Progressive Calendar 07.09.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009 00:40:16 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   07.09.09

1. Health care         7.09 9am
2. Toys/war orphans    7.09 11am
3. Klobuchar/health    7.09 12noon
4. Eagan peace vigil   7.09 4:30pm
5. Northtown vigil     7.09 5pm
6. Solar energy        7.09 5:30pm
7. XCEL/Mpls powelines 7.09 6:30pm
8. Nuke-free world     7.09 6:45pm
9. Health care "forum" 7.09 7pm
10. AWC new members    7.09 7pm
11. Edgertonite        7.09 cancelled

12. Michael Parenti - The Honduras coup: is Obama innocent?
13. Benjamin Dangl  - High stakes in Honduras: a class struggle unfolds
14. Laura Flanders  - Gag order: Obama hushes health care advocates
15. Derrick Jensen  - Forget shorter showers: personal not = political
16. ed              - The rich belong  (bumpersticker)

--------1 of 16--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Health care 7.09 9am

July 9: Minnesota Women's Consortium Women and Health Care Reform. 9 AM -
Noon at the Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul. RSVP.


--------2 of 16--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Toys/war orphans 7.09 11am

Demonstration: Toys for War Orphans
Thursday, July 9, 11:00 a.m. (Market Day on the Mall) Peavey Plaza, 1111
Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.

Come see and join in support of the WAMM Peace Troupe. There will be a
wagonload of dolls with injuries (missing arms, legs, bandages) to
increase awareness of children who are war victims as well as a flyer with
information to pass out. There will be filming of some of the responses of
people on the streets who are talked to. Sponsored by: the WAMM Peace
Troupe. FFI and to Donate Dolls: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364 or email
wammmedia [at] gmail.com.


--------3 of 16--------

From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at] millcitymusic.com>
Subject: Klobuchar/health 7.09 12noon

Here is the info about the event tomorrow, Thursday at Senator Amy
Klobuchar's Office. It is at noon and the office location is `1200
Washington Ave So.

We want people to give Amy the word they she needs to support solving the
health care problem.

John Kolstad/President, Mill City Music

From: "Stefanie K., MoveOn Member" <moveon-help [at] list.moveon.org>

"Public Option Now!"
Health Care Rally in Minneapolis
<http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=94212&id=16524-1583997-hSD1H4x>

Host: Stefanie K.--fellow MoveOn member
Where: Sen. Amy Klobuchar's District Office (in Minneapolis)
Thursday, Jul. 9, 2009, at 12:00 PM

Key Senate votes on health care are coming next week. So we're rallying at
Senator Al Franken's office to urge him to fight for a strong public
health insurance option. We'll hear from speakers with firsthand stories
about the health care crisis and deliver a massive petition to the
senator's staff. Can you make it?

Click here for more details and to RSVP:
<http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=94212&id=16524-1583997-hSD1H4x&t=3>

I can come
<http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=94212&id=180&t=3>.


--------4 of 16-------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 7.09 4:30pm

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.


--------5 of 16--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 7.09 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] aol.com.


--------6 of 16--------

From: "bulldogsmn [at] juno.com" <bulldogsmn [at] juno.com>
Subject: Solar energy 7.09 5:30pm

MN Renewable Energy Society Hosts: Networking, Pizza and a Speaker - FREE!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
5:30 pm - Networking and pizza
6:00 pm - Expert guest speaker for evening
7:00 pm - Board Meeting

Flannery Construction, 1375 St. Anthony Avenue, St. Paul, MN

This month, we'll be hearing from Ann Johnson, Project Manager for the
University of MN's Solar Decathlon project. Ann will provide an overview
of the contest, their house's design and features, and an update on where
the University's team is right now. They are busy building the ICON house,
and preparing for a mock competition to be held at the St. Paul Campus in
late August. The goal is to get the house ready to ship to Washington in
late September, for competition October 8th through the 19th.


