Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Honduran Resistance Moving Forward

About a year ago, a month after a military coup in Honduras sent democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya in to exhile, I wrote this:

"Zelaya during his presidential campaign in 2005 and early 2006, ran on promises of economic empowerment for the citizenry, and of empowering the people socially, culturally, and politically, a formula together which he refers to as citizen power. His progressive policies in the past few years have included a sharp increase of minimum wage, free school lunches for children, and the lowering of the price of public transportation. He has also talked about citizen participation, which he claims is the reason why he had called for the referendum on a constituent assembly. This is a program which the rightist military and ruling elites of Honduras simply could not tolerate."

Those are the real reasons behind the June 28th, 2009 military coup. The allegations that Zelaya was power-hungry and attempting to manipulate legality to allow an extension of his term in office, were only fabrications to justify the taking of power by force.

Two months ago, because the World Cup was in full swing, the one year anniversary of the Military coup in Honduras went under the radar, and even more so in Canada because Toronto was simultaneously hosting the G20; the undemocratic clown show where 8 predominately white men made decisions for 6 Billion people.

In 2004, Venezuela and Cuba joined to form ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, to counter the U.S sponsored free trade area of the Americas or FTAA. Today, renamed the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, ALBA is an 8 member organization composed of Latin American countries that aims to provide empowerment through social programs and continental solidarity for political sovereignty and economic independence. On August 25th 2008, Manuel Zelaya and Honduras signed an agreement to join ALBA. For the Honduran elite, this was the tipping point.

With the 2009 coup, the business class aimed to restore ‘economic order in the country. These men in Honduras represent what some analysts have termed a transnational capitalist class; they are the local pillaging chapter of neoliberalism.

What they have done since the coup has been mainly a maintenance of consistent violence and repression, and a restriction of all freedoms. But the complete laissez-faire economic policies they wished to reinstitute have scarcely been reapplied because the resistance has been so adamant.

The coup government has proposed a number of pro-business laws and has granted an additional 500 mining concessions, many of which went to a subsidiary of transnational mining company Goldcorp Inc. Goldcorp is a giant in extractive industries based out of Canada, a country which boasts the unfortunate reputation of being headquarters to 75% of global mining.

Neither has the de facto government even attempted to operate secretively in its tyranny; impunity is chronic. Since January, for example, at least nine journalists have been killed, and no one has been held to account.

Most recently, a number of striking professors, after being tear-gassed and savagely beaten, were arrested, detained, and charged on several counts.

The Honduran teachers had also held some significant strikes in the months leading up to the June 28th, 2009 coup, and now, much like the teachers' unions did in the Oaxaca uprising in 2006, are playing a huge role in fighting state terror and impunity in Honduras. People's Popular Assemblies are involved in both cases, only difference being the Honduran resistance has done it on a national scale.

Traditionally Honduras has been reputed as one of the least politicized countries in Latin America, lacking the militancy generated in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua in the 70s and 80s, and having been trapped for decades in a two-party patronage system resembling something like a cross between Mexican PRI clientelism and pre-Chavez Venezuelan Punto Fijismo.

But Hondurans have really come to understand that their time must be now, and they have demonstrated organizational capacity and a high level of political maturity over the past year.

The "Citizen Declaration" of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP), for example, has garnered massive popular support calling for an inclusive constituent assembly to rewrite the Honduran constitution. This pledge has gathered so far nearly 700,000 signatures, and is on track to symbolically surpass the number of votes officially received by Honduran President Porfirio Lobo in last November's presidential elections.

A popular organization called the Bloque Popular, headed by Juan Barahona, a prominent union leader, has spearheaded the National Coordinating Committee of Popular Resistance (CNRP); the CNRP is a strategy building space which operates like a people’s assembly.

The CNRP is the official decision-making body of the Frente, and various organizations from across the country send delegates for participation. The committee garners a great deal of strength from the labor movement—especially the teachers, public-sector workers, banana workers, and bottling-plant workers—its grassroots base lies in the social movements from a range of sectors: the women’s movement; the LGBT community; indigenous and Afro-indigenous peoples; human rights groups; and the campesino movement, which is closely linked with environmental justice activism. The Frente has also divided the country up into regions, each of which sends delegates to the national coordinating committee

The inclusive politics of the FNRP and the solidarity power of the CNRP have really allowed for the cross-pollination of different currents in the broad process of building a movement.

