Saturday, November 26, 2011

"Thanks Taking" Day...

Russell Means on Al Jazeera Thanks Taking

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Rest in peace, Great Dragon Mother of Pern...

what else could have kept a little black child with a vivid imagination from despairing but a world full of dragons and their brilliant, brave riders?

Anne McCaffrey dies at 85; award-winning fantasy fiction writer

Anne McCaffrey wrote two dozen 'Dragonriders of Pern' novels. She was the first woman to win the top two prizes for science fiction writing, the Hugo and the Nebula.

Associated Press
November 25, 2011

Anne McCaffrey, a fantasy fiction writer whose vision of an interstellar alliance between humans and dragons spawned two dozen "Dragonriders of Pern" novels, has died in Ireland. She was 85.

Her publisher, Random House, said McCaffrey died of a stroke Monday at her rural residence south of Dublin, her home for four decades. She christened her self-designed house Dragonhold.

McCaffrey turned to the male-dominated world of sci-fi writing after dabbling in singing and amateur acting.

"I have always used emotion as a writing tool," McCaffrey told the science fiction magazine Locus in a 2004 interview. "That goes back to me being on the stage. The thing is, emotion — if it's visibly felt by the writer — will go through all the processes it takes to publish a story and still hit the reader right in the gut. But you have to really mean it."

She was the first woman to win the top two prizes for science fiction writing, the Hugo and the Nebula, in 1968 and 1969 respectively, after publication of her first two novellas set on the fictional planet of Pern.

McCaffrey was born in Cambridge, Mass., on April 1, 1926, and graduated from Radcliffe College in 1947. She moved to Ireland in 1970 after filing for divorce from her husband of 20 years. She had ancestral ties to Ireland, which also had just launched a unique program to woo novelists to live there exempt from income tax.

Her popularity surged with the 1978 publication of "The White Dragon," which completed her original trilogy begun in the late 1960s. It was her only novel to break onto the New York Times best-seller list.

But she maintained a prolific writing pace, producing 21 more novels set in Pern at various periods of its imagined history.

Over the last decade as her health faded, she increasingly collaborated with her son Todd, who coauthored five Pern-based novels and wrote three others on his own. The 23rd novel, "Dragon's Time," was published in June with mother and son sharing the writing credit, while the 24th, "Sky Dragons," is set for publication next year.

She is survived by two sons and a daughter.

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From Mostly Water - Occupy toronto disbanded...

Police evict Occupy Toronto protesters

By Carl Bronski; 25 November 2011 - WSWS

Toronto police moved in at dawn on Wednesday to evict supporters of the international Occupy movement from their encampment at St. James Cathedral Park. Over a hundred tents were dismantled and removed. There were eleven arrests.

That same day police in Ottawa dismantled the Occupy camp in that city. The evictions were part of a concerted effort by state authorities to bring an end to the Occupy protests across Canada. Earlier in the week, police mobilized to close the Vancouver, British Columbia and Quebec City camps, whilst mayors in Montreal and Calgary pressed forward with plans for similar evictions.

Much has been made by the mainstream Canadian press of the relatively peaceful police operations, pointing for instance to the absence of riot police in the front lines of the St. James Park eviction — but ignoring the presence of mounted and other tactical units sequestered in the side streets of Toronto’s downtown core that were to be deployed in the event the eviction was contested.

If the protesters chose to temporarily retreat from their round-the-clock positioning in the park, it was in the face of a massive campaign to vilify the social movement and mobilize the forces of the state against them. Newspapers, broadcast outlets and city politicians relentlessly depicted the protesters as drug addicts, sociopaths and self-indulgent “punks.” They have dismissed outright the opposition to social inequality that informs their protest and has garnered majority support amongst the Canadian population.

After the successful police eviction, City Councilor Doug Ford, brother of right-wing Mayor Rob Ford, gloated that, “Woodstock Toronto is all over.”

However, Ford ally Councilor George Mammoliti, in a moment of unguarded candour, admitted that the elite’s real concern was that the protesters’ call for the redistribution of wealth would resonate among broad layers of the population. “I think we should have (evicted) after a couple of days,” said Mammoliti, “after we realized that people were turning it into a Sherwood Forest (where) we have Robin Hoods and makeshift Jesuses walking around”.

The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper and the traditional mouthpiece of the Bay Street financiers, devoted no less than three lead editorials in the five days preceding Wednesday’s eviction to demand police action against the demonstrators and argue that they had “exhausted” their rights to free speech and assembly. Owned by one of the wealthiest families in the world, the Globe has promoted a social policy counter-revolution that has done untold violence to countless working families in Canada and internationally.

Particularly odious was a Tuesday editorial that virtually incited police violence against the movement. It described the occupiers as an “immediate menace” who have “stationed themselves with bullying force in neighbourhoods and public squares.”

The threat of a police riot was certainly foremost in the minds of the youth and workers who had settled in the Toronto camp. Only eighteen months ago, police forces were mobilized to wreak havoc in Toronto during the June 2010 G20 summit.

At that time, the violence and repression carried out by the authorities in Toronto was worthy of a police state. An army of security officers, both in uniform and undercover, took over the downtown portion of Toronto, a major world city, creating conditions of martial law. Protesters were kicked, bludgeoned, tear-gassed, trampled by police horses and shot at with rubber and plastic bullets.

Even prior to the beginning of the anti-G20 demonstrations, homes were raided in the middle of the night and without warrants being shown in a series of “preventative arrests.” Journalists covering these unprecedented events were arrested and assaulted. The 1,200 citizens who were apprehended were placed in primitive detention cages, strip searched, and denied legal counsel.

Toronto politicians were certainly cognizant of the lingering shock amongst broad swathes of the population stemming from the G20 attacks. Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday stated the city administration wanted to evict the protesters earlier, but the timing was not good. “There would have been a lot of arrests, I think there would have probably been a lot of injuries, and I don’t think we wanted the bad publicity,” said Holyday.

Instead, the ground had to be properly prepared. Along with the vicious press campaign, city officials in Toronto (and elsewhere) sought the imprimatur of the courts to legitimize their attack on the constitutional right to protest. Superior Courts across the country weighed in against the Occupy encampments, taking dubious and outright concocted charges of health and safety risks and “violent activity” as good coin.

In a landmark ruling, former Toronto corporate lawyer Justice David Brown distinguished himself with the opinion that the protection to dissent enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms must be over-ridden by virtually every other right. If the parks are occupied, he asked, “Where do I ride my bike?”

Central to the preparation for the dismantling of the camps has been the strong support provided by so-called “lefts.” In Vancouver, it was the New Democratic Party-affiliated Mayor Gregor Robinson who initiated eviction proceedings.

The Globe and Mail, in their Wednesday editorial, noted independent “progressive” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s moves to end the occupation in his city. “If you’ve lost (Nenshi), you’ve lost the country,” they crowed. In Toronto, “progressive” Councilor Adam Vaughan praised the right-wing mayor stating that Ford deserved a lot of credit for the “peaceful” eviction — “for [exhibiting] something which he doesn’t show a lot of, which is restraint.”

Vaughan’s praise of Ford is all the more reprehensible given that it is well known that his administration is preparing to lock out city workers early in the new year and hire strikebreakers. In respect to these preparations for a major confrontation with the working class, the shutting down of the Occupy protest was viewed by the Toronto establishment as important, so as both to remove a potentially radical element and to send a message that occupations and other acts of civil disobedience won’t be tolerated.

The refusal of Toronto’s “left” councilors to defend the occupiers should come as no surprise. In the wake of the G20 police riot, the council, which at the time held a “left” majority under the regime of NDP-aligned Mayor David Miller, voted unanimously to commend the police for their service during the 2010 demonstrations.

