would you like more? http://poetpiet.tripod.com/2002/prfr5.htm
http://lasthours.com/heal.shtml ------ same source: The Lost People" was originally published in 'Spirit of Change' magazine, November 1998, and copyright by Thom Hartmann, ----- related comment by Tom Walker on csf --------- Baltimore Indy 1645 Direct Democracy And The Global Justice Movement by Wanda / dualpower.net ------- The benefits of multiculturalism ----------- atlanta 7699 several items on the middle east ------- via michall Pugliese (lbo): on Michael A Hoffman who has a brilliant writing style, too bad he associates with the absurdities fringe ---------------  ISLAM AND THE INTERNET Net-religion, a War in Heaven Lecture by Peter Lamborn Wilson --------multiculturalism knocking on the rise -------------- http://lasthours.com/heal.shtml We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity, poised on the edge of events that may literally reshape the world and the world mind. People argue that the terrorist attacks against the United States reflect a war between one religion and another, or between the poor and the rich of the world. While there may be an element of truth to each, I’d suggest that the real war here is between the 11th century and the 21st century. And until our leaders figure that out, we may miss some great opportunities. Back in the Dark and Middle Ages, the Catholic Church ruled Europe. Women were often forbidden to go out in public unless properly covered and were explicitly the property of men. Justice was swift and severe, ranging from disfigurement to torture to death in horrific ways, and most often meted out with the approval or supervision of clerics. The power behind the power of all the royal families of Europe was the Pope. On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban gave one of history’s most famous speeches to the Council of Clermont in France, calling for a holy war against Islam to unite factious Europe. Dr. E.L. Skip Knox of Boise State University in Idaho summarized the Pope’s speech: The noble race of Franks must come to the aid of their fellow Christians in the East. The infidel Turks are advancing into the heart of Eastern Christendom; Christians are being oppressed and attacked; churches and holy places are being defiled. Jerusalem is groaning under the Saracen yoke. The Holy Sepulchre is in Moslem hands and has been turned into a mosque. …The Franks [Germans] must stop their internal wars and squabbles. Let them go instead against the infidel and fight a righteous war. God himself will lead them, for they will be doing His work. There will be absolution and remission of sins for all who die in the service of Christ. Here they are poor and miserable sinners; there they will be rich and happy. Let none hesitate; they must march next summer. God wills it! Thus began a war between two different medieval cultures: the 11th-century Catholic and the 11th-century Muslim. Over the next few centuries, the Catholics, with their battle cry of “Deus vult!” (God wills it) were often victorious against the Muslims, whose only crime defined by the Pope was that they were living on a land holy to the Catholic Church. Medieval historian Raymond of Agiles wrote the following eyewitness account of the attack and seizure of Jerusalem in 1099 by the triumphant Crusaders: "Some of our men cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands, and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one's way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the temple of Solomon, a place where religious services were ordinarily chanted. What happened there? If I tell the truth, it will exceed your powers of belief. So let it suffice to say this much at least, that in the temple and portico of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins." In the 900 or so years since the early Crusades, both Christianity and Islam have undergone profound changes. The Protestant Reformation shook Christianity to its core, and the Renaissance in Europe wrought huge transformations in both Christianity and Judaism. Perhaps the most critical change came about in the18th century when Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and others synthesized the highest ideals of Greek, Roman, and Iroquois thought and culture to create the United States of America. In doing that, they ignited the flame of liberty, bringing into the world an archetype that to this day inspires hope worldwide. As America grew and our ideas of republican democracy spread around the world, further transformations of the world took place. Another turning point was when modern science challenged the medieval worldview of the Church in the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. Although Clarence Darrow lost that case, its widespread publicity began a dramatic and lasting process of change across the world. The American Dream is a powerful and pervasive force in the world, even if the sometimes-imperialistic behavior of our transnational corporations is often at odds with our own ideals. The Dream has wafted over the entire world, and is still so powerful that people are willing to die for it: In China, the Tiananmen Square protesters marched to their doom in 1989 carrying a 37-foot-tall papier-mâché replica of the Statue of Liberty, which they had renamed “The Goddess of Democracy.” Of course, there are still pockets of medieval perspective in the Christian world. The postdisaster comments of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson that we had just witnessed the “wrath of [their] god” who “lifted the veil” and “allowed” the terrorists to act because of their god’s anger over “homosexuals, liberals, and the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union],” reveals that such a worldview is still alive and well in a small fringe of Christianity. Some Christians are still today willing to commit terrorist acts of murder or mass murder: Timothy McVeigh and those who have murdered numerous abortion providers all claimed their acts are grounded in Christianity and biblical teachings. Just as 21st-century Christianity still has its own pockets of medieval worldview, so does 21st-century Islam. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David Moats, once a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan, tells the story in the September 23, 2001 issue of the Montpelier Times Argus of a discussion he had with an Islamic Afghani in 1971: “I remember the evening when I explained to my Laghmani friend that in America we believed the world was round,” Moats recounts. “I used a teapot and a lantern to show how the earth revolved around the sun. He was skeptical. He was an educated man, but he also knew that the Koran referred to the four corners of the earth, which suggests the earth is flat.” The difference these days, however, is that as a percentage much more of Islam than of any other religion is still living out 11th-century values. In many of Islam’s most wealthy and modern countries (Saudi Arabia, for example, among others), women are still veiled and forbidden to work or drive. In many Islamic nations, such as Pakistan, it’s forbidden for girls to go to public school. And in a communiqué to America, Osama bin Laden cited the 11th-century Christian Crusades against Islam—a war he clearly sees himself as still fighting—as part of his justification for terrorism and a holy war or jihad against the West. As much as Robertson, McVeigh, and Falwell would like to portray themselves as warriors for the heart and soul of Christianity, the vast majority of Christians see them for what they are: anachronisms with medievalist perspectives. Thank goodness in America they’ve been marginalized and, along with the abortion-clinic bombers, can only stand, even with the megaphones of their millions of dollars and television networks, on the extreme fringes of a mainstream American culture. Similarly, even the most orthodox and conservative of the sects of Judaism, the Hasidic movement, interacts fully in the modern world. None among them, to the best of my knowledge (and I’ve lived and worked among them), would invoke the name of G-d in a war against any other group unless in self-defense. Buddhist and Hindu traditions, as well, are largely modern around the world (although they, too, struggle with minorities still stuck in the 11th century). But, uniquely in the world, the Falwells among Islam actually control entire nations. A small but significant portion of Islam still lives the values of the Middle Ages, and the evangelists for that medieval worldview in Islamic context are gaining ground, particularly among the world’s poorest nations. Thus, a September 22, 2001 editorial in The News, a large daily paper in Islamabad, Pakistan, said that the time has arrived “to decide whether they want this country to remain under the ever looming threat of Islamic fundamentalism, with a tiny but militant minority refusing to let Pakistan pull itself out of the medieval ages … or join hands to purge the polity of terrorism, blackmail, and retardation.” If this is, in fact, a battle between the 11th century and the 21st century, then it’s not a battle that will be won with bombs, threats, or intimidation. No matter how high-tech they may be, these are the tools of the 11th century. Instead, America and the free world must hold high our archetypal vision of freedom, individual liberty, and religious tolerance—and change the world with ideas instead of bombs. The Reformation and Enlightenment were times when ideas swept across the world and transformed every one of the world’s nations and major religions, to greater or lesser extents. In past centuries in much of the world polygamy has been outlawed, women and minorities freed, and the lines between religion and government are drawn sharply in ways that no theocracy could ever again rise to power. None of these idea -based changes have yet happened among the most fundamentalist of the Islamic nations (nor, to be fair, among small but marginalized pockets of the world’s other medieval and premedieval-based religions). We have the means, through printing presses and radio-transmitting towers, to carry 21st-century ideas to people still living in the mind of the 11th century. If we were to set aside the internal politics of the Voice of America, we could quickly join BBC and Deutsche Welle (German radio) in reaching out to contemporary 11th-century-worldview Muslims in their own languages, and begin to give them the ideas that could bring them into the 21st century. We may also even be able to modernize a few of our homegrown Christian terrorists, if we do it right. And we have the obligation to do this: Not only were we one of the victims of fundamentalism, but we are also the holders of the most sacred archetypes of the modern era: the Statue of Liberty and the Bill of Rights. While Islam itself has not gone through a huge, systemic transition into relative modernity as did Christianity with the Protestant Reformation or Judaism with the end of the Second Temple period, nonetheless there are many modern Moslems and Moslem clerics. Islam also has a long and beautiful tradition of nonviolent mystics, those who passionately seek God rather than political power: The most well-known in the West are Rumi and Kahlil Gibran, but there are many others. Persecuted, imprisoned, and murdered in countries like Iran, the Baha’i sect of Islam is among the most outspoken in its advocacy for a 21st-century worldview within the context of Islam and its holy scriptures. Now is the perfect time and opportunity for us to give the mystics and moderns among Islam a voice, to help them lift their brothers and sisters around the world out of the 11th century and into the 21st century, so we can live together in a world of shared visions and ideals, even while maintaining our respected differences. If this is the outcome of this tragedy, it will prove to be a fitting tribute to those who died, and has the potential to positively transform the entire world. If, instead, our reactions are grounded entirely in force and fear--the tools and ghosts of the 11th century—then we risk plunging the world back toward the Crusades, and possibly even creating what Joseph Chilton Pearce calls Evolution’s End. Let us pray that our leaders will make the right choices in the days and years to come, and the Goddess of Democracy will always be a beacon of light and hope for the world. -------------------- The Lost People" was originally published in 'Spirit of Change' magazine, November 1998, and copyright by Thom Hartmann, 1998, 2001 The last weekend of September was the Harvest Gathering, near Mount Washington, Massachusetts, sponsored by Spirit of Change magazine. At this gathering, Native American elders met with several hundred White, Black, Asian, and mixed-race immigrants to this continent. (Most were White.) On the last day of the Harvest Gathering, a Council was held — essentially a talking circle by the Native, Black, and White elders. Author Thom Hartmann was invited to participate in the circle as a white elder, but time was short and not all persons had an opportunity to speak…including Thom. So here are the words he intended to share with the Native Americans and others gathered in the Council circle, reprinted with his permission. Speaking to the Native American elders here in this circle and outside of it, I thank you very, very much for sharing with all of us immigrants to this land your traditional ways. Your teachings are vitally important for all humans on this planet, and I hope you have an opportunity to share them with more and more people over the coming years. You carry a message which could heal our world. During your talks and during the council talk, I heard several comments and truths which brought up in me strong feelings about Whites and Native Americans. These include the issues surrounding how “in” it is now to be sharing Native wisdom, the curious phenomena of White “Indian wannabes,” and the tragic ripping-off of your (and other aboriginal peoples’) cultures and ways by some White writers, lecturers and self-appointed “medicine men and women.” These are vital issues, and you brought them out into the open in a particularly forceful and compassionate way. For this I am very grateful. However, when you so correctly pointed out that Whites can never truly understand the ways of — and reasons for — all the aspects of Native spirituality, I realized in that moment that the reverse is also true. Native people often have an incomplete understanding of what it is to have grown up White in this White culture. And out of this incomplete understanding come a number of myths. Many of these myths are held by Whites (and Blacks, Hispanics, Orientals, and other non-European peoples living on this continent) as much as Natives, so I feel it is important to share a new understanding of these myths with you and others. The Lost People As your wise Native American elders here have shared, you know your roots. You know the languages of your great-grandmothers, from before the White Europeans arrived and murdered your people and stole their lands. You know the customs of your people that go back a thousand years, five thousand years, some of you to the time of the original settlement of this area, just as the glaciers receded, nine thousand years ago, and perhaps even tens of thousands of years before that. The ways of your people have been passed down all that time. Even during times of severe oppression, some of your wise elders were looking seven generations ahead and preserving the language, wisdom, teachings, and ways of your people. These included the eras when the U.S. Government made it illegal for your people to use their language or practice their religion, and your children were stolen from their families and sent to Christian-church-run boarding schools. They extended through the times of mass murders and when your ancestors were forcibly moved from place to place and torn from their homelands. Through all this and more, your elders preserved many of your ways and knowings. For this we must all be grateful. You are grateful, of course, because these wise ancestors and elders saw you in the future and held this for you, keeping your culture alive even in the darkest night of the coldest winter of oppression and genocide. My people must learn to be grateful because in the wisdom of your elders and the ways of your culture may lie the seeds of a survivable future, a way out of the mess we Whites have made of this world. The Loss of Culture Please imagine something with me for a moment. It may be painful, but it is only an imagination, and there is a deep lesson in it. While it does not pardon or make acceptable what Whites have done, it does help us understand why and how it happened. And, even more important, it also explains why today so many Whites are interested in your ways, some even desperate to become like you or one of you. Please follow this short story for a moment. Imagine that the White Europeans had been successful in their original plan. Imagine that the Christian Whites had successfully forced all of your ancestors to abandon their language and speak only English, Spanish, or French. Imagine that all of the ceremonies had been lost, so that today not even one single living person still remembers them or could teach them. Imagine that the White Christians from Europe had succeeded in ferreting out all the sacred places of your people and destroying every one, building churches or stores or houses over them, covering every last one with dirt or pavement or rocks, totally wiping them all out. Imagine that every written record of your people — both those written by your own people themselves (from cave paintings to those records kept by people such as the Hopi who had both oral and written traditions) — was found through a most rigorous and thorough effort by the Church and destroyed. None remained. Even the records of your ways which were recorded by the early Whites when they first came and observed your people were burned by the Church, because those records were “demonic,” according to the teachings of the Churches of Europe. Even Whites today could not read the voices of the first Whites to meet your people