On Aug. 18, thousands of Honduran workers marched in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula on to demand an increase in the minimum wage and to show solidarity with teachers who were in the 14th day of an open-ended strike. Also on Aug. 20, the FNRP and the three main labor confederations set up a national strike committee and regional committees to prepare for a national general strike around a seven-point program. The resistance has said that no official date has been said, but that the strike is imminent. On the same day, the campesino movements will mobilize around land issues.

The FNRP plans for another country wide mobilization in all 18 departments of Honduras on September 15th.

Juan Barahona, one of the Frente’s most prominent leaders has warned that repression, murders and torture will not stop the transformations in Honduras towards a new society.

We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners in Honduras, and an end to the killings of FNRP members. We urge the Latin America and Social Justice communities now as much as ever to stand firmly behind the Honduran Resistance.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

People's Assembly on Climate justice: Toronto's Challenge to Build the Movement

The burning questions to be considered moving forward:

Are the working groups an effective and practical way of operating?

Should the next gathering be just one more, one-time event, another conference, or should it be a People's Assembly, a permanent open space for ongoing collective dialogue, and a tool for movement building?

The People's Assembly needs to be a regularly scheduled, routinely-occurring gathering, to be held every two months, or preferably monthly.

Should we try to provide themes and content, or create goals and actions, or leave that task to the Assembly?

Before I get into thoughts and ideas from today, here are some notes I wrote down during our last organizing meeting:

"Invite all the endorsing groups and organizations -- endorsers of all the Cochabamba Report-Back events, and all the endorsers from the June 23rd Assembly -- looking to build a very large, broad-based People's Assembly. This is the beginning of a giant exercise in Movement Building for Climate Justice and beyond in Toronto. Its going to be a people's horizontal process fueled by popular power, and a lot of its success is going to be based on numbers. As such we are inviting all social and climate justice groups and organizations in the city who want to become a part of this process, and we urge them to send not only one or two representatives or delegates just to have presence at the Assembly, but to include their entire organization, all their members to swell our ranks."

"If we can accomplish that, then the assemblies will become a huge exercise in reciprocal capacity building. Imagine what all these affinity groups and organizations can do with these large numbers of participants at their disposal, and imagine how valuable for all these people to have all these resources, knowledge, capacity, and experience available to them. The People's Assembly can join these two forces together and give birth to something very effective and very significant in Toronto."

What is the difference between a conference and an Assembly? There are similarities between the two, but one important distinction to make is that a conference is a one-time temporary affair, an event. An Assembly is a permanent body or space for continuing and ongoing dialogue. This is what we need if we stand a chance to build an effective movement.

When the Cochabamba conference was announced last year, Evo Morales didn't say we are organizing this international people's conference for people to go back home and set off a long series of speaking events and conferences. He said we are hosting this conference to initiate the process of beginning to build a worldwide Climate Justice Movement. If we have just one more conference with working groups and then we let this go away, then we might as well forget about everything we learned and all the lessons we brought back from Cochabamba, because thats not what Cochabamba set out to do.

The only way the People's Assembly is worth organizing, and the only way it can be useful in building a movement, is if it exists on a permanent basis. If we don't decide on establishing the Assembly on a monthly basis, or to hold it every two months, then we will yield nothing new, no growth, no building, no continuation, and even if we organize another mass event similar to June 23rd, with working groups or without, it will not be an assembly, it will be just an event, just another conference.


Working Groups?

