Archive | Politics

85 Billionaires and the Better Half

Posted on 04 March 2014 by John Johnson

by Michael Parenti

An urban slum in Hanoi, Viet Nam. (Photo: Flickr / United Nations / Creative Commons)The world’s 85 richest individuals possess as much wealth as the 3.5 billion souls who compose the poorer half of the world’s population, or so it was announced in a report by Oxfam International. The assertion sounds implausible to me.  I think the 85 richest individuals, who together are worth many hundreds of billions of dollars, must have far more wealth than the poorest half of our global population.

How could these two cohorts, the 85 richest and 3.5 billion poorest, have the same amount of wealth? The great majority of the 3.5 billion have no net wealth at all. Hundreds of millions of them have jobs that hardly pay enough to feed their families. Millions of them rely on supplements from private charity and public assistance when they can. Hundreds of millions are undernourished, suffer food insecurity, or go hungry each month, including many among the very poorest in the United States.

“The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. So poverty is spreading even as wealth accumulates. It is not enough to bemoan this enormous inequality, we must also explain why it is happening.”

Most of the 3.5 billion earn an average of $2.50 a day. The poorest 40 percent of the world population accounts for just 5 percent of all global income. About 80 percent of all humanity live on less than $10 a day. And the poorest 50 percent  maintain only 7.2 percent of the world’s private consumption. How exactly could they have accumulated an amount of surplus wealth comparable to the 85 filthy richest?

Hundreds of millions live in debt even in “affluent” countries like the United States. They face health care debts, credit card debts, college tuition debts, and so on. Many, probably most who own homes—and don’t live in shacks or under bridges or in old vans—are still straddled with mortgages. This means their net family wealth is negative, minus-zero. They have no  propertied wealth; they live in debt.

Millions among the poorest 50 percent in the world may have cars but most of them also have car payments. They are driving in debt.  In countries like Indonesia, for the millions without private vehicles, there are the overloaded, battered buses, poorly maintained vehicles that specialize in breakdowns and ravine plunges. Among the lowest rungs of the 50 percent are the many who pick thru garbage dumps and send their kids off to work in grim, soul-destroying sweatshops.

The 85 richest in the world probably include the four members of the Walton family (owners of Wal-Mart, among the top ten superrich in the USA) who together are worth over $100 billion. Rich families like the DuPonts have controlling interests in giant corporations like General Motors, Coca-Cola, and United Brands. They own about forty manorial estates and private museums in Delaware alone and have set up 31 tax-exempt foundations. The superrich in America and in many other countries find ways, legal and illegal, to shelter much of their wealth in secret accounts. We don’t really know how very rich the very rich really are.

Regarding the poorest portion of the world population—whom I would call the valiant, struggling “better half”—what mass configuration of wealth could we possibly be talking about? The aggregate wealth possessed by the 85 super-richest  individuals, and the aggregate wealth owned by the world’s 3.5 billion poorest, are of different dimensions and different natures. Can we really compare private jets, mansions, landed estates, super luxury vacation retreats, luxury apartments, luxury condos, and luxury cars, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars in equities, bonds, commercial properties, art works, antiques, etc.—can we really compare all that enormous wealth against some millions of used cars, used furniture, and used television sets, many of which are ready to break down?  Of what resale value if any, are such minor durable-use commodities, especially in communities of high unemployment, dismal health and housing conditions, no running water, no decent sanitation facilities, etc? We don’t really know how poor the very poor really are.

Millions of children who number in the lower 50 percent never see the inside of a school. Instead they labor in mills, mines and on farms, under conditions of peonage.  Nearly a billion people are unable to read or write. The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. So poverty is spreading even as wealth accumulates. It is not enough to bemoan this enormous inequality, we must also explain why it is happening.

But for now, let me repeat: the world’s richest 85 individuals do not have the same amount of accumulated wealth as the world’s poorest 50 percent. They have vastly more. The multitude on the lower rungs—even taken as a totality—have next to nothing.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti’s recent books include: God and His Demons (Prometheus), Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader (City Lights); Democracy for the Few, 9th ed. (Wadsworth); The Assassination of Julius Caesar (New Press), Superpatriotism (City Lights), and The Culture Struggle (Seven Stories Press). For further information, visit his website: www.michaelparenti.org.

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The Overshelmed Peace Movement

Posted on 04 March 2014 by John Johnson

Inevitability?

The Overwhelmed Peace Movement

by WINSLOW MYERS

There was a major story in Time magazine this week that military personnel were cheating on competency tests relating to the command and control of American nuclear missiles. This was one more confirmation of what we already know in our hearts but prefer not to examine too closely: humans are too human, too small, too fallible, to be in charge of the unfathomable destructive power of nuclear weapons.

Activists, frustrated by a Congress in the pocket of military-industrial corporations, have rightly shifted their focus to building local coalitions that emphasize bottom-up renewal. The peace movement is still hard at work, but overwhelmed by the size of the powers arrayed against it.

Maybe it’s the top military brass of the nuclear nations who ought to be leading the charge toward reciprocal disarmament, because their political masters have laid upon them an impossible task: to make zero mistakes when interpreting the behavior of other nations, to keep these weapons and the people who handle them in a state of hair-trigger readiness without tipping over the edge into accidents, and to avoid nuclear winter should, God forbid, the weapons be used.

A tall order indeed, because our experience with technologically complex systems designed not to fail is that sometimes they all fail—not a Rumsfeldian unknown unknown. Just as the occasional crash of a passenger plane or a space shuttle has proven inevitable, or a Chernobyl or Fukushima or Three Mile Island meltdown is unlikely but nevertheless has also proven inescapable, so too it is inevitable that, unless we change direction as a species, there will be a fatal incident involving nuclear weapons.

Some analysts claim that we are actually in a more risky time than during the Cold War. As we see in the cheating scandal, people in charge of the weapons, because their mission has been rendered obsolete by the change from the cold war to the “war on terror,” are tempted by laziness and corner-cutting.

The United States, even while a signatory to international treaties that enjoin it to reduce its nuclear weapons and cooperate with other states to reduce theirs, is poised to spend untold billions, money needed desperately for, say, transitioning to clean, sustainable sources of energy, to renew its nuclear weapons systems. The tail of corporate profit wags the dog of nuclear policy, but neither the cost nor the danger of nuclear weapons appears to be a high priority for most Americans.

Terrorism naturally gets more focus today. Avoiding nuclear terrorism may actually be easier to accomplish than to guarantee in perpetuity those impossible conditions attached to “legitimate” state-controlled nuclear weapons. In the case of terrorists, the objective is to secure and keep separate the parts and ingredients of weapons. The vast majority of nations are in agreement with this goal and willing to cooperate to reach it.  Meanwhile the far greater danger may be the relentless momentum engendered by the in-place weapons systems of the nuclear club, motivating more states to want to join, resulting in more command and control complexity, and more probability of misinterpretation.

In his famous poem “September 1, 1939,” W.H. Auden wrote, “We must love one another or die.” Auden came to dislike the poem for its preachiness. In 1955 he allowed it to be reprinted in an anthology with the line altered to “We must love one another and die.”  Though the two lines obviously have different meanings, both versions are true.  It is inevitable that we will all die, whether we learn to love each other or not. Is it also inevitable that we will die in nuclear fire or under gray skies of nuclear ash? Not if nuclear nations begin to have a conversation based in the common recognition that nuclear weapons are not useful to planetary security.

Creative acts of love, truth-telling, and inclusion are always open to us, as Nelson Mandela demonstrated. When the Nazis occupied Denmark in April, 1940, 17-year-old Danish schoolboy Arne Sejr wrote his “Ten Commandments” that were creative ways to nonviolently slow, sabotage, and stymie Nazi goals in his country. In the dark days of 1943 the people of Denmark, at great risk, not only spirited 7,800 Jews into neutral Sweden to shield them from the invading Nazis, but also interceded on behalf of the 5 percent who were already on their way to Theresienstadt, with the result that 99 percent of Danish Jews were spared the Holocaust.

The nuclear Gordian knot is in equal need of heroes who can cut into it with the sharp blade of truth, and spirit our species into a new paradigm beyond our present false sense of security. Is it possible such heroes might emerge from within the military-industrial complex itself? We need more high-ranking Ellsbergs, Snowdens and Mannings, not only to reveal secret data or expose competency breakdown, but to also assert that security via nukes overall is a futile project—not only for the U.S. but for all nations who possess or want nuclear weapons. Generals and weapons designers have hearts and love their grandchildren like all of us. If a few of them spoke out, the world would owe them a priceless debt of gratitude.

Winslow Myers, the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide,” serves on the Board of Beyond War (www.beyondwar.org), a non-profit educational foundation whose mission is to explore, model and promote the means for humanity to live without war.

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March 2014 Calendar

Posted on 04 March 2014 by John Johnson

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Pussy Riot Being Followed by the Moscow Police

Change Links

March 2014 Calendar

Volunteer: Change-Links

Change-Links needs a VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR to assist John in bringing together people to determine the necessary resources for continuing CL with the permanent, reliable status it enjoyed for over 20 years. The VC and all other positions are unpaid due to CL’s low budget and the fact that the newspaper is available free citywide and to subscribers at low cost.

Please help us with your volunteer services, your subscriptions and your donations! To apply, contact editor John Johnson (please send to both email addresses): <changelinks@changelinks.org>, <change@pacbell.net>. (818) 782-1412, (818) 681-7448 cell.

