Archive for October, 2010

Ali Primera…Presente!!!

October 31, 2010
 Today is Ali Primera’s birthday. He would have been 68 years old. Ali Primera died on February 16, 1985 in a car crash. Many people feel that Ali Primera was assassinated by government officials who wanted to silence his voice.  Ali Primera was one of Latin America’s greatest singers. He was an artist who was politically involved in the struggles of his native Venezuela. He was part of the “Nueva Cancion” movement that swept through his country in the 1970s. He was Simon Bolivar reincarnated as a singer. Many people may not know this but he wrote the famous song, Casas de Carton, that has been interpreted by Los Guaraguaos and Marco Antonio Solis aka El Buki, along with many other artist. His song, No Basta Rezar, is an anti war song against the invasion of Vietnam. Ali Primera blended his Marxist, liberation theology and Bolivarian ideology into his music. He was one of the greatest poets and composers of Latin America. His music along with music from Victor Jara, Violeta Parra, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Mercedes Sosa and Victor Heredia, continues to inspire me. Here is one of my favorite lyrics from his song, Hay que aligerar la carga. Ali Primera sings:

Look for the parish priest (Busca al cura de parroquia)
don’t look for the Cardinal (no busques al cardenal)
tell him that the struggle is long (dile que la lucha es larga)
that we need to lighten to load, (que hay que aligerar la carga)
tell him that Sunday Mass (dile que la misa de Domingo)
is better with free people (con pueblo libre es mejor)

Tell him that in the sacristy (Dile que en la sacristia)
we will have our meeting, (haremos la reunion)
tell him that God is not mad (Dile que Dios no se arrecha)
that He is happy (que El esta contento)
with Revolution (con Revolucion).

I am including some of my favorite songs below. Enjoy.

Casas de Carton.

Mama Pancha.

Cuando las aguilas se arrastren.

Yo no se filosofar.

No Basta Rezar.

Companero Ali Primera…..PRESENTE!!!
AHORA…Y…SIEMPRE!!!

Remembering Nestor Kirchner

October 28, 2010
Yesterday, Latin America lost a bolivarian friend in Nestor Kirchner. He died of a heart attack at the young age of 60. Kirchner was responsible for resurrecting the Argentinian economy when Argentina was facing an economic crisis in 2001-2002. Kirchner blamed the IMF for the economic crisis in his country and his stance against the IMF drew him many supporters. Kirchner’s governement instead nationalize the pension system to raise the funds needed to get out of the crisis along with other orchestrated moves that demonstrated to other countries that they can get out of crisis without the help of the IMF. After all, the IMF puts countries in debt instead of getting them out of debt. A good example is Haiti.

As Argentina and the world mourns the death of Nestor Kirchner, we must not forget his wife, Cristina Fernandez, the current President of Argentina. Although, many people have indicated that Argentina won’t be the same without Nestor, who was planning to run for President in 2011, many political analyst are already commenting about the changes that can come from Cristina’s government. I think Cristina will do fine. 1st we must respect that she just lost her husband and it its very difficult to run a country while mourning the loss of someone close to you. 2nd, the notion that Cristina’s government won’t be the same without the “guidance” of her late husband, is an insult to her capabilities and to women who have significant roles in government. This patriarch thinking does no good to serve the interest of the Argentinian people. Cristina government will continue to move forward and I won’t surprise to see her run for re-election in 2011.

As we remember Nestor Kirchner, let us remember him for who he was; a man who dedicated his life to serving the interest of the Argentinians and a man who was an instrumental figure in the rise of the New Latin America.

Here is a clip from Oliver Stone’s documentary, South of the Border, where Oliver is interviewing Nestor Kirchner. Nestor is describing a conversation he had with George W. Bush. I am not surprise by Bush comments.

Nestor Kirchner…Presente
Ahora…Y…Siempre.

Chilean miners play friendly soccer match. Team Hope vs Team Operation Rescue

October 26, 2010
The Chilean miners played a friendly soccer match against a team of rescuers and politicians known at Team Operational Rescue. The game was played at Chile’s National Stadium. The miners jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first half. The 2nd half didn’t go as well as they let Team Operation Rescue come from behind to win the game 3-2. The miners were led by Franklin Lobos, who represented Chilean national team at the L.A. Olympics in 1984.

Here is a video of the Chilean Miners playing against a team made up of politicians and the rescuers. Enjoy.

The Quality of Whose Life?

October 26, 2010
Paul Boden, a very dear friend of mine has been blogging about the “Quality of Life” ordinances that targets the homeless and poor people of our society.  Read the articles to get an idea on the struggles that homeless people have to go through on a daily basis. Please spread this information.

The Quality of Whose Life. Part 1.