--------7 of 16--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: XCEL/Mpls powelines 7.09 6:30pm

Xcel Energy Proposes To Construct 2 High Voltage Transmission Lines (HVTL)
and Substations in South Minneapolis Residential Community - HUMAN RIGHTS
and ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MATTERS ARE AT STAKE!

Community Meeting -- Get Informed!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
6:30 -- 8:30 p.m.
Waite House
2529 13th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN  55404
612-721-1681

WHO - Women, Mothers, Youth, Elders, and Family members who live, work,
attend school, engage in cultural rights, have gardens, bike, have
children that attend school daycare, or play at the parks in the proposed
Project area may be affected by Xcel's "Hiawatha Project".

Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin noted that never before in
Minnesota has Xcel put above ground HVTL in the heart of a residential
community!

What is the potential impact on over 75% of people of color (Indigenous,
African descent, Latinos, and others)  in the Minneapolis Phillips
neighborhood and also those in Corcoran, Powderhorn, Central and related
neighborhoods?  What are the health issues, climate justice, energy
justice, alternative sustainable development issues raised with this
proposed Project?

Human Rights, Women's Rights, Indigenous Rights, and Children's Rights
NOW!

Xcel's "preferred route" is at the Midtown Greenway at 29th Street South
and proposes to build (2) new HVTL and two new substations in the
Phillips neighborhood, but Xcel is considering alternative routes to
run through Corcoran, Powderhorn, Central and related neighborhoods.

Cecelia Martinez from the Center for Earth Energy and Democracy ("CEED" at
http://www.iatp.org/CEED/ <http://www.iatp.org/CEED/> ) will present and
help us understand the Project, the potential IMPACT on our communities,
and talk about SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.  What can we demand from community
leaders, elected officials, and Xcel to respect energy and environmental
justice in our communities?

Take immediate action now and submit your comments by email or U.S.
mail to the Project Manager, by July 10, 2009, regarding the
"Hiawatha Project" at:

Bill Strom, Project Manager Minnesota Department of Commerce 85 7th Place
East, Suite 500 Saint Paul, MN 55101-2198 Bill.strom [at] state.mn.us
<mailto:Bill.strom [at] state.mn.us>

[As long as the rich and their children are not near/affected, they could
care less. Let the "inferior peoples" (ie anyone but them) bear the toxic
brunt of their latest ecological crime. There are environmental criminals
as near as your closest country club. -ed]


--------8 of 16--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Nuke-free world 7.09 6:45pm

Talk by Lisa Ledwidge: "Prospects for a Nuclear Weapons-free World"
Thursday July 9, 6:45 p.m. Parish Community of St. Joseph, 8701 36th
Avenue North (Corner of Boone), New Hope.

"What are the real prospects for a nuclear-free world and what role does
nuclear energy play in this debate?" Lisa Ledwidge is the Outreach
Director of the United States Institute for Energy and Environmental
Research (IEER), a non-profit group that provides scientific information
and analysis on environmental, energy, and security issues to
policymakers, journalists, and the public. Discussion follows. Free and
open to the public. Sponsored by: Northwest Neighbors for Peace. Endorsed
by: WAMM.


--------9 of 16--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Health care "forum" 7.09 7pm

JULY 9th, 7PM
HEALTH CARE um @ MN PUBLIC RADIO  [MN plutocrat radio -ed]
480 Cedar Street
Saint Paul, MN USA 5510
MUSST SIGN UP IN ADVANCE TO BE IN AUDIENCE--first come, first served
http://www.minnesotapublicradio.org

[Becuse it's MPR, it's likely to be a pretty crock of corporate manure.
-ed]


--------10 of 16--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com>
Subject: AWC new members 7.09 7pm

New Members Meeting
Thursday, July 9th @ 7pm @ Common Roots @ 2558 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis*
Join us for a meeting orientated for new people.  We'll be discussing our
plans for members who are going to Palestine this summer, upcoming anti-war
events, and foreign policy news.  This meeting will also begin with a
teachin on Afghanistan.  Organized by the Anti-War Committee.


