Today, we feature Chris Hedges who serves as the canary in the coal mine, offering a clarifying call to a different kind of action that rejects the rules of the game entirely. Time to disrupt the machine. Plus details on current actions.
Actions & Opportunities
Click here for information on:
- Thursday, Oct 24, 11am. A Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Interim Hearing in Rm. 322 at the Roundhouse today at 11am with NM Voices presenting their priority tax bills to address the needs of working families and children for 2020;
- Sunday, Oct 27, 9:15am (from Counselor Chapter House) Fracking Tour of Greater Chaco Canyon, an up close view of a tragic sacrifice zone with Indigenous activists, Daniel Tso, Samuel Sage & Mario Atencio telling stories of how the powers that be listen but ignore indigenous please for climate justice. This is so worth your time and there are still a few slots left.
- Tuesday, Oct. 29, 6:30pm-8:30pm. A panel discussion with representatives from public banking, NM Voices, Think NM, ACLU and Health Security for New Mexicans previewing what bills to expect in the 2020 legislative session and how you can effectively advocate now and during the session.
- Wednesday, Oct 30, 4pm-8pm. A new action starting at 4pm at the Roundhouse Rotunda protesting the Governor’s failure to meet with YUCCA youth or respond to any of their demands. Youth United for Climate Crisis Action youth leaders will announce plans for escalating direct action to increase pressure on the Governor to take bold action in response to the climate crisis. At the close of the event, participants will march to the by the New Mexico Energy Department hearings on regulating produced water at 6pm a few blocks from the Roundhouse.
- The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) is bringing Dr. Joseph J. Shonka to New Mexico in early November to present his recent lecture “The First Dirty Bomb, Trinity” ABQ, Socorro, Las Cruces, and Española.
Click here for details on these and other events and actions.
Chris Hedges: The Age of Radical Evil & How Saving the Planet Means Overthrowing the Ruling Elites
In the last week, Roxanne has forwarded me a series of articles from Truthdig, Intercept, Common Sense, and Truthout that have had a profound impact on both of us. We arrived at the shared realization that much of our activism has been conducted within a framework that has been tightly constructed and well-orchestrated by the powers that be. We are allowed to participate in political theater in different forms and contexts with the rules and parameters tightly circumscribed to keep us busy but ineffective.
Part of this has to do with Roxanne reading a CELDF publication about how the entire regulatory framework is rigged so as to allow us to think our public comment matters, that by attending hearings like the ones now being held about produced water, and by sending those emails and making those calls, we are playing meaningful roles in the Democratic process. In truth, it is an entirely orchestrated theater designed to give us roles that make us feel we’ve tried, we’ve done our best.
While our comments and testimony are dutifully recorded, they are also entirely ignored because these structures are established not to integrate our concerns into policy or regulations, but to dupe us into thinking we have made a contribution. The remarkable thing is that these regulatory bodies are not designed to protect us or the earth, but rather to determine the outer limits to the degree that corporations can commit crimes against nature:
- What level of pollutants can be allowed in our air?
- How many automobile deaths are permissible because of faulty airbags?
- How many chemicals can be permitted in “produced water” that can then be used in agriculture?
- What is the tolerable risk of contracting cancer from the use of this produced water?
- How many Wall St high-risk investment schemes can be tolerated?
- How many deaths from diabetes can be allowed before we insist that the price of insulin be reduced?
Somehow this is deemed normal. Roxanne noted the analogy given by CELDF: What if our city or state convened a panel to regulate how many robberies we should permit in our community? Murders? Homeless deaths on the street? You would never have a community organize a system around determining tolerable levels of violent crimes. But since the founding fathers wrote our constitution, a regulatory system has been constructed not to protect us from industry, but to protect industry from us, the people. They must be allowed to operate in an unfettered manner while we run in circles.
This was one of our reading realizations and we are in the process of researching strategies for becoming better informed about this regulatory theater, but not so much so we can learn to better influence it, because we are learning that digging in to their systems and playing by their rules is precisely what they want. Rather, we want to learn more about how we can disrupt this regulatory framework or deconstruct it with the idea of a building a new system that serves our needs.
