Saturday, August 29, 2009

Immigrant Children Protest Sherrif Arpaio's Anti-Family Raids

I was very moved by this demonstration of children demanding that Sheriff Arpaio stop the anti-immigrant raids that break up families.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Most Truth Packed into a few Seconds of a Fictional Hollywood Movie

“The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It’s bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own.”—Gordon Gekko to Bud Fox (Wall Street, 1987, directed by Oliver Stone)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This Is Where We Take Our Stand, Episode 3: Why We Fight

This is a very interesting and candid film of Iraq Veterans Against the War discussing their various motivations for organizing G.I. resistance against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And they all come from different perspectives. Some have become radicalized in their opposition to U.S. imperialism and militarism, and are motivated by the immorality of what these wars have done to the Iraqi and Afghani peoples. Others are motivated by more patriotic issues and are most concerned with how these wars are killing and maiming their fellow soldiers and hurting the interests of the country. Of course these various perspectives and concerns need not be mutually exclusive. But it is very interesting how these war veterans debate these issues amongst themselves. I have a lot of respect for these people. I hope we never forget that in the 2000s the veterans were the vanguard of the anti-war movement. Can we have a "hoorah for peace"?

Here is a synopsis from the website:

Flashback to January, three months before Winter Soldier. How do you bring hundreds of veterans to Washington DC, to tell their stories? An IVAW national planning meeting reveals sharp differences among the members. Is the point of Winter Soldier to show how these wars are hurting America, or the destruction America is bringing to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan? Is the goal to strengthen the military, or weaken it? Despite the differences, a deep unity is built because, as Geoff Millard declares, the bottom line is “No one can hear our stories and still support this shit.”

Why We Fight 7/21 from Displaced Films on Vimeo.

Hooray, I Love Long Hot Showers!

Hooray, I do indeed love to take a nice long hot shower, or at least I did before I moved to Arizona! Anywhoo, I am grateful to to Derrick Jensen for relieving me of the guilt I feel against my crime against Mother Earth and Humanity in his article "Forget Shorter Showers, Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change". But seriously, an essential part of the capitalist culture is to reduce all action down to the level of individual choice and action. Want to save the earth? Recycle that aluminum can and buy a GE energy saver light bulb. Want to do something about world hunger and the suffering of animals in corporate food production? Then become a holier than thou vegan. It's all bullshit. To really effect genuine change requires macro level changes through radical mass action. So don't recycle, ORGANIZE! And enjoy a nice long hot shower! Here are some beginning excerpts from the article:

"Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide."

"Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.
Continues at linked sentence above."

Socialist Oasis Survives in Capitalist Russia?!

Here is a story on a socialist village oasis in the midst of now capitalist Russia. Interesting.

Chomsky on the Limits of Acceptable Debate

I have been pretty swamped with life lately. I have go about 10-15 posts unfinished posts of my own actual thoughts, writing and ranting, but I can't seem to finish them to my satisfaction. So I will just post this quote by Chomsky that I came across on a list-serv. This pretty well sums up political debate in America today, yesterday, and probably unfortunately tommorow.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum -- even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate" [Noam Chomsky].

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Is the Right Out Organizing the Left on Healthcare?

Is the Right out organizing the Left on health care reform? I am afraid so. There has been a little noise lately about how this "tea bagger" movement is putting on demonstrations to shout down any kind of health care reform discussion at "townhall meetings", even the corporate insurance sponsored kind most of us here don't want. The links within this message are from John Amato of the soft-left liberal blog Crooks and Liars. Within those blog posts are embedded videos of these tea-baggers in action, shouting down members of Congress.

In one of the videos Rachel Maddow dismisses these protests as simply being orchestrated by right-wing think tanks and lobbying firms; aided and abetted by talk radio and Fox News. But it really doesn't matter, they are mobilizing people against health care reform. Some may say that that is just fine if they derail the Democrat's corporate welfare health care plan. Maybe it is to a certain extent. However, as far as the right-wing tea-bag protesters are concerned the details are inconsequential, they already think they are protesting against "socialized medicine" or the single-payer plan.

Carrol Cox opined on some thread here on this list that single-payer won't be won until people are in the street demanding it. He's probably right. But shouldn't we also be at these "townhall meetings" exposing the bullshit of the dominant Democratic plan and demanding a single-payer plan be put back on the table? Are we really going to let these right-wing idiots who don't even know what the hell they are fighting against out organize us?

I would like to hear lbo-sters opinion on this.

(The above is a post I wrote for Doug Henwood's Left Business Observer email-list, just so the reader understands the context of the message).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Great Working Class American Classic Film, Salt of the Earth!

So many real world working class American issues packed into only the first 10 minutes of the great radical film Salt of the Earth! Lets list them: Accumulation by dispossession, internal colonialism, western expansion, sexual division of labor, childbirth, racism and child hood fights, work place safety, organized labor and the UNION!, debt. Salt of the Earth is a great film made by people blacklisted from Hollywood by McArthyism in the 1950s. Check it out! Availble in full from Netflix or in pieces on Youtube.

Friday, July 17, 2009

We Are Still at War! Shout Out to This is Where We Take Our Stand

Let's not forget, although the nightmare of George Bush actually inhabiting the White House is over, we are still left with his active legacy of U.S. troops fighting wars overseas. If there is any hope left of something half-assed progressive actually coming out of the Obama administration it will still be spoiled with his legacy of escalation in Afghanistan. Now is the time to rev-up the anti-war movement, and not get complacent with Obama in the White House. Thankfully, the IVAW is still on the job. So here is a shout out to This is Where we Take Our Stand!

Penalty for Being Poor: Guatemalan Woman Deported and Her Children Stolen

Stories like this really piss me off! File this one under "Why I don't love America". So the woman probably doesn't have the resources to get the proper care for her children, so they take her children and deport her? What a shitty country and a shitty system!