Category Archives: Public Spaces

Bombs and Missiles ‘r Us . . . and Further Infantilization of USA/EU/UK

I’m finishing up a “children’s book.” It’s longish. Kati the Coatimundi Finds Lorena. It’s about a precocious (actually, super smart) 12 year old, Lorena, who is in a wheelchair (paraplegic) who ends up finding out the family trip to Playa del Carmen back to San Antonio, Texas, brought with them a stowaway animal — a coati. Yep, the world of the 12 yeare old is full of reading, drawing, smarts. Yep, the girl and the animal can communicate with each other. Yep, lots of struggle with being “the other,” and, well, it’s a story that I hope even keeps grandma on the edge of her seat, or at least wanting to read more and more. She is a mestizo, too. We’ll see how that goes with the woke folk. I think I have a former veterinarian who is retired and now is working on illustrations, art. We shall see where this project heads.

Under this veil of creativity, of course, it’s difficult to just meld into pure art when the world around me is very very pregnant with stupidity, injustice, despotism, and Collective Stockholm Syndrome. Being in Oregon, being in a small rural area, being in the Pacific Northwest, being in USA, now that also bogs down spirits.

It’s really about how stupid and how inane and how blatantly violent this so-called Western Civilization has become. The duh factor never plays in the game, because (a) the digital warriors writing stuff like this very blog are not engaged with centers of power, influence or coalescing. Then (b) so many people are in their minds powerful because with the touch of a keyboard, they can mount an offensive on or against facts . . . or deeply regarded and thought out opinions. So, then (c) everyone has a right to their opinion . . . . that is how the American mind moves through the commercial dungeons their marketing and financial overlords end up putting them.

No pitchforks? How in anybody’s room temperature IQ does this make any sense? Demands for daily procurement of weapons for imbalanced, losing, and Nazified Ukraine?

It is about the food, stupid, okay, Carville?

So, before we move on, this is a communique from the G7 summit of the world’s biggest economies. And, no, EU and USA and Canada, not prepared for the Russian offensive’s affect on global food security. Alas, March 24, the G7 leaders agreed to use “all instruments and funding mechanisms” and involve the “relevant international institutions” to address food security, including support for the “continued Ukrainian production efforts.”

Ukraine has told the US that it urgently needs to be supplied with 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 500 Stinger air defense missiles per day, CNN reported on Thursday, citing a document presented to US lawmakers.

Western countries have been sending weapons and military gear to Kiev but President Volodymyr Zelensky says it is not enough to fend off the Russian attack that was launched a month ago.

CNN quoted sources as saying that Ukraine is now asking for “hundreds more” missiles than in previous requests sent to lawmakers. Addressing the leaders of NATO member states via video link on Thursday, Zelensky said he had not received a “clear answer” to the request of “one percent of all your tanks.” (source)

And, again, this is not blasphemy? Imagine, this “leader” and those “leaders,” smiling away during what is the 30 seconds to midnight doomsday clock. Smiling while Ukraine kills humanitarian refugees, while the biolabs sputtering on in deep freeze (we hope), and while the food prices are rising. Gas cards in California, and food coupons in France?

In a normal world, a million pundits would be all over this March 24 group/grope photo. Smiles, while we the people have to watch billions go to ZioLensky and trillions more shunted to these world leaders’ overlords?

As I alluded to in the title — the mighty warring UK, with the highrises in London, with those jet-setters and those Rothschild-loving royal rummies, it has food banks set up for the struggling, working class, and, alas, the gas is so pricey that people can’t boil spuds! Bring back the coal stoves!

These are leaders? The elites? The best of the best?

In an interview with the BBC Radio 4 Today program on Wednesday, Richard Walker said the “cost of living crisis is the single most important domestic issue we are facing as a country.” He cited reports from some food banks that users are “declining products such as potatoes and other root veg because they can’t afford to boil them.” Walker suggested that the UK government could implement measures to take the heat off retailers. He urged that the energy price cap on households could be extended to businesses, which he said would translate into some £100m in savings on consumers. He also called on authorities to postpone the introduction of the planned increase in national insurance, as well as some new environmental taxes. (source)

The operative words are “crumbling,” and, then, “malfescence,” and then, “hubris,” and then, “bilking.”

I just heard some inside stuff from someone working for a high tech company. I can’t get into too much about that, but here, these “engineers” in electronics or in data storage systems, they are, again, the height of Eicchmanns, but with the added twist of me-myself-and-I. Their expectations are $180,000 a year, with six weeks paid vacation, stocks, and, well, the eight-hour day.

I don’t think the average blog reader gets this — we are not talking about celebrities, or the executive team for Amazon or Dell or Raytheon. Yep, those bastards pull in millions a year, like those celebrities, the pro athletes and the thespians of note, or musicians. These are people who are demanding those entry pay rates who have no empathy for the world around them. Sure, they believe they have kids to feed, and they might rah-rah the Ukraine madness (that, of course, means, more diodes, batteries, computer chips, communication systems, et al for the monsters of war), but they laugh at the idea of real people with real poverty issues getting a cheque from Uncle Sam.

These are the everyday folk. I harken to the Scheer Report, tied to this fellow: It’s almost surreal and schizophrenic to valorize this fellow. Here, his bio brief, Ted Postol, a physicist and nuclear weapons specialist as well as MIT professor emeritus, joins Robert Scheer on this week’s edition of “Scheer Intelligence” to explain just how deadly the current brinkmanship between the U.S. and Russia really is. Having taught at Stanford University and Princeton prior to his time at MIT, Postol was also a science and policy adviser to the chief of naval operations and an analyst at the Office of Technology Assessment. His nuclear weapons expertise led him to critique the U.S. government’s claims about missile defenses, for which he won the Garwin Prize from the Federation of American Scientists in 2016. (source)

I’ll go with Mr. Fish, as his illustration, even though it has words, speaks volumes —

It all begs the question, so, now this weapons of war fellow, this US Navy advisor, physcist, he is now having his coming to Allah-Jesus-Moses moment? He gets it so wrong, and, one slice of the Ray-gun play, well, he also misses the point that people brought up in the warring world, and those with elite college backgrounds, or military and elite college backgrounds, and those in think tanks, or on the government deep or shallow state payroll, those in the diplomatic corps, those in the Fortune 5000 companies, the lot of them, and, of course, the genuflect to the multimillionaires and billionaires, they are, quite frankly, in most cases, sociopaths.

But, here, a quote from his interview with Robert Scheer:

And unfortunately, most of what people believe—even people who are quite well educated—is just unchecked. You know, only if you’re a real expert—and these people were not, in spite of the fact they viewed themselves that way—do you understand something about the reality of what these weapons are about. And so basically, to use a term that gets overused a lot, I think the deep state in both Russia and the United States—more the United States than Russia, at least as far as I can see—the deep state in the United States mostly, basically undermined the ideas and objectives of Ronald Reagan. And of course Gorbachev was facing a similar problem in Russia.

So there’s these giant institutions inside both countries. They’re filled with people who, at one level, honestly believe these bad ideas, or think they are right; and because they think they are right, and they convince themselves that it’s in the best interest of the country, what’s really going on, it’s in their best interest as professionals but they mix up their best interest with the interest of the country. They, these people take steps to blunt the directives of the president, and basically the system just moves on without any real modification, independent of this remarkable and actually extraordinarily insightful judgment of these two men. (source)

We know Reagan’s pedigree, and we know the millions who have suffered and died under his watch. And his best and brightest in his crew, oh, they are still around. Imagine, that, Trump 2024. Will another war criminal and his cadre of criminals rise again to national prominence. He will be seeking counsel:

Then, alas, the flags at the post office, half mast, yet again and again and again — Today, that other war criminal:

Go to minute 59:00 here at the Grayzone, and watch this woman (Albright) call Serbs disgusting. Oh well, flags are flapping once again for another war criminal!

Sure, watch the entire two hours and forty-five minutes, and then try and wrap your heads around 1,000 missiles a day on the road to Ukraine, and no-boiling spuds in the UK. And it goes without saying, that any narrative, any deep study of, any recalled history of this entire bullshit affair in the minds of most Yankees and Rebels, they — Pepe Escobar, Scott Ritter, Abby Martin, et al — are the fringe. Get to this one from Escobar, today:

A quick neo-Nazi recap

By now only the brain dead across NATOstan – and there are hordes – are not aware of Maidan in 2014. Yet few know that it was then Ukrainian Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov, a former governor of Kharkov, who gave the green light for a 12,000 paramilitary outfit to materialize out of Sect 82 soccer hooligans who supported Dynamo Kiev. That was the birth of the Azov batallion, in May 2014, led by Andriy Biletsky, a.k.a. the White Fuhrer, and former leader of the neo-nazi gang Patriots of Ukraine.

Together with NATO stay-behind agent Dmitro Yarosh, Biletsky founded Pravy Sektor, financed by Ukrainian mafia godfather and Jewish billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky (later the benefactor of the meta-conversion of Zelensky from mediocre comedian to mediocre President.)

Pravy Sektor happened to be rabidly anti-EU – tell that to Ursula von der Lugen – and politically obsessed with linking Central Europe and the Baltics in a new, tawdry Intermarium. Crucially, Pravy Sektor and other nazi gangs were duly trained by NATO instructors.

Biletsky and Yarosh are of course disciples of notorious WWII-era Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, for whom pure Ukrainians are proto-Germanic or Scandinavian, and Slavs are untermenschen.

Azov ended up absorbing nearly all neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine and were dispatched to fight against Donbass – with their acolytes making more money than regular soldiers. Biletsky and another neo-Nazi leader, Oleh Petrenko, were elected to the Rada. The White Führer stood on his own. Petrenko decided to support then President Poroshenko. Soon the Azov battalion was incorporated as the Azov Regiment to the Ukrainian National Guard.

They went on a foreign mercenary recruiting drive – with people coming from Western Europe, Scandinavia and even South America.

That was strictly forbidden by the Minsk Agreements guaranteed by France and Germany (and now de facto defunct). Azov set up training camps for teenagers and soon reached 10,000 members. Erik “Blackwater” Prince, in 2020, struck a deal with the Ukrainian military that would enable his renamed outfit, Academi, to supervise Azov.

It was none other than sinister Maidan cookie distributor Vicky “F**k the EU” Nuland who suggested to Zelensky – both of them, by the way, Ukrainian Jews – to appoint avowed Nazi Yarosh as an adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi. The target: organize a blitzkrieg on Donbass and Crimea – the same blitzkrieg that SVR, Russian foreign intel, concluded would be launched on February 22, thus propelling the launch of Operation Z. (Source: “Make Nazism Great Again — The supreme target is regime change in Russia, Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.”)

In the minds of wimpy Trump and wimpy Biden, or in those minds of all those in the camp of Harris-Jill Biden disharmony, these white UkiNazi hombres above are “our tough hombres.” Send the ZioLensky bombs, bioweapons, bucks, big boys. Because America the Ungreat will be shaking up the world, big time.

So, I slither back to the writing, finishing up my story about a girl, a coati, Mexico, what it means to be disabled, and what it means to be an illegal animal stuck in America, Texas, of all places, where shoot to kill vermin orders are a daily morning conversation with the oatmeal and white toast and jam.

See the source image

If only the world could be run by storytellers, dancers, art makers, dramatists, musicians everywhere. Here, a great little thing from Lila Downs — All about culture, art, dance, language, food, color. Forget the physicists, man. And the electrical and dam engineers.

If you do not understand Spanish, then, maybe hit the YouTube “settings” and get the English subtitles.. In either case, magnificent, purely magnificent!

The post Bombs and Missiles ‘r Us . . . and Further Infantilization of USA/EU/UK first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Bringing our Socialist Baby to Life: History of Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

Part I – Pre-History of Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

Waking Up

In 2001 Barbara had her awakening to the disasters that capitalism caused. This started as part of the 9/11 events, beginning after the response to the supposed attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It became immediately clear the US would respond to the attacks with military action against whatever country seemed most vulnerable and had access or proximity to resources, in this case oil. The attacks were supposedly coordinated by al-Qaeda, a radical Islamic group founded by Osama bin Laden and headquartered in Afghanistan. We firmly believed, with documented evidence, that the US attacked Iraq instead even though Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks. The US wanted control of Iraq because of their large reserves of oil. In fact, they were the second largest oil exporting state at that time.

As soon as the news came of the World Trade Towers being hit, Bruce said that something was fishy. From that time forward Barbara’s political life began. Watching the news was surreal and terrifying. Over and over again, images of the towers collapsing were televised. Talk of war began almost immediately, with George “W” Bush putting the blame on Iraq – with absolutely no proof. What was even more alarming was watching how people reacted to it. So many of them jumped on the bandwagon of war.

Making signs

Shortly after the attack Bruce – who had been a socialist for 30 years – talked Barbara into going to her first demonstration. Together we made signs to bring with us – “No War on Iraq”, “War is not the Answer”. Making the signs was so much fun. We got old cardboard cartons from the grocery stores along with some long lightweight sticks from lumber stores to hold them up. We brainstormed ideas for what to write. Bruce’s signs always had much more content than Barbara’s. Barbara went for the fewer words, the better.

First demonstration

The gathering, or demonstration, was held in Palo Alto, CA, just outside the Stanford University Campus. We had to park our car some distance from the crowd, and Barbara felt self-conscious carrying our signs. A radical political science faculty member, Joel Benin, who was pro-Palestinian, gave an impassioned speech. It was so sane, so true. People around us began chanting and we joined with them – NO WAR – NO WAR. This wasn’t a big demonstration, only a couple of hundred people, but everyone was in agreement that we could see where this drive to war was going, and we wanted to try to stop it. Barbara didn’t fully grasp the full implications of where the US was headed or what would be her involvement in the fight to stop it. Ultimately, that was the beginning of her journey to socialism.

Barbara has already written about much of this in My Journey to Socialism, some of which we’ve quoted here, which began after these attacks. Bruce was so happy to see her waking up.

Attending anti-war demonstrations

We went to anti-war demonstrations in San Francisco and Oakland, chanting “No Blood for Oil”. Many of the demonstrations and meetings were organized by San Francisco ANSWER, an anti-war group formed in San Francisco shortly after 9/11. On March 20, 2003, we marched with tens of thousands of people to protest the war on Iraq that Bush started that very day. We shut down the city. Aside from ANSWER, there seemed to be no large, unified movement to take action against the existing paradigm of US imperialism and capitalism. That is, there was no large movement until the Occupy Wall Street Movement in 2011 which was designed to protest income inequality and the use of influence of money in politics by occupying public spaces.

2004 – 2011 Looking for a Foothold

During this time period, we were searching for the best place for us to fit in and work towards changing the existing capitalist system. We had a book club together, just the two of us. We read and discussed The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Gregg Palast, Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins, The powers That Be, and Who Rules America, both by G. William Domhoff. We met every other week on the weekends for 2 hours. This helped to develop Barbara’s understanding of capitalism.

In 2008 the economic crash hit almost everyone.  We each lost ¼ of our savings in our IRA accounts, even though we had our money invested in socially responsible companies. Since this was money we hoped to use to supplement Social Security, this was a very personal wake-up call, not just for us, but for many. Were we witnessing the collapse of capitalism, and its effects on ordinary people?

In 2009 we attended a KPFA townhall meeting. KPFA was our local radio station, representing a mix of New Deal liberals and Social Democrats. They featured people like Amy Goodman, Sasha Lilly, C.S. Soong, and Bonnie Faulkner. At that meeting Bruce spoke about why KPFA is supporting the Democratic Party. When the meeting was over, he was approached by a labor organizer who wanted to start an organization to try to coordinate the public education unions. We stayed with this group for about a year, attending meetings about once a month, but nothing ever came of it, so we left.