But that is a topic for another day and merely sets the table for the main dish today. The above is the appetizer. The main dish is that we are being ushered to a hellish future by a capitalist system that really doesn’t give a rat’s ass how many of us sit in, call, email, vote, carry signs or even get arrested. The powers that be have been in charge forever and they are the “architects of radical evil,” as penned by Chris Hedges:
We know these architects of radical evil. They are the DNA of American capitalism. You can find them on the commodity desks at Goldman Sachs. The financial firm’s commodities index is the most heavily traded in the world. These traders buy up futures of rice, wheat, corn, sugar and livestock and jack up the commodity prices by as much as 200% on the global market so that the poor in Asia, Africa and Latin America can no longer afford basic staples, and starve. Hundreds of millions of people go hungry to feed this mania for profit, this radical evil that sees human beings, including children, as worth nothing.
These architects of radical evil extract the coal, oil and gas, poisoning our air, soil and water, while demanding huge taxpayer subsidies and blocking the urgent transition to renewable energy. They are the massive corporations that own the factory farms, egg hatcheries and dairy farms where tens of billions of animals endure horrendous abuse before being needlessly slaughtered, part of an animal agriculture industry that is one of the leading multifactorial causes of climate catastrophe. They are the generals and arms manufacturers. They are the bankers, hedge fund managers and global speculators who looted $7 trillion from the U.S. treasury after the pyramid schemes and fraud they carried out imploded the global economy in 2007-2008. They are the goons in state security who make us the most spied-upon, watched, monitored and photographed population in human history. When your government watches you 24 hours a day you cannot use the word “liberty.” This is the relationship between a master and a slave. “Chris Hedges, The Age of Radical Evil
Hedges closes this article with this poignant observation:
Arendt points out, the only morally reliable people are not those who say “this is wrong” or “this should not be done,” but those who say “I can’t do this.”Chris Hedges, The Age of Radical Evil
Roxanne and I have come to the conclusion, that we can no longer do this. Will you join us?
Saving the Planet Means Overthrowing the Elites
On the heels of reading The Age of Radical Evil I read another piece Roxanne had sent me, another one by Chris Hedges, Saving the Planet Means Overthrowing the Ruling Elites. Hedges did an excellent job of dissuading the reader of any comfort from a hope that the change we need could come from just one more progressive member of the House or Senate, or a more progressive person in the White House or a huge protest involving millions.
Protests can be the beginning of political consciousness. But they can also be empty political theater. They can be used to celebrate our moral probity—advertisements, especially in the age of social media, for ourselves. They can be a boutique activism in which protesters allow themselves to be funneled through police barricades and arrests are politely choreographed, resulting in a few hours in jail and the credentialing of the demonstrators as radicals. They can be used to distance ourselves from a repugnant political figure such as Donald Trump, while leaving us silent and complicit when the same policies are carried out by a supposed progressive such as Barack Obama. This is a game the state has learned to play to its advantage. As long as we do not disrupt the machine, as long as we protest according to their rules, the elites will let us march through the streets of Washington in pussy hats or walk out of school for a day.”Chris Hedges, Saving the Planet Means Overthrowing the Ruling Elites
After finishing this passage I reflected on just how long many of us have been engaged in this political theater and to what end. Just how much progress have we made when we have the greatest wealth gap in world history and are on the verge of extinction?
Just how much has anything we’ve done really mattered?
We might as well have voted GOP, played golf and accumulated personal wealth for all the progress our activism has achieved. And we are not going to generate the kind of sustained and radically different actions needed until we acknowledge and cease devoting time to the utterly frivolous game of political theater so artfully constructed to keep us from doing what is needed. And Hedges helps here, too.
We have to let go of our relentless positivism, our absurd mania for hope, our naive belief that with grit and determination we can solve all problems. We have to face the bleakness before us. We live in a world already heavily damaged by global warming, which will inevitably get worse. Refusal to participate in the further destruction of the planet means a rupture with traditional politics. It means noncooperation with authority. It means defying in every nonviolent way possible consumer capitalism, militarism and imperialism. It means adjusting our lifestyle, including becoming vegans, to thwart the forces bent upon our annihilation. And it means waves of sustained civil disobedience until the machine is broken.Chris Hedges, Saving the Planet Means Overthrowing the Ruling Elites
This is enough for today. I want this to settle in with all of you. Read both of the articles referenced above in full (links below) and share this with others, perhaps those you know who have also been part of the political theater that Hedges describes. And comment in this blog. But more than anything settle in and think about the implications of what you’ve digested. Roxanne and I will do the same and Saturday we’ll provide Part II on this theme along with some writing prompts to help you organize your thinking.
