|Progressive Calendar 03.17.11||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 14:23:35 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.17.11 1. Eagan peace vigil 3.17 4:30pm 2. Northtown vigil 3.17 5pm 3. St Pat/BlackDog 3.17 6:30pm 4. Polly Mann play 3.17 7pm 5. Coleen Rowley 3.17 7pm 6. St Pat ceili 3.17 7pm 7. Cuba film 3.17 7:30pm 8. Anti Anti-Islam 3.18 12noon 9. Palestine vigil 3.18 4:15pm 10. Water story 3.18 7pm 11. US/Mexico/1846/f 3.18 7:30pm 12. Nonviolence 3.18-3.20 13. WAMM - Action alert-call congress today 14. Conn Hallinan - Europe's austerity: a Grimm's fairy tale 15. John Feffer - The Age of Activism 16. Stephen Soldz - Fight for a decent society or inherit a worse one 17. Ralph Nader - Our right-leaning public media --------1 of 17-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 3.17 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. --------2 of 17-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 3.17 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. --------3 of 17-------- From: Richard Broderick <richb [at] lakecast.com> Subject: St Pat/BlackDog 3.17 6:30pm The second annual installment of "The Next Parish Over," a St. Patrick's Day celebration featuring stories, poems, jokes, drama, music and food of Ireland and the Irish diaspora. Performances by Mike Finley, Kathleen Heaney, James Silas Rogers, and Rich Broderick and music by The Mighty Fine Wake Band. 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m., March 17, 2011, the Black Dog Café, 308 Prince St., Saint Paul. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged to support Art Buddies, a nonprofit that pairs low-income kids with creative mentors (www.artbuddies.org). On street parking is available and off-street parking in the lot behind the Black Dog costs only $1 for the entire evening. For more information, call 651-228-92 --------4 of 17-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Polly Mann play 3.17 7pm Staged Reading: "Victoria Reincarnated" Thursday, March 17, 7:00 p.m. Inver Hills Community College, Fine Arts Building, 2500 East 80th Street, Inver Grove Heights. Polly Mann cordially invites you to enjoy a staged reading of her original drama "Victoria Reincarnated" featuring Sara Jane Olson as Victoria Woodhull, Beth Anne Nelson as Victoria's sister, Tennesee and Susu Jeffrey as Victoria's mother, Roxanna. Directed by Ed Felien. Victoria Woodhull (1838-1929) was audacious. She ran for the office of U.S. President five times before women in the U.S. had the right to vote. She believed women were included in the terms "people" and "citizens: referenced in the 14th and 15th Amendments! FFI: Call 612-871-2229 or email luciaws [at] usiwireless.com. --------5 of 17-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Coleen Rowley 3.17 7pm The coming 3rd Thursday forum is bound to be interesting. The speaker, Coleen Rowley, is uniquely qualified to speak on the subject of internal security issues. THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public. Come and bring a friend. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale and Hennepin). Park in church lot. March 17, 7:00-9:00 p.m. HOW TOP SECRET AMERICA MISFIRES Since 9/11 America's security system has been radically expanded and transformed. Our "surveillance-security complex" now includes more than 850,000 analysts, private contractors and other agents. Proper legal safeguards, including prohibitions against torture, have been eroded. The Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act have permitted multiple abuses of "presidential war powers." Perverse incentives for rewarding security agents lead to over-zealous security behavior. Effective, independent oversight of the system is lacking. This presentation will explain and document these and other shortcomings of the present system and propose relatively simple, common sense ways of correcting them. Presenter: COLEEN ROWLEY. Ms. Rowley worked as an FBI agent for 24 years, in 1990-2003 as the Bureau's Chief Division Counsel for Minneapolis. In 2002 she brought 9/11 lapses to light and testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about endemic problems facing the intelligence community, then becoming one of three whistleblowers chosen as "persons of the year" by Time magazine. Since retiring from the FBI in 2004 she has given numerous talks on ethical decision- making and balancing civil liberties with the need for effective investigation and has also authored a chapter for a book, Patriotism, Democracy and Common Sense: Restoring America's Promise at Home and Abroad. --------6 of 17-------- From: MinnesotaFolk ArtsAlliance <minnesotafolkartsalliance [at] gmail.com> Subject: St Pat ceili 3.17 7pm 20th Annual Irish Ceili Dance Thursday, March 17, 2011 The dance starts at 7 p.m. - the doors open at 6:30. CSPS Hall - St. Paul, MN 383 Michigan Avenue, St. Paul, MN (near St. Clair Avenue just off of West 7th Street - Upstairs from the Glockenspiel Restaurant) Music: Barra <http://www.barraband.com/> - Minnesota's Best Loved Ceili Band Dance Instruction: Ann Wiberg Tickets: Adults are $10 at the Door. Seniors, 62+ and children aged 6 to 15 are $5.00. Children under 5 are free. Advance Tickets <http://www.mnfolkartsevents.org/id27.html> are $9.50 for adults and 4.75 for seniors 62+ and children 6 to 15. The annual Irish dance for St. Patrick's Day is a great family event. This is considered to be the largest Irish dance that takes place throughout the year and it's at