Spirit In Action

Change IS coming. WE can make it GOOD.


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Occupy Sandy, from relief to resistance

Occupy Sandy, from relief to resistance

I highly recommend checking out the link at the bottom-this article is only a smidgen of the awesomeness to be found there! 😉

by | November 13, 2012
 

Rockaway Park residents in front of YANA Community Center. (Facebook/Occupy Sandy Relief NYC)

Two weeks ago I was in my hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey, wading waist deep in a murky combination of floodwater, oil and sewage. More than a week later, after finally getting unstuck from New Jersey (even the deepest Jersey pride has its limits…), I found myself in a van full of Occupy Sandy activists delivering hot meals to housing-project high rises in Coney Island during a Nor’easter. We were taking cues from local leaders, and I was amazed at the way people were mobilizing by creating support structures and politicizing one another through practice. In the past few days I’ve helped facilitate trainings for hundreds of people who came to Occupy Sandy hubs as volunteers for relief work, and who left for the Rockaways or Staten Island well on their way to becoming community organizers or committed activists.

All along, I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that this is what climate change looks like; but it’s also what the beginning of a climate justice movement might look like.

Hurricane Sandy is a crisis in itself; it flooded homes, turned off power, kept people from work, made families cold — it even took lives and put families on the street. And of course it’s more complicated than just bad weather. This hurricane is one more expression of the erratic weather patterns that we can expect more and more as a result of global warming, which is the product of our society’s dependency on fossil fuels, driven by multinational fossil fuel companies. Hurricane Sandy is a reminder that the climate crisis sets off a whole set of other crises, based on social, economic and political systems that are already in place, and that those things land on top of crises already in play. Many of the communities hardest hit by the hurricane are the same ones hardest hit by foreclosure, debt, austerity and mass incarceration. The flood didn’t create those things, but it made them worse and washed away all the crap that made them hard to see.

At the same time, Hurricane Sandy has brought new networks to life and put thousands of people in the streets to rebuild communities with an explicitly political framing. It’s now widely agreed that, despite setbacks, Occupy Sandy’s organizing has put the official agencies to shame. Equity, solidarity and mass participation have been at the center of the effort from the get-go, driven forward by committed organizers with deep politics and foresight. All along the intention has been to see this as an organizing project rather than just a volunteer effort. Still, the question remains of whether those networks in motion now can rise to the occasion and begin to address the underlying crises.

Windows opening and closing

If we let things go the way they usually do, the coming weeks are likely to show a decline in community involvement in the relief effort. More and more people will gradually get their power turned on and go back to work if they still have jobs. Less attention will be paid to the crisis in general, fewer goods will be donated to Occupy Sandy hubs and other relief networks, and fewer volunteers will continue to go out to hard-hit communities to deliver those goods. Communities will do what they can with the rubble; most of the rest of us will go back to our business.

But volunteers and community organizers are not the only ones on the scene, not the only ones in motion. Already, an army of disaster-capitalist developers are plotting to use this opportunity to finally knock down the housing projects and replace them with the condos they’ve been drooling about for decades. We can begin to hear the whispers of businessmen and politicians who are always looking for ways to cut our budgets and privatize our schools, hospitals, homes for the elderly and every other public institution they can get their hands on. For them, the game has just begun, and they don’t take many days off. They will be out there, trying to beat us to the Rockaways, Staten Island, Redhook, Coney Island, Jersey City and other battered regions. If we don’t do something about it, they’re going to do a lot more damage to communities than Hurricane Sandy did. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Flexible networks like Occupy Sandy are incredible machines — more fluid than big organizations, more dynamic than government agencies. But they rely on having people or strong communities to network. Networks connect dots, but you still need the dots themselves to be ready. Crises and opportunities — like Hurricane Sandy or Occupy Wall Street last fall — put people in motion, but they only become part of a movement beyond those moments when participants are grounded in stable frameworks to keep them going.

We have to build infrastructure and create the institutional frameworks that can sustain a struggle over the long haul. Every movement needs them. The civil rights movement had SNCC and the Highlander School, among countless other organizations, schools, training institutes, churches and foundations. Even Occupy has had institutions all along, from the occupations themselves to the many groups that rose to the occasion to support it; part of the reason Occupy Sandy could mobilize so quickly and effectively is that the Occupy movement already had enough building blocks in place, enough experience with alternative structures, enough relationships built and enough organizing being done behind the scenes to leap into action when it was needed.

If we want to last, we need to create the frameworks, processes and systems that keep us in motion — that keep the windows open — for long enough to win.

Where the rain boots meet the road

We need to think clearly about how to deepen, grow and nourish all of the different circles of people in action right now, so we can transition from surviving Hurricane Sandy to beating back the hurricane of profiteers to come, and use the momentum from that to build a vibrant climate justice movement.

Thousands of volunteers have come through Occupy Sandy hubs and gone out to the hardest-hit areas in New York to do relief work and support the community organizing taking shape there. Watching people react strongly in the trainings being facilitated at the different sites and watching them come back to become trainers themselves has been some of the most rewarding activist work I’ve ever participated in.

In my experience, people who come to Occupy Sandy get it. They want to understand the politics behind all of this because they’ve seen the crisis in action. They are ready to stand and fight, and they are excited to envision their task as part of something bigger. We just need to create structures to support that.

Political education needs to be part of our practical skills trainings, and that skills training needs to be broader than the particular mission at hand, so that well-meaning volunteers become grounded organizers with the capacity to be active movement leaders beyond this particular moment.

Hundreds of organizers are at work in this effort already. They’re developing rotations so that some stay at the main hubs to keep a level of consistency and institutional memory while others spend a few days at a time at different sites in the field to help build similar systems and create connections. We need more of that — more coordinating between different hubs, more unifying the different trainings and processes, more strategizing together about directions for moving forward. Before we know it, the communities slowly recovering from Hurricane Sandy will be under direct attack. We need to lay the ground for solidarity across communities and coordination in action, so that when the time comes our volunteers and community members are ready to transform into home defenders, direct action practitioners and occupiers.

Dozens of local community institutions, from churches to community centers, have opened their doors and become the vital infrastructure for this network of relief and recovery all across New York City. Just setting foot in one of the Coney Island hubs based in a church was enough to feel the weight of that institution, its deep roots in the community and the potential it has to make possible a movement to come. Now is the time to be intentional about cultivating these relationships, and to begin developing with them a shared analysis, vision and strategy. Just as the Southern Baptist churches served as the institutional foundations of the civil rights movements, these institutions serving as support systems for relief work today may be the basis of resistance tomorrow and a genuine recovery after that.

