Wednesday, April 30, 2014

500 Indigenous Protesters Occupy Peru’s Biggest Amazon Oil Field

500 Indigenous Protesters Occupy Peru’s Biggest Amazon Oil Field

By Dan Collyns

Around 500 Achuar indigenous protesters have occupied Peru’s biggest oil field in the Amazon rainforest near Ecuador to demand the clean-up of decades of contamination from spilled crude oil.

The oilfield operator, Argentine Pluspetrol, said output had fallen by 70% since the protesters occupied its facilities last Monday – a production drop of around 11,000 barrels per day.

Native communities have taken control of a thermoelectric plant, oil tanks and key roads in the Amazonian region of Loreto, where Pluspetrol operates block 1-AB, the company said on Thursday.

Protest leader, Carlos Sandi, told the Guardian that Achuar communities were being “silently poisoned” because the company Pluspetrol has not complied with a 2006 agreement to clean up pollution dating back four decades in oil block 1-AB.

“Almost 80% of our population are sick due to the presence of lead and cadmium in our food and water form the oil contamination,” said Sandi, president of FECONACO, the federation of native communities in the Corrientes River.

Pluspetrol, the biggest oil and natural gas producer in Peru, has operated the oil fields since 2001. It took over from Occidental Petroleum, which began drilling in 1971, and, according to the government, had not cleaned up contamination either.

Last year, Peru declared an environmental state of emergency in the oil field.

But Sandi said the state had failed to take “concrete measures or compensate the native people” for the environmental damage caused.

He claimed Achuar communities were not receiving their share of oil royalties and the state had failed to invest in development programs in the Tigre, Corrientes and Pastaza river basins that had been most impacted by oil exploitation.

He said the Achuar were demanding to meet with the central government to talk about public health, the environment and the distribution of oil royalties.
"We aren’t against oil exploitation or development we are calling for our rights to be respected in accordance with international laws," he said.

"Conversations are under way to bring a solution to the impasse," Pluspetrol told Reuters. "A government commission is there and we hope this is resolved soon."

Over the past year, the Peruvian government has declared three environmental emergencies in large areas of rainforest near the oil field after finding dangerous levels of pollution on indigenous territories.
Peru’s Environment Ministry said in a statement last week that a commission formed by government and company representatives has been assigned to work with communities to tackle pollution problems and other concerns.

Originally published by The Guardian

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Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

John Kerry Admits Israeli Apartheid; and Five Ways He Is Understating It

Cole writes: "The remark will raise a firestorm of criticism from Palestine-deniers, who are if anything more blindered and fanatical than climate-change deniers. What is sad is that Kerry phrased it in the future tense. That cow was out of the barn a long time ago."

John Kerry. (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

John Kerry Admits Israeli Apartheid; and Five Ways He Is Understating It

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment
28 April 14

In a closed-room meeting of the Trilateral Commission last Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that Israel is on the verge of becoming an Apartheid state, according to a recording obtained by The Daily Beast.

The remark will raise a firestorm of criticism from Palestine-deniers, who are if anything more blindered and fanatical than climate-change deniers. What is sad is that Kerry phrased it in the future tense. That cow was out of the barn a long time ago.

As the Daily Beast noted, the Rome Statute defined Apartheid as “inhumane acts… committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

Former South African deputy president Baleka Mbete and African National Congress leader has said that Israel-Palestine is actually “far worse than Apartheid South Africa.”

Israeli society inside 1967 borders is not broadly characterized by Apartheid conditions, though Palestinian-Israelis do labor under legal forms of discrimination. For instance, unless their villagers are “recognized,” they cannot receive water and other municipal services and are threatened with dispersal. Since no Jewish villages are unrecognized, this separate status for (indigenous!) Palestinian-Israeli villages is Apartheid-like. Still, the most thorough comparison of the Apartheid system of racial segregation with Israeli practices can only be made of the West Bank and Gaza, where Palestinians are ruled by Israel but kept stateless and without rights.

1. South Africa created Bantustans as a way of denaturalizing Blacks, ensuring that they could not vote for the national government and were assigned citizenship only in their weak Bantustan.

Gaza and the West Bank function as Bantustans, as South African Blacks have no trouble recognizing. Indeed, a former Italian prime minister maintains that former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon told him he thought the Bantustan system was the best way of dealing with the Palestinians. The Palestinians living in these occupied territories have no citizenship in any real state. They are stateless. The West Bank has been segmented into 8 units. Palestinians cannot travel between them without going through numerous checkpoints. They cannot vote for the Israeli government, but they are ultimately controlled by the Israeli military. When in 2006 they were allowed to hold elections for a toothless “parliament,” and they cheekily elected a party the Israelis find unacceptable, the election results were overturned by Israel.

2. South Africa instituted a “pass” system to control the movement of Blacks.

Israel instituted a “permit” system to control the movement of Palestinians. West Bank Palestinians cannot live outside the 8 designated areas without a permit. Desmond Tutu, who knows a bit about Apartheid South Africa, remarked of seeing, on his visit to the Occupied West Bank, “the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about”.

3. In Apartheid South Africa, 80% of the land was set aside for white settlers.

Israel itself was ethnically cleansed of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948, and was designated “Jewish,” such that the expelled Palestinians (now millions strong) were denied the right to return to their homes. Some 70% of the residents of the Gaza Strip are from southern Israel, and cannot return to their nearby homes in cities such as Sderot, where Israelis have settled Ethiopians and Thai guest workers. In the Palestinian West Bank, some 600,000 Israeli squatters have usurped significant amounts of land from Palestinians, for which they paid nothing to the original owners, and their squatter settlements are off-limits to Palestinians, who cannot live in them.

4. In Apartheid South Africa, Blacks from the Bantustans could not attend universities designated for whites.
In the Occupied Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli military governor has recognized a squatter university, Ariel, built on usurped Palestinian land. Although Palestinian-Israelis can attend, stateless West Bank Palestinians cannot get on campus because they are barred from settlements by the Apartheid pass system, as Dahlia Scheindlin wrote at 972mag:

“Member of Knesset Zahava Galon, head of the Meretz party, scoffed at that. Ariel, she told me by phone, is off limits for Palestinians very simply because it is an Israeli-controlled settlement. Just as a West Bank Palestinian can’t go to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv easily, they are equally unwelcome in Ariel. For her, the move reeked of hypocrisy. “It’s a higher education committee approved by people in uniform, so what is the substantive meaning? It’s unbelievable.” She called it a sign of the government’s true program of “creeping annexation,” and remarked that it would legitimize the global movements calling for the academic boycott of Israel.”

