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city heights free skool - Fri Aug 31, 2007 18:18 (en)
The City Heights Free Skool is a project that provides free classes, skill-shares and workshops to all regardless of educational backgrounds. There is a computer lab, free library, community garden, bike kitchen and three meeting spaces. Our focus is the geographic area of City Heights and we integrate practical skills and personal experiences into our learning experiences. Our outreach and class schedules are also distributed throughout the mid city area, in both English and Spanish, all are welcome. We recognize that learning has strong ties to privilege based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation and ableness. This is important to recognize and this is why we provide an accessible space where all are welcome to attend or teach a class in a free, open and non-hierarchical environment.The free skool is a project that addresses issues of exclusion by creating a space where there is the ability to freely express one?s skills and desires. The free skool offers a diverse selection of classes that are free and open to anyone who may wish to attend. There are no skill level requirements. Classes are not taught with a top down method where the teacher is the sole possessor of knowledge. Rather the distinction of teacher and student disappears with skill-share. This method recognizes that even if someone is taking a class to learn a subject they in turn have something to contribute and a knowledge that is valuable to the learning process.All of the continuing projects at the Free Skool have been implemented through the strong youth led volunteer base. These projects as well as a rotating schedule of classes, skill-shares and workshops have continued to be largely youth led. Our four projects are: the City Heights Info Shop?, SPROUT City Heights, the Free Bike Kitchen and the Computer Lab, which is a collaborative effort.City Heights Free Skool WebsiteCity Heights Free Skool BenefitFriday August 31 7-11PM4246 Wightman (xVanDyke)
The City Heights Info Shop? has a growing and wide selection of books that range from organic gardening to sci-fi to community organizing. We also have a constantly growing selection of zines that we distribute to those who come to the Info Shop?. We have recently started receiving letters from prisoners requesting zines from the Info Shop? and we are struggling to get money for postage to send the information requested to them. We have a working relationship with The Groundwork Books Collective at UCSD, they contact us when they have books to donate and we help to distribute them in the community.SPROUT City Heights encourages urban food sustainability by providing space and resources for those in the community to share their knowledge. Our organic garden is in the front yard so that it is accessible and visible by all in the community. SPROUT City Heights resists the dominant food culture that promotes a lack of understanding and appreciation for where our food comes from. Our resistance is education about plants and healthy ways that we can sustain ourselves with only a small front yard. The garden has also been used as a learning tool during the Food not Lawns edible bike tours.The Bike Kitchen is a volunteer run cooperative learning space and a do-it-yourself bike repair shop. The cooperative provides skill-shares, workshops, and mechanical assistance for our bike riding community to support the accessibility of bikes for everyone and bike safety. The shop has tools and parts for repairing, maintaining and building bikes. We emphasize creating a space that supports the empowerment and self-sufficiency of women, queer and transgender people. We also hold workshops at community events such as the Dyke Fest 2007. The Free Bike Kitchen has a very diverse volunteer base and support in the community including several bike shops and the Critical Mass.The Computer Lab is a co-sponsored project with the San Diego Hacklab. Many people in the community who attend the Free Skool English classes bring their friends and family to the Computer Lab every week to learn how to use the internet and e-mail to stay in touch with families out of the country. People from the community have also been learning new software and how to make fliers for their organizations. This free resource and learning space has provided opportunities for people who have never used a computer, an opportunity to learn new skills and not be excluded from the important advantages computer and internet technologies can offer. The Computer Lab is dedicated to making technology assessable in our communities.
repost from national gay and lesbian task force - Thu Aug 30, 2007 18:24 (en)
The hypocrisy knows no bounds. While the powerful get their sex in public men's rooms, us "normal" people who negotiate for it online are about to be criminalized. Read what the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has to say about proposed rule changes that will have the FBI collecting and storing info on your sex partners - more warrantless searches - woohoo."The federal government is proposing regulations that would effectively kill adult social-networking sites. This is being done under the guise of fighting child pornography. You have until September 10 to object to these regulations. It?s easy to do and essential...Obviously, none of this has anything to do with child pornography. Instead, it is a blatant attempt to end the ability of consenting adults to use adult social-networking sites to meet other people for sex..."comment from Gadfly: I guess they're milking it for all it's worth before attempting to shut it down. How's this for a laugh/puke?comment from queer-j-brad: i'm not happy about defending a vile creature like larry craig, but the outrage, shaking of heads, and throwing around of phrases like closet cases and hypocrisy is just too much to bear.1 - who decided that having sex in public men's rooms with men means that a guy is gay? that's ridiculous! lots of straight men have sex with men, especially oral sex - trust me. are people living in some kind of christian fantasy theme park world on this one, for crying out loud? so when larry craig says he is not gay, he is very likely telling the truth.2 - however disgusting it might be, it's perfectly logical to have sex with men in men's rooms at the same time as opposing civil rights for queers. i'm sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no hypocrisy here.3 - why is everyone believing that ridiculous cop report? COPS LIE! --Read More--(scroll down)
for report, click hereThe federal government is proposing regulations that would effectively kill adult social-networking sites. This is being done under the guise of fighting child pornography. You have until September 10 to object to these regulations. It?s easy to do and essential. A sample e-mail comment is at the bottom of this page. Please forward this information to your friends!What?s the Deal?The Department of Justice is proposing regulations to implement a federal law designed to combat child pornography, known as Section 2257. The law was first enacted in 1998 and was amended in 2006 and significantly expanded to include regulation of the Internet.While many of the regulations pertain to companies that produce adult entertainment magazines and videos (and are extremely burdensome), they would also affect anyone who uses an adult social-networking site. Here?s how: * The regulations would require the people running a site to get and maintain personal information from every user (that means you) who posts a ?sexually explicit? photo, including your photo ID (driver?s license, passport, or military ID). * The regulations would allow the Attorney General to conduct warrantless searches at will on the sites? records, including your personal information. * There are few safeguards over what the FBI can do with the information it obtains. * If a site operator fails to comply with the regulations, he or she would face a prison sentence of up to 5 years. * For more detailed information on Sec. 2257, click here. Obviously, none of this has anything to do with child pornography. Instead, it is a blatant attempt to end the ability of consenting adults to use adult social-networking sites to meet other people for sex. Obviously, if these regulations go into effect, they will kill this industry.What You Can DoThe Department of Justice has published these proposed regulations and the public has until September 10 to comment on them.We need to generate thousands of comments objecting to the proposed regulations ? and it?s easy to do via e-mail. Just follow the instructions below.Why We?re InvolvedThe National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc. is involved in this fight because we believe sexual freedom is a fundamental human right and we don?t think the government has any place in relations between consenting adults. These regulations are part of our government?s hypocritical and punitive views about sex, sexuality, and reproductive rights. All of this ? from abstinence-only sex education programs to the elimination of funding for accurate and explicit HIV prevention programs ? fall hardest on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.For more information about the organizing, advocacy, and public education work of the Task Force, click here.Take Action NowHere is a sample letter with the e-mail address you need to send it to (Admin.ceos@usdoj.gov) and the subject you must include in the subject line of your e-mail (Section 2257 Docket No. CRM 104).Please also consider a contribution to keep this advocacy work going.DonateSample LetterTo: Admin.ceos@usdoj.govRe: Section 2257 Docket No. CRM 104To the U.S. Department of Justice:I am writing to object to the proposed ?Section 2257? regulations.These regulations are complicated and burdensome on legitimate businesses, and have very little to do with protecting children and minors from pornography. Their reach ? particularly into adult social-networking internet services ? is overbroad, unnecessary, and would allow the federal government to search and seize personal records of adult consumers without a warrant; a clear violation privacy and constitutional rights.Specifically, I object to the following provisions:1. The regulations (18 § 2257(b)(1) and (c)) would force adult social-networking services to obtain and maintain personal information about their users, including the user's photo ID (driver?s license, passport, or military ID). (I must note that the sites already require users to affirm that they are over 18 years of age.) Many sites have tens of thousands of users and it is simply not possible for them to do this. Moreover, many people who use these sites want to maintain their privacy, for any number of reasons, including the sad fact that they might face discrimination and/or violence if others found out they were using these sites. It is still legal in 31 states to discriminate against someone who is gay or bisexual, and in 41 states if the person is transgender. The combination of the recordkeeping requirements and many users? fears about providing such information will kill the entire industry.All of this is overkill given that adult social networking sites were not identified as a problem in the production, distribution and downloading of child pornography in the Department of Justice?s own report on ?Child Pornography on the Internet? (May 2006).2. The regulations (18 § 2257(g) and under 28 C.F.R. § 75.5) would allow the Attorney General to conduct unannounced warrantless searches at will on the sites? records, including reviewing and presumably seizing the personal information on site users. This is an egregious abuse of government authority, an unwarranted invasion of privacy and, in my opinion, a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.3. The regulations (28 C.F.R. § 75.5(4)) provide insufficient safeguards over what the government can do with the information it obtains through its searches. This, by itself, has a chilling effect on the ability of people to engage in constitutionally protected activities. As noted above, this is particularly dangerous for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.Let me be clear: I believe children need to be protected from coercion into pornography and it is important for the federal government to do all that it can to insure those protections. Sadly, many of the provisions of the proposed 2257 regulations do nothing to address child pornography, but instead are clearly aiming at destroying an industry and ending a legal and valuable way for adults to meet one another.Sincerely, (your name)
Dr Rich Gibson - Thu Aug 30, 2007 07:00 (en)
These are harsh times. The economy grinds down and the wars bomb on. In such an era, people define themselves by their actions. Often, there is no reversing the action taken, as a wounded economy and a desperate empire at war have no forgiveness.