hundreds of years ago. If this had happened, there would not be a single Native American on this Turtle Island continent who spoke any one of the more than 400 still-living Native languages. All these languages would be dead and forgotten. There would not be a single Native who remembered that tobacco was a sacred plant, or the significance of the Four Directions. Nobody would know how to sew a moccasin or prepare a spirit (sweat) lodge — or even know what it was. Not any elders would be alive who could tell stories or remember even five words of the Original Languages. Among all the “Red” people of North America, not even one single person would know what tribe he or she originally came from — all they know was that they have dark skin and black hair, and that they are a people different from the Whites from Europe. But different how? And why? In this imagination, nobody alive today knows. Nobody knows what the sacred ways of two hundred years ago were, or a thousand years ago, or five thousand years ago. Nobody remembers what plants can be eaten and which are to be avoided. Nobody remembers that the Earth is sacred, or where are located the most holy and the most dangerous places. Nobody knows how to call to the Great Spirit, the Creator, or even that there is one. Nobody remembers anything. All is lost. Imagine if this — the dream and best effort of the White conquerors from Europe — was fulfilled. Imagine if there was not even one single Native American alive in the entire world who could speak a single sentence in Cree or Ojibwa or Apache or Lakota. Imagine if every Native American alive today, when thinking back to his or her ancestors and past, could only imagine a black-and-white world where people were mute and their ceremonies were mysterious and probably useless and primitive, having no meaning…and if they did have meaning, it didn’t matter anyway because it was now lost. A total forgetting of the past — all the ways and languages and memories and stories — destroyed by the people who had conquered your people. Every bit of your culture was burned in the fire of this conquest, and all was lost. All of your people knew the history of Greece and Rome and England, but nothing of the Cherokee or Dene or Iroquois people. Can you imagine what a disaster that would be? How empty and alone and frightened you and your people would feel? How easily they could be turned into slaves and robots by the dominators? How disconnected they would feel from the Earth and from each other? And how this disconnection could lead them to accept obscene behavior like wars and personal violence and the fouling of waters and air and soil as “normal”? Perhaps they would even celebrate this fouling in the name of “progress,” because they would have no memory of the Old Ways, no realization of the meaning or consequences of these actions. Imagine if your people were no longer a people, no longer nations and tribes and clans, but only frightened individuals of a different race than their conquerors, speaking only the language of their conquerors, sharing only the memories of their conquerors, and living only to serve the richest of those conquerors. This is an almost unimaginable picture. The worse fate that could befall any people. The most horrific crime humans can commit against other humans. And this is what happened a few thousand years ago to my people, to the Whites of Europe, who for 70,000 years prior to that had lived tribally just as your elders did. It was done first by the Celts, who conquered and consolidated most of the tribal people of Europe 3000 years ago. It was then done more thoroughly by Julius Caesar of the pre-Christian Romans 2000 years ago. And it was absolutely finished by the iron-fisted “Christian” Romans 1000 years ago as their new Church sought out and destroyed all the ancient places, banned the old rituals, and tortured and murdered people who practiced the ancient European tribal religions. They even converted all alphabets to the Roman alphabet, and forced European people to change their holy days, calendars, and even the date (the year 1 or “beginning of time”) to one that marked the beginning of the Roman Christian Empire’s history. This massive and thorough stripping of their identity and ancient ways — this “great forgetting,” as the Australian Aborigines refer to it — is why my people often behave as if they are “insane.” It is why they are disrespectful of our Mother the Earth and the life on Her. It is why so many of my people want to be like you and your people, to the point of dressing in buckskin and carrying medicine pouches and building sweat lodges from California to Maine to Germany. It is why we have hundreds of “odd” religions and paths, and why so many of my people flit from Hinduism to Buddhism to Paganism like a butterfly going from flower to flower: they have no roots, no tribe, no elders, no path of their own. All were systematically destroyed by the Celts, the Romans, and then the Roman Catholics. Whites in America and Europe — and Blacks who were brought to America as slaves and have since lost their ancient ways and languages — are a people bereft. They are alone and isolated from their ancient clans and tribes. Broken apart from the Earth, they are unable to reclaim their ancient languages, practices, and medicine…because these are gone, totally destroyed, even to the last traces. The Australian Aboriginal Genocide Last month a half-Aboriginal man named Geoff Guest led me and three Aboriginal teenage boys through about 400 miles of barren bush and scrub-land in northern Australia’s Queensland territory. We visited Quinken places, holy sites and story places, slept outdoors and camped by rivers, saw crocodiles and wallabies and kangaroos and poisonous snakes and wild horses. We visited Aboriginal communities from the scrub-land of Petford all the way up to the Lockhart River community in the rain forest at the northern part of Queensland. Geoff saved my life when I nearly died during this trip, and taught me many things. Geoff is a half-breed, the child of a White father and Aboriginal mother. He stands straight and his eyes seem to look right through you as he listens or speaks. His skin is weather-worn, arms and face freckled with sun-damage, and in his jeans, boots, and cowboy hat he looks the part of the grizzled prospector from Western movies made in the 1950’s. Born 72 years ago when miscegenation was a prisonable offence and mixed-race offspring were often hunted down and killed by Whites, his mother sent him shortly after his birth to live with this Aboriginal grandparents. When he was three years old, however, young Geoff made the mistake of stepping outside his grandparent’s house when a police officer was nearby on horseback: he was immediately spotted, lifted up into the saddle, and taken to a Dickensian orphanage run by the Anglican church. A year later, he was “adopted” (a euphemism for “sold as slave labor”) by a White couple who worked a sheep and cattle ranch. “I got up every morning at four and made the fires, hauled the water in from the well, and fed the animals,” he told us. Forbidden from schooling because of his mixed-race status, he spent the next six years working 16-hour days on the ranch. “I wasn’t allowed to speak in the house or on the grounds of the house,” he said, “and when I did, I was flogged with a bullwhip until I bled. I spent most of my time with the animals, and became very good with the horses.” And he began to plan his escape. For a year, until he was around 10 years old, every week he would steal one bit of what he knew he’d need. “I built a saddle, piece by piece,” he said, smuggling out of the tack house a stirrup one week, a bit of a bridle the next. He stole enough gun parts to assemble a rifle, and then collected a stash of bullets. He added to his hiding place in the bush dried food and water, a knife and cooking implements. The day of departure came when he was ten. “I was in the big hall where we fed the shearers who came to work the sheep in season. I built the fires and kept the place clean and fed the men, but wasn’t allowed to speak. And one of the day-laborers tried to get me to talk, asking me questions and provoking me. So I shook my head, and tried to walk away, but he kept at it, so I made some noises through my nose, trying to tell him I wasn’t allowed to speak in the buildings. Well, the man who’d adopted me saw this, and came at me with his whip. So I grabbed an 8-foot bullwhip with a 3-ounce ball-bearing at the tip of it, and I hit him with it right in the forehead, knocking him out. I’m not sure to this day that maybe I even killed him.” The men in the room must have sympathized with young Geoff, because none tried to stop him when he ran out of the building. He took a couple of horses, loaded up his stashed supplies, and rode off, living alone in the bush for the next three years, traveling across the interior from northern Australia to the southeast, a distance of about 1000 miles. “When I’d come near a town, I’d just skirt around it,” he said. “I lived off the land, although after about a year I began to really crave salt. It’s amazing how much you come to crave salt when you’ve been without it for a year.” Sometime between his 11th and 12th birthday, he came across an aboriginal man who survived trapping rabbits, selling their meat and hides. The old trapper took young Geoff under his wing, and he lived as a trapper for a few years, until he eventually made his way into Sydney. In my various interactions with Geoff, I never once heard him speak angrily about his childhood. “Don’t you hate the White people who stole you from your grandparents, or those who kept you as a slave?” I asked him last May. He smiled and shook his head. “You have to understand,” he said. “What they did to me was the same as what was done to them. They were the Irish and the poor of England, they were shipped to Australia against their will. It was like a death sentence for them. They were doing to us Native Australians what was done to them by the British; it was the only way they knew how to live.” “Then aren’t you angry at the British who shipped the political prisoners and poor Whites to Australia?” I said. “No,” he said. “They, too, had to live under kings who bought and sold people along with land, who tortured and killed people at a whim. This goes back a long, long time.” Geoff is right. For over a thousand years, the soldiers and inquisitors of the Holy Roman Catholic Church spread across Europe and destroyed the native people’s sacred sites, forbade them to practice their religions, and hunted down and killed those who spoke the Old Languages or practiced the healing or ancient arts. Stones with written histories on them were smashed to dust. Ancient temples and libraries were torn down or set afire, and Roman churches were built atop them. The few elders who tried to preserve the Old Ways were called “witches” and “pagans” and “heathens,” and imprisoned, tortured, hung, beheaded, impaled, or burned alive. Their sacred groves of trees were burned, and if their children went into the forest to pray they were arrested and executed. God was taken from the natural world and put into the box of a church, and Nature was no longer regarded as sacred but, instead, as evil and dangerous, something to be subdued and dominated. For a thousand years — continuously — the conquerors of the Roman Official (Catholic) Church did this to the tribal people of Europe. As a result, today not a single European remembers the Old Ways or can speak the Ancient Languages. Not a single elder is left who knows of sacred sites, healing plants, or how to pronounce the names of his ancestors’ gods. None remember the time — which the archeological record indicates was probably at least twenty thousand years long, and perhaps as much as seventy thousand years long — when tribes lived peacefully and harmoniously in much of what we now call Europe. None remember the ways of the tribes, their ceremonies, their rituals of courtship, marriage, birth, death, healing, bringing rain, speaking to the plants and animals and stones of our Mother the Earth. Not one single person alive still carries this knowledge. All is lost but a few words, the dates and names of some holidays, and a few simple concepts that have been stripped of their original context. For example, my father’s parents came here from Norway during World War I. They spoke Norwegian, but it was not the true language of their ancestors. That language was written with a different alphabet, which is referred to today as Runic; nobody alive remembers how to pronounce the runes, or their original meanings. Adolf Hitler adopted one of the ancient Norwegian runes — what is believed to be the symbol of lightning and the god of lightning — for his most elite troops. The double lightning-bolts looked like an SS, so they were called the SS, but it was really a rune. So lost are the old ways of my grandmother’s people that even the Nazis felt free to steal and reinvent them in any way they pleased. When we track it back, it seems likely that it all began — the entire worldwide 5000-year-long orgy of genocide and cultural destruction — in a part of the Middle East known then as Ur and now called Iraq. It started with a man named Gilgamesh, or one of his ancestors, in an area now called Baghdad. The first conquers — the first people to rise up and discard the Great Law — were not the “White men” of Europe. They were, instead, the people of the region where the Middle East meets northern Africa. (Which is why this area is referred to as the “Cradle of [our] Civilization.”) Their direct descendant is not the Pope or the Queen of England or King of Spain, but a man named Saddam Hussein. The Need for Tribe And so my people — who in the lands of Europe three thousand years ago lived the Red Road in harmony with the world, as your people did four hundred years ago — were stripped of their tribes, of their languages, of their ways, of their medicine, of their rituals, of their elders. And it was done by a people who, themselves, had had it done to them…by another people who had had it done to them — all the way back to the first “eruption of human insanity”: the City/State of Ur (now called Baghdad) and its king, Gilgamesh or his predecessor, 5000 to 7000 years ago. And what each of these collapsed civilizations forced on the people they conquered — to replace the old Earth-connected, Creator-centered path — was a religion that was organized in the same way the dominator kingdoms were. At the top was one or more angry gods, who demanded that the people work for them and offer their crops, children, and lives to them. Under the god(s) were the bureaucrats who could deliver people’s requests to the deity: these bureaucrats (called “priests”) also had to be paid by the people, and until recently held the absolute power of life or death over the people (and still claim the power to bestow or withhold “eternal” life or death). And then, of course, at the bottom were the people, groaning and oppressed by their Church. They were victims, and so, as Geoff Guest so rightly pointed out, they became victimizers. Because of this my people crave their ancient ways — which are lost forever. They organize “pagan” festivals and try to reinvent the rituals, and some have become quite elaborate. Many people over the past few hundred years have claimed to have “received” the knowledge from the elders of our tribes, most through “channeling” or other abstract means, and there are tantalizing fragments in the archeological record. But nobody really knows the Old Ways with the level of confidence and certainty that Native Americans know the ways of your great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers. Trial and Error Native American, Australian Aboriginal, African, Indigenous South American, and ancient Asian cultures were not “invented” by some clever man. Nobody one day woke up and said, “I just got an idea! We should live this way by these rules and practice our rituals in this fashion!” Instead, the ways of Native cultures took tens of thousands of years of trial-and-error to come to where they are. The Native American ways of life — the hundreds of different tribes and different languages and different paths — are each the result of millions of tiny experiments. It’s safe to assume that many of those experiments, in the early years, didn’t work out, and many tribes died out or vanished. Settlements, encampments, and even entire pueblo cities that were abandoned thousands of years ago stand in mute testimony to this process. Yet some tribal ways worked, and the ways that worked were taught from grandmother to mother to daughter and on down through the generations. Thousands of threads of knowledge — from ways to interact with others, to ways to hunt and eat, to ways to worship — were spun together into the yarn of culture, and the weaving of these yarns of tribal cultures formed the fabric of the Native American Nations. Humans have been on this planet for millions of years, and fully modern humans — people like you and me — for at least 200,000 years. If they had not found ways to live that worked, we would not be here. The tribal and clan ways of life are the pinnacle of a multi-million-year evolutionary process that kept the human race in delicate and appropriate balance with the animal and plant and mineral kingdoms. Until, of course, Gilgamesh and his friends created the first successful dominator culture, five to seven thousand years ago. This new cultural experiment rose up, wiped out three million years of trial-and-error learning, and replaced it with theft and fear and violence. And then it collapsed, because it wasn’t based on a solid foundation of knowledge, understanding, love, compassion, and respect for all life. But it was soon replaced by another insane attempt at domination, and then another, and another — each extending the reach of the dominators, the Younger Cultures, a bit further out of the Middle East and toward Europe. Until eventually it reached the Celtic people, who first conquered the tribal peoples of Europe, and then were replaced by the Romans, and then replaced by the Roman Official Church. (Keep in mind that the Pope signed the original