The Quality of Whose Life. Part 2.

Here is the first article Paul wrote. This one provides an intro to the previous two articles. Paul is on point during the section, Public Safety and the Neoliberal State.

National Day of Action Against Police Brutality

October 23, 2010
October 22 is known as the National Day of Action Against Police Brutality. People from throughout the States will be on the streets raising awareness to stop police brutality. We have lost so many of our brothers and sisters due to police taking advantage of their power and brutalizing men, women and children. Whether its Sean Bell, Oscar Grant or Manuel Jamines, the cops have to be held responsible and be prosecuted under the law. We can’t continue for them to get away from these murders.

For more information on the background on the October 22nd coalition go to www.october22.org

Here is a great article by Nahal Zamani. Enjoy.

Policia Comunitaria de Guerrero: An Indigenous way of policing our communities

October 23, 2010
I am including information on the Policia Comunitaria de Guerrero, an indigenous way of policing the community. In a dream world, this model would be duplicated to various parts of the world. Here is a link to their website for those who want further information… www.policiacomunitaria.org  I had the honor of meeting one of the founders of the policia comunitaria during the 1er Encuentro de los Pueblos de America en Vicam, Sonora back in 2007.

Here is a documentary of the story of the police communities of Guerrero: Cuando la Justicia Se Hace Pueblo.

Dr. John A. Dennis aka Dr. D……Presente!!!

October 21, 2010

instructor

For those of you who don’t know who Dr. D was, I am attaching a link so you can read about who this great soul was. His tragic death is still very difficult for me to grasp.

Dr. D would have been 62 years old today. Dr. D, was our version of Jaime Escalante. Instead of Ganas, his word was Kekenewe. That is just the short version. The long version went something like this: Kekenewe Simbabele Bobo. I never figured out what Kekenewe meant. As a Saint Mary’s College alumni and former student of Dr.D, I only have fond memories of Dr.D.

When I think about Dr. D., I think about him being a true SOUL-DIER. He made an army of critical thinkers. He prepared his students to go out and battle; battle for our ideals and dreams but never forgetting about the poorest of the poor and using our gifts to make this world a better place. He was the commander in chief who carry his message with his actions. Seeing him in action, one was inspired to serve humanity just the same way he served his students. He dedicated his life to reach deep into people’s souls and navigate with them their purpose in life. Dr. D, was one of the very few educators who truly cared for his students. His love for his students was very genuine. He would go out of his way to help his students. Dr. D. could have easily written a book called the Pedagogy of Compassion. When I hear KEKENEWE SIMBABELE BOBO, I think he was telling us to find that GANAS that’s within us to get the job done.

Dr. D. created a garden of LOVE. In this garden, he cultivated seeds until the day he died. He planted seeds of understanding, respect, compassion, faith, spirituality, empathy, laughter, knowledge, friendship, etc. These and many other seeds were planted deep inside each and every one of us. Each one of us is a seed in Dr. D’s garden of LOVE. If we  imagine all the SEEDS that Dr. D. cultivated, we will see the garden of LOVE grow into the most beautiful oasis. I think it is our task to carry the seeds that have been cultivated in us and continue planting seeds of compassion, respect and dignity to the people that we come across whether it be homeless people, youth, our elders, or fellow peers. May we continue to be constant gardeners and spread Dr. D’s garden of LOVE.

LONG LIVE Dr.D!!!

Here is a poem that I wrote in honor of Dr. D.’s Birthday.

 

G.G: Dr. D,

How u doing.

 

 

Dr. D: Hey, G.

I’m doing well, you know me

just trying to stay in shape.

 

G:G: Stay in shape!!!

You are already in shape.

I don’t know that many

people your age who are

as ripped as you.

  

Dr.D: (laughing)

Stop it bobo.

 

G:G: So, I just wanted to reach out

and wish you a happy birthday today.

  

Dr. D: Oh, G, thank you.

 

G.G.: I just wanted to let you know

 how much I missed you and to let

you know that I think about you a lot.

 

Dr. D: Thank you G, thank you

but let’s change the topic before

you get me in tears.

 

 

G.G: Get you in tears, you already

have me in tears…..OK, let’s move on.

 

So have you been resting

like I told you the other day!!!

  

Dr. D: To be honest,

There is no such thing as resting

over here.

Everyday there is something to do.

I will say that the Workaholic Anonymous

classes that you mentioned to me

about have been fun.

I have met great and wonderful people.

The first day in class,

I sat next to Frederick Douglas,

we were talking about history

and the current state of the U.S.

 

 

The other day I talked to MLK

and we were talking about Obama.

Although, he is happy to see him be

the commander in chief, he has been

disappointed in Obama’s first two years.

