Category Archives: General

Stop the Press: The 20 Percent Solution

The Great Reset Hymn

I have heard a lot of discussion about when the war will end that began in April 2020.

Yes, war. I have spent the better part of the past ten months trying to determine what the best attitude or approach to the current unpleasantness ought to be taken.

A tension has been created over the course of the year between those who think about what has been happening and those who do not. I have alluded to this tension in previous articles. Meanwhile there are a few others who seem to have grasped not only the urgency but the necessity of appropriate language for the current situation.

As I argued in February, we are not faced with a health issue and never have been. The People’s Republic of China was faced with a health issue and acted accordingly. This is not the place to discuss that history. However, at no time from December 2019 to the present has any national or international authority in the West ever been in the least interested in health and well-being of the inhabitants of the planet or those particular political entities that comprise the Anglo-American Empire and its suzerain states.

In a recent conversation with my music teacher I remarked that I was never very good at memorising anything. In previous articles I have alluded to this quality. Hence my entire intellectual development could be said to have been devoted to observation and the construction of relationships. For relationships to make sense one has to have an appropriate perspective or context. One way to see this is as a kind of pyramid or hierarchy, as metaphor an explanatory regress. The point is to construct a sufficiently broad view of events so as to organise the observations as intelligible relationships.

One day several years ago I visited the battlefield of Waterloo, a tiny place in Belgium not far from Brussels. There the visitor will find an artificial hill topped by a bronze lion, symbolising the forces of the British Empire and its allies who defeated Napoleon’s armies there. Atop this hill, a kind of observation post, there were plates depicting more or less the topography of that battle. By chance while I was there I overheard a conversation by two British NATO officers in mufti discussing the battlefield. Of course, when the battle was being fought there was no such hill and hence no such perspective. One officer said to the other, look at that small space and imagine. First the artillery fires across that field. Then the cavalry charges. Hundreds of horses churn up the earth. Then the infantry in line has to try to advance through all these mud and holes, marching in formation, trying to reach the range from which to fire on the French lines. The conversation continued in a technical fashion which I certainly found informative. But the point here is that from the top of the Waterloo monument one could contemplate the entirety of practical, tactical and strategic difficulties of two massed 18th/early 19th century armies battling in a space comparable to the Champs de Mars in Paris or the Mall in Washington or Green Park in London. Thousands of soldiers could barely see in front of them — this was before the introduction of smokeless powder — trying to maintain the infantry line which constituted massed firepower in the age before the machine gun.

From the top of the hill nearly two centuries later, it was easy to adopt a perspective that would explain many details of the battle as well as the problems each belligerent had to confront. In 2020 it takes some concentration and perhaps audacity to find a “hill” from which to see what has been happening and where the fronts are. It takes no imagination if one has studied the plans and the operations of the belligerent — the aggressor — to see what has been done so far. It takes only a bit more work and analysis to determine what the probable tactical objectives of the aggressor are — his strategic objectives are a matter of record.

In the course of the 20th century a kind of “rule of thumb” has become established in strategic circles that says essentially, the destruction, displacement or demobilisation of about 20% of a country’s population is sufficient to subjugate the country as a whole. I seem to recall this point being made while Ronald Reagan was presiding over the subjugation of Central America in the face of democratic movements in Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. At the official conclusion of those undeclared and illegal wars fought covertly through US proxies in the respective countries, 20% of Guatemaltecans and Salvadorans were either dead or in exile — many of whom comprising part of the despised migrant labour force north of the Rio Bravo.

If, however, we look back at the period from 1936 until 1945, we find that conservative figures record a 20% loss of population in both the Soviet Union and China as a result of combined Allied aggression. Unlike some sentimentalists I do not believe it appropriate to treat dictatorships that were heavily funded by the Anglo-American Empire (whether residing in Rome or Berlin) as hostile to it. The relationship between the Japanese Empire and the American Empire was comparable to that prevailing between Britain and Germany. The details of those relationships have been discussed elsewhere so those who are interested and not dismissive can find them with a bit of effort.

So reviewing the 20th century, roughly from 1912 onward from atop the hill at Waterloo, I find one cannot avoid some conclusions or some forecasts.

After the longest economic crisis of the 19th century in which the greatest gangsters the world had ever known, Rockefeller, Morgan, Carnegie, DuPont (just to name those in the US) had seized unimaginable fortunes, the accumulated and slowly consolidating organisations of labour were educating and mobilising people throughout the empires to demand economic and social justice. The parallel competition among the elite demanded conquest. While competing for empire, all empires were agreed that labour had to be disciplined. Some 4 million dead ought to do the job. Even if in 1914 there was no hill from which to see the Somme, Verdun or Yprés, the spirit of victory was there: victory over the competition and above all victory over the lower classes.

A hundred years later the same vile gangsters, some with other names and more plebeian sartorial tastes, have been faced — no later than 2008 with the same dire problem. Well, in fact, that is the absurd aspect of this war. Unlike in 1912, there is no organised lower class, no organised middle class. In fact, since 1989 class has ceased to mean anything at all except — until air traffic came to a virtual standstill — the section of the aircraft one happened to occupy. For thirty years there has been no opposition to the plutocracy that emerged victorious in 1945.

So what is driving the war by those same “types” against the rest of us? They have managed to organise most of our youth around MTV, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. What more do they want?

However, that is the wrong question. When in New York or some other city dominated by elected and unelected criminals you are cornered at gunpoint, there is no natural limit to what you are expected to surrender. When you are audited by someone from the tax office who has been told, “your retention or promotion depends on bringing home the bacon, without litigation”, there is no limit to what you may have to pay.

When, however, you are dealing with the descendants of those vile aristocrats and monarchists, the power of the feudal system, many of whom continue to resent the revolution of 1789 and its continuation in 1917, then you are also dealing with an equally irrational, rabid pack. When the GDR was annexed and the Soviet Union dismantled, their assets stolen from the citizens to feed vultures, this was not merely gratuitous capitalist enrichment. It was vengeance.

We are not faced with a war — with the attack of the 0.01% just for money and assets. In fact, since they destroyed our public service sectors, plundered our pension systems, and squandered whatever taxes we paid on wars to conquer what they had not yet stolen, they have nonetheless remained unsatisfied.

Why were Louis Capet and his Habsburg spouse Marie Antoinette beheaded? Not because the French would not have a king. Rather because that king refused to be French. Louis XVI refused to accept the end of a regime in which people and countries were dynastic property. He refused to accept the role of citizen rather than owner of people and land in France. For the same reason the somewhat more thorough Russian Revolution abolished the dynasty and not just its paramount member.

The British — all their insincere claims to democracy and constitutional monarchy notwithstanding — and their North American cousins in the Anglo-American Empire never accepted either the French or the Russian Revolutions because they violated their deep feudal convictions. I have omitted the Papacy here for the purpose of brevity. However, what we currently face is the monstrous vindictiveness of the Reaction to 1789 and 1917.

This is not a virus. It is not a pandemic. If we are honest what we face today is a plague borne by the vermin that never accepted the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity — the humanist values that drove ordinary people to overthrow the feudal order in which the Church and nobility owned us.

If you ask them what they learned from history they will surely tell you — just like the WEF — “back then, they owned nothing, and we were happy”.

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A Lot More to Afghanistan Than the Current Distractions Would Imply

It seems fitting that I write this on 22 November 2020, the 57th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. The murder of Kennedy was lied about from day one. That comes as no surprise to those who follow geopolitics. What the JFK assassination tells us, however, is that the powers that be do not hesitate to lie, and keep lying, if it suits their wider geopolitical purpose.

In Kennedy’s case his death warrant was probably signed in June 1963 when he gave a speech to the American University. That speech highlighted the uselessness of America’s Imperial wars. He foreshadowed that one of his first tasks after re-election in 1964 would be the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. What happened is well-established history. His successor as President, Lyndon Johnson, increased US troops’ participation in the Vietnam war immensely. It would be a further 12 years and millions of dead Vietnamese before the final, ignominious, United States retreat was forced.

The point of reminding readers of this sorry history is that essentially nothing has changed with regard to United States foreign policy. That is clearly evident in the case of US involvement in Afghanistan. We are currently being reminded, in the light of recent revelations about atrocities committed by Australian special forces in Afghanistan, that the war is now in its 20th year. We are solemnly assured that this is the longest war ever fought by United States (and Australian) troops.

That statement is only partially true. It is what we, the general public, are not told about that particular fiasco that reveals more about the United States’ foreign policy’s real objectives than sudden concern about the bad behaviour of a limited number of troops up to a decade or more ago.

Western journalists accounts repeatedly state that the war began following an al Qaeda attack upon the United States in September 2001. Al Qaeda were said to be sheltering in Afghanistan and the Afghanistan government (a Taliban one in those days) was “refusing to hand them over for American justice.” It is part of the Western way of waging war that actual evidence plays little or no part in justifying their Imperial adventures.

The United States had been in Afghanistan at least since the 1980s when they were arming and otherwise supporting Afghans fighting against the Soviet troops that had entered Afghanistan in 1980. They have been there ever since, and the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 did not alter that.

To understand the attraction of Afghanistan to foreign, mainly western, forces, one needs to go back even further in time. The British invaded Afghanistan three times in the 19th century and the principal motive was always the same: geography. The fact that Afghanistan has for well over 100 years also being the world’s principal source of heroin was an added inducement.

The latter 20th century and 21st century invasions and occupation of Afghanistan by the United States merely changed the colonial master. The United States has used, and continues to use, its vast worldwide network as a vehicle for the widespread distribution of the very profitable heroin trade.

