Spirit In Action

Change IS coming. WE can make it GOOD.


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I voted for Obama, not only because of the lesser of two evils argument-tho of course that factored in-but because I believed that he really wanted to create change. I believed that if we kept pushing for change, with him in office we would have more chance than with another neo-con, poor-hating warmonger. I still believe that in the time of steady movement toward true open fascism, with austerity, cuts to everything for PEOPLE while money is funnelled to wars and corporate favors, he has pushed back, perhaps as much as he is able, I don’t know. But this article reflects the warning the editor of Mohawk Nation News gave us before the first Obama win-she said that the word for US President in Mohawk means “Town Destroyer” and there is a reason for that. She said not to get so excited and then be so disappointed because no matter who we elect to that office, that is what the office MEANS.
I am glad we have a mixed blood person who values diversity, who has respect for disabled people like me, for gay people, for women(not binders full tho;-) and who at least mentions poverty and acknowledges it is a problem but I know we still have a long, long way to go before we have “A world that works for everyone”.

crimson satellite

What does this new ‘liberal vision’ actually mean?

Richard Becker

President Barack Obama’s second Inaugural Address has been greeted by much of the corporate media and his supporters as a new “liberal vision,” in the words of a New York Times headline.

But while much of the president’s rhetoric was progressive-sounding and strongly delivered, there was little actual content, and most of that was decidedly unprogressive and/or dishonest.

“A decade of war is now ending,” Obama stated. In fact, U.S. military attacks and interventions are continuing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries. Every Tuesday, there is a gathering in the White House where the president signs-off on the assassination-by- drone-missile of targeted individuals—and anyone who has the misfortune of being near them at the time of the strike—in a number of countries, none of which is actually at war with the U.S. .

While declaring that “We, the…

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#J28 Day of Action: It’s time to send Harper a message he can’t ignore | rabble.ca

#J28 Day of Action: It’s time to send Harper a message he can’t ignore

By Tria Donaldson

| January 22, 2013 #J28 Day of Action: It's time to send Harper a message he can't ignore

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Our country is at a crossroads. Inspiring social movements are meeting a wall of Conservative spin. The incredible power of the Idle No More movement is being belittled in the mainstream media. Conservative forces are attempting to divide Indigenous voices, and paint the grassroots as out of touch and politically naive.

Environmental charities and labour organizations are under attack. Bill C-377 saddles trade unions with accounting measures stricter than any other type of organization has to comply with, and violates privacy rights of employees and contractors. In last year’s budget, the Harper Conservatives created an eight million dollar fund to audit charities accused of too much political action, mostly targeting groups fighting tar sands expansion. These policies are meant to create a chill effect on political activity by targeting powerful civil society voices that are speaking out against the Conservative agenda.

The Harper Conservatives are also going to extreme lengths to erode Canadian democratic systems. Harper has prorogued Parliament twice. The Conservatives have started pushing through massive Omnibus budget bills to hide nasty pieces of legislation and to stifle debate in the House of Commons. Ongoing investigations into electoral fraud call into question the validity of a Conservative government.

The laundry list of important programs, organizations and causes that the Harper government is attacking is dizzying. But it is time we stop fighting our battles as one off, separate fights. Harper’s attacks on Idle No More, on workers and on environmental policies are part of a larger neo-liberal agenda to privatize control of our common public resources and put more power in the hands of the corporate elite. Cuts to vital public services like Employment Insurance, Old Age Security and environmental protection are part of a larger plan of shrinking government.

If the Harper Conservatives are allowed to continue on this path, I am afraid that soon we won’t recognize the country that we live in. People in my generation will grow up in a Canada whose rivers are becoming more polluted, and in a Canada that has completely turned its back on migrant rights. We will live in a country that failed to take action to stop climate change; a country that let its graduates rack up unprecedented levels of student debt while sidelining its seniors to live in poverty. We will live in a country that has further ignored its responsibility to negotiate with First Nations on a nation to nation basis.

I don’t want to live in a country like that. This is why on January 28th, when MPs come back to the House of Commons, I will be standing up for a different agenda for Canada as part of a joint call out from Idle No More and Common Causes.

