Friday, September 24, 2010


It's come to this.  The FBI which as you may remember is now under the control of our noted "progressive" President has raided six homes in Minneapolis and two more in Chicago. Other reports say houses in Michigan and North Carolina were also visited. The targets of the raids are a number of activists from a variety of local and national organizations. The Feds describe the raids as part of "investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism."

The FBI issued subpoenas for the  activists to appear before a Grand Jury in Chicago on Oct. 12.

This is no small potatoes, folks.  

Various capitalist media outlets report, among the homes raided were the apartments of Jessica Sundin, who was a principal leader of the mass antiwar march of 10,000 on the opening day of the Republican National Convention two years ago, and Mick Kelly, who was prominent in that protest and among those who announced plans to march on the Democratic National Convention in Minneapolis, if the city is selected to host it in 2012. Neither has been arrested.

Above the Hard Times Cafe in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, The Uptake reports,  the FBI allegedly kicked in doors and entered Mick Kelly’s second-floor apartment this morning with guns drawn. Hours later, as many as half a dozen agents began carrying boxes down to their vehicles: a grey Chevy Impala on the street and two black SUVs parked behind the cafe.

The warrant  sought information on "Kelly's travel to and from and presence in MN, and other foreign countries [sic] to which Kelly has taveleled as part of his work in FRSO [Freedom Road Socialist Organization", as well as materials related to his finances and the finances of FRSO, and all computer and electronic devices.

Before agents confiscated his cell phone, Kelly told the Associated Press: "The FBI is harassing anti-war organizers and leaders, folks who opposed U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America."

Kelly said in an interview this morning he had "absolutely not" been involved in illegal activities.

Jess Sundin is another well-known activist whose home was searched. She says an FBI SWAT team entered first "and looked for pointy things. And then they left and the FBI agents came in and looked through everything in the house," she told the Associated Press.
Sundin says agents took computers, several boxes of papers, everything related to data like discs.
Pictured here: One of the suspected commie terrorists in Minneapolis 
Sundin called the suggestion they were connected with terrorism "pretty hilarious and ridiculous.
A raid was also in progress at the home of Meredith Aby, another local antiwar leader who was frequently the spokeswoman for the march on the GOP convention. Sundin and another source said that a fourth raid took place at the home of Tracy Molm, a leading activist in Students for a Democratic Society, an organization at the University of Minnesota. The source said raids occurred at the addresses of two other activists whose names he did not disclose.

The raids were conducted by theF BI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Steff Yorek, whose house was one of those searched, said she was still half-asleep at 7 a.m. when eight FBI agents came to her South Minneapolis home brandishing battering rams.  Quoted in CityPages, Yorek said the searches constitute harassment of people involved in anti-war and international solidarity work. She and some of the other people whose homes were searched are associated with the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. 

"I think this is about our opposition to U.S.-funded war and death squads in Columbia and our solidarity with Palestine," she said.

According to Reuters, Chicago antiwar activist (and longtime gay rights activist) Andy Thayer was also targeted, which he attributed to “solidarity work, for speaking out on the issues of the day.”

"I have no idea what all this is about," Kelly's attorney Ted Dooley said. "Mr. Kelly is an activist, he's a socialist or perhaps a communist and has been forever. He never hides his political views. They're fishing. They're casting big nets into the sea of political activism."

Dooley said the agents were also "looking for everything related to Kelly's potential co-conspirators, including Kelly's personal contacts in the United States and abroad, which means absolutely everybody that Kelly's ever been in contact with, anywhere. I'd say it's kind of unconstitutional and hideous, myself. It's very broad. It's disgusting."

Attorney Bruce Nestor said he's not representing any of the people in Minnesota whose homes were searched, but he has in the past.
"I'm really profoundly troubled by it," he said of the searches. "Overwhelmingly they're people who are doing public political organizing, so I think it's shocking to have heavily armed federal agents show up at their homes. ... It's all people involved in anti-war activity and it appears to be focused largely on opposition to the U.S. policy in Colombia and Palestine."

The federal law about material support of terrorism dates to 1996 and "has been interpreted so broadly to really endanger the rights of U.S. citizens to oppose the military and foreign policies of the United States," Nestor said.

"This is a direct attack on people who are strong, dedicated advocates of freedom, of the right of people to be free from U.S. domination," Nestor said. "It is an attack upon anybody who organizes against U.S. imperialism and U.S. militarism abroad."

Is this what Obama meant when he said, "We are the people we've been waiting for."