No less treacherous has been the posturing of the trade union bureaucracy. The unions, long transformed into mere appendages of the corporations within the working class, have accepted and presided over the implementation of concession contract after concession contract across the country. If they have paid lip service to the Occupy movement it is only to steer it into the safe channels of support for the New Democratic Party.

On the day of the police eviction in Toronto, the Ontario Federation of Labour Annual Convention was in session for a four-day meeting at the posh Sheraton Centre Hotel — a site only a few blocks from the St. James encampment. Two thousand union officials were in attendance fully aware of the impending eviction threat. In fact, they had already sent a delegation to reclaim the tents that had been earlier donated.

As police moved against the encampment on Wednesday morning, the assembled officialdom continued their deliberations. At the lunch hour, in order to maintain a fig leaf of credibility, a few score of officials marched to the police lines and left several observers to “monitor” the eviction proceedings. Such was the “strength” and “commitment” of the official labour movement.

Reporters from the World Socialist Web Site spoke with a number of people at St. James Park during the eviction.

Ryan has been with the occupation since the first day. Asked what his plans were now that they were being evicted, he replied, “There are a few things in the works. This can’t die. You think if they kick us out of the park that’s the end of it? Absolutely not — we’re here to change the world. So is the world changed yet? No. And even after the world changes, I’m going to put my heart and soul into everything I do — even when things are good — to keep them good.”

Wanda, a community worker studying at nearby George Brown College was observing the eviction at the park and was concerned about what would happen to the occupiers. “I really hope no one gets hurt, that’s all. I know they’re fighting about homelessness and things like that. Most of the people that are protesting right now are homeless people, so maybe they’re just fed up. I’m just worried about what the future holds right now.”

Joshua works across the street from the park and said that most of the people he worked with were in support of the Occupy movement. “I think now it’s getting a little crazy with all the police coming in. It’s no longer peaceful with the police presence here, which is unfortunate. This seems a little over the top. But I definitely support the movement and the 99 percent, and the fact that we as a people need to stand up for what’s going on. Where I work there’s a lot of wealthy, wealthy people that just don’t understand the movement whatsoever and don’t want this going on any more. I definitely hope that something can be done, but I don’t know what we can do to make such a large change.”

The suppression of the Occupy movement reveals two basic truths. The first is that democratic rights are incompatible with a system in which society’s wealth is monopolized by the richest one percent. The demands of the financial elite — for austerity, the destruction of social programs, and war — cannot be realized through democratic means. The opposition of the overwhelming majority can be overcome only through the ever-greater resort to authoritarian methods.

The second is that the state — the politicians, the police and the courts — is not a neutral body. It is a capitalist state, which functions to defend the property and political rule of the corporate and financial oligarchy.

The impact of the worsening social conditions is driving ever-larger sections of workers and young people into struggle. It must be understood that this is a political struggle involving irreconcilably opposed social and class interests. If social needs are to take precedence over the profit interests of the banks and corporations, a fundamental and revolutionary transformation is needed. The working class — the vast majority of the population — must take the reins of political power in its own hands.

A redistribution of wealth from the top to the bottom is urgently needed. This requires replacing capitalism with socialism so that society’s wealth is put at the disposal of the majority — that is, the working people who produce the wealth.

The key issue confronting the Occupy movement is to turn out to the working class. This can be achieved only independently of, and in opposition to, the trade unions, with workers developing rank-and-file committees and other new forms of organization to advance their struggles. Above all, what is required is a new socialist and internationalist strategy that aims at ending the corporate-political domination of the “one percent” by abolishing the profit system internationally.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Whatever comes of this ruling, it's important to pay attention...

Countdown to Canada's polygamy/polyamory ruling

At 1 p.m. EST tomorrow (Wednesday Nov. 23), the Supreme Court of British Columbia will announce its ruling on the constitutionality of Canada's broad anti-polygamy and anti-polyamory law.

We'll post news here ASAP, along with the official response from the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) — whose activists and Chief Counsel plan to be in the thick of the media scrum at the Vancouver courthouse.

Their key point: Although attention has focused on the group of Fundamentalist Mormons in Bountiful, BC, that prompted the case, the vast majority of people criminalized by the law are the thousands or tens of thousands all across Canada living in healthy, modern, egalitarian, polyamorous relationships.

Already they're having some success. This just went out on the Canadian Press wire service:

Polygamy decision extends beyond isolated B.C. commune, say polyamorists

The Canadian Press
November 22, 2011 - 16:16

VANCOUVER - A group of so-called polyamorists say they're being ignored in the debate over Canada's polygamy law, and they say an imminent court decision will have implications beyond a tiny religious group in B.C.

The B.C. Supreme Court will rule on Wednesday whether the Criminal Code section banning polygamy is consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The trial focused almost entirely on the small commune of Bountiful, B.C., where about 1,000 self-described fundamentalist Mormons practise multiple marriage.

But among the interveners in the case was the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association, which says the current law also makes criminals out of consenting adults in relationships that happen to involve more than two people.

John Bashinski, who provided an affidavit in the case, says his group believes there are far more polyamorists across Canada than the polygamists in Bountiful, and he says the law should be struck down.

Bashinski, who lives in a household with a wife and another husband, says he's worried harmless relationships such as his are covered under the Criminal Code, and he says other laws should be used to punish abuse.

See an original.

Bashinski got a chance to say more in another Canadian Press article a few hours later:

...And then there are the polyamorists, who are in relationships with more than two people but describe them as consensual, egalitarian and often secular.

The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association was among the interveners in the B.C. case, and they argued the law as it's currently written — prohibiting any conjugal union involving more than two people — wrongly makes their relationships a crime.

John Bashinski, who provided an affidavit in the case, said his group has identified more than 100 families that fit his description of polyamory, and he believes there are many more than that.

Bashinski said the focus on Bountiful ignores a larger number of relationships that will always be afraid of being targeted if the law is not struck down.

"Given that people like me, who practise egalitarian polyamory, are actually by far the numerical majority, it's a little annoying to see ourselves constantly ignored and to see this presented as something about patriarchal systems," Bashinski said in an interview.

"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that S. 293 (of the Criminal Code, which prohibits polygamy), as written, applies to my family."

In response to that argument, though, the governments point out that polygamy prosecutions are incredibly rare.

Before 2009, when the B.C. government attempted, and failed, to charge to men from Bountiful with polygamy, the most recent charges were in 1937. The last convictions were more than 100 years ago.

Bashinski said that just shows why the government should abandon the polygamy law and focus on cases of abuse.

"They want this to be a prosecutorial tool at their discretion to use against people they feel are abusive, but it concerns me that any prosecutor in Canada has the discretion to apply that tool in a different way,"

"If I were drafting the laws, I would draft laws against abuse, coercion, using pastoral authority to threaten somebody into marriage, those sorts of things. Those abuses can be addressed directly."

He noted that the RCMP launched a new investigation earlier this year into allegations that young girls from Bountiful were spirited across the border to marry much older American men.

Whole article.

In a Vancouver Sun story today:

...Those favouring striking down the law included the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, polyamorists and civil libertarians, who argued that Section 293 of the Criminal Code is overly broad, criminalizing consenting adults whose conjugal relationships are benign and even beneficial for all involved....

Yesterday on the CTV site:

...Robert Wickett, a lawyer who represents the Bountiful faction that follows James Oler, said his clients are anxious for Wednesday's decision, but he acknowledges it could be years before the case is finally settled.

...Wickett said outsiders watching the case should also remember that Bountiful residents aren't the only Canadians in polygamous relationships.

The court heard evidence of polygamous marriages elsewhere in the country, as well as so-called polyamorous relationships involving more than two people who may not necessarily claim to be married.