Tens of thousands of people have been drastically affected by the storm, and they are responding with courage and foresight; many are emerging as genuine community leaders and skilled activists. I was reminded of this by Tameka — a 39-year old mom in Coney Island who had organized her block. She knew who lived where and who needed what. She knew where to put the hot meals and had all the relationships necessary to make our distribution effort work. Tameka is a community organizer, whether she uses that term or not. What she needs now are direct ties to other people like her in neighboring communities, some support in developing her politics and her skills, and some material aid to help her meet her needs and those in her community. The stakes are high for her; it won’t be long before she will be a leader of a front-line community in a climate justice movement.

Hurricanes and social movements

Welcome to the climate crisis. There’s nothing abstract about it. It isn’t some apocalypse decades away or an event that comes down like one big hurricane to wipe us all out. It’s Hurricane Sandy. It’s all the economic, political and social conditions that were already in place. And it’s the opportunity for forces of profit and repression to push their agenda forward in the aftermath.

But guess what: The climate justice movement isn’t so abstract either. This is it. It’s dedicated organizers recognizing how their work can be aligned across issues. It’s relief providers and hard-working volunteers transforming into activists and community leaders. It’s the hardest hit neighborhoods taking control of their own liberation. It’s local community institutions with deep roots and long histories connecting to one another and mobilizing their efforts as part of a movement. It’s all of that alongside so many other fights for climate justice — from the blockade of the Keystone XL pipeline to the fight for water rights in Bolivia, from Indian women standing up to corporate seed monopolies to youth from 350.org launching campaigns to divest from fossil fuel companies.

There is much work to do. But people are doing it — day by day, block by block. Windows of opportunity have opened here in New York, just as they have in other places around the world. Many people are working to keep those windows open and continue the transformation that is already underway — from volunteer work to organizing, from emergency response to a genuine recovery, from relief to resistance.

http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/11/occupy-sandy-from-relief-to-resistance/


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Bill McKibben’s Math: Climate Change Hits Home (in a 22-City Tour) by Phil Aroneanu — YES! Magazine

Bill McKibben’s Math: Climate Change Hits Home (in a 22-City Tour) by Phil Aroneanu — YES! Magazine.

Bill McKibben’s Math: Climate Change Hits Home (in a 22-City Tour)
It shouldn’t take a hurricane to blow open the debate about climate change. But Sandy might help 350.org prove what’s at stake in a nationwide campaign to divest university endowments from the fossil fuel industry.
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by Phil Aroneanu
posted Nov 05, 2012

Flooded Bridge photo by Barry Yanowitz

Photo by Barry Yanowitz.

Phil Aroneanu is an organizer with 350.org

For two hours last Monday night, New York City got pummeled by Hurricane Sandy, along with much of the New Jersey and Connecticut coast. The windows started bowing and rattling with every gust, and rain pelted the glass sideways. Nobody was on the streets.

Sitting in our third-floor apartment in Brooklyn, my wife and I pretended to read our books and traded nervous looks each time a gust shook the hatch that leads up to our roof. I’d been following the reports closely, so I knew we weren’t in danger of getting flooded. But like many people around the world, I was glued to the white glow of my smartphone as my Twitter feed flooded with images of rising waters on the Jersey shore and in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Sitting in my apartment last week, it felt like all the work I had done over the past few years had come to naught—we’d failed in our mission of, and this was the beginning of the end.

That night, I finally understood what many of my friends in Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and countless other places on the planet must feel each time a massive typhoon or record flooding hits. Climate change finally hit home for me: I was experiencing it in my own house and on my own skin.

For the first time since 2009, when the United States Senate voted down an ill-fated climate bill, politicians seem to be connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo broke the election-year silence around the issue in a press conference just 36 hours after the storm passed, and Mayor Bloomberg trumpeted President Obama’s climate credentials in an endorsement the next day.

Times Square photo by 350.org

As Hurricane Sandy barrels down on the East Coast, a group of activists with 350.org unfurls a giant parachute banner.

Photo courtesy of 350.org.

“Climate change is a reality,” Cuomo said. “Extreme weather is a reality. It is a reality that we are vulnerable.”

It shouldn’t take a hurricane to blow open the debate about climate change. But sometimes—especially in politics—reality needs to bust in at gale force to push back the millions of dollars that fossil fuel companies have spent in a 20-year effort to strongarm, threaten, and lobby politicians to stay quiet about climate.

And yet, sitting in my apartment last week, I wasn’t thinking about climate science or politics. I was emotional: tired, raw, and defeated. It felt like all the work I had done with my colleagues at 350.org over the past few years had come to naught—we’d failed in our mission of warning the globe about climate catastrophe, and this was the beginning of the end. How could we possibly fight the fossil fuel companies who insist on dumping carbon into the atmosphere, blocking progress on clean energy, and warming the planet, when we’re busy recovering from the second “once-in-a-lifetime” storm in just two years?

As I watched people in my neighborhood pick themselves up, clear trash and branches off the sidewalks in front of their houses, and get back to work, my fatigue gave way to the fighting spirit that New Yorkers showed after 9/11—I was angry. Righteously angry.

It’s that fighting spirit that we’re bringing to Do the Math, 350.org’s 22-city tour that connects the dots between climate change, politics, and the fossil fuel industry.

taxicabs hurricane sandy by Dave S-555.jpg
What Climate-Driven Hurricane Sandy Teaches about Cooperation
It’s 3 a.m. and the wind’s howling. Do you know your neighbors?

In an effort to silence action on climate change, coal, oil, and gas companies have dumped more than $153 million into the 2012 presidential election alone. That’s a cynical move, as these companies already possess reserves of oil, gas, and coal that, if burned, would release five times the amount of carbon that the planet’s atmosphere can safely hold. It’s clear that the fossil fuel industry has become a rogue force—its business model is predicated on burning up the planet, and it consistently frustrates progress on clean energy.