and earliest land deeds giving Europeans “ownership” of the lands of North and South America. And all but two of the “modern European” languages are based on the official language of Rome — Latin.) As the Church faded in power during a time we call the Renaissance, it was replaced by the European and then American corporate kingdoms, which rule most of the world today. All are dominators, Younger Cultures. All are cultural experiments. None have three-million-years of trial-and-error experience, and the little experience these Younger dominator Cultures do have shows that they have always eventually self-destructed, usually within 200 to 1000 years. Please Understand and Have Compassion And so, my Native American friends and elders, I ask that you understand the cultural poverty of my kin, and forgive them their ignorance. When Whites climbed under the rope around the sacred circle, they did so because their experimental Younger Culture has little concept of the importance of ritual…and so it is a doomed culture. When they interrupted and were not respectful to the Grandmothers, it is because their culture has no concept of wise elders…and so it is a doomed culture. When they imitate you and pretend they understand the ways of Native Americans, it is because they come from a world in which there are no elders who remember the Great Law, the Right Way To Live, or who walk in the Spirit Path day by day as an ordinary part of everyday life…and so they are trying to escape from their doomed culture. An Apache friend of mine once said, “Why don’t the White people just learn to be satisfied with their own culture and leave us and ours alone?” The unfortunate answer is that White people and those they subsumed have no true and functional culture, no way of life capable of sustaining humans for tens of thousands of years. All they have is an experiment, which all evidence shows is doomed to fail, and — in fact — is failing spectacularly all around us even at this moment…and threatening to take much of the rest of the life on the planet with it. And so those few who have in their hearts the understanding of the loss of their ancestors’ ways 2000 years ago, the loss of their native cultures, are empty and longing and in pain. They are afflicted with a sickness of the spirit, the same as if half their blood had left their bodies. They are slaves to the corporate dominators — the modern-day kings of the world — and they intuitively know they are slaves. And yet they yearn for freedom and crave the wisdom of cooperative tribal ways, which is now only found in the few remaining ancient and native cultures. So, our wise elders, I thank you for sharing your wisdom and culture with my White sisters and brothers. As you say, they cannot become Indians. They cannot learn the language and do the ceremonies of your people. They will never get it right: it is not in their blood or their upbringing, and they lack the elders to correct them and keep them on the Pollen Path. But they can — and must — learn from you, both from your teachings and the examples of your lives. This is their great challenge, their great mission, and their urgent quest: to save the future by transforming the present dominant world culture. They must create their own way, their own tribes, their own clans, and their own rituals and laws. To do this, they must learn the true history of what was done to their people over the past three thousand years, and try to recover what they can of their original culture. They must learn from other cultures who still have ten-thousand-year-long memories — like yours — and use those lessons about what works and what doesn’t to live in harmony with the Earth and other peoples. As they acquire this wisdom, they may be able to rebuild the foundations and assumptions of “modern” culture into something that will work and is sustainable. And they must do it soon, because they are the people of the culture with thousands of atomic bombs, millions of deadly microbes, billions of lethal weapons. For the first time in the five billion years of the life of Mother Earth, one culture has the power to lay waste the entire planet...by accident. With your help and suggestions, those who listened to your wise words may find a way to turn our Younger Culture toward the Older Wisdom and Ways which have kept humans — and other species — alive and thriving on this planet for millions of years. They may bring us through this peril and into the light of a new day. God help us if they fail. ------- http://csf.colorado.edu/  mail/pen-l/2002III/msg02529.html re: An open letter to Dr. David Hartman by Tom Walker 29 August 2002 15:31 UTC < < < Thread Index > > > In Canada, aboriginal land claims are taken seriously. The BC Supreme court recently ordered 10 acres in the middle of Vancouver to be returned to the Squamish First Nation. The doctor's philosophizing is the sort one hears from those occupants of a tavern whose rear ends have become molded to the seats and whose voices have been polished to a smooth gravel by decades of tumbling in stale smoke and cheap alcohol. ----------------------------- Baltimore 1645 Direct Democracy And The Global Justice Movement by Wanda / NHSS Email: info (at) dualpower.net (unverified!) Current rating: 0 02 Sep 2002 People often ask what the so-called "anti-globalization" movement is actually for. The usual response is that we're for a lot of things, ranging from ecological sustainability to racial equality; but if there's one theme at the very center of the movement, which really sets it apart from social movements that have come before, it's its dedication to direct democracy. It's one thing to shout "power to the people" or talk about giving ordinary people back control over their lives; quite another to think about what this actually might mean in practice-and if the history of the twentieth century has shown anything, it's that things can go disastrously wrong if you try to radically change society and just assume those problems will somehow take care of themselves. Any attempt to change society is going to have to begin by reinventing democracy. That's what we're trying to do. Not just by talking about it, but by actually starting to create new democratic forms in the present. Most Americans would probably agree that what's called "democracy" in this country is largely a sham. But this is not just because the system is completely controlled by money (though it certainly is: bribing politicians is, effectively, legal in the U.S. system - legislators openly admit their votes on key issues have been bought by corporate contributors); it is because the very structure of our government is not genuinely democratic. It was never meant to be. Thus, while over the last two hundred years we've seen a lot of advances, most of these have involved extending the benefits of the system-civil liberties, the right to vote-to segments of the population who had formerly been excluded; while this is obviously a good thing, and could certainly be said to make our society more democratic, it's not the the same as making the system itself more democratic. That is: we are still talking about the right to chose some politician to make decisions for us, rather than creating ways for people to make those decisions themselves. This is why experimenting with direct democracy-showing that it really is possible-is so important to us. When the people who shut down the World Trade Organization in Seattle chanted "This is what Democracy Looks Like!" this wasn't just a figure of speech. The action itself was meant as a model of genuine democracy, the kind that could work without leaders or politicians. And one reason that anarchism has come to be seen as the real moral center of the globalization movement, in turn, is because anarchists have, over the years, put the most thought and effort into imagining how all this could work and to actually start doing it. Consensus process, spokescouncils, affinity groups... all these are terms which almost nobody outside the movement has actually heard of, because the corporate media never talks about them, but for many of us, they are the most important things we are doing here, even more important than confronting or exposing anti-democratic organizations like the World Trade Organization or IMF. They provide living proof that direct democracy can work - if human beings are capable of organizing a huge action of 40 or 50 thousand people under very difficult circumstances, without any kind of formal leadership or chain of command, in a way in which everyone has an equal say, then, why not a town or a city? Why not, ultimately, reorganize the world around these lines? This pamphlet is meant to fill in a gap: to explain what we mean by direct democracy, how we go about organizing democratically; and some thoughts about how a truly democratic society might work. "THE U.S. IS NOT A DEMOCRACY, IT'S A REPLUBLIC" Conservative writers often insist on this point. The founding fathers, they point, had almost nothing good to say about "democracy", by which they meant precisely what we'd now call "direct democracy": that is, communities get together and decide matters of common concern by joint discussion and voting, much as in ancient Athens or New England town councils. Like most ancient Greek philosophers (who were, like the founding fathers, mostly rich land- and slaveowners) they did not really like the idea of ordinary people managing their own affairs. They were especially afraid of majority rule, which they thought might lead to decisions against the interest of minorities - the particular minority they had in mind, in this case, being the rich. So they tried to create something less like Athens and more like the Roman Republic: a system which they hoped would combine the best elements of Monarchy (yes, the President was always meant to be a kind of king), aristocracy (the senate - it's no coincidence they're always rich guys and represent the interests of the rich, it was supposed to be that way), and democracy, in very limited measure (a congress to represent the people - mainly, it was a way to give them some say over the management of their tax money.) The key to the whole system was the notion of representation: that ordinary citizens should not be able to intervene directly in politics, or make decisions for themselves, but should instead chose others to make their decisions for them. The conservatives overstate their case - James Madison and Sam Adams hated democracy, Thomas Jefferson was more favorably disposed - but they're basically right. We do not really live in a democracy. We live in a republic. The difference is that unlike the conservatives, have a problem with that. We feel America should be a democracy. If the U.S. government is going to be sending representatives around the world preaching about the need for democracy, it might be nice if they actually practiced it. Of course there are good reasons they don't encourage this sort of thing. If government officials really did allow direct democracy, if they let ordinary people manage their own affairs, most of them would be very quickly out of a job. This wouldn't bother us, but it's pretty obvious why bureaucrats and politicians wouldn't like it very much. ONE COMMON MISCONCEPTION ABOUT DIRECT DEMOCRACY So what would direct, rather than representative, democracy actually insist of? One thing to make clear right away is that we are not talking, here, about a system of referendums or plebiscites, where everyone in the country would get to vote on questions of public concern (should we legalize marijuana?, should we invade Iraq?) through their computer or cable TV or something. Some have suggested this would be more democratic than the current system, and probably it would, but that's not saying very much. Voting "yes" or "no" on an issue may be more direct than voting for a politician to make the decisions for you, but it still reduces democracy to one moment of flipping a switch or pushing a button. True, this is what consumer culture is all about: in modern America, "freedom" comes to mean choice, it exists in that one millisecond where one decides between a Coke or a Pepsi, a box of Ajax or a box of Comet, a Democrat or a Republican, yes or no. And as any advertising executive could tell you, in cases like this, everything depends on how you package the product - which in the case of a referendum means, how you word the proposal. You can manipulate people into agreeing with almost anything if you phrase it right. So clearly, we want a system in which people are free to participate in the whole process, from start to finish, not just press a button at the end. In U.S. democracy as currently practiced, advertising and marketing techniques intervene at almost every point (most of them were originally introduced into political life by disreputable figures like Hitler and Mussolini, but they have since become standard practice.) How could we free ourselves of this frightening legacy, to make politics not a matter of cynical manipulation but honest reflection? Well, first and foremost, it would mean bringing decision-making down to the smallest scale possible: block associations, workplaces, town meetings, going up to higher levels only when its truly unavoidable. It also means creating what might be called a culture of democracy where thoughtful deliberation on becomes an easy and natural part of daily life - the way it already is, ironically enough, in relatively free societies in other parts of the world. (One of the great ironies of our current system is that while Americans are proud of the fact they live in a democracy, few have much experience, if any, of participating in democratic decision making - in fact, they spend most of their lives following other people' orders - while someone living in a village in Indonesia or Brazil quite possibly might.) It would mean some profound changes in our way of life but we have every reason to believe they are possible because we have begun to create such institutions ourselves, in our own communities, and in the organization of our own actions. Let's look for a moment at how this works: CONSENSUS PROCESS IN THE GLOBALIZATION MOVEMENT What newcomers usually find the most surprising thing about the way we do democratic decision-making is that it doesn't, usually, involve majority voting. If votes are taken at all, it is usually as a last resort; and it rarely comes to that. This might seem odd but it actually follows logically from our conception of democracy, which is very much bottom-up instead of top down. Ideally, all decisions should be made by those immediately concerned, without appeal to higher authorities, by coming to some kind of reasonable agreement with each other in way which encourages mutual respect and compromise. As a result, our idea of democratic practice often bears a closer resemblance to what goes on in many village assemblies in Southeast Asia or Latin America or even Amazonia than it does to, say, the U.S. Congress or French parliament. Outsiders often find it hard to see such community meetings in other societies as "democratic" at all because they almost never use majority voting to reach decisions either: they tend to rely instead on a principle usually referred to as "consensus", whereby decisions have to be agreed to by everyone immediately concerned. But if one thinks about it, this makes a great deal of sense too. These are usually popular assemblies, which are not passing laws which can then be enforced by armies or police. Since they can't force people to go along, they have to come up with something acceptable to everyone. When one holds a vote, however, one is in effect holding a contest. Even if one is not voting for candidates but for proposals, those proposals have advocates and opponents. Hence, some people will be winners, others loses. It is usually not very difficult to figure out what a majority of people want; it is much more difficult (in the absence of any means of physical compulsion) to find a way to convince everyone else to go along with it. Publicly declaring them losers is certainly not the best way to go about it. Consensus decision-making, then, tends to crop up wherever there is a situation of genuine equality, as a way of ensuring majority decisions are acceptable to everyone. What our movement calls "consensus process" is one way of formalizing this very ancient form of decision-making, making it more efficient, but also, ensuring it is done on a basis of genuine equality and in such a way as to encourage individual initiative and creativity rather than ever being allowed to slip into deadening conformity, (which is what often happens in traditional communities.) The history of consensus is an interesting thing in itself: in the U.S., it seems to trace back originally to the Quakers, who in turn claim to have adopted it from Native American practice. Some civil rights and peace groups of the '50s and '60s used consensus decision-making, but much of the current interest emerged in the '70s, largely, in reaction to some of the more macho leadership styles typical of the '60s New Left. The feminist movement played the crucial role here. More elaborate forms of consensus decision-making, involving affinity groups, spokescouncils and the like, first emerged within anti-nuclear groups like the Clamshell Alliance in the '70s. These forms have proved so spectacularly effective in Seattle and elsewhere, that groups like the Direct Action Network (DAN), Anti-Capitalist Convergences (ACC), Global Action Networks, the Mobilization for Global Justice, and the like, all tend to see them as a crucial element of any model of what a better world would be like. Here's how a meeting of such a group might work. Usually there are two facilitators, one male and one female (usually too someone volunteers to be time keeper, someone else, the scribe, who will later write up the meetings' minutes; and sometimes too a "vibes-watcher", who is in charge of monitoring the mood of the room, ensuring no one is being silenced or excluded, and so on) An agenda sheet is taped to the wall, or maybe on an easel; time allocated for report-backs, new business, ongoing business, educational, emergency announcements, and so