Progressive Calendar 12.03.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 08:01:17 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    12.03.08

1. KFAI/education    12.03 11am
2. Bust the bailout  12.03 12noon
3. Jerusalem/film    12.03 12:45pm
4. Resource crisis   12.03 1:30pm
5. Peace vigil       12.03 4:30pm
6. Body burden       12.03 7pm
7. Homelessness/film 12.03 7pm

8. Vs Nov forecast   12.04 10:30pm
9. Eagan peace vigil 12.04 4:30pm
10. Northtown vigil  12.04 5pm
11. Iraq resistance  12.04 6pm
12. Terror/dissent/f 12.04 7pm
13. NW citizens      12.04 7pm
14. Cuba/Obama       12.04 7pm
15. Sustainability/f 12.04 7pm

16. David Solnit - Seattle WTO shutdown 9 years ago: 5 lessons for today
17. Jeremy Scahill - Not one anti-war voice; Obama's kettle of hawks
18. William Blum   - Vote first, Q later. You wanted change with that?
19. ed             - Bailout (poem)

--------1 of 19--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: KFAI/education 12.03 11am

"FM 90.3/Minneapolis-106.7/St. Paul and STREAMING LIVE AT

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with Growth & Justice
senior staff about that organization's report and proposal for investments
in Minnesota's public education system "Smart Investments in Minnesotas
Students." We'll ask them how anything ambitious can be done in a climate
of contracting revenues and rising deficits. And we'll ask some others how
they think this might work in any climate.

 DANE SMITH - President, Growth & Justice
 ANGIE EILERS - Senior Policy Director, Growth & Justice

And we want your thoughts and questions about what to do about education
investment. CALL IN: 612-341-0980

KFAI Signal Upgrade and Digital Conversion Complete

Final approval from the FCC to "Flip The Switch" on KFAI's digital signal
and power increase was granted on Friday, November 14, 2008, and KFAI's
Chief Engineer, Dan Zimmermann, turned on the 900-watt transmitter Sunday,
November 16, 2008.

With the new signal project complete, KFAI's 900-watt directional antenna
on top of the IDS Tower has significantly increased coverage at 90.3 FM to
the east and southeast of Minneapolis. Signal coverage has also increased
somewhat to the west, northwest, north and northeast of Minneapolis,
though not as strongly as to the east and southeast. Listeners report
improvement in areas such as Richfield, Bloomington, Golden Valley and
Plymouth. We have also heard about improvement in some areas of Columbia
Heights, while other areas of Columbia Heights have not improved. You can
view the signal coverage area here. We would like to hear more reports
about the 90.3FM signal and its reach. To make a report on KFAI's new
signal coverage, call 612.341.3144, ext.33. When leaving your message, be
sure to include the exact address and zip code of the location from which
you listen to KFAI.

In addition to our higher-powered FM signal, KFAI now has a digital HD
signal which can be heard on HD radio receivers. At present, over 1800
stations in the US are broadcasting HD radio.

The digital signal is crystal clear and has the ability to carry an
additional programming channel. KFAI is in the planning stage for the
second channel.

Next steps for signal upgrade include repair of KFAIs translator at
106.7FM. Due to old and failing equipment, the 106.7FM translator is
currently sending out a signal at 70% power. A new digital translator will
be installed in St. Paul that will return 106.7FM to 100% of its regulated
power. So if you are having trouble hearing us in St. Paul, you will soon
be able to hear us clearly on both frequencies!

Thank you to Board of Directors President Jeremy Nichols and Program
Director Adam Mehl, who contributed to this report.

Special New Signal, New Member Drive December 3rd - 5th

KFAI is non-commercial, listener-supported radio. Many listeners have
given generously to support community radio in 2008, but some folks have
not had a chance, yet. In honor of the new signal, and to lower expenses
for the new transmitter, KFAI will hold a special "New Signal, New Member"
drive for three days in the first week of December. Wednesday, December
3rd, through Friday, December 5th, KFAI volunteers will invite new members
to join the station, and lapsed members to come back in 2008 if they
missed the chance in earlier drives. This is a one-time, special
opportunity to celebrate growth at KFAI, and have some fun for folks who
are planning on year-end giving. Tell your friends who may not have become
members yet in 2008 to tune in!

KFAI also has a New Member Challenge Fund for this short drive. If you are
interested in donating matching dollars to the New Member Challenge Fund,
contact Pam Hill Kroyer by email, or by phone:  612.341.3144, ext. 22. All
contributions are welcome.

--------2 of 19--------

From: ElyDog <elydog [at]>
Subject: Bust the bailout 12.03 12noon

December 3, Wednesday - Lunch Hour, 12:00 noon, 800 Nicollet Mall

Bust the Bailout!

US Bank is receiving $6.6Bn of the massive $700Bn bailout passed by
Congress, even theough the bank was not having financial difficulties.
Meanwhile, people are losing their homes all over the city.  Foreclosures
are at the root of the present economic crisis.

