Archive for January, 2012

Saturday Becomes Sunday

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Today I made great pancakes and did laundry and studied mostly for my weather class. I have an English text book I should be reading. Instead I am writing this blog. I should be working on one of my books, or my Chinese, but I am writing this. Already I have sacrificed my involvement in the Occupy movement. I felt like I should have been respected as an elder of the movement, one who has been around for 40 odd years, since the Vietnam days, but I spent some of that time in India, and on the commune and in France and trying to be a family guy or a drug addict, or both. Sometimes I was a radical drug addicted family guy. It was confusing. Now that I am on dialysis it is a lot simpler. I just have to deal with the constant intrusion from state authorities who for the sake of a few hundred dollars, want to interfere with my life. I have a social worker at the clinic, a worker at the Rehab center, councilors at school. It is actually amazing how many people I keep employed, but not productively; this is all state generated custodial care. My tax dollars are now coming back but not to me, but to so called care persons. I am almost about ready to become a libertarian, or at least an elitist, perhaps an American Mandarin, a poverty stricken one. I am part of that rare breed, the state supported intellectual, part of the modern Commissariat of the backup government think tank, the Tank of Last Resort. “In case of fire break this.”

Maybe that CIA guy wasn’t kidding when he said I should study Farsi. But why would they want somebody like me, that is the point, they wouldn’t unless they were really desperate. Desperate times, demand desperate solutions, “get the guy on dialysis, he might have a wacky idea, remember W. F. Buckley thought he has possibilities.” Sure give the commie a chance, after all those Neo-cons started out as Trotskyists. For they so loved the Communist Cause, they killed the Communist Running Dog. I just made that up, based on something biblical.

So where is the Occupy movement at? I was so passionate about it a couple weeks ago and now I am looking at the flyers I had copied and realize that I probably won’t have time or energy to hand them out. The novel sits languishing in my memory banks, and today I listened to some author on NPR talk about the muses. I used to hear from them. Now every word has to be pulled from the subconscious food bank.
Perhaps the Krishna’s were right about food being the only proper subject of creativity. I certainly feel more confident cooking than doing just about anything else.

Limits

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Today I dropped one of my classes. I was taking 18 units and it was too much for me. I am realizing that my health is not what it once was. Being on the dialysis takes energy out, more than I realize until I try to do something that used to be within my normal limits. I can tell when I am at my limit, I start getting in arguments with people, and I feel run down and tired all the time and generally put upon.

Too bad it was Sociology, but the teacher was just too much. She must have really been bored, making the students hand in essays and tests in 30 seconds or less, telling a story about her brother having a baby and being late for class and she told him he was dropped because he missed too many hours. Ridiculous stuff like that. Most teachers have class instructions and schedule that takes up maybe 2 sheets of paper; she has a book that has to go in a binder. I finally told her that she had too many rules.

Being tired, it’s weird; I look forward to sitting in bed with adult swim on the tube and my pile of books on the bed and my laptop, well in my lap. Oh what joy, to spend 10 hours every day hooked up to this machine? The days become like dreams, passing so swiftly that often I don’t even see the light of day.

For a while I was doing the Occupy stuff, going to meetings and preparing for a general strike on May Day. I actually believe in that, but once I went back to school, there just wasn’t the time. Now I should be able to do my other classes Chinese, Weather, Black History, and White Man Literature. I just hope I have energy left over for my girlfriend.

Extreme Neo-Con Policies In Action

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

A couple of points about US and European policy. The first is about the European crisis as an assault upon social democracy and the second is about the US and its neo-imperialist wars. I am more in agreement with Hudson than Roberts, I find Roberts to be a bit shrill, but then he has credentials, having worked in the Treasury Dept. The world could easily be plunged into a resource war, with Russia and China backed in a corner by the USA and NATO. Although it is not necessary, China could simply develop Central Asia’s resources and Siberia has huge potential. The scenario might simply be one of realignment. It doesn’t have to turn into nuclear war. Let us hope it doesn’t.
The Iran situation is one of brinkmanship right now. The Democrats might think that the only way to divert attention from the economy might be with a war with Iran. That would be pretty cynical but it would not be beyond them. Especially with the influence that the Zionist hawks have in policy circles. This would outflank the Republicans in warmongering and provide CNN and their ilk with something to focus the public’s attention on. Iran certainly is no threat to the USA. Russia and China are not likely to interfere directly, although they are likely to secretly support Iranian efforts at resistance. Saudi Arabia certainly would like to see Iran crushed and Israel is likely to participate or initiate a war by targeting Iranian nuclear facilities, like they did to Iraqi facilities back in the 1980’s.
By neutralizing Syria with its domestic problems, the Iranians are deprived of an important ally. What will be interesting to see is if Iraq with its newly trained army comes to the aid of Iran or Syria, or if it collapses into civil war instigated by the US and Saudi aid to Sunni’s and Baathists, that would be ironic.
The US leaving Iraq, puts the situation there in an unstable and potentially unreliable position for the Americans if they plan to invade Iran. The hope is that Iraqi self interest keeps them from joining the Iranians despite the current ascendency of the Shiite factions in power.
Egypt on the other hand is now a wild card and may become the new location of support for Palestinian resistance to Israel. Gaza though is not as good a place for resistance than south Lebanon. It doesn’t have the water that Israel wants. Egypt can potentially cut Israel off from its Red Sea port. Upsetting the apple cart can have all kinds of consequences but only uprisings of the people can really insure that changes are beneficial for the people and not for the elites.

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This is an excerpt from Michael Hudson’s article “Europe’s Transition from Social Democracy to Oligarchy”

“Disabling Europe’s central bank to deprive governments of the power to create money
One of the three defining characteristics of a nation-state is the power to create money. A second characteristic is the power to levy taxes. Both of these powers are being transferred out of the hands of democratically elected representatives to the financial sector, as a result of tying the hands of government.

The third characteristic of a nation-state is the power to declare war. What is happening today is the equivalent of warfare – but against the power of government! It is above all a financial mode of warfare – and the aims of this financial appropriation are the same as those of military conquest: first, the land and subsoil riches on which to charge rents as tribute; second, public infrastructure to extract rent as access fees; and third, any other enterprises or assets in the public domain.

