Category Archives: Friends and Heroes

Dear Friend, Harold Carson, Passed Yesterday

It may not make the papers or the tv news, but a truly wonderful person died in Olympia yesterday.

My friend, Harold Carson, died peacefully, as he had always lived, at the convalescent center at Panorama City.   I don’t know where to start or what to say about Harold except that I loved and respected this gentle man.  Harold, you are missed.  You lived well.  You touched so many people, and you touched them deeply, kindly, with fierce and loving intention.  Well done, my dear friend.  A life well lived.

Common Dreams carried a quote from Howard Zinn yesterday that spoke my mind and heart:

Howard Zinn photo“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.”

“And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

I believe that Harold Carson lived as he thought human beings should live. Harold’s life was a marvelous victory.

Smartest podcast program on the web?

Against the Grain gets my vote. Listen to this interview with Timothy Morton:

Gaia theory holds that the Earth is a living, self-regulating system, a whole much bigger than the sum of its parts. Timothy Morton dares to challenge not only that perspective’s holism, but also the very existence of “nature.” Morton’s belief in radical interconnectedness is informed in part by his close reading of Darwin.

Can’t follow the conversation without moving pictures?

ok, here you go.  A talk about Hegel, ecology and subjective positioning.

Paul Cienfuegos on Community Rights Ordinances

Five minutes and 20 seconds.  Grab a cup of coffee and give Paul a listen.

Paul and I agree on a lot of things, but we both start from the point that single issue activism is not going to get the work done.

Paul is a TESC (The Evergreen State College) alum, here is Paul’s website. He has done trainings in Olympia and Shelton on community rights and helped Salish Sea activists shut down the biomass projects a couple of years ago.

February 17, 2013 at Heritage Park, 3 pm – Be There

Open rally in Olympia, Washington in support of the Washington DC Keystone XL Pipeline Demonstration.

We will be at Heritage Park with PA, music, speakers, tabling and general merriment.  Come and join us.

Want to help us send a message to Governor

Inslee?  Please sign on!   Want to sign the Credo Petition to Governor Inslee?  Please do.  It’s starts with a thought, it moves on to a click, can we move on to action and change?    We better.

Ok, working on the schedule:

  • John Prine – Paradise
  • 2:30 pm or maybe a little earlier we will have popup tents set up and music playing
  • somewhere around 2:30 or maybe a little later we have Crow Drummers  and we are off to dance and merriment.  Thanks to Oly Rhythm and Dance.  They can’t make it, but they helped us connect with Crow Drummers.  Thank you!
  • Around 3:10 our master of ceremonies Paul Pickett will speak and get us going
  • Schedule is firming up and looks like:
    • 3:20 We have a 30 second message from EXXON Hates Your Children.
    • 3:21  Beth Doglio with the No Coal Train campaign
    • 3:25  Chiara Dangelo -from the Coal Free PSE campaign.
    • 3:30  We will stream 4 minutes from RFK Jr. Let’s Go to the Barricades!
    • 3:35  County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela will speak
    • 3:42  Rhonda Hunter – will talk about climate change, what we can do about it
    • 3:47  Holly Gwinn Graham will sing and get us moving
    • 3:55  Gar Lipow will speak about Jobs and Green Energy
    • 4:02  Bourtai Hargrove will read her letter to Governor Inslee
    • 4:05  Lady Liberty and Olympia Raging Grannies will lead us in song and flash mob performance
    • 4:21  Zoltan Grossman on the Achilles Heel of the Fossil Fuel Industry
    • 4:25 We have invited President Carter to join by Skype, but no response yet, so we will have the The Hinges – Danny Kelly and Karen Hancock cover as we wait for phone call from Jimmy
    • 4:35  Glen Anderson on the moral dimensions of our struggle to prevent disastrous global warming
    • 4:38 Patricia Ridge will speak about climate change, how it impacts low income families and generational justice
    • 4:40 Greg Black takes over and plays some tunes for us

We will try to keep building and refining the schedule and answers to questions into this blog item and will update as often as possible.

More links:

Why are we getting out in February in Western Washington?

read’m and weep:

February 9, 2013 from the NYT:

Storm Leaves Northeast Reeling

 A gigantic midwinter storm buried the Northeast in snow on Saturday, leaving behind a debilitated and disoriented region digging through plump white drifts and reeling from gale-force winds.

Painting a white landscape from Maine to New York, the storm expressed itself much as weather forecasters had predicted. New York City eluded its worst bite, and muffled-up pedestrians trooped along slushy sidewalks as insouciantly as after any matter-of-fact winter snowfall. But points to the north and east were battered hard.