In each of the 22 cities, 350.org and a whole crew of partners will kick off a campaign to divest University endowments from any stocks, bonds, and funds that include fossil fuel companies. It will echo the divestment effort of the 1980s that brought South Africa’s apartheid government to its knees. Student activists across the country are already sounding the alarm on fossil fuel investments, making the case that a Sandy-like future is no future at all. Folks from East Texas to the Pacific Northwest to New England are leaning into local and regional fossil fuel infrastructure campaigns, fighting tar sands pipelines and coal ports.

Fossil fuel companies have already increased the world’s temperature by one degree, and Hurricane Sandy, along with the wildfires, droughts, record heat, and floods of 2012, is the result. It’s time to fight back.

Phil Aroneanu wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. In, 2007 he co-founded the Step It Up campaign with a small group of students and author/activist Bill McKibben. In 2008, the group built on the success of Step It Up to launch the innovative 350.org. Phil currently serves as campaign director of 350.org.


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Hope and Optimism

I have copied the text here for convenience of reading, but the article has clickable links all thru it, and there is a lot of other great info on the site. So to read this article in its original form with links, click the link below.

Hope and Optimism.

10 Reasons For Hope and Optimism
Or
Why We’re Not All Screwed

Dear friends,

What wild, crazy, and exciting times we live in! If you watch the news or read the newspaper, it may seem that everything is falling apart, the world is filled with war, fear, greed, and hate, and we’re all screwed. These are real challenges we are facing, yet there are also many amazing developments that the media is hardly reporting. The old media truism is that fear-mongering and sensationalism sell. But what if we make it more fun and even profitable to spread love, joy, and inspiration in life?

Below is a list of 10 most inspiring trends showing that we are not screwed, that despite the challenges, there are many great reasons for hope and optimism. These inspiring trends suggest that we are in the midst of a huge shift that could very well lead to a much more rich and enjoyable world for all. For each reason listed below, several links are given to verify the inspiring material presented and to dive deeper into it. Behold, 10 reasons to become hope-mongerers!

Reason #1 : Humans Are Not Lemmings! Global Population Leveling Off

Reason #2 : Solar Power Soon Cheaper Than Coal, Gas, and Oil

Reason #3 : The Internet Miracle – Unprecedented Networking, Information Access

Reason #4 : Children More Loved, Supported Than Past Generations

Reason #5 : Violent Crime Dropping Dramatically, Wars Much Less Vicious

Reason #6 : Focus Shifting from Left vs. Right to 99% vs. 1% to the Human Family

Reason #7 : Man Behind the Curtain Exposed – The Global Power Elite

Reason #8 : Interest in Personal Growth, Consciousness Expansion on the Rise

Reason #9 : Love and Cooperation Are Rockin’ Our World!

Reason #10 : You Can Be Master of Your Own Life Now!!!

Reason #1: Humans Are Not Lemmings! Global Population Leveling Off

The world recently witnessed the birth of the seven billionth human on our planet. That’s a lot of people! But did you know that the pessimistic predictions of a few decades ago that a lemming-like population bomb would drive humanity over the cliff of self-extinction are turning out not to be true? As the whole world gets wealthier and more secure, the desire for having many kids is dropping.

The average number of children per woman has been declining rapidly for decades. According to official UN data, the average number of children per woman worldwide for the period 1965 to 1970 was 4.85. Yet 40 years later, for the period of 2005 to 2010, that number dropped nearly 50% to 2.52! And the numbers continue to decline. Most experts predict that global population will level out by about 2100 at around 10 billion and may even decrease after that. And if we use our resources wisely, we can easily support that number of people. Yea!!!

For a fun 13-minute video of Dr. Hans Rosling graphically showing these trends, click here.

Read a Discovery News article titled “Population to Bulge, But Will Hit Ceiling” at this link.

Check out an article in the respected journal Nature on population projections available here.

For a New York Times article titled “Dire Poverty Falls Despite Global Slump,” click here.

Additional great news is that statistics show global life expectancy has increased from only 30 years in the early 1800s to 50 years in 1955, and on up to 68 years in 2010. And even though the top 1% of the population has taken most of the profits in recent years, average global income has risen dramatically in the last 200 years. For a fun and powerfully inspiring five-minute video presentation by statistics guru Hans Rosling beautifully showing these exciting trends, click here. Rosling debunks many other pessimistic global statistics on his excellent website at this link.

Don’t ignore the bad stuff, but make a point of celebrating the beautiful stuff with all the exuberant devotion you can muster. ~~ Rob Brezsny in his fun book Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia

Reason #2: Solar Power Soon Cheaper Than Coal, Gas, and Oil

The major media sadly have given very little attention to the exciting fact that we are already very close to solar energy becoming less expensive for energy generation than gas, coal, and oil. This is a huge game changer! If we no longer depend on big oil for our energy needs, we naturally gain an unprecedented level of energy independence that strengthens us as individuals and weakens the strangling grip of the greedy energy megacorporations.

If you explore major media websites, you’ll find unbelievably little coverage of the amazing hope and promise of energy independence related to solar energy. Nor will you see much about other incredible new energy sources which have the potential to make energy virtually free for all people on our planet. Think about the implications of that! Thankfully, a few little-publicized media articles by mainstream sources have reported on some of these highly promising new energy technologies. Explore the links below for more exciting information on all of this.

Read an inspiring Businessweek article at this link showing that solar power is projected to become less expensive than coal for energy generation within just a few years.

Click here for concise summaries of key major media articles revealing exciting new energy sources, many of which tap into the boundless field of zero-point energy.

An excellent two-page summary available here shows that little-known new energy sources would almost certainly be cheaper than gas and oil now were it not for four key forces.

For an inspiring online lesson exploring deep into powerful new energy sources, any one of which would likely revolutionize our way of life and give access to infinite energy in the not too distant future, click here.

After we have mastered the wind, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love. Then, for the second time, man will have discovered fire. ~~ Teilhard de Chardin

Reason #3: The Internet Miracle – Unprecedented Networking, Information Access

Thanks to the amazing miracle of the Internet, humanity is interconnected around the world like never before. Facebook, twitter, change.org, and thousands of other social networking websites allow us to develop and maintain relationships with hundreds of people around the world, and to quickly and effectively spread the word far and wide on great causes. Caring and concerned groups like avaaz.org and many others can now pool legitimate electronic signatures of hundreds of thousands of people for political and social petitions sometimes in a matter of days.