"The issue of polygamy is far broader than simply the people who live in fundamentalist Mormon communities. The way the Criminal Code section is drafted, depending on how the court interprets it, could have an impact on a lot more people in diverse personal relationships," he said.

"So it's not just about Bountiful."

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Communique from AW@L a year and a half after the G20 occupation of Toronto...

AW@L Statement of Support for G20 Resisters and of Continued Resistance Against Colonial Capitalism

It has been a year and a half since the most massive police operation in canadian history targeted our communities and abducted our friends into the grips of the (in)justice system. In this billion-dollar 'security' operation, communities of activists and radical journalists were infiltrated, as the fortifications of corporate and government elite were intensified and guarded by their police. This attack on resistance is abhorrent, though it is also nothing new, and continues today with the ongoing criminalisation of dissent and the continued assault on Charter rights by governments, police forces, and judges.

It has been a year and a half since self-proclaimed leaders of the so-called free world met in luxury and penned the austerity programs which would be implemented against their citizenry and other inhabitants of the countries they rule. Tens of thousands of people, dreaming of a better world and those dedicated to social justice converged against this undemocratic process and filled the streets of Toronto with their love and rage and were met with baton strikes, police pens, and horse charges, snatch squads and in-house terrorisation, incarceration and isolation.

It has been a year and a half since the G20 tyrants fled Toronto to attack the social support structures in their countries, structures that have been built up over the past two centuries by those fighting for a more just world. And just as the streets of Toronto were ignited by resistance to this tyranny in June 2010, the streets and public plazas of cities around the world have been the site of unending protest since that time. We are humbled in joining 515 years of resistance to colonial and patriarchal injustice on Turtle Island.

AW@L has been a favourite target of the state's police forces since our first actions against Canada's massive military industrial complex. Our profile raised further as we united in solidarity in Indigenous-led land protection, and as we exposed the nefarious aims of back-room elitist transnational agreements. In 2010 we participated in the protests against the myriad injustices related to the Vancouver olympics, and our members joined in organising for strong, self-sufficient communities and against the G20 summit in Toronto.

Our efforts have cost us dearly. 10 of our members were arrested in Toronto, 6 being charged with conspiracy as a part of the “Main Group Prosecution” (with 11 other community organisers). It has been a year and a half since we have been able to speak freely with our friends, a year and a half of continued police surveillance, attempted intimidation, and further arrests.

Today, 3 AW@L members and 3 other amazing organisers are sacrificing themselves on the altar of injustice by pleading to charges of “Counsel Mischief not Committed”, and we, the remaining members of AW@L, stand in solidarity with their decision and will continue to support our friends as they are locked away once more in the concrete and steel cages of the provincial prison system.

We do not see victory in this decision—victory in the kangaroo courts is rarely an option—but we do take solace that the unreasonable crown prosecutors could not move forward with their conspiracy theories or their abusive use of the law to further their repressive (fascist) agenda. Their attack has only strengthened our resolve to fight against colonialism, against austerity, and against the destruction of this land; we have strengthened and grown our community and our networks, deepened our analysis, and fortified our own organising. Our resiliency is more complex than their violent simplicity.

Finally, we would like to express our deepest support for Ryan Rainville, Kelly Pflug-Back, Byron Sonne, and everyone else who is still a target of this sick system because of their beliefs, associations, and actions around the G20 convergence.

None of us is free until we all are free!

AW@L –
Grand River Territory

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I don't know what happened to their facebook shitstorm but...

after what the police did (and got away with) before, during and after the g20/g8 occupation of toronto, this offers at least a little satisfaction...even if it's only one beest being targeted.

"you are cowards and bullies. tools of the corrupt. puppets for your masters."

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Crucial question about the Palestinian freedom rides...

Are the Freedom Rides a detour for the struggle?
Linah Alsaafin

Last week, six courageous Palestinians attempted to defy racism, segregation and apartheid by boarding Jewish settler-only buses in the hopes of reaching Jerusalem, a city off limits to Palestinians in the West Bank.

Activists and bloggers, intellectuals and independent journalists all supported the Palestinian Freedom Riders for their US civil rights movement-inspired act. Emotions ran high as it was clearly emphasized that racial supremacy still exists in this day and age, and highlighted were the harrowing parallels between oppression in the Jim Crow US South and in Palestine.

But crucial differences remain — for one thing, the indigenous population of Palestine is occupied by a colonial settler population; for another, there are two separate and completely different systems for Palestinians and Israelis, such as military and civilian courts, respectively, rather than a two-tiered system.

However, the symbolic, media-friendly act — and its debatable relevance to the average Palestinian — begs some important questions.

There is no doubt that what the six Freedom Riders set out to achieve was of significance. They challenged Israel’s arbitrary regime of exclusive settler-only networks that serve the illegal settlements throughout the West Bank; they highlighted the human rights abusing complicity of two companies, Veolia and Egged, which operate dozens of the segregated bus lines; and they fought for an essential basic right: freedom of movement. Apartheid is very much alive in occupied Palestine. It is our reality that we breathe through our congested lungs every minute of our waking lives.

Anti-colonial vs civil rights struggle

The Freedom Rides were intended as an anti-colonial act mirroring a previous and successful civil rights one. But our struggle is not a civil rights one. It is a struggle against a foreign occupation. We must be calling for the liberation of an indigenous population under a devastating settler-colonial rule, one that has continued to ethnically cleanse, commit large scale massacres, impose collective punishment, imprison and restrict the movement of Palestinians for decades.

The intentions of the Freedom Rides were transparent and clear, as stated by the second press release in which they stated that they do not seek to desegregate the settler buses, as the “presence of these colonizers and the infrastructure that serves them is illegal and must be dismantled” (“Palestinian Freedom Riders to ride settler buses to Jerusalem,” 13 November 2011).

But by using a tactic specific to the US civil rights movement, one risks the interpretation that Palestinians are asking for the same rights as settlers.

As one young activist critical of the Freedom Rides commented to me: “Do you obstruct settlements by demanding to get on a bus? What you are demanding when you attempt to ride a bus is the right to ride it, not the right to say I don’t want this bus here to start with. You don’t ask to ride the bus if you don’t want the bus in your neighborhood.”

She added, “There is an illegal railway in Jerusalem constructed on [illegally-occupied] territory that endangers children as [trains] pass by in residential areas … if I were to object to this train’s existence, do I make a protest and ask to ride on the train or do I sleep on the train tracks to stop it from coming to my area?”

Indeed, many Palestinians take issue with settlers factoring in a key role in the Freedom Rides event, saying that it blurs the lines of normalization of occupation and apartheid.

The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement defines normalization as “the participation in any project, initiative or activity, in Palestine or internationally, that aims (implicitly or explicitly) to bring together Palestinians (and/or Arabs) and Israelis (people or institutions) without placing as its goal resistance to and exposure of the Israeli occupation and all forms of discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people” (“ Israel’s Exceptionalism: Normalizing the Abnormal,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Boycott of Israel, 31 October 2011).

Although the boycott call has been endorsed by nearly 200 Palestinian civil society organizations and political parties, the working definition of normalization of the boycott movement differs from many Palestinians’ personal definitions of normalization. Some view any association with settlers as normalization, others a bit more nuanced but still don’t like the idea, and still others consider it within the specific context in question. The reactions like that of the young activist I mentioned exemplify this concern.

Honor Palestinian resistance

The positive coverage in the Western corporate media shows that the Freedom Rides action appealed to foreign consumption. But it’s not up to Palestinian resistance to appease the tastes of Western audiences. We have our own lively and proud history of resistance stretching back to the days of British Mandate rule, exemplified by popular strikes, boycotts and demonstrations.

Moreover, tactics tailored to western tastes and reactions distract from mobilizing Palestinians on the ground into an effective popular resistance movement. The first Palestinian intifada was a true popular uprising in every sense. Palestinian society collectively organized strikes and rallied together. The level of cooperation was present in families hiding resistance fighters, and in mosques and private organizations hosting educational studies after the universities and schools were shut down.