the CSPS Hall, a historic vaudeville hall built around the turn of the century with a wonderful wood dance floor. CSPS stands for Czeck-Slovakian Preservation Society and they've done a wonderful job of taking care of this historic building. All the dances are taught and beginners are welcome. Beverages (soda, water, Summit beer) and desserts will be available. Sponsored by the Minnesota Folk Arts Alliance <http://www.mnfolkarts.org/> - with kind support from the Summit Brewing Company<http://www.summitbrewing.com/home.php> For more information: 651-357-0400 --------7 of 17-------- From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Cuba film 3.17 7:30pm Cuban Movie Festival St Anthony Main Theater, 115 Main Street SE, Minneapolis Free Parking All films 7:30pm at St Anthony Main Theater: March 17th Fallen Gods This film was Cuba's official submission to Academy Award's Foreign Language category in 2010. Los Dioses Rotos (Broken Gods), has become one of the most talked-about movies since it was released across Cuba in December 2009.. This passionate and beautiful film is a Cuban version of the Greek tragedy as recreated in Carlos Felipe's play Requiem por Yarini. --------8 of 17-------- From: WAMM <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: AntiAntiIslam 3.18 12noon Rally Against Anti-Islam Hearing Friday, March 18, Noon to 5:30 p.m. (Gather) Masjid Dawah, 478 University Avenue West, St. Paul. (March) Through the streets. (Rally) Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul. Join with others to speak out against the anti- Muslim hearing that is currently taking place in the U.S. Speakers include: imams officials, community leaders and youth. Sponsored by: Minnesota Muslims. FFI: Call 651-224-6722, 763-354-0342 or 507-351-4652. --------9 of 17-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 3.18 4:15pm The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs available. --------10 of 17-------- From: WAMM <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Water story 3.18 7pm World Storytelling Day Celebration: Bridge Over Troubled Waterboarding March 18, 7:00 p.m. Larry's House, 315 Georgia North, (half mile west of Highway 100, between 55 and 394), Golden Valley. There are storytelling events going on all over the world with theme of water, on or around March 20. Bring a story or poem, or something to eat or drink, or just come. Sponsored by: Veterans for Peace. FFI and to RSVP: Email larryjvfp [at] gmail.com or call 612-747-3904. --------11 of 17-------- From: WAMM <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: US/Mexico/1846/f 3.18 7:30pm Film Screening: One Man's Hero Friday, March 18, 7:30 p.m. Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis. During the U.S. invasion of Mexico in 1846-1847, some U.S. soldiers, many of whom were Irish immigrants, left the U.S. army and joined the Mexican army. They were called St. Patrick's Battalion, or San Patricios, as the Mexicans called them. After the U.S. defeat of Mexico, most of them were hanged. Not surprisingly, this remarkable and courageous story is not in history textbooks. But it is depicted in a film called "One Man's Hero," starring Tom Berenger. Come see the film and join in a brief discussion. Presented by: Mayday Books. FFI: Call 612-810-6625 or email joepfaucal [at] gmail.com. --------12 of 17-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Nonviolence 3.18-3.20 Active Nonviolence Training March 18 through 20 Faith Mennonite Church, 2720 East 22nd Street, Minneapolis. Intensive 3-day training in the principles and practice of active nonviolence. An interactive weekend (non-lecture and non- reading) in social change analysis, community-building and project planning to strengthen our group for action. Certificates for participants. Trainers from Creating a Culture of Peace (CCP) which moved its national headquarters to Minnesota. Sponsored by: CCP. FFI and to Register: Visit www.creatingacultureofpeace.org. --------13 of 17-------- Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 12:25:07 -0500 (CDT) From: WAMM <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Action alert-call congress today *Action: Urge your Rep. to Vote Yes on Kucinich-Jones Afghanistan withdrawal resolution On Thursday, the House is expected to vote on a resolution introduced by Dennis Kucinich and Walter Jones that would require the president to withdraw all U.S. military troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. An amendment last month to the same effect narrowly missed getting a majority of House Democrats. Friends Committee on National Legislation has generously provided a toll free number that we may use: 1-800-530-1748. When talking to your Rep's office, you can also ask them to co-sponsor Rep. Lee's bill which would restrict military funds to being used for a safe and orderly withdrawal. Talking points. When we invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the Afghanistan gross domestic product was just a little over $2 billion dollars. Since that time, US taxpayers have furnished $100 billion a year to the war in Afghanistan. That's fifty times their gross domestic product, making war the single largest industry in Afghanistan! Because of that, much of the US tax dollars ends up in the hands of Taliban. The end result is that we have funded an Afghanistan war industry that accomplishes nothing, produces nothing and has created a prolonged civil war in a country that could not afford to fund such extensive warfare