March 1 ● Saturday

Political Action: Fukushima

No Nukes LA Residents, a small but determined group, will deliver a letter to the Japan Consulate at 350 South Grand Ave., Suite 1700, LA. Time TBD. Contact <isamukay@gmail.com>. Many other events this month for the third anniversary of the continuing nuclear accident: <fukushimathirdanniversaryevents.blogspot.com>.

Political Action: Climate Action March/Fair

8:30 AM, Great March for Climate, kickoff & rally at Wilmington Waterfront Park, Wilmington, RSVP: <j.mp/GreatMarchRSVP> (must be upper/lowercase as shown). The march continues toward Downtown LA/ USC & many marchers will continue to Washington DC to deliver the message that we need immediate legislative and executive action to solve the climate crisis. 11 AM – 1:30 PM, Climate Action Fair, Wilmington Athletic Complex, 1650 Figueroa St,, Wilmington. <j.mp/GreatMarchWU> (must be upper/lowercase as shown), <facebook.com/events/1391559771106634>, <facebook.com/events/346178145521585>.

Political Action: Great March for Climate Action

Join together for the largest coast-to-coast (Port of LA to Washington DC) climate march in American history! Kickoff & Rally. 9 AM. Wilmington Waterfront Park, Wilmington, CA. <wilderutopia.com>, search for “great march.”

Political Meeting: Military Families Speak Out

MFSO Orange County Chapter. 1st Saturdays monthly. 10 AM. Contact them for location, etc. (562) 833-8035. <socal.mfso.org/contact-us/>, <mfsooc.org>.

Classes: Ecovillage Tours

History, context, accomplishments, pitfalls, transitions, plans and visions for this central city demonstration ecovillage neighborhood-in-process and its intentional community. Mar 1, 15, 29, Apr 12, 26. 10:30 AM – 1 PM. $10 sliding scale; $20 with vegetarian lunch. RSVP. LA EcoVillage, 117 Bimini Place, LA. (213) 738-1254. <crsp@igc.org>. <laecovillage.org>.

Political Action: March Against Corruption

Raise awareness about the corrupting influence of money and special interests in governance and public policy making. Bring signs, drums, noisemakers, friends! Meetup 2 PM. City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., LA. <facebook.com/events/213436725502955>.

Political Action: NSA Protest Rally

Join us as we speak out against the invasions of our privacy and against the growing police state. Inform the public. Talk to passer-bys, hand out flyers, and make sure they are informed. 3 PM. City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., LA. <facebook.com/events/429831517140095>.

Political Meeting: SF Valley Socialists

Meetings usually 1st Saturdays monthly. 3–5 PM. Room 268, Sierra Hall, west side of CSU Northridge. <ccrittenden@csun.edu>.

Community Event: Pete Seeger Tribute

Performances, and Sing-a-longs by: The Lefteous Sisters, Ross Altman, Gary Gordon & more.

4-7 PM. $10 suggested donation, no one turned away. The Church In Ocean Park, 235 Hill St., Santa Monica. <facebook.com/events/604057206344952>.

Talk: Michael Parenti

“Capitalism: Lost Prosperity, False Democracy.” 5 PM reception, 6 PM welcome & guest speaker. Donations requested but all are welcome! Sponsored by IAC-LA, SOAW-LA, Frank Dorrell & others. Echo Park United Methodist Church, 1226 N. Alvarado St. (at Sunset), LA. (323) 679-5023. <alise@theory.org>.

Community Event: It Came from Venice

Art, music, poetry, dance celebration. 6-10 PM. Mar 1, 8 & 15. Free.  Sponto Gallery, 9 Dudley Ave., Venice. (310) 306-7330.

March 2 ● Sunday

Political Action: Arlington West Memorial

Volunteers desperately needed to keep the memorial going. Continuing every Sunday. Santa Monica. 6 AM – 4 PM. (323) 934-3451. <arlingtonwestsantamonica.org>.

Talk: Stop Jail Expansion

“Jail Expansion in L.A. County: How you can help to stop it.” & The Upcoming Sheriff Election. Noon potluck; 1-3 PM presentation. Sanctuary of Change. The Church In Ocean Park, 235 Hill St., Santa Monica. <facebook.com/events/274456919385136>.

Art: Cuban Five

“I Will Die the Way I Lived.” Featuring 15 watercolor paintings by Cuban Five prisoner Antonio Guerrero, who learned to paint and draw from fellow inmates. Celebrate the scheduled release from prison of fellow political prisoner Fernando González. The Cuban Five a.k.a. “Los Five Cubanos” were unjustly convicted 15 years ago for preventing terrorist attacks against Cuba. Opening reception & program today, 2-4 PM. Exhibit runs thru Mar 30, Tue-Thu 10 AM – 4 PM, Fri/Sat Noon-8 PM. Coffee & Crepes, 4545 Cesar Chavez Ave. (Just E of the 710), East LA. (323) 263-4544, (323) 661-1980. <nortonsandler@att.net>. <thecuban5.org>.

Political Meeting: OC Greens

March Speaker: Donald Craig, OC NAACP.  Normally 1st Sundays monthly. 2-3 PM general meeting; 304 PM County Council. Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine. (949) 559-7336. <tiritilligreen@sbcglobal.net>, <mrl@greens.org>. <ocgreens.org>, <facebook.com/events/493720534082740>.

March 3 ● Monday

Political Action: Fullerton 14 Court Support

The ten people arrested at the Kelly Thomas rally Jan 18 (mostly unlawfully) & charged with failure to disperse are in court today. 8 AM. North Justice Center, 1275 N. Berkeley Ave., Fullerton. Video on the rally: <youtube.com/watch?v=xLNnKBmd28I>. <facebook.com/events/1454699788083144>.

Political Action: Statewide Student March

To demand fulfillment of student needs including sustaining ethnic studies and increasing student & staff/faculty racial diversity. 10 AM – Noon. From 400 Ballpark Dr, W. Sacramento to CA State Capitol, 1315 10th St., Sacramento. <facebook.com/events/433723686759521>.

Political Action: Fukushima Commemoration & Peace Walk

Third Anniversary Commemoration, 5:30-7:30 PM, free & open to the public,  University Club of Santa Barbara, 1332 Santa Barbara St., Santa Barbara. Peace Walk for a Nuclear Free World, March 4-11, Santa Barbara to Diablo Canyon NPP, ending with an all day vigil. Followed by Fukushima Commemoration, 7 PM, Steynberg Gallery, San Luis Obispo, details: <mothersforpeace.org>.

Film: “Blockadia Rising”

A documentary about the direct ation group Tar Sands Blockade fighting construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Followed by a discussion. Films for Flight film series screening a soclai justice themed film 1st Mondays monthly. The movie will start at 7:00PM but feel free to come earlier. Animal Farm collective house, San Diego. Contact for the address via <facebook.com/maiadac> or <hummingbirdhuddle.wordpress.com/contact-us>.  <facebook.com/events/287300448089256>.

Talk: ImaginAction

We use theatre to create rituals, allowing participants to recreate themselves and the community around them. Co-sponsors: SOAW, Program for Torture Victims (PTV) & others. $25. RSVP: Call or send checks to “ImaginAction,” 788 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre CA. 91024. Venue: Church in Ocean Park, 235 Hill St., Santa Monica. (310) 345-4883, (310) 940-7303. <sandrasdelmundo@gmail.com>. <imaginaction.org>.

March 4 ● Tuesday

Stand in Peace

Stand in Peace Tustin Common Ground is a spiritual community. Several members hold signs reading “Imagine Peace.” Every Tuesday. 4-5 PM. Tustin Common Ground. Prospect Ave. (at Irvine, NW Corner), Tustin. (714) 961-5439. <camarshall7@sbcglobal.net>. <embracehumanity.com>.

Books: McLuhan-Finnegans Wake Reading Club

1st Tuesdays monthly. 6-8 PM. Free. Marina Del Rey Library, 4533 Admirality Way, MDR. (310) 821-3415. <laughtears.com>.

Community Event: Transgender Social Support Group

For transgender people of all stages and gender variance or questioning gender identity and for friends & family. Not a dating, romance or singles group. Every Wednesday. 7-9 PM. Suggested donation $5; no one turned away. South Bay LGBT Center, 16610 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance. (310) 328-6550, (310) 217-9202. <thecenter@southbaycenter.org>. <southbaycenter.org>.

March 5 ● Wednesday

Political Meeting: Counter Recruitment

Regular monthly meeting of Glendale Education/Social Justice Advocates. Working to encourage GUSD to provide balanced information about military recruiting & other social issues. Students, parents, community members are invited. Usually 1st Wednesdays monthly. 6-8 PM. Pacific Park Library, 501 S. Pacific Ave., Glendale. (818) 248-4967. <gesja_email@yahoo.com>.

Film: “Kangamba”

Kangamba is a small Angola town where a 1983 battle between Angolan soldiers & Cuban allies against paramilitaries aligned with apartheid South Africa’s government. The greatly outnumbered Angolan & Cuban forces were ultimately victorious. The film also covers the battle’s larger consequences on the African independence struggle and against apartheid.  The Cuba in Revolution film series continues with more films every Wednesdays thru Apr 9. 7 PM. ANSWER office, 135 E. 3rd St., Downtown LA. (323) 394-3611. <answerla@answerla.org>. <answerla.org>.

Political Meeting: DFA-OC

Monthly meeting of Democracy for America Orange County. February speakers on “It’s Women’s History Month – So Where Are We After All This Time?” Normally 1st Wednesdays monthly. Social 6:15 PM; program 7:15 PM. Karl Strauss Brewery, Metropointe Shopping Center, 901 South Coast Dr., Costa Mesa. <sckopicki@gmail.com> or contact form at <meetup.com/dfa-oc>.

