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No Sale

1:44 pm in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

At some point, we must say, “No.”

At some point, we must recognize that every member of Al Queda or ISIL we kill comes back to haunt us – in the form of five more recruits. Five more people who hate us. Who are determined to pay us back. Who will not rest until they have.

So often we hear that we are a Judeo-Christian nation. I don’t buy it, but let’s play along.

Confession is a key component of both systems of belief. So at what point do we confess to our mistakes? Does anyone reading this really think our leaders – ANY of them – will ever stand at a podium and admit that there is one thing and one only (fossil fuel) that keeps us meddling in the Mideast, supporting an apartheid regime in Israel, and killing brown people?

I am ashamed of our inability to fess up. Great nations can, you know. Great nations – and we are not one of them – use the rearview and the information it provides to gauge and adjust the effectiveness of their policies going forward. By what measure does our behavior and history in the Mideast amount to anything other than colossal failure, let alone proof positive that renewing our efforts to kill brown people is the informed course?

“Better to fight terrorists there than here.” Or we could stop giving them a reason to fight.

A mere fraction of the billions upon billions spent on making war in the Mideast – applied instead to border security – would have solved this problem. Without bloodshed.

Instead we ignored the first WTC bombing in 1993. We left our borders porous. We didn’t put hardened, 24/7/365 security on the roofs and in the parking garages of every iconic American property.

In short, in the face of evidence that bad people were trying to make a bold statement like the one they made 13 years ago today (and 21 years after that first attack) we failed to do what we twist ourselves into pretzels claiming we are doing in the Mideast: Defend the homeland.

What might we have learned, had we inquired about what was behind that first attack? If introspection had taken the place of hubris? Could we have worked proactively to stop using the Mideast as our gas station and mothballed our weapons plants?

Of course.

But that’s not what we’re interested in.

We want to impose our will all across the world. And that means killing people. Doing it keeps the engines (jet engines, specifcially) turning. It keeps the munitions lines rolling. It keeps the Offense Industry – can we please start calling it what it actually is? – humming. From drone manufacturers to casket makers.

And all across the world, we are hated – deeply – for it.

We (and by “we” I mean our military leaders) are addicted to oil and gas and to destroying lives and the planet to get them. But it’s more than that. We go and get and continue to use oil and gas because we can, with absolute impunity. You know it and I know it.

But what U.S. official has ever stood up and said so, let alone expressed appropriate shame over it? Or admitted something else we all know: Had we put the same effort and resources into developing alternatives to oil and gas that we did getting to the moon, hundreds of thousands of lives would have been spared, we would not be hated, and CO2 levels would have remained safe.

And maybe – just maybe – the “Peace Dividend” we heard so much about when the Cold War ended would have actually materialized.

The United States is a Failed Experiment

9:36 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

Capitalism is endemic to the American way of life. Since the earliest days of its founding, the United States has valued, praised, and encouraged “free enterprise” as a hallmark of individual initiative and a key element in citizens’ rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

A photo of the original US Constitution

Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby is the last nail in this never-really-was-a-country-anyway’s coffin.”

All that changed Monday.

The United States has been worshipping at the altar of capitalism for so long now that we’ve lost all ability to see that rights accrue to individuals – free agents and groups of same which sometimes form legal entities for the purpose of conducting commerce – not to those legal entities themselves.

While clear signs that the personification of businesses had gone too far prevailed before the Supreme Court’s ridiculous ruling in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, the Court had an opportunity to moderate that clearly untenable path. Instead it doubled down, affirming that, at least for five ideology-driven old men, businesses are not just people, they can also be religions, where individuals – be they customers or employees – must check their rights at the door.

The theoretical and actual impact of this is beyond doubt. America – to many of us little more than a legal construct (much like the businesses it worships) – is dead. Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby is the last nail in this never-really-was-a-country-anyway’s coffin.