MLK really wanted Obama to make a

statement in his decision against the

Afghanistan war. As a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate,

MLK wanted Obama to stop deploying soldiers

to Afghanistan and to use his Nobel Peace Prize

 to call for an end to military occupation in Iraq and

Afghanistan. MLK feels that as long as there is a war,

the Defense budget will continue to increase while lawmakers

will make drastic cuts to the social service resources aimed at

the people being affected by the current economic crisis.

 

G.G: Dr. D. I can see MLK has not missed a beat. He is

keeping it real. I agree 100% with MLK. Many of us were upset that

Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize and didn’t use

the opportunity to bring an end to the wars in Iraq

and Afghanistan. I don’t understand how a Nobel Peace

Prize recipient can continue to drag an unjust war. It just doesn’t

make sense to me.

 

Dr.D: Bobo,

I understand what you’re saying,

 

but he can’t change Washington overnight. I am

disappointed too. But, understand that the machine

is bigger than he is so if he is going to change Washington,

you and the folks in the streets are going to have to get

organized and put pressure on Capital Hill.

Obama can’t do it by himself.

I have been disappointed in many of his decisions

but I think its important that people pay close attention

to this election year as well. If the Republicans win the majority

in the Senate and the House, that is a huge blow to

whatever changes were in store. I mean, the damage will be huge.

You can forget about comprehensive immigration reform.

 

I was talking to Huey Newton and Malcolm X

and they were saying that

the economic crisis

that’s been going on in the

United Snakes of AmeriKKKa

as they like to say it,

is a good start for the people to

take matters into their own hands

and start organizing every neighborhood

and every community in the country.

They feel the current economic crisis

along with unemployment rising

are vital signs that Capitalism

has hit is very lowest point.

They feel the only way to fix the system

is revolutionizing the system.

They say that lawmakers will never understand

the true impact on the working class citizens’.

They felt that the democrats should have taken advantage

of their political power and invested a lot in education,

health care, the working poor and providing everyone

with housing not just those who lost their house to foreclosure

but the millions who are homeless and dying in the streets.

But the democrats didn’t and look at the people now;

disillusioned with this election year and

not having any trust in the democrats.

Huey and Malcolm wished Americans had the balls

to take to the streets just the same way French people

have paralyze their whole country.

 

G.G.: I agree with Huey and Malcolm,

If we were truly organized,

we would turn this country upside down.

I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what

will it take for Americans to say, YA BASTA!!!

I feel we are all scattered fighting our struggles.

I long for the day when we start our

Social Justice Movement and paralyze this country.

Dr. D., that day will come, I just don’t know when.

I’m just trying to do my part

to live in a more just society

where the poorest of the poor

will be respected and will

be treated with dignity.

 

Dr. D, one day our struggle

will bear its fruits.

Only time will tell.

 

On another note, have you talked to Gandhi,

Victor Jara, or Ali Primera?

 

Dr. D: Not a lot. Everyone over here

is very busy.

They are still very involved

in what they couldn’t finish.

 

Gandhi did tell me that he notice

that you started blogging and that you

named your blog after one of his

Talisman.

He was happy to see that.

He says that his Talisman is of no use

if people and especially the world leaders

and the wealthy people don’t put it to practice.

 

 

Victor Jara and Ali

Primera are doing great.

They continue to play beautiful music.

You should hear the music that

they have been working on.

Victor has a new version of his

Cancion del Minero,

Inspired by the Chilean Miners.

G, you would love this song.

He unleashes at the San Esteban Company

and sings about the working conditions

of the miners not only in Chile

but throughout the world.

I’m telling you, this is Victor Jara at its best.

 

G.G: Dr. D, I wished I could listen to the song.

I can only imagine the beautiful and inspiring songs

that Victor Jara and Ali Primera have composed.

 

Dr. D., have u had the chance to talk to Pablo Neruda.

 

Dr. D.: Yeah, I just saw Pablo Neruda the other day.

He is doing great.

Pablo Neruda is a genius.

His poetry keeps getting better.

 

Patrice Lumumba

is sad at what’s going

on in Congo.

He says he didn’t fight for the liberation

of Congo

so that soldiers would be raping women

and child soldiers would be recruited in a

war that is only bringing more tragedy

and dividing their fellow countrymen.

 

Well, kekenewe

Sorry for cutting it short

but I got to go,

  

 

G.G. Dr. D

Its my pleasure.

Once again

Happy Birthday.

I hope you have a

great day and remember

We all miss you.

You have definitely

made an impact in all of us.

Just to let you know that

your spirit remains present

In our lives.

We love you, Bobo.

 

Dr. D.: Thank you bobo,

Tell everyone that I feel

their love and I’m very honor.

