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Better Finland through “bottom to top” governance: PM – Xinhua | English.news.cn

HELSINKI, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) — Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen published his congratulatory message titled “A Better Finland” on new year’s eve, stating that Finland could maintain the prosperity and development of its welfare society through economic and social reforms.

While the Finnish economy continued to decline with weak domestic demand, fragile exports and increasing unemployment rate, “Finnish creativity has shown its strength,” said Katainen.

“New beginnings of success, for example growth in the games industry, small companies generating significant new employment, and major foreign investments in data canters are arising to replace jobs that are lost.”

Facing the challenges of a more difficult economic situation and continuously aging population, Katainen pointed out Finland must therefore have the courage to reform the society “on our own terms.”

“We will not manage this if we hang on to out-dated structures or drift involuntarily on the currents of the global economy,” he stressed.

Concerning the approach of the reforms, the prime minister proposed a “bottom to top” concept, contrary to the traditional “top to bottom” way of governance in Finland.

“Finns are increasingly embracing individual solutions and freedom of choice. We no longer consider it right that someone above us makes key life choices on our behalf. Instead of patronage, we want to be the decision-makers of our own lives when we have the capacity to be so,” said Katainen.

“No single common dream of a nation exists; there are as many dreams as there are people.” He emphasized that decision-makers must adapt to it and search for paths by which people’s individual wishes, needs and actions can also be channeled for “the good of all of Finland.”

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2014-01/01/c_133010687.htm


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Deep Green Transphobia | Earth First! Newswire

I have spent a lot of time lately contemplating this issue, and I wanted to share some thoughts about it. I am posting a link and intro to this article because I have been unable to use the reblog feature to share it here.

I have been deeply touched and changed by Derrick Jensen’s work, by my experience of Earth First! over the last 3 decades, and by my friendships and interactions with trans people. When I first read of DGR I was very excited about the possibilities, having long been a proponent of deep ecology. So when I first saw this issue last week I was very disturbed and confused. Further reading and contemplation have cleared some of my confusion and I hope that my understanding may perhaps help others to resolve this for themselves, and maybe even help move it toward resolution for the larger better world creating community.

I first felt confused because it seems that I agree with everyone involved. I have a lot in common with radical feminists, and can easily see their points, but at the same time, I had no disagreement with the Earth First! and tranny people whose comments and articles I also read.

How can this be? A huge disagreement and I agree with everyone? Am I lacking a mind of my own?

Where do I fit politically? Well, my deepest and strongest held political beliefs don’t seem to fit in any political camp and I finally understood why a little while ago. My core beliefs are not political, they are spiritual.

The root of my political activism, and indeed my whole life is Respect for ALL Living Beings. When I discovered NVC (Non-Violent Communication) I felt like it would solve all the seeming disagreements in politics, and I still do. The catch is, people have to learn about it and USE it;-)

It looks to me so often like these political infights are about ego, and proving one’s camp “right” and holding everyone to one standard. I always thought this was silly-from reading about how Lenin, Marx, Trotsky etc sort of demolished the utopian possibilities of Communism by dogmatic infighting over, well, dogma;-) to the disintigration of my local Occupy group over some members absolute denial of the Safer Spaces folks right to exist as part of Occupy.

Why can’t we leave theory in the text books and LIVE based on respect and love?

Sure we need to use our theories to improve things, but we aren’t improving things for the theory are we? We are improving them for the LIVING BEINGS all around us-from nearly extinct frogs and butterflies to the sadly suffering human beings we are brothers and sisters in arms with in the struggles to remake our world.

Whether they are suffering PTSD from rape and molestation (thus acting from a root place of fear when rejecting a woman who used to be male for instance) or suffering from the imposition of culture-whether patriarchal, or feminist, industrial or anti-civ onto their personal experience and understanding, they are *doing the best they can in the moment* to work to better our world for all living beings.

To me, there is NO blanket theory, no one size fits all prescription for an activist group or cell, whether DGR, Occupy or any other. The only way we are going to change this world is by changing ourselves and then our groups. Horizontalism, NVC, The Madrid document on group dynamics-these are to me the holy grail of how to move forward.