Would working groups, for our purpose, be an effective and practical way of operating? Since we have already agreed on putting together an invitation letter to send out to affinity groups and organizations, then it seems we agree that this should be the driving feature of the Assembly. Here is something I wrote a couple of weeks ago:

"Take for example the working groups that were formed during the first Assembly; Tar Sands Resistance, Indigenous Rights, and cap and trade to name just a few. It doesn't make sense in terms of efficiency and effectiveness to start these newly formed groups with individuals who may or may not know a lot about the issues pertaining to their working groups, and who are starting from nothing, from scratch, and to charge them with the great task of building up solidarity around the issue in the city of Toronto. There are already dozens of groups and organizations in the city, experts and veterans who have been working and campaigning around specific issues for months and years. It would be more effective to communicate with all these groups, and to have them come be an integral part of the Assembly process, thereby providing all Assembly participants with already-existing resources, knowledge, capacity, and experience, and to allow them to choose where they would best fit in, for them to identify which patch on the community solidarity quilt is best suited for their interests and abilities. Working groups might end up being the appropriate format for the Toronto People's Assembly, only time will tell, but if so, I think those experienced affinity groups and organizations should be incorporated into them not as the lead, but in the middle actively working with the people in a nexus support role. The Assembly needs to be a horizontal space to facilitate the consolidating and organizing of solidarity. It will also be a place for exchange and education."

Working groups rather, could be used as a convertible feature of the assembly for larger campaigns or initiatives that require specific organizing and more time and energy invested, such as the popular consultation for example. The working group could be like an attachment on a Swiss Army knife, or like a subcommittee to be convened whenever needed. Working groups, or break-out sessions are better suited to conferences, not to a People's Assembly.


Should we be suggesting goals or actions for the Assembly? The Assembly for sure will be a vehicle through which we can plan single, united, large, impactful actions, and to be sure, if we put hundreds of motivated, energetic, creative people in one room and ask them to share ideas, thoughts, and tactics for the movement, you will have a mass of people lining up to speak. People want to share their vision, and contribute to and witness its collective embodiment. We as organizers don't come with specific themes or ideas, these actions and campaigns will be suggested and planned by the Assembly, not by us the organizers. Our job is to focus as little as possible on specifics and content, that will be created by the assembly itself. Our task is to create the most functional format, the structure, and the space for the assembly to fill, but the creative content, the ideas, and the inspiration will come from the people, not from the organizers.

In terms of bringing the content forward from the june 23rd Assembly. Unfortunately the working groups did not band, did not follow through on email lists to continue developing their working group themes. The content we gathered is simply a sheet with thirty or so few-word statements and ideas randomly thrown together. The content and the ideas were not organized or categorized. And, since it is looking likely now that the assembly format will not be working group-centric, the content and ideas will recreate themselves around whichever new format we agree on.

We don't have to make the assemblies theme-centric, to center one assembly around the municipal elections for example. Of course we will talk about these things, but the Assembly together will make those decisions. The theme IS the People's Assembly; the theme is the creative process that will manifest itself through the People's Assembly. Our task is simply to create the capacity to facilitate this process. A city-wide permanent collective space for groups, organizations, and individuals, tailored as an effective tool to manifest creative energies. Essentially we want to create a skeletal mechanism, and hand it to the community. They will provide the flesh and the substance. The People's Assembly is like a massive blank canvas for everyone to paint on together, or like a potluck of ideas. It is like a beehive where everyone goes outside and collects pollen from hundreds of different flowers, and then they all come together to create honey.

At the moment we have dozens and dozens of Affinity groups and organizations who do different types of work around climate justice, doing different types of campaigns, but for the most part they all work individually. They organize their own events, and focus on their own efforts, and as a result of this our energies are scattered, and to a degree being wasted. An organization will hold an event, and then another group will hold a conference, and so on and so forth, and those events might be good and educational, but after they're over, they're over, and nothing much really happens, precisely because our energies are overly spread out. What we want to do with the assembly is to create a large network of efficiency, and organization, and collaboration to make sure that our efforts are not squandered.We have to pool all of our talents, abilities, specialties, resources, strengths and weaknesses, and make them work for us together as one united movement, not as separate units. We have to move from scattered and secluded separately operating groups, to movement building. The goal is to be united, and to achieve increased and improved communication and coordination between all are various groups. Its not that we don't understand the concept of solidarity, and unity, and collaboration, its just that our generation in this country has yet to do it effectively. That is our challenge.

