Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Monday, 6 December 2010
Advise form the folks who "know the economy" for these troubling times
Mood:  cool
Now Playing: Being Self-Reliant in this Age of Turmoil - The Daily Reckoning
Topic: Economy and Labor
The Daily Reckoning Presents
How to Be Self-Reliant in the Age of Turmoil
Simon Black
We have entered what I call the Age of Turmoil, a time that is marked by rapid change and fluctuating crises. The old system of debt and consumption that gave us great salaries, generous benefits, stock market and housing appreciation, and a high standard of living is gone forever.

What's happening right now is a major sea change: the game is being reset, and the rules are being rewritten.

I'm not being pessimistic, and this is not a cause for fear. We shouldn't be afraid of the Age of Turmoil, but rather prepare for it by becoming more self-reliant. Those who are prepared will survive, thrive, and be well-positioned for the enormous opportunities that await.

Conversely, those who cling to their faith in the old system, desperately hoping for a return to the carefree days of the past, will have their lives turned upside down.

This is because all the major elements of the old system - our political process, our money and financial institutions, the job market, police forces, etc. - only function as long as the system is operating normally.

Think about how things work under the old system - people are effectively given pre-packaged options for the major decisions in their lives. Do you want to be a doctor? Follow this career template. A pilot? Follow that one. Investing your money? Select from these mutual funds.

I call these "limiting choices," and they are a staple tradition in our modern society. Our realities are defined by people and regulations which govern our thinking, restrict our options, and constrain our creativity.

When you walk into a bank, for example, no one is going to sit down with you and say, "Hey I think you should protect yourself from a depreciating currency, let's talk about gold allocation and taking some options in the renminbi."

No, instead you get two limiting choices that are jammed down the throats of millions of customers: the generic savings account, or the generic checking account.

Even the political process is full of limiting choices. How many times have you gone to the polls and been forced to decide between two equally vapid, insipid candidates? In the end, you vote for the limiting choice who is "less bad," the lesser of two evils.

These limiting choices work just fine as long as the system is functioning properly...they're efficient and help maintain order. Human nature is such that most people abdicate the power of choice in their lives, and limiting choices provide basic direction, making it easy to follow the herd.

The trouble is, limiting choices are not designed to help you survive when the system collapses.

Limiting choices like the standard career template of racking up huge university debt, or investing in index funds, or holding cash in a savings account, or relying on social security, etc. were all successful tactics over the last 20 years. In the Age of Turmoil, they've become destructive.

As soon as confidence cracks and the system starts to fail, everything unwinds...and people whose realities are defined by limiting choices will have their lives turned upside down.

The way out, the way to survive and thrive in this turmoil, is to reject limiting choices and define your own reality through what I call universal choice. In fact, I consider "defining your reality" to be the first pillar in achieving self-reliance in the Age of Turmoil.

This entails being actively engaged in the major problems and decisions we face in life, and developing the independent mindset to design our own paths from an entire universe of possibilities, not just limiting choices.

Planting multiple flags is a great example of cultivating this independence and defining your own reality. Instead of the limiting banking choices provided by your hometown bank, you can open a foreign bank account in alternative currencies, or store gold in a private vault overseas.

Instead of the limiting investment choices provided by your broker for standard blue chip stocks and index funds that have yielded negative returns for a decade, you can invest in alternative assets like foreign companies or international real estate based on out of the box trends that you identify.

Instead of limiting career choices provided by the guidance counselor that will result in massive student loan debt and little else, you can learn valuable skills that solve people's problems, or head to thriving economies overseas looking for more interesting opportunities and adventures.

The key theme in defining your reality is to think creatively beyond the limiting choices that the old establishment puts in front of you. In fact, when you consider many of the world's greatest historical figures, the main factor they all shared was a common rejection of limiting choices.

People like the Wright Brothers, Gandhi, Bill Gates, and Ayn Rand all dismissed convention and defined their realities based on possibilities that they conceived. I'm absolutely convinced that the greatest outcomes await those who can take this step.