before we intervened. If we allow congress to extend the departure date from 2011 to 2014, we will have spent more than $700 billion on Afghanistan directly. In order to pay for all this, we have made cuts to housing, education, healthcare and job programs while we now have a record 43 million Americans living in poverty. Not only have we failed to accomplish our goals in Afghanistan, but we have undermined the infrastructure of our own society to do so. Call today. Tell them "No More!" It doesn't work and we can't afford it. --------14 of 17-------- Greece is Not Alone Europe's Austerity: a Grimm's Fairy Tale By CONN HALLINAN March 17, 2011 CounterPunch In the Greek town of Aphidal, people have stopped paying road fees. In Athens, bus and metro riders are refusing to cough up the price of a ticket. On Feb. 23, 250,000 Greek protesters jammed the streets outside the nation's parliament. The Portuguese nominated the protest song "A Luta E' Alegria" (The Struggle is Joy) for the Eurovision song contest and, when judges ignored it, walked out in protest. They also put 300,000 people into the streets of the country's major cities on Mar. 12. Liverpool bailed from a Conservative-Liberal scheme to supplement government funding with private funding when it found there wasn't any of either, and the British Toilet Association protested the closure of 1,000 public bathrooms across the country. In ways big and small, Europeans from Greece to Portugal, from Britain to Bavaria are registering their growing anger with the relentless assault inflicted by government-imposed austerity programs. Wages, working conditions and pensions that unions successfully fought for over the past half century are threatened by the collapse of banking systems caught up in a decade-long orgy of speculation that the average European neither took part in, nor profited from. Even the so-called "well off" workers of Bavaria, Germany's industrial juggernaut, have seen their wages, adjusted for inflation, fall 4.5 percent over the past 10 years. The narrative emanating from EU headquarters in Brussels is that high wages, early retirement, generous benefits, and a "lack of competition" has led to the current crisis that has several countries on the verge of bankruptcy, including Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain. Now, claim the "virtuous countries" - Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland - it is time for these spendthrift wastrels to pay the piper or, as German Chancellor Andrea Merkel says, "do their homework." It is an interesting story, a sort of Grimm's fairly tale for the 21st century, but it bears about as much resemblance to the cause of the crisis as Cinderella's fairy godmother does to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While each country has its own particular conditions, there is a common thread that underlines the current crisis. Starting early in the decade, banks and financial houses flooded real estate markets with money, fueling a speculation explosion that inflated an enormous bubble. In climate and culture, Spain and Ireland may be very different places, but housing prices rocketed 500 percent in both countries. The money was virtually free, with low interest rates on the bank side, and cozy tax deals cut between speculators and politicians on the other. That kept the cash within a small circle of investors. While Bavarian workers were watching their pay fall, German banks were taking in record profits and shoveling yet more capital into the real estate bubbles in Ireland and Spain. The level of debt eventually approached the grotesque. Ireland's bank debts, if translated into dollars, would be the equal of $10 trillion. The Wall Street implosion in 2008 sent shock waves around the world and popped bubbles all over Europe. While nations on the periphery of the European Union (EU) tanked first - Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Romania, Hungry, and Greece, economies at the heart of the EU - Britain, Spain, Italy, and Portugal were also shaken. According to the Financial Times (FT), total claims by European banks on the Greek, Irish, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese debts alone are $2.4 trillion. The European Union's (EU) cure for the crisis is a formula with a long and troubled history, and one that has sowed several decades of falling living standards and frozen economies when it was applied to Latin America some 30 years ago. In simple terms, it is austerity, austerity and more austerity until the bank debts are paid off. There are similarities between the current European crisis and the 1981 Latin American debt crisis. "In both cases debts were issued in a currency over which borrowing countries had no control," says the FT's John Rathbone. For Latin America it was the dollar, for Europe the Euro. Secondly, there was first a period of easy credit, followed by a worldwide recession. Bailouts were tied to the so-called "Washington Consensus" that demanded privatization, massive cuts in social services, wage reductions, and government austerity. The results were disastrous. As public health programs were eviscerated, diseases like cholera reappeared. As education budgets were slashed, illiteracy increased. And as public works projects vanished, joblessness went up and wages went down. "It took several years to realize that deflating wages and shrinking economies were inconsistent with being able to fully pay off debts," notes Rathbone. And yet the "virtuous" EU