March 6 ● Thursday

Political Meeting: Long Beach Greens

1st Thursdays monthly. A local group of activists working for a fair economy, a just society & a sustainable future. 7 PM. Contact them for location and to verify meeting time. <longbeach (at) greens.org>. <cagreens.org/longbeach>.

Film: Peace & Justice

March film: “Chisholm ‘72: Unbought & Unbossed.”  Usually 1st Thursdays monthly. Whittier Area Peace & Justice Coalition. 7-9 PM. St. Matthias Episcopal Church, 7056 Washington Ave. (NE corner @ Wardman St.), Whittier. (562) 587-6270, (562) 233-8579. <whittierpeace.org>.

Political Meeting: ACLU Orange County

Usually 1st Thursdays monthly. 7:30 PM. (714) 956-5037. Call for location. <quetzalcoatl38@aol.com>.

March 7 ● Friday

Community Event: LGBT Chat Night

7-10 PM. Suggested donation $5; no one turned away. Refreshments included. South Bay LGBT Center, 16610 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance. (310) 328-6550, (310) 217-9202.

<thecenter@southbaycenter.org>. <southbaycenter.org>.

Film: TPA Film Night

March film: “Fear Not the Path of Truth: A Veteran’s Journey After Fallujah.” Please bring a vegetarian pot luck snack or non-alcoholic drink to share.  Topanga Peace Alliance. Usually 1st Fridays monthly. Doors open at 7 PM, screening at 7:30 PM sharp. Parking under the library. Topanga Library, 122 N. Topanga Cyn. Blvd., Topanga. (310) 795-1373. <debbieinla@outlook.com>. <topangapeacealliance.org>.

March 8 ● Saturday

Community Event: Mujeres de Maiz

A Season of spiritual artivist happenings to honor Womyn in mind, body and spirit. Programming, including over 14 events is in collaboration with various collectives & organizations across the Eastside. Mar 8 – May 18. <mujeresdemaiz.com>.

Classes: Intro to Documentary Filmmaking

Learn storytelling, interview technique & other fundamentals. No previous filmmaking experience necessary. All equipment and materials provided. Eight Saturdays starting Mar 8. 10 AM – 12:30 PM. Limit of 6 students. $250. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St. (at  Sunset), LA. (213) 484 – 8846. <info@echoparkfilmcenter.org>. <echoparkfilmcenter.org>.

Community Event: Fukushima

“Love to Nippon 2014 – Lessons Learned from the March 11 th Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.” 1-4 PM, interfaith service & prayers, flower & incense offerings, booths . 3-5 PM, memorial program. Memorial program seating limited; RSVP. Ronald F. Deaton Civic Auditorium, LAPD HQ, 100 W. 1st St., LA. <jas-socal.org>.

Community Event: Intl. Women’s Day

“Women against Repression & Occupation – Rock, Rap & Speakout vs Poverty, Prisons & War.” Concert & Speakout. Local musicians, performing artists, poets & people speaking on issues of vital interest and concern to women and to our communities. With people’s art show, children’s activities, food & more. Part of global actions are called by Global Women’s Strike. Gather at 2 PM. MacArthur Park, Wilshire Blvd. (between Alvarado & Park), LA. (323) 276-9833. <la@allwomencount.net>. <globalwomenstrike.net>, search for “los angeles.”

Community Event: Intl. Women’s Day

Socialist Party LA Local International Women’s Day community outreach. The LA Local & friends are meeting at the Hauser office to deliver flowers to the women of the community surrounding the office. Please join us to make this a truly special day for the women of our community! 2 PM. 2617 Hauser Blvd., LA. <facebook.com/events/1460550200829788>.

Books: Revolution Books Book Club.

2nd Saturdays monthly. 2 PM.  Revolution Books/ Libros Revolución, 5726 Hollywood Blvd, LA. (323) 463-3500. <revolutionbooksla@gmail.com>. <revolutionbooksla.blogspot.com>.

Media: Ross Altman

Interview with the folk singer. MESS. 2nd Saturdays monthly. 4 PM. Free. Unurban, 3301 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 315-0056. <laughtears.com>.

Film: “Race & Space in Los Angeles

Shorts about race and place in Los Angeles, featuring 16mm films about the coming of Dodger Stadium to Chavez Ravine in the 1950s, growing up in Watts in the 1960s, and the black community in Venice. Introduction & discussion by Dr. Marsha Gordon (NC State University) and Dr. Allyson Nadia Field (UCLA). Projection by Dino Everett (USC). Prints provided by UCLA and USC. 8 PM.  Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N Alvarado St. (at Sunset) Los Angeles. (213) 484 – 8846. <info@echoparkfilmcenter.org>. <echoparkfilmcenter.org>.

March 9 ● Sunday

Political Meeting: Humanist Association of LA

Usually 2nd Sundays monthly. 11 AM. Contact them to check. Colorado Center, Community Room, 2500 Broadway, Santa Monica. (310) 479-2236. <larry-a-taylor (at) att (dot) net>. <hala.org>. For other locations, click on “Southern California Freethought groups.”

Community Event: Judy Abdo’s Brother Celebration of Life for SM activist Judy Abdo’s brother Richard James Ulrich. 4-6 PM. The Church in Ocean Park, 235 Hill St., Santa Monica.

March 10 ● Monday

Film: Tiffany Shlain

“ Connected: An Autoblogography About Love, Death, & Technology” and short films by her.

Film & interview. Plus 8 PM, sneak preview/test screening of new political health film. Documental. 2nd Mondays monthly. 6-10 PM. Free. Unurban, 3301 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 315-0056. <laughtears.com>.

Film: Ruben Salazar

“Ruben Salazar: Man In The Middle.” Examines the life & death of pioneering journalist Ruben Salazar, killed under mysterious circumstances by a law enforcement officer in 1970 in the aftermath of the National Chicano Moratorium protest march against the Vietnam war in East LA. 7-10 PM. Free. CSULB University Theatre, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach. <facebook.com/events/456520081142923>.

Political Meeting: Three Strikes

Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes (FACTS). 2nd/4th Mondays monthly. Help them amend Three Strikes to apply to violent felonies only. 7 PM. Other chapters on the website. Chico’s Justice Center, 1137 E. Redondo Blvd., Inglewood. (213) 746-4844. <facts1.net>.

Political Meeting: SF Valley Greens

2nd Mondays monthly. Open & free to the public. 7 PM. Free. 8847 Penfield, Northridge. (818) 380-1252, (818) 515-8541.

March 11 ● Tuesday

Film: “Metamorphosis”

By Jun Hori. Hori is a noted Japanese television journalist & commentator. His documentary video explores the Japanese citizen reaction to the Fukushima reactor meltdowns, and public opposition to government proposals to reopen Japan’s remaining 50 reactors. “Metamorphosis” also explores several nuclear accident sites in the United States, including Three Mile Island. Also, an ongoing photographic art exhibit at the gallery thru Apr 26, “Silent but Deadly: Chernobyl- Fukushima- San Onofre.” 7 PM. BC Space Gallery, 235 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. (949) 497-1880, (949) 697-5237. <bcspace.com>.

Forum: Women’s Rights

Addressing gender & racial inequities in education, wages, health services access, provision and consumption of care, poverty rates from childhood through retirement, immigrant reunification/detention/deportation, criminal incarceration, and recidivism. Free & open to the public; RSVP recommended. 7-9 PM. Hollywood United Methodist Church, 6817 Franklin Ave., Hollywood. <aclusocal.org/womensrightsforum>, <facebook.com/events/285737091576156>.

Film: “Surviving Japan”

A powerful film about the tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster’s aftermath. 7:30-9:35 PM. Advance ticket purchase at their website. Laemmle’s Royal Theatre, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd, West LA. (310) 478-3836. <tugg.com/titles/311-surviving-japan>, <survivingjapanmovie.com>.

March 12 ● Wednesday

Political Meeting: United Nations Women

LA Chapter general meeting. Formed to promote the status of women worldwide. 2nd Wednesdays monthly. 7 PM. National Council of Jewish Women, 543 N. Fairfax, LA.  (310) 450-3396. <chillman@la.unwomen-usnc.org>, <socal@unwomen.usnc.org>, <la@unwomen-usnc.org>. <unwomen-usnc.org/greaterla#>.

Music: Suzy Williams

2nd Wednesdays monthly. 7-10 PM. Free.  Dannys, 23 Windward Ave., Venice. (310) 450-6052. <laughtears.com>.

Talk: Where’s Edward Snowden?

“Civil Liberties in the National Security Era: What Happened to Edward Snowden?” Sponsored by Caltech “Y” Social Activism Speaker Series & ACLU of Southern CA. 7:30 PM.Beckman Institute Auditorium, Caltech, 1200 E. California Blvd, Pasadena. Park in Caltech parking structures; meters free after 5 PM. (213) 977-9500.

March 13 ● Thursday

Political Action: Long Beach Peace Vigil

Long Beach Area Peace Network organizing to stop the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan and to promote social justice in our community. 2nd Thursdays monthly. 7 PM. Catalyst Meeting Space, 430 E. First St., Long Beach. <naidatushnet62@verizon.net>.

Film: Conscientious Projector

March film: “Elemental: Three Stories. Three Continents. One Commitment to Change” (<elementalthefilm.com>).  Special Ten Year Anniversary meeting. Usually 2nd Thursdays monthly. 7 PM. (310) 782-4738, (626) 792-4941. Armory Center for the Arts, 145 North Raymond Ave.,  Pasadena. <conscientiousprojector.wordpress.com>, <facebook.com/group.php?gid=53883487201>. (Sites on facebook may require membership.)

