|Progressive Calendar 01.08.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 06:23:01 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 01.08.08 1. Court watch 1.08 9am 2. Rovics/CTV 1.08 5pm 3. AAUW/film/eat 1.08 5pm 4. Human rights 1.08 5:30pm 5. GLBT homeless 1.08 6pm 6. Arabic classes 1.08 6pm 7. Salon free4all 1.08 6:30pm 8. MN 911 truth 1.08 7pm 9. TACSR/stadium 1.08 7pm 10. Heat shutoff 1.09 11am 11. Women/elections 1.09 12noon 12. Uptown NOW 1.09 5:30pm 13. Green Party 1.09 6pm 14. Immigrat/judges 1.09 6pm 15. AI StPaul 1.09 7:30pm 16. John Blair - Creeping fascism in Indiana 17. James Petras - Venezuela: euphemisms of the liberal opposition 18. CUAPB - Twin City police brutality 19. ed - bumpersticker --------1 of 19-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] minn.net> Subject: Court watch 1.08 9am CUAPB EMAIL NEWSLETTER Communities United Against Police Brutality EMAIL NEWSLETTER January 7, 2008 GREAT COURTWATCH OPPORTUNITY: DEMETRIUS COOPER CASE Demetrius Cooper Civil Trial January 8 onward 9:00 a.m. Hennepin County Government Center, Minneapolis Demetrius Cooper's case is finally going to court. To remind you about the case, Demetrius was driving on I-694. Minneapolis police were chasing another vehicle and that vehicle crashed into Demetrius' car. He pulled off at the next exit and was getting out to inspect the damages when he heard Minneapolis cop William Woodis say, "get your f*cking hands in the air or I'll kill you." Woodis dragged him out of the car and kneed him in the stomach. Woodis was then joined by approximately 30 cops who slammed him to the ground - smashing his teeth - and stomped and Tased him many times. When he asked an officer on the scene "why did they do this to me?" the reply was "you were fleeing." He was taken to jail and held for 36 hours. Besides arresting him and impounding his car, one of the officers on the scene stole money from Demetrius. Later, cops found the person they were actually chasing - a woman - and they also beat her. Demetrius is trying to get some measure of justice for his injuries and false arrest. His case against Minneapolis goes to civil trial this week and he would love to have some court support. The trial promises to be very interesting. For our newsletter readers who live in the northern suburbs, Demetrius is also suing Spring Lake Park cop Randy Brown, who Tased him repeatedly. That case starts in the Anoka County Courthouse on January 14th at 9:00 a.m. --------2 of 19-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Rovics/CTV 1.08 5pm Sainted St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesday evenings at 5pm and midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am. All households with basic cable may watch. 1/8 5pm and midnight and 1/9 10am "David Rovics in Concert: Haliburton Boardroom Massacre Tour (Part 1)". The musical voice of Democracy Now! (a repeat) --------3 of 19-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: AAUW/film/eat 1.08 5pm Tuesday, January 8: American Association of University Women Minneapolis Branch. 5 PM: Social. 5:15 PM. Film: Weapons of the Spirit. 6 PM. Dinner. 7 PM: Film continues. 2115 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis. --------4 of 19-------- From: Dara Syrkin <dsyrkin [at] loft.org> Subject: Human rights 1.08 5:30pm Tuesday, January 8, 5:30 p.m. HAPPY HOUR BOOK CLUB RAKING THROUGH BOOKS Wing Young Huie: Looking for Asian America David Parker: Before Their Time; The World of Child Labor Biloine W. Young: My Heart It is Delicious; The Story of the Center for International Health January's Raking Through Books explores human rights, activism, the power of story, and determination of spirit. Celebrate the written word accompanied by photos and illustrations. Three authors tell of their work here and around the globe, talk about the writing life, and share their insights on social justice. An evening not to be missed. January's Raking Through Books also introduces The Book Swap. Bring a book, take a book; talk to other readers. This event offers readers the chance to discuss literature with writers and each other in a super-casual setting. Free appetizers. Cosponsored by the Loft, The Rake magazine, Kieran's Irish Pub, University of MN Book Store, Peace Coffee, and KFAI Radio Kieran's Irish Pub, 330 2nd Avenue South, Minneapolis More information: www.loft.org Free --------5 of 19-------- From: hosthome [at] avenuesforyouth.org Subject: GLBT homeless 1.08 6pm GLBT Host Home Program Informational Meetings On any given night in Minnesota, there are 204-215 GLBT youth (21 and under) who are homeless. (Wilder Research 2006) One of the ways that the Twin Cities' community is addressing this problem is through the GLBT Host Home Program of Avenues for Homeless Youth, which offers an exciting approach to providing homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth with safe homes. As volunteers of the program, adults open their homes and their hearts to young people who need and are looking for a healthy and nurturing connection. If you are interested in hearing more about this community-based program, please come to one of the following informational meetings: Tuesday, January 8, 6-8pm @ Midtown YWCA 2121 East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55407 www.ywca-minneapolis.org OR Wednesday, January 9, 6-8pm @ Family and Children's Service 4123 East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55406-2028 www.fcsmn.org OR Thursday, January 10, 6-8pm @ Avenues for Homeless Youth 1708 Oak Park Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55411 www.avenuesforyouth.org Come learn about the history of the GLBT Host Home Program and about the application and screening process for potential volunteers. You will also have an opportunity to hear from hosts who shared their homes with youth. See you there! Questions? Call Raquel (Rocki) at Avenues for Homeless Youth: 612-522-1690, ext. 110. --------6 of 19-------- From: Mizna <mizna-announce [at] mizna.org> Subject: Arabic classes 1.08 6pm Arabic Classes at Mizna begin next week! There are still a few spaces left. All classes take place in our Northeast Minneapolis