on. None of this is dictated by facilitators but is decided collectively by the group. One key function of a facilitator is to keep things moving along, so as to ensure the meeting doesn't last hours and hours-a real danger because no one likes an endless boring meeting-ensuring that no one sounds off interminably about the meaning of life while at the same ensuring that everyone who has a comment which actually is relevant to the matters at hand gets to express it. As for the actual mechanisms for reaching decisions: Most coalitions like DAN, ACC, etc, are broken down into a number of different "working groups", all open to all comers; these can either be dedicated to handling ongoing needs (legal, finance, outreach, media...) or specific actions and campaigns. Working groups also operate by consensus, if usually more informally. During general meetings, such working groups - or sometimes outsiders or individuals - will present proposals for action of one sort or another. The facilitators will then open things for discussion, first asking for clarifying questions to make sure everyone is precisely clear on what course of action is actually being proposed here. (If there are many questions, it is usual form to make a "stack" – naming one person first, second, third speakers - to ensure no one dominates the conversation.) Next come "concerns" about the proposal: potential problems anyone might want to point out. If there are a lot of these, and it seems a majority thinks the proposal isn't such a great idea, it might simply tabled; if the objections are more specific, someone will usually suggest "friendly amendments", or the person making the proposal otherwise rework it until it reaches a more clearly acceptable form. (At certain points along the way, for instance if two mutually exclusive options are proposed, the facilitators might ask for a non binding straw poll, a show of hands, to see where majority opinion lies - but these polls are never final but always a step on the way.) At this point one can test for consensus, by asking whether there are any stand-asides, or any blocks. A stand-aside is when a participant states that while they personally do not support a proposal, or are not willing themselves to participate in a proposed action, they do not wish to stop the group itself from doing so (stand-asides will then be asked if they want to explain why they feel this way); a block, however, is a veto. Anyone has to power to block consensus in this way and stop the proposal dead in its tracks. Obviously this is not something to be done lightly. The way it's often framed is that one should not block unless an issues is either so important to you that you would be willing to quit the organization because of it, or else, because you feel that the proposal is in violation of the group's fundamental principles. The relation between stand-asides and blocks is extremely important. The first assures that no one will ever be compelled to take part in an action they do not wish to-even by moral pressure, which we consider to be a violation of the spirit of human autonomy which is what our movement is all about. The second is among other things a way of resolving one of the greatest potential dangers of direct democracy, which its critics rarely fail to point out. All modern constitutions, it is often noted, contain certain fundamental protections such as freedom of speech which no majority can abridge and which are maintained by a separate judiciary which has the power to declare laws unconstitutional; this ensures there is a limit to the degree to which even overwhelming majorities can push minorities around. Direct democracy would seem to remove these protections. Blocking however ensures that it does not by turning over that same role, not to an elite body of judges, but in the most egalitarian fashion possible, to anyone who has the nerve to stand up against the majority will. Most people who have actually practiced consensus decision-making find that rather than blocking happening too often, if anything, it doesn't happen enough. All this is only the roughest sketch: consensus process has any number of other aspects, such as "popcorn" or "brainstorming sessions", in which all limits are temporarily lifted and people's imaginations given free reign; various sorts of "trainings" ; "fishbowls" where a few people are chosen to sit in the middle and debate to clarify points of division, and so on. Every group has their own, slightly different version of the process; there are endless variations of detail; even within groups it tends to change over time; consensus is better seen as a growing, even organic phenomena than a strict set of rules and regulations. There are also usually some situations when the process itself has to be limited, or even put aside entirely. Most groups have some provision for "modified consensus"-when there is no time to deal with individual blockers in the normal way (for instance, by encouraging them to join the working group that originally made the proposal so as to see if they can come up with a way to formulate it that they would agree to), one can go to making decisions by 2/3 or 3/4 majority, or else, some formula like "consensus minus 2". DAN, for instance, has a way of challenging whether a block is truly "principled" (ie, rooted in the basic principles of the group): everyone but the blocker(s) can discuss the matter and if they come to unanimous consensus that it wasn't, the block is overridden. And so on. All this can be unwieldly: at true moments of crisis, one might also chose to forgo consensus entirely and fall back temporarily on a more efficient, if less democratic, form of decision-making (ie, while running down the streets: "until the cops are off our backs, she'll be our leader!") LARGE-SCALE ACTIONS AND SPOKESCOUNCILS This gives a very rough idea of how consensus-based decision-making works; and hopefully, a glimpse of why those who work with it often find it so refreshing, different and exciting. This is even more so when decentralized decision-making is brought to the streets, in direct action. While direct action is (like direct democracy) constantly changing and evolving, Actions are usually involve several months of preparatory work beforehand; different local chapters form working groups to prepare, these in turn usually create teams to handle media work, legal work, outreach, and so on. Scenario teams usually scout out the area beforehand to come up with ideas for possible actions. While there is never anyone directing operations during the action itself, no leadership or even marshalls, as in conventional demonstrations, sometimes there are teams of volunteers that fulfill necessary functions, such as tactics and communications. However, it is crucial that ultimately, decisions are never imposed; larger groups serve merely to coordinate, and an overall plan created through consensus process, all on-the-ground decisions should be made on the smallest level in which it is possible to do so, by those immediately concerned. As a result the basic unit of organization during actions is the "affinity group" (a term originally coined by anarchists in '30s Spain). These are small groups of people united by something they consider important: shared political ideas, common origins, even faith or personal friendship. They can consist of anywhere between 5 and 15+ people, but should stay small enough everyone is able to know each other and make decisions as a group. Often they are made up of people who work together on an ongoing basis during the rest of the year: a collective of one sort or another. Other times they just get together for a certain purpose. During an action, one member of each affinity group should have some medical training, another makes a point of avoiding arrest if at all possible so as to keep track of who's been arrested, who's unaccounted for, and so on; sometimes another member keeps track of supplies, or someone with a cell phone to handle communications. Finally, one member at any time acts as the group's "spoke" in larger "spokescouncils," in which affinity groups coordinate their actions. Spokes have no decision-making power of their own; they merely serve to convey information, proposals, and ideas back and forth between groups that reach decisions by consensus, as described above. These spokescouncils are, at their best, perhaps the most spectacular demonstrations of democracy in action, because they are can allow huge numbers of people to make decisions together without any sort of formal leadership. The best way to think about them is to imagine a giant wheel: each affinity group has it's "spoke", in the center, and the spokes sit around in a circle and discuss what to do, while all the time the other members of their affinity group are free to whisper and discuss, and provide guidance. Periodically, there are "breakouts" where the group can decide on their position; alternately, "breakouts" can involve forming entirely different groups to work out specific problems. And there are any number of other techniques. FINE, BUT HOW WOULD YOU RUN A CITY? OR SOMETHING LARGER? The usual response to all of this is that it might be all well and good for small-scale decision-making, or even big one-time events like mass actions where everyone is revved up and excited; but what about the day to day management of town or city, let alone anything larger? One can hardly have face-to-face meetings consisting of the entire population of North America, or even New York City, let alone some system where any one American citizen would have the right to block any national decision.. A lot of these objections can be answered simply by emphasizing decentralization, but not all of them. With functioning local councils, one might be surprised how few decisions would have to be made on a larger scale, but obviously, some would have to be. Probably the best way to start thinking this is to go back to first principles. In this case, one might say there are really two fundamental principles which form the basis for all radical democratic theory. These are: 1) if you are willing to put your time and energy into some project, then you ought to have some say in how that project is carried out 2) no one can do something that will have a profound impact on someone else's life without clearing it with them first If you take the first principle to its logical conclusion you usually end up with some notion of worker's control, or worker's self-management. And certainly this would have to be part of any democratic program: you can't really say you are a free man or woman when you spend most of your waking hours running around at someone else's beck and call. If you take the second to its logical conclusion, you end up with some notion of "libertarian municipalism", in which everyone living in a given region has equal say over its resources and matters of common concern. These principles are hardly mutually contradictory. If there's a chemical plant near a city, there's absolutely no reason why the inhabitants of that city should want to bother themselves voting over how many days vacation the workers there get (that would be up to the people who worked there); on the other hand, there's every reason why they might be interested in the plant's emission standards, or anything that might involve the chance of its blowing up. And this would be true no matter who claims to "own" the plant: the workers, the municipality, or anyone else. The question then is how to articulate the two principles. Say we have a neighborhood served by a local hospital. The community owns the hospital, but they would obviously not be in charge of setting the qualification standards for surgeons; that would presumably be up to a professional organization of some sort; probably, one nation- or even world-wide in its membership, which consists of people who actually know how to tell if a would-be surgeon is qualified to cut into people. Since most people do not in fact work in factories, and this will continue to be the case even if we eliminate most useless paper-pushing jobs in offices and cut the working week down to some realistic length-perhaps the famous 4 hour day, 4 day week the IWW was pushing for at the turn of the century-such groups will probably end up being extremely important. Most people will be part of at least one: plumbers guilds, train-workers collectives, associations for environmental engineers, musicians, caterers, or mathematicians. A lot of the decisions now made by government bureaucrats could be made by such groups instead. To take some obvious examples: issues of controlling the spread of epidemics or dangerous parasites, or monitoring and controlling dangerous hydrocarbon emissions, are global problems and would need some kind of global organization. But this need not be done through governments if those with the requisite skill are self-organized, in their own, democratically organized associations. These are the people doing the work so the naturally should have some say over the matter. However, one would not want all matters involving science to be decided only by organizations of scientists any more than we would want all matters concerning one's pipes to be decided only by organizations of plumbers; these organizations could become quite high-handed anti-democratic unless they were balanced by some groups which can represent the public at large. And in matters of policy, it's a crucial principle that the opinions of "experts" should not be judged only by other "experts" but by the community at large; otherwise, "experts" tend to get arrogant and self-important and forget who it is they are supposed to be working for. And local councils can't do all of this. Let's take a city as an example. People often ask how a huge megalopolis like New York could ever be managed democratically at all. Certainly the first step would be to realize New York is not one thing but a collection of neighborhoods; and to make sure that each neighborhood had its own public institutions - assembly halls, entertainment centers, parks and gardens and other community spaces - create their own communal life, and manage their own affairs as much as possible on their own. But a series of local assemblies, and a series of unions or professional guilds, would not be able to handle everything: a transit workers guild could probably make most of the decisions regarding keeping the subway running, but if we were going to start talking about building an entirely new line, that would probably demand a much larger public consultation; similarly, with schools and teacher's unions. Those who have experimented with direct democracy in the past have found that the most effective way of coordinating between popular assemblies has been to create some kind of federative system, with recallable delegates. One example is the "autonomous municipalities of Chiapas" established by the Zapatistas in Mexico - one of the great inspirations for the movement in the U.S. as well. Every township in Zapatista territory has its own popular assembly which meets once a week, but there are also regional councils with one delegates from each. These delegates however are not exactly representatives in the sense of being empowered to make decisions for their township; they are there simply to express the will of their community's will, and therefore if at any point the people of that community feel their will is no longer being truly represented, they can instantly removed. Like spokes these delegates mostly just convey information and coordinate. Of course the Zapatista system is fairly simple, since it is coordinates between a series of rural townships of roughly the same size. A huge city, or bioregion, let alone a worldwide system, would probably have to be much more complex, and probably incorporate more specialized roles (urban planners and the like. Here, the critical thing is that such people would not be in charge of making policies, but strictly in putting them into place, or at best preparing advice to the assemblies that actually are. ). Still, there's absolutely no reason to imagine that it would be impossible to work such a system out. Why not? Human beings have worked out far more complicated and difficult problems, and ones where the pay off – a genuinely free society, one in which one can actually live in some degree of trust and fellowship with one's neighbors rather than rivalry or fear, in which no one will ever be told "sorry, that's just the way it is because we say so and there's nothing you can do about it"... - was not nearly so great. All of these are broad perspectives and don't even begin to raise the question of how we get there from here (do we participate in the electoral system, and say, run only candidates who have already signed their resignations and placed them in the hands of assemblies they are pledged to represent, or do we abandon the existing system entirely and start creating alternative ones in small free communities, hoping to see them ?) All these are open questions; we are at the very beginning of a long road here. But that doesn't mean a bleak road. Quite the opposite: perhaps the most important principle of this movement, even more basic than direct action or direct democracy - in fact, the thing which makes direct action and direct democracy so important to us to begin with - is that we want to start building a better world right now, and living the life we envision as much as possible within the present. You don't create a world of freedom, pleasure, and self-realization by becoming some mindless soldier willing to sacrifice everything (all freedom, pleasure and self-realization) to some final apocalyptic victory in the future: not only is this not going to work, it's morally disastrous, because no one in their right mind would want to live in the kind of world such joyless and unpleasant people would actually create. The most immediate  task is to begin living like free men and women, according to principles of democracy and justice, to live like people ought to live, and thus set an example so compelling and powerful that others around the world will begin to adopt it themselves, until the creative energy behind our movement becomes