The following is from Fight Back News.


By Staff | 
September 24, 2010
Read more articles in 

We denounce the Federal Bureau of Investigation harassment of anti-war and solidarity activists in several states across the country. The FBI began turning over six houses in Chicago and Minneapolis this morning, Friday, September 24, 2010, at 8:00 am central time. The FBI handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to about a dozen activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. They also attempted to intimidate activists in California and North Carolina.
"The government hopes to use a grand jury to frame up activists. The goal of these raids is to harass and try to intimidate the movement against U.S. wars and occupations, and those who oppose U.S. support for repressive regimes," said Colombia solidarity activist Tom Burke, one of those handed a subpoena by the FBI. "They are designed to suppress dissent and free speech, to divide the peace movement, and to pave the way for more U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and Latin America." 
This suppression of democratic rights is aimed towards those who dedicate much of their time and energy to supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples against U.S. funded occupation and war. The activists are involved with well-known anti-war groups including many of the leaders of the huge protest against the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN in September 2008. The FBI agents emphasized that the grand jury was going to investigate the activists for possible terrorism charges. This is a U.S. government attempt to silence those who support resistance to oppression in the Middle East and Latin America.
The activists involved have done nothing wrong and are refusing to be pulled into conversations with the FBI about their political views or organizing against war and occupation. The activists are involved with many groups, including: the Palestine Solidarity Group, Students for a Democratic Society, the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera (a Colombian Political Prisoner).
Steff Yorek, a long-time antiwar activist and one of the activists whose homes was searched, called the raids “An outrageous fishing expedition.”
We urge all progressive activists to show solidarity with those individuals targeted by the U.S. Government. Activists have the right not to speak with the FBI and are encouraged to politely refuse, just say “No”.
Please contact or if you would like to provide support to the targeted activists.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


derrick jenssen

Derreck Jensen writes, "If it was space aliens coming down and systematically changing the planet, would we appeal to them through lawsuits, take off our clothes and make peace symbols, petitions?."

Jensen ur
ges people to "think for themselves," as he feels this is the most important first step toward true freedom.

"I want them to decolonize their hearts and minds," he explains. "That means to recognize that this culture is not the only way to live. This is one culture. To recognize that technological progress is not progress. It is escalation. It improves the ability of those in power to make matter and energy jump through hoops on command. If sea turtles were developing all kinds of technology that was killing the planet, we would not call it progress."

For all of us who are or want to be actively involved in work that might shape a better future for the planet, it is imperative we know what we love and care about most. Given the vast number of issues (climate change, militarism, corporate capitalism etc.) that need our immediate attention, coupled with the severity of crisis many of them encompass, it is easy to be overwhelmed.

"What would you live and die to protect?" Jensen suggests we ask ourselves. "Fight by any means, whether that be by a lawsuit or a gun? Is it your family, survivors of domestic violence, salmon, the Rio Grande River? What is it you love enough that you would fight to defend?"