Click here to read The Age of Radical Evil. Click here to read Saving the Planet Means Overthrowing the Ruling Elites
Paul & Roxanne.
I am so glad that you mentioned the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. Many years ago we hosted one of their Democracy Schools in Santa Fe. It was a real eye opener as to how the corporate powers have framed the regulatory scheme that in fact does allow corporations to kill only a small percentage of us. But also what can be done about it. Maybe it’s time to look into bringing them back for a weekend?
“We are definitely going to be doing this. ” Roxanne Barber
I love your website posts. However, I would like more publicity on the extreme dangers of nuclear bomb investments/disposals in New Mexico. This week is the United Nations General Assembly and UN Disarmament Week, October 24–30, 2019. There are important actions starting today in New Mexico: http://www.nuclearweaponsmoney.org/news/13-billion-of-public-money-to-be-counted-for-peace-at-new-mexico-nuclear-weapons-facilities/
I will look at this later today. Thanks for the kudos and the prod to focus on this, as well. Paul
It is never too late to wake-up to our realities, those of the past and those of now. I began to wake up in 1986. And I have never stopped.
It was also sometime during 80’s when a New Yorker told me that the two parties are like two wings of the same bird. Now the bird is nesting in congress and the white house. I have known the empire from the north since I was a fist year college student in Bs As, many moons ago, but only recently I learned that for an empire to do its work it needs to first conquer and colonize its own people/citizens. In our case, Americans.
I have been mentioning the Community Environmental Defense Fund in these pages for months and I did attend, quite a few years ago, one of the Democracy Schools we brought here.
Now, I see the children of the 21st century taking over because we all FAILED them. Whatever we did, some of us a little, some of us a lot, to stop the poisoning of the earth and of our bodies, to stop/prevent global worming and to change the present, but quite old, political/economic paradigm, has not been enough, obviously.
We, white Americans (and everybody else), but specially we white males, should accept the fact that we are being colonized, conquered and reconquered every day by our male oriented economic culture.
Waking up is relatively easy but to stay awake is not!
So, we are learning that one can not take or re-take something that never existed!
Please watch We The People 2.0:
It is my view that CELDF offers a whole new approach to activism, a 21st century approach. That’s why I believe YUCCA kids can learn lot from them. More than from us! Although we can teach them our mistakes so they do not repeat them!
In the mean time we should all vote with our dollars an with forks too. Seriously. This is something we can do everyday of our lives!
We can/should further develop our local Foodshed so that we can eat lots of local food.
By local I mean no more than 100 miles from SF. Food from small local farmers who use methods aligned with the concepts of Regenerative agriculture and ranching. These are the methods wildly used before the famous Green Revolution (another tool for the conquering and colonization of Americans and then the rest of the world…).
To Roxane and Paul. Thank you for creating Re-take. It has become a special place to come and learn. eduardo
Here are just a very few articles showing that agriculture, especially livestock, contribute a sizable portion of the overall GHG.
So, a different way to be active in our 21st century would be to create and sustain truly local agriculture. Urban and suburban agriculture, microfarms here in SF county around and in the city. And more.
First thanks for sticking with us these years. Roxanne and I were talking last night about how you had brought up the Democracy School many times in the early days and in reflecting back, we wish that it had somehow resonated enough with us to look into it. But Roxanne has already reached out to them and we will schedule time for them here. I will also check with Bianca about whether YUCCA youth should take the course with us adult allies or separately. Thanks, Eduardo. I will look at the other links this afternoon. Paul & Roxanne
VFP brought DS only once but I think they were here two other times. Leslie may know more.
I recently wrote to them and I was told that they will begin again in February. However, I believe they have the same workshop online. Actually, here is the link
I just bought the DVD of We The People 2.0.
Maybe VFP and Retake can organize a viewing and invite YUCCA and others. Or a viewing at the CCA. But I still need to talk to members of VFP.
Tell you when I get the DVD.