We are not fighting an industrialist’s war for resources using tanks and DU munitions. We are fighting a living organism’s war for LIFE using our bodies, our minds, our emotions and our spirits as well as our actions, prayers and creativity-and all the tools we make with it.

In order to change the world we have to clear out things like hierarchy and “only one can be right” from our own internal programming, and from our group interactions. We NEED to learn to RESPECT everyone, to accept that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, everyone has value.

We cannot afford to lose anyone, reject anyone, belittle, humiliate, attack or alienate anyone who is trying to help in this massive project to remake a whole planet full of screwed up culture, poison and violence against the ticking time bomb of the stupid that is about to obliterate us all.

So what is my idea that is different that the current DGR stance, or their critics? My idea is that by leaving blanket statements, attacks, and rejection off the table and bringing things like NVC, horizontalism and Respect back in, we can choose to co-create a movement together instead of allowing this COINTELPRO style splintering effect to go on forever until the Earth looks like Mars.

Each group, whether DGR or not, is made of individuals. As individuals those people can choose to work together respectfully to find individual solutions that work for their specific situations-by listening to one another using techniques like NVC, or just plain old patience, common sense and kindness.

Certainly gender IS a construct, and it IS one that has been forcibly imposed upon us all in its current forms by colonization and patriarchy. But right now we are neither fish nor fowl-we are no longer living as colonized robots, but nor are we fully realized free beings of the beautiful new world we are working to co-create.

We are in what is known as the liminal period. Liminal periods are very powerful and dangerous-they can result in amazing magic like a butterfly emerging from its liminal period in the coccoon when it went in as a caterpillar. But they can also result in breakdowns, destruction and derailing. Adolescence is the prime example of a liminal period and a short contemplation of it should easily illustrate what I am talking about.

We don’t have to choose trans people over feminists or vice versa-we can choose to realize that both are beings in this liminal state working hard to shed their old programming and emerge as fully realized beings.

They aren’t there yet.

So even tho gender is a construct-some biologically born women still feel a need for separate spaces from people born male-from what I have read due to fears of rape and domination of various sorts by those trained to that-(whether or not this is a fact of the trans-women they may be rejecting in any given instant).

The trans women are also liminal beings, acting from their lived experience of being who they ARE not who they MIGHT be if the contructs of gender had never been imposed on the society in which they were born. How can we deny their lived experience no matter how they came to it? How can anyone deny anyone else’s experience of their own internal world?

As a person who publishes a lot on cultural co-optation I understand the idea that a male to female trans person may appear to be the same as a Euro American who *feels* Ndn, but there is a crucial and fundamental difference.

The Euro American HAS ancestors of her or his own to whom they REALLY ARE connected, who did live in some way to which they feel drawn but do not understand, hence latching on to a generic product (promoted by plastic shamans who make money on it) claiming to be “Native American Spirituality”. They can with just a bit of effort, find their way back to their own deep and REAL connection to the land, their ancestors and non-colonized, non-patriarchal ways of life.

Some of them may even “become ndn”** the same way ANYONE “becomes” another CULTURE by joining that culture, learning its ways, WORKING as part of the community and being a functioning, helpful, useful, contributing part of their new country-just like immigrants to America do by learning English and eating at McDonald’s;-) <–(JOKE<–for those new to Aspie writing;-)

**(This is also a controversial thing, but it is a fact that many tribes and nations did and do allow “immigration” within their own rules for such-as in a German man who marries a Cherokee woman and lives on the rez with her, or a Blackfoot woman who marries a Mohawk man-human beings do not live in the little boxes we use to categorize them they live in the really real, really messy world;-)

Trans people on the other hand are born into a body that feels wrong to them-whether this is caused by imposed patriarchal stuff, or a medical condition or whatever. Unlike an Irish American who can research his Druid ancestors, or a Germanic/Norse American who can easily find a local group of Asatru to join in finding her own history, culture and ancestral customs, a trans boy or girl has no such alternative.

I don’t think we can create a better world by denying people their felt and lived experience. I don’t deny that many people of European ancestry have a natural and very strong draw toward what they perceive as Native American “Religion”. What I try to do is to help those who have been tricked by the plastic shamans see that what has been stolen from them thru colonization is possible to retrieve in some measure without stealing from others. (and that what the plastic shamans are selling is not what they say it is)

All culture that is alive is constantly being recreated; growing, evolving, becoming-but it has a core of integral values and understandings that do not change much over time.

