. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

 

Lessons Learned

As an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, perhaps I'm too close to the center's chair Rudolph C. Ryser to do his recently published book Indigenous Nations and Modern States justice in a review. That said, I am also familiar enough with Rudy's nearly four decades of work at the forefront of the world indigenous peoples' movement to make a statement about what readers are likely to find between the covers of his treatise.

As the principal architect of the study of Fourth World geopolitics, Rudy has worked alongside such notable indigenous leaders as former National Congress of American Indians president Joe DeLaCruz and National Indian Brotherhood/Assembly of First Nations chief George Manuel. From the establishment of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples to its successor CWIS, Rudy has been a key participant in the development of indigenous human rights around the world, and helped lay the groundwork for related discussions and declarations at the United Nations and regional bodies on all continents.

Having recruited, nurtured and socialized activist scholars he's mentored through the center's various programs, Rudy has facilitated an awareness and commitment among indigenous young people far and wide, and now, the lessons he has learned are available in what promises to be one of the most important indigenous issues publications of all time. His book is available from the publisher in hard cover and e-book, as well as limited edition paperback from the center.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

 

Blind Spots e-book

I just discovered that my 2003 memoir, Blind Spots, is now available as an e-book. Because the original publisher pulled it from their catalogue after receiving a threatening phone call from someone named in the book, I did not expect the first edition to resurface, but it apparently has.

(In response to its removal, immediately following the first press review in 2003, I opted in 2005 to self-publish a second edition elsewhere.)

Admittedly, the memoir would benefit from an index, which it does not include, but it nevertheless describes how the building and real estate industries in Washington state covertly conspired to undermine environmental and treaty protections by funding property rights field agents who organized anti-environmental, anti-Indian vigilantes to intimidate the industries' political opponents. While not, perhaps, an elegant account of the seven-year battle, it is at least accurate and based on eyewitness testimony and evidence collected from public records.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

 

Mormon Morality

Personally, I've had very limited interaction with Mormons, but the interactions that involved contractual ethics left me wondering if there was something about the religion that condoned what I would call cheating. As Joanna Brooks reports at Religion Dispatches, my suspicions might in fact have some basis in the belief system of Mormonism.

Applied to the topic of government policy, Brooks observes that some officials in government and the Mormon church both condoned and participated in developing torture techniques that clearly violate international human rights law. More importantly, Brooks notes, presidential candidate Romney, by his own statements, falls into this camp.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

 

Refuge Within a Refuge

The Owl and Panther Project of The Hopi Foundation always intrigued me for its unique combination of art, intellect and generosity. As a social contribution based on Hopi traditional values and visions, this provision of refuge within a refuge is a remarkable humanitarian intervention toward those traumatized by state oppression.

As the many peoples of the world struggle to come to terms with internally and externally displaced persons, brutalized by corrupted markets and corroded states, tools of resilience that restore these families and individuals to good mental and spiritual health fill the void left by state and market malign neglect. As more of us become disoriented by war, trauma and loss of community, finding refuge where we can reorient ourselves by acquiring both a practical and spiritual understanding, enables us to address life's constantly changing circumstances through fulfilling participation in society.

Without these understandings, we are merely adrift in the turbulence.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

 

Tar Sands Racism

Last week, the Nobel Women's Initiative sent a delegation to speak with women in the Canadian province of Alberta about the impact of the Tar Sands oil mining on them, their families and communities. As Nobel Laureate Jody Williams notes in her observations, the denuded Boreal forest area of the Tar Sands project is geographically the size of Florida, and while oil companies have made $14 billion on the project, local indigenous communities have reaped respiratory problems and cancers. As a project that daily uses enough natural gas to heat 6 million homes, one has to ask what is the point of such a project, let alone doubling its size as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper proposes.

So, as the Nobel Women's delegation listens to stories about the annihilation of indigenous peoples' independent and sustainable way of life and ever increasing rates of sickness, substance abuse and suicide, we might want to ask why the broader society finds this cultural genocide acceptable. Have consumers been so brainwashed they support any project that provides them with with more fossil-fueled junk, or is it only acceptable when it happens to someone else?

Perhaps more importantly, would our society accept this if the victims were white?

Friday, October 19, 2012

 

Plante Released

After spending a week in solitary confinement at one of Obama's little Guantanamos, Leah-Lynn Plante has been released from FDC SeaTac. That's the good news.

The bad news is that spending a week in solitary confinement in federal prison, for a person already traumatized by a SWAT team raid on her home, is not something soon forgotten. After living with the anxiety of facing 18 months in prison for refusing to speak to a grand jury in July, Leah-Lynn was already depressed and terrified before she was subjected to federal custody and the inhumane brutality of solitary confinement.

So, while we are glad Leah-Lynn has been released, the bastards at the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Seattle U.S. Attorney's office, not to mention the White House and Department of Justice, have no excuse for what they've done to a young woman they admit committed no crime. Think about that.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

 

World on Strike

As Nicholas Mirzoeff reports, the growing civil society response to neoliberal austerity is striking. From the UK to Tunisia to Egypt and Spain, strike is the message to those seeking free expression, health and education.

