A community’s incapacity to deal with social phenomena like hate campaigns creates a popular psychosis where such aberrations are rationalized as normal, which, unfortunately, becomes a self-fulfilling interpretation.
Between urgency and eternity, the caravan of doom at the end of the world — an unending exodus — the stream of refugees taking their place in the procession.
While the institutionalization of theft as an economic practice is centuries old, its enshrinement in international law since the founding of the United Nations in 1945 has increasingly lent legalized larceny an air of inevitability if not legitimacy. Yet, as UN-backed austerity measures sweep the planet, the globalization of poverty generated by institutionalized theft is creating the conditions for a vast mobilization of resentment. While institutions and affiliated networks work hand in glove with markets to consolidate theft as a way of life, the environmental, pro-democracy and indigenous peoples movements are finding common ground in opposing this colossal fraud. Even as institutions market the glorification of theft and its icons like Microsoft and the Open Society Institute, they are finding it difficult to contain the indignant rage of the world aimed at tax-dodging, money-laundering market entities dependent on the policies of institutionalized theft. As the breakdown of modern states accelerates in large part due to institutionalized theft, there is a window of opportunity for indigenous nations to take the lead in reversing this corrosion of human values. As the delinquents of institutionalized theft are slowly called to account, networks of integrity are positioned to recreate the international regime in ways that return a public sense of theft as the ultimate sin.
Mali’s new military dictatorship is in the unusual position of being unable to militarily defeat the indigenous Tuareg secessionists, while at the same time being uncomfortable with asking NATO or other foreign armies for help. As Philippe Leymarie writes at Le Monde diplomatique, the army is demoralized, generals have stopped wearing their uniforms, and the people of southern Mali are growing tired of dealing with the 800,000 refugees from the north. With the US, France and NATO poised to attack the Tuareg, it’s hard to imagine a happy ending.
Conservation is more than a sound social practice; to indigenous peoples it’s a law of nature. Common sense terms like waste not want not no doubt have roots in tribal societies.
In fact, conservation, cooperation and reciprocity represent the core values of indigenous nations–something settler societies based on consumption, competition and larceny have a hard time getting their minds around. Observing how the settlers squander finite energy resources like coal, oil and gas, it’s a wonder they’ve managed to survive.
Of course, settler societies were built the world over on other peoples’ land. Their relationship with the resources vital to sustaining life are profane, not sacred.
As the settlers bleed the earth dry of fossil fuels for export, extravagance and warfare, indigenous peoples suffer disproportionately. Their traditional foods, cultural values and sacred sites are diminished if not obliterated.
Insanity is sometimes described as continuing to do what didn’t work before in the hope that maybe it will next time. Carbonizing the Tar Sands oil and Powder River coal energy reserves of North America in Chinese industrial ovens is perhaps the only thing crazier than burning a million barrels per day of our fossil fuel invading Asia and Africa to plunder theirs. If humans are going to survive climate change, we need to power down in more ways than one.
In 2006, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco sponsored a bill to make activism against corporations illegal. Unable to push it through under President Bush, she had to wait for that year’s keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention to become president before her dreams of a totalitarian state could begin to come true. With the 2010 arrests by Homeland Security of anti-war and environmental activists for the crime of showing documentary films criticizing the arms and energy industries, Feinstein was in seventh heaven.
Today, as Obama seeks another term as president, Abby Martin interviews author and journalist Will Potter about recent US federal law enforcement targeting of anti-corporate activists, using terrorism legislation and secret grand juries to intimidate and incarcerate people who’ve committed no crime. In another interview at Escape Velocity Radio, Potter talks about direct action environmental activists who’ve received multi-year prison sentences for non-violent crimes under the new terrorism laws.
As someone who has personally been intimidated by FBI agent threats, Potter notes that by making environmental activists political prisoners, and torturing them with solitary confinement in special Communications Management Units where they are denied human contact, the government is singling them out for human rights abuse by federal prosecutors precisely because of their success at inspiring public involvement and opposition to corporate wasting of the planet. Observing that actual domestic terrorists who commit murder because of their political beliefs — like anti-abortion activists and militias — are merely charged with the crimes they commit, without enhanced sentences for terrorism, Potter says this is because they don’t interfere with corporate profits.
As federal prosecutors and law enforcement escalate their harassment of anti-war, pro-environment, pro-democracy activists attempting to influence domestic and foreign policy, public involvement in movements like #Occupy is bound to wane. As corporations continue to push politicians toward their goal of total corporate control of government and absolute repression of dissent, the defense of civil and human rights will inevitably move from the courts to the streets.
As noted on the Defending Dissent Foundation website, where dissent is a crime, there is no freedom.
While many are aware that the Government of Canada under Prime Minister Harper is one of the most regressive governments in the world on environmental and indigenous rights policy, few are likely aware that the Harper Administration is actively promoting the importation of slave labor. As Thomas Walkom reports at The Star, the new Canadian labor policy turns back the clock by a century.