I appreciate Chris Hedges’ clarity and moral urgency. I always learn from him. But, I think his apocalyptic, all or nothing advice is misguided. He demonizes the opposition. There is no reason to think that a movement guided by his views will lead to a better world; in fact, it is exactly this sort of radical dismissal of opponents that has given us Donald Trump: remember the “Flight 95” manifesto that advised Americans before the 2016 election to ‘storm the cockpit’ before it was too late? Instead, we need to use the climate crisis to reform and re-energize the institutions we have, not destroy them. That includes our very capable private sector. Yes, we need to rein in corporations. We need to stop them from hijacking our democracy. But if we don’t get a big swathe of our financial and corporate world on-side in the climate fight, we will fail.
I mostly agree with the gist of your and Roxanne’s thesis. Hedges is a sincere and righteous reporter, but his doomsaying can sometimes result in near-paralyzing depression. This must be resisted. We need to have hope, if only for the benefit of future generations. To quote Vaclav Havel: “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out”.
As for the nitty-gritty. Yes, we will have to devise novel tactics within broad strategies to confront the evil. They will be radical and require imagination and energy. Let’s begin!
Hedges is right! I keep seeing this with local “activism.” There are outrageous things going on right here in our community, but it is as if it is not happening. Check out how local media has framed the “homeless problem” or the panhandlers. The usual adversity porn, and myths about how profitable panhandling is.
Notice how healthcare is a secret now, even though people here die every day, due to lack of access or inappropriate healthcare. They do spend millions on advertising so there is no objective local news coverage. The Facts about healthcare, would have everyone endorsing Medicare For All. It is really clear that due to regulatory capture the regulations are no longer enforced or applied.
For a few giggles, go check out Think New Mexico’s “Price Compare” feature. That is another corporate media lie, meant to give us the idea that comparing prices has some meaningful purpose. The representation of the centrist organization as a Bi Partisan, “compromise” is part of the problem. Of course the foundations and non profits, will always give money to organizations like this that, the ones that avoid discussing corporate complicity.
No one is even thinking about Fakebook, and it’s destructive impact on democracy. The Trump circus shows how far this nation has fallen, and how manipulative our media is. Playing nice with millionaire, and billionaire, Neo Liberals is not helping. Our political system is so corrupted, and it has been so normalized. Even on the most local level, the behavior is not called out or even acknowledged.
Well, some bad behavior IS being called out, and acted on. Some very diligent locals are hot on the trail of mismanagement and apparent corruption in certain rural electric coops, for example.
Two excellent articles by Hedges on a topic that I’ve struggled with for years. “What is the most effective approach by climate activists to bring about the transformational change needed in our society?” Is putting on nice clothes and lobbying at the Roundhouse and/or in Wash. D.C. a good use of people’s time or is it mostly just a waste of time as Hedge’s points out it was for the last 50 years? 35 years ago, I was a climate change volunteer leader for the Sierra Club in AZ. I put on a coat and tie and lobbied for years on climate issues in Phoenix and in DC. And, frankly, while we tried real hard and meant well, Paul’s correct. We mostly accomplished nothing. Is our time better spent lobbying for, say Community Solar in the 2020 Session or, instead, is it better spent conducting civil disobedience in and around the Roundhouse during the session and getting arrested? This is a critical conversation to have because peoples’ limited volunteer time is precious and we’ve basically run out of time with Climate Crisis. Don’t get me wrong. Getting a good Community Solar bill adopted would be a nice victory – but it would not be a transformational victory. It would not, in any appreciable way, “move the ball.” By participating in a corrupt system are we tacitly buying into that system and allowing ourselves to be coopted by the system’s “ring leaders”? The “ring leaders” will “allow” us to “play around the edges”. They will never let us tackle the corruption head on. Hedges asserts, “We must embrace a new radicalism. We must carry out sustained civil disobedience to disrupt the machinery of exploitation.” I’m not clear, exactly, how getting hundreds and then thousands and then millions of people arrested is going to “disrupt the machinery of exploitation”, but it’s certainly worth a try. We know “playing nice” with politicians, Ds and Rs, doesn’t work. Traditional lobbying doesn’t work. Stupidity, of course, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Unfortunately, CD is a much more demanding form of activism – of resistance. Not everyone is game for getting arrested. But there’s a CD role for everyone – including for those not comfortable with getting arrested.