5. South African Apartheid forbade marriages between people of different ethnicities.

Israelis of Jewish and Palestinian heritage cannot intermarry in Israel. Two Israeli citizens of different ethnic heritage can marry abroad and return to Israel.

But Israeli-Palestinians who marry Palestinians from the Occupied West Bank are not allowed to bring their spouse to Israel. The same problem is not faced by Israeli Jews who marry squatters on the Palestinian West Bank.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Last chance: Can you sign the letter?/Can you join us on May 3 at the NSA?

National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218 Email mobuszewski at; Phone 410-366-1637

April 28, 2014

Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers
Director, National Security Agency
Chief, Central Security Service
National Security Agency
Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755

Dear Admiral Rogers:

As members of peace and justice groups with grave concern for the National Security Agency’s role in the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Yemen, we are writing to request a meeting. We are deeply concerned about our government’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, to assassinate people in the countries listed above. As you know the NSA is involved in this assassination program by providing potential targets for the president's "kill list."

We are aware that the NSA is open 24 hours a day,7 days a week. Therefore, we are suggesting a meeting at the NSA on Saturday, May 3, 2014. We are confident that someone in a policy-making capacity will be available to meet with us and to arrange a subsequent meeting due to the important nature of our concern.

At the meeting, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance representatives will urge you to support an end to this assassination program which we believe to be illegal. Please confirm that a meeting can take place on May 3.

In 2011 in Yemen, CIA drone attacks were used to kill, first, Anwar Al-Awlaki and weeks later his son. They were U.S. citizens, who were never charged, brought to trial, or convicted of any crime. In fact, four other U.S. citizens have been assassinated by killer drone strikes without any pretense of due process.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights brought a lawsuit in US federal court against the Obama Administration regarding the assassination of Al-Awlaki. The suit was lost on procedural grounds; however, the judge in the case stated "Can the executive order the assassination of a US citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization?"

The killer drone strikes only promote more terrorism directed at the US. This point was made by Malala Yousafzai when she met with President Obama and his family. On Oct. 11, 2013 Philip Rucker of THE WASHINGTON POST wrote this: “Yousafzai said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration's use of drones, saying they are ‘fueling terrorism.’”

We are also disturbed by the lack of transparency and oversight by congress. In spite of assurances from President Obama that the victims of drone strikes are surgical targets, it has been reported that hundreds of victims who are innocent of crimes against the US have been killed including civilian men, women, and children. These people have names and families who love them.

According to a report, “US: Reassess Targeted Killings in Yemen,” released on October 21, 2013 by Human Rights Watch “United States targeted airstrikes against alleged terrorists in Yemen have killed civilians in violation of international law." The report added that the strikes are creating a public backlash that undermines US efforts against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

We hope that you will take our concerns seriously, as it is our position that killer drone strikes are wrong on many levels: the illegality and immorality of assassinations, the violation of international law and the constitutional protection of due process, the targeting of civilian populations, and the disregard of sovereignty. We have great concern for people caught up in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen. We believe the US killer drone program must be brought to an end immediately.

Please respond to our request to meet and to discuss your role in terminating the National Security Agency's role in this assassination program. This is an opportunity to consider our proposal of reconciliation and diplomacy rather than pernicious killer drone strikes. A U.S. policy of endless wars must be placed in the dustbin of history. We look forward to your response.

In peace,

Max Obuszewski

On behalf of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

Protesters Face Water Cannons to Bring Halt to Nuclear Plant/Pieces of Madrid: The Evolution of an Uprising

Published on Monday, April 28, 2014 by Common Dreams
Protesters Face Water Cannons to Bring Halt to Nuclear Plant

Amid mounting opposition, Taiwanese government suspends fourth nuclear plant
- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Police in Taiwan shot water cannons on anti-nuclear protesters Monday following a weekend in which the power of throngs of demonstrators brought the construction of a controversial plant to a halt.

On Sunday as many as 50,000 protesters poured into Taipei's streets, blockading thoroughfares and calling for Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant to be scrapped. Its slated home is New Taipei City, the most populous city in the seismically active state.

Public pressure against the plant was aided by a hunger strike undertaken by former opposition leader and anti-nuclear activist Lin Yi-xiong, who said he was forced to take the measure because authorities had refused to heed overwhelming public opposition to the plant.

The ruling Kuomintang party announced later Sunday that it was suspending the $9.4 billion Nuke 4, located in the northeast corner of the Taiwan.

The New York Times reports:

The Kuomintang announcement said that the first reactor on the Lungmen plant, which is near completion, would undergo safety testing and then be mothballed. Work will stop on the second reactor, and a referendum will then be held to determine whether the plant, also commonly known as No. 4, will be completed and go online, the announcement said.

Channel News Asia reports that the halt "is a concession to protesters, but is a far cry from giving in to their demands of abolishing it altogether."
Some protesters remained after the announcement, and a massive police force was seen unleashing water cannons at the protesters.

Nuclear power, which has faced mounting public opposition since the Fukushima disaster, currently provides about 18 percent of Taiwan's energy.

A similar anti-nuclear protest held last month urged the government to "to face anti-nuclear demands from the people."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Pieces of Madrid: The Evolution of an Uprising

By Brandon Jourdan

As social conditions continue to deteriorate across Spain, people are turning to the streets and to each other to find solutions to the crisis. This film tells a story of the massive mobilization that saw millions of people converge on Madrid on March 22, and explores the proliferation of social centers, community gardens, self-organized food banks and large-scale housing occupations by and for families that have been evicted. Piecing together many of the creative ways that people have been coping with crisis, the film asks what the future may hold for Spain. It is part of the Global Uprisings documentary series, which can be viewed at

This article was published at NationofChange at:

All rights are reserved.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Gaza's Ark Attacked

Gaza's Ark Attacked

for immediate release

Gaza City - Gaza

At 3:45 AM Gaza time on April 29th, the night guard on board Gaza's Ark received a call to leave the boat because it was going to be attacked.

