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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Allegory of the Optimist and the Realist

A Cautionary Tale

By Charles Sullivan
Information Clearing House
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Imagine entering a room in which the electrical wiring is defective.
You turn the switch on. Nothing happens. Someone replaces the
bulb but the room remains dark. The circuit breaker is deemed
operational.

Most people, after a few attempts at flipping the switch, come to
the realization that the circuit is broken. They accurately conclude
that the light is not going to come on.

This is a rational and intelligent response to the reality of the
situation; one that weds cause and effect to results.

A few of the people in the room, however, have resolute faith
in the defective circuit. They are confident that the light will
eventually come on.

Among them, the belief persists that if one continues to flip
the switch enough times, eventually it will start working.

Convinced that the problem is a defective bulb, they replace
one light bulb with another every few minutes. As with political
elections, one dim bulb follows another into the socket.

Case after case of new bulbs is exhausted. And yet, despite the
best of intentions of the optimists, the room remains as dark as
a sarcophagus.

Suffering from cognitive dissonance, the eternal optimist, like Joe
Hill’s fictitious character Mr. Block, ignores the fact that the wiring
is broken and the circuit can never be operational without a major
overhaul, regardless of how many times the switch is turned on.

They contend that changing the bulb is easier and safer than
rewiring the circuit. The optimists insist that when the right
bulb is found light will dispel darkness and everything will
become clear.

This is what they have always done. It has never worked.

Nevertheless, despite decades of contrary results, the positivity
and faith of the optimists cannot be blunted. In darkness, they
busy themselves trying the switch again and again. Ignoring the
enduring darkness, some outsiders admire the optimist’s diligence
and determination.

Light, they insist, like change one can believe in, is a matter
of faith.

Others, seeing the absurdity of these actions, scoff at the
optimist’s foolishness. Having forged a Faustian alliance
with the building’s landlords, the corporate media lauds the
optimist’s determination as a civic duty that is bound to bring
enlightenment, if only they will persist indefinitely in their
endeavor.

Both the realists and the optimists want to shine light into the
darkness; however, there is fierce disagreement about their
methodology. Like the reformer and the revolutionary, their
differences are irreconcilable.

Eventually an exulted priest, Reverend Friedman, is consulted,
who advises everyone to ignore the darkness and to obey the
proprietors of the building.

“There will be light for everyone in the afterlife,” he advises
the crowd. “One must have faith in the system and the people
it attracts to serve. Do not be deceived by the lack of results
in the present. God will see that we are not wanting when we
are dead. The free market, the divine oracle of capitalism, will
provide a solution to all of our problems.”

'The good Reverend admonishes the realists for their lack of faith
and departs for the Big Top, where barkers are attracting a crowd
and organ grinders ply their trade.

The darkened house sits on the corner of Egalitarian Avenue and
Democracy Boulevard in a town called Plutocratville. Thievery
Corporation and Fascism Incorporated, now headquartered in
Capitalist China, were once the primary businesses.

The landlords of the house, The Big “O” and Capito, propose to
keep the occupants in the dark, where they conspire to do their
work, each deflecting criticism from the other.

The landlords cynically use the optimist’s faith and their naiveté
to keep them from making the circuit function as intended by its
designers. Among historians, there is intense debate about what
their real intentions were.

Darkness prevents some of the tenants from seeing the dilapidated
condition of the house as it falls down around them.

This permits the unscrupulous landlords to continue collecting rent
while covertly looting the building of its contents, including its
copper wiring. The optimist’s preoccupation with the switch and
their unstinting faith prevents them from noticing the pilferage.

Meanwhile, the optimists have become contemptuous of the
realists, who have abandoned the switch and propose to bring
in an electrician to replace the defective wiring with a
functioning circuit.

They label the realists as doomsayers, pessimists, negativists,
and conspiracy theorists. Invoking the language of fear, the
most optimistic believers refer to the realists as socialists,
communists, or Marxists.

From the optimist’s perspective, the problem is not the broken
circuit; it is lack of faith in the system on the part of the realists.

Beset with delusion, the most extreme optimists have convinced
themselves that the light is actually shining by refusing to
acknowledge the darkness around them.

They create inspirational euphemisms that substitutes light for
dark and dark for light. Thus, hate becomes love and war, peace.

The euphoric optimists are delighted by the system; however,
they falsely perceive themselves as enlightened.

Reality and powerlessness terrifies them, so they retreat into
catacombs of fantasy. Their time-worn strategies are predicated
upon false premises.

Equipped with only vestigial eyes and terrified about the
implications of existing in utter darkness, the optimists
refuse to adopt the more revolutionary strategy of the
realists as too radical and too dangerous.

They contend that the people are not ready for directly
confronting the underlying causes of the failed circuitry.

Much like reformers during America’s era of chattel slavery, the
optimists reason that directly confronting cause and effect must
be postponed until after the November elections and the mid-terms
thereafter.

The reformers hypothesize that The Big “O” and Capito must be
reelected to a second term as landlords of the tenement, when
they will reveal their humanitarian intentions and make things
right.

To accept the darkness as the absence of light would be so
psychologically disorienting that it would cause the optimist’s
mental circuits to shut down, much like the events of 9-11 has
suspended critical thinking and scientific analysis in the USA.

Karl Marx called this state of mind false consciousness.

Although fictionalized, the Allegory of the Optimist and the Realist
raises important questions about human nature, irrational faith in
dysfunctional systems of power, and reality.

For instance, if one continually confounds false consciousness
for true consciousness and illusion for reality, how can one
make progress?

One must begin by acknowledging reality and accepting it for
what it is, regardless of how painful or undesirable its truth.

Faith does not always serve human need; it often undermines
progress and promotes oppression of the working class, despite
its occasional good intentions.

Broken systems of power do not promote justice.

Ultimately, we can only begin our respective journeys to true
consciousness and thus revolution from wherever are. But we
must have the courage to acknowledge where that is.

False hope and wishful thinking can prevent us from doing what
must be done. It can perpetuate the very inequality we are trying
to eradicate.

Reality, no matter how disturbing, provides a solid base from
which to move forward. Take it for what it is.


Charles Sullivan is a naturalist, an educator and freelance writer
residing in the Ridge and Valley Province of geopolitical West
Virginia. He does not vote or lend the appearance of legitimacy
to corrupt systems of power by participating in them.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31465.htm

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Don't Remember

I Don’t Remember

By Luke Hiken
Dissident Voice
May 29th, 2012

I Don’t Remember:

Voting to wage war against every Muslim nation that is not a pawn
of U.S. capital.

Voting to support the use of unmanned drones as murder weapons
against civilian populations.

Voting to characterize corporations as “people” for purposes of
buying elections, and destroying whatever vestiges of democracy
that might have existed in the U.S.

Voting to bail out Wall Street gangsters who destroyed the U.S.
economy.

I know I did not vote to immunize these crooks from prosecution
for their theft of the wages and earnings of the American people.