The two words that have to be central to everything we do moving forward with developing the People's assembly from now are; Movement Building. I have been to a few meetings in the last couple weeks with different groups, and some are talking about potentially merging with other groups, some are talking about networking, but essentially these are all just different words expressing the same desire; a need for organized solidarity, and improved communication and coordination. Rainforest Action Network Toronto is talking about Movement Building, the Latin America Solidarity Network is talking about Movement Building, OCAP is talking about Movement Building, No One Is Illegal is talking about Movement Building, the people are talking about Movement Building. Events, conferences, and periodic rallies on their own will no longer do; they maintain only the status-quo, and the status-quo is not good enough because our opponents at this time hold the upper hand. We have to move beyond the status-quo by creating an entity with a character of synthesis and empowerment.

We have an immense and imperative duty and responsibility to respond to the next level of the system of injustice, oppression, and inequality. The next level of neoliberalism, the next level of austerity measures, cuts to social spending and the economic and social attack on the poor, the migrants, the indigenous, the women, the workers, the students, and the disadvantaged of this world. While the concentrations of wealth, and the supremacy and domination of the elites is getting greater, our possibilities to harmonize with Mother Earth, our access to water, food, employment, and education, our ability to create a healthy and sustainable world, our freedom, and our living spaces are getting smaller. Reflecting on a past experience, and analyzing the conditions which marginalized communities are increasingly subjected to, a local Toronto activist commented that "what is really beginning to crystallize is that prison is like a concentration of our everyday realities." That same brother also identified that the extraordinary conditions which we are exposed to in today's world are catalyzing a generation, and spurring the necessity of a people's movement beyond anything we have seen before in this country. In response to these forces in movement, the permanence of a People's Assembly in Toronto must be fundamental.

"The Future belongs to those who prepare for it today."

Deeper Roots and Stronger Branches: The Growth of a Local People’s Assembly

When it was announced that Cochabamba and Tiquipaya, Bolivia, would host the first ever World People’s Conference on Climate change and the Rights of Mother Earth, what also emanated from Bolivia was the call to begin the creation of a Worldwide Climate Justice Movement.

At the conference, from April 18th to 22nd of this year, 35,000 people from 140 countries collaborated to put together working documents to serve as a manifesto of Humanity and Mother Earth’s demands to the UN, and to be presented at the subsequent climate talks in Bonn, Germany and Cancun, Mexico. What Cochabamba achieved beyond the tangible declarations and documents that came out of the 17 different working groups, was a sense of international commonality, a universal energy of collective solidarity if you will, which prompted an urgency for the shaping and mushrooming of local chapters of a Movement across the world.

The gathering which brought together individuals from all walks of life, Bohemians, scientists, writers, observers and spectators, peaceniks, politicians, journalists, activists, and revolutionaries, conveyed and instilled a common web of inspiration and initiative. In April, shortly after returning from Cochabamba I wrote; “to have countless brothers and sisters from all around the world at your disposal to exchange stories, smiles, hugs, handshakes, and ideas is an empowering experience.” And that is what Cochabamba provided, a means by which to mold a common strategy, to establish collective threads to link our efforts and our struggles from continent to continent.

Among the most active and vibrant at the summit were the companeros from the 700-strong Venezuelan delegation. They effectively relayed the militancy and urgency for committed change emerging from Venezuela, and displayed a leadership of work ethic. The Venezuelans were engaging every chance they had, and their activity and participation in the working groups was apparent; their contributions were catalyst to the insistence on the necessity of systemic change woven throughout the declarations.

We also saw in Cochabamba a sizeable presence of people and delegations from Canada; students, affinity groups, indigenous leaders, activists, and unions travelled to take part in the conference. What this group has brought back home, amongst other projects, is the ongoing process of creating a People’s Assembly on Climate Justice in Toronto.

On June 23rd, Toronto’s climate justice community held its first People’s Assembly, which, much like Cochabamba, was structured around working groups. But what we organized on June 23rd, which also happened to be the same week Toronto hosted the G20, was put together to become a People’s Assembly, not just another conference.