Simon Black,
for The Daily Reckoning

Joel's Note: Mr. Black describes himself as an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler and, perhaps most importantly, a free man.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 1:42 PM PST
Saturday, 4 December 2010
TOGA AFRICA SOLIDARITY - Joe Anybody in Washington DC 3/25/10
Mood:  loud
Now Playing: Toga Solidarity against a regime that has opressed and used violence for over 43 years in Toga West Africa

Posted by Joe Anybody at 2:29 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 4 December 2010 2:30 PM PST
Lots of hidden ways we are taxed to support offensive wars
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: War and Taxes, stop the high treason, Congress never declared war.
Topic: WAR

Hello Z3 Readers the email below I received this morning, and am sharing the insight with you all - it was written by a Veteran For Peace Chapter 72 member. I am eager to share it. ~joe

No apology necessary. It's a good rant.
I am reminded that there are a lot of hidden ways we are taxed to support offensive wars
that have never been officially declared.
Allowing Sears to jack up its prices and lower its dividends to shareholders for the purpose
of paying reservists is just another form of war tax.
If Congress does not actually declare a war there should not be one. If a war is declared by
Congress it should be paid for out of current government revenues not by borrowing from China
or shifting costs to the patrons of Sears.
Those who never serve in uniform cannot understand what it actually means, namely taking an
oath to protect the Consititution from all enemies foreign and domestic. The Constitution is very
clear in providing a deterrent to offensive wars by requiring an actual declaration by Congress
and this requires Congress to provide the means by which the war is to  be paid for. There cannot
be tax cuts during war time or any form of shifting the burden onto consumers or shareholders.
Unless there is a declaration of war by Congress there should never be the mobilization of the
reserves let alone consecutive overseas duty assignments that leave our domestic services
such as the police, fire department, hospitals, and schools understaffed due to inappropriate
offensive deployment of the active duty forces and the reserves.
According to the Constitution it is all about defense. If Congress wants to go after pirates on the
high seas or make a marque of reprisal that needs to be done in a manner that commits the
necessary means at the time such Congressional powers are exercised. There should never be
shielding of the rich supporters of the Republican Party from the actual costs of war or the
exercise of other defensive measures. To insist on such shielding is actually a form of
high treason in a time of war and the Republicans need to be held accountable for this
unpatriotic practice and recognized as domestic enemies of the Constitution.
                                               Respectfully yours,
                                                 Howard Welsh

Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:00 AM PST
Updated: Saturday, 4 December 2010 2:34 PM PST
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Pat-downs by TSA at --> Bus Stops? <-- VIPER
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: Liberty - Police Stae - Searches - Homeland Security Wants You

Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:00 AM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 November 2010 12:31 PM PST
Monday, 29 November 2010
HOPE is ...and HOPE is not ...
Mood:  d'oh
Now Playing: Hope is not trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people.

By Chris Hedges   11/30/10


Real Hope Is About Doing Something



On Dec. 16 I will join Daniel Ellsberg, Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern and several military veteran activists outside the White House to protest the futile and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of us will, after our rally in Lafayette Park, attempt to chain ourselves to the fence outside the White House. It is a pretty good bet we will all spend a night in jail. Hope, from now on, will look like this.

Hope is not trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people. It is not having a positive attitude or pretending that happy thoughts and false optimism will make the world better. Hope is not about chanting packaged campaign slogans or trusting in the better nature of the Democratic Party. Hope does not mean that our protests will suddenly awaken the dead consciences, the atrophied souls, of the plutocrats running Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil or the government.

Hope does not mean we will halt the firing in Afghanistan of the next Hellfire missile, whose explosive blast sucks the oxygen out of the air and leaves the dead, including children, scattered like limp rag dolls on the ground. Hope does not mean we will reform Wall Street swindlers and speculators, or halt the pillaging of our economy as we print $600 billion in new money with the desperation of all collapsing states. Hope does not mean that the nation’s ministers and rabbis, who know the words of the great Hebrew prophets, will leave their houses of worship to practice the religious beliefs they preach. Most clerics like fine, abstract words about justice and full collection plates, but know little of real hope.

Hope knows that unless we physically defy government control we are complicit in the violence of the state. All who resist keep hope alive. All who succumb to fear, despair and apathy become enemies of hope. They become, in their passivity, agents of injustice. If the enemies of hope are finally victorious, the poison of violence will become not only the language of power but the language of opposition. And those who resist with nonviolence are in times like these the thin line of defense between a civil society and its disintegration.

Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. Hope does not come with the right attitude. Hope is not about peace of mind. Hope is an action. Hope is doing something. The more futile, the more useless, the more irrelevant and incomprehensible an act of rebellion is, the vaster and the more potent hope becomes. Hope never makes sense. Hope is weak, unorganized and absurd. Hope, which is always nonviolent, exposes in its powerlessness the lies, fraud and coercion employed by the state. Hope does not believe in force. Hope knows that an injustice visited on our neighbor is an injustice visited on us all. Hope posits that people are drawn to the good by the good. This is the secret of hope’s power and it is why it can never finally be defeated. Hope demands for others what we demand for ourselves. Hope does not separate us from them. Hope sees in our enemy our own face. Hope is not for the practical and the sophisticated, the cynics and the complacent, the defeated and the fearful. Hope is what the corporate state, which saturates our airwaves with lies, seeks to obliterate. Hope is what our corporate overlords are determined to crush. Be afraid, they tell us. Surrender your liberties to us so we can make the world safe from terror. Don’t resist. Embrace the alienation of our cheerful conformity. Buy our products. Without them you are worthless. Become our brands. Do not look up from your electronic hallucinations to think. No. Above all do not think. Obey.

W.H. Auden wrote:

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The powerful do not understand hope. Hope is not part of their vocabulary. They speak in the cold, dead words of national security, global markets, electoral strategy, staying on message, image and money. The powerful protect their own. They divide the world into the damned and the blessed, the patriots and the enemy, the rich and the poor. They insist that extinguishing lives in foreign wars or in our prison complexes is a form of human progress. They cannot see that the suffering of a child in Gaza or a child in the blighted pockets of Washington, D.C., diminishes and impoverishes us all. They are deaf, dumb and blind to hope. Those addicted to power, blinded by self-exaltation, cannot decipher the words of hope any more than most of us can decipher hieroglyphics. Hope to Wall Street bankers and politicians, to the masters of war and commerce, is not practical. It is gibberish. It means nothing.

I cannot promise you fine weather or an easy time. I cannot assure you that thousands will converge on Lafayette Park in solidarity. I cannot pretend that being handcuffed is pleasant. I cannot say that anyone in Congress or the White House, anyone in the boardrooms of the corporations that cannibalize our nation, will be moved by pity to act for the common good. I cannot tell you these wars will end or the hungry will be fed. I cannot say that justice will roll down like a mighty wave and restore our nation to sanity. But I can say this: If we resist and carry out acts, no matter how small, of open defiance, hope will not be extinguished. If all we accomplish is to assure a grieving mother in Baghdad or Afghanistan, a young man or woman crippled physically and emotionally by the hammer blows of war, that he or she is not alone, our resistance will be successful. Hope cannot be sustained if it cannot be seen.

Any act of rebellion, any physical defiance of those who make war, of those who perpetuate corporate greed and are responsible for state crimes, anything that seeks to draw the good to the good, nourishes our souls and holds out the possibility that we can touch and transform the souls of others. Hope affirms that which we must affirm. And every act that imparts hope is a victory in itself.

Also from Auden:

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.


Chris Hedges is Truthdig columnist and a senior fellow at The Nation Institute.

His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”

More information on the Dec. 16 protest can be found at www.stopthesewars.org.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 10:41 AM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 November 2010 12:32 PM PST
Saturday, 27 November 2010
TSA - New Jersey Legislators Take on the TSA
Mood:  loud
Now Playing: TSA - Gets a push back from New Jersey Legislators
Topic: TSA



Meanwhile Justice
kicks in

- New Jersey Legislators Take on the TSA

This is what a revolution looks like . Next we need these representative to start getting fluoride, aspartame and mercury out of our kids bodies !
Here is the online TSA petition http://www.wnd.com/airportscreening

Please visit the original video to support them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H9HNE...


Portland Oregon 11/24/10 PDX - TSA protest:

3 Videos are posted here from the PORTLAND protest


Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:16 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 November 2010 2:13 PM PST
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Plowshares and Trident Nukes - 5 protester activist are in the courtroom
Mood:  not sure
Now Playing: Disarm Now Plowshares were in court again (Nov 2010)
Topic: WAR

   1. Disarm Now Plowshares: Motions to Dismiss DENIED!
      (posted on VFP ch 72 email server: Malcolm Chaddock)




The Disarm Now Plowshares were in court again; this time for the pre-trial
conference in which a most important issue ? the motions to dismiss their
case ? was argued.