While surely a blow to the broader population’s chances of reining in the capitalist model, the Court’s much-reviled Citizens United ruling was not, for me at least, absolute proof of Carlin’s Theorem. (Yes, that would be George Carlin: “They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”) Like many others when Citizen’s United was handed down, I reasoned that if people would finally organize around an umbrella of indisputably humanist, commonsense, peace-, people- and planet-first policy imperatives, it wasn’t too late to beat back the forces of unbridled greed, and oppression of the working masses. There might even still be hope for collapsing in a dusty heap that grand enabler of capitalism – perpetual warfare – in favor of responsible freedoms, egalitarianism and peace.

Such a successful challenge had not been mounted in this (“)country(”) for more than 100 years, but I chose to believe – foolishly, it now appears — one could again take root.

My hope was grounded in part in single-issue successes of varying importance won since our Progressive Era of 1892-1917; the first (and apparently last) great cross-partisan uprising against elitism, corporate greed and worker oppression. That era produced women’s suffrage, direct election of Senators, the eight-hour workday and labor unions, progressive taxation, anti-trust laws, and the beginnings of a social safety net. Victories since, including civil rights (though under direct assault as I type), abortion rights (ditto); women’s rights (tritto), gay rights, marriage equality and reform of marijuana laws buoyed my spirit.

Then came the Occupy movement, which held real promise as the populist uprising I’d hoped for, embracing myriad issues of humanism while advocating kicking corporatists to the curb. Before, at least, its masterful and nearly immediate co-option.

And now, finally, Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby. Hope is a disease, and I’ve been cured.

It’s bad enough when greed and oppression are personified and treated as legitimate constituencies in any national debate. But when their practitioners are also sanctified — granted special dispensation from following the law based on a claimed set of religious beliefs, despite the long-held and rigorously tested ideal of separation of Church and State — the game is clearly over. Why fool ourselves?

In codifying companies’ “right” to refuse to follow duly-enacted American law – despite operating in America and employing Americans and selling to Americans who access their businesses via American infrastructure – the Supreme Court, in legal effect, created countless Branch Davidian compounds all across the country. (You do remember the Branch Davidians, right?)

In light of Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, it’s no stretch to suggest a sign be placed at the entrance of every for-profit company claiming an exemption to laws of the United States, to wit:

UPON ENTERING THESE PREMISES, THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES NO LONGER APPLY NOR PROTECT YOU. FROM A LEGAL STANDPOINT, YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENTER AND WILL REMAIN WITHIN THE BOUNDS AND UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF ANOTHER COUNTRY, UNTIL YOU AGAIN CROSS THIS THRESHOLD. ASSUMING YOU DO.

Is that extreme? Think about it.

By bowing to what it deemed a “sincerely held” religious objection to the law — a “sincerity” questionable at best (and more accurately an outright lie) when one considers that oh-so-abortion-aghast Hobby Lobby purchases and sells products produced in a country (China) where forced abortion is the law – the Supreme Court accepted prima-facie Hobby Lobby’s claims of religiosity of an extent sufficient to countervail its inherent responsibility to obey the law. What now stops the Court from opining that companies have a right to police their grounds however they see fit, up to and including summary executions for, say, shoplifting — if that’s what an organization’s claimed “deeply held religious convictions” dictate?

Read the rest of this entry →

Dear Son: I’m Spinning In My Grave

12:50 pm in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

Artie:

Portrait of NYTimes publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr

A message from the ancestors of NYTimes publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr

What the hell are you thinking? Is your memory really that short? Your male pride that excessive? Or your desire to become the pet of the government that irresistible?

I gotta tell you, Junior. When the rumors first surfaced up here on Wednesday, I had my doubts. My own flesh and blood – practically weaned on the First Amendment and exposed to countless applications of its tenets throughout his life – had just fired the Times’ first female editor because… she’s pushy???

Son, just what the hell do you think the Times’ consistent Progressive stance, maintained throughout my tenure as publisher for almost 30 years, was all about? You think I published the Pentagon Papers for my health? Oy.