Today, activism and popular resistance isn’t centralized but, rather, is scattered throughout particular villages and parts of cities. For an act that carries huge potential and holds meaningful implications by connecting the current reality of Palestinians to the history of other oppressed societies, there should have been more awareness on the Palestinian street of its occurrence.

The Freedom Rides event was very exclusive. This is in stark contrast to the recent Freedom Waves mini flotilla campaign, where activists were directly involved with producing, translating, revising and distributing fact sheets and press releases and statements for the UN and mobilizing people on the street and engaging with the media. It was a microcosm of popular resistance as activists from throughout historic Palestine all worked together efficiently to send the message of ending the blockade on Gaza and demanding protection for the passengers, and this message was directed not only at the West and foreign press but to Palestinians as well.

Any act of civil resistance should be inclusive of many sectors of Palestinians. The same efforts that the Freedom Riders took to coordinate with organizations in the US and elsewhere should have also happened in Palestine.

And while the history of other oppressed peoples unquestionably offers its lessons to us as an occupied population, we should be well aware of our own unique history of resistance, and the need for our movement to encompass all sectors of Palestinian society and the historic demands of our anti-colonial struggle.

Linah Alsaafin is a recent graduate of Birzeit University in the West Bank. She was born in Cardiff, Wales and was raised in England, the United States and Palestine. Her website is

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This site looks amazing...

The Icarus Project envisions a new culture and language that resonates with our actual experiences of 'mental illness' rather than trying to fit our lives into a conventional framework.

We are a network of people living with and/or affected by experiences that are commonly diagnosed and labeled as psychiatric conditions. We believe these experiences are mad gifts needing cultivation and care, rather than diseases or disorders. By joining together as individuals and as a community, the intertwined threads of madness, creativity, and collaboration can inspire hope and transformation in an oppressive and damaged world. Participation in The Icarus Project helps us overcome alienation and tap into the true potential that lies between brilliance and madness.

The Icarus Project is a collaborative, participatory adventure fueled by inspiration and mutual aid. We bring the Icarus vision to reality through an Icarus national staff collective and a grassroots network of autonomous local support groups and Campus Icarus groups across the US and beyond.

To read more about our mission, vision, and work, check out the full text of our mission statement. We're non-profit and donation driven; please consider making a donation if you can, even $10 helps keep us going.

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Monday, November 21, 2011 a good way...

Unsettling America

t/here i found this...

Waziyatawin Speaks to Occupy Oakland

Waziyatawin is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist committed to the development of liberation strategies that will support the recovery of Indigenous ways of being, the reclamation of Indigenous homelands, and the eradication of colonial institutions.

Waziyatawin comes from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) in southwestern Minnesota. After receiving her Ph.D. in American history from Cornell University in 2000, she earned tenure and an associate professorship in the history department at Arizona State University where she taught for seven years. Waziyatawin currently holds the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Her interests include projects centering on Indigenous decolonization strategies such as truth-telling and reparative justice, Indigenous women and resistance, the recovery of Indigenous knowledge, and the development of liberation ideology in Indigenous communities.

She is the author, editor, or co-editor of five volumes including: Remember This!: Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives (University of Nebraska Press 2005); Indigenizing the Academy: Transforming Scholarship and Empowering Communities (University of Nebraska Press 2004); For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook (School of Advanced Research Press 2005); In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: The Dakota Commemorative Marches of the 21st Century (Living Justice Press 2006); and, her most recent volume, What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland (Living Justice Press 2008).

Waziyatawin is also the founder and director of Oyate Nipi Kte, a non-profit organization dedicated to the recovery of Dakota traditional knowledge, sustainable ways of being, and Dakota liberation.

She can be found online at

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Friday, November 18, 2011

About organizing feminist spaces of communication and connection...without anger...

So, I've been having communication with some feminists in a distinctly non-political online sexual space called fetlife, where there are still radically political people present, even if in such small numbers that the site does not feel their presence or show any signs of transforming in the face of the challenges they pose there.

We pose there.

Recently, I started posting on a feminist group's page, participating in some conversations that I found interesting. This came on the heels of me deciding to dial back my interactions with the mostly heteronormative, apolitical Black people I'd met there, who I had first decided to attempt to engage with. That didn't work out very well. You see, I started off interacting with the Black wimmin and fell in love with them, their spunk, their fire, their insistence on attempting to make choice and be powerful in ways that made sense for them. I also really liked the fact that they did not cringe when I described the kinds of things I like to do while naked.

But then...
I met their men folk. Not.
I found them to be typical, overly dominant, hugely making assumptions about what they knew and what kinds of language and understandings I shared in common with them, what values Black people could assume to all hold dear, who a "good" Black mother was, who a "good" Black woman was and what she could be expected or peer pressured into doing or performing or maintaining when/if she encountered a "good" Black man. 1950's in full effect people had some seriously fuk'd ideas about what a Black woman's role was/is in relation to a Black man, how she is supposed to speak, the kinds of space she should make for Black men's insecurities, feelings of threat at the very thought of a Black woman not just nodding as they speak and letting them know how brilliant they are, ignorance of their own patriarchal privilege, of the power they wield inside Black community...
Oh my fucking GAWD! I could go on and on. In fact, I did go on and on, posting, questioning, journaling, challenging, redirecting, laughing at their (our?) men, raging against their shared values, against their insistence that I share their values...

Eventually they started to shun me. hehehe Old time, old school primate behaviour. The wimmin ceased popping by as did their (our?) backwards ass men. :) I also had to block one man from messaging me. He was writing, as one of the most dominant and unrepentantly ignorant, anti-feminist men in their grouping, to jeer at me checking to see if I was satisfied with how people were responding to my queries, to my insistence on not falling into line. He checked in to laugh at me, to attempt to mount me, to offer a little bit of fear juiced incentive to someone who clearly did not know her place. :)

But I'm accustomed to that. I had someone on fetlife, a white anarchist Jewish person also respond with extreme ire when I said that a bunch of white anarchists sitting around typing about pacifism and violence but speaking with sneering disdain at the thought and mention of ghandi had racist implications regardless of whether he was an effective fulcrum of change or not.

This person attempted to incorporate a consciousness of Ghandi having been an anti-semite in a way that said they thought speaking of him and his contribution (or lack of contribution) to struggle that was racist as acceptable. Locating me as an amerikkkan, this person tried to say that I was clearly not knowledgeable or up to date and that they would be the one to forcibly re-educate me. They attempted to institute a baiting interaction where I was, I think supposed to show my true colours as rabid anti-semite, disinterested in exploring the intersecting relations of privilege and oppression in a way that spoke to them being more interested in dominating me and mounting me than this person being interested in sharing communication and knowledge.

That didn't work for me. I left the white anarchists right there and then but not before pointing out that this person was trying to say that one kind of oppression was worse than the other, not that consciousness of both simultaneously was possible. But I lost my interest in having conversation with them. I shouldn't have had to explain why my point about their racism still stood. I shouldn't have had to deal with that person's unbridled, misdirected rage so willingly directed at me.


So, first I engaged the anarchist kinksters and had to back out of their little group firing off rounds as I retreated.
Then I engaged the Black kinksters' patriarchal phallus heads and got the silent treatment.
Then I decided to go visit the radical feminist kinksters.

That's been trippy. Not because I didn't know what to expect when I opened the door and stepped in, but because I did know what I would find I understood what I'd encounter in the anarchist group space, as I understood what I'd encounter in the Black kinkster community space.

Nothing much changes for me as I go visit the different communities I'm linked to. So, I'm always prepared, always ready with things that I can say, questions I can ask, challenges I can pose...things I can offer that might be useful...somewhere...somehow...I...hope.