Political Meeting: Healthcare For All LA

Screening the documentary “Got Healthcare?” with the 2009 protests around Healthcare reform proposals then being developed, lobbied and legislated by Congress. Filmmaker/producer Jon Raymond hosts a Q&A after the showing. Film clips: <gothealthcaremovie.com>. 7-9 PM. Don White Meeting Room, Peace Center, 3916 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, Parking lot and entrance behind the building. Press 22 at the door. (310) 459-9763. <mcruised@aol.com>. <healthcareforall.org> (click on “local chapters,” then on “los angeles county”).

Political Meeting: Healthcare For All SFV

San Fernando Valley chapter meeting. Advocating for Improved Medicare (single-payer health care) for All Californians. 7:30 PM.  Switching to: 2nd Thursdays monthly. New Location: Plaza del Valle Community Room/ Salon Comunitario, 8610 Van Nuys Blvd., Panorama City. In plaza behind Wells Fargo Bank; plenty of free parking. (818) 766-7318. <info@hca-sfv.org>. <healthcareforall.org> (click on “local chapters” then on “san fernando valley”), <facebook.com/hcasfv>. (Sites on facebook may require membership.)

March 14 ● Friday

Submit: ARE Scholarships                     

For undocumented HS & college students. Deadline today. <razaeducators.org>.

Political Action: Vandenberg

“Vandenberg’s Role in US Global Domination: Implications of US ‘Pivot’ into the Asia-Pacific.” Global Network 2014 Space Conference, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. Mar 14-16. Santa Barbara, CA. With vigil at Vandenberg AFB. (207) 443-9502. <globalnet@mindspring.com> . <space4peace.org>.

Community Event: LGBT Game Night

A night of games, puzzles, conversation and refreshments. Also Mar 28. 7-10 PM. Suggested donation $5; no one turned away. South Bay LGBT Center, 16610 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance. (310) 328-6550, (310) 217-9202. <thecenter@southbaycenter.org>. <southbaycenter.org>.

March 15 ● Saturday

Submit: What is Anarchism?

500 word essay contest. Prizes to $25 AK Press gift card. Pulbication in Black Flag. Multiple submissions welcome. Email <omarhussein@gmail.com> or <catullus1984@riseup.net> to submit or for more information. Deadline *tonight* at midnight.

March 16 ● Sunday

Discussion: “The Nation”

Magazine readers’ group. 3rd Sundays monthly. 2:30 PM. (310) 398-2428.

Political Meeting: Jericho

3rd Sundays monthly. 4 PM: letter writing to prisoners. Followed at 5 PM by the monthly general meeting of the Inter-Communal Solidarity Committee. Left Side Lounge, 1905 Rodeo Road between Western and Arlington. 4 PM. (310) 495-0299. <jerichoamnestylosangeles@gmail.com>. <thejerichomovement.com>.

March 17 ● Monday

Community Event: PFLAG

Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays. 7 PM. Rolling Hills United Methodist Church, 26438 Crenshaw, Rolling Hills. (310) 831-2967.

March 18 ● Tuesday

Political Action: OC Code Pink Vigil

3rd Tuesdays monthly. 5:30-7 PM. Plaza Square Park, Traffic Circle at Glassell & Chapman, Orange. (562) 833-8035. <mfso-oc@earthlink.net>. <mfsooc.org>.

March 19 ● Wednesday

Media: 2014 Homeless Marathon

If anyone is interested in working on street interviews or segments, contact Jeremy Alderson at <radio@lightlink.com> well in advance of the event.

Film: “The Greening of Cuba”

After the imposition of capitalism on Eastern Europe in the early 90s, Cuba lost trading partners & allies. Lacking vital imports of fertilizers & petroleum, the Cuban people waged a titanic and successful campaign to revolutionize their agriculture, creating the only large-scale renewable agricultural system on the planet. 7 PM  Answer Office, 135 E 3rd St, Downtown LA. (323) 394-3611. <answerla@answerla.org>.

Political Meeting: LA Greens

3rd Wednesdays monthly. 7 PM. Call them for the meeting location (the Peace Center has moved). (323) 651-5539. <losangelesgreens.org>.

Media: MOM

Meditations On Media. Gerry Fialkas stimulating soiree stirs up discussion to reveal the hidden effects of what humans have invented. 3rd Wednesdays monthly. 7-10 PM. Free. Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice. (310) 822-3006. <laughtears.com>.

Discussion: “Monthly Review”

Readers’ discussion group. 3rd Wednesdays monthly. 7:30 PM. Yahoo Colorado Center, Community Room, 2500 Broadway, Santa Monica. (310) 390-0306.

March 20 ● Thursday

Political Meeting: SFV Atheists United

Usually 3rd Thursdays monthly (Feb 20), 6:30 PM, Kountry Folks Restaurant, 8501 Sepulveda Blvd., North Hills, (818) 988-2806 (after 5 PM), <atheistsunited.org>. Also other chapters. (866) GOD-LESS, (323) 666-4258. <atheistsunited.org>.

Political Meeting: Peace & Freedom Party

Open to all Peace & Freedom Party registrants. Normally 3rd Thursdays monthly. 7 PM. 2617 S. Hauser Blvd, L.A. (323) 960-5036. <pfplosangeles (at) peaceandfreedom.org>. <peaceandfreedom.org>. See other local chapters on the website (click on contact, local organizations): Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bern., San Diego, SLO & Ventura Counties.

Poetry: Fightin Words

Open Mic to Stop Police Brutality. Hosted by Oct. 22 Coalition. 3rd Thursdays monthly. Call to be sure its happening. 8-11 PM. Chuco’s Justice Center, 1137 E. Redondo Blvd., Inglewood. (323) 235-4243 , (323) 446-7459. <youth4justice.org>.

March 21 ● Friday

Film: LGBT Center Movie Night

Movie selection determined by those present. 7 PM. Suggested donation $5; no one turned away. Refreshments. South Bay LGBT Center, 16610 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance. (310) 328-6550, (310) 217-9202. <thecenter@southbaycenter.org>. <southbaycenter.org>.

March 22 ● Saturday

Classes: Tijuana Maquiladora Tour

Come to learn about Tijuana communities and workers’ conditions and struggles! Passport or other documentation needed. $30. 9 AM – 3 PM. Tour registration & info: <sdmaquila.org>.

Community Event: Tia Chucha’s 13th Anniversary

With live art, cultural tianguis, food vendors, community fandango, & many more surprises. Noon – 6 PM. Free. Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore, 13197 Gladstone Ave., Unit A, Sylmar. <facebook.com/events/231254737055157>.

Community Service: Fair Chance Project

A free legal clinic especially created for those impacted by the prison system. Usually 4th Saturdays monthly. 1:30-3:30 PM (contact them to verify date/time). Chuco’s Justice Center, 1137 E. Redondo Beach Blvd., Inglewood. (310) 677-7445. <gerifacts@sbcglobal.net>. <fairchanceproject.com>.

March 23 ● Sunday

Political Meeting: LA Atheists United

4th Sundays monthly. 11 AM – 2 PM. Center for Inquiry West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 666-9797. <jimu@cfiwest.org>. Also other chapters. (866) GOD-LESS, (323) 666-4258. <atheistsunited.org>.

Film: Natasha Maidoff Live Cinema

Venice artist Maidoff’s work-in-progress. The Sleepwalker magically merges live dance and video projection performance to expand the viewing experience. Also, Curator Lance Richter screens rare experimental films. 7 Dudley Cinema. 4th Sundays monthly. Free. Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice. (310) 822-3006. <laughtears.com>.

March 25 ● Tuesday

Political Meeting: Police Victims Support

Have you or a family member been brutalized by the police? SPIRIT (Support & Partnership In Respect & In Trust). Regular meetings last Tuesdays monthly. 7-9 PM. Contact them to verify info. Youth Justice Coalition/ Chuco’s Justice Center, 253 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., LA. (323) 369-9662, (323) 235-4243. <kruti222@yahoo.com>.

March 26 ● Wednesday

Community Meeting: Activist  Support Circle

Program TBD. Call to verify. 6:30 PM refreshments; 7 PM program. Friends Meeting Hall, 1440 Harvard Street, Santa Monica. (310) 399-1000. <activistsupportcircle@earthlink.net>. <activistsupportcircle.org>.

March 27 ● Thursday

Film: Coastal Convergence Society

Free video night. Meet local peace & justice neighbors for free food, video & discussion. You can bring your own video. Last Thursdays monthly. 7 PM. Contact them for directions.  Huntington Beach. (714) 964-2162. <ccshbca@aol.com>.

Film: Miko Revereza

Revereza was born in Manila and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. A screening of his work created in LA AIR’s artist-in-residence program utilizing EPFC resources in creating new work over a 4 week period. 8PM. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N Alvarado St. (at Sunset), LA. (213) 484 – 8846. <info@echoparkfilmcenter.org>. <echoparkfilmcenter.org>.

March 28 ● Friday

Political Meeting: Center for Inquiry Dinners

Atheists, freethinkers, secular humanists, skeptics, nonbelievers, agnostics & inquiring minds welcome. Hosted by Rachel Sene and Jay Johnson. 4th Fridays monthly (not 5th Fridays). 6:30 PM dinner; 7:30 PM discussion followed by unstructured socializing. WLA Grill, 11407 Santa Monica Blvd., West LA. (310) 780-7363, (310) 488-7431. (Dial *82 to unblock if you want a callback.) <cfiwest.org>.