--------11 of 16--------

From: jwilson [at] enp-news.org
Subject: Edgertonite 7.09 cancelled

Edgertonite National Party EMERGENCY Meeting Cancellation!

The meeting originally scheduled for Thu., 9 July 2009 at Blue Moon coffee
shop, 3822 E. Lake St. is CANCELLED due to the National Chairman's need to
attend a legal seminar for candidates at the same time.

Said seminar shall be considered to be the ENP meeting for this period. To
attend, please RSVP to: shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu


--------12 of 16--------

The Honduras Coup: Is Obama Innocent?
by Michael Parenti
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
CommonDreams.org

Is President Obama innocent of the events occurring in Honduras,
specifically the coup launched by the Honduran military resulting in the
abduction and forced deportation of democratically elected President
Manuel Zelaya? Obama has denounced the coup and demanded that the rules of
democracy be honored. Still, several troubling questions remain.

First, almost all the senior Honduran military officers active in the coup
are graduates of the Pentagon's School of the Americas (known to many of
us as "School of the Assassins"). The Honduran military is trained,
advised, equipped, indoctrinated, and financed by the United States
national security state. The generals would never have dared to move
without tacit consent from the White House or the Pentagon and CIA.

Second, if Obama was not directly involved, then he should be faulted for
having no firm command over those US operatives who were. The US military
must have known about the plot and US military intelligence must have
known and must have reported it back to Washington. Why did Obama's people
who had communicated with the coup leaders fail to blow the whistle on
them? Why did they not expose and denounce the plot, thereby possibly
foiling the entire venture? Instead the US kept quiet about it, a silence
that in effect, even if not in intent, served as an act of complicity.

Third, immediately after the coup, Obama stated that he was against using
violence to effect change and that it was up to the various parties in
Honduras to resolve their differences. His remarks were a rather tepid and
muted response to a gangster putsch.

Fourth, Obama never expected there would be an enormous uproar over the
Honduras coup. He hastily joined the outcry against the perpetrators only
when it became evident that opposition to the putschists was nearly
universal throughout Latin America and elsewhere in the world.

Fifth, Obama still has had nothing to say about the many other acts of
repression attendant with the coup perpetrated by Honduran military and
police: kidnappings, beatings, disappearances, attacks on demonstrators,
shutting down the internet and suppressing the few small critical media
outlets that exist in Honduras.

Sixth, as James Petras reminded me, Obama has refused to meet with
President Zelaya. He dislikes Zelaya mostly for his close and unexpected
affiliation with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. And because of his egalitarian
reformist efforts Zelaya is hated by the Honduran oligarchs, the same
oligarchs who for many years have been close to and splendidly served by
the US empire builders.

Seventh, under a law passed by the US Congress, any democratic government
that is the victim of a military takeover is to be denied US military and
economic aid. Obama still has not cut off the economic and military aid to
Honduras as he is required to do under this law. This is perhaps the most
telling datum regarding whose side he is on. (His Secretary of State,
Hillary Clinton, is even worse. She refuses to call it a coup and states
that there are two sides to this story.)

As president, Obama has considerable influence and immense resources that
might well have thwarted the perpetrators and perhaps could still be
applied against them with real effect. As of now he seems more inclined to
take the insider track rather than an actively democratic stance. On
Honduras he is doing too little too late - as is the case with many other
things he does.

Michael Parenti's recent books include: Contrary Notions (City Lights);
and God and His Demons (Prometheus, forthcoming). For further information,
visit his website: www.michaelparenti.org.


--------13 of 16--------

A Class Struggle Unfolds
High Stakes in Honduras
By BENJAMIN DANGL
July 8, 2009
CounterPunch

When rallying in the streets of Tegucigalpa for the ousted President
Manuel Zelaya, Alejandra Fernandez, a 23-year-old university student told
a journalist why she supported Zelaya: "He raised the minimum wage, gave
out free school lunches, provided milk for the babies and pensions for the
elderly, distributed energy-saving light bulbs, decreased the price of
public transportation, made more scholarships available for students."
Others gathered around to mention the roads and schools in rural areas the
president had created.