Where in the past the major media and those in power often set or at least limited the terms of debate in our world, the Internet now allows any idea whose time has come to spread like wildfire without any censorship from above. Pirate radio stations continually harassed by the powers that be are a thing of the past, as anyone can now set up a podcast or a blog and reach not just a local, but a worldwide audience. And you can set up your own website to promote any interest which matches your passion. It’s incredibly easy and free these days.

Start your own petition online and reach thousands of readers by going to the webpage on change.org which teaches you how at this link.

Learn how to make a free, professional-looking website at webs.com or weebly.com.

Join over 10 million members worldwide in taking action to build a better world at avaaz.org.

Read an inspiring article on how the Internet is a big game changer in our world at this link.

Those who know how to check and verify information using reliable sources can now quickly and easily carry out legitimate research to expose greed and corruption. This has forced unwanted transparency onto politicians and government in a way that empowers us all. Even intelligence agents around the world are realizing how they have been manipulated by the powers that be, and many are now secretly working to expose all the craziness. I’ve had several contact me personally. And have you noticed that almost every significant bill to limit Internet freedom has failed? Yea!!!

For great examples of how the Internet is a game changer, explore the case of former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. It’s remarkable not only that she’s not in jail, but that she’s breaking her gag order by self-publishing her tell-all book Classified Woman. The fact that I have never been bothered for my whistleblowing as a White House interpreter and for my muckraking on WantToKnow.info is another inspiring example. For more great information you could not have accessed before, check out Project Censored, David Wilcock, and the Transformation Team.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. ~~ Goethe

Reason #4: Children More Loved, Supported Than Past Generations

100 years ago, if parents wanted professional advice on how best to raise their children, the only sources they could turn to might be Sigmond Freud or their family doctor. Now a plethora of great resources is available in books, websites, and health clinics around the world. Back then, corporal punishment was considered the norm and no one dared talk about physical or sexual abuse. Nowadays, child abuse can quickly be reported and stopped, and parents around the world are finding many ways to be more loving and supportive of their kids than even a generation ago.

Partially as a result of these changes, the generation of children growing up now is more tolerant and accepting of widely differing lifestyles and a broad diversity of people and cultures than ever before. In this modern culture where everyone is increasingly interconnected, we’re likely in for some big and wonderful changes as the harsh old guard retires and successive generations of increasingly caring individuals move into positions of influence in our world.

Watch a heart-warming, five-minute video beautifully showing the kind of love some newborns are receiving today, here in the form of a baby’s first bath at this link.

For a great article showing how drastically child rearing practices have changed and improved over the centuries, from common infanticide to what is called the “helping mode,” click here.

Time magazine’s best-selling cover story “Are You Mom Enough?” shows the extremes to which some parents will go now to make sure their kids feel loved and supported. The article describes practices that would have been considered crazy just a couple generations ago. See the provocative cover photo and read the full story at this link and this one.

Read an inspiring New York Times article about a new breed of children being referred to as the Indigo children at this link. The title of the article is “Are They Here to Save the world?”

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye. ~~ Antione de Saint Exupéry in The Little Prince

Reason #5: Violent Crime Dropping Dramatically, Wars Much Less Vicious

Violent crime rates have been dropping dramatically for 20 years. Official U.S. Department of Justice statistics show that violent crime rates of 2010 were 1/3 the rates of 1994! Other countries are experiencing a similar decline. And deaths of law enforcement officers are at their lowest in 50 years according to this Boston Globe article, while according to official FBI statistics, rape rates have dropped to one-sixth of what they were 20 years ago! How awesome is that!!! Yet if you just watch the sensationalized news on TV, you might never know about these inspiring trends.

Consider also that 1,000 years ago, rape and pillaging were felt to be the natural spoils of war. The severed heads of enemies hung above the gates on the city wall greeted those who entered there. War atrocities were once the norm, where today they are prosecuted in international courts.

And the number of war deaths has dropped significantly since the over 15 million killed in WWI and roughly 60 million killed in WWII. Roughly three million were killed in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Since then, only two wars in Africa and the Soviet war against Afghanistan have had more than a million casualties. We still have a long way to go, but at least wars are now significantly less vicious, and we’ve managed not to destroy ourselves in a nuclear holocaust.

To see the charts of each type of crime, both violent and non-violent, on U.S. Department of Justice websites showing almost all categories at historic lows, click here and here.

Read an MSNBC/Associated Press article showing a 70% decline in crime rates at this link.

Check out a great article with lots of links to reliable sources showing how the media has downplayed the inspiring news of the major drop in crime rates at this link.

For a list of major wars and manmade disasters which caused the most deaths, click here.

Explore an excellent online lesson on key, little-known causes behind war and the hidden agendas of the military/industrial complex available here.

Naturally the common people don’t want war. It is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people [into war], whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. ~~ Nazi leader Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg trials.

Reason #6: Focus Shifting from Left vs. Right to 99% vs. 1% to the Human Family

The terms of political debate have rapidly shifted in the last few years. As recently as 2007, the public was sharply divided into liberal versus conservative camps with people fighting over issues which exacerbated the left/right divide. For thousands of years, the global elite have used the “divide and conquer” strategy to keep the public fighting against each other, while they reaped the spoils of the conflict they incited. Keeping people in conflict and at war with each other is highly profitable for those who sell weapons and fear.

The global financial crisis of 2008, however, has changed all that. Now you find conservative Tea Party groups working together with liberal new-age groups in the Occupy movement to stop the incessant flow of wealth from the 99% to the wealthiest 1%. And it’s only a matter of time before people really get it that we’re all one human family doing our best to survive and thrive on this beautiful planet we call home. Maybe it’s time for all of us to occupy our hearts. 99% + 1% = 100%.

See the website of Occupy Wall Street at this link. For lots more on the movement, click here.

Read summaries of key major media articles exposing the manipulations of the banksters and huge financial institutions at this link.

Explore a profound and inspiring online essay titled “Beyond Duality” available here.

For a website showing how deeply interconnected we all are and exercises to open more to the heart connection we all share, click here.

The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? ~~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Reason #7: Man Behind the Curtain Exposed – The Global Power Elite

As the public became aware of the massive greed and market manipulations of the banking elite during the financial crisis, an increasing amount of attention was focused on the global power elite. Where in the past people who talked about the immense power of secretive organizations like the Bilderberg Group and Skull and Bones were considered crazy “conspiracy theorists,” now many caring citizens are exploring what these and other very real secret groups of the power elite of our world are doing. Even the once-reluctant media is now helping to expose these secrets.

