|Progressive Calendar 06.30.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 05:19:56 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 06.30.09 1. Lament Pawlenty 6.30 10:15am 2. Picket Pawlenty 6.30 4:30pm 3. NWN4P vigil 6.30 4:45pm 4. Single Payer/CTV 6.30 5pm 5. RNC court watch 6.30 6pm 6. Galloway/Palestine 6.30 6:30pm 7. John Marty/health 6.30 6:30pm 8. What America needs 6.30 7:30pm 9. Race peace in Mpls 7.01 9am 10. Cop kulture/KFAI 7.01 11am 11. McCollum/health 7.01 6pm 12. Chris Hedges - The truth alone will not set you free 13. Clifton Ross - From Bolivia to Honduras: coups and constitutions 14. Nikolas Kozloff - The Coup in Honduras: Obama's real message to LatAm? --------1 of 14-------- From: Mike Schoenberg <geomike [at] winternet.com> Subject: Lament Pawlenty 6.30 10:15am Faithful Minnesota Rally Tuesday, June 30, 10:30-11:30am State Capitol, St. Paul Minnesota people of faith are gathering for a witness of lament on the morning of Tuesday, June 30 to ask Governor Tim Pawlenty not to abandon the health of Minnesota's citizens, especially those most in need. Gather at Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill, 105 University Avenue, St. Paul, by 10:15 am. We will stage in congregational groups and process in a somber, funeral-like procession beginning at 10:30am. Please wear black and bring old flowers and notes to the governor expressing your faith-based concern about these budget decisions. Speakers will include Bishop Peter Rogness, Saint Paul Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; and Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman, Temple Israel Minneapolis; as well as the Rev. Peg Chemberlin, Executive Director of the Minnesota Council of Churches and Rev. Grant Abbott, Executive Director of the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches. The Joint Religious Legislative Coalition supports this event, which is being organized by the Minnesota Council of Churches. For more information contact Gail Anderson, Unity and Relationships Organizer, Minnesota Council of Churches, gail.anderson [at] mnchurches.org or 612-230-3210. --------2 of 14-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Picket Pawlenty 6.30 4:30pm Picket Governor Pawlenty's Cuts Tuesday, June 30, 4:30 p.m. Governor's Mansion, 1006 Summit Avenue(between Dale and Lexington), St. Paul. The day before Governor Pawlenty has the authority to "unallot" money from the state budget, join others to demand, "No Cuts to Healthcare: No to Pawlenty's General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) Cuts! No Cuts to Education! No Cuts to Working People and Poor Families!" Sponsored by: the Welfare Rights Committee. Endorsed by: WAMM. --------3 of 14-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P vigil 6.30 4:45pm NWN4P vigil every Tuesday. Corner of Winnetka and 42nd Avenues in New Hope. 4:45 to 5:45 PM. All welcome; bring your own or use our signs. --------4 of 14-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Single Payer/CTV 6.30 5pm Summery St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers: Tues, 6/30, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 7/1, 10am Single Payer: HELL YEAH! longtime Twin Cities nurse and single-payer health care advocate Faith Kidder and DFL Progressive Caucus chair Dan Brown share their insights on, and passion for, single-payer universal health care. hosted by Eric Angell. --------5 of 14-------- From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com> Subject: RNC court watch 6.30 6pm RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing court information, documentation and etc. RNC Court Watchers Meetings are every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our meetings. Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this intimidation, harassment and abuse! Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent people. Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55405 Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M participate and help organize RNC court solidarity. For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at] gmail.com THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED! --------6 of 14-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Galloway/Palestine 6.30 6:30pm VIVA PALESTINA - BREAKING THE SIEGE OF GAZA Guest Speaker: British MP George Galloway The inspirational anti-war British MP, George Galloway, decided that while it is necessary to speak out - in his case with great force and eloquence - it is actions that speak louder than words. George Galloway has recently returned from Gaza after leading a convoy of medical aid and humanitarian assistance to the region and will share his experience and reflections. Tuesday, June 30, 6:30pm Crown Plaza Hotel 2200 Freeway Blvd Brooklyn Center, MN 55430 While the bombs were still showering down on Gaza, the largest open-air prison in history, Galloway decided to organize a humanitarian convoy that would start in Britain, drive through France and Spain, and across North Africa to arrive in Gaza with aid, even as all borders to the devastated region were under complete blockade. In just five short weeks, he pulled together 107 vehicles - including ambulances and a fire engine - 255 people and $2 million of aid, which set off from London on February 14. Some 23 days and 5,500 miles later it arrived in Gaza to tumultuous acclaim. Now, Galloway is heading a second convoy - this time from the USA. The convoy“s aim is to take hundreds of US citizens in 500 vehicles, bearing $10 million in medical aid from Cairo to Gaza. Convoy participants will leave from JFK airport on July 4, bearing the simple yet powerful message that Palestinian independence is as precious as US independence. The group will organize the convoy in Cairo and proceed to Gaza the following weekend, proudly waving US and Palestinian flags, as well as banners declaring thousands of supporting organizations and institutions. This is set to be the biggest single aid effort for Palestine ever to leave US shores. It will be a source of great strength and hope for the Palestinian people and will also have a major impact here in the United States, helping to stir US public opinion about the conflict in the Middle East and hopefully bring about a permanent shift in government policy. Sponsored by: Al Aqsa Institute & American Muslims for Palestine Tickets: $10/at the door All proceeds will go to Viva Palestina http://www.aqsamn.org/ http://www.vivapalestina.org/ --------7 of 14-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: John Marty/health 6.30 6:30pm Tuesday, June 30, our guest will be Senator John Marty. He will speak mainly on his health bill in the Minn. Legislature, which is a Single Payer Bill. The tea house is small, but hopefully it will fit all who come. Very exciting. "Senator Marty