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Showing posts from October, 2008

Walls

In Baghdad



In Palestine



On the US/Mexico Border



Around Gated Communities



More and more walls...what are they for?

I got a bit of a jolt about this as I listened to the cd of Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine on a recent road trip. At the end of the book she discusses the Israeli economy and the walling off of Palestinians in the occupied territories. She says,

What Israel has constructed is...a network of open holding pens for millions of people who have been categorized as surplus humanity..

I immediately thought of a speech given by David Simon (creator of the HBO show "The Wire") where he talked about the fact that, in our post-industrial economy, every day that goes by, humans are worth less. In other words, our current system as it now operates, needs less of us to make a profit and is content to categorize millions of people as "surplus humanity" and then wall them off to protect us from their anger and rebellion.

And in cases where we don't have permanen…

On finding "home"

I remember in the midst of the 2004 Democratic Convention, hearing Barack Obama speak for the first time. And like most of America, I was intrigued...who IS this guy? So a few months later when I saw his book, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, I decided to read it.



In it, I found the journey of a young man with a Black African father and White American mother trying to find out where he belonged in the world. It was pretty hard-hitting and gut-wrenching at times. Here's a short passage from when Barack was in high school as an illustration.

Following this logic, the only thing you could choose as your own was withdrawal into a smaller and smaller coil of rage, until being black meant only the knowledge of your own powerlessness, of your own defeat. And the final irony: Should you refuse this defeat and lash out at your captors, they would have a name for that too, a name that could cage you just as good. Paranoid. Militant. Violent. N#####r.

The exploration of …

How to combine

In democratic countries, knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the others.

–Alexis de Tocqueville

Over the last few weeks I have grown increasingly interested in the community organizing aspects of the Obama campaign's ground game. I have no idea how history will record what has happened in communities all over this country over the last couple of years, but it seems to me that it is as responsible as anything else for the success of the campaign. But like most things that are new and don't involve the rich and powerful, it's happening under the radar of the MSM and pundit class.

Of course, alot of this comes from Obama's history as a community organizer. But relatively speaking, that was only for a short period of his life. The person who has brought the skill and experience to this aspect of the campaign more than anyone else is a man by the name of Marshall Ganz.

Lecturer in Public Policy, entered …

Imagination

In my dream, the angel shrugged & said, If we fail this time, it will be a failure of imagination & then she placed the world gently in the palm of my hand.

- Brian Andreas



Imagine My Surprise

Imagine my surprise,
sitting a full hour
in silent and irremediable
fear of the world,

to find the body
forgetting
its own fear the instant
it opened and placed
those unassuming hands
on life's enduring pain,

and the world for one
moment
closed its terrifying eyes
in gratitude.

Saying,
"This is my body, I am found."

- David Whyte



Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.

- Albert Einstein

I cried my last tears yesterday

I must admit that this has been a hard week for me. As if the collapse of the global economy weren't enough, we've witnessed a presidential campaign successfully stir up the hatefulness that lies underneath the veneer of our so-called "color-blind" society.

I decided that it was time to take a tour of the diversosphere to see what they were saying about all of this. The condemnation of the McCain/Palin strategy was not that different from what I read in the rest of the progressive blogoshere. But I did find something that was amazing and just what I needed...a reservoir of strength and determination.

For most people of color, this election is about a struggle they've been fighting for generations. The fact that it engenders hatefulness is nothing new to them. They've been dealing with it their whole lives. And now, just when we are about to cross one of the most significant milestones in our nation's history, they are not about to be intimidated. To get an…

Fearless Thought

Men fear thought more than they fear anything else on earth -- more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages ... But if thought is to become the possession of many, not the privilege of the few, we must have done with fear. It is fear that holds men back -- fear lest their cherished beliefs should prove delusions, fear lest the institutions by which they live should prove harmful, fear lest they themselves should prove less worthy of respect than they have supposed themselves to be.

-Bertrand Russell



Perhaps our current day exploration of this can best be found in the comedy of Stephen Colbert, especially in his performance at the White House Correspondent's Dinner where he satirized the Presidents reliance on "gut instincts" a…