Read revealing summaries of major media articles exposing power elite gatherings like the Bilderberg Group, Skull and Bones, Davos, the Bohemian Grove, and more at this link.

For a concise, excellent summary describing methods used by the power elite to control the public, and how that is now changing thanks to people like you and me, click here.

Explore a well researched online lesson exposing the role of the power elite in fomenting wars, polarizing the public, and what we can do about it at this link.

Once very effective in keeping their secret meetings off the public radar screen, the global power elite now realize that the jig is up. Their manipulations are being closely scrutinized, forcing them to act more responsibly. Entrenched factions of this elite are still struggling desperately to hold on to the vast amount of control they once exercised through using sophisticated technologies like HAARP, non-lethal weapons, and more. Yet these factions now find themselves in the minority, as even many members of the power elite say it’s all gone too far.

Due to these internal pressures, the global power elite has become increasingly fractured, with many factions battling for differing agendas like never before. Even the most power-hungry factions are overwhelmed now with fighting to put out the fires caused by whistleblowers and newly emerging movements around the world. Little-known groups of intelligence agents like “The Library” are working behind the scenes to undermine global manipulations and support positive change for all in our world. The old “need to know” culture of secrecy is inexorably giving way to rapid information sharing which serves all of us in building a better world. What exciting times we live in!

In societies with strong power elites, the powerholders’ power is dependent on the co-operation, acquiescence, and tacit support of the great majority of common citizens. ~~ Bill Moyer

Reason #8: Interest in Personal Growth, Consciousness Expansion on the Rise

As people around the world awaken to the previously hidden shadow side of our world, they are also opening more to new ways of looking at life and the inspiring light side of our world. Ever increasing numbers are seeing that life is not all about sex, money, and consumerism, and that we can find more joy and satisfaction through exploring deeper into personal growth and into the role of consciousness in our lives and in human development.

Mainstream scientists are now studying various aspects of consciousness and finding that we have much more creative power in our lives than was once believed. Dr. Bruce Lipton’s pioneering cell biology research suggests that, contrary to popular belief, genes are not the primary regulators of life. Rather the way we perceive our life and world may be a key factor in determining gene activity. And experts in the field of quantum physics are confirming that for deeper understanding of our world, it may be impossible to separate the physical world from the consciousness that perceives it.

Innovative communication and conflict resolution techniques like nonviolent communication are helping us to to move through challenges with each other with more love and compassion. Interest in transformative near-death experiences, the healing properties of psychoactive substances, young children with detailed memories of past lives, the so-called “indigo children,” the holographic model of the universe, and much more are on the rise. These and more are inspiring us to reconsider just what reality is and how our consciousness plays a role in shaping the reality in which we live.

People all over are stretching beyond their old belief systems and opening to the possibility that we are all much more connected than we once thought. Many are increasingly developing and refining their life purpose and intentions so that they can move with greater focus and clarity as they consciously create the life and world they envision. We are living ever more fully Mahatma Gandhi’s inspiring words, “Be the change you want to see.”

For a concise guide with simple, yet practical suggestions designed to help you develop, refine, and more fully live your life purpose and intentions, click here.

For lots of highly inspiring material on profound near-death experiences and how even just reading about them can transform your life, click here and here.

For an excellent, thought-provoking essay on fluid intelligence and how flexibility in thinking is literally changing the paradigm in which we live, click here.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy that is translated through you into action. There is only one you in all time. This expression is unique. If you block your unique expression, it will never exist through any other medium. It is not your business to determine how good it is. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. ~~ Martha Graham

Reason #9: Love and Cooperation Are Rockin’ Our World!

Ever more people around the world are embracing the interconnectedness of each of us and of all humanity and all beings in the world and universe around us. It’s exciting to see growing numbers of people opening to love and cooperation and finding a rich variety of powerful ways to build a richer life and world for all of us. We are increasingly recognizing that every one of us can make a difference. Even simple acts such as a smile or a warm greeting can turn around a person’s day and make the whole world a little brighter for us all.

There are an incredible number of people, websites, and organizations beautifully spreading love and cooperation in our world today! So many shining examples like Nipun Mehta, who has spread love and inspiration far and wide with his DailyGood and weekly KarmaTube email lists. Websites like Moment of Love and The Love Foundation are inviting people to realize that every person in the world has heart, and everyone has a place in their heart that just wants to love and be loved. Great organizations like Challenge Day, idealist.org, and the HeartMath Institute are helping break down the barriers between us and bring us together with ever more love and joy.

To invite more love, inspiration, and cooperation into your life, explore some of the great links provided in the paragraph above.

For an amazingly inspiring, six-minute video titled “Blessed Unrest” showing how millions around the planet are coming together in unprecedented ways to transform our world through love and cooperation, click here. We are making a big difference!

Explore the Web of Love website showing how deeply interconnected we all are and offering great exercises to open more to the heart connection we share with all beings, click here.

A wave of profound spirituality based in love and interconnectedness is sweeping the globe and changing the collective consciousness of all humanity. And while healthy competition has its place, people all around the world are cooperating in a variety of meaningful ways to focus more on what matters most in life and create a brighter future for all. Talk about exciting!!! Now is the time to step more fully into your power through love!

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. ~~ Jimi Hendrix

Reason #10: You Can Be Master of Your Own Life Now!!!

You are more powerful than you may even know. In the old paradigm, the global power elite wanted you to live in fear and scarcity and to believe that you were powerless, so that they could keep the power and abundance for themselves. In the new paradigm, ever more people are coming to realize that we all have unlimited power and potential within us. Every one of us can play a decisive role in changing our lives and our world for the better!

What’s stopping you? Where do you feel weak and powerless in your life? How can you transform that? Recognize the things that you can’t change, and choose to focus on changing the things that you can. If each of us does our part to reach out and mend the part of the world within our reach, life can’t help but get richer for all of us. The ideas and resources below can help you to step more fully into your power and become a master of your own life.

Open to your own inner or higher guidance asking for what is right and best for you right now to step more fully into your power and become a master of your own life. Then pay attention to what life presents and do what it takes to make it happen.

For an empowering essay with practical ideas for transforming yourself from a reactive victim into a purposeful creator in your life, click here.