utterly unstoppable. See also: http://www.dualpower.net ----------------- The benefits of multiculturalism by G.L.W 9:51am Wed Aug 28 '02 article#32409 We should follow our progressive European brothers. Something Rotten in Denmark? by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard New York Post August 27, 2002 A Muslim group in Denmark announced a few days ago that a $30,000 bounty would be paid for the murder of several prominent Danish Jews, a threat that garnered wide international notice. Less well known is that this is just one problem associated with Denmark's approximately 200,000 Muslim immigrants. The key issue is that many of them show little desire to fit into their adopted country. For years, Danes lauded multiculturalism and insisted they had no problem with the Muslim customs - until one day they found that they did. Some major issues: * Living on the dole: Third-world immigrants - most of them Muslims from countries such as Turkey, Somalia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Iraq - constitute 5 percent of the population but consume upwards of 40 percent of the welfare spending. * Engaging in crime: Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark's 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country's convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim. Similar, if lesser, disproportions are found in other crimes. * Self-imposed isolation: Over time, as Muslim immigrants increase in numbers, they wish less to mix with the indigenous population. A recent survey finds that only 5 percent of young Muslim immigrants would readily marry a Dane. * Importing unacceptable customs: Forced marriages - promising a newborn daughter in Denmark to a male cousin in the home country, then compelling her to marry him, sometimes on pain of death - are one problem. Another is threats to kill Muslims who convert out of Islam. One Kurdish convert to Christianity, who went public to explain why she had changed religion, felt the need to hide her face and conceal her identity, fearing for her life. * Fomenting anti-Semitism: Muslim violence threatens Denmark's approximately 6,000 Jews, who increasingly depend on police protection. Jewish parents were told by one school principal that she could not guarantee their children's safety and were advised to attend another institution. Anti-Israel marches have turned into anti-Jewish riots. One organization, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, openly calls on Muslims to "kill all Jews . . . wherever you find them." * Seeking Islamic law: Muslim leaders openly declare their goal of introducing Islamic law once Denmark's Muslim population grows large enough - a not-that-remote prospect. If present trends persist, one sociologist estimates, every third inhabitant of Denmark in 40 years will be Muslim. Other Europeans (such as the late Pim Fortuyn in Holland) have also grown alarmed about these issues, but Danes were the first to make them the basis for a change in government. In a momentous election last November, a center-right coalition came to power that - for the first time since 1929 - excluded the socialists. The right broke its 72-year losing streak and won a solid parliamentary majority by promising to handle immigration issues, the electorate's first concern, differently from the socialists. The next nine months did witness some fine-tuning of procedures: Immigrants now must live seven years in Denmark (rather than three) to become permanent residents. Most non-refugees no longer can collect welfare checks immediately on entering the country. No one can bring into the country an intended spouse under the age of 24. And the state prosecutor is considering a ban on Hizb-ut-Tahrir for its death threats against Jews. These minor adjustments prompted howls internationally - with European and U.N. reports condemning Denmark for racism and "Islamophobia," the Washington Post reporting that Muslim immigrants "face habitual discrimination," and a London Guardian headline announcing that "Copenhagen Flirts with Fascism." In reality, however, the new government barely addressed the existing problems. Nor did it prevent new ones, such as the death threats against Jews or a recent Islamic edict calling on Muslims to drive Danes out of the Norrebro quarter of Copenhagen. The authorities remain indulgent. The military mulls permitting Muslim soldiers in Denmark's volunteer International Brigade to opt out of actions they don't agree with - a privilege granted to members of no other faith. Mohammed Omar Bakri, the self-proclaimed London-based "eyes, ears and mouth" of Osama bin Laden, won permission to set up a branch of his organization, Al-Muhajiroun. Contrary to media reports, the real news from Denmark is not flirting with fascism but getting mired in inertia. A government elected specifically to deal with a set of problems has made minimal headway. Its reluctance has potentially profound implications for the West as a whole. ------------- 
--- atlanta 7699 Drunk With Power and Out of Shame by Irit Katriel 9:11am Tue Sep 3 '02 (Modified on 9:59am Tue Sep 3 '02) The Israeli chief of staff spoke of the Palestinians as a "cancerous demographic threat" and the world shrugged. So who said "Never Again"? DISSIDENT VOICE www.dissidentvoice.org September 3, 2002 ____ Drunk With Power and Out of Shame The Israeli chief of staff spoke of the Palestinians as a "cancerous demographic threat" and the world shrugged. So who said "Never Again"? by Irit Katriel Dissident Voice September 3, 2002 ___ Commenting on the Israeli government's enthusiastic calls for the US to attack Iraq [1], Knesset member Zehava Gal'on of Meretz, a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, said "It is hard to understand the government's fervor. This is an American matter and not one we should be involving ourselves in. The Europeans are making it clear there is no coalition, while we are pushing for war. Beyond that, Israel is going to get hit if there is a war." [2] Iraqi foreign minister Tareq Aziz, however, thinks that "What Bush the father did in 1991 was in the interest of America, what his son is planning to do now is in the interests of Israel and the Zionists." [3] If Aziz doesn't offer Gal'on the missing link towards understanding her government and the danger it is putting her in, perhaps she found the clue in the interview with Israeli chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon in Ha'aretz last week: "Q: There is something surprising in the fact that you see the Palestinian threat as an existential threat. "A: The characteristics of that threat are invisible, like cancer. When you are attacked externally, you see the attack, you are wounded. Cancer, on the other hand, is something internal. Therefore, I find it more disturbing, because here the diagnosis is critical. If the diagnosis is wrong and people say it's not cancer but a headache, then the response is irrelevant. But I maintain that it is cancer. My professional diagnosis is that there is a phenomenon here that constitutes an existential threat. "Q: Does that mean that what you are doing now, as chief of staff, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, is applying chemotherapy? A: There are all kinds of solutions to cancerous manifestations. Some will say it is necessary to amputate organs. But at the moment, I am applying chemotherapy, yes." [4] Later in the interview he explains: "they believe that time is on their side and that, with a combination of terrorism and demography, they will tire us out and wear us down." The "demography" part of the threat can only mean that each and every Palestinian, in his mind, is a cancerous cell to be eliminated. To be a demographic threat, you don't need to do anything. You only need to be Palestinian. [5] Prime minister Sharon backed his words [6], thus placing them in line with government policy. It is irrelevant, therefore, to speak of the Israeli actions against the Palestinians as "collective punishment." They are not a population which is  collectively punished for the crimes of a few. Each and every Palestinian is a target in the Sharon-Ya'alon "war against cancer". Uri Avnery described everything that Ya'alon said in the interview as "myths that are taught in Israeli elementary schools instead of history." [7] This is not true. Children learn terrible things in school, but three years ago a teacher would probably be fired for saying that the Palestinians are a demographic cancer that should be dealt with by chemotherapy and possibly amputation of organs. I have no doubts about the Avnery's good intentions, but see his reaction as yet another example of the power of monotonous escalation. What shocked us yesterday, seems today like something that was always there. What would have sounded like a Nazi statement three years ago is accepted today as a standard and familiar rightwing line, eliciting the standard and familiar response. In November 2000, when the "war against cancer" had just begun, then deputy chief of staff Ya'alon already made it clear what this war is about when he said "this is the second half of '48." [8] The Jerusalem Post reported last week about an organization that helps Palestinians emigrate. The president of this organization, who said that its "aim is to empty the state of Arabs," claims that 380,000 Palestinians have emigrated already since October 2000. [9] During the first Intifada, in 1989, I attended a political gathering of the rightwing Moledet party in a Haifa suburb. The crowd consisted of about 20 people, half of whom were teenagers in leftist T-shirts like myself, who came to listen. Rehav'am Ze'evi, who was then the leader of Moledet, spoke of his "voluntary transfer" plan: cut electricity and water, shut down universities and deny jobs, and they will leave. At the time, this was the lunatic fringe. In the second Intifada, Moledet became a member of the coalition and Ze'evi became tourism minister (he was later assassinated by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). Moledet hired billboards in Tel Aviv and put up signs saying "only transfer will bring peace." The "voluntary transfer" is already happening, and the rightwing is now talking about the next stage, transfer without "voluntary." In weekly rightwing vigils in Haifa and elsewhere, their banners read "The Land of Israel for the People of Israel - 'Palestinians' to Jordan!" A glimpse into the soul of a transfer advocate can be found online. [10] He makes three main points: 1. Transfer is the way to create a healthy relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. 2. If you don't agree with this, it proves that you are anti-Jewish. 3. Transfer will be achieved by extreme measures of state terror. Sharon and Ya'alon are drunk with power ("Israel is a regional superpower. It is a military superpower, an economic superpower, a cultural-spiritual superpower," Ya'alon told a Rabbis' conference last week [11]). They are selling stories about being prepared for conventional and non-conventional attacks, while it is obvious that they are willing to sacrifice many Israelis to achieve their goals (is this what Ya'alon calls "amputating organs"? It reminds me of Moussolini's view of the nation as a body that sometimes needs to sacrifice some of its cells for the sake of the body as a whole). Maybe this is why Israeli radio reported last week that 30,000 coffins were ordered by the state. (Only soldiers are buried in coffins in Israel. Civilians are buried according to Jewish law in shroud). Meron Benvenisti, former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, has warned of a possible "transfer" scenario: "an American assault on Iraq against Arab and world opposition, and an Israeli involvement, even if only symbolic, leads to the collapse of the Hashemite regime in Jordan. Israel then executes the old 'Jordanian option' - expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians across the Jordan River ... Anyone who regards such ethnic cleansing as a horrible crime must raise their voice now, without any of the 'ifs, ands or buts' so typical of the response to the punishment already being meted out in ever more strict steps." [12] There are also other transfer scenarios in the air -- with a war with Syria as the cover or an exceptionally murderous terror attack as the pretext. The Israeli liberals are perhaps in a habit of disregarding Moledet and their like as a lunatic fringe, and are still hesitant to acknowledge that they have taken control. There is also the reluctance to speak about "transfer", in order not to belittle the current horrors of curfews and starvation, and not to help raise "transfer" to the status of the "thinkable." But when the chief of staff talks of a cancerous demographic threat and the prime minister backs his words, it is time to realize that the rules of the game have changed. The opposition, so much as it still exists, cannot stop Sharon and Ya'alon by ridiculing them or by "not understanding their logic." It has to turn outside for help. Diplomatic isolation and boycotts are by far better than the consequences of the "war against cancer". Chancellor Shroeder, when asked if Germany will come to Israel's aid if it will be attacked by Iraq, replied "when friends are attacked, it's clear, we help." [13] A real friend will not only call an ambulance after you crash, but will tell you not to drive when you're drunk. --------- Irit Katriel is an Israeli activist, currently living in Germany. Email: iritka@zahav.net.il NOTES [1] Ha'aretz, Aug 16 2002, "PM urging U.S. not to delay strike against Iraq." [2] Christian Science Monitor, August 30, 2002, "Israel sees opportunity in possible US strike on Iraq". [3] Albawaba.com, August 21 2002, (quoting CBS evening news), "Aziz: Bush plans towards Iraq serve interests of Israel." [4] Ha'aretz, August 30 2002, "The enemy within." [5] On the "demographic problem," see my article "Deep Ideological Crisis", July 8 2002, http://www.dissidentvoice.org/ Articles/Katriel_DeepIdeologicalCrisis.htm [6] Ha'aretz, August 31 2002, "Sharon backs Ya'alon remarks on 'cancerous Palestinian threat'." [7] Uri Avnery, August 30 2002, "The return of the dinosaurs." http://www.avnery-news.co.il/ [8] Ha'aretz, Nov 17 2000, "Truth or consequences." See also Tanya Reinhart, June 10, "'The second half of '48' - The Sharon-Ya'alon plan," http://www.zmag.org/reinsyplan.htm [9] Jerusalem Post, Aug 26 2002, "New organization aims 'to empty the state of Arabs'." The website of this organization is at http://www.emigrations.net . [10] Boris Shusteff, July 3 2002, "The logistics of transfer," http://www.gamla.org.il/english/ article/2002/july/b1.htm [11] Ynet, Aug 25 2002, "Exclusive: the complete world view of the new chief of staff." [12] Ha'aretz, August 15 2002, "Preemptive warnings of fantastic scenarios." [13] International Herald Tribune, August 26 2002, "Shroeder and Stoiber spar on TV over Iraq". This article can be viewed on the web at: http://www.disidentvoice.org/ Articles/Katriel_NeverAgain.htm -------------- First Steps Towards Transfer by LAW 9:15am Tue Sep 3 '02 Israel demolished six homes in Zeif, 50 Palestinians homeless 3 September 2002 Yesterday morning, September 2, Israeli forces demolished six Palestinian homes in the Zeif area, south of Hebron, rendering 50 Palestinians, including 26 children, homeless. At around 9am on Monday morning, Israeli forces with armored personnel carriers, two excavators and D9 bulldozers broke into the Zeif area, south of Hebron, and the demolished the six homes, under the pretext of 'illegal construction'. The demolished homes belong to Musa Shatat, 250m2, 2 story building, hosting 21 residents; Muhammad Shatat, 120m2 and a 80m2 basement, hosting five residents; Isma'il Shatat, 120m2 and a 80m2 basement, hosting 5 residents; Ra'ed Abu Rajab, 80m2, hosting seven residents; Ibrahim Jabareen, 90m2, hosting 5 members; and Ali Jabareen, 60m2, hosting seven residents. Additionally, Israeli forces destroyed a water well. Eyewitness, including the Zeif village council chair, Muhamamd Shatat, stated to LAW that the demolition campaign lasted until 4.30 pm. The owners of the homes were not allowed to save any private belongings. Israel does not allow Palestinians to build on their own land, while Israeli settlement expansion continues. While the homes are demolished under the Israeli pretext of 'illegal construction', Israel does not provide any permission for Palestinians to build. LAW believes that this is a clear form of apartheid. Destruction of property in occupied territories is forbidden under article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It constitutes collective punishment, which explicitly prohibited by article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It further constitutes extra-judicial punishment and arbitrary interference in home and property. Despite the clear illegality of this punitive measure, Israeli occupation authorities have resorted to it throughout the occupation, and have indeed stepped up home demolitions during the second intifada. The form of apartheid Israel applies against Palestinians fulfils all elements of the crime of apartheid as defined under the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1976), which expressly states that the crime of apartheid 'shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa' (art.2). LAW condemns these flagrant violations of human rights and calls on the international community to condemn racial segregation and apartheid and undertake to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. LAW urges the international community to take effective measures to dismantle Israel's apartheid system.