Posts Tagged ‘PHILOSOPHY’

Good heavens. I did not write this; Masoninblue did, and I reblogged it with permission. Sorry for any confusion.

On March 1st, Tom Engelhardt (TomDispatch) published an interview at MyFDL on Firedoglake of journalist Jonathan Schell by Andy Kroll. Nonviolent revolution was the subject matter of the interview. The article passed off the conveyor belt without comment, which I find remarkable. I do not believe it even made the recommended list, let alone being front-paged at MyFDL.

You can read the article here.

During the interview, Schell reviewed successful revolutions that defeated and in some cases toppled empires and totalitarian governments. In each case, beginning with our war for independence against Great Britain, he described how the outcome was assured by first winning the hearts and minds of the people through a variety of nonviolent means, including the power of the pen and nonviolent public demonstrations against authority. In many cases, for example the French Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution, the majority of the violence and killing happened during the scramble for power after the governments fell.

JS: . . . Usually the cliché is that the stage of overthrow is the violent part, and the stage of consolidation or of setting up a new government is post-violent or nonviolent. I discovered it to be just the other way around.

AK: On this subject, as your book makes clear, some re-teaching is in order. We’re so conditioned to think of overthrow as a physical act: knocking down the gates, storming the castle, killing the king, declaring the country yours.

JS: In a certain sense, overthrow is the wrong word. If you overthrow something, you pick it up and smash it down. In these cases, however, the government has lost legitimacy with the people and is spontaneously disintegrating from within.

AK: As you note [in your book, The Unconquerable World], the Hungarian writer György Konrád used the image of an iceberg melting from the inside to describe the process.

JS: He and actually the whole Solidarity movement had already noticed how Franco’s cryptofascist regime in Spain sort of melted away from within and finally handed over power in a formal process to democratic forces. That was one of their models.

Schell’s point is that in order to win a revolution, one must first win the hearts and minds of the people and one cannot accomplish that task at the point of a gun. He calls Ghandi the Einstein of Revolution because Ghandi was the first person to realize and intentionally use nonviolence as a strategy to bring down an empire. Ghandi used that tactic, in effect paralyzing the British, on September 11, 1906, at The Empire Theater in Johannesberg, South Africa. Here is Ben Kingsley as Ghandi recreating one of the greatest moments in people power and the history of revolution.

Spring is the time for new beginnings.

The American Empire is rotten to the core and cannot be saved.

Revolution is an idea whose time has come

Spread it

Demonstrate

And melt it from within.

Cross posted from my law blog.

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This full-text unedited article is by Masoninblue, my husband, and is reprinted here with permission.

As most of you know, I have a written a book titled Namaste: If Not Now, When? In a step by step, chapter by chapter basis, I provided a process for revolution beginning with transforming the self, extending the boundaries of the self outward to include others, and finally transforming the world.

What future will we create together? I want to encourage all of us to start dreaming about and imagining that future because we cannot create what we cannot first imagine.

One thing is certain. We cannot and should not return to the way things were before the economic crash. Our economy was based on middle class consumption, from purchasing houses to home entertainment centers and everything else offered for sale on credit. We gorged ourselves on stuff like pigs at a feed trough while almost everyone else in the world struggled to survive on less than a dollar a day.

The great reckoning is under way and far from over. I see an economic tsunami building that within the next 18 months will sweep away our financial system and dramatically increase financial, food, and health insecurity here and throughout the world.

In one of my later chapters, I introduced and briefly discussed microcredit and micropower concepts. Today, thanks to Liz Berry who got me thinking about it, I want to focus on cooperatives.

Wikipedia defines a cooperative as:

a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit. A cooperative is defined by the International Cooperative Alliance’s Statement on the Cooperative Identity as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise”. A cooperative may also be defined as a business owned and controlled equally by the people who use its services or by the people who work there. Various aspects regarding cooperative enterprise are the focus of study in the field of cooperative economics.

According to the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), “co-operatives provide over 100 million jobs around the world, 20% more than multinational enterprises”. For example, check out these statistics.

1. 45.3 million people in Asia are members of credit unions.

2. 4 out of 10 Canadians are members of at least one coop and coops employ 155,000 people. Coops are the largest employer in Quebec.

3. 23 million people in France are members of one or more co-operatives or approximately 38% of the population. 75% of all agricultural producers are members of at least one co-operative and 1 in every 3 persons is a member of co-operative bank. 21,000 coops employ more than 1 million people.

4. 1 out every 4 people in Germany belongs to a coop and 440,000 people are employed by coops.

5. In Japan 1 out of every 3 people belongs to a coop.

6. 40% of the adult population of New Zealand belong to coops and mutuals.