This is especially true for educators, school workers, who face the militarization of schooling and the regimentation of what is taught, what kids come to know and how they come to know it, through curricula regulations noosed by high stakes exams. Every educator now faces questions like, ?Why am I here? Whose interests are being served? What shall I do??

Jonathan Kozol was an early inspiration for me and thousands of others, even though he quit as a teacher very early on. Now, he has issued an ?Education Manifesto.? His plan of action for educators is a false flag rooted in wrong premises about the nature of education, society, and the possibilities of action for social change. Educators and activists need to get beyond Kozol with a concrete analysis of capitalist schools.
Going Beyond Jonathan Kozol's Manifesto:
How Can We Overcome the Weapons of Mass Indoctrination?



by Rich Gibson, emeritus professor, San Diego State University



August 2007

These are harsh times. The economy grinds down and the wars bomb on. In such an era, people define themselves by their actions. Often, there is no reversing the action taken, as a wounded economy and a desperate empire at war have no forgiveness.

This is especially true for educators, school workers, who face the militarization of schooling and the regimentation of what is taught, what kids come to know and how they come to know it, through curricula regulations noosed by high stakes exams. Every educator now faces questions like, ?Why am I here? Whose interests are being served? What shall I do??

Jonathan Kozol was an early inspiration for me and thousands of others, even though he quit as a teacher very early on. Now, he has issued an ?Education Manifesto.?

His, Death at An Early Age, and The Night is Dark and I am Far from Home, are wonderful angry classics, as is some of his mostly suppressed work on the revolution in Cuba. I liked his early criticism of free schools, which was supportive, yet sharp. He has worked very hard, produced a great body of work, swimming against the stream of what is called education reform, but is really social reaction.

Since on one hand the issues we face today are very complex and we all have been wrong from time to time, and on the other hand, despite the massive worker/immigrant rights outpouring on Mayday 2006, passivity best describes most of the US working class, I will support with all I can muster nearly anyone who is taking risks and fighting back against the big tests, for school integration, against regimentation of the curriculum, and the racist wars that serve as their foundation--whether I agree with their tactics or not.

However, I think Kozol is likely to lead people into a cul-de-sac, a dead end, if we are to take the last 25 years of his work as a guide.

Kozol?s earlier (1992), Savage Inequalities, followed a path that Lincoln Steffens had traced about 60 years before Kozol in the book Shame of the Cities.

Steffens was interested in the corruption of US cities. He pointed to one form of corruption after another, city officials looting the treasury in a variety of ways, and concluded that what was clearly a pattern was a fluke, could be reformed.

Kozol went around the US much later and pointed out that schooling is segregated, racist to the core, and he even signaled that there is an economic basis to all that (without, as I remember it, using the term "capitalism").

He did a fine job, in popular terms, describing the horrors that are daily life in many urban schools. Then he suggested that inequality could be voted away, as if people could vote away the fundamental Master/Slave relationship of the exploitation of wage labor and the land that is the heart of capitalism. Later on, Kozol got religion, and most recently he mostly reiterated what he said in Savage Inequalities.

He has lost the edge of his earlier days, if his speeches that I attended are any indication. He portrays himself as a "simple-minded guy" (who is a Rhodes scholar from Harvard) and he wants the US, "to not be two societies, to be the good democracy we can be." He wants "teachers to protest the (high-stakes) tests, but do not make your principals miserable."

He wants capitalist schools without capitalism.

That, in my eyes, is a real mistake. Over time, it becomes mis-leadership. I believe the plan behind Kozol is "Vote Democratic," or, at the very least, "vote in mass."

The Masters will never adopt the ethics of the Slaves. Never. Not without a bitter fight. That fight has to be a real fight and some principals will need to be made more than miserable.

Voting will not solve the problems we face. Worse things could be done than casting a ballot, but voting should be at the bottom of the activist list.

Why? The answer lies in a practical answer to what appears to be a philosophical questions: Why have government? Why have schools? Who are "we" and what is our relationship with others in this world? That is a question usually absent in social studies classes; the US government or something like it is assumed to be the highest form of human development.