Life vs. Productivity: "What Would You Live And Die To Protect?"
By Dahr Jamail
07 September, 2010
t r u t h o u t
"It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself, when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks." 
-Malcolm X
If someone broke into your house, pinned down your loved ones and began pouring poison down their throats, would you stop that person?
What if someone poured crude oil all over your crops and livestock? Wouldn't you try to stop them from doing it?
Pointed questions like these come from a man named Derrick Jensen. They provide a lens through which to view the havoc that corporate capitalism is wreaking on our planet. They are meant to jolt us into the awareness that we are watching life on earth annihilated. They are also meant to challenge us into thinking about what form our resistance to this should take.
"I think what we need to do is to stop deluding ourselves into believing that those in power will do what they have not done and they've shown no inclination to do, which is to support life over production," says Jensen, an author and environmental activist who lives in Northern California.
Lewis Mumford, a US historian and philosopher of science and technology, has written, "The chief premise common to both technology and science is the notion that there are no desirable limits to the increase of knowledge, of material goods, of environmental control; that quantitative productivity is an end in itself and that every means should be used to further expansion."
But how can unlimited growth and productivity be possible on a planet with finite resources?
Simple answer: It cannot.
Yet, we are all being pushed, at breakneck speed, toward a future that promises catastrophic global climate change, depleted natural resources, environmental degradation and human chaos and suffering on an apocalyptic scale.
One hundred and twenty species of life are erased from the planet each day.
Ninety percent of all the pelagic fish in the oceans are gone.
The Arctic ice cap is vanishing before our eyes as global temperatures continue to rise.
Here are some recent headlines from this summer:
* Greenland Ice Sheet loses 100 square miles, biggest loss since 1962 (Aug. 2010)
* Russia's drought-driven halt to wheat exports panics world grain markets (Aug. 2010)
* Pakistan's worst flood in recorded history claims some 1,100 lives (July, 2010)
* International study confirms accelerating warming trend (July, 2010)
* Rapid decline in phytoplankton population stuns scientists (July, 2010)
* Flash floods seen increasing as Milwaukee gets eight inches in two hours (July, 2010)
* Senate climate bill collapses (July, 2010)
* Coral reef deaths soar in record ocean heat (July, 2010)
* First half of 2010 was hottest such period on record (July, 2010)
* Carbon lobby launches "CO2 is Green" campaign (July, 2010)
* Massive Greenland glacier retreats one mile in one night (July, 2010)
* Military declares climate change "a catalyst for conflict" (June, 2010)
* Malaria soars with small rainforest reductions (June, 2010)
* Oceans have stored more heat than they released since 1993 (May, 2010)
* Climate change is causing "irreversible" destruction of ocean life systems (June, 2010)
* Himalayan glacier melt puts 60 million people at risk of food shortages (June, 2010)
* Warming pushes many small mammal species to the brink (June, 2010)
This is happening not because any of us want it, but because those in power, answerable only to their corporate sponsors, are playing out their mantra of "every means should be used to further expansion."
Expansion of growth. Expansion of profits. Expansion of power.
Mumford has said a change in this mindset of perpetual expansion would likely only happen with "an all-out fatal shock treatment, close to catastrophe, to break the hold of civilized man's chronic psychosis."
We have already had many of these "fatal shock treatments:" the Exxon Valdez spill, the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, Chernobyl, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Agent Orange, Love Canal, Three Mile Island, the Seveso Italian dioxin crisis, the Baia Mare cyanide spill. These are just a few. It's a long list.
And, now, we can add the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP's oilrig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded in April and, for 36 hours, its flames released immeasurable amounts of toxins into the atmosphere before it sunk into the depths. We now know that the vast majority of the oil that gushed from the well was intentionally submerged by BP via heavy use of dispersants at the wellhead, so most of the oil is floating around in giant undersea plumes, one of which is ten miles long, three miles wide and 300 feet thick. They are like oil bergs - what we see on top of the water is a mere fraction of what lies beneath. This was not an oil leak. This was a volcano of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
If independent estimates of the amount of oil released into the Gulf are correct, as many as one Exxon Valdez load of oil (250,000 barrels worth) was being released into the Gulf of Mexico every two and a half days. That means 8,700,000 barrels of oil, or 34 Exxon Valdez's worth, were released into the Gulf of Mexico.
Conversely, what actions have been taken to bring BP to account? Will the CEO likely spend time in jail? Government officials and institutions that have colluded with BP - how about them being brought to justice?
When the Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1989, the incident was considered to be among the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters in history.
Even after the surface oil is cleaned up in the Gulf of Mexico, scientific studies already show (as they have shown in Prince William Sound) that oil can remain trapped in the seabed for decades, continuing to contaminate and kill fish, shrimp, crabs and bird life. To this date, a maximum of only 14 percent of the oil spilled in that disaster has been recovered. As you read this, BP is scaling down the response efforts to the Gulf disaster.
Meanwhile, as the so-called free market that allows unchecked corporate powers like BP to pollute and destroy our ecosystems with impunity continues, the oil spreads across the Gulf and another oil platform has exploded in the Gulf, this time 80 miles south of Louisiana.