In this new financialized warfare, governments are being directed to act as enforcement agents on behalf of the financial conquerors against their own domestic populations. This is not new, to be sure. We have seen the IMF and World Bank impose austerity on Latin American dictatorships, African military chiefdoms and other client oligarchies from the 1960s through the 1980s. Ireland and Greece, Spain and Portugal are now to be subjected to similar asset stripping as public policy making is shifted into the hands of supra-governmental financial agencies acting on behalf of bankers – and thereby for the top 1% of the population.

When debts cannot be paid or rolled over, foreclosure time arrives. For governments, this means privatization selloffs to pay creditors. In addition to being a property grab, privatization aims at replacing public sector labor with a non-union work force having fewer pension rights, health care or voice in working conditions. The old class war is thus back in business – with a financial twist. By shrinking the economy, debt deflation helps break the power of labor to resist.

It also gives creditors control of fiscal policy. In the absence of a pan-European Parliament empowered to set tax rules, fiscal policy passes to the ECB. Acting on behalf of banks, the ECB seems to favor reversing the 20th century’s drive for progressive taxation. And as U.S. financial lobbyists have made clear, the creditor demand is for governments to re-classify public social obligations as “user fees,” to be financed by wage withholding turned over to banks to manage (or mismanage, as the case may be). Shifting the tax burden off real estate and finance onto labor and the “real” economy thus threatens to become a fiscal grab coming on top of the privatization grab.”

http://michael-hudson.com/2011/12/europe%E2%80%99s-transition-from-social-democracy-to-oligarchy/

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From CounterPunch

January 12, 2012

Pointless Provocations

The Next War on Washington’s Agenda

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

Only the blind do not see that the US government is preparing to attack Iran. Washington has deployed missiles directed at Iran in its oil emirate puppet states, Oman and the UAE, and little doubt in the other US puppet states in the Middle East. Washington has beefed up Saudi Arabia’s jet fighter force. Most recently, Washington has deployed 9,000 US troops to Israel to participate in “war games” designed to test the US/Israeli air defense system. As Iran represents no threat unless attacked, Washington’s war preparations signal Washington’s intention to attack Iran.

Another signal that Washington has a new war on its agenda is the raised level of Washington’s rhetoric and demonization of Iran. Judging by polls Washington’s propaganda that Iran is threatening the US by developing a nuclear weapon has met with success. Half of the American public support a military attack on Iran in order to

prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capability. Those of us who are trying to awaken our fellow citizens start from a deficit that the minds of half of the US population are under Big Brother’s control.

As the International Atomic Energy Agency’s reports from its inspectors on the ground in Iran have made clear for years, there is no evidence that Iran has diverted any enriched uranium from its nuclear energy program. The shrill hype coming from Washington and from the neoconservative media is groundless. it is the same level of lie as Washington’s claim that Saddam Hussein in Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Every US soldier who died in that war died in behalf of a lie.

It could not be more obvious that Washington’s war preparations against Iran have nothing to do with deterring Iran from a nuclear weapon. So, what are the war preparations about?

In my judgment, the US government’s war preparations are driven by three factors.

One is the neoconservative ideology, adopted by the US government, that calls for the US to use its superior military and economic position to achieve world hegemony. This goal appeals to American hubris and to the power and profit that it serves.

A second factor is Israel’s desire to eliminate all support for the Palestinians and for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Israel’s goal is to seize all of Palestine and the water resources of southern Lebanon. Eliminating Iran removes all obstacles to Israel’s expansion.

A third factor is to deter or slow China’s rise as a military and economic power by controlling China’s access to energy. It was China’s oil investments in eastern Libya that led to the sudden move against Libya by the US and its NATO puppets, and it is China’s oil investments elsewhere in Africa that resulted in the Bush regime’s creation of the United States Africa Command, designed to counter China’s economic influence with US military influence. China has significant energy investments in Iran, and a substantial percentage of China’s oil imports are from Iran. Depriving China of independent access to oil is Washington’s way of restraining and boxing in China.

What we are witnessing is a replay of Washington’s policy toward Japan in the 1930s that provoked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan’s bank balances in the West were seized, and Japan’s access to oil and raw materials was restricted. The purpose was to prevent or to slow Japan’s rise. The result was war.

Despite the hubris in which it wallows, Washington understands the vulnerability of its Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and would not risk losing a fleet and 20,000 US naval personnel unless it was to gain an excuse for a nuclear attack on Iran. A nuclear attack on Iran would alert both China and Russia that they could suffer the same fate. The consequence would be that the world would face a higher risk of nuclear armageddon than existed in the mutually assured destruction of the US-Soviet standoff.

Washington is getting all of us in over our heads. Washington has declared the “Asia-Pacific” and the South China Sea to be areas of “America’s national interest.” What sense does this make? It makes the same sense as if China declared the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea to be areas of China’s national interest.

Washington has deployed 2,500 Marines, promising more to come, to Australia in order to do what? Protect Australia from China or occupy Australia? Encircle China with 2,500 Marines? It would not mean anything to China if Washington deployed 25,000 Marines in Australia.

When you get right down to it, Washington’s tough talk is nothing but a silly pointless provocation of Washington’s largest creditor. What if Washington’s idiocy causes China to worry that Washington and its UK and European puppets will seize its bank balances and refuse to honor China’s holdings of $1 trillion in US Treasury bonds? Will China pull its balances from the weak US, UK, and European banks? Will China decide to strike first, not with nuclear weapons, but by selling its $1 trillion in Treasury bonds all at once?

It would be cheaper than war.

The Federal Reserve would have to quickly print another $1 trillion dollars with which to buy the bonds, or US interest rates would shoot up. What would China do with the $1 trillion in newly printed paper? In my opinion, China would dump it all at once in the currency market, because the Federal Reserve cannot print euros, UK pounds, Japanese yen, Swiss francs, Russian rubles, and Chinese yuan with which to buy up its newly printed currency.

The US dollar would take a beating. US import prices–which now include, thanks to offshoring, almost everything Americans consume–would rise. The hard-pressed 90% would take a further beating, endearing their Washington oppressors to them to an even greater extent. The rest of the world, anticipating nuclear war, would flee the dollar, as Washington would be a primary attack target.

If the missiles aren’t launched, Americans would wake up the next day a bankrupt third world country. If the missiles were launched, few Americans would wake up.