However, in my eyes, Marx, Engels and many others answered that question more than one hundred years ago, and Kozol (and Steffens) would do well to learn from them (see the quote from Engels appended below).

Our society is a capitalist society. The best description of our government is capitalist government. Capitalism requires inequality and, over time, it systematically creates greater and greater inequality. In order to preserve the system that demands inequality, government arises to protect the powerful and maintain domination. That is why government exists, all government. Behind the carrots of smiling politicians and glib school superintendents lies the force and violence of the capitalist state, the military and the cops. Don't come to school and we will arrest you. Your students fail the test and you lose your job. Or, remember the Troop Surge in San Diego schools last spring, with military recruiters on the hunt for bodies everywhere south of I- 8.

In the US, government is not a neutral body.

Government is a weapon of the rich. That is true of every aspect of government schools, cops, the military, politicians and the political processes , the laws, the courts, and I will toss in the press as well.

Schools in capitalist society are capitalist schools although, as on any job, people fight back, resist. We resist on fairly common grounds with industrial workers. We fight about class size and hours of work (the speed-up and stretch out), we fight for supplies, for better wages and working conditions. We fight for freedom, too, just like all workers fight for freedom. However, our fight for freedom is a little different as, at least in the case of some of us, we fight for the freedom to make our product (kids) free. Ford workers have no real reason to take the side of the Mustangs they build, but we have every reason to ally with parents, kids, and community people, not only because that is nice, but they are key to our winning any form of power.

Why have school? Capitalist schools serve a variety of functions. It?s helpful to see schools as missions for capitalism, and many educators as capital?s missionaries. It does not have to be that way.

Schools are huge markets (think of the salaries, the costs of busses, the architects for the buildings, the land, the textbooks, etc). As markets, the processes of capital always intervene, pitting people against people in a struggle for profits, jobs, and status, power. The market requires inequality, as we can see now.

Two key forms of inequality in school are easy to see: race and sex. Schools and the teacher work force are segregated by race and sex, with kids of color getting the most regimented forms of schooling, and women doing most of the front line work. Beneath that works social class, allowing those who arrive in life with the least capital to be hurt first and worst. But the rest are sure to follow.

Schools are huge tax-funded day care centers (with the tax system aimed away from the rich, we can see how the government, the capitalist government, taxes poor and working people to subsidize what should be company-paid day care).

Schools warehouse kids, keeping them out of the labor market, which is largely what the California community college system does.

School do skills training (reading, writing, math) in inequitable ways (segregated by race and class, then segregated by the substance of the curricula and teaching methods) and ideological training (nationalism, racism, sexism, the myth of US democracy, etc).

But above all, schools fashion hope, real or false. A society that can offer no hope to its youth will face upheavals, like France in 1968 demonstrated. A society that can dangle false hope to youth can hang on for awhile, as we see today. Many kids, though, know there is little real hope for them. They can look forward to lousy jobs or the military, fighting the enemies of their enemies, but they do not know why things are as they are, and their teachers often do not either. Kozol is no longer helping on that question.

There is an unbroken spiral of a line from capitalism to imperialism to war to racism to segregation to curricular regimentation to high-stakes testing to the role of school to the nature of government and, finally, to social change. To try to split out any one part of that and ignore it, obscure it, is, I think, misleading. It has deadly results, i.e., thousands of US kids serving in Iraq really never heard of imperialism. That is no mistake.

Teachers are relatively privileged people, among the last in the US with regular wages, some job protections, and health benefits. So far, elites in the US have succeeded in creating a teaching force that is mostly made up of those missionaries for capitalism.

However, capital always seeks to diminish everyone it touches, even those who think they are riding it. In the case of teachers, the goal of the boss is very similar to the goals Henry Ford had in his plants in the 1920's (and still today)to replace the mind of the worker with the mind of the boss, right down to every movement the worker (teacher) makes.

The next step in that relationship is to convince the worker that there is no boss/worker relationship, the old Master/Slave allegory is no longer valid. If that goal is achieved, then subservience is freedom.

Even those workers who appear to win within capitalism (skilled tradesmen in the US up to, say 1990) lose in the short term (tying their humanity to the accumulation of possessions when, in most cases, the more we have the less we are)and the long run as well (skilled tradesmen--and they are almost all white men become obsolete because capitalism is as fickle to its allies as the US is---remember those US allies in Vietnam).

School workers will endure the same fate, unless we fight back--with wisdom. That means, at bottom, making those connections about capitalism noted above.

The reason that some working people in the US are able to live much better than most of the workers in the world is because US imperialism was fairly successful in the last century (by staying out of most of WWI, profiting from arms sales, etc, staying out of the European wars in WWII until the end, defeating the state-capitalist system in the USSR, but then losing in Vietnam, and never recovering). Since Vietnam, as US imperialism grew weaker economically, politically, morally, and militarily, there has been less and less available to the ruling classes to turn over to labor leaders and some workers in the form of bribes, to betray the rest of the working classes of the world.

There is a direct connection from the fruits of imperialism (won through war, looting raw materials, forcing cheap labor, brutally opening markets) and the relatively high wages that, for example, National Education Association's labor leaders earn, some at $450,000-plus a year. That is a bribe from imperialism, and those union bosses know it.

Teachers, however, usually do not know they are being bribed by the fruits of imperialism to offer children to the processes of capitalism, but that is what is happening, and they need to be told in ways that will show them that, over time, they will lose, which is a fact.

We do not need to build a get out the vote movement to rescue capitalist schooling. We do not need to urge people to choose a somebody else to act for them, to alienate the solution of social problems, which is what voting is about. And surely we do not need to get people to pick, again, which millionaire will oppress them best, as is the case in almost every election.

We need to rescue education from the ruling classes, reason from un-reason, freedom from oppression. This is a practical social question that is finally a pedagogical problem. What is it that people need to learn, and how do we need to come to learn it, in order to create the transformation that allows a future world to be reasonably caring, free through human connectedness rather than separation, equitable, and democratic? Since all learning combines theory and practice, it is a problem of doing and thinking---what school should be.

I think a key element of this is to show people that we make our own histories, but not in conditions we choose. We are responsible for our actions. We are what we do. History judges us against an ethic that did not fall from the sky, but an ethic that can be torn from the past: internationalism, reason, anti-racism, opposition to personality cults, anti-sexism, equality inside democracy, working class solidarity (it is wrong to exploit people, selfishness is bad), for freedom in production--and reproduction. We are what we do. It is an ethic that tests us, not at the gates of heaven, but in our lives, because when working people behave otherwise, we lose. We lose morally, and practically. An articulated ethic can be used to measure leadership.

I believe we need to show people where power is. Alinsky said, "power goes to two poles, those who have money, and those who have people." That is mostly true.

In order to decipher where power is located for working people, in any society, we need to look for its "choke points," the places where change could be reasonably be expected to originate, and where change might extend centrifugally. It is important that people learn how to do this kind of analysis themselves, on their own, so the process of discovering that is significant.

