Progressive Calendar 07.05.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sun, 5 Jul 2009 15:08:34 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    07.05.09

1. Stillwater vigil 7.05 1pm
2. Bicking campaign 7.05 6:30pm
3. Zines/film       7.05 8pm

4. HOBT/stilt camp  7.06-10 9am
5. Peace walk       7.06 6pm RiverFalls WI
6. UHCAM cookout    7.06 6:30pm

7. Missy Beattie - Would Jesus pack heat? God, booze and guns
8. PC Roberts    - The big whorehouse on the Potomac
9. Robert Jensen - We are most free when we are most bound to others
10. ed           - bumpersticker

--------1 of 10--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 7.05 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560


--------2 of 10--------

From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com>
Subject: Bicking campaign 7.05 6:30pm

[New Broom rated the present 13 member Mpls City Council from F (5) to C-
(3), with varieties of D- D D+ (7) for those in between. Both mean and
average at D-. Unresponsive, opaque (backroom deals), rah rah developer,
screw the citizen, give them RNC and official cop roguery -- the USUAL
kind of city council all over the US. A dream for the mean rich
greedheads, a nightmare for all the rest of us. The DFL members being
"better than the GOP" is never better enough to result in better policies.
A difference without a difference. Who needs them?

New Broom rates Dave Bicking at A. Send the Fs and Ds packing - they have
no interest in us, we should have none in them. Goodbye and good riddance!
The city is dragged down by a D- council. Think what a difference even one
A-grade member would make in whistle-blowing and advancing changes in the
public (ie our) interest! Ask for nothing less than the best! -ed]

Dave Bicking for City Council campaign meeting:

Sunday, July 5, 6:30pm
Dave's house:  3211 22nd Ave. S. (lower duplex), Minneapolis

(Directions: Just over two blocks south of Lake St. on 22nd Ave.  22nd
Avenue is just west of the Lake Street stop of the Hiawatha LRT.  There is
also good bus service along Lake St.)

Now that the graphics for the campaign are pretty well settled, its time
to order lawn signs, buttons, T-shirts etc.  Please come - or contact me -
if you would like to help with that or have some experience.  There's lots
else to talk about - lit, door knocking, website, etc.

Campaign news:

The official filing period opens this Tuesday, July 7.  All candidates for
Minneapolis city offices must file between July 7 and July 21.  We'll
probably do some sort of joint event with other candidates, a press
release, who knows?  So far we only know of two candidates in this ward -
me and the incumbent.  By July 22 we'll know exactly who will be on the
ballot on November 3rd.  Instant Runoff Voting (now more often called
Ranked Choice Voting, or RCV) will definitely be used for the election, so
there will be no primary election.

This isn't part of my campaign, but I should let you know that the Unfair
Campaign Practices Complaint that I filed against the Rybak for Mayor
campaign is coming to trial this Tuesday!!  Quick background for those not
familiar:  During last February and March, the Rybak campaign distributed
literature that claimed endorsement from all 13 City Council members,
including Cam Gordon of the Green Party.  They also had his name on their
website.  According to MN state law, they have to get written permission
from the individual before publicly claiming them as a campaign supporter.
They did not do that; in fact, the documentation which has now become
public because of this case shows clearly that Cam did NOT want his name
used before the Green Party endorsing process on May 9.  It is a clear-cut
violation of a very important law by the Rybak campaign - they have
offered no evidence that would counter my complaint.

Though Cam did eventually endorse Rybak, he did so on May 13, the day
after I filed the complaint.  The complaint is based entirely on the
period up to the date it was filed, May 12.  I strongly oppose Cam's
current endorsement of Rybak for a number of reasons.  But that is NOT the
subject or intent of the complaint that I filed.  I felt that the law
should be enforced - it is an important and valid law.  I also think that
Rybak's claim that Cam supported him without waiting for the Green Party
process was damaging to Cam and to the Green Party, and was intended to
discourage other possible candidates from coming forward, whether Green
Party or not.