While not likely to happen in large numbers in the US any time soon, strikes in Portugal and Greece will serve as indicators of how the financial cartel and neoliberal states handle social dysfunction. Whether they resort to targeted arrests or to mass murder will make a significant difference in the tactical adaptations of civil society.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

 

Dealing with Dissent

When the Ohio National Guard fired sixty-seven armor-piercing bullets at unarmed student protestors on the Kent State University campus on May 4, 1970, I was one month away from my high school graduation. As I prepared to enter college that fall, student strikes were underway across the country.

Perhaps more than Woodstock the previous year or the Summer of Love three years earlier, the Kent State and Jackson State massacres were instrumental in forming the identity of many American youth. While not all of them would retain hippie values or commit themselves to furthering civil and human rights, many would never again trust the government when it came to dealing with dissent.

In today's Black Agenda Report, Laurel Krause and Mickey Huff examine the evidence of police misconduct and guard complicity in manufacturing the tragedy at Kent State that left four students dead.

Monday, October 15, 2012

 

The Business of Democracy

Writing at Indian Country Today, Peter d'Errico discusses the business of democracy in today's world. Noting that the elected council system imposed by the federal government on American Indian tribes is a corporate business model, it is no surprise that this system wreaked havoc on traditional societies that already had workable governments. As a system that is meant to divide and corrupt, it has been a successful means of exploiting tribal resources and controlling reservations.

Looking at the larger world now in turmoil, d'Errico posits that imposed governments never work, and perhaps more importantly, that voting is not synonymous with self-government. Given the system is controlled by commerce, d'Errico asks if it can even be called a democracy.

Reminding us that the U.S. Constitution, as originally written, legalized slavery and limited voting to white, male property owners, d'Errico asserts that the history of American democracy has been one of a small elite seeking ways to preserve their privileges while using their power to control and steal from others. In the modern world of bank bailouts, #Occupy and Arab Spring, the power of that system to call itself a democracy is called into question.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

 

Tea Party True Colors

In Abridging the Vote, Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind document the concerted efforts within the Tea Party movement to suppress Black and Latino voting in North Carolina. Lest some be inclined to write North Carolina off as an aberration, the special report -- published by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights -- notes that the Tea Party affiliate True the Vote is actively organizing to intimidate non-white voters and elections officials in 30 states.

By aggressively challenging the voter registration, identity and eligibility of prospective voters, the Tea Party stormtroopers plan amounts to malicious harassment of a form we haven't seen in the South since the 1960s. Because of this Klan-like plan to make non-white citizens afraid to vote, equal rights in the United States could take a huge step backward--if we let it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

 

A Life Worth Living

YES! Magazine interviews Alice Walker about love, beauty, consciousness, challenge and change and fighting for a life worth living. As Walker observes,
I think the War on Terror is really absurd, especially coming from a country that is founded on terrorism. The hypocrisy of that is corrosive, and we should not accept it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

 

Department of Injustice

For those who haven't noticed that protecting the war industry is a top priority of the Obama Administration, the Timeline of FBI Repression of anti-war activists nationwide over the last two years, helps put into context the abuse of federal authority wielded by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle against peace activists in the Pacific Northwest recently. As reported by award-winning journalist Will Potter, U.S. Department of Justice repression of environmentalists and anti-war organizers under U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is so misguided that FBI policy actually states environmentalists are the number one threat to internal security.

While this may come as a shock to people like those that lost loved ones in the Oklahoma City bombing, federal SWAT teams are nonetheless battering down doors with military weapons drawn to arrest people for protesting U.S. Government crimes against humanity. As noted on Salon yesterday, refusing to participate in the FBI witch hunt netted three Portland, Oregon activists -- who have committed no crimes -- 18 months in a federal detention facility.

Oddly, when I searched the Seattle Times for news on the latest activist railroaded into prison via the Seattle grand jury, Leah-Lynn Plante, the "Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting" came back with 0 results. Which reminded me of the 1999 WTO Ministerial scandal, when Seattle television talking heads claimed activists were running amok, as I simultaneously watched Seattle police over live-streaming Internet as they beat seated protestors with batons and sprayed chemicals in their faces.

 

Hillary's Hijinks

Wrong Kind of Green recaps Hillary's hijinks in support of the fascist fifth column -- otherwise known as State Department junior achievers -- and their spectacular fake revolutions on behalf of the Fortune 500.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

 

FBI Witch Hunt

Last week was banned books week, and when I asked our local librarian about the colorful display of banned books with a poster of a librarian in a Che beret, she laughed, and said that was their idea of a hero.

Yesterday, Leah-Lynn Plante was sentenced to prison for refusing to answer questions before a grand jury in Seattle about books she and her anarchist friends read. As part of an FBI witch hunt against environmentalists who espouse a philosophy that we might be better off without government, Plante's incarceration in a federal detention center kind of proves their point.

Rather than listening to me, though, readers should read and listen to Leah-Lynn herself explain her principled stand. For those who wish to support her and other young people abused by the U.S. Department of Justice, links are included in this article.