The guard left, but when nothing happened, he returned after 5 minutes. A few minutes later, a large explosion rocked the boat causing extensive damage.

The boat sank part way and is now sitting on the shallow sea floor. The guard was not injured but was taken to hospital for tests.

Mahfouz Kabariti, Gaza’s Ark Project Manager, says: “The extent and nature of the damage are currently being investigated. We will provide an update when available.”

"Gaza’s Ark and all our partners in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition are considering our next move in response to this cowardly act of terrorism, but our position remains clear: Neither this nor any other attack will stop our efforts to challenge the blockade of Gaza until it ends," adds David Heap of Gaza's Ark Steering Committee.

"Freedom Flotilla boats have been sabotaged before. This attack comes as we were almost ready to sail. You can sink a boat but you can't sink a movement," concludes Ehab Lotayef, another member of the Steering Committee.

- 30 -
For information:
Ehab Lotayef +1-514-941-9792
David Heap +1-519-859-3579
Charlie Andreasson +970 (59) 8345327

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Monday, April 28, 2014




by NAPF Press Office

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shineh Rhee
Phone: 646-477-5790

Republic of Marshall Islands’ Historic Legal Action, backed by Nobel Laureates, Says U.S. Fails to Keep Commitments

April 24, 2014 –San Francisco, CA — The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) today filed an unprecedented lawsuit in the U.S. Federal District Court in San Francisco to hold the United States government accountable for its flagrant violations of the international nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The small island nation, once used as a testing ground for nuclear bombs, says the United States has repeatedly broken its promise to pursue the abolition of nuclear weapons. Article VI of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires the U.S. to pursue negotiations “in good faith” for an end to the nuclear arms race “at an early date” and for nuclear disarmament.

“The failure of the United States to uphold important commitments and respect the law makes the world a more dangerous place,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a vocal backer of the lawsuit. “President Obama has said that ridding the world of these devastating weapons is a fundamental moral issue of our time. It is time for the United States to show true leadership by keeping the promises set forth in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

The Nuclear Zero lawsuit (titled for the NPT promise of a world with zero nuclear weapons) filed today charges the United States with clearly violating its legal obligations by spending outrageous sums of money to enhance its nuclear arsenal and by failing to make real progress in nuclear disarmament. The U.S. plans to spend an estimated $1 trillion on nuclear weapons in the next three decades and currently possesses nearly half of the world’s 17,300 warheads.

The Marshall Islands does not seek compensation with the lawsuit. Rather, it seeks declaratory and injunctive relief requiring the United States to comply with its commitments under the treaty and begin clear action towards the agreed upon promises.

The United States conducted 67 nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands from 1946 to1958 and the health and environmental effects still plague the Marshall Islanders today. The 1954 “Castle Bravo” nuclear test was the largest the U.S. ever conducted – estimated to be 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed the city of Hiroshima.

“Our people have suffered the catastrophic and irreparable damage of these weapons, and we vow to fight so that no one else on earth will ever again experience these atrocities,” said Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum. “The continued existence of nuclear weapons and the terrible risk they pose to the world threatens us all.”

World leaders, international organizations, world-class experts and Nobel Peace Laureates have declared strong support for the lawsuit and denounced nuclear weapons as immoral (see list on the website). The lawsuits are also supported by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), a U.S.-based civil society organization consulting with the Marshall Islands and its pro bono legal team.
“Nuclear weapons threaten everyone and everything we love and treasure. They threaten civilization and the human species. After 46 years with no negotiations in sight, it is time to end this madness,” said David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. “ The Marshall Islands is saying enough is enough. It is taking a bold and courageous stand on behalf of all humanity, and we at the Foundation are proud to stand by their side.”

The lawsuit filed today in U.S. Federal District Court in San Francisco is accompanied by related lawsuits brought in the International Court of Justice in The Hague against all nine nuclear weapons states: United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea.

To learn more about the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits, please go to

This entry was posted in Press Releases and tagged nuclear zero on April 24, 2014 by NAPF Press Office.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

The Crime of Peaceful Protest

The Crime of Peaceful Protest

Posted on Apr 27, 2014
By Chris Hedges

Occupy Wall Street activists Eric Linkser, center left, and Cecily McMillan, far right, take turns shouting information to fellow protesters preparing to return to Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15, 2011. AP/Bebeto Matthews

NEW YORK—Cecily McMillan, wearing a red dress and high heels, her dark, shoulder-length hair stylishly curled, sat behind a table with her two lawyers Friday morning facing Judge Ronald A. Zweibel in Room 1116 at the Manhattan Criminal Court. The judge seems to have alternated between boredom and rage throughout the trial, now three weeks old. He has repeatedly thrown caustic barbs at her lawyers and arbitrarily shut down many of the avenues of defense. Friday was no exception.
The silver-haired Zweibel curtly dismissed a request by defense lawyers Martin Stolar and Rebecca Heinegg for a motion to dismiss the case. The lawyers had attempted to argue that testimony from the officer who arrested McMillan violated Fifth Amendment restrictions against the use of comments made by a defendant at the time of arrest. But the judge, who has issued an unusual gag order that bars McMillan’s lawyers from speaking to the press, was visibly impatient, snapping, “This debate is going to end.” He then went on to uphold his earlier decision to heavily censor videos taken during the arrest, a decision Stolar said “is cutting the heart out of my ability to refute” the prosecution’s charge that McMillan faked a medical seizure in an attempt to avoid being arrested. “I’m totally handicapped,” Stolar lamented to Zweibel.

The trial of McMillan, 25, is one of the last criminal cases originating from the Occupy protest movement. It is also one of the most emblematic. The state, after the coordinated nationwide eradication of Occupy encampments, has relentlessly used the courts to harass and neutralize Occupy activists, often handing out long probation terms that come with activists’ forced acceptance of felony charges. A felony charge makes it harder to find employment and bars those with such convictions from serving on juries or working for law enforcement. Most important, the long probation terms effectively prohibit further activism.