--------- Legalizing Ethnic Cleansing by LAW 9:17am Tue Sep 3 '02 Israel's High Court allows deportation 3 September 2002 Israel's High Court of Justice ruled this morning that the Israeli army is allowed to, what it calls, 'relocate' two relatives of Palestinian suspects from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. The court ruled that Kifah Ajuri (28) and his sister Intisar Ajuri (34) are allowed to be expelled from Askar refugee camp to the Gaza Strip for two years. However, the expanded nine-judge panel did not allow the deportation of Abdel Nasser Asida from Tel village. Israel's High Court did not give a green light for mass transfers or deportations. Israel's court ruled that the Israeli army has to prove that those to be 'relocated' have 'advance knowledge or were involved in plotting attacks'. Intisar Ajuri was arrested on June 4, 2002 and was held without charge or trial under administrative detention. Kifah Ajuri and Abdel Nasser Asida were arrested on July 18 along with 20 other relatives of suspects. That same day, Israeli occupation demolished the Ajuri family home in Askar refugee camp and the home of the Asida family in the village of Tel, near Nablus. On August 1, the Commander of the Israeli army in the West Bank issued an amendment to the Military Order 378, which provides for the forcible transfer of Palestinians from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, and ordered the forcible transfer of Kifah 'Ajuri and 'Abd al-Nasr Asida to the Gaza Strip. On August 4, he issued the same order for the forcible transfer of Intisar Ajuri. According to the orders, the three will have to remain in the Gaza Strip for two years. The Fourth Geneva Convention is unambiguous and not subject to misinterpretation on the issue of deportation. Under Article 49, 'individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive'. This prohibition is absolute and allows of no exceptions. In addition to this, the Fourth Geneva Convention defines deportation as a 'grave breach' of the Convention, which are equivalent to war crimes. Indeed, deportation is declared a 'war crime' and a 'crime against humanity' in the 1945 Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, which is accepted by Israel as declaratory of customary international law and as such binding on Israel. In LAW's view, therefore, the deportation of Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip cannot be justified under international law under any circumstances whatsoever, and Israel is guilty of a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention when it does deport Palestinians. ___ POWs in Israel by JV 9:59am Tue Sep 3 '02 "Israel" and its fan club brag about the "purity of Jewish Arms" and other hogwash about the virtues of their cancerous state. If they are willing to murder prisoners of war as though it were 1942 along the eastern front and they were the Wehrmacht, how much more easily will they be able to murder an entire people? [The short item below, about Egypt's demand that Israel pay reparations for families of Egyptian prisoners of war who had been murdered by Israeli soldiers, was published in the Israeli Ha’aretz on July 24, 2002. As far as I know the item did not appear in the English version of the newspaper (the translation below is mine) and was barely noticed, if at all. Background information: on 7/21/95, the Israeli newspaper Davar reported that 35 Egyptian “soldiers” – actually civilians Public Works employees – were murdered during the 1956 Sinai campaign. On 8/8/95, the Israeli Ma’ ariv reported on Israeli Massacres of 273 Egyptians POWs during the same campaign. Later on, it was admitted that in the 1967 war, the IDF executed Palestinian POWs who were fighting in the Egyptian army, as well as a thousand unresisting Egyptians and dozens of unarmed Palestinian refugees. See “As Evidence Mounts, Toll of Israeli Prisoner of War Massacres Grows”, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs_, February/March 1996. AK] -------- Egypt: We Will Turn to the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague if Israel Will Not Compensate Murdered Prisoners of Wars By Galal Bana Ha'aretz, 7/24/02 Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Mahr, assured members of the Egyptian parliament in Cairo that he will turn to the International War Crimes Tribunal if Israel will continue to refuse to compensate families of Egyptian soldiers who as prisoners of war were murdered by Israeli soldiers during the Sinai campaign (1956) and the Six-Day War (1967). So far, no Israeli government ever placed the issue of murdered Egyptian prisoners of war on its agenda, but official Israeli representatives acknowledged the issue and declared that Israel intends to compensate the families of the murdered prisoners. In response to a formal query about this issue in the Egyptian parliament, Mahr said that Egypt currently demands Israel to investigate the matter thoroughly and to pay reparations to the families of the prisoners. Mahr reported that Israeli and Egyptian officials have been trying to reach an agreement regarding reparations for the families of those who were killed. Still, said Mahr, if Israel does not respond to the Egyptian demand, Egypt will turn to the International Court in the Hague in the name of the prisoners’ families, and will demand that Israel pay the appropriate reparations. The murder of Egyptian prisoners of war by Israeli soldiers became known in Egypt only after Israeli historians uncovered the facts, which in turn were reported in the Israeli media. Following the publication of the story, the former Israeli deputy foreign minister, Eli Dayan, said in an interview during his visit in Cairo in 1995 that Israel is willing to compensate the families. This was after an Egyptian lawyer, Muhamad Al Shami, sued Israel in an Egyptian court for 100 million dollars. ---------------- ----------------------- Michael Pugliese (debsian@pacbell.net) Date: Mon Sep 02 2002 - 17:44:03 EDT-------------- This Hoffmasn fellow, btw, has his webpgs. linked on this radleft website, "American State Terrorism," http://www.freespeech.org/fsitv/html/error404.shtml http://csf.colorado.edu/cgi-bin/mfs/ 32/network/web/soc/psn /2002/msg01323.html http://www.hoffman-info.com/hitchens.html via http://www.enteract.com/~peterk/ Michael Pugliese Christopher Hitchens' Rejoinder to Hoffman's "Punks of ZOG 2002" Editor's note: Michael A. Hoffman II was targeted in the September, 2002 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, in an article by Christopher Hitchens, "Jewish Power, Jewish Peril." Hoffman answered Hitchens' charges online in Punks of ZOG: 2002 The following rejoinder emanates from Hitchens. We did not receive it from Hitchens directly (aristocrats don't deign to post missives to churls), but second- hand from one of his self-described "fans," identified only as "Peter K." The writing which "Peter" conveyed bears tell-tale marks of the deceit, distortion and libel published by Vanity Fair, so it is safe to conclude that it is from the pen of Sir Christopher. Hoffman's reply follows it. >From Hitchens' factotum, Peter K: August 29, 2002. Dear Mr. Hoffman, Hitchens has responded to your response to his Vanity Fair article and would like it placed somewhere where your readers could view it. If you put it up on your site, I'll put up the link to your response on the fansite I run so that Hitchens fans can see what you have written in response to his VF piece. It only seems fair. Regards, Peter Hoffman is a "Deranged Bigot and a Nazi Sympathiser" by Christopher Hitchens Dear Peter, If you can gazette the following in such a way that Hoffman and his people have to see it and perhaps reprint it: I'll probably regret doing this, but I want Mr Hoffman to know that I did eventually see his diatribe. I also would like him to know that I was pleased to see I had drawn blood. He may want to reject the idea that he is a deranged bigot and a Nazi sympathiser, but to announce that the United States is run by "Zog", a secret Jewish cabal, is to employ the language of the Aryan Nations. To assert that Timothy McVeigh was a tool of those seeking to build a "Soviet America" is admittedly more like paranoia, because the ruling-class project of replacing a Zionist America with a Communist one (and all in secret) just seems too strenuous for the normal mind. However, if such hypotheses are allowed, may not Mr Hoffman be all unwittingly an agent of America's brownshirts? There are of course bound to be contradictions in this hideous design. Not many native Nazis are so keen on the Ayatollah; keen enough in fact to call him "an honest man who makes no secret of his hatreds and fears and does not scruple to project an image at variance with his convictions." As long as Hoffman can keep writing like that, he will be confused enough to forget that his own pamphlet did indeed mention Henry Kissinger. I scorn to say it as if I owe Hoffman an explanation, but he must sometimes wonder what sinister plot lies behind my articles in defense of David Irving's right to publish, let alone my many columns and speeches in support of the Palestinians. And no wonder he twitches and foams a bit when I cite the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. He has perhaps also forgotten that his original pamphlet contained the following offering to readers: "RARE JUDAICA: The Hole In The Sheet. By Evelyn Kaye. Out of print. Heavily suppressed. Greatest in- house indictment since the Protocols." A challenge to a no-holds-barred debate, anywhere, anytime? Gosh. I can't refuse that. If his group can meet my usual fee, I'm ready. Cheap Shot Fascist-Baiting Advances Ignorance, not Understanding by Michael A. Hoffman II snip -------------------- ISLAM AND THE INTERNET Net-religion, a War in Heaven Lecture by Peter Lamborn Wilson MetaForum II/NO BORDERS/Budapest Networking Conference Budapest,October 6, 1995 contact: dia@szocio.tgi.bme.hu I don't even own a computer. Is there anybody else in here who doesn't own a computer? It's interes- ting to watch the net and to approach media eco- logy, and the internet, specifically from the point of view of what I do. Which is essentially the study of the history of religions, or histories of religion. It is extremely obvious to me that the internet is a re- ligious phenomenon. This may not have occured to everyone who is closer to it than I am. First of all, all technology can be analized according to religious principles. When I speak about religion, I am not speaking from the point of view of religion. In fact, I prefer to be an outsider there as well. However, in some points, unavoidably, I will express myself as if I were thinking from a religious point of view. Please understand that I am not supplying any dogma or article of faith, I am simply trying to ana- lize the phenomenon in a purely structural way and if that is useful for me in my own search for truth, maybe it's useful for you. Please accept what I have to say on that basis. All technology is a religious phenomenon: Why? Because unless you belong to the human condition, you cannot have technology. What is the human condition? What makes a human being different from an animal? I would say consciousness or self- consciousness, perhaps. Not awareness though, we know that animals are aware, but what we don't know is whether they are conscious. And we cer- tainly don't know whether they are self-conscious. One of the symptoms of consciousness, or self- consciousness, is technology and it is impossible, structurally or historically, to separate technology from consciousness when we try to imagine what it is to be human. As soon as we see in the archeolo- gical record evidence of a Simian or a similar crea- ture that we could identify as human, then the only reason why we do so is because there are some bro- ken stones next to the bones, that look like they may have been intended to be tools. What separates animals from humans is technology. From one point of view, that is religion. Because you cannot have technology unless you can extricate con- sciousness outside the body. If you cannot under- stand that consciousness is something which pro- jects outward into the world, you cannot create the prothesis, the extension of the body, which is techology, be it a broken stone, or a computer. Because there is this intimate relationship between technology and consciousness, technology itself is always threatening to take the place of religion. Technology is always becoming confused with reli- gion - the marxists used to call this reification. Not a bad word. It means making an intuition a "thing," making it "thingy," or giving it "thinginess." If we want to talk about the Greek word techne, it would be use- ful to describe the whole range of prothesis of con- sciousness. But, if we want to talk about techno- logy, then we are moving into different ground. Technology is techne plus logos in Greek. Techne, the technique or the mechanic principle plus the lo- gos, or the word. If we are trying to find out what the first technology is, in the strict sense of the word, you would have to answer that it is writing, which adds the mechanic to the word. Therefore, there is no techne, but technologia. Then we see the process of reification that works immediatly here. Writing itself defines words. Words do not define writing, but immediatly a paradoxical feedback co- mes up, where writing defines words and words de- fine things. Logically, it should be the other way round, but we know that language is a double-edged sword. As a means of communication, language leaves a great deal to be desired. One of the speakers yesterday, Heath (Bunting), I think it was, said that communication doesn't al- ways communicate, and this is so clear. I don't know why this was a surprise. Everyone can under- stand this immediatly: a map is not a territory. As soon as you mistake the word 'Budapest' on the map for the city of Budapest, you are in deep trou- ble. You have got a cognitive problem. If instead of talking about Budapest, you want talk about love, or patriotism, or valour, or truth, or communica- tion, or the net, or freedom, or any words like that, which have very few references in the world of thinginess, you have a problem. We reify those concepts and solidify them in writing, in sign sys- tems. Then they influence consciousness as you grow up, as a child learning language. All of these signs are imprinted. Writing begins with pictures, than we have pictographs, pictographic writing like ancient Armenian, or Chinese, or Egyptian hiero- glyphics. Then some of those signs are chosen to be phonemes. For example, a very common word in the indo- european language is the word for foot, which always sounds something like paw or pede or pedes. A picture of a foot becomes a P. If you turn that upside down, it is still like a P, and that P still looks like a foot. Even the alphabet, alphabetic writing, which is supposedly free of images, is not of free of all images. When you move from the alphabet to binary wri- ting, this is also not free of images. It is a very simple image system, black-white-yes-no, but it is still an image system. The computer is still a ma- chine of inscription, it is still a writing machine, in fact for most of you it is just a glorified typewriter. There is going to be a gradual process in the realm of technology of the reduction of the sign: from the complexity of a representational picture to the ab- straction of a binary sign system which apparently no longer contains pictures, although we can see that the pictures are just more deeply buried. The Greek word for symbol, symbolon, actually means, an object which is broken in half. That is why communication systems are not monodic or unitary, they are always dual or diadic. I prefer to say that all communications are diadic, it involves two-ness. There must be a speaker and a hearer, then these relations can be reversed. The breaking of the symbolon symbolizes the split in human con- sciousness itself. A split between the animal inti- macy, which we can hypothesize as our Semian heritage, and the idea that consciousness and self are two different things. As soon as that split occurs we have a symbolic system at work, where one thing stands for another. The same holds true for all language systems, all musical systems, all dance systems, anything which can possibly communi- cate on any level whatsoever. These are all symbo- lic systems. Language is a symbolic system. All computer programs are symbolic systems. It is important to remember that in any symbolic system this split, the doubling of consciousness, the hypothesis of consciousness which is actually prothesis, obtains something which is outside the body and which can act in the world. In the history of religion, this desire for lost intimacy, this desire to recapture unified consciousness, is the cause of yet a further split. We see the whole idea of sacri- fice that is meant to heal this wound in the cosmic structure. Sacrifice appears very early in human re- ligion, at least as early as agricultural systems in the Neolithic Age, if not sooner, and it is violent. Initially, it probably involves human sacrifice. I see this as a violence of the sacred. Whatever is re- ligious is also inherently violent, because it's based on the split. The split consciousness, the act of splitting is violent, and so the act of repairing the split is also violent. In fact, the word religion, "re- ligio," in Latin, means to re-link, which is really the same as the word in Hindi "yo go" which means yoke, as the yoke which connects two oxen. Religion itself, at its very base, is about this re- linking of consciousness. It is an attempt to over- come the split of consciousness and to unify what was doubled and make it one. This is a very violent process throughout human history, and it is not an accident that religions were associated with vio- lence. If we're going to talk about belief systems, then I include all belief systems under the group of reli- gion, including ideology, then we are going to be talking about violence. There is no way out of it. The initial split of consciousness can also be seen as a split between nature and culture, and in bet- ween nature and culture comes an ambiguous, mar- ginal space, which is neither nature nor culture. In all folklore and in all methodological systems we have this moment where the ocean of primordial chaos is separated from culture. Eventually this split between culture and nature also applies to primitive systems like shamanism. The split be- came more and more severe, and instead of being layed on a horizontal level, with nature over here and culture over there, the whole thing moved on to a vertical axis, and culture and consciousness are now reified as heaven. Nature, what is left below, what