However, it appears to me that in the US now, there are quite a few choke points: schools, the military, prisons, the immigrant rights movement, the transportation system (tied to immigrant workers) and to a limited extent the health care system. I am not Cassandra, gifted with prophecy but cursed because nobody believed her, but I think these are good guesses.

Students whose hope is daily eradicated, soldiers sent to die by witless officers in service to the rich, prisoners in US gulag jails, and those who have no hope because the health care system is in ruins, are likely to fight back---especially people of color and immigrants. In most cases, people fight back because they must fight back. Entire cities, like Detroit, are so destroyed that the people who live in them have little to lose but to fight back. That is why Detroit teachers, who do not want to strike, went on two wildcat strikes in th last five years.

Teachers are very well positioned to play a historical role in those fights, although I am quite sure many will not. I will bet my house that most, by far most, professors will not. These people are of little matter.

Power has a geography. School workers' power is based in and near schools---not in distant ballot boxes. School workers' power lies in our solidarity with each other, with kids, and parents; against the interests of wealth. Power at work is demonstrated by the ability to control the work place, specifically to be able to open and close it. That can only happen when we take responsibility for ourselves and our colleagues' actions.

School workers create value collectively, in a relationship with each other, with kids, with parents, and communities. In order to gain power over the value we create, to rescue education from the ruling classes, we need to act collectively, on the job and in communities. We need to build close personal, trusting, ties in our school communities, which can take time, but can also be speeded by collective, sometimes sudden, action. The best way to do this is to walk door to door in school communities and talk to people, hand out a leaflet, share some coffee, etc.

The choke points of school are, now, the Big Tests, curricula regimentation, immigration and attendance sweeps, cops and the military in schools, issues about books and supplies, class size, free health care and food, and the unjust tax system. Racism infests every one of those issues. It is clear any movement to oppose oppressive schooling must be integrated, often led by the people at the shortest end of the stick--since they usually best understand the stick. Margaret Haley, who founded the AFT and helped build the NEA, fought about most of these issues more than 75 years ago, and often won---so these fights are winnable.

We can shut down the big tests and drive the military recruiters off our campuses. The tests are designed to teach lies to kids using methods so obscure that kids learn to not like to learn?a key goal of elites, and currently their success. The military and the struggle for what is true have only contradiction in common, meaning they have no business in schools, urging kids to go fight the enemies of their real enemies, the rich in the US.

I think the Big Tests and the military are the main things school worker-activists should focus on. Shut down the tests and couple that with the kinds of Freedom Schooling that the civil rights movement showed us are possible. Even if we cannot conduct freedom schooling, we can shut down the tests with boycotts (as in Michigan) and do the best we can with Freedom Schooling. Confront the military recruiters and move them away from the youth.

The method of that Freedom Schooling should be critical and purposeful, seeking to show people how to do analyses of the processes of capitalism and how to get beyond it (see related links below).

We need to show masses of people that we can understand and change the world through mass, collective, direct action---and reflecting on what we and others have done.

I do not believe the top teacher union leadership will be helpful in this struggle. They want us to think of the union as a vending machine. We pay money and it acts for us. As long as we think like that, they win. The same is true of politicians. Nobody is going to save us but us.

I doubt Kozol will get beyond voting and, maybe, some pretty restricted demonstrating, but because he has earned considerable respect for his struggles over the years, I hope I am wrong, and may work with his group to find out and to struggle for sharper positions.

However, very few groups anywhere in the world have been willing to make the links of capitalism, imperialism, war, racism, and unjust schooling. The Rouge Forum has done that. Substance News from Chicago does it. Who else? Justice, after all, requires organization. The other side is organized, and ruthless.

The Rouge Forum has moved along with fits and starts. We are not doing nearly enough. We have about 4400 people on our email list. We have had big conferences and little ones, good conferences and not so good ones. We shut down the Michigan tests but did only very limited work with Freedom Schooling, and were self critical openly about all of it. We were instrumental, but not key, in the school walkouts against the war in California, Michigan, Florida, and New York. We play a pivotal role in a couple professional organizations, causing the passage of anti-war motions, etc. We continue a role in NEA and the AFT.

Rouge Forum members work within the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice in planning demonstrations on the third Friday of the coming months of this year, and a San Diego anti-war teach-in on October 20. You are welcome to join us.

I have to close by saying that there is urgency in my analysis.

Fascism is emerging all around us. US imperialism is in rapid decline. The vaunted US military is being fought to a standstill in Iraq and Afghanistan by an opposition that has no rational ideology, no truly tested leaders (no Hi Chi Minh nor General Giap), no supply lines, no outside state support, no internal regions to produce arms and munitions.

The Russians (who have nukes, a military, and emerging nationalism of their own), the Chinese, the Europeans, can easily see the debacle that is the US military, and they all desperately need the Caspian, Middle-eastern, Venezuelan oil fields, not merely to fuel their economies, but to fuel their militaries (key to their economies). There is no solution to the oil problem by conserving energy, because oil is, above all, a military tool, vital to rule, social control

Every one of these other powers can see the US has lost in Afghanistan and Iraq, already. The US military is already stretched far too thin. It has to be tempting to competing powers to test the US might. Moreover, the US is incessantly provoking them, especially the USSR, which the US is surrounding, claiming what was Soviet territory is now US-interest territory.

There are also wild card players out there that could set things off very fast: Pakistan, India, North Korea, even G. W. Bush. It is hard to foresee exactly how this will all play out, but unless working class action is taken within the heartland of the most aggressive imperial power, the US, it is reasonable to say that the immediate future looks severe.

The US economy teeters on bankruptcy, dependent on virtual loans from China.

The "civil liberties" and the social safety net that were won in 1930's street battles by the US industrial working class are vanishing because the industrial working class has been dis-empowered, there is little resistance from them or their unions, and because there is much less left over in the imperial pot to share. So, the bosses cut back in every social arena (massive auto layoffs, 2.2 million in jail, etc) both because they must, and because there is little fight-back now.

Moreover, people in the US are under constant surveillance, and gulled by spectacles, already.

I do not think we have an unlimited amount of time to act.

In the long run, capitalism cannot solve its own problems of the endless battles for markets, cheap labor, raw materials; cannot even solve the problems of immigration since it must have cheap workers inside the imperial nations, but cannot stand to keep them inside when they complain about being cheap labor. Capital, however, thrives on crises and death (cigarette production is a good example). Capital does not care who is riding it, who thinks they are winning from year to year. Capital is fickle and will leave one nation for another---whoever exploits best.

In the long run, it only makes sense to believe that the Masters will not forever rule the slaves, the few dominate the many. All it takes to get beyond capital is a massive change of mind, and some very militant action. That, though, is also a lot.

In the short run, though, things can get very, very ugly. Time is short. And Kozol is wrong. We can understand and transform the world.