Read the whole piece?  No mention of global warming, but this is what global warming looks like.  More moisture in the atmosphere leads to heavier snow and rain.  We have to start connecting the dots and encouraging folks to understand that when they see a hundred year flood or snowstorm every two or three years – that is global warming.  It’s bad.  It’s going to get worse.   We have to start addressing it here and now.

here is a recent local story:

KUOW Radio January 31, 2013

Northwest on Verge of Becoming Pacific Crude Oil Gateway

ABERDEEN, Wash. – The Northwest is on the verge of becoming a gateway for crude oil. Three different developers have plans to use docks on Grays Harbor, Washington to transfer crude oil from trains to ships. Other projects are getting off the ground in Tacoma, Vancouver, B.C. and on the lower Columbia River.

There was a huge turnout Wednesday night at an introductory public workshop in Aberdeen, Washington. The response indicates crude-by-rail may be the region’s next big environmental controversy…
To hear / read the rest of the story

We are also gathering signatures and sending letters to Governor Jay Inslee regarding global warming and the need for change.  Here is the letter that Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation has drafted:

AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR JAY INSLEE

 Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Call
360-902-4111
TTY/TDD users should contact the Washington Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-833-6388.

Fax
360-753-4110

Dear Governor Inslee:

          As citizens deeply concerned about the climate crisis, we were encouraged by the remarks you made in your inaugural address about the need to reduce the risk of climate change from carbon emissions. You specifically emphasized the need to “replace rhetoric with quantifiable results.” We hope this means that you will take immediate action to promote a progressive carbon tax, fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and divest state funds from fossil fuels.

          As you know, we have a narrow window of time in which to reduce Co2 emissions before runaway, irreversible climate change condemns us to a global temperature rise of 4 to 6 degrees C. Unless we act immediately and with sufficient determination, we risk civilization as we know it. The only way to produce the necessary level of greenhouse gas reductions is a full-scale, all-hands-on-deck mobilization, what William James called “the moral equivalent of war.” We are asking you to become a leader in this fight, to proclaim the urgency of the climate crisis, and to make our state an example of how much can be done to reduce greenhouse gases in a short period of time.

          On February 17, 2013, thousands of people will converge on Washington D.C. to urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline which would convey dirty tar sands oil to refineries and export ports in Gulf Coast. As climate scientist John Abraham, of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, said, “If we burn all the tar sand oil, the temperature rise, just from burning that tar sand will be half of what we’ve already seen.” James Hansen, probably the world’s pre-eminent climate scientist, is even more emphatic. Discussing the need to limit greenhouse gas emissions, he said, “If tar sands are thrown into the mix, it is game over for the planet.” In support of the action in Washington D.C., we are holding a No Keystone XL Pipeline rally in Olympia on Sunday, February 17th at 3:00 PM in Heritage Park. We invite you to join us and to use this protest to voice your opposition to the expansion of the Alberta tar sands.

          In the past you have recognized that the proposed coal export terminals for the Northwest, pose the “largest decision our state will be making from a carbon pollution standpoint, certainly in my lifetime, and nothing even comes close to it.” In an interview with Grist magazine, you said “I’m going to be giving some thought to this.” We hope that you have since recognized that the proposed coal exports from the Northwest are a carbon bomb, which could potentially produce enough Co2 to push the planet towards catastrophic climate chaos. We hope that you have since thought of significant ways that you, as Governor, can defuse the coal export carbon bomb and prevent the proposed coal export terminals and massive trains that would transport coal from the Powder River Basin through our state.

          Last year, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber wrote to the Bureau of Land Management and the Army Corp of Engineers asking for a comprehensive environmental impact review of the proposed coal ports in the Northwest – a review that takes into account the cumulative environmental impacts of all the proposed ports and the trains that would transport the coal from Montana and Wyoming through Oregon and Washington. As the new Governor of Washington – a Governor who stated that he is seeking ways to reduce the risk of climate change in his inaugural address – you can do no less.  Indeed, we hope, or rather, we are confident that you will take additional significant actions to prevent coal export from Washington ports.

____________________________________________________      

Name                      Address                             E-mail address

Extreme Weather Events! Get Used to Them.

Lots of news coverage of Frankenstorm, but not much mention of the role that our carbon economy plays in the production of this storm.

Hey, mainstream media,  can you say Global Warming?

Here is what Joe Romm has to say about Hurricane Sandy:

Why Hurricane Sandy Has Morphed into a ‘Frankenstorm’ — And Why We Should Get Used to Catastrophic Weather

Here’s how manmade carbon pollution is making many of the most destructive kinds of extreme weather events — Frankenstorms — more frequent and more intense.

