Thursday, March 4, 2010

Banking on revolution

From Hadley Gustin's aticle in The Minnesota Daily:

...Alternatively put, the most powerful international bankers discovered long ago that they could hold entire nations hostage to their perpetual greed by deceptively convincing political authorities to endorse the consolidation of immeasurable power within a central bank.

Last Thursday, the spirit of economic dissent bubbled up again, this time in Greece. Like the earlier demonstrations in the United Kingdom and the United States, this one was specifically targeted toward the banking industry in light of Greece's economic collapse.

The Los Angeles Times recounted: “Police fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators in Athens after some 50,000 people finished a peaceful march against cutbacks intended to fix the country's debt crisis. The violence lasted about 30 minutes when scores of youth hurled rocks, red paint and plastic bottles near parliament. Windows were smashed at the Finance Ministry's General Accounting Office.”

It is deplorable to see national regimes further devastate the socioeconomic conditions of their people by cutting jobs and expenditures that benefit them. In regard to Greece, the government will be curtailing civil service jobs and salaries instead of lowering the boom on its central banks responsible for sinking the nation into a sea of unmanageable debt now worth trillions.

This pattern of campaigns against central banks is no coincidence. It represents the beginnings of what will no doubt become a worldwide revolution. With almost every nation in dire financial straits, more will follow the example of protesters in London, Pittsburgh and Athens to resist the bankers jeopardizing their very livelihood...

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A history of humor in human rights advocacy

The use of humor in human rights activism is no new phenomenon with examples of it dating back to Norwegian popular resistance in World War II. Ranging from thought-provoking to humiliating, comical to satirical, humor can be manifested in such a multitude of ways that it has often been the venue of action for many human rights practitioners. Although at first thought it may seem that organizations using humor in their advocacy are doing so only for attention and publicity, this is certainly not true. The experiences of numerous years of humor have brought a deeper understanding of the effects it can have in advocacy.

Majken Jul Sørensen wrote a MA dissertation piece on the use of humor in non-violent resistance, highlighting the rise in interest regarding the dynamics of humor as an advocacy tactic. Sørensen's interviews with members of the Otpor organization have illuminated the more complex dynamics of humor. This Serbian student resistance organization utilized numerous humorous acts to help bring down Slobodan Miloševic. When asked why they chose to use humor, former Otpor members cited the ability for humor to change a culture of apathy and fear into one of solidarity. In fact, Sørensen identifies three dynamics of humor in human rights activism: facilitating outreach and mobilization, facilitating the building of a resistance mentality, and turning oppression upside down.

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This is how we stop Blackwater for good

There's finally a bill to stop private, for-profit companies like Blackwater from waging war in our name with little regard for anything beyond their bottom line.

More than 22,000 mercenaries are operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, and these unaccountable hired guns have shot civilians and participated in torture at Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities.

The Stop Outsourcing Security Act, just introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, would prohibit hiring private mercenaries like Blackwater to perform tasks traditionally done by the military.

Sign our petition to urge your representative to co-sponsor the Stop Outsourcing Our Security Act.

Recent Congressional hearings have painted a dismal picture of Blackwater's operations. Employees stole hundreds of weapons meant for Afghan national police. They billed the U.S. government for a prostitute. They created a shell company called "Paravant" so they could keep getting government contracts after they trashed the Blackwater name.

But Blackwater is just the poster child for all that's wrong with hiring mercenaries for our military tasks. Contractors waste billions of taxpayer dollars while engaging in legally and ethically questionable activities. And when they commit morally repugnant acts like the killing civilians, they're doing so on our dime and in our name.

~ more... ~

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