"That's why the elite classes can't stand him and why we want him back,"
Alejandra explained. "This is really a class struggle."

But it's not just because of these relatively progressive reforms that
Zelaya enacted that he deserves our support. Nor is it simply because this
democratically-elected leader was ousted in a repressive coup led by
right-wing oligarchs and military officials trained at the infamous
torture and counterinsurgency school, the School of the Americas, now
known as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, based in
Georgia.

He also deserves our support because he was ultimately overthrown in
response to his plans to organise a popular assembly to rewrite the
country's constitution.

According to Central American political analyst Alberto Valiente Thoresen,
Honduras's current constitution, written in 1982, "was the product of a
context characterised by counter-insurgency policies supported by the US
government, civil faade military governments and undemocratic policies."
In an assembly made up of elected representatives from various political
parties and social sectors, a new, likely more progressive and inclusive
constitution could have a lasting impact on the country's corrupt
politicians, powerful sweatshop owners and repressive military
institutions.

Many commentators have said that Zelaya sought to re-write the
constitution to extend his time in office. Yet nothing indicates that that
was the case. Leading up to the coup, Zelaya was pushing for a referendum
on 28 June in which the ballot question was to be: "Do you agree that,
during the general elections of November 2009 there should be a fourth
ballot to decide whether to hold a Constituent National Assembly that will
approve a new political constitution?" This non-binding referendum - not
plans from Zelaya to expand his power - was enough to push right wing and
military leaders to organise a coup.

If the Honduran people approved the formation of a constitutional assembly
in November, it would likely take years - as it did recently in Bolivia -
to rewrite the document. Zelaya would not be president as he would not be
running in the upcoming elections. His term in office finishes in January
2010, too short a time to complete a national assembly's rewriting of the
constitution.

Given that it was the call for the constituent assembly that led to the
coup, it appears that the coup leaders are more worried about an assembly
in which the people could re-write their own constitution, than Zelaya
himself. Clearly it's the Honduran oligarchs, rather than Zelaya, who are
more interested in concentrating and conserving their own power.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Zelaya in Washington today,
and one development was that Costa Rica's president Oscar Arias will act
as mediator for the return of Zelaya. But there still is plenty of room
for improvement in the US's stance. The Obama administration should listen
to Zelaya's demands rather than impose preconditions for US support. And
it should avoid bullying Zelaya into dropping his plans for the new
constitution, or limiting any progressive reforms he may want to enact
upon returning to office. The Honduran people should decide what course
Zelaya should take, not the Obama administration and certainly not any
right wing junta.

Although the Obama administration has been critical of the coup and
relatively supportive of Zelaya, it should go much further. Some clear
signs that Washington backs Zelaya would be withdrawing the US ambassador
from the country, following in the footsteps of the other nations that
have condemned the coup. The US should also cut off all of its aid to the
rogue government, and end all military aid to the country. These actions
would put pressure on the already weak military and send a clearer message
to the region that, at this point, Washington is entirely against the
coup, and willing to respect demands from Latin American leaders, all of
whom have called for Zelaya's reinstatement.

This past Sunday, after his plane was turned back upon trying to land in
Honduras, Zelaya told reporters: "the United States, which has tremendous
power, should take action. Specifically, the strongest government in
economic matters, in aspects of the sphere of the dollar, for us is the
United States. If they decide to live with the coup, then democracy in the
Americas is over."

Benjamin Dangl is currently based in Paraguay and is the author of "The
Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia" (AK Press).
He edits UpsideDownWorld.org, a website on activism and politics in Latin
America, and TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events.
Email: Bendangl(at)gmail(dot)com.


--------14 of 16--------

Gag Order
Obama Hushes Health Care Advocates
By LAURA FLANDERS
July 7, 2009
CounterPunch

Don't like the way the Wall Street bail-out turned out? It looks as if
we're in for something similar regarding healthcare.

With popular fury at the status quo rising and hunger for a real, public
option attracting over 70 percent approval in polls, the White House is
urging public-option advocates to hush.

