Saturday, February 28, 2009
With his speech today, President Obama has essentially agreed to continue the criminal occupation of Iraq indefinitely. He announced that there will be an occupation force of 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq for at least three more years. President Obama used carefully chosen words to avoid a firm commitment to remove the 50,000 occupation troops, even after 2011.
The war in Iraq was illegal. It was aggression. It was based on lies and false rationales. President Obama's speech today made Bush’s invasion sound like a liberating act and congratulated the troops for "getting the job done." More than a million Iraqis died and a cruel civil war was set into motion because of the foreign invasion. President Obama did not once criticize the invasion itself.
He has also requested an increase in war spending for Iraq and Afghanistan, and plans to double the number of U.S. troops sent to fight in Afghanistan.
President Obama has asked Congress to provide more than $200 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars over the next two years, in addition to increasing the Pentagon budget by four percent.
Based on President Obama's new budget, the Pentagon would rank as the world's 17th largest economy—if it were a country. This new budget increases war spending. Total spending in 2010 would roughly equate to an average of $21,000 a second.
This is not the end of the occupation of Iraq, but rather the continuation of the occupation.
There is only one reason that tens of thousands of troops will remain in Iraq: It is because this is a colonial-type occupation of a strategically important and oil-rich country located in the Middle East where two-thirds of the world's oil reserve can be found.
Obama's speech was a major disappointment for anyone who was hoping that Obama would renounce the illegal occupation of Iraq. Today, the U.S. government spends $480 million per day to fund the occupation of Iraq. Even if 100,000 troops are drawn out by August 2010, that means the indefinite occupation of Iraq will cost more than $100 million each day. The continued occupation of Iraq for two years or three years or more makes a complete mockery out of the idea that the Iraqi people control their own destiny. It is a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and independence.
It is no wonder that John McCain came out to support President Obama's announced plan on Iraq. McCain was a supporter of former President Bush's and Vice President Cheney's war and occupation in Iraq.
Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld—the architects of regime change in Iraq—never had the goal of indefinitely keeping 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. They wanted to subdue the Iraqi people and exercise control with a smaller force. The Iraqi armed resistance prolonged the stationing of 150,000 U.S. troops.
Bush's goal was domination over Iraq and its oil supplies, and domination over the region. This continues to be the goal of the U.S. political and economic establishment, including that of the new administration.
President Obama decided not to challenge the fundamental strategic orientation. That explains why he kept the Bush team—Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Generals Petraeus and Odierno—on the job to oversee and manage the Iraq occupation. They will also manage the widening U.S. war in Afghanistan and the aerial assaults on Pakistan. There have been over 30 U.S. bombing attacks in Pakistan in the last two months.
We are marching on Saturday, March 21 because the people of this country are fed up with the status quo. They want decent-paying jobs, and affordable health care and housing for all. Students want to study rather than be driven out by soaring tuition rates. The majority of people want a complete—not partial—withdrawal of ALL troops from Iraq. They want the war in Afghanistan to end rather than escalate. They are increasingly opposed to sending $2.6 billion each year to Israel and want an end to the colonial occupation of Palestine.
Don't miss the important announcement about the
Dramatic Action Planned for the March 21st Pentagon March:
On March 21, 2009, March on the Pentagon
and the Corporate War Profiteers
* Find Transportation to DC
* Sign up if you are organizing transportation
* Download flyers and posters
* Add a link
* View list of endorsers
* Sign up to volunteer
Go to http://www.pentagonmarch.org for more information.
Friday, February 27, 2009
SETH SPEAKING ABOUT HIS PURPOSE
by Andy Hughes
I come here, as an (humorously) "endearing" personality, with characteristics to which I hope you can relate. These characteristics are mine, and I am who I say I am, and yet the Seth you know is but a small part of my reality, the one that has been physical, and can relate to your problems.
There exists what could almost be compared to a psychological and psychic warp in dimensions where Ruburt's personality is an apex point at which communication can take place.
We want to deal with the nature of reality as it exists within your camouflage system and within other systems, and to study the overall characteristics that pertain to it.
We will discuss the interrelationship that exists between all systems of reality, including certain contact points that include them all. These various points can be mathematically deduced, and will, in some future of yours, serve as contact points, taking the place of space travel in some cases.
We will be discussing the laws of the inner universe. They are attempts to explain in words the nature of inner reality. These single-dimensional statements are more than are given to most, and, under the circumstances that we must work, are the best approximation that can be made of the basic fact beneath any existence.
As words would give little hint of the reality of color or sound to someone who did not experience these, so words can only give insight into the nature of reality.
I have been sent to help you, and others have been sent through the centuries of your time, for as you develop you form new dimensions, and you will help others.
Using your free will, you have made physical reality into something quite different than what was intended. You have allowed the ego to become overly developed and specialized. You were here to work out problems and challenges, but you were always to be aware of your own inner reality, and of your nonphysical existence. To a large extent you have lost contact with this. You have focused so strongly upon physical reality that it become the only reality that you know.
When you kill a man, you believe that you kill him forever. Murder is a crime that must then be dealt with. Death, however, does not exist in those terms. In the dawn of physical existence, men knew that death was merely a change of form.
There is never any justification for violence. There is no justification for hatred. There is no justification for murder. Those who indulge in violence for whatever reason are themselves changed, and the purity of their purpose adultered.
If you do not like the state of your world, it is you yourselves that must change, individually and en masse. This is the only way that change will be effected.
The responsibility for your life and your world is indeed yours. It has not been forced upon you by some outside agency. You form your own dreams and you form your own physical reality. The world is what you are. It is the physical materialization of the inner selves which you have formed.
It is wrong to curse a flower and wrong to curse a man. It is wrong not to hold any man in honor, and it is wrong to ridicule any man. Your must honor yourselves and see within yourselves the spirit of eternal validity. You must honor all other individuals, because within each is the spark of this validity. When you curse another, you curse yourselves, and the curse returns to you. When you are violent, the violence returns.
I speak to you because yours is the opportunity to better world conditions and yours is the time. Do not fall into the old ways that will lead you precisely into the world that you fear.
There is no man who hates but that hatred is reflected outward and made physical, and there is no man who loves but that love is reflected outward and made physical.
Beyond myself there is another self and still another, of which I am aware. And that self tells you that there is a reality beyond human reality and experience that cannot be made verbal or translated into human terms. And to that self, physical reality is like a warm breath forming in the winter air...
FUTURE SETH SPEAKS ABOUT THE NATURE AND PURPOSE OF THE COMMUNICATIONS.
The Seth personality is an intermediary. The information already given to you regarding the nature of personality gestalts should make my existence seem a fitting one.
Seth is what I am, yet I am more than Seth is. Seth is independent, and continues to develop as I do. In the Spacious Present we both exist.
Seth, as you know him, will always be an element in these communications. He is the connective between us, and he has been a part of me that I have sent out to you. He has participated willingly.
Names are arbitrary, and we use them merely for your convenience. Seth's name or mine isn't important. Individuality is important and continues in ways you do not suspect.
Seth is learning as I am.
As an analogy, you could call me a future Seth, at a higher stage of development, however both of us are fully independent and exist simultaneously.