Part II – 2011 – 2012 – Turning Point – Occupy

Excitement of General Assemblies:

We were happy to see Occupy San Francisco and Occupy Oakland blossom in October of 2011 which lasted until the spring of 2012. We initially attended assemblies at the amphitheater in Frank Ogawa Plaza, right on the doorstep of Oakland City Hall. In San Francisco they were near the Ferry Building and at the bottom of the financial district.

The General Assembly (GA) meetings in both San Francisco and Oakland were electrifying. There were some extremely skilled facilitators. The GAs met every day and discussed how to regulate the public space that they had occupied and integrate the homeless community, which turned out to be a very difficult task. In San Francisco there were people who rode on a ferry that would stop by and watch the meetings. This was a good way to draw people in. Some of the members of the organizing committee of Occupy led tours around the Occupy camp to combat the propaganda against it.

Shutting Down the Port of Oakland

November 2, 2011, Occupy Oakland coordinated to shut down West Coast ports to make a statement that we would not go back to “business as usual”. The shutdown was a way of protesting the treatment of longshoremen and truck drivers, who were forced to work as independent contractors. They were then fired by port owners EGT and Goldman Sachs for wearing union t-shirts. We marched with 200,000 others from Oscar Grant Plaza to the ports. While the ILWU did not openly support the blockade, the rank and file and many former labor leaders did. Clarence Thomas, secretary/treasurer of the ILWU, was fully committed to this blockade, as he had been for many past blockades. We’ll never forget the power of the first speech we heard from him which began – “I’m Clarence Thomas – the REAL Clarence Thomas”. Jack Heyman, also with the ILWU, was another powerful and persuasive speaker.

The Challenges of the Working Committees

We joined some of the committees, but we noticed there was a real gap in ages in the members. The overwhelming majority of people were in their 20s, with the exception of the Committee for Solidarity with Labor. There were virtually no people in their 30s and 40s and only a handful of people like us in our 50s and 60s. We were both working full time and tried to join committees that would work with our schedules, but the organizers kept changing the days and times of the meetings. It seemed like, at best, most of the Occupy participants worked part-time or might have been upper middle-class people whose schedules were more flexible. The committees were not very solid.

People would float in and out. Any group could start a committee – even conservative committees like those who wanted to work with merchants were allowed. Committees were dissolved without letting the Occupy leadership know so you could join a committee and discover that it no longer existed. We found many of the meetings off-track and with members who didn’t have the basic social skills like asking a person “How are you? How are things going?” They lacked skills for building solidarity with strangers like tracking things a person may have told them and following up with a question like “what’s happening with that project you were working on?” They are skills like showing up to meetings on time and remembering to tell others if a meeting is cancelled. The Occupy movement was the best and the worst of anarchism.

Monday Night Occupy Meetings in the Women’s Building

When the police drove Occupy in SF and Oakland away from Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland and the area outside the Federal Reserve building in SF the Occupy organizers decided to meet indoors. Speakers were arranged every Monday night to talk on various political and economic topics. On average, 50-75 people attended. We noticed how the cliquishness of Occupy in the public are continued into the events in the Women’s Building in SF. Bruce told Barbara that when he was meeting with the organizers of an economic forum that Barbara was standing by herself. Nobody introduced themselves or tried to introduce themselves. These folks were calling themselves socialists and yet they lacked the most elementary friendliness to others who were on the same page. We decided it was then that we felt we needed to stop trying to join other organizations and start our own.

Part III – History of Socialist PBC

2012 – 2014 Building Political Documents and Our Website

We began to develop our own organizational documents, including a manifesto, mission statement, our attitude towards politics, and developed a political practice. At first that seemed like a lot of work to Barbara, and she also wondered how we would get people to join us. We had many meetings, just the two of us, to hash out the development of our perspective. Our main purpose was to provide a forum for exposing capitalism and spread the word to the public.

In spite of this challenging work, the creation of this site was so much fun. The first area we wanted to cover included telling people who we are and what we’re about. It included our mission statement – which was to become one of many eddies for:

  • “Exposing the predatory, incompetent, and irrational practices of capitalists to direct human social life.
  • Engage in collective political actions that throw a monkey-wrench into and slow down or disrupt the profit-making mechanisms of the system.
  • Weave and expand the fabric of a growing body of workplaces under worker self-management.”

Barbara switched from full-time to part-time work, allowing her more time to work on developing our book clubs that were focused on educating people about the reality of capitalism and the havoc it’s wrecked in the world. From 2012-2014 we tried to do outreach by having in-person book groups.

In April 2014 our first step was to create a website, Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism. Through our Occupy contacts we found a wonderful tech guy named Jeremy who, with our input, created the website that we still have today. Our baby was gestating. It was scary for Barbara to learn how to manage a website. While she had considerable work experience using numerous platforms, managing a website is a whole other ballgame. At a ridiculously low cost, Jeremy built our WordPress site. He patiently showed Barbara the basics and was the best tech teacher we have been able to find since then. He never spoke to her in tech-speak. Sadly, he has disappeared from our lives, even though we’ve tried hard to reach him. Since then, we have struggled to find someone to help us with our site, as well as with social media.

In November 2014 we wrote our first post – titled The Collapse of Capitalism. In it you will see that our economic situation has only gotten worse since then. In addition to all the things we listed, we’re now dealing with the economic fallout of Covid, hyper-inflation, and a rush to war with Russia.

We added a slider at the top of our page that, in addition to The Collapse of Capitalism, included the Personal Impact of Crisis. In that section we asked the question “What caused the crisis?” We gave 4 reasons for this. We then proposed “Making adjustments within the system” asking 6 questions of readers. Finally, we asked the question “Are there alternatives”?

The next section was titled Alternatives to Capitalism. We gave examples of workers’ self-management, workers’ control, and worker cooperatives – all of which currently exist and often are more successful than capitalist businesses.

The next section was titled History of Workers’ Councils so readers could see this is not just an unrealistic pipe dream. There is a 150-year history of worker self-management.

Finally, we included a section titled Local Workplace Democracy that allowed readers to learn about some of the local cooperatives in the US.

On our site we included sections on Our Manifesto, Our Process Politics, Our Mission Statement, Calendar of Radical Events, Submission Guidelines, Films, Books, Our Mythological Story, Our Allies, and Getting Involved.

2014 – 2016 Richard Wolff – Democracy at Work

Around the same time, Richard Wolff, the Marxist political economist, began to give public talks about the crisis in capitalism and workplace democracy as an alternative. In one of our book clubs, we began reading his book, Capitalism Hits the Fan. We attended one of several talks by Wolff and met our soon-to-be comrade, K.J. Noh, who was petitioning for some local cause. We asked him to join our book group and he did, adding an international perspective from his own personal experience of growing up in South Korea. We also discovered he was an extraordinary writer. We cited some of his publications on our site. One of the best was “The Economic Myths of Santa Claus“, published in CounterPunch on Christmas day, 2014.

After a year in our book clubs, which drew between 4 and 6 people, K.J. said to us that the book clubs really were not the way to go in this day and age. He said we needed an electronic presence. He recommended 3 newsletters we could write for and said our focus must be international in order to keep his interest. We followed his suggestions, and our website and FB page likes grew.

We also became involved with Richard Wolff’s Democracy at Work project in 2014. This was an organization developed by Richard Wolff that had chapters in numerous cities and states to support and teach people about the theory and viability of worker cooperatives to combat capitalism by democratizing our workplaces. People were either encouraged to study cooperatives, provide educational forums for cooperatives, or even start a cooperative.

Why We Left Democracy at Work

We discovered that Democracy at Work was very loose in its structure. People like us who were long-time socialists were mixed in with people who neither cared nor knew nothing about socialism, and simply wanted to start a small business. Many of the groups throughout the country were uneven in terms of their commitments and we were disappointed that Rick did not take a firmer stand in directing what we were doing. In fact, the management of these groups was left to someone else, and Rick had very little engagement with the groups.

2016-2022 Coming into Our Own

Social Media Ups and Downs – FB and Twitter

Since Jeremy set up our website, we have had consistent problems finding someone to help us. Jeremy was so good at explaining things clearly, teaching us how to create posts and perspectives, add to our pages and change our images. Since that time – in 2014, Barbara has mostly figured stuff out on her own and has become our house techie. WordPress is not a user-friendly platform and learning how to manage it is not obvious or intuitive. We need a professional, who we’ve only recently found, who can help us navigate that.

Someone who earlier helped us enormously was Sameer, who lived close to us in Oakland. He was also great at explaining things in non-tech speak. However, he’s moved on to bigger and more lucrative projects. We’ve since discovered that it’s very hard for technical experts to be able to communicate to non-experts in an understandable way what they’re trying to do – or trying to teach us to do.

Sameer introduced us to Susan Tenby in 2016 – who was able to help us with our social media. She taught us how to make our Facebook and Twitter pages more visible and appealing. We are so lucky to have found Susan. We were a small, community organization trying to get our message out. When we started working with Susan our visibility was very low. Susan did a comprehensive audit of where our social media stood when we started working with her and helped us track its rapid change. We were not getting a whole lot of attention on our website or through our social media. She gave us a crash course on how to turn that around and in a very short period of time our visibility skyrocketed. Each session with her was packed with techniques and ideas we never would have known about.  She’s also terrific at adapting to each individual’s learning style.

Susan also introduced us to Colleen Nagel, an SEO expert and digital marketing. These terms were completely unfamiliar to us. SEO means Search Engine Optimization and is the process used to optimize a website’s technical configuration, content relevance and link popularity so its pages can become easily searchable, more relevant, and popular, and as a consequence, search engines rank them better. In other words, it’s the process of making a website better for search engines, like Google. We began to understand how to make more sense of our analytics, although we’re still struggling to figure out WHY our followers like some of our posts and tweets better than others.

Where we needed help was in translating the analytics into verbal meaning. The deeper step, after understanding what these numbers mean, was to understand the causal dynamics which produce an increase or decrease in viewers and attention span. The next step was to develop a plan for increasing the number of followers after we were able to analyze what’s actually happened up to then. We never felt that we got that help

All of this cost money, of which we didn’t have a lot. We have never asked for donations or “supporters” for our site. Barbara’s income at that time consisted of a small retirement fund, Social Security, and a modest IRA. Bruce worked as an adjunct faculty member. As he’s written in his article “Capitalist Economic Violence Against Road Scholars: Now You’re Hired, Now You’re Not” his income was never completely stable and, of course, they paid adjuncts at a much lower rate than they paid faculty. In fact, today there are adjuncts who are living in their cars because they can’t afford to pay rent. We simply couldn’t afford to pay what Colleen was charging.

We then moved on to 2 more people whose entire focus was to install SEO optics. While we got some help from this, we found that both of them explained things in tech-speak and were not easy to communicate with.

Finally, we tried working with Liz and her sister. Liz was an editor of one of Bruce’s books and claimed to have some technical skills. But she didn’t have a Mac like we do and was not good at explaining things so that wasn’t much help. Her sister did have a Mac and was good at explaining things but worked full time, had small kids and was erratic in her response time.

Flying High

Between 2014 and 2016 we worked hard on learning how to get our message out through Facebook and Twitter. We learned how to “boost” our articles, Facebook’s language for paying them to promote it. We were able to select what type of audience we were trying to reach and where they were likely to be geographically. As we started to boost articles either we or one of our comrades had written, we began getting a lot more attention on Facebook. Our Facebook boosted posts for our articles ranged from 5,000 to 10,000 readers. A couple of them reached 20,000. Between 2016 and 2019 we were getting about 1,000 page likes a year, reaching thousands of people each week. At that point we had gained a total of 3,400 page likes.

Twitter was much slower to get off the ground. We began to understand the importance of hashtags and which hashtags were more likely to get attention. We also came to see the importance of liking, commenting on and retweeting the tweets of people who were following us. Our followers have increased steadily since we’ve been doing this. However, we still lag behind the attention we were getting on Facebook, and we would like to understand why.

Facebook Attempts to Clip Our Wings

In early 2020 Facebook stopped allowing us to boost our articles. The reason they gave was that since we are posting “political content” we must be registered as a political organization with the IRS. As you can imagine, we did not want to do that. When Facebook first started doing this, we were able to mount arguments that not all of our articles were, in fact, political. Well, of course they were, but not “political” in the way they were framing it. After a while, they simply stopped allowing us to boost them at all, no matter what our argument was. About the same time, we noticed that our typical daily reach (how many people saw the article) was shrinking dramatically. Whereas our daily reach used to be in the thousands, they are now in the hundreds. The same thing has happened with our engagements (how many people actually look at our post or click on a link we’ve provided) Our total page likes have gone from an average of 30 a month to less than 10. That’s because the only people who see our posts are the ones who have already liked our page! Our reach now is about one third of what it used to be. We have read that the same dramatic drop happened to World Socialist Website, The Greanville Post, and many other socialist sites.

Our Work Schedules for PBC

Since the very beginning, we each put in a minimum of 15 hours a week, often more, including Saturdays and Sundays. We have 2-hour weekly meetings to discuss what we’ve done during the week and what we want to do for the coming week. We give ourselves “homework”, then report in on the results of that homework at our weekly meetings. We jokingly call these meetings, our “Central Committee” meetings.

We write almost all of our own articles. After editing them and finding images for them we publish them and then also send them to other websites for publication. We have tried to find other comrades to write articles for publication for us also. We wanted to be able to include authors on our site beyond just the two of us. While we did, in fact, get a few people to write for us, it often required a lot of work on our part to help them frame their work. Of course, we did all editing the articles. We publish an average of one article every three weeks.

For our daily posts, every morning Bruce searches for an article online from a number of trusted sources, that usually focuses on the decay of capitalism. We also want very much to spread the word of the success of worker-owned cooperatives to the public. This lets them see that there is a way to work other than for “the man” and create a new society. He writes a post about the article, finds an image to go with it, and then sends it to Barbara. Barbara edits his post, puts it up on our site and shares it to FB and Twitter. We then share that article to our Facebook groups.

We have been doing all of this every day, every week, every month since we began our electronic outreach. This is a joy for us. We call Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism “our baby”. She’s now almost 10 years old and stable. She will be thriving when we can get the technical and social media support we need. When people ask us if we’re retired, we start laughing. Barbara always says she’s working harder than she ever did, she just doesn’t get paid for it! There are few things we would rather spend our time on than Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism.

Thank you for reading our history, and please consider joining us by reading and sharing our articles and posts. Together we are strong. Together we can change the world.

The post Bringing our Socialist Baby to Life: History of Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Naive Documentary (-ies) Makers Barely Scratch the Surface!

W.E.B. DuBois: ‘To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.’

This documentary (see below, first one linked) is not news, and then, of course, it’s Trump in office blather, too. As if UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Portugal are havens for social and people and environmental justice.

How Poor People Survive in the USA — vapid.

The documentarian is done, really, through the auspices of Euro trash context, POV, narrative framing. Contrarily, you have to be in the mix, in the middle, from the chambers of power, schools, colleges, social work, to real journalism, and into the mess personally, with daily fear of losing the job and seeing savings go go go. That is the slippage in the death spiral of USA. 

This is a Reservation/Rez Society. Boarding School Society. Celebrity Cults. Internment Camp FEMA Village (Soon). This entire unfolding of history the past 70 years has been this big time military propaganda operation embedding into all systems. Confusion creator. Mystical hatred or subservience  while praying for that blue-eyed, blond hippie Jesus. Dirt poor, and loving Trump. College student loans over $100K,  and loving AOC and Biden.