The Occupy Wall Street movement was not only about battling back against the rise of a corporate oligarchy that has sabotaged our democracy and made war on the poor and the working class. It was also about our right to peaceful protest. The police in cities across the country have been used to short-circuit this right. I watched New York City police during the Occupy protests yank people from sidewalks into the street, where they would be arrested. I saw police routinely shove protesters and beat them with batons. I saw activists slammed against police cars. I saw groups of protesters suddenly herded like sheep to be confined within police barricades. I saw, and was caught up in, mass arrests in which those around me were handcuffed and then thrown violently onto the sidewalk. The police often blasted pepper spray into faces from inches away, temporarily blinding the victims. This violence, carried out against nonviolent protesters, came amid draconian city ordinances that effectively outlawed protest and banned demonstrators from public spaces. It was buttressed by heavy police infiltration and surveillance of the movement. When the press or activists attempted to document the abuse by police they often were assaulted or otherwise blocked from taking photographs or videos.

The message the state delivered is clear: Do not dissent. And the McMillan trial is part of the process.
McMillan, who spent part of her childhood living in a trailer park in rural Texas and who now is a graduate student at The New School for Social Research in New York, found herself with several hundred other activists at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan in March 2012 to mark the six-month anniversary of the start of Occupy Wall Street. The city, fearing the re-establishment of an encampment, deployed large numbers of police officers to clear the park just before midnight of that March 17. The police, heavily shielded, stormed into the gathering in fast-moving lines. Activists were shoved, hit, knocked to the ground. Some ran for safety. More than 100 people were arrested on the anniversary. After the violence, numerous activists would call the police aggression perhaps the worst experienced by the Occupy movement. In the mayhem McMillan—whose bruises were photographed and subsequently were displayed to Amy Goodman on the “Democracy Now!” radio, television and Internet program—was manhandled by a police officer later identified as Grantley Bovell. [Click here to see McMillan interviewed on “Democracy Now!” She appears in the last 10 minutes of the program.]

Bovell, who was in plainclothes and who, according to McMillan, did not identify himself as a policeman, allegedly came up from behind and grabbed McMillan’s breast—a perverse form of assault by New York City police that other female activists, too, suffered during Occupy protests. McMillan’s elbow made contact with his face, just below the eye, in what she says appeared to be a reaction to the grope; she says she has no memory of the incident. By the end of the confrontation she was lying on the ground bruised, beaten and convulsing. She was taken to a hospital emergency room, where police handcuffed her to a bed.

Had McMillan not been an Occupy activist, the trial that came out of this beating would have been about her receiving restitution from New York City for police abuse. Instead, she is charged with felony assault in the second degree and facing up to seven years in prison. She is expected to take the witness stand this week.

McMillan’s journey from a rural Texas backwater to a courtroom in New York is a journey of political awakening. Her parents, divorced when she was small, had little money. At times she lived with her mother, who had jobs at a Dillard’s department store, as an accountant for a pool hall and later, after earning a degree, as a registered nurse doing shifts of 60 to 70 hours in hospitals and nursing homes. There were also painful stretches of unemployment. Her mother, from Mexico, was circumspect about revealing her ethnicity in the deeply white conservative community, one in which blacks and other minorities were not welcome. She never taught her son and daughter Spanish. As a girl McMillan saw her mother struggle with severe depression and, in one terrifying instance, taken to a hospital after she passed out from an overdose of prescription pills. For periods, McMillan, her brother and her mother survived on welfare, and they moved often; she attended 13 schools, including five high schools. Her father worked at a Domino’s Pizza shop, striving in vain to become a manager.

Racism was endemic in the area. There was a sign in the nearby town of Vidor, not far from the Louisiana state line, that read: “If you are dark get out before dark.” It had replaced an earlier sign that said: “Don’t let the sun set on your ass nigger.”

The families around the McMillans struggled with all the problems that come with poverty—alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic and sexual violence and despair. Cecily’s brother is serving a seven-year sentence for drug possession in Texas.

“I grew up around the violence of poverty,” she told me as she lit another cigarette while I interviewed her Thursday night in an apartment in Harlem. She smoked nearly nonstop during our conversation. “It was normative.”

Her parents worked hard to fit into the culture of rural Texas. She said she competed as a child in a beauty pageant called Tiny Miss Valentines of Texas. She was on a cheerleading team. She ran track.

“My parents tried,” McMillan said. “They wanted to give us everything. They wanted us to have a lifestyle we could be proud of. My parents, because we were ... at times poor, were ashamed of who we were. I asked my mother to buy Tommy Hilfiger clothes at the Salvation Army and cut off the insignias and sew them onto my old clothes. I was afraid of being made fun of at school. My mother got up at 5 in the morning before work and made us pigs in a blanket, putting the little sausages into croissants. She wanted my brother and myself to be proud of her. She really did a lot with so very little.”

McMillan spent most of her summers with her paternal grandparents in Atlanta. They opened her to another world. She attended a Spanish-language camp. She went to blues and jazz festivals. She attended a theater summer camp called Seven Stages that focused on cultural and political perspectives. When she was a teenager she wrote collective theater pieces, including one in which she wore the American flag as a burka and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” as a character dressed as Darth Vader walked onto the stage. “My father was horrified,” she said. “He walked out of the theater.”

As a 13-year-old she was in a play called “I Hate Anne Frank.” “It was about American sensationalism,” she said. “It asked how the entire experience of the Holocaust could be turned for many people into a girl’s positive narrative, a disgusting false optimism. It was not well received.”

Art, and especially theater, awakened her to the realities endured by others, from Muslims in the Middle East to the black underclass in the United States. And, unlike in the Texas towns where she grew up, she made black friends in Atlanta. She began to wonder about the lives of the African-Americans who lived near her in rural Texas. What was it like for them? How did they endure racism? Did black women suffer the way her mother suffered? She began to openly question and challenge the conventions and assumptions of the white community around her. She read extensively, falling in love with the work of Albert Camus.