location. Go here to register: http://www.mizna.org/classes/index.html Arabic Language for Beginners Instructor: Antoine Mefleh Max Class Size: 12 Teenagers - Adult Tuesdays, Jan. 8 - March 25, 2008 (12 weeks) 6 - 7:30 pm The beginning Arabic class focuses on developing basic communication skills in Arabic. Students will learn Classic Fousha Arabic, standard vocabulary and grammar, and colloquial dialect. Although all four areas of language learning will be covered in class (i.e. speaking, listening, reading and writing), the focus of the Arabic class will center on developing speaking and listening abilities with the purpose of engaging in a basic conversation in Arabic. By the end of the course students will have the confidence to greet people, describe and discuss their environment, communicate emotions and feelings, and talk about general situations. Instructor will provide all class materials. --- Arabic Language II Instructor: Antoine Mefleh Max Class Size: 12 Teenagers - Adult Tuesdays, Jan. 8 - March 25, 2008 (12 weeks) 7:30 - 9 pm Arabic Language II is for students with a basic introductory knowledge of Arabic and designed to continue to develop skills in spoken and written language. Students will work with the instructor and other classmates in practicing their knowledge of both spoken and written Arabic through in class exercises as well as written materials. All materials provided by instructor. --- Arabic Language III Instructor: Antoine Mefleh Max Class Size: 12 Teenagers - Adult Thursdays, Jan. 10 - March 27, 2008 (12 weeks) 6 - 7:30 pm Arabic Language III is designed for those students who have had background in Arabic language study and would like to continue to develop their skills in reading, writing and speaking. Students will work with instructor in intense study to develop their language abilities. Instructor will provide all class materials. --- Arabic Language IV Instructor: Antoine Mefleh Max Class Size: 12 Teenagers - Adult Thursdays, Jan. 10 - March 27, 2008 (12 weeks) 7:30 - 9 pm Arabic Language IV is a continued advance course for students who want to further develop their skills in the written and spoken language. Go here to register: http://www.mizna.org/classes/index.html Mizna is a forum for Arab American art. Visit our website at http://www.mizna.org --------7 of 19-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Salon free4all 1.08 6:30pm Hi, Back again for another year. For next week, Jan.8 , 2008, the topic is Open Discussion,. Lots to share so please come. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------8 of 19-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: MN 911 truth 1.08 7pm Next MN 9/11 Truth meeting January 8th, 7 pm generally until 9 pm Lori's Coffeehouse (meeting is between the two businesses) 1441 N. Cleveland Ave St. Paul, MN Across from St. Paul U of M campus We would like to have new faces so come see what the 9/11 Truth Movement is about and what we are doing in Minnesota. We also encourage you to patronize the businesses, a middle eastern dinner or the coffee shop. Good food! Not mandatory, just encouraged. Helps if you can RSVP back to this address. --------9 of 19-------- From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at] attg.net> Subject: TACSR/stadium 1.08 7pm Taxpayers For an Anoka County Stadium Referendum Tuesday January 8, at 7pm The remaining months we will meet the Second Tuesday of every month. LOCATION: Centennial High School Red Building - Room 104 4704 North Road Circle Pines, MN The red building is on the east end of the high school complex, and is set back furthest from North Road. Enter on the East side of the building. The largest parking lots are near this building. The most recent news is that leading State legislators and the Governor have said the stadium will not be a priority for the 2008 Session but: Last month Wilf said "We look forward to advancing the stadium issue during the 2008 legislative session." The 2008 legislative session will begin on Tuesday February 12. Mr. Wilf has not given up on your money and neither should you! The only question left is: when will our representatives stop entertaining these giveaway welfare schemes to the richest men they can find at the expense of our future. Please join us for another episode in the series: "WHO WILL PAY FOR ZYGI'S STADIUM?" This could just as well mean a metro wide sales tax, including the 30 year mortgage at a total of 1.5 billion dollars. Can someone calculate how many new bridges that could buy? WE WILL HAVE LAWN SIGNS AVAILABLE AT THE MEETING. Agenda Items Include: * Website * Lawn Signs for sale! * What is happening in the 2008 Legislative Session? * How do we join our friends to the south metro to stop this, the newest welfare scheme? * Also coming to a location not so near you: The Stadium Commission has decided to hold meetings to engage some of the public. I say "some of the public" because conspicuous because by it's absence are any meetings anywhere in Anoka County. Who wants to go and ask why Anoka County is once again left out of public input to the process. For more on the Stadium commission meetings and what has happened so far, come to our meeting. Now would be a good time to think about what you will write to your representatives to tell them we do not need to waste more money on stadium giveaways to Billionaires. Please continue to tell them we want a vote as required by state law for any tax increase to pay for a stadium. Write letters to your local paper too. If you have done these things already please do it again. Any Questions, comments contact me at rrholch [at] attg.net --------10 of 19-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Heat shutoff/KFAI 1.09 11am Wednesday, JAN 9 at 11AM KFAI 90.3FM Minneapolis/106.7 St. Paul Streaming @ KFAI.org UTILITY SHUT-OFFS: Is the Cold-Weather Rule Working? Despite early frigid temperatures and the Cold-Weather rule designed to prevent heat and electric shut-offs for those unable to pay rising energy bills, the rule is proving cold comfort to many families who either dont know or cant afford even the modest payment plan required to prevent the shut-off. TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with victims of bad luck, bad finances and cold weather along with officials and advocates to find out why Minnesota should allow any exceptions to the cold weather rule. GUESTS: to be announced --------11 of 19------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Women/elections 1.09 12noon Wednesday, January 9: Minnesota Women's Consortium. Elections Roundtable Discussion. Curious what member organizations are doing for the 2008 elections? Noon-1:30 PM. Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul. --------12 of 19-------- From: Trisha Hasbargen <thasbargen [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Uptown NOW 1.09 5:30pm UPTOWN NOW Grrrl Power Happy Hour Join the Uptown chapter of National Organization for Women for its monthly happy hour- an opportunity to network and get to know other like-minded people in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. Join us for some boisterous conversation and a little trouble-making! We^̉ll save you a spot! This event is open to members and non-members alike- bring a friend! When: 5:30-7:00: Wednesday, January 9, Wednesday, February 13 Where: Aura in Calhoun Square in Uptown, www.thriftyhipster.com/minneapolis/uptown/101_blu For more information: Go to www.myspace.com/uptownnow or email nowuptown [at] yahoo.com. Trisha Hasbargen 612-859-3553 --------13 of 19-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Green Party 1.09 6pm Deep Organizing with the Green Party of MN Jan 9 - 6:00pm Become a stronger more confident Green Party organizer This is an ongoing-every second Wednesday of the Month Location : Green Party of MN office, 2395 University Ave W. #224, St. Paul 55114 (University and Raymond. Enter on the Raymond side, next to the Womens Press.) Call to confirm : Ken Pentel (612) 387-0601 kenpentel [at] yahoo.com Thinking of running as a Green Party Candidate in 2008? Jan 9 7pm Let's talk about what steps are needed and how to prepare for the upcoming elections. Ongoing-every second Wednesday of the Month Location : Green Party of MN office, 2395 University Ave W. #224, St. Paul 55114 (University and Raymond. Enter on the Raymond side, next to the Womens Press.) and our communities. Call to confirm : Ken Pentel (612) 387-0601 kenpentel [at] yahoo.com --------14 of 19-------- From: LWVSP Subject: Immigration/judges 1.09 6pm January LWVSP Meet-up Meeting: LWVMN Concurrence on Selection of Judges and LWVUS Consensus on Immigration The political positions advocated by League organizations are based on the consensus opinion of all of their members. At the January Member Meet-up, we will be forming this consensus opinion about the important issues of Immigration and Election of Judges. See the LWVSP website (www.lwvsp.org) for further information and links to the LWVMN and National LWV websites. Wednesday, January 9, 2008 - from 6 pm to 7:30 pm Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street (LWVSP's office building) SPONSORED BY: League of Women Voters of Saint Paul Please RSVP to let us know if you will be joining us! By email: amy [at] minofamily.net By phone: 651-430-2701 LWVSP Member Meetups are monthly, informal get-togethers designed to explore vital civic issues and provide an opportunity for citizens to learn about the League in an informal environment. All Member Meetups are free and open to both League members and the general public. --------15 of 19-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: AI StPaul 1.09 7:30pm AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, January 9th, at 7:30 p.m. Mad Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul. --------16 of 19--------- Remove That Man! Creeping Fascism in Indiana By JOHN BLAIR CounterPunch January 7, 2008 Fascism n 1. a system of government practiced by Benito Mussolini in Italy between 1922 and 1943 that was characterized by dictatorship, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of opposition, and extreme nationalism 2. fascism or Fascism any movement, tendency, or ideology that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism Encarta World English Dictionary 1999 Microsoft Corporation. Lately, I have heard the word "fascism" enter into American dialogue. Thus, I thought it would be interesting to see how 2008 America stacks up in admittedly my own view. I certainly use the word with caution since a mere mention inflames any discussion of politics or philosophy. First, I must admit to a personal history of confrontation of authority. Sometimes, I have found it useful and necessary to raise my voice just to get their attention. I know that often brings a hostile response as I question seemingly selfish promotion that serves no public purpose. But over the last few months, I have seen an acceleration of the destruction of our rights as citizens in favor of increasingly "centralized control of free enterprise." Numerous examples can be found at both national and state levels. EPA unilaterally rejects proposals in numerous states that wanted to control carbon dioxide emissions themselves. Not only was this completely against precedent but it also reeked of federal government control over what was considered "states' rights." Further, the Federal Communications Commission arrogantly ignored the collective wishes of a wide majority of the public but also the demands of Congress to cease and desist on new rules allowing the greater concentration of media around the country. A few months ago EPA dismissed the scientific advice of its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee in setting new standards for fine particle pollution, thus allowing increased health impacts of a controllable air pollutant. Regionally, state governments are taking a similar tack by restricting the public's right to participate in their government and the decisions it makes. Lately, Kentucky acts as if the Clean Air Act does not apply to the Commonwealth. They issue permits that do not follow rules, regs or laws. And, just last month, they issued a permit without even acknowledge receiving written comments that outlined several points requiring response prior to giving approval to increase