We now have the avowed intention of United States president Donald Trump to remove United States troops from Afghanistan. Again, that tells only part of the story. Whether or not Trump succeeds in actually removing US troops in the now less than two months remaining of his presidency remains to be seen. The incoming president, Joe Biden, has made no such commitment. Trump’s vow will likely be as empty is his predecessor Obama’s pledge that US forces would be out of Afghanistan by 2016.

But United States troops in Afghanistan are only part of the equation. There are actually more US hired mercenary forces in Afghanistan at present than there are regular US military troops. Their fate has been conspicuously absent from all discussions about Trump’s alleged troop withdrawal.

Quite apart from the purported withdrawal of United States military forces from Afghanistan, there is also the question of the thousands of troops from other nations, including Australia, that are there. All of the publicity given to the alleged historical bad behaviour of the Australian Special Forces has singularly failed to address the wider questions: why are they still there, and what are their plans for a withdrawal? On both of these rather fundamental points there is a complete silence.

Instead of these questions being asked, let alone answered, the sense one gets is that the military and political leadership are hoping that the focus on “a few bad apples” will avoid their having to address the more fundamental question of when are they going to leave?

The short answer is that there is no intention of leaving. Trump’s troop withdrawal will have a very short life, not extending beyond Biden assuming power on 20 January 2021. The CIA will continue to run the export of the very lucrative drug trade, and Australian troops will continue to do their part in guarding the crop.

Quite apart from the heroin trade, Afghanistan also enjoys a relatively unique geography. It shares its borders with seven other nations. None of them are on friendly terms with the United States. Several form part of the former Soviet Union, and it was a total lack of surprise that United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo recently paid a visit to the region. Pompeo will go in January, along with Trump, but it would be naïve to expect any lessening of United States interest in the region post 20 January 2021.

That several of those countries also form a common border with China is another reason for United States interest. The big country to Afghanistan’s west, Iran, has long been a target of US interest. Again, the constant hybrid warfare being waged against Iran by the United States and its allies such as Israel is another major factor in Washington’s strategic planning. A Biden presidency may well try to re-join the nuclear agreement that the US abandoned, but it is far from certain that will happen, and it will not be on US dictated terms. The European signatories cannot be trusted, but Iran has the backing of both China and Russia and for present purposes that will suffice.

For these various reasons it would be exceedingly naïve to expect any real departure from Afghanistan of United States interests, military, political and drug related. Afghanistan has the great misfortune, as has long been the case, of simply being too valuable to western interests to expect any real departure any time soon.

The post A Lot More to Afghanistan Than the Current Distractions Would Imply first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Dissident Voice 2020-11-20 16:43:14

Image Source: Pexels

Ways You Can Help Eliminate Global Poverty

The planet may feel like a smaller place, thanks to the ease of travel and the internet, but the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that “approximately 1.2 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty” and earn less than a single dollar per day.

Poverty affects the health and livelihood of a large number of people worldwide. Thankfully, there are a number of human rights organizations working to end global poverty, some of which the most recognizable include The World Bank, Oxfam International, CARE, and OPAD. Though these four organizations are just a small representation of the many charities and foundations all working towards tackling the global poverty problem, how will ending poverty actually happen? There is no simple answer to the question, although there are some main factors that are a major focus.

Global Water Crisis

Global poverty isn’t only about money. In fact, for many poverty-stricken areas, there’s an overall shortage of resources. Water is one of the most critical. Specifically, “844 million people — approximately 10% of the global population — lack access to basic drinking water.” Water is critical to more than drinking, too — it’s needed for sanitation and to grow food. Companies should invest in developing new water conservation technologies that make it easier and more accessible to reduce the amount of water people and businesses use.

On a smaller scale, being more conscious about environmental issues and our personal water usage around the home could preserve freshwater levels and shift the global collective mindset about how precious water is. Some ways to preserve water include:

  • Replacing water-heavy landscaping such as lawns with drought-tolerant or low-water versions.
  • Installing low-flow valves in household sinks and toilets.
  • Irrigate plants and gardens early in the morning.
  • Recycle grey (used) water by using it to irrigate plants, for example.

Global Food Supply

A bleak statistic highlights how global hunger could be avoided with more efficient food supply and distribution systems. In an article about how to transform global food production, Marlen, a food equipment manufacturer, reports that “30% to 40% of food produced is thrown away as waste.”

While strides were being made in the global food supply chain, the coronavirus dealt the world with a setback. The World Bank highlights how the current food supply is at risk at a national level, as production and distribution in countries across the globe are disrupted due to the shelter in place orders intended to keep citizens safe.

According to the World Bank’s analysis on COVID-19-related food insecurity, the current issue has long-reaching consequences: “Food producers also face large losses on perishable and nutritious food as buyers have become limited and consumption patterns shift. Though food insecurity is by and large not driven by food shortages, disruptions to the supply of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, or labor shortages could diminish next season’s crop.”

The population most in danger are the 820 million global poor who were already struggling with food shortages before the coronavirus appeared and negatively impacted incomes and food availability.

You can help fight food insecurity that threatens the lives of the most vulnerable by donating to organizations working to provide access to food and agricultural processes. Some organizations working tirelessly to fight against global hunger include:

Many US organizations on a mission to end hunger focus on foreign countries. However, poverty and hunger are also present in the United States. Feeding America reports that “more than 37 million people struggle with hunger in the United States, including more than 11 million children.” Volunteering and donating to local charitable foundations is the best way to help against hunger in your community.

Energy Sustainability

The poorest locations in the world also struggle with the unavailability of energy sources. The World Bank found that roughly 1.1 billion people don’t have access to electricity. In addition, another three billion people cook with highly-polluting fuels, such as dung, wood, kerosene, or charcoal.

In other poverty areas, energy infrastructure is present, but some people may not be able to afford the cost of the utilities. Developed countries such as the U.S. have programs that help low-income individuals pay their utility bills. In addition, public awareness programs promote the importance of energy conservation in the home, such as using insulation and buying energy-efficient appliances.

Supporting clean energy initiatives, such as wind or solar power, not only benefit your bottom dollar in the form of reduced utility bills but helps companies develop more affordable clean-energy technology. As green energy technology becomes more efficient and affordable, it could be used in other areas around the world lacking basic energy infrastructure.

Eliminating Global Poverty

Ending poverty is a big challenge. It requires cooperation from nations, corporations, communities, and individuals. You can take small steps to help in the fight to end poverty by donating to charitable organizations that resonate with you. Turning to a more sustainable lifestyle can also help by easing the load on the world’s natural resources, so others more in need can access them, as well.

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The Tide is Turning: Change and the Coming of Maitreya

For most of 2020 Covid-19 has dominated mainstream media, and whilst serious, the pandemic is but the latest in a series of dark clouds gathering upon our collective horizon: interconnected crises, from the environmental emergency to war, poverty, inequality, and social division among others. All flow from the same roota misguided set of conclusions about life and ourselves; this fragmented and conditioned pattern of thinking fuels actions that result in the various crises we see all around us. It is the consciousness of humanity with its misplaced values and beliefs, its ideologies and reductive notions of self that constitute the underlying crisis.

For the issues of the day to be met and overcome a major shift in attitudes is needed, a change in consciousness allowing for the creative re-invention of civilization to take place. The current ‘way of life’ is largely unhealthy, for the individual and society, and has proved deadly for the natural environment. It is an unkind brutal construct based on ideologies that separate, setting one against the other, creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. Pleasure and desire are promoted as surrogates for natural happiness and love, competition and conformity insisted upon; it is an outdated construct that has no place within the positive movement of the times, which is well underway.

The transition into the new is happening apace and as those forces obstructing change begin to be swept aside there is a sense that humanity is poised to turn a corner. Sharing, cooperation, tolerance, understanding, these are some of the keynotes of the time. Perennial principles held within the hearts of people throughout the world, and which, given the correct conditions will explode into life, sweeping aside all obstacles to freedom, justice and unity. But resistance is fierce, conditioning and attachment to the old ways, strong. And the issues are daunting, overwhelming.

Given these prevailing conditions and the hostility to fundamental change – as opposed to the manipulation of existing systems – it is difficult even for the most optimistic of us to imagine a new world evolving within the short space of time we have. It is hard to see how humanity can make the leap, embrace a radically new, simpler way of living, and overcome the enormous challenges without support and guidance.

We are not alone

While the responsibility to create a new just civilization rests entirely and solely with humanity, we are not alone in this endeavor, nor have we ever been. Withdrawn from the hurly-burly, the noise and pollution, and unknown to the vast majority of people (particularly those in western countries), there exists a large group of highly evolved, perfected men, who, from behind the scenes, are actively engaged in all aspects of life on Earth. They are the senior members of the spiritual hierarchy, (spoken of by H.P. Blavatsky, Helena and Nicholas Roerich and Alice A Bailey among others) the Masters of Wisdom and Lords of Compassion.

The Masters are our elder brothers, those who have gone ahead of us, and have become perfected. They are the custodians of the plan of evolution, yes, according to the esoteric literature there is a plan, one that involves all the kingdoms of nature including the human and works towards total harmony.

At the head of the hierarchy sits Maitreya, the World Teacher. Maitreya is awaited by all the world’s religions under different names: He is Krishna, for the Hindu, the Imam Mahdi for Muslims, Maitreya Buddha expected by Buddhists, and embodying the Christ Consciousness, the second aspect of divinity, the energy of Love, Maitreya is the Christ; the Lord of Love, the Prince of Peace – a deeply controversial statement that many Christians will no doubt resolutely reject.

Maitreya is the teacher for this time and He is once again among us waiting for the most positive moment to step forward into full public view and begin His open work. This is the message that British artist and writer Benjamin Creme shared with the world for over forty years. I first heard him speak in 1987 and although I had no knowledge of such things I intuitively recognized that what he said was true.