Tell U.S. Bank to use this windfall to help the community, not enrich
their sharhodlers, buy other companies, or pay higher executive bonuses.
Remember, this money is OUR tax money and we have every right to make
demands about how it is used.

--------3 of 19--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Jerusalem/film 12.03 12:45pm

Documentary: "Jerusalem: East Side Story"
Wednesday, December 3, 12:45 p.m. Edina Community Library, 5280 Grandview
Square, Edina.

In 1948 the western part of Jerusalem fell under Israeli control; in 1967
the eastern part fell under Israeli occupation. Since then, Israel has
pursued a policy of Judaizing the city, aiming to achieve "Jewish
demographic superiority." Part of this policy is to drive Palestinian
Muslims and Christians out of the city, denying their presence, history,
and ties to the land. This documentary takes you on a journey exposing
Israel's policy to gain supremacy and hegemony over the city and its
inhabitants. The film includes interviews with Palestinian and Israeli
leaders, human rights activists and political analysts. During the
discussion to follow, Fadia Abul-Hajj, will share what her family is
experiencing while living there today. Sponsored by: Grandmothers for
Peace. Endorsed by WAMM.

--------4 of 19--------

From: Jon Freise <jon_freise [at]>
Subject: Resource crisis 12.03 1:30pm

Nate Hagens of The Oil Drum speaks Dec. 3, 1:30pm

Nate has a very unique perspective. Trained in economics at the University
of Chicago, Nate used to manage large hedge funds. He set that life aside
to pursue a Phd in Ecological Economics (studying under such luminaries as
Robert Costanza and Charles Hall). He also edits The Oil Drum, one of the
largest information exchanges on the topic of resource depletion. I feel
his perspective allows him to see more clearly than most why we struggle
to find a sustainable way forward.

I recommend everyone try to find time to attend. -Jon Freise Energy
Transition Working Group

The Pending Resource Crisis: Understanding Our Biophysical and Biological
Constraints to Sustainability
December 3, 2008 1:30 pm
335 Borlaug Hall, U of M St. Paul Campus

Nate Hagens, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of
Vermont, and editor of The Oil Drum

Given the scarcity of our natural resources, why is it such a challenge
for human societies to make cultural choices that reflect these realities?
How does the human experience as a biological being - brains, behavior,
and beliefs - impact our shared decision-making on such critical topics?

Hagens posits that by acknowledging and understanding both our biophysical
(resource depletion) and biological (cognitive barriers, habituation, and
belief systems) constraints we will be better able to choose cultural
opportunities for sustainability.  He draws upon and synthesizes recent
research in cognitive neuroscience, neuroeconomics, and evolutionary
biology and their applications to sustainable behaviors in addressing
energy and environmental limits.  Ultimately Hagens looks for those
solutions that aligned us with not only what we have, but who we are.
Discussion will follow.

Prior to coming to the Gund Institute, Nate was President of Sanctuary
Asset Management, Managing Director of Pension Research Institute, and
Vice President at the investment firms Salomon Brothers and Lehman
Brothers. Nate is an editor of The Oil Drum, an online global think tank
devoted to energy and sustainability.

--------5 of 19--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Peace vigil 12.03 4:30pm

Wednesday, December 3 Weekly Peace Vigil: Every Wednesday, 4:30 to 5:30
p.m. 50th Street and Halifax, Edina (by Lund's Parking Lot). Sponsored by:
Grandmothers for Peace. Endorsed by WAMM.

--------6 of 19--------

From: Jane Powers <janepow [at]>
Subject: Body burden 12.03 7pm

Art & Healing:  Body Burden
November 20, 2008 - January 9, 2009
Opening reception & performance:  December 3, 2008
Doors open:  6 pm    Performance:  7 pm
Intermedia Arts:  2822 Lyndale Ave., S, Minneapolis
donation at the door

Art & Healing: Body Burden takes an intimate look at the effect of
environmental toxins on the most vulnerable and most frequently exposed
sectors of our population. Featuring gallery exhibitions, performances,
brown bag dialogues and youth workshops, Intermedia Arts invites you to
join local artists, environmental activists and health care practitioners
in re-working our definition of a "healthy community." for more info:

jane powers janepow [at] 612.203.3248 studio/cell 612.823.6921

--------7 of 19--------

From: Bill Benton <tra1776 [at]>
Subject: Homelessness/film 12.03 7pm

Mary Kearns is a member of the Real Aemrica television troupe (plays mad
space scientist in latest episode). She has produced a documentary on
homeloessness.  Support her, go see it!

Rocky Mountain Homelessness, a documentary that seeks to explore poverty
here in the U.S.,  airs
Wed Dec 3rd at 7 p.m.
at 4137 Bloomington Ave. S/Center for Independent Artists, aka, the CIA.
(inside El Colegio School)
Tickets are only $5--free if you're homeless.

