Posted by: quiscus | February 12, 2011

February 12, 2011

1.  “Cairo: Seizing the Moment of Moral Courage

I was among the million people who marched through London on February 15, 2003, to protest the imminent invasion of Iraq. I don’t think anyone in the crowd thought a single march would stop the Anglo-American coalition from launching a war of aggression, but most felt it was important that the widespread anger and dismay at this murderous course of action be embodied, literally, on the streets, by a broad cross-section of the public.

But what if we had stayed? By the tens of thousands if not the hundreds of thousands? What if we, like the Egyptians, had gotten in the way of business as usual, and brought more and more pressure to bear on the system, forcing the issue of aggressive war on the public consciousness, unavoidably, day after day — and by this, as in Egypt, forcing officials of the system to declare where they stood? How badly would the power structure and its functionaries have been shaken? How many of the latter would have been emboldened to begin at least asking questions and demanding more information about the senseless rush to war? How many indeed might have voted “no confidence” in a government so deeply enmeshed in a scheme of deliberate deception aimed to perpetrate mass murder?

Maybe it would not have stopped the war. There’s no way of knowing now. But we have seen in Egypt and Tunisia how an explosion of mass moral courage — and physical courage — can tear a hole in the zeitgeist and make a space for new realities, for transformations which seemed unthinkable only days before. Such kairotic moments (to borrow Tillich’s phrase) are rare, and if they are not seized, the window closes. There we were, a million people in the center of London, of all classes, all races, all creeds, all professions, united against war. Kairos hung heavy in the air, like the invisible pressure before a thunderstorm.

But we turned away. We let it go. The moment passed. “And the war came.”

That’s why February 15 will remain nothing more than a brief footnote in a long, still-churning saga of atrocity and slaughter, while January 25, the day the Egyptians first took to the streets — and stayed in the streets — will be honored for generations as a landmark of human liberation.”

2.  “Navy spent $450,000 of taxpayer money on Super Bowl flyover… when the stadium roof was shut”

3.  Does America Need an Egyptian-Style Non-Violent Revolution?


In fact, Paul has repeatedly invoked Gandhi and King’s vision of non-violent civil disobedience as the way to reclaim our freedom.

As I wrote in connection with the Egyptian revolution:

This is just like when the British police attacked the non-violent protesters led by Gandhi, or the police in towns in the South of the United States attacked the peaceful protesters led by Martin Luther King, Jr.

And as conservative writer Karl Denninger wrote yesterday:

There is a lesson in here for all individuals and nations. All governments exist only with the consent of the governed. That consent does not have to be “withdrawn” via unlawful force at-arms or even via the ballot box.

Indeed, it is most-effectively withdrawn when the citizens refuse to go to work!

The Beast of Government exists on tax revenues. ALL governments share this fundamental reality. ALL governments fail when the economic capacity to tax is destroyed. ALL citizens give their consent to their government each and every day by performing economic acts and thereby exposing that activity to taxation.

That taxation forms the essence of the functional capacity to govern. Period.

The people in all nations, at all times, reserve the right and the ability, through peaceful and lawful action, to destroy any government should it fail to comply with their demands and act in a sufficiently-onerous manner, and a minority of the population is all it requires to effect this change. The Soviet Union fell via this mechanism, East Germany fell via this mechanism, and now Egypt has fallen via this mechanism.

No blood and no lawlessness were required.

In fact, it was the pro-government goons that were engaged in violence in an attempt to goad the people into acts that they could then use to “justify” the excessive use of force. The government gassed the protesters. The government was the one shooting people; rifles are prohibited from private ownership in Egypt. The government was, as best we can determine, the one raining Molotov cocktails on the protesters. But the government failed to incite the protesters to violence, who instead maintained their right to starve the government by refusing to provide it with the economic activity it needed to survive.

All persons in all nations should be aware of the fundamental fact that their government, no matter how oppressive, no matter how ugly, no matter how allegedly-free or representative (or not) exists only because you rise from your bed each day and go to work.

The day you stop, along with a sizable fraction of your neighbors and friends, and instead wave signs and demand change, thereby shutting down the engine of commerce is the day you remove through peaceful and lawful means the fuel that the government requires to operate.

Our “protests” in Washington and elsewhere fail to provide results because the “or else” has not been provided along with the protest. We come, we wave signs, and the next day we go home and go to work. If instead any sizable fraction of the population … were to appear, wave signs, and go on strike until and unless the change demanded was made…. [then we win.]

If you live in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or any other nation that has an autocratic and dictatorial regime, you now have a blueprint to toss the jackals at the putative head of your nation from their thrones without firing a single shot or drawing a drop of blood.

I challenge the people of the world from Saudi Arabia to Jordan to China to do so.

For those in The United States or other western nations who claim that we are inexorably on a path toward civil disorder or even civil war due to the outrageous looting of our nations that have been conducted by financial interests with the full consent and complicity of our governments, I simply point to Egypt.

As usual, this is not a question of left-versus-right.