According to Creme, Maitreya has been in the everyday world since July 19th 1977 when He “descended from His ancient retreat in the Himalayas” and entered His ‘point of focus” as it is called” – London, England. Maitreya is a teacher in the broadest sense; He comes for everyone as our brother and friend. He will offer advice, guidance on how the crises that weigh so heavily on humanity can be overcome; “My task will be to show you how to live together peacefully as brothers. This is simpler than you imagine, My friends, for it requires only the acceptance of sharing” – from Message no. 82 (of 140 messages given by Maitreya between September 1977 and June 1982). Sharing is crucial: when we share, we create the conditions in which trust and justice can come into being, and when these are present peace between people becomes possible; conversely, without trust and (social) justice there will never be peace.

To claim that the World Teacher is here and waiting for the right moment to emerge is, of course, deeply contentious, and many may dismiss it out of hand. But whilst the appearance of the teacher – a Buddha or Christ figure – is indeed extraordinary it is not unusual. We have lost sight of ourselves and our long past; historically a teacher has always come forth from the spiritual hierarchy at particular times of crisis or transition; and we are living through such a time. So why should now be any different? Look at the world; it is in a state of enormous turmoil, of division and pain, opportunity and awakening. On the one hand huge numbers of people throughout the world are calling for change, for justice and freedom, an end to racism and hate and for substantive action to tackle the environmental emergency. In the opposite corner are the reactionary fearful forces that are desperate to stop progress and to maintain the cruel status quo. It is these very forces that are the major obstacle to change and the swift emergence of Maitreya, who is the harbinger of the new.

Their weapons of choice are fear and division, interconnected poisons that feed on each other, and that once embedded can tear people apart, feeding hatred and anger, within a family, a society or nation. One of the loudest expressions of the reactionary strain in recent years has been the rise of political populism, and with it tribal nationalism, intolerance and isolationism. With the fall of Trump – a hugely significant and positive event for the world – this destructive movement has lost one of its leading cheerleaders. Others will gradually fall by the wayside and become increasingly marginalized figures.

After decades of tension there is a real sense now that the tide is finally turning, a feeling that a pivotal point has been crossed. Few can deny that change is underway; as a guide to the direction of such change, which must be measured and ordered, and the nature of our actions, Maitreya advises us to “Take your brother’s need as the measure for your action and solve the problems of the world. There is no other course.”

The momentum will continue to increase, dynamically gaining greater and greater strength, leading to the inculcation of totally new structures and modes of living. And as resistance is overcome, not through conflict, but by growing awareness and the weight of collective will, the space into which Maitreya can step forward will open up, allowing for what one of the Masters describes as the “Dispensation of Love” to take place.

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An Invitation to Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies

In lieu of writing reviews of their own books – with the exception of Walt Whitman, who did that with Leaves of Grass – writers often write introductions or prefaces. The purpose of such introductions is to give the prospective readers a sense of what to expect in the pages that follow, as if the author knew exactly what he was writing when he was writing it, as if he weren’t waylaid by words along the way, or could possibly know what a reader may experience when reading them.  In a way, I too have done that, even while knowing that all writing, if it is any good, is a leap into the relative dark, both for the writer and the reader.  We can’t know beforehand how either will affect us.  What changes us in life and in books is always surprising.

Who knows?

The following is the Introduction to my new book, Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies.  I offer it here as an invitation to consider joining me in the book so we may seek together.  Sort of like Whitman’s invitation1:

Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, To jump off in the midst of the sea,
and rise again and nod to me and shout,
and laughingly dash with your hair.

Introduction

In putting together this selection of essays, I was reminded of what Albert Camus once wrote:

A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.

While I do not claim that all these essays are art, they are my efforts to say in the most eloquent way I can what really has mattered to me in recent years, not just politically but personally, since they are entwined. Upon reflection, I see that what matters to me now is what mattered to me when I was young. Although the issues have changed in certain ways as they must, I have not—unless, or because, my wanderings through life with all its changes have paradoxically meant, in Nietzsche’s words, that I have been becoming who I am.

This seems true to me, and the essaying of the words that follow are part of that becoming. Ortega y Gassett once said that “whether he be an original or a plagiarist, man is the novelist of himself.” I agree. While a book of essays is not a  novel, if read in its entirety, it does tell a story that reveals the times and the man who tells them; it expresses two stories simultaneously. And each story, if told well, always has a double dimension, the old and the new. Every life and every event is disclosed in a historical context, now and then and all the time in between.

While hoping I am an original, I know that I have learned and borrowed from many others. My greater hope is that what I say here is said in a way no other could, that it bears my original stamp. That it is novel. For I am convinced that we  cannot grasp the unique nature of our current era simply by repeating straightforward political analyses. That approach is necessary but not enough. For  it leaves out the hidden heart of a world that seems to be spinning madly toward some kind of denouement. It omits all the little thoughts, secrets, fears, and desires of so many people who wish to speak but can’t find the words to express their thoughts.

From a young age, I have been obsessed with truth, death, and freedom. As I recall, those words have been synonymous for God for many thinkers. So I suppose you could say that I have always been intoxicated with God or for God, or maybe God has been intoxicated with me. I don’t know, nor do I care to: knowledge overrated. I know what I feel. My concerns have been those of many writers throughout the ages—poets, rebels, journalists, philosophers, passionate writers of every stripe, desperados for truth and a peaceful world of love and kindness. Those I have admired the most, believers or unbelievers—it is often hard to tell the difference, nor does it matter—were those who  dismissed categories, distinctions, or labels, but who wrote freely because for them to write freely was to live freely and not to be caged by anyone’s restrictions as to what they should be saying or how they were saying it. For them truth was their God, and through the weaving of words down a page they were always seeking to disclose what was hidden from common sight. They used language to open up cracks in the consensus reality that the great poet and writer Kenneth Rexroth called the “social lie”:

Since all society is organized in the interest of exploiting  classes and since if men knew this they would cease to work and society would fall apart, it has always been necessary, at least since the urban revolutions, for societies to be governed ideologically by a system of fraud.

Indeed, we live in the era of massive fraud where the trans-national wealthy elites, led by the American war and propaganda machine, continue to try to convince the gullible that they are saviors of humanity even as they lie and cheat and murder by the millions.

So what follows are my efforts to unearth the fraud, while celebrating the beauty of life and telling little stories here and there that I hope exemplify its comedy and tragedy. I am always experimenting every time I sit down to write. Not consciously, since I let inspiration guide me. Often, as I think is evident in many pieces, thoughts come to me when walking, and from those initial thoughts comes the path I follow, not knowing exactly where I am headed. Some of these  essays are highly intellectual and structured; some, straightforwardly political; others are meanderings that seek to express essential truths I sense in the telling.

The process feels physical to me. It has a feel and smell. A rhythm. Like a song. Like a dawdling walk in the woods or by a flowing river. If I call them all essays, it is to indicate that they are my attempts, my experiments, my experience (Latin:  exigere: trial, attempt, try) to disclose to myself and anyone who might read them what is going on in the world that I find important and worth investigating. To use my artistic and sociological imagination to connect the dots between the personal and the social and in so doing to say something worth sharing with others.

Whatever my ostensible starting point—a major event, a book, an experience—you can usually be sure that by the time you have read to the end of the piece, I will have branched off down by-ways that lead to other trails that eventually reconnect to the main path. Or so I hope. While I usually see how the roads all lead back to one, sometimes I only intuit it and the reader is left to do the reconnoitering alone. I think this is good. For while these essays are set in ink within the covers of a book, verbal tenses and ink can be misleading. They suggest  that the author’s quest is over, that what motivated the initial words is past, that   the case is closed and the reader and writer are dead-heads satisfied with their knowingness. For me, that is far from true. The paradox of having written these  essays is that I have tried to do so in language that evokes in the reader the  exhilaration I felt in writing them, and that such aliveness will be carried into the  world as rebellion against war and injustice.

I have arranged the essays in no particular order, except to begin and end with a few that tell you something about me. I think it is always good to have some deeper sense of who the author is whose words you are reading, beyond the brief notices on the back of books.

These essays cover a wide variety of topics: propaganda, wars,  government assassinations, work, nature, time, the CIA, silence, poetry, digital dementia, etc. They range far and wide, as I try to connect the scattered dots to draw a coherent picture of our world today. Since I write with no particular goal in mind except truth as I see it, perhaps readers would be best served by randomly choosing a piece and seeing where it might lead them. As with living, I suspect that reading is best done somewhat randomly in the hope that one experiences a sense of liberation in the process. I have scattered some satirical pieces throughout to add a bit of levity to serious matters and hope the reader will not mistake their “authors” for the real me. But if so, that would add to the humor, something we need to survive.

Three authors whom I hold in high esteem and whose names I mention numerous times in this book are John Berger, Albert Camus, and James W. Douglass.

Berger is often described as a Marxist art critic, but such an appellation is misleading, for he was much more than that. While always situating his analyses in historical and cultural contexts, and never forgetting the class structure that  underlies the cruel capitalistic order, he was acutely aware that consumerism and therefore global capitalism as well as philosophical materialism rested upon a  “materialist fantasy” that denied the spiritual power of evil and the spiritual power of good to respond. As a counter-weight, Berger always made sure to cling close to human reality and include what he called “enclaves of the beyond” in his writing. These were often the marginalized hiding places of hope where the spiritual faith in human love and solidarity was nourished and sustained despite the world’s evil.