The trial is this Tuesday, and it is open to the public.  I would love it
if you could come and show your support.  There will certainly be press
coverage - Rybak's lawyer has indicated that Rybak will testify in person.
That means I get to personally cross-examine him.  That alone ought to be
worth the cost of admission!!  (free)  :-)  Rybak's campaign can be fined
up to $5000, and the case can (and should, based on its severity) be
referred to the County Attorney for criminal prosecution.

Details:  Tuesday, July 7, 9:30am, Evidentiary hearing on Dave Bicking vs.
R.T. Rybak for Mayor, at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 600 N.
Robert St., St. Paul (just north of I- 94)  First floor courtroom. Please
come and support ethical (and legal) campaigning!!

The judges will submit their ruling within 14 days after the hearing.

Also, not part of the campaign, but something I have been very involved
in:

Town Hall meeting on Taser Policy
Sponsored by the Mpls Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA)
Wednesday, July 15, 6:30 pm, in Room 319 of City Hall, 350 S. 5th St.
(use after-hours entrance: the center doors on 4th St. - north side of
building)

I am a member of the CRA, and I have been working very hard (and long) on
the city's Taser policy.  It is important in its own right, and the
problems with the policy are symptomatic of larger problems with the
direction of our police force.  The explanation below gives a little more
about the meeting and the background.  I really hope that you all can come
to this - it will be very interesting, and a good turnout and good
comments would be helpful to show how important this is to the public!

Announcement of public meeting:

The Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA) invites the public
to attend a forum addressing the Police Departmentīs TaserŪ policy and the
question of when and how changes are made to the Minneapolis Police
Department (MPD) Policy and Procedure Manual.  City Council members will
also be invited to attend and participate.  Board members will explain the
history of and differences between the former and current policies for the
use of Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs, the generic term for Tasers). After
the presentations, the CRA will invite public comment on the current CED
policy, and when and how changes should be made to the MPD's policy and
procedure manual.

This public forum comes one week before the City Council's Public Safety
and Regulatory Services Committee will consider measures to govern how
changes are made to the MPD's Policy and Procedure Manual.  The manual
provides the standard of conduct that both the MPD's Internal Affairs Unit
and the CRA look to when determining if police officers committed acts of
misconduct.

The City Council debate and CRA forum are in response to the MPD changing
their 2006 CED policy without notice to City Council. The police
department's adoption of the 2006 CED policy was required as part of the
City Councilīs approval of MPD's purchase of 160 new TaserŪ CEDs.  That
policy was the result of a collaboration between the CRA, City Council,
and the Police Chief.  It contained specific directives, such as only one
officer should activate a Taser against a person at a time, and
restrictions on employing Tasers on passive subjects, children, visibly
frail persons, pregnant women, etc.  The MPD changed that policy on August
17, 2007, apparently giving officers much greater discretion in the use of
CEDs.  The CRA Board has recommended a return to the policy adopted in
2006.

###

The Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority investigates and makes
determinations regarding complaints brought against any Minneapolis Police
Officer.  It may also review Minneapolis Police Department policies and
training procedures and make recommendations for change.

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an
interview with Lee Reid, please call his CRA office at 612-673-2099 or
email him at samuel.reid [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us

Lots going on.  Please help my campaign in any way you can.  And, if you
can, attend these events, or support the other causes that have motivated
my run for office.

For a more fair and compassionate city,
Dave Bicking 612-276-1213


--------3 of 10--------

From: Amanda Luker <amanda [at] pinkslipmedia.org>
Subject: Zines/film 7.05 8pm

In an annual tradition, Arise! Bookstore will be hosting a series of free
weekly events throughout the summer, each with a different theme
reflecting the diverse interests of volunteers at the collectively run
bookstore. The events will take place each Sunday night at 8pm, opening
with a speaker or performance, and ending with the screening of a film
after sundown.

july 5  Zine & sticker making workshop.
FILM  $100 & a T-shirt - A cultural analysis of zines & zine-makers.