The enemy for me, and I’d say for 80 percent of USA, is that grouping — colonized Eichmann’s, the upper classes, the dream hoarders, the intelligence/knowledge workers, the higher ups in education-medicine-incarceration-pharma-medicine-energy-banking-data collecting-surveillance-real estate-Chamber of Commerce-AI-science-ag-retail-logistics-transportation, and then, MIC, congressional military complex. Join the mercenary forces, and lucky you, get your teeth pulled and a GI Bill.

Bullshit.

Ahh, my old platform to rail against the system — LA Progressive! Terminal Velocity no More! Or here! Paul Haeder. 

I’ve asked why the stuff I send and publish elsewhere is no longer getting up on LA Progressive. No answer! Again, this documentary is broken (above), but that is documentary making, most times — focused, rarified, gatekeeping on steroids, with people on the projects not deep systems thinkers, and a willingness to leave out a lot.

Stan Brock memorial remembers founder of Remote Area Medical, Wild Kingdom  star

Missing:

  1. Tens of millions on the edge of the cliff of eviction, foreclosure, endless bad jobs, in the car or van, bunking up with family or friends, while working for middle managers who do not care, and the upper management and the billionaires and millionaires.
  2. Inflammation — Capitalism is a complete, holistic, top-down disease, creating inflammation in the veins, brain, organs, belly. But worse — cuts the thinking process, deforms the mutual aid ethos, destroys collective action, kills the ability to squat and reappropriate wealth, land, whatever.
  3. The rat race of those with a roof over their heads that continue to fuel prescriptions, Disneyland la-la-land thinking, buy-buy-buy, watching sports-stars-musicians, I got mine, you better fight to get yours
  4. This country, USA, is the rotting roots and DNA of Europe, of that narrator above. These are not real people, and they are so sculpted in news speak, in priviledge.
  5. This documentary doesn’t get to the fabric of colonization of cities, schools, the bullshit of privatization, and this wacky religious and wacky elitist country of Indian Removal, Enslavement then and now, and Nomadlands.
  6. Americans are children, and that is thanks to the Media, the Boss, foolish k-6 education, and, well, we are here now, 355 million, and this is pre-covid crazies. Now? Complete imprisonment!

Oh, hell, the list is a thousand points long: Stan Brock, Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom. This is one fellow, and great heart, but in a world of Space Suits, Billionaires and Yachts, Lies Casted in Media-Banking-Digitalization, well, one guy. “He founded Remote Area Medical in 1985 to give people in need essential health care. Since then, RAM has provided free dental, vision and basic health care to more than 740,000 people.”

 

Here, the documentary on RAM above, description: During the U.S. debate about healthcare reform, the media reporters and news crews and filmmakers failed to put a human face on what it means to not have access to healthcare. Remote Area Medical fills that gap; it is a film about people, not policy. Focusing on a single three-day clinic held in the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, Remote Area Medical affords us an insider’s perspective on the ebb and flow of the event, from the tense 3:30 a.m. ticket distribution that determines who gets seen to the routine check-ups that take dramatic turns for the worse, to the risky means to which some patients resort for pain relief. We meet a doctor who also drives an 18-wheeler, a denture maker who moonlights as a jeweler, and the organization’s founder, Stan Brock, who first imagined Remote Area Medical while living as a cowboy in the Amazon rainforest, hundreds of miles from the nearest doctor. But it is the extraordinary stories of the patients, desperate for medical attention, that create a lasting impression about the state of modern health care in America.

This can’t be ramped up, taken to the ultimate level? It’s socialism, brothers and sisters, the only way forward. Forget the hate that the right and the middle of the road have against socialism. They will ply the words of “one world government.” Or, the “government controlling us.” They will talk about Universal Basic Income. They will say it is brainwashing, and communism, and, well, that socialism means all rights are taken, managed, given to and taken away by some master groups of dictators. So we are dead in the water with capitalism by any means necessary: predatory, parasitic, casino, dog-eat-dog, shock therapy, zombie, trickle down nothingness.

That is, you know, vaccine passport, no. But, there is no Forced Healthcare for All. No, Massive Take Over the Empty Lots and Buildings for Massive Rehousing. No guerrilla farming everywhere. Nothing. Because, well, Capitalism is All about “We are all champions. We are all the New Eve and Adam. You can rest assured that the masters will NOT take care of you, but at least you have the stars and bars, god almighty, baby-land.”

This exceptionalism is what has detroyed many in the 80 percent. Many. They will work and think and do things against their own well-being. When you are a lost dog in this country, a limping stray, a hungry desperate pooch, well, you will jump to the master, run for the beasts of slapping, kicking, yelling, and hitting. Under the table, curled up, belly and organs exposed as its tail is between the legs.

Heartbroken Senior Dog Cowering At A Shelter Just Wants To Be Loved
Inflamed — Moreover, they point out how modern medicine has often missed these necessary connections—to our global detriment. What is needed is “deep medicine,” which, according to the authors, “requires new cosmologies, ones that can braid our lives with the planet and the web of life around us.”
 
Rupa Marya and Raj Patel spoke to YES! about the ravages of colonialist capitalism, the failures of modern medicine to treat them, and, most importantly, how a “deep medicine” approach can heal us all.
 
*This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
 
Sonali Kolhatkar: Is the title of the book, Inflamed, a metaphor for what is happening to our planet and its living systems?
 
Rupa Marya: It’s not at all a metaphor. It’s a description of what’s happening inside of our bodies and around us on the planet and our societies. The inflammatory response is the body’s ancient evolutionarily conserved pathway to restoring its optimal working condition when it’s been thrown off by danger or damage or the threat of damage. (Source, Yes Magazine)
 
No jobs, no good jobs, decayed systems, penalties, bad credit, criminal offenses, drugs, booze, and bodies torn at a very young age with multiple chronic diseases, many many diseases.
 
https://youtu.be/YrEwPp2bG48
 
This is the system that the beautiful people in the sciences, in technology, in the Reset Star Chamber, all of those hoarding money and the opportunities have set loose, and these fascists want these people — us, we the people — on UBI, held as data pools — body snatchers, mind snatchers, attention snatchers, activity snatchers, all part of mining people, putting us, them, the 80 percent, in the cloud, in algorithms, in data banks, all mashed up for social impact — do as we say, follow what we command, eat-drink-think like we say, and you will get the tokens, man, the money, the slice of a 200-square-foot-per-person habitat. No pets allowed.
The post Naive Documentary (-ies) Makers Barely Scratch the Surface! first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Saving Capitalism or Saving the Planet? 

The UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team helped to push the public towards accepting the COVID narrative, restrictions and lockdowns. It is now working on ‘nudging’ people towards further possible restrictions or at least big changes in their behaviour in the name of ‘climate emergency’. From frequent news stories and advertisements to soap opera storylines and government announcements, the message about impending climate catastrophe is almost relentless.

Part of the messaging includes blaming the public’s consumption habits for a perceived ‘climate emergency’. At the same time, young people are being told that we only have a decade or so (depending on who is saying it) to ‘save the planet’.

Setting the agenda are powerful corporations that helped degrade much of the environment in the first place. But ordinary people, not the multi-billionaires pushing this agenda, will pay the price for this as living more frugally seems to be part of the programme (‘own nothing and be happy’). Could we at some future point see ‘climate emergency’ lockdowns, not to ‘save the NHS’ but to ‘save the planet’?

A tendency to focus on individual behaviour and not ‘the system’ exists.

But let us not forget this is a system that deliberately sought to eradicate a culture of self-reliance that prevailed among the working class in the 19th century (self-education, recycling products, a culture of thrift, etc) via advertising and a formal school education that ensured conformity and set in motion a lifetime of wage labour and dependency on the products manufactured by an environmentally destructive capitalism.

A system that has its roots in inflicting massive violence across the globe to exert control over land and resources elsewhere.

In his 2018 book The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequalities and its solutions, Jason Hickel describes the processes involved in Europe’s wealth accumulation over a 150-year period of colonialism that resulted in tens of millions of deaths.

By using other countries’ land, Britain effectively doubled the size of arable land in its control. This made it more practical to then reassign the rural population at home (by stripping people of their means of production) to industrial labour. This too was underpinned by massive violence (burning villages, destroying houses, razing crops).

Hickel argues that none of this was inevitable but was rooted in the fear of being left behind by other countries because of Europe’s relative lack of land resources to produce commodities.

This is worth bearing in mind as we currently witness a fundamental shift in our relationship to the state resulting from authoritarian COVID-related policies and the rapidly emerging corporate-led green agenda. We should never underestimate the ruthlessness involved in the quest for preserving wealth and power and the propensity for wrecking lives and nature to achieve this.

Commodification of nature

Current green agenda ‘solutions’ are based on a notion of ‘stakeholder’ capitalism or private-public partnerships whereby vested interests are accorded greater weight, with governments and public money merely facilitating the priorities of private capital.

A key component of this strategy involves the ‘financialisation of nature’ and the production of new ‘green’ markets to deal with capitalism’s crisis of over accumulation and weak consumer demand caused by decades of neoliberal policies and the declining purchasing power of working people. The banking sector is especially set to make a killing via ‘green profiling’ and ‘green bonds’.

According to Friends of the Earth (FoE), corporations and states will use the financialisation of nature discourse to weaken laws and regulations designed to protect the environment with the aim of facilitating the goals of extractive industries, while allowing mega-infrastructure projects in protected areas and other contested places.

Global corporations will be able to ‘offset’ (greenwash) their activities by, for example, protecting or planting a forest elsewhere (on indigenous people’s land) or perhaps even investing in (imposing) industrial agriculture which grows herbicide-resistant GMO commodity crop monocultures that are misleadingly portrayed as ‘climate friendly’.

FoE states:

Offsetting schemes allow companies to exceed legally defined limits of destruction at a particular location, or destroy protected habitat, on the promise of compensation elsewhere; and allow banks to finance such destruction on the same premise.

This agenda could result in the weakening of current environmental protection legislation or its eradication in some regions under the pretext of compensating for the effects elsewhere. How ecoservice ‘assets’ (for example, a forest that performs a service to the ecosystem by acting as a carbon sink) are to be evaluated in a monetary sense is very likely to be done on terms that are highly favourable to the corporations involved, meaning that environmental protection will play second fiddle to corporate and finance sector return-on-investment interests.

As FoE argues, business wants this system to be implemented on its terms, which means the bottom line will be more important than stringent rules that prohibit environmental destruction.

Saving capitalism

The envisaged commodification of nature will ensure massive profit-seeking opportunities through the opening up of new markets and the creation of fresh investment instruments.

Capitalism needs to keep expanding into or creating new markets to ensure the accumulation of capital to offset the tendency for the general rate of profit to fall (according to writer Ted Reese, it has trended downwards from an estimated 43% in the 1870s to 17% in the 2000s). The system suffers from a rising overaccumulation (surplus) of capital.

Reese notes that, although wages and corporate taxes have been slashed, the exploitability of labour continued to become increasingly insufficient to meet the demands of capital accumulation. By late 2019, the world economy was suffocating under a mountain of debt. Many companies could not generate enough profit and falling turnover, squeezed margins, limited cashflows and highly leveraged balance sheets were prevalent. In effect, economic growth was already grinding to a halt prior to the massive stock market crash in February 2020.

In the form of COVID ‘relief’, there has been a multi-trillion bailout for capitalism as well as the driving of smaller enterprises to bankruptcy. Or they have being swallowed up by global interests. Either way, the likes of Amazon and other predatory global corporations have been the winners.

New ‘green’ Ponzi trading schemes to offset carbon emissions and commodify ‘ecoservices’ along with electric vehicles and an ‘energy transition’ represent a further restructuring of the capitalist economy, resulting in a shift away from a consumer oriented demand-led system.

It essentially leaves those responsible for environmental degradation at the wheel, imposing their will and their narrative on the rest of us.

Global agribusiness

Between 2000 and 2009, Indonesia supplied more than half of the global palm oil market at an annual expense of some 340,000 hectares of Indonesian countryside. Consider too that Brazil and Indonesia have spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid from the UN to prevent it.

These two countries gave over $40bn in subsidies to the palm oil, timber, soy, beef and biofuels sectors between 2009 and 2012, some 126 times more than the $346m they received to preserve their rain forests.

India is the world’s leading importer of palm oil, accounting for around 15% of the global supply. It imports over two-­thirds of its palm oil from Indonesia.

Until the mid-1990s, India was virtually self-sufficient in edible oils. Under pressure from the World Trade Organization (WTO), import tariffs were reduced, leading to an influx of cheap (subsidised) edible oil imports that domestic farmers could not compete with. This was a deliberate policy that effectively devastated the home-grown edible oils sector and served the interests of palm oil growers and US grain and agriculture commodity company Cargill, which helped write international trade rules to secure access to the Indian market on its terms.

Indonesia leads the world in global palm oil production, but palm oil plantations have too often replaced tropical forests, leading to the killing of endangered species and the uprooting of local communities as well as contributing to the release of potential environment-damaging gases. Indonesia emits more of these gases than any country besides China and the US, largely due to the production of palm oil.

The issue of palm oil is one example from the many that could be provided to highlight how the drive to facilitate corporate need and profit trumps any notion of environmental protection or addressing any ‘climate emergency’. Whether it is in Indonesia, Latin America or elsewhere, transnational agribusiness – and the system of globalised industrial commodity crop agriculture it promotes – fuels much of the destruction we see today.

Even if the mass production of lab-created food, under the guise of ‘saving the planet’ and ‘sustainability’, becomes logistically possible (which despite all the hype is not at this stage), it may still need biomass and huge amounts of energy. Whose land will be used to grow these biomass commodities and which food crops will they replace? And will it involve that now-famous Gates’ euphemism ‘land mobility’ (farmers losing their land)?

Microsoft is already mapping Indian farmers’ lands and capturing agriculture datasets such as crop yields, weather data, farmers’ personal details, profile of land held (cadastral maps, farm size, land titles, local climatic and geographical conditions), production details (crops grown, production history, input history, quality of output, machinery in possession) and financial details (input costs, average return, credit history).

Is this an example of stakeholder-partnership capitalism, whereby a government facilitates the gathering of such information by a private player which can then use the data for developing a land market (courtesy of land law changes that the government enacts) for institutional investors at the expense of smallholder farmers who find themselves ‘land mobile’? This is a major concern among farmers and civil society in India.

Back in 2017, agribusiness giant Monsanto was judged to have engaged in practices that impinged on the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health. Judges at the ‘Monsanto Tribunal’, held in The Hague, concluded that if ecocide were to be formally recognised as a crime in international criminal law, Monsanto could be found guilty.

The tribunal called for the need to assert the primacy of international human and environmental rights law. However, it was also careful to note that an existing set of legal rules serves to protect investors’ rights in the framework of the WTO and in bilateral investment treaties and in clauses in free trade agreements. These investor trade rights provisions undermine the capacity of nations to maintain policies, laws and practices protecting human rights and the environment and represent a disturbing shift in power.

The tribunal denounced the severe disparity between the rights of multinational corporations and their obligations.

While the Monsanto Tribunal judged that company to be guilty of human rights violations, including crimes against the environment, in a sense we also witnessed global capitalism on trial.

Global conglomerates can only operate as they do because of a framework designed to allow them to capture or co-opt governments and regulatory bodies and to use the WTO and bilateral trade deals to lever influence. As Jason Hickel notes in his book (previously referred to), old-style colonialism may have gone but governments in the Global North and its corporations have found new ways to assert dominance via leveraging aid, market access and ‘philanthropic’ interventions to force lower income countries to do what they want.