We, as Americans, need to ask ourselves what all this is about? Why is our government so provocative toward Islam, Russia, China, Iran? What purpose, whose purpose is being served? Certainly not ours.

Who benefits from our bankrupt government starting yet more wars, picking this time not on defenseless countries like Iraq and Libya, but on China and Russia? Do the idiots in Washington think the Russian government does not know why Russia is being surrounded with missile bases and radar systems? Do they really believe that the Russian government will fall for its lie that the missiles are directed against Iran? Only American idiots who sit in front of Fox “news” could possible believe that the real issue is an Iranian nuclear weapon.

How much longer will the Russian government permit the US National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA front, to interfere in its elections by financing opposition parties led by the likes of Vladimir Kara-Murza, Boris Nemtsov, and Alexei Navalny, who organize protests of every election that Putin’s party wins, alleging without any evidence whatsoever, but providing propaganda for Washington, who no doubt pays well, that the election will be and was stolen?

In the US, such activists would be declared to be “domestic extremists” and be subjected to rough treatment. In America even anti-war activists are subjected to home invasions by the FBI and grand jury investigations.

What this means is that “the criminal state of Russia” is a more tolerant democracy than the US, or for that matter, America’s puppet states in Europe and the UK.

Where do we go from here? If not to nuclear destruction, Americans must wake up. Football games, porn, and shopping malls are one thing. Survival of human life is another. Washington, that is, “representative government,” consists only of a few powerful vested interests. These private interests, not the American people, control the US government.

That is why nothing that the US government does benefits the American people.

The current crop of presidential contenders, except for Ron Paul, represent the controlling interests. War and financial fraud are the only remaining American Values.

Will Americans again give the sheen of “democracy” to rule by a few by participating in the coming rigged elections?

If you have to vote, vote for Ron Paul or for a more extreme third party candidate. Show that you do not support the lie that is the system.

Stop watching television. Stop reading newspapers. Stop spending money. When you do any of these things, you are supporting evil.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/12/the-next-war-on-washington%E2%80%99s-agenda/

Lost Capacity For Outrage

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Americans seem to be seething, but they go home and turn on the tube and vegetate. Some people are waking up, as Bill Moyers says “Inequality matters.” The social contract of the wealthy paying their share to allow the rest of America prosper, has been lost in a world in which the system is rigged now to give the superrich an extreme benefit and the rest of us barely enough to get by.

According to the authors of ‘Winner Takes All Politics,” the laws have been rewritten to benefit the wealthy to the extent that now there is almost no effective lobby for the middle class left in America. They claim that this is no longer a Middle Class nation.

This should not be news for anyone who has studied capitalism from a Marxist perspective. This is what capitalism does best, concentrate wealth into the fewest number of hands. Extracting value out of a property-less working class, or one that has maybe a mortgage on a house that they could lose with ease if they became unemployed. Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, with an illusion of affluence due to cheap third world labor producing goods for an American market that is increasingly unable to afford more than the least expensive basics.

Where would we be without our Walmarts and cheap Mexican labor cleaning our lawns and working in our fast food restaurants? I try to avoid Walmart because I don’t want to support the race to the bottom, but even I go there sometimes, when my girlfriend drags me there.

Medical spreading of risk has moved to increasingly making the patients pay more out of pocket as insurance companies move to become profit centers rather than any kind of public service. Who makes all this profit? Investors, and who are the investors, people with money, a few pension plans, and less and less the average person.

Who are the major investors in the American economy? I googled that question and got nothing. I wonder if there is any statistics that are kept that would tell me what percentage is pensions, what percentage is the superrich and the rest of us. There is a site I found “My Budget 360″ that has a pretty good picture of the wealth in the country and how it is divided. As of their 2007 figures the top 1% have some 42% of financial wealth, the next 4% have 27%, making the top 5% holding 69% of financial wealth. The next 5% hold 11% of wealth, meaning that the top 10% hold 80% of wealth. The next 10% hold 12% of wealth and the remaining 80% hold 7%.

According to these figures 70% of Americans live from their paycheck and the majority of the rest live on some form of pension, disability, Social Security with some percentage of that 30% living on dividends, investments and such. How many?

http://www.mybudget360.com/top-1-percent-control-42-percent-of-financial-wealth-in-the-us-how-average-americans-are-lured-into-debt-servitude-by-promises-of-mega-wealth/

From Gallup.com

“Eighty-seven percent of upper-income Americans — those making $75,000 or more annually — own stocks, as do 83% of postgraduates and 73% of college graduates. Sixty-four percent of Republicans hold stocks, compared with half of Democrats and independents. Men are more likely than women to be stock owners. Those aged 50 to 64 are the most likely of any age group to say they have money invested in the stock market.”

http://www.gallup.com/poll/147206/stock-market-investments-lowest-1999.aspx

From Yahoo.com

This article lists the ways that the Middle Class is disappearing in the USA. as of July 15, 2010. The facts are that it is a rapid process of wealth being drained at an alarming rate. This has been going on for at least the last 30 years and has been at an increased rate over the last decade.

“Here are the statistics to prove it:

• 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
• 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
• 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
• 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
• A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
• 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
• Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
• Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
• For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
• In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
• As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
• The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
• Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
• In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
• The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
• In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
• More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
• or the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
• This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
• Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.
• Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
• The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.”

http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/the-u.s.-middle-class-is-being-wiped-out-here’s-the-stats-to-prove-it-520657.html?tickers=%5EDJI,%5EGSPC,SPY,MCD,WMT,XRT,DIA

From the New York Times

The Pedestrian rich. People who may have a million in net worth but, in todays world, that is peanuts, still, it is a small minority of Americans. “Four percent, or 4.6 million U.S. households, had net assets of at least $1 million” according to an ABC article (see below the NYTimes article).

http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/stanley-millionaire.html

ABC News

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87939&page=1

So have Americans lost their capacity for outrage? I think they have been hit so hard with a sucker punch that they simply haven’t recovered their breath yet. Let’s hope the wrath of America leads to the overthrow of the rule of capital.

Back At Last!

Friday, January 13th, 2012

The site was shut down, unceremoniously by the domain owners. It was a drag. Because it has been 2 years since I renewed the site and I forgot my old password. My address had changed, and well they wanted me to email them my Drivers License before they would give me back my domain. I forgot how expensive this is. Because I don’t accept advertising it is not cheap.