As it turns out, I did end up writing a comment that offered something useful. So happy about that...genuinely happy in a thoroughly non-sarcastic way.

I wrote about anger, about what it means to be angry, what it means to see no end to being angry, what it means to communicate while angry, what it signifies when certain spaces expect me to wait until I'm not angry to communicate.

Some of the people in the feminist fetlife group asked if I would post my thoughts on anger somewhere. So, I thought I would take that opportunity to invite them over to my irreverent, annoying, bratty, tantrumming, unrepentantly complex, interdimensionally walking, radially politicized, completely unaffiliated space of exploration.
My home.
My core.
So filled with me being angry about pretty much everything under the sun...

"Some of us live angry. Wake up angry. Eat angry. Walk the street angry. Love our families while angry. Dance while angry. Make love while angry. Remember our childhoods while angry. Watch movies while angry. Pee while angry. Shit while angry. Go into labour while angry and come out the other side happy to have babies but still fucking angry.

For some of us who are too full of oppression, who encounter it in a myriad of ways and have no way of avoiding its sticky residue even for a moment here or there, there is always angry.

Other emotions folded in, roiling and rolling in tandem with angry, yes. But angry never goes away.

I'm typing a response to you right now and I know I'm angry. I've been angry most of my life.

There are a few things about being angry that make me angry.

I live in a white racist world where people are constantly accusing Black people of being angry, recoiling from us in abject terror over the possibility of seeing the undisguised, unbridled face of our anger, as if this in and of itself, will cause them to self destruct.

So many of us go to such great pains to present as not angry because of white domination and it's insistence that we not show any sign of anger over having been so thoroughly dominated for such a long time.

I live in a patriarchal world where wimmin are constantly being asked to be happy with their lot. Where we are invited to find the upside of everything. Where we are told repeatedly that if we do not paste idiot smiles on our faces at all times our families, our communities, the whole world will self the face of our baldly expressed emotions. We are not allowed to do anything while angry. Even though many wimmin's and/or feminist writings point to the fact that a woman's anger is her early warning system and it's her having been socialized out connecting with her anger that causes difficulties for her, not the act of connecting to it.

I live in a WASP city. Passive aggressive central. Evil emotional sewer of a place. Hate it. Many people I've encountered, in response to a city wide culture of emotional suppression, many people who are in different ways grounded in alternative cultures across the city, have spoken or unspoken prohibitions against powerfully expressed...anything. There are a lot of fluttered eye communications, hand waving, cold energy environment building as a way to say "get the fuck out. we don't want to be around you...", people doing the shocked, wide eyed, doe in the headlights of oncoming traffic stares meaning "holy shit! we're not speaking. I'm not speaking to you. how am i going to get away from you before i say something...extreme..."

No one in this city is allowed to have any emotions whatsoever unless they're defined as within "pleasant" or "palatable" range. You're definitely not allowed to be angry.


There is a school of professional, academic, social thought linked to the above locations for me that says:

"If you're angry, you are somehow incapable of processing information well. You can't function. You cannot skillfully discern your reactions from the content of any event, exchange or conversation. If you're angry, you're of no use to anyone let alone yourself. If you're angry you're not actually fit to interact. If you're angry, you might say something that upsets someone that, on further thought, if you'd given it more thought but were unable to because you were so angry, you'd realize that this person is of strategic importance and you should not have challenged them in the ways you did...because you were angry. You said/wrote things that now that you're not so drunk on rage you will regret, even if it's because others thought you should and are now jockeying for you to lose your job, your promotion, your academic standing, your tenure, your place in your circle of professional friends, your place in your circle of really, really cool and fascinating friends. Expressing angry, being angry and attempting to communicate when you're not able to be completely detached, detached being what we're all striving for, isn't it (?) communicating while angry is just sloppy."

If I wait until I'm not angry to communicate across my opinions, I'll be dead, cremated and in an urn on a mantle somewhere and still not be able to speak.

If I tell myself that I'll be clearer when I'm not angry, I'll miss the clear, honest, crisp kind of wording, so calculated and straight shooting that comes for me when something angers me...well, everything angers me in some way shape or form. :)

I disagree with you adding that to your otherwise flawless list of suggestions. I don't think that people being angry is the issue. I think that people who have been raised to not deal with their anger, who never learned how to deal with strong emotions while in the midst of them, who came out into political life, still not able to deal with their feelings might want to take a step back when they feel angry.

I think that people who feel as if they're functioning through a thick red hot haze when they're angry, who do not know how to take responsibility for what they say when they're angry because being angry is so alien to them or abnormal for them that they literally experience being angry and doing things while angry as someone else taking over their psyches and doing stuff, saying stuff and then running out the back door leaving them holding the bag...those people should not interact or pose challenges or write things here when they're angry as they will not be able to take full responsibility for what they say or do when the smoke clears.

I think that people who have difficulties expressing themselves with clarity when they're angry might want to think about self deselecting if they know that communication works better for them when powerful emotion is not causing them to communicate in ways that they find not effective.

I think that people who can identify themselves as indirect communicators, who were taught to not directly express annoyance but instead taught to cushion killing blows behind reprehensible indirectly aggressive behaviours imperceptible to most, should be honest about this fact, even if their chosen tools call for them to never be honest in the moment...and back away rather than harm people who can't quite put their finger on that sense of having been painfully winded or how.

This particular approach to expressing feelings, I've dealt with a lot. It's very common in this city, but also very common online. I've unfet-friended a few people recently for being horridly indirect, I've blocked two non-feminist wimmin for expressing upset in ways that I'm sure they thought was a sign of them being proper, more civilized, showing restraint and being "good" Black girls. All I knew, is that I had a powerful sense of needing to move back away from them. I listened to that.

Anger is not the issue.

Anger is an emotion in a range of emotions that are natural for human beings to experience.
It's not that we get angry.
It's what we do when we're angry, how we do it, why we do it and whether we can claim any after or negative effects real or constructed, that came out of what we chose to say or do.
It's whether the people around us have been taught to shy away from anger, taught to punish anger, taught to ignore it, taught to cordon it off, taught to shun it.
It's whether our communities have genetic memories of angry people doing horrible, violent things, hurtful things, things that can't be taken back...and whether these memories trigger us even hundreds of years later so badly that we can't even deal with our own anger collective or individual.

"Ask participants to never post while angry."

Perhaps we could change this to "Ask participants to never post if they know they know they have difficulties recognizing, dealing with anger or if they have a history of not being able to speak/write effectively if they are angry or if they know that they have difficulties taking responsibility for the things they say/write/do when angry."

That way, the issue doesn't end up being anger. It ends up being what people do and how well they're able to responsibly claim it."

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Risking being more fully ourselves...

I loved this. Although, without an analysis of power and domination, the ending seems a little liberal in that it could just as easily be used by someone who is being asked to be less oppressive by a group of people who have less privilege. A dose of context and the radical political would help immensely.

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saoirse and Tahrir Gaza Freedom activists kidnapped, beaten and held captive...

Human Rights Activists on Boats to Gaza Beaten by Israeli Forces, Denied Visits by Lawyers and Access to Families Once in Custody

Contact: Felice Gelman, (917)-912-2597

New York, NY 11/6/2011 – Although Freedom Waves to Gaza organizers have not yet had direct communication with the people taken into custody by Israeli armed forces as they tried to peacefully sail to Gaza last week. Information is emerging that Israeli armed forces tactics in confronting the non-violent activists have been violent and dangerous. This despite claims from the IDF spokesperson that “every precaution will be taken for the safety of the activists.”