The World Bank’s ‘Enabling the Business of Agriculture’ and its ongoing commitment to an unjust model of globalisation is an example of this and a recipe for further plunder and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few.

Brazil and Indonesia have subsidised private corporations to effectively destroy the environment through their practices. Canada and the UK are working with the GMO biotech sector to facilitate its needs. And India is facilitating the destruction of its agrarian base according to World Bank directives for the benefit of the likes of Corteva and Cargill.

The TRIPS Agreement, written by Monsanto, and the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, written by Cargill, was key to a new era of corporate imperialism. It came as little surprise that in 2013 India’s then Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar accused US companies of derailing the nation’s oil seeds production programme.

Powerful corporations continue to regard themselves as the owners of people, the planet and the environment and as having the right – enshrined in laws and agreements they wrote – to exploit and devastate for commercial gain.

Partnership or co-option?

It was noticeable during a debate on food and agriculture at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that there was much talk about transforming the food system through partnerships and agreements. Fine-sounding stuff, especially when the role of agroecology and regenerative farming was mentioned.

However, if, for instance, the interests you hope to form partnerships with are coercing countries to eradicate their essential buffer food stocks then bid for such food on the global market with US dollars (as in India) or are lobbying for the enclosure of seeds through patents (as in Africa and elsewhere), then surely this deliberate deepening of dependency should be challenged; otherwise ‘partnership’ really means co-option.

Similarly, the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) that took place during September in New York was little more than an enabler of corporate needs. The UNFSS was founded on a partnership between the UN and the World Economic Forum and was disproportionately influenced by corporate actors.

Those granted a pivotal role at the UNFSS support industrial food systems that promote ultra-processed foods, deforestation, industrial livestock production, intensive pesticide use and commodity crop monocultures, all of which cause soil deterioration, water contamination and irreversible impacts on biodiversity and human health. And this will continue as long as the environmental effects can be ‘offset’ or these practices can be twisted on the basis of them somehow being ‘climate-friendly’.

Critics of the UNFSS offer genuine alternatives to the prevailing food system. In doing so, they also provide genuine solutions to climate-related issues and food injustice based on notions of food sovereignty, localisation and a system of food cultivation deriving from agroecological principles and practices. Something which people who organised the climate summit in Glasgow would do well to bear in mind.

Current greenwashed policies are being sold by tugging at the emotional heartstrings of the public. This green agenda, with its lexicon of ‘sustainability’, ‘carbon neutrality’, ‘net-zero’ and doom-laden forecasts, is part of a programme that seeks to restructure capitalism, to create new investment markets and instruments and to return the system to viable levels of profitability.

The post Saving Capitalism or Saving the Planet?  first appeared on Dissident Voice.

You Will Need No Stinkin’ Badge if you Want to Die in a Gutter

Nah, we are not a society ready for deep discussion and debate about work, forced revealing of health information, forced mRNA jabs, and more. So, here we are, a teacher, ready to be gone gone gone. Andy Libson has drawn a line in the sand.

The decision of where a person will draw a line comes to our show hosts. We speak to Andy Libson about the decisions he is being forced into at his own job. Workers and students across the nation are being mandated to submit their status or proof of the COVID injection. This has caused many to face a “choice” between their “freedoms” or their livelihoods. Get jabbed or be terminated and ostracized in a society where the obligation to get injected by the government is being encroached in almost every sector of our society. This episode poses the question…”where will you draw your line?”

At 1 hour and 37 minutes, Kenny and Eduardo and Andy discussing how Andy is handcuffed with San Francisco School District provisos of giving the school district his vaccination status, and if he has a medical or religious exemption, that too.

You see that information is really not protected in some red file in HR. The administration in his school has it, and, really, when you listen to this, any parent who comes in and says she saw teacher Andy without a mask (she could lie, of course), then she would have a right to ask about HIS vaccination status.

There are no five ways to look at this — it is a culture of snitching, but worse: fear, and accommodating the worst of the worst concepts of always treating humans as guilty-dirty-useless-sick-unvaccinated before proving otherwise. And there is no proving, since there is no discourse. All information is being banned, and the pigs in administrations, pigs in the CEO class (sic) and those HR fools who listen to lawyers and default to the most common denominator: workers are not to be trusted.

Now, this might be pulled from Fuck You Tube, since Andy and Eduardo and Kenny are having a conversation about risks, intended risks, unintended risks, the subterfuge, the fascist policies of compulsory this, compulsory gene therapy, and forced dictates. This is not controversial, in any other time, other baseline. But that shifting baseline syndrome has rotted the brains of the liberal (faux) class, and the rampant/rabid stupidity of people who label those of us who WANT more information, who want to RESEARCH, who want to delve into the shit that is corporate crime and bureaucratic crime and group think and lies are truth, and newspeak.

Here’s JJ on a Bike, and those creeps, those sexist pukes like Howard Stern, Sean Penn, Bill Maher, et al, the wouldn’t last a minute with this fellow talking about the Covid origins. And the origins of this Covid-19 are important — WAY important tied to the entire lock-up mentality, the entire rush for Warp Speed untested non-vaccines. It just is a little hindrance, no, on exactly how the SARS-CoV2

This is the new lay of the land, not wanting to talk, to research, to listen. JJ: Pittsburg scientist, and this is March 2020!!!

You think Physics Teacher Andy Libson — before he’s sacked — could show this episode to seniors and discuss what scientific inquiry is? Hell, I couldn’t show this in a college level writing class without a whole lot of pain: just one student complaining; just one passing fellow teacher complaining. Or what about having this essay as a reading piece for discussion and response?

“COVID-19 Detention Camps: Are Government Round-Ups of Resistors in Our Future?”

by John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead / September 29th, 2021

“No doubt concentration camps were a means, a menace used to keep order.”

— Albert Speer, Nuremberg Trials

It’s no longer a question of whether the government will lock up Americans for defying its mandates but when.

This is what we know: the government has the means, the muscle and the motivation to detain individuals who resist its orders and do not comply with its mandates in a vast array of prisons, detention centers, and FEMA concentration camps paid for with taxpayer dollars.

It’s just a matter of time.

Over at Dissident Voicehere.

The question that needs to be begged is what will the SFSD do when they access this episode of What’s Left . . . and they have tons of snitches? Remember, these are mostly spineless administrators, out to lunch school board members, lock-step thinkers in the hierarchy in unions. These are schools that have fully-SWAT outfitted pigs on campus, “resource officers,” and these are schools that let the armed mercenary services on campus to recruit, but they would never let an antiwar, anti-military peace loving group on campus, or even Veterans for Peace, or Coffee Strong.

Right!

This stuff was verboten —

Coffee Strong: Listening to the GI Voice at Fort Lewis

And, just breaking now, Shit-ehh-Fornia, and its bizarre Governor, mandating k12, 6 years of age to 20, the jab. This is how these people roll.

Gavin Newsom just announced that California would become the first state to mandate eligible students attending public and private schools be vaccinated against Covid for in-person instruction.

According to KFI News in Los Angeles, “The governor is directing the California Department of Public Health to add the COVID vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person learning.”

This would have NEVER been accepted treatment of young kids, in 2019! The rich see us all as diseased!

The post You Will Need No Stinkin’ Badge if you Want to Die in a Gutter first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Masters of Illusion: Sociopathy from the Very Rich on Down

Nothing Changes With the Rich!

You just can’t make this stuff up as a fiction writer (also, see below, at the end of this piece**). Demonic, but sturdy. Boring actuarial folk, or in this guy’s case, making loot illegally in the legal channel that is Illegal Wall Street:

Thomas Peterffy became one of the world’s richest people by mastering risk on Wall Street. Building his Mediterranean-style mansion seven years ago on a vulnerable stretch of Florida’s Palm Beach Island was a matter of seeing the odds clearly once again. The consequences of climate change will play out over decades, and Peterffy is 76 years old.

“I don’t have a care about it at all,” he said over lunch at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, just down the street from his home. “If something needs to be done to save it,” he added, “it’s not going to be my problem.” The founder of Interactive Brokers Group has a fortune of more than $21 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Thomas Peterffy with Lynne Wheat in Palm Beach in 2017 (Nick Mele/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images)

Glaser is building a new waterfront mansion designed by architect Kobi Karp, replacing a now-demolished estate owned by Jeffrey Epstein.
Seawall installation at property on the intracoastal in Palm Beach.

Nice guy, uh? And even younger ones, in the billionaire class, they whisper that, though they do have bullshit smoke and mirrors philanthropies and foundations to, well, shelter taxes and corrupt the world more with their sociopathy. In the old days, it would have been, “Eat the Rich,” “Kill the Rich,” “Banish the Rich.” Now, though, since they have created a vampire class of millionaires and media mental midgets with millions stashed away, the Rich Are a Protected Class. Until we get daily reminders of the collective insanity of Western culture, Western capitalism, Western cults. This is the rich, giving a damn about the future, or, spending millions and billions on their vaults and prison garden homes. Then, there are 10,000 in Del Rio, Texass:

a group of people in a forest: Large Migration Surge Crosses Rio Grande Into Del Rio, Texas

The temporary camp has grown six-fold since Monday and more migrants are expected in the coming days. Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano made a disaster declaration Friday. “I had thought that the alarm was sent on Monday. This is setting the nuclear bomb alarm that this is no longer sustainable or acceptable,” he said. Congressman Tony Gonzales, a Texas Republican, is calling on the Biden administration to come up with a solution for the chaos. “Please get engaged, get involved, do something. This is unsustainable. This is not America. This is not the way things should be,” he said. “Folks are coming over and across as if there is no border.” Also Friday, CBP closed the Del Rio Port of Entry and re-routed traffic.

Elevating a property in Palm Beach.

Elevating a property in Palm Beach.

I have years of writing about and researching urban planning, regional planning, all the gold, silver, platinum of LEED/Sustainability/New Urbanism building. It is a mighty thing to have a few degrees from elite schools (my schools, they are not elite), and then getting placed into the star chambers of planning, architecture and design. To the point of, the Eichmanns are deep into this lie, and there is really, the way they want smart cities and internet of bodies for the future, no global warming, no global climate chaos, no collapsing systems, water shortages, deaths in the millions annually just from air pollutants. No deaths in the hundreds of thousands because of higher and higher bulb temperatures. No reality about water shortages, failing sewage treatment, endless fires, pests-poisons-pestilence vis-a-vis profits at any cost, at costs to anyone or anything, albeit, not against the elite and star chamber folk. The reality is if you believe in capitalism, in all for one, or that technology is going to get us out of the muck, then, you are a denier. The worse kind!

If this doesn’t tell it all, here we are, the great profession (sic) of planners (misshapers, building and real estate protection racketeers) having yet another fake event, virtually. Imagine that, so planners are supposed to be on the land, in the muck, in neighborhoods, looking at systems, ecosystems, people, communities, towns and mega-cities, and, here the gutless wonders are, well, hiding again, in underwear and Snoopy slippers. This was a group I was sort of a member of when I was getting my graduate degree in , well, urban and regional planning:

Save the Date: 2021 OAPA/APA WA Virtual Joint Planning Conference

The 2021 conference continues with the theme of Growing Together Virtually, recognizing the importance and challenges of planning for evolving communities, large and small, in these challenging and polarizing times. The conference will offer more sessions than last year, allowing for greater variety in session content.

Oh, in polite company, we can’t call this a bunch of fucking shit, no? All the communities now within communities, the so-called subcommunities, struggling with forced jabs, forced passports, forced scrutiny, forced surveillance, facial recognition just to enter a football game or concert. Work, sure, servicing those maskless wonders with masks on, but not enough cash to pay the rent, or, all the cash for the rent. No health care, nothing of those safety nets that the RICH have, and do not get goofy on me to profess that the rich do not have entire lobbies upon lobbies in their sophisticated protection racket. The planners — many of them looking for sustainability and gardens and walkability and healthy small downsized living — in the end buckle under the weight of bureaucracy and the rich and powerful controlling the narrative and their own money stream. Look, I understand that every arena I have entered into since, oh, age 13, those places are sacred to liberals, lights, conservative, lights, and that I would also be an outlier or outcast anywhere, or the enemy in some regard, but now, it is way beyond “enemy” or “persona non grata” I represent. It is a matter of outcasting, men, an untouchable, while the APA-WA branch, peddles more lies, meaningless doublespeak:

“What is Planning? Planning is a dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities. Professional planners make great communities happen by working with civic leaders, businesses, and citizens to envision new possibilities and solutions to community problems.”

I wonder what the planners might do around those Haitians, all those cities that are in disrepair, all the rough sleepers, the homeless-in-vehicles, the sheltered-in-basements/garages/hotels. How to plan, man, those smart cities, those hipster places, those virtual venues, the Zoom Rooms, the isolation chambers, the places of mediocrity sold as cutting edge Musk-Apple joints. Imagine, maybe in a year, the Planners can hook into the Bezos Ejaculatory Space Suit Freaks, and have a live feed with Bezos and ask him what’s next in planning cities around his Gestapo-Gulag-Retail-Surveillance-Cloud world. In so many ways, I found the planning profession to be vapid, dead of creativity, and certainly no rabble rousers or deep thinkers in the bunch. They talk a good talk, but in the end, their jobs are the work of the real estate, developer, building and construction lobbies, and the planners I know would never speak up at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. They are the epitome of Eichmann, updated and retrofitted for Cancel Culture and Oh So Hip Stylists.

How about his Salem group, Salem for Refugees? You think planners would want to create grants for people like me to study the dynamics of community building-engagement-employment around these newest immigrants?


With the unfolding situation in Afghanistan, thousands of people are fleeing their home and looking for protection in the US. We have been preparing for refugees and SIV cases. Now we are preparing to also provide resettlement services for individuals who have been identified as special risk (journalists, NGO workers, humanitarian workers, political activists, etc.). Due to the rapid nature of the situation, this group of individuals will have a special Parolee status which will allow for immediate work authorization but limited access to State social services or Medicaid benefits. We need your help in bridging this gap and providing for the needs of these people. In an effort to bring Afghan Evacuees to Salem, the State Department has given us an early approval as an affiliate of World Relief and we are now an official Resettlement Agency! We will begin receiving cases through the Afghanistan Placement Assistance Program and in January for all other refugees through the Reception and Placement program!

The good old days when we truly hated the rich:

In 1920, Wall Street reporter Edwin Lefèvre derided “some wretchedly rich people” in a Post article called “The Annoyances of Being Rich Today.” Without naming names, Lefèvre detailed conversations with bankers and heirs about their gripes with imperfect service and ungrateful butlers. One rich man told the author that he feared a revolution was afoot after he asked a waiter for bread and — instead of silent obedience — the response came: “Sure thing!” Others complained about accusations of vanity or the prospect of their service staff seeking higher wages.

Lefèvre sums up the groans of the plutocrats by casting wealth as a sort of illness:

I am convinced that there is a definite social disease which we may call gold poisoning. When a man has too much gold, some of it gets into the system; through the pores, it almost seems. It causes deafness and affects the sight. These ailments, gold deafness and gold blindness, are responsible for most of the annoyances of which the stricken rich so bitterly complain today. Instead of seeing or hearing, they are merely aware of a rumbling sound—the tread of their fellow men marching toward them, armed with bombs, bitterness, and taxes.

Newspaper article

John Stuart Mill called the rich, “the unearned excrement.” Oh, what a day it would be to see that again, lifted up high, daily, in the media, but this is a world of valorizing the rich, listening to the liars and grifters — the thespians — and all the handlers, the hangers-on the rich-super rich employ to massage their messages.