Engels from Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State:


The state is, therefore, by no means a power forced on society from without; just as little is it "the reality of the ethical idea," "the image and reality of reason," as Hegel maintains (Grunlinken der Philosophie des Rechts, § 257 and § 360). Rather, it is a product of society at a certain stage of development; it is the admission that this society has become entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself, that it has split into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to dispel. But in order that these antagonisms and classes with conflicting economic interests might not consume themselves and society in fruitless struggle, it became necessary to have a power seemingly standing above society that would alleviate the conflict, and keep it within the bounds of "order" ; and this power, arisen out of society but placing itself above it, and alienating itself more and more from it, is the state.

Ollman on What Capitalists Are Hiding http//www.pipeline.com/~rgibson/OllmanCapitalistsHide.htm

Gateways to Understanding Marx http//www.pipeline.com/%7Ergibson/gateways.htm

Analytical Thinking http//www.pipeline.com/%7Ergibson/scedialectical4.htm

Questions about the Master/Slave Allegory http//www.pipeline.com/~rgibson/masterslave.htm

What is Fascism? http//www.pipeline.com/%7Ergibson/fascism.html

More stuff on my www page http//www.pipeline.com/~rgibson/gibson.htm

For materials on Freedom Schools, see Kathy Emery's www page



This essay refers to Jonathan Kozol's "An Update, Bulletin, and Manifesto to the Education Activists who have asked meWhere do we go next?" (see http//susanohanian.org/show_nclb_stories.html?id=298)
moonpedaller - Wed Aug 29, 2007 08:52 (en)
Last night I went on a bike ride during the eclipse. It was so awesome watching a spectacular natural event unfold over the paved, built, engineered, unnatural urban landscape.

Scientific study, precise calculations, news reports, photos, videos, animations, simulations and more have reduced mind-blowing phenomena such as eclipses to routine, scripted series of steps far less engaging than the latest video game. But last night, for me, the eclipse was much more than that.
I didn't want to do this, but here's my pic of the eclipse...
I didn't want to do this, but here's my pic of the eclipse...
Last night I went on a bike ride during the eclipse. It was so awesome watching a spectacular natural event unfold over the paved, built, engineered, unnatural urban landscape.

After about 2:30AM it becomes fun to ride the streets of San Diego. Hardly any cars - most are overly respectful of cyclists and others are wildly high on mind-altering substances and generally easy to spot and avoid. Pedestrians mostly seem to be operating outside the system, seeking sex, drugs, money or maybe just a friend. Much more interesting than suits and shoppers!

I couldn't find anyone to ride with, but it was cool rolling with my own thoughts as the earth's shadow swallowed up its smaller counterpart and then coughed it back up again. My attempts to interest my fellow late nite travelers in the spectacle failed miserably - my enthusiastic discourse was met with car windows rolling up and fast stepping walkers staring at the ground. I encountered only one other cyclist - on his way to work for the man.

As the eclipse was nearing its end, marine layer clouds starting drifting past the dazzling moon, marking an eerie end to my encounter with nature as the morning traffic started revving up.

Scientific study, precise calculations, news reports, photos, videos, animations, simulations and more have reduced mind-blowing phenomena such as eclipses to routine, scripted series of steps far less engaging than the latest video game. But last night, for me, the eclipse was much more than that.