Prisoners include U.S. citizen Kit Kittredge, a delegate on the Tahrir from Quilcene, WA, and Jihan Hafiz, a U.S. citizen and journalist from Democracy Now, the national news program. Both have been advised by the U.S. consul in Israel to sign an Israeli deportation agreement. Both have refused because the statement says they came into Israel illegally and will not attempt another effort to break the Gaza blockade. Both statements are untrue.

A letter from Canadian David Heap, smuggled from the Givon prison, states that he was tasered and beaten when the Israeli Navy attacked the Tahrir. Irish prisoner, Fintan Lane, in a telephone call from Givon prison, reported that the takeover of the Saoirse was also violent. The Tahrir and the Saoirse were forced, by Israeli warships, to crash into each other, crippling both ships.

Palestinian Israeli Majd Kayal, a delegate aboard the Tahrir, who was arrested and released confirms these reports. “As a Palestinian, I was not surprised at how the IDF treated us,” said Kayal, after his release, noting this kind of abuse is a daily reality for the 1.5 million people of Gaza, who are indefinitely detained in an open-air prison. “However, for the Canadians and other Westerners onboard, it was a complete shock.”

“Israeli brutality and the unnecessary use of force against non-violent protests is well documented. What has happened to the passengers on the Tahrir and the Saoirse is just a tiny fraction of the daily abuse directed at Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank as part of Israel’s occupation policy,” said U.S. coordinator Jane Hirschmann. “Nonetheless, all people – Palestinians under occupation and peace activists kidnapped and imprisoned – have human rights under international law that civilized governments must respect. The purpose of the boats’ voyage to Gaza was to demonstrate that Israel continually violates those laws, and that the U.S. government cares more about Israel than about its own citizens.

Act now to Free the Saoirse and Tahrir and to Free Gaza

By now you are aware that the 27 passengers and crew on the Saoirse and the Tahrir have been kidnapped by Israeli forces and taken to Givon prison. They will be held there at least overnight if not longer. Please take these actions immediately and pass this on to your lists and contacts:

  1. Organize support actions in your local area if possible. If you email the info to (our webmaster) we will post it to the “Support Actions” page of the US to Gaza website.
  2. Check these websites for updates: Irish Ship to Gaza and Canadian Boat to Gaza, watch or listen to Democracy Now for live coverage and check their archives for coverage from the boats themselves. Search tweets using hashtag #Freedomwaves.
  3. Call the State Department and the White House- demand that they take immediate action to free the passengers and the boats and to put an end to the siege of Gaza.

Call the State Department:

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 202-647-5291
  • U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro 011-972-3-519-7575
  • Office of Israel/Palestinian Affairs Paul Sutphin 202-647-3672
  • Office of Consular Affairs, Kim Richter 202-647-8308
  • and the White House: 202-456-1414
  • email President Obama at

Here are some talking points or suggested messaging:

Gaza has been under siege since mid-2006, depriving 1.6 million people of their liberty and basic human rights. Although the siege has been condemned by the United Nations, the Red Cross, and many national governments, nothing has been done to ease the plight of these civilians. Civil society has had to act where governments would not. Two ships with 27 passengers from 5 countries sailed to Gaza to confront the Israeli naval blockade, and to bring medical supplies and letters of support. They were seized in international waters by Israeli gunboats, and the passengers kidnapped and taken to Israeli prisons.

As Americans we insist that our government (which sends Israel $3 billion in military aid every year), demands that Israel immediately free the kidnapped passengers and boats and ends its illegal blockade of Gaza. There is absolutely no excuse to subject 1.6 million people to collective punishment. Ask your local press to cover this story. Up-to-date information and press releases will be available at, and

I don't know about emailing obamarama, though. He's not listening to shit from every day people. Was voted into office by manipulating them and their dreams. But he reports to a more monied constituency. And polarized, bi-partisan idiots - I'm not talking about the republicans. hehehehe :)

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Belated veteran's day/remembrance day music...

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

He claims responsibility for his actions as a soldier...

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

He basically explains how he was tricked into joining the war effort...

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Drones on Trial...Democracy Now...

38 Protesters Face Charges for Disrupting Syracuse Base Used in Overseas Attacks

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the CIA has made a series of secret concessions in its drone campaign after military and diplomatic officials complained large strikes were damaging the fragile U.S. relationship with Pakistan. Meanwhile, a trial is underway in Syracuse, New York, of 38 protesters arrested in April at the New York Air National Guard base at Hancock Field. The defendants were protesting the MQ-9 Reaper drones, which the 174th Fighter Wing of the Guard has remotely flown over Afghanistan from Syracuse since late 2009. "Citizens have a responsibility to take action when they see crimes being committed," said retired Col. Ann Wright, one of the 38 on trial. "And this goes back to World War II, when German government officials knew what other parts of the German government were doing in executing six million Jews in Germany and other places, and that they took no action. And yet—and they were held responsible later, through the Nuremberg trials. And that is the theory on which we are acting, that we see that our government is committing crimes by the use of these drones, and that we, as citizens, have the responsibility to act."

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Shameful? Only if you believed his promises...

Obama's Legacy of Shame
by Stephen Lendman

Promising change after eight Bush/Republican years, Obama delivered betrayal.

With congressional Democrats, he exceeded Bush's harshness, lawlessness, belligerency, and public trust betrayal.

He violating every major domestic and foreign issue promise made. As a result, he's been complicit in:

• looting the nation's wealth, wrecking the economy, and consigning growing millions to impoverishment without jobs, homes, savings, social services, or futures;

• giving Wall Street crooks greater money power, disguised as financial reform;

• waging multiple imperial wars and occupations, spending more on militarism than the rest of the world combined at a time America has no enemies;

• belligerently ousting Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and Libya's Gaddafi;

• promoting regime change in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Lebanon, and elsewhere against independent leaders, while continuing support for the world's most ruthless, corrupt tyrants;

• presiding over a bogus democracy under a homeland police state apparatus;

• continuing Bush's worst lawless policies; adding more of his own, including indefinite detentions without charge, and deploying Special Forces death squads in over 120 countries to kill targeted suspects, including Americans;

• targeting whistleblowers, dissenters, Muslims, Latino immigrants, and environmental and animal rights activists called terrorists;

• illegally spying on Americans more aggressively than Bush;

• destroying decades of hard won labor rights;

• waging class war to destroy Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public and private pensions, as well as other New Deal and Great Society gains;

• wanting more aggressive media control than Nixon, according to veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas;

• stiff-arming budget-strapped states and distressed households;

• four years into a Main Street Depression, none of the millions of promised new jobs were created at a time real unemployment approaches 23%.

• imposing austerity when vital stimulus is needed;

• planning new cuts to sustain Wall Street, militarism, favoritism, waste, fraud, and other rewards for America's top 1%;

• wanting education commodified, government's responsibility for it ended, and making it another business profit center;

• enacting healthcare reform that taxes more, provides less, places profits above human need, and leaves a broken system in place; and

• promoting "shared sacrifice," forcing worker sacrifices to let America's super-rich share.

As a result, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests fill hundreds of cities nationwide, raging against an unjust system too corrupted to fix.

OWS activists "protest for an American revolution," because nothing less will work. Mayors deploy goon squads against them. Violent police crackdowns follow.

On October 26, Oakland, CA police attacked nonviolent protesters with tear gas, flash grenades, beanbag shotguns, and rubber bullets. Officers also threatened use of unspecified "chemical agents."

Palestine came to Oakland's 14th and Broadway. Veterans Against War member Scott Olsen sustained a serious skull fracture when struck on the head by a tear gas canister. He remains hospitalized awaiting surgery.

Ahead of the incident, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan defended city police, saying:

"I commend Chief Jordan for a generally peaceful resolution to a situation that deteriorated and concerned our community."

Later she defended police violence, claiming they acted defensively. She lied. So did police officials saying protesters threw rocks, bottles and paint.