 

G.G. Ok, I will. We’ll be in touch.

 

Dr.D. Ok, we will. Take care

Kekenewe simbabele bobo (laughing).

 

G.G. (laughing) take care Kekenewe.

 

 

I love and miss you, Dr. D.

Dr. D…Presente
Ahora..Y…Siempre

Capitalism didn’t saved the Chilean Miners: a closer look at the San Jose Mine

October 21, 2010
It’s been 7 days since the Chilean miners got rescued. Although, all the attention has been given to how the Chilean government rescued the miners, very few attention from the media has been given to the conditions of the San Jose Mine. Not only that, but while the world had their eyes tuned into the Chilean rescue operation, there was no attention given to the Mapuche community where Mapuches engaged on a liquid-only hunger strike to protest the use of Chile’s anti terrorist law, No.18.314, where it treats Mapuche activist as terrorist in their own land. The media didn’t focus on this story which started on July 12 weeks before the Chilean miners got trapped.

Now that the miners have been rescued, it is important for us to analyze at the inhumane working conditions that were going on at the San Jose mine. I don’t know if people paid attention but this past weekend when the Chilean officials were celebrating a Mass for the miners, a group of about 300 protesters were protesting against San Esteban Company, the owner of the San Jose Mine. The protesters were protesting unpaid wages for the month of September.

Couple days ago, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) stating that Capitalism saved the miners. Not only do I disagree but I feel Capitalism is to blame for the miners being stuck in the first place.  I am including couple articles that provides us with a different analysis on this issue and one of those articles arguing the notion that Capitalism didn’t saved the miners. Enjoy.

The San Jose Mine Disaster in Context

Digging Deeper

By ANTHONY PAHNKE and MARK N. HOFFMAN

The 10-week-long captivity-turned-spectacle of 33 Chilean miners has seized the attention of audiences from Asia, to Latin America, to the United States. “It was reality TV at its best,” proclaimed one CNN reporter. Another observed that, “overall, people feel really connected to this story.”

As caring cosmopolitans, we ought to feel connected. Global media outlets have promoted this feeling by offering narratives of cosmopolitan solidarity and hope. You’ve likely been moved by the “perseverance” and “courage” of the miners and their families as well as the “heroism” and “determination” of the international team of rescuers. If you are American, Swiss, or German, you might have taken pride in knowing that many of the rescuers and rescue technologies came from your country.

If you read these stories carefully, however, you will find hints of a darker reality that remains, literally and figuratively, buried underground.

For instance, you will find statements expressing ongoing frustration about working and safety conditions, including at least one miner’s observation, now corroborated, that San Jose’s owner consistently violated national and international safety codes. Other statements, along with moving stories about the miners’ lives, reveal more general hardships and dangers associated with the low-cost extraction and worldwide distribution of valuable raw materials from the bowels of the earth.

Excavating a Systemic Problem

 Empresa Minera San Esteban, the owner of San Jose, is not an outlying offender. Nor are the “small mining companies” that Pinera, the Chilean President, cited as culpable parties. Labor organizations have highlighted the extent to which unsafe conditions in mines are an industry-wide effect of intense competition. As the global market price of raw materials decreases, the quest for cheaper labor and lower production costs intensifies. In deference to mining companies’ profit-seeing prerogatives, governments cripple labor union organization and neglect regulatory responsibilities.

It is worth mentioning that the feel-good connections marketed by reality-TV depend upon an utterly fortuitous circumstance: the San Jose mine collapsed in a way that allowed the miners to survive for weeks until the rescue drill arrived. Since coal mining emerged as the engine of industrialization centuries ago, most miners in similar situations have not been so lucky. Recent fatal disasters from China to Appalachia should remind us of mining’s mortal dangers. Twenty-nine miners were buried in West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch coal mine collapse earlier this April. Just two days after the heroic rescue in Chile, a gold mine in Ecuador collapsed, trapping four miners.

Repeated fatal mine disasters indicate an international-historical context of less-than-human connections: profit-seeking superexploitation, patterns of life-threatening working conditions, and uneven exchanges.

The San Jose mine is one example, one site, among countless others. Highly profitable, cost-reducing neglect and labor union subordination functions as a powerful market force. It draws extractors of raw materials to sites like San Jose all over the world.

Like its competitors, Empresa Minera San Esteban lowers production costs by taking advantage this neglect: they build structurally unsound shafts without escape routes and hire older miners whom larger companies have refused to employ and who are willing to risk their lives in exchange for the opportunity to work. Driven in part by the global demand for cheaper minerals and fuels, including our own need for drinking water (copper pipes) and heat (coal), mining companies seek ways to extract raw materials more and more cheaply.