You do realize that newspapers have always played a key role in our society in general and politics in particular — right? Because from what I’ve seen and heard about your tenure, I really can’t be sure anymore. I should have had my suspicions back when your colleagues nicknamed you “Pinch.”

And today, this tripe about Abramson’s management style. Really? Do you have any concept of how that looks to women? For Christ’s sake, pushy, abrupt — wait, make that tyrannical — male editors are the stuff of journalism legend! And you fire the first woman in the role at our once-great paper over management style? To put it in the current vernacular, son, WTF?

Maybe the other storyline is accurate, that you were pressed by government officials to replace her. At least that wouldn’t offend an entire gender; it would merely subvert the Times’ mission of government watchdog to that of Administration lapdog.

Either way, son, I am EXTREMELY disappointed in this decision. In less than three years Abramson brought you eight Pulitzers. She was righting the ship. Did you seriously expect that to be anything like smooth sailing, given its chronic foundering with you at the helm?

In less than a generation you’ve managed to rip apart what took me, your grandparents, and MY grandparents several generations to build. Not merely an organization, but its reputation.

Please, son. Make at least this one thing right.

– Punch

Read the rest of this entry →

New Yorker: NYT Editor Fired for Seeking Gender-Neutral Wage

4:30 pm in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

The front of the NY Times building

A glass ceiling at the Gray Lady?

From the “Love Me I’m A Liberal” department:

The New Yorker is reporting that today’s firing of The New York Times’ first female Executive Editor, Jill Abramson, occurred because she was “pushy” with the paper’s masters er, CEO and owner.

Specifically, Abramson demanded equal pay for equal work, and Art Sulzberger Jr. wasn’t happy about it. Ken Auletta reports:

Several weeks ago, I’m told, Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. ‘She confronted the top brass,’ one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was ‘pushy,’ a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect.

Ya think?

This is shameful. Long considered journalism’s gold standard — and once considered unapologetically liberal, back when that was a badge of honor – it seems NYT is unable to walk the talk even on something as basic as equal pay for equal work.

Seems the “Old Gray Lady” is more like an Ole Boys’ Club. It will be interesting to see if Abramson’s replacement, upon learning the real facts, stands with her or for himself. Although based on Auletta’s reporting, I’m not holding my breath.

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I’ve grown older and wiser
And that’s why I’m turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

–Phil Ochs

Photo by Peter Dutton released under a Creative Commons license.

Thompson Knew in ’72

12:21 pm in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

Hunter S. Thompson in sunglasses & Hawaiian shirt

It’s a mistake to focus on Hunter Thompson’s debauchery while ignoring his political wisdom.

Go to GoodReads, search on Hunter S. Thompson, and you’ll get first-page results like this:

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’

And this:

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

Thanks to quotes like those, the efforts of Bill Murray, Johnny Depp, and Garry Trudeau — and the fact that Thompson was every bit as wild as they portrayed him — his name will probably forever conjure Raoul Duke, the outsize self-portrait he wove in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — a.k.a. “Uncle Duke” in Trudeau’s Doonesbury.

But remembering Thompson only as a Ralph Steadman caricature is a mistake. Immeasurably more important — more even than that “expensive little twister rising up from the Great Red Shark” — is Thompson’s gift for keen social and political analysis. In a single presidential election, he taught us more about who controls America than the combined work of all those who pounded the same beat for entire lifetimes.

Nonetheless, since stumbling upon Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas shortly after its publication, I — like legions of others — had been most enamored of Thompson’s scathing wit; most engaged by his Sixties sentimentalism; most vicariously thrilled (right!) by his dedication to mind-altering substances — and, as a writer, wholly envious of his ability to smite even the jumbo-est mumbo-ers in 10 words or less.

There’s not much of that Thompson I haven’t read, along with his (more or less) straight reporting (Hell’s Angels), fiction (The Rum Diary), and the vast collection of letters and essays he banged out on his IBM Selectric.