7. 239 million people belong to coops in India.

8. Almost 50% of the population of Norway belongs to at least 1 coop.

9. 50% of the population of Singapore belong to coops.

10. In the United States, more than 29,000 co-operatives operate in every sector of the economy and in every congressional district; Americans hold over 350 million co-operative memberships. 900 rural electric cooperatives provide electricity to 42 million people in 47 states. 30,000 coops employ more than 2 million people.

The ICA lists the following 7 principles for cooperatives:

1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control

Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4th Principle: Autonomy and Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter to agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5th Principle: Education, Training and Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6th Principle: Co-operation among Co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7th Principle: Concern for Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

There is no better time than now, before the economic tsunami crashes our financial shores and fractures our fragile economy, to think and act holistically, globally, and cooperatively.

If not now, when?

Namaste.

Cross posted at my website and the Smirking Chimp.

This full-text article is reprinted here with permission from the author, Masoninblue, who is also my husband.

Author’s Note: I will be incorporating this essay as a chapter in Namaste: If Not Now, When?

Namaste: If Not Now, When? is my intellectual property. I retain full rights to my own work. You may copy it and share it with others for non-commercial purposes, but only if you credit me as the author. You may not sell or offer to sell it for any form of consideration. I retain full rights to publication.

Previous chapters are posted here in my Diaries or at my website.

My real name is Frederick Leatherman. I was a criminal defense lawyer for 30 years specializing in death penalty defense and forensics. I also was a law professor for 3 years.

Now I am a writer and I haul scrap for a living in this insane land.

Heh.

Namaste.

Masoninblue

This post is written by Masoninblue. I took the photos.


(h/t to Wendy Davis for her idea to use Janis Joplin’s outstanding version of Me and Bobby McGee by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster)

Crane-Station and I went scrappin’ this Sunday morning. We pulled up and parked next to a longbox in a small neighborhood shopping center where several men were tearing down the interior of a former store, now shuttered. The longbox was almost full of ripped out drywall, heating and cooling ducts, and lots of metal, most of it buried. We were going to have to work hard to liberate it.

Mason investigates.
Mason Investigates Looking For Clues

Drywall on Metal
Mason Finds Clues

We asked the men if we could get in the longbox and take the metal. The apparent foreman said, “Sure, we’ve been letting scrappers take it. Makes our job easier. Help yourself.”
So, we did.

Our first find was a section of chain-link fencing with three posts partially encased in concrete footings. As we struggled to lift the posts and the fencing out of the longbox, one of the men suddenly appeared with an electric band saw and cut the posts above the footings.

“This ought to make it easier,” he said.

He was right.

About an hour later when the temperature started heating up and we were pouring sweat trying to free a large heating duct, he suddenly peaked over the top of the longbox.

“Thought you might be getting thirsty, so I brought you some water.”

He produced two bottles of chilled water that we gratefully accepted.

That was the sweetest water we have tasted in a long time.

The crew stopped and said goodbye a little later.

He was a stranger and did not have to do anything to help us.

I have given up everything of value that I had and now that I have nothing, I find that I have everything I need.

I love the freedom that comes from not having stuff.

I enjoy the peace of not wanting.

Life is about being a part of something bigger, not about winning or losing a competition.

Life is about knowing who you are in relation to the One and to the universe the One created.

Life is about knowing your fundamental values and principles and living those values and principles every day.

Life is about respecting, protecting, and healing Gaia and all that she is.

Life is about empathizing and caring about others.

Life is about lending a hand.

The load
The load in the back of our truck.

Love is the most powerful force in the universe because it does not take anything from others or diminish them in any respect. Unconditional love is giving for the sake of giving without any expectation of receiving anything in return.

Selfishness, on the other hand, is a black hole that gathers everything unto itself and never gives away anything without strings attached. Selfishness creates resentment and a desire to get even or hurt others.

Love creates a desire to be of service to others and to love others. It creates joy and inspires love in return. Like ripples on the surface of a pond, it will travel to the end of the universe and back.

Selfishness can never triumph completely over love because the joy and happiness of loving and being loved unconditionally by others always surpasses the misery and loneliness that selfishness invariably produces.

Free yourself from the obligations of property and the expectations of others.

Namaste

In the same way when you see a flower in a field, it’s really the whole field that is flowering because the flower could not exist in that particular place without the special surroundings in the field that it has. You only find flowers in surroundings that will support them. So, in the same way you only find human beings on a planet of this kind with an atmosphere of this kind, with a temperature of this kind supplied by a convenient neighboring star.

Alan Watts

(h/t to Edger for providing the Alan Watts video where I got the quote)

Cross-Posted at my blog and the Smirking Chimp.