I am back in school now and it is strange, I am not as into it as I was before, in fact I am tired half the time and although I enjoy the classes, I feel kind of overwhelmed when I am not in class, I may have overdone it taking 18 units, but what the hell, I might as well see if I can handle it. So far I have all A’s and one B, 3.8 grade point average. That ok, but I have to get my transcripts from Colorado to get on the Honors list. I figure those classes might be a little more challenging. One class, history, the students didn’t even know what century 1095 AD was in. Come on, you know it; it’s the eleventh century, just like 2012 is in the 21st century. But I was caught off guard, this century begin 2001, not 2000, which means it ends in 3000.

Occupy News. I am in school and not participating, at least not right now. I hope to be able to start participating again once I get settled into my new routine but I might not with the class load I have.

The Meeting, A Critique

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Today, Saturday Jan. 7th, I went to the General Assembly meeting of the Occupy LA General Strike Committee. It was attended by some 75 or more persons from various left groups around LA. Freedom Socialist Party, Radical Women, IWW, Workers Solidarity, Antiracist Action, autonomous Anarchists, people who just became active in the Occupy movement, union organizers, migrant rights activists, students, and the occasional average worker who was interested in what all the hubbub was about.

There was much discussion about subjects of general interest, like what is a general strike? That took up most of the time, there was a rather chaotic discussion of the 6 points of the demands that Michael Novik suggested and when people began to recommend changes, the subject was again closed by the leaders. When the subject came to rolling strike actions, people had lots of actions they suggested for commitment but then a few of the leaders decided to cut the conversation and limit it to actions initiated by Occupy, of which there was only one, from Portland for Feb. 29th some kind of anti-corporate action.

The problem with consensus often is that the loudest, most persistent and controlling egos get heard. The process constantly breaks down and most agreement is by default, people get tired of arguing. There is no real democratic process and what ends up happening is basically what the leadership wants.

The prime example, Michael of Anti-Racist Action wanted as his main point to get an ok for a January 22 meeting with other groups to form a larger coalition. It was the last point on the agenda, by then many people had left, others were tired of talking, it had been almost 3 hours, and so when it was brought up there was no debate, just a less than enthusiastic waving of hands and then the meeting moved on. There was no discussion, most of the talking had been about the meaning of a general strike, something that is almost of no consequence to the running of the general strike committee.

The way to run a consensus meeting and get your way is to:
One, out last everyone else.
Two, let people blow hard on abstract theory and issues that don’t affect the issues at hand.
Three, bury the things you really want at the end and present them as innocuously as possible.
Four, come with an agenda already prepared and agreed to by key players.

It is not too hard to game, especially when most people have only so much stamina when it comes to sitting around in a meeting. People want to socialize and party, doing meetings is for serious types and even the most serious bureaucratic mentality can only take so much tedium before needing relief.

There are no recorded votes, no elected officers, nobody to point the finger at. It is a beautiful process of insinuating ideas without having to be responsible for the consequences since it is all agreed upon by the group, a group that is often as chaotic as a hippie commune in the 1970’s. I have been to a few.

Otherwise it was a good meeting, we more or less agreed to the six points, doing something on Feb 29th and having a General Strike May 1st. The details of May First actions were shunted off to an action committee, one that doesn’t exist at this point.

Someone made the point that not much is accomplished at the general meetings, well duh, what do you expect when you have a process that is designed for lots of talk and very little action. This is not anarchist politics in practice, this is a Quaker Meeting transferred to the political sphere by Quaker peace activists in the late seventies anti-nuke movement. There is some relationship to the non-violence of the sixties civil rights movement, but the more radical movements of armed struggle and street fighting of the late sixties and early seventies have been forgotten. From time to time anarchists, ultra leftists, and rank and file workers wildcat actions have been rowdier than what the pacifists would have, but basically since the USA has turned to the right in the late seventies, the left has turned the other cheek in hopes that there would always be another cheek to turn. I tend to think that an eye for an eye is more appropriate in dealing with power, we just have to learn how to flex our collective muscles.

As our groups grow larger we will have to learn tactics and processes that are more appropriate for large groups, or we will flounder under the weight of unwieldy process.
As thing stand I am in general agreement with the results of today’s meeting, but I am not likely to be returning to such a messy affair in the near future. The work is done, as the one comrade said, in the subcommittees, and even then, only when they are small enough for everyone to participate, perhaps a dozen or so, is a good working size, much more and you are again beginning to get beyond the practical limits of consensus as a working model.

I have to go back to school so I don’t know how much time I will be able to dedicate to this endeavor, I do hope that the general strike takes off, it really depends on how well the Occupy people have judged the mood of the American people and not on some sense of adventurism. One person there was insisting that we treat this general strike as if our lives counted on it. That fervor is what is needed in a sports team, and perhaps the foot soldiers of the revolution, but in a revolution planning committee what is needed is cold calculation as to the timing of events, having a feel for the pulse of the people and a willingness to take chances when they make sense. I am not sure any of this has been done here. There is a hippie dippy half ass kind of quality, like it is play. Play indeed, sometimes we do need to be at play in the fields of the lord, (the book, not the movie).

There were those there, mostly from unions, that emphasized that there were jobs and careers at stake, people are not going to go out on a general strike unless they are pretty damn mad. That is where having the temperature of the people in mind is important. You can’t be frivolous about something like this, yet you have to have a certain sense of playfulness to conceive of the general strike at all. So there has to be some form of balance.

Personally I think the demands are too much weighted to traditional leftist demands. They are too generic and need grounding in issues that are in the mind of the public, or supporting specific labor actions. The deportation of migrants is something that affects the Hispanic community daily, it is their Jim Crow legislation, just as the War on Drugs is for inner city youth.

I think we need to learn something from our constitutionalist friends on the right and add some demands for things like getting money out of power, public funding of elections, limited election campaigns with free access to media, lower thresholds for political parties to gain access to the funding, say 3% of electorate, proportional elections, and so on. Concrete measures that make sense to voters.

But that is me, an old disabled guy worried about legislation affecting Medicare and Social Security.

Below is the proposals as of the night before the meeting, a sixth proposal about Feminism and Gender rights was added. This is from Michael Novik.

