Press**Watch: revolution for the halibut
Ten years ago --plus a couple of weeks or so--I was standing outside the jail in downtown Seattle, screaming my head off. I was screaming in unison with a thousand other people, forming words to communicate with the protesters who had illegally been shoved inside the jail. I doubt it worked in terms of comprehensible communication, but it did get one message across--that there was massive solidarity outside that jail. The jailed protesters could hear us, and knew we were out there with our unshakeable determination. And the jailers knew it, too.
By the way, when I say the protesters had been imprisoned illegally, I mean in violation of the First Amendment right and duty, as the law says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
We had assembled peaceably. Never mind that provocateurs and police had smashed windows; that's what one might call "infringement." The police plan from the start had been to deny the First Amendment by intimidating and brutalizing protesters. There were protesters who had engaged in a nonviolent lock-down to prevent delegates from entering buildings for the WTO conference, but they were relatively few in number, and the mass arrests were not an attempt to provide delegate access. They were, instead, an effort to break the protest movement. The effort failed.
We could not know, as we victoriously confronted the Seattle jail house, that the protest movement would in fact be broken by the false-flag demolitions on September 11th, 2001. Now we've had years of increased tyranny against the First Amendment, and it has had its effect. But the effect is wearing off. Times are changing. There has been an economic earthquake, and the funds for repairing the earthquake have been embezzled by the Bankster class as abetted by the Bush and Obama governments.
In Nicaragua, in the early Seventies, an earthquake hit the capital city, and something like eighty percent of the major buildings fell down. A rebellion against the US-financed pauperization of the population began to take firmer shape, when the government embezzled the earthquake relief funds and refused to rebuild the city. At first there were several factions in the revolutionary movement, but as the struggle intensified over the years, people began to see a common purpose.
Quoting Wikipedia, "In August , the Terceristas [later to become the Sandinistas] took the initiative by staging a spectacular hostage-taking. Twenty-three Tercerista commandos led by Edén Pastora seized the entire Nicaraguan congress and took nearly 1,000 hostages including Somoza's nephew José Somoza Abrego and cousin Luis Pallais Debayle. Somoza gave in to their demands and paid a $500,000 ransom, released 59 political prisoners (including GPP chief Tomás Borge), broadcasted a communiqué with FSLN's call for general insurrection and gave the guerrillas safe passage to Panama.
A few days later six Nicaraguan cities rose in revolt. Armed youths took over the highland city of Matagalpa. Tercerista cadres attacked Guard posts in Managua, Masaya, León, Chinandega and Estelí. Large numbers of semi-armed civilians joined the revolt and put the Guard garrisons of the latter four cities under siege. The September Insurrection of 1978 was subdued at the cost of several thousand, mostly civilian, casualties. Members of all three tendencies fought in these uprisings, which began to blur the distinctions between the factions and prepare the way for unified action."
The final victory came in 1979, at a cost of tens of thousands of lives. The accomplishment of the Nicaraguan people is remarkable, when you consider that the US government and corporations were dead set against them. Anticipating today's US government, the Somoza regime was into intimidation, mass arrests, and torture; they had tons of equipment, US spies and US training. But Nicaragua did it. Si Vietnam vencero, Nicaragua vencera, they said. And we can do it. If Nicaraguans can win against the corporate State, against all odds, we Yankees can, too.
However, we have many advantages over the Nicaraguans of 1972. We can see the earthquake slowly worsen, over time. We have open communications networks, at least so far, and we have the option of nonviolent revolution. One option we do not realistically have: the option to remain passive in the face of global ecosystem destruction, vicious and antidemocratic imperial occupations, millions of US citizens in jail, millions of US kids without a future or even a decent meal, racist apartheid in our streets, schools and jails, economic destruction benefiting a tiny parasite class, and health care denial killing hundreds of fellow citizens every day. Forgive me for repeating myself: Passivity is not an option.
The real question is how to proceed, and although I leave that to talented and/or professional organizers, I suggest we start with one step, knowing that every journey starts in that manner. The first step is to know that we shall do this thing, that there is a way and that we are finding it; every step leads to revolution. We don't want a French revolution, a Nicaraguan revolution, a Russian revolution, or even a repeat of the American revolution, which gave far too much to the owning classes. We need a revolution for our times and on our terms, a revolution that will look back analytically at previous successes and failures. This new society will acknowledge all of our citizens' rights and needs, and it will place those rights far above the privileges of multinational corporations. Don't you want that revolution to happen?