Arise! Bookstore 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55406
www.arisebookstore.org


--------4 of 10--------

From: In the Heart of the Beast Theatre <info [at] hobt.org>
Subject: HOBT/stilt camp 7.06-10 9am

There is still space available in Stilt 'n' Spin Day Camp, July 6-10, 9
a.m. to noon. This is not your average day camp... Learn to stilt walk in
a week! Learn the basics of fire-spinning (without the fire)! Perfect for
anyone who's ever wondered how the world looks from atop a pair of stilts.

Stilt 'n' Spin Day Camp Details
When: July 6-10, 9 a.m. to noon
Where: Powderhorn Park
For Ages: 9 to 13
Instructor: Bart Buch
Cost: $140
Register here 
[http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102607056231&s=7974&e=001ZCXo7t-6DexXU3w4RtZnDaxgvnuNrs3v4vnoVStpmTlX9PewU8Cg3eE5aoYkSbkx1Ku9tbPJ1mj5qWf_S-cxqTTsV-ylj46QQYNwMBuHzi1WW6chbg9jMshk3pbV7nUcB6rVem21VrmGunL8WQpy9rvUrAsRISrj_VZmKLpx9l1jH2Jft-hfB7c4cFFHXTgeEeco54Qiw9s=],
by phone 612-721-2535, in person.
Full payment of tuition is required upon registration. Camp size is limited.


--------5 of 10--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 7.06 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022


--------6 of 10--------

From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org>
Subject: UHCAM cookout 7.06 6:30pm

July 6th:
Cookout/UHCAN-MN mtg: Monday, 6:30PM, at Joel's house, 3500 35th Avs S.,
Longfellow neighborhood, Mpls 55406. (directions:Take Lake street to 35th
ave and go south to 35th street. Or take Hiawatha (hwy55) to 35th street
and go east to 35th ave.) I will supply a grill, hamburger and hot dog
buns, ice tea, utensils,plates. Bring potluck food/ drink item, esp
something to grill.


--------7 of 10--------

God, Booze and Guns
Would Jesus Pack Heat?
By MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE
CounterPunch
July 3-5, 2009

Tennessee legislators just voted to allow handguns in bars and
restaurants, although the legislation maintains a ban on drinking while
carrying a gun. I'm wondering how this is going to work.

In Arizona, the Senate has approved a bill allowing patrons with permits
to bring concealed weapons into businesses that serve alcohol. Almost 40
states have passed similar laws.

And in my home state of Kentucky, Ken Pagano, Pastor at the New Bethel
Assembly of God Church, recently reached out to gun worshippers, packing
the pews by allowing his congregation to bear arms in the sanctuary.

Pagano, a former Marine, added a raffle to what wasn't supposed to be a
religious service--this was a Saturday evening event--but the minister
raised his arms skyward and said a prayer. Many of those present weren't
members of the church but attended the celebration simply to show support
for firearms in church, firearms almost anywhere. In fact, the raffle
prize was a gun.

To the crowd, Pastor Pagano said, "You have become my parishioners. I pray
that the Lord will bless you and keep you".

One person spoke up and said he thought "everybody should carry a gun".

The "Homeland," this terrority handed by George W. Bush to Barack Obama
truly is the Wild West, a place where us vs. them is now the national
mentality. So mix your favorite firearm with your alcohol of choice and
toss in a dose of Bible thumping. Shake well and say your prayers. I have
a feeling we're all going to need them.



--------8 of 10--------

Republic of the Insouciant
The Big Whorehouse on the Potomac
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
July 3-5, 2009
CounterPunch

As Americans celebrate July 4, they can contemplate that the union of
"free and independent states," like the former British colonial power, has
evolved into its final manifestation--a complete whore house.  While
Members of Parliament in London charge their expense accounts with every
personal expenditure, including the rental of adult xxx-rated films, an
American newspaper put the reporting of public policy out to bids until
politico.com blew the whistle.