It is striking to me that some (but not all-as R.A.W. would say “sombunall”) of those core things are very similar across most of what I consider ancient cultures, or root cultures: those that lived basically as functional parts of their ecosystem, in balance with one another and nature for the greater part of the 2 million years humanity existed prior to colonization and patriarchy.

Hence, a person who never knew her ancestors culture is naturally drawn to one that has such similarities, because IMHO those root values, those integral things are, as my amazingly perceptive Nish friend used to tell me, “in our bones”.

Science has shown that some tomboy girls, born to tomboy Mothers are in fact biologically different from “normal” biologically female children. These children are exposed to a higher level of androgens in the Mother’s body, which affects their biology for life. They are naturally resistant to the imposed patriarchal model of “femininity” and do not “take” to it. They have discovered chemically and biologically why this is and how it works.

Is it really such a stretch to think something similar will eventually be discovered for trans people, as it has been for some who are ordinary homosexual beings?

And even if it is not, my basic premise is that in order to create a better future we have to accept WHAT IS. How can you change anything if you don’t accept what it IS NOW?

Neither the rad-feminists nor the trans folks are starting from a blank slate-ALL of us are in various stages of decolonization/deconstruction of the reality we learned while growing up in this world as it IS.

Expecting someone to NOT be who they ARE is counterproductive. And I mean that whether the person is trans, radfem, or mainstream Republican. We have to start where we ARE and go from there.

We will get a lot further, a lot faster if we can learn to start accepting one another just as we ARE. Learn to LOVE one another even tho we have huge differences and disagreements. When we act from that Love and Acceptance we can create miracles, we can create change faster than we ever dreamed possible.

Blessings,

ohnwentsya

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On several occasions the Earth First! Journal editorial collective has run pieces both online and in print either written by or about the Deep Green Resistance Movement. As a collective, weve considered DGR to have some value to Earth First! discussions around feminism, organizing principles, ecological analysis and critiques of civilization. In 2010 we published a piece by Lierre Kieth and Derrick Jensen, and in 2012 we inserted a section from the book Deep Green Resistance on militant approaches to the ecological crisis, which was written by Aric McBay.

The Earth First! Journal collective is dedicated to providing our readers with views from diverse groups, from Earth First!ers on the frontlines to conservative farmers struggling against the Keystone XL Pipeline or fracking; from the Move 9 and all political prisoners to Zapatistas, liberal climate change media stars, pacifist Quakers against mountaintop removal and bomb throwing anarchists in Mexico and Greece. It is our goal to print stories and analysis that spark relevant discussion, new alliances, necessary schisms and resistance.

However, in light of DGRs continued assault on trans people, with language and analysis that denies the struggles of trans-people and even goes so far as to deny the value, worth and power of their existence in radical movements, labeling trans people as somehow not real, or as Post-Modern manifestations of individualism, the Earth First! Journal collective will no longer print or in any way promote DGR material. While we dont need to agree with an individual or organization to find their words or actions relevant for discussion we will not continue to include those whose core expression of values continues to promote exclusion and oppression.

(I have been unable to get WordPress to load the “reblog” button for this article for about 3 days, so I am posting the above as an intro and you can read the full article and comments at the link below

https://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/deep-green-transphobia/ )


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Marina Sitrin » horizontalism

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To me horizontalism represents this emergence of the people of Earth as not only more fully realized, awakened individuals but as interdependent autonomous functioning parts of a new higher order organism which has yet to be named. As we learn to be whole within ourselves, to act from that place of peace and centered conscious awareness with respect for all living beings, we become something more than the sum of the parts.

We are consciously evolving-right now! These seemingly ad hoc processes are the forerunners of beautiful new ways of being that are being born.

Many have been disappointed that “nothing happened” on Dec 21, 2012 but a new world age is being born, the signs are all around us. The thing to realize is that birth is MESSY! Sometimes it takes longer than you expect and all sorts of things happen.

When you look at complex systems, seemingly small or insignificant developments are often the harbingers of huge changes. I strongly believe that things like NVC and horizontalism are those butterfly wings generating a hurricane that will blow away the detritus of colonization like Hurricane Andrew in Homestead.