Voting to destroy our educational system by indenturing students
with impossibly burdensome loans and creating annual tuitions that
only the super rich can afford.

Voting to construct the largest prison system in the world,
imprisoning African-American and Latino/Chicano prisoners
at 5 times their number in the U.S. population.

Voting to deport more than ½ million non-immigrants from this
country during Obama’s term of office alone, in spite of the fact
that nobody else will perform the services they provide to the
American people.

The cultural and social losses created by our endless detainments
and deportations are as destructive as the economic considerations
of our policies.

Voting to allow oil companies and their cohorts to reap
unimaginable profits to the detriment of the U.S. people,
while destroying the natural resources of the earth.

Voting to wage war on women’s rights to abortion, birth control,
and an equal wage for their work.

Voting to permit corporations to export our jobs overseas, while
paying no taxes on their obscene profits earned by paying slave
wages to poor people throughout the world.

Voting to immunize police departments and hired mercenaries
for their ongoing repression and violence against poor people
and minorities.

Voting to legalize torture and renditions as national policy and
practice.

Voting to allow the Pentagon to decide who is a criminal and who
is not, and to imprison anybody anywhere, without probable cause,
according to their militaristic worldview.

Voting to demand “austerity” from poor people, while allowing
the greediest monsters that have ever lived to rule this nation
and to thrive economically.

Voting to allow the pharmaceutical and insurance industries
to deprive the American people of affordable health care and
thereby impoverishing the poor and disabled.

Voting to allow Christian fanatics to demonize gay people, the
poor, and the marginalized from the benefits of our society.

Voting to allow vulture banks to steal people’s homes and
profit from their newly created homelessness.

Voting to allow 1% of the population to control more than
40% of the wealth of the nation.

BUT, I will certainly remember these things when either the
Democrats or the Republicans ask me to vote for them in
November.


Luke Hiken is an attorney who has engaged in the practice of
criminal, immigration, and appellate law.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/05/i-dont-remember/#more-44680

Friday, May 25, 2012

Everybody Hates Chris

from: tony whitcomb expotera.ceo@gmail.com
to: Christopher Hendrix fotofari@live.com
date: Fri, May 25, 2012 at 2:01 PM
subject: Everybody Hates Chris
mailed-by: gmail.com

Chris,

In the 35+ years that we have now known one another, you have
never, ever, ever, "came to my aid" nor have I ever had to beg
you or anyone else for that matter, for a place to stay during my
now 4+ year fight with Microsoft, over the very blatant stealing
of my multi-billion dollar Intellectual Property called, Expotera.

Chris, you say that I now have, "alot of balls to be talking about
our first black President" even though our first black President
and his entire Administration, have now spent the past 3+ years
totally condoning this highly unethical, as well as totally illegal
activity by Microsoft, by openly accepting multiple illegal
presidential campaign contributions from Microsoft, in exchange
for his and their 100% silence on this particular subject and by
continuing to this very day, to completely look the other way.

So yes Chris, thanks to both Microsoft and President Obama, I have
now had to live out of my car, live out of a park, live out of an alley,
as well as live out of a garbage can, but the one thing that I have
never, ever, ever, had to do was to ask your completely flat broke,
as well as totally dependent ass, for a fucking dime, "Sponge Bob!!"

Chris, I find it laughable when you say, "if I ever bring your girl into
this conversation I am going to have a real problem to worry about
besides being homeless" because you couldn't even carry my jock
strap back in high school, "Baby Huey" and as a full grown man,
you most certainly couldn't even carry my briefcase for me now.

Chris, you give every black man out here a bad name because you
play right into the stereotype of a typical, "Nigger" by laying around
on your sorry ass each and every day letting a couple of low self-
esteem women take care of you like one of their children, instead of
going out and finding a, "Real Job" or starting a multi-billion dollar
Internet start-up, such as myself, you wanna-be, "Iceberg Slim!!"

Chris, you really need to put the crack pipe down long enough
to remember exactly who you are now talking to here because
if you were even half as smart or even half as hard, as you now
suddenly think you are via e-mail, then why was your over grown
non-athletic ass, always sitting up in the stands with all of our
parents and girlfriends, while the rest of us real, "Men" were out
there balling on both the high school, as well as college gridirons??

Chris, even though my one man fight with Microsoft may have
left me temporarily homeless, you are still the only real worthless,
"Bum" here and I am very happy to see that you are now publicly
betting your, "30 Pieces of Silver" on the devil and all of his men
against me, "Judas" because, "One with God, makes a Majority"
and I have got some news for all of you idolaters, heathens,
blasphemers and fucking thieves!!!!

You can most certainly try to kill me, but none of you will never,
ever, ever, live long enough to kill Expotera!!

So thank you Chris, for showing all of us your real true colors here,
because you are now the true definition of a real, "Uncle Tom" a
true, "Step-An-Fetch-It" a real life, "Hater" and a true, "Punk Ass
Bitch!!"

And for however many days God, now allows your treasonous and
wretched ass to continue to walk this earth, please just remember
these two things, "Revenge is a dish that is always best served cold"
and, "Everybody Hates Chris!!"

Sincerely,

Tony E. Whitcomb
Founder/CEO Expotera


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Christopher Hendrix fotofari@live.com
Date: Wed, May 23, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Subject: RE:
To: Tony Whitcomb expotera.ceo@gmail.com

Tone,

You didn't have a problem with the "Oppressor" or the current
system when you were popping $300.00 dollar bottles of DOM
with your fellow capitalist pigs!!! Now you have been cast out
of the in crowd. Now you have issues just like OJ.

That's why you were homeless in your car for a year and had to beg
to stay with me. By the way I was injured at work and whatever my
situation was it has never been as bad as yours.

You came to me for help and you have alot of balls talking about
our first black President, homeless bra.

You have ran with your white corporate friends for years and now
you found out even though you act white, you are a nigger. LOL!

Grow up and move on dumb ass and by the way, if you ever bring
my girl into the conversation, you gonna have a real problem
besides being homeless. Under fucking stand?

Tone, you have been known as a sell out for a grip. The brother
that was a fucking white boy. But you found out your not a white
boy. Your a dumb niggar.

And those white boys you were trying to be a part of, are laughing
at you now. They made a site called get a fuckingjob.com!!! LOL!
They fucked you up!!

Tone, you have always fought against black folks. Truth is you
don't have a identity. Blacks don't want you, and whites tolerate
you. Your a Nomad! Homeless! And you put yourself there. How
can you have nobody that loves you and wind up in a car?

How is that?

It's because you have this false sense of entitlement. Nobody owes
you nothing in this world. I'm done with you man. You don't have a
true friend in the world. It's kind of sad.

By the way I was employed all the time I was being supported by
my girl. That's what people do. Now my settlement has come and
I am taking care of her. That's what right. But you would not know
about taking care of those that took care of me. There is no shame
in that.