Did you know that,
--the U.S. now has the greatest gap between the rich and the poor of any
wealthy, industrialized western nation?
--12.5% of Americans now live in poverty?
--24.5% of African-Americans currently live in poverty here in the U.S.?
--The above statistics don't even include Americans earning more than the
minimum wage and working full time?  A single adult earning $7 per hour and
working 40 hours per week is considered to be living above the poverty
line--even if he/she lives in an expensive city such as New York or San
--If we were to include such folks in the above stats, we'd probably find
that at least 20-25% of Americans now live in poverty!

--------8 of 19--------

From: WRC alt email <welfarerights [at]>
Subject: Picket Nov forecast 12.04 10:30pm

Join with a growing coalition of groups (including the Welfare Rights
Committee) as we picket the "November Forecast!"
When: 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008
Where: MN State Capitol building, outside room G-15
Why: It's time to "bail out" poor and working people, not banks and

The Forecast is where MN officials announce whether the state has a budget
deficit or a surplus. This year, it is expected that the state will have a
budget deficit of over $4 billion. We already hear politicians from both
sides of the aisle saying nothing but, "cuts, cuts and more cuts." We say
not one dime in cuts to poor and working people. If the state needs more
money, the state should tax the rich, tax the corporations, demand a just
bailout from the feds, or tell some of these big banks to cough up some
cash they got from the bailout!

Join the campaign for the Bailout Bill for Poor and Working People. The
Coalition is getting sponsors for a bill that will, among other things:
--Extend unemployment insurance.
--Increase eligibility for unemployment insurance
--Put a moratorium on the 5-year limit on welfare
--Put a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions from foreclosures
--Put a moratorium on the layoffs of state workers.
--Create prevailing wage jobs immediately.

If your group is interested in joining the Coaltion for the Bailout for
Poor and Working People, please contact the WRC for now - we will invite
you to the group!

Welfare Rights Committee
PO Box 7266 (3104 16th Ave S), Mpls, MN 55407
Primary email: welfarerightsmn [at]
Secondary email: welfarerights [at]

--------9 of 19--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 12.04 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------10 of 19--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 12.04 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------11 of 19--------

From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at]>
Subject: Terrorizing Dissent 12.04 7pm

Film Screening and Discussion with Members of the RNC8
Thursday Dec. 4th at 7pm
JBD Auditorium
basement of Campus Center)
Macalester College 1600 Grand Ave St. Paul, MN 55105

Partial documentary film screening about the 2008 Republican National
Convention protests and police brutality followed by a discussion with
members of the RNC8 (protest organizers now facing felony Conspiracy to
Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism charges) and Macalester alumni involved
in the protests and the continuing legal battles.

Sponsored By Macalester College Peace and Justice Committee-Students for a
Democratic Society (MPJC-SDS) * * * mpjcsds [at]

--------13 of 19--------

From: "Allan Hancock" <hancock46B [at]>
Subject: NW citizens 12.4  7pm

Brookdale Library Thursday,  Dec. 4, at 7 PM
6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
(952) 847-5600

Now that the campaigning is over and the elections are almost complete it
is time to weigh in as citizens to see that our elected representatives at
the state and local level hear our voices.  As a previous candidate for
the state legislature I would like to continue the dialog with friends and

Please join other neighbors at the Brookdale library on Thursday, December
4 at meeting rooms A & B.  This meeting will be a non-partisan town
hall forum.

Following our discussions an agenda for future meetings will be set and
anyone interested can join me at the Capitol in January to lobby for some
of your concerns. Refreshments will be served.

Any questions or need a ride please contact:
Allan Hancock, Community Organizer (763)-561-9758 or email:
hancock46B [at]

--------14 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Cuba/Obama 12.04 7pm

Thursday, 12/4, 7 pm, panel discussion "U.S. Cuban Relations: Will Obama
Make a Difference?" with U of Havana prof Soraya Castro, St John/St
Benedict prof Gary Prevost and moderated by U of M prof August Nimtz,
Benjamin Lippincott Room, Social Science Tower room 1314, 267 - 19th Ave
S, Mpls.

--------15 of 19--------

From: Curt McNamara <mcnam025 [at]>
Subject: Sustainability/film 12.04 7pm

Celebrate Sustainability Film Series
Doors 6:30 p.m., Film 7 p.m. Free!
MCAD College Center
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
2501 Stevens Ave. S.

Please join us for the following screening about key sustainability issues
affecting our world. Discussion with practicing eco-designers after the

The 11th Hour: Turn Mankind's Darkest Hour Into Its Finest
Produced and narrated by Leonard DiCaprio
The film explains our ecological crisis and points out pathways for
change -- we can reduce our footprint by 90% with present solutions.

--------16 of 19--------

Seattle WTO Shutdown 9 Year Anniversary: 5 Lessons for Today
by David Solnit
Published on Sunday, November 30, 2008 by

What lessons can we learn from the shutdown of the 1999 WTO Ministerial in
Seattle 9 years ago today and from the last decade and a half of global
justice organizing as we face today's major crises under an Obama
Administration? This was the question a group of organizers from different
parts of the last decades of global justice organizing responded to last
week at a forum in New York City put together by Deep Dish TV, an
independent video/media pioneer. Here are my thoughts.