has been one of the strongest opponents to the recent cuts to Health & Human Services and Education - cuts that officials from Governor Pawlenty's own administration admit will hurt the "the poorest of the poor" and the "sickest of the sick." Senator Marty is the candidate that can best restore our great State to what it can and should be. Instead of kicking the poorest residents off health care, a Marty Administration will vigorously push to enact the MN Health Plan - a single plan that will give all Minnesotans guaranteed, affordable health care for all their medical needs including prescription drugs, dental care, mental health and chemical dependency treatment. This comprehensive plan will create jobs, save the state (tax payers) money, and will literally save lives! "John is the ONLY candidate with a plan to enact Single-Payer Universal Health Care. Minnesota can lead the nation in Health Care Coverage, but we must support a candidate with the bold leadership and progressive vision MN needs. We must support a candidate that will take on the special interest money - one that has a proven track record of standing up to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. That candidate is John Marty." 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 14-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: What America needs 6.30 7:30pm Tues. June 30, 7:30 PM: "What America Needs" directed by Mark Wojahn. INTERMEDIA ARTS, 2844 Lyndale Ave, South, MInneapolis Mark Wojohn: Film-maker by Lydia Howell, KFAI Minneapolis film-maker Mark Wojohn boldly challenges Hollywood hype with "What America Needs: From Sea To Shining Sea", (which debuted at City Pages' GET REAL! Documentary Film Festival). This road-movie reality-check contradicts depictions of Americans as celebrities, wealthy, dysfunctional poor folks or jingoistic war-mongers. Wojohn's autumn 2002 journey from NYC to LA, posed one question,"What does America need?" Going Greyhound, taking trains, in rural towns, inner-cities, suburbs, Wojohn discovered the eclectic heart beating steadily against the din of Dittoheads: cabbies, cooks, students; gay Halloween celebrants, tourists in D.C. and Ground Zero; artists, immigrants, punks, mall-shoppers, the homeless. There's plenty of women, youth, elders and people of color, too--welcome antidote to the white, middle-aged men usually annointed to speak for everyone. Not just a stream of "talking heads", Wojohn's imaginative visual storytelling captures contexts that reveal essences of these glimpsed lives. There's surprising answers to Wojohn's question, from the silly to the sublime. Of 500 people, only four supported war, although Wojohn purposely put himself in "uncomfortable places", casting his net widely. An exhillerating sense of motion propells the film and a provacative thoughtfulness anchors it. Wojohn counters the commercial appropriation of wilderness as backdrop selling SUVs, with a meditation on America's geographical magnificence, creating many moments of humbling awe. Wojohn seizes America from the war-hucksters, pundits, and corporate-sponsored culture. He reveals us to ourselves. Wojohn's film-making is infused with the same democratic spirit exemplified by absolutely American artists like poets Whitman and Ginzberg, jazz, Hendrix, novelist Marge Piercy. Like them, Mark Wojohn reconnects us to the trancedent possibilites of America's democratic experiment. "What America Needs" left me feeling more damn hopeful than I've been in a longtime. --------9 of 14-------- From: farheen [at] farheenhakeem.org Subject: Race peace in Mpls 7.01 9am During the week of June 29th Race Peace is going to be in Minneapolis. In partnership with Pangea World Theatre, Main Street Project and others - they will hosting a number of conversations/ workshops. You may already know of RACE PEACE a project of Mondo Bizarro and M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction), under the mentorship of Junebug Productions and Roadside Theater, which blends multi-disciplinary performance techniques with interactive dialogue to incite conversations about race and racism. Race Peace explodes the myth that civic transformation only takes place at City Hall. Race Peace believes that true racial progress starts in small gatherings around the country. At each of their workshops, Race Peace uses art-making as a tool for renewing conversations about race. Through art and performance, they provide an opportunity for people to experiment, celebrate and explore common bonds; to debate their differences and pursue solutions to ongoing problems. Race Peace is not attempting to offer a solution to racism. Rather, they are offering are ways of exploring racism through artistic creation and dialogue. The goal is to learn, and to bring what they've learned from one community into the next. We want to listen, to honor people's stories and to serve as a conduit between communities around the country. On Wednesday, July 1st from 9am to 12pm - Main Street Project would like to invite you to one such workshop/conversation. As a cultural organizing institution - we believe in the power of story-telling for social change as well as the role of arts and culture in organizing. Wednesday, July 1 9 am-12 pm 2104 Stevens Ave. South Minneapolis, MN 55404 RSVP: kathy [at] mainstreetproject.org Space is limited, and food will be served --------10 of 14-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Cop kulture/KFAI 7.01 11am SPECIAL REPORT: The Cop Culture: Fear and Loathing in the Streets - Part III: Police Accountability and Public Policy In theory, police internal affairs units ride herd on their own - the only public agency at any level in charge of investigating itself (although some federal agencies host offices of inspectors general). Rare, indeed, does the internal affairs unit crack down on its fellow officers, despite being despised by them for even looking into complaints. Next stop is supposed to be the Civilian Review Authority (Minneapolis) or Civilian Review Board (St. Paul). Even here, what is supposed to be a check and balance on the internal review processes fails to sustain complaints at an alarming level or to hold officers accountable for cruel and irresponsible - sometimes criminal - behavior. Politics have placed cops on those boards and authorities, forgetting that the cops are not the only ones being charged, but already having been through cop-controlled investigations, should be free from intimidation and participation in deliberating complaints that reach them. Prosecutors are reluctant to bring charges against police officers, reliant as they are on the notion of deference to an an officer's reports - reports known to be cut from whole cloth, in many cases. Judges defer to police even when confronted with substantial evidence of wrongdoing. Juries, either from fear or