Culture of Resistance

faraashah:

some people don’t realize that to a lot of people politics is a survival method. not just some elective or cool lib-art major you utilize in dinner conversations. we pick up these books not out of curiosity but because our circumstances force us to identify, deconstruct, and reconstruct. because otherwise we’d be complicent in our own oppression.

(via beemill)

Posted by
Lemond

america-wakiewakie:

The Hidden Benefits of Food Stamps | Mother Jones

In September, just two days after a Census Bureau report showed that food stamps helped keep 4 million Americans out of poverty last year, the US House of Representatives approved a $39 billion cut to the program (known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) over the next decade.

The House proposal, now being negotiated along with smaller, yet still significant, Senate cuts of $4 billion, would result in 3.8 million people being removed from food stamps in 2014,according to the Congressional Budget Office. The haggling comes at a time when more than 15 percent of Americans remain mired in poverty, and more than half are at or near the poverty line when stagnant middle-class wages are matched against rising costs of living, US Census data show.

Although the Republican-controlled House cuts are unlikely, given a promised veto from President Obama, food stamps will still be slashed by $5 billion on Nov. 1, when the 2009 Recovery Act that increased the aid along with other stimulus spending expires. The 13.6 percent temporary boost in food stamp dollars helped more than half a million Americans escape food insecurity, and millions more to climb out of poverty—4.7 million in 2011 alone, according the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

Eighty-three percent of food stamps go to households with children, seniors, and nonelderly people with disabilities. The Nov. 1 reduction means $36 less per month for a family of four and $11 less for a single person. In 2012, the average recipient got $133.41 in food stamps per month—that works out to $1.48 per meal. "Without the Recovery Act’s boost, SNAP benefits will average less than $1.40 per person per meal in 2014," reports the CBPP. 

"The Republican attack on food stamps is "totally counter-factual," says Peter Edelman, a professor of law at Georgetown University and a former Clinton administration official who resigned in protest of the 1996 welfare overhaul. "Millions of people are unemployed and millions more don’t earn enough to pay all their bills. The idea that food stamps, which provide support at one-third of the poverty line, is incentivizing people not to seek jobs that don’t exist anyway is beyond bizarre."

Extensive research shows food stamps are a highly effective investment delivering big returns for all Americans, not just the poor. SNAP not only provides an economic and nutritional lifeline for low-income Americans, it also creates a significant boon to the wider economy.

(Read Full Text)

Obama had a lot of support in big business, much more than any discussion of the campaign that I know of would suggest.

But where the story got really interesting for us is when we did our usual move, which was start looking at pieces of the business community, usually sectors first. And there we quickly discover that in certain industries Obama’s support is running way higher than his average. And those industries turn out to be six in particular: telecommunications, electronics, defense, software on the web, computers, and manufacturing for the web.

In June 2013, when the Snowden revelations hit, you know, from Glen Greenwald and company at The Guardian, and to some extent The Washington Post, we were looking at these results and said, you know, this is really very interesting. These sectors that are showing extremely high percentages of contribution to Obama are precisely the sectors in which a large number of those firms that are mentioned are real active. And at that point, you know, we know we have a really interesting conclusion, which is that a lot of the Obama bastions of support, maybe the biggest of all, is precisely those firms, the ones responsible for the surveillance—I should say, sectors in which those firms predominate. On the other hand, I can also tell you, without trying to go firm-by-firm, a lot of the folks discussed in The Guardian and other publications, Google, Facebook, Apple, for example, they all contain substantial contributions or contributors, ‘cause you can have both the firm and executives contribute under our rules these days. They show up for the Democrats in substantial amounts.

Data Shows Democrats Fully Embraced by Surveillance Industry | The Real News

Bush and Cheney may have invented it, but national Democratic Party leaders are full-fledged players in the 21st-century national surveillance state. And the interest-group pressures that now help to sustain its defenders in Washington work just as powerfully on Democrats as on Republicans. 