Albert Camus was very similar in many ways. An avowed atheist with a spiritual core, he was an artistic anarchist with a passionate spiritual hunger and an austere and moral Don Juan. He could not be pigeonholed. This drove many crazy. His allegiance was to truth, not ideologies. He tried to fight injustice while extolling life’s beauty and the human search for happiness. He grasped the essence of the ever-recurring plague that evil doers inflict upon the world. He was preoccupied with death, freedom, and an absent God, but never gave up hope and insisted that rebellion was the only honorable course. Yet the fight against the plague must go on; that was Camus’ message. If not, you will be destroyed by your own complicity in evil.

James W. Douglass, although a writer of a more overt spiritual sensibility, continues to write brilliantly about “the unspeakable” that has been used to cover-up the U.S. government’s assassinations of its greatest anti-war leaders: JFK, Malcom X, MLK, and RFK. The unspeakable is a term coined by the Trappist monk Thomas Merton in the mid-1960s. He meant it to point to a systemic evil that permeates American society that defies speech: “It is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said; the void that gets into the language of public and official declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced, and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss. It is the void out of which Eichmann drew the punctilious exactitude of his obedience . . . .” It is, in other words, the plague that is us when we live in the nest of the unspeakable as obedient servants of the American Empire. Douglass makes the plague manifest in order to give us hope, and in speaking the unspeakable, he shows us both the radical evil and the redemptive courage that we are all capable of.

I mention these three brilliant writers here to say how grateful I am for their work. There are many others, of course, whom you will encounter in the course of reading these essays. For even when we write alone, even when we think we walk alone, we are always following in others’ footsteps.

As Camus says in one of his short stories, it is hard to distinguish between solitary and solidary.

  1. “Song of Myself”, 1855.

The post An Invitation to Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies first appeared on Dissident Voice.

War, Peace, Wealth, and Recognition

Is the world making more love than war these days? And if so why?

It’s a question that three great contemporary intellectuals have either indirectly or directly wrestled with in their life’s work.

The first of our intellectuals is Francis Fukuyama. In his celebrated debut book The End of History and The Last Man, Fukuyama argued with great verve and imagination that Hegel’s nineteenth century insights into the mystery of human history were relevant to better understanding the political nature of our times.

Through the interpretive filter of the Russian-French philosopher Alexander Kojeve, Fukuyama explained that History’s trajectory was bent towards individual freedom and recognition.

In this story, the rise of modern science and technology are not enough to explain the historic spread of democratic governments and the passionate belief in human rights. Science can produce a vibrant consumerist society but only the strong human desire for the recognition of ones self-worth in the eyes of others can explain the demand for political liberty.

Similar to Fukuyama is Michael Doyle’s work on “the Democratic peace” which is, itself, partly based on the philosophical works of Immanuel Kant and Thomas Paine.

Doyle, and others, began to notice in the 1970’s that “a separate peace” between the democracies had been practically achieved. This empirically verifiable peace seemed to support Kant’s and Paine’s earlier beliefs that the only way for a peaceful world order to be secured, republics (democracies) would have to be set up within individual states which would then combine to form a federation of pacific states for whom war would be effectively abolished. The fact that, according to the democratic peace theorists, no war had broken out between the democracies for over two-hundred years seemed to verify these Enlightenment thinkers’ earlier philosophical conjectures.

However, before we celebrate the triumph of Hegelian desires and Kantian Republics in contributing to world peace we should, says Azar Gat, be aware of the pacific power of modernization.

Azar Gat, a noted historian of both war and peace, believes that neither the human desire for freedom and recognition nor the spread of democratic governance is responsible for the current spell of peace between the great powers. He cites as evidence the belligerent nature of ancient democracies between themselves (the case of Democratic Athens vs Democratic Syracuse is of particular interest), the War of 1812, and the US civil war.

Also of importance is the fact that both democracies and non-democracies have had an increasing tendency to not engage in warfare over the past 200 years.

So, if democracy is not the cause of the “long peace” what is?

For Gat, the transformation of the world though the industrial revolution leading to the creation of a consumerist-technological society and culture is the main variable sufficient to explain the current state of peace. Significantly, it is a peace that predated the advent of the atomic bomb, although that event has also contributed to world stability according to Gat.

Modernization has meant many things. Most importantly, it has meant an exponential growth in wealth and comfort. It has increased the possibilities for the enjoyment of life through urbanization, the sexual revolution, commerce, the integration of women, and demographic changes which have led to comparatively less young men (historically the major practitioners of war, if not the instigators).

Thus, in the pre-modern world, war was still a potentially lucrative, if risky, endeavor. And it did not matter against whom it was waged as long as there was a good chance of winning it. However, with the rise of the industrial-technological society (modernization) the payoff matrix suddenly changed. Increasingly, it made more sense to avoid conflict so as not to risk the considerable benefits of peace (wealth and comfort).

Ultimately, if Gat is right, it is not so important for countries to be democratic as it is for them to be wealthy. Wealth softens the war like spirit. This is something that was known to philosophers for thousands of years. But the way to modern wealth is through trade, technology, and overall scientific development and education.

In this final causal explanation for the modern peace, we may find some not inconsiderable solace and hope in the recent rise of China. A country very focused on the increase of national wealth and well being. It is to be hoped that such a political interest and actual material development will be enough to avoid great power conflict in the future. Something which was not avoided in the cases of Japan’s and Germany’s rise to power in the early twentieth century. In the end, this will be a test of much more than mere academic theories of peace.

The post War, Peace, Wealth, and Recognition first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A Million and One Ideas that Would Transform the Globe

Writing is not a searching about in the daily experience for apt similes and pretty thoughts and images… It is not a conscious recording of the day’s experiences ‘freshly and with the appearance of reality’… The writer of imagination would find himself released from observing things for the purpose of writing them down later. He would be there to enjoy, to taste, to engage the free world, not a world which he carries like a bag of food, always fearful lest he drop something or someone get more than he.

— William Carlos Williams,  Spring and All

Ahh, just proposing a few hundred “things” to transform the globe into a world where people control their destinies within groups of people who have their destinies in their best interest is teetering on insanity. It’s not what good people in good capitalist company do, allow, or talk about seriouisly.

No Kid Hungry: How you can help end childhood hunger - Between Us Parents

You see, Capitalism lite or Capitalism hard is the same dog-eat-dog world of fend for yourselves, do or die, sink or swim, err, unless you can form a cabal of elites, with their colonies of soldiers and lawyers and bankers and land dealers to entitle you to a different playing field. Inverted Totalitarianism.

Get a group of like-minded sociopaths, get a group of investors who want to make a quick buck, get millions who consume the lies of the business journals, the lies of the celebrity scum that end up controlling the narrative on everything, from how the local dog catcher should or shouldn’t do their job, all the way to the pigs over in Fukushima now letting (sic) out the isotopes of cancerous love into the Pacific. Imagine, the power of that cabal of industrialists.

It’s the same story told with a different spin, but we know the routine — Hanford, bombs, government contracts, the Tri-Cities (Washington state where the bomb material for incinerating one of the Japanese cities was cooked up) “benefitting” from the construction jobs, the nailing and sawing and framing, all the scientists and the support teams (up to 15,000 back then in the 1944) eating out, and that is the disaster and shock and war lord capitalism’s central feature — colonizing people. That entire nuclear material making house of nuclear cards based on bad scientists coming into town, and then the system of capitalism runs like a smooth Atilla the Hun School of Economics. Farmers out in Eastern Washington, and bam, the big bad bomb making boys with their pencil necks, their big cars, their big booze bills, the cigarettes, the new homes with backyard in ground pools, the ancillary and tertiary junk of the consumer/capitalist kind, colonizing in this dry land. Until the smoothly and finely-tuned and well-greased death machine ends up decades later running amok in the people’s thyroids, in the DNA and RNA of papa and mama, and alas, now Native fishers as young as 24 have thyroids removed, and the warning label now says, cut away all the fatty bellies of salmon — NOT recommended not for human consumption. Read my two-part series here at Dissident Voice.

Just the Facts About Hunger in the US & The World | WhyHunger

Capitalism — not for human consumption. That is, all those hyphenated additives and ingredients in baby’s formula, all that stuff sprayed into everything, all those extruded plastics, all those soldered joints, all those capacitors and Prius batteries, the entire thing is not for human consumption.

Now, then,  how can anyone go up against this narrative, or flip the script, or make paradigm shifts and cultural transformations, when the entire mess is defended by the very people, say in Appalachia, where entire mountain peaks are blasted away, trout rivers blackened by the dust, and babies born fifty points or more below the barely average thinking (IQ) capacity of a Trump or Biden evil spawn. Dirt poor, no teeth, USDA Mac’ n’ Cheese food pantry boxes, and, bam, here we are, 2020,   and the dumb as dirt country is being run by thieves, rapists, bombers, land razers, polluters, perverts, sociopaths.

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Then the compliant ones, all the big burly tough Americans, especially on the GOP and MAGA side, who feign toughness, think they are blustery in their attacks on educators, intellectuals, scientists, youth, raging grannies, women, environmentalists, multi-culturalists, but the bottom line, they are the flag wavers, the slaver statue defenders, the clear cutters, the wolf killers, the church goers, the big truck lovers, lock step on Saturdays for their college football, their Friday night big high school grid iron, their Sunday hour of hate with Jerry Falwell or Billy Graham. Everything about the mythology of America — the white land, everything about the authority of the white patriarch, everything about the Stars and Bars — those are the MAGA/GOP lovers, and they want it their way or the highway. Or the way of the AR-15, and anyone moving in protest shot on sight. Amazingly openly racist, and anything or anyone  that speaks of questioning the Yankee Doodle Dandy and Confederate narrative, the MAGA go ballistic, and their slave patrol cops come in shooting.