undue respect for cops, acquit them of some of the most violent charges coming into court. How can society function without holding its armed, armored and powerful and violent law enforcement officers accountable for their violent, unfair policing and misdeeds, too often death-dealing - getting away with murder? How can law enforcement ever develop trust within the communities officers are constantly harassing, and why are urban police forces still so dominated by white males patrolling in a sea of color? TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and a guest co-host examine the possibilities and probabilities of holding police procedures, behaviors and coded silences to account with those people confronting abuses every day, every week, every year. GUESTS: MICHAEL QUINN, retired Minneapolis Police Officer; Author, Walking with the Devil (Inside the Code of Silence) MICHELLE GROSS, Executive Director, CUAPB (Communities Against Police Brutality) JILL CLARK, Criminal Defense Attorney; Plaintiff's Advocate; former candidate, Minnesota Supreme Court WAMENG MOUA - Editor/Publisher, Hmong Today LOCAL POLICYMAKER TBD Podcasts are available for all archived Truth to Tell shows HERE --------11 of 14-------- From: Mike Schoenberg <geomike [at] winternet.com> Subject: McCollum/ health ins 7.01 6pm This will be the time to let Rep. McCollum hear about our need for single-payer universal health care insurance. (Announcement below) We need to pack the house with advocates. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Let her hear out concerns. -- MCCOLLUM INVITES CONSTITUENTS TO TOWN HALL ON JULY 1 As Congress prepares to reform America's health care system, Congresswoman McCollum will host a town hall meeting on Wednesday, July 1 from 6-7:30pm at the Highland Park Picnic Pavilion in St. Paul. All residents of the Fourth Congressional District are invited to participate and share their views on reforms to offer the choice of affordable health care to all Americans. Health Care Town Hall Meeting with Congresswoman Betty McCollum Wednesday, July 1, 6-7:30 pm CDT Highland Park Picnic Pavilion 1270 Montreal Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55116 -- From: MN Universal Health Care Coalition <info [at] muhcc.org> She welcomes you to share you opinion on health care reform. Please attend and tell her that you support single-payer health care. Urge her to co-sign HR 676 (the Conyers' Medicare-For-All bill). Let her know that her constituents support real reform. She so far is not on record supporting HR 676, single-payer, or even a robust public plan. --------12 of 14-------- The Truth Alone Will Not Set You Free by Chris Hedges Monday, June 29, 2009 TruthDig.com The ability of the corporate state to pacify the country by extending credit and providing cheap manufactured goods to the masses is gone. The pernicious idea that democracy lies in the choice between competing brands and the freedom to accumulate vast sums of personal wealth at the expense of others has collapsed. The conflation of freedom with the free market has been exposed as a sham. The travails of the poor are rapidly becoming the travails of the middle class, especially as unemployment insurance runs out and people get a taste of Bill Clinton's draconian welfare reform. And class warfare, once buried under the happy illusion that we were all going to enter an age of prosperity with unfettered capitalism, is returning with a vengeance. Our economic crisis - despite the corporate media circus around the death of Michael Jackson or Gov. Mark Sanford's marital infidelity or the outfits of Sacha Baron Cohen's latest incarnation, Brno - barrels forward. And this crisis will lead to a period of profound political turmoil and change. Those who care about the plight of the working class and the poor must begin to mobilize quickly or we will lose our last opportunity to save our embattled democracy. The most important struggle will be to wrest the organs of communication from corporations that use mass media to demonize movements of social change and empower proto-fascist movements such as the Christian right. American culture - or cultures, for we once had distinct regional cultures - was systematically destroyed in the 20th century by corporations. These corporations used mass communication, as well as an understanding of the human subconscious, to turn consumption into an inner compulsion. Old values of thrift, regional identity that had its own iconography, aesthetic expression and history, diverse immigrant traditions, self-sufficiency, a press that was decentralized to provide citizens with a voice in their communities were all destroyed to create mass, corporate culture. New desires and habits were implanted by corporate advertisers to replace the old. Individual frustrations and discontents could be solved, corporate culture assured us, through the wonders of consumerism and cultural homogenization. American culture, or cultures, was replaced with junk culture and junk politics. And now, standing on the ash heap, we survey the ruins. The very slogans of advertising and mass culture have become the idiom of common expression, robbing us of the language to make sense of the destruction. We confuse the manufactured commodity culture with American culture. How do we recover what was lost? How do we reclaim the culture that was destroyed by corporations? How do we fight back now that the consumer culture has fallen into a state of decay? What can we do to reverse the cannibalization of government and the national economy by the corporations? All periods of profound change occur in a crisis. It was a crisis that brought us the New Deal, now largely dismantled by the corporate state. It was also a crisis that gave the world Adolf Hitler and Slobodan Milosevic. We can go in either direction. Events move at the speed of light when societies and cultural assumptions break down. There are powerful forces, which have no commitment to the open society, ready to seize the moment to snuff out the last vestiges of democratic egalitarianism. Our bankrupt liberalism, which naively believes that Barack Obama is the antidote to our permanent war economy and Wall Street fraud, will either rise from its coma or be rolled over by an organized corporate elite and their right-wing lap dogs. The corporate domination of the airwaves, of most print publications and an increasing number of Internet sites means we will have to search, and search quickly, for alternative forms of communication to thwart the rise of totalitarian capitalism. Stuart Ewen, whose books "Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture" and "PR: A Social History of Spin" chronicle how corporate propaganda deformed American culture and pushed populism to the margins of American society, argues that we have a fleeting chance to save the