countries are applying almost exactly the same formula to the current debt crisis in Europe. For instance, the EU and the IMF agreed to bail out Ireland's banks for $114 billion, but only if the Irish cut $4 billion over the next four years, raised payroll taxes 41 percent, cut old age pensions, increased the retirement age, slashed social spending, and privatized many public services. When Ireland recently asked for a reduction in the onerous interest rate for this bailout, the EU agreed to lower it 1 percent and spread out the payments, but only on the condition of yet more austerity measures and an increase in Ireland's corporate tax rate. The newly elected Fine Gael/Labor government refused. To pay back its own $152 billion bailout, however, the Greek government took the deal. But the price is more austerity and an agreement to sell off almost $70 billion in government properties, including some islands and many of the Olympic games sites. But the "deal" will hardly repay the debt. Unemployment in Greece is 15 percent, and as high as 35 percent among the young. Wages have fallen 20 percent, pensions have been cut, and rates for public services hiked. Growth is expected to fall 3.4 percent this year, which means that Greece's debt burden is projected to increase from 127 percent of GDP to 160 percent of GDP by 2013. "Your debt will continue to increase as long as your growth rate is below the interest rate you are paying," economist Peter Westaway told the New York Times. Austerity measures in Portugal and Spain have also cut deeply into the average person's income and made life measurably harder. In Spain, more than one in five workers are unemployed, and consumer spending is sharply off, dropping by a third this past holiday season. Portugal is actually in worse shape. It has one of the slowest economic growth rates in Europe, a dead-in-the-water export industry, and a youth unemployment rate of over 30 percent. In Britain, the Conservative-Liberal government has cut almost $130 billion from the budget and lobbied for what it calls the "Big Society." The latter is similar to George H.W. Bush's "thousand points of light" and envisions a world in which private industry and volunteerism replaces government-funded programs. The actual result has been the closure of libraries, senior centers, public pools, youth programs, and public toilets. The cutbacks have been most deeply felt in poorer areas of the country - those that traditionally vote Labor, as cynics are wont to point out - but they have also taken a bite out of the Conservative Party's heartland, the Midlands. Conservative voters have organized demonstrations to save libraries in staid communities like Charlbury and to protest turning public woodlands over to private developers. According to retired financial officer Barbara Allison, there are 54 local voluntary organizations that run programs like meals on wheels in Charlbury. "We're already devoting an awful lot of our time to charity and volunteers," she told the FT. "Am I not doing enough? Is [Conservative Prime Minister] David Cameron going to volunteer?" In any case, as Labor Party leader Ed Milliband points out, how does Cameron expect people "to volunteer at the local library when it is being shut down?" U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner strongly endorsed the Cameron program last month and said that he "did not see much risk" that the cutbacks would impede growth. But even the IMF warns that the formula of treating debt as the central problem in the middle of an economic recession has drawbacks. This past October an IMF study concluded "the idea that fiscal austerity stimulates economic activity in the short term finds little support in the data." But a massive program of privatization does mean enormous windfall profits for private investors and the banks and financial institutions that finance the purchase of everything from soccer fields to national parks. Those profits, in turn, fuel political machines that use money and media to dominate the narrative that greedy pensioners, lay-about teachers, and free loaders are the problem. And austerity is the solution. But increasingly people are not buying the message, and from Athens to Wisconsin they are taking their reservations to the streets. The crowd in Charlbury was a modest 200, and the tone polite. In Athens the demonstration drew 250,000 and people chanted "Kleftes," or "thieves." But the message in both places is much the same: we have had enough. A bus driver in Athens told Australian journalist Kia Mistiles that his wages had been cut from 1800 Euros ($2500) a month to 1200 Euros ($1660). "There are more cuts coming into effect in the next three months, that's why the protests are heating up. I am worried that my wages will be cut to 800 Euros ($1110) a month, and if that happens I don't know how I will survive." But he has a plan. "The situation is reaching a climax," he told Mistiles, "because working people know that the austerity measures go too far, and with the final rollout, they can't survive. So there is nothing to do but protest," adding, "You wait until next summer. The situation in Greece will explode." It is unlikely that Greece will be alone. [Bring it on. -ed] Conn Hallinan can be reached at: ringoanne [at] sbcglobal.net --------15 of 17-------- Foreign Policy In Focus The Age of Activism by John Feffer Published on Thursday, March 17, 2011 Copmmon Dreams The world is convulsed in protest. In recent months, people have