The excellence of it all should have convinced me years ago, but until two recent, ridiculously long experiences “in the system” (as the air travel monopoly now calls it), and for reasons I’ve resigned myself to never fully knowing – Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, which I now consider Thompson’s masterwork, was a blip on the radar I chose to ignore.

*ping*

Maybe its half-borrowed, ungainly title had me thinking it was an attempt to capitalize on the success of that other Fear and Loathing.

*ping*

Maybe it was the age of the story itself.

*ping*

Or maybe, rather than ignored, I avoided Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 for the same reason others have: The depression I knew reading it would cause, thanks to the story’s already-known, fateful ending.

Whatever the reasons, not reading it until now was a mistake.

Read the rest of this entry →

Small Act. Clear Message.

10:03 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

Tired of the DNC filing up your mailbox? Christ knows I am. So I’m helping these morons figure it out:

ReturnToSender1

Not that it’ll change anything: If the DNC had any intention of giving a shit about the distinction between words and deeds, we’d have smelled it a long time ago.

ReturnToSender2

If some intern opens this and it makes them think, that’s a good thing. But, at the very least, I’m returning trash straight to its source.

ReturnToSender3

Off to the post office…

Livestream: Building Progressive Power

9:16 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

A conference on building progressing power, duplicating the highly successful one held last month in Duluth, is under way today in Minneapolis. Watch via Livestream here. If you are in the Twin Cities, try to attend this free event, at 4200 Cedar Avenue.

occupymn on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

Activists from across the state are demanding that Governor Mark Dayton and his Democrat super-majority in the MN legislature make good on their campaign promise to bring forth real Living Wage legislation – as opposed to the $9.25-per-hour joke they have already floated. To help you plan your viewing, here’s the full program, which includes noted speakers on a host of issues important to true Progressives (all times Central):

OPENING CEREMONY 9:55-10:00 am (Native American)

Michael Cavlan: New Progressive Alliance
Nathan Ness: Effective vs. Non-Effective Organizing
Ty Moore: The $15 Minimum Wage Campaign

Public Comment and Discussion section

Sabry Wazwaz: Palestine and US Foreign Policy
Dr. David Mair and Dr. Laura Lehman: Making Single Payer Happen in Minnesota
Patricia Shepard: US and Canadian Policies Attack Mother Earth

Public Comment and Discussion Section

12:00-12:45: LUNCH BREAK

Mark Novitsky: Federal Whistleblower speaks out
Alan Maki: A Living Wage vs. A Minimum Wage
Liane Gale: Living Wage Conversation Continues

Public Comment and Discussion Section

Daryl Robinson: Cop Watch and Know Your Rights
Leena Buggs: Running For Office
Dennis Leahy: What Is The Reset Button?
Angel Buechner: Why It Is Important For Poor Communities To Organize
Public Comment and Discussion Section

- BREAK -

Coleen Rowley: The Military Machine and Resistance To It
Eric Morrison: Polymet Mining Contaminating The Boundary Waters
Sam Wagner: Why We Occupy
Marcus Harcus: NOC Neighborhoods Organizing for Change Today.

Last Full Hour: Public Comment and Discussion on “What Next?”

5:30 pm: DINNER

Want a Living Wage? DEMAND IT

9:57 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

Overpass Light Brigade supports "Fight for 15"

Demand that the Democratic Party support real living wages.

For years which have become decades, Democratic candidates have run on improving working conditions for all Americans, starting with better pay. All we have to do, they’ve told us, is elect them. But when we have, one of two things always happens:

  1. Nothing, or
  2. Far too little, much too late.

A couple of examples:

In 2009, the Obama administration increased the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. In real, cost-of-living-adjusted dollars, that is less than 50 cents above the value of the 1955 minimum wage of 75 cents per hour. Today’s $7.25, in real dollars, is just $4.87. That’s only 48 cents higher than its real value nearly 60 years ago.