These communications, while taking place in your time, are nevertheless responsible in other dimensions for what you would call future developments in your own personalities.
Whether or not I speak as myself or as Seth, he is the intermediary and the connection between us. He will appear to you as you know him because there are necessary emotional elements that are uniquely his own.
My personality is far different than his but I am also a friend. In many ways I am the same friend. Other portions of me are concerned elsewhere, for I am aware of my existence in other dimensions and keep track of them and direct my many selves.
We are Seth and whenever we have spoken we have been known as Seth. We are not alone in this endeavor, for through your centuries other entities like us have also appeared and spoken.
Our entity is composed of multitudinous selves with their own identities, many of whom have worked in this behalf. Their message will always be basically the same, though the times and circumstances of their communications may differ and be colored accordingly.
We adopt whatever personality characteristics seem pertinent, for in our own reality we have a bank of complete inner selves, and we are all Seth. We attempt to translate realities into terms you can comprehend. We change our face and form, but we are always the one. Many of us have not been born in the flesh, as I have not been, but in one way we have seeded ourselves through endless universes. The entity had its beginning before the emergence of your time. It was instrumental, with many other entities, in the early formation of energy into physical form. We gave you mental images and upon these images you learned to form the world that you know. We gave you the patterns, intricate and involved from which you form the reality of each physical thing that you know. We taught man to speak before the tongue knew syllables. The entire webwork was initiated by us.
Our basic knowledge and energy automatically reaches out to nourish all systems that grow.
You are like children with a game, and you think that the game is played by everyone. Physical life is not the rule. Identity and consciousness existed long before your earth was formed. You suppose that any personality must appear in physical terms. Consciousness is the force behind matter, and it forms many other realities besides the physical one. It is, again, your own viewpoint that is presently so limited that it seems to you that physical reality is the rule and mode of existence.
The source and power of your present consciousness has never been physical, and where I am, many are not even aware that such a physical system exists.
The physical system is an illusion, but you must accept it and from your viewpoint try to understand the realities that exist beyond it.
You cannot objectify the inner portions of your own identity, and therefore you do not perceive them. So much of your energy is used in the physical productions that you cannot afford to perceive any reality but your own.
Like children playing with blocks, you focus your attention on the physical blocks. The physical blocks appear very real to you when you dwell within their perspective. Other shapes and forms that you could perceive, you do not. Even in explaining other realities, I must use the words "shapes" and "forms" or you would not understand me.
Your idea of progress is building larger blocks, and yet one day you will put aside your "children's toys."
The human race is a stage through which various forms of consciousness travel... Yours is a training system for emerging consciousness. Before you can be allowed into systems of reality that are more extensive and open, you must first learn to handle energy and see through physical materialization, the concrete result of thought and emotion.
When you leave the physical system after reincarnations, you have learned the lesson and you are literally no longer a member of the human race, for you elect to leave it. Only the conscious self dwells within it in any case, and other portions of your identity dwell simultaneously within other training systems. In more advanced systems, thoughts and emotions are automatically and immediately translated into action, into whatever approximation of matter there exists. Therefore, the lessons must be taught and learned well.
The responsibility for creation must be clearly understood. To some extent you are in a soundproof and isolated room. Hate creates destruction in that "room" and until the lessons are learned, destruction follows destruction... In the terms of other systems, that kind of destruction does not exist - but you believe that it does, and the agonies of dying are sorely felt. It is not that you must be taught not to destroy, for destruction does not actually exist. It is that you must be trained to create responsibly.
The weapons of destruction are the obvious things that you see. The counterparts are not so evident, and yet it is the counterparts that are important: the self-discipline learned, the control, the compassion that is finally aroused, and that final and last lesson - the positive desire for creativity and love over destruction and hatred. When this is learned, the cycle is finished.
The training will serve you for existence in a variety of interrelated systems. If the sorrows and agonies within your system were not felt as real, the lesson would not be learned.
The teachers within your system are those in their last reincarnation, and other personalities who have left the system but have been assigned to help those still within it.
The system also includes some fragment personalities what are entering for the first
time, as well as those in later reincarnations.
Humanity dreams the same dream at once, and you have your mass world. The whole construction is like an educational play in which you are the producers as well as the actors. There is a play within a play within a play. There is no end to the "within" of things. The dreamer dreams, and the dreamer within the dream dreams. But the dreams are not meaningless, and the actions within them are significant. The whole self is the observer and the participator in the roles.
©Andy Hughes Continue to Part 2
“We want to reclaim place. We want to steward. We want to feed, and we want to access the generosity of photosynthesis directly—with our hands touching the soil,” says Ms. Fleming, the creator of The Greenhorns, which serves as the title of her upcoming documentary film and as an inclusive label for the emergent generation of fierce young American farmers.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
From my friend Goldfish @ Crest of the Hill Blog ...
Nancy Pelosi sits by the fire as if she lit the match. Stands up and claps at the all too obvious, too much. Poor Biden has to get up with her. The gaffe machine's knee's are weak! The vice emperor has no clothes. I voted for Obama...it's a shame the Republicans want to ruin him in spite of our nation.
Fancy Nancy and her famalia own a tuna fish processing plant. Shhh...nobody knows about it. I have been there and spent more time there than she has. It's located in American Samoa. The locals in AS make about $4.00 an hour. What's worse is that Charlie Tuna drags workers from Samoa which is not a U.S. territory to work there. They are paid $2.50 an hour. When I met with the workers they smelled of fish guts.....it was in there pores and the gums of their mouths. The island of AS cannot be utilized for tourism because all of the fish guts that are thrown away into the harbors attract sharks. Nobody can use the beaches. The corruption is rampant there! The only prosperous business is one McDonalds and the churches of numerous denominations....as in cash. There is a mandatory "tithing" plus donation policy in every community. A funny story on the lone McDonalds is that they had a special called the "Hunger Buster"....consisted of a Big Mac, 1/4 Pounder and large fries and a drink. I think it was $7.50?
I love the Samoan people and their culture. They were gracious to me. I oppose Pelosi and her smarmy smile. She is a slave labor baroness. Look into it.
There is no media outlet to send this to. There is no centrist outlet....it's one or the other, and we're screwed. The country is run by J.P. Morgan, Rothschildes and Rupurt Murdoch. Did you know the Federal Reserve is not a U.S. government entity? It's run by ten member banks that are privately owned, guess who they are? More to follow...........
Liverpool, United Kingdom, February 22, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Whole Science
http://www.wholescience.net is the first site in the world to combine consciousness research (topics such as mind-body medicine, mind over matter and extra sensory perception) alongside self development tools and techniques.
The site encourages you to ‘Discover the Power of You’ as it offers tips and techniques on how to focus your mind and learn the potential that your consciousness may hold.
Offering expert knowledge on subjects such as out-of-body experiences, telepathy and mind-body healing, this site is sure to be a definitive resource for all those who want to learn more about using their mind to improve their lives.
Kerry Needs, founder of Whole Science says ‘I first had the idea for Whole Science when I was at Liverpool John Moores University, completing an MSc in Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology. I realised that hundreds of well designed studies all over the world were providing evidence that our mind, or our consciousness, may have more potential than we first realised.