filled the streets in the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa, and many parts of the United States. Their targets are local: autocratic leaders, corrupt politicians, and dismal economies. They're not performing acts of global solidarity. Nor has there been an outbreak of some protest virus. These demonstrations are responding to specific conditions. Tunisia isn't Bahrain. Croatia isn't Burkina Faso. Madison, Wisconsin isn't Frankfort, Kentucky. Yet, I am an inveterate lumper - and only a half-hearted splitter - so I feel compelled to connect the dots between these disparate events in an attempt to delineate our era, to name our moment. In four magisterial works, the historian Eric Hobsbawm divided 200 years of modern history into the Age of Empire (1789-1848), the Age of Revolution (1848-1875), the Age of Capital (1875-1914), and the Age of Extremes (1914-1991). The period after 1992 so far remains nameless. Let me rashly and prematurely propose a name for our era: the Age of Activism. Here's a preliminary sketch for a history of the age in which we are currently immersed, as well as a diagnosis of where this activism is heading. In the early 1990s, the decay of Cold War structures that kept the Age of Extremes in place gave rise to new possibilities for national transformations in Eastern Europe, South Africa, and Latin America as well as activism on a regional and global level. A Europe-wide movement came together to support a united, peaceful, and Green continent. Activists launched similar efforts in Asia, North Africa, and Latin America. Meanwhile, the United States and its allies began to construct a "new world order" based on the expansion of multilateral and bilateral military alliances, the free flow of capital, and the management of the new global economy by a trio of organizations (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization). The fall of the Berlin Wall, in other words, was to lead to the fall of all the smaller walls that prevented the free flow of goods, investments, and armaments. But this free flow of trade threatened to increase both global inequality and the divide between rich and poor within countries. To fight this vision of world order, a new anti-globalization movement emerged, breaking into the headlines at the World Trade Organization meeting in the legendary Battle of Seattle of 1999. Throwing sand into the gears of free trade and throwing into question the very foundations of global governance, the movement seemed to gather irreversible momentum in 2001. The first World Social Forum brought activists of all stripes to Porto Alegre, Brazil in January 2001. In April, protesters blocked the Free Trade Area of the Americas at the third Summit of the Americas in Quebec City. The preparations to gather in Barcelona in June scared the World Bank into canceling its meeting. The next month, thousands descended on Genoa to protest the G8 meeting. Everything was building toward September 30, 2001. Activists were planning a giant demonstration with 150,000 people protesting the IMF and World Bank annual meetings. "The IMF and World Bank had rented miles of chain link fence and were planning to fence off dozens of city blocks," recalls John Cavanagh, my colleague at the Institute for Policy Studies. "It was going to be the biggest global justice demonstration to date." And then came 9/11. And suddenly talk of war eclipsed talk of economics. Activists turned their attention to reining in U.S. foreign and military policy. On February 13, 2003, the largest protests in world history took place around the world in an attempt to forestall the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The effort failed, but it was an important step in the development of global civil society. Governments had failed to outlaw war in the infamous Kellogg-Briand Treaty of 1928. Citizens now stepped in, attempting to put this renunciation of aggressive war into practice. After eight years of failed policies, the neoconservatives no longer run the show. Responding to pressure from the peace movement, the Obama administration has put a timetable on what had once been wars without end in Afghanistan and Iraq (though the drone war continues unabated in Pakistan and elsewhere). The effort to create large multilateral trade agreements through the World Trade Organization has foundered (though bilateral treaties have taken their place). It might then be said that activists have scored victories, albeit qualified ones, in the first major engagements of the Age of Activism. One vector of activism has targeted global institutions (WTO) and senseless bloodshed (the Iraq War). A second vector that included the revolutions of the first decade of the 21st century - Rose (Georgia), Orange (Ukraine), Cedar (Lebanon), Tulip (Kyrgyzstan), Green (Iran) - has focused on national political elites. The current convulsions in the Middle East and elsewhere on the globe are mostly found at the confluence of these two vectors. To explain this confluence, let's first look at three conventional explanations for the current wave of discontent. According to one school of thought, the protests can ultimately be traced back to economic crisis. Rising food prices caused considerable discontent in Egypt. Limited economic opportunities created enormous frustration in Tunisia. Austerity measures in Greece brought out hundreds of thousands of protestors in a 24-hour strike on February 23. "With youth unemployment hitting 35 percent, young