Nine years ago today: Tens of thousands of people from across the US and
around the world rose up against the WTO's meeting in Seattle, as
movements demonstrated across the planet, we shut down the WTO with mass
nonviolent direct action and sustained street resistance all week in the
face of martial law, police and national guard violence, arrests, tear
gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets. By the end of the week, the poorer
countries' government representatives, emboldened by the street protests
and under pressure from movements at home, refused to go along and the
talks collapsed.

Nearly 15 years ago: On January 1, 1994, people of Chiapas - calling
themselves Zapatistas - rose up against the prototype free trade
agreement, NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement).

Nearly 14 years ago: Exactly one year later, January 1, 1995, the World
Trade Organization (WTO) - a brainchild of the annual ruling class World
Economic Forum- was officially launched from out of the post-WWII General
Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT).

Four months ago: Last July, 2008, the WTO collapsed again, very likely for
good. It was a desperate attempt to revive the WTO, using the pretense of
the global food crisis in an effort to intensify the very policies that
had caused widespread hunger and food riots around the world in the first
place. Longtime global justice organizer Deborah James wrote, "When the
history of the seismic shifts occurring today in the global economy is
written, the failure in July 2008 of corporate interests and some
governments to expand the World Trade Organization (WTO) through the Doha
Round will stand as a watershed moment."

James explained, "It was in this lakeside town where negotiators threw in
the towel on their seven fruitless years of trying to expand a particular,
corporate-driven set of policies, to which the majority of governments
have said 'no' time and time again (in Seattle in 1999, Mexico in 2003,
and Geneva in 2006). WTO Director General Pascal Lamy attempted a
last-minute push to conclude a Doha deal by calling for an exclusive,
invitation-only mini-Ministerial of around 30 of the WTO's 153 members in

In fact, the WTO had become so unworkable in recent years, it had blown
off its 2007 Ministerial meeting which its own constitution requires it to
hold every two years. The WTO now remains in a near-death coma - a tribute
to the power of social movements around the world. But the global elites
refuse to let go of their dream of the WTO as a vehicle to control the
global economy...

Two weeks ago: The G20 (Group of 20) meeting of finance ministers from 20
top economies met in Washington DC November 14th to 15th in the wake of
the US-led economic collapse. Again, they used the economic crisis to
issue a statement that included, "we shall strive to reach agreement this
year on modalities that leads to a successful conclusion to the WTO's Doha
Development Agenda."

We face a series of major crises - financial meltdown (the financial
institutions - hardwired to be unaccountable, anti-democratic - need to be
destroyed, but the real crisis is the human and environmental suffering),
climate change, and war (the US-led military empire with bases across the
planet and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). What was said in the streets of
Seattle 9 years ago - "casino economy," "house of cards," "doomsday
economy" - has proven ever more true in recent months. The Direct Action
Network wrote 9 years ago, "Their new strategy to concentrate power and
wealth, while neutralizing people's resistance, is called 'economic
globalization' and 'free trade.' But these words just disguise the
poverty, misery and ecological destruction of this system."

Soon we will be organizing under a popular Obama Administration. Obama and
his campaign captured people's hopes and desires for a better country and
world, and tens of thousands of people self-organized outside of the
well-orchestrated Obama campaign. His election seems to lifted off the
sense of despair that has grown since the repressive war-making aftermath
of September 11th, 2001, and the following invasion of Iraq and Bush
re-election. This is good for organizing - people step up out of hope, not
despair. It has also left many of us radicals, revolutionaries and
anti-authoritarians, who have a deep critique of Democrats, political
parties, and politicians, conflicted or confused. Whether this becomes a
new space for real positive changes or an era in which movements and
resistance get co-opted depends on whether and how we organize - and
perhaps if we learn key lessons from past global justice (and other)
organizing and also understand how Obama's campaign (and the
self-organized independent efforts for Obama) communicated, organized and

Here are five of my own lessons, reflecting on the Seattle WTO shutdown
and global justice organizing 9 years ago.

We can't afford to just fight the numerous symptoms of the system or
organize around single issues. We need to constantly articulate the
systemic root causes of of those symptoms. The WTO and corporate
globalization provided a clear anti-systemic framework for a movement of
movements around the world to converge, take action and understand
ourselves as a global counter-power standing up to global corporate

The 100,000 color postcards and broadsheets that invited people to "Come
to Seattle" each read: "Increasing poverty and cuts in social services
while the rich get richer; low wages, sweatshops, meaningless jobs, and
more prisons; deforestation, gridlocked cities and global warming; genetic
engineering, gentrification and war: Despite the apparent diversity of
these social and ecological troubles, their roots are the same - a global
economic system based on the exploitation of people and the planet. A new
world is possible and a global movement of resistance is rising to make it
happen. Imagine replacing the existing social order with a just, free and
ecological order based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation."