This is not to say the other groupings tied to the Democratic party are that much more independent, or fore-thinking. This is the way of capitalism, and the bourgeoise, the professional middle managers, the cultural warriors, all the PC and cancel culture and the co-opting of movement’s, the kids and adults purchasing Che printed on the t-shirt with Pink Floyd emblazoned under him, that is the other side of the capitalist isle. Really, two different breeds, possibly, the products of epigenetics, and both believing in the unholy contract within both the rule of law and the rules of engagement. A contract is a contract, sign on the dotted line for your next lemon.

War, Branding, Amusements, Infantilism, Disneyifcation, Commercials,  Retailopethicus, and the land of milk and honey, through the veins of mother earth, clotted, and the fissures of Turtle Island, radiated, and massive murder and slavery, legitimized. Not much more of that history can be 1619 Project leveled to define this country.

Hunger in America

Until, everyone, on all sides of the political manure pile, are the enemy of transformational living and collectivism.

How many times have I gone up against college presidents who actually come from the ranks of MBA schools, or with degrees in “institutional leadership” (yes, and WTF degree, PhD no less).

Try out the Journal for Higher Education Mangers, running with the AAUA, American Association of University Administrators.  Then, yes, The Journal of Research on the College President. They have their lobbying arm, their professional insiders, their army of propagandists. Always, top down, and nothing to do with teaching and teachers.

10 cities where an appalling number of Americans are starving | Salon.com

Look, more is not better, and bigger is not better, but in capitalism, in supposedly valiant and worthy areas  like education, that is, working with humans to allow themselves to share/advance knowledge and nurturing systems thinking and expanding critical interdisciplinary skills; to learn to work across disciplines, cultures, nations, well, you might think the idea is to work socialistically to bring our societies and our various countries toward some decent survivability and mutual aid across all lines. . .  Each person is an individual in a systems thinking collective. But the reality is that bigger is better in destructive capitalism, schooling or Amazon fulfillment center;  and competition is not just expressed on the basketball courts. Each school, trying to hook the next and the next generation of potential students. More and more Club Med amenities. Working on the Amusing Themselves to Death. A nice tidy $100,000 school loan bill for that undergraduate degree no one in America gives a shit about.

It’s not about intergenerational, multi-dynamic cross-educational pathways to community and collective healing and mutual aid; i.e., emancipation from the consumer path. It’s about the big fish in the ocean eating the most sardines. It is all about free (sic) market hucksterism, and the constant getting one, two, three thousand things over on your fellow citizens. Compatriots for Americans is the opposite of compassion.

Ya think those provosts and institutional leaders and VPs and Human Resources pros give a shit about the actual individual student, or the workers keeping the system, and their big pay checks, going?

Nope. I have worked with colleges where the outliers like me, left of left, are not only denigrated, but marginalized and sacked. I have worked with colleges where exploitation is the maximal form of employment. The student is not always the center of things, and alas, now the student is a customer, or in a time of Plan-Demic, a data donor on a huge Digital Dashboard.

If you want to talk about technocratic and technological fascism, you will not be embraced in neoliberal circles, and lite liberal circles. Not in most departments at the universities. Forget the community colleges, where more and more college across the land have drone technology programs. You know, bomb them back to the stone age from the comfort of your Lazy Boy lumbar supported counsel chair. No matter how much the liberals spew about CSA’s (community supported agriculture) and Farmer’s Markets and the like, they still feel as if technology, Artificial Intelligence, all the apps and tools of the managerial class, the tracking tools, the aggregating tools, all the “so called” medical and banking and taxing tools, well, the show must go on in their Zoom Doom minds. How do you stop it, they might ask. How? And, for the most part, many of them profess that tracking who does and who does not get the vaccinations, who does and who doesn’t agree with the entire narrative, well, that is a-okay to put them on some kind of passport, wristwatch with all the goods on that person.

These are scary times, and desperate times call for desperate/fascistic/ technological neutering measures. That is the narrative of both MAGA/GOP and the Democrats/

Every Dissident Voice and Facebook post, all the entanglements of the process of exploring ideas and expressing opinions, it is like a forever chemical — data, and stories and tweets and postings, they stay in the digital hell of the overlords, ready to be paraded out anytime. I have been told, “You didn’t get the job because they ‘Googled you.'” And those millionaires and billionaires and soon-to-be trillionaires have offered up the backdoor keys to NSA and given all the other alphabet soup agencies of oppression and repression, all the info, as well as given it to any major or minor corporation having the $ to access EVERYTHING. The outfall is, of course, revolt, dissent, dissidence and clarity of dissension will be, well, verboten if one is to survive in this Global Digital and AI/CCTV/Big Brother panopticon — which is now not just an institutional building and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. Now, each internet, each bureaucratic, each retail transaction, each consumer moment being observed by a single security guard — the AI God in the Cloud.

The Republicans, the Democrats, the Libertarians, all of them, want that level of control. Even the Chinese, do. This is the value of oppression, economies of scale, the conundrum of each nation out for itself. Each hundred million souls or each half a billion humans must go after the goods, the others be damned.

This is the psychopathic way of “the market,” the bulwark that is the steal jaws of competitive markets, where the commons is always a tragedy, where the Greek Tragedy is played out every nanosecond in the arms of mothers and on the lips of babes, as land is paved over, jawed open, blasted clean, denuded, soil and life and people and animals turned inside out, used in the grand corralling of the minds and bodies. We are the sheep and cattle in the elites sophisticated system of domestication, husbandry, monocropping plants and people.

Social-intellectual-spiritual-dreaming control. Pre-crime is not some Phillip K. Dick fantasy, it is, rather, the reality of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, started decades ago with every transaction, every educational move, every financial move, every medical move, every legal or illegal move monitored, checked, and filed away. AI and Google and the plethora of other evil app providers and software makers, well, they have the web spinning as I write this.

But this screed is not about that so much as it is about my writing. Another novel, started, on a roll, and yet, daily, I am sure, minute by minute somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I wonder “why?” Who the fuck will read this book, and how do I market it, and if I am so radical and communist, in my philosophy, should I be worried about who reads it and how it gets read? The Collector and Story Teller, the working title, very very loosely based on people I meet, including one fellow, who I feature here at Dissident Voice ––  Down and Out in Portland: Retired in Style in Waldport, OR

The problem is I am a novelist without an audience, in this shit-show that was big time publishing in the 1980s through the 2000, when I had an agent looking to score semi-small/median with the NYC/Boston publishing houses, that has shifted big time, until the big bucks are thrown at the putrid people, the Obamas paid in the tens of millions for lies and more lies; all the tell-all crapper books; all those Master of Fine Arts style sessions; and, well, a stack to the moon of how to get rich-how to get laid-how to get self-actualized-how to get one or a million scams  on your neighbor – how to get a million bucks/spirituality/love/instant success/happiness/multiple orgasms without any work.

Publishers Adapt Policies To Help Educators - Flipboard

I get the scam of publishing (one shit-load of rejection slips and letters, even… “well, mighty evocative, mighty powerful, but not our cup of tea,” and I get the competition is ruthless. In fact, you can create great art, and it will, alas, stay locked up in a file case or hung up in papa’s garage next to the Vargas women.

Imagine, Vassar College and Smith College interns, reading piles upon piles of manuscripts (that was in the 1990s-2000s), and if the first two lines, or in rare cases, the first two pages didn’t catch their attention, then, bam, the slush pile. Rejection City.

My New York agent wanted like hell to get my books/novels sold, but he too was up against this pedestrian bullshit East Coast triple bias.

Now, at age 63, what’s the point of lashing out lines and incredible concepts and narratives, when, well, here we are — a nation of triple consumers. Students called consumers, that is, customers. The entire fear city shit of the plan-demic with all those yellow bellies up against the functionally illiterate masses. To mask or not to mask, that is the fucking question? Really! No fucking MAGA or Christian Pervert will read my stuff. Let alone buy it. Cancel culturists won’t buy/read my fiction. Highfaluting “artistic” types won’t. The pile of mush getting churned out on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, all of that, this is the American gel, the mush and mutilated crap of the elites and the Duck Dynasty folk. Podcast after ever-deadening podcast sucking up more attention spans. The incredible right-wing news (sic) feeds. The incredible unintelligible pop culture, the hate culture, the faux Buddhist shit, the entire mess that is the United States’ has that “artistic” tastes which are more than just banal; they are cancerous.

But here I am, trying to get to the point: In one scene in the fast-paced book, The Collector and the Story Teller, my protagonist, Raymundo Pena, or just Ray, is trying to solve a murder and disappearance of The Collector, Aubrey Searles, and find Aubrey’s disappeared wife, and in that process, he ends up at the food pantry, the food distribution point for the poor and the downtrodden. A very short-lived scene, but real, and telling.

MFA in Creative Writing | | College of Liberal Arts | Oregon State University

Of course, you guessed it, me, the author, having worked in a few places that we call “food pantries,” and now, with the plan-demic, Ray ends up talking to a make-believe few characters working at and utilizing the pantry.

It’s a short chapter, but the reality is this — This country, broken from sea to shining sea, is way bey0nd the massive slippage either of the two prostitute parties will grasp or admit (maybe both of them, and their majority backers, have zero idea how threadbare systems are in the USA for massive poverty and massive slippage of the American people).

Hunger was bad ass before the plan-demic, the entire lockdown, the shuttering of businesses. A mean country, under any bloody Yankee-Confederate flag. Food stamps cut and cut every year. The punishment society ramped up every month, full of token groping rules and laws, making people line up for fucking voting now, for hours, so imagine the shit that poor people and hungry children have to go through for basic assistance (they don’t get it) and then ramp that up and put in poor undocumented people and hungry undocumented children have to do just to get calories.