(via america-wakiewakie)

Reblogged from America Wakie Wakie

america-wakiewakie:

Collateral Murder in Iraq | Wikileaks

For many Americans of short memory, this classified 17 minute video has fallen from the public discourse. It is a stark reminder of just how brutal our foreign policy can be, depicting over a dozen innocent Iraqis indiscriminately slaughtered by United States’ military forces. After watching it, I hope you all will better know that our presence in the Middle-East is more prone to generating violent blowback than it ever will create peace.

Pundits in Washington have long called the retaliatory violence against American imperialism “terrorist.” Remember the definition of the word terrorism: the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

We label them the terrorists, not ourselves, despite the fact that it is we, not Iraqis, not Afghans, not Iranians, nor any other peoples we invade or intimidate, that have the most to gain from violent aggression. We want American hegemony. It is we who must maintain a petrodollar world economy. It is we who profit from war and maintain the world’s largest military-industrial-complex. It is we, more than anyone else, who wish to dominate the nations of the Middle-East.    

After decades of war our culture has threaded through itself a clearly defined and widely accepted, yet often unarticulated, acceptance of violent oppression. It is, within the dissonance we abide, a fully rationalized phenomenon for our government, with full confidence of we the United States’ citizens, to carry out odious acts of state-sanctioned terrorism against our fellow man. Yet when those we murder, so clearly revealed in this video, grow weary enough to fight our occupations, their counter-violence is totally fetishized, their humanity dehumanized. 

As Jeff Sluka said:

”The condemnation of liberation movements for resorting to violence or armed struggle is almost invariably superficial, hypocritical, judgmental, and unfair and tends strongly to represent another example of the generalized phenomenon of “blaming the victim.” The violence of the situation, the per-existing oppression suffered by those who eventually strike back, is conveniently ignored. The violence of the oppressed is a form of defensive counter-violence to the violence of conquest and oppression. In no armed national liberation movement I know of in history has this not been the case.”

—National Liberation Movements in Global Context

The so called terrorism we are fighting, in reality, is the counterviolence created by the terrorism we commit. If we really wanted to end terrorism, we would stop participating in it. When the men, women and children of Iraq and Afghanistan have lives of American imperialism to fear rather more than death, the words of Jean-Paul Sartre come to life as “…the torrent of violence sweeps away all barriers… It is the moment of the boomerang; it is the third phase of violence; it comes back on us, it strikes us, and we do not realize any more than we did the other times that it’s we who have launched it.”

Editor’s Note: On July 6, 2010, Private Chelsea Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly speaking to an unfaithful journalist), and subsequently imprisoned. The whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Manning a hero.

(via america-wakiewakie)

america-wakiewakie:

Collateral Murder in Iraq | Wikileaks

For many Americans of short memory, this classified 17 minute video has fallen from the public discourse. It is a stark reminder of just how brutal our foreign policy can be, depicting over a dozen innocent Iraqis indiscriminately slaughtered by United States’ military forces. After watching it, I hope you all will better know that our presence in the Middle-East is more prone to generating violent blowback than it ever will create peace.

Pundits in Washington have long called the retaliatory violence against American imperialism “terrorist.” Remember the definition of the word terrorism: the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

We label them the terrorists, not ourselves, despite the fact that it is we, not Iraqis, not Afghans, not Iranians, nor any other peoples we invade or intimidate, that have the most to gain from violent aggression. We want American hegemony. It is we who must maintain a petrodollar world economy. It is we who profit from war and maintain the world’s largest military-industrial-complex. It is we, more than anyone else, who wish to dominate the nations of the Middle-East.    

After decades of war our culture has threaded through itself a clearly defined and widely accepted, yet often unarticulated, acceptance of violent oppression. It is, within the dissonance we abide, a fully rationalized phenomenon for our government, with full confidence of we the United States’ citizens, to carry out odious acts of state-sanctioned terrorism against our fellow man. Yet when those we murder, so clearly revealed in this video, grow weary enough to fight our occupations, their counter-violence is totally fetishized, their humanity dehumanized. 