According to the Washington Post, in a pre-holiday call with half a dozen
top House and Senate Democrats, Obama asked health care advocates to
ratchet back their pressure for a public option. He's apparently concerned
about advertisements and on-line campaigns targeting foot-dragging
Democrats.

We've been here before. Back in the fall and spring, when popular fury at
private bankers was soaring, Washington urged liberal lobbying groups to
focus more on backing the White House plan and less on attacking bankers
and banks.

What happened? Washington allowed Wall Street insiders, many of whom had
overseen the breaking apart of the economy, to manage the so called
recovery, putting most of what was rotten back in place. The
re-distributions of wealth to the top continued, while civilian
unemployment headed through the roof.

As Barney Frank told bankers back in February, "People really hate you,
and they're starting to hate us because we're hanging out with you".

The health care debate is suffering from the same dynamic.

Specifically, on July 4, Obama said he is hoping left-leaning
organizations will rally support for "advancing legislation" that fulfills
his goal of expanding coverage. But the words public option were left out.

Pro-reform activists are pushing a public plan because it's popular, it's
doable - and it's at least a step closer to the only thing most actually
think will work - which is a totally public system.

Why are they pushing so hard? Well, consider what they're up against.
Pulling against anything remotely public, is the biggest lobbying blitz
Washington's ever seen. The Washington Post reports that private insurers,
drug companies and their representatives spent more than $126 million on
lobbying in the first quarter of this year. That's over $1.4 million a
day.

And they've hired more than 350 former government staff members and
retired members of Congress to do all that lobbying work.

When Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, sat down with
health-care lobbyists on June 10, two were his former chiefs of staff.
Their aim: to minimize the "damage" in profits to insurers, hospitals and
drug makers from any change in approach from government. Specifically,
they oppose any even remotely public option, the details of which are
right now up for debate.

Want to hush the activists? The real scandal, it seems to me, shouldn't be
the thousands of dollars that on-line organizers are spending on
advertising to the public and Congress. The real scandal should be the
millions that private insurers and pharmaceutical firms are spending
infiltrating the government.

If the public option lobbyists had the access Big Pharma's got, they might
not need to buy all those ads. Besides - $1.4 million a day. Imagine what
real-life nurses could do with that!

Laura Flanders is the host of GRITtv, which broadcasts weekdays on
satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. More...9415 Free Speech TV) on cable,
public television and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow
GRITtv or GritLaura on Twitter.com.


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Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political
Change
by Derrick Jensen
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Orion Magazine
Common Dreams

Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or
that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour
workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people
out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have
helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act
of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people
retreat into these entirely personal "solutions"?

Part of the problem is that we've been victims of a campaign of systematic
misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us
to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for
organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise
consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the
solutions presented had to do with personal consumption - changing light
bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much - and had nothing to do with
shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that
is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did
everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only
22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at
least 75 percent worldwide.

Or let's talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of
water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack
of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the
disconnect? Because I take showers, I'm responsible for drawing down
aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is
used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split
between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans.
Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human
beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren't dying because
the world is running out of water. They're dying because the water is
being stolen.

Or let's talk energy. Kirkpatrick Sale summarized it well: "For the past
15 years the story has been the same every year: individual consumption -
residential, by private car, and so on - is never more than about a
quarter of all consumption; the vast majority is commercial, industrial,
corporate, by agribusiness and government [he forgot military]. So, even
if we all took up cycling and wood stoves it would have a negligible
impact on energy use, global warming and atmospheric pollution..

Or let's talk waste. In 2005, per-capita municipal waste production
(basically everything that's put out at the curb) in the U.S. was about
1,660 pounds. Let's say you're a die-hard simple-living activist, and you
reduce this to zero. You recycle everything. You bring cloth bags
shopping. You fix your toaster. Your toes poke out of old tennis shoes.
You're not done yet, though. Since municipal waste includes not just
residential waste, but also waste from government offices and businesses,
you march to those offices, waste reduction pamphlets in hand, and
convince them to cut down on their waste enough to eliminate your share of
it. Uh, I've got some bad news. Municipal waste accounts for only 3
percent of total waste production in the United States.