Larry Glickman, a professor of history at Cornell University, says he has used this clip in one of his classes to illustrate the criticism of so-called robber barons of the late nineteenth century: “In the Gilded Age, ‘capitalist’ was really a term given by its enemies to people who had earned wealth in an unfair, immoral way, so a lot of small business men said something similar to what Hickenlooper said.” Glickman says the distrust of robber barons (or capitalists) comes back to the question of hard work. “There was this idea that you had labor producing things, and that accumulating wealth through honest production was a good thing,” he says, “but there was a new class of people called capitalists getting their wealth through unproductive, exploitative ways.” (Saturday Evening Post).

** So, Bloomberg the Billionaire with Billionaire Bloomberg News, has the answer for inequities, which in any other language is, well, wage theft, tax fraud, tax evasion, thievery of a general nature, war profiteering, penury, slave/sweatshop economy. The news just continues with these abhorrent items:

Amazon’s massive new distribution centers, soon to be surrounded by infrastructure built to serve workers, are being compared to Gilded Age company towns. While many are aghast at the idea, fellow billionaires are praising it.

The e-commerce empire founded by Jeff Bezos will offer the American working class a better option than scraping to get by in increasingly expensive cities, investment adviser Conor Sen wrote in a Friday oped for Bloomberg, the financial news outlet whose namesake is billionaire former New York mayor and failed presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg.

“Let’s call them ‘factory towns,’” Sen suggests, apparently in an effort to avoid the baggage that accompanies the concept of “company towns.” Popular in the late 19th century among the new breed of mega-corporations – railroads, steel mills, and the like – many of these dormitory communities held workers as veritable prisoners, paying them in scrip that was only redeemable at the company-run store and retaining groups of thuggish Pinkerton “detectives” to stamp out any attempts to unionize. (source)

Yet, Bezos is a joke with the power of deflection, the power of the rich to believe his own dirty secrets of domination. No number of jokes piled on by the millionaire comedian class or insightful (sic) commentaries by the millionaire presstitutes can buckle the Amazon formula. Here, the sweatshops of Amazon, providing slaves with, well, boxes of time out:

Amazon offers 'wellness chamber' for stressed staff - BBC News

 

The post Masters of Illusion: Sociopathy from the Very Rich on Down first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Ruling Class Fears of The Day of Reckoning: Historical Causes for the Biases Against Crowds

Image from Imgur @i.imgur.com

Orientation

As I was looking at images to place at the beginning of this article, I was struck by how many images and quotes there were of Le Bon. It is pretty amazing for someone whose first work was published in 1895 and whose last works are still around 100 years old. It is especially strange given how unscientific his methods were and how recent empirical studies of crowds like David Miller’s Introduction to Collective Behavior and Collective Action contradicts virtually everything Le Bon claimed. Why is Le Bon’s work still circulating despite lack of scientific rigor? Why have the last fifty years of research on crowds that have a solid scientific basis been ignored?

Purpose of this article

The purpose of this article is to:

  • Expose the propagandist roots and branches of our biases against crowds while showing some of the scientific evidence that supports the actual behavior of crowds.
  • To outline what historical events occurred that supported the prejudice against crowds.
  • Propose that it is ruling-class fears of crowds that fuels the perpetuation of unscientific theories about crowds.
  • Propose that ruling class fears that working-class people mobilized into crowds will seize their resources, destroy their property and enslave them.

Crowds vs Masses

Crowds are large collections of people who meet at the same place at the same time and are large enough that it is difficult to have a central conversation. A loudspeaker, microphone or some external device is necessary to have a single central discussion.  There are different kinds of crowds. There are casual crowds like those that meet by chance at the scene of an accident or a fire. They may congregate to watch a building go up or be torn down. A second kind of crowd are long lines that form to buy tickets to ball games or musical concerts.

An audience is a more formal crowd with a more deliberate focus. Examples are attending a musical concert or a sporting event. Lasty, there are unconventional crowds which can lead to riots, lynchings, protests and demonstrations. Mass behavior involves large numbers of people who are spatially dispersed but participate in common activities like fads or fashions.  Mass behavior involves the use of radio (Orson Wells, War of the Worlds) television, movies which often lead to rumors or urban legends.

Questionnaire on Crowds

In order to understand the purposes of this article, I ask that you spend about 25 to 30 minutes answering the following true-false questions. For the answer to be true, it simply means most of the time, not all the time.  For the answer to be false, it just means it rarely happens, not never happens. Follow your answer with a one sentence justification. Feel free to draw from your experience as well as what you’ve read. It is important to answer quickly and spontaneously and not dwell on the answers. One purpose of the questionnaire is to see if you think there are any significant differences between how people in crowds behave (collective behavior) as opposed to how small groups or individuals behave.

Here are the True – False questions:

  • Most crowds consist of strangers, rather than family, friends or acquaintances.
  • The percentage of violent behavior is higher in crowds than in small groups such as a musical band or a baseball team.
  • The behavior of crowds is more likely to be unanimous than the behavior of small groups.
  • Crowds of people are more likely to engage in unusual or extraordinary behaviors than either groups or individuals.
  • The behavior of individuals and small groups is more likely to be rational than the behavior of a crowd, which is more likely to be irrational.
  • There are certain kinds of personalities that are drawn to crowds that you could predict would join a crowd if you knew enough about their personalities.
  • There is a disproportionately higher number of working-class people in crowds compared to other social classes.
  • Compared to people without legal convictions, there is a higher percentage of criminals in crowds.
  • Individuals and small groups that are more likely to deliberate and plan their actions are less likely to be spontaneous.
  • You could predict that most individuals are more likely to lose their personal identity in a crowd rather than alone or in small groups.
  • Emotions are more likely to spread by contagions in a crowd rather than in a small group.
  • Groups are easier to disperse than crowds because people in crowds want to linger longer.
  • There has been more research done on crowds than on groups because the behavior in crowds has greater social impact.
  • People conform less to norms in crowds than they do in groups or as individuals.
  • Most violence in crowds is caused by the participants in the crowd rather than the police.
  • There is a higher degree of unpredictability of behavior in crowds than there is in small groups or within an individual.
  • The goals of a crowd are more extreme and unconventional than the goals of groups or individuals.
  • Riots are equally likely to happen regardless of the season of the year.
  • The most typical reaction to a natural disaster or emotional shock is panic – that is, uncontrolled individualistic flight as opposed to a rational, deliberate response.
  • There is a correlation between which people will engage in a protest and their political beliefs before the protests.
  • The most likely group to join a movement is the group who has absolute deprivation of resources as opposed to relative deprivation or no deprivation.

 The last three questions are about mass behavior, not crowd behavior:

  • Fads are less predictable than fashions.
  • Rumors begin mostly because people lose their ability to investigate before coming to a conclusion.
  • Fashions exist in all societies, tribal as well as industrial.

Myths vs Facts About Crowds

In their book, Social Psychology, Delamater Myers and Collett, citing the research of Carl Couch, Clark McPhail, David Schweingruber and Ronald Wohlstein argued that there are seven basic myths about crowds. They are:

  • Irrationality
  • Emotionality
  • Suggestibility – mindless behavior
  • Destructiveness
  • Spontaneity
  • Anonymity
  • Unanimity of purpose

Through these seven myths we are likely to see why all the answers in relation to crowds to the True-False questions are false. The only true answers are the first two questions about masses. Rather than explaining why every single question on crowds is false, I will speak generally and then answer a few questions specifically.

Are crowds wholes that are less than the sum of their parts?

One of the great underlying beliefs about crowds is that terrible things happen in a crowd that somehow would not happen in a small group and especially at an individual level.  Individuals are seen as rational, non-violent and prudent, but once the individual is surrounded by enough other individuals, things turn sour. The belief is that while individuals and groups may have differences with each other, those differences melt away in a crowd as individual members turn into a group hive. In fact, differences between individuals and small groups are maintained in crowds. To cite one example, in riots, crowds rarely act in unison. Some throw rocks and break windows. Others climb telephone poles and smash statues. Others disapprove and try to talk the others out of armed conflict. Still others are altruistic and help protesters who have been injured by cops.

Who is orderly and disorderly in crowds?

Speaking of cops, research on mass psychology has shown that most of the time, contrary to Le Bon, riots are started by the police, not the crowd. Furthermore, crowds assemble and disassemble at ballgames and concerts without any police necessary. Once gathered crowds do not stick together like honey. They easily disperse and really do not need the police to do so. I have been to many a Yankee and Knicks game in which the crowd, anywhere from 15 thousand to 30 thousand people leave the game, peacefully get on the train and talk about the ballgame. There is no need for police because nothing controversial happens. For conservatives like Le Bon, they cannot imagine that crowds regulate themselves. For them crowds are filled with animalistic, hedonistic barbarians who need the police to whip them into order.

Are working-class people more likely to be disorderly?

There is some truth to the fact that a higher percentage of working-class people will be in crowds. This has more to do with the reality that middle-class or upper-middle class people can afford to take a taxi to a ball game or a concert instead of taking the train. But this has little to do with the behavior of working-class crowds. Furthermore, plenty of protests are filled with upper-middle class anarchists who torch police cars and topple monuments. There is no clear relationship between social class and crowd violence.

How unpredictable are crowds?

Another one of Le Bon’s mistaken generalizations about crowds is that people in crowds act without rhyme or reason. This demonstrates, as an upper middle-class doctor, Le Bon has no understanding of all the deliberation and planning that goes into protests on the part of the organizers. This planning goes on weeks before the event. It is true that unpredictable things happen in protects, but they are exceptions to the rule. Furthermore, individuals act in unpredictable ways, as in the case of mass shootings. Individuals get caught up in cults and act in unpredictable and astonishing ways. Cults are large groups, not crowds.

Are emotions in crowds contagious?

People are every bit as emotional in small groups as they are in crowds. There is nothing contagious about emotions in crowds. People maintain emotional judgement while in the crowd. In fact, the leaders of protests harangue people to sing and chant as a way to unify the group. Just being in a crowd does not automatically unify the individuals. It takes work to do so. When faced with members of a crowd who become hysterical, rather than mindlessly joining in, other members of the crowd will distance themselves and exercise the same prudence that individuals or people in small groups will.

Is the crowd to social life what Freud’s id is to individual life?

Le Bon, Freud, Bion and the rest of the crowd psychologists we will soon meet think that at the social level the crowd is like the id, lurking on the margins of society waiting for a chance to jump out and wreak havoc. This is exemplified in the movie Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. In natural disasters these crowd psychologists imagine that the socialized ego is swarmed by the individualistic dictum, “every person for himself”. They imagine the results are pillaging and raping. The trouble is that research on behavior in natural disasters shows that people are consistently heroic and cooperative.

One hundred years of neglect of scientific research on crowds

Lastly, unlike individual psychology and group psychology the scientific study of crowds and masses lags way behind. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that the first research was done. Why is this? On the one hand, studying crowds is far more difficult because crowds are so large and their life-times short. But something else was going on. Why were Le Bon’s, Tarde’s and Sighele’s, speculations allowed to stand unchallenged and repeated mindlessly in social psychology textbooks for almost 100 years? In large part it was because their theories served the interests of the ruling class.

Historical Reasons for the Biases Against Crowds

Growth of cities

One of major changes in European history and geography was the gradual reversal of numbers of people living in cities compared to those of people living on farms.  People move to cities in part because there is more work, but also, as the saying goes, “city air makes you free”.  Some people felt trapped by the nosiness and stifling customs of rural life. Non-conformists to religious traditions, artists and hustlers with big dreams were drawn to cities for a chance to start fresh. Living on a farm, the general expectations was that you would engage in the same occupation as your parents. Moving to the city broke that tradition and it raised expectations. Especially those living in coastal cities who were exposed not only to people coming from different cities within Yankeedom, but people from other countries were also looking for work. Different languages, different religions, and different political traditions converged.

There are rarely, if ever, crowds in rural areas. While farmers may get together on holidays, everyone knows everyone else and rarely are strangers invited.  Even when farmers would go to town to get supplies, the overwhelming number of people knew each other and greeted each other. There were no stadiums or concert halls in which large numbers of people could congregate to watch professional sports or music. Long before the Industrial Revolution, crowds in cities would gather to hear political speeches. So, what we have in pre-industrial cities are relatively rootless people with raised expectations, surrounded by strangers from different cultures for whom being in a crowd is becoming normal.

The Great French revolutions

As most of you know, the French Revolution of 1789 overthrew both the king and the aristocrats as the merchants rose to power on the backs of artisans and peasants. The revolution was also anti-clerical. Churches and chateaux were burned to the ground. The aristocrats never forgot this. As if your memory needed any jogging, there were more revolutions in Paris in 1830 and 1848. In all these revolutions, crowds are violent and know where the upper classes live. Doesn’t it start to make sense that the study of crowds would never be objective so long as the upper classes were threatened by them and therefore controlled the research on crowds? In this case they made sure no research was done.

Industrialization

At the end of the 18th century and throughout the 19th century, cities became industrialized.  People were forced off the middle of streets to make way for wheeled vehicles accompanied by horses and later, trolley cars. Grid systems of streets were built which sped up transportation and the circulation of goods. Industrial capitalists built factories in cities as opposed to artisan shops in the countryside (the putting out system). The emergence of factories had enormous revolutionary potential because it brought large numbers of people working under horrible conditions together. For 12-15 hours a day, at least six days a week, people have a common experience while all in the same place and the same time.

Formation of unions

It is no accident that unions first formed in factories. When common experience is concentrated at the same place and same time, people are likely to compare experiences and accumulate grievances. Some workers begin to recognize that they have collective power if they can organize themselves. They can strike for better working conditions and better wages. Unions made crowds more dangerous because crowds can, in an extremely chilling way, stop and start the work process itself. This is like cutting off the blood supply for vampiric capitalists.

Emergence of socialism

The first socialists were theoretical. William Godwin was the first theoretical anarchist, writing Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. In the early 19th century, there were utopian communities set up by Robert Owen, Charles Fourier and others but none of these communities were connected to unions or workers movements. It wasn’t until the writings of Marx and Engels that socialism was really connected to worker’s struggles. The socialism of Marx and Engels or the anarchism of Bakunin both said to workers, “it is not enough to have tiny little pieces of pie. You create all the wealth; you deserve the whole pie.”

In order to gain the whole pie, workers in crowds had to move in a mass, take over factories and run them for themselves, while confiscating the private property of the upper classes. For the upper classes, socialism and the prospects of crowds burning down their houses, and peasants taking over their land was their worst nightmare. The Paris Commune of 1871 was the first revolutionary situation that was inspired by socialism as a movement.

Stock Market instabilities

Crowd instabilities also came from the capitalist side, between 1873 to 1896 when the stock market was very unstable creating panics and depressions. This meant stock market traders were wheeling and dealing on the floor of the stock market at the same time that people who had money in banks were worried about their savings and, in some cases, making runs on the bank.

Crowd Psychologists

Origins of Crowd Theory

Crowd theorists were social Darwinists whose ideas of a liberal society were of individuals who took care of only themselves. Beginning about 1870, crowd psychologists claimed that Darwinian evolution demonstrated that progress was a slow process, and any sudden changes based on violence were throwbacks to premodern times. Crowds were looked upon as akin to Herbert Spencer’s undifferentiated matter.

According to H. Stuart Hughes, (Consciousness and Society), beginning in the 1890s intellectuals became obsessed with the prospect that unconscious, primitive, and emotional forces were driving things. Crowd psychologists were united in rejecting sociological theorists such as Durkheim and Marx because they ignored emotions and unconscious motivation. What was really driving crowds, they thought, was below the level of consciousness. For crowd psychologists, individuals were both more than and less than the sum of their parts. The four major crowd theorists were Hippolyte Taine, Scipio Sighele, Gabriel Tarde, and Gustave Le Bon.