I look at your page and nobody agrees and nobody likes the shit you
are popping. Your getting what you deserve Tony because you are a
first rate asshole!

And not one of your 2300 friends on Facebook came to your aid,
but I did and it's all good because nothing good is gonna come to
you and I will relish in that.

Truth is you're just mad cause they got the best of you. You lost!
Get over it. LOL!

Bye man, you have lost one of the last cats who was looking out for
you and I am going to scratch all of the dumb shit your talking and
fuck you!!

Chris

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No No Nato

No No Nato

By Bob Boldt
Oz House.org
May 23, 2012

Shortly after Obama won the election he spoke at a rally in
Grant Park, Chicago.

After watching the event on TV, I wrote an essay entitled,
“Chicago—the city where hope died and was reborn.”

Rereading my remarks nearly four years later, I am both proud
and ashamed.

Proud because my words were among the most eloquent and
heartfelt I have ever written, and ashamed because, I secretly
suspected Obama’s impending duplicity and betrayal.

I thought if the Liberals would only hold his feet to the fire, there
might be some chance for reform. Unfortunately this was not to be.

Liberals, flushed with victory, only wanted to sit on their hands,
happy to let their candidate lead them into the Promised Land.

I blame Liberals for these failures.

Obama might have repudiated his Wall St. buddies, the
military/industrial complex and responded in a progressive
manner had his supporters threatened revolution.

Sometimes frogs do fly and pigs grow wings.

Many Liberals still refuse to see the fascist wolf
in Liberal lambskin they voted for in ’08.

To the extent to which I was responsible for advancing this
deception, including my Chicago essay, I am deeply ashamed.

I wish I could return my vote and roll back the hours I spent
on the phone working to elect this fraud.

Last Sunday nearly fifty veterans of our brutal wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan threw away their medals in protest of the
Chicago NATO meeting.

By now the message has become amply clear;

Obama never represented “a change we can believe in,” but
only a continued suppression of our rights and a wasting of
our wealth in pursuit of a brutal American imperialism.

I was in Chicago in 1968 at the demonstrations against the
Vietnam War.

The NATO demonstrations were déjà-vu all over again with
police cracking heads with as much gusto as ’68. It is sad that
this time the press seemed more complicit with the police.

Fortunately streaming videos posted by the protesters served as
a check on the police state, their violence against and entrapment
of non-violent demonstrators.

Speaking of entrapment and spreading panic, does anyone
remember Daley’s ’68 planted rumor that demonstrators
tried to put LSD in the city’s water works?

Resistance is the last vestige of hope for change in our country.

I wish them well even though I suspect the outcome will not favor
democracy.

I also wish it were as effective to take back one’s words as it is
to repudiate violence by returning medals given to honor those actions.

Unfortunately our words ripple outwards affecting minds and
hearts forever.


Bob Boldt is a Filmmaker, Writer, Artist and retired Commercial
Film Producer.

http://ozhouse.org/2012/05/22/no-no-nato/

Monday, May 21, 2012

A World Without Capitalists Is Necessary

A World Without Workers is Impossible. A World Without
Capitalists is Necessary. – World Federation of Labor

By Frank Scott
Dissident Voice
May 21st, 2012

The unemployment rate in the USA is down to just over 8%. This is
evidence that we are in a recovery from a recession. But that rate
is actually higher than it was when this particular recession began.

The patient’s temperature has gone up, a sure sign that the patient
is getting better. Huh?

Living under the rules of a profit and loss religion in a market
church controlled by private clergy, almost anything negative
can be made to sound positive, especially to those who have
not yet felt the full impact of a disintegrating political economy.

But those who are experiencing its worst aspects find no relief in
academic jargon about structural or cyclical problems, stagnation,
supply/demand curves, unemployment blips and market equilibrium.

None of this helps them find jobs or borrow enough money
to pay their rent, mortgage, food bills, or education loans.

As those people are not only in the USA but in the rest of the
world, the global nature of the problem makes it more clear that
a solution is far beyond a particular nation state and concerns
all of humanity.

An old admonition to act local but think global has come to
mean far more than was originally intended. Then it had almost
nothing to do with economics but now, if we don’t think and
act economically we may assure failure for the planet and all
its inhabitants.

That’s us, whatever market terminology may be used to hide
that fact behind national, racial, religious or other divisive
identity group labels that help keep power in minority hands.

And that minority is doing better than ever, in the short run,
amassing more power and money than any past godlike royalty
in what were supposed to have been more primitive societies.

How much has really changed since ancient times when peasants
and slaves were ground underfoot so that royal families and their
wealthy sponsors could live lives of luxury?

Not much, in essence, though the material standard of living
for workers became what was called middle class and assured
far more material comfort than previous generations of common
people enjoyed.

That lasted until the present breakdown began decreasing the
income of more people at a faster rate so that the wealth of less
people could increase at a greater rate.

What kind of system is this? This kind:

If people are murdered in wars, that is good for the weapons
business.

If illness and disease run rampant that is good for the medical
business.

If natural disaster ravages communities and kills people, that
is good for the construction industry and the burial business.

Such are the realities of the cold blooded economics by which
the people of the world have been organized for hundreds of
years.

A profit for one always means a loss for many.

The idea of keeping people healthy, safe, secure and alive is
reduced to the private force of doing so only if they are able
to create profits for those selling health, safety, security and
life itself to the highest bidder in the market.

If we can’t afford to buy those things and charity does not exist
for us, we can just drop dead.

Millions of us do, and not only in bloody wars which profit the
war makers.

Many of us starve for lack of food while others have to go on
diets because they eat so much.

Many of us sleep in doorways, on the street or under bridges,
while dogs and cats have their own rooms in comfortable homes.

None of this happens because of individuals who are thoughtless
or cold hearted or murderous, although such do exist.

But in a system which dictates that profit must be created in a
market sale, the owner of a private firm that makes band aids
can be the nicest person on earth but still only profit and prosper
if lots of people are bleeding.

The social concept of doing all that is possible to avoid bleeding
would be terrible for his private business.

That is the case for every single human endeavor in the capital
dominated religious belief system of the market, an anti-human,
anti-social core of political economics that is threatening the
future of all people all over the world.

Criticism and rebellion to such injustice is the history of humanity
but today it is growing far beyond the national minorities previously
involved in such struggle.

People organized to obey authority, work for others to survive,
live in physical poverty or shop in moral poverty and vote for
employees of wealthy rulers when allowed to and call it democracy,
have remained unorganizable for the kind of change now necessary
for the survival of humanity.

But as the critical conditions grow worse, new methods of
communication among the people are helping bring more
rebellious response to this old order of great wealth for
the few at cost of crippling poverty and debt for the many.

Under the threat of potential social collapse, environmental
destruction and radical revolution, those who reap the greatest
profits are exploiting, ravaging and murdering at insane rates
in mindless desperation to maintain their power and wealth.