‘I created the site for those people who were interested in the power of the mind from a self development perspective- however terms such as ‘positive thinking’, ‘law of attraction’ and ‘mindpower’ just didn’t cut it with me. I wanted to know if there was any research into the science of mental intention. And there was. So I decided to bring that to the public in a way that was easy to understand, accessible, and interesting.’
“Because Whole Science draws on objective, credible research it has had a huge impact on my beliefs about what really is possible and my ability to heal myself...Whole Science has also given me the practical tools and advice to make very real changes in my own life” -Phil Davies, UK
“Whole Science offers a valuable forum for discussing and investigating aspects of the natural world that are often overlooked or marginalized by mainstream science”- Alan Wallace, Author and scholar
For more information, visit http://www.wholescience.net or contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Under this loop of honeysuckle,
A creeping, coloured caterpillar,
I gnaw the fresh green hawthorn spray,
I nibble it leaf by leaf away.
Down beneath grow dandelions,
Rooks flap croaking across the lane.
I eat and swallow and eat again.
Here come raindrops helter-skelter;
I munch and nibble unregarding:
Hawthorn leaves are juicy and firm.
I'll mind my business: I'm a good worm.
When I'm old, tired, melancholy,
I'll build a leaf-green mausoleum
Close by, here on this lovely spray,
And die and dream the ages away.
Some say worms win resurrection,
With white wings beating flitter-flutter,
But wings or a sound sleep, why should I care?
Either way I'll miss my share.
Under this loop of honeysuckle,
A hungry, hairy caterpillar,
I crawl on my high and swinging seat,
And eat, eat, eat—as one ought to eat.
Some of the top physicists in the world now think our entire world is simply our projection or external images of our internal experience and what we believe our world to be. In other words, the world we live in is nothing more than our collective lucid dream. Now this is not science fiction… This is leading-edge science!
Got your attention with the title, didn’t I? LOL
I woke up this morning to hear, on the national news channels, it has now been determined that if women drink even one alcoholic beverage each day, they are putting themselves at risk for several kinds of cancer. Fortunately for me, I stopped drinking alcohol over twenty years ago, huh? But hearing this news made me chuckle, as I watched the stunned faces of the women who were discussing this new report. Wasn’t it just a few short years ago we were told to drink one glass of red wine, every day, to help keep the heart healthy? It seems one year we are being told that something is good for us, and just a few short years later we discover it is just the opposite. What and who exactly can we believe?
The bottom line is that whatever we believe to be true becomes our truth, and sadly, we tend to buy into the beliefs of others far too quickly…especially if we assume them to be some type of “authority” on the subject. How odd it is to discover the only one who is an authority on truth is the self, and more…that truth can only be true for that person!
Last week, when I went to a book study group in San Marcos, I strolled in with my dinner of Mentos and a Coke Zero. As I scanned the room, I noticed I was the only one with any type of “forbidden” fruit. Everyone else was dutifully sipping on bottled water. I pointed out that, in my beliefs, I’ve decided Coke Zero isn’t bad for me, so I choose to drink it. I’m sure that had to shock some people…more than likely a few were thinking how irresponsible and “wrong” my belief is. I understand.
Years ago, I read the Seth books, by Jane Roberts. I remembering laughing and laughing at the irreverence of this amazing woman. The most unlikely person in the world became a conduit for channeling, and she hated every minute of it. I recall, in one of her books, where she was speaking with an elderly man…well into his 90s…about his disgusting habit of smoking. She, too, was a smoker. It was hard to believe that he had lived such a long and healthy life, in spite of his addiction to cigarettes. She asked him how he was able to continue to smoke, without any physical effects, and he explained that he simply believed they caused him no harm. Her guides confirmed that it was his beliefs that enabled him to do what most people couldn’t. Now, I’m not recommending that we go out and consume massive quantities of unhealthy food or addictive substances, because I don’t think this would work for the vast majority of people. Most have bought into collective ideas about what is good and not good, and consuming things that the subconscious mind has learned is bad will only cause harm. That one particular man was an exception to the rule. He had no counter beliefs to sabotage what he had determined was true for him. My point is simply this…our beliefs are creating our worldly experience.
Sometimes, in my most upbeat moments, I imagine a day when we will no longer buy into beliefs that don’t serve us. I envision a world where we design each moment as magically delicious. We all believe we are perfect, beautiful, abundant, happy, prosperous, and healthy. Perhaps that more closely resembles what we call Heaven, and perhaps that is exactly why such a “place” exists. There is a part of us that recognizes we have this ability. Unfortunately, when we came up with this paradise called Heaven, we also attached an amendment that says the only way to get there is to live a good life and then die! Hmmmm…well, at least Christ Jesus didn’t agree. He told us we can have it here and now.
Knowing that we are the designers of our destiny, we always have the option of choosing well. But to do so, we are going to first have to wake up from the dream long enough to realize it is just that…a dream. We have to stop living as though the life around us is outside our control–as if it operates off of another system that we cannot access. Most importantly, we need to understand the illusory nature of it all.
People tend to shy away from the word illusion, because it doesn’t make sense to call solid, physical objects illusions. The problem is in the interpretation of that word. To simplify, we just need to get clear that the experience of all this absolutely does appear to be reality. As has been said, if we step out in front of a moving truck, the physical body is going to be flattened! Why? Because we are operating from two experiences…a dense, heavy vibration and a light, airy one. In our dense version, we agreed on rules that tell us objects are solid. But almost everyone, today, knows that solid objects are not solid, nor are they fixed. Looking into the quantum field, we magnified objects to such a degree, we discovered that what appears to be a solid, fixed table is really vast amounts of empty space with vibrating particles of energy popping in and out of our awareness. The truth is…we are all walking around, sitting on, and standing in empty space for the most part. Not to worry, though. The whole thing–including our bodies–is just a projected image, anyway, so we aren’t going to fall through space. There is an underlying field of dark energy (the something of nothingness) that holds it all in place. Yep…fortunately for us, we have a remarkably intelligent designer who covered all the bases.
Is it possible that the world “out there” is not as fixed as we’ve come to believe? Yes! We are learning more and more about this, each and every day. We are starting to understand that the forms we experience as physical are projections in our minds. It is all just perception. We are observing our environment and translating photons of light/energy into the experience of solid objects. To top it all off, we got lost in our own creation, and we forgot it isn’t really even out there. The entire universe is within the imagination.
As we experience being in this world, we make up rules and truths along the way. The more of us that accept those beliefs, the more “truth” about them is placed into the collective dream. Here and there, some reject the collective ideas, however, and challenges offer opportunities to replace old ideas with new ones. In every moment of every day, we have the option to change what we have believed to be absolute truth. In doing so, we discover the world around us changes.
I strongly reccomend that we all take a good long look at what we’ve accepted as truth. Are the beliefs operating our lives promoting our health, welfare and happiness? If not, we have the option of replacing them with new ones. With EFT, we can remove the background beliefs that hold us back, and then replace them with new perceptions that grant us the lives we always dreamed of having. It absolutely works…and that is one truth I’m holding onto!