A few more thoughts on re-reading the Hedges posts. As Gore Vidal used to say, ‘It’s not like they all get together in the vault of the Chase bank and plot against the populace; rather, they all think alike and behave accordingly in their own interests’. At the national level, the overwhelming majority of the political and corporate class are irredeemably corrupt. The only solution for the United States is its DISsolution, preferably non-violent devolution into several smaller political entities. This would have the added benefit of ending the Empire and sparing many millions around the planet the misery of the never-ending wars for profit. As individuals, it is true that there isn’t much we can do to hasten this process. Some events or series of events–climactic, epidemic, financial, geological, environmental, etc.–will precipitate the Empire’s fall, just as they have for numerous empires throughout history. Mass mobilization can then be successful by penetrating the seams of the institutional disarray. I would like to hope that I live long enough to see it happen.
The local level, say New Mexico, is where Retake does its best work and where I believe we can change things in a very positive way. Yes, the ring leaders are manipulative and often seek to corral people into their paradigm. BUT, they are often inept and can be caught by surprise. This year’s legislative session was an eye-opener for me and Eric’s presentation zeroed in on one feasible goal: throw the SOBs out! There are other untested tactics that can significantly change the political environment. It is not an either/or situation–petitions and lobbying versus getting arrested in CD actions. Community Solar and Public Banking, for example, will go far towards re-shaping the terrain in which all political actors must function. It will not happen overnight. This must be a sustained effort. And finally, we must do this because THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE.
This is exactly the conversation that needs to happen. Volunteers have X amount of time to devote to the work. But what is the most profitable, impactful work to be done and how is a decision made as to how to prioritize that work? And since the best strategy is to be focused how is that focus achieved? Legislative hearing, produced water hearings, interim hearings, letters to the gov, protest marches, canvassing for candidates to tip the NM Senate, or civil disobedience? There are any number of ways to “be active.’ But what is the most likely way to lead to the change we need? I wish I were 100 times smarter 😉
I believe we are smart enough to patiently look back at the last 100 years or so, beginning with the Populist movement of the late 1800’s early 1900’s, and look at what native Americans, women, unions, people of color, environmentalists and all civil rights movements achieved. Their successes and failures. What contributed to both.
We know that the plutocrats, the robber barons of yesteryear, reproduced themselves so that today we still have the Morgans and Rockefeller’s, and even the Habsburg’s-Hohenzollerns European dynasties still hold power (1273-today). But we also have our new conquistadores like Bezos born in 1964 and worth about 111 billion.
Empires, their people, and today’s ‘democracies’ and corporations, have always been, together with the laws we, the people, must abide to, mere tools of the 1 percenters or super rich to hold to and achieve more money, property and power.
And we, the ‘citizens’?
Also tools, as producers and consumers.
No real change has occurred in our system unless the powers-that-be are scared, really scared, that if they don’t reform there will be a revolution and people will come for them with pitchforks. That doesn’t mean we actually want the ‘revolution’ to succeed—it might be a solution worse than the disease. But we want it to be the threat that allows politicians to act, to tell the oligarchs that they have no choice. The classic Marxist Left that provided this threat for 150 years has disappeared. We need a new movement, and anger about global warming is the best candidate.
Paul, this is what I have been saying to the Climate Action Group. All of the meetings, set up by a host of different entities, only ensure that nothing will happen, or way too little, too late. Think about Greta Thunberg, who is saying this and has been saying this all along. Working “within the system” accomplishes little to nothing. We live in a fascistic world of corporate fascism, and the ruling elites have convinced some of us that we’re making a difference by speaking out within the framework they have devised.
So we need to starting thinking about how to work outside of this framework if we’re going to address the Climate Emergency in time to save life on earth. It’s a daunting task, but we must do it.
I think we should work both within and outside of the system.
Have we not a history of what works. Strikes! Yes Lysistrata was just an old fictional play by Aristophanes, but it could happen now. And real strikes by workers in the 30’s, and farmworkers in the 70’s, and the grape and meat strikes in CA, and teachers right now. Don’t use facebook, or your car, or your electricity or whatever it takes for long enough to remove your capital from the corporations. That is your power, as inconvenient as it will be.
I came across this poem, and it hits the nail on the head!