In Washington, everything is for sale, including journalistic integrity.
The Washington Post, which abandoned investigative reporting eons ago,
decided to boost its sagging revenues by spreading her legs.  The Post's
business division put out a flier offering lobbyists access at the Post's
CEO's gracious home to "those powerful few" in the Obama administration,
Congress, and among the Post's editors and reporters who decide the
nation's policies, such as health care.

The Washington Post's flyer offered a Wal-Mart low cost of a mere $25,000
for one "salon" to interact with decision makers and $250,000 for eleven
interactions.

Alas, people with an old fashioned sense of integrity impugned the
Washington Post's new business model, and the Post's boss, Katharine
Weymouth, had to rescind the offer that would have rescued the newspaper
by turning it into a "facilitator for private lobbyist-official
encounters".

I say damn the old fashioned moralists.  America would be much better
served if the Washington Post was selling access to lobbyists instead of
selling the US government's PSYOPS operations in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq,
Georgia, Ukraine, Serbia, Venezeula, Honduras, and everywhere else, for
which the paper receives a pittance: the reporter can tell his editor that
he has a deep source within the government, hardly an adequate recompense
for wars that cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars at a
time when Americans cannot pay the mortgages on their homes.

America would be better off if the Washington Post whored for lobbyists
than for the US Imperial State, which has failed to adjust its imperial
ambitions to its bankruptcy.  As an example of its whoring for US
Imperialism, on July 2, the Washington Post reported President Obama's
claim that Russian Prime Minister Putin is a person who lives partly in
the past, with "one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in
the new".

If Putin has "one foot in the new," he is ahead of Obama who has both feet
in the past.

Obama said that Putin needs to learn that "the old Cold War approaches" to
relations with the US are "outdated".

The Post reported this as if a failure of Putin's is endangering
US/Russian relations.  The Post did not point out that it is Obama, not
Putin, who has wars of aggression against three independent
countries--Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, with a fourth war threatened
with Iran.  We know for a fact these wars originated in the Bush
administration's lies and deceptions, but Obama continues the occupations
and expands the wars, thus endorsing the deceptions.

It is the Washington whorehouse that unilaterally abrogated the
anti-ballistic missile treaty with Russia and begin constructing
anti-ballistic missile sites designed to negate Russia's nuclear
deterrent.  If Russia's nuclear weapons can be made useless, Russia can be
knuckled under to accept America's hegemonic will, and US hegemony takes
another step forward.

It is Washington that is surrounding Russia with military bases: an
anti-ballistic missile base in Poland, an anti-ballistic missile radar
site in the Czech Republic, American-made "color revolutions," which have
installed US puppet governments in Serbia, Ukraine, and Georgia, with
failures in former constituent parts of Soviet central Asia.

NATO, once a European/American alliance against Soviet invasion of Western
Europe is now a mercenary US force fighting for America in Afghanistan and
attempting to encircle Russia from the Baltics to Central Asia.

Obama will soon be on his way to Russia to discuss whether or not Russia
is willing to give in to US demands to prostrate itself before US
hegemony.  Obama hopes to drive a wedge between Prime Minister Putin and
President Medvedev, like the wedges Washington has facilitated between the
ambitious ruling ayatollahs in Iran.  If Obama can get Putin and Medvedev
at odds, Russia will be neutralized.

That would leave China alone as an obstacle to US world hegemony.

The US has no media.  But it does have a Ministry of Propaganda.
Americans were programmed with days of propaganda that Islamic Iran, a
member of the US-designated "axis of evil," stole the election from the
Iranian people.  According to the US Ministry of Propaganda, the Iranian
people are allied with the US government against the Iranian government.

Even people who are regarded as Iran experts said, without any evidence,
that the elections were stolen.  One of their arguments is that three
hours were not enough time to count all the votes, yet it was announced
that Ahmajdinejad won. The ignorance of "experts" made theft a certainty
for American TV audiences.