So, ladies…what’s it gonna be? Are we going to simply agree with this new “fact” that one glass of alcohol per day is a major risk factor for numerous cancers? Or will we determine that our own truth rejects that idea? The most important thing to keep in mind is that we have the freedom to decide what is true for each of us. We do not have to accept ideas that cause us harm. In the end, I suppose what we are returning to is the debate on whether the universe we live in supports or harms us.
I don’t know about you, but in my world, everything works in my favor! Oh…and that thing about water causing cancer? Not true!
Members of the Allegheny County Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now joined others from branches around the nation in Washington, D.C. Feb. 10 to push for approval of the economic stimulus package and specifically to protest home foreclosures.
Protesters gathered at the private auctions of Alex Cooper and Harvey West to stop the sale of several homes. Though several volunteers from Pittsburgh said they actually helped four families from losing their homes, this might not be true.
“We basically disrupted the sales for an hour,” national campaign director Craig Robbins said. “This is part of our campaign to bring attention to the fact that families are losing their homes.”
The volunteers entered the auctions in Chevy Chase Plaza under the premise of being buyers and began protesting when other volunteers joined them. The auctioneer from the company Harvey West was forced to leave by the man who rented him the room.
“They had paid already for their space, but when we went in there the guy just told them to get out,” volunteer Yvonne Jones said. “He didn’t care what they had paid for. I don’t know if he had gotten reimbursed for it.”
When the auctioneer left ACORN volunteers continued to follow him out to the street where he tried to continue the auction.
“It’s unclear if we actually stopped him from transacting his business,” Robbins said. “I think he was talking to individuals.”
Although it is likely these sales will take place at a later time or have already been completed, Robbins said ACORN’s point was still made. He said ACORN believes the foreclosure crisis will be helped by the economic stimulus plan, “but in the meantime no families should be losing their homes.”
|HELPING HANDS— Right front: John May of Pittsburgh protests on the way to a foreclosure auction at Chevy Chase Plaza.|
Close to 30 volunteers from Pittsburgh joined with others on Capitol Hill to continue the protest of foreclosures and encourage President Barack Obama to sign the economic stimulus bill. The stimulus package proposes $4.5 billion be given to ACORN.
“There were people from everywhere—Florida, California, Washington,” said volunteer Jacqueline Jones. “It was huge to see all these people coming together for one cause.”
Jones said banks have received aid from the government but they are still conducting foreclosures. She said this money should be used to help people keep their homes.
Starting Feb. 19, the next phase of ACORN’s plan will begin with participants in the ACORN Home Savers campaign refusing to leave homes in foreclosure. Pittsburgh will be in the second wave of the campaign and ACORN will begin “Home Defender” training in the area.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Hey Barack - BRING OUT OUR DEAD!
Maybe it's time to show the people just what war looks like?
SHOW THE COFFINS OF THE DEAD ON THE MSM CRAP SHOWS DAY IN AND DAY OUT.
SHOW THE COST OF THE WAR ON THE SAME SHOWS.
TELL US HOW MANY AND THE NAMES OF EVERY IRAQI, AFGHAN, PAKISTANI, AND LORD KNOWS WHO THE FUCK ELSE WE ARE SLAUGHTERING EVERYDAY TOO...STOP LETTING THE IRAQI MEDIA LIE TO THEIR PEOPLE WHEN THEIR PEOPLE KNOW BETTER.
CHANGE THE DON'T ASK DON'T TELL LAW! NOW!
STOP TELLING PEOPLE TO USE CREDIT - CREDIT ISN'T MONEY. IT'S A TRAP. MONEY ISN'T EVEN MONEY - IT'S PAPER!
"We will find that we will not be able to find and kill the last terrorist, because, well, he is a metaphor. And you can't kill a metaphor, you can only turn it into a cliche." Sherman Alexie
[Thanks to bibimimi for the lovely gift from this company]
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Monday, February 23, 2009
From: http://www.cnn.com/ posted by Bibliofuture of LISNews
John Deutch the former CIA chief who made Berger look like a Boy Scout has been appointed by DNI to a post in the Obama administration.
Deutch mishandled classified documents, as this clown actually put Top Secret documents on his home computer. Clinton pardoned Deutch in his flurry of hundreds of last minute pardons.
They have to be kidding, a guy who is in charge of the CIA is fiddling around with Top Secret documents on his home computer, gets his hand slapped and several years later they are asking his advice on sensitive national security matters.
Why don't they just offshore the whole think to North Korea?
I'm still holding out hope that there is some little unpublished gem that will come up in a few years...
Natty Seidenverg is a writer and an activist from the high desert region of Cascadia. She's been giving radical love workshops for about three years and was kind enough share her thoughts with me, via e-mail. Here's the result:
Mickey Z.: What do you mean by the term "radical love"? Does it automatically imply polyamory? Does it automatically exclude monogamy?
Natty Seidenverg: Radical love does not have a concrete definition, and that is purposeful. I came to my understandings of radical love and radical environmentalism at the same time, so for me, radical love is literally against concrete. Rather than offering a single, universal definition for “radical love,” I think we need to pay more attention to the heterogeneity of love in varying circumstances, and we need to become attuned to the fact that just as most living things change across time and from one bioregion and one person to another, so do ideas about love. Love is not manufactured, and it defies stasis or universality. That said, radical love as a term does have some broad and important currents. Unlike monogamy or polyamory, radical love is about quality, not quantity. For me, radical love simply means applying my politics to my way of loving.
MZ: I'll assume you're talking about something deeper and more venerable than a 1960s "love the one you're with" philosophy- something more rooted in social activism. Can you offer a little historical context for radical love?
NS: The stereotype about the 1960's free love movement has to do with the patriarchal appropriation of freedom and sexuality—the idea that the only place for a woman in a movement is prone, or that women are not "radical" enough if they do not succumb to the desires of their male comrades. But the 1960's/1970's free love movement was rooted in an earlier free love movement of the late 1800's. The first wave was basically an overlap of the anarchist movement (which was male dominated) and the women's rights movement (which was mostly statist). At that intersection, free love as a philosophy was born. At the heart of free love at that time was not only women's right to say yes to sex outside of the traditional strictures, but also their ability to say no. Marital rape was not condemned back then. The early free love movement was about the right of everyone to say yes to love and sex, as well as to say no. That is the fundamental difference between the 1960's stereotypes and the root of the free love movement. My understanding of radical love is informed much more by the earlier movement.
MZ: Wow...this sounds like yet another example of our (sic) history books failing us miserably. All right, with a flexible definition and some historical background as foundation, let's bring radical love into present day perspective. As you well know, human society and culture are dominated by hierarchies, profit margins, and a dangerous disconnect between humans and their natural habitat. How does one love ethically in such a corrupted environment?
