Tag Archives | Activism

The Future Is Local, The Future Is Not Monsanto

via RINF:

The US as a nation consumes more than anyone else, virtually at the expense of everyone else. The petrodollar system has ensured that imports into the US have been cheap and readily available. Post 1945, Washington has been able to take full advantage of the labour and the material resources of poor countries.

Consider that ‘developing’ nations account for more than 80 percent of world population but consume only about a third of the world’s energy. Also bear in mind that US citizens constitute 5 percent of the world’s population but consume 24 percent of the world’s energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as two Japanese, six Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians and 370 Ethiopians [1].

The US is able to consume the way it does because of high demand for the US dollar: it is the world reserve currency.

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2014: The Year the American Justice System Officially Died

Carey Wedler writes at TheAntiMedia.org:

In 2014, the problem of police brutality forced itself to the forefront of the national conversation following the brutal killing of Americans at the hands of the police. This increased attention has been a success for activists from all walks of life and for the well-being of citizens. The problem of racism and police murders that involve it is finally receiving widespread acknowledgment and opposition.

But as much as the issue of police abuse needs attention, it remains that injustice in America permeates layers of society that transcend law enforcement, race, and problems of direct violence against citizens.

Rather, police brutality is a symptom of much deeper decay in the concept and system of “justice” in the United States. As much as murderous cops escaping punishment is outrageous, here are other travesties that occurred in 2014:

The Senate attempted to stifle the free speech of any journalist it did not define as “press,” calling the bill a protection of the first amendment. Most of Congress cheered Israel on from June through the summer while it pummeled Gaza.

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Take it and Like it: Corporate America and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:

The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.

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10 Good Things About the Year 2014

(Photo: Daniel Arauz/flickr/cc)

(Photo: Daniel Arauz/flickr/cc)

Medea Benjamin writes at Common Dreams:

It’s been a year of fervent activism on police accountability, living wages, climate change, personal freedoms, immigrant rights, an open internet and diplomacy over war. The electoral beating the Democrats received has prompted both the Administration and some spineless congresspeople to realize that support for progressive issues could reinvigorate their base —a realization that has already led to Obama’s executive action on immigration and the opening to Cuba.

So here are some of the 2014 highlights.

1. Uprising for police accountability. The movement for police accountability has swept the nation, spawning brilliant new leaders from communities most affected, giving a voice to the families who have lost loved ones and opening people’s eyes to the militarization of our police forces. It is an organic, grassroots movement destined to have a transformative impact on the struggle for racial equality. Keep an eye out in 2015 for CODEPINK’s campaign to demilitarize the police, Communities Organize to Demilitarize Enforcement.

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“You Can’t Stop the Signal” — An Analysis of Social Media Activism

Essam Sharaf  (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

Essam Sharaf (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

Via World Policy Blog

Welcome back to the World Policy “Best of” list. Today we pull back the curtain on the Egyptian revolution and reveal its somewhat dark underbelly. Political activist Mahmoud Salem, who tweets under the name “sandmonkey,” shares how the introduction of social media into Egyptian culture sparked the Egyptian revolution where he played a seminal social media role. At the same time, these same tools now jeopardize the creation of any political infrastructure capable of governing effectively. 

By Mahmoud Salem

CAIRO, Egypt—As a child of the 1980s, I grew up watching science fiction television shows and movies—all set in the “not-so-distant future.” Holographic communication, teleportation, and flying cars were central tenets of that universe. And while I marveled at the prospect of these technologies, I was most fascinated by the “magical technological device”—that could be used to complete any task, from basic communication to dissemination of news to national security.

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The Tragedy of the American Military

via The Atlantic:

In mid-September, while President Obama was fending off complaints that he should have done more, done less, or done something different about the overlapping crises in Iraq and Syria, he traveled to Central Command headquarters, at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. There he addressed some of the men and women who would implement whatever the U.S. military strategy turned out to be.

The part of the speech intended to get coverage was Obama’s rationale for reengaging the United States in Iraq, more than a decade after it first invaded and following the long and painful effort to extricate itself. This was big enough news that many cable channels covered the speech live. I watched it on an overhead TV while I sat waiting for a flight at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. When Obama got to the section of his speech announcing whether he planned to commit U.S.

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The Poor Person’s Defense of Riots

Matthias Rhomberg (CC BY 2.0)

Matthias Rhomberg (CC BY 2.0)

Delio Vasquez writes at CounterPunch:

Since the Ferguson decision, we have been flooded with stories about how the overwhelmingly peaceful nation-wide protests against police brutality have been occasionally ruined by looting and property destruction caused by “fringe” elements. In conservative media, the trouble-makers have been generally characterized as parts of the black “criminal” underclass. In the liberal media, the law-breakers have often been characterized as “outside agitators,” “violent political radicals,” and “white anarchists.”  While the conservative side has worked to make it seem like the actions of these black “criminals” are not legitimately political, the liberal side on the other hand has avoided publicizing stories about people of color engaging in property destruction altogether. There is a real danger that these omissions have been motivated by white guilt—as well as by the legitimate concern that publicizing these stories will be interpreted as feeding into racism.

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Refusing To Wage War

"Critics of police violence, all those who call for demilitarized law enforcement and an acknowledgement of America’s institutional racism, are, yet again, but with even more self-righteous ferocity, declared the enemy." (Photo: The All-Nite Images/flickr/cc)

“Critics of police violence, all those who call for demilitarized law enforcement and an acknowledgement of America’s institutional racism, are, yet again, but with even more self-righteous ferocity, declared the enemy.” (Photo: The All-Nite Images/flickr/cc)

Robert C. Koehler writes at Common Dreams:

And so we grieve over another national tragedy.

Two New York City police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot — assassinated — as they sat in their patrol car this past weekend. Let the needlessness of their deaths rip our hearts open. Let the humanity come first.

“Now is a moment for empathy and deep listening.”

The words are from a statement issued by #BlackLivesMatter, a grassroots movement emerging this year over the spate of police killings of young men of color. The murder of the officers is part of the same tragedy. Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. All lives matter. Any thinking that embraces less than this is part of the problem, not the solution.

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Origins of the Police

The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, Five Points was also a destination for Irish immigrants and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this.

The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, Five Points was also a destination for Irish immigrants and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this.

Via Works in Theory

In England and the United States, the police were invented within the space of just a few decades—roughly from 1825 to 1855.

The new institution was not a response to an increase in crime, and it really didn’t lead to new methods for dealing with crime. The most common way for authorities to solve a crime, before and since the invention of police, has been for someone to tell them who did it.

Besides, crime has to do with the acts of individuals, and the ruling elites who invented the police were responding to challenges posed by collective action.

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It’s Not Rape if He’s a God–Or Thinks He Is

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Via IEET:

Stories like the Virgin Birth lack freely given female consent. Why don’t they bother us more? Powerful gods and demi-gods impregnating human women—it’s a common theme in the history of religion, and it’s more than a little rapey.

Zeus comes to Danae in the form of a golden shower, cutting “the knot of intact virginity” and leaving her pregnant with the Greek hero, Perseus.

Jupiter forcibly overcomes Europa by transforming himself into a white bull and abducting her. He imprisons her on the Isle of Crete, over time fathering three children.

Pan copulates with a shepherdess to produce Hermes.

The legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus are conceived when the Roman god Mars impregnates Rea Silvia, a vestal virgin.

Helen of Troy, the rare female offspring of a god-human mating, is produced when Zeus takes the form of a swan to get access to Leda.

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