When a system is unsustainable, it WILL fail.

When a failing system based on power over, control, manipulation, competition and violence is invaded by memes like nonviolence, horizontalism, Ubuntu, ahimsa-these stronger, longer lived memes will overcome it.

So if you are tired of waiting for Disclosure, for suppressed technology to be released, for the 1% to stop raping the planet and oppressing the rest of us-spread these memes! Be the Typhoid Mary of horizontalist ahimsa;-)

We HAVE all the tools we need, we just have to USE them. (and they are NOT the masters tools, so that house is about to come down;-)

horizontalism

Posted by Marina

Horizontalidad is a word that emerged in the days and weeks of the popular rebellion in Argentina. A rebellion that began on the 19th and 20th of December of 2001 and continues in many ways to this day. Horizontalidad is a living word, reflecting an ever-changing experience. While I have translated it as horizontalism, it is more of an anti-ism. Horizontalism it is not an ideology, but more of a social relationship, a way of being and relating. It comes from a new practice in Argentina, a practice that as of yet we do not have in the English language not yet anyway.

Horizontalidad is a word that encapsulates most directly the ideas upon which the new social relationships in Argentina were founded. It is a word that previously did not have political meaning. Its new meaning emerged from a practice, from a new way of interacting that has become a hallmark of the autonomous movements. Horizontalidad is a social relationship that implies, as it sounds, a flat plane upon which to communicate. Horizontalidad requires the use of direct democracy and implies non-hierarchy and anti-authoritarian creation rather than reaction. It is a break with vertical ways of organizing and relating, but a break that is also an opening. When explaining how an asamblea or unemployed workers movement functions, in the months and even years after the rebellion it was common to have people set the palms of their hands to face down and then to move them back and forth to indicate a flat plane, as well, in order to indicate how it does not function, joining the tips of their fingers together to form a kind of triangle or pyramid. Horizontalidad in many ways is these hand gestures with the knowledge that they genuinely represent a new and powerful set of social relations.

The popular rebellion of the 19th and 20th of December was comprised of workers and unemployed, of the middle class, and of those recently de-classed. It was a rebellion without leadership, either from established parties or from a newly emerged elite. Its strength was reflected in the fall of five consecutive national governments in two weeks. It precipitated the birth of hundreds of neighborhood assemblies involving many tens of thousands of active participants. It also deepened those unemployed movements that existed and inspired the birth of dozens more over the first year alone. Similarly with the recuperated work places, those few that existed at the time of the rebellion expanded to the hundreds that exist today in the course of a few years. Significant in all of these movements is their use of horizontalidad, as a means of making decisions and as part of an overarching creation of new social relationships and people. Horizontalidad is a necessary part of this creation.

Horizontalidad as a Tool and a Goal for New Subjectivity

Horizontalidad is a living word, reflecting an experience that is ever changing. Months after the popular rebellion, many began to speak of their relationships as horizontal, as a way of describing the use of direct democracy and consensus in striving for dignity and freedom. Now, almost 9 years after the rebellion, those continuing to build a new and revolutionary movement speak of horizontalidad as both a goal and a tool. It is a goal in the sense that there is a clearer understanding now that all of our relationships are still deeply affected by capitalism, and thus by the sorts of power dynamics it promotes in all of our collectives and creative spaces, in how we relate to one another in term of gender and race, information and experience, and so on. Horizontalism is a tool, on the other hand, in the sense that a danger is now more clearly recognized that language may become the politics and relationship, rather than a reflection of a living process. This is an active conversation.

Ezequiel, in 2003, then a participant in the Asamblea Cid Campeador, shared his feelings on the origins and meaning of horizontalidad:

The first thing that I want to say is that I do not know where the idea of horizontalidad comes from. What I can say is that before the 19th and 20th of December this word was not a frequent part of our political vocabulary, not at all, maybe some people and small groups used it, but it was not common, and then rapidly it transformed into a concept that everyone uses, knows, debates, defends or attacks.