All five Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants - Bill ?Bix? Bichsel, SJ, Susan
Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly, SJ, and Anne Montgomery, RSCJ ? were
present for the proceedings in Judge Benjamin Settle?s courtroom at the U.S.
District Court, Tacoma, Washington on November 22, 2010.

Susan Crane began the defendant?s testimony; the following are some of her
key points.

?Our action on Nov. 2, the testimony of Ramsey Clark, the motions we filed,
make clear that we are *concerned about the trident nuclear warheads*??

?The trident nuclear weapons system is illegal and immoral. It?s a system
preparing for the mass murder of innocent civilians that will affect
generations to come.?

?As loving human beings, we have a responsibility, right and duty to use
nonviolent actions to prevent the trident nuclear weapons system from

Crane went on to invoke the heart of the Plowshares vision and its vital
importance in addressing Trident (and nuclear weapons) that constitute the
taproot of violence in our nation (and the world).

?On Nov. 2, 2009, we *remembered t*he words of the prophet *Isaiah,* who had
a vision of beating swords into plowshares??convert weapons of war into
something useful for human life.  *It is our firm understanding that these
Trident nuclear weapons are illegal under national and international* law,
as well as the teachings of our faith, and general humanitarian law and

Crane worked to build the defense case for applying the necessity defense;
that ?the indisputable facts of Trident are hard to face, but we can?t deny
that it is in preparation for the use of nuclear weapons.?  Understanding
that there is ?imminent harm? from the manufacture, deployment and
preparation for the use of Trident, the Disarm Now Plowshares acted out of
conscience, and moral and legal duty.  ?The harm we created (cut fence) is
minor in comparison with the harm of a nuclear explosion.?

Anne Montgomery spoke to former Attorney General Ramsey Clark?s previous
testimony in this case before she moved on to discussing her first
Plowshares action, King of Prussia in 1980.  She remembered thinking at that
time that, ?If someone had a gun in his or her hand, I would have to knock
it out of that hand.?  She stated that they cut the fences because there was
no other way in; no criminal intent.  Montgomery also stressed that they
have tried all other means to bring light to these weapons, and had to do
this Plowshares action because the public is ignorant of the existence of
the weapons.  ?We were willing to give our own blood to avoid shedding the
blood of others.?

In reference to the justification defense, Montgomery quoted Judge Spaeth
from a concurrent opinion in the Superior Court in Pennsylvania in a 1983
appeal of the Plowshares Eight trial.

?Accordingly, whenever a defendant pleads justification, the court should
ask, ?What higher value than the value of literal compliance with the law is
defendant asserting??  The trial court failed to ask this question.  Apparently
in its eyes *no* higher value is implicated in this case.  And for the
dissent, this case is to be decided as we would decide a case involving ?the
theft and destruction of guns or explosives by altruistic and well-meaning
citizens who sincerely believe that guns or explosives possess the potential
to kill at sometime in the future.?  But appellants are not pleading the
danger arising from ?guns or explosives;? they are pleading the danger
arising from nuclear missiles.  One who does not understand that danger does
not understand appellants? plea.?

?Appellants do not assert that their action would *avoid* nuclear war (what
a grandiose and unlikely idea!).  Instead, at least so far as I can tell
from the record, their belief was that their action, in combination with the
actions of others, might accelerate a political process ultimately leading
to the abandonment of nuclear missiles.  And that belief, I submit, should
not be dismissed as ?unreasonable as a matter of law.?  A jury might ? or
might not ? find it unreasonable as a matter of fact.  But that is for a
jury to say, not for a court.?

Although not referred to in today?s proceedings, the following text from the
closing argument for the Plowshares Eight appeal (referenced above) is most
powerful, and sums up the reality of the peril of nuclear weapons.