That cannot continue and is no longer tolerable to billions
of human beings nor the planet’s natural support system.

All over the world of capitalist anti-social democracy, the
collapsing structure has brought about calls for austerity
from the rulers and their paid minions in government.

This means further losses absorbed by the majority so
that even greater profits can accrue to ruling minorities.

Establishment philosophers of mass culture operating through
corporate media still have enormous impact as they explain why
the present reality is all that exists and must be experienced
without substantial question.

But when increasingly painful economic conditions for more
people combine with increasingly dangerous conditions for
much of the natural environment, the complex of events called
material reality take on a new meaning well understood by
growing numbers who face that reality in all its harshness
and are less influenced by misinformation, propaganda and
economic fairy tales.

Thus, many world citizens, even while their governing powers
continue representing capital, wars and injustice, are rejecting
the ugly burdens forced on them by their rich overlords.

Elections in some places are small indications of change but far
more indicative than the voting process which is still under the
control of capital, are the rising multitudes all over the world all
aiming for the same goal: a new world based on democratic power
exercised by people taking action as members of the one and only
human race and not simply as parties, religions, sects, cults or
other labeled divisions which serve to keep minorities in control
of majority created wealth.

Those tiny minorities are the capitalists who somehow own the
fantastic wealth produced by enormous majorities of previously
divided people.

The divisions still exist and the power still is in the hands of
those minorities whose days may be numbered, but so are
those of humanity as well if action is not taken to create the
world of democratic equality which has been the stuff of wishes
and dreams but must become reality. Or else.

Doomsayers and doubters are in abundance and are to be expected,
even when they are not on the payroll of the ruling minority.

It’s easy to look at the state of the world and surrender to
present reality.

But that is only possible for those not yet suffering the ever
increasing misfortune of dependence on a political economics
of profit for a few through loss, pain and misery for most.

It is not just time for social change activists but for all citizens
of the world’s 99% to heed the words quoted at the beginning.

An end to the reign of minority capitalism is necessary to save
the earth and all its people so that we can begin a human society
offering hope for all and not just some.


Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in print
in the Coastal Post and The Independent Monitor and online at
the blog Legalienate.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/05/a-world-without-capitalists-
is-necessary/#more-44573

Friday, May 18, 2012

Never Forget That Bradley Manning, Not Gay Marriage, Is The Issue

Never Forget That Bradley Manning, Not Gay Marriage, Is The Issue

By John Pilger
Information Clearing House
Friday, May 18, 2012

In the week Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in
2009, he ordered bombing attacks on Yemen, killing a reported
63 people, 28 of them children.

When Obama recently announced he supported same-sex marriage,
American planes had not long blown 14 Afghan civilians to bits.

In both cases, the mass murder was barely news.

What mattered were the cynical vacuities of a political celebrity,
the product of a zeitgeist driven by the forces of consumerism and
the media with the aim of diverting the struggle for social and
economic justice.

The award of the Nobel Prize to the first black president because
he "offered hope" was both absurd and an authentic expression
of the lifestyle liberalism that controls much of political debate
in the west.

Same-sex marriage is one such distraction.

No "issue" diverts attention as successfully as this: not the free
vote in Parliament on lowering the age of gay consent promoted by
the noted libertarian and war criminal Tony Blair: not the cracks in
"glass ceilings" that contribute nothing to women's liberation and
merely amplify the demands of bourgeois privilege.

Legal obstacles should not prevent people marrying each
other, regardless of gender. But this is a civil and private
matter; bourgeois acceptability is not yet a human right.

The rights historically associated with marriage are those
of property: capitalism itself.

Elevating the "right" of marriage above the right to life and real
justice is as profane as seeking allies among those who deny life
and justice to so many, from Afghanistan to Palestine.

On 9 May, hours before his Damascene declaration on same-sex
marriage, Obama sent out messages to campaign donors making
his new position clear. He asked for money.

In response, according to the Washington Post, his campaign
received a "massive surge of contributions".

The following evening, with the news now dominated by his
"conversion", he attended a fundraising party at the Los Angeles
home of the actor George Clooney.

"Hollywood," reported the Associated Press, "is home to some of
the most high-profile backers of gay marriage, and the 150 donors
who are paying $40,000 to attend Clooney's dinner will no doubt
feel invigorated by Obama's watershed announcement the day before."

The Clooney party is expected to raise a record $15 million for
Obama's re-election and will be followed by "yet another fundraiser
in New York sponsored by gay and Latino Obama supporters".

The width of a cigarette paper separates the Democratic
and Republican parties on economic and foreign policies.

Both represent the super rich and the impoverishment of a
nation from which trillions of tax dollars have been transferred
to a permanent war industry and banks that are little more
than criminal enterprises.

Obama is as reactionary and violent as George W. Bush, and in
some ways he is worse.

His personal speciality is the use of Hellfire missile-armed drones
against defenceless people.

Under cover of a partial withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, he
has sent US special forces to 120 countries where death squads are
trained.

He has revived the old cold war on two fronts: against China in Asia
and with a "shield" of missiles aimed at Russia.

The first black president has presided over the incarceration and
surveillance of greater numbers of black people than were enslaved
in 1850.

He has prosecuted more whistleblowers - truth-tellers - than any
of his predecessors.

His vice-president, Joe Biden, a zealous warmonger, has called
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange a "hi-tech terrorist". Biden has
also converted to the cause of gay marriage.

One of America's true heroes is the gay soldier Bradley Manning,
the whistleblower alleged to have provided WikiLeaks with the
epic evidence of American carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was the Obama administration that smeared his homosexuality
as weird, and it was Obama himself who declared a man convicted
of no crime to be guilty.

Who among the fawners and luvvies at Clooney's Hollywood
moneyfest shouted, "Remember Bradley Manning"?

To my knowledge, no prominent spokesperson for gay rights
has spoken against Obama's and Biden's hypocrisy in claiming
to support same-sex marriage while terrorising a gay man
whose courage should be an inspiration to all, regardless of
sexual preference.

Obama's historic achievement as president of the United States
has been to silence the anti-war and social justice movement
associated with the Democratic Party.

Such deference to an extremism disguised by and embodied in
a clever, amoral operator, betrays the rich tradition of popular
protest in the US.

Perhaps the Occupy movement is said to be in this tradition;
perhaps not.

The truth is that what matters to those who aspire to control our
lives is not skin pigment or gender, or whether or not we are gay,
but the class we serve.

The goals are to ensure that we look inward on ourselves, not
outward to others and never comprehend the sheer scale of
undemocratic power, and to that we collaborate in isolating
those who resist.

This attrition of criminalising, brutalising and banning protest
can too easily turn western democracies into states of fear.

On 12 May, in Sydney, Australia, home of the Gay and Lesbian
Mardi Gras, a protest parade in support of gay marriage filled
the city centre. The police looked on benignly. It was a showcase
of liberalism.