Jensen believes that expecting those in power to do what is right for human beings, much less the planet, "is delusional." "Their function in a democracy is to give us the illusion of power, but the truth is that they do what they want," Jensen explains. "Why is it that cops are always called in to break strikes but not help the strikers? When the function of the state is to support the privatization of profits and the externalization of costs, what kind of state is this?"
Jensen, a prolific writer and author of several books, including "A Language Older Than Words" and "Endgame," summarizes the situation we face like this: "The point is that when a gold mining corporation spreads cyanide all over the mine and this hits our groundwater and wells and destroys ground waters in Montana, they are not called a terrorist, they are called a capitalist."
The same can be said for BP. Exxon. Monsanto. Bayer. Dow. Lockheed Martin. It's a long list.
"If it was space aliens coming down and systematically changing the planet, would we appeal to them through lawsuits, take off our clothes and make peace symbols, petitions?" Jensen asks. "I was once being interviewed by a dogmatic pacifist and he felt that I wanted all activists to act like assassins. That's not true. What I want is for all activists to act like they are serious about their resistance and that might include assassinations."
Jensen believes that we are at a point in history where the very planet upon which we live and our lives are at stake. If the perpetual growth, corporate-capitalist-industrial machine is allowed to continue, we will die. Thus, it must be stopped by any means necessary.
To illustrate what might be possible by taking a militant approach, Jensen points to Johann Georg Elser, the man who attempted to assassinate Adolph Hitler in 1939.
"Everyone agrees that if Hitler was killed in 1939, the war doesn't happen," Jensen explains, "The point is that I want people to think like members of a resistance. The first thing that means is to start thinking away from being part of a capitalist industrial system and away from this government that we all acknowledge serves corporations better than us and toward the land where we live."
Many are concerned that the approach Jensen advocates will generate extreme government crackdowns on activists working on topics across the political spectrum - that the use of violence to promote change is a bankrupt strategy and one that is doomed to failure.
"I am not the violence guy," is Jensen's response, "I'm really the everything guy. Only two percent of the IRA ever picked up weapons. 98 percent were doing support work. We need a wide range of tactics, which can include fighting back and attacking the infrastructure. I don't know what is so radical or incendiary about believing that living oceans are more important than a social structure. The culture as a whole suffers from insanity, one form of which is that this social structure is more important than the living planet. I don't believe you can suffer the delusion that you can systematically dismantle a planet and live on it. It's very simple to me. Life is more important than capitalism."
* * *
Many activists have argued that nonviolence is the only path that will lead to positive, lasting change in society. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and activist, is a man Martin Luther King Jr. called "an apostle of peace and nonviolence." In Saigon during the early 1960s, he organized students to rebuild bombed villages, resettle families and create agricultural coops. His work, then as now, is based on the Buddhist principles of nonviolence and compassionate action.
Voices like Hanh's tell us that violence begets violence, a theory backed by thousands of years of historical evidence.
Some, like influential German Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt, argue that the use of violence, while at times effective in destroying power, "Is utterly incapable of creating it." Arendt's work dealt with the nature of power that she explored via investigations of politics, authority and totalitarianism.
Arendt believed that true freedom was synonymous with collective political action among equals.
Organized nonviolent power, on a massive scale, like that by the movement behind Gandhi in India, could possibly avoid these draconian measures while destabilizing the corporate centers of power.
* * *
Jensen does not advocate the use of violence as a means toward taking control of, or even overthrowing, the US government. Instead, he encourages small groups of people to do what their government has failed to do. For example, he asks, "What would happen if police started enforcing cancer free zones, or rape free zones, or toxics free zones?" He goes on to answer his rhetorical question, "We could start putting together forces that say, "You will not toxify this land and we will stop you. If people came into our homes and started to pour poison down our throats, we would stop them."
In Oakland, California, in the 1960s, police brutality against African-Americans was rampant. But when the Black Panthers decided to arm themselves, load into cars and trail the police, beatings of African-Americans decreased dramatically.
A modern-day example is The Pink Sari Gang, a group of women in India who wear pink saris and train in the martial arts. "If they see a man abusing a woman, they beat the crap out of him," Jensen says, "If they see the police abusing the poor, they step in. This dramatically reduces domestic violence."
Jensen is not the first person to suggest the use of violence against those in power. Malcolm X also took on the establishment in the 1960s by indicting white America in the harshest of terms for its crimes against blacks, and he remains one of the most influential African-Americans in history.
"We declare our right on this earth ... to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary," is perhaps his most famous quote. While he was clear about only using violence in self-defense, Malcolm X was also clear on the issue of nonviolence: "It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself, when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks," he said.
* * *
Could these tactics succeed in the United States today?
Assassinations, sabotage and other violent acts geared toward stopping the corporate capitalist system might remove some corporate CEOs and temporarily slow ecological destruction, but the CEOs would immediately be replaced and the violence and sabotage would most certainly be used to justify draconian measures applied to the general public, thus, making further resistance more challenging.