Political Meeting: Change-Links

Regular monthly mailing meeting for this newspaper. Noon. Contact us for location and to verify time. (818) 782-1412, (818) 681-7448. <change@pacbell.net>. <change-links.org>.

Upcoming:

April 2

Film: “De Cierta Manera – One Way or Another”

A 1974 Cuban film that depicts life in poor neighborhoods in Cuba shortly after the revolution. The Cuba in Revolution film series continues with more films every Wednesdays thru Apr 9. 7 PM. ANSWER office, 135 E. 3rd St., Downtown LA. (323) 394-3611. <answerla@answerla.org>. <answerla.org>.

April 4

Conference: Labor Notes

Apr 4-6. Chicago, IL. (718) 284-4144. <labornotes.org>, click on events.

April 6

Community Event: Beyond Baroque Awards Dinner

Honoring poet/educator/publisher, William Mohr, and poet/publisher Rick Lupert. 6 PM. Advance tickets required: <4thbbawards.eventbrite.com>. The Church in Ocean Park, 235 Hill St., Santa Monica. (310) 822-3006. <carlye@beyondbaroque.org>. <beyondbaroque.org>.

OnGoing:

Please call all Ongoing events to confirm and let us know about any updates.

Alternate Calendar sources:

LA County: Dick & Sharon’s LA Progressive. <laprogressive.com>, look under “events.” Orange County: Orange County Democracy for America (DFA): <dfa-oc.org/calendar>. Orange County Peace Coalition (separate calendar): <dfa-oc.org/wordpress/calendar-html>. San Diego County: Activist San Diego, <activistsandiego.org>, click on “Calendar;” Occupy San Diego Calendar, <copswiki.org/Common/OccupySanDiegoCalendar>. Santa Barbara County: Join listserve via <sbprogcoalition-subscribe@yahoogroups.com> or <groups.yahoo.com/group/sbprogcoalition>.

Classes:

March 1

Tenants Rights

The Coalition for Economic Survival, with 27 years in working for tenants rights and other issues. Two meetings weekly to help tenants. Every Wed. 7 PM & every Sat. 10 AM. Plummer Park, Community Center, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hollywood. (213) 252-4411, (323) 656-4410. <contactces@earthlink.net>. <cesinaction.org>.

March 6

Acting Workshop for Vets

To train actors for performance & to help individuals heal, grow & learn via “drama therapy.” Donation, register online. Contact them for location and to see whether classes are in session. The Veterans Project. 7-10 PM. Every Thursday. Also community theater & interpersonal communication skills workshops. 3916 Sepulveda, LA. (310) 842-8794. <roy@theveteransproject.org>. <theveteransproject.org>.

Young Warriors

“For youth by youth” program guiding them into meeting the challenge of their own struggle, Everyone has something to offer to better our future! Contact them for time and place.

(818) 913-1968, (818) 939-3433. <youngwarriors_souls@yahoo.com>, <young.warriors.yw@gmail.com>. <tiachucha.org>, <facebook.com/YoungWarriors2007>.

Media:

Alternative Radio

Weekly hour-long ongoing series. Featuring speakers like Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Chris Hedges & Howard Zinn. <alternativeradio.org>.

l.a. activist

LA activism journal. <laactivist.com>.

Left Wing Radio Stations

<leftwingradiostations.com>.

Progressive AM Talk Radio

Randi Rhodes (<therandirhodesshow.com>), M-F, Noon – 3 PM. Mike Malloy (<mikemalloy.com>; also <tunein.com>: search for “malloy”) Thom Hartmann (<thomhartmann.com>), radio & TV.

Progressive Podcast

The Rational Radical. Long time activist and subscriber to Change Links, Jerold Block hosts a popular progressive Podcast. <rational@roadrunner.com>. <therationalradical.com>.

Progressive Radio

From Matt Rothschild of The Progressive magazine. <progressive.org/radioweekly>.

Raza Press & Media Association

“The only Mexican-Raza journalist organization consistently advancing and building revolutionary anti-imperialist media.” <razapressassociation.org/blog>.

Vegan Radio

“Go Vegan with Bob Linden.” Broadcast stations & show times on website (frequent changes). Also archives & podcasts. <bob@goveganradio.com>. <goveganradio.com>.

Fridays

Michael Slate

Fridays, 10-11 AM, KPFK 90.7 FM. <kpfk.org>.

Political Action/Meetings:

Vigils, Meetings & Demonstrations: Due to space constraints we may not list all of these in our print edition but they are on our website.

March 2

RAC Food Program

Revolutionary Autonomous Communities Food Program, a mutual-aid project organizing & distributing food in its home neighborhoods. Volunteers needed. Usually every Sunday. 10 AM – 5 PM. MacArthur Park, SW Corner of Wilshire  Blvd. & Park View Ave. <rac-la@lists.riseup.net>. <revolutionaryautonomouscommunities.blogspot.com>.

March 4

Occupy Fights Foreclosures

(323) 696-0596. <o.f.f.homedefense@gmail.com>. <occupyfightsforeclosures.org>, <facebook.com/OccupyFightsForeclosures>.

March 4

Occupy Venice

General Assembly. Continuing every Tue/Thu. 7 PM. 1354 Abbot Kinney (on the back patio), Venice. <facebook.com/occupyveniceca>, <twitter.com/occupyvenice>.

March 6

GA Drone Demonstrations

Weekly demonstrations at General Atomics in Poway.  GA makes the Predator Drone. Contact them to verify details. San Diego Veterans For Peace. Thursdays. 4–6 PM. Poway CA. (760) 207-9139. <dpatterson998@yahoo.com>.

Women Organizing for Justice

A leadership development program seeking to increase the participation of formerly incarcerated and other women in the struggle for social justice. Focusing on criminal justice reform. (323) 563-3575. <susan@anewwayoflife.org>, <info@anewwayoflife.org>. <anewwayoflife.org>

Volunteer Opportunities:

Food Not Bombs

Food Not Bombs (FNB) shares free vegan food with the homeless and all others in need in protest against the effects of capitalism & military spending. All FNB collectives need volunteers. Global directories: <foodnotbombs.net> (click on “find your local chapter”). Group updates may be sent to: <menu@foodnotbombs.net> and the worldwide listserve (subscribe at: <lists.riseup.net/www/info/fnbnetwork>). Always verify that FNB serving listings are up to date.

Sharing Food

Michael Hubman and others run “Right to Share Food” bringing food & water to the folks living on LA’s Skid Row. (714) 227-2217. <waterman@watercorps.net>. <righttosharefood.org>, <watercorps.net>. (These websites may not be up to date.)

Announcements:

Community Services:

Bartering Groups

Get goods and services without cash; trade without banks or a money system. Local community based finance groups are listed at <timebanks.org>. Click on Membership then Membership Directory in the drop-down menu. Use “los angeles” for a search phrase.

Car-Free Living

Auto-Free Orange County: <autofree.net>. Car-Free Santa Barbara: <byrdm@sbcapcd.org>. <santabarbaracarfree.org>. Also, a worldwide network of car-free resources: <worldcarfree.net>. And we’d like to know about local sites for other regions in SoCal.

Free Fruit

A free fruit treasure map of your neighborhood. Map locations you know about; visit places others have posted. This is potentially a *worldwide* resource. <ediblecities.org>.

Homeless & Hungry

“Peoples Guide.” How to get food, money, housing, health care & other help from government programs and community services if you live in LA County and need help in hard times. Online or order printed copies. Hunger Action LA (HALA). <orders@hungeractionla.org>. (213) 388-8228. 2012 version is online at <hungeractionla.org>. New 2013-2014 editions now available.

Homeless Resources

“Street Lawyer: A WIKI to End and Prevent Homelessness,” <wiki.nlchp.org>. Westside Live Food Calendar: <hopemakingchange.org>, click on “iEat.” Or go to <weho.org>, search for “food programs in west hollywood” then find the document in the list (document dated 2012-02). “Los Angeles Homeless Resource Wiki,” <lahomeless.org> (try clicking on the logo on the upper left to access content). And many other online local resources can be found by searching for “los angeles homeless resources” (change the locale if necessary).

iEat

Santa Monica/Venice Food Programs. Westside LIVE Food Calendar. <hopemakingchange.org>, click on “iEat;” current calendar is at bottom.

LA Intentional Community Networking

Many alternative housing options. <laecovillage.org/Intentionalcommunitynetworking.html>.

Market Match Program

Helping boost buying power for seniors and low income families at many SoCal farmers’ markets. CalFresh, WIC and SSI participants get $5-10 weekly to spend at the market. <hungeractionla.org>,  see “market match” at top of website.

Radical Guide to LA

From the 2011 Anarchist Bookfair. Places to eat, drink, visit, radical history, places to stay, links to radical organizations, etc. <laanarchist.org>, click on

Search & Seizure Law

Updated 2012-09. <or.fd.org>, click on the “Case Documents” tab & look for “Search and Seizure.”

Unemployed Resources

An online LA Indymedia article lists a number of resources for those who are struggling in our economy: <la.indymedia.org/news/2011/02/244433.php>. (You may choose to click through a “site warning”; if so, “buyer beware.”)

Women’s Non-Violence Centers

<justicewomen.com>, then “Help for Victims,” then “How To Start an Independent Advocacy Center to End Violence Against Women … and Why.” Also other info helping women help themselves.