Monday, October 08, 2012

 

Liberal Fascism

In the United States, anarchists -- when they're not chaining themselves to banks -- tend to serve free soup in public parks or hold radical book fairs, but in Europe, they are often more aggressive. As Wrong Kind of Green reports, in France, some international anarchist groups are currently used by government intelligence agencies to, "sow confusion and chaos among the ranks of disaffected youth, inciting them to mindless, violent acts that serve the agenda of an ever-encroaching police state."

As useful idiots, some of these anarchists have even taken to threatening anti-war activists like Jean Bricmont. As perhaps the inevitably logical consequence of the legitimization of so-called humanitarian war -- promoted by government-controlled NGOs like Amnesty International USA -- the anti-democratic violence of some anarchists, duped by this Orwellian noopolitik, has ironically turned them into fascists. While this no doubt serves to vent their youthful indiscretion, it also serves to consolidate the tyrannical powers they ostensibly oppose.

As Wrong Kind of Green notes, "Due to the simple-mindedness of their beliefs and stupidity of their actions, Antifa tend to attract naïve and angry youths who turn up at demonstrations in black hoodies in order to provoke police crackdowns and sabotage any meaningful resistance to the current political order." As NATO, the EU and the US escalate invasions and destabilization campaigns against regimes opposed to the corporate neoliberal agenda worldwide, the use of manipulated resentment to curtail free expression will undoubtedly increase exponentially.

As observed in the article,


It is one of the most egregious propaganda achievements in recent history that those who expose the lies that trick the public into perceiving wars of aggression as humanitarian operations are denounced as “fascists”, while those who bang the drums of war are considered to be “left-wing” and “progressive”. This is the general pattern set by the French media complex and genuine anti-imperialist intellectuals have paid the price by being subjected to a veritable witch hunt for their theoretical heresies.

As Wrong Kind of Green warns, the censorship by the left liberal establishment is the path to a new form of totalitarianism.

As it happens, I wrote about the progressive fascist alliance I perceived in Democratic Party stalwarts four years ago, who at the time were engaged in red-baiting those who pointed out that Obama was a committed warmonger. The fact the attack on journalists who refused to drink the Obama kool-aid was initially conducted by an accolite of a noted anti-fascist blogger made the situation all the more surreal.

Then again, the self-admission by the cult spear-carrier that she considered style more important than substance should have been a clue. As it turns out, using that criteria, Obama was the logical choice.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

 

Prevail or Fail

A couple years ago, Gregory Vickrey posted  a commentary titled manufacturing discontent, in which he discussed modern political arenas and the failure of conventional directives to solve any of the problems that plague humanity. Using large NGOs like the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Nature Conservancy as examples of how conventional alternatives perpetuate the status quo, Vickrey argues that until corporate control of elections, government and economies is defeated, no solutions will ever happen.

As Vickrey sums up, we need to challenge the system--prevail or fail.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

 

Lesson in Civic Courage

As reported in the 23 September edition of The Daily World, Quinault Indian Nation -- located on the central coast of Washington state -- is leading the challenge against IRS rules that illegally seek to tax tribal cultural practices of sharing tribal wealth with members in need. Once known as potlatch, sharing as a communal cultural practice, along with singing and dancing, was outlawed by the U.S. Government between the 1880s and 1950s.

Viewed as a key way of destroying indigenous communities in Washington and British Columbia, both Canada and the US sentenced Indian offenders to prison. Now, in the 21st century, the U.S. Treasury Department has again set out to destroy Indian tribes by banning sharing through the coercive method of taxation. While this aggression by the IRS is in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law, Treasury knows full well that taxing tribal wealth is one way of usurping tribal governance on reservations, and thus preventing tribes from taxing corporations that have long ripped them off, extracting resources on reservations without paying a fair share.

As a form of intimidation, this latest exercise of coercion by the IRS has instilled fear in many American Indian tribes; the refusal to be intimidated, demonstrated last week by the Quinault and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians -- an organization of 52 tribal governments -- is a lesson in civic courage we should all applaud.

Monday, October 01, 2012

 

Amnesty Coup

Twenty years ago, after CBS 60 Minutes reported on industry-sponsored, government-supported terrorism against environmentalists in the US, one of the industry-financed field agents was quoted in High Country News as saying his job was to decide, "who to threaten, who to bribe."

I was reminded of this candid remark when reading the report at Wrong Kind of Green on the U.S. State Department coup at Amnesty International USA--a hostile takeover that placed former Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the State Department, Suzanne Nossel, at the helm. Having been installed as AI USA executive director in January, Nossel has expressed identical views about how to promote US imperial interests. As an experienced advocate for neoliberal coercion to achieve American hegemony, she has taken an aggressive pro-war stance over the last decade, including the US invasion of Iraq and the NATO bombing of Libya. When working as a Hillary wanabe at State, Nossel fought hard at the UN Human Rights Council as an apologist for Zionist crimes against humanity in Palestine.

As a junior achiever of note, Nossel is perhaps not a surprising choice to head the coup at Amnesty; she -- like Condoleeza Rice -- paid her dues as a lackey to the rich and powerful, and is following the game plan they set out for her. What we need to ask in light of the coup is, what purpose will big international NGOs serve when they are all working for government and industry?

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?