is not saved, what is not taken up into hea- ven, is this body, this physical body, which can die. Nature is conscious of death, which is probably at the root of all consciousness, but consciousness of death by itself can only be negative. Consciousness has to be turned, paradoxically, away from its original object, which is death, and focused on life, which is also death. This is what fails to happen in most religions. Most religions are systems of death consciousness because they posit a radical split between body and spirit, but they are no longer upset about it. They are not interested in reconciling the body and the spirit anymore. They are interested in eliminating one of those factors, the body, and perpetuating the other, the spirit, or mind or perhaps information. So you have spirit and heaven at the top and nature, body and earth at the bottom. It becomes associated with the feminine; the catatonic, the chaotic, the uncultured, the uncultivated. It is associated with tribal societies, with hunting and gathering, with everything primitive, with everything despicable. Mind or spirit, which is now separated from the body, is associated with maleness; with power, with structure, with culture, with civilisation, and with religion itself. What is in between is now only a technology of the sacred, the actual workings of religion itself. The ritual, the sacrifice, the priesthood, which is now a completely privileged closed-off class; you now have class structure. We now have the pyramidal structure, we now also have cyberspace. We have the concept of the vir- tual. Heaven or paradise, the mind principle, sepa- rated from the body, becomes cyberspace. Cyberspace is a version, paradoxical, or even a pa- rody, of heaven. It's a place where your body is not present, but your consciousness is. It is a place of immortality, of not being mortal, of having over- come death. There is a view that cyberspace is a salvational reality, that it saves us from our crude shit- filled rotting bodies, and that we will transcend into an angelic sphere of pure data where we will download consciousness and never die. If you have read William Gibson, the image is very clear: You have the hacker, who is jacked in, literally jacked into the computer. The body is rotting, but the cy- berpersona is clearly immortal. Actually, Gibson is heavily ironic about this. The problem is that what we have been promised is transcendence through techno-mediation. It is a false transcendence. Formerly, in religion we said that God, who has been stripped of all material, beco- ming, and is now pure, being a transcended God. It's actually not interrelating with the material world. If we have a god, as in some forms of paga- nism, that has a material nature, the god is a re- birth. We will call that an emminent form of deity, as opposed to transcendent. What we are are being offered in the net is not emminence, not a true em- minence, but a false transcendence. It is a dange- rous, gnostic fallacy. Cyberspace is spurious im- mortality. This brings me to the point of the military aspect of the net, because the net is actually a war in hea- ven. What else would the phrase "information war" mean than a war in heaven? A war which would take place in this spurious heaven, this false trans- cendence of cyberspace. We know that the net ori- ginates as a military space. The original ARPA-net was designed in order to avoid the physical disrup- tion which would have been involved in atomic ex- plosion. The net itself is a very gnostic invention since it transcendentalises matter in a very rapid and effective way. Basically, we are looking at a war in heaven. Kevin Kelley likes to say that this technology is out of control. This is bullshit, it's not out of cont- rol. It's something very different and much more in- teresting. A brilliant French anthropologist, Pierre Clastres, wrote one book called, "Society against the State," and another, which we (Autonomedia) were very proud to publish, called, 'The Archeology of Violence.' I follow his thinking very closely on a number of points. He makes a distinc- tion between two kinds of warfare in human his- tory: There is primitive war and classical war. These are not at all the same thing. It cannot even be said that the classical war is a developement of the primitive war, it's rather a betrayal of primitive war. If the sacred is violent, then violence is not always negative, unless we believe in pacifism. There are certain kinds of violence which are posi- tive, and primitive warfare is positive in this one sense. Clastres uses the metaphor of centrifugal and cen- tripedal. The centrifugal machine is one which pus- hes out from the center, and the centripetal machine is one which pulls in towards the centre. First of all, there is really no such thing as primitive so- ciety anymore, there are only societies which have retained primitive forms. The rest of the world has moved on to culture and civilisation. Clastres be- lieved that this was a chosen path on the part of these societies. Consciously or unconsciously these societies developed certain social functions to cen- trifugalize power, they don't want power, they re- fuse power. They want a society, but they don't want the state. They don't want the centrilisation of power, they don't want class structure, they don't want economic hierarchy. They want egalitaria- nism, they want democracy. Trancendentalism, which is that mysticism and spi- ritual experience should be available in an egalita- rian fashion. The shaman is not a specialist in ecstasy, because these tribes themselves specialize in ecstasy. At some point in the history of human society, some society rises where primitive warfare changes. Some society rises where primitive warfare is paradoxically changed into it's opposite and unfortunately Clastres died before he was able to really explain this. You can say that particularly wicked and clever people saw that violence could be used to centralize power as well as to disperse po- wer. Or you can say that maybe there were popula- tion problems, or climate problems. Some explana- tions have given the switchover of the hunting-ga- thering societies which are egalitarien without ex- ception and do not practice sacrifice, with agricultu- ral societies which are non-egalitarian and almost invariably do practice sacrifice. We are still living in the Neolithic Age. We are still basically living in the agricultural-industrial period and we still practice sacrifice. If you don't be- lieve it, come to New York State, where they just reintroduced the death penalty, a symbolic sacrifice. At some point primitive warfare turns into classical warfare, and here is the interesting thing about the net. The net is born much more like a primitive warfare structure than a classical one, because of that strange gnostic necessity to avoid atomic disin- tegration. The net suddenly turns into a space in which power is dispersed rather than centralized. They thought this was a brilliant strategy. It turned out that they lost control of the net almost in- stantly. They should have realized that a not-centra- lized system can't be kept in control from within that system. If you take a closed system and decen- tralize it, then there is no way you can recentralize it. That recentralisation of power is going to have to come from outside the system. This is my point about Kelley's thesis. That a technology, which is out of control as long as you study only the technology, is nothing new. The postal system is out of control. I can get much bet- ter security with snailmail now than I can on the net, that is one of the reasons I still don't own a computer. If somebody proved to me that I can really get top security by using a computer and I can send my evil revolutionary messages everyw- here with complete safety, I would do it. I am no luddite. I am not against technology just because i don't like technology. I happen to be very bad at it, but that's my personal thing. All the people I knew in the 60's and 70's who were phonephreaking have moved on to the net. The telephone is so old- fashioned, it is just like hot and cold running water. No one is thinking about it at all, there is no mumbo jumbo in the telephone. There is no magic left in the telephone. The magic is all in the net, so that's what everybody wants to control. Mumbo jumbo is power, and if you control the base of a basic symbolic exchange system, you have power. Those who control the definition of words have power. Those who control the means of communication between you and me have power over both of us. Where is this control going to come from, if the system itself, the technology itself, is out of control. Because it was designed to be out of control, then the control has to come from outside the system. The internet is not hea- ven, the internet is not paradise. The internet is not safe, in terms of control, simply because as a closed system it represents the decentralization of power structures. That power can just reach in from out- side, and that's exactly what the Church of Scientology can do. For example, the Church of Scientology can kill you, or disperse all your se- crets, they can track you to your house and break in and smash your computers. And if you think that the Church of Scientology is powerful, wait until you hear from the American government. And if you think that the American government is a little outdated, and that as John Perry Barlow says, that governments are not the corporate entities which are ideally designed to control the new technology, then wait until you hear from AT&T, because they are designed to control. It is far worse. National governments have been practically reduced to flags of convenience, for the international global market. The only reason why the global market is interested in nations, is because you can set up trade barriers, and so forth and so on, and maximize pro- fits, by using the fictions of nationalism. The true corporate structures, the real gnostic beings, the real gnostic angels, are not governments or capitalized corporations within the structures of capital. The relevance of all these statements to Hungary, is that since 1989, there is not an ideolgical struggle in the world. The night the Berlin Wall fell, I turned on the television and I heard that the Cold War was over and we won. This is widely believed and as a result, we have been told that ideology has come to an end. That the social has come to an end, even history has come to an end. History itself which involved the dialectical struggle, according to Hegel, is now over. The Cold War is over and we, the capital, won. There is now only one ideology which disguises itself as nature. Once again we have a false trans- cendence of bringing together culture and nature, in a totally phoney way, where you can establish a more efficient control mechanism. The net can be controlled from outside, through fear, through ter- ror. The net is extremely suseptible to terror. Because the net is a religious phenomenon and reli- gion is inherently violent, the sacred is inherently violent, and invariably both are involved in fear, in terror. That's why the net is perfect ground, "Grund," in German, for the passion play which is going to occur within five years, maybe within the next five minutes. The net can be controlled from outside, and therefore, resistance must be organized from outside. So far, we've only had virtual resistance, and ac- tually that is no more than a spectacle of resistance. If we don't organize on the basis of politics, and of economy, then the net has no future as a space for human freedom. No future. So far, I don't see that organizing going on. I see that the most brilliant minds that are involved in the net are all involved in cryptography and PGP, and various kinds of me- chanisms, which are meant to protect the net from takeover from within the net, but that's not what the danger is coming from. Sooner or later, some- body will figure it out and it better be us because if it isn't, then it's going to be AT&T with 600 chan- nels and the 100 home shopping network. Or ris- kier, are those heavy footed jack booted govern- ments, or the Church of Scientology. So the net is not heaven, the body must be present. I love Heath Bunting's point that without the pre- sence of body, this whole thing is just a curious form of metaphysical shlock with cream. Whoever understands the net as religion, whoever understands the problem with body and re-embodiment, will have a tremendous edge, or at least gain an edge in the struggle of whether the net remains a space of potential freedom, or whether it doesn't. Rememebering the Paeleolithic and how the inven- tion of agriculture relates to the invention of the alphabet, which relates to the invention of the computer, is a vital and important course now. Whoever can understand this, whoever can under- stand the reason why the state will be the first to lose control of the net? First of all, the corporations will not lose control in the same way. Whoever un- derstands that's methaphysics, that's religion. We steal a march in strategic terms. We will be one days march ahead of the animal, which is oppres- sive control, whether it comes from governments, or from corporations, or from our own disturbed psyche. There are two vital areas of understanding, politics and economics. The politics is cruel and simple and I think we 're understanding it very well. I would like to think about the economics for a mi- nute. We see that money is also going to heaven. Billions of billions of billions of billions of billi- ons of whatever units of money are there, floating around in cyberspace. Money is now a purely trans- cendental principle, it's a symbolic system, it's a symbolon, just like any other symbol. It is broken into two halves and has meaning only if the two halves are reunited. That's where money begins, precious metal, which has no inherent value what- soever. The relationship between gold and silver, from the start, is based on the lunar-solar cycle. It is pure symbolism. The first coins were temple souvenirs. This is his- torically known to numismatics experts studying the history of coinage. The first coins are souve- nirs, they are picked up in temples and that coin, that image, becomes valuable as nostalgia. You can take them home to bumfuck the old, and trade one of them for a cow, because it's like mumbo jumbo. It's called JuJu. Mumbo jumbo and JuJu are African words for mysterious power. The coins themsel- ves, which still have a memorable, valuata aspect, are made out of precious metal, which is gradually added to less precious metal. Presume coins are lar- gely symbolic, they could change to paper which represents the coins. Then in 1933, in America, the link between the paper and the precious metal is cut, paper is now floating free. It's a reference without any referent, and we now have purely ab- stract money, ready to jack in. Ready to ascend to heaven, to the heaven of cyberspace, and that's exactly what's happened. Ninety percent of all commercial transactions are electronic and do not involve any form of paper. They are in a world where imagination and electricity interrelate in some strange and metaphysical way. Coins become papers become absence. Finally there is an absence itself, valued as a form of money, in a kind of a re- verse alchemy, changing precious metals into nothing. In this regard, my favorite story is about the alche- mist, Paracelsus, who was travelling through Germany and was invited into the court of one of those petty German princes of the 15th century, who said, "Oh, Mr Paracelsus, great to meet you. We've heard so much about you. You're such a great scientist, we'd like set you up with your own laboratory here." I don't remember the details, but Paracelsus says "Oh you must set me up in a labo- ratory! What do you want me to do?" The king says, "Oh, you had this lead into gold thing. This base metal and precious metal experiment...We are very interested in that." Paracelsus says, "Oh, your Majesty, your Majesty, I am just a Puffer. You, your Majesty, you are the real alchemist." "Why?" "This is because all you have to do is give a license to a bank to lend money. That is gold out of nothing." That was in 15th century. It took another couple of hundred years for the Bank of England to be esta- blished on that basis. Now all Banks in the world can lend up to ten times the amount of money, whatever the hell that is, that they have in the vault. It's probably just a harddisk somewhere, so you can take 10 times nothing and call it a dollar and change it into a dollar. That's alchemy. Whoever understands that money is also religion, will also gain in the struggle. This lecture was meant to be called 'Islam and the Net,' I should say something about that. First of all, you probably remember that the Iranian Revolution was entirely based on the cassette tape recorder. If you don't know yet, I'm going to tell you. Khomeni would not have held power in Iran, well he's dead now. He would not achieved power in Iran without the cassette tape recorder. He was in exile in Iraq and sent recordings of his sermons, which attacked the Shah, to Iran. The tapes were spread around in a network from mosque to mosque and from cassette recorder to cassette recorder. That was the chief weapon of the Iranian Revolution. There was very little blood involved in that revolu- tion, very little blood and only for a short time. A very serious revolutionary movement was carried out entirely through communications technology. Just think what they can do with the net. Just think what terrorists can do with the net. The net, to answer the questions of our friends from former Yugoslavia, The net will never reach this world in time. There will always be lag time. The net, the marvelous miracle of communication which might be some utopian reading of the situation, will never reach the other 99% of the world in time. The reason that it will never come to save the world, like a miracle, is that terrorists will invade the net. They will be representative of all of the outside, and the outside includes all the countries where the people don't even have telephones. This is all the outside, the outside is all demonic