Recent comments

Large Turnout for Lakewood Walmart Strike   17 weeks 2 hours ago

Lincoln said it best CAPITAL MONEY REVENUE WEALTH does not come first without the labor.......if there was no labor there would be no wealth capital money cash revenue.

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."................Time for to the LABOR FORCE to control the money again.....................TIME TO EAT THE RICH! ..............."If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered." Thomas Jefferson.

 

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Banks and Investors Call for New Debt Rules In Wake of Argentina Hedge Fund Case   17 weeks 2 days ago

Statutory approaches are difficult to enforce and often short-lived  in a global money market.  As for legitimate investors, they should not be taking advantage of countries with fragile economies.  They would not starve with a lower rate of return.  It can also be pointed out that all these problems are the result of hypermonetization--a trend that must be reversed as quickly as possible.

Poor people suffer most from the effects of hypermonetization.  They would benefit more from a jubilee--which this organization ultimately seeks.  But interim steps may be the only thing available at this time.

Banks and Investors Call for New Debt Rules In Wake of Argentina Hedge Fund Case   17 weeks 3 days ago

While this is another step in the right direction, it doesn't solve the immediate problems. Without statutory approaches the behavior won't be slowed down to 12 to 15 years. Poor people and legitimate investors will continue to be harmed by this behavior for the foreseeable future.

Is Bigger Better   17 weeks 3 days ago

As you know the elections have resulted in nationwide crackdown on unsheltered people who are demonized as causing the poverty they are in fact the victims of. The story of that publishing, and what took place subsequently, is also an ironic, interesting and revealing tale, in it's own right as well as pertinent to the topic. Too much of what is written about us is written by the profiteers, who want homelessness to get worse, so thay can make even more money off us.

Assata Shakur : An Open Letter To The Media   17 weeks 6 days ago

This is Ms. Shakur's letter to Pope John Paul II, dated 1993 and referenced in her above letter.

Your Holiness,

I hope this letter finds you in good health, in good disposition, and enveloped in the spirit of goodness. I must confess that it had never occurred to me before to write to you, and I find myself overwhelmed and moved to have this opportunity.

Although circumstances have compelled me to reach out to you, I am glad to have this occasion to try and cross the boundaries that would otherwise tend to separate us.

I understand that the New Jersey State Police have written to you and asked you to intervene and to help facilitate my extradition back to the United States. I believe that their request is unprecedented in history. Since they have refused to make their letter to you public, although they have not hesitated to publicize their request, I am completely uninformed as to the accusations they are making against me. Why, I wonder, do I warrant such attention? What do I represent that is such a threat?

Please let me take a moment to tell you about myself. My name is Assata Shakur and I was born and raised in the United States. I am a descendant of Africans who were kidnapped and brought to the Americas as slaves. I spent my early childhood in the racist segregated South. I later moved to the northern part of the country, where I realized that Black people were equally victimized by racism and oppression.

I grew up and became a political activist, participating in student struggles, the anti-war movement, and, most of all, in the movement for the liberation of African Americans in the United States. I later joined the Black Panther Party, an organization that was targeted by COINTELPRO, a program that was set up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to eliminate all political opposition to the U.S. government’s policies, to destroy the Black Liberation Movement in the U.S., and to discredit activists and to eliminate potential leaders.

As a result of being targeted by COINTELPRO, I, like many other young people, was faced with the threat of prison, underground, exile or death.

At this point, I think that it is important to make one thing very clear. I have advocated and still advocate revolutionary changes in the structure and in the principles that govern the U.S. I advocate an end to capitalist exploitation, the abolition of racist policies, the eradication of sexism, and the elimination of political repression. If that is a crime, then I am totally guilty.

To make a long story short, ...let me emphasize that justice for me is not the issue, it is justice for my people that is at stake. When my people receive justice, I am sure that I will receive it, too. I know that Your Holiness will reach your own conclusions, but I feel compelled to present the circumstances surrounding the applicatlon of "justice" in New Jersey. I am not the first nor the last person to be victimized by the New Jersey system of "justice." The New Jersey State Police are infamous for their racism and brutallty. Many legal actions have been filed against them and just recently, in a class action legal proceeding, the New Jersey State Police were found guilty of having an "officially sanctioned, de facto policy of targeting minorities for investigation and arrest."

Although New Jersey’s population is more than 78 percent white, more than 75 percentof the prison population is made up of Blacks and Latinos. Eighty percent of women in New Jersey prisons are women of color. There are 15 people on death row in the state and seven of them are Black. A 1987 study found that New Jersey prosecutors sought the death penalty in 50 percent of cases involving a Black defendant and a white victim, but in only 28 percent of cases involving a Black defendant and a Black victim.