Crowd Theorists

Taine

Taine’s Origins of Contemporary France (written between 1876 and 1894) was a conservative attack on the Enlightenment. Taine blamed the Enlightenment ideas, including Rousseau’s, for what he considered the bloodbath of the French Revolution. Taine believed that the line between normal cognition and hallucinations, dreams and delusions, was closer than we might suspect. He cited evidence from research on organic lesions of the brain, hypnotism, and split personalities. He determined that the dramatic transformation of humans into savages is caused by what he called “the laws of mental contagion.” With the exception of the hypnosis model, Taine’s book embodies all the rudiments of French crowd psychology. For Taine, all leaders were the crazed dregs of society.

According to Taine, the Enlightenment failed to factor in the amount of time it took for humans to develop from barbarity to civility. Enlighteners weren’t interested in how people really were, but only as they could be measured by an abstract, ideal humanity. Taine thought the French Revolution was a relapse into primitive barbarism. Like Hume, Taine thought that reason was the passive servant of the passions. Bodily needs, animal instinct, prejudices which Taine thought were hereditary, were really driving people.

Criminalization of crowds (Sighele) 

Theories of hypnosis were split in two directions. Followers of Charcot claimed that being suggestible was a sign of psychopathology and only certain types of people could be hypnotized. The Nancy school of Bergheim argued that anyone could be hypnotized. The criminal school of Sighele sided with Charcot, arguing that crowds were composed of criminal individuals who were naturally suggestible. He followed the work of Lombroso who was a medical scholar of deviants in the military. Lombroso measured the skulls and anatomical characteristics of 3,000 soldiers.

According to Serge Moscovici (The Age of the Crowd), mass psychology was treated simply as part of criminal anthropology. Crowds were seen as mobs, scum, and made up of men who were out of control and would destroy anything in their path. Sighele claimed that hypnotism can explain the process by which individual minds become susceptible to outside forces, leading to actions that are carried out automatically, unconsciously, and then spread to others by contagion. The conservative hand Sighele played was transparent in his labeling of social revolutionaries such as socialists, anarchists, or even striking workers as part of the criminal crowd. The hysteria of stock market traders was never seen as criminal.

Tarde

More than Taine or Sighele, Gabriel Tarde placed the crowd on a broader social spectrum. All social life, according to Tarde, is based on imitation, and the process of crowd formation and reproduction simply comes from the laws of imitation sped up. He described the crowd as the first stage of association—rudimentary, fleeting, and undifferentiated. From this foundation, more stable and ongoing groups form, including corporations, political parties, and religious bodies such as churches or monasteries. Unlike other crowd psychologists, Tarde thought that literacy, newspapers, and mass communication would replace the crowd with what he called “the public.”

Tarde also thought that the extremes of behavior demonstrated in crowds are unique to cities. Unlike his right-wing crowd theorists, Tarde thought the madness of crowds is a product of civilization. He argued that crowd madness was uncommon in rural areas and among pre-state societies. Both Tarde and Le Bon supported the Nancy school, which suggested that there were social-psychological processes that any individual could fall prey to, if exposed to them. They believed that the solitary individual was superior to the group in all ways.

Le Bon

Le Bon concocted a mix of anthropological, social Darwinist, and psychological theories, which were in the same family as Taine and the racist Joseph Gobineau. He thought that cranial size could be used as an accurate measure of intelligence and he believed that people in primitive societies had small skulls. Le Bon thought the European race was superior, and only Caucasian males could transcend the constraints of biology.

Like Sighele and Tarde, Le Bon thought that what happens to an individual when in a crowd was analogous to what happens in hypnosis. All crowd theorists up to Le Bon agreed that the crowd was no more than what was already inside the psychology of individuals. They also believed that whatever destructive behavior transpired in a crowd was due to the lower-class origins of its members. Le Bon was the first to say that all personalities, regardless of class and intelligence, are susceptible to the pull of the crowd.

According to Serge Moscovici, Le Bon directly challenged Locke’s theory of the mind. As was par for the course in the Enlightenment, Locke believed that as the mind of humanity was gradually ridding itself of religious terrors, there would be fewer and fewer secrets. Le Bon, in contrast, said that revolutions shake the mind from its perch, sending it tumbling and howling into the abyss of the primitive world, which is driven by heredity, instinct, custom, and race. For Locke, visions and dreams were overridden by simple and complex reasoning. For Le Bon, crowds could not follow reason but instead learned by association, just as individuals do in dreams.

Furthermore, crowd theorists claimed that people in crowds do not deliberate, but are mesmerized by leaders through the power of hypnotic suggestion. When Locke argued that the truth can be seen with open eyes, he neglected to note that crowds are driven by unconscious primitive animalism, which takes over and spreads by what Le Bon called “contagion.” This contagion does not lead to prudent, rational judgment but instead can lead to cruelty or heroism. These extreme reactions are amplified by the feeling of anonymity that grips individuals, allowing a sense of individual responsibility to evaporate.

Le Bon belonged to a liberal middle-class tradition that argued against both revolution and the weakness of liberal parliamentary systems. Despite his argument’s mediocre quality, rhetorically flattering the reader and lacking depth, Le Bon must have struck a nerve. According to Moscovici, no French thinker other than Georges Sorel and Alexander de Tocqueville has had an influence as great as Le Bon. Le Bon published The Crowd in 1890 and it was a best seller. Why was this? He mixed the disciplines of politics and psychology in an age of growing disciplinary specialization. Le Bon probably tapped into the fears that the middle and upper class and upper classes had about what would happen eventually if the new “democracy” was to expand.

Distorting the work of Alfred Espinas

It is worth noting that crowd psychologists distorted the work of Alfred Espinas on wasps and hornets to create an analogy between human crowds and insect societies. Espinas argued that societies were more than an aggregate of individuals and pointed out that alarm and danger were transmitted by visual contagion. Far from viewing this intensely social life of insects as a liability, he saw it as a strength in building bonds through cooperation.

Crowd psychologists seized on his discussion of the invisible communication of wasps and hornets when confronted with an enemy to draw an analogy to crowds. Just as insects communicate collectively when faced with danger, so crowd behavior becomes contagious among spectators in a theater or when aroused by a great orator. Unlike Espinas, they saw very little, if anything, constructive in this. Crowd psychologists thought the communicability of emotions beyond the individual was proof of the primitive mentality of the crowd.

Crowd Psychologist Distortions

Here are Susanna Barrows’ (Distorting Mirrors) damning conclusions about crowd-psychologist theories:

  • Taine, Sighele and Le Bon did not do any empirical research (Tarde was a possible exception).
  • Taine’s work contains grave errors in the scientific method. The idea of empirical investigation was wholly alien to him.
  • What evidence they collected was extremely selective to support their case (again, with the possible exception of Tarde).
  • Statistics indicate that women committed many fewer crimes than men, yet women were blamed for a disproportionate amount of the violence that occurred.
  • Le Bon indiscriminately lumped together socialists and anarchists with common criminals.
  • Crowd psychologists distorted the work of Espinas on wasps and hornets to make an analogy between human crowds and insect societies.

The Legacy of the 20th Century

The events of the 20th century hardly provided a break for poor conservatives hoping for a return to religion, God, kings and aristocrats. The Russian revolution, the stock market crash in 1929, Fascism in Germany and Italy and Spain, the Spanish revolution, the Chinese Revolution and the Cuban Revolution vanquished those hopes. This does not even count the Zoot Suit race riots in 1943, Watts in 1967 or the Rodney King riots in 1992.

Mass Media Propaganda Towards Crowds and Riots Carries Forward Obsolete Crowd Psychology

Check any newspaper or TV news program in Yankeedom and watch how the crowd and the rioters are treated when they describe a protest or a natural disaster. If it is a riot, does the paper ever show the variety of responses that go on during the riot? No, they focus only on the rioters and assume everyone in the crowd was complicit. When they describe the origin of the riot, do they consider the research which says the police are usually the perpetuators of the riot? Not on your life! The police are depicted as restoring order rather than as being the perpetuators of disorder. Lastly, in a natural disaster do the newscasters show the overwhelming instances of cooperation, compared to natural disaster participants helping themselves in supermarkets and sporting goods stores? No, they don’t. Rather the echo chamber of capitalist media blares out “looting, looting, looting” just like they declared “weapons of mass destruction” in the lead-up to the attack on Iraq twenty years ago.

Conclusion

I began this article with a questionnaire designed to expose your prejudices against crowds. I contrasted these biases against what research on mass psychology actually shows about crowd behavior. The heart of my article is to show why these biases continue in spite of scientific research to the contrary. I identified the growth of cities, the revolutions in France in the 19th century, the process of industrialization, the formation of unions, the rise of socialism and stock market instabilities in the 19th century. What do these events have to do with biases against crowds?

The answer can be found in the theories of mostly right-wing crowd theorists who wrote in the 2nd half of the 19th century. These theorists and their ruling class masters were terrified that crowds of working-class people would take their land, confiscate their resources and burn their chateaux to the ground. There was a great deal at stake for them. To call the people in crowds enraged, childish, criminal, beastly, stampeding, savage, irrational, impulsive, uncivilized, primitive, bloodthirsty, cruel and fickle is to dismiss, embarrass and mock anyone who participates. It is also a warning to future workers to stay away from crowds.

We socialists have been the victims of a 150-year propaganda campaign that was started by crowd psychologists in the 1860s and has been perpetuated by all sources of media throughout the 20th century. Amazingly, social psychologists who pride themselves on filling their textbooks with empirical evidence, have given this discredited crowd theory a pass. There is so much money for research on what sells products and little or no money is available to study what moves crowds and masses. It is vitally important for the ruling classes to forestall the great day of reckoning by scaring people away from joining crowds that will be one of many vehicles for overthrowing them.

• First published at Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post Ruling Class Fears of The Day of Reckoning: Historical Causes for the Biases Against Crowds first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Shifty Shifters: Movers and Shapers like a Trillion Locusts

The final report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concludes that the project has been ‘the most successful anti-poverty movement in history’. Two key claims underpin this narrative: that global poverty has been cut in half, and global hunger nearly in half, since 1990. This good-news narrative has been touted by the United Nations and has been widely repeated by the media. But closer inspection reveals that the UN’s claims about poverty and hunger are misleading, and even intentionally inaccurate. The MDGs have used targeted statistical manipulation to make it seem as though the poverty and hunger trends have been improving when in fact they have worsened. In addition, the MDGs use definitions of poverty and hunger that dramatically underestimate the scale likely of these problems. In reality, around four billion people remain in poverty today, and around two billion remain hungry – more than ever before in history, and between two and four times what the UN would have us believe. The implications of this reality are profound. Worsening poverty and hunger trends indicate that our present model of development is not working and needs to be fundamentally rethought.

— Jason Hickel, Third World Quarterly , Volume 37, 2016 – Issue 5

*–*

How could these two cohorts, the 85 richest and 3.5 billion poorest, have the same amount of wealth? The great majority of the 3.5 billion have no net wealth at all. Hundreds of millions of them have jobs that hardly pay enough to feed their families. Millions of them rely on supplements from private charity and public assistance when they can. Hundreds of millions are undernourished, suffer food insecurity, or go hungry each month, including many among the very poorest in the United States.

Most of the 3.5 billion earn an average of $2.50 a day. The poorest 40 percent of the world population accounts for just 5 percent of all global income. About 80 percent of all humanity live on less than $10 a day. And the poorest 50 percent maintain only 7.2 percent of the world’s private consumption. How exactly could they have accumulated an amount of surplus wealth comparable to the 85 filthy richest?

Michael Parenti

Genocide Phnom Penh

Staggering, no,  the memory hole shoveling going on and perpetrated by elites in commerce, weapons, media, education, a la industrial complexes in the second decade of the 21st Century? Like plagues of locusts. Leeches two hundred worth per hominid, and the tapeworm eats the last, next and current generation like a desiccating alien of our nightmares.

The more light shining on the criminals, spotlights onto the military war lords, floodlights on the entire punishment cabal in governments, in corporations, in policing and uniformed military agencies, the more that bearing witness just peters out. It flags the average Yankee, and the doodle dandy is football, flicks and frolicking with furious caloric intent.

Welcome to the West. Then, the mind-numbing retorts to the initiation of discourse, of legitimate discussion about the ails of the world, largely set loose by the captains of industries — the military-media-legal-medical-penal-computing-financial-education-energy-AI-real estate-poison-agriculture COMPLEX. And, boy, is it never really “complex” — it’s about the art of the steal, the art of the scam, the art of the grift, the art of the toll-fine-fee-garnishment-penalty-tax-attachment set forth by the lobbies of the lords of death with the Eichmann’s of Bureaucracy greasing the skids and oiling the wheels. Keep those hedge funds going, the trains running, the profits heaping.

  • “We can only take so much trauma.”
  • “The human brain can’t take so much truth.”
  • “Trigger Warning; The Following Stories About Wealth for the Rich and Poverty for the rest of Us Might Cause Spasms of Collective Amnesia, Anxiety, Animosity.”
  • “There is no meek shall inherit the earth. We are talking about the meek and the poor inheriting the toxins, pollutants, the penury, the profound suffering inflicted upon them generation after generation by the rich and their enablers, the ultimate evil — those turning a blind eye to suffering, raping, razing, murdering.”

I’m getting it from all angles, really, the tired, the over-educated (in terms of college but not in terms of smarts). The tired middle class. Retired and one-trick phony environmentalist ponies. All those huffing and puffing and blowing down the Trump Towers, folk who are self-blinding themselves, as if bearing the truth of Biden et al, as well as bearing the weight of protecting Everything/Anything Empire, while the chorus of War Mongering Democrats a la LGBTQA-+ sing ‘Hallelujah, No More Trump’ puts them right smack where Oedipus was, exposed to the truth and overcome with shame, grief, and remorse. Poking eyes out is the least the people who follow the perverse leaders should do.

Except, their blinding is symbolic, life-long, from womb to cradle to grave, as in turning a blind eye to the roots, the very radical cause of all the suffering, the police no-knocks, the cesium floating in lungs and bellies, and a dozen other micro-particles from this or that nuclear fallout incident. Symbolic and demonstrative of the kill-for-profits Capitalism.

It is too too much for the masses — The Truth —  so we all have to gather round the Zoom screen, tune into Amazon Prime, and sing, Give Peace a Chance while the world is fleeced by the billionaires, but also those millionaires (we tend to give millionaires, multi-millionaires a get-out-of-jail pass, when they too are the culprits helping spread that poisonous fallout).

Professor Bernd Grambow (co-author from IMT Atlantique) added “the present work, using cutting-edge analytical tools, gives only a very small insight in the very large diversity of particles released during the [Fukushima] nuclear accident, much more work is necessary to get a realistic picture of the highly heterogeneous environmental and health impact.”

Lockdowns for a flu virus, lockdowns for free thought, lockups for free speech, lock and loaded for the Empire, shackled to bills-mortgages-policies-ballooning debt…. BUT  for fuck’s sake, we can’t lock-down the fossil fuel monsters, lock-up the Fukushima shills, shutdown the Olympics, punish and quell the military saber rattlers (read: purveyors of nuclear- chemical-bacterial-viral-digital-intergalactic weaponry).

Business as usual is a trillion easy dollars in Pandemic Profits, and a cool several trillion more with mandatory masking, Zooming, SARS-CoV2,3,4,5,6 annual vaccinations and semi-annual boosters.

Passports to their hell. Yet, when you talk to a Kamala Harris floozy, well, they get teary eyed, sing the All Spangled Banner of Buffoonery, and then tell you to hit the road, no more Haeder in their House.