Across America, police violence and brutality are commonplace. Daily incidents occur. On January 1, 2009, Oakland police murdered Oscar Grant. Videotape evidence proved it. Five bystanders taped it.

Cops rarely are held accountable, even for cold-blooded murder. Endemic police violence brutalizes Americans. Eye-witness and videotape evidence shows nonviolent people tasered with 50,000 electrical volts. Deaths and injuries result.

Other incidents involve false arrests, painful cuffing, beatings, shootings, tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets, menacing attack dogs, and other forms of violence against society's most vulnerable. They include people of color, students, workers, and others wanting social justice.

On February 4, 1999, New York cops shot African immigrant Amadou Diallo 41 times. Nineteen bullets struck and killed him while he stood unarmed peacefully in the vestibule of his apartment building.

On December 4, 1969, Chicago police murdered Black Panther activists Fred Hampton and Mark Clark while they slept.

Thousands of other nonviolent political victims fill America's gulag prison system, the world's largest by far.

In 1994, Congress passed the Police Accountability Act. It was incorporated into the 1994 Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, requiring compilation of national data on excessive police force. Nonetheless, Congress refused to fund it.

Moreover, local police aren't required to keep records and submit them on Justice Department request. Nor is police violence and excessive force criminalized. Enforcement mechanisms are absent, and national security and border integrity related matters have carte blanche authority to commit murder.

Anything perhaps also goes to protect Wall Street and other corporate favorites from beneficial social change.

DOJ/FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data include thousands of police misconduct reports, many thousands of affected victims, hundreds of fatalities, and an average 15 or more known daily incidents, or one very 96 minutes.

This, in fact, represents the tip of the iceberg as data collection falls way short. Evidence also shows coverups, lax discipline, and failure to adhere to official policies and processes.

As a result, serious civil rights violations are commonplace, and why not. America became a police state, especially post-9/11 when repressive laws trashed constitutional freedoms.

The USA Patriot Act alone violates key Bill of Rights protections, including:

• Fifth and Fourteen Amendment due process rights by permitting indefinite detentions of undocumented immigrants that now apply to anyone anywhere in the world, including US citizens for any reason or none at all.

• First Amendment freedom of association rights the Supreme Court considers essential free expression. Now anyone may be charged and prosecuted for their alleged association with an "undesirable group."

• Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches and seizures. As a result, personal privacy rights were lost.

• Authorized unchecked government surveillance powers to access personal records, monitor financial transactions, as well as student, medical and other personal records.

"Sneak and peak" searches are now permissible through:

• "delayed notice" warrants;

• roving wiretaps;

• email tracking; and

• internet and cell phone surveillance.

In addition:

• secret evidence may be obtained lawlessly and withheld from defense lawyers;

• immigrants may be denied their right to counsel if unable to provide their own; and

• built-in safeguards are ended to let domestic criminal and foreign intelligence operations share information so CIA can now spy domestically.

For the first time, in fact, the Act also created the federal crime of "domestic terrorism," applicable to US citizens as well as aliens.

It states criminal law violations are considered domestic terrorist acts if they aim to "influence (government policy) by intimidation or coercion (or) intimidate or coerce a civilian population."

As a result, anti-war, global justice, environmental and animal rights activism, civil disobedience, and dissent of any kind, including OWS protests, may be called "domestic terrorism."

Notably under the Patriot Act's Section 806, with no hearing or notice, authorities may confiscate or freeze all foreign and domestic assets of any individual, entity, or organization accused of engaging in, planning, supporting, concealing, or perpetrating any act called domestic or international terrorism against America - even by protesting nonviolently.

Other provisions are just as harsh, using vague language. It gives authorities wide latitude to twist the law perversely and advantageously against anyone for anything called terrorism, whether or not true.

Bipartisan complicity passed other police state laws. Any may be used against peaceful OWS protesters, especially if their numbers grow and stay the course for uncompromising social changes.

Earlier reports hinted at what's coming. In December 2007, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination published one titled, "In the Shadows of the War on Terror: Persistent Police Brutality and Abuse of People of Color in the United States," saying:

"Since this Committee's 2001 review of the US, during which it expressed concern regarding incidents of police brutality and deaths in custody at the hands of US law enforcement officers, there have been dramatic increases in law enforcement powers in the name of waging the "war on terror (resulting in) the use of excessive force against people of color....(It's not only continued post-9/11), but has worsened in both practice and severity" - a NAACP representative saying it's "the worst I've seen in 50 years."

On April 4, 2007, Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism's Ryan Gallagher headlined, "Study: Police abuse goes unpunished," saying:

From 2002 - 2004, over "10,000 complaints of police abuse were filed with Chicago police....but only 19 resulted in meaningful disciplinary action, a new study asserts."

According to Gerald Frazier, president of Citizens Alert, it reflects "not only the appearance of influence and cover-up," but clear evidence that city residents are being abused, not protected, despite the department's official motto being "We Serve and Protect."

Police notoriously attack nonviolent global justice protests against the IMF, World Bank, G-8, G-20, and WTO. Others demonstrating peacefully at national political conventions also harsh police crackdowns and mass arrests.

In 2005, the New York ACLU's "Rights and Wrongs at the RNC," reported on New York police attacking peaceful protesters at the Republican National Convention.

Free expression and assembly rights were denied. Over 1,800 arrests were made, including observers, members of the media and bystanders, the most ever at a national political convention.

Mistreatment resulted, including detentions in unsafe conditions, denial of medical care, painful handcuffing for long periods, and other lawless abuses.

At issue is protecting wealth and privilege from populist change. Social justice activism is suppressed. Those with power want to keep it. Nothing's yielded unless forced.

Wall Street tops the pecking order. Money power in private hands to make more of it lets them occupy and control Washington.

What they want, they get. Ordinary people lose out. Rage against the system demands change. Getting it requires focusing on issue one - returning money power to public hands as the Constitution's Article 1, Section 8 mandates.

Succeeding demands organized people putting their bodies on the line against police violence. Key is staying the course, knowing that social justice depends on returning money power to public hands where it belongs.

If that's achieved, everything else is possible. Otherwise, it's not!

A Final Comment

On October 25, a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report showed America's richest 1% tripled their income from 1979 - 2007. They also doubled their national income share at the expense of the bottom 80% losing out.

Findings also concluded that the top 20% of US households increased their national income share. The other 80% declined. Inequality grew to unprecedented levels.

People of color and youths are hardest hit. Notably the study ended before Main Street's Depression began in 2008. Updated findings will show greater than ever disparities.

Obama's done nothing to address them. He's beholden solely to America's monied interests, notably those on Wall Street.

In the 1960s, economist Arthur Okum began calculating America's Misery Index by adding unemployment and inflation rates for a sense of public pain or lack of it in good times.

In October, it hit a record high above 25%, exceeding its May 2011 25% and earlier June 1980 22% peaks. Given current conditions absent policy measures to improve them, analysts see it going higher.

Yet, on October 18, Obama outrageously told ABC News he supports OWS protesters, saying:

"The most important thing we can do right now (is) letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side...."

For nearly three years, he systematically waged war on working Americans, targeted organized labor for destruction, and focused solely serving wealth and power.

That's his legacy of shame. Polls show OWS protesters know it. Some people can be fooled some of the time, others all of it.

However, Fordham University Professor Costas Panagopoulos surveyed New York protesters and found three-fourths angry about Obama's performance.

His research's only surprise is that all of them don't condemn his fealty to Wall Street and other corporate favorites at their expense.

Give it time. Perhaps later nationwide OWS surveys will show practically no one supports him. Why should they when he spurns them on all issues mattering most.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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Via Mostly Water...

Are Obama and NATO Plotting a Military Coup in Greece?