country. I fervently hope he is right. He attacks the ideology of "objectivity and balance" that has corrupted news, saying that it falsely evokes the scales of justice. He describes the curriculum at most journalism schools as "poison." " 'Balance and objectivity' creates an idea where both sides are balanced," he said when I spoke to him by phone. "In certain ways it mirrors the two-party system, the notion that if you are going to have a Democrat speak you need to have a Republican speak. It offers the phantom of objectivity. It creates the notion that the universe of discourse is limited to two positions. Issues become black or white. They are not seen as complex with a multitude of factors." Ewen argues that the forces for social change - look at any lengthy and turgid human rights report - have forgotten that rhetoric is as important as fact. Corporate and government propaganda, aimed to sway emotions, rarely uses facts to sell its positions. And because progressives have lost the gift of rhetoric, which was once a staple of a university education, because they naively believe in the Enlightenment ideal that facts alone can move people toward justice, they are largely helpless. "Effective communication requires not simply an understanding of the facts, but how those facts will take place in the public mind," Ewen said. "When Gustave Le Bon says it is not the facts in and of themselves which make a point but the way in which the facts take place, the way in which they come to attention, he is right." The emergence of corporate and government public relations, which drew on the studies of mass psychology by Sigmund Freud and others after World War I, found its bible in Walter Lippmann's book "Public Opinion," a manual for the power elite's shaping of popular sentiments. Lippmann argued that the key to leadership in the modern age would depend on the ability to manipulate "symbols which assemble emotions after they have been detached from their ideas." The public mind could be mastered, he wrote, through an "intensification of feeling and a degradation of significance." These corporate forces, schooled by Woodrow Wilson's vast Committee for Public Information, which sold World War I to the public, learned how to skillfully mobilize and manipulate the emotional responses of the public. The control of the airwaves and domination through corporate advertising of most publications restricted news to reporting facts, to "objectivity and balance," while the real power to persuade and dominate a public remained under corporate and governmental control. Ewen argues that pamphleteering, which played a major role in the 17th and 18th centuries in shaping the public mind, recognized that "the human mind is not left brain or right brain, that it is not divided by reason which is good and emotion which is bad." He argues that the forces of social reform, those organs that support a search for truth and self-criticism, have mistakenly shunned emotion and rhetoric because they have been used so powerfully within modern society to disseminate lies and manipulate public opinion. But this refusal to appeal to emotion means "we gave up the ghost and accepted the idea that human beings are these divided selves, binary systems between emotion and reason, and that emotion gets you into trouble and reason is what leads you forward. This is not true." The public is bombarded with carefully crafted images meant to confuse propaganda with ideology and knowledge with how we feel. Human rights and labor groups, investigative journalists, consumer watchdog organizations and advocacy agencies have, in the face of this manipulation, inundated the public sphere with reports and facts. But facts alone, Ewen says, make little difference. And as we search for alternative ways to communicate in a time of crisis we must also communicate in new forms. We must appeal to emotion as well as to reason. The power of this appeal to emotion is evidenced in the photographs of Jacob Riis, a New York journalist, who with a team of assistants at the end of the 19th century initiated urban-reform photography. His stark portraits of the filth and squalor of urban slums awakened the conscience of a nation. The photographer Lewis Hine, at the turn of the 20th century, and Walker Evans during the Great Depression did the same thing for the working class, along with writers such as Upton Sinclair and James Agee. It is a recovery of this style, one that turns the abstraction of fact into a human flesh and one that is not afraid of emotion and passion, which will permit us to counter the force of corporate propaganda. We may know that fossil fuels are destroying our ecosystem. We may be able to cite the statistics. But the oil and natural gas industry continues its flagrant rape of the planet. It is able to do this because of the money it uses to control legislation and a massive advertising campaign that paints the oil and natural gas industry as part of the solution. A group called EnergyTomorrow.org, for example, has been running a series of television ads. One ad features an attractive, middle-aged woman in a black pantsuit - an actor named Brooke Alexander who once worked as the host of "WorldBeat" on CNN and for Fox News. Alexander walks around a blue screen studio that becomes digital renditions of American life. She argues, before each image, that oil and natural gas are critical to providing not only energy needs but health care and jobs. "It is almost like they are taking the most optimistic visions of what the stimulus package could do and saying this is what the development of oil and natural gas will bring about," Ewen said. "If you go to the Web site there is a lot of sophisticated stuff you can play around with. As each ad closes you see in the lower right-hand corner in very small letters API, the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying group for ExxonMobil and all the other big oil companies. For the average viewer there is nothing in the ad to indicate this is being produced by the oil industry." The modern world, as Kafka predicted, has become a world where the irrational has become rational, where lies become true. And facts alone will be powerless to thwart the mendacity spun out through billions of dollars in corporate advertising, lobbying and control of traditional sources of information. We will have to descend into the world of the forgotten, to write, photograph, paint, sing, act, blog, video and film with anger and honesty that have been blunted by the parameters of traditional journalism. The lines between artists, social activists and journalists have to be erased. These lines diminish the power of reform, justice and an understanding of the truth. And it is for this purpose that these lines are there. "As a writer part of what you are aiming for is to present things in ways