“Here’s a proposal on clarifying and strengthening the demands for the
May 1 general strike by adopting 5 broad themes, each with illustrative sub-points, like so:

* For Migrant Rights:
Full Legalization for All!
Repeal Repressive Anti-Immigrant Legislation!
Stop Sweeps, Raids, Detentions and Mass Deportation!

* For Economic, Social and Environmental Justice:
Stop Cuts and raids on pensions, Medicare, Social Security - Make Banks Pay!
Guarantee Living-wage jobs and the right to organize!
Reverse Global Warming!

* For Peace with Justice:
End overt and covert US wars and military interventionism!
Bring the Troops Home - fulfill promises to veterans!
Respect indigenous sovereignty!

* For Civil Liberties and an End to the Police State:
Repeal NDAA, Homeland Security and the USA PATRIOT Act!
End the Drug War! Stop the New Jim Crow!
Stop Police Brutality, Prison Isolation and Political Incarceration!

*For Housing, Education and Health Care as Human Rights:
Stop Foreclosures - principal reduction now! End Homelessness!
Quality public education for all! Forgive crushing student debt!
Protect food and water quality! Single Payer Now!”

Sixth – Woman’s Rights, Gender Equality, etc. I can’t remember it exactly I was not given a copy.

General Strike Meeting, California Budget Cuts

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Don’t forget to come to the Occupy May 1st General Strike meeting on January 7th. Noon at Corazon del Pueblo, 2003 E. First St, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (that’s near Cummings, east of the Golden State Freeway I-5.

Gov. Jerry Brown is playing a game of chicken with the voters, pass my tax increases or we cut education again. The welfare cuts are simply a given, after all those people don’t count, right? The poor will have to count on the State Legislature to save them from the draconian fire breathing Brown dragon.

We must respond as citizens and as concerned parties and insist upon no cuts in welfare budget and no cuts in education. The tax on the wealthy to pay for the education deficit is a nice touch, but we cannot leave the poor to scramble for pennies on the street.

It is time we tell the state to cut back on spending on prisons, not by cutting services to inmates but by eliminating prison terms for victimless crimes like prostitution, drug use, migration, and excessive highway construction and repair. It seems that we could put some of that money to mass transit improvements and subsidies. Government for the people, not for the rich.

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Sacramento Bee

January 5, 2012

Jerry Brown budget cuts $1 billion from California welfare

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed Thursday slashing nearly $1.4 billion in welfare and child care aid for the poor while holding voters liable for $5 billion in education funding with a November tax measure.

The Democratic governor announced his January budget plan this afternoon after his proposal was inadvertently leaked on his Department of Finance website.

He estimates the state faces a $9.2 billion general fund deficit through June 2013, which he proposes to bridge with mostly cuts and taxes. Brown will ask voters to pass a $6.9 billion ballot measure in November that raises taxes on sales and income starting with single filers earning $250,000 a year. The taxes would last through 2016.

“With the tax program, we will eliminate the budget deficit finally, after years of kicking the can down the road,” Brown said.

With or without the taxes, Brown is calling for a base level of $4.2 billion in cuts, including the $946 million to welfare-to-work and $446 million to subsidized child care. He also would save $842 million in Medi-Cal by moving recipients into managed care plans.

The welfare cut would save money largely by cutting welfare for parents who don’t meet work requirements after 24 months, compared to 48 months now.

If voters approve his tax measure, K-12 schools and community colleges would receive $4.8 billion more than they do in the current fiscal year, for a total of $52.5 billion in state and local tax revenues. Those schools are already owed a significant share of that $4.8 billion under existing formulas and past promises made by state leaders.

If the measure fails, the state would cut that funding. It would provide schools the same amount they receive in the current fiscal year, though districts may have to borrow more money to keep their programs intact, an option many may find difficult. Districts also face growing labor costs each year, while they have already cut school days, laid off teachers and eliminated art and music programs to make ends meet.

If the taxes fail, the state would also cut $200 million each to the University of California and California State University systems, which have relied on large tuition hikes in recent years to offset state budget cuts. Even if the taxes pass, CSU would get no increase in state funding this year; UC would receive $90 million toward retirement costs.

Brown wants the Legislature to enact his social service cuts by March, but Democratic leaders have dismissed his call for early action. Last spring, state tax revenues outpaced expectations enough for Brown and lawmakers to assume nearly $12 billion more than the governor anticipated last January. Democrats do not want to make cuts now, only to find out that tax revenues come in higher again this spring.

“I do not see us taking cut action between now and the May (budget revision),” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said Wednesday. “We’ve done enough damage on the cuts side. And the cash situation is pretty good. And it isn’t like February of 2009 when we were close to heading over the cliff. I just don’t see the need to make early cuts.”

Posted by Kevin Yamamura

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/01/brown-budget-cuts-1-billion-from-welfare.html#storylink=cpy

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Brown Budget Sends ‘Ransom Note’ to California Voters on Taxes

Michael B. Marois and James Nash, ©2012 Bloomberg News

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) — California Governor Jerry Brown proposed a budget that would lop off the equivalent of three weeks from the public school year if voters reject his proposal for $7 billion in temporary tax increases.

The $92.6 billion spending plan Brown unveiled yesterday for the year that starts in July boosts spending by 7 percent from the current year, even though the state faces a $9.2 billion deficit. The increase is to be financed through economic growth, higher income taxes on those making at least $250,000 a year and expanded sales levies.

Brown, a 73-year-old Democrat who approved $16 billion in cuts last June, said the state would have to slash another $4.8 billion from education if voters fail to approve his tax plan at the polls in November. The largest U.S. state by population has perennial budget crises and Standard & Poor’s worst credit rating among its peers.

“It’s the most expensive ransom note in California political history,” Dan Schnur, a former aide to Republican Governor Pete Wilson and now director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said yesterday in a telephone interview.

Brown wants to raise income taxes on individuals making at least $250,000 a year to 10.3 percent from 9.3 percent. For those earning $300,000 to $500,000, the rate would climb to 10.8 percent. For single filers with income above $500,000, the tax would rise to 11.3 percent. Californians with income of more than $1 million are now taxed at 10.3 percent.

Sales Taxes

He also wants to boost retail sales taxes to 7.75 percent from 7.25 percent. The higher income and sales levies would expire after five years.

Brown has been trying to forge a coalition with unions and some business groups to raise the money needed to gather enough signatures to put the measures on the ballot. His effort for a voter initiative on higher taxes last year was blocked by Republican lawmakers.