Unfortunately, the situation in New Jersey is not unique, but reflects the racism that permeates the entire country. The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. There are more than 1.7 million people in U.S. prisons. This number does not include the more than 500,000 people in city and county jails, nor does it include the alarming number of children in juvenile institutions.

The vast majority of those behind bars are people of color and virtually all of those behind bars are poor.

The result of this reality is devastating. One third of Black men between the ages of 20 and 29 are either in prison or under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system.

Prisons are big business in the United States, and the building, running, and supplying of prisons has become the fastest growing industry in the country. Factories are being moved into the prisons and prisoners are being forced to work for slave wages. This super-exploitation of human beings has meant the institutionalization of a new form of slavery. Those who cannot find work are forced to work in prison.

Not only are prisons being used as instruments of economic exploitation, they also serve as lnstruments of political repression. There are more than 100 political prisoners in the U.S. They are African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos, Natlve Americans, Asians, and progressive white people who oppose the policies of the United States government. Many of those targeted by the COINTELPRO program have been in prison since the early 1970s.

Although the situation in the prisons is an lndication of human rights violations inside the United States, there are other, more deadly indicators.

There are currently 3,365 people now on death row, and more than 50 percent of those awaiting death are people of color. Black people make up only 13 percent of the population, but we make up 41 percent of persons who have received the death penalty.

The number of state assassinations has increased drastically. In 1997 alone, 71 people were executed.

A special reporter assigned by the United Nations organization found serious human rights violations in the U.S., especially those related to the death penalty. According to these findings, people who were mentally ill were sentenced to death, and people with severe mental and learning disabilities, as well as minors under age 18. Serious racial bias was found on the part of judges and prosecutors.

Specifically mentioned in the report was the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the only political prisoner on death row, who was sentenced to death because of his political beliefs and because of his work as a journalist, exposing police brutality in the city of Philadelphia.

Police brutality is a daily occurrence in our communities. The police have a virtual license to kill and they do kill: children, grandmothers, anyone they perceive to be the enemy. They shoot first and ask questions later. Inside the jails and prisons there is at least as much brutality as there was on slave plantations. An ever increasing number of prisoners are found hanging in their cells.

The United States is becoming a land more hostile to Black people and other people of Color. Racism is running rampant and xenophobia is on the rise. This has been especially true in the sphere of domestic policy.

Politicians are attempting to blame social problems on Black people and other people of color. There have been attacks on essentially all affirmative action programs designed to help correct the accumulated results of hundreds of years of slavery and discrimination. In addition, the government seems determined to eliminate all social programs that provide assistance to the poor, resulting in a situation where millions of people do not have access to basic health care, decent housing or quality education.

It was with great happiness that I read the Christmas message that Your Holiness delivered. I applaud you for taking up the cause of the poor, the homeless, the unemployed. The fact that you are addressing the issues of today, unemployment, hopelessness, child abuse, and the drug problem, is important to people all over the world.

One third of Black people in the United States live in poverty, and our communities are inundated with drugs. We have every reason to believe that the CIA and other government agencies are involved in drug trafficking.

Although we live in one of the richest, most techically advanced countries in the world, our reality is similar to an undeveloped, Third World country. We are a people who are truly seeking freedom and harmony.

All my life I have been a spiritual person. I first learned of the struggle and the sacrifice of Jesus in the segregated churches of the South. I converted to Catholicism as a young girl. In my adult life I have become a student of religion and have studied Christianity, Islam, Asian religions and the African religions of my ancestors. I have come to believe that God is universal in nature although called different names and with different faces. I believe that some people spell God with one "O" while others spell it with two.

What we call God is unimportant, as long as we do God’s work. There are those who want to see God’s wrath fall on the oppressed and not on the oppressors.I believe that the time has ended when slavery, colonialism, and oppression can be carried out in the name of religion. It was in the dungeons of prison that I felt the presence of God up close, and it has been my belief in God,and in the goodness of human beings that has helped me to survive. I am not ashamed of having been in prison, and I am certainly not ashamed of having been a political prisoner. I believe that Jesus was a political prisoner who was executed because he fought against the evils of the Roman Empire, because he fought the greed of the money changers in the temple, because he fought against the sins and injustices of his time. As a true child of God, Jesus spoke up for the poor, the meek, the sick, and the oppressed. The early Christians were thrown into lion dens. I will try and follow the example of so many who have stood up in the face of overwhelming oppression.

I am not writing to ask you to intercede on my behalf. I ask nothing for myself. I only ask you to examine the social reality of the United States and to speak out against the human rights violations that are taking place.