that will resonate with people, which will give voice to feelings and concerns, feelings that may not be fully verbalized," Ewen said. "You can't do that simply by providing them with data. One of the major problems of the present is that those structures designed to promote a progressive agenda are antediluvian." Corporate ideology, embodied in neoconservatism, has seeped into the attitudes of most self-described liberals. It champions unfettered capitalism and globalization as eternal. This is the classic tactic that power elites use to maintain themselves. The loss of historical memory, which "balanced and objective" journalism promotes, has only contributed to this fantasy. But the fantasy, despite the desperate raiding of taxpayer funds to keep the corporate system alive, is now coming undone. The lie is being exposed. And the corporate state is running scared. "It is very important for people like us to think about ways to present the issues, whether we are talking about the banking crisis, health care or housing and homelessness," Ewen said. "We have to think about presenting these issues in ways that are two steps ahead of the media rather than two steps behind. That is not something we should view as an impossible task. It is a very possible task. There is evidence of how possible that task is, especially if you look at the development of the underground press in the 1960s. The underground press, which started cropping up all over the country, was not a marginal phenomenon. It leeched into the society. It developed an approach to news and communication that was 10 steps ahead of the mainstream media. The proof is that even as it declined, so many structures that were innovated by the underground press, things like The Whole Earth Catalogue, began to affect and inform the stylistic presentation of mainstream media." "I am not a prophet," Ewen said. "All I can do is look at historical precedence and figure out the extent we can learn from it. This is not about looking backwards. If you can't see the past you can't see the future. If you can't see the relationship between the present and the past you can't understand where the present might go. Who controls the past controls the present, who controls the present controls the future, as George Orwell said. This is a succinct explanation of the ways in which power functions." "Read 'The Gettysburg Address,' " Ewen said. "Read Frederick Douglass' autobiography or his newspaper. Read 'The Communist Manifesto.' Read Darwin's 'Descent of Man.' All of these things are filled with an understanding that communicating ideas and producing forms of public communication that empower people, rather than disempowering people, relies on an integrated understanding of who the public is and what it might be. We have a lot to learn from the history of rhetoric. We need to think about where we are going. We need to think about what 21st century pamphleteering might be. We need to think about the ways in which the rediscovery of rhetoric - not lying, but rhetoric in its more conventional sense - can affect what we do. We need to look at those historical antecedents where interventions happened that stepped ahead of the news. And to some extent this is happening. We have the freest and most open public sphere since the village square." The battle ahead will be fought outside the journalistic mainstream, he said. The old forms of journalism are dying or have sold their soul to corporate manipulation and celebrity culture. We must now wed fact to rhetoric. We must appeal to reason and emotion. We must not be afraid to openly take sides, to speak, photograph or write on behalf of the disempowered. And, Ewen believes, we have a chance in the coming crisis to succeed. "Pessimism is never useful," he said. "Realism is useful, understanding the forces that are at play. To quote Antonio Gramsci, 'pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.' " 2009 TruthDig.com Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, will be out in July, but is available for pre-order. --------13 of 14-------- From Bolivia to Honduras Coups and Constitutions By CLIFTON ROSS CounterPunch June 29, 2009 Even in the best of times a coup in Honduras wouldn't get much coverage in the U.S. since most North Americans couldn't find the country on a map and, moreover, would have no reason to do so. Nevertheless, those in the U.S. who have been alert to the changes in Latin America over the past decade and almost everyone south of the border know that the coup d'etat (or "golpe de estado") against President Manuel Zelaya has profound implications for the region and, in fact, all of Latin America. While the US press will glance from their intent gaze at reruns and specials on Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett only long enough to report on President Obama's reaction to the coup, Latin Americans will keep their eyes on the governments of the region as well as the social movements in Honduras as they search for a key to how the whole affair will turn out. In a power play between President Zelaya who maneuvered (some say illegally) to push a referendum on the constitution, and a congress that see their jobs possibly go on the line if there is a new constitution, the military played the decisive role and ousted Zelaya in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, June 28, 2009, preempting the national referendum. After producing a forged letter of resignation, supposedly from President Zelaya, president of the congress, Roberto Micheletti, was sworn in. From exile in Costa Rica, President Zelaya denounced the forgery and maintained that he continued to be the only legitimate president of Honduras. Meanwhile, back at Micheletti's solemn swearing-in ceremony, the AP reported, "outside of Congress, a group of about 150 people opposed to Zelaya's ouster stood well back from police lines and shook their fists, chanting 'Out with the bourgeoisie!' and 'Traitors!'". Venezuelan-based Telesur, however, gave a distinctly different impression of the scene. It reported at least one hundred times that many people ("at least 15,000" - there were other estimates of 20,000) were gathered in a strike and a leader of the Bloque Sindical Popular (Popular Union Block), ngel Alvarado, was calling for a general strike the following day. On the evening after the coup, Micheletti's government put the country under curfew enforced by the military which also enforced a ban on all news of the golpe. Meanwhile, regional leaders and members of ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) met in Nicaragua where Chvez recalled the similarities between what happened to him in Venezuela in April, 2002 and the events in Honduras. Chvez ended his tale calling on the "golpistas" (those who carried out the coup) to surrender, while Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa demanded that they be tried for treason. If possibility for support for the "golpistas" looked slim in Latin America, things didn't look better up north. Indeed, what was most striking about the coup, if the Wall Street Journal can be believed, is that it appears that the new administration of President Obama was opposed to the coup even in the planning stage. Paul Kiernan and Jose de Cordoba report in the Wall Street Journal that "the Obama administration and members of the Organization of American States had worked for weeks to try to avert any moves to overthrow President Zelaya". Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated bluntly that "The action taken against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all". For those hoping to see a new US policy in the region, this is indeed reason to be guardedly optimistic, even more so since Zelaya is a close ally to Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez. This will be among the first military coups in fifty-five years of coups throughout the continent that the U.S. wouldn't have either perpetrated or backed after the fact - the first one being the four-hour-long coup in Ecuador in January, 2000, carried out by center-leftists. The Wall Street Journal article, however, offered a hardly credible reason for the coup: "Voicing the fears that sparked the military's action, retired Honduran Gen. Daniel Lpez Carballo justified the move against the president, telling CNN en Espaol that Mr. Zelaya was a stooge for Mr. Chvez. He said that if the military hadn't acted, Mr. Chvez would eventually be running Honduras by proxy". While it's true that the most reactionary forces in the region see sinister motives behind Chavez's generosity and do all they can to demonize the Venezuelan leader, the more obvious reason for the coup was the fact that Zelaya had called a referendum on the constitution, an act which has drawn a similar response from reactionaries in other countries in Latin America. The problems are the same: progressive leaders enter power on a wave of popular support only to find their hands bound by constitutions written by their neoliberal predecessors of the 1990s under the tutelage of Washington. The new leaders then face the choice of playing by the very limited rules of the neoliberal constitution or writing up a new charter. Even the proposal of new rules enrages the local oligarchy which, of course, was behind the neoliberal constitution in the first place, and the opposition to constitutions aimed at democratizing power has grown with each successive process. President Hugo Chavez was the first progressive president of the region to call for a referendum on a nation's constitution after his election. The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was written by thousands across the country and passed in popular referendum by nearly 72% of the people in a popular vote, establishing the "Fifth Republic". Chavez then ran again for president, was re-elected with an even larger margin than before, and he now had the possibility of carrying out reforms that would have been impossible under the old, 1961 constitution of the Fourth Republic. While the Venezuelan process was peaceful, when Rafael Correa came to power in Ecuador, his call for a constituent assembly to write the new constitution frightened the old congress, almost cost him his job and led to street battles and the cordoning off of the congress. Eventually that crisis passed, with Correa beating the old congress and a winning a new Constitution, the first in the world to guarantee the rights of Mother Earth and nature. That mini battle in Ecuador between congressmen and police, however, was nothing compared to what nearly became a civil war in Bolivia over the proposed new constitution. The crisis, which left over 100 dead in the department of Pando, and nearly brought about the succession of the "Media Luna" departments from Bolivia, was eventually resolved and in the process set a new precedent for diplomacy in the region. For the first time in modern history a political crisis in Latin America was resolved not by the U.S. dominated OAS but by the newly formed UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) at a meeting held in Santiago, Chile presided over by the center-left President Michelle Bachelet and the notable absence of the United States, whose representatives were not invited. This was the first test of the newly formed UNASUR which had until then existed largely only on paper, and it was viewed everywhere as a great success, proving that the nations of the South American continent could resolve their own problems more effectively among themselves than under the aegis of the imperial eagle of the north. Evo returned to Bolivia with the full backing of UNASUR and nine countries of the region (including the neoliberal governments of Peru and Colombia) and eventually the "Media Luna" had to submit. The new Constitution was passed in the referendum in January of this year. While it's impossible to say how the coup in Honduras will play out, the new president sworn in on the day of the coup, Roberto Micheletti may fare only a little better than the unfortunate Pedro Carmona, President-for-a-day in Venezuela (April 12-13, 2002) when Chavez was briefly overthrown. Micheletti hasn't a single ally in Latin America, and even the Empire now seems to be resigned to the fact that military coups are a thing of the past and has turned its back on him. Elections and constitutions aimed at the transformation of nations in Latin America from "representative" to "participatory" democracy seem to be the wave of the future that even well-armed militaries will no longer be able to oppose. Clifton Ross is the writer and director of the feature-length movie, "Venezuela: Revolution from the Inside Out" (2008, www.pmpress.org), author of "Translations from Silence" (www.freedomvoices.org) and half a dozen books on Latin America. He can be reached at clifross [at] gmail.com. --------14 of 14-------- Obama's Real Message to Latin America? The Coup in Honduras By NIKOLAS KOZLOFF CounterPunch June 29, 2009 Could the diplomatic thaw between Venezuela and the United States be coming to an abrupt end? At the recent Summit of the Americas held in Port of Spain, Barack Obama shook Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's hand and declared that he would pursue a less arrogant foreign policy towards Latin America. Building on that good will, Venezuela and the United States agreed to restore their ambassadors late last week. Such diplomatic overtures provided a stark contrast to the miserable state of relations during the Bush years: just nine months ago Venezuela expelled the U.S. envoy in a diplomatic tussle. At the time, Chavez said he kicked the U.S. ambassador out to demonstrate solidarity with