The profitable precariousness built into San Jose recalls a largely abandoned narrative of global connections developed by theorists of underdevelopment and “dependency.” According to this narrative, imperialist expansion produced a division of labor in which elites could systematically exploit the inhabitants of peripheral spaces in order to extract raw materials for sale to manufacturers in the world’s industrial “core.” Coffee, sugar, minerals, and fossil fuels connect producers and consumers not as free-traders, but as hierarchically organized subjects.

 Blood for Coal and Copper: The Darker Side of the Neoliberal Revolution

 Stories of historical dependency unsettle the narratives of high-tech heroism at San Jose. Take, for instance, the roles of Layne Christensen Company and its affiliate, Geotec Boyles Brothers, the U.S.-based companies praised for the successful made-for-TV “Plan B” rescue operation. These international heroes were drawn to Chile by the very same profitable neglect of workers’ well being that led to the collapse of the San Jose mine.

Christensen and Boyles Brothers expanded their operations in Mexico and South America in the 1970s to take advantage of Latin America’s emerging mining “boom.” In Chile, democratically elected President Salvador Allende attempted to regulate this explosion by nationalizing the mining industry in 1970, protecting his country’s workforce from the worst forms of corporate exploitation. The move forced Boyles Brothers to leave the country. When Allende died in the CIA-sponsored military coup of 1973, however, his authoritarian successor, General Augusto Pinochet, re-privatized the industry and successfully encouraged companies like Christensen and Boyles to re-invest.

Envisioning opportunity in authoritarian Chile, Christensen bought a majority share in Boyles Brothers in 1975. As the company put it, the merge was “a perfect marriage between the manufacturer and the contractor.” The relationship solidified connections between the manufacturing core (Christensen) and peripheral practices of “testing” and deregulated exploitation of people and resources (Boyles and Latin American mining companies). Specializing in sophisticated mining equipment for the extraction of minerals, Layne Christiansen has now expanded its lucrative connections with affiliates all over Latin American and Africa.

As in most other countries during the neoliberal revolution, privatization and deregulation became standard practice in post-coup Chile. In addition to the weakening of labor union power and the correlative neglect of safety standards, the privatization of social security in 1980 prevented Chilean workers from retiring. The aging workforce at San Jose is in many ways a legacy of the dictator’s adherence to global, neoliberal principles.

We are all connected to Chile as subjects of this neoliberal order. The copper in your drinking-water pipes is a product of the deregulated extraction of raw materials. Pinochet’s violent seizure of power and the deregulation that followed facilitated these profitably unsafe practices. For much of Chile’s history, the country depended on cheap copper exports to fuel its economy. Thus, our connection to Chilean miners, like our connection to coal miners in Appalachia, is one of dependence. Historical neglect of miners’ safety helps companies produce the cheap goods that we enjoy. From pipes to energy, the disastrous events in Chile and West Virginia are closer to home than reality-TV would make us believe.

 Anthony Pahnke is an affiliated researcher with UNESP (Universidade Estadual Paulista/Brazil) currently residing in Brazil and completing his doctoral research on agrarian politics.

Mark N. Hoffman is a lecturer and researcher in Political Science at the University of Minnesota. They can be reached at arpahnke@yahoo.com and hoffm402@umn.edu

Here is a great article written by Allison Kilkenny titled, Capitalism didn’t save the miners, in response to an article published by the WSJ. Enjoy.

 The WSJ published a ridiculous article yesterday that claims Capitalism saved the Chilean miners, and opens with a boldface lie when writer Daniel Henninger proclaims, “It needs to be said.” Does it, Daniel? Does it really?

Henninger believes the rescue of the miners is a smashing success for free market Capitalism because without that nifty drill bit, which was the only tool capable of freeing the workers, those blue-collar suckers would still be trapped in the belly of the earth with Satan and his fiery army. You see, the drill bit was developed by a company for a profit, which obviously means regulation and anything else that stands in the way of the righteous free market, is killing Chilean miners. Or something.

In reality, Capitalism helped contribute to the mine disaster. That is, hyper-Capitalism, the most warped version of Capitalism, which sacrifices regulation in the name of profit, led to mine disasters that culminated with 33 men being trapped deep below ground in darkness for 69 days.

Dick Blin, a spokesman for the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions in Geneva, says the Chile accident is a sign that the workplace safety culture needs to change in Chile. As proof, Blin cites the fact that the San Jose Mine was closed down for safety violations in 2006 and 2007.

Chilean safety officials pointed out at the time that the mine needed a second entrance, so that miners would have another way out in case of disaster.

The mining company resumed operations without making necessary changes. The mayor of the nearby town of Caldera, Brunilda Gonzalez, has alleged that regulators were bribed to allow the mine to re-open.