The next lunar eclipse visible here is February 21 (early evening). Anyone want to ride it?
compiled by san diego indymedia volunteer - Tue Aug 28, 2007 08:27 (en)
On Saturday afternoon, about three hundred protesters gathered in front of Horton Plaza to oppose the unveiling of a statue of Pete Wilson, white supremicist and queerophobic former mayor of San Diego, and California Senator and Governor. Wilson is notorious for championing Proposition 187 and for vetoing legislation to protect queers from job discrimination.from Janice Jordan: On Saturday, activist communities from San Diego challenged the presence of Pete Wilson, a man of hate and a symbol of racism in downtown San Diego. Border Angels and Raza Rights, two of the organizing bodies for the demonstration of the installation of facism kept the crowd of 200-300 noisy and energized. --Read More--comment from s t a r r: At the unveiling of his statue yesterday, former SD mayor/CA governor Pete Wilson called those opposed to the statue "thugs," "childish," and "horse's asses." He went on to state that whoever opposed the statue was in support of illegal immigration... [We] reject the statue of Pete Wilson because of the profits he and his wife have made off of exploiting prison labor and prison privatization. During his tenure as Governor, Pete Wilson's wife, Gayle, owned over half of the prisons in California. At the same time, Wilson got re-elected using a tough-on-crime Republican platform which resulted in the denial of parole for numerous women serving excessive sentences for defending themselves against domestic violence. It also landed tens of thousands of minor drug offenders behind bars, as he aided & abetted Ronald Reagan's so-called war on drugs. This was clearly a conflict of interest. One could picture Pete and Gayle in bed, chatting. Okay, honey, you buy the prisons, and I'll fill them up. --Read More-- (scroll down for comments)comment from Rocky: ...Let them put up the bronze statue of Pete Wilson, if you must. The seagulls will know what to do with it.--Read More--comment from Cecil: Statues suck anyway. Why waste time? let them put it up and then vandalize it. Put pink spray paint on his crotch or something. Really, have you ever seen a good statue? Even an Emma Goldman statue would be worthless. Let them waste their money on a statue of stupid Pete-- they want to honor him for building Horton Plaza for fuck's sake. --Read More--from Mexica Movement at los angeles indymedia: ...The crowd chanted "Tear down the statue! Tear down the hate!", disrupting the dedication ceremony across the street honoring Wilson. At times, Wilson gestured to the crowd, acknowledging that the protesters were making their message heard loud and clear...--Read More w/ Photos, Video--Video of Protest
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videographers: missska and r.l. rodriguez; editor: san diego indymedia volunteer - Wed Aug 22, 2007 15:24 (en)
Approximately 50 community members gathered in front of the Federal Building in downtown San Diego Tuesday evening to express their opposition to the deportation of Elvira Arellano, who was apprehended by ICE officers in Los Angeles Sunday afternoon, and to the continuing ICE raids, which are devasting families.Video includes interviews, demo speakers and chanting (en español e english). Video in quicktime format (for assistance in viewing it, click here and scroll down).Play the videoTonight was san diego indymedia's second successful practice with our mobile media catalyst unit (the first being last week's no borders camp benefit). The unit allows us to go anywhere and immediate upload stories, pictures, video to san diego indymedia on-site, as well as provide media and internet access to those who don't have it. if you would like us to bring the unit to your event, meeting or community, please write us atimc-sd AT lists DOT indymedia DOT org(replacing " AT " with "@" and " DOT " with "."
To view the video within your internet browser, it is necessary to download apple's quicktime player, which comes with a 'plug-in' that works in your browser (on windows or macintosh computers): click here, click on free download now, and follow the instructions.To download the video and then view it, you can use the quicktime player or download the free, open source video program VLC, by clicking here, clicking on your operating system (Windows, Mac OS X, etc.) and following the instructions.If you encounter any problems viewing videos on san diego indymedia, please write to us atimc-sd AT lists.indymedia.orgIf you have questions about what video formats you can use for uploading video to san diego indymedia, please write to us at the above e-mail address.Later this year we hope to considerably simplify uploading and downloading video, pix etc. with an upgrade of our software. Thanks for your patience!
Njeri - repost from indybay.org - Tue Aug 21, 2007 17:28 (en)
UPDATE from sdimc volunteer Wed afternoon: According to a bailiff in the sd felony arraignment court, charges were not filed against Danae and she should be released this evening. (see also this blog post on alongingforcollapsepress on myspace: click hereUPDATE from Troy Tuesday evening: Danae will be arraigned on Wednesday at 1:30pm. She will be in Judge SZUMOWSKI's courtroom, which is Dept. 12 at the downtown county courthouse. According to jail information, she is currently being charged with PC 422, which is essentially threatening to cause great bodily injury to another person. Anyone can go down to Dept. 12 and observe the arraignment, but be warned: it is likely to be a very routine, scripted process. The only reason to go would be to offer emotional support through your presence. But, know that you won't be allowed to communicate with Danae at the arraignment, and it's possible that she won't even be able to see any courtroom supporters.from Njeri / San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia: California activist [and Grand Jury Resister] Danae Kelley was arrested after a legal demonstration in San Diego over the weekend. (13 others were detained but then released without charges just as Danae should have been.) Phone calls need to be made on her behalf. Please call [Los Colinas Detention Facility] and ask when she will be released.Danae Kelley - Booking #7762437 - is at the Las Colinas Detention Facility-- Please call 619-258-3176 & ask when she'll be released and if she's getting vegan food. --Read More--; see also article on infoshop.org; updates at alongingforcollapsepress on myspaceSD City Beat description of arrest: click herefrom fuck the green scare: you can/should also contact city council and the district attorney to speak out about her unfair arrest and inflated bail: san diego city council | San Diego District Attorneyfrom Janice Jordan: The people wielding the power of the justice system, law enforcement agencies and political administrations want working-class communities to live in fear. For if we live in a constant state of fear, "I can't get involved", "I can't go to jail", "I might lose my job", "It's none of my business", the disease of fear spreads and its' infectious wrath takes more and more people down with it... It is imperative that all concerned parties of free speech, civil rights, and the right to assemble unconditionally support both Rod Coronado and Danae Kelley. Just when we all think it couldn't get more reactionary-IT HAS!--Read More--Related: Rod Coronado's Hearing/Trial | Midwest ALF/ELF Grand Jury | More info about the Minnesota Grand Jury | Eric McDavid's Trial | Solidarity for Non-Cooperation Political Prisoners | greenscare.org | ecoprisoners.org | greenisthenewred.com
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r.l. rodriguez - Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:49 (en)
from Leslie/LA Indymedia: Elvira Arellano, who, with her son Saul, has become a national symbol of the destruction of families by federal policy, was taken into immigration custody today in Los Angeles.--Read More--from r.l. rodriguez/SD Indymedia: I received a phone call from a friend at 7:15 notifying me that Elvira Arellano was being driven from L.A. to TJ to be deported.The corporate media reported late sunday that the pastor of the church in Chicago where she sought sanctuary had spoken to her by phone in Tijuana, where she was free after being deported.Solidarity actions have taken place in Los Angeles and Chicago.UPDATE:San Diego Solidarity DemoTuesday August 21, 6PMFed Building, 800 Front Street DowntownRead More: Chicago Indymedia feature | Los Angeles Indymedia feature
from chicago indymedia
from chicago indymedia
Los Angeles Independent Media Center7/19 Emergency Alert! Immig Activist Elvira Arellano Arrested in Los Angeles!by Leslie (repost from LA Indymedia) Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007 at 5:16 PM Elvira Arellano, who, with her son Saul, has become a national symbol of the destruction of families by federal policy, was taken into immigration custody today in Los Angeles. What follows is a call for a nationwide protest and vigil in downtown LA and phone calls to ICE. Supporting organizations of national sanctuary movement are calling for NATIONWIDE PROTEST, at 8pm PACIFIC TIME, at local ICE OFFICE. We must not let Elvira get deported. Liliana is safe here in Long Beach still on Sanctuary.National Immigrant Solidarity Networkwebpage: http://www.ImmigrantSolidarity.orge-mail: info@ImmigrantSolidarity.org Please join the immigrant Solidarity Network daily news litserv, send e-mail to: isn-subscribe@lists.riseup.net or visit:http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/isn Emergency Alert! Immigrant Activist Elvira Arellano Arrested in Los Angeles! Your URGENT Support is Needed! Elvira Arellano, the immigration activist who sought refuge inside a Chicago church for a year was arrested in Los Angeles this afternoon after taking her campaign on the road. We need to act quickly to demand her release! (see below) National Immigrant Solidarity Network Immigration activist Arellano arrestedBy Antonio OlivoChicago Tribune August 20, 2007 LOS ANGELES?An immigration activist who sought refuge inside a Chicago church for a year was arrested in Los Angeles this afternoon after taking her campaign on the road. Elvira Arellano was arrested about 4:15 p.m. Chicago time by law-enforcement officials after leaving Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in downtown Los Angeles, said Emma Lozano, an adviser who was there during the arrest. After talking to news media inside the church, Arellano and her supporters got into their van to head north to San Jose, where she was scheduled to speak at another church, Lozano said. Moments after they entered the van, an unmarked vehicle stopped them. The driver of Arellano's van, Roberto Lopez, poked his head out because he wanted to see why they were being blocked. Several other unmarked vehicles surrounded their van. v Agents emerged from all the cars screaming for Arellano to get out, Lozano said. Her 8-year-old son, Saul, started to cry, and Arellano said to everyone in the car, "Calm down. Don't have any fear. They can't hurt me." Then she turned to the people who were about to arrest her and she said, "You're going to have to give me a minute with my son," Lozano said. She spent time with her son in the car, then surrendered. Arellano was arrested on Main Street, near the church, where she slept Saturday night and where she's held several press conferences Saturday and today. aolivo@tribune.com Suggest Immediate Actions to Support Her: 1) Call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, demand them the safety of the Elvira Arellano, no deportation, and demand her immediately release from the ICE custody. ICE Field Office Director, Los Angeles300 North Los Angeles St., Room 7631ALos Angeles, CA 90012Phone: 213-830-7911 ICE Headquarters, Director, Office of Detention and Removal Operations801 I St, NWSuite 900Washington, DC 20536Phone: 202-305-2734 2) Daily peace vigil at the Los Angeles ICE office until Elvira Arellano's safe release.ICE Field Office, Los Angeles300 North Los Angeles St., Room 7631ALos Angeles, CA 90012Phone: 213-830-7911
queer-j brad - Sun Aug 19, 2007 13:33 (en)
On July 11, 2005 Emily Hicks, Professor of Chican@ Studies and English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University appeared on Veer Towards Queer on radioActive sanDiego. She talked about the military-industrial-academic complex, the mechanics of the corporate university, open source software, creating community with music, the existence of bisexuality, a proposed open source lab for chicanas, and the ideology of borders and breaking them down.From the Interview: Emily HicksWho is going to be the actor, the subject of history, and I don't think it is a male factory worker anymore. I think immigrants, people without papers, people all over the world who do not have the last name that matches the dominant culture, that matches the passport. Those are the people who are going to be fighting the state for all of us. As anarchists, concerned with overthrowing the state, we can see that whoever is trying to cross the border, whoever doesn't have papers, whatever musician is sitting on the cement embankment three months, trying to get across, can't get across and has no ID, except for a flyer that he had from a gig in Mexico City, an alternative art space.Those people are not just US-Mexico border people, its not just this border, those people are speaking for, embodying the contradictions of people all over the world, that would be eastern Europe, that would be in any part of the world right now where people are without papers, and their papers were taken from them, and they aren't ever going to get to go back home.The theoretical term for that is those people are de-territorialized, that is what Deleuze and Guattari call it.... It's now the person who is de-territorialized, speaking with an accent, speaking without rights. And whatever those people are up to, that's our leader, that's who we should be looking to...Emily Hicks Interview: Part One | Part Two
A few more quotes from the interview. Emily Hicks:It's very hard for youth today, committed to activism - the ones who do manage to become activists, against all odds and against the university - to see the kind of brutality they are facing in the city. The hardest thing for them when they go to school is to find teachers to listen to them. The hardest thing for teachers who are activists to keep from getting fired and to keep from being depressed ourselves... You will be amazed how when you are part of all the wonderful activities around the world right now, you don't have quite enough time to as depressed as you would otherwise.The right is always going to come to the left...Some of the best philosophy I've ever learned... clubs, raves, sitting on a mattress, that's where ideas come from, from the street, from anarchist collectives, from Marxist-Leninist collectives, from feminist collectives, from Chicana-Lesbian collectives, any kind of collective where people are starting with somebody and they read it out loud and the next person says 'what do you think?' and it goes around the circle and everyone talks about it. That's where ideas come from. Is the university supporting that? No...Emily Hicks Veer Towards Queer Interview Part One0:00 Veer Towards Queer Intro5:00 Events in San Diego and the World12:45 Emily Hicks Intro17:14 Emily Hicks Performance Piece29:30 Problems We Are Facing31:40 Military-Industrial-Academic Complex37:10 Denial of Tenure to Pat Washington41:20 What's Behind the Mechanics of the Corporate University? Bill Gates and Open Source Software46:30 Overcome Alienation from Equipment/Technology48:10 Power Structures in the University51:25 The Right Coming to the Left for IdeasEmily Hicks Veer Towards Queer Interview Part Two0:00 Creating Community with Music9:05 Bisexuality Doesn't Exist: The Study17:00 The Altar in the Trailer18:45 Open Source Lab for Chicanas25:50 Open Source Software: For Geeks Only? For Anarchists!40:00 The Ideology of The Border45:20 Elites and The Border49:00 Vision of the Open Source Lab for Chicanas
Rocky Neptun - Sat Aug 18, 2007 08:00 (en)
Only participatory democracy will save this planet. Political power from the bottom-up, the inside-out, that is self-governing and makes decisions in unity with our common global needs. Face to face democracy breaks down the pyramids of power which institutionalize unfairness,inequality and privilege. That is what I propose for San Diego.