In the wake of Seattle, many used the concept of a single "movement"
focused on the "issue" of corporate globalization to limit and contain the
many varied movements that fight against the system of corporate
globalization. This frame of a single movement is most often used by
corporate media, but also by left writers, usually to contain and
marginalize and to write articles declaring it dead every so often.

There is actually no global justice movement. "Global justice" instead is
a common space of convergence - a framework where everyone who fights
against the system we call corporate globalization (or capitalism, empire,
imperialism, neoliberalism, etc) and its impacts on our communities can
make common cause and make our efforts cumulative. This anti-systemic
framework helps diverse groups and movements to come together for
mobilizations or to support each other. This is the movement of movements
that fights for global justice, often winning, and has become stronger
over the last nine years.

Strategy trainer Patrick Reinsborough writes in his essay, Post-Issue
Activism, that the crises call for "a dramatic divergence from the slow
progression of single-issue politics, narrow constituencies and band-aid
solutions. Too often the framework of issue-based struggle needs to affirm
the existing system in order to win concessions and thus fails to nurture
the evolution of more systemic movements."

In the aftermath of Seattle, many globally-focused activists anchored
their organizing in local struggles against the impact of the global
system (like workers, environmental justice, anti-privatization fights)
and local organizers re-framed their struggles within their bigger global
context (anti-corporate or corporate globalization), allowing our various
efforts to be complementary and cumulative rather than competitive or

When we shut down the WTO in Seattle (or the the San Francisco Financial
District the morning after the US invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003) we had a
clear strategy framework for that one city for that one day. Key elements
that made the strategy framework work were:
 * A Clear What and Why Logic: We wrote at the time, "The World Trade
Organization has no right to make undemocratic, unaccountable, destructive
decisions about our lives, our communities and the earth. We will
nonviolently and creatively block them from meeting."
 * Mass Organization and Mass Training: hundreds were directly involved in
coordination and making decisions, and thousands participated in trainings
to prepare.
 * Widely Publicized: Both movement folks and the public knew what we had
planned, when and where, allowing for thousands to join.
 * Decentralization: Everyone involved in organizing understood the
strategy, groups were self-organized and self-reliant, and the action
allowed for a wide range of groups to take action in their own way.

As movements, can we develop strategy frameworks for our region,
nationally or internationally, not just for one day but over time?

Most who shut down the WTO in Seattle were involved in local groups and
campaigns, but some who only participated in big actions and mobilizations
and saw that as the movement were lost when mobilizations became less
frequent or movements switched to other tactics. Organizing for one-time
actions or mobilizations or repeating our favorite or most familiar tactic
(marches, conferences, direct action, educational events, etc) without
ongoing campaigns that have clear long-term goals as well as short term,
winnable, along-the-way-milestone goals can lead to burnout and does not
build long-term movements to make change.

This is essential as we push (or "give cover" to, depending on your
analysis) Obama to bring our troops home from Iraq, Afghanistan and the
rest of the planet and stand up corporations and their economic system
driving the crisis. With Obama in office, the cutting edge of organizing
for change is to clearly define and publicize very understandable goals.
For example, it is not enough to say "end the war," which Obama also says,
but to clearly define what ending the war means (such as troop removal by
the 16-month deadline he committed to in his campaign, bring ALL troops
AND private contractors home, close all bases and stop pushing for the
corporate invasion of Iraq, as in the case of oil corporations and the US
government) scheming to control Iraq's oil).

People directly asserting their power can win changes and shift the
underlying power relationships; from the WTO shutdown, to its near death
last summer, to anti-corporate victories like the Coalition of Imokalee
Farm Workers recent victory over Burger King, or the Water Wars in which
Bolivia's movements drove out multinational corporation Bechtel, who had
privatized their water. This means also creating directly democratic,
participatory organizations and asserting our power from below to force
changes or remove those who have taken power from above if they refuse to
make needed changes.

If movements don't articulate their own people power-based strategies to
achieve changes, our movements will be demobilized every two or four years
as people get drawn into the official, established channels for change,
national elections. We saw this in 2004, when, lacking a viable
well-publicized strategy framework to stop the Iraq war, many people
instead worked to un-elect Bush. Whatever ones belief about elections or
parties or politicians is, most would agree that it is always independent
movements who force (or support) politicians into making positive changes
either in conjunction with or in place of elections.

Nobody knows exactly how to change things. New forms of resistance,
communication and organizing from experimentation have been key to the
successes of the global justice movements. Alternately, when we repeat a
tactic or rhetoric that worked once or fetishize and build our identity
out of a certain tactic (like parading giant puppets, reclaiming street
parties, black bloc, vigils or Seattle-style shutdowns), they not only can
be more easily repressed or co-opted, but the system can inoculate the
people against them. Our actions are experiments in a laboratory of
resistance. The value of any experiment is when we analyze and reflect
together on what worked and what did not and why. Creating a culture of
creativity, reflection and analysis is key.