For an awesome online course which has gotten rave reviews for helping individuals around the world to step more fully into their power and become masters of their own lives, see the Insight Course at this link. If you don’t have time for the full course, see the best single lesson from this course in helping you to take responsibility and transform your life at this link.

Recognize when you are feeling doom and gloom about the world. If you are ready to transform that feeling, consider opening to gratitude for all you have in your life. Remember that there are many millions around the globe who join you in wanting to be the change.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~~ Jalaluddin Rumi

Rock On!!!

There are many more reasons for hope and optimism, including holistic healing models being increasingly embraced by mainstream medicine, a new paradigm in prisons which truly rehabilitates, and the incredibly empowering microcredit movement whose pioneers won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping many millions worldwide to escape poverty. And learn about the 100-year-old man who recently completed a 26-mile marathon, or the 86-year old gymnast who brought a standing ovation from the audience. There is so much inspiration out there if we choose to look!

This is not at all to suggest that we ignore the shadow sides of our world. It is by shining light into the darkness and working together to integrate the shadow and the light that we powerfully transform our lives and world. Fear and major challenges in our life and in our world can actually teach us and help us to grow. Every act can be seen as either an act of love or a call for love. When we live from a place of love and integration, our lives can’t help but be filled with more love and joy.

Together, we are making a big difference. And by using the amazing power of the Internet, we can make even more of a difference by spreading this underreported, inspiring news around our planet. Share this message with your friends and help us all to move into inspired action as we join together in transforming our lives and world. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. And while you’re at it, have a fun, rich and meaningful day, week, and life ahead!

With abundant love, hope, and excitement,
Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

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Explore the mind and heart expanding websites managed by the nonprofit PEERS network:

http://www.peerservice.org – PEERS websites: Spreading inspiration, education, & empowerment
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Resistance Resisters | Derrick Jensen | Orion Magazine

Resistance Resisters | Derrick Jensen | Orion Magazine.

 

ANOTHER 120 SPECIES went extinct today; they were my kin. I am not going to sit back and wait for every last piece of this living world to be dismembered. I’m going to fight like hell for those kin who remain—and I want everyone who cares to join me. Many are. But many are not. Some of those who are not are those who, for whatever reason, really don’t care. I worry about them. But I worry more about those who do care but have chosen not to fight. A fairly large subset of those who care but have chosen not to fight assert that lifestyle choice is the only possible response to the murder of the planet. They all carry the same essential message—and often use precisely the same words: Resistance isn’t possible. Resistance never works.

Meanwhile, another 120 species went extinct today. They were my kin.

There are understandable personal reasons for wanting to believe in the invincibility of an oppressive system. If you can convince yourself the system is invincible, there’s no reason to undertake the often arduous, sometimes dangerous, always necessary work of organizing, preparing to dismantle, and then actually dismantling this (or any) oppressive system. If you can convince yourself the system is invincible, you can, with fully salved conscience, make yourself and your own as comfortable as you can within the confines of the oppressive system while allowing this oppressive system to continue. There are certainly reasons that those in power want us to see them as invincible. Abusive systems, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, from the familial to the social and political and religious, work best when victims and bystanders police themselves. And one of the best ways to get victims and bystanders to police themselves is for them to internalize the notion that the abusers are invincible and then, even better, to get them to attempt to police anyone who threatens to break up the stable abuser/victim/bystander triad.

And meanwhile, another 120 species went extinct today.

(To read this article click the link to go to Orion Magazine)

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/5340/


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Beyond Hope by Derrick Jensen

Beyond Hope

by Derrick Jensen

Published in the May/June 2006 issue of Orion magazine

Photograph by Stephen Wilkes

THE MOST COMMON WORDS I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, We’re fucked. Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, using whatever tools they have—or rather whatever legal tools they have, which means whatever tools those in power grant them the right to use, which means whatever tools will be ultimately ineffective—to try to protect some piece of ground, to try to stop the manufacture or release of poisons, to try to stop civilized humans from tormenting some group of plants or animals. Sometimes they’re reduced to trying to protect just one tree.

Here’s how John Osborn, an extraordinary activist and friend, sums up his reasons for doing the work: “As things become increasingly chaotic, I want to make sure some doors remain open. If grizzly bears are still alive in twenty, thirty, and forty years, they may still be alive in fifty. If they’re gone in twenty, they’ll be gone forever.”

But no matter what environmentalists do, our best efforts are insufficient. We’re losing badly, on every front. Those in power are hell-bent on destroying the planet, and most people don’t care.

Frankly, I don’t have much hope. But I think that’s a good thing. Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth.

To start, there is the false hope that suddenly somehow the system may inexplicably change. Or technology will save us. Or the Great Mother. Or beings from Alpha Centauri. Or Jesus Christ. Or Santa Claus. All of these false hopes lead to inaction, or at least to ineffectiveness. One reason my mother stayed with my abusive father was that there were no battered women’s shelters in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but another was her false hope that he would change. False hopes bind us to unlivable situations, and blind us to real possibilities.

Does anyone really believe that Weyerhaeuser is going to stop deforesting because we ask nicely? Does anyone really believe that Monsanto will stop Monsantoing because we ask nicely? If only we get a Democrat in the White House, things will be okay. If only we pass this or that piece of legislation, things will be okay. If only we defeat this or that piece of legislation, things will be okay. Nonsense. Things will not be okay. They are already not okay, and they’re getting worse. Rapidly.

But it isn’t only false hopes that keep those who go along enchained. It is hope itself. Hope, we are told, is our beacon in the dark. It is our light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. It is the beam of light that makes its way into our prison cells. It is our reason for persevering, our protection against despair (which must be avoided at all costs). How can we continue if we do not have hope?

We’ve all been taught that hope in some future condition—like hope in some future heaven—is and must be our refuge in current sorrow. I’m sure you remember the story of Pandora. She was given a tightly sealed box and was told never to open it. But, being curious, she did, and out flew plagues, sorrow, and mischief, probably not in that order. Too late she clamped down the lid. Only one thing remained in the box: hope. Hope, the story goes, was the only good the casket held among many evils, and it remains to this day mankind’s sole comfort in misfortune. No mention here of action being a comfort in misfortune, or of actually doing something to alleviate or eliminate one’s misfortune.