The US government response to armed resistance in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in National Guardsmen killing unarmed anti-war protesters on college campuses and the FBI assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Chicago. Government spying and surveillance of resistance leaders was rampant, as was exposed by the COINTELPRO files being made public.
Arendt was critical of the tactics of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers for advocating violence, along with being critical of other groups in the 1960s in the US who did the same, like the Weathermen who carried out dozens of bombings of government targets in response to the war in Vietnam. Arendt wrote, "In a head-on clash between violence [military] and [collective nonviolent resistance] power, the outcome is hardly in doubt."
Yet, her critique of the failure of governments' use of violence to quell nonviolent movements is equally harsh: "Nowhere is the self-defeating factor in the victory of violence over [collective nonviolent] power more evident than in the use of terror to maintain domination, about whose weird successes and eventual failures we know perhaps more than any generation before us."
Arendt could easily count the failing US empire project among her "eventual failures" in this analysis. Indeed, one can argue that the US empire project, which is essentially run by a corporate, capitalist, hegemonic ideology, is being crushed under its own weight. This is evidenced by the ongoing global financial crisis and the escalating human-made climate change.
Hailing the religions of infinite growth and perpetual profit within the confines of a finite plane is truly an example of the proverbial snake eating its own tail. So, why not leave it to eat itself, then rebuild and reconfigure ourselves to live closer to the land after the juggernaut collapses?
* * *
We do not have the luxury of that kind of time. Scientists now tell us that the Arctic ice cap will likely be ice free in the summer within ten years. When this happens, rather than reflecting sunlight, that area then turns into a heat absorbing sink that dramatically increases the rate of climate change and overall planetary warming.
By late 2009, two different studies showed seven years straight of a loss of Antarctic ice at a rate of 190 gigatonnes per year and the rate was increasing with time.
Some political scientists and currently serving US senators and Congresspersons now argue that our system of so-called representative government is so broken and corrupted that it is beyond its capability of righting itself.
Thirty years ago, people in the United States used to make fun of the Soviet Union and the Politburo because the body of the latter was approximately 97 percent populated by communist members. Thus, the legitimacy of the Politburo was erased.
"What percentage of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives are capitalist party members [politicians who subscribe to the so-called free market system]?" Jensen asks. "Suddenly it's not so funny, is it? I ask people all over the country, 'Do you believe we live in a democracy?' And almost nobody ever says yes. I ask, 'Does the government take better care of corporations or human beings?' Of the thousands of people I ask this to at talks, nobody says human beings and this is not even to speak of salmon."
Jensen says every morning when he wakes up, he asks himself if he should write or blow up a dam. "You and I can write all we want, but that doesn't help the salmon," he tells me, "What they need is for dams to be removed and logging stopped."
His incisive pragmatism disregards any concern for upsetting people, groups or adherence to what is politically correct. He is spurred forward in his work because the urgency of the situation demands it. Jensen believes that all forms of resistance, nonviolent, violent and everything in between, are important and useful. But he does not hesitate to point out where he feels some methods do not go far enough.
Someone Jensen singles out as an example of how current tactics of resistance are not enough is Bill McKibben. In 1988, McKibben, a well-known author, environmentalist and activist wrote "The End of Nature," the first book for a common audience about global warming. He is the co-founder of, an international climate campaign to bring awareness to the fact that the planet faces both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 remain above 350 parts per million (ppm). Right now, we are at 390 ppm and climbing.
Last December, just prior to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that had enacted no useful legislation to curb carbon emissions, McKibben penned an article for Mother Jones magazine. In it, he wrote, "The latest numbers from the computer jockeys at Climate Interactive - a collaboration of Sustainability Institute, Sloan School of Management at MIT and Ventana Systems, is that if all the national plans now on the table were adopted the planet in 2100 would have an atmosphere with 770 parts per million CO2."
"Bill McKibben has done a wonderful job of publicizing the threat from global warming," Jensen says, "He's been doing it for a long time, with incredible stamina and work and I have incredible respect for that."
But Jensen insists that the tactics of McKibben's group do not go far enough.
"So the question I have, not only for Bill, but for everyone is, what is your threshold? Give me one at which you'll stop believing in and petitioning those in power and will begin direct attacks on the oil infrastructure. Is it 440ppm? 450? 570? When the planet turns into Venus? What is your threshold? We need stop them before they kill the planet."
Applying tactics like those used by the Black Panthers, the Weathermen or Malcolm X would most likely lead to government security crackdowns that far surpass those used in the 1960s.
It is also a given that business-as-usual activism is not getting the job done. That the goal of opening "free markets" is written into the US National Security Strategy means that the march toward "freedom" really means a freedom for corporate interests to gobble up resources, pillage and pollute our common land base (and oceans, seas, Gulfs) and continue to exploit the underprivileged labor base in the US and abroad.
* * *