left ally Bolivia, which had also expelled a top American diplomat after accusing him of blatant political interference in the Andean nation's internal affairs. Whatever goodwill existed last week however could now be undone by turbulent political events in Honduras. Following the military coup d'etat there on Sunday, Chavez accused the U.S. of helping to orchestrate the overthrow of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. "Behind these soldiers are the Honduran bourgeois, the rich who converted Honduras into a Banana Republic, into a political and military base for North American imperialism," Chavez thundered. The Venezuelan leader urged the Honduran military to return Zelaya to power and even threatened military action against the coup regime if Venezuela's ambassador was killed or local troops entered the Venezuelan Embassy. Reportedly, Honduran soldiers beat the ambassador and left him on the side of a road in the course of the military coup. Tensions have ratcheted up to such an extent that Chavez has now placed his armed forces on alert. On the surface at least it seems unlikely that Obama would endorse an interventionist U.S. foreign policy in Central America. Over the past few months he has gone to great lengths to "re-brand" America in the eyes of the world as a reasonable power engaged in respectful diplomacy as opposed to reckless unilateralism. If it were ever proven that Obama sanctioned the overthrow of a democratically elected government this could completely undermine the U.S. President's carefully crafted image. Officially, the military removed Zelaya from power on the grounds that the Honduran President had abused his authority. On Sunday Zelaya hoped to hold a constitutional referendum which could have allowed him to run for reelection for another four year term, a move which Honduras' Supreme Court and Congress declared illegal. But while the controversy over Zelaya's constitutional referendum certainly provided the excuse for military intervention, it's no secret that the President was at odds politically with the Honduran elite for the past few years and had become one of Washington's fiercest critics in the region. The Rise of Zelaya Zelaya, who sports a thick black mustache, cowboy boots and large white Stetson hat, was elected in late 2005. At first blush he hardly seemed the type of politician to rock the boat. A landowner from a wealthy landowning family engaged in the lumber industry, Zelaya headed the Liberal Party, one of the two dominant political parties in Honduras. The President supported the Central American Free Trade Agreement which eliminated trade barriers with the United States. Despite these initial conservative leanings, Zelaya began to criticize powerful, vested interests in the country such as the media and owners of maquiladora sweatshops which produced goods for export in industrial free zones. Gradually he started to adopt some socially progressive policies. For example, Zelaya instituted a 60 per cent minimum wage increase which angered the wealthy business community. The hike in the minimum wage, Zelaya declared, would "force the business oligarchy to start paying what is fair". "This is a government of great social transformations, committed to the poor," he added. Trade unions celebrated the decision, not surprising given that Honduras is the third poorest country in the hemisphere and 70 per cent of its people live in poverty. When private business associations announced that they would challenge the government's wage decree in Honduras' Supreme Court, Zelaya's Labor Minister called the critics "greedy exploiters". In another move that must have raised eyebrows in Washington, Zelaya declared during a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean anti-drug officials that drug consumption should be legalized to halt violence related to smuggling. In recent years Honduras has been plagued by drug trafficking and so-called maras or street gangs which carry out gruesome beheadings, rapes and eye gouging. "Instead of pursuing drug traffickers, societies should invest resources in educating drug addicts and curbing their demand," Zelaya said. Rodolfo Zelaya, the head of a Honduran congressional commission on drug trafficking, rejected Zelaya's comments. He told participants at the meeting that he was "confused and stunned by what the Honduran leader said". Zelaya and ALBA Not content to stop there, Zelaya started to conduct an increasingly more independent foreign policy. In late 2007 he traveled to Cuba, the first official trip by a Honduran president to the Communist island in 46 years. There, Zelaya met with Raul Castro to discuss bilateral relations and other topics of mutual interest. But what really led Zelaya towards a political collision course with the Honduran elite was his decision to join the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (known by its Spanish acronym ALBA), an alliance of leftist Latin American and Caribbean nations headed by Chavez. The regional trade group including Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Dominica seeks to counteract corporate-friendly U.S-backed free trade schemes. Since its founding in 2004, ALBA countries have promoted joint factories and banks, an emergency food fund, and exchanges of cheap Venezuelan oil for food, housing, and educational investment. In an emphatic departure from previous Honduran leaders who had been compliant vassals of the U.S., Zelaya stated "Honduras and the Honduran people do not have to ask permission of any imperialism to join the ALBA". Speaking in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa before a crowd of 50,000 unionists, women's groups, farmers and indigenous peoples, Chavez remarked that Venezuela would guarantee cheap oil to Honduras for "at least 100 years". By signing onto ALBA, Zelaya was able to secure access to credit lines, energy and food benefits. As an act of good faith, Chavez agreed to forgive Honduran debt to Venezuela amounting to $30 million. Infuriating the local elite, Chavez declared that Hondurans who opposed ALBA were "sellouts". "I did not come here to meddle in internal affairs," he continued, "but I cannot explain how a Honduran could be against Honduras joining the ALBA, the path of development, the path of integration". Chavez lambasted the Honduran press which he labeled pitiyanquis (little Yanqui imitators) and "abject hand-lickers of the Yanquis". For his part, Zelaya said "we need no one's permission to sign this commitment. Today we are taking a step towards becoming a government of the center-left, and if anyone dislikes this, well just remove the word 'center' and keep the second one." It wasn't long before private business started to attack Zelaya bitterly for moving Honduras into Chavez's orbit. By joining ALBA, business representatives argued, the President