The world is made of stories, and our battles for social change are
battles of competing stories. Out actions can be our most powerful
storytelling, like the Zapatista uprising, the Seattle Shutdown, or the
Feb. 15, 2003, global antiwar protest of millions everywhere. The system
fights back by trying to take control of the meaning of our stories and by
telling its own stories, like the post-September 11 War on Terror. We need
to be able become powerful storytellers, to fight and win control of the
meaning of our stories. Many of us have been giving "Battle of the Story"
storytelling skills trainings developed by to be able to
better fight and win stories and have fun and keep engaged in the process.

My sister Rebecca Solnit wrote in her essay in the soon-to-be published
booklet The Battle of the Story of the Battle in Seattle: "Official
history is an accretion of acceptable versions. Before those arise there
are great ruptures when the world actually changes and no one yet is in
control of the meaning of what has happened or what kind of a future it
will lead to. In these great pauses, much is possible, including a change
of mind on a broad scale. November 30, 1999 was one of those ruptures.
Before Seattle, the WTO had seemed indestructible, its agenda of taking
over the world and creating the most powerful monolithic institution in
history inevitable. What happened in Seattle mattered."

Since then corporate media, cops and even a movie actor-turned-director
have tried to assert control of the meaning of November 30th, 1999. That's
why we who are part of that history need to become historians and tell our
own people's history, because what people think happened in Seattle shapes
what we think about capitalism, resistance and repression. It matters.
That's why a small group of us Seattle WTO shutdown organizers set up the
Seattle WTO People's History Project website,, and
have invited people who were there to tell their stories, and invite
everyone to read them.

Next November 30th will be the ten-year anniversary of the shutdown of the
WTO. As I write this, a global network of climate justice groups is
meeting in Poznan, Poland, to organize around their call for mass global
direct action next year against the root causes of and false solutions to
climate change. The call reads in part: "On November 30, 2009, exactly ten
years after the historic WTO shutdown in Seattle, world leaders will come
to Copenhagen for the UN (CAPS) Climate Conference. This will be the most
important summit on climate change ever to have taken place, but there is
no indication that this meeting will produce anything more than a
green-washed blueprint for corporate control of the world. We have to take
direct action against the root causes of climate change during the
Copenhagen talks."

David Solnit organized with the Direct Action Network in Seattle in '99
and currently organizes with Courage to Resist supporting GI resistance.
He edited Globalize Liberation and has co-written/edited with Rebecca
Solnit the forthcoming book The Battle of the Story of the Battle of
Seattle (AK Press).

For the Copenhagen 2009 call for action:

Seattle WTO People's History Project encourages everyone to enjoy or post
people's history at:

--------17 of 19--------

Not One Anti-War Voice
Obama's Kettle of Hawks
December 2, 2008

Barack Obama has assembled a team of rivals to implement his foreign
policy. But while pundits and journalists speculate endlessly on the
potential for drama with Hillary Clinton at the state department and Bill
Clinton's network of shady funders, the real rivalry that will play out
goes virtually unmentioned. The main battles will not be between Obama's
staff, but rather against those who actually want a change in US foreign
policy, not just a staff change in the war room.

When announcing his foreign policy team on Monday, Obama said: "I didn't
go around checking their voter registration." That is a bit hard to
believe, given the 63-question application to work in his White House. But
Obama clearly did check their credentials, and the disturbing truth is
that he liked what he saw.

The assembly of Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Susan Rice and Joe Biden is
a kettle of hawks with a proven track record of support for the Iraq war,
militaristic interventionism, neoliberal economic policies and a worldview
consistent with the foreign policy arch that stretches from George HW
Bush's time in office to the present.

Obama has dismissed suggestions that the public records of his appointees
bear much relevance to future policy. "Understand where the vision for
change comes from, first and foremost," Obama said. "It comes from me.
That's my job, to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to
make sure, then, that my team is implementing." It is a line the
president-elect's defenders echo often. The reality, though, is that their
records do matter.

We were told repeatedly during the campaign that Obama was right on the
premiere foreign policy issue of our day - the Iraq war. "Six years ago, I
stood up and opposed this war at a time when it was politically risky to
do so," Obama said in his September debate against John McCain. "Senator
McCain and President Bush had a very different judgment." What does it say
that, with 130 members of the House and 23 in the Senate who voted against
the war, Obama chooses to hire Democrats who made the same judgement as
Bush and McCain?

On Iraq, the issue that the Obama campaign described as "the most critical
foreign policy judgment of our generation", Biden and Clinton not only
supported the invasion, but pushed the Bush administration's propaganda
and lies about Iraqi WMDs and fictitious connections to al-Qaida. Clinton
and Obama's hawkish, pro-Israel chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, still refuse
to renounce their votes in favour of the war. Rice, who claims she opposed
the Iraq war, didn't hold elected office and was not confronted with
voting for or against it. But she did publicly promote the myth of Iraq's
possession of WMDs, saying in the lead up to the war that the "major
threat" must "be dealt with forcefully". Rice has also been hawkish on
Darfur, calling for "strik[ing] Sudanese airfields, aircraft and other
military assets".