October 28, 2012  |

 

This GOES-13 satellite image provided by the US Naval Research Laboratory shows the eye of Hurricane Sandy it churns just off the eastern coast of the US.
Photo Credit: AFP

 

 

 

What would you call an “ unprecedented and bizarre “ storm that is:

  • The “largest hurricane in Atlantic history measured by diameter of gale force winds (1,040mi)” [ Capital Weather Gang ]
  • “A Storm Like No Other” [National Weather Service via  AP]. NWS“I cannot recall ever seeing model forecasts of such an expansive areal wind field with values so high for so long a time. We are breaking new ground here.”
  • “Transitioning from a warm-core (ocean-powered) hurricane into an extra-tropical low pressure system, a classic Nor’easter, fed by powerful temperature extremes and swirling jet stream winds aloft to amplify and focus the storm’s fury” [meteorologist  Paul Douglas ]
  • Being fueled in part by “ocean temperatures along the Northeast U.S. coast [] about 5°F above average,” so “there will be an unusually large amount of water vapor available to make heavy rain” [former Hurricane Hunter  Jeff Masters ]
  • Also being driven by a high pressure blocking pattern near Greenland “forecast to be three standard deviations from the average” [ Climate Central  and CWG]
  • “Stitched together from some spooky combination of the natural and the unnatural.” [ Bill McKibben ]

Read the whole thing?  Good idea.    Alternet is carrying the story, but Joe Romm sets up shop at Climate Progress.

Grand Jury Resisters Need Your Support

Friends are in jail.  We don’t know how long they will be there.  We don’t what criminal activity is being investigated that leads to these folks being jailed for refusing to answer Grand Jury questions.

Land of the Free.  Home of the Brave.

 Jump in, you can help.  We are the ones we have been waiting for.

 

 

 

Committee Against Political Repression

 

 

Skip to content

 


 

 Compilation Album Created in Support of Grand Jury Resisters

Posted on October 26, 2012 | 2 Comments

 

 Musical Impressions has created a compilation album called “Black Clothing, Anarchist Literature, Flags, Flag-Making Materials, Cell Phones, Address Books, & Hard Drives” in support of the Grand Jury Resisters.

You can buy it here. Proceeds go to support the legal and material needs of those resisting the FBI investigations of anarchists in the Pacific Northwest.

Our Precious Freedoms

Three quotes for the day, courtesy Liberty Quotes.

“It is by the goodness of God that in our country
we have those three unspeakably precious things:
freedom of speech, freedom of conscience,
and the prudence never to practice either.”
— Mark Twain
[Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910)


“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise,
we don’t believe in it at all.”
— Noam Chomsky
(1928- ) American linguist and political writer
Source: Guardian, 23 November 1992


“I believe in my right to be wrong,
and still more in my right to be right.”
— Owen Lattimore

Get out there, get it right. If change is coming, you are bringing it.

Chomsky on Anarchism

for those with an open mind who want to know more about anarchism:

Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Marxism & Hope for the Future


  Noam Chomsky is widely known for his critique of U.S foreign policy, and for his work as a linguist. Less well known is his ongoing support for libertarian socialist objectives. In a special interview done for Red and Black Revolution, Chomsky gives his views on anarchism and marxism, and the prospects for socialism now. The interview was conducted in May 1995 by Kevin Doyle.

 

RBR: First off, Noam, for quite a time now you’ve been an advocate for the anarchist idea. Many people are familiar with the introduction you wrote in 1970 to Daniel Guerin’s Anarchism: From Theory to Practice, but more recently, for instance in the film Manufacturing Dissent, you took the opportunity to highlight again the potential of anarchism and the anarchist idea. What is it that attracts you to anarchism?

CHOMSKY: I was attracted to anarchism as a young teenager, as soon as I began to think about the world beyond a pretty narrow range, and haven’t seen much reason to revise those early attitudes since. I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom. That includes political power, ownership and management, relations among men and women, parents and children, our control over the fate of future generations (the basic moral imperative behind the environmental movement, in my view), and much else. Naturally this means

a challenge to the huge institutions of coercion and control: the state, the unaccountable private tyrannies that control most of the domestic and international economy, and so on. But not only these. That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met. Sometimes the burden can be met.

If I’m taking a walk with my grandchildren and they dart out into a busy street, I will use not only authority but also physical coercion to stop them. The act should be challenged, but I think it can readily meet the challenge. And there are other cases; life is a complex affair, we understand very little about humans and society, and grand pronouncements are generally more a source of harm than of benefit. But the perspective is a valid one, I think, and can lead us quite a long way.

Beyond such generalities, we begin to look at cases, which is where the questions of human interest and concern arise.