Jobs:

Sustainable Living & Farming Jobs

And other “short term job opportunities.” <backdoorjobs.com>.

Military & Draft:

Conscientious Objectors

Linking up with one of the following groups is the first step recommended for obtaining CO status: Center on Conscience & War (CCW) <centeronconscience.org>, Courage to Resist (CTR) <couragetoresist.org> or GI Rights Hotline <girightshotline.org>.

Counter Recruitment

Palisadians for Peace conducts High School campus visits weekly when schools are in session. Usually early morning (onsite about 7 AM). They also canvass other events and distribute information pamphlets in commercial & residential areas offering alternatives and factual information countering relentless military campus recruitment. Volunteers needed. (310) 573-1901. <ulisandra.paz@verizon.net>. (This email address may be bad– “over quota.”)

Counter Recruitment

National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth. Retains resources & pamphlets and a list of organizations involved in CR work on their website. Check out their “Alternatives to the Military” (its on the left side of the page) that lists job resources for those who feel that the military is their only option. <nnomy.org>. Resources for Educators to Stop the War: <educatorstostopthewar.org>, click on “Counter-Recruitment.” Project YANO (Youth and Non-military Opportunities), <projectyano.org>.

Counter Recruitment.

OC Recruitment Awareness Project. New volunteers urgently needed. If you can spare 90 minutes at 7 A.M. once a month during the new school year, please contact us immediately. (949) 492-0571. <bmartin125@comline.com>. <oc-rap.org>,  <facebook.com/pages/OC-RAPOrange-County-Recruitment-Awareness-Project/351358901637094>.

GI Rights

Hotlines: (800) 394-9544 & (877) 447- 4487. Email them for sample info cards & stickers with a price list: <jimhabersf@yahoo.com>. <girightshotline.org>.

Opt-Out

The Pentagon, in violation of the Privacy Act, has compiled and put into use a mega-database of private information on 30 million 16-25-year-olds. Even if you have opted your child out of the lists public schools turn over to local military recruiters, you or your child must also contact the Pentagon directly to get off this new national military recruiting list. More information on their website. Leave My Child Alone. <themmob.org/lmca>.

PTSD Resources

The Wounded Warrior Call-Center: (877) 487-6299, a hotline for injured, wounded or ill former and current Marines, Sailors & their family members. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255). SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education): <save.org>. Vets 4 Vets: (520) 319-5500, <vets4vets.us>, a peer support group for recent vets. National Veterans Foundation: (888) 777-4443, <nvf.org>. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injuries (DCoE): <dcoe.health.mil>, <facebook.com/dcoepage>. Licensed mental health professionals who offer free psychological treatment to military service members who have served or who expect to serve in the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan: <thesoldiersproject.org>. We do not vouch for any of these being *progressive* resources. (Sites on facebook may require membership.)

Recruiter Abuse Hotline (877) 688-6881.

 

<tomjoad.org>.

Underground War Resisters

House a soldier/resister on the way to Canada. The War Resisters Support Campaign has been inundated with requests considering emigration. (416) 598-1222, (647) 393-3096. <resisters@sympatico.ca>.

Police & Migrant Issues:

Checkpoint Response

To report a checkpoint from local news or your observation, or to receive text alerts, please email: / Para divulgar un punto de comprobación de noticias locales o de su observación, o recibir alarmas del texto, envíe por correo electrónico por favor: <noretenes@gmail.com>. Also see: <facebook.com/policeretencheckpoint>.

CopWatch

Useful for people who have been brutalized, harassed, or had family members murdered by the police. (877) 4-LA1992, (877) 8NO – COPS. Look on their website for a police activity and ICE raids mobile phone alert service. Report a Cop and Copwatch LA Radio online; also text alerts. Many other features. <copwatchla@riseup.net>. <copwatchla.org>, <copwatchlosangeles.blogspot.com>. Also RTF National Mobile Cop Watch Network; info: <raisethefist.com/copwatch>.

Police Brutality

CopWatch LA: see above. October 22 Coalition LA, <tiahstarr@hotmail.com> or NY Central office at <mediocremustard@optonline.net> and ask for a referral to Oct 22 LA. CAHRO (California Association of Human Relations Organizations), 320 West Temple St., #1184, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 974-7601, <cahro.org>. LA County Human Relations Commission, (213) 737-7463. Idris Stelley Foundation (ISF, SF Bay area) 24 HR Bilingual Crisis line at (415) 595-8251 for referrals, <mysite.verizon.net/vzeo9ewi/idrissstelleyfoundation>, <myspace.com/isfoundation>. (Sites on myspace may require membership.)

Security Culture for Activists

A free e-book provided by the Ruckus Society. <ruckus.org/article.php?id=789l>.

Slavery & Trafficking

Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST), 5042 Wilshire Blvd., #586, LA CA 90036. (213) 365-1906. <castla.org>.

Undocumented Students

Student Rights: <maldef.org>, click on education, public policy then AB540. Scholarships: Association of Raza Educators (ARE) sponsors a continuing project (donations & applications, <razaeducators.org>, click on “scholarship donate.” <razaeducators@yahoo.com>).

 

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Obama’s NSA ‘Reforms’ Are Little More Than a PR Attempt to Mollify the Public

Posted on 31 January 2014 by John Johnson

Obama is draping the banner of change over the NSA status quo.
Bulk surveillance that caused such outrage will remain in place

by Glenn Greenwald

In response to political scandal and public outrage, official Washington
repeatedly uses the same well-worn tactic. It is the one that has been hauled
out over decades in response to many of America’s most significant political
scandals. Predictably, it is the same one that shaped President Obama’s
much-heralded Friday speech to announce his proposals for “reforming” the National
Security Agency in the wake of seven months of intense worldwide controversy.

Barack Obama speaks about the National Security Agency on 17 January 2014 from the Justice Department in Washington. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The crux of this tactic is that US political leaders pretend to validate and
even channel public anger by acknowledging that there are “serious
questions that have been raised”. They vow changes to fix the system and
ensure these problems never happen again. And they then set out, with their
actions, to do exactly the opposite: to make the system prettier and more politically
palatable with empty, cosmetic “reforms” so as to placate public
anger while leaving the system fundamentally unchanged, even more immune than
before to serious challenge.

This scam has been so frequently used that it is now easily recognizable. In
the mid-1970s, the Senate uncovered surveillance abuses that had
been ongoing for decades, generating widespread public fury. In response, the
US Congress enacted a new law (Fisa) which featured
two primary “safeguards”: a requirement of judicial review for any
domestic surveillance, and newly created committees to ensure legal compliance
by the intelligence community.

But the new court was designed to ensure that all of the government’s
requests were approved: it met in secret, only the government’s lawyers could
attend, it was staffed with the most pro-government judges, and it was even
housed in the executive branch. As planned, the court over the next 30 years
virtually never said no to the government.

Identically, the most devoted and slavish loyalists of the National Security
State were repeatedly installed as the committee’s heads, currently in the form
of NSA cheerleaders Democrat Dianne
Feinstein in the Senate and Republican Mike Rogers in the House. As the New
Yorker’s Ryan Lizza put it in a December 2013 article on the joke of Congressional oversight, the
committees “more often treat É senior intelligence officials like matinee
idols”.

As a result, the committees, ostensibly intended to serve an overseer
function, have far more often acted as the NSA’s in-house PR firm. The heralded mid-1970s reforms did more to make Americans believe there was reform than actually providing any, thus shielding it from real reforms.

The same thing happened after the New York Times, in 2005, revealed that the
NSA under Bush had been eavesdropping on Americans for years without the
warrants required by criminal law. The US political class loudly claimed that
they would resolve the problems that led to that scandal. Instead, they did the
opposite: in 2008, a bipartisan Congress, with the support of then-Senator Barack Obama, enacted a new Fisa law that legalized the bulk of the
once-illegal Bush program, including allowing warrantless eavesdropping on
hundreds of millions of foreign nationals and large numbers of Americans as
well.

This was also the same tactic used in the wake of the 2008 financial crises.
Politicians dutifully read from the script that blamed unregulated Wall Street
excesses and angrily vowed to rein them in. They then enacted legislation that
left the bankers almost entirely unscathed, and which made the “too-big-to-fail
problem that spawned the crises worse than ever.

And now we have the spectacle of President Obama reciting paeans to the
values of individual privacy and the pressing need for NSA safeguards.
“Individual freedom is the wellspring of human progress,” he gushed
with an impressively straight face. “One thing I’m certain of, this debate
will make us stronger,” he pronounced, while still seeking to imprison for
decades the whistleblower who enabled that debate. The bottom line, he said, is
this: “I believe we need a new approach.”

But those pretty rhetorical flourishes were accompanied by a series of
plainly cosmetic “reforms“. By design, those proposals will do little more than maintain rigidly in place the very bulk surveillance systems that have sparked such controversy and
anger.

To be sure, there were several proposals from Obama that are positive steps.
A public advocate in the Fisa court, a loosening of “gag orders” for national security letters, removing metadata control from the NSA, stricter standards for accessing metadata, and narrower authorizations for spying on friendly foreign leaders (but not, of course, their
populations
) can all have some marginal benefits. But even there, Obama’s
speech was so bereft of specifics – what will the new standards be? who will now control Americans’ metadata? – that they are more like slogans than serious proposals.

Ultimately, the radical essence of the NSA – a system of suspicion-less spying aimed at hundreds of millions of people in the US and around the world – will fully endure even if all of Obama’s proposals are adopted. That’s because Obama never hid the real purpose of this process. It is, he and his officials repeatedly acknowledged, “to restore public
confidence” in the NSA. In other words, the goal isn’t to truly reform the
agency; it is deceive people into believing it has been so that they no longer
fear it or are angry about it.