people in Greece see a bleak, jobless future," writes Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) contributor Kia Mistilis in The Battle For Greece. "Greeks say a mass exodus is looming, similar to the period following World War II." Economic downturns were also partially responsible for the rise of Solidarity in Poland in 1980 and the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 in China. Sociologists call this failure of governments to deliver the promised goods a "legitimation crisis." A second explanation focuses on impunity. Protesters are incensed at the corruption of their ruling elites. In Croatia, where protests have nearly paralyzed the country over the last two weeks, "protesters have focused on the lavish lifestyles of many of Croatia's politicians," writes FPIF contributor Sabrina Peri. in Days of Rage in Croatia. "The discovery last week that former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader received a commission of 3.5 million Croatian kuna in negotiations with the Austrian Hypo Bank has served to consolidate the loose alliances amongst protesters created via newspaper websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, talk on the streets, and phone calls between family members." In China, meanwhile, apartment owners are rising up against the management in their buildings in an effort to create democracy on the ground floor. "This is the same class that occupied Tahrir Square and pushed out Hosni Mubarak, the first generation to have the Internet and the first to think about buying a home, however small," writes Doug Saunders in The Globe and Mail. Finally, a third theory attributes the spread of discontent to the multiplier effect of new technologies. Photocopiers helped spread dissident ideas in Eastern Europe in the 1980s. Faxes were a key part of the Chinese democracy efforts in 1989. And now Twitter and Facebook serve to connect the likeminded - those who want to ogle silly kitty pictures as well as those who want to bring down governments. But here's another way to look at the current wave of activism that goes beyond economics, transparency, and technology. The fundamental issue is the nature of the state. In the Age of Activism, protesters aren't venting rage just at authoritarian governments, like those of Egypt and Tunisia. They've gone into the streets against democratic governments in Croatia and Greece and Wisconsin. They protested the Islamic republic of Iran. They're organizing, if only indirectly, against China's communist government. The modern state has proven woefully ill-suited for dealing with the challenges of the international economy, the worsening environment, or the aspirations of rising classes. The state is letting us down. And we're beginning to sense that a mere rotation of elites, through election or selection, isn't good enough. Neoliberalism - the creation of a borderless global economy - was one response to the failure of the state to rise to these challenges. Another response was neoconservatism - a last-gasp effort of the United States to retain global power by force. The anti-globalization and anti-war movements have tackled each in turn. The current wave of activism, on the other hand, challenges the state as a vehicle for the enrichment of elites at the expense of the common good - at the local, national, and global levels. The Age of Activism isn't, of course, all about progressives. There have been tea party activists, radical Islamists, European racists, and ugly populists of all hues. They also use the Internet, dislike economic austerity, and rage against corrupt elites. In Pakistan, supporters of the country's blasphemy laws have already claimed two victims, Governor Salman Taseer and Christian politician Shahbaz Bhatti. "More troubling than the murders is the soft support for - if not outright approval of - the law among the Pakistani public," writes FPIF contributor M. Junaid Levesque-Alam in How to Prevent Pakistani Anarchy. "Lawyers, once hailed by Western media as heroes of Pakistani liberalism, raucously supported the alleged murderer of Taseer." We can imagine more democratic forms of governance at the global level. Activists are championing sustainability at the local level through community economics. But the real struggle in the Age of Activism is over that middle term, the state. In our era, a laissez-faire state cannot provide justice for the disenfranchised or tackle the major threats of climate change and nuclear proliferation. And our welfare states struggle to deal with the scarcity imposed by ecological and economic limits. We must conjure a different kind of state, which intervenes just enough to subordinate the military and the corporation on behalf of the common good. It must adhere to the principle of subsidiarity by which it performs only those tasks that can't be done effectively at a more local level. And it must be thoroughly transparent to reduce corruption to minimal levels. This is what activists are fighting for in Egypt, in Croatia, in the peace movement, and the anti-globalization movement. We must fight hard in our Age of Activism to construct this new political entity: the activist state. This is, literally, a do-or-die situation. If we fail, we will slip, inexorably, into an Age of Apocalypse. 