Common Causes — a new initiative bringing together social justice, environmental, labour and other activist groups, is organizing for a global day of peaceful action in solidarity with Idle No More. The goal is to fight back against targeted attacks by this government on Indigenous communities, environmental protection, our public services, workers rights, a women’s right to choose, charitable organizations, civil liberties, migrant and immigrant and refugee rights.

This day of action follows an activism-filled weekend in Ottawa. Over 100 organizers from all over the country are meeting in Ottawa for the founding assembly of the Canada-Quebec-Indigenous Social Forum, and a discussion of the exciting and much needed Port Elgin Coalition.

We are at a critical time for social movements in Canada. We need to stand together and build movements that are resilient, grounded in anti-oppression and that foster solidarity across movements.

I truly hope that January 28 can be the beginning of the end of the Harper Conservatives.

Tria Donaldson is a youth activist with roots in the climate justice and labour movements. She is helping with social media for Common Causes. You can follow her on Twitter @TriaDonaldson

(This story is reposted from rabble.ca, please read the original at the link below, and see all the latest news- http://www.rabble.ca/news/2013/01/january-28-lets-send-harper-message-he-cant-ignore)


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Tensions rise as Idle No More rolls on | APTN National News

Tensions rise as Idle No More rolls on

Please click the link below for original story with video at APTN
http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/01/23/tensions-rise-as-idle-no-more-rolls-on/

APTN National News
An Idle No More round dance in Edmonton attracted two counter demonstrations during what was an otherwise peaceful protest.

In a separate incident a truck tried to drive through a protest, the second such time in the last week.

This comes as the Alberta justice minister said hes angry with the protest tactics and is looking for ways to crack down on demonstrations.

APTN National News reporter Keith Laboucan has the story.

[Tags IdleNoMore, Prime Minister Stephen
Harper,]


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Idle No More: Shawn Atleo announces return to helm of Assembly of First Nations, as Chief Theresa Spence agrees to end fast | Canada | News | National Post

Michel Comte / AFP / Getty Images Michel Comte / AFP / Getty Images A young girl and an elder gather on Victoria island for a march on Canada’s parliament in support of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s strike on January 11, 2013.

Shawn Atleo will return to the helm of the Assembly of First Nations just as Chief Theresa Spence is slated to end her fast on Thursday morning, signalling the next phase in a First Nations push to engage with the federal government on treaty implementation.

National Chief Atleo, who has been on doctor-ordered medical leave since Jan. 14, will resume his full duties following a ceremony at a special assembly of British Columbia chiefs in Vancouver at 9:15 a.m. local time Thursday morning.

According to a statement released by the AFN, which has been dogged by infighting and a battle of wills over how to deal with the Harper government, Mr. Atleo will address the assembly and emphasize the way forward and the need to maintain momentum now to achieve real progress and transformative change for First Nations citizens.

With the intensifying demand and opportunity to achieve justice, fairness and political, social and economic development for First Nations, National Chief Atleo will provide an update and set out expectations for next steps, the statement says.

Mr. Atleo will be joined by the assemblys B.C. regional chief and the man he appointed to carry out his duties in his stead, regional chief Roger Augustine, who represents New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. All three chiefs will address leaders gathered at a two-day assembly at a Vancouver recreation centre, which kicks off Thursday.

About an hour before Mr. Atleo officially resumes his duties, at 11 a.m. local time in Ottawa, Ms. Spence and Manitoba edler Raymond Robinson who have held off on solid foods since mid-December in a failed bid to secure a meeting with the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and First Nations leaders will speak publicly about breaking their fast.

Negotiations to end the fast which began more than 40 days ago when she left her northern Ontario community to set up camp on Victoria Island had already ramped up earlier this week, but the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network reported that Ms. Spence faced pressure from within her own council.

They are coming in tonight, a source close to Ms. Spence told APTN. Then it will end.

A statement released by Ms. Spences camp on Wednesday evening confirmed the Attawapiskat chief would end her high-profile liquid-diet protest now that opposition leaders and First Nations supporters have endorsed a Declaration of Commitment.

The 13-point declaration, which among other things promises to maintain pressure on the Harper government to launch a thorough review of its two omnibus budget bills, was endorsed by the AFN executive, the Native Womens Association of Canada, the NDP national caucus and the Liberal Party, the statement said.