 

Anarchist banner

 

RBR: It’s true to say that your ideas and critique are now more widely known than ever before. It should also be said that your views are widely respected. How do you think your support for anarchism is received in this context? In particular, I’m interested in the response you receive from people who are getting interested in politics for the first time and who may, perhaps, have come across your views. Are such people surprised by your support for anarchism? Are they interested?

CHOMSKY: The general intellectual culture, as you know, associates ‘anarchism’ with chaos, violence, bombs, disruption, and so on. So people are often surprised when I speak positively of anarchism and identify myself with leading traditions within it. But my impression is that among the general public, the basic ideas seem reasonable when the clouds are cleared away. Of course, when we turn to specific matters – say, the nature of families, or how an economy would work in a society that is more free and just – questions and controversy arise. But that is as it should be. Physics can’t really explain how water flows from the tap in your sink. When we turn to vastly more complex questions of human significance, understanding is very thin, and there is plenty of room for disagreement, experimentation, both intellectual and real-life exploration of possibilities, to help us learn more.

RBR: Perhaps, more than any other idea, anarchism has suffered from the problem of misrepresentation. Anarchism can mean many things to many people. Do you often find yourself having to explain what it is that you mean by anarchism? Does the misrepresentation of anarchism bother you?

CHOMSKY: All misrepresentation is a nuisance. Much of it can be traced back to structures of power that have an interest in preventing understanding, for pretty obvious reasons. It’s well to recall David Hume’s Principles of Government. He expressed surprise that people ever submitted to their rulers. He concluded that since Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. ‘Tis therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular. Hume was very astute – and incidentally, hardly a libertarian by the standards of the day. He surely underestimates the efficacy of force, but his observation seems to me basically correct, and important, particularly in the more free societies, where the art of controlling opinion is therefore far more refined. Misrepresentation and other forms of befuddlement are a natural concomitant.

So does misrepresentation bother me? Sure, but so does rotten weather. It will exist as long as concentrations of power engender a kind of commissar class to defend them. Since they are usually not very bright, or are bright enough to know that they’d better avoid the arena of fact and argument, they’ll turn to misrepresentation, vilification, and other devices that are available to those who know that they’ll be protected by the various means available to the powerful. We should understand why all this occurs, and unravel it as best we can. That’s part of the project of liberation – of ourselves and others, or more reasonably, of people working together to achieve these aims.

Sounds simple-minded, and it is. But I have yet to find much commentary on human life and society that is not simple-minded, when absurdity and self-serving posturing are cleared away.

RBR: How about in more established left-wing circles, where one might expect to find greater familiarity with what anarchism actually stands for? Do you encounter any surprise here at your views and support for anarchism?

read the whole piece?  Please do so.  Time with Chomsky is almost always time well spent.

Open versus Closed Societies

Let’s assume that a person really wanted to understand a foreign philosophy, a different way of setting up a society.  If that was the case, I would recommend listening to Suzanne Guerlac talk about the philosophy of Henri Bergson.  Thinking in Time

This is a dense program, but Suzanne is articulate and the interviewer asks probing intelligent questions, so if you have an hour where you really want to listen closely, I heartily recommend this program.  It is especially powerful when Suzanne starts talking about how the evolution from a closed society to an open society is not an easy evolutionary transition, that Bergson thought it would take some sort of fundamental change in way of being to occur.  Imagining that sort of thing is difficult.  Yet those moments occur.  Think Solidarity in Poland.  Think the fall of the USSR, the sudden destruction of the Berlin Wall.  In those moments, I suspect that an open society emerged, however briefly, before a closed society reasserted itself.  Fits and starts.  Evolution and change may not be orderly.

So, open societies.  What would that look like?  Listen hard to Guerlac’s discussion of love and livingness as something new, not love that arises with an object that is loved by a subject who loves, but when love arises in reference to all living things.  Pretty amorphous stuff.  And for those of you who need a lot of structure, this is not going to be your cup of vegan broth.  But if you want to stretch a bit, and you want to commit the energy, I think this program will stretch you.

Against the Grain appears to be a wildly intelligent program.   My friend Gar Lipow is the latest guest.  Gar is talking about climate change and economic exploitation.   Suzanne is so last week.

If you make it through the Open Society talk and thinking in time ala Bergson, and you want to think more about open societies, you could check out the mp3s at Audio Anarchy  .  The Anarchy Tension series is a good place to start if you have an open mind.  You may come to the conclusion that this is simple utopian sophistry, that might be true, but it may also be true that if/when an open society emerges, this could be one of the ways that it will happen.  This might be the shapeless shape of a certain kind of open society.

See some of you there.