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Now, the local food bank, shortage after shortage. No turkeys, no dry beans, shortage after shortage. Plenty of Mac’n’Cheese cartons given away, and the bread and cookies and cakes, thrown at the pantries. Piles. Mountains of them. Packaged for the next apocalypse, with so many preservative an embalmer would get wet just thinking about that a 20-line ingredient (chemical) list.

Welcome to capitalism, a million choices, but “not really choices.” Which Red Dye No. 5 or Yellow No. 55 Dye do you want in your kids’ cereal puffs? Which inorganic compound do you want sprayed on the baby’s mashed potatoes? Which percentage of sugar-hydrogenated oil-salt lick do you want in the toaster cinnamon buns? How much lead in the pipes and fluoride in the toothpaste? That is America. And we get more hungry every minute. The Hunger of the Elites, hoping for more marks and suckers born every living minute. Hunger. For love. Hunger. For community. Hunger. For justice. Hunger for air. Hunger. For shelter. Hunger. For food.

Hunger Facts | Move For Hunger

The post A Million and One Ideas that Would Transform the Globe first appeared on Dissident Voice.

I’m Really Sorry Redux

A few years ago, after reading a brillig academic article about how those who believe in conspiracy theories might be inclined toward unethical actions and petty crimes, my conscience got the best of me and I made a public confession. I had been accused of being a conspiratorial thinker, and I knew I had once committed an unethical act, one that might be called a petty crime.  The article made me feel guilty and I felt a strong need to admit my transgression, which I did.  It felt so good to come clean in public.  Oprah would have been proud of me.

In recent days, however, I have seen many mainstream corporate media articles, not just academic studies, warning about deluded people who believe in conspiracy theories and how their erroneous beliefs are messing up the upcoming election and the authorities’ responses to Covid-19 and a lot of other important stuff like the Lockdown. That old devil guilt has revisited me. I don’t want to mess anything up for the authorities.

Let me, however, be clear at the outset what I mean by my conspiracy theories.

They are different from the conspiracy theories of George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Joseph Biden, Donald Trump, the World Health Organization people, and other such luminaries, concerning events such as the attack of September 11, 2011, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the ongoing war on terror, the prosecution of Julian Assange, Russian-gate, the need for dramatically increased censorship, the Lockdown, the Great Reset, etc.  These people’s conspiracy theories have nothing to do with petty crime, for their handiwork is grand indeed. They are big people, and very smart. In any case, I don’t know what small stuff they might be up to when not killing so many people all around the world.

I remember how that academic article that I had read was “backed up by science,” which was very reassuring, and that it wasn’t referring to big people like the aforementioned. The distinguished authors, who were from illustrious universities, meant little people like me, who have concluded that the U.S. national security state conspired to kill President Kennedy, to take one nutty example, and are inclined to take to the dark side and pilfer M&Ms from candy counters and stuff like that.  We are very gullible and prone to pettiness and mass delusions was the authors’ point because the internet has scrambled our brains.

They were saying we tend to believe weird shit like there’s a government spy program that involves electronic squirrels that climb trees and take pictures of you inside your house. That Building 7 at the World Trade Center was brought down by controlled demolition.  Or the really wacked-out thought that all conspiracies take place behind our backs since they can’t take place in front of our backs since our backs are back and not front.  Or that Sirhan Sirhan did not assassinate Senator Robert Kennedy.  That Donald Trump is actually Liberace’s illegitimate son and Queen Elizabeth his mother.  Or that the war on terror was a pre-planned government plot devised to justify the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, among other countries. Crazy stuff like there’s a government plot to place signs near low doorways warning “Watch Your Head,” so people will literally try to do that and smash their clueless brains to smithereens and die as part of a population control program.

As we know, all these nutty conspiracy beliefs are of equal value and validity, and to even harbor the thought that the CIA’s 1967 secret Dispatch – Doc 1035-960, showing their employees and media accomplices how to counter and discredit the claims of conspiracy theorists – might be involved in all these articles I’ve been reading is to risk further accusations of being wacked-out and in need of examining one’s proclivity toward everyday crimes.  So I won’t go there.  I’m feeling guilty enough.

So bless me, folks, for I have sinned. For the second time in the past few years I have stolen and eaten the forbidden fruit. Let me confess.

Last week, I again found myself in my local co-op grocery market.  You might wonder where I had been looking for myself when I found myself there, staring into bins of dried fruit, but let’s just say I had been around.  When you’re lost and wacked-out, you never know where you are or why you believe what you believe, and so you can find yourself in strange places. Years ago my good friend went to California to find himself, and when he returned he said he found himself in a mirror and was really his step-brother’s illegitimate uncle. He and my other friends used to always tell me that I tended to do everything ass backwards, even think ass-backwards, and when I said, “Of course, I do, so do you. What’s wrong with that?” they looked at me as if I had flipped.  When I asked them if they could do things ass forward, our friendships ended. I found myself alone.

In the co-op market I was standing over the bulk bins, trying to decide what dried fruit to buy.  They all looked good.  It was a tough choice, sort of like staring at forty different tubes of toothpaste on the store shelf and wondering which to buy or if the one advertised for women would work for a man since men must have different teeth.  The comparison is not exactly apt, I guess, for you can’t test the toothpastes, but the fruit looked so delicious.  So, when no one was looking, I first tried the mangoes, then the apricots, and finally the figs.  I thought I saw the store manager see me when I took the figs because I was so enjoying the fruits of my crime that I let my guard down and was facing in his direction with my mask off.  This was really stupid of me, since the same thing happened the last time and I was paranoid afterward. I know, I know – when you keep repeating something that doesn’t work, they say that’s insane.  But I remembered when I couldn’t afford such expensive fruit and went to orgies just to eat the grapes.  Even then I thought people were watching me.

When I was leaving the store, my heart was pounding.  I kept glancing over my shoulder.  I decided to replace the orange day-glow mask I had used in the store with another I carried. Flesh colored – to blend in.  An old lady on a walker seemed to be following me, but I ditched her by circling the block two-and-a-half times, my lucky number.  As I was close to home, I thought of my narrow escape and the brilliance of the study that connected my conspiratorial thinking to my criminal activity with the fruit.

I also couldn’t help thinking how the figs had reminded me of my latest conspiracy theory, but one supported by sources as confidential and reliable as those referenced by The New York Times or The Washington Post.  In addition, like those devotees of truth and confidentiality, I will never reveal my sources.  They can torture me and I won’t.

Here is what they told me.  It bears repeating.

Legend has it that Isaac Newton discovered the law of gravity while sitting in a garden, watching apples fall perpendicularly to the ground.  However, this is not true. I have learned from my confidential sources that his nickname was Isaac “Fig” Newton and that those who claim the Fig Newton cookie was named after Newton, Massachusetts are involved in a great cover-up.  That’s nothing new.

My sources tell me that when Isaac was a child, he was so fond of figs that his mother had to warn him against eating too many, for as you probably know, figs, like prunes, are filled with fiber and possess a laxative quality.  Isaac was defecating so much and so often that his mother was alarmed.  But a mother’s panic at a child’s toilet habits can be a source of insight years later.

So it was that years later it was Isaac’s experience on the potty that gave him his great insight into gravity.  Reflecting back on his childhood, he realized that shit always went down, never up (there were no electric fans in those days, so no one would say that it went up when “shit hit the fan” like they’re saying about this year’s election). He remembered his mother’s loving words when as a boy he would tell his mom he had to “take a shit,” she would always remind him that it was always better to give than take, so he should “give a shit.”

Alas, it was Isaac’s chore to take the family potty out behind the house where it was emptied down into a deep hole about six feet under.  Thus, the adult Isaac came to call his discovery gravity, after the grave.  He scientifically proved what everyone already knew: that everything and everyone goes down, eventually.  Not the most uplifting news, I grant you, but I have reliable sources for that also.

So I readily admit I am guilty of this inclination toward low-level “crime,” as the professors so brilliantly explicated. No doubt, it is connected to my conspiratorial and paranoid mindset.  I hope that much is clear.  Sometimes I just can’t resist the forbidden fruit.  Although not an apple, it seems to give me insight into the knowledge of good and evil, and who is following whom.

For some reason, I suspect those brillig academics and mainstream corporate journalists will not be writing about the elite criminals who conspire to invade countries, kill millions, blame it on others, and conduct vast propaganda campaigns.  Those are crimes against humanity, and are beyond the purview of work aimed at showing how sick everyday people are who suspect that their leaders are big-time criminals.

These writers are following their bosses.  Unlike Isaac, they don’t give a shit.

They are full of it.

I’m not really sorry.  I got that ass-backwards.

The post I’m Really Sorry Redux first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Death, Money, and the Dueling Frauds: Trump and Biden

When the New York Times and CNN recently referred to the staged town hall spectacles of Biden and Trump as dueling events, they inadvertently revealed the truth that U.S. presidential elections are America’s favorite movie and that the corporate media is in the entertainment business.

While it is ludicrous to imagine these tottering actors crossing swords in tights, their skirmishes in suits and ties are good for a few laughs, if you have the stomach to watch them. Only people who still believe in professional wrestling would think these clowns don’t work for the same bosses – the Umbrella People, aka the power elites, the national security state, etc., who own the country and choose their stooges to represent their interests in the White House.

I much prefer Mel Brooks, a genuinely funny guy.

The columnist Russell Baker once said the purpose of such political entertainment is to “provide a manageably small cast for a national sitcom, or soap opera, or docudrama, making it easy for media people to persuade themselves they are covering the news while mostly just entertaining us.”

As for debates and town hall farces in television prime time, the witty Baker said that “the charm of television entertainment is its ability to bridge the chasm between dinner and bedtime without mental distraction.”