Like I said: Far too little, much too late.

It gets worse. Despite trumpeting his requirement that workers on new federal contracts be paid a minimum of $10.10 per hour, Obama was more muted about the change not taking effect until 2015 – a year before a new administration takes over and, very probably, rolls it back.

Worse still: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, both these rates are anywhere from $15 to $20 per hour LESS than what is necessary to meet workers’ basic needs.

The GOOD news?? Americans are taking the issue to their local governments – and getting results.

In San Francisco, San Jose, Sea-Tac, Maryland, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, local governments have enacted Living Wage requirements well above the federal minimum wage. In every case, the changes have come thanks to citizen pressure, which is continuing to expand across the country. Socialist Kshama Sawant’s successful campaign for Seattle City Council was fueled largely by her “15now” campaign, which demands that Seattle join with the neighboring city of Sea-Tac in setting a living wage at $15 per hour.

Last month, activists in Minnesota adopted an open letter calling out Democrat Governor Mark Dayton and his legislative super-majority for running on the promise of a Living Wage, then turning around and proposing only $9.25 per hour. Their movement is growing, and a forum to push the issue further is being sponsored this weekend by “Building Progressive Power,” “Uniting People” and more than 15 other organizations – including the New Progressive Alliance. If you’re in the Twin Cities, check it out this Saturday, February 15, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4200 Cedar Lane, Minneapolis. You can also follow the proceedings via live stream at the NPA website that day.

Join the Living Wage Movement!

To help you take the battle to your local and state officials, here’s a fact-filled letter to organize around. Feel free to copy and tailor it to fit your local situation. Then, host your own forum and rally your fellow activists for support, signatures, and peaceful protest.

TO: (Local government officials and/or body name)

FROM: Your constituents

RE: LIVING WAGE

Read the rest of this entry →

UPDATED: Twin Cities Forum, Feb. 15

11:05 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY JAN 29, 2 P.M. EST:

Building on the Duluth forum mentioned in the original text (below) Minneapolis will play host to another forum on “Building Progressive Political Power” on February 15. More info can be found on the event’s Facebook page, here.

ORIGINAL POST:
The New Progressive Alliance is dedicated to awakening American voters to their unwitting complicity in the unprecedented expansion of the security state, poverty, war, and environmental degradation.

We believe – and the facts support it – that the continuing disenfranchisement of the working class is exactly what the two major parties are working to achieve, in concert with their corporate donors. We contend “the majors” are not ideologically opposed, as their campaign rhetoric would have us believe. Indeed, their “official” acts prove they are owned by profiteers from the defense, finance, and energy industries.

The Democratic Party in particular – so often portrayed as “the friend of the working class” – takes deception to the extreme, promising us meaningful social reforms if we put them in power, but not delivering after we have. Despite enjoying majorities in both the House and Senate during his first term, Barack Obama failed to:

  • enact a state-run health care system
  • support working people’s right to organize by passing the Employee Free Choice Act
  • stop American meddling in the affairs of other countries, or
  • promote/enact a living wage

The effects of that last item on working men and women are, for anyone trying to make it in America, especially devastating.

Democrats made a big deal in 2009 of increasing the federal minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25. But that number is still exponentially below what both the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) say it must be ($15, and $22 – $26, respectively) for working people to meet basic needs.

The Democrats are expert at promising voters major social change, getting elected to large (sometimes “super”) majorities, and then making excuses for their “inability” to make good on their promises.

The Republicans, meanwhile, preach their “Christian” message of hard work and pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps, oblivious (more likely, uncaring) that people earning the minimum wage must work two or three jobs just to survive. The math is simple: Three 20-hour jobs at $7.25 equals an effective hourly rate of $21.75. That’s right in the meaty part of the rates espoused by the BLS. But these workers are barely surviving, because there are, quite literally, not enough hours in the week. Though they work 60 (often more), that $21.75 applies only to 20 hours – half the number considered “full time.”