for the inside, and therefore the technology will not be transfered, because that would be asking angels to transfer their technologies to devils, from their point of view. It's not going to happen unless religious power itself is deconstructed or overcome. Because it's re- ligion which has prevented the net from arriving in time to save. It's a religious problem. We can deconstruct the re- ligious aspect of technology. We can stop reifying technology, and worshipping it. This is a religious paradise, you can't save your soul from technology, unless you know that technology can't save it. An act, even more paradoxically, the process of over- coming, can only be to understand and even more paradoxical, this process of overcoming can be car- ried out through religious means. In other words, we have to understand the power of the imagination to create values. It is, in fact, through imagination and only through imagination, that values are crea- ted. If we understand that, we are free. We, as least as individuals, then are free in some meaningful sense. Maybe not free of incompetence, but in in some sense we are free. Communication doesn't communicate. Communication as noise. Communication as cog- nitive dissonance causes separation. Mediation cau- ses alienation. You can't mediate beyond a certain extent. All forms of communication are mediated, even if I speak with you. It's moving through the air and the molecules of the air are carrying sound to your ears. Simple conversation is already media- ted, but you can carry that mediation, you can exca- berate to a point where it becomes alienation, where you are actually violently separated or split from other people. Mediation which becomes alienation is then reproduced in the media, so the television, newspapers, the internet, all forms of communica- tion, as a media, in the usual sense of that word, simply increase alienation, and of course, wherever advertising comes in, it is very easy to see how this happens. It is very easy to understand how the net itself has become a source of horrible alienation, once advertising and protocolations have taken it over, once the ones in Rubeca have moved in, once Disney and Coca-Cola have moved in and taken it over. We even have to go back to language itself. We have to work on language, this is the job of the poet, to clarify the language of the tribe, not purify, but to clarify. We still need ideology in some sense, in that we need ideas, and that we need a lo- gos, or a word, or an expression of those ideas. I would prefer to end by refering these problems to Michail Bachtin, the Russion critic, who uses the word, dialogics. I like this word because it doesn't bring in any ideological frame. It's a new, fresh word. It means conversation, really, it means high value relating. We call it dialogics because it sounds like something we havn't thought of before. To me, it's just a good, old 19th century American word, communicativeness. Communicativeness is not neccecarily the same thing as simple communi- cation. It implies warmth, a human presence, an actual desire, a pleasure, a joy, a jouisance, if you like, of communication. Communicativeness is er- ratic, essentially, and festive. This is what Bachtin wanted us to remember, that the spiritual path of material, the body of principle, this is something real. The material body itself, is in effect, a sym- bol. It is a spiritual principle, and that, if you going to overcome the religious problem, which is to split the body off from the mind, forever, ha- ving assention to heaven, which is force and dillusory. What we need more than anything else, is a spirituality OF the body FOR the body. A re enchantment of the natural. Re-enchantment means singing, music. I am not proposing any kind of dialectical materialism or reductionism here. Actually, I am interested in a re-mytholization, in reenchantment, in magic, in action at a distance. I am interested in technology because it is magical, it is magic, it is action at a distance. What I want to see is this technology used to re-enchant nature, and finally, hopefully, to sacrifice the violence of the sa cred. ----------------- multiculturalism knocking on the rise by abit 10:27am Thu Sep 5 '02 (Modified on 10:44am Thu Sep 5 '02) article#32942 Multiculturalism knocking post September 11 in the media and right here on Indymedia such as “benefits of Multiculturalism” has raised some important issues but has failed to conceal bigotry and racism, with its revisionist reverse racism language. The latest of comment centering on the divisive nature of multiculturalism from the Australian Newspaper’s Janet Albrechtsen follows Scholar Daniel Pipe's openness to label Muslims and conversely -quite apatheticaly- multiculturalism as a threat and blight on our western ways. Multiculturalism knocking post September 11 in the media and right here on Indymedia such as “benefits of Multiculturalism” has raised some important issues but has failed to conceal bigotry and racism, with its revisionist reverse racism language. Color and culture fears seem to have blinded many opinions. The latest of comment centering on the divisive nature of multiculturalism from the Australian Newspaper’s Janet Albrechtsens follows Scholar Daniel Pipes openness to label Muslims and conversely -quite apatheticaly- multiculturalism as a threat and blight on our western ways. theaustralian.news.com.au/ common/story_page/0,5744,5 029034%255E7583,00.html) The most horrendous crime of all September 11 attacks that killed 3,000 people is the backdrop for typically a tenuous link between crime and ethnicity to discredited multculurcul society. The well-known link, established in a wide range of research, between high unemployment rates, poverty and crime was suspiciously absent. Simplistically the U.S., like Albrechtsen, hasn’t bothered look at the underlining causes of such hatred and criminality. Little has been done to reinforce that American foreign policy can be of assistance rather then a deterrence to progressive living standards. Since the September 11 attacks consumed our collective consciousnesses so too has “Islamophiba”. The explosion of islamophiba has incorporated and associated other races and ultimately multiculturalism. Attenuated by refugees, gang rapes by Lebanese youths, (who for the record never practiced or worshiped Islam) and Asian gang murders in Chapel Street, the age old scapegoating of immigrants is fast becoming fashionable. Attacks on Muslims and other ethnic communities in Australia preceding the Sep 11 attacks, including physical and verbal abuse in streets and in neighborhoods has sharply increased. So too have criticism from various media outlets of multiculturalism. Research by the University of Leicester in the UK last month provided evidence to reinforce antidotal claims by the EU that “Islamophiba” was on the rise worldwide. The report cited “attacks including abuse hurled at children on their way to school or women shopping, to one reported incident where a baby was tipped out of a pram.” And “Attacks on ethnic minorities whom resembled Muslims’ and were of Middle Eastern appearance’ were also greater than before. The research also noted the assaults were the tip of the iceberg, given that ethnic communities fear reporting crimes or keep the attacks bottled up. Albrechten purports that “Our self-loathing gave terrorists a license to ratchet up their anti-west sentiment to murderous proportions and “the Left resuscitated Multicultural Man who said America's sins caused those terrorist attacks”. September 11 was a murderous crime and a hardly surprising event given the numerous enemies of America. Blowing up two symbols of American capitalism could have been perpetrated by any terrorist organization domestic or abroad or by anyone disenfranchised by American policy. How easily we forget that a white Christian American Timothy Macvay with a little help from unknown assailants blew up the Oklahoma federal building. Is Macvay a symptom of western civilization and does he demonstrated terror and criminality? Anyone disaffected, black, white, Islamic, Christian will resort to criminally activity to fulfill an interest or need in a state of mind that seeks retribution for perceived ills. The American state is currently in this state of mind. Albrechtsen while linking ethnicity with crime unashamedly rejects the religious morals, liberal civil rights and socialist qualities, which founded a tolerant Australian civil society. Hitler sorry I mean Albrechtens says “We wanted to kill the bastards but as Muslim scholar Daniel Pipes said recently, Bush's war on "terror" was like declaring war on a trench or a submarine. A few, like Pipes, say the unsayable: " We wanted to kill whom - Muslims who don’t practice Islam, Asians who practice Islam or accosted to the ethnic communities such as Indian and Pakistanis. And that is the point says Janet - the whole of Multiculturalism is to blame for an undersized band of terrorists who killed a mere 3,000 individuals. Using such language may be considered COOL UNPC covered in sickly sweet latté, but remember the MEEA code of practices and discrimination laws prevented media inciting racial hatred with the ‘unsayable’. Keep in mind it was tense time with the Trade Center smoldering and mosques attacks worldwide. A southern American man shortly after sep 11 attacks didn’t know whom to kill in the name of revenge but anyway plowed his pick up truck into a petrol station killing an innocent India attendant. The U.S. war whether it is a war on terror or a war on militant Islam, doesn’t know where or who to attack to bring a sense of justice . The axis of evil and the attempt to attack Iraq is proof of this. As Islam is the second biggest religion in the world, suggesting we kill all Islamic extremists and is like suggesting we kill all fundamental Christians. Yes fundamental and extreme is easier to define but Albrechtens claims “That is too sophisticated for the Left”, and “Expect condemnation if you put "militant" and "Islam" together” which demonstrates her lack of political familiarity. Expect condemnation and more terror if you suggest angrily killing people and singling out Muslims as criminals which is of no assistance to the question of if multiculturalism is breeding crimininals. This is cowardly and bogus attack on multiculturalism from which the ill-informed Albrechtsen. She presupposes multicultural man, namely the left, turns a blind eye to crime. Guest Professor in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, from SWEDEN Collins Jock in Youth, Ethnicity and Crime in Australia 2002, highlights that media will latch onto ethnic crimes because it can be sensationalised. Likewise governments can also prey on fears to capture voters. Unlike Janet, Jock acknowledged evidence on ethnic crime suffers from data limitations when formulating his claim that there is no link between ethnicity to crime in Australia. “The moral panic about ‘Middle Eastern crime’ continues today, And is amplified by the events in New York of September 11 2001 that have escalated anti-Muslim feelings in Australia” says Jock. “Juvenile crime at in the early 1980s concluded that second generation Immigrant youth were more criminal than the first generation, but that they were not more criminal than the children of non-immigrant parents”. “The community's fears about the threat that adult and juvenile migrant crime may pose for social stability are largely unfounded” I really feel sorry for Albrechtsen and those who particulate Pipes on the Indy Media news wire. Relying on antidotal evidence and the heralded Pipes statistics regarding one country Norway is insufficient to make a clear judgment. “Last year, just before September 11, Norway's Dagbladet reported 65 per cent of rapes were carried out by non-Western immigrants, mostly Muslims, on Norwegian women” rehashed Janet he Australian and Canadian evidence on ethnic crime has concluded there is no evidence linking ethnicity and crime. Rather a low socio-economic background, unemployment and hopelessness continue to be the major causes of crime in Australia. This is applicable to Norway. Once isolated Norway failed to settle in some miragants with jobs and access to state services, so to did the French. Norway is by no means poor, like Sweden it remains an economically and socially adept model for Europe. In Norway, “The non-Western immigrant population, 1.25 percent of the total population, has trouble finding jobs and housing, and sometimes faces outright discrimination”. “Discrimination is only covered by one paragraph in the penal code. Paragraph 349a outlaws discrimination based on color, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, and has been valid for over 30 years”. Few illegal and legal immigrants have functional Norwegian language skills and such a language barrier is the main stumbling block to employing immigrants. The Norwegian state did not provide access to language services for immigrants for non-English speaking countries. This is not an excuse for any crime such as rape but merely a reason. Environmental conditions in countries need to be adequately equipped to supply services and employment for new arrivals. “The community's fears about the threat that adult and juvenile migrant crime may pose for social stability are largely unfounded” and acerbated by right wing agenda setters. Janet superficially tries to pray on such fears. “Like Europe, we are loath to offend our own Multicultural Man. The parents of Sydney's gang rapists said the Australian girls "invited" the boys to have sex with them. Muslim leader Keysar Trad said these boys were screaming for help: "They feel discriminated against at school [and] in the job market." Anyone's family is going to watch over their imprisoned loved ones for some period of time and will be protective, no matter how insane or far the of loves ones goes. For example the Page family have suggested robber and would be rapist Matt Page is just "severely depressed." In the same way- the School janitor who raped and murdered the two middle class girls in Britain- is considered mentally unstable and is in a mental ward. A group of English/Australian jockeys that gang raped a stable hand in western Australia, similarly to the Lenabses/Australian used notions of a rape inbedded in their racing cultural, for justifying their crimes. Last year the racing fraternity around Australia's was under scrutiny after five jockeys between the ages of 15 and 19 were convicted of 55 charges relating to the gang rape of an 18 year old. A raft of claims by female jockeys in New South Wales and Western Australia indicated that they've been widespread abuse by members of the racing industry. A precedent to the latest gang rapes the judge described the gang rape as 'prolonged, sordid and humiliating episode' and sentenced the youths to three to four years’ imprisonment This was about as far as the Media analysis progressed. There were no outcries against this inadequate sentence and no acknowledgement of the English and Irish background of the jockeys by the media. Not one newspaper or politician reported a problem with English/Irish/Australian angle, and not one analysis was given to suggest there was a wider culture of sexual harassment and abuse by white males, which was cultivated by mans domination of western culture. Man is prone to rape and he has provided many rationales for rape in the past so too have institutions of western and non-western society. More underlining problems then culture in any form propel men gang rape women. It is all about power and oppression. Anyone who rapes, or murders has no excuse, and deep psychological problems exist. What Janet is suggesting is absurd and she has undertaken a superficial analysis based on media sensationalism. Under Janet logic maybe we should be disbanding the racing industry because a minority of jockeys’ gang raped a women. Authorities and the public have sought to readdress the balance and provide tougher sentencing that presupposes a prevention of rape. Case in point the sentencing of the Lebanese youths. In 1957 the last government funded report on ethnicity and crime suggested - “Criminal conviction rate of southern European immigrants was one Quarter of that for the general population and that the recidivism rate of immigrants was half that of the Australian-born. Moreover, the longer the duration of stay in Australia for an immigrant the less likely that that person would commit a criminal offence.” Since white settlement immigration has been a major source of Australian labour force and population growth. In the postwar period alone, some 5.6 million immigrants arrived in Australia. Conversely this has presented much wealth to the economy, new ideas, food, arts and culture. The inclusion of Muslim migrants is merely an extension of Australian needs for a larger labour force. As the long boom ended, economic policies shifted the first, second and third generation migrants have been more susceptible to the new economy because of continued racism masquerading as legitimate analysis. In times of trouble and chaos the majority will always look for scapegoats, namely someone who is different like say a hippey. . Albrechtsen brings to a close the article with “Australia's ethnic problems were as inevitable once the multicultural banner of "separate but equal" was raised. Research by sociologist Bob Birrell shows that Muslims are just as reluctant to intermix with native Australians.” So to Australians seem reluctant to intermix with Muslims because of perceived fears. Such north shorish analysis by Albrechtsen and from Pipes disciples presents a simplistic concept of the man and the snake as smoke screen to revisionist racism. The snake is just as afraid of the human, as the human is afraid of it. Albrechtsen thinks Islam and thus multiculturalism is a venomous snake ready to attack suddenly. It did once after the man attacked it with a stick. Such views will only dissipate with the memories of Sep 11. ONe year on rather then continuing the blame game with such vengeful articles we need thoughtful dialogue. After all, we are of the same kind. Nick -------- someone posts a PLW piece (on multiculturalism here too oddly enough