The "experts" who make this assertion are obviously ignorant of Iran's
electoral procedures.  For the ignorant "experts" and the Americans
deluded by them, here is the way it works:

There are more than 45,000 voting places, which means less than 1,000
votes per voting place, an easy number to count and report - in three
hours.  At each voting place there are a dozen or more observers,
including every candidates. representatives, representatives of the
Guardian Council, and the local police. The votes are counted in the
presence of all, and all sign documents attesting to the count.

The vote totals are forwarded to a central office in the region that has
representatives of the candidates and the Guardian Council, where they are
verified by a dozen or a dozen and a half of witnesses.  From here the
vote count goes to the Minister of the Interior, where the vote is
announced.

Unless these procedures were not followed, and no evidence has been
provided that the procedures were not followed, it is impossible to steal
an Iranian election.  It is much easier to steal an American one, which
happens routinely.

There are thousands, indeed tens of thousands of witnesses, perhaps
hundreds of thousands of witnesses, to the Iranian vote.  Yet, only
Mousavi and his corrupt supporters among the high living Iranian elite,
who are fighting for personal power in Iran, contest the vote.  The kids
in the street were the usual dupes. At this stage in history, how can
anyone believe that there is a pure candidate that wants to bring freedom
and justice to the people?  Anywhere.  In any country, the US included.

Ignorant "experts" made a great noise about the fact that 50 cities or
towns had votes in excess of registered voters.  Again, this is a
demonstration of the total ignorance of "Iranian experts".  In Iran,
voters can vote wherever they happen to be at the day of election.
Vacationers, business people on travel, commuters, and the partial absence
of distinct voting districts, can produce a vote count in excess of the
local registered population.

The Guardian Council examined these differences, added them up, and noted
that if every additional vote was fraudulent, the number was insufficient
to affect the outcome.

The Guardian Council has agreed to post every vote count.

Did you learn of these facts from Fox News, CNN, the New York Times, or
from the CIA and Mossad bloggers?  Of course not.  Every time "your" media
opens its mouth lies jump out that serve the US government's hegemonic
propaganda.

America's salvation lies with Charles Pelton and the Washington Post's
business side managers.  Once the American media is obviously a
whorehouse, which it is, Americans might pull themselves out of their
stupor and learn to recognize facts and to think for themselves.

But don't hold your breath.  From what I have seen, with few exceptions,
Americans are as dumb and insouciant as they come. And they think they are
the salt of the earth.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be
reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com


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We Are Most Free When We Are Most Bound to Others
Beyond Independence
By ROBERT JENSEN
CounterPunch
July 3-5, 2009

Power is typically approached as a question of dominance and submission.
Power is marked by the ability to impose or the ability to resist that
imposition. This is what some have called "power-over,"[1] which assumes a
zero-sum game in which individuals are always in competition for that
power - someone dominates and someone submits. In such a world, one can
use
this kind of power with varying levels of responsibility to others, but in
such a world it is inevitable that power routinely will be used unjustly.
Because there is always the threat that some other person or group can
grab the power, these kinds of systems will encourage people to seek
always more power. This is readily evident, for example, in the emergence
of the United States as the dominant power after World War II. Even though
it was clear the United States could have lived relatively secure in the
world with its considerable wealth and extensive resources, that status
was instead a source of anxiety in a power-over world, as seen in this
conclusion of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff in 1947: "To
seek less than preponderant power would be to opt for defeat. Preponderant
power must be the object of U.S. policy".[2]

That's the logic of power-over: One either dominates or eventually is
dominated. The potential of a challenge from below means that no amount of
power is enough; more always must be accumulated to ward off threats.
Along the way, people pursuing these goals tend to justify the
concentration of power as in the best interests of all; the enlightened
ones with the power tell us that they will use it benevolently in the
interests not just of themselves but also those less fortunate. All of
human history argues against having faith in this power-seeking, with its
accompanying hubris and self-delusion. But history is conveniently ignored
by the powerful as they congratulate themselves on their vision and
fortitude, while at the same time they work feverishly to propagandize the
powerless, lest those below see the shell game for what it is and rebel.