By refusing to mandate a real living wage, one regularly subject to cost-of-living adjustments, the corporate parties are creating poverty – not jobs. And that’s just what their donors want: Workers so afraid of losing their jobs that they will accept whatever is offered them. Does that sound like something true unionists should support? Of course not. Yet Big Labor keeps herding its members onto the Democratic Party reservation.

Meanwhile, those on the Christian (self-)Right(eous) blissfully ignore one of the Bible’s key admonitions, preferring to line the pockets of their corporate benefactors over eliminating poverty: “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. (Proverbs 21:13).”

The Truth

Some, however, are telling it like it is.

NPA member Alan Maki, who is a co-founder of Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice (MPSJ) and a former MyFDL diarist, was one of many speakers at recent forum in Duluth. On a frigid January Saturday (the only kind of January Saturday they have in Duluth!) 140 people came out to discuss “Building Progressive Political Power.” (The event program is here.) Before they adjourned, attendees adopted this open letter, calling out Minnesota’s corporate-owned, Democratic governor and legislature for peddling poverty wages:

TO: Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party Legislative Caucus.
FROM: Your Constituents

Enough! We are not waiting any longer!

As DFL candidates, you campaigned on a promise to enact legislation that provides low-wage workers a real, living wage — not just a “minimum” wage.

Your campaign language explicitly called for “workers being entitled to living wages!” It promised a Living Wage Act, but no progress was made in your first super-majority session.

All it would take, you said, was for Minnesotans to give the DFL a super-majority. Well, we voters delivered it to you! You have it! But now, instead of advancing Living Wage legislation, the DFL is floating another “minimum wage” bill that will just perpetuate poverty wages for many Minnesota workers!

For years, the DFL leadership has claimed Republicans were the lone obstacle to establishing a Living Wage in our state. That obstacle has been removed. You are now in the driver’s seat!

We, the workers of Minnesota, gave you the legislative votes to enact the Living Wage legislation you promised us.

We expect you now to do so. You could call it “The Minnesota Living Wage Act of 2014.”

Most importantly, we need to begin with a realistic dollar amount. Living Wages need to be calculated based on realistic levels of cost-of-living. U.S. Census data suggests at least $15 per hour; while, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hourly wages of $22 and $26 at 40 hrs/week are needed to cover basic necessities. When making decisions on determining basic needs for a dignified life, the testimony from low-income Minnesotans should also be taken into consideration.

A Living Wage must also be subject to regular cost-of-living adjustments. The Consumer Price Index is our best indicator, and it should be used to adjust a new Minnesota Living Wage level quarterly or at least semi-annually.

If you should fail to enact such legislation, we will assume that you were just baiting us with nice-sounding campaign rhetoric, and that you are pulling a switch on us by simply advancing more employer-friendly “minimum wage” legislation, that does nothing to alleviate the hardships of Minnesota’s working poor.

Perhaps you think any increase is better than nothing. We don’t!

Minnesota has long been considered a progressive bellwether. Do something significant now for her working men and women. It is what everybody morally deserves — the prospect of a dignified life.

Be courageous. Lead our state — and our nation — in securing the right of every worker to earn a decent living.

It can begin with the Minnesota Living Wage Act of 2014.

You can make it happen!

Sincerely,
Your fellow Minnesotans

15now

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Occupier and newly elected Socialist city councilor Kshama Sawant is pushing for a $15 city-wide minimum wage. Supported by Socialist Alternative, Sawant defeated three-term Democrat incumbent Richard Conlin last November, riding her “15now” campaign to victory.

Wikipedia reports Sawant’s thoughts on the two corporate parties:
“[S]he rejects working within the Democratic and Republican two-party system, and says socialists should campaign as a third party:

‘The job of socialists is to point the way forward, and we are not shy about it. We invite people to debate with us on ideas of socialism. But we are not shy and we have been proven, resoundingly correct, that we should not be shy, because there is no excuse for being shy or reticent when you are talking about such serious issues as fighting against the enormous misery that capitalism unleashes on us, all over the world. So let’s be clear about it, let’s not be shy. This is not a time for modesty; this is a time for boldness and courage.’