Three days later, there was to be a march to commemorate
the Nakba ("The Catastrophe'), the day of mourning when
Israel expelled Palestinians from their land. A police ban
had to be overturned by the Supreme Court.

That is why the people of Greece ought to be our inspiration.

By their own painful experience they know their freedom can
only be regained by standing up to the German Central Bank,
the International Monetary Fund and their own quislings in Athens.

People across Latin America have achieved this: the indignados of
Bolivia who saw off the water privateers and the Argentinians who
told the IMF what to do with their debt.

The courage of disobedience was their weapon.

Remember Bradley Manning.

www.johnpilger.com

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31355.htm

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Idiocy as WMD

Idiocy as WMD

By Linh Dinh
Information Clearing House
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Borges writes, “dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster
servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact
that they foster idiocy.”

As a preeminent mind, Borges rightly considers the mind to be
a man’s greatest asset, for without mind, a man is nothing.

The more oppressive a political system, then, the greater its assault
on its subjects’ minds, for it’s not enough for any dictator, king or
totalitarian system to oppress and exploit, but it must, and I mean
must, make its people idiotic as well.

Every wrongful bullet is preceded and accompanied, then followed
up by a series of idiotic lies, but we’re so used to such a moronic
diet by now, our trepanned intelligentsia don’t even squirm in their
tenured chairs.

Sane men and women don’t consent to kill, rob and rape, much less
be killed, robbed and raped, least of all to enrich their masters,
and that’s why their minds must be molested as early and as much
as possible.

Hence our nonstop media brainwashing us from the cradle,
literally, to the grave.

Fixated by flickering boxes, even infants are now mind-
conditioned to become scatterbrained idiots before they
stagger into kindergarten, to begin a lifelong process
of becoming docile and slogan-shouting Democrats and
Republicans.

Yes, savages killed, but, like apes and monkeys, our ancestors,
they mostly tried to intimidate and trash talk their way out of
conflicts. There wasn’t a lot of murdering after the haka, frankly.

They didn’t wipe out entire cities by defecating exploding metal
from the sky, nor sit in a brightly lit and spic-and-span office
stroking a joy stick to ejaculate missiles half a planet away.

Drone hell fire for y’all, with sides of bank-sponsored debt slavery
and austerity, plus an unlimited refill of American pop bullshit.

Would you like a public suicide with that?

No, sir, these savages need to take webcast courses from us
sophisticates when it comes to genocide, or ecocide, or any
other kind of cides you can think of.

When it comes to pure, unadulterated savagery, these quaint brutes ain’t got shit on us plugged-in netizens chillaxin’ in that shiny upside down condo on da capital-punishment-for the-entire-world, y’all, hill.

You’d think that a government with absolute power would not
bother with expensive parades and elaborately-staged rallies in
stadia, as are routine in North Korea, but such is the importance
of propaganda and mind-control.

America has gone way beyond Kim Jong-Un and his Nuremberg-
styled pageantry, however, because the Yankee Magical Show is
relentlessly pumped into our minds via television and the internet,
at home, in office or even as we’re walking down the street, so
that we’re always swarmed by sexy sale pitches, soft and hard
porn, asinine righteousness and imbecilic trivia.

All day long, we can stuff ourselves with unlimited kitsch. Today’s
urgent topic, “Sylvester Stalone Spotted in 16th Century Painting.”
Yesterday’s, “Tom Cruise’s Daughter Gets Inked.”

Imagine a triple-amputee Iraq vet or an unemployed mother,
sitting in an about to be foreclosed home with unpaid bills
scattered across her kitchen table, staring at such headlines.

At 48, I’m old enough to remember when it wasn’t this
overwhelmingly stupid, though the dumbing down of
America will only accelerate as this cornered and bankrupt
country becomes ever more vicious to its citizens and
foreigners alike.

Not content to kill and loot, America must do it to pulsating music;
cool, orgasmic dancing; raunchy reality shows and violence-filled
Hollywood blockbusters, and these are also meant for its victims,
no less.

In a 1997 article published by the US Army War College, Ralph
Peters gushes about a “personally intrusive” and “lethal” cultural
assault as a key tactic in the American quest for global supremacy.

As information master, the American Empire will destroy its
“information victims.” What’s more, “our victims volunteer”
because they are unable to resist the seductiveness of American
culture.

Defining democracy as “that deft liberal form of imperialism,”
Peters reveals how the word is conceived and used these days
by every American leader, whether talking about Libya, Syria,
Iran or America itself.

Recognizing that the lumpens of his country are also victims of
empire, Peters frankly acknowledges that “laid-off blue-collar
worker in America and the Taliban militiaman in Afghanistan
are brothers in suffering.”

Much has been made of the internet as enabling democracy and
protest, but whatever utility it may have for the disenfranchised
and/or rebellious, the Web is most useful to our rulers.

As Dmitry Orlov points out in a recent blog, the internet is a
powerful surveillance tool for the state and, what’s more, it
also keeps the masses distracted and pacified.

Echoing Queen Victoria’s remark, “Give my people plenty of
beer, good and cheap beer, and you will have no revolution
among them,” Orlov observes that virtual sex thwarts rebellion.

In sum, while the internet may empower some people, as in
allowing John Michael Greer, Paul Craig Roberts or Orlov to
publish their unflinching commentaries, the same internet
also drowns them out with an unprecedented flood of drivel.

Defending the empire, Ralph Peters cheerfully agrees,
“The internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the
United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of
empowerment and community.”

Though our only hope is to be expelled from this sick matrix,
many of us will cling even more fiercely to these illusions of
knowledge, love, sex and community as we blunder forward.

A breathing and tactile life will become even more alien, I’m
afraid.

Here and there, a band of unplugged weirdos, to be hunted down
and exterminated, with their demise shown on TV as warning and
entertainment.

Inhabiting a common waste land, we can each lounge in our
private electronic ghetto.

Until the juice finally runs out, that is.


Linh Dinh is tracking our deteriorating socialscape through
his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31318.htm

Monday, May 14, 2012

Colonized by Corporations

Colonized by Corporations

By Chris Hedges
Common Dreams.org
May 14, 2012

In Robert E. Gamer’s book “The Developing Nations” is a chapter
called “Why Men Do Not Revolt.”

In it Gamer notes that although the oppressed often do revolt,
the object of their hostility is misplaced. They vent their fury
on a political puppet, someone who masks colonial power, a
despised racial or ethnic group or an apostate within their own
political class.

The useless battles serve as an effective mask for what Gamer calls
the “patron-client” networks that are responsible for the continuity
of colonial oppression.

The squabbles among the oppressed, the political campaigns
between candidates who each are servants of colonial power,
Gamer writes, absolve the actual centers of power from addressing
the conditions that cause the frustrations of the people.

Inequities, political disenfranchisement and injustices are never
seriously addressed.

“The government merely does the minimum necessary to prevent
those few who are prone toward political action from organizing
into politically effective groups,” he writes.