Moving forward now, our People's Assembly needs to be a permanent space and a routinely occurring gathering, as it becomes imperative for us to integrate consistency into our organizing. An idea would be to hold the Assembly monthly, or every two months perhaps. It is essential to hold the Assembly regularly because we want to retain momentum, we want to keep the new faces committed, and the public engaged. And, an important point to outline, something a companera pointed out to me, is that the Assembly can be set to convene on a regular schedule but not limited to that. We do not want to place any limitations or restrictions on the Assembly, it is an entity of the people for the people, a mechanism or a vehicle for communication and dialogue that can be called upon by anyone, at anytime, whenever needed.

Another thing to mention is that a structure, or format is needed, but no control; a completely horizontal and unleashed process set free. A little bit of chaos is good, it allows some of the originality and creativity to organically come to life.

We also have to prioritize urgency and timeliness with this endeavour. There are two reasons why our next Assembly needs to happen as fast as reasonably possible, well organized and promoted of course, but sooner rather than later. First, because it appeals to so many different constituencies, Climate Justice at the moment is a unifying force, and an asset for movement building. In Toronto, the first report back from Cochabamba, on May 7th of this year, featuring several summit participants, attracted a lot of unexpected attention, drawing in over 250 people. Then on June 23rd was our first People's Assembly on Climate Justice which was very successful, also producing a turnout of around 250 people. There was very positive energy coming out of the Assembly. Also on the 23rd, the Toxic Tour, a rally targeting Canada’s most environmentally destructive extractive industries and institutions, full on with costumes, flags, and floats paraded through downtown Toronto. So in general, Climate Justice in the city is currently building on momentum.

Second, the reaction to the G20 in Toronto has presented us with a golden opportunity. The G20 invasion affected not only activists and protesters, but impacted people from almost all walks of life. The projection of repression was manifest all over the downtown core and certain other areas, and the absurdity produced many self-declared converts to the cause. And, with Stephen Harper and the Consevatives' track record on environmental issues, this was obviously good news for the Climate Justice Movement in Toronto. Throw the Toxic Tour into the mix, which was Climate Justice's very creative, well orchestrated, and timely cross-pollination of two currents, and it almost seems like G20 week and the Climate Justice Movement were a match made in heaven. At the moment we have momentum and new faces on our side, we should not take that opportunity for granted.

Beyond Cochabamba, what were Toronto’s reasons for moving in this direction? At least in small part, the decision to build a People's Assembly in Toronto was probably an organic response to something the CJEJ community felt was needed. At the moment, Climate Justice has a broad and pertinent appeal that spans internationally over most spectrums of the left, it is the 'hot' issue, if you will. And, in Canada, we have the TSX where more than 70% of global mining capital is headquartered, we have the Tar Sands, and we have a government which is completely indifferent to Indigenous rights and environmental devastation, and doesn't recognize water as a human right. So in Toronto, as in the rest of the country, we certainly have a strong case and a need for increased and improved Climate Justice Solidarity. In part, the energy for the People's Assembly is an expression of that.

Referring back to Cochabamba, we dealt with a format of working groups, and it is imperative that we look back at past creations and examples of People's Assemblies from across the world. However, we are dealing with a unique situation here in Toronto, and a whole new set of attributes and particularities, and we don't know yet if the working group format will work for us. The final product of our assembly might be very similar to a working group structure, or it might look drastically different. Basically, we don't know what our assembly will look like, we are starting from scratch. We have to let the process self-create, with as many people involved as possible.

So what might an alternate Assembly format look like? A permanent, routinely-occurring, city-wide grassroots organizing assembly or forum sectioned by various affinity groups and organizations, or oriented around neighbourhood councils, or even a complimentary combination of both. There are already dozens of groups and organizations in the city, experts and veterans who have been working and campaigning around specific issues for months and years. It would be effective to communicate with all these groups, and to have them come be an integral part of the Assembly process, thereby providing all Assembly participants with already-existing resources, knowledge, capacity, and experience, and to allow them to choose where they would best fit in, for them to identify which patch on the community solidarity quilt is best suited for their interests and abilities. Working groups might end up being the appropriate format for the Toronto People's Assembly, only time will tell, but if so, perhaps those experienced affinity groups and organizations should be incorporated into them not as the lead, but in the middle actively working with the people in a nexus support role. Or, working groups could serve as a convertible feature of the assembly to be convened when needed for more extensive tasks and emergency campaigns.