It's tempting to say that this power-over exercised on earth is illusory,
that real power rests with God or on some other plane of existence. The
problem, of course, is that the suffering caused by the exercise of
power-over is not illusory and does not exist at some other level. It is
felt by people and other living things in the here-and-now. The need to
challenge power-seeking, domination, and injustice is not otherworldly but
of this world. Still, it is not merely rhetorical to mark that power-over
is dead power. It is ultimately the power of death, and also is a power
that comes only to those whose souls are dead. The poet Muriel Rukeyser
expressed clearly the nature of this power and why we should reject it:

Dead power is everywhere among us - in the forest, chopping down the
songs;  at night in the industrial landscape, wasting and stiffening a new
life;  in the streets of the city, throwing away the day. We wanted
something different for our people: not to find ourselves an old,
reactionary republic, full of ghost-fears, the fears of death and the
fears of birth.  We want something else.[3]

We want something else, but our systems and institutions rarely provide
it. Even the church itself, where we might assume we could find that
"something else," is mired in a domination/subordination dynamic. Much
Christian theology is rooted in the idea that people are so inherently
evil that we must subordinate ourselves to God, and thenconvenient - for
church officials - to a calcified dogma and doctrine propagated by the
church. It shouldn't be surprising that this conception of Christianity
coexists comfortably with the power-over exercised by the contemporary
nation-state and corporation. These groups of elites - political,
economic, religious - take for themselves the right to dominate in their
arena, eyeing the other elites nervously, knowing they must collaborate
with each other but always aware they also are in nervous competition in
the struggle for primacy. Such is the nature of life, even for the
ultra-privileged, in a power-over world.

We must give this kind of system its due: Clearly, a system based on
power-over can be productive - it can extract resources from the earth and
energy from people to produce a vast array of goods and services, which
brings some benefits to some people. But just as clearly, such a system
can never be truly creative - it cannot create a world in which all people
flourish, create new ways of understanding, or create solutions to the
problems power-over inevitably generates. Such flourishing, understanding,
and problem-solving come not from power-over but from power-with, an
understanding of power not based in assertions of independence and
destructive dominance but in an embrace of interdependence and creative
cooperation.

In a hyper-individualized society based on capitalism's glorification of
greed, it's not surprising that an adolescent conception of selfish
independence would define our political and economic institutions and
dominate our cultural imagination. Of course the struggle for a certain
kind of independence - being free from the imposition of power-over - is
not a trivial matter; we see what inhumanity is possible when people are
not truly free to act as individuals, and we know that independence at the
personal level matters in our lives. Yet we all know that we are not
independent beings but profoundly interdependent with each other, other
organisms, and the non-living world. The task is to create a system that
gives us freedom from the illegitimate authority that people and
institutions attempt to impose on us, but recognizes our obligations to
each other. One way to think through this is to imagine what a world would
look like if power were not "over" but "with," if we understood that our
power can be magnified in collaboration with others.

Even in the midst of a capitalist economy structured on power-over,
experiments in power-with go forward, such as worker cooperatives that are
owned and controlled by members. The United States Federation of Worker
Cooperatives estimates that there are more than 300 such democratic
workplaces in the United States, employing 3,500 people and generating
about $400 million in annual revenues, mostly concentrated in the
Northeast, West Coast and Upper Midwest. Worker cooperatives tend to
create stable jobs, foster sustainable business practices, and support
linkages among different segments of the community. The principles
articulated by the federation capture the spirit behind, and organization
of, cooperatives: voluntary and non-discriminatory open membership;
control by members; equitable and democratic control of capital;
commitment to education and training of members; cooperation with other
cooperatives; and a commitment to sustainable community development.[4]