Now let’s proceed to the dark side, where the sardonic screams of laughter dissolve into tears.

For such entertainment serves a devious distracting purpose: to conceal the nature of social evil and the driving forces behind American politics today.  It is not particularly complicated unless the syllogism – All cats die/Socrates is dead/ therefore Socrates is a cat – rings true.

Then it’s an impossible conundrum.

We are not cats or Socrates, as far as I know.  But like them, we will also die. Everyone knows this, but the thought of death is not particularly “have-a-nice-dayish,” so people deny it as much as possible in a host of ways. Most people prefer life over death, and when death does approach and can no longer be denied, most hope for immortality in some way, shape, or form.

Yes, there are those who assert this isn’t true for them, and there is no reason to doubt their sincerity. There are philosophical arguments to support their position, such as that of the Roman poet Lucretius in his famous poem De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things). But I would maintain with the great psychoanalyst Rollo May that all such naturalistic efforts, including Lucretius’s, to explain away human anxiety rooted in death, founder on the human emotions of pity, grief, love, and loneliness. Rational explanations take us only so far.  In their efforts to deny the human condition and dismiss the spiritual dimension, the irrational, and the daimonic, they open the door to madness, as is happening today with the push by the world’s economic elite to convince people that they are machines and that their machine dreams will conquer death.

For those who love life, it seems axiomatic to me that some form of perpetuation and redemption of an individual’s life in the face and fear of death is widely desired. This can take many forms: a literal afterlife, fame, heirs, monuments, money, children, etc. History is quite clear that people have always sought some way of transcending their physical fates.

This was aptly noted by Graham Greene, the English novelist, when, as an old man approaching death, he was asked if he was disappointed at not receiving the Nobel Prize, and he said no, since he was hoping for a greater prize.

In his important book, The Denial of Death (Pulitzer Prize 1974 for general non-fiction), the cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, puts it succinctly:

Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever.

Faced with such an impossible situation, then, overwhelmed from childhood with a sense of one’s own ultimate physical powerlessness but being symbolic creatures as well as physical ones, the normal person learns to repress the terror of death by building various defenses that allow one to believe that he ultimately controls his death.  One’s natural impotence is then hidden within “ the vital lie of character”; one lives within the manageable social world that helps one blot out existential awareness by offering various social games and cultural symbols, agreed forms of madness that narcotize the fear.  One learns to adjust. The aim is to cut life down to manageable proportions, domesticate terror, and trust in the cultural and social authorities for protection and reassurance. Obedience is key.

Listen to Big Daddy and he will rescue you , especially when he first tells you that Mr. Pumpkin Head is coming to get you unless you run into his protective embrace.

These days, it’s Halloween all year round in the land of the free and the home of the brave where the fear of death is handed out like poisoned candy and Big Daddy waits at the door disguised as everyone’s benevolent grandfather.  To be treated, you must be masked. That is his trick. “Stay well,” he mutters, after he drops a dollop of sweet fear into your bag and cackles behind his face.

Everywhere you look these days, people are doubly masked. The paper kind and by definition, since the the word person, being derived from the Latin, persona, means mask, while there is another Latin word, larva, that also means mask or ghost or evil spirit.  Clearly there is a dance contest underway, a danse macabre.  And who will win nobody knows.

“Every conflict over truth,” wrote the psychoanalyst Otto Rank, “ is in the last analysis just the same old struggle over … immortality.”

This is exactly what is going on now with the fierce disagreements over Covid-19.

Like the attacks of September 11, 2001, the anthrax attacks, the ginning up of terrorism fear with Homeland “Security’s” color-coded warning system, the lies about weapons of mass-destruction, and the coronavirus early warning systems, people have adopted positions upon which they stake their psychological lives. To admit you were snookered is a little death that is hard to swallow.

We are being subjected to mind-control on a vast scale, the continual pumping up of the fear of death to control the population.  Americans have been living in an atmosphere of dread for almost twenty years.  It’s so old and so obvious but cuts so deep it works like a charm. “You don’t want to die, do you, so come here into Big Daddy’s arms.”

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell writes that “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake.”  It is a famous quote that is not true when taken out of context.  The Umbrella People and their lackeys don’t seek power entirely for its own sake. They have a larger agenda: immortality.

If one reads Orwell carefully, one comes upon a key passage that clarifies the previous quote. The evil O’Brien, the torturer and member of the Inner Party who poses as a member of the resistance to Big Brother (sound familiar?), asks his victim Winston Smith to reverse the slogan from “Freedom is Slavery” to Slavery is Freedom:

Alone – free – the human being is always defeated.  It must be so, because every human being is destined to die, which is the greatest of all failures.  But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he will be all-powerful and immortal.  The second thing for you to realize is that power is power over human beings.  Over the body – but, above all, over the mind.  Power over matter – external reality as you would call it – is not important.  Already our control over matter is absolute.

All power is fundamentally power to deny mortality.  This is true whether it is the power of the state or church.  And it is always sacred power.

Many often ask why do the super-rich and  powerful always want more.  It’s simple.  They wish to transcend their pre-existing human mortality and become gods – immortals.  They stupidly believe that if they can lord it over others, kill, dominate, achieve status, become billionaires, presidents, magnates, celebrities, etc., they will somehow live in some weird forever.

In a process that has spanned at least a hundred and fifty years or so, our traditional cultural/religious symbol systems have been radically undermined, most momentously by the Faustian creation of Lord Nuke.  All forms of symbolic immortality (theological, biological, creative, natural, and experiential) that formerly provided a sense of continuity have been severely threatened. This is the haunting specter lurking in the background of life today.

What is death?  How to defeat or transcend it?  How to affirm life in the face of death?

One paradoxical way that political leaders do this is by killing.  Followers who accede to such killing join their leaders, not simply to see others dead, but to acquire power over death itself – to kill their own deaths.  It is perverse of course, and is summed up in the saying to love the bomb joyously, to experience the nightmare of oblivion as ecstasy.  Isn’t this what the philosophy of voting for the lesser of two evil is about?  At least he will be our killer.  Our evil killer, but not as bad as yours.  You lose.

I have read that there is a painting still visible at the entrance to a house in ruined Pompeii that tells us much about power and wealth. It perfectly symbolizes the meaning of the economic gap between the super-rich – e.g. those behind the World Economic Forum, the CIA, the presidential candidates, the corporate media – and the rest of us.  It pictures a man weighing his penis on a scale of gold coins. Gold, God, wealth, and power.  It’s an old story.

Today, however, there is a difference, for the spirit of nihilism has grown as belief in the spiritual dimension and God has diminished dramatically. Money or gold, wealth in all its forms, is today’s foremost immortality symbol, a sign that one is powerful and can conquer death. What else are Trump’s gold-emblazoned Tower and hair, and Biden’s boastfully admitted threat to withhold one billion dollars from Ukraine unless they fire the prosecutor investigating his son, Hunter. The greasing of palms, bribery, tax theft, etc. – par for the course in a corrupt society run by thieves and criminals.

Becker says of this wealth obsession:

The only hint we get of the cultural repression seeping through is that even dedicated financiers wash their hands after handling money.  The victory over death is a fantasy that cannot be fully believed in; money doesn’t entirely banish feces [decay and death that is of course defeated with toilet paper as Covid-19 has proven], and so the threat of germs and vulnerability in the very process of securing immortality.

Pseudo immortality.

Enter Covid-19.  Like the attacks of September 11, 2001, it is death writ large. An insidious terrorist threat.  Invisible, sneaky, ready to pounce. Fear and trembling.  So-called surprise attacks that were preceded by simulations and live drills.  Numerous parallels, too many to mention.  Let’s not.  Have a nice day!  Stay safe!

So what do the super-rich controllers want now?  What are the World Economic Forum’s Claus Schwab, Google and the Defense Department’s Eric Schmidt, Bill Gates, Ray Kurzweil of Google and “The Singularity,” et al. pushing now that Covid-19 has so many cowering in fear?

These people have realized that the thing that their money and power must do is to create a world where trans-humanism must triumph and people of flesh and blood must be induced and forced to become the machines they have been told they are. If you doubt this is underway, research the World Economic Forum’s agenda, see what the Great Reset is about, the Build Back Better slogans, the massive push to create on-line existence for everyone, etc.  As a recent ad I saw says: “The world is going digital.”

The goal of these mad technocratic elites is to create a fabricated reality where the visible world becomes nearly meaningless once the screen world becomes people’s “window on the world.” An electronic nothingness to replace reality as people in the industrialized countries gleefully embrace digital wraparound apparitions and the poor and vulnerable of this world suffer and die out of sight and out of mind. It is the fundamental seismic shift of our era and perhaps the greatest propaganda operation ever undertaken.  A sort of end-times desperate gambit.

And “it just so happens” to revolve around the use of death fear to accomplish its goals.

But for the elites, there will be no death.  For having realized that their stolen wealth and power can only take them so far, and they too will become food for worms, they have commandeered science and medicine to undertake their immortality projects.  If medicine fails to find for them the secret of immortality, then computer science and Artificial Intelligence will, and they will be uploaded into computers and live forever in their beloved cyberspace.  Digital immortality is not a joke for these people – see  Kurzweil’s (the director of engineering at Google) “The Singularity,” etc. – for they are actually insane but hold key positions throughout the computer and biotechnology industries.  Check where the super rich invest their money to confirm this.  None of it is secret.

Having heeded Russell Baker’s words about television offering no mental distraction between dinner and bedtime, I took to my crib early, knowing Tweedledee and Tweedledum would be dueling again, this time in what they humorously called a debate.  I was surrounded by my stuffed animals that protected me and I slept safe and sound.