As the ACLU’s executive director Anthony Romero said after the speech:

The president should end – not mend – the government’s
collection and retention of all law-abiding Americans’ data. When the
government collects and stores every American’s phone call data, it is engaging
in a textbook example of an ‘unreasonable search’ that violates the
constitution.

That, in general, has long been Obama’s primary role in our political system
and his premiere, defining value to the permanent power factions that run
Washington. He prettifies the ugly; he drapes the banner of change over
systematic status quo perpetuation; he makes Americans feel better about
policies they find repellent without the need to change any of them in
meaningful ways. He’s not an agent of change but the soothing branding
packaging for it.

As is always the case, those who want genuine changes should not look to
politicians, and certainly not to Barack Obama, to wait for it to be gifted.
Obama was forced to give this speech by rising public pressure, increasingly
scared US tech giants, and surprisingly strong resistance from the
international community to the out-of-control American surveillance state.

Today’s speech should be seen as the first step, not the last, on the road
to restoring privacy. The causes that drove Obama to give this speech need to
be, and will be, stoked and nurtured further until it becomes clear to official
Washington that, this time around, cosmetic gestures are plainly inadequate.

© 2014 The Guardian

Glenn Greenwald is a columnist on civil liberties and US national security
issues for the Guardian. A former constitutional lawyer, he was until 2012 a
contributing writer at Salon.  His most
recent book is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to
Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful
. His other
books include: Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of
Republican Politics
A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the
Bush Presidency
, and How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a
President Run Amok
. He is the
recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

 

 

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America The Most Inhumane

Posted on 03 January 2014 by John Johnson

America Is the Most Inhumane Developed Country on the Planet — Are We Going to Let It Stay That Way?

This week marked the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What would it be like if people in the U.S. knew they had these rights?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/corgarashu

December 14, 2013  |

This week marked the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It was drafted by a commission of the United Nations that was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. The Convention became effective in 1951, the United States finally ratified it in 1988 and it was signed by President George H.W. Bush.

What would it be like if people in the United States knew they had these rights and demanded to have them realized? We believe it would be a very different world – the economy would be a more equitable with full employment, healthcare for all, no people without housing and more humane on every front. Instead, this week an annual report of Credit Suisse ranked the US as the most unequal of all advanced countries.

As a general guide for understanding human rights there are five principles that should be applied to every policy:  universality, equity, transparency, accountability and participation. In a nutshell, universality means that policies apply to all people. Equity means that people have what they need in order to be at the same level as others. Participation means that people have input into the policies that affect their lives.

Harriet Tubman once said, “I freed a thousand slaves; I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Similarly, we have human rights and our rights are being violated every day, yet many are not aware of this.

Economic Inequality and Austerity

Wealth inequality has worsened under the Obama Presidency. This is remarkable because historically after an economic collapse, the wealth divide closes during the recovery phase. According to the 2013 report, “In the U.S., the bottom 90% of the population own only 24.6% of all the privately held wealth, whereas in most of the developed world, the bottom 90% own around 40%; so, the degree of wealth-concentration in the U.S. is extraordinary…”

There hasn’t been any recovery for the bottom 90%. Public policies have continued to funnel wealth to the top while cutting the social infrastructure. Ellen Brown explains that the Federal Reserve Act prevents the Quantitative Easing (QE), the $85 billion created each month, from being used to invest in businesses and create jobs. She describes the Act as being “drafted by bankers to create a banker’s bank that would serve their interests. It is their own private club, and its legal structure keeps all non-members out.” So, instead of assisting Main Street, the QE has gone to Wall Street and has been used for financial trading that places our entire economy at risk of collapse. Activists will begin a yearlong campaign to change the Fed on Dec. 23rd at all 12 Federal Reserve Buildings.  Taxpayers need to take back the power to create money in a transparent way; the government should be spending debt free money on urgent necessities and providing people with the money they need to survive and create full employment.

Since early 2010, the Obama administration with Congress has pursued austerity with the federal budget, which is the opposite of what is needed in order to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment. Working closely with deficit hawks such as Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles and the Peterson Foundation, whose mission is to end social insurances, necessary programs such as unemployment benefits, food stamps, Medicare and Head Start have been cut.

Pascal Robert writes that this year alone, the Sequester forced “$9.9 billion in cuts to Medicare, $840 million in cuts to special education programs, and $400 million in cuts to Head Start, in addition to the nearly $2 billion slashed from housing aid.” He calls this “Obama’s war on the poor.” Economist Robert Reich calls the new budget “dumb” because itdoesn’t close tax loopholes for wealthy, restore food stamps to poor, or extend unemployment benefits for jobless.” He calls for investment in repairing our failing infrastructure which would solve critical safety concerns and create jobs.

The economic trends look bad for most of us. College students are graduating with higher levels of debt each year into an employment environment in which they are forced to delay their desired career path and work for poverty wages. While the official unemployment rate for college graduates has dropped, that doesn’t consider the 1.7 million who have stopped looking for work.

The combination of poverty wages, the foreclosure crisis and the buying up of distressed homes by investors has caused the percentage of renters to rise dramatically to 35% of households, the highest in ten years. And more than half of renters are paying over 30% of their incomes on rent alone. It is a landlord’s market and some renters are wondering if it is time to revolt.

And there is no end in sight to this economic situation. The Guardian writes that the State Policy Network, funded by the Koch brothers and Kraft, is gearing up to push legislation in a number of states that will undermine public employee pay and pensions, further privatize education, oppose Medicaid and even try to stop efforts to mitigate climate change. They are even pushing to get rid of income tax in certain areas, a move that will appeal to some but will force more cuts to important social programs.

The simultaneous transfer of wealth to the top and austerity measures for the rest looks like certain social suicide, but it seems that those in power are sick with greed and cannot help themselves. Chris Hedges describes the problem to Paul Jay of The Real News this week in an interview called The Pathology of the Rich, saying “They will extract more and more and more, because they have no self-imposed limits, without understanding the economic, political, and social consequences of what they’re doing.”

Trade Agreements and the Federal Budget

The wealth divide is created by policy choices made by those in power. We can see how they rig the economy for their wealthy donors and big business interests, at the expense of local businesses, entrepreneurs, workers and the poor. Right now this economic rigging is playing out in the secret negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

We are witnessing the acceleration of a global neoliberal economic agenda through the TPP and the Atlantic version, TAFTA. In Europe a document was leaked that described the strategy of lying to the people of Europe of the “management of stakeholders, social media and transparency” to give a false appearance of listening to them and silencing them. At the same time their TAFTA communications strategy will promise jobs and economic growth – when we know from past corporate trade agreements those are false promises.  The approach in Europe is taken from the playbook of the Obama administration in the United States: mislead the public, hide the truth and keep the contents secret.

Stan Sorscher writes that these trade agreements are about more than trade. They are “political, social, cultural and moral documents, which set political and social standards for countries and communities.” They create a legal system that overrules the ability to pass laws that protect the public and environment if that protection interferes with corporate profits.

Fortunately, because of public protests and exposure that the US is pushing polices that violate international norms, the TPP negotiations this week in Singapore broke down. Wikileaks revealed that the US remains inflexible pushing extreme pro-corporate policies as other negotiating countries try to represent the interests of their people.

The World Trade Organization concluded its meetings this week in Bali. Hundreds of people from civil society groups protested both inside and outside of the meetings. An agreement was reached but still has to go to each country for ratification before it takes effect. The reaction of civil society showed great concern about the contents of the agreement in particular because of the expansion of corporate rights and the threats to food sovereignty. They write, “No country should have to beg for the right to guarantee the right to food.”

In the US, a coalition of civil society groups also responded to the budget passed this week in Congress with their own People-Peace-Planet Budget announced on December 10, Human Rights Day, which contained up to a 50% reduction in military spending and investment in domestic needs. They said “One of every two Americans in now in poverty or low income. We’re not just hungry for food. We’re hungry for jobs, homes, for schools, for the basic necessities of life. We are hungry for justice!” A small delegation brought the budget to Congress and presented it to the offices of Rep. Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray unannounced. Dennis Trainor, Jr. of the Resistance Report covered their response.

A few hours later, Democrats and Republicans, the bipartisan corporate parties in Congress (the only parties allowed in our faux democracy), reached a budget deal that will restore full military spending while allowing food stamp and unemployment cuts to move forward. The agreement has been described as “awesomely destructive” because it continues austerity, does not extend unemployment or restore cuts to food stamp. It cuts pensions, cuts Medicaid and taxes Medicare but restores military spending. It is a job-killing, economy-weakening budget. “This deal asks essentially nothing of the richest Americans while placing terrible burdens on the unemployed as well as new federal employees, and continuing the fiscal policy drag on our still-unfinished recovery,” said Lawrence Mishel, executive director of the Economic Policy Institute.

Fighting For Our Human Rights

Many in civil society are beginning to understand that human rights are not being respected. Our rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and illustrated in this graphic, such as the right to healthcare and other basic necessities, privacy and unrestricted travel, are being violated. It is up to us to organize and mobilize to demand that these rights are honored.

In fact, one of those rights according to international covenants is the right to resist, which US founders called Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly and the Right to Petition Government for Redress of Grievances. Maciej Bartkowki and Annyssa Bellal write that the international community must support nonviolent civil resistance so that “a ‘people polity’ may represent a decisive force for a final push away from traditional state-driven discourse and practice … towards people-oriented, popular sovereignty based on the rights and responsibility to uphold them.”