I believe that part of the impulse towards horizontalidad was related to this, this inability to trust officials, this feeling that all leaders that existed were corrupt by the mere fact of being leaders. Regardless of who held whatever formal position, inevitably s/he was corrupt, had abandoned you, and was totally separate from your problems and necessities. This reaction seemed specific and defensive, I think that in practice, later, it transformed into another thing. There is a phrase that I think works here, which is bringing virtue out of necessity. Here the necessity was to go out and ask one another what is going on, since your neighbor was the only one who was going to respond to you.

In Argentina we have had a political culture that is very hierarchical, especially in the years of Peronism, which was a movement always based in a strong leadership figure. In general as well, including in the more emancipatory groups on the left, their organizational structure was always based in the role of a strong leader with a fierce hierarchy. For example in the 70s in Argentina practically every left group organized hierarchically, from those that were armed, to those against arms, all had hierarchy, leaders, and the like. I think one of the changes we see now is that there is much less trust in these types of organizational structures.

Two things seem to come together in the assembly: the rejection of representation in general, whatever form of representation, and the search for a way to make decisions ourselves, using direct democracy and a horizontal decision making process, that is to say with all aspects of equality. These things have come together in such a way that I dont think they can be separated. Maybe the concept of horizontalidad is that of equality, for all to be on the same level, in everything.

Neka, from the Unemployed Workers Movement of Solano in 2004, shared:

First we began learning something together, it was a sort of waking up to a knowledge that was collective, and this has to do with a collective self-awareness of what was taking place within all of us. First we began by asking one another, and ourselves questions, and from there we began to resolve things together. Each day we continue discovering and constructing while walking. It is like each day is a horizon that opens before us, and this horizon does not have any recipe or program, we begin here, without what was in the past. What we had was life, our life each day, our difficulties, problems, crisis, and what we had in our hands at the time was what we used to go looking for solutions. The beginning of the practice of horizontalidad can be seen in this process. It is the walk, the process of questioning as we walk that enriched our growth, and helped us discover that strength is different when we are side by side, when there is no one to tell you what you have to do, but rather when we decide who we are. I do not believe there is a definition for what we are doing, we know how it is done, but we are not going to come across any definition, in this way it is similar to horizontalidad. More than an answer to a practice, it is an every day practice.

My personal perspective has to do with the idea of freedom, this idea of discovering that we have collective knowledge that brings us together, that give us strength, that bring us to processes of discovery. This is beyond revolutionary theories, theories that we all know and have heard so often, theories that are often converted into tools of oppression and submission. The practice of horizontalidad can give the possibility of breaking with this and creating something that gives us the security that we can self-organize, and do it well, and do so far away from those that try and tell us politics must be done in a particular way.

Constructing freedom is a learning process that can only happen in practice. For me, horizontalidad, autonomy, freedom, creativity, and happiness are all concepts that go together and are all things that both have to be practiced and learned in the practice. I think back to previous activist experiences I had and remember a powerful feeling of submission. This includes even my own conduct, which was often really rigid, and it was difficult for me to enjoy myself, which is something sane and that strengthens you, and if you do it collectively it is that much more so. Like under capitalism, we were giving up the possibility of enjoying ourselves and being happy. We need to constantly break with this idea, we have life and the life that we have is to live today, and not to wait to take any power so that we can begin to enjoy ourselves, I believe it is an organic process.

Horizontalidad is what permits us contact with reality that is has been totally interfeared with, so now you can hear distinct voices that look at reality from distinct places and necessities. The formal left, or left parties, try and annul these differences, seeing us and trying to make us one thing and then from that place construct a power. That power of course would be surreal and anti-natural and would oblige all of the world to submit to a boss, this boss could be a capitalist or some type of trotskyist. But here also appears the possibility of beginning of initiating what is the truth in the situation, and from there suggesting responses that are real. It is from here, on a small scale, because that is our world, we begin to transform ourselves.

And Candido, from the recuperated print shop of Chilavert, in 2003 reflected:

In Chilavert we are in a permanent assembly . This is one of the small differences with a recuperated factory and any other type of workplace. We take care of one another, and make decisions amongst all of us.

Here we always try and be the most horizontal possible, with all compañeros participating equally. Horizontalidad means getting to the base, and when you get to the base and you say we all work together or we will all go to hell, there is no other option. And as a part of this getting to the bottom, we all together begin to row to the top and then we float.

The above quotations are taken from the book :

Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina

http://marinasitrin.com/?page_id=108