On this day, the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., I am reminded of all those who gave their lives for freedom. Most of the people who five on this planet are still not free. I ask only that you continue to work and pray to end Oppression and political repression. It is my heartfelt belief that all the people on this earth deserve justice: social justice, political justice, and economic justice. I believe it is the only way that we will ever achieve peace and prosperity on earth. I hope that you enjoy your visit to Cuba. This is not a country that is rich in material wealth, but it is a country that is rich in human wealth, spiritual wealth and moral wealth.

Respectfully yours,

Assata Shakur
Havana, Cuba
 

Building a Truly Human Society   28 weeks 6 days ago

I don't understand your use of a photo of indigenous African children, to represent this event, when the presenters and most of the invited guests are Euro.  It looks extremely racist to me.  I will not attend, and I recommend the same to anyone else.

Oil Train Week of Action July 6-13, 2014   34 weeks 6 days ago

This has given me alot to think about and i can't believe we let this happen.

 

Go To This

Oil Train Week of Action July 6-13, 2014   45 weeks 19 hours ago

No Oil Trains in Longmont

July 06, 2014• 4:00 PM
Keep oil off the rails and in the ground• Longmont Library/Civil Center Plaza, Longmont, CO 80501

Large Turnout for Lakewood Walmart Strike   52 weeks 15 hours ago

My sister who works at Walmart participated in these protests. My brother-in-law, who is an attorney, said these protests rarely make a difference. But even if that were true, I believe protesting should send the corporations a big message, and that's good enough.

Local Photographer Harassed by Police, Threatened with Arrest   1 year 9 weeks ago

Being a photographer myself for a local news agency, I experienced threats and coercions from police officers especially when the photos taken were of police brutallity. They would literally force you to surrender your camera to them! Press people here are now a little aloof on taking photos of police arrests as the same thing might happen to them. Andrew of ABP http://www.amandabarkerphoto.ca

We ain't takin this no mo': The streets fill with rage against the Denver cops   1 year 16 weeks ago

I think this is not the best way to take the revolt against neither the government nor the police. There are other ways to solve the issue peacefully and I think police of the Denver metro cannot be blamed for the action of some behaving ruthlessly. 

January 5th: Everything for Everyone, and Nothing for Ourselves!   1 year 18 weeks ago

This is also my 45th birthday. Sounds like a helluva great way to spend it!

La Plata County Jail Noise Demo (Durango, CO) - New Year's Eve 2011/2012   2 years 5 weeks ago

I didn't read all of the above but I think I caught the gist. My 2¢: I did five years. Most people who are locked up shouldn't be. Thanks for representing, Phil. To the fascist troll: kill yourself.

Anti-fracking demonstrators disrupt, delay Boulder County oil and gas hearing   2 years 5 weeks ago
DENVER Attorney Jack Ebel testified before the Colorado Legislature two years ago that solitary confinement in a Colorado prison was destroying the psyche of his son, Evan. When Jack Ebel's longtime friend, Gov. John Hickenlooper, was interviewing a Missouri corrections official for the top prisons job in Colorado, he mentioned the [url=http://www.onlinehermesoutlet.com/hermes-kelly-35cm/578-hermes-kelly-handbag-35cm-red-silver.html]Hermes Kelly Handbag 35CM Red Silver[/url] case as an example of why the prison system needed reform. And once Tom Clements came to Colorado, he eased the use of solitary confinement and tried to make it easier for people housed there to re-enter society. Now authorities are investigating whether Evan Spencer Ebel, who was paroled in January, is linked to the assassination of Clements, who was shot and killed Tuesday night when he answered the front door of his house in a rural neighborhood. The bullet casings from that shooting are the same type as those found at the site of a bloody gun battle Thursday between Evan Ebel and Texas law enforcement officers that ended with Ebel being shot and killed, according to court records. The car Ebel drove matched the description of the one spotted outside Clements' house on the night of the prison director's death. Authorities also found a Domino's pizza delivery box in the trunk and a jacket or shirt from the pizza chain. Denver police say Ebel is now a suspect in the Sunday slaying of pizza delivery man Nathan Leon. Hickenlooper confirmed his relationship with Jack Ebel to The Denver Post and KUSA-TV Friday evening and then in a written statement Friday night. State records show Ebel donated $1,050 to the governor's 2010 campaign. But there's no indication that Hickenlooper's relationship with the Ebels played a role in the shooting. Hickenlooper denied having any role in Evan Ebel's parole. 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Hickenlooper agreed that Evan Ebel had "a bad streak" that his parents had tried to correct. "The events of the past few days have been devastating for all involved," he said in the written statement. "I am in shock and disbelief about how everything seems connected in this case. It makes no sense. Tom's death at the hands of someone hell-bent on causing evil was tragic in every way. It also now appears Tom's killer may have had another victim. Our hearts and prayers are with Nathan Leon's family as well." Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers P. Solomon Banda, Dan Elliott, Colleen Slevin, Alexandra Tilsley and Catherine Tsai in Denver; Thomas Peipert in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Angela K. Brown in Decatur, Texas.
Farewell, Richard   2 years 11 weeks ago

Thanks to all who came to Richard's memorial, and to all who were with us in spirit.