NS: Well, first of all I want to say that we live in a dominator culture that is globalizing and everyday making the existence of healthy, land based communities more impossible. In this particular culture, imbalance and exploitation are so common that many people fail to perceive them. We have imbalances in power between people—or what bell hooks calls a “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.” We have devastating imbalances between humans and the more-than-human world. How can we expect to have healthy relationships when our most basic relationship of survival—our relationship to the natural world— is based on exploitation and alienation? And finally, we have imbalances in human values. In a capitalist society, greed, control, and ownership are privileged values and even necessary to survival. Rather than the values of generosity, community, communication, and consensus, it is the former values that gain “freedom” in this society. So how do we love and live in a balanced, ethical way when we are surrounded by this world of imbalance? I would say the first step is to name the disconnections, exploitations, and power imbalances, as I have briefly done here. Secondly, we need to consider how each of these imbalances are “normalized” through the institution of compulsory monogamy. And finally, radical or ethical love relationships requires challenging ourselves at each level of imbalance—between humans, humans and the natural world, and human values. Only when we begin to think of our relationships as deeply entwined with these other processes will we begin to live in full, healthy, empowering, free, and abundant communion with others.
MZ: I can just imagine the extreme reactions you get to the phrase "institution of compulsory monogamy." Like any deep-seated institution (e.g. meat-based diet, religions, capitalism, etc.) monogamy sometimes seems as "natural" as breathing. Obviously, you're not condemning any two humans who willingly choose a one-on-one relationship so talk to me a little about the institution of monogamy (with a capital M, as you often say).
NS: Institutions are “mechanisms of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals.” As an institution, monogamy is enforced via state, church, and social coercion. Monogamy, similar to heterosexuality, intra-racial dating, and conforming to gender binaries, is compulsory. Most people don’t know they have other options. Monogamy is reinforced at every level of society, whether through jokes at the family dinner table, sneers at the strange neighbors, legal mandates enforced by state and federal governance, codes of conduct in employment contracts, or morals preached at the local church. Monogamy is culturally and institutionally enforced as the only, the natural, and the moral way to live. I like to talk about “Monogamy with a capital M” to differentiate this pattern of social coercion from the individual act of two people choosing to be in a loving relationship without other sexual partners. Such a choice is no less beautiful than any other loving formation. Once a person starts thinking outside the Monogamy “box,” a one-on-one relationship becomes freer, and one begins to see all her partner’s relationships as valuable, nuanced, and meaningful. It feels very powerful to understand oneself as a single thread in the web of a lover’s relationships, and to want to support that web rather than wanting to dominate it.
MZ: What seems most interesting and perhaps daunting in a way is how radical love (or polyamory) differs from other non-traditional choices. If someone swears off the animal-based diet and becomes vegan, it's clear: you will not see them eating a Big Mac. If another person renounces, say, Catholicism and becomes an atheist, well, you're not gonna run into them receiving Communion at Sunday Mass. Defining radical love, on the other hand, appears to be more like trying to define "art." You know, the whole eye of the beholder deal. How would you counsel someone seeking to break free of compulsory Monogamy and instead embark on a personal journey of ethical loving?
NS: You are absolutely right. Radical love is a different way of thinking about the world that defies easy categories. It involves being perceptive, nuanced, and communicative to no end. It involves having the self-awareness to know when we might be making assumptions or following pre-conceived narratives. It involves creativity, clarity, care, consent, and confidence. It involves having a sense of security in ones' self, so much so that the integrity of a lover is more important than the stability of any particular form the relationship might take. Most of all, it involves a very wonderful word, "compersion," which poly writers describe as the opposite of jealousy. It is the feeling of being happy, even elated, for your lover when s/he embraces other relationships, sexual and nonsexual alike. It takes a strong heart to love deeply and freely at the same time. That strength does not come overnight, but it is a small form of liberation which informs and shapes a foundation for all our political and social struggles.
To read more about Natty Seidenverg and radical love, you can visit: http://loveradical.wordpress.com
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net
Sunday, February 22, 2009
by Ed Vulliamy and Helena Smith
Sunday 22 February 2009
A protester threatens a riot policeman with a water pistol during a demonstration in front of the police headquarters of Athens, December 15th 2008. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP
When a 15-year-old schoolboy was shot in Athens in December, it triggered the worst civil unrest in Europe since 1968. Ed Vulliamy and Helena Smith join the frontline activists to talk anarchic protest, political upheaval and police brutality
A heavy chain binds the iron gates of the philosophy faculty of the university of Athens, the city where the notions of philosophy and of university were invented in the shadow of the Acropolis. But this does not mean that the building is empty, or that there is not effervescent discourse in progress; quite the reverse, the place is teeming with people and ideas. It has been - as have thousands of colleges, schools, city halls, offices and every other kind of building across Greece - occupied. Put under occupation by, in this case, the students. So that the walls, inside and out, like every wall in Athens, are lined with the slogans of the insurrection which propelled the most tumultuous and prolonged riots in a European city since 1968, after the killing by police of a 15-year-old, Alexis Grigoropoulos, as he chatted with friends on a street corner on 6 December 2008.
Many of the axioms are reminiscent of 1968, blending humour and mischief: "Merry Crisis and a happy New Fear" and "Kill the cop inside you". Others are merely enraged: "Fascist state, you are deaf - the gallows await you!" Others are relevant to the moment: "Billions for the banks, bullets for the children." And one dismisses that era of revolt by their parents: "May '68 is dead. Fight Now!"
Inside what is properly known as the Faculty of Philosophy, Psychology, Pedagogy, Music and Mathematics, students discuss the origins of the uprising, and its causes. They talk first about the "precarity" of their lives, and the fact that in Greece a quarter of those aged between 17 and 25 are unemployed. One student, Alexis, explains how for two years they have been occupying campuses all over Greece in protest against the government giving formal university status to private colleges (many of which have franchising agreements with British universities). Another student, Chariklia, says, "Half of all women who leave high school are out of work. What is the future for them and what does that say to the school kids who came on to the streets with us?" They talk about short-term contracts, "outsourcing", work without security or representation, of the impossibility of finding a good job unless connected in a client system of patronage and who-you-know. Then the conversation becomes more general. "Society has the face of freedom and choice," says Angeliki. "But that is all it is, a facade. This bad job or that bad job, this rubbish on television or that rubbish on television, this product or that product. We are rebelling against that false choice." Time after time, students and activists pleaded with us not to make cliched references to Ancient Greece, but then a girl named Yianna said: "Don't forget that in Greek myth, chaos was not disorder, it was a vacant space awaiting occupation. Chaos was the space into which the silver egg was laid which hatched Eros." We laughed, because now that cliched reference is unavoidable, and a hint of the complexity and intelligence behind the chaos of December's uprising, and the aftermath it has unleashed, is out in the open.
Much has been written about the ferocity of the attacks on shops, the destruction of property and its cost to the Greek economy and image (Athens has been less affected by criminal violence than any other capital in Europe). And more will be written in retrospect as it becomes clear that the uprising is not against anything that is uniquely Greek, but against postmodern society and a system of globalised capitalism. There were riots in support of the Greeks outside the country's embassies as far away as Brazil, and as rioting now spreads to Bulgaria, Latvia, Iceland and Russia, the Greek uprising has been called "the first credit-crunch riot". They are certainly the first riots against the "cult of greed" about which we hear so much these days. But, it emerges, they are also about much more than that.