Gamer and many others who study the nature of colonial rule offer
the best insights into the functioning of our corporate state. We
have been, like nations on the periphery of empire, colonized.

We are controlled by tiny corporate entities that have no loyalty
to the nation and indeed in the language of traditional patriotism
are traitors.

They strip us of our resources, keep us politically passive and
enrich themselves at our expense.

The mechanisms of control are familiar to those whom the
Martinique-born French psychiatrist and writer Frantz Fanon
called “the wretched of the earth,” including African-Americans.

The colonized are denied job security. Incomes are reduced to
subsistence level.

The poor are plunged into desperation. Mass movements, such as
labor unions, are dismantled.

The school system is degraded so only the elites have access to a
superior education.

Laws are written to legalize corporate plunder and abuse, as well
as criminalize dissent.

And the ensuing fear and instability—keenly felt this past weekend
by the more than 200,000 Americans who lost their unemployment
benefits—ensure political passivity by diverting all personal energy
toward survival. It is an old, old game.

A change of power does not require the election of a Mitt Romney
or a Barack Obama or a Democratic majority in Congress, or an
attempt to reform the system or electing progressive candidates,
but rather a destruction of corporate domination of the political
process—Gamer’s “patron-client” networks.

It requires the establishment of new mechanisms of governance
to distribute wealth and protect resources, to curtail corporate
power, to cope with the destruction of the ecosystem and to
foster the common good.

But we must first recognize ourselves as colonial subjects. We must
accept that we have no effective voice in the way we are governed.

We must accept the hollowness of electoral politics, the futility of
our political theater, and we must destroy the corporate structure
itself.

The danger the corporate state faces does not come from the poor.

The poor, those Karl Marx dismissed as the Lumpenproletariat, do
not mount revolutions, although they join them and often become
cannon fodder.

The real danger to the elite comes from déclassé intellectuals,
those educated middle-class men and women who are barred
by a calcified system from advancement.

Artists without studios or theaters, teachers without classrooms,
lawyers without clients, doctors without patients and journalists
without newspapers descend economically.

They become, as they mingle with the underclass, a bridge
between the worlds of the elite and the oppressed. And they
are the dynamite that triggers revolt.

This is why the Occupy movement frightens the corporate elite.

What fosters revolution is not misery, but the gap between
what people expect from their lives and what is offered.
This is especially acute among the educated and the talented.

They feel, with much justification, that they have been denied
what they deserve. They set out to rectify this injustice. And
the longer the injustice festers, the more radical they become.

The response of a dying regime—and our corporate regime is dying
is to employ increasing levels of force, and to foolishly refuse to
ameliorate the chronic joblessness, foreclosures, mounting student
debt, lack of medical insurance and exclusion from the centers of
power.

Revolutions are fueled by an inept and distant ruling class that
perpetuates political paralysis. This ensures its eventual death.

In every revolutionary movement I covered in Latin America,
Africa and the Middle East, the leadership emerged from
déclassé intellectuals. The leaders were usually young or
middle-aged, educated and always unable to meet their
professional and personal aspirations.

They were never part of the power elite, although often their
parents had been. They were conversant in the language of
power as well as the language of oppression.

It is the presence of large numbers of déclassé intellectuals that
makes the uprisings in Spain, Egypt, Greece and finally the United
States threatening to the overlords at Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil
and JPMorgan Chase.

They must face down opponents who understand, in a way the
uneducated often do not, the lies disseminated on behalf of
corporations by the public relations industry.

These déclassé intellectuals, because they are conversant in
economics and political theory, grasp that those who hold power,
real power, are not the elected mandarins in Washington but the
criminal class on Wall Street.

This is what made Malcolm X so threatening to the white power
structure.

He refused to countenance Martin Luther King’s fiction that white
power and white liberals would ever lift black people out of
economic squalor. King belatedly came to share Malcolm’s view.

Malcolm X named the enemy. He exposed the lies. And until
we see the corporate state, and the games it is playing with us,
with the same kind of clarity, we will be nothing more than
useful idiots.

“This is an era of hypocrisy,” Malcolm X said.

“When white folks pretend that they want Negroes to be free,
and Negroes pretend to white folks that they really believe
that white folks want ’em to be free, it’s an era of hypocrisy,
brother. You fool me and I fool you. You pretend that you’re
my brother and I pretend that I really believe you believe
you’re my brother.”

Those within a demoralized ruling elite, like characters in a
Chekhov play, increasingly understand that the system that
enriches and empowers them is corrupt and decayed.

They become cynical. They do not govern effectively. They retreat
into hedonism. They no longer believe their own rhetoric. They
devote their energies to stealing and exploiting as much, as fast, as
possible.

They pillage their own institutions, as we have seen with the newly
disclosed loss of $2 billion within JPMorgan Chase, the meltdown of
Chesapeake Energy Corp. or the collapse of Enron and Lehman Brothers.

The elites become cannibals. They consume each other. This
is what happens in the latter stages of all dying regimes.

Louis XIV pillaged his own nobility by revoking patents of
nobility and reselling them. It is what most corporations do
to their shareholders.

A dying ruling class, in short, no longer acts to preserve its own
longevity.

It becomes fashionable, even in the rarefied circles of the elite, to
ridicule and laugh at the political puppets that are the public face
of the corporate state.

“Ideas that have outlived their day may hobble about the world for
years,” Alexander Herzenwrote, “but it is hard for them ever to
lead and dominate life. Such ideas never gain complete possession
of a man, or they gain possession only of incomplete people."

This loss of faith means that when it comes time to use force, the
elites employ it haphazardly and inefficiently, in large part because
they are unsure of the loyalty of the foot soldiers on the streets
charged with carrying out repression.

Revolutions take time. The American Revolution began with
protests against the Stamp Act of 1765 but did not erupt until a
decade later. The 1917 revolution in Russia started with a dress
rehearsal in 1905.

The most effective revolutions, including the Russian Revolution,
have been largely nonviolent.

There are always violent radicals who carry out bombings and
assassinations, but they hinder, especially in the early stages,
more than help revolutions.

The anarchist Peter Kropotkin during the Russian Revolution
condemned the radical terrorists, asserting that they only
demoralized and frightened away the movement’s followers
and discredited authentic anarchism.

Radical violent groups cling like parasites to popular protests.

The Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, the Weather
Underground, the Red Brigades and the Symbionese Liberation Army
arose in the ferment of the 1960s.

Violent radicals are used by the state to justify harsh repression.
They scare the mainstream from the movement. They thwart the
goal of all revolutions, which is to turn the majority against an
isolated and discredited ruling class.

These violent fringe groups are seductive to those who yearn for
personal empowerment through hyper-masculinity and violence,
but they do little to advance the cause.

The primary role of radical extremists, such as Maximilien
Robespierre and Vladimir Lenin, is to hijack successful revolutions.