About 50 people came to Richard's memorial. It was sad that some of the people very close to him were not able to come. There were just a few pictures, taken mostly by the family of one of the performers. Richard was always the one to photograph everything, so his "job" doesn't get done, anymore

We had a beautiful, very moving performance by the Romero Troupe, written specially for the occasion. It was a re-enactment of some of Richard's activism, specifically that involving the Romero Troupe's founder, Prof. Jim Walsh, and his students. A wonderful actor named Arnie Carter played Richard in a few short sketches. It was "classic Richard," and I told Arnie, it was almost as if he brought Richard back to us for a few moments. But nobody did any video, so it will probably never be seen again. I don't have equipment for these things, and nobody else brought any.

Some good music by David Rovics & Elena Klaver. Poetry by Juan Manuel Patraca. All performers were personal friends of Richard's. There were others--also close friends-- who wanted to perform and would have been very good. But the time frame was too short to add any more to the bill

We had a couple of speakers. One was fellow activist and dear friend, Pavlos Stavropoulos. Richard's brother, Bob Myers, also spoke. Betty Ball read a statement from Bill Adler, grassroots labor activist, author of The Man Who Never Died, and a dear friend of Richard, who was unable to attend. Another person who I had asked to speak was unable to attend. He is Evan Herzoff, a good friend, Wobbly, blogger, and musician. Evan was very close to Richard. I read part of the blog he wrote about Richard. 

In his blog, Evan talks about Richard's participation in all kinds of activism, which he recognized as a unified struggle against one enormous problem.  He also told of times when, as we all worked together but sometimes could not get along with each other, somehow, we could all get along with Richard.  Evan says that Richard was the glue that held us together, and made possible any successes we had.  This is the personal part of activism, an element too often forgotten.  But those of us who knew Richard, worked with him, and loved him, will never forget.

Farewell, Richard   2 years 14 weeks ago

Please forgive me.  I've been so "out of it" since Richard's passing, I didn't even post the info for Richard's memorial here, as promised.

Let me do that now.

For Richard:  A Commemoration in Music and Theater

As you know, our beloved friend and comrade, Richard Myers, left this world last December.  Some special friends of Richard's are planning a celebration of his life, with music and theater.  All who knew Richard or were touched by his spirit in any way are invited to attend.


Performances by:


David Rovics

Elena Klaver              The Romero Troupe

Juan Manuel Patranca

 

Refreshments will be served.


Free admission/ Donations gratefully accepted.


Please join us.

Date:  Sunday, February 10, 2013

Time:  3 pm to 6 pm

PLEASE NOTE:  LOCATION HAS CHANGED

Place:  North Classroom Building, Room 1130, on the Auraria Campus in Denver

(Speer at Larimer, SW Corner)

Auraria Campus has free parking on Sundays and is easily reached by public transit.

Farewell, Richard   2 years 14 weeks ago

Hello all,

I am Chuck or that is what my freshman and sophmore classmates chose to call as so named by our Spanish teacher Mrs. Prescott in High School back in good ole Wisner.

Look I am here to help maybe limited at best as if any one wishes to contact me Rich would have not come to Colorado if not for me initially.

Real name Kenny.

Yep Rich and I grew up in the same hometown of Wisner Nebraska.  He was born in September and I was Born in August.

So I was older by a few days and I worked for his Mom And Dad there as well.

We went to High school,Grade School, Tech School and even worked At the same places of employment for appr. the same amount of time.

We were roommates in Denver during his and mine stay in Denver.

He stayed with me for a couple of weeks until he went out apt hunting for us and found us an apt in the capitol hill area close to our tech school.in Denver.

Anyway Monday I contacted His brothe r Bob in Arizona and he said there was a website that I communicate with others in helping get a major memorial service invoked if so wish by his wife and son and the others desring to do so in possibably Lafayyette Colorado.

The church Flatirons loves to have and handlle lots of Memorial services for people who do not have family churchs.

I attend it and love it and I am a broken person.