I want to be clear. I'm not saying we shouldn't live simply. I live
reasonably simply myself, but I don't pretend that not buying much (or not
driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that
it's deeply revolutionary. It's not. Personal change doesn't equal social
change.

So how, then, and especially with all the world at stake, have we come to
accept these utterly insufficient responses? I think part of it is that
we're in a double bind. A double bind is where you're given multiple
options, but no matter what option you choose, you lose, and withdrawal is
not an option. At this point, it should be pretty easy to recognize that
every action involving the industrial economy is destructive (and we
shouldn't pretend that solar photovoltaics, for example, exempt us from
this: they still require mining and transportation infrastructures at
every point in the production processes; the same can be said for every
other so-called green technology). So if we choose option one - if we
avidly participate in the industrial economy - we may in the short term
think we win because we may accumulate wealth, the marker of "success" in
this culture. But we lose, because in doing so we give up our empathy, our
animal humanity. And we really lose because industrial civilization is
killing the planet, which means everyone loses. If we choose the
"alternative" option of living more simply, thus causing less harm, but
still not stopping the industrial economy from killing the planet, we may
in the short term think we win because we get to feel pure, and we didn't
even have to give up all of our empathy (just enough to justify not
stopping the horrors), but once again we really lose because industrial
civilization is still killing the planet, which means everyone still
loses. The third option, acting decisively to stop the industrial economy,
is very scary for a number of reasons, including but not restricted to the
fact that we'd lose some of the luxuries (like electricity) to which we've
grown accustomed, and the fact that those in power might try to kill us if
we seriously impede their ability to exploit the world - none of which
alters the fact that it's a better option than a dead planet. Any option
is a better option than a dead planet.

Besides being ineffective at causing the sorts of changes necessary to
stop this culture from killing the planet, there are at least four other
problems with perceiving simple living as a political act (as opposed to
living simply because that's what you want to do). The first is that it's
predicated on the flawed notion that humans inevitably harm their
landbase. Simple living as a political act consists solely of harm
reduction, ignoring the fact that humans can help the Earth as well as
harm it. We can rehabilitate streams, we can get rid of noxious invasives,
we can remove dams, we can disrupt a political system tilted toward the
rich as well as an extractive economic system, we can destroy the
industrial economy that is destroying the real, physical world.

The second problemand - this is another big one - is that it incorrectly
assigns blame to the individual (and most especially to individuals who
are particularly powerless) instead of to those who actually wield power
in this system and to the system itself. Kirkpatrick Sale again: "The
whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a
myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can't solve
them".

The third problem is that it accepts capitalism's redefinition of us from
citizens to consumers. By accepting this redefinition, we reduce our
potential forms of resistance to consuming and not consuming. Citizens
have a much wider range of available resistance tactics, including voting,
not voting, running for office, pamphleting, boycotting, organizing,
lobbying, protesting, and, when a government becomes destructive of life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or
abolish it.

The fourth problem is that the endpoint of the logic behind simple living
as a political act is suicide. If every act within an industrial economy
is destructive, and if we want to stop this destruction, and if we are
unwilling (or unable) to question (much less destroy) the intellectual,
moral, economic, and physical infrastructures that cause every act within
an industrial economy to be destructive, then we can easily come to
believe that we will cause the least destruction possible if we are dead.

The good news is that there are other options. We can follow the examples
of brave activists who lived through the difficult times I mentioned -
Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, antebellum United Stateswho - did far more
than manifest a form of moral purity; they actively opposed the injustices
that surrounded them. We can follow the example of those who remembered
that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive
power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take
down those systems.

 2009 Orion
Derrick Jensen is an activist and the author of many books, most recently
What We Leave Behind and Songs of the Dead.


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                         --------------------
                           The rich belong in
                             the very best
                           landfill near you
                         --------------------


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
   - 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


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