2011 Foreign Policy in Focus John Feffer is the co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. He is the author of North Korea, South Korea: U.S. Policy at a Time of Crisis (Seven Stories, 2003) among other books. --------16 of 17-------- Fight for a Decent Society or Inherit a Worse One by Stephen Soldz Published on Thursday, March 17, 2011 by CommonDreams.org The following was given as a speech given at the Defend the American Dream Rally, Boston, Massachussetts, March 15, 2011: I am delighted to be here today with you as we defend the American Dream from those seeking to turn our society back a century or more. I am President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, an organization whose members are psychologists and other mental health professionals and behavioral scientists who use their knowledge and expertise to further peace and social justice. We treat those having emotional problems which interfere with their functioning, promote peaceful strategies for conflict resolution and the development of healthy communities, bring social justice concerns to the teaching of psychology, and do research to improve our efforts. The massive budget cuts will injure the interests of both professionals like our members and the people we serve and teach. And the research to improve those services will be cut. Now these cuts demonstrate a particularly ugly side of our country and its culture at this decisive time in our history. For they are overwhelmingly aimed at the most needy among us: the poor needing help with food and housing; the emotionally disturbed needing help coping better with their feelings and coping with social pressures; students from poor and middle class families who will face larger classrooms and unhappy teachers in K-12 and higher tuition in college with less financial aid available. While bankers and other business leaders have become obscenely rich by stealing our homes, laying us off or sending our jobs overseas, robbing many of us of our futures, and destroying our economy, others have been working, at modest pay to help their fellow citizens. Many of these people work in the public sector or have jobs which depend upon public sector funding; our teachers and our social workers; our librarians and psychologists; our doctors, nurses, and home health aides. For a decent society is a society which takes care of those in need and in which those who take care of others are valued, not devalued and demonized as has happened all too often in recent months, by politicians and pundits from the Republican Party, but, to be honest, not only from that party. There is another factor that needs to be mentioned. Most of these helping professions are overwhelmingly female. Over 80% of public school teachers are women, as are over 90% of our nurses. We cannot separate the attack on public sector workers and those whose work is funded by the public sector from the vicious attack on women and their rights that we are seeing across the country as efforts are made to ban abortion, to demonize those who seek and provide abortions, to abolish family planning services, and even to criminalize miscarriages. If these cutbacks are implemented, our helping workers, largely women, will be laid off or have their wages and benefits cut. Also cut will be those, often men, who build and construct and whose efforts are vitally needed to fix and improve our crumbling physical infrastructure. A decent society would not let either of these possibilities happen. Also important to recognize is that these cuts are not needed. While there is a long-term deficit problem, a decent society would dramatically expand spending on needed services and infrastructure at this time of mass unemployment and increased need. And after an economic recovery, when we do need to deal with the deficit, a decent society would not cut services but would take three needed steps. A decent society would dramatically increase taxes on those ultra-rich who swept up virtually all of the vast increases in wealth in our society over the last 40 years. A decent society would dramatically reduce the obscene war budget that has us spending more than all other countries combined on weapons and means of destruction. And a decent society would confront the escalating health costs, even if it meant taking on the pharmaceutical, insurance and hospital industries that get wealthy far beyond their contribution to the welfare of the majority of us. As we go together into the future we should remember that either we will fight together for a better, more decent, society or we, our children, and even our grandchildren will inherit a far worse one. Stephen Soldz is a psychoanalyst, psychologist, public health researcher, and faculty member at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He edits the Psyche, Science, and Society blog. Soldz is a founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, one of the organizations working to change American Psychological Association policy on participation in abusive interrogations; he served as a psychological consultant on several Gutanamo trials. Currently Soldz is President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility [PsySR] and a Consultant to Physicians for Human Rights. --------17 of 17-------- Our Right-Leaning Public Media by Ralph Nader Published on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 by CommonDreams.org The tumultuous managerial shakeup at National Public Radio headquarters for trivial verbal miscues once again has highlighted the ludicrous corporatist right-wing charge that public radio and public TV are replete with left-leaning or leftist programming. Ludicrous, that is, unless this criticism's