 

Anyone interested>

Email or post it here until I get to know you  unless you are listed in the phone book.

Kenny

Extraction Resistance: Solidarity with Tar Sands Blockade and Unis'tot'en Camp- Weekend long fundraiser & workshop/training series in Denver   2 years 18 weeks ago

Let's also show some solidarity for people in other places who are under attack by the extraction industries.  Some of them posted a plea for support on COIMC's front page.  Have you read it?  Are you going to answer their call?

I hope so, because, so far, nobody else has.  Everybody seems to think the holidays are more important.  But holidays are a ruse.  Capitalism and the extraction industries never sleep.

Anti-Politics and Revolutionary Solidarity   2 years 24 weeks ago

It is unreasonable to condemn anarchists and others (there are lots of others), who wish to support prisoners, for focusing their limited time, money, and other resources on prisoners whose cases they understand and feel comfortable with.  If you wish to support prisoners, please do so by giving your own time, money, and other resources, to whichever prisoners you wish to support, in whatever fashion you choose.  I´m sure you will find there are more than you can assist, even at the most minimal level.

In the cases of some political prisoners, the support they receive is part of a reciprocal relationship, with the prisoner sharing their expertise, wisdom, and information about prison, thus continuing the work they were doing before they were incarcerated and benefiting us all.  If you don´t appreciate them, that is fine.  You have lots of company, and you may think and do as you wish.  But the rest of us are entitled to the same.

There are people who focus their effort on educating the public about mass incarceration and the direction it is currently taking.  This is valuable work that, if successful, will benefit all prisoners and all potential prisoners, which might include just about anybody.

In short, there is plenty of work to be done in this area, for those who wish to do it.  One thing we don´t need is somebody dictating to everyone else, about how we are to think about such concepts as morality and justice, what we are to do with our time, resources, and energies, and condemning us if we do not conform.  We have enough of that already. 

Is Bigger Better   2 years 25 weeks ago

I'm very glad to hear from you.  What happened is that somebody realized the story needed to be read again, by more people.  So they posted it here.  We put it on the front page, which syndicated it in Indymedia sites all over the U.S.  The story is not over with yet.  More and more people are homeless, and for the time being, that trend is likely to continue.  Too much of what is written about us is written by the profiteers, who want homelessness to get worse, so thay can make even more money off us. 

I, for one, would like very much to know the story of the original publishing of your article, and what took place afterward.  I hope you will write it, and we would be honored if you post it on Colorado Indymedia.  It will circulate better, and more people will have an opportunity to see it, if you post it as a story, rather than a comment on this story.

As for what happens to other homeless writers, we get repressed and suppressed.  We don't have the means to make ourselves heard.  When we get a format like this one, people with money and power offer to "help" us, because they think it will be easy to marginalize us and take over.  Even if we manage to fight them off, we are left without resources.  So we keep losing the race.

That's why Colorado Indymedia looks so unprofessional.  It is now run by one person (though I keep saying "we") who has no web skills, no money, no transportation, and no computer access anywhere but the public library.  I've had housing, in an isolated little town, for two years now, but it looks like I may soon be back out in the street.  Still, when I've had "help," things were much worse.  I am still trying to clean up the mess made by rich people who tried to take over Colorado Indymedia.

Despite all that, I hope you will choose to tell your story here.  It will be appreciated and accorded the proper respect.  Will you take a chance on an Indymedia site, run by a "once (actually twice) and future" homeless person?

Is Bigger Better   2 years 25 weeks ago

I just ran across this piece in Search. It's interesting how much attention and how widely distributed that one piece I wrote has continued over the three years or so after I wrote it and it was published on Change.org.

The story of that publishing, and what took place subsequently, is also an ironic, interesting and revealing tale, in it's own right as well as pertinent to the topic.

However, try to find ANY of my pieces on Change.org now. Or ANY of the other homeless writers of those years. What happened?

If anyone cares...

Slum Jack

slumjack@gmail.com

Jill Stein – The Gentle Face of The Empire   2 years 27 weeks ago

 

Your use of the sexist, ageist, and frequently racist word “breeding,” in reference to human reproduction, is so offensive, I have found it difficult to reread and study your comment enough to write a response to it. But there is a lot more than that one word here that demands rebuttal.

 

It is worth noting that you also use words like abolish, which means to command and enforce an end to--and destroy, meaning to obliterate by the use of force, against things that, by your own admission, simply don't suit your personal preferences, and things that you say “appear” in a way you don't like. You give no other reasons, beyond your own wishes.