In April 2004, I watched local Iraqis in Fallujah, armed with Kalashnikov machine guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers, repel the most powerful military machine on the globe when US occupation forces attempted to invade their city. In 2006, during the Israeli attack of Lebanon, I saw Hezbollah, using little more than what the Iraqis used in Fallujah, repel an invasion by the Israeli military - a military defeat Israeli smart weapons, sophisticated US-made fighter jets and drones could do nothing to prevent.
"History provides many examples of successful resistance, as do current events," writes Jensen, who maintains a regular column for Orion magazine called "Upping the Stakes." In the March/April issue he wrote, "The Irish nationalists, the abolitionists, the suffragettes - I could fill the rest of this column with examples. Recently, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has, through attacks on oil pipelines and the kidnapping of oil workers, disabled as much as 40 percent of the oil industry's output from Nigeria and some oil companies have even considered pulling out of the region. If those of us who are the primary beneficiaries of this global system of exploitation had 1 percent of their courage and commitment to the land and community, we could be equally effective if not more so. We have vastly more resources at our disposal and the best we can come up with is, what, compost piles? The world is being killed and many environmentalists still think that riding bikes is some sort of answer?"
Jensen told me that MEND was, for a long time, nonviolent, but after one of their leaders was killed, they moved toward using sabotage, then finally to violent resistance.
Jensen adds in his column, "MEND has said to the oil industry: 'It must be clear that the Nigerian government cannot protect your workers or assets. Leave our land while you can or die in it.' There is more courage, integrity, intelligence and pragmatism in that statement from MEND than in any statement I have ever read by any American environmentalist, including myself. We need to accept the fact that making this type of statement (and being prepared to act on it) might be necessary to preserve a living planet. Some people may be willing to give up on life on this planet without resisting. I'm not one of them."
Jensen urges people to "think for themselves," as he feels this is the most important first step toward true freedom.
"I want them to decolonize their hearts and minds," he explains. "That means to recognize that this culture is not the only way to live. This is one culture. To recognize that technological progress is not progress. It is escalation. It improves the ability of those in power to make matter and energy jump through hoops on command. If sea turtles were developing all kinds of technology that was killing the planet, we would not call it progress."
For all of us who are or want to be actively involved in work that might shape a better future for the planet, it is imperative we know what we love and care about most. Given the vast number of issues (climate change, militarism, corporate capitalism etc.) that need our immediate attention, coupled with the severity of crisis many of them encompass, it is easy to be overwhelmed.
"What would you live and die to protect?" Jensen suggests we ask ourselves. "Fight by any means, whether that be by a lawsuit or a gun? Is it your family, survivors of domestic violence, salmon, the Rio Grande River? What is it you love enough that you would fight to defend?"
Apathy and learned helplessness are now endemic in the US. The massive anti-war demonstrations on February 15, 2003, that preceded the Iraq war were ignored by the Bush administration. That administration went on to shred the US Constitution, openly advocate torture and enrich war-profiteering companies like Halliburton, Dyncorp and Bechtel in Iraq. People felt as though nothing could be done.
When tens of millions of US citizens voted in Barack Obama as president, they hoped real change for the better was upon them. Many of those people now feel betrayed by his broken promises. Guantanamo Bay, that he promised to close, remains open. The US occupation of Iraq, that he promised to end, continues with no real end in sight. Rather than acting as the peace president many hoped he would be, President Obama has tripled the number of soldiers in Afghanistan since he took office. It's a long list. Millions of US citizens now feel they are at a loss.
"Do you believe that our culture will undergo a voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living?" asks Jensen.
"For the last several years I've taken to asking people this question, at talks and rallies, in libraries, on buses, in airplanes, at the grocery store, the hardware store. Everywhere. The answers range from emphatic 'No's' to laughter. No one answers in the affirmative. One fellow at one talk did raise his hand and when everyone looked at him, he dropped his hand, then said, sheepishly, 'Oh, voluntary? No, of course not.'
"My next question: how will this understanding - that this culture will not voluntarily stop destroying the natural world, eliminating indigenous cultures, exploiting the poor and killing those who resist - shift our strategy and tactics? The answer? Nobody knows, because we never talk about it: we're too busy pretending the culture will undergo a magical transformation."
Jensen asserts what millions around the world can corroborate - systematic abuse of the poor and helpless leaves lasting scars on entire generations. He compares this culture to an abusive family, where violence is a constant threat and the victims feel helpless and dependent on the abuser. He writes, "Civilization and the civilized continue to create a world of wounds."
"From birth on - and probably from conception, but I'm not sure how I'd make the case - we are individually and collectively acculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes - and our bodies - to be poisoned."
* * *
"I say, do something," Jensen urges. "The big dividing line is not between those who advocate resistance through any means necessary and those who don't. It's not even between grassroots and mainstream. The big divide is between those who do something and those who don't."
Business-as-usual activism and politics will guarantee catastrophic climate change, more environmental disasters like what we are witnessing in the Gulf of Mexico and continued corporate depravity. Wherever people stand in the debate on the use of violence versus nonviolence, Jensen's sense of urgency at this moment in history is unarguable.
So, where do you stand?