He talks about the Non Profit Industrial complex, as it operates right here in River City.
A bunch of pathetic neoliberals who appear to be helping, at least that is how they advertise it all. The pathetic fund raisers and foundation grants, making beggars of us all as they incur shame.
Eirenrecih describes the PMC, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional-managerial_class
“When the social worker confronts her client, or the manager his worker, they do so in an “objectively antagonistic” relationship. The PMC are “salaried mental workers who do not own the means of production and whose major function in the social division of labor may be described broadly as the reproduction of capitalist culture and capitalist class relations.”
There is a reason a lot of people are either not getting involved or unable to engage. Even in so called “liberal” Santa Fe, a lot of people have been silenced. There is virtually no sign of dissent, anywhere, while the corporate mouthpieces, are everywhere. Some of the people who voted for dumpf were angry, they would have voted for Bernie but he was not a option. There is a significant number of people who have been so dis-empowered by all these years of Reaganomics and Clinton Era “welfare reform.”
Approximately half of the people in this state, and in this nation, do not have 500 bucks to their name. They rarely confront their local politicians, and if they do they are too shamed to explain how this defines their lives. Politicians like the adversity porn explanation for poverty, they refuse to acknowledge the systemic nature. Here, in New Mexico, or locally there is an abject denial, an alternate fact reality, playing out.
We can already see the agenda being set for this years legislature, https://www.abqjournal.com/1382236/lawmakers-push-for-more-info-on-tax-breaks.html Our lawmakers don’t even know what is missing here, a lot of these tax breaks, for big corporations were disguised as “job development” funds or job training, for minimum wage jobs. The “non profits” took advantage of this too, various incentive for hiring people in various categories, like recently incarcerated, on public assistance. The workers should have been payed a living wage, but this invisible corporate subsidy, looks like the job creators , or the invisible hand of capitalism is working. Most of the beneficiaries are the big box stores, and fast food employers. Of course none of these “jobs” actually pay enough to live on, or have any chance of moving up.
They will do another paltry corporate benefiting “tax break’ for the “poor.” https://theintercept.com/2019/10/19/democrats-poverty-earned-income-tax-credit/
Local media will broadcast all of this to give the appearance they did something for the poor, while all they did was give a subsidy to the low wage employers. They are portraying this as “helping the children” it is something both sides can agree on. The corporations will approve, since they are not paying for it, and once again they don’t have to raise wages.
Local media is running the crime narrative again, they want more penalties for child abuse, so we can ignore how years of incarceration, cuts to social programs, and artificially low wages, have traumatized children, and broken the family unit. We won’t have to discuss the generational trauma, or how this state has encouraged it. The news coverage of this topic is usually racist, and fails to acknowledge how many systems have been broken to allow this to happen. They can avoid discussing how years of incarceration, artificially low wages, and complete systemic breakdown have contributed to this. Even our judges are unaware that there were no available interventions. They still pretend that family or faith, the only available remedies left, are functioning. Local media does a lot of free advertising for the fundraisers, awareness campaigns, and causes, giving the false impression that clever people are working on these problems, when in fact they are reinforcing them.
Those “not comfortable’ with being arrested, like those with health problems, or those that have witnessed and experienced the violence of police abuse. The ones who have already looked down the barrel of a gun, and seen the sneer of power. The ones who have seen how the courts, judges, police and DAs office, really operate, and how they have monetized the distress and despair in the community. The more comfortable in our community, have never experienced this, and are apparently blind to it.
The ones who can’t afford a day off. The ones who are so brainwashed by their low wage employer, that they believe they are part of the problem. The ones who are afraid their hours will be cut if the minimum wages goes up. The ones who work 2 or 3 jobs already. There are plenty who have been beaten down so much, that they no longer engage. The ones who went to local politicians and media years ago, and had their story and that of countless others, turned into adversity porn and were demeaned. Maybe the ones who engaged at the roundhouse, only to see the eyes of a legislator drop to their figure. There are plenty of people who know there is something wrong, and many who believe the false narrative that is is just too hard. Too many people have accepted that this is just the way it is. There is plenty of celebrity news and distractions of drunken politicians.
This is interesting, yet nothing like this will be done here in New Mexico, where they need an enriched version.