pollution. In Indiana, it may be worse. Indiana issued permits to increase pollution levels of Lake Michigan, ignoring the pleas of surrounding states like Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. Even the weakly US House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning an Indiana permit to BP (the oil company) which increases toxics and solids the company dumps in the Lake. Apparently, BP convinced Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels that polluting less would be an economic hardship although BP had some $16.5 billion in profit through the first three quarters of 2007. Then, Indiana, in a rush to build a very expensive coal plant, rejected repeated requests for additional time for comment on the first new plant to be proposed for the state in more than twenty years. Indiana's air agency took more than two years to review and issue the permit but gave the public a comment period from just before Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve with a hearing on December 20. But the clearest instance of the government/private sector partnership that constitutes fascist behavior came January 3, during a hearing on whether Alcoa, the nation's largest aluminum producer, should be able to get bond money back on land they strip mined in the late 1970s. Alcoa admits back filling huge amounts of toxic waste from their aluminum manufacturing in southern Indiana after coal had been removed. Miners who worked there claim to have suffered death and disease from the chemical dumping. Evidence submitted early in the hearing suggested that one of many health impacts was the advent of a rare form of bile duct cancer in at least three people who had come into contact with the dumped waste, although there are only 2,500 cases in the entire nation. Unfortunately, the hearing was unlike any ever conducted in Indiana for such purposes. Usually, public hearings allow citizens to offer their thoughts on the subject at hand, often with some sort of time limitation if enough people wish to speak. Sometimes, speakers are asked to take an oath of truthfulness, most of the time, they are not. This particular hearing was conducted by, Adam Warnke, Legal Counsel for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The room was not set up like a normal hearing. It was set up so that only Mr. Warnke and a few people nearby could actually hear what was being said although the room had accessible audio equipment. People speaking had to sit across a small table in front of Warnke who served as hearing officer, Alcoa and DNR attorney and "decider" of what was said. Warnke disallowed any anecdotal evidence from afflicted miners and would accept only testimony he personally believed was sufficiently "scientific." Anything else was considered unworthy of the hearing, regardless of its veracity or relevance. I had signed up to speak and hoped to make a quick point about how the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act (SMACRA), required land to be restored to a relatively natural state, similar to what was there prior to mining. Obviously, hundreds of tons of hazardous chemicals being dumped is nothing near the natural state prior to mining. As I made my point, Mr. Warnke interrupted my testimony, asking if I had any personal knowledge of either the dumping or exactly where the dumping took place. It had been well documented that Alcoa had dumped the chemicals but I had not seen them do it, Warnke reminded me that I was "under oath" and that if I lacked personal knowledge of the dumping then I was somehow exceeding the limits he had placed on my testimony. When I challenged him to tell me if he had personal knowledge that the dumping did not take place on the site, he told me to "stop." To Warnke, the "hearing" was to be conducted like a deposition but he was the only person who could examine and cross examine witnesses and if he did not like what you were saying, he would shut you up. As someone who has attended hundreds of public hearings and meetings in my sixty-one years, I knew something was amiss. Warnke's whole demeanor disallowed sharing of information, instead, it was designed to keep information to a minimum and deny people their rights to participate in a public process. Disrespectful of my testimony, Warnke demanded that his own personal police, the DNR Conservation Officers present, make me leave the meeting when I called him out on his sham event. A video of my testimony is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_SaHh9_lPs Any one of the exhibits I offer might be taken as the misguided behavior of some bureaucratic zealot, eager to impress his boss. But combined with other evidence, a pattern emerges showing we have finally passed the threshold where the only word to describe what is happening is FASCISM. While I agree that there will be an election this year and that might be sufficient to show a lack a dictatorship, I also need to remind all that the current regimes have essentially ignored both our constitution and our laws if it was in their interests to do so. Some could argue that their actions are, indeed, dictatorial. Second, it is also clear that private enterprise has seized the government through both corrupt and legal means, just as fascism requires. That evidence is everywhere, in all three branches of government at every level. Third, increasingly the opposition to government policies is oppressed, like getting kicked out of a hearing because you spoke the wrong line, or being arrested for carrying a sign at a political rally, which has happened repeatedly during the Bush years. In fact, it happened to me in 2002 when I carried a sign to a Dick Cheney political rally and stood quietly across the street. The cops did not know what to charge me with but came up with fraudulent reasons for my arrest. I challenged the arrest and detention in Federal Court and won on both First and Fourth Amendment grounds But that is another story. See: http://www.counterpunch.org/blair1.html But those are only personal experiences of a single activist. The sad fact is that oppression is taking place all over the country against opponents of the new