It is also deeply telling that, of his own free will, Obama selected
President Bush's choice for defence secretary, a man with a very
disturbing and lengthy history at the CIA during the cold war, as his own.
While General James Jones, Obama's nominee for national security adviser,
reportedly opposed the Iraq invasion and is said to have stood up to the
neocons in Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, he did not do so publicly when it
would have carried weight. Time magazine described him as "the man who led
the Marines during the run-up to the war - and failed to publicly
criticise the operation's flawed planning". Moreover, Jones, who is a
friend of McCain's, has said a timetable for Iraq withdrawal, "would be
against our national interest".

But the problem with Obama's appointments is hardly just a matter of bad
vision on Iraq. What ultimately ties Obama's team together is their
unified support for the classic US foreign policy recipe: the hidden hand
of the free market, backed up by the iron fist of US militarism to defend
the America First doctrine.

Obama's starry-eyed defenders have tried to downplay the importance of his
cabinet selections, saying Obama will call the shots, but the ruling elite
in this country see it for what it is. Karl Rove, "Bush's Brain", called
Obama's cabinet selections, "reassuring", which itself is disconcerting,
but neoconservative leader and former McCain campaign staffer Max Boot
summed it up best. "I am gobsmacked by these appointments, most of which
could just as easily have come from a President McCain," Boot wrote. The
appointment of General Jones and the retention of Gates at defence "all
but puts an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, the
unconditional summits with dictators and other foolishness that once
emanated from the Obama campaign."

Boot added that Hillary Clinton will be a "powerful" voice "for
'neoliberalism' which is not so different in many respects from
'neoconservativism.'" Boot's buddy, Michael Goldfarb, wrote in The Weekly
Standard, the official organ of the neoconservative movement, that he sees
"certainly nothing that represents a drastic change in how Washington does
business. The expectation is that Obama is set to continue the course set
by Bush in his second term."

There is not a single, solid anti-war voice in the upper echelons of the
Obama foreign policy apparatus. And this is the point: Obama is not going
to fundamentally change US foreign policy. He is a status quo Democrat.
And that is why the mono-partisan Washington insiders are gushing over
Obama's new team. At the same time, it is also disingenuous to act as
though Obama is engaging in some epic betrayal. Of course these
appointments contradict his campaign rhetoric of change. But move past the
speeches and Obama's selections are very much in sync with his record and
the foreign policy vision he articulated on the campaign trail, from his
pledge to escalate the war in Afghanistan to his "residual force" plan in
Iraq to his vow to use unilateral force in Pakistan to defend US interests
to his posturing on Iran. "I will always keep the threat of military
action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel," Obama
said in his famed speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
last summer. "Sometimes, there are no alternatives to confrontation."

Jeremy Scahill pledges to be the same journalist under an Obama
administration that he was during Bill Clinton and George Bush's
presidencies. He is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most
Powerful Mercenary Army.

--------18 of 19--------

You Wanted Change With That?
Vote First, Ask Questions Later
by William Blum
December 2nd, 2008

Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way. It was historic. I choked up a
number of times, tears came to my eyes, even though I didn't vote for him.
I voted for Ralph Nader for the fourth time in a row.

During the past eight years when I've listened to news programs on the
radio each day I've made sure to be within a few feet of the radio so I
could quickly change the station when that preposterous man or one of his
disciples came on; I'm not a masochist, I suffer fools very poorly, and I
get bored easily. Sad to say, I'm already turning the radio off sometimes
when Obama comes on. He doesn't say anything, or not enough, or not often
enough. Platitudes, cliches, promises without substance, "hope and
change,"  almost everything without sufficient substance, "change and
hope," without specifics, designed not to offend. What exactly are the
man's principles?  He never questions the premises of the empire. Never
questions the premises of the "War on Terror". I'.m glad he won for two
reasons only:  John McCain and Sarah Palin, and I deeply resent the fact
that the American system forces me to squeeze out a drop of pleasure from
something so far removed from my ideals. Obama's votes came at least as
much from people desperate for relief from neo-conservative suffocation as
from people who genuinely believed in him. It's a form of extortion - Vote
for Obama or you get more of the same. Those are your only choices.

Is there reason to be happy that the insufferably religious George W. is
soon to be history? "I believe that Christ died for my sins and I am
redeemed through him. That is a source of strength and sustenance on a
daily basis". That was said by someone named Barack Obama.1 The United
States turns out religious fanatics like the Japanese turn out cars. Let's
pray for an end to this.