 

Marriage has evolved over thousands of years, and has been shaped by both men and women, but it was probably invented by women. By refusing to provide sexual services without an enforceable, publicly taken pledge of support, women protected their offspring and their own ability to provide maternal care. Polygamy may have been a compromise that allowed men to have additional partners, without abandoning their children and the mothers of those children, but it has survived mainly where it was used to provide for large numbers of widows and their children. In recent years, marriage has been evolving toward more egalitarian and liberatory forms. But you have decreed the axe for marriage, because you say it conjures up images you don't like. While some marriages and some forms of marriage are and have been patriarchal, there is nothing more patriarchal than a privileged, white male telling everyone else that they must accede to his wishes, regardless of their own.

 

I doubt if many people could be found who would agree with your views on health care. The system we have in this country was shaped largely by the American Medical Association—long dominated by greedy, territorial alpha males-- which, for a century, fought every effort to make health care more accessible, make room for alternative disciplines, and shift emphasis to prevention. These expansions and alternatives, many of them woman-centered, have re-emerged only because more women have finally broken the barriers and entered the field as doctors. Most people see this as improvement. But you would prefer to eliminate health care altogether and send people with curable illnesses to an early death, to atone for choices made by our ancestors, thousands of years ago. No wonder you want to impose this by force; it could not be brought about any other way.

 

You make only the most superficial effort to examine things that may have minimal connection to your own life, before condemning them. Your only actual arguments against public education are that you “would hope” children could learn a minimal curriculum without it, and, again, that you “would prefer to see public schools abolished,” so we could return to an earlier way of life that our ancestors apparently saw fit to abandon. But you don't even bother to explore the relevant issues of why most of us—billions of us, worldwide-- value public education and want to keep and improve it.

 

I am a parent, and not a stupid one by anyone's definition, but I could not have provided an adequate education for my children, on my own. I did not have the specific knowledge of how children learn, nor the objectivity to assess their progress, to say nothing of the time to teach them or the expertise and resources to select and provide materials. Nor could I have accommodated their interests. My son studied calculus and German—two subjects I do not know. My daughter studied choral music, which requires assembling a chorus of other children who also wish to learn it. For reasons like these, parents who could afford to do so have been delegating the education of their children to professional teachers, for thousands of years. In recent centuries, people have demanded and fought for public funding for education, so that all children could benefit. When adequate funding is provided, and when educators are allowed to do their work without censorship, children have excelled at learning all disciplines, including critical thinking, which is taught in stages, over a number of years. In the present time, public funding is provided through The State. Troublesome as it is, that is the only sufficiently large mechanism we have, and providing public goods is what that mechanism was created for. Other organizations, such as private schools and churches have taken up part of this task, but their reach is not adequate, and their product is not appropriate for all families. So we use the state. As we evolve new forms of providing for public needs, the best chance for moving the provision of education into these new formations is to make education as strong as we can. That means using the best educational methods we can devise, which does not come cheap, and prioritizing the use of our tax monies to pay for it.

 

You cherrypick a few words from bell hooks. She would be outraged, if she knew you did this. Prof. hooks has been a strong advocate for bringing the best educational methods to all children. She wants to democratize education, not hand it over to a hater who would destroy it. She has worked to create new methods of teaching critical thinking, specially designed for the most underserved students and their teachers, to enable them to break their chains. She remembers, as I do, when white supremacists wanted to abolish education for people who looked like she does, and when they succeeded in doing so, temporarily, in a few places. You would expand that project to all children, permanently.

 

My next argument was to cite a historical proof that well funded public education can work, has done so in the past, and was attacked by the Capitalist War Machine, for working to its detriment. At that point, you attempted to change the subject. But you brought in a set of sources that, if read correctly, would agree with my argument.

 

Propaganda did not begin with Bernays. Indeed, classical thinkers wrote numerous texts about it. What Bernays did was to capitalize on it—to put it at the disposal of the highest bidder, and to mass produce it. Utilizing Freudian concepts enabled Bernays and his successors to apply the scientific method to propaganda. This enabled them to make even the most mediocre propaganda more insidious, and thus more effective. Earlier forms of propaganda, called “rhetoric,” had been more of an art form, relying on the intuition and talents of those rare, persuasive speakers, whose agendas might not coincide with that of a paying customer.