In Greece, the insurgents have been given a collective name, the koukouloforoi - the hooded ones, because they hide their faces with balaclavas, gas masks, crash helmets and Palestinian keffiyehs to conceal their identity, but also as protection against the regular soakings with tear gas. But what if the violence of the koukouloforoi is not "mindless", as Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis put it, but mindful? What if their contempt for society, politicians and consumerism has a lexicon that is not just revolutionary dogma? And, as the authorities in Bulgaria, Iceland and Latvia failed to ask before the riots came their way, and Britain has so far failed to ask: what if it happens here?
Alexis Grigoropoulos was shot dead at the corner of Messolongiou and Tzavela streets, but the signs above the shrine to the dead boy now call both thoroughfares Alexis Grigoropoulos Street. Football scarves, candles and flowers are laid at the spot, at which people linger in silence. There are thousands of messages and tributes. To quote a few of them is to articulate the mood: "Let beauty bloom from your blood"; "You hold your head up just enough to see the sky"; "And we go on, but we won't go slow, we'll put up such a fight. Keep your head high, kiss your fist, and touch the sky. It is not too late."
The corner is in an alleyway of a quarter of Athens called Exarchia, described by visiting reporters as a "ghetto" of "self-styled anarchists". As a neighbourhood, Exarchia is more complicated than that. It resembles the Lower East Side of Manhattan: a vortex of alternative culture, lifestyle and politics, but with more political edge, peppered by fancy bars and bistros, so that elegant, non-rioting couples might venture out for a daring date by crossing the triangular square - in which youths huddle around fires and where riot police patrol their quarry - in search of some nice gastro bar.
At the western edge of Exarchia is the polytechnic, where thousands flocked after Grigoropoulos was killed. Only fine art and architecture are taught on this campus now, students lurk in the shadows of recent history beneath graffiti reading "Kill the cops". It's a place that only weeks ago was an urban battlefield of burning cars and torched property. The smell of charred masonry still lingers in the air. In the district's heart is the square around which the little streets are lined with bars, cafes and squats. Streets like Themistokleous, which climbs past sexy lingerie boutiques, cellar tavernas, a shop named Dark Cell Records and a bustling Saturday-morning fruit market to a place called Nosotros, from the balcony of which flies a red and black flag. It is the meeting place for some of those whose creed formed an iconic expression, if not a kernel, of the December uprising - anarchism.
Nosotros is a place of meetings, film screenings, endless political discourse and quite a few beers, where migrant workers can get free evening classes in the Greek language. It is here that Niko, a youth who works in a bookshop, draws the starting line for several nights of conversation: "When they killed Alexis, everyone felt it could have been any of us, so we made it all of us. The riots, then the uprising, went from there."
One slogan still painted across the shops ravaged in central Athens during December says simply: "Buy until you die" - it is accompanied by the circled A of the anarchists. Niko has no problem discussing his reasons for smashing shop windows: "It was almost funny to see the faces of the people whose 'right to shop' we had deprived them of, like we had insulted their religion - which we had, I suppose."
"Besides," volunteers another man, joining the conversation, "smashing things up is not what matters. Above all, this revolt was an assertion of dignity and a statement of presence. Of all the slogans, our most important was, 'We are here.'"
The second man, a carpenter, turns out to be a historic figure in the Greek anarchist movement. He comes from the town of Agrinio, which has a tradition of anarchism. Nikos Ioannou argues that while previous rebellions had been against a military junta (from 1967-1974), "There are similarities between then and now. The means of control have changed, and people enjoy a perception of freedom, but we would argue that the colonels were less powerful than a shopping mall, and in this way, Greece has turned another page in its history with this insurrection. Greece is a society in which individual rights were never established. This uprising has given people who were never part of our movement a new understanding of what it means to be who they are."
The conversation continues deep into the night. We discuss the different traditions of and differences within anarchism, and a man called Tassos, branding himself an anarcho-syndicalist, describes his attempts to spread the energy of the uprising into his construction workers' union. We also discuss the United Kingdom and why, according to Valia, a photographer, "You are not able to create the kind of uprising in your country that we have created here because the methods of control in your country are far more sophisticated and accomplished. And your people are more subservient."
When we suggest to Ioannou that the anarchists lit the touchpaper in December, he replies: "Maybe, but the main ingredient was the school kids. Greek youth saw themselves in the face of this boy, and that is why school kids were the flour in the dough of the insurrection." Not only that, but the school children, of whom Alexis Grigoropoulos was one, tend to be those most eager to give the insurgency political shape, although they had no previous political experience. One of those involved is Stefanos, aged 15, who has joined a demonstration to try and secure the release of those arrested during December. He notes the fact that they are to be charged under anti-terrorist legislation and says that: "Smashing things up may be a way to relax, but it isn't going to change the future. I never expected to be involved in anything like that, and if they hadn't shot a boy my age I probably wouldn't be. But now that I have been I want it to make a difference, not to end there."
The demonstration is attacked by the police, leaving our group trapped between a baton charge and a wall of tear gas, nasty stuff imported from Israel after Greek supplies ran out in December. That night, militants from the Black Block - a wing of the anarchist movement which counts large numbers of teenagers in its ranks - is arraigned outside an immigrant advice centre that they have occupied in order to defend migrants in their own way. The Black Block is to be found, usually masked, at the core of violent international demonstrations against G8 summits in Genoa and Prague. It does not usually talk to the media and in Athens tends not to hang around for a chat in Nosotros either.
The group is facing down columns of riot police who broke up their demo earlier that day and seem to be of a mind to seize back the migrant centre. It doesn't happen, this street battle is no pushover for the police.
"When we last met up with those ones wearing blue," says one of them, "down in Pireus, we had their shields and helmets flying all over the place." The police have hardened their tactics of late, but they know that one more stray bullet, one more dead teenager, and Greece will have an all-out insurrection on its hands, with the Black Block - whose numbers in Greece far exceed those anywhere else except perhaps Italy - willing to fight it.
The speaker at the demonstration, a young woman we shall call M, who joins me across the road, knows England well and makes a salient point about Greece by reference to the UK. "We are at one extreme edge of Europe, but not really part of Europe, and you are at the opposite edge, but also not part of Europe. Here, an uprising, there... nothing. Though the violence is the same in your country, in fact it's much worse. But you commit it against each other; knife crime, drunken fights and gangs. Here, we challenge the state and the banks, not each other. This is to do with consumption," she continues. "In 1975, Greece was promised the benefits of capitalism, but never really got to sample them like you did. We never had the delusion of wealth for the masses, of mass consumerism, which is now causing your crisis, but which neutralises you in a way. Your violence is about consumption: alcohol, drugs, television and clubbing. But we're not drunk or stoned, and we have just been tear-gassed on a demonstration, not in a nightclub. This is not a gang fight, it is a fight against the state.
"What we have had in Greece is a civil war that never goes away. I am young, from a left-wing family, and some of us who come from left families, educated but constantly persecuted, have grown up with political warfare, the police in our homes, the struggle in our lives. My family has suffered a political murder in every generation since the Nazi occupation."
There is long, bitter and deep history behind this Greek uprising. Like other countries under Nazi occupation, a heroic resistance was fought in Greece, largely organised by communists. But in war's wake, Greece became a pawn in the nascent Cold War. The resistance, which had fought alongside the British against Hitler, found themselves persecuted by a British-backed government. Britain, and later America, then took the side of the Royalists and the far right which had collaborated with the Nazis in a bloody civil war which defeated the left in 1949. A precarious attempt at a reform of authoritarian rule began with the election of George Papandreou's centrist party in 1965, but was crushed by the "colonels' coup" of 1967 - steered by the CIA.
