Saturday, December 22, 2007

A barter system for oil

How can this guy be considered so unlikable? So he wants to assure his Latin American neighbors that he is willing to trade them oil for other locally produced goods and services. Yeah, that makes him an ogre.

He wants to provide Latin America an alternative to the predatory lending practices (where have we heard THAT before) of the United States. He is challenging the dominance of a power-hungry empire.

Chavez also called for creating an international fund to promote solar, wind, geothermal and other alternative energy sources.
Yeah - he sounds like a pretty evil guy.

Taxes: fact and fiction

This has been a favorite topic of mine recently, because of a debate that took place in my parent's dinning room recently. The Republican side of my family (which accounts for most of it) claimed that the wealthy in this country pay more than their fair share of the taxes already. My contention is much the same as this post from Robert Reich. They are not looking at the total tax burden, which is much more regressive than most people think. Additionally, they have to look at the fact that a fair rate has to be determined based upon amount of income. It's not based upon how much of the total tax revenue is paid by a particular class.

In my opinion, with great wealth comes great responsibility.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Giving me pause today

Ward Churchill puts it well:

"There is not a petition campaign that you can construct that is going to cause the power and the status quo to dissipate. There is not a legal action that you can take; you can't go into the court of the conqueror and have the conqueror announce the conquest to be illegitimate and to be repealed; you cannot vote in an alternative, you cannot hold a prayer vigil, you cannot burn the right scented candle at the prayer vigil, you cannot have the right folk song, you cannot have the right fashion statement, you cannot adopt a different diet, build a better bike path. You have to say it squarely: the fact that this power, this force, this entity, this monstrosity called the State maintains itself by physical force, and can be countered only in terms that it itself dictates and therefore understands. That's a deep breath time; that's a real deep breath time.

"It will not be a painless process, but, hey, newsflash: it's not a process that is painless now. If you feel a relative absence of pain, that is testimony only to your position of privilege within the Statist structure. Those who are on the receiving end, whether they are in Iraq, they are in Palestine, they are in Haiti, they are in American Indian reserves inside the United States, whether they are in the migrant stream or the inner city, those who are 'othered' and of color in particular but poor people more generally, know the difference between the painlessness of acquiescence on the one hand and the painfulness of maintaining the existing order on the other. Ultimately, there is no alternative that has found itself in reform; there is only an alternative that founds itself - not in that fanciful word of revolution - but in the devolution, that is to say the dismantlement of Empire from the inside out."

Friday, December 14, 2007

My take on Anarcho-primitivism

It has been interesting participating in discussions at the Derrick Jensen forum. One thing that I have learned (among many) is that Anarcho-Primitivists seem to do a lot of fighting among themselves. This has been referred to on the forum as "horizontal hostility" and may sometimes come from a replacement of conflicts with authority (the state, capitalism, the industrial economy, etc.) with conflicts with each other over a sense of "personal purity". This is really a shame, and here's why.

Because I really think that these Anarcho-Primitivists are probably right. Civilization isn't going to come to it's senses. Compact fluorescents and recycling aren't going to save the world. I think these people are really on to something, but I'm not yet convinced that they are the same people who are going to organize into action. Their movement needs to take a page from the Communist Playbook and learn about solidarity and organization. CPUSA is organized into local chapters - small cells if you will. That is how a movement like this can grow. And growth is going to be necessary if an ultimate confrontation with power will ever be effective.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Okay, so it's been a long time

Well I have my final project submitted for my MLS. I don't have a grade yet, but I'm confident that I'm done. And a huge relief it is.

I've just had a really difficult experience, and this is just the place to discuss it I suppose. Lately I've been reading books by author Derrick Jensen. (Specifically Endgame Parts I and II) If you are interested in these books I'd really appreciate it if you got them from Jensen's website though, so that more of the money makes it into his hands. I can't say enough good things about the books and what Derrick Jensen has to say. I became a member of his online forum and was truly moved by what many of the members had to say about various topics. Some of them were young people who are working hard at finding an appropriate way to respond to the current state of our world. I felt a real sense of community there, and yet there was also an ugly undercurrent of intolerance and a real inability to embrace and recognize important input from valuable allies. It made me aware of the importance of forming a local tribe, and it made me thankful for the tolerance that those in my admittedly conservative local area display.

I'm taking a break from that venue for my thoughts. But that means I have more time for you, the wonderful readers of... The Proletarian Librarian!