Manitoba chiefs gathered in Winnipeg for a two-day assembly also threw their formal support behind the declaration, calling Ms. Spence a brave warrior and commending her for bringing global awareness of the issues impacting Indigenous people across the country.

The statement released jointly by three Manitoba chiefs organizations, with the support of visiting chiefs from Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan struck a stern tone, saying the sovereign Nation-Crown Relationship is severely impaired by the Government of Canada.

Mr. Atleo also expressed his appreciation for Ms. Spences protest.

Our shared goal is simple and clear: to guarantee that our children can achieve the brighter future that they deserve, he said in an AFN statement. This is what every Chief across this country, every member of the Assembly of First Nations, will continue to fight to achieve.

National Post, with a file from The Canadian Press

(This story is a repost from the link below-http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/01/23/theresa-spence-agrees-to-end-44-day-hunger-protest-as-atleo-returns-to-afn-leadership/)


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Ethical Enbridge? The real story of Line 9 and the tar sands giga-project | rabble.ca

Ethical Enbridge? The real story of Line 9 and the tar sands giga-project

By Dave Vasey Sakura Saunders Sonia Grant

| January 23, 2013 Ethical Enbridge? The real story of Line 9 and the tar sands giga-project

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Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal project has become a hot button issue in Ontario as Big Oil seeks to expand tar sands markets in the 401 corridor, the U.S. and potentially Europe. Line 9 runs from Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec, passing within 50 km of an estimated 9.1 million people, including 18 First Nation communities, and directly through 99 towns and cities. In true Orwellian language, the reversal is being sold to the public as a jobs-creating, low impact, and ‘ethical’ project. It is none of these things.

Early in the application process, Enbridge misled the public by promoting the Line 9 reversal as part of its $3.2 billion “Light Oil Market Access” initiative. Pressure by environmental groups clarified Enbridge’s intent to pump tar sands dilbit through Line 9. The early mistrust established by Enbridge foreshadows the ethical doublespeak the public is expected to embrace with the Line 9 reversal. Indeed, the tar sands giga-project is one of the most violent projects on Earth and the extraction of dirty fuel represents at once a blatant case of environmental racism, climate chaos, and ecological catastrophe.

Line 9 was built in 1976 and was designed to carry light crude oil. In July 2012, the National Energy Board (NEB) approved Enbridge’s application to reverse the flow of the pipeline from Sarnia to Westover, Ontario, and is currently reviewing Enbridge’s application to reverse the rest of the pipeline to Montreal. Crucially, the reversal isn’t about the direction of the pipeline flow, but its contents: Enbridge is now openly seeking approval to transport tar sands dilbit from Alberta through Line 9. This raises multiple flags.

First, Line 9 is a 37 years old pipeline and the risks of a spill are higher for dilbit pipelines (particularly old ones) as tar sands crude is more corrosive, and transported under higher heat and pressure. Moreover, if a spill occurs the impact of dilbit is more severe for health, water and land, as dilbit contains higher levels of toxic carcinogens, including naptha and benzene. In 2010, these risks were brought into sharp relief when Enbridge’s Line 6B (originally constructed to transport light crude in 1969) ruptured spilling 20,000 barrels of dilbit into the Kalamzoo River in Michigan, a disaster that continues to have devastating impacts on surrounding communities and ecosystems. Most importantly however is the question of ‘ethics’ and how the Canadian state is responding to the apparent human rights and environmental crisis created by tar sands expansion.

Debunking the jobs argument

A core argument to support the Line 9 reversal has been job creation. In general, job creation has not been the goal of Big Oil — instead the industry has strived towards mechanization and low-cost labour. The ‘jobs’ argument for tar sands creates a fictitious division between the economy and the environment, attempting to pit employment against health and environmental concerns.