In that history, one moment resounds loudly in the events of last December, a call to the streets as a legacy in itself: the student occupation of Athens's polytechnic in November 1973, and its subsequent, brutal repression by the junta. The number killed when the colonels ordered tanks into the polytechnic campus, crashing through its gates, has never been ascertained, but no one disputes the fact that the highest casualties were among the 150,000 non-student civilians who had converged on the streets outside the occupied building in support of the occupation. The junta's victory was brief, however, and the polytechnic occupation - which was itself the culmination of six years' democratic opposition to the regime - was seen as the catalyst of its eventual downfall.
One of the most famous images of the days leading up to the 1973 occupation was the face, beaten to pulp, of Makis Balaouras. He is nowadays either to be found in the dusty offices of the weekly paper Epochi, with pictures of the Beatles and Che Guevara on walls otherwise lined with box files, or marching on the streets with his 19-year-old daughter, including one demonstration on which we were separated from him after a phalanx of riot police drenched all of us with tear gas.
His history with the police has left its mark. Balaouras looks wearier than his 56 years and talks - with a striking mix of gravity and good nature - about a "passing of the relay baton" between the uprising of 1973 and last December's riots, "from one generation to another. The legacy of dissatisfaction is passed on in Greece by special circumstances. The crucial moment was after the war, when in other countries those who had fought the Nazis were hailed as heroes, while here the generation that liberated Greece was executed, exiled and imprisoned, and those who had collaborated with the Nazis were rewarded. This experience plays a role in what we see happening now.
"When it came to 1973," he continues, "we wanted to get everyone, more than the students, involved. For that, I was arrested many times, beaten, tortured and, after the occupation, jailed in solitary confinement for three months. A friend of mine called Moustakis was tortured so badly they had turned him into a vegetable by the time he died."
Balaouras pauses and then adds: "And all the while, your hippies were coming to the beaches as if Greece was a playground [that would be people like Leonard Cohen and the character played by Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!], even though one of our demands was that they stay away! But these have been grandiose battles that we have fought here, the struggle in Greece has a magnitude to it, a tradition of resistance spawned of that magnitude, which we see resurrected today."
But not all veterans of 1973 are sympathetic to the December uprising. One leading member of the polytechnic occupation was Dimitris Hadzisokratis, who now leads a left-wing parliamentary group wary of the current insurgency, as are the powerful Communist Party, whose views his alliance shares. He meets us in his office in parliament, to contrast then with now. "What happened last December was an explosion, not a revolt," says Hadzisokratis, "which means something else. The situations are entirely different, we were rebelling against a dictatorship, they are rebelling against a democracy. We had a set of demands and goals. Yes, there were ultra-leftists and anarchists involved, but they were doing something else, and that's all I see in this explosion. Who are they fighting, exactly? It is amorphous, it has no aim and, as such, it will reach an impasse and will be judged as pointless."
Those steering the current uprising, many of whom are decisively not anarchists, take offended issue with Hadzisokratis's notion that the December uprising was without demands. Panos Garganas, who edits Workers' Solidarity, the paper of the radical leftwing Socialist Workers Party (SEK), retorts: "There were clear demands. Disarming the police and calls for the government to resign were very prominent." Garganas founded the party while an exile from the junta in London, and is now a lecturer in civil engineering at the polytechnic itself.
"This was not," he says, "something that came out of nowhere. Greek history was volatile and unstable from the 1930s until the 1970s, and now the experience of the 30 years since the events of 1973 has been building towards a head. Athens is one of the few places where Bill Clinton faced hostile demonstrations. The worldwide outrage against the war in Iraq in 2003 never abated in Greece, the demonstrations went on and on. Over the past two years, the student movement has staged continuous occupations against government plans to put private colleges on a par with the state universities, against a constitutional provision. Most parliamentarians favoured this privatisation, but the students defeated the measure with their own actions. And this confidence is emboldened by the government being caught in a string of scandals - corruption so brazen it's like they're eating boxes of chocolates without even bothering to take off the wrapping paper. "
Like any party of the far left, Garganas's SEK operates, as one of its members in the university's economics faculty, Manolis Spathis, puts it: "As a small cogwheel trying to get bigger cogwheels moving."
"Our task now," says Garganas, "is to move this new-found confidence into areas which characterise the latest phase of capitalism - issues such as the defence of migrant workers and rights in the workplace."
This involves offering support to a range of extraordinary and often unexpected and continuing offsprings of the December uprising - wave upon wave of sit-ins and occupations of city halls, vacant spaces, offices and factories.
Most unexpected of all was the occupation of a call centre operated by the Altec telecoms group by employees threatened with redundancy without compensation. Altec was part of the recent break-up into the private sector of Greece's formerly state-run telecommunications system.
"There was a complete lack of political culture in the place," says Giorgos Sotiropoulos, who worked as part of the technical support team. "A call centre is as alienated as you can get. It's insidious. You're pitched against your co-worker by the fact that the supervisor is counting how many sales you make in how many calls and minutes. So it really mattered that it was a call centre we occupied, because the kind of enemy this insurrection in Greece is fighting is typified by this work. The enemy is amorphous, it is virtual, and that makes fighting it far more challenging than fighting a junta of colonels. Our enemy is a society which offers procedural freedom, and perceived freedom, but no physical, substantive freedom. But this situation is not irreversible, and we demonstrate this by finding a way of being free through uprising.
"It was a huge decision," continues Sotiropoulos, "and an incredible experience for most people, ladies with children, people who had never thought they would get involved in such a thing. A whole new vocabulary, a whole new feeling of collaboration that none of us had ever known. We just stayed there for five days, hung banners from the windows, and at night women would come and bring us food and pastries. In this movement, you testify by your actions. It is an eruption of the real thing against virtuality."
After tortuous negotiations, the occupiers finally won an agreement for redundancy payments and jobs for some people who wanted to stay on. "Without the uprising, this would never have happened," says Sotiropoulos. "It was in the air and got people thinking in a totally different way."
Sotiropoulos and his friends gather for another demonstration on a cold Wednesday night, the uprising again moving into quarters beyond the polytechnic walls, this time in outrage against an attack on a cleaning lady called Konstantina Kuneva, and thereby against two features of society: outsourcing and the subsequent abuse of migrant labour. Kuneva, who is from Bulgaria, works for a company called Oikomet, which won an outsourced contract to clean the Athens metro. Kuneva was also an organiser of the Household and Domestic Cleaners Union and began campaigning for union recognition at Oikomet, better conditions and pay on a par with what it was before privatisation. On 23 December, she was abducted and forced to drink sulphuric acid. She has gone on to become the unexpected emblem of the Greek uprising, several thousand taking to the streets for the march, attacked and split into two groups by riot police, the rear half drenched in tear gas, and the inevitable riot duly beginning.