They unleash a reign of terror, primarily against fellow
revolutionaries, which often outdoes the repression of
the old regime. They often do not play much of a role in
building a revolution.

The power of the Occupy movement is that it expresses the
widespread disgust with the elites, and the deep desire for
justice and fairness that is essential to all successful
revolutionary movements.

The Occupy movement will change and mutate, but it will not
go away.

It may appear to make little headway, but this is less because of
the movement’s ineffectiveness and more because decayed systems
of power have an amazing ability to perpetuate themselves through
habit, routine and inertia.

The press and organs of communication, along with the anointed
experts and academics, tied by money and ideology to the elites,
are useless in dissecting what is happening within these movements.

They view reality through the lens of their corporate sponsors.
They have no idea what is happening.

Dying regimes are chipped away slowly and imperceptibly. The
assumptions and daily formalities of the old system are difficult
for citizens to abandon, even when the old system is increasingly
hostile to their dignity, well-being and survival.

Supplanting an old faith with a new one is the silent, unseen battle
of all revolutionary movements. And during the slow transition it is
almost impossible to measure progress.

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong,” Fanon
wrote in “Black Skin, White Masks.”

“When they are presented with evidence that works against that
belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a
feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive
dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core
belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that
doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”

The end of these regimes comes when old beliefs die and the
organs of security, especially the police and military, abandon
the elites and join the revolutionaries.

This is true in every successful revolution. It does not matter
how sophisticated the repressive apparatus.

Once those who handle the tools of repression become
demoralized, the security and surveillance state is impotent.

Regimes, when they die, are like a great ocean liner sinking in
minutes on the horizon. And no one, including the purported
leaders of the opposition, can predict the moment of death.

Revolutions have an innate, mysterious life force that defies
comprehension. They are living entities.

The defection of the security apparatus is often done with little
or no violence, as I witnessed in Eastern Europe in 1989 and as
was also true in 1979 in Iran and in 1917 in Russia.

At other times, when it has enough residual force to fight back,
the dying regime triggers a violent clash as it did in the American
Revolution when soldiers and officers in the British army, including
George Washington, rebelled to raise the Continental Army.

Violence also characterized the 1949 Chinese revolution led by
Mao Zedong. But even revolutions that turn violent succeed, as
Mao conceded, because they enjoy popular support and can mount
widespread protests, strikes, agitation, revolutionary propaganda
and acts of civil disobedience.

The object is to try to get there without violence.

Armed revolutions, despite what the history books often tell us,
are tragic, ugly, frightening and sordid affairs.

Those who storm Bastilles, as the Polish dissident Adam Michnik
wrote, “unwittingly build new ones.”

And once revolutions turn violent it becomes hard to speak of
victors and losers.

A revolution has been unleashed across the globe. This revolution,
a popular repudiation of the old order, is where we should direct
all our energy and commitment.

If we do not topple the corporate elites the ecosystem will be
destroyed and massive numbers of human beings along with it.

The struggle will be long. There will be times when it will seem we
are going nowhere. Victory is not inevitable. But this is our best and
only hope.

The response of the corporate state will ultimately determine the
parameters and composition of rebellion. I pray we replicate the
1989 nonviolent revolutions that overthrew the communist regimes
in Eastern Europe. But this is not in my hands or yours.

Go ahead and vote this November. But don’t waste any more time
or energy on the presidential election than it takes to get to your
polling station and pull a lever for a third-party candidate—just
enough to register your obstruction and defiance—and then get
back out onto the street.

That is where the question of real power is being decided.


Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges
graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two
decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/14-3

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Alienation and Solidarity

Alienation and Solidarity

By Scott Thompson
Occupy Saint Paul
May 06, 2012

Alienation is the defining feature of our whole civilization, and
it operates on multiple levels- the mind is alienated from the
body, both are alienated from the spirit, people are alienated
from the natural world, races and classes and subcultures are
alienated from each other, neighbors are alienated from neighbors
and family members from other family members.

Everything and everyone is atomized, split into discrete pieces,
objectified and analyzed, exploited and manipulated.

A world like that is a dead world, a world where everything is
just an object, a piece of property or a resource or a useful tool.

A world like that has no humanity.

So it's no surprise that in a world like that, many people would
define freedom in strictly negative terms, the freedom to not be
interfered with while you are trying to acquire more property and
resources.

When you play “Monopoly,” just one person wins. When you play
“Risk,” just one person wins.

The problem with seeing the whole world as a competitive game
is that almost everyone is going to lose.

A tiny elite will end up with almost everything, a larger number will
have enough to be comfortable only if they devote their entire lives
to maintaining the status quo and defending a system that defines
them as losers just because they didn't succeed in clawing their way
to the top.

The vast majority of people in the world will be left with little or
nothing, struggling for mere survival and viciously blamed for their
own poverty.

This imbalance is what we fight against, but it's just a symptom.
The cause of the problem is alienation, the multifaceted alienation
that defines our culture.

Just try to imagine a society where people weren't alienated from
other people or from the planet they live on or from their own
bodies or from their spirits.

Wouldn't it look almost completely different than what we have
now?

The word “radical” comes from Latin, and it originally implied
getting to the roots of a matter.

If the root of what is wrong with our world is alienation, then the
most radical thing we can possibly do is to refuse to be alienated,
the most revolutionary thing we can do is to challenge the
alienation all around us, and the one thing we can do that most
deeply and directly challenges the status quo is to stand together
in solidarity.

The defining worldview of any culture is invisible to most of the
people in that culture; it's like water to a fish.

That's why Occupy confuses people.

They think of us as a protest movement when protest is actually
just one part of what we do and not really the defining part.

They ask us why we don't have a leadership structure because
they mistake us for an organization and think we're just a poorly-
organized activist group.

They ask us why we don't have a list of demands because they
don't realize that such a thing wouldn't really be possible-
there's no orthodoxy or uniformity of opinion among us that
would allow us to issue such a convenient list.

They miss the central point of what we're doing, which is right
there in the name: we're Occupying space together, in multiple
different ways.

Sometimes in an encampment, sometimes in an abandoned
building, sometimes in a house threatened by foreclosure,
sometimes in a library or a cafe, and sometimes on the street.

We're Occupying space together so that we can hear each other
talk, so we can share a meal or exchange ideas or stand together
to resist a wrong.

We're Occupying space together, and it's changing all of us.

Never in my entire life have I spent time with such a wide range
of different people as I have in Occupy. People of different classes
and races and ages and sexual identities.

Most of the people I work with in Occupy are people I would
never have had a reason to socialize with outside of it.

Their life experiences are different from mine. They don't read the
same books I read or listen to the same music I listen to. They don't
look like I do.

When I spend time with people who do listen to the music I listen to
or read the same books I read, it's a fun experience.

When I stand side by side in solidarity with people who don't have
these obvious and superficial things in common with me, it's a life-
changing experience.