One final attempt at an all-inclusive definition of the People’s Assembly would be this: A city-wide Assembly as a mechanism of solidarity and movement building, to really start to define and to shape the Movement. The Assembly will be composed of different groups and organizations from all spectrums of Climate Justice, who come together to report and share tactics, strategy, and campaigns in an open horizontal space fueled by popular power, participatory processes, and consensus. The Assembly will serve as a vehicle for an ongoing dialogue of solidarity building, sharing, and collective community decision-making.

The seeds of Cochabamba have ripened to create a fabric of popular resolve from Tanzania to Ecuador to Afghanistan, from cities to jungles, from affinity groups to community centres to cooperatives. A People’s Assembly is the body, the vehicle, and the necessary mechanism to engage us into effective movement building. The idea and the initiative have been laid out for us. It would be a mistake to take that privilege for granted, and to miss the opportunity.

All together, South American leadership in the form of the Rights of Mother Earth Conference has provided us with fodder, with building blocks, with motivation, and with direction. Now, with horizontal impetus we must activate the grassroots to embrace our responsibility to construct something substantial, effective, and beneficial to provide the movement with an opportunity to take flight.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Alvaro Uribe or Juan Manuel Santos; The Truth About Colombia

- Over 14,000 civiliam deaths under Uribe.

- Over 2 million internally displaced people. Highest forced political and economic internally displaced population in the world.

- Paramilitaries taking over local governments.

- Private-paramilitary land grabs exceeding 10 million acres of land, half of Colombia's arable land, going to neoliberal monocropping of palm oil and other biofuel crops.

- Colombia alone is home to 49 % of the killings of trade unionists worldwide.

Check the link.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Vegetarians and Vegans Wanted!

To all the non-veggies out there. Check it Out! Eat with the Planet for the planet. Love....

Article Reproduced from guardian.co.uk

UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet

Lesser consumption of animal products is necessary to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change, UN report says.

Felicity Carus

A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today.

As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the report from United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.

It says: "Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products."

Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: "Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels."

The recommendation follows advice last year that a vegetarian diet was better for the planet from Lord Nicholas Stern, former adviser to the Labour government on the economics of climate change. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has also urged people to observe one meat-free day a week to curb carbon emissions.

The panel of experts ranked products, resources, economic activities and transport according to their environmental impacts. Agriculture was on a par with fossil fuel consumption because both rise rapidly with increased economic growth, they said.

Ernst von Weizsaecker, an environmental scientist who co-chaired the panel, said: "Rising affluence is triggering a shift in diets towards meat and dairy products - livestock now consumes much of the world's crops and by inference a great deal of freshwater, fertilisers and pesticides."

Both energy and agriculture need to be "decoupled" from economic growth because environmental impacts rise roughly 80% with a doubling of income, the report found.

Achim Steiner, the UN under-secretary general and executive director of the UNEP, said: "Decoupling growth from environmental degradation is the number one challenge facing governments in a world of rising numbers of people, rising incomes, rising consumption demands and the persistent challenge of poverty alleviation."

The panel, which drew on numerous studies including the Millennium ecosystem assessment, cites the following pressures on the environment as priorities for governments around the world: climate change, habitat change, wasteful use of nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilisers, over-exploitation of fisheries, forests and other resources, invasive species, unsafe drinking water and sanitation, lead exposure, urban air pollution and occupational exposure to particulate matter.

Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, says the report, which has been launched to coincide with UN World Environment day on Saturday.

Last year the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said that food production would have to increase globally by 70% by 2050 to feed the world's surging population. The panel says that efficiency gains in agriculture will be overwhelmed by the expected population growth.

Prof Hertwich, who is also the director of the industrial ecology programme at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said that developing countries – where much of this population growth will take place – must not follow the western world's pattern of increasing consumption: "Developing countries should not follow our model. But it's up to us to develop the technologies in, say, renewable energy or irrigation methods."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

War as a means of waste for the productive energies and resources of Mother Earth and Humanity

Whether its the Petroleum complex, extractive industries in general, war itself or the war industry, just another example that links well with Talib Kweli's new Ballad of the Black Gold (below this post) on how humanity's creative potential, labour, resources, and energy are wasted away everyday to try to keep people permanently on the subservient brink. The foundation of the system that benefits only the top 10% of the population.