Sawant has encouraged other left-wing groups, including Greens and trade unions, to use her campaign as a model to inspire a much broader movement in 2014:

‘We need a movement to break the undemocratic power of big business and build a society that works for working people, not corporate profits – a democratic socialist society.’”

What YOU Can Do

As these examples demonstrate, people are waking up to the deceptions played on them by the corporate parties. They are realizing that a nation which spies on its people, keeps workers poor, is constantly poised for war, and degrades the environment cannot survive.

The NPA urges local activists to take matters into their own hands:

  • Join our “De-Corporatize Congress” campaign. Recruit a candidate for U.S. House THIS YEAR from your district – or run yourself! This opportunity comes every two years, and Progressives have ignored the potential it holds for far too long.
  • Start an online newspaper to challenge local power brokers, stand for transparency, and force the local (usually corporate-owned) media to do its job.
  • Form a group like MPSJ in your own state to stand for workers like no union has, for more than 40 years. Collect signatures on a letter like the one above and deliver it to your state legislators, DEMANDING they enact a real living wage.

Neither corporate party cares a whit what happens to us. Only WE can effectively stand up for privacy, for workers, for peace, for the environment – in short, for the real, fundamental shift we all know is crucial to creating a world that puts people before profits.

Anthony Noel
NPA Co-Founder

The New Face of “Terror”?? Seniors with Spray Paint

1:25 pm in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

When people ask my religion I usually respond, “Recovering Catholic.”

If there is one faith that has mastered the subjugation of its followers by any means necessary (fear, guilt, major motion pictures) AND the inserting of itself into socio-political debates when frankly nobody asked for its damned opinion, it is Catholicism. (Which is not to imply it hasn’t got plenty of company.)

But as sure as everything happens for a reason (hey, I never said my recovery was complete!) Catholicism breeds its own brand of radicalism, one to which any and every human – religious, agnostic or atheist – can and should aspire. It is rooted in the thinking of Thomas Merton, and it is the radicalism of Peace. Until each of us embraces its tenets, the world’s governments will continue to sell us war as everything it never is: A tactic, a bargaining chip, an economic engine, a career, an inevitability, a last resort, a keeper of some broader peace which – of course – never seems to show up.

As strongly and determinedly as any group, the Plowshares Movement – launched in 1980 – is still fighting to restore sanity to a nation and world gone batshit crazy.  And right now, it needs your help.

It was just after Labor Day of that year when Philip and Daniel Berrigan led The Plowshares Eight’s infiltration of General Electric’s Nuclear Weapons plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, symbolically beat “swords into plowshares” in accordance with biblical doctrine, and spilled their own blood on documents related to the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Ga-ga patriotic as the masters of war have inculcated Americans to get on each anniversary of a September date from 2001, The Eight and their adherents had by that event’s occurrence already been demonstrating for 21 years, all across the globe, always peacefully, in efforts to awaken goodness in the people who staff and manage such sites, and those who contract with the military-industrial complex for the making of weapons of mass destruction. In the name of “democracy,” of course.

Since that seminal event in King of Prussia on September 9, 1980, over a hundred such actions have taken place. The MIC doesn’t like it. And it’s preparing to sentence on September 23 three Plowshares activists – aged 58, 63 and 83 – who perpetrated these “terrors” last summer at a Tennessee weapons plant (be sure to view the whole gallery). Photos of the defendants along with excellent, detailed reporting from CommonDreams is here.

This is where the rubber meets the road, people. Each of those fearsome-looking terrorists (!) face up to 30 years in prison. Will you take 10 minutes to print out a postcard and mail it to the judge?

Thank you,

Anthony Noel

New Progressive Alliance