order. Question their authority and you may find yourself in jail. That is clearly oppressive and chilling to all but the most courageous amongst us. The last test to meet the definition of fascism is the one of "extreme nationalism." Who can deny that we are almost required to wear our patriotism on our sleeve? Just look at the flack Barak Obama had to endure when he decided to no longer wear his Chinese-made, probably lead painted American Flag pin on his lapel. For instance, while the facts indicate that American healthcare is far from the best in the world, we require political candidates to delusionally claim that it is, in some sort of declaration of allegiance to American health insurance companies. That fits the philosophy of fascism well. We all know that corporations have made government their own dominion. People are mere resources to be exploited for corporate gain with the expressed consent of their puppet government(s). If those who really are free entrepreneurs act for themselves but outside the perceived interests of the corporate cabal, they are quickly reeled in and either forced from business or required to toe the corporate line. So, what do we do about it? How do freedom loving people counter the onslaught of fascism in the United States? There is only one real way to stop this juggernaut. Stand up to it. Face it down. And, like Winston Churchill said when confronted with fascism in Europe, "Never, never, never give up!" Fascism creeps, oft needing a sequence of events. First, it requires something that scares people so they will become docile and compliant, like 9/11. Then laws are passed that seem reasonable, to protect our personal safety. Laws like the Patriot Act that may be interpreted to restrict more and more of our previous freedoms. Then, almost without seeing it happen, those who dissent are considered suspect, unpatriotic and even treasonous. In Michael Moore's recent movie, SICKO, there is a scene in which a Frenchman notes the difference between France and the US. He says "in France, the government is afraid of the peoplein America, the people are afraid of the government." It is no longer an abstract question of whether the United States could become fascist, it already has. But like the previous ventures into that dark condition, people will stand firm against it and use their collective power and will to overcome the ravages fascism begets. We really have no other choice. John Blair is a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer from Evansville, Indiana. He serves as president of Valley Watch, and advocates for environmental and public health protection across the U. S. He can be reached at: Ecoserve1 [at] aol.com --------17 of 19-------- [This ought to blow the cover off of liberal/corporate academic purposeful bs. It's a shame that the ruling class has had such success in perverting "higher" education into another front for jackels. In an "advanced" capitalist society, everything of value is magically transmuted into trash. Why do we stand for it? What is wrong with us? Have we too been magically transmuted? -ed] Venezuela: A Dictionary of Euphemisms of the Liberal Opposition by James Petras / January 7th, 2008 DissidentVoice In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. - George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language" in Why I Write Introduction The Venezuelan political process in the post-referendum period (after December 2, 2007) has experienced a wide-ranging debate, in which both critics and supporters of the Venezuelan road to socialism have participated. The extreme right-wing and the US State Department have focused exclusively on what they call the popular reaction against President Chavez' "authoritarianism", "radical agenda" and have sought to exploit the moment to discredit the President by sabotaging Chavez' efforts (backed by France and most of Europe and Latin American regimes) to negotiate a prisoner exchange between the FARC-EP guerrillas and the Uribe regime in Colombia. Two weeks after the referendum, the Federal Government fabricated a case linking the Venezuelan government to an attempt to finance the Presidential elections in Argentina. The US and right-wing propaganda offensive has failed to ignite any response within Venezuela and has thoroughly backfired. All of the major US allies in Europe (except England) and in Latin America (except Mexico and Chile) have repudiated the US attacks on Chavez. The anti-Chavez political discourse which has had some resonance in Venezuela and overseas, especially among liberals, politicians, progressive activists and social democratic academics, has been articulated by Venezuelan academics linked to NGO's, financed by overseas foundations and posing as "center-left". A critical textual reading of the center-left writings reveals a narrative replete in political euphemisms, hedged in the language and rhetoric of the social movements but which when de-constructed reveals a basic hostility to class analysis and social transformation. As George Orwell once wrote, political intellectuals are the masters of euphemisms, using language that obscures the meaning of reactionary politics: "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind". (George Orwell, Why I Write) The center-left academic ideologues in Venezuela have mastered an entire repertory of euphemism which they have trotted out for specific political goals: To unite technocrats and incrementalist liberals in the Chavez government with the liberal opposition to block any egalitarian social transformation of property relations and transition to socialism. As one of Cuba's most illustrious intellectual statesmen and former Culture Minister, Armando Hart has stated: The battle of ideas is an integral part of the struggle for socialism. A first step to demystifying the center-left rhetoric embodied in their counter-revolutionary narrative is to apply critical analysis to some of the key political euphemisms they use to attack the Chavez government and its policies. Euphemisms are abuses of language used by anti-Chavez professors to obscure ideological and class interests and loyalties. For purposes of this