Upon awakening, I read that the gladiators had exchanged blows but that both were left standing for the big showdown on November 3.  I also noticed that each had used the words “dark winter” in reference to Covid-19. Biden said one was coming and Trump said he didn’t know.

Neither, of course, spoke of the Dark Winter Exercise, a senior level war game conducted on June 22-23, 2001, about a biological attack, a smallpox outbreak, the public health response, the lack of vaccines, the need for quarantine and isolation, the restriction of civil liberties, and the role of the Defense Department and the military in the response. Nor did they speak of anthrax attacks, but the Canadian researcher, Graeme MacQueen, will here fill you in on both, in case you don’t know.  Maybe the boys just forgot.

I am sure they didn’t talk about the elements of Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed,” but if you wish to understand how we are being gamed, Whitney Webb will tell you here.

Was there any mention of the Russians?  I haven’t heard.  They are always a kind of a solution.  As my friend Joe Green has said:

All dissenting opinions are Russian. I think Socrates said that. I’m paraphrasing.

Maybe many are still Waiting for the Barbarians.

The post Death, Money, and the Dueling Frauds: Trump and Biden first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What is Needed in this Moment

Are you or do you know an emerging activist who needs support? Popular Resistance and the Kevin Zeese family are launching the Kevin Zeese Emerging Activists Fund with an online celebration on his birthday, October 28, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm Eastern. Learn more and buy tickets here. We will begin accepting applications after October 28.

The United States’ elections will occur in a few weeks and many people are concerned about what will happen. Will they be able to vote? Will their votes be counted? Will the process be prolonged? Will President Trump refuse to leave the White House if he loses? Groups are beginning to organize to protest if President Trump stays in office, whether he is re-elected or not.

What is happening now is really not very different from what happens every four years, although perhaps it’s more exaggerated. Huge sections of the population have faced barriers to voting throughout our history. The computerized system of voting in the US has failed to guarantee that all votes are properly counted for decades. And fear is and has been used to manipulate, divide and distract people from the greatest dangers we face.

It is important to pull back in this moment of panic and look at the bigger picture of what is happening lest we focus on the wrong issue and play into the hands of the ruling class. Division, distraction and fear are their tools of control. Our tools to counter them and to create the transformational changes we require are solidarity, focus and courage.

By Deviant Art.

What are we fighting?

President Trump, for all his horribleness, is a manifestation of who and what the United States has been since its founding. Populations that have experienced the ravages of colonization, racism, genocide, capitalism and imperialism know this. Now, as the US empire crumbles and the ruling class steals the last tidbits before it all falls down, more of us, especially the white working and middle classes, are getting a taste of this callous repression.

It is common these days for people in the US to speak about fascism and to fear “it may come here” without recognizing that the US created the template for fascism. David Carroll Cochrane writes in Waging Nonviolence that Hitler in Nazi Germany was a huge fan of the United States and tried to emulate what the settlers did by expanding the German Empire eastward all the way to the Ural Mountains through violence, racism, colonization and genocide.

Hitler used the tactics of the “American Way of War,” as Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz describes in her book, Indigenous Peoples History of the United States, by destroying peoples homes and access to necessities such as food, dehumanizing and terrorizing people to drive them off their land and then locking up those who remained in concentration camps, called reservations in the US. Hitler failed where the US succeeded because the US colonizers did so over a longer time frame, in a less-populated land and without the intervention of other nations.

The US is on the road to fascism and it is being paved by Democrats and Republicans. In “Liberalism and Fascism: Partners in Crime,” Gabriel Rockhill writes, “what fascism and liberalism share is their undying devotion to the capitalist world order. Although one prefers the velvet glove of hegemonic and consensual rule, and the other relies more readily on the iron fist of repressive violence, they are both intent on maintaining and developing capitalist social relations, and they have worked together throughout modern history in order to do so.” He explains how fascism arose within the legislative system and how it was manifested once it solidified its power. The similarities to what is happening in the United States today are striking.

Rockhill argues that defining our struggle as liberalism versus fascism misdirects our focus and energies. What we are fighting is end-stage capitalism and both major parties are capitalist parties who will continue the agenda of the power elites no matter who wins. Believing the struggle is about Democrats versus Republicans pits people against each other, dividing and weakening us, which is exactly what serves the power structure’s interests.

Kevin Zeese in 2011. Ellen Davidson.

How do we fight?

This election and the organizing around it are largely being focused on removing Trump, as if that will put us on a path to solving our crises. Even if Biden wins, he has already declared war on the poor and working class and the world. Biden openly rejects Medicare for all during a pandemic when millions of people are losing their jobs and the health insurance that went with it. Biden rejects the Green New Deal as the climate crisis rages. Biden’s foreign policy will continue the US imperialist agenda and security strategy of great power conflict with Russia and China, risking nuclear war. And for those who believe Biden will be a friend of labor, remember that Obama made the same promises and then denied labor’s demands after he was elected.

In reality, change will not come through the electoral system. It is a system controlled by the Republicans and Democrats and their wealthy backers. When we work inside this framework, we are working within their system. As much as people want to believe the US is a democracy, this is a mirage. That doesn’t mean boycotting the election, just realizing your vote can either support the power structure by voting for capitalist parties or challenge it by voting for candidates outside of them.

We need to work outside their systems, not legitimize them. We need to find our areas of strength and the power holders’ weaknesses and use tactics that build our strengths as we weaken theirs. Throughout history, it is an organized and mobilized people that has won transformational changes. We hold power through our shear numbers. Remember how the Occupy Movement shook the power structure just nine years ago and how much social movements and our skills have grown since then.

Check out the free Popular Resistance School to learn more about how social transformation occurs.

Here are some recommendations:

  1. Recognize this is a class war. As we enter an economic depression with millions more people becoming poor and losing their homes and a worsening pandemic, recognize that a government that cannot protect and provide for the basic needs of its people is a failed state. The wealthy class doesn’t care about the welfare of the majority. They feel secure knowing they will have the best health care if they become sick and they have the resources to move anywhere in the world.
  2. Build solidarity on the left. There is no organized left in the US at present. In this Chris Hedges interview with Slavenka Drakulić, they discuss that what happened in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s mirrors what is happening here. One of the factors that allowed war to break out was the failure to build an organized left to counter the right wing nationalists. All efforts should be made to build alliances between leftist organizations and find ways to work together. Don’t allow small differences to divide us.
  3. Build international solidarity. Many peoples around the world have been struggling against US imperialism for decades and building successful alternatives to capitalism. People in the United States have much to learn from them. The same tactics the US has employed against people in other countries – dismantling and privatizing essential services, economic warfare and violence – are being used against people in the US. We also share a common vision for a better world.
  4. Promote a common vision. In a time of multiple life-threatening crises, people can unite around a bold vision for that better world. If we look at the platforms of various social movements and left political parties, we find many commonalities such as respecting rights to health care, housing, education and jobs with a living wage, protecting the planet, putting people over profit, supporting self-determination and people’s right to have a say over what happens in their communities and opposing a foreign policy of death and destruction. This is not the time for weak demands. It is a bold agenda that will rally people to the cause. Here is a Peoples Agenda that came out of the Occupy Movement and has been honed since then. People are also designing new systems that value people and the planet such as this ecological economy starting to take hold in the Pacific Islands.
  5. Mobilize in ways that weaken the elites. Sometimes we need to march in the streets to show what we represent and that we have wide support. Sometimes we need to take actions that challenge and interfere with what the power structure is doing. There are many examples of this from individuals to groups of people exposing and blocking injustices. Our greatest power lies in collective actions such as boycotts, strikes and building alternatives that function outside the systems we are working to change. When enough of us take collective action, we have a power that is unstoppable.
  6. Support each other. We are facing difficult times. We need to support and protect each other to get through it. Build networks of mutual aid in your community and start creating what we need now such as solidarity gardens, housing takeovers, health care provision, including emotional care, support for working parents and more.
  7. Stay human. All people have the capacity to do good and to do harm. As we struggle and are faced with hateful, violent people, ground yourself in the values that you want to see in the world we are building. Don’t engage them. Don’t behave like them. Remain nonviolent, which includes your right to protect yourself, and steadfast in your convictions. Treat others with love and respect. This doesn’t mean giving opponents power over you, just recognizing we are all human and that hate and violence are a slippery slope.
  8. Don’t give up. We never know how close we are to victory. Our opponents will seem the most vicious the closer we get as they recognize they are losing power. Find ways to continue to struggle no matter what happens.

By Hannah Lewis.

People have the power

No matter what happens in the November election, capitalism that exploits people and the planet, systemic racism that perpetuates grave inequities and violence, and imperialism that harms people around the world will continue. To stop these, we need to mobilize now and into the years ahead with clear demands, solidarity and courage.

There is something for everyone to do, so find your place by offering your skills whether it is sharing information, mobilizing to take action or supporting those who are mobilizing with food, medical care, legal aid or security or using your creative skills to reach peoples hearts.

In the words of Vijay Prashad:

“The planet is on fire, the viruses are on the march, hunger stalks the land, and yet, even in this mess, we – the vast majority of the people on the planet – have not given up on the possibility of a future. We hope for something better than this, a world beyond profit and privilege, a world beyond capitalism and imperialism, a world singing the song of humanity. Our hearts are bigger than their guns; our love and our struggle will overcome their greed and indifference.

Many seeds are being planted by our movements. We need to water them, to tend to them, to make sure that they bloom. We will build a future that cherishes life rather than profit, a future of fellowship amongst peoples rather than racist wars, a future in which social hierarchies are abolished, and in which we enjoy mutual dignity.

Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. It is now dark enough.”

Remember to check out the Kevin Zeese Emerging Activists Fund today.

The post What is Needed in this Moment first appeared on Dissident Voice.