Enough with over-consumption and over-production, enough with War! Enough with waste, enough with the destruction of Mother Earth! Enough with the depletion of our natural resources while the concentration and maximization of profits and wealth continues unabated. End Wealth! We don't want the corporate monsters and the lethargic devils! Our population has to rid itself of its crippling apathy and complacency. Enough with the abuse of the Indigenous keepers of our land, enough with environmental racism and Cultural Genocide!

Thoughts inspired by Talib Kweli and George Orwell. Please check these two posts.

"The Essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, of sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. A floating fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships.... in principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the bare needs of the population are always under-estimated , with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. it is a deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another..... The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival."

"War not only accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society. What is concerned here is not the morale of the masses, whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work.... In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war..... It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist." - George Orwell.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Poetry of the Week

New Reflection Eternal Album. Poetry in Motion. Long Time Coming....

"This is the ballad of the black gold
They call it Texas tea
But it's bigger than a cowboy with a lasso
It's deeper than a black hole
Create monopolies
Except they collect your fee when you pass-go
Crisis' international
The government de facto
We got no control of this fiasco
Darker than the back roads
Bubble hotter than Tabasco
More than what you bargained for or asked for

You never see happy-hungry people that ain't rational,
They blasting through the gates and they attack you at the capital,
Run up in your palace, find the head of the states and crack a few,
Get a taste of power, then they become fascists too,
The fiscal conservatives, don't know what they purpose is,
Money on the war, then they cut your goods and services,
Murderous, corporate monsters is breaking records,
Exxon is at 40 billion a year, they raking in record profits.
Stop it!
How they banking while the auto industry is tanking?
Leadership is sinking; oil pollution in the water stanking,
Loyalty to petroleum; royalty spoiled the economy,
We won't get it poppin' till we're oil-free,
If you're oil-rich then we invading,
They call it occupation but we're losing jobs across the nation,
Drill, baby, drill, while they make our soldiers kill,
Baby still, the desert where the blood and oil spill,

This is the ballad of the black gold
They call it Texas tea
But it's bigger than a cowboy with a lasso
It's deeper than a black hole
Create monopolies
Except they collect your fee when you pass-go
Crisis' international
The government de facto
We got no control of this fiasco
Darker than the back roads
Bubble hotter than Tabasco
More than what you bargained for or asked for

Nigeria is celebrating 50 years of independence,
They still feel the colonial effects of Great Britain's presence,
Dictators quick to imitate the West,
Got in bed with oil companies and now the place a mess,
Take a guess, which ones came and violated,
They oiled up the soil, the Ogoni people was almost annihilated,
But still they never stayed silent,
They was activists and poets using non-violent tactics,
That was catalyst for soldiers to break into they crib,
Take it from the kids and try to break'em like a twig,
And make examples of the leaders; executed Saro-Wiwa,
Threw Fela's mom out the window right after they beat her,
In an effort to defeat hope. Now the people's feet soaked in oil,
So the youth is doing drive-bys in speed boats,
They kidnap the workers,
They blowing up the pipelines,
You see the fires glowing in the nighttime!!!

History, a slippery creature,
Its full of plot twists and surprise endings like a mystery feature,
This oil shit is slicker than preachers,
It make the problems in the region amplify like victory speeches,
Poison the water and lead the boys to the slaughter,
Go in somebody country and rearrange the order and destroy the borders,
You see them dancing through the fields of fire,
World domination--their real desire,
The devil is still a liar.

This is the ballad of the black gold
They call it Texas tea
But it's bigger than a cowboy with a lasso
It's deeper than a black hole
Create monopolies
Except they collect your fee when you pass-go
Crisis' international
The government de facto
We got no control of this fiasco
Darker than the back roads
Bubble hotter than Tabasco
More than what you bargained for or asked for."

- Talib Kweli.