“I would miss bus stops because I would be reading ‘The Stranger’ or ‘The Plague,’ ” she said. “Existentialism to me was beautiful. It said the world is shit. It said this is the lot humanity is given. But human beings have to try their best. They swim and they swim and they swim against the waves until they can’t swim any longer. You can choose to view these waves as personal attacks against you and give up, or you can swim. And Camus said you should not sell out for a lifeboat. These forces are impersonal. They are structural. I learned from Camus how to live and how to die with dignity.”

She attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., under a scholarship. After graduating, she worked as a student teacher in inner-city schools in Chicago. She joined the Young Democratic Socialists. She enrolled at The New School for Social Research in New York City in the fall of 2011 to write a master’s thesis on Jane Addams, Hull House and the settlement movement. The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began in the city six days after she arrived at the school. She said that at first she was disappointed with the Occupy encampment in Zuccotti Park. She felt it lacked political maturity.

She had participated in the political protests in Madison, Wis., in early 2011, and the solidarity of government workers, including police, that she saw there deeply influenced her feelings about activism. She came away strongly committed to nonviolence.

“Police officers sat down to occupy with us,” she said of the protests in Madison. “It was unprecedented. We were with teachers, the fire department, police and students. You walked around saying thank you to the police. You embraced police. [But then] I went to Occupy in New York and saw drum circles and people walking around naked. There was yoga. I thought, what is this? I thought for many protesters this was just some social experiment they would go back to their academic institutions and write about. Where I come from people are hungry. Women are getting raped. Fathers and stepfathers beat the shit out of children. People die. ... Some people would rather not live.”

“At first I looked at the occupiers and thought they were so bourgeois,” she went on. “I thought they were trying to dress down their class by wearing all black. I was disgusted. But in the end I was wrong. I wasn’t meeting them where they were. These were kids, some of whom had been to Harvard, Yale or Princeton, [who] were the jewels of their family’s legacy. They were doing something radical. They had never been given the opportunity to have their voices heard, to have their own agency. They weren’t clowns like I first thought. They were really brave. We learned to have conversations. And that was beautiful. And these people are my friends today.”

She joined Occupy Wall Street’s Demands Working Group, which attempted to draw up a list of core demands that the movement could endorse. She continued with her academic work at The New School for Social Research. She worked part time. She was visiting her grandmother, who was terminally ill in Atlanta, in November 2011 when the police cleared out the Zuccotti Park encampment. When she returned to the New School she took part in the occupation of school buildings, but some occupiers trashed the property, leading to a bitter disagreement between her and other activists. Radical elements in the movement who supported the property destruction held a “shadow trial” and condemned her as a “bureaucratic provocateur.”

“I started putting together an Affinity Group after the New School occupation,” she said. “I realized there was a serious problem between anarchists and socialists and democratic socialists. I wanted, like Bayard Rustin, to bring everyone together. I wanted to repair the fractured left. I wanted to build coalitions.”

McMillan knows that the judge in her trial—who in one comment on the lawyers’ judge-rating website The Robing Room is called “a prosecutor with a robe”—has stacked the deck against her.

The British newspaper The Guardian reported that Bovell, the policeman who McMillan says beat her, has been investigated at least twice by the internal affairs department of the New York City Police Department. In one of these cases, Bovell and his partner were sued for allegedly using an unmarked police car to strike a 17-year-old fleeing on a dirt bike. The teenager said his nose was broken, two teeth were knocked out and his forehead was lacerated. The case was settled out of court for a substantial amount of money. The officer was also captured on a video that appeared to show him kicking a suspect on the floor of a Bronx grocery.
In addition, Bovell was involved in a ticket-fixing scandal in his Bronx precinct.

Austin Guest, 33, a graduate of Harvard University who was arrested at Zuccotti Park on the night McMillan was assaulted, is suing Bovell for allegedly intentionally banging his head on the internal stairs of an MTA bus that took him and other activists in for processing.

The judge has ruled that Bovell’s involvement in the cases stemming from the chasing of the youth on the dirt bike and the Guest arrest cannot be presented as evidence in the McMillan case.

The corporate state, which has proved utterly incapable of addressing the grievances and injustices endured by the underclass, is extremely nervous about the mass movements that have swept the country in recent years. And if protests erupt again—as I think they will—the state hopes it will have neutralized much of the potential leadership. Being an activist in peaceful mass protest is the only real “crime” McMillan has committed.

“Everyone should come and sit through this trial to see the facade that we call democracy,” she said. “The resources one needs to even remotely have a chance in this system are beyond most people. Thank God I went to college and graduate school. Thank God Marty and Rebecca are my lawyers. Thank God I am an organizer and have some agency. I wait in line every day to go to court. I read above my head the words that read something like ‘Justice Is the Foundation of Democracy.’ And I wonder if this is ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ People of color, people who are poor, the people where I come from, do not have a chance for justice. Those people have no choice but to plea out. They can never win in court. I can fight it. This makes me a very privileged person. It is disgusting to think that this is what our democracy has come to. I am heartbreakingly sad for our country.”

© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert Apr. 28 – May 4, 2014

Baltimore Activist Alert Apr. 28 – May 4, 2014

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours.
The initiative to stop it must be ours." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center. Go to If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to BNC, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at]

Tune into the Maryland Progressive Blog at

1] Books, buttons & stickers
2] Web site for info on federal legislation
3] Join Nonviolent Resistance lists
4] Buy coffee through HoCoFoLa
5] "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race" – through Apr. 30
6] Human, Soul & Machine: The Coming Singularity – through Aug. 31
7] Marc Steiner on WEAA – Apr. 28 – May 2
8] "Preparing for Deep Cuts: Options for Enhancing Euro-Atlantic and International Security" – Apr. 28
9] Kick Corporate Cash out of Congress! – Apr. 28
10] Look back and ahead at the Political Campaign of Andy Shallal – Apr. 28
11] End Gun Violence – Apr. 28
12] “Can Diplomacy Prevent an Iranian Bomb?" – Apr. 28
13] Fundraiser for Freedom Summer Organizing Training – Apr. 28
14] See the film “High Tech, Low Life” – Apr. 28
15] Pledge of Resistance/Fund Our Communities meeting – Apr. 28
16] Women’s Rights in the Apparel Industry – Apr. 29
17] Taking Stock: Kerry’s Peace Efforts – Apr. 29
18] Philadelphia Peace Vigil – Apr. 29
19] National Restaurant Association – Apr. 29
20] Condemn drone research at JHU – Apr. 29
21] International Labor Rights Defenders Awards – Apr. 29
1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available. “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Donate your books to Max. Call him at 410-366-1637.

