"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."

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Saturday, October 25 2014 @ 10:36 PM CDT

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7 Reasons to Fall in Love With Ursula K. Le Guin

Culture

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.

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This Changes Nothing. Why the People’s Climate March Guarantees Climate Catastrophe

Climate Change

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.

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Interview: Naomi Klein Breaks a Taboo

Climate Change

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.

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Racism at North American Anarchist Black Cross Conference

Solidarity

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.

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Unseen Toll: Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts

Economy Crumbles

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.

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Bill McKibben: False Eco-Prophet

Earth First

In 2010, I interviewed Bill “funded by Rockefeller oil $” McKibben and, among other things, asked him:

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?

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Hell (on Earth) is for Children

Photo credit: Mickey Z.

With nearly half of all U.S. tax dollars going to the military, the vast majority of Americans have contributed to enough death to make Kissinger blush.

Exhibit A: The U.S.-enforced sanctions imposed on Iraq from August 1990 and to November 2003 -- sanctions that were responsible at one point for the deaths of 300 Iraqi children a day.

Photo credit: Mickey Z.

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How Organizers in One City Are Trying to Stop Militarization From Slipping Into Their Community

Heavily armed officers, weapons drawn, move across a bridge draped with a banner reading “No war for oil” and “We are the 99%." One corner of the banner sports the A anarchist symbol. Shortly after, they capture their targets: protesters. This scene may be all too familiar to protesters. But it’s actually a staged police training put on by Urban Shield, a SWAT team training program and weapons expo that has taken place in the Bay Area for the past seven years. This year, as last, Urban Shield’s weapon show takes place in the Oakland Marriot Convention Center in downtown Oakland, CA, September 4-8.

A scene from an Urban Shield training in 2012. Photo Credit: http://YouTube.com screenshot

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Meet the McGill professor who got inside Anonymous

Lib Tech

Gabriella Coleman "lived" online, documenting codes and customs of the infamous hacktivist collective. Eventually, she became their chief interpreter.

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What Hong Kong’s Occupy Movement Can Learn From History

Asia

Last week at Hong Kong’s Chinese University, a crowd gathered around a replica of the statue Goddess of Democracy, a key symbol of the 1989 student occupation of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Beneath hand-lettered banners calling on fellow students to “shoulder their historic mission,” several generations of student union presidents discussed a proposal to boycott classes, a measure adopted by a federation of Hong Kong students over the weekend and slated to begin on September 22. The student boycott supports a wider democracy movement; as a leaflet circulating yesterday (September 10) explained, it is a “prelude to a student civil disobedience move…that will lead various social groups to their own civil disobedience movement, together opposing unjust political power.”

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Ferguson’s massive cover-up: How police departments are protecting Michael Brown’s killer

Police State

Are the police departments of Ferguson and St. Louis County, Missouri, involved in a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the case of Michael Brown’s murder? It seems disturbingly possible, given their actions over the past month, hiding basic evidentiary information from the public in direct violation of the state’s sunshine laws—and perhaps not even gathering it in the first place. This raises the further possibly that evidence is being hidden from criminal investigators as well, particularly since the investigators have shown no great interest, much less zeal, in getting to the truth of the matter.

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Palestine-Israel: Mid-August Demonstrations Against the Israeli Occupation

Middle EastIsrael started the attack on the Hamas to sabotage the Hamas compromise with the west bank authority, and restore a weakened Hamas independent rule in the Gaza strip. Hamas compromise was a response to Egyptian closer intended to dismantle the Hamas. The failed Israeli attack will force it to contribute its share to significantly open the closer of the border between Israel and the Gaza strip which was till the attack based on the bare minimal on the margin of humanitarian catastrophe. Whatever the details of the new cease fire and arrangements, the failure of Israel vicious assault to stop the Hamas from firing rockets on Israel is a significant "game changer". The failed attack on Gaza and the continuing popular struggle in the west bank are hastening the international pressures to end the occupation of the West bank and the closer of the Gaza strip.
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Balkans: Over the Walls of Nationalisms and Wars

Anarchist Movement

It is clear that nationalism is a tool used against the exploited classes. In the Balkans, (especially in the region of ex-Yugoslavia) the rise of nationalist ideology in the 1990’s helped enable the brutal capitalist attack against society. It further atomized the population and destroyed established networks of cooperation and solidarity.

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Radical Librarianship: how ninja librarians are ensuring patrons' electronic privacy

Spying on You

Librarians in Massachusetts are working to give their patrons a chance to opt-out of pervasive surveillance. Partnering with the ACLU of Massachusetts, area librarians have been teaching and taking workshops on how freedom of speech and the right to privacy are compromised by the surveillance of online and digital communications -- and what new privacy-protecting services they can offer patrons to shield them from unwanted spying of their library activity.

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How one bohemian quarter of Rome is fighting to save its artistic soul

Direct Action

For the past two years, ever since a group of Roman school pupils and university students started an occupation aimed at reclaiming abandoned buildings in the city centre and fighting property speculation, that battle took place from within the building next door: the Cinema America, a gem of 1950s Italian architecture which, in its heyday, would open its doors to streams of filmgoers and wow them with a roof that could be pulled aside to make way for the sky in the intermission.

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The Naysayers: Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and the critique of pop culture

Culture

Anyone who underwent a liberal-arts education in recent decades probably encountered the thorny theorists associated with the Institute for Social Research, better known as the Frankfurt School. Their minatory titles, filled with dark talk of “Negative Dialectics” and “One-Dimensional Man,” were once proudly displayed on college-dorm shelves, as markers of seriousness; now they are probably consigned to taped-up boxes in garages, if they have not been discarded altogether. Once in a while, the present-day Web designer or business editor may open the books and see in the margins the excited queries of a younger self, next to pronouncements on the order of “There is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism” (Walter Benjamin) or “The whole is the false” (Adorno).

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TWACtion: Environmental and Gender Rights Groups Occupy I-5 Billboard

Demonstrators from Trans and/or Women’s Action Camp (TWAC) and the Gender Alliance of the South Sound (GASS) have staged a dance party at a billboard along I-5 (Northbound, Exit 72). The billboard’s former advertisement was replaced with a massive banner with the message “Transgender Health, Not Fossil Fuel Wealth.”

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