Toxic stress and poverty are not conducive to protesting, especially when the politicians were gracious enough to repeat the EITC. Just enough symbolic financial help to give the PMC the idea that they did enough, and give the working poor a little break.
Have we not a history of what works. Strikes! Lysistrata may be an old greek play, but it could and should be happening now. From the Tea Party to railroad and steel workers, textile and farmworkers, our citizens have all won through great sacrifice. The grape and meat strikes in CA, and the present teachers and GM strikes now. The capital we have in our labor and buying power is all that corporations care about. It will be painful for us to not use facebook, or to cut down on our own energy consumption to the point of major discomfort, but we cannot look away from the fact that this has worked in the past. And what else has worked in the past is good leaders. Change doesn’t happen through some amorphous movement. It’s scary, but let’s find the courage.
This is very discouraging.
Should I stop working on replacing DINOs in the New Mexico State Senate, then?
Is sudden, abrupt breaking of the system the only way we can make change? (Look up 43 Group.)
Does incremental, little-bit-here, little-bit-there change move us toward a better world?
What about the “tipping point” paradigm, which holds that while it looks like nothing is happening, little bitty changes adding up can lead to what appears to be sudden HUGE radical change?
You raise a good point and this is what will be discussed in the next couple posts. It isn’t a matter of stopping work to remove DINOs, it is understanding that without very disruptive action going on persistently, no matter how many elections we can win, the powers that be (the corporations, not the politicians) control the tipping point. We need new strategies to deal with this, incremental gains work if you don’t have an absolute and catastrophic, unthinkable deadline.
Maybe it is not a very good analogy. But, lets say, hypothetically, that we have a patient with brain cancer and that is why HE can not think democratically, can’t care for community, is highly competitive, can’t share, has little or no empathy for others and for Life, and in addition is extremely selfish, egocentric, etc. HE has also been shot several times.
We are here to save this patient, not to let it die. We need to change the system and we need to save what is good in it.
So, we take care of the bleeding and wounds (the little battles we fight and many times we win) as we work hard to extricate the cancer by shrinking it as much as possible because we can not kill it. We can not kill our cancerous patriarchy, we all carry it in ourselves, but we can reduce its destructive effects to a minimum and be always vigilant because it seems to be part of human nature, more so of male nature. As we shrink our patriarchal tendencies we also let the feminine ascend to take the place of the cancerous patriarchal cells……
I believe we need to work on both fronts. On Paradigm change and on small incremental changes to buy time since the planet is not giving us that much time. If any. We may want to put more energy on systems’ change.
And, I am almost sure that the work is personal because, for about 6 thousand years or more, humans have been born in overgrown patriarchal cultures with little or no feminine power to reach a balance between the two.
The lessons of the Chicago 8, back in 1968, taught us change occurs from the inside out. Throwing rocks does very little to disrupt the status quo. Decades ago I left politics believing it was all corrupt, all the time. One party with two names. In 2016 many of us became re-activated. However, the game is still rigged. One must choose a side: to be with the people or to be with the empire. That is all there is. Hedges is the most honest and moral of all journalist, yet reading his works scares the blood from my veins. This is advanced history/social commentary, and not suitable for many. If you want a peaceful life, free of conflict, do not read Hedges. If you believe Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK, stay away from Hedges. Remain in your ignorance and die happy and passive. If you have read the Motorcycle Diaries, Confessions of an Economic Hitman, any Chomsky, any 9-11 engineer/architect truther information, then you may be ready for Hedges.
Peaceful civil disobedience is effective, some of the time. Read “This is an Uprising” by Engler and Engler. Case studies in the uprisings that worked, and the ones that did not. Follow the Democratic Collaborative.org or the New Systems Project, for other ideas about social/economic change. And there are actions to take right here in NM. We can begin by withholding our donations and time from the Democratic Party until the Party votes for a unity pledge to ensure that any office holder or candidate must pledge to uphold all the statutes of the Party platform. Currently NM Democratic leaders oppose this. Why give our resources and assistance to any organization that does not require compliance to the values of this party? Donate instead directly to candidates you know and trust.