“There are people who say we shouldn’t scare the voters,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, told reporters in the capitol yesterday. “I agree with that. But on the other hand, it is our obligation, the governor’s obligation, to inform the voters. The voters aren’t going to want to lose three weeks of the school year.”

Brown dismissed the notion that he was threatening to cut school funding to win support for his tax increase. His finance director, Ana Matosantos, noted that public schools, from kindergarten through 12th grade, account for 40 percent of state spending.

‘Where the Money Is’

“That’s where the money is,” Brown told reporters at a news briefing yesterday.

The new budget, Brown’s second since taking office one year ago, would slice $4.2 billion from existing spending, including almost $1 billion from welfare and another $842 million from the state’s health insurance program for the poor. School spending will increase by $4 billion, or 11 percent under his plan.

Brown’s proposal to cut health-care and welfare programs while maintaining education spending illustrates the disparate view voters have of those expenditures, Schnur said.

“There are lot more Californians who attended public school, or who have kids in school, than who receive health-care or welfare benefits,” Schnur said. “This budget recognizes the vast political difference between cuts in one versus the other.”

Health, Welfare Cuts

Brown’s budget also finances a shift in some health, welfare and prison programs to counties, which he has called realignment. His ballot measure also would include a constitutional protection of the money needed to keep paying counties for those services.

“The state of California is a very generous, compassionate political jurisdiction,” Brown said. “When we have to cut spending, that spending is going to come from programs that are doing a lot of good. It’s not nice. We don’t like it. But the economy and tax statutes of California make just so much money available.”

The $4.8 billion additional cut in education would be automatic if voters turn down Brown’s tax increase. Similar so- called trigger cuts aren’t new. Last month, Brown had to make $1 billion in additional cuts, including eliminating a $258 million busing subsidy, and trimming $230 million from higher education and $200 million in programs that help the elderly and disabled, after revenue fell below his estimates.

‘Boomerang’ Effect

“The boomerang could be that it makes voters more angry if they feel they’re being threatened,” state Senator Doug LaMalfa, a Richvale Republican, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “Voters don’t cotton to being threatened.”

Brown and fellow Democrats in the Legislature inserted those automatic reductions in the $86 billion budget they passed in June. They said at the time that the nascent economic rebound was likely to boost tax collections by $4 billion more than had been forecast a month earlier.

Then the recovery was shaken by Europe’s widening debt crisis and an impasse over raising the U.S. debt ceiling. In December, Brown’s Finance Department said revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30 would probably fall $2.2 billion below projected levels.

The cuts were intended in part to make sure that the state had enough cash on hand to repay investors who bought $5.4 billion of short-term cash-flow notes, which come due in June.

“The governor’s budget continues the progress made last year toward restoring stability, solvency and sanity to the state’s finances,” California Treasurer Bill Lockyer said yesterday in a statement. “It’s an honest, balanced and prudent plan.”

–With assistance from Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles and Alison Vekshin in San Francisco. Editors: Pete Young, Paul Tighe

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael B. Marois in Sacramento at mmarois@bloomberg.net; James Nash in Sacramento at jnash24@bloomberg.net

ILWU On EGT Dispute, Marxist-Humanists Meet, General Strike Meeting

Friday, January 6th, 2012

The dispute between the Longshoremen and EGT is subject to Taft-Hartley and so any support offered has to take in consideration that the authorities will be using the law to oppose the workers and to support the company. Activists have to be smart in outwitting the corporate class and their flunkies. The police are unfortunately on the side of the bosses, strange, when they are some of the most unionized workers.

On the other hand the Marxist-Humanists are a small group of Marxists who are trying to go back to Marx to come up with answers to today’s problems. But they are cognizant of the problems with Marxist-Leninism and the political states that resulted in the 20th century. It could be said they are recreating Marx in the image of the 21st century.

Meantime don’t forget to come to the Occupy May 1st General Strike meeting on January 7th. Noon at Corazon del Pueblo, 2003 E. First St, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (that’s near Cummings, east of the Golden State Freeway I-5.

I wanted to list some anarchist events around town, but it seems that all anarchist activity has been swept up in the Occupy events, maybe, I am not convinced. I am sure there is a whole anarchist community that is lurking out there somewhere. I have got to get in touch with my roots.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that this is real. I have to shake myself and remember that what for me has been a burden, the weight of decades of wishing and hoping and trying and failing, demonstrations that led nowhere, meetings that went nowhere, are all over, we are in the beginning of the new age. This is what the Maya were talking about the end of the old time, the end of the drudgery of the enslavement of mankind to building massive monuments to strange gods. We are now free to create a world that is ours, are well willing to move out and take it?

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ILWU Coast Longshore Division

January 3, 2012

To: All Longshore, Clerk, and Walking Boss/Foreman Locals

Brothers and Sisters:

We are currently engaged in a labor dispute with one of our employers, EGT, in the Pacific Northwest. EGT continues to refuse to return to the negotiating table with Local 21 after walking away from nearly two years of direct contract negotiations over the terms of employment for the longshore workers that EGT would be employing at its new facility in the very location on public port property that longshore workers have been performing longshore work for decades.

We believe that at some point this month a vessel will call at the EGT facility in Longview, Washington. We have been told that this vessel will be escorted by armed United States Coast Guard, including the use of small vessels and helicopters, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the EGT facility and that the facility itself will be protected by a full complement of local law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions.

The purpose of this letter is to inform and prepare the Longshore Division locals for the action that we will take when that vessel calls at EGT’s facility.

Locals need to be aware of the narrow path that we must cut through a federal labor law (the Taft-Hartley Act) that criminalizes worker solidarity, outlaws labor’s most effective tools, and protects commerce while severely restricting unions. Because Local 21’s labor dispute is with EGT, federal labor law entitles the Local to conduct picketing and other collective actions directed at EGT. Further, while the NLRB, which administers Taft-Hartley, sought and received an injunction in federal court on behalf of EGT against the ILWU and its members, the federal court denied the NLRB’s motion to ban picketing at the EGT facility in Longview, preserving our First Amendment rights to peacefully picket the company.