 

The best antidote has always been education. Lippmann saw this. He teased out how people think when they do not have sufficient information on a subject or the experiential tools to analyze it properly. They use the only tools available to them—the “pictures in their heads,” though these are unreliable. Lippmann concluded that decisions on complex issues should only be made by highly educated elites. But he made this analysis in the 1920's when most people had very little education. High school graduation rates were only 10%, with only 20% of young people ever setting foot in high school. My grandfather, born in 1902, was typical of his time. Though a lifelong reader, very much interested in learning everything he could, Grandpa had to quit school in the fourth grade, to earn a living. His voracious reading was not complemented by an exchange of critical questioning with a teacher, or by close comparisons between texts with conflicting messages. Nor did he get the opportunity to study much science, history, or arts and music, nor any advanced math or linguistics (all subjects you do not deign to include). So he did not learn to see through these lenses, nor to properly question the authors he read.

 

Unlike my Grandpa, I benefited from several units of focused study of propaganda, as well as critical reading of hundreds of texts, and essay writing accompanied by intensive discussions on a full range of disciplines. This was standard, when I went to school. As my generation put our education to use, creating new forms of culture, an economy based on sharing, and as we demanded radical democracy, rather than empty, top-down republican forms, and an end to war, the educational genie and his bottle were buried, and the money to restore him quickly pulled away. You support this repression, though literally billions of people oppose it.

 

Engineering consent is not democracy. It is the opposite. A good case study on this is Mussolini, a brilliant propagandist who fused business techniques (extreme despotism) with government. But he did not fool his people for very long.

Contrary to what you say, people are not stupid enough to consistently make the wrong choices in matters where they have full knowledge and all options are on the table. That is why the elites who designed our government created a polyarchy, instead of a democracy. That is also why we have an electoral college, an aristocratic senate, and other checks and balances that work against the people. James Madison wrote a great deal to promote this system. I think the most effective summation of his reasoning is in The Federalist # 10, written for the benefit of wealthy persons who had reason to fear the masses. And, the desire of The Few to engineer consent is the very reason why The Few want to do away with high-quality, public education.

 

You end by making a vague reference to the growing alliance between indigenous peoples and the anti-globalization movement. Yet none of your demands concur with the goals of these movements. And your very presumption to make such demands is at odds with every bottom-up, mass movement that ever existed. For one person or one small group, of any description, to claim a right to command everyone else in the world, has nothing to do with creating “more freedom.” Nor is it anarchism. It is the exchange of one set of masters for another.

Jill Stein – The Gentle Face of The Empire   2 years 29 weeks ago

Tina, I would like to address some of your arguments from my own personal perspective:

 

It appears you think abolishing marriage (if that's what you mean by "destroying the institution") and making it off limits to any consenting adults who want it would "bring about more freedom." While I do not wish to be married, I cannot agree that refusing that choice to others would give them "more freedom."

I personally feel the institution of marriage is inherently patriarchal. Its very existence creates  the illusion that hetrosexuality, monogamy and breeding are "normal." If the institition of marriage was abolished, people would be free to associate intimately in whatever way they preferred. A man and a woman could still commit to each other and be monogamous, but the existence of the instition of marriage makes it appear that heterosexual monogamy is "natural" and any alternative forms of intimacy are abnormal. 

You also seem to think that "preventative medicine" would not "bring about more freedom." If you had ever had a potentially lethal illness and been refused medical care, due to not having money, insurance, or government coverage, you might have a different opinion. I have been through that experience twice in the past few years, and I would like the freedom to be healthy, whether I have the ability to pay or not. There are currently about 50 million of us, in this country, who do not have that freedom.

I can see both sides of this argument. From a reformist perspective, preventitive medicine and healthcare for all would be a good thing. But it fails to address the problem of our self-domestication and dependence upon "experts" to fix us. The reason people get so many diseases these days is because we are living out of balance. Humans evolved to live as hunter/gatherers in small, non-hierarchal, nomadic band groups. The enslavement of plants (agriculture) and the enslavement of animals (domestication) are the cause of most modern diseases. The best civilization can offer is to try to come up with cures for the diseases it creates. 

You also think that spending on public schools would not "bring about more freedom." I was fortunate to attend public schools when there was massive investment in public education and critical thinking was part of the curriculum. That was during the first few years after Sputnik, when it was hoped that critical thinking would help and encourage us to resist "communist propaganda." I put this last phrase in quotes, because a great deal of what we were supposed to resist was neither communist nor propaganda. But the plan backfired, largely because it worked too well. That is, too well by the standards of educators, who, given enough resources, were able to teach us to resist all kinds of propaganda--capitalist, as well as other kinds.

First off, I would hope everyone would learn critical thinking skills and basic logic. Unfortunately public schools rarely teach such things. They teach some useful basic skills - reading, writing and basic math, but are public schools necessary for that? Does the government think parents are too stupid to teach their own kids that? And why should it be the responsibility of The State to do that? A lot of stuff comes along with that education - mainly indoctrination into what bell hooks would describe as the values of the White Supramacist Capitalist Patriarchy. 