One feature of these occasions is the destruction of CCTV cameras, which are not simply put out of action by the balaclava-clad activist climbing the pole like a lumberjack up a tree but, as icons of the enemy, trashed in the spirit of some Aztec sacrifice. The youth hammering away until he (or she) prizes out its white "heart" to hold aloft to the applauding crowd. Another fusillade of face-flaying, lung-wrenching tear gas follows, restaurant windows are smashed. Finally, Sotiropoulos turns to us and says: "What's the point of this? Time to find the subway, clear our lungs and get a beer."
Another cloud of thick smoke clears, this time caused by the fans' flares and smoke bombs at the Olympic football stadium as AEK Athens take to the field. You can see the flag behind the goal - that of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. Unlikely in a British ground, it has been hoisted there by one of a group of AEK fans called Original 21, after the gate number of their section at the team's old stadium, who are overtly and militantly political.
Around Alexis Grigoropoulos's "shrine" in Exarchia, the letters AEK are painted everywhere, with a circle round the A. Yards from the site of the shooting is the Original 21 fan clubhouse - the slogan "Fuck Modern Football" and a skull wearing AEK colours painted on the hoardings. Utterly strange to the world of English football, these AEK fans are part of an international alliance with "twin" crews supporting Livorno in Italy, Marseille in France and St Pauli Hamburg in Germany, with whom they rally to help fight fans of teams with a fascist identity and for anti-globalisation demonstrations in loose co-ordination with the Black Block. Around the Grigoropoulos shrine are also slogans painted by the Livorno Autonomous Brigades who, with the Original 21crew, were to the fore in December's uprising and street fighting with the police, at which they are markedly adept.
At the match, they are easy to spot, with their Palestinian keffiyehs and heavy-metal Exarchia T-shirts. A lad called Vassilis explains how at both football and during riots, "youth confronts the frontline weapon of the state, its foot soldiers in the police. But we want to fight the system itself, not just its soldiers, that's why we do the political stuff." Another fan, Dinos, explains that the ethos is that of "being 'ultra' in all areas of our life, supporting the team with the same passion as we attack authority and the system that did what was done to Konstantina Kuneva".
You were on those demonstrations too, for the cleaning lady?
"Yes, of course, and with our comrades from Livorno at Genoa against the G8 when they killed another young boy. We spent all last December on the streets. After they killed Alexis, the police didn't dare enter the stadium, so we attacked them outside."
Into this melee comes another element, a group calling itself Revolutionary Struggle, which last week assaulted a police station with automatic weapons, shot and injured a police officer in Exarchia on 5 January and ambushed a riot police bus with machine guns 10 days later. The group is a descendant of the now disbanded November 17th movement, named after the day the polytechnic was stormed by the junta, akin to the Italian Red Brigades or German Baader-Meinhof group, which issues long theoretical attacks on the anarchists and other left groups for not conjoining its armed struggle, and which is bitterly counter-attacked by the anarchists as "elitist" in return. This week, the new Sect of Revolutionaries emerged, attacked a police station with grenades and left a maiden proclamation in the form of a computer disc on Grigoropoulos's grave, listing journalists, media celebrities, leading capitalists and state functionaries among its targets
Far from this fray, Professor Constantinos Tsoukalas, the elder statesman of Greek political philosophy, watches all this from his lofty apartment, lined with venerable books, which he especially likes for "its asymmetry" and view of the Acropolis. He see "the uprising as a symptom of the end of political hope and the beginning of something else. One of the nefarious consequences of the end of the Cold War and the emptiness of the global market that was supposed to put an end to ideology but, in crisis, has instead created this moment of great ideological tension.
"I mean look at the spectacle of these politicians: this Greek government and every other government - though perhaps Obama is an exception - lurching from day to day without a clue what to do apart from babble. Not only does the Greek government have no plan, it does not even pretend to have a plan. What they are demonstrating - Karamanlis, Berlusconi, Blair, Brown, Sarkozy - is that there is no longer any reason to go into politics apart from power in and of itself, the money that power brings and the further money that having been in power brings. They degenerate the game with greater and greater visibility, and the more they degenerate it, the more degenerate the people who go into politics. Which leads to moral indignation, despair and anger."
That in turn, continues Tsoukalas, becomes either "various forms of depression, as in your country, or to a statement of presence - a loud NO! as happened here, and a maelstrom".
A maelstrom which has been spreading across Europe ever since a banner bearing the command Rebel!, translated into several languages, was hung from the ramparts of the Acropolis itself.
Godwin was a English political philosopher who, while in the ministry
for which he was trained, had cast off his Toryism and Calvinism and
achieved a place of first importance as the interpreter to England of
the French Encyclopedists. His ideal society is intensely equalitarian
and a complete anarchy, although he tolerated the idea of a loosely
knit democratic transition that would witness the withering of the
State. Strongly antiviolence and completely rationalistic he carried
his doctrine to the point of total alteration in human relations.
Ignoring economics and starting from a highly individualistic
psychology, he argued for education and social conditioning as the
chief factors in character formation. His chief work, Enquiry
Concerning Political Justice, develops the thought of the
prerevolutionary school, is strongly influenced by Helvetius, and is
an argument for the perfectibility of the human species by way of a
refutation of contradictory theories and examination of such
conditions as will perfect the human community. In the philosophical
debate owr whether man is governed by self-love, Godwin argued that
man capable of a genuinely disinterested benevolence. The turning
point in his career was the French Revolution, which spurred him to
write his major work, Political Justice, completed in 1793. Though
many were disillusioned after the early years of the Revolution,
Godwin's liberalism remained intact. The publication of this work
gained him a far-reaching contemporary fame.
It was in 1796 that he renewed an acquaintance with Mary
Wollstonecraft. They took up residence together and, with the
approaching birth of their child and despite his attacks upon the
institution of marriage, were married in 1797. Their brief marriage,
ended by the death of his wife, was described as his happiest period.
Although Godwin wrote indefatigably, only Politfcal Justice is still a
work of enduring fame. His Caleb Williams, a novel with a social
purpose, is another of his works retaining some contemporary interest.
(Irving Horowitz, The Anarchists, 1964, Dell Publishing)
Note: first writer to put foreward anarchist ideas.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
We do not believe that such elections can with any degree of permanence prevent wars, or deal effectively with racism, sexism or environmental degradation.
... the capitalist system is in a serious crisis which is dragging down all working class and oppressed people and which even the best-intentioned high office-holder is incapable of solving.
The concept that people should come together and make decisions is the backbone of our ideology. However, we do not view the U.S. system of democracy as being representative of those ideals. The Republicans and Democrats exist as two rival factions battling over our consent to be ruled. Both promote rhetoric of common interest with ordinary people, but we feel this is an illusion. The politicians in this nation exist to provide a stable platform for the rule and exploitation of the majority of working people in America by the minority of capitalists; that is, the owners of the property on which we produce the wealth.
The abolition of slavery, 8-hour day, the right to form unions, overtime pay, child labor laws, the end to legal segregation, the right of women to vote and to choose, and the right of gay and transgender people to be themselves was won not at the ballot box, but by people organizing, striking, boycotting and taking to the streets. The liberals in elective office passed the laws in response to the movements and to head off what could become a revolutionary upsurge.
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