Literally, people want nothing of politics, or the reveal — showing how their own colonized and kettled thinking under the guise of “liberal” looting under the Democrat Vote has always been part of the problem, not any solution to the world thievery or a pathway to  world peace.

So What is The Answer?

It is not a $64,000 question, for sure, since the answer is collectively simple, easily repeated, easily understood, Yet, that is the jig, always looking for the messiah, or having their cake (capitalism) and eating it (profits-profits-profits) too. They are limited and limiting, and they gladly take the Kool-Aide and mix in a shot of Jack Daniels and a jigger of high fructose fizz.

Resisting for them is not an option. If they can’t converse, frame, contextualize, harmonize, recount, go back in history, recall the scene of the crime(s), then how the hell can these same folk who ask, Well, you sure know how to criticize and go on and on about the ills of Capitalism, but show me any other system that works. Humanity is humanity, whether in the center of Wall Street or out on the Rez?

This is their thinking, their great retort, and so, how do we get to that point where we just get to the basics, the Cornel West basics– Watch his rumble in the jungle: At Harvard, the worst kind of man-eating institution, along with a few hundred elite schools on this side and that side of the pond:

Listen to him, watch him, feel his presence of soul, Dr. West. Not a perfect man, thank god!

So, what is the answer? Justice. Social-spiritual-ecological-cultural-gender-age-racial-ethnic-ecnonmic-educational-food-energy JUSTICE? Using the inverse, the answer is the whole human-whole earth, toward holism, embedded in systems thinking, what it means to have the commons, what it is to be a society among other societies that is ecologically-based, agrarian-centered, humanistic-thriving, environmentally-aware, is, well, the opposite formulation of these Gandhian sins:

Wealth Without Work
Pleasure Without Conscience
Knowledge Without Character
Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics)
Science Without Humanity
Religion Without Sacrifice
Politics Without Principle

It doesn’t take much K12 education and applied learning to understand that reversing these sins and following the antithesis would illuminate the bearable weight of being a human in the world, triggering change at a global and galactical level. Prometheus steals the fire from the gods and gives it to people. Bound to the mountain. Prometheus grows weary. The future, oh, the future, swallowed up by that lack of hope. Let us all be Prometheus, and help each other take from the thieves, the rich, and give warmth and fire to the world. Unbound us together. Break the chains of the illicit gods and their devils.

Really, though, one person’s hope is another person’s oppression. In capitalism, there is the king of the dung heap, the winner being the one who dies with the most toys. Dog-eat-dog, and survival of the most unfit (using the Seven Sins of Humanity above as illustrative of what makes capitalism really zip along).

In Western culture, it all might seem like a Greek Tragedy of Trailer Park or Mar-a-lago proportions. It might all seem like a hardscrabble blues tribute to American stick-to-it-ness. That hardened soul, as DH Lawrence ascribed —

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.

We know that Western soul is a killer from the womb — those royals and despicable ones from the Old World, those Belgium in the Congo, those Romans, those hard, soldiering, religious zealots, hand in hand with silver chalice and golden rosary, those kings and queens, launching the deplorable ones, the rabble into crusades of raping-ravaging-razing. There is no “American soul” without the British slave traders-merchants-purchasers; no American soul without the French and Spanish interlopers. The American soul is part and parcel those former Nazis and the money-changers, the globalists looking for a micro-penny for every human corpuscle exploited in their gaming humanity. This is Turtle Island, not some chunk of land named for an Italian map maker for the king.

Now that’s a dark dark killer that never melts — Capitalism.  It is now cleaned up, a la Madison Avenue and slick green-blue-pink-white washing, no longer presented as cold, stoic, but happy, illustrious, coopting, brainwashing, gleeful, the ice cream truck coming to serve all the children with gooey goodies. Shifty, slick, liberal, slippery, hip. It is now a virus inside a thousand viruses —

A democratic society shapes itself – by means of the participation of its citizens in discussing and deciding how things should be organised and to what ends.

But, as even their name reveals, the Global Shapers want to “shape” society from above and in their own interests.

This is not the solution to global problems, and, the rockets and payloads of Bezos and Musk and DoD and the rest of the capitalists looking for lucre and gold on Mars and the Moon. Reset is not rebounding. Reset is not reconvening the true holistic way of life. Reset is not returning to a point in time in our civilizations where we come together in mutual aid, live a biodynamic present and future, hold onto sacred tribal principles, understand the soil-air-water. The reset is not a return to sanity, actualization for woman, man, child, ecosystem. This reset is the rich’s bargain basement theft of our agency, our independence, our collective will to strike at them as the felons of our time. Their reset is tracking our every movement, each blink of the eye, each snore and defecation. This reset is about pulling strings, forcing the Faustian Bargain each moment. They will fine-garnish-withhold-penalize-criminalize our unborn, and our dying parents. You get a universal income, but not to be spent on what they do not want you/us to spend it on.

The foregone conclusion is what the teachers teach the children. It is what the media paint around us. Each narrative directed and shot for Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or Vudu, they are set to propagandize for the rich, the resetters, the titans who want mars colonized, who want the moon for their private resort. Orbiting Club Meds in the ionosphere.

Yet, the Lesson is Dead Wolves, Manatees and Turtles

The very place of Trump and Spring Break, Florida, is emblematic of the fall, the disgusting imbalance of the world, of sanity, of thinking. Manatees dying off in unfathomable numbers. Turtles washing up sick and dead. The expansion of the ocean, wiping out much of Florida by 2100. The bastion of Spring Break and lust and speedboats and dream hoarding.

Florida has seen an alarming rise in manatee deaths in 2021.

Something not to be proud of, and to lend pause for humanity, but not more than once, and give it to me once in that 24-hour news cycle, please. At least 432 Florida manatees have already died in 2021, well over double the state’s 5-year average for the same time period.

Hundreds of sea turtles washing up on Southwest Florida beaches this year in a mass mortality event that researchers say will impact the recovery of the protected species is not a good sign of HUMAN health. The Great Reset has nothing to say about the reality of our own commons.

Gray wolves in the North American wilderness.

Then you have Wisconsin, gun-toting AR15-loving murderers taking on a record 216 wolves killed in 60 hours. What does this say about this society, this blood sport society of high powered weapons, radar trackers, dually pick-ups, $340,000 campers, TV, booze, and a quick trip in the woods to murder wolves?

Migrants rescued by Save the Children’s Vos Hestia

Or, the hard cold soul of the European, Italians, putting 20-year sentences on people working with charities to help stranded and sinking and drowning refugees from African countries. Imagine that world of the cold Great Resetters.  Save the Children and MSF among dozens facing sentences of up to 20 years over humanitarian work

Humanitarian organizations are rejecting what they say is an attempt to criminalize lifesaving aid to migrants and refugees at sea after Italian prosecutors charged three groups with aiding and abetting illegal immigration through their rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Over 20 people are facing up to 20 years in prison. — Source.

rescue operation

Each story of injustice is the tip of the proverbial iceberg, demonstrating the insanity of systems — legal systems of punishment-abandonment-unruly laws against the suffering, laws meant to pay the rich, pay off the rotting bureaucrats, the Eichmann’s, big and small, who keep the wheels and the gears of death grinding, whether those wheels are those of the Empire, or the Capitalists, or the Economic Hitmen-Frontmen-Debasers, or all the pigs who make money off the penury and punishment unleashed by Capitalism.

Not me. Not I. Over my dead body.

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.

Che Guevara Photo

The post Shifty Shifters: Movers and Shapers like a Trillion Locusts first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Dreams Outside the Hopes of the Neuronormal

The legacy of a society is, well, how it treats its young, old, frail, infirm, sick, poor and those hobbled by structural and environmental injustice.

Some in urban planning circles also allude to how safe a community is based on the popsicle test – can a child or two walking from home to a store, get a popsicle without having to cross high speed roads or highways, without having to walk along long stretches of ugly dangerous buildings, and who can find a multitude of stores that sell good food and desserts like Popsicles. How easy it is for the child to walk there? Are the homes-apartments-duplexes-offices looking out toward the sidewalks? Are there porches out front where people linger and lounge? Are there trees for shade? Are there mail boxes? Are there stores and eateries on the ground floor of a stretch of businesses with apartments and housing one and two floors above? Are there people bicycling? Are the stores and businesses set toward the streets and their parking lots pushed to the back of the establishments? Are there scalable hardware stores with windows and many doorways? Are there neighborhood groups that patrol the neighborhoods? Are there mixed neighborhoods with lower economic mixed in with middle class? What are the officers of the peace doing? Are they walking and bicycling their beats, where they live? Are they battened down in huge bulletproof SUV’s with three computers, five assault weapons, and the A/C blaring?

The children, walk or bicycle from their home, and within a few minutes, they get to a place of business, without running through or dodging a gauntlet of racing trucks and autos. Are there elderly and families and business owners and customers there, doing their thing, on a scalable level?

We know that in capitalism, in this free (sic) market society, with the bottom dollar and the bottom line of more and more profits without work or building something as the drivers, we the people – those two children walking to get a fudge bar or organic apple – are not the drivers of the society, the communities, the neighborhoods.

Life in Capitalism is designed for speed, rot, decay, throwaway buildings and throwaway humanity. We have those massive systems of oppression run by real estate, insurance, finance, banks, building and paving, all those entities guarded by the US Chamber of Commerce whose job is to maximize the profits (gouging’s) of the large and medium-sized businesses that have run rough shod over us, the “regular people.”

Now, those old industries are being retrofitted for the next level of exploitation and enslavement vis-à-vis the economies of scale vaunted by the monopolies, the investor class and billionaires. And that scaling up is facilitated by the masters of logarithms and Artificial Intelligence and digital dictators.

Mom and pops – that is, the small family-owned businesses and the mini-chains of this or that service or consumer item – they are now on the cutting block in an amped up destruction of people’s lives, on a scale that would make a steroid using wrestler look like Mother Teresa on bread and water. Any chance of having a small business community have a say in how their communities and neighborhoods and census tracks are developed alongside with how their neighboring communities connect to this urban and rural planning, all of that inclusive and participatory democracy and governance are  dwindling ten-fold yearly.

Who makes the decisions? Who puts the brakes on suburban sprawl and rampant car-centric cities? Ahh, the masters of money and masters of stocks and the AI and Digital Dictators will have more and more say in the design (or miss-design) of both the built environment as well as the financial environments. Add to that educational environments, the healthcare environments, the food system environments, the housing environments. We the people do not have control!

Examples by Design

I’m putting in this opening above to help segue into the reality of my work now – one of many hats, but now, it’s social work and case management for adults living with developmental and intellectual disabilities. And some who have had traumatic brain injuries.

If the reader doesn’t have a bead on what the ID/DD community is, well, look it up. In a Western culture with more and more pre-newborns gestating into a slurry of forever chemicals, cortisol loads, heavy metals, stress hormones from mother, and a combination of all of this as a synergetic roulette wheel, coupled with DNA markers from mother and father, well, you can image that young boys and girls with disabilities like Autism Spectrum Disorder or mental retardation or any number of other aspects of life dealt from a genetic and poison deck of cards will be a huge burden on families, medical services, schools, society in general.

Go back to the Popsicle analogy, but this time look at how our cultures deal with the less fortunate – a child born is innocent, no matter what sort of spirituality or religiosity you hold or do not hold. Cases in point for me after more than two decades working with poisoned souls – the children of the storms: fetal alcohol-affected or drug-addicted or hugely malnourished inside the womb – we are barbaric in terms of how we “deal” with the afflicted or the people born into a life of one or multiple deficits.

Here, a composite – Drew was born to a mother who “experienced” drug and alcohol addiction. He was 5 pounds and four ounces at birth. He tested positive for cocaine and opiates at birth. He was in a nursery until moved to foster care in 10 days. His birth mother had several children “taken away or removed from her” because of her addictions.

He was adopted by an old woman, who loved him but died of cancer when Drew was 7. Neighbors reported to the child protective agencies in California that Drew was being neglected and the dying mother was not caring for him properly.

This is a common story in my line of work – multiple foster home placements per individual, lots of behavior issues arising by first year of school, from aggression, to defiance, to tantrums. Quickly he was put under a special education label – independent education plan. His ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, and anxiety, depression, aggression, isolating behavior, and poor stick-to-it-ness, all of that and more channeled him into special classes and into the special education network. Hearing voices and magical thinking and fantastical thoughts and paranoia, well, Drew is sort of a ward of the state. His foster/adoptive parents are his financial guardians, and he has county case workers and state ones lined up, along with nonprofit case workers.

I work with a nonprofit, again, as a case worker-employment specialist. My job is to get people like Drew jobs, but that process is holistic, systematic and definitely tied to the whole suite of getting young and not so old people ready to face competitive employment, integrated, no longer stuck in some sheltered workshop.

Those “sheltered workshops” included Goodwill clothing tagging rooms where all workers were those living with developmental disabilities; or even roaming crews of cleaners of office buildings who are all labeled ID-DD. That is a type of cloistering, sheltering from mainstream society.

My nonprofit, of course, is a middleman of sorts, replacing the services states, counties and cities should be providing by taking over the contracts to do the work of providing developmental disabilities safety nets.

Nutshells are the Only Teachable Moments

So, getting someone a job at a hotel to do towel folding or room cleaning, or helping someone land a job as a custodian at a school, and for those with more skills and with more confidence, a place in retail sales, that’s part of my work. Sure, in Portland I worked with lawyers who have cerebral palsy, and true, that type of person deserves an equal shot at being a lawyer or working at the level somewhere. These advocates have their hearts in the right place, to be sure, and no Five F’s for them – filth, factory, food, foliage, fur – because they have graduate degrees.

The reality is, though, someone with a lack of reading skills, with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and all the attending issues tied to the autism in that individual, well, working a cash register is tough (impossible for most), and doing public customer service at any level is tough. Behind the scenes jobs are the norm, and, unfortunately, the filth, food, foliage, fur and factory are the only choices sometimes. Life on the Central Oregon Coast where people retire or vacation, and where a fishing industry thrives, well, those job opportunities dwindle big time.

Aspirational:  all people deserve home, health, education, food, work, public transportation choices. Aspirational: sure, we need communities designed for that Popsicle test. Most of my clients, of course, do not drive, or can’t. Most clients have issues with navigating the absurd on-line employment applications. Many clients need me there in the actual job interview.

Many clients need a coach on the job, sometimes for life. Many clients work minimum wage for 20 hours a week to keep a bit of the SSI (social security insurance coming in). We are such a penury and usury society that my clients, even at minimum wage, get a dollar taken away from every two dollars made. This is how the system kills hope, advancement — the state gobbles up shekels after their first $85 is earned.

All the studies and anecdotal evidence show that a job for a person with a developmental disability or a physical disability, or even a psychological disability like schizophrenia, THRIVE with employment for obvious reasons: a sense of belonging, team work, doing something as a member of society, extra money, socialization, using the brain. But here we are again, failing the other Popsicle test – we penalize and penalize and penalize until people are stripped bare.

A few clients have to take urine tests for many jobs, and if they come back positive for cannabis, well, some outfits disqualify the person automatically from a minimum wage job. Even if that person has a medical marijuana card, in a state where pot is legal (it is in OR). Imagine that, all those politicians, those weak-spine things in DC and around state Capitols, and this is what they have legislated and this is how weak they are when it comes to day to day, people to people life-and-death decisions.

Study after study, and again, a million anectodical stories show THC and CBD actually pull patients off prescriptions and actually keep anxiety at bay and amp up focus.