If I was to look at the issue from a Leftist/Progressive POV that encourages dependence on The State, I would want a lot of money invested in public schools with a focus on logic, math and critical thinking. But since I am of the belief that The State is unecessary and undesireable, I would prefer to see public schools abolished along with The State. I believe individuals are capable of educating and taking care of themselves. Humans did it for millions of years before the surplus value created by agriculture/domestication made civilization (human slavery) necessary. 

One kind of propaganda a lot of people resisted was the suggestion that blind obedience to government is patriotism. So the new educational models were quickly buried, and the funding drastically cut. The freedom to learn and to use the learning in a way consistent with values that one develops on one's own was severely curtailed. I don't know if Dr. Stein wants to see a resurgence of this particular kind of education, but since it happened by accident the last time (and at other times, historically), I think it is worth trying again. And, whether or not the intention is to "bring about more freedom," that has been the result, when funding was adequate. (You are correct, of course, that this was not the reasoning behind government's assent, after many years of public demand, to create publicly funded education. )

I think possibly the biggest obstacle we face is the public relations industry. Ever since Edward Bernay's discovered his uncle Freud's writings, propaganda (or public relations as it is called today) has been used to control what Walter Lippmann would call "The Bewildered Herd." The very idea behind American democracy is that the general public is too stupid to make the right decsions so they must be guided. Bernays himself said this: The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process.. (The Engineering of Consent", Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science No. 250 (March 1947), p. 113;)

One argument you did not make, though I think it is important, is that the Dominant Order is now so far developed, so dominant, if you will, that electing a different president will not bring sufficient change to solve the problems brought about by that order. In my opinion, there is no individual anywhere who, even if elected president, and even with the best intentions and abilities, could bring about that much change within the framework of the presidency. If Dr. Stein were elected, I am certain she would discover this, rather quickly. 

I completely agree. I have no idea what Stein's motivations are, but even if she wants to do what she says she wants to do, she will not be allowed too. I am convinced that the process of Corporations replacing Nation States is well under way and cannot be changed through voting, protesting or any type of reformism. 

In the CIA's "Global Trends 2015" they stated that their biggest fear is the indigenous movements teaming up with the anti-globalization movements. If that is what they view as their biggest weakness, expoliting that weakness should be a priority. And that will never be done through voting or waving "No War On Iran" signs on Broadway & Canyon. 

 

 

Jill Stein – The Gentle Face of The Empire   2 years 29 weeks ago

It appears you think abolishing marriage (if that's what you mean by "destroying the institution") and making it off limits to any consenting adults who want it would "bring about more freedom."  While I do not wish to be married, I cannot agree that refusing that choice to others would give them "more freedom."

You also seem to think that "preventative medicine" would not "bring about more freedom."  If you had ever had a potentially lethal illness and been refused medical care, due to not having money, insurance, or government coverage, you might have a different opinion.  I have been through that experience twice in the past few years, and I would like the freedom to be healthy, whether I have the ability to pay or not.  There are currently about 50 million of us, in this country, who do not have that freedom.

You also think that spending on public schools would not "bring about more freedom."  I was fortunate to attend public schools when there was massive investment in public education and critical thinking was part of the curriculum.  That was during the first few years after Sputnik, when it was hoped that critical thinking would help and encourage us to resist "communist propaganda."  I put this last phrase in quotes, because a great deal of what we were supposed to resist was neither communist nor propaganda.  But the plan backfired, largely because it worked too well.  That is, too well by the standards of educators, who, given enough resources, were able to teach us to resist all kinds of propaganda--capitalist, as well as other kinds.

One kind of propaganda a lot of people resisted was the suggestion that blind obedience to government is patriotism.  So the new educational models were quickly buried, and the funding drastically cut.  The freedom to learn and to use the learning in a way consistent with values that one develops on one's own was severely curtailed.  I don't know if Dr. Stein wants to see a resurgence of this particular kind of education, but since it happened by accident the last time (and at other times, historically), I think it is worth trying again.  And, whether or not the intention is to "bring about more freedom," that has been the result, when funding was adequate.  (You are correct, of course, that this was not the reasoning behind government's assent, after many years of public demand, to create publicly funded education. )

One argument you did not make, though I think it is important, is that the Dominant Order is now so far developed, so dominant, if you will, that electing a different president will not bring sufficient change to solve the problems brought about by that order.  In my opinion, there is no individual anywhere who, even if elected president, and even with the best intentions and abilities, could bring about that much change within the framework of the presidency.  If Dr. Stein were elected, I am certain she would discover this, rather quickly.