2] – To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at

3] – THE ORGANIZING LIST will be the primary decision-making mechanism of the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR]. It will be augmented by conference calls and possibly in-person meetings as needed. It will consist of 1 or 2 representatives from each local, regional, or national organization (not coalitions) that wishes to actively work to carry out the NCNR campaign of facilitating and organizing nonviolent resistance to the war in Iraq. To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to mobuszewski at Verizon dot net. Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.

THE NOTICES LIST will include only notices of NCNR actions and related information and is open to any interested person to subscribe. It will be moderated to maintain focus & will include periodic notices about getting involved in NCNR national organizing. To join the NOTICES List, send an email message to mobuszewski at Verizon dot net.

4] – You can help safeguard human rights and fragile ecosystems through your purchase of HOCOFOLA Café Quetzal. Bags of ground coffee or whole beans can be ordered by mailing in an order form. Also note organic cocoa and sugar are for sale. For more details and to download the order form, go to The coffee comes in one-pound bags.

Fill out the form and mail it with a check made out to HOCOFOLA on or before the second week of the month. Be sure you indicate ground or beans for each type of coffee ordered. Send it to Adela Hirsch, 5358 Eliots Oak Rd., Columbia, MD 21044. Be sure you indicate ground (G) or bean (B) for each type of coffee ordered. The coffee will arrive some time the following week and you will be notified where to pick it up. Contact Adela at 410-997-5662 or via e-mail at

5] – The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's production, "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race" will be exhibited at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library at University of Maryland, Baltimore, Frieda O. Weise Gallery, 601 W. Lombard St. The exhibition will feature photos, films, testimonials and other documentation of Nazi racial experimentation and theories. The exhibit will continue through April 30. Call 410-706-7545. See

6] – See the exhibit Human, Soul & Machine: The Coming Singularity, which
delves into the various ways technology affects lives through the perspective of inventors, futurists and 40 plus visionary artists. The intent is to bring new thoughts on artificial intelligence, robotics, genetics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, and big data, and you can see it through August 31 at the American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Hwy. Call 410-244-1900. Go to A ticket costs $20.

7] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 AM on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community, or online at The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email to All shows are also available as podcasts at

8] – On Mon., Apr. 28 from 10 to 11:30 AM, Steven Pifer, Brookings Institution, Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association, Gatz Neuneck, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, Eugene Miasnikov, Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies, and Ulrich Kühn, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, will talk about "Preparing for Deep Cuts: Options for Enhancing Euro-Atlantic and International Security" at the Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC 20036. RSVP at

9] – The Battle for the Capitol: Kick Corporate Cash out of Congress! Takes place on Mon., Apr. 28 at 11 AM at the National Museum of American History, 14th St. and Constitution Ave. NW. Join National People's Action, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and ROC United and march to the Capitol, with direct actions along the way, to show Congress that we're fed up with them favoring corporations over people.

March on this day because one of the most powerful lobbies in the country -- the National Restaurant Association -- will be in D.C. for their annual lobby day. The National Restaurant Association's anti-worker agenda has blocked minimum wage increases, paid sick day legislation, and kept the federal tipped minimum wage at $2.13 since 1991. Visit

10] – Look back and ahead at the Political Campaign of Andy Shallal on Mon., Apr. 28 from 1 to 4 PM in the IPS Conference Room, 1112 16th St. NW. Join Andy Shallal, E. Ethelbert Miller, Joy Zarembka, Steve Cobble and Jonetta Rose Barras for a conversation--Did the Shallal campaign for mayor of D.C. change the landscape of DC politics? What strategies did the campaign pursue? What was successful? What failed? How progressive is the progressive DC community? What funding obstacles did the Shallal campaign have to overcome? What role did the media play in getting the Shallal message out to the community? Is D.C. ready for a dialogue on race, educational reform or income inequality? Should Andy Shallal run again? See

11] – On Mon., Apr. 28 from 5 to 6 PM, End Gun Violence! Join the Washington Chapter of Heeding God’s Call at their second and fourth Monday of the month vigil at REALCO Guns, 6108 Marlboro Pike, District Heights, MD 20747. This is an effort to convince the gun shop owner to sign the 10-Point Code for responsible gun dealers based on the one signed with Wal-Mart by Mayors against Illegal Guns. According to the Post, Realco Guns in District Heights sold 86 guns linked to homicides within the last twenty years with 300 guns sold there being linked to non-fatal shootings, as of 2010. In that article Major Andy Ellis of the Prince George’s (MD) Police Department is quoted as saying, “I can only imagine how much lower our violent-crime rate would be if Realco sold shoes instead of guns.” Go to

12] – On Mon., Apr. 28 from 6 to 7:15 PM, former Amb. Thomas Pickering, Michael Doran, Brookings Institution, and Shaul Bakhash, George Mason University, will explore "The United States and Iran: Can Diplomacy Prevent an Iranian Bomb?" at American University, Abramson Family Founders Room, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC. RSVP at

13] – You are cordially invited to attend a reception and fundraiser featuring, Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina State NAACP and leader of the Moral Mondays Movement. Join national faith, labor and community leaders in support of the largest movement in the South since Selma! It is happening at Busboys and Poets, 1035 5th St. NW, WDC, on Mon., Apr.28 from 6 to 8 PM. The evening’s purpose is to raise funds for 11 Week Freedom Summer Organizing Training. The suggested donation for the reception is $100. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to support NC NAACP Freedom Summer Organizer Training. Donations are not tax deductible. See

14] – On Mon., Apr. 28 from 7 to 9 PM, Beyond the Classroom is hosting a screening of the film "High Tech, Low Life" at the University of Maryland, 1104 South Campus Commons, Building 1, College Park, MD. HIGH TECH, LOW LIFE follows the journey of two of China’s first citizen reporters as they travel the country – chronicling underreported news and social issues stories. Armed with laptops, cell phones, and digital cameras they develop skills as independent one-man news stations while learning to navigate China’s evolving censorship regulations and avoiding the risk of political persecution. The film follows 57-year-old “Tiger Temple,” who earns the title of China’s first citizen reporter after he impulsively documents an unfolding murder and 27-year-old “Zola” who recognizes the opportunity to increase his fame and future prospects by reporting on sensitive news throughout China. Go to

15] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore usually meets on Mondays at 7:30 PM, and the meetings take place at Max’s residence. The next meeting will be on Mon., Apr. 28. The proposed agenda will include a report on the appeal of conviction of the CIA Five, anti-drone activities, including the Spring Actions, the May 3 demo at the NSA, a report on Earth Day, and the May Day demo. Call 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski at for directions.