As I've mentioned before, if you're one of those who would like to believe
that Obama has to present center-right foreign policy views to be elected,
but once he's in the White House we can forget that he misled us
repeatedly and the true, progressive man of peace and international law
and human rights will emerge . . . keep in mind that as a US Senate
candidate in 2004 he threatened missile strikes against Iran2, and winning
that election apparently did not put him in touch with his inner peacenik.
He's been threatening Iran ever since.

The world is in terrible shape. I don't think I have to elucidate on that
remark. How nice, how marvelously nice it would be to have an American
president who was infused with progressive values and political courage.
Just imagine what could be done. Like a quick and complete exit from Iraq.
You can paint the picture as well as I can. With his popularity Obama
could get away with almost anything, but he'll probably continue to play
it safe. Or what may be more precise, he'll continue to be himself; which,
apparently, is a committed centrist. He's not really against the war. Not
like you and I are. During Obama's first four years in the White House,
the United States will not leave Iraq. I doubt that he'd allow a complete
withdrawal even in a second term. Has he ever unequivocally called the war
illegal and immoral? A crime against humanity? Why is he so close to Colin
Powell? Does he not know of Powell's despicable role in the war? And
retaining George W. Bush's Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, a man against
whom it would not be difficult to draw up charges of war crimes? Will he
also find a place for Rumsfeld? And Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, a
supporter of the war, to run the Homeland Security department? And General
James Jones, a former NATO commander (sic), who wants to "win" in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and who backed John McCain, as his National Security Adviser?
Jones is on the Board of Directors of the Boeing Corporation and Chevron
Oil. Out of what dark corner of Obama's soul does all this come?

As Noam Chomsky recently pointed out, the election of an indigenous person
(Evo Morales) in Bolivia and a progressive person (Jean-Bertrand Aristide)
in Haiti were more historic than the election of Barack Obama.

He's not really against torture either. Not like you and I are. No one
will be punished for using or ordering torture. No one will be impeached
because of torture. Michael Ratner, president of the Center for
Constitutional Rights, says that prosecuting Bush officials is necessary
to set future anti-torture policy. "The only way to prevent this from
happening again is to make sure that those who were responsible for the
torture program pay the price for it. I don't see how we regain our moral
stature by allowing those who were intimately involved in the torture
programs to simply walk off the stage and lead lives where they are not
held accountable".3

As president, Obama cannot remain silent and do nothing; otherwise he will
inherit the war crimes of Bush and Cheney and become a war criminal
himself. Closing the Guantanamo hellhole means nothing at all if the
prisoners are simply moved to other torture dungeons. If Obama is truly
against torture, why does he not declare that after closing Guantanamo the
inmates will be tried in civilian courts in the US or resettled in
countries where they clearly face no risk of torture? And simply affirm
that his administration will faithfully abide by the 1984 Convention
Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, of which
the United States is a signatory, and which states: "The term 'torture'
means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or
mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as
obtaining information or a confession . . . inflicted by or at the
instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or
any other person acting in an official capacity".

The convention affirms that: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever,
whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political stability or
any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture".

Instead, Obama has appointed former CIA official John O. Brennan as an
adviser on intelligence matters and co-leader of his intelligence
transition team. Brennan has called "rendition" - the kidnap-and-torture
program carried out under the Clinton and Bush administrations - a "vital
tool", and praised the CIA's interrogation techniques for providing
"lifesaving" intelligence.4

Obama may prove to be as big a disappointment as Nelson Mandela, who did
painfully little to improve the lot of the masses of South Africa while
turning the country over to the international forces of globalization. I
make this comparison not because both men are black, but because both
produced such great expectations in their home country and throughout the
world. Mandela was freed from prison on the assumption of the Apartheid
leaders that he would become president and pacify the restless black
population while ruling as a non-radical, free-market centrist without
undue threat to white privilege. It's perhaps significant that in his
autobiography he declines to blame the CIA for his capture in 1962 even
though the evidence to support this is compelling.5 It appears that Barack
Obama made a similar impression upon the American power elite who vetted
him in many fundraising and other meetings and smoothed the way for his
highly unlikely ascendancy from obscure state senator to the presidency in
four years. The financial support from the corporate world to sell "Brand
Obama" was extraordinary.

Another comparison might be with Tony Blair. The Tories could never have
brought in university fees or endless brutal wars, but New Labour did. The
Republicans would have had a very difficult time bringing back the draft,
but I can see Obama reinstating it, accompanied by a suitable slogan, some
variation of "Yes, we can!".

I do hope I'm wrong, about his past and about how he'll rule as president.
I hope I'm very wrong.

Many people are calling for progressives to intensely lobby the Obama
administration, to exert pressure to bring out the "good Obama," force him
to commit himself, hold him accountable. The bold reforms of Roosevelt's
New Deal were spurred by widespread labor strikes and other militant
actions soon after the honeymoon period was over. At the moment I have
nothing better to offer than that. God help us.

--------19 of 19--------


 puts its invisible hand
 in all our pockets.

 razor nails slice off pockets
 - and our skin and bones.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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