The BBC reported earlier this month that the San Jose mine has been sued by members of the miners’ families. The familes are also suing Sernageomin, the state regulator of mines, for allowing the company to reopen in 2008 following its closure a year earlier over a death. But this kind of safety lapse is par for the course in Chile.

In 2007 and 2008, at the height of the boom in copper prices, there were more deaths in Chilean mines than in any other years during the decade. In 2007, when the copper price averaged a record $3.24 per lb, 40 miners died in accidents. In 2008, when copper was at $2.88 per lb, the death toll hit 43. The average for the decade was 34.

 In contrast, the safest year in the history of Chilean mining was 1999, when the average copper price fell to just 72 cents, its lowest level in over 10 years, a consequence of the Asian crisis.

Even when the free market was flush with cash because of the copper boom, Chilean miners continued to die. In fact, as the value of copper spiked, more workers started dying during the rush. There appears to be an almost direct correlation between the pace of production and worker safety. (Overall, there have been less deaths in the copper mining industry since the 1980s, but again that is because of internal safety standards, and not because of the glories of the free market).

 The reasons behind the correlation seem fairly obvious. Yet, for whatever reason, some people are mystified.

“It shouldn’t be the case that when the price rises, the number of accidents rises too,” said Andy King, national co-ordinator for health and safety at the massive North American trade union, United Steelworkers.

 “In fact, the opposite should be the case,” said Mr King, who visited the San Jose mine last month and has been deeply critical of safety standards at Chilean mines. “The higher the price of the metal, the safer the mine should be, because the company has more funds to improve safety.”

Oh, Andy. You sweet thing. Why would they spend more money on safety regulations when they can shove the extra cash in their own coffers? Mining companies don’t like closing down operations to tend to meddlesome safety standards because they lose money. Frankly, it’s less expensive to cross the occasional worker off the company picnic list than totally revamp a dilapidated mine.

 That was Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s reasoning while overseeing a corporation built on criminal neglect. Blankenship thumbed his nose at regulators – not out of some weird disdain for proper ventilation – but because he resents big government ordering him to spend money to improve safety standards so his employees won’t die. Blankenship, a die-hard fan of free market Capitalism, scoffed at efforts to regulate the mining industry, calling such attempts “as silly as global warming.”

In 2009, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration cited Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch coal mine for 495 violations and proposed $911,802 in fines. Since 1984, the mine had been cited for 600 violations in less than a year and a half, some of them for not properly ventilating methane, the same combustible gas suspected in the explosion, according to the AP. The disaster at Upper Big Branch was the worst of its kind in 40 years.

When Shift Foreman Luis Urzua, the last worker out of the San Jose mine, embraced Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera, he didn’t rejoice about the glories of the free market. Instead, he said, “I hope this will never happen again.” Pinera now says he’s going to review safety conditions so that “never again in Chile would people be allowed to work in such inhumane conditions,” and confesses the San Jose mine has a “long history” of accidents.

Now, four more miners are trapped underground in a mine in southern Ecuador after a cave-in early this morning. Maybe the WSJ can publish another article about why Wall Street should hand out more bonuses since the free market saved the day again.

 

 

Ray Sosa….Presente!!!

October 20, 2010
On October 15th, the L.A. community and the world lost one of the most compassionate individuals in Ray Sosa. He was a man who dedicated his life helping others. Ray was a humble and caring individual. He touch a lot of people’s lives with his peaceful presence. He was a soul-dier for humanity. Many of us who were fortunate to know Ray are still in a state of shock. I’m attaching a link to L.A. Community Action Network’s blog where people can see a picture of Ray at a recent Safer Cities Initiative (SCI) Action. www.cangress.wordpress.com

Here is a song by Victor Jara called La Partida (the Departure) in honor of Ray.

Companero Ray Sosa
Presente!!!
Ahora…Y…Siempre!!!

Zeitgeist Movement/Venus Project

October 19, 2010
Here is information on the Zeitgeist Movement and what they stand for. For more complete information check their website:

Here is some basic information that was taken from their website.

The Goal
The Means is the End:

We intend to restore the fundamental necessities and environmental awareness of the species through the advocation of the most current understandings of who and what we truly are, coupled with how science, nature and technology (rather than religion, politics and money) hold the keys to our personal growth, not only as individual human beings, but as a civilization, both structurally and spiritually. The central insights of this awareness is the recognition of the Emergent and Symbiotic elements of natural law and how aligning with these understandings as the bedrock of our personal and social institutions, life on earth can and will flourish into a system which will continuously grow in a positive way, where negative social consequences, such as social stratification, war, biases, elitism and criminal activity will be constantly reduced and, idealistically, eventually become nonexistent within the spectrum of human behavior itself.