essay, I have selected an essay by Edgardo Lander, a prominent Venezuelan sociologist and critic of the revolutionary tendencies in the Chavista government. His essay, "El Proceso poltico en Venezuela entra en un encrucijada crtica," is an excellent example of the use of political language to obfuscate political realities, relying on euphemisms to give "an appearance of solidity to pure wind". In the post-election period, the center-left critics demanded a return to "pluralism" as an antidote to "authoritarianism". "Pluralism" is a euphemism for a class society (multiple classes = plural), in which the capitalist class dominates the electoral system ("plural parties" = domination by capitalist financing). "Pluralism" is a common euphemism used by bourgeois academics because it is a vague, abstract concept that obscures the issues of property ownership and concentration of the means of production and communication. In reality, there is nothing "plural" about capitalist democracies, by any measure of power and wealth. The existence of multiple classes, politicians and parties tells us little or nothing about the social relations, concentration of power and inequalities of access to the state. The academic critics of Chavez write of "the independence of the Central Bank". This vague and abstract notion, begs the question of independence from whom and for what interests and purposes? Central Banks that are not accountable to elected officials, respond to the financial markets or more precisely to the international and local bankers and investors. This is obviously the case in almost all capitalist democracies where the selection of the heads of the Central Banks is based on their ties, histories and close favorable relations ("confidence") with international finance capital. In contrast, a Central Bank, subject to the control of elected officials, can be influenced by voters, public opinion and social movements pressuring for favorable monetary policies. When liberals object to the increased access of the popular classes to the government and to the loss of middle class monopoly of government budgetary allocations, they resort to calls for "open politics". This is namely the re-opening of the front doors of policy makers to liberal and social democratic academic advisers. "Open politics" is a refrain frequently voiced by the US imperial state when their foundation-funded NGO's and political networks pushing for "regime change" find the going tough because of greater attention to thwarting their destabilization operations. The question avoided by the academic critics is "open" for whom and "for what political interests"? In the case of Venezuela, the real "lack of openness" is largely a function of the opposition's monopoly control over 90% of the electronic and print media and the ideological predominance of opposition academics in the public and private universities and class-rooms (including the Central University of Venezuela). In contrast, the trade unions, business associations, civil society movements of all tendencies have flourished during the Chavez decade - in what is perhaps the most vibrant expression of "open politics" in the Western Hemisphere. In these conditions then what does the call for "open politics" mean? It is simply a "defense of the indefensible" - the maintenance of private monopoly control of the mass media against any attempts to expand and deepen popular access and control over the means of communication. The academic liberals cannot openly state: "Do not democratize the media; we uphold the right of big private conglomerates to control the media, including their right to incite and defend military coups". Instead they resort to vacuous euphemisms like "open politics" - in effect disarming the popular government and undermining its attempts to open access of the mass media to the popular classes and their interests. On of the most insidious forms of US, European and ruling class efforts to undermine autonomous mass movements is the funding, training and proliferation of the misleadingly self-labeled "Non-Governmental Organizations" (NGO). The liberal academic critics (LAC) of the democratically elected Chavez government echo and mimic the rhetoric of the NGOs - accusing Venezuela of lacking popular participation and discouraging "open and democratic debate". The LAC never consider the anomaly that the leaders of the NGOs are never elected, their proposals for overseas funding are never debated or voted on by their self-designated beneficiaries and that they shape their activities to induce foreign elite donors to fund their hard currency salaries and 4X4 vehicles, lap-top computers and their "staff secretaries" etc.. The greatest enemies of democratic accountability are the NGOs who are never criticized or even mentioned in the polemical writing of the LAC in the Venezuelan "political process". The pervasive influence and proliferation of NGOs is no minor factor in the "political process" least of all in Venezuela. Worldwide there are over 100,000 NGOs receiving over $20 billion dollars/Euros from the imperial centers. Unlike the self-appointed NGOs and their leaders and liberal academic advisers, President Chavez has consulted the electorate a dozen times in free and open elections. His programs are funded by Venezuelan taxpayers and subject to the approval or rejection of elected legislators. The liberal academics rather than openly expressing their objection to the increasingly radical organized mass support and debate concerning President Chavez' socio-economic programs, resort to euphemisms about the "plebiscatory" style of governance... - forgetting about the authoritarian dictated lectures in their class rooms fostered by administrators "elected" by a "cabal of professors" with lifetime tenure. Several of the most favored euphemisms by the liberal academic critics are "anti-statism", "civil society" and "market economy". "Statism" evokes and is associated with an unresponsive powerful vertical structure which oppresses and impoverishes people, and is only answerable to arbitrary bureaucrats. While there is no doubt that several state agencies in Venezuela are inefficient