Well, this post will be a little different.  

Like the polar bears in this article, I lived in captivity, too. They called it prison. I, too, developed repetitive behavior which I still have some of today, although in humans they call it a bit of obsessive compulsive disorder. FREE THE POLAR BEARS, FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

The following is from the Kansas City Star.

I ain't buying all the "nice" things they have to say about the zoo and while the concern expressed for polar bears in the wild is welcome, it doesn't excuse putting them in jail.



The Kansas City Star

Look, kids, here comes the polar bear!
Here he comes around again!
And again …
Nikita the polar bear spends much of his days just swimming in circles in his new $11 million home at the Kansas City Zoo. He’s beautiful to behold underwater through the huge glass windows. But visitors are beginning to wonder about his repetitive behavior.
“It saddens me to watch that bear doing laps,” said Kyle Bradley of Raytown, a zoo supporter. “I stopped counting them at 30.”
It is called stereotypic behavior and it is, unfortunately, common among polar bears and other species in captivity. Sometimes it takes the form of pacing or swaying or excessive grooming. But Robert Buchanan, president and CEO of the conservation group Polar Bears International, predicted that Nikita’s behavior would change as he becomes acclimated to his new exhibit, which opened last month.
“The animal is just burning off energy,” Buchanan said Wednesday during a visit to Kansas City and the zoo. “The animal is doing fine.”
Zoos have tried a variety of approaches to grapple with stereotypic behavior. Buchanan’s organization sponsored a major study into the issue.
“We’ve got some ideas that we can try,” Randy Wisthoff, the Kansas City Zoo’s director, said Wednesday shortly before an official ribbon-cutting for the polar bear exhibit. “We’ll see what we can do to break him of that habit.”
Wisthoff said zookeepers will try switching out Nikita’s “toys,” such as flotation barrels and balls, at midday to keep his interest. Zookeeper Andrea O’Daniels is traveling to Churchill, Manitoba, this weekend to learn more about polar bears.
In addition, Wisthoff and general curator Liz Harmon recently returned from a zoo industry conference in Houston where they conferred with other institutions and scholars about polar bear husbandry.
Nikita is alone in his exhibit, but males in the wild lead largely solitary lives until they are ready to mate. At nearly 4 years old, Nikita is not yet sexually mature.
New polar bear exhibits are vast improvements over the old concrete and bars once commonly found in zoos. Kansas City’s exhibit meets or exceeds modern standards. In fact, at 9,568 square feet it is 77 percent larger than specified in guidelines by the province of Manitoba, which are considered on the forefront of polar bear husbandry.
The exhibit has a 140,000-gallon pool and waterfall as well as foraging and grassy areas. But swimming laps, even in comfortably chilled water, is not much different from pacing on concrete.
The Polar Bears International study, by research scientist David Shepherdson of the Oregon Zoo, found no conclusive evidence linking stereotypic behavior to stress on the animal’s part. Shepherdson also found no correlation between the behavior and the complexity of the exhibit or whether the animal was born wild or in captivity. Nikita was born at the Toledo Zoo.
The study found that numerous daily enrichment activities did reduce repetitive behavior among female bears but the effect on male bears was not statistically significant.
The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago reported success in reducing pacing by a male polar bear by leaving the door to its holding area open during zoo hours, giving the animal the choice of where it wants to be.
Wisthoff said Kansas City would experiment with allowing Nikita access to his holding area during the day.
Other zoo species, particularly big cats and elephants, also are susceptible to stereotypic behavior.
The expansion of the Kansas City Zoo in the 1990s was mindful of that with its large, naturalistic settings. Staffs here and at other zoos also try to keep animals’ lives interesting by hiding food in their exhibits and providing other diversions.
The Kansas City Zoo’s cheetahs, for example, are periodically exposed to a mechanical lure that whizzes a colored rag just above the ground for the fast-moving animals to chase.
But critics say no zoo can replace a polar bear’s natural territory, which can cover thousands of square miles.
“Polar bears are the perfect example of a species whose habitat and range cannot be even remotely simulated in captivity,” reported a study for the Humane Society of the United States called “The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity.”
Conservationists, such as Polar Bears International, argue that polar bears’ sea-ice habitat is shrinking at an alarming rate because of climate change. They say animals in zoos can be a powerful tool to educate the public about their plight and conservation in general.
Buchanan praised the Kansas City Zoo and the public here for creating an outstanding polar bear exhibit and spreading that message.
“We’re watching bears (in the wild) disappear in front of our eyes, daily, from starvation,” he said. “That’s a problem — not a bear swimming in circles.”
Buchanan will give a public talk, free with zoo admission, at noon today in the former IMAX theater at the zoo.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Joshua Dewees "fine officer"