(to read the rest of the article click the link below to go to Orion Magazine)

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/170/


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Bolivia enacts Law of Mother Earth and GMO ban

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bolivia enacts Law of Mother Earth and GMO ban

Pachamama Law enacted and GMO ban in Bolivia!
Reposted from
http://www.eldeber.com.bo/nota.php?id=121015233320
Censored News
President Evo Morales enacted the Law of Mother Earth and Integral Development to Live Well. Morales issued the Law of Mother Earth in an emotional ceremony at the Palacio Quemado.The Law of Mother Earth and Integral Development to Live Well promulgated by President Evo Morales provides for the elimination of the concentration of landownership or landlordism and other components in the hands of landowners and companies, and prohibits the introduction, production, use, and release of genetically modified seeds in the country.

The most outstanding new rule also created the Public Defender System, Climate Justice Fund, which provides that public lands should be distributed to mostly women and indigenous peoples, and orders regulating foreign ownership and control of the property, access and use of the components of Mother Earth.
Ley elimina el latifundio y veta a los transgénicos
El presidente Evo Morales promulgó la Ley de la Madre Tierra y Desarrollo Integral para Vivir Bien. Crearán la Defensoría del Sistema y los sectores están sorprendidos
Henrry Ugarte A.
La ley de la Madre Tierra y Desarrollo Integral para Vivir Bien, promulgada por el presidente del Estado, Evo Morales, prevé la eliminación de la concentración de la propiedad de la tierra o latifundio y otros componentes en manos de propietarios agrarios y empresas, y prohíbe la introducción, producción, uso, liberación al medio y comercialización de semillas genéticamente modificadas en el territorio nacional.
En sus partes más sobresalientes la nueva norma también crea la Defensoría del Sistema, un Fondo de Justicia Climática, que establece que las tierras fiscales deben distribuirse con preferencia a mujeres y pueblos indígenas, y ordena la regulación y control de la extranjerización en la propiedad, acceso y aprovechamiento de los componentes de la Madre Tierra.
Mas, more
http://www.eldeber.com.bo/nota.php?id=121015233320

Posted by brendanorrell@gmail.com at 8:11 PM

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/10/bolivia-enacts-law-of-mother-earth-and.html


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Sonora’s Indigenous unite to protect Mother Earth-CENSORED NEWS

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sonora’s Indigenous unite to protect Mother Earth

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

HERMOSILLO, Mexico — Indigenous Peoples of Sonora, Mexico, supported the Guarijios who oppose the construction of the Los Pilares dam that could lead to the loss of their land and relocation. During the Second Reunion of Spiritual Guides, Indigenous leaders also united in support of the Yaqui who are battling the theft of their water from their river, the Rio Yaqui.
Sonoran Indigenous united against the drug trafficking that is impacting Los Pimas in southern Sonora and the gold mining and mega agriculture project targeting the O’odham ceremonial community of Quitovac in northern Sonora near the Arizona border.
The battle to protect the water and land from mining, and the destruction of development and tourism on Indigenous lands, were the focus of the discussion during the gathering Oct. 26–27. Indigenous Peoples also consulted on ways to preserve their language and culture.
In the state of Sonora, old growth forests are being destroyed, and workers exploited for low wages, for the production of charcoal, which continues unregulated. The rivers are being poisoned by corporations.
Meanwhile, in a separate action in the state of Sonora on Sunday, Comca’ac (Seri) reclaimed ancestral lands near Kino Bay. Asserting their rights to the land, Seri gathered for a ceremony as they reclaimed their territory. (Photo: Today Seri occupy homeland near Kino Bay, by Brenda Norrell.)
Guarijio battling dam construction in this video by Censored News during an interview on Saturday:
http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/10/video-interview-guarijios-battle-dam.html
In support of the Guarijio battling the dam, Traditional O’odham leaders said, “The Guarijio have not been properly informed or afforded proper consultation with respect to transparent information regarding detailed project plans of the Los Pilares / Bicentenario dam project on the upper River Mayo in southeast Sonora State and the Guarijio have not been properly informed or afforded proper consultation of studies outlining negative impacts that will interrupt their livelihood.”
“The Guarijio have been affected by being targeted with unfair local and regional media (press and television) reports that they are ‘opposed to development’ and the projects reputed benefits. The Guarijio are being judged publicly without the benefit of being properly informed or afforded proper consultation with respect to transparent information regarding detailed project plans of the Los Pilares / Bicentenario dam project on the upper River Mayo in southeast Sonora State.”
The Traditional Leaders of Sonora issued this resolution of support for the Guarijio:
The Traditional O’odham Leaders of Sonora, Mexico are again astounded that the Mexican Government at this time of technological advancement has not acquired the basic principles of honesty and civilized decency in existence with the natural world. As within our region time and time again development is being permitted without respect or proper consultation to the local population. Development moves forward without transparent compliance to the cultural, environmental and biological statutes enacted by the government of Mexico.
The Traditional O’odham Leaders of Sonora, Mexico represent the O’odham communities of northern Sonora, Mexico, and are recognized as the official representatives sanctioned by the O’odham community members, and recognized by the State and Federal government of Mexico.
Having discussed the impacts that the proposed LOS PILARES / BICENTENARIO dam project on the upper River Mayo in southeast Sonora state, northwest Mexico the Traditional O’odham Leaders of Sonora support the objections of the Guarijio:
The Guarijio have not been properly informed or afforded proper consultation with respect to transparent information regarding detailed project plans of the Los Pilares / Bicentenario dam project on the upper River Mayo in southeast Sonora State and the Guarijio have not been properly informed or afforded proper consultation of studies outlining negative impacts that will interrupt their livelihood.
The Guarijio have been affected by being targeted with unfair local and regional media (press and television) reports that they are “opposed to development” and the projects reputed benefits. The Guarijio are being judged publicly without the benefit of being properly informed or afforded proper consultation with respect to transparent information regarding detailed project plans of the Los Pilares / Bicentenario dam project on the upper River Mayo in southeast Sonora State.
The Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) fails to include significant social and environmental impacts. The Guarijio were not properly informed or afforded proper consultation with respect to the transparent information regarding detailed project plans of the Los Pilares / Bicentenario dam project to include participation and contribution of the Guarijio in the EIA to assist in the identification of significant cultural, social, biological and environmental impacts that the Los Pilares / Bicentenario dam project twill have on the existence of the population in the region.
Identical to the O’odham, the Guarijío as well as Pima and Mayo peoples have populated this region since ancient times. The indigenous culture, traditions and lives depend upon the resources of the region such as the water and associated ecosystems that are essential for the livelihood to survive.
The impacts of the proposed dam include physical displacement of homes and communities gravely impacting historical and cultural heritage. The proposed dam project will destroy the natural resources that provides for food and medicinal resources as well as traditional building materials which are now available to the community.
The Traditional O’odham Leaders of Sonora, Mexico fully support the Guarijío and encourage solidarity with all our relatives of the region to work in unity to protect our rights as indigenous people and our responsibilities to the land and the universe.
Declaración de los Líderes Tradicionales O’odham en apoyo al Pueblo Guarijío
http://chiltepines.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/declaracion-de-los-lideres-tradicionales-oodham-en-apoyo-al-pueblo-guarijio/