One exciting example of this model is Green Worker Cooperatives, which was
established to incubate worker-owned and environmentally friendly
cooperatives in the South Bronx. The first cooperative they launched, the
ReBuilders Source, is a retail warehouse for surplus and salvaged building
materials recovered from construction and demolition jobs. In the Green
Worker Cooperatives' own words:

Our approach is a response to high unemployment and decades of
environmental racism. We don't have the luxury to wait for new
alternatives. That's why we're creating them. We believe that in order to
address our environmental and economic problems we need new ways to earn a
living that don't require polluting the earth or exploiting human
labor.[5]

For many, it's hard to imagine working in institutions based on real
cooperation because the society in which we live is structured on such a
different notion. Yet if we think of experiences when we feel
authentically most at home - not just our home with family, but with
friends, in political groups, at church, in a community association - we
typically feel powerful not because we can force people to do things or
can ignore other people's needs in our decisions; we feel powerful when we
come together with others to create something we couldn't have created
alone.

Though it sounds paradoxical in this culture, this leads to an important
insight:

We are most free when we are most bound to others.

When bonds are created under conditions of mutual respect and shared
power, our freedom is deepened by such interdependence. Our strength is
not sapped by these bonds but is enhanced by the emergent properties of
collective human action. The individual efforts of numerous people cannot
simply be added together and plugged into an equation to predict the
outcome, but rather their simple actions come together in a collective
result that is novel and irreducible. The most creative force does not
come from a power, centralized either in one person or one institution and
its bureaucracy, which imposes its will on others and treats people as
inputs whose energy can be plugged into a formula for production. The most
creative force comes from distributed power that channels the
contributions of many into ends that people define collectively. This goes
against the cultural icon of the heroic figure, who may enlist the help of
others but, in the end, draws on a power that is individual and ultimately
in conflict with other power in the world. Heroic figures typically are
overrated, as those who are put in that role often understand. In Brecht's
play Galileo, the famed scientist's assistant is devastated when Galileo
recants his scientific beliefs under threat from the Inquisition. Andrea
confronts Galileo: "Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero". Galileo
responds, "No, Andrea: Unhappy is the land that needs a hero".[6]

This essay is excerpted from Robert Jensen's new book, All My Bones Shake:
Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice, published by Soft Skull
Press.

Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at
Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in
Austin, TX. He also is the author of Getting Off: Pornography and the End
of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007); The Heart of Whiteness:
Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005); Citizens
of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights, 2004); and
Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream
(Peter Lang, 2002). Jensen can be reached at rjensen [at] uts.cc.utexas.edu and
his articles can be found online at
http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/index.html.

Notes.

[1] The power-over/power-with distinction is usually credited to Mary
Parker Follett, a theorist, political organizer, and social activist who
wrote several influential books in the first half of the twentieth
century. The terms are used today in a variety of academic, political, and
business settings. I first encountered this term in discussions with
feminist activists. For a review, see "Feminist Perspectives on Power,"
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, October 2005.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminist-power/

[2] Quoted in Melvyn Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security,
the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford, CA.: Stanford
University Press, 1992), pp. 18-19.

[3] Muriel Rukeyser, quoted in Adrienne Rich, What is Found There, (New
York: W.W. Norton, 1993), page preceding preface. Originally published in
The Life of Poetry (New York: Current Books, 1949).

[4] United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, "About Worker
Cooperatives". http://www.usworker.coop/ See also, International
Organization of Industrial, Artisan and Service Producers. Cooperatives,
"World Declaration on Cooperative Worker Ownership," February 2004.
http://www.usworker.coop/public/documents/Oslo_Declaration.pdf

[5] Green Worker Cooperative, .Advocating Zero Waste..
http://www.greenworker.coop/

[6] Bertolt Brecht, Galileo (New York: Grove Press, 1940), p. 115.


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