Four times this cop has been charged with police brutality.  Four times the city has had to settle the case.  Still Chester Police Officer Joshua Dewees goes out everyday in uniform with his gun to "serve and protect."

The last two federal lawsuits  filed against the Chester police  describe two incidents where the 

plaintiffs claim Officer Joshua DeWees wrongly arrested them.  One mentions Dewees shouting 

racial insults at members of the plaintiffs church during the indicent.  Both suits claim the city

 and police department were aware of past complaints against DeWees but failed to discipline 


Almost a year ago demonstrators demanded his removal from the force.  In response Fraternal Order of Police President Todd Nuttal said due process for Dewees is not being followed.

“The NAACP, a great organization, should be looking for the truth through due process. I believe when these incidents are done in court, the truth will then be known,” Nuttal said.

“For someone to ask for the suspension of this fine officer prior to the truth being found is premature.”

The following is from the Philadelphia Daily News.


Last year was not good for Chester Police Officer Joshua Dewees.

The 28-year-old was hit with three federal lawsuits alleging police brutality and wrongful arrests, his pickup was set on fire while he was sleeping and protesters took to the street demanding that he be fired.

Dewees was sued again last month for similar allegations, and lawyers representing Dewees and Chester recently settled two of the previous suits by paying the plaintiffs before the cases went to trial.

"I believe that he shouldn't be a police officer, considering the number of cases against him and the fact that they are settling these cases," said attorney Joseph Oxman, who filed the lawsuits. "I don't know why it seems that no one is interested in investigating this."

The most recent suit alleges that Dewees assaulted and wrongfully arrested Chester resident Kevin Wilson last year while he was walking from a dance at the Leake Center. Wilson, 20, was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and related offenses. The charges were later dismissed.

Chester spokeswoman Emily Harris said Dewees was still on the police force but declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Dewees had been suspended, a source said, because of a December 2007 incident at Grace Church of God in Christ, in which Gerald Turner, of Bear, Del., alleged that Dewees arrested him when he tried to report a traffic accident. Dewees, who is white, allegedly told church members to "get your black asses out of the parking lot," according to the lawsuit.

"He cussed me out, cussed the pastor out, cussed everyone out and locked me up," Turner, 53, said at last year's protest.

Turner was never prosecuted, and the lawsuit he filed last year was settled last month for an undisclosed sum.

City attorneys have agreed to pay $57,500 to settle a suit filed last year by Rickia Reese, who alleged that Dewees assaulted and wrongfully arrested her in 2007. The charges against Reese, who was 14 at the time, were dismissed.

In the fourth lawsuit, Julia Quagliarello, who was driving to classes at Widener University when she was arrested last year, alleged that Dewees pointed a gun at her head after pulling her over and wrongfully arrested her for fleeing a police officer. The charges against Quagliarello, who was 18 at the time, were thrown out.

It was unclear yesterday whether Dewees' police duties have been curtailed because of the complaints. Chief Floyd Lewis was out of the office, and messages left for police officials and the city's attorneys were not returned.

"I am a family man who entered in the law-enforcement field to help not hurt people," Dewees said last night. "Not once have I been investigated or charged criminally because the allegations made are false."

Chester has not admitted wrongdoing in any of the cases.

"The fact that they settled speaks for itself," Oxman, the plaintiffs' attorney, said. "The ultimate problem in this city is there is no mechanism for citizen oversight of the police department. There never has been."