16] – The International Labor Rights Forum and co-hosts will convene a day-long strategy session on Women’s Rights in the Apparel Industry: Ending Violence, Empowering Voices. Speakers will include Rep. George Miller, and women leaders from trade unions and women’s rights organizations from the U.S., Honduras, Cambodia and Bangladesh. Get together on Tues., Apr. 29 from 9:30 AM to 4 PM at the American Federation of Teachers, 555 New Jersey Ave. NW, WDC 20001. Conference registration is free and lunch will be provided, but donations are encouraged. Contact Liana Foxvog at

17] – Taking Stock: Kerry’s Peace Efforts can be heard on Tues., Apr. 29 from 12:30 to 2 PM at The Palestine Center, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW. As the nine month negotiating period kicked off last summer draw to a close, Khaled Elgindy, Leila Hilal and Yousef Munayyer will discuss where the process stands, how it has been handled and what lessons can be drawn for the parties moving forward. See

18] – Each Tuesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the Catholic Peace Fellowship-Philadelphia for peace in Afghanistan and Iraq gathers at the Suburban Station, 16th Street & JFK Blvd., at the entrance to Tracks 3 and 4 on the mezzanine. The next vigil is Apr. 29. Call 215-426-0364.

19] – The National Restaurant Association, which represents all of the million dollar fast food chains, is coming to D.C. for their ‘Public Affairs’ conference on April 29 and 30. The NRA is leading the corporate war against raising the wages of all low paid workers. In addition, they oppose paid sick leave and other workers’ rights. The main purpose of their conference is to strategize against the low wage workers movement and to bribe Congress with big $ checks to oppose any increase in the minimum wage.

Whether you have a job or not, whether you are a student or retired, whether you have a union or not – this affects all of us. Make sure the National Restaurant Association gets the kind of welcome it deserves on Tues., Apr. 29 from 5 to 7 PM at the Ronald Reagan Building & Int’l Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC. 20004. Email or call 410-218-4835. See

20] – Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" each Tuesday at 33rd & North Charles Sts. Join this ongoing vigil on Apr. 29 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Call Max at 410-366-1637.

21] – On Tues., Apr. 29 from 6 to 8 PM at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, WDC 20045, the International Labor Rights Forum will host the 2014 International Labor Rights Defenders Awards. The awards ceremony and reception will draw a diverse crowd, from Congressional Representatives to grassroots activists. Student and low-income labor rights advocate scholarships are available. Send requests to Jacqueline Starr at Go to

The awards ceremony will honor one passionate advocate and two outstanding organizations speaking out for workers' rights: Congressperson George Miller, for speaking out on the violence faced by women working at the bottom of the supply chain in the garment industry, calling attention to the plight of injured workers in Bangladesh, and driving change in the industry; Communications Workers of America, for their pioneering transnational organizing campaigns, helping to unite and strengthen the voice of workers in the US, Mexico, Brazil and Germany; and Maquila Worker Organizing Project, (of the CGT union federation in Honduras), for showing the world that through union organizing it is possible to win binding agreements with global brands and secure respect for workers' rights in global supply chains. Contact Jacqueline Starr at or 202-347-4100 x105.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Baltimore Activist Alert - April 27 - August 10, 2014

61] March for the Animals -- Apr. 27
62] “Let it Not Happen Again” -- Apr. 27
63] Peace and Pancakes – Apr. 27
64] Earth Day Extravaganza – Apr. 27
65] North Korea Today – Apr. 27
66] Meet Heather Mizeur -- Apr. 27
67] Mankekolo’s birthday – Apr. 27
68] Building Bridges Seminar – Apr. 27
69] Baltimore Green Forum -- Apr. 27
70] Soul Kitchen -- Apr. 27
71] Pentagon Vigil -- Apr. 28
72] Film “Stone Cold Justice” – May 6
73] Save the date! - Aug. 10
74] Max is seeking a place to live
75] Ronda Cooperstein on social media
76] Sign up with Washington Peace Center
77] Join Fund Our Communities
78] Donate books, videos, DVDs and records
79] Do you need any book shelves or file cabinets?
80] Join Global Zero campaign
81] War Is Not the Answer signs for sale
82] Join Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil

61] – The 19th Annual March for the Animals event is here! It's not too late to join today's [Sun., Apr. 37] event at Druid Hill Park (3001 East Drive, Baltimore, MD 21217). If you and your pooch wish to participate, simply stop at one of many registration tables. Your $40 entry donation includes a 2014 March for the Animals T-shirt, bandana and goody bag. Contact Tami Gosheff at Rain or shine, the 19th Annual March for the Animals is on Sun., Apr. 27 from 10 AM to 2 PM at Druid Hill Park. See

62] -- Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W. Franklin St., Suite 102, Baltimore 21201-4661, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion from 10:30 AM to noon. On Sun., Apr. 27, the platform address is “Let it Not Happen Again” with Morris Rosen, public speaker and Holocaust survivor. Polish-born 94 year-old Morris (Moniek) Rosen is a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp, living to tell about his horrific experiences during World War II. Morris made it his mission to describe his experience as a matter of respect and remembrance of the people who did not survive Nazi atrocities. Morris is a volunteer speaker at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and it is a rare opportunity and honor to listen to his firsthand testimony at BES.