The NLRB is currently seeking a second injunction, this time on behalf of PMA, on the theory that any disruption of work by the ILWU on the West Coast docks at the same time that the Union is protesting EGT constitutes a violation of Taft-Hartley. However, we have no dispute with PMA or its member companies. Thus, any showing of support for Local 21 at the time that a vessel calls at the EGT facility must be measured to ensure that the West Coast ports have sufficient manpower so as not to impact cargo movement for PMA member companies. A call for a protest of EGT is not a call for a shutdown of West Coast ports and must not result in one.

In addition, be aware that officers, rank and file, and union supporters have been aggressively arrested or summoned to court by the hundreds for demonstrating against EGT. We were also falsely accused of hostage taking by a local police chief and subject to numerous other false characterizations as criminals and thugs. We are now being methodically and maliciously prosecuted for exercising our free speech rights, prosecution designed to lead to jail time, prohibition on future lawful picketing, and permanent criminal records. In essence, the company that promised good local jobs and then outsourced them is being protected by law enforcement, which means that middle class taxpayer dollars are subsidizing union busting multinational corporate giant EGT’s fight against the ILWU and Longview’s working community.

The goal of any demonstration that takes place corresponding with the arrival of a vessel will be designed to send the following message to EGT and local and federal law enforcement: EGT is threatening the stability of the local community and the Pacific Northwest grain export industry; and law enforcements’ collusion with EGT is destroying the public’s trust.

When the time comes, the International Officers and the Coast Committee will communicate with the Longshore Division locals and publicize action that supporters of the ILWU can take to advance the cause against EGT and protest government collusion to protect commerce at the expense of workers and community. We fully understand that the ILWU’s labor dispute with EGT is symbolic of what is wrong in the United States today. Corporations, no matter how harmful the conduct to society, enjoy full state and federal protection while workers and the middle class get treated as criminals for trying to protect their jobs and communities. However, please take extreme caution when dealing with supporters of non-ILWU sanctioned calls to action relative to EGT. Everything is at stake for the community of Longview and our members – including personal freedom. We welcome outside support for our efforts against EGT but must make effective use of collective power.

We will communicate with the locals as to the estimated time of the arrival of the vessel.

In Solidarity,

Robert McEllrath
International President

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LA Marxist Humanists Meeting

MARX AND THE STATE

SATURDAY, JANUARY 21, 2012

2:00-4:00 PM

Westside Pavilion, Community Room A

Corner of Pico and Westwood Boulevards, Los Angeles

Community Room A is on 3rd floor, behind food court

Free parking – first 3 hours

Speakers:

DC, historian and activist

Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins

The collapse of most of the statist regimes ruling in the name of Marxism has contributed to the rise of anarchist and left communist currents. The collapse of statist communism has also led to a rethinking of Marxism and an increased sense of separation between Marx and his political heirs, above all Lenin. This meeting will explore Marx’s mature writings on the state, especially those on the Paris Commune, wherein he argued for the abolition of both the state and capital.

Suggested reading, from Marx’s “Civil War in France”:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1871/civil-war-france/ch05.htm

Sponsored by West Coast Marxist-Humanists, an affiliate of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization

More information: arise@usmarxisthumanists.org

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/

FUTURE MEETING

Saturday, February 18, 2-4 PM, same location:

The Return(s) of Socialist Humanism and the Need for an Alternative

Speakers:

Barbara Epstein and Kevin Anderson

Barbara Epstein teaches at UC Santa Cruz in the History of Consciousness Department and writes on social movements; her most recent book is The Minsk Ghetto, 1941-1943: Jewish Resistance and Soviet Internationalism. She is currently working on a project on socialist humanism: its rise, decline, and continuing relevance for the left.

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Getting Old

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

I have not been feeling up to the demands of the times. I realize that I am only good for beginnings. Once things get rolling I quickly find myself to be easily exhausted. Therefore I have to pace myself. I don’t know if it is a matter of age, my disability, or a mental condition, but I begin to feel anxiety, like I need to make sure things are going right and I realize I simply don’t have the capability to push people in the direction I once wanted them to go like I used to. Or perhaps I should say many people are already moving in the direction I want to go in and there is less need for me to be at the forefront, which is good because I don’t have the energy or enthusiasm I once had. What I would like to do is spend time on study and research. That is more my angle now. Although I don’t know if I am smart enough.

Organizing demonstrations, and street actions is no longer my forte, I can’t get busted, and because of that I am no longer a good person for being out there on the street, I back away from excessive violence, and busy activity, hell I can’t keep up when the demonstrations turn into chases. I am a plodder now. It is a sad fact of life. So I must turn to the studious approach and provide what service I can that way.

In my working life I was a planner and estimator. I figured out how to get things done, and how much it would cost. I arranged for vendors, set schedules and did it for multiple projects. I notice that at political meetings I am concerned about how we are going to get things done, more than why. Why, I assume everyone has their version of a revolutionary theory in their heads. What I want to discuss is tactics and what we are going to do. But I can’t do much anymore, I find myself overwhelmed quite easily. I am an old man… shit.

I guess these Occupy kids came along just in time to pick up the torch and carry the message of human solidarity and freedom.

Some Thoughts On Nationalism

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

My buddy Jack called me and we got into a discussion on the nature of Nationalism and Liberalism. He called himself a classical liberal, i.e. he is making some money, and he declared nationalism to be neutral.

I then argued with him over the nature of nationalism, that it was born in the 18th century out of French and German theory and the French Revolution, and to a lesser extent the American Revolution. A bastard child of the Enlightenment, itself a mutant descendant of the Reformation, Nationalism is certainly not neutral, being a root cause of most of the wars in the 20th century. Nationalism can be progressive as a form of liberation from the old rule of the aristocracy-church-kings in Europe, but in the modern era, hyper nationalism is only useful in separating the mass of humanity from their real interests. In a world of interconnected realities the only purpose of nationality is if it aids in resisting corporate globalism. But with international law trumping national law, there is little purpose for nationalism unless it is in creating islands of resistance to corporate rule.

There are forms of tribal identity that might be called proto-nationalism, speaking a common tongue, having a common culture, the things that anthropologists consider when they look at what makes a people, these are what might be called natural nationalism, to the extent that any particular identity is permanent. Anthropology teaches us that humanity is infinitely flexible. The question comes, do we as the over culture have the right to destroy sub-cultures, languages, etc., simply because we are dominant? Nationalism could be seen as a resistance to dominance, but in the 18th century it was the dominance of the Kings, churches and aristocracy of warriors. Now it is the dominance of the multinational corporate mega state.