When I link arms with a person I don't even know so that we can
help another person we don't know to stay in his or her home, it's
a revolutionary experience, because it's a shared refusal to be
alienated.

We're not always that good at solidarity; we still have a lot to
learn about how to hear each other and how to treat each other
respectfully.

But let's not forget what we're here for and what makes Occupy
so promising and so exhilarating.

We could make a list of our ten favorite reforms and win them all,
but if we failed to address the alienation at the core of our culture
then we would not have fixed anything.

In the end, we would just end up creating the same mess all over
again.

Let's dare to be radical in the original sense of the word, let's dare
to look deep enough to see the roots of the problem.

Let's refuse alienation.


Scott Thompson is Writer and Media Team Member with Occupy
Saint Paul.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why Are We Striking?

Or to Put it Another Way – What’s Wrong with the World?

By Mike David
Information Clearing House
Thursday, May 03, 2012

Of course, most of us know what’s wrong with the world. We
know about the poverty, war, violence and disease.

We’re conscious of the injustice, but not fully conscious of it,
because frankly, we have enough to worry about in our own lives.

As such, we’ve come to accept these injustices as simple facts of
life – prepackaged side effects of the human condition, as natural
and intertwined with our existence as water to a stream, beyond
our capacity to effect in any significant way.

This collective sense of powerlessness and default apathy is why
we’re striking.

Our growing sense of isolation and disconnection, whether from
ourselves, from those next door to us, or from those producing our
food and products halfway across the globe, is why we’re striking.

Our forced support of perpetual war waged for and by the 1% -
whether explicitly with speech, or implicitly with inaction and tax
dollars - without ever paying mind to the true causes and motives
behind it, is why we’re striking.

Our failure up til now to connect the dots and realize that
the benefits of a cheap iPod, lovely as it may be, would be
far outweighed by the benefits of a truly just world free of
exploitation, is why we’re striking.

The fact that most of us are too busy being exploited to realize
we’re being exploited – too busy greasing the cogs of our economic
system to notice how the fruits of our labor never fail to float up
and out of our reach - is why we’re striking, as is the fact that most
aren’t able to do anything about this exploitation even when we do
notice it.

While some of us are lucky enough to have jobs and careers that
give real meaning to our lives, allowing us to take full advantage
of our talents and fulfill our destiny, most of us have jobs devoid
of meaning and dignity, yet full of the feeling that we are fulfilling
someone else’s destiny.

Our recognition that the ruling class’s seat at the top of the
pyramid is prepared and propped up by the working class is
why we’re striking.

Our knowledge that it’s actually the CEO who is the most
dependent among us, and that the ones truly indispensable
to our society are not bankers, lobbyists and politicians,
but workers, teachers and engineers, is why we’re striking.

Indeed, the fact that we have an economic system which
functions in the same manner as a virus is why we’re striking.

Just as a virus’s only reason for existence is to expand, without
regard or awareness of the effect of its expansion on its host body,
our economic system pursues its infinite expansion without regard
or awareness of its effect on human welfare or the environment.

Though the earth is finite, it is sustainable, so we reject, in
the words of Michael Nagler, “the inherent contradiction of an
economy based on indefinitely increasing wants – instead of on
human needs that the planet has ample resources to fulfill.”

We’re striking because we also reject the notion that selfishness
must be the driving force in our world.

We believe, contrary to propaganda, that most people in our world
are not selfish, and would rather work together than constantly
compete against each other.

We believe that the only people who really care about things like
power, corporate monopolies and global dominance only make up,
say, 1% of the population, making it seem only logical that we
should have an economic system which reflects the values of the
99% of us who don’t care about such things.

The fact that most of the decisions which have a profound impact
on how we go about our daily lives are made by folks in Washington
or Wall Street, rather than in our communities by the people
actually affected by those decisions, is why we’re striking.

The fact that power rests only with those who lust after it is
why we’re striking.

We’re striking because another notion we don’t buy into is the
presumption that the profit motive can have no outcome other
than the best possible one.

We understand that the success of McDonald’s has nothing to do
with having the best burger, and everything to do with having the
most cutthroat business plan.

We understand that building prisons, waging wars, polluting the
environment, and paying employees inadequate wages are actually
quite profitable.

Sustainability, economic justice and true equality? Not so much.

We understand that being ruthless and unscrupulous is an
economic advantage, and being truthful and virtuous is an
economic disadvantage.

We understand that money is treated as more natural and
inviolable as nature itself, and that too often our place and
perceived value in society is determined solely by how much
of it we make, or how much of it we make for someone else.

We understand that, whether or not you believe in climate
change, our ability to adequately address it or any other
pressing issue is greatly compromised when our shortsighted
need for profit skews our vision of the whole.

We’re striking to suggest new motives and new values going
forward.

The fact that you might not have known why we’re striking,
and you didn’t get and maybe still don’t get what Occupy
Wall Street is about, is why we’re striking.

And who can blame you?

Just like you don’t have the time or energy to really do anything
about the world’s problems, you probably don’t have the time or
energy to do the deep digging required to get your news from any
source other than the corporate outlets conveniently floating on
the surface.

It’s understandable that you wouldn’t see the inherent conflict
of interest of a handful of for-profit corporations with their own
interests telling the world’s story to the majority of people in
this country.

The fact that it’s so hard to be truly informed, and that it’s in the
1%’s interest for the majority of us to be uninformed, is why we’re
striking.

The fact that it’s entirely possible you could go about your day
today and not hear a thing about the general strike, is why we’re
striking.

To counter the charge that it’s unrealistic, and overly idealistic, to
want to bring about real change in our world, as well as the trusty
“life isn’t fair” rationale always used to justify injustice, is why
we’re striking.

We didn’t accept that line of reasoning during the civil rights
movement, and we don’t accept it now.

We think it’s far more unrealistic to think that a small cadre of
elites will be able to keep up their never-ending pursuit of power
consolidation and mass manipulation without waking us up in the
process.

We think it’s far more unlikely that in 1000 years, humanity will
still be playing this game of perpetual one-upmanship, instead
of picking up the far more efficient and beneficial manner of
interacting with each other in honesty, cooperation and genuine
respect.

Perhaps the biggest reason we’re striking is to simply exercise
that ever-cherished American value of freedom.

Just as our business leaders are free to use every means at their
disposal to maximize profit, we are free to use every means at
our disposal to maximize the realization of whatever objective
we feel is worth pursuing.

And by the way, even if you don’t support the Occupy movement,
whatever you think the Occupy movement is about, we respect
your view, because another reason we’re striking has to do
with our political system – the way it thrives and prospers
by pitting us against ourselves, encouraging us to demonize
each other while discouraging us from disagreeing civilly.

The fact that this post is completely and utterly inadequate in
expressing why we’re striking, is why we’re striking.

But that’s OK, because like May 1st, this post is just the beginning.


Mike David is an occupier in San Francisco. He blogs at www.primitivetimes.com

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31215.htm