?The people in the Pentagon offices and their counterparts in the Kremlin
where the questions of coping with war injuries are dealt with must be
having a hard time these days, looking ahead as they must to the possibility
of thermonuclear war.  Any sensible analyst in such an office would be
tempted to scratch off all the expense items related to surgical care of the
irradiated, burned, and blasted, the men, women, and children with empty
bone marrows and vaporized skin.  What conceivable benefit can come from
sinking money in hospitals subject to instant combustion, only capable of
salvaging, at their intact best, a few hundred victims who will be lying out
there in the hundreds of thousands?  There exists no medical technology that
can cope with the certain outcome of just one small, neat, so-called
tactical bomb exploded over a battlefield.  As for the problem raised by a
single large bomb dropped on New York City or Moscow, with the dead and
dying in the millions, what would medical technology be good for?  As the
saying goes, forget it.  Think of something else.  Get a computer running
somewhere in a cave, to estimate the likely numbers of the lucky dead.  L.
Thomas, *On Medicine and the Bomb*, reprinted in L. Thomas, *Late Night
Thoughts on Listening to Mahler?s Ninth Symphony*.   Nor is the peril
confined to those who will be ?irradiate, burned, and blasted.?  It extends
much farther, to our survival as a species.  If only a small fraction of the
nuclear missiles now able to be fired, either by us or by the Soviet Union,
are fired, a ?dark nuclear winter? will occur: a cloud of debris will block
off our sunlight; temperatures will plunge; and our death by freezing of
starvation will follow.  Scientists have identified a 100 megaton explosion
as the ?nuclear war threshold? that once crossed will lead to such a global
catastrophe.  See ?After Atomic War: Doom in the Dark,? Phil. Enquirer,
November 1, 1983.  It is in the light of this peril that the reasonableness
of appellants? belief must be judged.?

Steve Kelly then summed up the legal case.  He stated that U.S. voluntary
participation in international law is well established, and that Ramsey
Clark clearly established this fact in his earlier testimony.  Kelly also
cited the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on the Legality of
the Threat or Use of Nuclear weapons.

Constitutionally, the laws are clear that the threat of use of nuclear
weapons is unlawful, and the presence of Trident (which targets civilian
populations) is grossly unlawful.  He further stated that the conditions of
necessity have been met; the defendants were not trying to change the law,
but were ?trying to block any intended threat or use of those weapons,? and
they did in fact successfully do so; the base was locked down and no work
was done on the warheads for up to 11 hours that day.

Earlier in the proceedings Crane stated (in justifying the Plowshares
action) that over many years people have tried many, many other avenues,
including fasting, vigils, war tax resistance and demonstrations, to bring
the government?s attention to this issue, but they have still been ignored.
The prosecution later declared that the Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants
had taken the lazy path; ?Going to Bangor is easy,? stated the prosecutor.  He
further stated that the hard thing is engaging in the democratic process,
using speech, etc.

William Bichsel responded to the prosecution?s statement, saying that they
engaged in nonviolent action to turn these weapons (symbolically) into
plowshares, and inform the public about the presence of these weapons so
that the democratic process could be fulfilled.  After 40 years of using
every method conceivable, any reasonable person would consider these actions
reasonable and necessary.  Bichsel also spoke to the traditions that have
been so important and effective over a long period of time; that the
defendants are standing in the tradition of people like Harriet Tubman and
Rosa Parks, and are schooled in the nonviolence of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Following the testimony, Judge Settle denied both motions to dismiss, and
stated that although he understands that the defendants ?are acting out of
conscience,? that does not apply here since the court is supposed to uphold
the Constitution.  It must therefore follow, by precedent, that the
Nuremburg Principles and necessity defense are not applicable in this case.

When Crane responded that all five co-defendants ?feel we are entitled to a
full defense,? Judge Settle replied that court is bound by precedent, and
that the defendants can appeal should there be a conviction.  Case closed???

The Disarm Now Plowshares five trial begins at 9:00 AM on December 7, 2010.
Although the government has essentially denied the defendants any reasonable
defense, the five are prepared to forge ahead with joyful hearts.  Let all
who believe in extinguishing the violent fire of nuclear weapons before it
erupts support these courageous individuals who are fully prepared to give
up their freedoms for this just cause.

There are many opportunities to support Disarm Now Plowshares.  In addition
to coming to the court to witness the trial and join in vigils outside the
courthouse, there will be evening programs in Tacoma beginning on Monday
(December 6) and continuing each evening of the trial.  These will be
opportunities to meet the members of Disarm Now, hear speakers, and enjoy
music, food and fellowship.

On Monday evening, December 6, Angie Zelter will be the main speaker.  Zelter,
a peace, human rights and environmental campaigner, has written several
books, including "Trident on Trial - the case for people's disarmament."