The war between liberals and conservatives is a false divide-and-conquer dog-and-pony show created by the powers that be to keep the American people divided and distracted. See this, this, this, this, this, this and this. Until we stop falling for this trick, we will remain powerless.

Instead, it is a question of the powers-that-be waging war on the freedom and wealth of the American people.”

4.  “in our own countries, the US and Canada, I don’t see masses of people storming the White House or our parliament buildings right now to demand change, that’s why. With everything that strong investigative journalists like David DeGraw, Mike Whitney and Michel Chossudovsky and many others are telling us, it’s a no brainer right? Our countries are being sacked right in front of us, the evidence is clear. So where is everyone? Why doesn’t anyone care? What’s going on?

What would actually cause us all to put down our tax return and bank statement for a moment, turn off the TV, walk out onto the street, make a fist and yell, “Hell no, I’m not taking this anymore!”? What makes people actually commit and start or join a protest for revolution?

Well for me I think it’s about pain. As long as I have enough insulation around me to protect me from the pain that others are feeling then I’m ok, it’s ok. But, if you were to remove my surrounding ‘anti-pain insulation’, then it comes down to how much tolerance to the pain could I endure before I will take action? What is my tipping point? How much am I personally willing to suffer before I take action?

Well, I’ve always felt a little pain when I saw images between commercials on news TV of oppressed people being exploited, used and abused in other countries. But these events were taking place so far away from me and besides, I could easily wait the few seconds it took for the news clip to finish and the next round of commercials to appear that would console me and make me laugh and help me forget what I just experienced moments ago. But then, it wasn’t just what I saw on TV anymore that began to bother me. I started noticing other things going on, trivial at first, then annoying and then alarming because there seemed to be no end to it. Prices of things mostly, gas, food, utilities, telephone and cable and internet, school fees, prescriptions, insurance, one after the other they all seem to be going up, up and up. “But I can handle it” I told myself.  But then I remembered I was unemployed and living off my wife’s income and there wasn’t any more room to spare in our budget. Who was I kidding?

Thankfully it’s stopped there for me, that is, as long as my wife can hang on to her job. But for others, it sounds like its only getting worse. I cringe as I imagine what some of their comments might be as they are smashed by those who oppress them. “What do you mean I can’t live here in my house anymore, that I can’t afford to buy basic groceries for my family and that we can no longer get sick because we can’t afford the resulting medical expenses? What do you mean that I need to calm down, each some chips and watch more TV commercials while I witness our health fail, my marriage break down, my family fall apart and our whole damn future go down the drain because of all the stress we have, financial and otherwise, ultimately caused by you asshole criminals who rule us, are stealing us blind and who don’t give a shit about us?”

So sure, I feel pain now, more than I ever have, but what can I do by myself? I am just one man. I can just see the news clip tonight on the CBC news, “Lone man protests for revolution in front of Ottawa parliament building as people drive by, laugh and throw tomatoes at him.” Up here, nobody would care. They’d just laugh and think I was a crazy man.

But, I think to myself, what if I were seventy million strong, representing the workers and other oppressed people of North America, coming together in solidarity, surrounding these same government buildings containing these same criminal rulers in every capital city on this continent to boldly proclaim our noble and just demands? Nobody would be laughing then.

So, how do we reach critical mass for revolution, both collectively and on the individual level? Maybe it all just comes down to the old slogan,”no pain, no gain”. Or, in this case, no revolution.

Collectively, it seems we don’t care about what’s going on. Last time I checked parliament hill in Ottawa I didn’t see too many hordes there torching giant posters of the prime minister, chanting the national anthem and setting up camp. But now I’ve come to believe that perhaps the apathy in my society for political justice is just a symptom of a deeper apathy artificially planted within each of us when we were just kids and then reinforced throughout our lives by the masters that rule us. “Don’t worry, be happy. Spend. Obey.” Now as adults, cocooned within our own personal wealth and our various denial mechanisms, we are oblivious as they fleece us and exploit us over and over again, we are content to wait for and watch the next round of TV commercials and mindless content so we can laugh it off. Bottom line is I believe that as individuals we just haven’t suffered enough, at least enough to move us to take action in solidarity with others and in the numbers that are needed for real revolution.

I am reminded of the current Egyptian struggle and how some of the Egyptian protesters have been reported as saying that they now feel different somehow since joining the protests, that there’s no turning back, that things will never be the same for them. Could it be that the radical revolutionary transformation of that country that we are now seeing, symbolized with the tens of thousands of protesters standing their ground in Tahrir square, is also occurring simultaneously within each of them as individuals? As these proud and noble people struggle to shake off the shackles of oppression in return for emancipation perhaps an internal paradigm shift is also occurring within them, a critical mass having been reached. Even with none of their demands yet having being met and with hundreds of peaceful protestors having been killed all around them by their oppressors, maybe these brave people, by joining the revolution, are finding a way through their own pain and suffering into peace, freedom and a space into which real healing can occur.”


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