and fail to carry out government programs (especially re-distributive policies), nevertheless public ownership and fiscal policies, especially energy policy has led to a vast increase in funding of public services (health, education and food distribution) for the 60% of lower income Venezuelans. Opposition to "statism" brings together a strange amalgam of far right authoritarian liberals (Hayek, Friedman), social democratic neo-liberals (Blair, Giddens, Lula, Sarkozy and their Venezuelan followers) and libertarian anarchists. The main sources of financing of the think tanks, journals and research of the critics of "statism" are the Ford Foundation, the Ebert Foundations and an alphabet soup of acronyms of other ruling class institutions. The demonizing of the "state" is what brings together the ideologues of the far right and the center-left. In the name of anti-statist "freedom", the unrestrained, deregulated and voracious activity of private national capitalist monopolies and multinational banks and corporations can flourish. The state is the only institution potentially capable of countering, controlling and confronting the giant private corporations. The fundamental issue is not "anti-statism" but the class nature of the state and its accountability to the majority of working people. The most vacuous, deceptive concept manipulated by the "anti-statist" liberal academic critics of President Chavez is "civil society" as in "supporting civil society against the state". "Civil society" is a euphemism for class society; it is a concept that occults fundamental class divisions, conflicting class organizations and exploitative relations. Bastardized versions of Gramsci's Prison Writings, where his fascist censors forced him to adopt an Aesopian language, has been adopted by liberal academics to write about a homogenous (class free) "civil society" against the (oppressive) "state". In Venezuela, "civil society" is far from homogenous, as is evident from its deep class divisions, political polarization and the chasm between the majority popular strata supporting the (Chavez-led) state and the upper class. The opposition's "civil society" discourse is a rhetorical device used by the NGO bureaucrats and liberal academic elites to obfuscate their practice of class collaboration, their support for private capital against public ownership and to attract big grants from their imperial sponsors. One of the most commonly expressed euphemisms is the reference by liberal and social democratic critics of Chavez policies to "market economics". This is another effort "to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind". Markets have existed for thousands of years throughout the world under a great variety of societies and economies - from tribal, feudal, slave, mercantile, competitive and monopoly capitalism. There are local markets based on small-scale producers and world markets dominated by less than a thousand multi-national corporations and financial institutions. The use of "market economy" evokes false images of transactions by equal producers/nations recalling a past, which never existed. The real existing "market economy" is dominated by competing and co-operating large-scale multi-billion dollar monopolies, which penetrate all unregulated economies. Their power and exploitation can only be countered by nationalist or socialist states accountable to organized class movements and central planning. Any honest and truthful discussion must pose the issue of economic strategies and the role of the state and market in its appropriate world-historical setting: imperial capital, national state, class-based social movements and institutions. When questions of democracy and participation are seriously discussed, the focus should not be exclusively on the states but should also include influential associations in society. There is no discussion or mention by Venezuelan liberal democratic theorists of the plurality of authoritarian, non-participatory and elite-dominated business associations, civic organizations, private media conglomerates, traditional parties and trade unions. Their leaders are re-elected repeatedly (some for life) without dissent or competition nor even consultation with their constituents. The liberal academics, apart from ignoring the profoundly authoritarian vertical structure of the dominant institutions in "civil society", fail to even pose the question of how this plurality of dictatorial elite institution is compatible with democracy. The liberal academics' analytical and moral blindness to the deep-rooted arbitrary rule over culture, economy and society by this anti-democratic elite is the other side of the coin to their one-sided preoccupation with the democratic deficit in elected public institutions and pro-Chavez parties, trade unions and neighborhood associations. The profound lack of clarity by Chavez critics and the exponents of liberal ideology is intimately related to their foreknowledge that speaking clearly and precisely would unmask their defense of the capitalist markets; their opposition to "statism" as opposition to public ownership; their support of authoritarian elite institutions is their defense of "civil society"; their opposition to the mass-based support for Chavez' radical initiatives is presented as "popular autonomy". The methods of the liberal academic critics are as revealing of their reactionary politics as their ill-disguised ruling class loyalties. They use a microscope to detect flaws in the fabric of the pro-Chavez social movements, voters and policies of the Chavez government and a telescope to describe the large-scale, long-term blatant intervention and collaboration of the US imperial state and its Venezuelan allies. The liberal demands are unilaterally directed at one side in the political process. Profound criticism is directed at the Chavez organizations, not to the students and academics who were bankrolled by the US state agencies. Apparently academics accepting finances from the National Endowment for Democracy shouldn't be asked to "critically re-think" their collaboration with a foreign imperial power committed to destroying democratic