This possibility is, of course, very difficult for most humans to consider, for we have been conditioned by society to think that crime, corruption and dishonesty is “the way it is” and that there will always be people who want to abuse, hurt and take advantage of others. Religion is the largest promoter of this propaganda, for the “us and them” or “good and evil” mentality promotes this false assumption. 

The reality is that we live in a society that produces Scarcity. The consequence of this scarcity is that human beings must behave in self preserving ways, even if it means they have to cheat and steal in order to get what they want. Our research has concluded that Scarcity is one of the most fundamental causes of aberrant human behavior, while also leading to complex forms of neurosis in other ways. A statistical look at drug addiction, crime and incarceration statistics, finds that poverty and unhealthy social conditions comprise the life experience of those who engage in such behavior.

Human beings are not good or bad… they are running, forever changing compositions of the life experience(s) that influences them. The “quality” of a human being ( if there was such a thing ) is directly related to the upbringing and thus belief systems they have been conditioned into.

This simple reality has been grossly overlooked and today people primitively think that competition, greed and corruption are “hardwired” elements of human behavior and, in turn, we must have prisons, police and hence a hierarchy of differential control in order for society to deal with these “tendencies”. This is totally illogical and false.

The bottom line is that in order to change things for the better fundamentally, you must begin to address root causes. Our current society’s system of “punishment” is outmoded, inhumane, and unproductive. When a serial killer is caught, most people jump up and down and scream for the death of that person. This is backwards. A truly sane society, which understands what we are and how our value systems are created, would take the individual and learn the reasons behind his or her violent actions. This information would then go to a research department which considers how to stop such conditions from occurring through education.

It is time to stop the patchwork. It is time to begin a new social approach which is updated to present day knowledge. Sadly, society today is still largely based on outmoded, superstitious dispositions and resolutions.

It is also important to point out that there are no utopias or endings. All evidence points to perpetual change on all levels. In turn, it is our personal actions everyday of our lives that mold and perpetuate the social systems we have in place. Yet, paradoxically, it is also our environmental influences which create our perspectives and hence world views. Therefore, true change will come not only from adjusting your personal understandings and decisions, but equally from changing the social structures that influence these understandings and decisions.

The elite power systems are little affected in the long run by traditional protest and political movements. We must move beyond these ‘establishment rebellions’ and work with a tool much more powerful:
We will stop supporting the system, while constantly advocating knowledge, peace, unity and compassion. We cannot “fight the system”. Hate, anger and the ‘war’ mentality are failed means for change, for they perpetuate the same tools the corrupt, established power systems use to maintain control to begin with.

The Distortion and Paralysis:

When we understand that all systems are Emergent and constantly in a state of evolution, along with the reality that we are all Symbiotically connected to nature and each other in the most simple yet profound ways, forcing the realization that our personal integrity is only as high as the integrity of the rest of society, we then see how twisted and backwards our social establishments are and how their perpetuation is largely the cause of the social instability in society. For example, the Monetary System has been long deemed a positive force in society due to its claim to produce incentive and progress. In actuality, the monetary system has become a vehicle for division and totalitarian control.

It is the ultimate form of “Divide and Conquer” for at its very core are the assumptions that (1) We must fight each other in order to survive. (2) Humans must have this reward “Incentive” to do anything meaningful.

As far as Number 1 (We must fight each other in order to survive.), this characteristic of ‘competition’ in the system guarantees corruption in society on every level, for the basis is “us against them”. Many argue that the “free market system” is good… but it is corrupt in the modern day due to bad policies, favoritism, bailouts, etc. They assume that if a “pure” free market was allowed to flourish then it would be okay. This is false, for what you are seeing today IS the Free market at work, with all its differential advantage and corruption. No laws will ever stop the insider trading, collusion, monopoly, labor abuse, pollution, planned obsolescence or the like… this is what the competition based system produces without fail, for it is based on the premise of taking advantage of others for profit. Period.

We must begin to transition out of these oppressive ideals and move towards a system which is “designed” to support human beings… not force them to fight in order to survive. As far as Number 2, (Humans must have this reward “Incentive” to do anything meaningful.) this is just a sad and an incredibly negative perspective of the human being in general. To assume that a person must be “structurally motivated” or hence “forced” into doing anything, is just absurd. Think back to when you were a child and had no idea what money even was. You played, were curious and did many things… why? Because you wanted to. However, as time goes on in our system, that natural curiosity and self-motivation is stripped away from people, as they are forced to conform to the specialized, compartmentalized, nearly predefined labor system in order to survive. This, in turn, often creates a natural rebellion within the person due to the forced obligation, and this is how we came up with “leisure” and “work” separations. The laziness assumed to exist by the monetary system proponents (who claim it produces incentive) do not recognize this. In a true society, people would follow their natural inclinations and work to contribute to society not because they are “paid” for it, but because they have a greater awareness which recognizes that contributing to society helps them just as much as everyone else. This is the heightened state of awareness we hope to communicate. Your reward for contributing to society is the well being of that society… which, in turn, furthers your well being.