As Jeff Sluka said:

”The condemnation of liberation movements for resorting to violence or armed struggle is almost invariably superficial, hypocritical, judgmental, and unfair and tends strongly to represent another example of the generalized phenomenon of “blaming the victim.” The violence of the situation, the per-existing oppression suffered by those who eventually strike back, is conveniently ignored. The violence of the oppressed is a form of defensive counter-violence to the violence of conquest and oppression. In no armed national liberation movement I know of in history has this not been the case.”

—National Liberation Movements in Global Context

The so called terrorism we are fighting, in reality, is the counterviolence created by the terrorism we commit. If we really wanted to end terrorism, we would stop participating in it. When the men, women and children of Iraq and Afghanistan have lives of American imperialism to fear rather more than death, the words of Jean-Paul Sartre come to life as “…the torrent of violence sweeps away all barriers… It is the moment of the boomerang; it is the third phase of violence; it comes back on us, it strikes us, and we do not realize any more than we did the other times that it’s we who have launched it.”

Editor’s Note: On July 6, 2010, Private Chelsea Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly speaking to an unfaithful journalist). The whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Manning a ‘hero’.

The Christian church has left a legacy, a world view, that permeates every aspect of Western society, both secular and religious. It is a legacy that fosters sexism, racism, the intolerance of difference, and the desecration of the natural environment. The Church, throughout much of its history, has demonstrated a disregard for human freedom, dignity, and self-determination. It has attempted to control, contain and confine spirituality, the relationship between an individual and God. As a result, Christianity has helped to create a society in which people are alienated not only from each other but also from the divine.

Helen Ellerbe, The Dark Side of Christian History (pdf)

(via beemill)

Posted by
Lemond

america-wakiewakie:

Not following the linage of a word, where it is reinvented just to debase it or to conflate it, is one of the most intellectually dishonest trends of the modern politic. When we talk about the very idea of discussion, and when we want to properly convey our ideas to the greater public, how can we possibly be successful when people constantly breakdown the consensus of meanings?

It’s really annoying to have to deconstruct somebody’s conceptions before you ever even tackle an issue. It’s tedious, nuanced and the process tends to lend itself to ego induced bantering. Usually when I see this is necessary, which seems to always be the case in American politics, by the time I’ve ciphered through the bullshit I see I am either running low on steam or the other person is glazing over with “beating dead horse” syndrome.

I suppose the only solution I can see is re-reinventing these concepts. Take the roots of libertarianism for example, which when we think of it nowadays we imagine the unthinking of the Tea Party movement. Taken further by the Tea Partiers themselves we are led to associate them with the Founders, rather than say the actual modern Tea Party founders and tycoons the Koch brothers. In that reinvention with its purposeful conflating, we totally lose the libertarianism of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and anti-state socialists like him. New history of the word is fabricated to destroy it, to mask its history and rewrite it to the degree we no longer can understand its inherent and central theme: anarchism.

A Post-Oil World — Green energy is but part of the answer

america-wakiewakie:

With the cost of fossil fuels on the rise, the peoples of the industrialized world and their governments will soon find themselves within an inescapable squeeze of planetary proportions. Stateside, in California, the price at the pump has already soared to $4.70 per gallon. In Europe, customers pay even more money for less. In a globalized world of petrochemically dependent economies, the prospect of oil’s declining production and its escalating prices not only threatens the global economy, but it forces modern civilization to reconcile the simplest of truths—nothing can grow in perpetuity. That’s right, say it aloud—nothing can grow in perpetuity.

As if the petro-revolution of the past century in agribusiness or car culture could be systematically and alternatively replaced, the scope of our energy crisis has been framed within the question “What’s next?” Proponents of green energy enthusiastically point toward expanding wind and solar capacity, or for those unwilling to undertake these initiatives, a move away from uranium bomb-building to power-plant construction.