International solidarity, based on the concept of a universal working class uniting to oppose the ruling classes, is one construct, but it does not seem to be as emotionally compelling as the feelings of loyalty to hearth and home. World War One seems to have proved that point when the international socialist movement fell apart and separated into nationalist parts. When the shit hits the fan, the fans go back to the tribe and the family. Perhaps the Romans were not all that far off building loyalties out of family connections and adoptions.

But there still is a human solidarity that although not proscribed by the concept of working class, but does mean the interests of the vast majority, the 99% who do not control the wealth of the world, against the new aristocracy or perhaps oligarchy of the class of the few who have, and the many who have degrees of less. This is the solidarity of we want. But there must be more, there must be a - we dream, we desire, we love, something that was more evident in the spirit of the sixties. We are more than our demands, we are a growing sense of the human family as one, not as a series of warring tribes. If the 1% must be sacrificed for this unity to come, then let the scapegoating begin. If they will simply give up, dissolve, then we must be capable of filling the void with other than the multinational corporations; after all it is the product of the end of history, capitalism triumphant. The only future is to step into democratic socialism, we working together.

The German philosopher Herder with his emphasis on the Volk, is to a great extent the father of modern nationalism in the sense of the culture of the people and developing the modern intellectual underpinnings of nationalism.

But there could be an argument that the reformation is the root of nationalism. Although much of the thinking that emerged as nationalism started in French society conversations in the salons of Paris, what is less well known is what the thinking was among the intellectual poor of the time.

Byron and the romantics presented nationalism as the next step in human liberation from the old empires.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Gottfried_Herder

This is an excerpt from article on Herder.

“Along with Wilhelm von Humboldt, Herder was one of the first to argue that language determines thought, a theme that two centuries later would be central to the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. Herder’s focus upon language and cultural traditions as the ties that create a “nation”[1] extended to include folklore, dance, music and art, and inspired Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in their collection of German folk tales.

Herder attached exceptional importance to the concept of nationality and of patriotism – “he that has lost his patriotic spirit has lost himself and the whole worlds about himself”, whilst teaching that “in a certain sense every human perfection is national”. Herder carried folk theory to an extreme by maintaining that “there is only one class in the state, the Volk, (not the rabble), and the king belongs to this class as well as the peasant”. Explanation that the Volk was not the rabble was a novel conception in this era, and with Herder can be seen the emergence of “the people” as the basis for the emergence of a classless but hierarchical national body.

The nation, however, was individual and separate, distinguished, to Herder, by climate, education, foreign intercourse, tradition and heredity. Providence he praised for having “wonderfully separated nationalities not only by woods and mountains, seas and deserts, rivers and climates, but more particularly by languages, inclinations and characters”. Herder praised the tribal outlook writing that “the savage who loves himself, his wife and child with quiet joy and glows with limited activity of his tribe as for his own life is in my opinion a more real being than that cultivated shadow who is enraptured with the shadow of the whole species”, isolated since “each nationality contains its centre of happiness within itself, as a bullet the centre of gravity”. With no need for comparison since “every nation bears in itself the standard of its perfection, totally independent of all comparison with that of others” for “do not nationalities differ in everything, in poetry, in appearance, in tastes, in usages, customs and languages? Must not religion which partakes of these also differ among the nationalities?”"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism

From article on Nationalism

“The term nationalism was coined by Johann Gottfried Herder (nationalismus) during the late 1770s. Precisely where and when nationalism emerged is difficult to determine, but its development is closely related to that of the modern state and the push for popular sovereignty that surfaced with the French Revolution and the American Revolution in the late 18th century and culminated with the ethnic/national revolutions of Europe, for instance the Greek War of Independence.”

http://www.pinkmonkey.com/studyguides/subjects/euro_his/chap1/e0101g01.htm

From an article on the legacy of the Reformation.

. “The fall-out of the religious intolerance was that the rulers of every state in central and Western Europe, whether they were Catholic or Protestant sought to base their political unity on the religious unity. Hence, they used their power to compel their subjects to adopt one official kind of Christianity. Since the time of Pope Leo X, who faced the Lutheran revolt, he and succeeding Popes banned Protestants and urged secular rulers to suppress heresy by force. On the other hand, Luther made an appeal to the secular rulers to use force against Catholics. Even Calvin, who was considered as an apostle of religious tolerance did not permit either Catholic or dissenting Protestants to reside in Geneva.”

http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/see/18thCentury.pdf
An excerpt below.
“Economic and Social Conditions in France during the Eighteenth Century
The peasants, from the beginning of the Middle Ages, were completely freed from servitude in most parts of France and came to own the land they cultivated, with the right to will it to heirs, or to sell or exchange it. This property, however, was burdened with dues imposed by the manorial system, made particularly irksome because of the latter’s practices and abuses. And yet there is reason to believe that the continuation of the manorial system up to the Revolution helped toward the consolidation of peasant ownership. This seems to us all the more plausible if we reflect that in England, where the manorial system was considerably weakened toward the end of the Middle Ages, peasant ownership was ultimately eliminated almost altogether in favor of the landed aristocracy.”

This is interesting and may be one of the factors in the earlier development of industry in England than in France. Labor was available in England, partly due to the enclosure movement which was the process by which the landed aristocracy were able to push peasants off the land. It is naturally more complicated than that. England was able to implement agricultural reforms that increased productivity that in theory was developed in France. This was largely the use of “four field crop rotation” adapted from the Dutch, enclosure, selective breeding and some mechanization were causes of the British Agricultural Revolution. This allowed for labor to be released to the cities where insipient industrialists were investing in early factories. By allowing the peasantry to retain land ownership, the French were suffering from inefficiencies, bread shortages, and ultimately revolution of a political nature. Whereas in England the people were channeled into the factories, but in France there were shortages of labor, as most people were still attached to the land. (My own theory, but I am getting off track).

The end result now is that movement to the next level of human interdependence, must be procured by an intellectual revolution in conceptualizing the way forward. Stumbling blindly or regurgitating old methodologies simply won’t make it, we must build upon our Marxism’s, and other relics of the Romantic revolution in imagining the individual man as a free agent. We must now reimagine him/her as an interdependent agent, sort of like being suspended in Jello.


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