On December 10, we participated in a meeting at the office of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) in New York City. NESRI facilitates organizing by groups around the country that use a human rights framework. The first step is for activists and their communities to understand that they have certain rights. The dominant culture in the United States tells us that we have rights to abstract concepts such as freedom but not to the tangible basic necessities of education, housing, health care, jobs and more. And the second step is to identify where these rights are being violated and organize to restore and protect them.

When the human rights framework is applied to any issue, the solution becomes evident.  For example on healthcare, it would not  treated as a commodity that is a profit center for wealthy investors, but a public good provided as a public service to all. For employment, it would mean a full employment economy where workers were paid a livable, not a poverty, wage. These are two examples of many.

One area where there is an aggressive fight for human rights is the campaign for $15 an hour minimum wage.  We examined the breadth of this class war conflict in a recent weekly review: the 1,500 Walmart protests and the 100 cities where low-wage workers walked out being two recent examples. People are realizing this is not just a struggle for a fair wage but for a different kind of country that respects human rights. And people realize that our tax dollars are subsidizing the unethical practices of Walmart, McDonalds, Starbucks and others who pay poverty wages while taxpayers subsidize their employees’ food, healthcare, housing and CEO income.

In SeaTac, the town where the Seattle-Takoma airport is located, people voted to raise the minimum wage to $15.  This is an incredible victory. Not only do workers get $15 an hour (about $31,000 annual wage) but they get paid sick days.  Of course, the people who profiteer from low-wage workers do not want to give up their virtual slave labor. Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association have challenged the new law in court. This is often part of the battle for fairness.

In another victory Schneider Logistics, a company that runs warehouses for Walmart has agreed to pay $4.7 million to as many as 568 workers after they sued over stolen wages, i.e. failing to pay overtime and deducting wages from their paychecks among other things.  Walmart, well known for forcing contractors and suppliers to reduce their prices, tried to escape public blame by saying the workers did not work directly for them. This does not pass the straight face test because we know this is part of the Walmartization of the economy.

In another remarkable story , Flor Molina, who came to the United States so she could feed her family in Mexico, was promised a job because of her sewing skills. When she got here she found out that she had become a slave, locked into a room with other slaves in Los Angeles and forced to work.  After 40 days she escaped and found a group, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST). The group helped her to deal with the abuse she suffered and she is now a pioneering member of CAST’s Survivor’s Caucus, a group of women from 13 countries who escaped slavery in the United States. They work to craft policies that meet the needs of trafficking victims on issues like health care and visa protections. “Now that I’m a grandmother, I want a world free of slavery,” Molina says. “Now that I survived, I want to change something.”

Others who stand up and fight back need our support. We urge everyone to boycott Dominos Pizza because of their mistreatment of workers. In one case, Dominos workers who complained about being paid less than the minimum wage were fired. Wage theft is very common. In New York, one survey found 84% of workers reported forms of wage theft. The Dominos in Washington Heights on 181st street practices a type of wage theft. Let @Dominos know that you will not buy their products until this injustice is corrected. Solidarity is critical to defeating these human rights abuses.

Starbucks, which is in the top ten companies with poverty wages, has a contractor that provides them with their paper coffee cups. The union is fighting for a fair contract but the owner is trying to force them to accept cuts to the salaries and benefits, including losing a paid lunch hour. Recently the workers took their fight public with the help of the Starbucks Workers Union (SWU), a small grassroots network of baristas and shift supervisors. They organized an international Week of Action in 15 major cities to call attention to the injustices they’re facing. They want Starbucks to step in and join their call.  Tweet @Starbucks and tell them – respect their workers, support the workers at their Paciv Stockton paper cup company.

Another major area of human rights is the right to education. The Universal Declaration says “Everyone has a right to education” and that “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.” These rights are being violated in the United State as austerity and corporatization undermine education.

People are standing up to fight for their right to education – this includes students, parents and teachers.  We especially need to support the efforts of students who stand up for their rights like the inspiring Algebra Project youth. This week, there was a day of actions across the country to take back public schools.

One more area where human rights are violated in the United States is housing.  Not only are economic policies making housing unaffordable, but people who can no longer afford housing are being widely criminalized, as are those who provide food to the hungry. This week in San Francisco, housing activists blocked a google bus to protest the evictions resulting from tech-driven gentrification that makes housing too expensive for many.

These are just a few examples. We can look to almost every issue and find the violation of human rights. And, we can also see that if the five principles of human rights were applied, the policies would be very different and we would see a country that met the necessities of people and protected the planet from ecological destruction.

Time for Outrage

In 2010 Stephane Hessel (here’s a website inspired by his work) who fought in the French Resistance and was the youngest member of the staff of the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights wrote a short book “Time for Outrage” (Indignez-vous!).  He was 95 when he died in 2013. His book is credited with being one of the catalysts of the Indignado movement, the forerunner of the Occupy Movement. It has sold millions of copies and been translated into 17 languages.

Hessel begins by piercing the false rhetoric of the type we hear from the bi-partisans in Washington and neoliberals around the world:

“We are told, shamelessly, that the state cannot bear the cost of certain civil measures any longer. But how can we lack the funds when our nations enjoy greater wealth than any time since Liberation, when Europe lay in ruins? How else to explain this but for the corrupt power of money … which is now greater, more insolent, and more selfish than ever.

“The wealthy have installed their slaves in the highest spheres of state. The banks are privately owned. They are concerned solely with profits. They have no interest in the common good. The gap between rich and poor is the widest it’s ever been, the pursuit of riches and the spirit of competition are encouraged and celebrated.”

Hessel final chapter calls for a “Peaceful Insurrection” and concludes by putting forward a charge for all of us today, one we should take seriously as we work for a better world built on the foundation of universally recognized human rights. In his final paragraphs he writes:

“How can I conclude this call for indignation?

“By reiterating that on the sixtieth anniversary of the Program of the National Council of the Resistance – March 8, 2004 – we, veterans of the Resistance who fought for Free France between 1940 and 1945, said the following: ‘Yes, Nazism was defeated, thanks to our brothers and sisters of the Resistance who sacrificed their lives, and thanks to the nations united in their opposition to fascist barbarity. But the threat persists; we are not entirely rid of it. And against injustice, our anger remains intact.

“Indeed, the threat persists. We therefore maintain our call for ‘a rebellion – peaceful and resolute – against the instruments of mass media that offer our young people a worldview defined by the temptations of mass consumption, a historical amnesia, and relentless competition of all against all.

“To the men and women who will make the twenty-first century, we say with affection:

“TO CREATE IS TO RESIST

TO RESIST IS TO CREATE”

Every day, rights guaranteed by US laws as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are violated against the people of the United States and around the world.  Let us recognize that these rights are our inalienable rights and that only we can ensure that we have them. They will not be given to us; we must take them and be indignant in our constant demand that they be respected.

Sign up for the daily news digest of Popular Resistance, here.

This article is produced by PopularResistance.org in conjunction with AlterNet.  It is based on PopularResistance.org’s weekly newsletter reviewing the activities of the resistance movement.

Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD are participants inPopularResistance.org;they co-direct  It’s Our Economy  and co-host  Clearing the FOG . Their twitters are @KBZeese and MFlowers8.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are participants in PopularResistance.org. They also co-direct It’s Our Economy and are co-hosts of Clearing the FOG, shown on UStream TV and heard on radio. They tweet at @KBZeese and MFlowers8.

 

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The Perils of Progressive Media

Posted on 03 January 2014 by John Johnson

The Perils of Progressive Media

by John Johnson

            Last month we got an email from the Getty Foundation. They demanded $350 from Change- Links, claiming that we used one of their photos on a page from our Website from about three months ago. On it, we’d ran an article about a homeless families. To illustrate it I chose a photo I found on the Web of a homeless family.

                A number of years ago the Getty empire started buying up all the photos they could, especially ones with news value, then charging for their use. Many artists and others waged a large campaign to stop this monopolization of art but so far it hasn’t stopped them.

                Change-Links continues to eke itself out without any corporate or think tank support. We’re one of the few remaining examples of genuine public media. And one of the very few progressive publications still in operation. It’s a lot of work to get out.

                It’s also critical at this time for us to build a more organized progressive movement in the US. Occasional progressive and radical outbreaks, like the Occupy movement, infuse us with hope, but they don’t last. We no longer have the base of college movements that were once a vital source of energy and continuity to keep things moving.

                During the Seventies we tried to build a working class movement, focusing on both community and the work place. But we couldn’t sustain it after a few years. And by then the student actions were already ebbing.

                Today corporations dominate the country and our lives. Wall Street rakes in billions in exchange for ruining the lives of untold poor and working class families. Corporations work hand in glove with government officials to bilk and funnel massive amounts of taxpayer money into their own pockets.

                Not that it ever existed, but democracy is next to dead in this country. And it’s pretty much the same throughout the rest of the world, worse in some places, better in others. Dictators have figured out that fraud works better than brute force to keep the population in tow, though they don’t hesitate to use both.

                The best news sources on broadcast media are Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now,” and Thom Hartmann. Rachael Madow can be good, but we took a big hit when they got rid of Keith Obermann.

                The corporations and the government are not going to establish a fair and balanced public broadcast or print media, much less a progressive one. We’ve got to do it ourselves. Amy Goodman gets a lot of support, and can always use more. But Change-Links is hanging by a thread that gets more frayed with every issue. If you value the news and information we provide, we need your donations and/or volunteer time. Now!

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