(This is only the intro to the article-please read the full article at rabble.ca here http://www.rabble.ca/news/2013/01/mcethicaltm-enbridge-line-9-and-tar-sands-gigaproject#)


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When the settler people who are finally realizing the “benefits” of colonized society are an awful lot like the riches briefly enjoyed in the sale of souls to Satan in the old stories-a certain amount of comfort for a time, but at such a terrible cost-I hope that many will realize the wisdom of actively supporting indigenous resistance. This article illustrates an important point. Unlike the patchwork nature of people of all races resistance to the colonized industrial juggernaut from the Luddites to Occupy; Indigenous resistance is part of a consistent thread woven solidly within the cultures that were thriving prior to colonization. Indigenous cultures have long histories prior to colonization, and they have a resilience grounded in their connection to the land, to one another and to the knowledge and tools developed during many centuries.
Colonization is an active process of atomization, fragmentation and forgetting that is done to remove the exact power to resist that IdleNoMore represents. Settlers who come from one of these cultures that were colonized further in the past have thus lost those things and the strength they convey. While supporting IdleNoMore out of concern for the environment or heartfelt solidarity with First Nations people are also good, I think that long term, settlers who choose to align with and support IdleNoMore may eventually find it is the “spearhead” of effective leadership that can draw together the power of the broader resistance that has been building in wave after wave in settler society from Emma Goldman and the worker’s collectives of the late 1800’s, to Occupy and other current efforts.

Decolonization

by Eric Ritskes

“We resist not to overthrow a government or to take political power, but because it is natural to resist extermination, to survive. We don’t want power over white institutions; we want white institutions to disappear. That’s revolution.

– Russel Means –

 

A common dialogue has been running in opposition to the current #IdleNoMore protests and actions. A friend of mine recently said,

The Idle No More movement will go the way of the Occupy movement…it is not sustainable and most of the demands will never be met.

She went on to give reasons why: how Canadians were unwilling to part with their hard earned money and politicians aren’t looking out for what’s right but for their own political interest.

These are not uncommon thoughts: there seems to be an undercurrent that sees the hashtags, the flash mobs, and the blockades as unsustainable and unproductive in the…

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The New Extremism and Politics of Distraction in the Age of Austerity

This is an excerpt from the middle of the article-because these are the paragraphs I most wished to highlight. This is worth reading and sharing-finding out how we are being tricked, what is REALLY going on is very helpful to changing it.

Read the whole article at Truthout (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13998-the-new-extremism-and-politics-of-distraction-in-the-age-of-austerity)

The expanded reach of politics in this discourse of distraction shrinks, and in doing so separates private troubles from public considerations, while undermining any broader understanding of the confluence of socio-economic-cultural interests and interrelated issues and problems that characterize a particular age. For instance, the debate on gun control says little about the deep-rooted culture of symbolic and structural violence that nourishes America’s infatuation with guns and its attraction to the spectacle of violence. Similarly, the mainstream debate over taxing the rich refuses to address this issue through a broader analysis of a society that is structurally wedded to producing massive inequities in income and wealth along with the considerable suffering and hardships produced by such social disparities.

In this denuded notion of politics, the connection between facts and wider theoretical frameworks and the connection between politics and power disappear just as the relationship between private troubles and larger social realities are covered over. Under such circumstances, politics is cleansed of its extremist elements and informed modes of dissent are not only marginalized but also actively suppressed, as was obvious in the FBI surveillance of Occupy Wall Street protesters and the police’s ruthless suppression of student dissenters on campuses across the country.

Blind Publics in an Authoritarian Age

What is missing in the current debates dominating Washington politics is the recognition that the real issues at stake are neither the debt ceiling nor the state of the economy, however important, but a powerful and poisonous form of authoritarianism that poses a threat to the very idea of democracy and the institutions, public values, formative cultures and public spheres that nourish it.5 The United States occupies a critical juncture in its history, one in which the forces of extremism are not just on the rise but are in the midst of revolutionizing modes of governance, ideology and policy. The politics of disconnect is just one of a series of strategies designed to conceal this deeper order of authoritarian politics. In a society that revels in bouts of historical and social amnesia, it is much easier for the language of politics and community to be stolen and deployed like a weapon so as to empty words such as democracy, freedom, justice and the social state of any viable meaning. Arundhati Roy captures the anti-democratic nature of this process in the following insightful comment. She writes:

This theft of language, this technique of usurping words and deploying them like weapons, of using them to mask intent and to mean exactly the opposite of what they have traditionally meant, has been one of the most brilliant strategic victories of the czars of the new dispensation. It has allowed them to marginalize their detractors, deprive them of a language to voice their critique and dismiss them as being “anti-progress,” “anti-development,” “anti-reform,” and of course “anti-national” – negativists of the worst sort. To reclaim these stolen words requires explanations that are too tedious for a world with a short attention span, and too expensive in an era when Free Speech has become unaffordable for the poor. This language heist may prove to be the keystone of our undoing. 6

