We are writing as the crew that organized the North American ABC Conference, in response to JoNina and Lorenzo's public letter "Racism at the NA ABC Conference.” We are nine people spread across the country, from New York to Sacramento, in conjunction with Denver ABC, and as such have a range of views on their open letter. This response is not a full statement of all of those views, or even a consensus of what things we all agree on, but rather a response required to urgently address the letter and to clarify information within it. This statement is NOT to discredit, disqualify, disregard, or fault JoNina and Lorenzo for their experience(s). The information provided is correct to the best of our account, and is provided for the purpose of transparency.
On May 16th, 2012, just prior to the NATO summit in Chicago, three Occupy activists were arrested and eventually charged with 11 felony counts, including four under the never-before-used Illinois terrorism statute. Brian “Jacob” Church, Brent Betterly, and Jared Chase came to be known as the NATO 3. The case went to trial in January of 2014, and the NATO 3 were acquitted of all of the terrorism charges.
Should the National Football League suspend or ban any player caught assaulting a wife or girlfriend? That seems to be the conventional wisdom since video emerged of running back Ray Rice knocking his wife unconscious in an elevator, even as reports surface that many more NFL players have domestic-abuse records.
The conversation hinged on one question: What's wrong with America and what does technology have to do with it? It pitted Graeber's anarchist beliefs that unnecessary corporatized bureaucracies within government, research-science facilities, and higher-education institutions have stalled innovation for the past 40 years or so against Thiel's libertarian beliefs that, well, it's all so messed up that the only way to effect change is to step outside the system and do it yourself.
One participant in the organizing meetings said, “In the beginning people were saying, ‘This is our Seattle,’” referring to the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial that was derailed by direct action. But the paid staff got the politics-free Climate March. Another source said, “You wouldn’t see Avaaz promoting an occupy-style action. The strategic decision was made to have a big march and get as many mainstream groups on board as possible.”
A series of radical handbills for distribution at #Peoples Climate March events, both in NYC and across the country has been produced. Ecologically, socially, the present moment is an unfolding tragedy. We’re teetering on the edge of an historical cliff: on one side lies the ecological death of the planet, absolute spiritual bankruptcy, universal anxiety; on the other, the end of this way of living and the start of something completely new.
Maybe it was Napoleon Bonaparte or maybe it was Frederick the Great that put forth the maxim that moves the people. Try as you might—and it matters little outside of boutique branding opportunities—you cannot accredit an idea whose time has come. An army marches on its stomach; neoliberal forces crawl on its belly.
Hypnotic induction — getting a person into a trance or state of increased suggestibility — during which critical faculties are reduced and subjects are more prone to accept suggestions, might help to describe the current fascination with Naomi Klein. While the popularly-expected cultural rituals of celebrity worship in America are familiar to anyone who watches television or reads People Magazine, its application to social media has become a powerful new tool of social engineering by Wall Street.
The United States of America is not a democracy, but an oligarchy – with the rich controlling government decisions and the average American having practically zero influence over public policies. Some call it a capitalist dictatorship, where “capital” does the dictating. Here’s a good example of the oligarchy controlling the puppets. During the last four years, Americans have been coerced into focusing on a single, symbolic campaign to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Corporate CEOs are always strategizing in their quest for greater revenues and profits. Often these strategies — and their resulting, insidious successes — have shaped our elections, our government, our education system, our media, our publicly funded research and development, our tax and credit systems, our trade agreements and so on. The world has never seen such an ingenious, power-concentrating machine as the modern, global corporation.
One of the great things about living near Chevron’s big East Bay refinery—yes, the one that caught fire and exploded two years ago—is its system of early warnings about new disasters about to befall Richmond, CA. In our post-Citizens United era, the nation’s second largest oil producer is now free to spend $1.6 million (or more, if necessary) on direct mail and phone alerts, designed to keep 30,000 likely voters fully informed about threats to their city.
On September 9, Ursula K. Le Guin received the National Book Awards 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which is a huge, major, unbelievably big deal. Past recipients for this award include Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, and Tom Wolfe.
As the following information will demonstrate, The People’s Climate March and supporting discourse is about protecting capitalism, not protecting the world’s most vulnerable people from climate change. The People’s Climate March in New York City is a mobilization campaign created by Avaaz and 350.org, with 350.org at the forefront.
The fact that global warming is man-made and poses a grave threat to our future is widely accepted by progressives. Yet, the most commonly proposed solutions emphasize either personal responsibility for a global emergency (buy energy-efficient light bulbs, purchase a Prius), or rely on market-based schemes like cap-and-trade. These responses are not only inadequate, says best-selling author Naomi Klein, but represent a lost opportunity to confront climate change’s root cause: capitalism.
An ugly, racist incident happened at the September 11-14, 2014, conference of the North American Anarchist Black Cross (NA-ABC) which disrupted the meeting and created conflict among activists there, after a young activist read a letter from a white racist prison guard who opposed the parole of black political prisoner, Jalil Muntaqim. The letter was read at the instruction of Brother Jalil to show the racist and entrenched opposition to his parole by white cops and their fraternal and police associations. We do not blame Brother Jalil, who has been in prison for decades and had no way of knowing that black people would be sitting in the room when the letter was read, nor the young activist who read the letter, not knowing how it would impact the black people who heard it, and who later apologized for his error. We blame other activists on the panel and other listeners who sat by or said nothing. We also criticize the NA-ABC, which created a climate where this or another racist outrage was bound to occur because the organization has never dealt with its own internal racism.
Back in 2009, Kevin Evans was one of millions of Americans blindsided by the recession. His 25-year career selling office furniture collapsed. He shed the nice home he could no longer afford, but not a $7,000 credit card debt.
Of your work, Derrick Jensen has said: “One of the problems that I see with the vast majority of so-called solutions to global warming is that they take industrial capitalism as a given and it’s the planet which must conform to industrial capitalism, as opposed to the other way around.” How do you respond to this critique?