Though small in comparison to Big Oil, these eco-warriors have been granted a limited but growing audience.

Germany leads the world in renewable energy. By 2030 its government projects to have moved its consumption into sustainability by as much as 50%, and an ambitious 100% by 2050, political will enduring. It will do so through a variety of wind and solar initiatives, whilst moving away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The German trailblazers are not alone with Spain and the United Kingdom following suit.

According to Forbes, China too, home of the world’s second largest economy, has recognized the urgency of looming energy crises. This year it has invested $52billion in green projects and will quintuple its investment over the next half decade. US investment was $51billion, despite its dwarfingly large economy.

Even the oil saturated Middle-East has stepped into the sunshine, literally. Earlier this year Saudi Arabia announced plans to initiate one of the most drastic moves toward solar energy the world has yet seen. The Kingdom of 27million will install and operate solar panels to generate electricity to the tune of 54,000MW (megawatts), twice that of US output.

Sounds good right? 

A better example of using statistics to paint a green-washed projection of our planetary future would be hard to find. Valiant as they are, and as inevitably as green energy must be pursued, these efforts cannot solve our problem for it remains framed within false presumptions. On this planet an endless energy supply does not exist, nor one that can sustain the economic expansion the capitalist nations of the world require.

Above all others, the Adam Smiths of the planet ought to recognize the impossibility of our problem; after all, this iron curtain is merely a function of supply and demand economics.

Currently, US demand consumes 25% of the world’s oil production—it holds less than 3% of its reserves. With all variables held constant this would not be a problem; but, systemically, the variables must change. The world’s largest capitalist economy must continue to grow, less it were to accept decline, recession, higher unemployment and eventual depression. Its GDP (gross domestic product) of over $14trillion must eventually become $15trillion, and subsequently $16trillion. To accomplish this, as demand continues to escalate, so too will the need to exponentially increase the supply of energy—more importantly, cost effective energy.

Expanded globally, the industrialized world, and emerging economies, depend on the same capitalist principle of perpetual growth. Like the US, their economies require much the same petrol-dependent consumption to drive their own expansion. As each economy grows within our oil paradigm, each nation must aggregate enough of it to continue onward unfettered.

Competition is the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma. 

Resource aggregation has become a primary function of government. China’s positioning in Africa, and US positioning in the Middle-East, even if not for its own direct consumption but to ensure the health of the markets where its consumables are bought, serve as primary examples. Thus, each nation must increase its demand, whether domestic or abroad, and find supply to sustain growth, even if at the expense of other nations and peoples.

The drive to expand, consume, exploit at rates ever escalating is presented within the global market as a zero-sum game. Either our economy must grow, or we will suffer. Either our economy must grow faster than all other economies, or our nation will suffer.

With this arrogant mentality we have begun to address our energy crisis still believing we can infinitely expand. We believe we can infinitely increase demand and that supply can infinitely be found. This is preposterous. The Global Footprint Network, a non-profit for sustainable futures, has estimated that if we continue along this path of consumption, human populations will require an equivalent of three Earths by 2050 to survive. This knowledge is openly available and easily accessed, yet from the lowest levels of societal participation to the highest levels of political governance the problem accelerates.

More and more madness. 

To paraphrase philosopher Slavoj Žižek, paradoxically, consensus of the solution to the failures of capitalism seems to be more capitalism. Runaway grow-baby-grow consumption at all costs is exemplified in our drill-baby-drill environmental policies.

After British Petroleum plastered the Gulf of Mexico with pollution through an ill-maintained oil rig, a temporary moratorium was placed on some deepwater drilling. Shortly thereafter that restriction was lifted. This year more permits for new wells have been issued than since 2007. The Obama Administration has taken it further by approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a transnational oil line to transport the most toxic oil imaginable from Canada’s tar-sands back to the very ecosystem so recently assaulted, and directly over precious natural aquifers. To top it off, would-be elect presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants to expand harmful drilling in Alaska’s park reserves, as well as expand the already 4,000 ticking time bombs in the Gulf.