Now, putting things into perspective, it is important to understand that our world is currently run, undeniably, by a small group of dominant men in high positions of those institutions which are most dominant in society- Business and Finance. The establishment of government is in tandem with the influence and power of corporations and banks. The life blood is money, which is, in fact, an illusion that now has little relevance to society and serves as a tool for manipulation and division along a kind of social organization that guarantees elitism, crime, war and social stratification.

Simultaneously, individuals are taught that being “correct” is what creates their value as human beings. This state of being “correct” is directly related to the prevailing values of society itself. Therefore, those who accept and support the social system’s views are considered “normal”, while those who disagree are considered “abnormal” or even “subversive”. Whether it is the dogma of a unique social tradition, or the alignment with a worldwide establishment religion, the basis is the same: Intellectual Materialism.

As we realize that knowledge and hence our institutions are always evolving, we see that any belief system which claims to “know” anything, without allowing for dispute, is a failed perspective. Religion, with its foundation in faith, is the king of this distortion, as it claims to know something definitively about the most complex and elusive origins of human kind, and this simply is not possible in an emergent universe.

That being said, it is then realized that equally as dangerous as the Establishment Power Structures, are the people who have been conditioned to completely accept the static understandings put forth by these systems… therefore becoming: “Self Appointed Guardians of the Status Quo”. This applies to every system, especially political, financial and religious systems. Since people’s identities become associated with the doctrines of a Country, Religion or Business ethic, it often becomes very difficult for a person to change, for his or her identity has become combined with the ideologies which have been imposed upon them. 

Therefore, they perpetuate the doctrine of the institution, simply to maintain their personal integrity, as they see it. We must break this cycle, for it paralyses our growth not only as individuals, but as a society.

The Truth and Transition

Once we understand that the integrity of our personal existences are directly related to the integrity of the earth, life and all other human beings, we then have our path predefined for us. In turn, once we realize that it is science, technology and hence human creativity which creates progress in our lives, we are then able to recognize what our true priorities are for social and personal growth and progress. These points denoted, we can then see that Religion, Politics and the Money/Competition based Labor system are outdated modes of social operation, which must now be addressed and outgrown. Our avocation is to achieve a social system which operates without money or politics, while allowing superstition to work itself out as education flourishes. It isn’t the right of any person to tell another what to believe, for no human has a full understanding of anything. However, if we pay attention to the natural processes of life, we then see how we can align with nature and thus our path becomes more clear.

For example, many people are worried about population growth on the planet, while very spooky comments by despotic figures like Henry Kissinger claim that some kind of “reduction” is needed. This is, of course, very scary. However, the real question remains: Is population growth really that bad? The answer is that from a scientific perspective the earth can handle many, many times more people if need be, once high technology is harnessed. 70% of our planet is water and cities in the sea ( one of many projects by Jacque Fresco ) are the next step. In turn, education about life operations will inform people as to the ramifications of their reproductive interests and population growth will naturally slow as people begin to realize how they are related to the planet and its carrying capacity.

In fact, the only true “government” that can possibly exist is the earth and its resources. From there, all possibilities can be assessed. This is why an intellectual unification of all countries is needed, for the most important information we as a species can have is a full, highly detailed assessment of what we have on this planet. Just as you would examine the land and resources of an acre of land to see what you could do or grow on it, this is what needs to happen with the planet in order to optimize what we are capable of as a species, resource wise.

Of course, many who consider the ideas presented above will often ask: “How can we do this considering the distorted value systems which are currently in operation.? How do we make such a move or transition?” This is, of course, the most difficult question. The answer: We have to start somewhere. There are many things that can be done by a single person or community that can begin to shape this vision. The most important step is education.

People can also check out the movie to get an idea of what the zeitgeist movement is all about. You can check out the movie at:  http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/ 

The Zeitgeist considers itself the activist arm of the Venus Project, a project that Jacque Fresco originated. According to the Venus Project website,  “The Venus Project is an organization that proposes a feasible plan of action for social change, one that works towards a peaceful and sustainable global civilization. It outlines an alternative to strive toward where human rights are no longer paper proclamations but a way of life.” For more information go to www.thevenusproject.com

What do people think about the Zeitgeist Movement/Venus Project?