institutions. Liberal academic critics rely on subjective gossipy anecdotes to feed their anti-Chavez animus, instead of open public facts. The speculate on "Presidential ambiguity" regarding the referendum result, instead of listening and watching President Chavez immediate and forthright recognition of the referendum.s defeat. The political language of euphemism is designed to make lies sound truthful, to make ruling class exploitation respectable, and to give liberal-democratic rhetoric the appearance of solidity. This brief inventory of euphemism is designed to unmask the ideologies of anti-Chavism "lite" and to encourage the advance of Venezuelan socialism. James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). His latest books are The Power of Israel in the United States (Clarity Press, 2006) and Rulers and Ruled (Bankers, Zionists and Militants (Clarity Press, 2007). He can be reached at: jpetras [at] binghamton.edu. Read other articles by James, or visit James's website. This article was posted on Monday, January 7th, 2008 at 5:00 am and is filed under Capitalism, Language, Socialism, Venezuela. Send to a friend. --------18 of 19-------- NEW TASER DATA ANALYSIS SHOWS DISTURBING PATTERN Michelle Gross, Communities United Against Police Brutality CUAPB reviewed all 227 incidents of Taser use in Minneapolis in 2006. What we learned was pretty astounding. First, we learned that although Blacks are about 18% of the city's population, they are 63% of the people who were Tased in 2006. Blacks were 75% of those receiving 5 or more cycles of Taser, though one white person received 11 Taser cycles. Blacks were also 67% of people who received Tasers to improper areas of the body (according to MPD policy). The study also revealed that there were 16 cases (7%) in which people were Tased while handcuffed. In reviewing the data by precinct, it is clear that some cops are much faster to use Tasers than others. The 1st precinct and 4th precinct used Tasers most often - together they made up 65% of the uses. By contrast, the 2nd precinct made up only 9% of the uses. Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments have sold the community on Tasers as a less lethal substitute for deadly force during encounters. Yet it is clear from this data that Tasers are being used in a wide range of situations in which the use of deadly force could never be justified. The data we reviewed indicates the charges associated with each case and only three cases involved weapons charges. Quite a few incidents of Taser use (27 or 12%) involved no crime but were as a result of a "crisis." Given the dangerous and sometimes even deadly nature of Tasers, it is frightening that police are relying more heavily on these weapons in situations where other tools and techniques may well have worked better. Even as the use of Tasers skyrockets and as these weapons become even more powerful, police departments on both sides of the river are attempting to loosen the policies that control their use and to place them lower on the force continuum. The community will need to remain vigilant before we begin to experience the rates of Taser deaths that have afflicted cities in other parts of the country. BLACK COP LAWSUIT EXPOSES DEEP LAYERS OF MPD RACISM A stunning lawsuit filed in with the federal court by five Black officers reveals the depths of racism and hostile work environment within the Minneapolis Police Department leadership. To read the suit, go to our website at www.cuapb.org and click on the Reports and Documents tab. Besides the expected (though still outrageous) issues of denial of promotions, unfair discipline, denial of training opportunities and overtime assignments, this document reveals that in 1992 every Black officer on the force received a death threat signed "KKK" through interoffice police mail. If you think that's old history, though, it just lays the groundwork for everything that came after. Remember that in 2002 a number of cops sent blatantly racist emails to then city council member Natalie Johnson Lee (at the time the only Black member of the council) using city email accounts and received no discipline. Just last year, Lieutenant Robert Kroll openly referred to Black US Congressman Keith Ellison as a terrorist without receiving any discipline. The lawsuit reveals that Kroll, a crony of Chief Dolan, has a "white power" patch sewn onto his motorcycle jacket. Is it any wonder that Kroll has a long list of complaints against him by members of the community? Dolan's tacit approval of racism and discrimination on his force should be a surprise to no one. Dolan was inspector of the 4th precinct during some of the worst police violence against Black Northside residents in years, including the Julius Powell shooting. Did anyone expect anything different, now that he runs the whole force? Just as people in the community feel the heavy hand of racism from the MPD, it seems clear that officers of color would also experience this racism in their working conditions. Months ago, we warned the community about Dolan's "whiteification" of police leadership. With the latest round of demotions of Blacks, Dolan has run virtually every person of color out of his administration. This is absolutely a move in the wrong direction and destroys any hope of diversifying the force or improving police community relations. The five officers who are suing have taken a bold step and while two of these officers have had less than stellar relationships with the community themselves, the community nonetheless needs to support this suit as a means of exposing the racist underpinnings of this department and as a necessary step toward justice. We will continue to report on this suit as it moves closer to a court date. Communities United Against Police Brutality 3100 16th Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55407 Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867) Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South http://www.CUAPB.org --------19 of 19-------- -------------------- Support Our Empire -------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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