By Bill Van Auken; 3 November 2011 - WSWS

The sudden dismissal of the Greek military’s high command Tuesday night, amid international uproar over a proposal for a referendum on an EU debt plan, has all the hallmarks of an action taken to preempt the threat of a military coup.

A measure of this political magnitude would not have been taken lightly. At the very least, one must assume that Prime Minister George Papandreou had strong reason to believe that his government, and possibly his own person, was facing an imminent threat from the country’s military.

The Greek minister of defense, Panos Beglitis, a close political ally of Papandreou, summoned the four highest-ranking Greek military officers — the chiefs of the general staff, the army, navy and air force — to a hastily convened meeting to announce that they were being removed from their posts and replaced by other members of the Greek military brass.

Last month, Defense Minister Beglitis was quoted by the [European Union] Observer web site as describing the Greek military hierarchy as “a state within a state.”

The Greek government should make public what it knows about the conspiracies of this “state within a state” and with whom it was allied. Given the record of Papandreou’s PASOK party, however, this is exceedingly unlikely. The last thing that it and its pseudo-left apologists want is to alert workers to the dangers they confront.

A number of daily papers in Europe have raised the question of whether the sacking of the high command was aimed at preempting a military coup. These include both the Telegraph and Daily Mail in Britain. Among the more blunt pieces written on the matter came one from Gabor Steingart, the editor of Germany’s main financial daily, Handelsblatt.

Under the headline “If I were Greek”, Steingart acknowledges that the supposed rescue plan for the Greek economy is in reality another bailout of the banks at the expense of Greek workers, who will be compelled to pay for it through the wholesale destruction of their jobs, wages and social conditions. These measures will only deepen the country’s depression and indebtedness, laying the groundwork for even more terrible austerity demands in the future.

Comparing the plan to the “shock” treatment implemented in the former Soviet Union, Steingart writes: “If I were from Greece I would be amongst those who are alert and worried. I would keep a wary eye on that military machinery which governed the country until 1974 and which might lie in wait for an opportunity for revenge. We know from many countries: Dr Shock is an enemy of democracy.”

The manner in which this affair has been covered — or rather censored from coverage — in the US media is telling. Neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post, the two publications that function as the newspapers “of record” within the US political establishment, have printed a word about the extraordinary shakeup within the Greek military command.

On Tuesday, the Times web site posted an article on Greece predicting that the Papandreou government was about to fall. The assessment would have clearly served as an explanation and justification for a coup taking place under conditions of a political breakdown. But, apparently, what the Times editors expected to take place didn’t happen. It recalls the newspaper’s premature celebration of the short-lived overthrow of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez in 2002.

Now the media silence suggests that the editors at the Times and Post are desperately scrambling for a political line on what they clearly regard as a highly sensitive matter.

One thing is certain, if a military coup was being prepared in Greece, given the stakes involved, it could only have developed with the approval of the major European powers — Germany, France and Britain — and, of course, the United States.

While the history of Greece is replete with the military’s interventions in politics — no less than eight coups in the 20th century — the last military junta, which seized power on April 21, 1967 and ruled until 1974, bore the clear stamp, “Made in the USA”.

The so-called “colonels’ coup” followed two years of political instability that began with the Greek King Constantine’s removal of the government of Georgio Papandreou — the current prime minister’s grandfather — after he had himself attempted to replace the military command.

The leader of the coup, Col. Georgios Papadopoulos, was a former collaborator with the Nazi occupation of Greece in the 1940s, who in the postwar period entered the Greek army and received intelligence training in the US. He became the main liaison between the CIA and the KYP, the US-founded and US-funded Greek intelligence agency. Papadopoulos himself had been on the CIA payroll for 15 years.

The coup was carried out under the guidelines of a NATO contingency plan known as “Prometheus.” This plan was supposedly designed to forestall a communist takeover by the military seizing control and rounding up all those considered subversives.

The junta imposed martial law, suspending basic democratic rights. It soon imprisoned some 10,000 people, including political leaders, trade unionists, social activists, students and others suspected of opposing its counterrevolutionary agenda. Thousands were tortured. The junta’s police beat political prisoners with rubber hoses, shocked them with electricity, sexually violated them and ripped nails from their fingers. One of the junta’s most infamous torturers is said to have kept a red-white-and-blue symbol of US aid on his desk and to have told his victims, “Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the US. You can't fight us, we are Americans.”

These hideous crimes were carried out with the direct aid and approval of the liberal Democratic administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In his first press conference after seizing power, Papadopoulos defended the ferocious repression unleashed by the junta. “We are facing a patient on the operating table,” he said. “Unless he is tied to the table, he cannot be cured of his illness.”

No doubt such logic has a great deal of appeal today within international financial circles, where Papandreou’s proposal to submit a program of drastic austerity measures to a popular referendum has been denounced as “irresponsible,” if not insane. [Note: Media are now reporting that Greek PM Papandreou's proposal for a referendum on the austerity measures has been canceled - MW]

The Greek prime minister made the proposal based on his own political calculations, which have nothing to do with democracy. However, the very idea that working people would be allowed to vote on whether to accept massive social cuts in order to bail out the banks provokes the intense anger and dismay of the financial aristocracy in every country.

The brutal character of these measures and the immense social inequality that lie at their heart cannot be imposed by democratic means. The “patient” must be “tied to the table”.

In 1974, when the military last ruled Greece, during a period of economic and political upheaval that spanned the globe, two of the other countries cited as the next dominos likely to fall in today’s European sovereign debt crisis — Spain and Portugal — were also ruled by fascist military dictatorships. The same was true for most countries in Latin America.

The events in Greece signal that the age of the colonels and generals is returning. Under conditions of the deepest crisis of global capitalism since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the old mechanisms of bourgeois democracy can no longer contain ever mounting class antagonisms and international tensions.

While the threat of dictatorship manifests itself first in the weaker capitalist economies, it is like a disease that spreads from the extremities to the heart. There is no country in the world where working people can afford the illusion that “it can’t happen here.”

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Occupy Fort Benning...

School of Americas Watch: Occupy Fort Benning, Georgia
Nov. 18 -- 20, 2011
'NO' to US torture and militarization

Join thousands of solidarity activists, torture survivors, union workers, people of faith, students, immigrants, veterans and others from November 18-20, 2011 at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to take a stand for justice, to close the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) and to resist U.S. militarization.
This December will mark the 30th anniversary of the massacre of close to 800 indigenous villagers in the El Mozote region of El Salvador. Still, graduates of the SOA are leading the repression, killing hundreds and displacing thousands of Hondurans. Mexicans and immigrants passing through Mexico are the target of drug cartels and death squads like the "Zetas" - another product of SOA training. In the midst of the continuing war in Colombia, fueled by SOA violence, killings of trade union activists touched 51 in 2010." More:

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The latest attempt to break the criminal blockade of Gaza...

Freedom Waves to Gaza-
A Canadian boat (called Tahrir - Arabic for Liberation) and Irish (Saoirse = Irish for Freedom) boat quietly left a Turkish port Wednesday, bound for Gaza. Democracy Now! first broke the news on our live broadcast yesterday. This flotilla, named Freedom Waves to Gaza, marks the latest attempt by international activists to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. The ships are hoping to reach Gaza by Friday, but Israel has threatened to stop the ships. "I anticipate that the Israeli army, probably, the navy, is probably considering boarding us at some point on our way to Gaza and the siege," said passenger Kit Kittredge of the group Code Pink. "I’m not feeling fearful. I’m feeling actually pretty peaceful. And that’s what we are: we are a peaceful boat and a peaceful flotilla going to end the siege." Democracy Now! correspondent Jihan Hafiz filed this video report from the Tahrir boat from international waters and joined us live on the telephone from the ship in international waters.

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