Posted by brendanorrell@gmail.com at 2:08 AM

Link to original story: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/10/sonoras-indigenous-unite-to-protect.html


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People Power “>” Bombs

I love Yes! magazine. In a world full of bad news Yes! is the antidote-always something uplifting, empowering and hopeful. This article goes along with what I’ve been saying for a long time-we are far more powerful than we realize and violence is a trick to keep us blinded and suffering.

A Meditation on Revolution

From Tel Aviv to Baghdad, a lifelong peace activist remembers why true transformation comes from the power of nonviolence.
posted Jul 29, 2011
Tahrir Square father and daughter photo by Kodak Agfa

Tahrir Square, February 2011.

Photo by Kodak Agfa.

The first time I remember being in a very large crowd and feeling that I really belonged was in 1982.

Several months before, Israel had invaded Lebanon. I had heard rumors of a massacre at the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut as I walked to work in Israel. My Israeli coworker’s attitude, as he told me, was troubling. He was not bothered that Israel might have done something wrong—only that Israel would get blamed.

The next Saturday, my Israeli wife and I made the hour-long trip from Haifa to Tel Aviv for a protest. We got early seats at an outside table at one of the European-style pastry shops that surround this big square, where Yitzhak Rabin was later assassinated. It was like a huge family gathering.  People poured in from all over the country; there were hugs and kisses and greetings of friends who hadn’t seen each other in years.

Our addiction to violence has so accustomed us to public statements justifying our wars that we often don’t even notice that we no longer believe them.

A reported 400,000 Israelis showed up for this protest, representing about 10 percent of the entire Jewish population of Israel at the time. Imagine how we would feel if 10 percent of Americans—more than 30 million—came out to protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

After the rally we walked by one Israeli man who stood atop a flat-bed truck taunting the crowd, jeering, “Begin, Begin, (Menahim Begin), King of Israel!”  I felt so much at ease that I didn’t hesitate to turn to the crowd and say, “Just ignore him!”

It was there that I first experienced the power that Gandhi called truth force—a liberating exuberance that I would recognize again this year as hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in Tahrir Square demanded that their voices be heard. As Adrienne Maree Brown wrote in YES! Magazine of her own reaction, “My heart is bursting from my chest today, tears on my cheeks, my skin covered in waves and waves of goosebumps as my body integrates the beautiful revolution in Egypt.” I felt just the same way.

But 21 years after my first truth force awakening in Tel Aviv, I watched Baghdad’s Firdos Square during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the contrast could not have been greater.

Mubarek photo by Antonello Mangano
10 Everyday Acts of Resistance
That Changed the World

Václav Havel called it “the power of the powerless.” How regular people, from Denmark to Liberia, have stood up to power—and won.

Firdos Square is a large traffic circle with multiple lanes of cars racing around a center that used to host a huge statue of Saddam Hussein. The U.S. military pulled down that statue and the scene was shown over and over on American television. Even though there were only a few hundred people there, the media played up the event of the toppled statue as if all of Iraq embraced the U.S. as liberators.

I knew better. I’d seen the great suffering of the Iraqi people firsthand during the preceding years of sanctions.

On my nine trips to Iraq, bringing medicines to ailing hospitals, I would stay at one of two hotels only a block away from Firdos Square. It was well known to me.

During these trips, I used to bring delegation members to these hospitals to show what conditions were like. We regularly saw water-borne diseases, a lack of medicine, and limited electricity. In one hospital the doctor showing us around got on the elevator with a flashlight. There was a shortage of light bulbs because of sanctions and the elevator was completely dark.

I knew this was due to the U.S. bombing of virtually all of Iraq’s electric plants during the 1991 Gulf War—followed by 12 devastating years of economic sanctions.

The tragedy of these sanctions is embodied, for me, in the memory of a very sweet young girl—she must have been around 8 years old—sitting on a hospital bed with her mother beside her.  Because Iraq was prevented from selling oil, there was no money to pay nurses. This young girl had childhood leukemia, a form of cancer which has a very high cure rate in the U.S. with proper medication.  In Iraq the cure rate was about zero. There were few cancer medicines available. I asked the doctor what this very poor family would have done before sanctions.  He told me the medicines would have been free for them. “Free as water,” he said.

Bert Sacks
Bert Sacks:
A peace activist defies sanctions to save lives.

If you want to understand what regime change by force versus regime change by an uprising of hundreds of thousands of nonviolent people looks like, this is it. In essence, it’s violence versus nonviolence. We don’t yet know what the final outcome in Egypt will be, but we can see the results in Iraq after twenty years of U.S.-led efforts: immense suffering and many hundreds of thousands of deaths from sanctions and invasion.

Gandhi once said that there is a coin with “nonviolence” written on one side and “truth” on the other.  I think we have become accustomed to a different coin, with “violence” on one side and “untruth” on the other.  Our addiction to violence has so accustomed us to public statements justifying our wars that we often don’t even notice that we no longer believe them.

Violence shows a lack of imagination. It’s time to get serious about imaginative nonviolence.


Bert Sacks wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Bert is scheduled to appear in Federal Court on September 19, 2011, for refusing to pay a fine incurred when he broke U.S. sanctions in Iraq to bring medicine to children. Find out more at iraqikids.org

Interested?

  • An End to Constant War
    Seven reasons we’re always at war … and seven ways to quit.
  • War Is Not Peace
    For decades, School of the Americas Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois has argued that embracing militarism will never bring us the security we seek. But he thinks he knows what will.
  • Egypt: Seeds of Revolution
    A video primer from Al Jazeera for would-be nonviolent revolutionaries everywhere.
YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License

http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/a-meditation-on-revolution