These are not solutions to our crisis; they are band-aids to a gushing wound. They are ecocidal mania perpetuated by a global culture which does not understand that living 300% beyond sustainability is going to kill us all. None of these self-proclaimed solutions put at the forefront of our efforts that nothing can grow in perpetuity. We have grown too accustomed to the benefits of petrochemical economies, on growth for the sake of growth.

Consider the impacts of oil on agriculture. Oil is an energy dense compound. Stored within it is the photosynthetic energy of plants and animals now long dead. This is energy absorbed from the sun by plants, then consumed by animals, now decomposed into fossil fuel. Before oil was discovered the planet was filled for millions of years with these energy deposits. As we discovered and began to use oil we developed more machinery to help farm, and we also invented petroleum based herbicides to enhance crop yields. Food supplies exploded upwards. All the while we have been using energy stored from the past, not energy produced in the present. It is as if we are spending money from a savings account—but we have been over-drafting. When we include the stored energy we consume to produce our food, according to author Jason Godesky, we consume ten calories for every one calorie produced. We have been running an energy deficit for nearly a century, counting on the dead to sustain the continuously expanding living with food, transportation and disposable consumption.

Moving on is more necessity than choice.

The sobering truth is when the oil is gone, or when it takes more calories of energy to aggregate it than it would yield in products, the maximum energy we will ever be able to use is what the sun can photosynthetically give us in a day. Though we can already store solar energy, neither it, nor wind or any chemically based energy source can allow humanity to continue to run the deficits oil does now.

There is no ‘next’ to cure our oil addiction. There is only the realization that eventually we will have to drastically change our energy consumption. We will have to abandon capitalist dictated expansion and opt for systems of locality with our primary focus on sustainable living. Nothing grows forever, and we do not need it to either. For us to be happy, the good news is we do not need to live in the way this culture has fashioned. We do not need avocados shipped to us from laborers in Peru—we have pumpkin squash right here in our community’s garden. We do not need Nike shoes made in Vietnam—a shoemaker is just around the bend. We do not need an SUV to get to Pensacola beach—the train leaves tomorrow. Only solutions where we grow not our militaries and economies, but our families and communities can ultimately reinvent the future shaping before us.

(via america-wakiewakie)

The condemnation of liberation movements for resorting to violence or armed struggle is almost invariably superficial, hypocritical, judgmental, and unfair and tends strongly to represent another example of the generalized phenomenon of “blaming the victim.” The violence of the situation, the per-existing oppression suffered by those who eventually strike back, is conveniently ignored. The violence of the oppressed is a form of defensive counter-violence to the violence of conquest and oppression. In no armed national liberation movement I know of in history has this not been the case.

Jeff Sluka, National Liberation Movements in Global Context (via america-wakiewakie)

(via america-wakiewakie)

america-wakiewakie:

This revelation of the political right praising the acquittal of George Zimmerman has come as little surprise. As the weeks of trial progressed the oft repeated phrases I heard from conservatives all around me was “This ought to have never gone to trial,” as if the death of a young black teenager meant so little as wiping sweat from the brow of an inconvenienced bystander. The irrational conservative views Martin’s murder as the exercising of gun rights, not the loss of life, not the ending of a young man’s barely started journey. In fact these are those whom say Trayvon Martin was the criminal, that he was a hooligan gangster wannabe. Talking heads the likes of Rush Limbaugh, no doubt, have been injecting that vitriol for months. So it is little wonder that when we delve only a bit deeper, we can make the connection of gun-zealot conservatives seeing this case as ratifying their perceived right to shoot people, and by people I mean blacks and Latinos, virtually whenever they feel like it and actually be exonerated. It feels to me as if these folks tell themselves, “What good is a gun if I can’t use it?”