was endangering free enterprise and the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Former President Ricardo Maduro even claimed that the United States might retaliate against Honduras by deporting Honduran migrants from the United States. "Don't bite the hand that feeds you," Maduro warned, alluding to Washington. Zelaya was piqued by the criticisms. "When I met with (U.S. President) George W. Bush," he said, "no one called me an anti-imperialist and the business community applauded me. Now that I am meeting with the impoverished peoples of the world, they criticize me". Zelaya's Letter to Obama In September, 2008 Zelaya further strained U.S. relations by delaying accreditation of the new U.S. ambassador out of solidarity with Bolivia and Venezuela which had just gone through diplomatic dust ups with Washington. "We are not breaking relations with the United States," Zelaya said. "We only are (doing this) in solidarity with [Bolivian President] Morales, who has denounced the meddling of the United States in Bolivia's internal affairs". Defending his decision, Zelaya said small nations needed to stick together. "The world powers must treat us fairly and with respect," he stated. In November, Zelaya hailed Obama's election in the U.S. as "a hope for the world - but just two months later tensions began to emerge. In an audacious letter sent personally to Obama, Zelaya accused the U.S. of "interventionism" and called on the new administration in Washington to respect the principle of non-interference in the political affairs of other nations. According to Spanish news agency EFE which saw a copy of the note, Zelaya told Obama that it wasn't his intention to tell the U.S. President what he should or should not do. He then however went on to do precisely that. First of all, Zelaya brought up the issue of U.S. visas and urged Obama to "revise the procedure by which visas are cancelled or denied to citizens of different parts of the world as a means of pressure against those people who hold different beliefs or ideologies which pose no threat to the U.S". As if that was not impudent enough, Zelaya then moved on to drug trafficking: "The legitimate struggle against drug trafficking should not be used as an excuse to carry out interventionist policies in other countries". The struggle against drug smuggling, Zelaya wrote, "should not be divorced from a vigorous policy of controlling distribution and consumer demand in all countries, as well as money laundering which operates through financial circuits and which involve networks within developed countries". Zelaya also argued "for the urgent necessity" of revising and transforming the structure of the United Nations and "to solve the Venezuela and Bolivia problems" through dialogue which "yields better fruit than confrontation". The Cuban embargo, meanwhile, "was a useless instrument" and "a means of unjust pressure and violation of human rights". Run Up to June Coup It's unclear what Obama might have made of the audacious letter sent from the leader of a small Central American nation. It does seem however that Zelaya became somewhat disenchanted with the new administration in Washington. Just three months ago, the Honduran leader declined to attend a meeting of the System for Central American Integration (known by its Spanish acronym SICA) which would bring Central American Presidents together with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in San Jose, Costa Rica. Both Zelaya and President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua boycotted the meeting, viewing it as a diplomatic affront. Nicaragua currently holds the presidency of SICA, and so the proper course of action should have been for Biden to have Ortega hold the meeting. Sandinista economist and former Nicaraguan Minister of Foreign Trade Alejandro Martnez Cuenca declared that the United States had missed a vital opportunity to encourage a new era of relations with Central America by "prioritizing personal relations with [Costa Rican President] Arias over respect for Central America's institutional order".. Could all of the contentious diplomatic back and forth between Tegucigalpa and Washington have turned the Obama administration against Zelaya? In the days ahead there will surely be a lot of attention and scrutiny paid to the role of Romeo Vasquez, a General who led the military coup against Zelaya. Vasquez is a graduate of the notorious U.S. School of the Americas, an institution which trained the Latin American military in torture. Are we to believe that the United States had no role in coordinating with Vasquez and the coup plotters? The U.S. has had longstanding military ties to the Honduran armed forces, particularly during the Contra War in Nicaragua during the 1980s. The White House, needless to say, has rejected claims that the U.S. played a role. The New York Times has reported claims that the Obama administration knew that a coup was imminent and tried to persuade the military to back down. The paper writes that it was the Honduran military which broke off discussions with American officials. Obama himself has taken the high road, remarking "I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms [and] the rule of law. Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference". Even if the Obama administration did not play an underhanded role in this affair, the Honduran coup highlights growing geo-political tensions in the region. In recent years, Chavez has sought to extend his influence to smaller Central American and Caribbean nations. The Venezuelan leader shows no intention of backing down over the Honduran coup, remarking that ALBA nations "will not recognize any [Honduran] government that isn't Zelaya's". Chavez then derided Honduras' interim president, Roberto Micheletti. "Mr. Roberto Micheletti will either wind up in prison or he'll need to go into exile. If they swear him in we'll overthrow him, mark my words. Thugetti--as I'm going to refer to him from now on--you better pack your bags, because you're either going to jail or you're going into exile. We're not going to forgive your error, you're going to get swept out of there. We're not going to let it happen, we're going to make life impossible for you. President Manuel Zelaya needs to retake his position as president". With tensions running high, heads of ALBA nations have vowed to meet in Managua to discuss the coup in Honduras. Zelaya, who was exiled to Costa Rica from Honduras, plans to fly to Nicaragua to speak with his colleagues. With such political unity amongst ALBA nations, Obama will have to decide what the public U.S. posture ought to be. Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2008) Follow his blog at senorchichero.blogspot.com ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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