As a candidate for an office that I can't possibly win, part of a broader coalition, possibly a local justice movement, if nothing else, at least an adventure; I am free to campaign on the issues. To go beyond the media forged parameters of possibility and discussion. To change the political dialogue or, as that great Chicago organizer, Saul Alinsky, once said, "to stink up the place."

I will challenge the fundamental nature of store bought politics. Today's politicians have become squabbling creatures of self-interest. Our mayor is their poster boy. Jerry Sanders...jerry rigging city contracts and peddling influence.....JS....BS. The darling of the corporate media and wealthy developers, he has been called a "crook" by our own elected City Attorney and "silly and uniformed" in a recent City Beat editorial. Like Sanders, most local politicians lack vision and have forgotten how to imagine, prisoners of their own mendacity and greed. They pander to despair and fear, thumping the virtues of selfishness and looking out for number one, reducing collective existence to its most banal aspects.
Rocky Neptun announced Sunday, Aug.12, at the General Membership meeting of the Green Party of San Diego County that he is running for Mayor of San Diego. Below is a transcipt of his speech.

Good afternoon, Before I begin my presentation. Let me announce that
the San Diego Coalition for Clean and Fair Government will be running a
slate of candidates for all four council races and the mayors office. I
will be their candidate for mayor, Kevin Mock, our Green Party
treasurer, will be the candidate for the 3rd district Council seat.

My friends. I would like to personally thank you for attending this
meeting. You know, it often seems, like there are so few of us.... for
so big a struggle.

However, as Greens, we weave ourselves, like a fine thread of silk
through the tapestry of local activism. Just this week, Mark and I, on
Tuesday, joined with others to object to yet another military training
program in yet another high school, with 75% students of color. We
faced a right-wing school board, with four of its five members, either
former military officers or married to military personal. The
district's chief operating officer is a former admiral.

On Monday, I wore my Green Party T-shirt to the Hiroshima Day
observance in front of the warship, the Midway; and, a week ago
Saturday, Ann Menasche and I participated in the strategic planning
session of the Peace and Justice Coalition.

We will, I foresee, become the political wing of the local peace and
justice movement. But we must do our part. For instance, we must
consider running candidates for every school board in every part of the
county; raising the alarm against the militarization and exploitation
of our children, particularly in poorer neighborhoods, as cannon
fodder.

Peace and justice dosen't come easy. If it did, Corporate America would
find a way to package it and sell it back to us. As a political party,
we have been strong on theory, short on action. We must find better
ways to promote solidarity among people with different priorities. The
right is damn good at it, we on the left fail miserably. We must also
expand our understanding of society, develop visionary goals and create
effective strategies. We are good at the first two, slip a bit on the
third.

I believe the only way we are going to grow our party is to get out
front and run for office on the issues, year and year, election after
election. Another petition, another policy statement, even brochures
and flyers will not engage those who are disengaged from the political
system. Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words; only by our
courage and tenacity, our repeated attacks on power and wealth, will we
build a political party that is organic, holistic and holds the ethical
banner to be an attractive and effective alternative.

Now, It is easy to challenge others, harder to challenge oneself. Thus,
I stepped up to run for a political position. But running for public
office in San Diego is like going to a Tupperware party. Part fashion
show, part gripe session; insiders maneuver and squabble amongst
themselves to move up in the pecking order of power. Too much focus on
ego and money. The issues are not discussed; there is a kind of
mindless chatter, small talk for even smaller people. Like our
Tupperware party goers, they mumble about the shapes of the Tupperware,
the pretty colors, even the packaging it comes in; without ever even
questioning whether we should be using plastic in the first place or
the ways we can recycle and minimize its damage to our environment.