We can also withhold our time and resources from those capitalist concerns that oppose human rights and economic justice. There is a long list of these businesses online; (https://www.2ndvote.com/conservative-shopping-guide/) Hobby Lobby, Domino’s Pizza, and more. Never support your oppressors. (https://www.investingadvicewatchdog.com/Liberal-Companies-Boycott.html) As Ghandhi said: To cooperate with evil is to perpetuate evil. Each of us is responsible for the world we live in; each of us has the capacity to say NO. No More, Never Again. Each of us has the right to say “We the People….. in search of a more perfect Union.”
To enter into Disruption Politics is an entirely new tactic and casualties will occur — often among the innocent. Watch the BBC for reports on Hong Kong, Bolivia, Chile, Haiti, and the Syria-Turkish border. Remember the lessons of Standing Rock, the many court battles. “At first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, and then they come for you.” If you commit to this way of life, to disrupt the empire, to rebel, know you will become a fugitive, a “traitor”, disowned and disavowed by friends and family. Prepare yourself by making a list of 100 people within 5 days walk of each other, people who will take you in, give you brief shelter, replenish your supplies, and send you onward, at great risk to themselves. Prepare yourself by knowing your heart, your soul and every weakness that might be exploited to control you: your children, your dog, your lover. Place your assets where you can easily, physically access these. Have good survival skills to live off the land. Be as healthy as possible, as medical care may be out of reach. Consider the destinies of previous patriots who dared to defy the system: the Ellsbergs, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowdon. Each of these Patriots placed the value of TRUTH as essential to their love of country. And they each paid a very high price.
If you choose Disruptive Politics, know this is an outsider tactic. You will not be welcome in the halls of government. Your best defense is a large group of collaborators and full transparency of your actions shared with trusted journalists. Do your work in the open, with clarity of purpose. Do not descend into vandalism or violence or secrecy until the last recourse. Never communicate any of your ideas or plans electronically or by phone. Develop a code system for your network, keep your working groups small; study the tactics of the French, Belgium, and German undergrounds during WWII. Consider FZLN, Earth First, and the rebels in Colombia. Continually invite those who are sympathetic to join you. Significant numbers are your only real weapon. Understand you are always watched, always seen, and will be falsely accused at some point. They will twist your story to create fear in others. Consider Leonard Peltier political prisoner of the U.S. Then choose if you will live as a free person of truth, or die as slave to the system that serves only the rich to keep the rest of us dependent for our daily bread, our homes, our families. Tell yourself no one person can change all this corruption. Go back to sleep.
For me, I am waiting until the grid fails,civil war begins, a nuclear event, or the drought worsens, till the economy collapses again (soon, its coming soon). Then we will have opportunity to seek local communities to rebuild our nation at great cost to all. To establish a new and just nation. All of us are needed then, to grow food, to heal, to shelter, to educate and care for the young, and to stand against the empire when it comes calling to co-opt the hungry, the weak, and the unprincipled- ostensibly to save us from ourselves. This is the ongoing story of humanity, a flaw in the DNA: dominance vs collaboration; exploitation vs. compassion. It will be best when our species is gone from this beautiful planet.
Each time our rights and power as citizens were taken away were were silent, and the few who stood up were dehumanized, beaten or killed. The denial locally is cultivated every single day. We have a traumatized population here turning on itself. There was silence and denial when people tried to expose this years ago. https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/attorney-says-teen-would-be-alive-if-not-for-failures/article_e3141ca8-37f0-5574-9e98-7c25bc96ab67.html
Look around at the denial and what our politicians, judges, courts and police did about child abuse. The media contorted into a call for revenge, and more money for law enforcement. No one wanted to look at any of the societal implications. Our corrupt politicians protected the system that led to this. Of course the only protest that is allowed is a prayer vigil.
Let the horror sink in folks, and take a look around.
With all due respect, I recommend that you listen to the audio of a 31 minute interview with Riane Eisler by Egberto Willies, a Texan progressive, about Eisler’s new book NURTURING OUR HUMANITY: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future
Interview starts at 10 minutes in. Interview ends at 41 minutes in.
this link also includes a link to the title which gets you a 30% discount on the book from Oxford University Press
Interview starts at 10 minutes in.
Riane has written extensively about patriarchy, its history and about its societal/cultural expressions and problems.
I believe Domination and Partnership shape our culture as much, or more, than our brains which are constantly shaped and reshaped by the Domination Paradigm of our present capitalist culture.