On Tuesday evening, December 7, Colonel Ann Wright, is the main
speaker.  Wright,
who served in the U.S. Army and Foreign Service, resigned on the eve of the
U.S. invasion of Iraq, stating that without the authorization of the UN
Security Council, the invasion and occupation of a Muslim, Arab, oil-rich
country would be a violation of international law.  Most recently, she was
on the May, 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla that was attacked by the Israeli

There are other speakers not yet confirmed, and all the event information
will be posted on the Disarm Now Plowshares ?Events? page at
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/events/  as they are confirmed.

Read the Disarm Now Plowshares Blog at
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/  for ongoing reflections leading
up to trial and daily reports during the trial.

Finally, please spread the word about Disarm Now Plowshares and their
courageous act of resistance so that everyone may learn of these immoral and
illegal weapons of mass destruction (Trident) and their duty, as citizens,
to speak out against them.

Peace to All,


Contact:  Leonard Eiger, 425-445-2190, subversivepeacemaking@comcast.net

               Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

               16159 Clear Creek Road NW Poulsbo, WA 98370

Further information (and updates on events) on Disarm Now Plowshares is
available at http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/.

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End of VFP72talk Digest, Vol 29, Issue 29

Posted by Joe Anybody at 10:24 AM PST
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Grassroots Organizing - 11 Rules for Radicals written in 1971
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky
 Rules for Radicals

In 1971, Saul Alinsky wrote an entertaining classic on grassroots organizing titled Rules for Radicals. Those who prefer cooperative tactics describe the book as out-of-date. Nevertheless, it provides some of the best advice on confrontational tactics. Alinsky begins this way:
What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.

His “rules” derive from many successful campaigns where he helped poor people fighting power and privilege

For Alinsky, organizing is the process of highlighting what is wrong and convincing people they can actually do something about it. The two are linked. If people feel they don’t have the power to change a bad situation, they stop thinking about it.

According to Alinsky, the organizer — especially a paid organizer from outside — must first overcome suspicion and establish credibility. Next the organizer must begin the task of agitating: rubbing resentments, fanning hostilities, and searching out controversy. This is necessary to get people to participate. An organizer has to attack apathy and disturb the prevailing patterns of complacent community life where people have simply come to accept a bad situation. Alinsky would say, “The first step in community organization is community disorganization.”

Through a process combining hope and resentment, the organizer tries to create a “mass army” that brings in as many recruits as possible from local organizations, churches, services groups, labor unions, corner gangs, and individuals.

Alinsky provides a collection of rules to guide the process. But he emphasizes these rules must be translated into real-life tactics that are fluid and responsive to the situation at hand.

Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.

Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people.
The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. “If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”

Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.”

Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. When Alinsky leaked word that large numbers of poor people were going to tie up the washrooms of O’Hare Airport, Chicago city authorities quickly agreed to act on a longstanding commitment to a ghetto organization. They imagined the mayhem as thousands of passengers poured off airplanes to discover every washroom occupied. Then they imagined the international embarrassment and the damage to the city’s reputation.

Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, “Okay, what would you do?”

Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.”


Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:06 PM PST
Friday, 19 November 2010
A win for a 43 day SIT IN for a School Library (repost)
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: Parents in a low-income Chicago neighborhood endured a 43-day sit-in to get a library for their children.

A Sit-In Success Story

Parents in a low-income Chicago neighborhood endured a 43-day sit-in to get a library for their children.

by Micah Uetricht


Whittier Elementary School is a lot like other public schools in low-income areas of Chicago. Located in the Mexican immigrant neighborhood of Pilsen, it lacks many basic resources that parents and students in wealthier districts take for granted: buildings that aren’t crumbling, cafeterias rather than hallways where students can eat lunch, a library.

In other ways, Whittier stands apart from other schools in the city. Students’ parents—many of whom are undocumented—just completed a 43-day occupation of a fieldhouse on school grounds, facing down police and threats of deportation to demand that the Chicago Public Schools reverse an order for the building’s demolition and provide their children with a library. And they won.

Protecting La Casita

Whittier parents have long been engaged in their children's educations. For seven years, a group made up mostly of students’ mothers has been organizing community meetings, talking with other parents, and pressuring local politicians to give more funding and attention to the things they say their school lacks. Their hub is a small fieldhouse they call “La Casita,” the little house, on school grounds near a parking lot.