I can no longer accept the discouragement that seems to emanate from every telescreen. Bruce Levine, a clinical psychologist, asks in a recent article on Alternet, "Are Americans a Broken People?" The article is subtitled "Why We've Stopped fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression." Levine asks
"Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not "set them free" but instead further demoralize them?
"Yes. It is called the "abuse syndrome." How do abusive pimps, spouses, bosses, corporations, and governments stay in control? They shove lies, emotional and physical abuses, and injustices in their victims' faces, and when victims are afraid to exit from these relationships, they get weaker. So the abuser then makes their victims eat even more lies, abuses, and injustices, resulting in victims even weaker as they remain in these relationships."
The multi-page article points out that corporate hegemony uses the shame of our repression--our forced complicity in wars, unemployment, and denial of health care--to further repress us. Mere kinowledge of our condition serves to worsen the condition. Instead, we need defiance and collective action--and in my opinion, that is why November 1999 was so powerful, and it is why demonstrations are so savagely repressed even as the corporate pundits claim the demonstrations are useless. It is the empowering sensation of collective action, available at a mass demonstration, that so threatens the State.
Levine says that we need encouragement, and I agree. "Encouragement. Small victories. Models of courageous behaviors. And anything that helps them break out of the vicious cycle of pain, shut down, immobilization, shame over immobilization, more pain, and more shut down." I'm lucky, I get to come to the community radio station and broadcast dissent, and I can tell you that the activities and personalities here are quite encouraging. This is also the reason that I enjoy participating in the membership drives, which have provided collective victories twice per year for decades now.
I am also lucky that I got work in a union workplace. Here is one of the latest communications from the ATU 757 union, and as I pass this on I ask you to consider whether your workplace allows you te sense of defiance, encouragement, militance and solidarity that I get from my transportation workers' union:
[ATU 757 No-Confidence Letter addressed to Oregon Gov. Kulongoski]
Here's an encouraging idea: You can have a union at your workplace. It's your right.
"Deaths have passed the 500 mark, but the ... numbers show a major jump in cases, which are 143,961 higher than yesterday (see map). Donetsk increased 16,352 to 225,476 and Dnipropetrovsk increased 15,236 to 297,971. The latest figures extend a reversal of the downturn and clear represent a new wave in Ukraine. This new wave suggests similar results will be seen in the region, setting the stage for a major peak throughout the northern hemisphere in early 2010." ....[more]....
If hijackers from Saudi Arabia had killed ten thousand people this year, we'd all be forced to wear targets on our clothing, and we would instantly throw ourselves on the pavement on sight of police, shouting "shoot me now how can I help you Sir?" It's just our nature as Americans. But our awareness of the H1N1 deaths has been carefully managed, so that mentioning the ten thousand dead is likely to get you treated as a conspiracy nut. Yet those people are all completely, documentably dead, and the numbers originate on the CDC website, not some foreign or speculative URL. There it is. Keiji Fukuda, of the World Health Organization, says it is to early to say if the pandemic is over. According to this excerpt from an AFP article, "It really probably remains too early to call the pandemic over," Fukuda said in a weekly telephone news conference.
"Fukuda, Special Adviser to the WHO Director-General on Pandemic Influenza, said flu "activity continues at quite high levels in several different countries" notably the Czech Republic, France, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Switzerland.
"Fukuda also noted that the signs of a peak and a decline in the caseload in North America and parts of Europe had occurred "extraordinarily early for influenza," with several months of the winter left."
Rajeev Syal reports in the Observer, referenced in Dollars and Sense, that drug money saved the economy:
Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations' drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.
Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (216bn pounds) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.
This will raise questions about crime's influence on the economic system at times of crisis. It will also prompt further examination of the banking sector as world leaders, including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, call for new International Monetary Fund regulations. Speaking from his office in Vienna, Costa said evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system was first drawn to his attention by intelligence agencies and prosecutors around 18 months ago. "In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor," he said.
Some of the evidence put before his office indicated that gang money was used to save some banks from collapse when lending seized up, he said.
"Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities...There were signs that some banks were rescued that way." Costa declined to identify countries or banks that may have received any drugs money, saying that would be inappropriate because his office is supposed to address the problem, not apportion blame. But he said the money is now a part of the official system and had been effectively laundered."
Obama has warned China of Israel's belligerence:
U.S. President Barack Obama has warned his Chinese counterpart that the United States would not be able to keep Israel from attacking Iranian nuclear installations for much longer, senior officials in Jerusalem told Haaretz.
They said Obama warned President Hu Jintao during the American's visit to Beijing a month ago as part of the U.S. attempt to convince the Chinese to support strict sanctions on Tehran if it does not accept Western proposals for its nuclear program.