yardstick is the propaganda regularly exuded by the extreme right-wing Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. These "capitalists" use the public's airwaves free-of-charge to make big money. The truth is that the frightened executives at public TV and radio have long been more hospitable to interviews with right of center or extreme right-wing and corporatist talking heads than liberal or progressive guests. PBS's Charlie Rose [a self-righteous puppet I can't bear to waste my time watching -ed] has had war-loving William Kristol on thirty one times, Henry Kissinger fifty five times, Richard Perle ten times, the global corporatist cheerleader, Tom Friedman seventy times. Compare that guest list with Rose's interviews of widely published left of center guests - Noam Chomsky two times, William Grieder two times, Jim Hightower two times, Charlie Peters two times, Lewis Lapham three times, Bob Herbert six times, Paul Krugman twenty one times, Victor Navasky one time, Mark Green five times and Sy Hersh, once a frequent guest, has not been on since January 2005. Dr. Sidney Wolfe, the widely-quoted super-accurate drug industry critic, who is often featured on the commercial TV network shows, has never been on Rose's show. Nor has the long-time head of Citizens for Tax Justice and widely respected progressive tax analyst, Robert McIntyre. Far more corporate executives, not known for their leftist inclinations, appear on Rose's show than do leaders of environmental, consumer, labor and poverty organizations. In case you are wondering, I've appeared four times, but not since August 2005, and not once on the hostile Terri Gross radio show. The unabashed progressive Bill Moyer's Show is off the air and has not been replaced. No one can charge PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer with anything other than very straightforward news delivery, bland opinion exchanges and a troubling inclination to avoid much reporting that upsets the power structures in Congress, the White House, the Pentagon or Wall Street. [All too accurate. -ed] The longest running show on PBS was hard-line conservative William F. Buckley's show - Firing Line - which came on the air in 1966 and ended in 1999. Sponsorship by large corporations, such as Coca Cola and AT&T, have abounded - a largesse not likely to be continued year after year for a leftist media organization. None of this deters the Far Right that presently got a majority in the House of Representatives to defund the $422 million annual appropriation to the umbrella entity - Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). About 15% of all revenues for all public broadcasting stations comes from this Congressional contribution. Though he admits to liking National Public Radio, conservative columnist David Harsanyi, believes there is no "practical argument" left "in the defense of federal funding...in an era of nearly unlimited choices..". Really? Do commercial radio stations give you much news between the Niagara of advertisements and music? Even the frenetic news, sports, traffic and weather flashes, garnished by ads, are either redundant or made up of soundbytes (apart from the merely 2 minutes of CBS radio news every half-hour). If you want serious news, features and interviews on the radio, you go to public radio or the few community and Pacifica radio stations. Harsanyi continues: "Something, though, seems awfully wrong with continuing to force taxpayers who disagree with the mission - even if their perceptions are false - to keep giving... Public radio's popular Morning Edition and All Things Considered are the most listened to radio shows after Rush Limbaugh's, and any taxpayer can turn them off. Compare the relatively small public radio and TV budget allocations with the tens of billions of dollars each year - not counting the Wall Street bailout - in compelling taxpayers to subsidize, through hundreds of programs, greedy, mismanaged, corrupt or polluting corporations either directly in handouts, giveaways and guarantees or indirectly in tax escapes, bloated contracts and grants. Can the taxpayer turn them off? Here is a solution that will avoid any need for Congressional contributions to CPB. The people own the public airwaves. They are the landlords. The commercial radio and TV stations are the tenants that pay nothing for their 24 hour use of this public property. You pay more for your auto license than the largest television station in New York pays the Federal Communications Commission for its broadcasting license - which is nothing. It has been that way since the 1927 and 1934 communication laws. Why not charge these profitable businesses rent for use of the public airwaves and direct some of the ample proceeds to nonprofit public radio and public TV as well as an assortment of audience controlled TV and radio channels that could broadcast what is going on in our country locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? (See: Ralph Nader & Claire Riley, Oh, Say Can You See: A Broadcast Network for the Audience, 5 J.L. & POL. 1, ) Now that would be a worthy program for public broadcasting. Get Limbaugh's and Hannity's companies off welfare. Want to guess what their listeners think about corporate welfare? Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book - and first novel - is, Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 for governor now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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