The law enforcers and the bureaucracies and the policymakers are Neanderthals, really (no attack on those people, Neanderthals, but it’s a term of describing how behind the times and backward they are).

My job is to do workarounds, to do magic, and while mom and pop’s along the coast are shuttering daily, the small hotels are now owned by investment groups, and managed by the big daddies of hotel and motel management corporations. Having workarounds with national organizations, sometimes multinationals, well, those conversations never happen, let alone an email gets returned. They are not of, for and by the community. They are in business for the investors and profits.

The chances of having an offspring with one or a number of chronic illnesses or who might end up on the spectrum or might have brain anomalies because of gestational issues, or who are genetically programmed to come out a “certain way,” well, those odds increase monthly.

Yet the systems of oppression and the cops and the legal systems, they still incarcerate, batter and murder people with autism. People in mental health crises are tased and murdered by pigs. The systems of oppression are buttressed by the prejudices of Holly-dirt and the bullies of the world. It can be an overt Trump making fun of a disabled reporter at a press conference when he was first running in 2016, or it could be a Biden who pushed the crime bill, putting untold numbers of people with mental, emotional and situational abuse in chambers of hell – prison.

The spectrum of people who still do not understand why I work in “that field,” under all the pressures of emotionally traumatized and psychologically depleted people and their families, well, they might think of themselves as the beautiful people, the anti-Trumpistas, the LGBTQ folk, the African-American-in-the-VP-office loving folk, but again, they fail the Popsicle test.

Dream hoarders and Not in My Backyard vacillators, and all sorts of other liberal/neoliberal types, they are no friends of the Popsicle Test of a Sustainable, Fair, Resilient Community. They love their first and second homes. They covet a Stock Market hovering around 31,000 points. They love the Netflix mental diabetes junk they consume, and they have no idea why Biden is as bad as Bush or Trump.

And then I have to convince people to shed their prejudices against people that are not appearing “like themselves.” We do not use terms like “neuronormal” to contrast my clients with the mainstream, but in the end, what is normal in a society that shifts baselines almost weekly?

With the new normal full of paranoia, unapproved vaccines, and misleading diseased minds like Fauci and Gates leading the charge for a global forced vaccination program, one can image how paranoid my clients are who live in group homes or in small one-room apartments. TV and few friends ramify their fears. Lockdown is a locking up of the mind!

Some clients do not even want to meet me face to face on a beach with masks on. They are paranoid because of the mass polluting media. One disability on top of another and another. Welcome to America.

What is a disability? I suppose Helen Keller might figure in here:

When she was sixteen, in 1896, she was catapulted to national fame, writes Keith Rosenthal for the International Socialist Review. By 1904, when she graduated from Radcliffe College, she was internationally famous. She joined the Socialist Party of America a few years later and began advocating for revolutionary change. “She noticed the close relationship between disability and poverty, and blamed capitalism and poor industrial conditions for both,” writes Sascha Cohen for Time.

But even though she had strong politics and a national voice, nobody took her opinions seriously. “Newspaper editors would use her disability as a means to dismiss her politics and to dissuade people from taking her seriously,” writes Rosenthal. “Her radicalism, conservative writers would aver, was a product of the political ‘mistakes [which] spring out of the manifest limitations of her development.’”

Despite this, she was a leading light of the American socialist movement, Rosenthal writes. Among many other causes, she championed pacifism and the U.S. staying out of World War I. Source: Smithsonian Magazine

keller.jpg

Eventually, in dog-eat-dog, kill your competition capitalism, we all become each other’s competitor, enemy. A few billion dollars here and there for hundreds of millions of struggling people is birdseed, yet the systems of oppression and suppression, along with the mass murdering media, cull agency, gumption, and the ability of people to stand up to the oppressors and the authorities and multiple graduate degree certificate holders.

What do the people I serve and the so-called “normal majority” have in common? There are variations on a Dystopian theme, whether it’s Blade Runner or Minority Report or Brave New World or 1984. Almost everyone in this country is confused, shattered, see-hear-speak no evil tied to their specific coalitions and ways of thinking. My amazing clients are enmeshed in fear and the outside world, thanks to the conflation of SARS-CoV2 to a body-eating zombie virus, eating them alive and culling them all eventually. No more hide and seek — it’s all duck and cover and mask and hide and isolate.

What that gives me as a worker are many people who deserve integrated employment but who are hobbled and shackled to the gestalt of a warped society. Do they have other ways of thinking and seeing and hearing? Of course. Do they have their own methods of surviving paranoia, depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, magical thinking, shattered executive functions, functional or complete illiteracy?

Of course. Of course. But again, the Popsicle test fails each time. Imagine, a job, 4 pm to 8 pm, in a town 15 miles from where they live. Can you see the public transportation system beautiful and timely and regular? Nope. Can you see all these taxi and shuttle services for free getting people to work and from work who can’t-won’t-never will drive? Where is that dreamland in Capitalism?

Yet every minute and every second of a 24-hour news cycle or 24 hours of a million channels broadcasting thousands of novellas, soap operas or series and movies, all are occupied with the stories and travails of the rich and famous, the idiotic heroes or pig crime dramas or Marvel Comic Book drivel. Rarely do Americans see what they live out personally, or view what they struggle with daily, or get to watch people like themselves in this battle to get the oppressors and Eichmann’s to bend to their/our will and begin to apply the tenants of the Popsicle Theory.

Otto Zehm

I can end with story after story of humanity hog-tied or knee-butted to death by the cops. Add to that demographic people living with psychological-intellectual-developmental disabilities.

You do not have to surf the internet long to find a few cases of autistic men and women or boys and girls getting pepper sprayed and handcuffed and body slammed by the pigs.

There is that case of Otto Zehm, and then Alien Boy which I wrote about here at DV. “Watching Brian Lindstrom’s Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse, I am reminded of my forty plus years in and around cops, with mentally distressed clients, as a social worker with homeless and re-entry and veteran clients, and as a teacher in many alternative high school programs, community college, prisons, with military students, and with adults living with developmental disabilities.”

I think that most of us instinctively avoid people with mental illness.

I think in many ways what my films are about is that search for my grandpa’s dentures: for that humanizing narrative that bridges the gap between “us” and “them” to arrive at a “we.”
—Brian Lindstrom, documentarian

Zehm was 32 years old when the Spokane cops killed him by putting him on the ground and forcing a cop’s weight onto his back while Otto’s diaphragm collapsed. He was a custodian, and back in 2006, the Spokesman Review deemed him as a mentally disabled custodian.

He went into a mini-mart for soda. It took almost a decade to find the pig guilty of murder. And this is how the DA and cops think of “mentally disabled custodians” —

Zehm either “attacked” the officers or at least refused to comply with their commands. Police Chief Jim Nicks said Tuesday that Zehm “immediately engaged” the first officer.

“Whether he lunged or turned quickly on him, whatever the case may be, the officer clearly felt there was a risk there,” Nicks said. “The suspect had a large two-liter bottle of pop. The officer had to take all those things into consideration as far as what level of threat this might be.

“But the bottom line is they had a duty and an obligation to detain and control him.” — Spokesman Review

I’ve been down this road many times over the years. My first police encounter as a newspaper reporter was in Ajo, Arizona. A very long time ago. Pima County Sheriff responds to a mother’s call about her Vietnam War veteran son having a mental crisis out front in the desert front yard. Fenced in. He needed some meds. The cops show up. And, while the veteran was on his mother’s property, which essentially was being paid for through the vet’s job and benefits, the deputy pulled his gun on the other side of the property line. He tells the 38 year old to drop the small knife.

A knife brandished by a shirtless and barefoot fellow in his OWN front yard.

Justified-six-shots-to-the-torso homicide. I was 19, and back then, I had  this gig as a newspaper reporter, the so-called “sexy” cop beat, and, while I pushed my editors to allow some of my secondary interviews into the piece (interviews I did from a USC criminal justice reforming professor, another from a police chief in Akron) well, those were cut from the published article. Those two sources discussed how police are ripe for this sort of homicide, and how the system is rigged to defend civilian killing cops. That was 43 years ago.

I spent time with the vet’s mother and his ex-wife, and in reality, this guy was pretty cool, a great rock hound, three years at the university in hard rock geology, but his PTSD was way too much. PTSD wasn’t even the terminology back then in 1976.

I think of Otto Zehm all the time now. I knew of him and said hello to him a few times while I lived and taught in Spokane. He cleaned at the Community Building where I did a lot of gigs as a poet and teacher. I had my radio show in that building, and I ran into Otto a lot.

There is no way in hell Otto could have done harm to a cop.

The irony is that in 2006 I wasn’t working yet directly in the field of developmental disabilities. Sure, I had students who had psychological disabilities, and some students with accommodations. Many students who came back from the killing mountains of the Middle East.

I ended up working with adults with developmental disabilities in Portland and the three-county area 8 years later.

Now I am back at it, and, I think about some of my very verbal and far-thinking men and women with autism disorders. I think of their defiance and their questioning and their inability “to get” that cops or pigs or sheriff deputies just are itching for a bruising. They expect instant compliance. That is compliance from a disabled person, or from a three star black general or a Mexican American female attorney.

You can read about the extrajudicial killings this country’s allows. And that, again, is the Popsicle Test failure Number 999,999.

All those promises for reform. With the Portland Police Bureau. Seattle PD. Spokane PD. A thousand other PD’s blemished overtly with police brutality, police coverups, police maleficence.

No Popsicles for the People. Including the Developmentally Disabled.

Amid coronavirus, parents want ice cream vendors to return - Los Angeles Times

The post Dreams Outside the Hopes of the Neuronormal first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Two Principles of Racial Equity that Outrage Liberals

The May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a civil rights explosion.  It ignited pushes to demilitarize the police, reallocate police over-funding to necessary social services, end economic and power divides, and replace symbols of oppression with recognition of those who have suffered and resisted.

In University City, one of the oldest and more progressive suburbs of St. Louis, much happened during the upsurges of 2020.  During the spring and summer, multiple Black Lives Matter protests made their way though U City.  In July, the Green Party of St. Louis (GPSL) teamed up with the Universal African Peoples Organization (UAPO), Tauheed Youth Organization and Beloved Streets of America to hold a press conference at the steps of City Hall which demanded that Delmar Blvd be renamed “George Floyd Divide.”  In August, Teens Taking Action St. Louis (TTAStL) from U City High School organized their own demonstration.  In December GPSL, UAPO and TTAStL co-sponsored a Zoom webinar to address the symbols of domination which are embodied in statues and the names of streets, parks and schools.

As these actions were happening, the City Council of U City set up a Task Force on Renaming Streets and Parks and invited me to join it.  The Task Force uncovered offensive street names that are not unlike those in many US cities.  Not surprisingly, some liberal Task Force members seemed reluctant to rename any streets, coming up with excuses like Amherst Street wasn’t really named after Lord Jeffrey Amherst but after Amherst College (which was named after the city of Amherst, which was named after Lord Jeffrey).

Since U City can be a pacesetter, it seemed time to intensify the discussion by pulling in others from the St. Louis metropolitan area as well as other parts of Missouri.  In hopes of reaching a wider audience, I sent the article below,  “It’s time to rename the streets” to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which carried it on New Year’s Day.

Online push-back began immediately: when readers saw the principles of racial equity appearing at the end of the article, some wrote that the proposed changes were on target, others were outraged at the idea of changing of any street name because it would “cost too much” for new street signs and residents would be “inconvenienced” by having to get address return labels reprinted.

One guy even found my phone number and left a message detailing his intense dislike of name changes due to his belief that “I feel comfortable with the street names just as they are.”  If we had spoken, I would have asked him if he would be as “comfortable” with streets named after Nazi generals as he is with streets named after Confederate generals.  Perhaps he would have split some hair to distinguish them, reflecting the attitude prevalent among US whites that “Black Lives Really Do Not Matter.”

After the Task Force focused on four names, we realized that additional streets had been named after slaveholders.  There could be so many Missouri streets named after slaveholders that renaming them could prompt the making of new street maps.  Doing so across the US might even require a massive change in consciousness, the type of reawakening (or epiphany) necessary for the country to make full restitution for its historic crimes.

Don Fitz: It’s time to rename the streets

The hour has arrived to examine who we honor with street names and statues — or it could be as many as 400 years overdue. As a member of University City’s Street and Park Renaming Task Force, I read with interest the Post-Dispatch’s front-page article: “The push to weed out ‘symbols of oppression’ gets going once again” (December 7, 2020).

There are four streets of interest in University City: Jackson, Pershing, Wilson and Amherst. Jackson Street was not named after former President Andrew Jackson but “Stonewall” Jackson, a Confederate general who was Robert E. Lee’s right-hand man in the slaveholders’ rebellion.

Pershing Street was named after General John Pershing. Fighting in the Mexican war and Indian wars, he commanded segregated troops. His most infamous undertaking was in the U.S. war on the Philippines, where soldiers compared shooting Filipinos to hunting rabbits during the time when the Ku Klux Klan was growing. When American soldiers slaughtered 600 Filipino men, women and children who were trapped in a volcano, Mark Twain wrote a scathing critique of U.S. brutality.

Wilson Street was named after Woodrow Wilson, often called the most racist U.S. president. Though federal agencies had been integrated during reconstruction, Wilson oversaw their re-segregation. He fired 15 of 17 Black supervisors, replacing them with whites. Wilson did not oppose the suppression of Black voters, claiming that it was not due to their skin being dark but because “their minds were dark.” He described Southern Black people as an “ignorant and inferior race” and defended America’s violence in the Philippines. Wilson supported the KKK by showing the film “The Birth of a Nation” (originally titled “The Klansman”) at the White House. When president of Princeton, he refused admission to Black students and removed previous Black admissions from the university’s history.

Amherst Street was named after Lord Jeffrey Amherst (or perhaps his namesake, Amherst College). Rivaling the genocidal policies of the Nazis, Amherst is often considered the grandfather of biological warfare from his role in giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans as a British officer in the French and Indian Wars during 1763. Although he respected his French opponents, he focused on Indians, who he described as “vermin” with no rights of humanity and sought their total extermination. Despite being criticized by other officers, Amherst was promoted to lieutenant colonel and gained the confidence of King George III. In 2008, Mi’kmaq spiritual leader John Joe Sark compared naming a place after Amherst to naming an Israeli city after Adolf Hitler.

Demonstrations following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd and numerous other Black victims suggest that it is time to acknowledge attacks on people of color by changing street names in ways that correct imbalances. There are currently two extreme imbalances in the ways that streets have been named: While many U.S. streets are named after white Americans who rebelled against high taxes, there is a virtual absence of U.S. streets named after Black or native people who rebelled against slavery or theft of their homelands. And while some U.S. streets are named after police officers killed by civilians, there is an absence of streets named after civilians killed by police officers.

In order to correct the ugly implication that paying too much money to the British crown was far worse than centuries of attacks on people of color, streets should be renamed after Black and native people who took up arms against their oppressors. They would include Hatuey, the first leader of a native rebellion in this hemisphere, and leaders of slave revolts Toussaint L’Ouverture, Gabriel Prosser and Denmark Vesey.

Because University City already has a street named after the slain police officer Sgt. Mike King, balance requires naming a street after Michael Brown or Anthony Lamar Smith (or maybe Emmet Till). Ignoring the need to do this means maintaining the racial imbalance that the 2020 demonstrations sought to address. Do we really want to continue with the message that white folks have the right to rebel but people of color do not? Do we really want to say that cops who are unjustly killed should be commemorated but people of color who are killed by cops do not deserve any recognition?

The post Two Principles of Racial Equity that Outrage Liberals first appeared on Dissident Voice.