Last year the parents achieved a breakthrough when alderman Danny Solis approved $1.4 million in tax increment financing (TIF) funds for the school. Whittier was still in need of major repairs, and still lacked a library, but the mothers thought they had scored a victory.

But in November 2009, as they examined an itemized budget of the TIF money they thought would improve their children’s education, they noticed that CPS had made a peculiar allotment of $356,000—to demolish La Casita and create a soccer field that would be shared with a nearby private school. The money for which the parents had fought was now being used to destroy their community center.

CPS administration claimed the building was dilapidated, too damaged to feasibly be repaired. But the parents disagreed, claiming that the money for demolition of La Casita was far more than it would take to fix it. Despite the parents’ complaints, administration officials would not budge. (Later, the parents were dismayed to learn that CPS had planned to demolish the building prior to conducting an assessment. They hired an independent assessor who said the building was fundamentally sound, in need mostly of work on the roof.)

Stymied by official channels, the parents decided there was only one way to prevent the razing of their community center: refuse to leave it.

43 days

One of those parents is Anastacia Hernandez, She is a mother of three—two Whittier alums and one current Whittier fourth grader—who has lived in the neighborhood for more than two decades. Born in Michoacan, Mexico, she immigrated to the U.S. in 1989, and has never lived anywhere other than Pilsen.

She became involved with other mothers at the school after a neighborhood activist invited her to a meeting; a few years later, she sitting in the field house, refusing to leave unless CPS officials called off the demolition and built a library.

On September 16, Anastacia, and about ten other parents entered La Casita in defiance of CPS’s condemnation order. They said they wouldn’t leave until citywide administrators agreed to rescind the order and build them a library.

Word traveled quickly around the city—both to supportive activists in Pilsen and beyond, and to the Chicago Police Department.

“I’ll never forget when I looked out the window and we were surrounded by police,” Anastacia told me, in Spanish. “I felt like I was in a war.”

For hours, there was a tense standoff between the parents inside La Casita and the police outside. When the CPD announced that immigration authorities would be called and everyone would be arrested, half the parents occupying the building left, fearing deportation or jeopardizing their tenuous immigration status. Anastacia stayed. In the midst of the chaos, she says she paused, considering what was happening.

“I asked myself why we had to suffer so much, simply because we want a library for our children,” she recalled. She began praying.

The large crowd of supporters gathered outside realized that the numbers were on their side—and that the police would likely be hesitant to drag a group of mothers out of their community center and arrest them in front of news cameras—and began jumping the fence, rushing past the police line to join the protesters in La Casita. With no other choices, the police left.

So began a 43-day standoff at Whittier, with parents sitting tight in the field house, joined by hundreds of community members. Police would return regularly to La Casita, but did little. On October 4, CPS cut off heat to the building, only to spark a public outcry that led to a unanimous city council resolution demanding it be turned back on.

“Why can’t my kids have what other kids have?”

Anastacia told me about the sit-in as we sat around the kitchen table of another protester—Araceli Gonzalez, affectionately known as “Cheli,” a 46-year-old mother of three current and former Whittier students who has lived in Pilsen for decades. Her small, second-floor apartment is a few blocks from the school. The walls are covered with glossy 8x10s of her children and her recently born grandchild; hand-drawn pictures, along with school notices, cover the entire fridge. As her daughter Daniela, 10, and her son Ricardo, 14, played Monopoly in their room, she and Anastacia sat in front of a large bowl of leftover Halloween candy, explaining the sit-in. Cheli says she was only "moderately" involved at La Casita before she occupied it for 43 days.

"I honestly have no idea how I got so involved," she says with a grin that acknowledged the statement's slight absurdity.

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Cheli moved here with her parents when she was 11. Her often late and early hours as a teller at a bank to the west of the neighborhood prevented her from being as involved as Anastacia, but she has long been outraged at the condition of her children's school. Once the sit-in began, however, her life became La Casita: she spent almost every night there, going to work on little sleep; her teenage son cooked meals for her before football practice; she kept a change of clothes in her car so she could leave directly from Whittier to work.

One day, a demolition crew showed up, and a slight scuffle ensued between the crew and the protesters. Cheli was at work, but her 10-year-old daughter Daniela was at the field house. In the confusion, Daniela was pushed.

When Cheli heard about the incident, she went into a panic.