If we extend that metaphor of Tupperware to all of the pressing issues
facing us as a city; the need for affordable housing, rent control,
energy independence, public ownership of San Diego Gas and Electric, a
minimum wage for all San Deigns, free public transportation, fiscal
fairness and the right-wing, corporate financed, assault on community
regulation and government - they are not being discussed.

As the ownership of public communication becomes concentrated in fewer
and fewer hands - what is possible, what is thinkable, the notion of
fundamental change, becomes boxed in. The supreme instrument of
power....is the ability to control the definition of the alternative.
That is where we must concentrate our efforts.

Personally, I was always uncomfortable with my political race for the
Council; it required too much ego. The possibility of winning dictated
too many compromises. My human need to be liked fought with the
activist who needed to raise the issues - to talk about power and
money, to step on toes, to challenge the corporate lie we all live. I
considered, like so many of our brothers and sisters in the struggle,
dropping out of the race, scaling back my commitments, individualizing
my life and personalizing my priorities, like so many of my generation
have done over the years.

Yet, as director of the Renters' Union, I get daily pleas for help from
families being dislocated, facing homelessness as rent climb ever
higher and wages, cut by inflation, sink ever further. To watch a
mother's heartrenching sobs because her child has no economic option
other than the killing sands of Iraq. To watch as globalization,
corporate colonialism, destroys the Mexican culture of my lover and
globalization's twin evil... gentrification, as it creates a
class-based caste system in our neighborhoods, continually trips my
feet as I edge toward the door that separates flight from fight.

Luckily, we have come up with a solution that overcomes my personal
struggle with ego and the need to publicize our community agenda. The
Renters' Union will be joining with other organizations and citizen
groups in the San Diego Coalition for Clean and Fair Government.

As a candidate for an office that I can't possibly win, part of a
broader coalition, possibly a local justice movement, if nothing else,
at least an adventure; I am free to campaign on the issues. To go
beyond the media forged parameters of possibility and discussion. To
change the political dialogue or, as that great Chicago organizer, Saul
Alinsky, once said, "to stink up the place."

I will challenge the fundamental nature of store bought politics.
Today's politicians have become squabbling creatures of self-interest.
Our mayor is their poster boy. Jerry Sanders...jerry rigging city
contracts and peddling influence.....JS....BS. The darling of the
corporate media and wealthy developers, he has been called a "crook" by
our own elected City Attorney and "silly and uniformed" in a recent
City Beat editorial. Like Sanders, most local politicians lack vision
and have forgotten how to imagine, prisoners of their own mendacity and
greed. They pander to despair and fear, thumping the virtues of
selfishness and looking out for number one, reducing collective
existence to its most banal aspects.

At City Hall there has been a lack of compassion and a failure to
share. City government seems almost dysfunctional , torn between
special interests that belly up to the public trough. The Mayor hopes,
through his hand picked Charter Amendment committee, to consolidate
even more political power in his office. To feed the right-wing agenda
of privatization of city staff and services. To carve up the public
commons for private profit. To give our water systems to companies like
Exon-Mobil, so taking a shower will cost $35. To give our city services
and infrastructure to companies like Haliburton. To destroy public
libraries and parks in favor of theme parks and stadiums.

Where are the statesmen and stateswomen, the people of vision, in
public life today? We live in well-off neighborhoods, in a rich city,
in an even wealthier state, among the most powerful nation humankind
has ever seen - we need humility, not pandering from grubby
politicians. We need challenges to our better nature, our compassion
and humanity, not appeals to fear and greed. We need community over
individual isolation, sharing over hoarding, participatory economics,
where market forces are not manipulated to enrich a select few.

Wendell Berry said it best ...."our crisis is a crisis of character."
We need to build and nurture institutions and processes that build
autonomy, self-respect and integrity rather than those that cripple our
outrage and numbs our sense of possibility in claustrophobic conformity
behind a mask of individualism.

Instead of building strength in each person as a member of a community,
neighbors who can make decisions, today's politicians increasingly rely
on profit driven corporations who staff government bureaucracies to
institutionalize our lives, usurp ever greater amounts of our
hard-earned dollars into profit and turn us into automated, faceless,
powerless citizens. Wealth imposes (like dictatorships) rather than
proposes (as in a democracy.)

I once heard Buckminster Fuller say that it is not enough to criticize
and protest, we must create new models to replace the old ones. That is
what I hope to do as part of this campaign for clean and fair
government.

Over the last few years, I have come to believe in the basics.
Participatory democracy at the neighborhood level, I feel, is the only
process, the only system of government, that has the possibility to
make a difference against power and wealth. Face to face democracy
breaks down the pyramids of power which institutionalize unfairness,
inequality and privilege. It creates a transforming, educative force
beyond the isolation of self-interest to a sense of human closeness,
friendship and solidarity with our neighbors. That is what I propose
for San Diego.

Having served on the City Heights planning board, elected by my
neighbors; I participated in true democracy. Community members involved
in the political process at the grass-roots level. I found that even
when we disagreed, personal interaction and discussion led to trust -
and trust begins cooperation and a sharing of resources. We begin to
understand that community is not merely living in some space - but
having some measure of control over that space and the quality of our
lives.

As Americans, and as San Diegans, we are at a critical juncture in
human history. We can continue on a collusion course with nature, with
Global warming, and with the rest of the world - increasingly more wars
over shrinking natural resources. Or we can begin to elect public
officials who do not give empty promises about vague solutions.
Statespersons who will give us - as citizens - the means, tools and
governmental capabilities to do it ourselves. Only true participatory
democracy will save this planet. Political power from the bottom-up,
the inside-out, that is self-governing and makes decisions in unity
with our common global needs.

I propose that we work to change the structural characteristics of city
government by building into the very fabric of the administrative
process citizen participation requirements and effective neighborhood
policy-making authority.

In corporate owned government, as the Mayor proposes; we as citizens
are rendered tame, dependent and obedient to the needs of wealth. To
fight back, we must move beyond mere reactive responses. Abstract
actions - signing a petition, giving money, joining yet another
organization - correct neither the cause nor the effect leading to
citizen apathy, cynicism, helplessness and cowardice. To correct this
we must become intimate with our government, we must.....become...the
government. In our front yards, on our blocks, in our apartment
buildings, we must bring the knowledge of self, the needs of our
families and partners, the hopes and dreams of our neighbors together -
to build a community based on compassion, sharing and the needs of the
environment. Rather than an illusion of participation; separated,
unengaged, looking on from a distance, a caricature of democracy; I
believe we can experience a truly sharing community and weld it to the
needs of our threatened planet.

Thank you.






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