This undoing of democracy to which Roy refers, and the dystopian society that is being created in its place, can be grasped in the current subordination of public values to commercial values and the collapse of democracy into the logic and values of what might called a predatory casino capitalism where life is cheap and everything is for sale. More specifically, from the ailing rib of democracy there is emerging not simply just an aggressive political assault on democratic modes of governance, but a form of linguistic and cultural authoritarianism that no longer needs to legitimate itself in an idea because it secures its foundational beliefs in a claim to normalcy;7 that is, Americans are now inundated with a pedagogy of cultural authoritarianism whose ideology, values, social practices and social formations cannot be questioned because they represent and legitimate the new neoliberal financial order. This is a mode of predatory casino capitalism that presents itself as a universal social formation without qualification, a social form that inhabits a circle of ideological and political certainty and cultural practice that equates being a citizen with being a consumer – in other words, predatory capitalism is transforming into a universal ethic that has exhausted all political differences, economic alternatives and counter readings of the world in the service of benefitting a financial and corporate elite and a savage form of economic Darwinism.

We get hints of the current mechanisms of diversion and its hidden order of politics in Robert Reich’s claim that the debate over the fiscal cliff should not only be about the broader issue of inequality but also must ask and address crucial political questions regarding the increasing concentration of power and “entrenched wealth at the top, and less for the middle-class and the poor.8 We also see it in Frank Rich’s insistence that the endless debate conducted largely in the mainstream media about Washington being dysfunctional misses the point. Rich argues that beyond media’s silly argument that both parties are to blame for the current deadlock, lies a Republican Party strategy to make the Federal government look as dysfunctional as possible so as to convince the wider American public that the government should be dismantled and its services turned over to for-profit private interests. In fact, a number of recent critics now believe that the extremist nature of the current Republican Party represents one of the most difficult obstacles to any viable form of governance. Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, two prominent conservative commentators, recently have argued that moderates not only have been pushed out of the Republican Party but they are for all intents and purposes “virtually extinct.” They go even further in stating that:

In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party. The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges. 9

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has gone further and has characterized the Republican Party and its “corporate-centric super-PACs as treasonous.” He states that Americans “are now in a free fall toward old-fashioned oligarchy; noxious, thieving and tyrannical” and that given the role of the most corporate-friendly Supreme Court since the Gilded Age with its passage of the Citizens United decision, “those who have the money now have the loudest voices in our democracy while poor Americans are mute.”10

More radical critics like Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Sheldon Wolin, Stanley Aronowitz, Judith Butler, Robert Scheer, Jeffrey St. Clair, Matt Taibbi, Angela Davis and David Theo Goldberg, among others, have long recognized the transformation of the United States from a weak democracy to a spirited authoritarian state. All of these theorists have challenged the permanent war economy, the erosion of civil liberties, the power of the corporate state, the moral bankruptcy of the liberal intelligentsia, the corporate control of the media, the criminal wars of repression abroad, the rise of the torture state and the increasing militarization of everyday life.

However extremist the Republican Party has become with its ongoing war on women, immigrants, young people, the welfare state, voting rights and all manner of civil rights, this should not suggest that the Democratic Party occupies a valued liberal position. On the contrary, policy in the United States is now being shaped by a Democratic Party that has become increasingly more conservative in the last 30 years along with a Republican Party that now represents one of the most extremist political parties to ever seize power in Washington. And while the Republican Party has fallen into the hands of radical extremists, both parties “support shifting the costs of the crisis and the government bailouts of banks, large corporations and the stock market, onto the mass of the citizens.”11 Both parties support bailing out the rich and doing the bidding of corporate lobbyists. Moreover, both parties reject the idea of democracy as a collectively inhabited public space and ethos that unconditionally stands for individual, political and economic rights. President Obama and his Wall Street advisors may hold onto some weak notion of the social contract, but they are far from liberal when it comes to embracing the military physics of the corporate warfare state.

Read the whole article at Truthout (

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13998-the-new-extremism-and-politics-of-distraction-in-the-age-of-austerity)