“Daniela was crying, I was crying, I was saying I was sorry over and over,” she remembered. “I felt so guilty, like I put her there. She could’ve been at home.”

Daniela wasn’t hurt, but the incident shook Cheli up. Soon after, it enraged her. “It’s ridiculous what we have to go through for our kids. And why?” she asked. “I wasn’t born here, but I took the test. I became a citizen. I did what they wanted. Now, I pay taxes. I follow the law. Why can’t my kids have what other kids have? Is it because we’re brown? Do I have to move somewhere else and pay $2000 in rent?”

Cheli called her daughter to the kitchen from her Monopoly game. Daniela had given an impressive interview on Democracy Now! from inside the field house a few weeks earlier that would have made a press secretary proud; as she shyly walked in the kitchen, avoiding eye contact in what appeared to be Hannah Montana pajamas, she again looked like a fifth grader. When I mentioned I had seen her on TV, she blushed.

Strength and success

During the occupation, as CPS dragged their feet on coming to an agreement, the parents decided they did not want to wait any longer for a decision on the library. They would make their own, there in La Casita. Book donations quickly poured in from around the world, and before long, La Casita had an impressively stocked library.

After almost a month and a half of negotiations with CPS administrators, including CEO Ron Huberman, the mothers finally got what they had been fighting for: a commitment, in writing, that La Casita would not be torn down, and that Whittier would get a library. The mothers were—and are—wary of CPS going back on its promises, but on the 43rd day of the occupation, they declared victory. The bold action of a sit-in had forced one of the largest school districts in the country to cave on every single major demand.

Today, the mothers are still meeting with administrators, negotiating and ironing out details. Parents have begun meeting in the field house again, although CPS officials still classified the building as structurally unsound, preventing children from entering. But on the whole, the battle has been won.

Both women said their fight for La Casita had changed them profoundly.

“I realized how strong we were,” said Ana. “And now my kids know, too, that they can fight, and they can win.”

Cheli agreed. “At 46 years old, I am a completely different person. And I’m so glad.”

The women discussed how the future library would make them “the happiest people in the world.” And they thought of the other 146 schools in the city lacking libraries.

“I want parents whose kids don’t have a library to fight for one,” said Cheli. “Look at us: We won everything we wanted.”

Micah Uetricht wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Micah is a staff writer for the Chicago web magazine GapersBlock.com, and is a frequent contributor to In These Times and WorkingInTheseTimes.com. He lives in Chicago, and can be reached at micah [dot] uetricht [at] gmail [dot] com.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 10:29 PM PST
"american kills" - Suicide the numbers are rising ....
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: WAR
sebastian errazuriz: american kills

'american kills' installation

'american kills' by chilean-born new york based artist sebastian errazuriz is a public
installation showcasing the suicide rates of US soldiers. after searching on official
war sites on the internet, he accidentally found out that 2 times more american soldiers
had died in 2009 by committing suicide than those killed during that same year in the
war in iraq; an alarming comparison that errazuriz had personally never read or
heard about before.

according to the artist, a first google search showed only reports of media alarm about
suicide rates, but the information was always comfortably presented divided into months
and generally separated by statistics from the army, navy or air-force.

'when I first found the overall statistics summed the 304 suicides by US soldiers during
2009, I was shocked. I tried to find a number to compare that statistic. to my surprise
the suicide statistic doubled the total of 149 US soldiers that had died in the iraq war
during 2009 and equaled the number of soldiers killed in afghanistan.
' - SR

errazuriz's first instinct was to post the statistic on facebook, dumbfounded by the lack
of response and interest, he bought can of black paint and decided to 'post' the news in
the real world on his own wall outside his studio in brooklyn. equipped with a ladder,
he marked a black strip for every dead soldier, until both the suicide rates and war rates
occupied the entire wall and were registered as a single image.

'the counting of dead soldiers outside my studio was long and surprisingly eerie; it was
hard to forget that every brush stroke was a soldier who had died the previous year.
a lot of people stopped to read the mural and were immediately impressed by the reality
portrayed. most of them seemed quite shocked and approached me to ask if what I was
painting was real. I tried to explain that I simply wished to create a physical image that
could capture people's imagination, creating awareness of the current numbers in death,
war and the infinite discrepancy between the resources and energies destined to fight and
protect soldiers at war versus the energies invested in protecting their mental health
and stability.
'- SR

Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:52 PM PST

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