He was born in 1922 and grew up in Dabrowa Gornicza, an industrial town in western Poland. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Rosen attempted to flee but was forced to return and work for the German construction office. In 1942, Rosen’s parents were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Rosen was sent to several camps, including Buchenwald, and in 1945 was liberated from Theresienstadt by Soviet forces. His parents and five of his siblings perished in the Holocaust. In 1949, after spending several years in displaced persons camps in Austria and Germany, Rosen immigrated to the United States. Read more about Morris Rosen and hear him describe his forced march to Buchenwald at: Call 410-581-2322 or email

63] -- Join the Kadampa Meditation Center for Peace and Pancakes on Sundays at 10:30 AM at KMC Maryland, 2937 North Charles St. All are invited to participate in guided meditation and chant praying for world peace. There will be a talk based on Buddhist thought followed by brunch. Call 410- 243-3837. Brunch is $5.

64] -- Join an Earth Day Extravaganza at Church of the Holy Nativity on Sun., Apr. 27 from 11:45 AM to 1 PM at 4238 Pimlico Rd,, Baltimore. Explore some of Baltimore's green organizations including Baltimore Energy Challenge, Groundswell, Baltimore Food & Faith Project, and vegan restaurant, Land of Kush, and collect free goodies to help you on your journey to care for Creation. Land of Kush owner, Greg Brown, will also do a live demonstration on how to create a healthy, vegan meal. RSVP to Chiquita at

65] – You’re invited to a conversation with Linda Lewis, Country Representative for China/DPRK. Hear an “on the ground” report about AFSC’s unique work and life in North Korea today. Moved by the suffering of its people, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) extended “the hand of friendship” and began engaging with the DPRK more than 30 years ago, establishing itself as a trusted partner.

Today, AFSC works with a number of cooperative farms, the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and an agricultural university to improve rice yield and food productivity through more sustainable agricultural methods. Linda Lewis currently resides in Dalian, China, where she serves as the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Country Representative for China/DPRK. Her background includes extensive experience in international program management, directing educational exchanges in China, Japan and Korea and serving as Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Institute for Study Abroad- Butler University (Indiana, USA) and as Director of Asian and Pacific Studies at the School for International Training (Vermont, USA). RSVP to Tonya Histand at or call 215-241-5736. You can hear Lewis on Sun., Apr. 27 at 1 PM at Stony Run Friends Meeting, 5116 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21210.

66] – Join Heather Mizeur in Baltimore on Sun., Apr. 27 from 2:30 to 4:30 PM in the new Clipper Mill Condominiums, 2007 Clipper Park Rd., Baltimore 21211 (right across from Woodberry Kitchen). This is a fundraiser. Go to Contact Aaron Jarboe at 301-328–5841 or

67] – The sermon this week is "The power of the Love of God." April 21st is Rev. Dr. Mankekolo Mahlangu-Ngcobo's birthday, and the celebration will be on Sun., Apr. 28 at 4 PM. She is requesting your support for her book, "Restore Me: 40 Healing Sermons." You can get it from If you are in the United States of America you can send her an email and she can send it to you. The cost is $25:00 including taxes and shipping. Go to Life Restoration Ministry, 3315 Mondawmin Ave., Baltimore 21216. Email

68] – On Sun., Apr. 27 from 4 to 6 PM, the opening session of the thirteenth Building Bridges Seminar, an annual dialogue of Christian and Muslim scholars, will feature lectures on this year's seminar theme, "Sin, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation: Christian and Muslim Perspectives." It will be presented by Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs (Georgetown University) at Riggs Library, Healey Hall, Georgetown University.

The nature of human sin and divine forgiveness has often been a point of contention between Christians and Muslims. The Muslim critique of Christian positions on these topics raises some very important points—posing questions, particularly about “original sin”—that Christians themselves often ask. Christians have some questions about sin and redemption to put to Muslims as well. The purpose of the seminar is not to arrive at agreement, but rather to make sure that each has understood the other's concerns.

Veli-Matti Kärkäinnen (Fuller Theological Seminary) and Jonathan Brown (Georgetown University) will discuss these issues and Daniel Madigan, S.J., the seminar chair, will moderate the discussion. A reception will follow the event. RSVP at

69] – The Baltimore Green Forum is meeting on Sun., Apr. 27 from 4 to 5:30 PM. This monthly environmental education and discussion forum also includes an optional affinity group meeting from 5:30 to 6:30 PM at the Maryland Presbyterian Church, 1105 Providence Road, Towson 21286. See

Megan Jenny, MD Coordinator for Chesapeake Climate Action Network, will address The Cost of Carbon: An update on critical Maryland climate campaigns and discussion about putting a price on carbon. With its 3,200 miles of coastline, Maryland is one of the most vulnerable states in the U.S. to sea level rise and climate impacts. Given that, we should be leading the way in calling for strong solutions that move us towards stability, not for more polluting energy sources. CCAN uses grassroots action to call for the changes we need at the local, state, and national levels. Megan will give an update about the critical climate and energy campaigns happening now: both to pass bills in the General Assembly and to stop big polluters, like the proposed fracked gas export plant at Cove Point. She'll also lead a discussion about the environmental movement's views on putting a price on carbon as an important piece of the climate solution puzzle.

The Purpose of the Baltimore Green Forum is to seek to improve the quality of all life in the greater Baltimore area. The contribution to this goal will be to gather monthly in order to discern the progress towards regional sustainability that has already been achieved. Discover the connections amidst the chaos of the movement and build a community of like-minded individuals. Donations to the Maryland Presbyterian Church are greatly appreciated. Go to or email or phone 410-554-0006.

The Baltimore Green Forum is co-sponsored by Simplicity Matters Earth Institute ~ Chesapeake Climate Action Network ~ Baltimore Green Currency Assn. - MD League of Conservation Voters Education Fund ~ Greater Baltimore Group of the Sierra Club - Heathcote Community ~ Retrofit Baltimore ~ Creation Care Group of the Presbytery of Baltimore and Interfaith Power and Light.

70] – The Soul Kitchen Dinner Program takes place on the fourth Sunday at 5 PM. Gimmie Shelter Productions, in conjunction with the Govans Presbyterian Church, is offering a catered dinner for the homeless and those in need at the church, 5828 York Road. Musicians and singers are needed to provide entertainment, and helping hands are needed to set up, serve, clean up, and perhaps give other volunteers a ride home. Call 410-435-9188.

71] -- There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop. The next vigil is Mon., Apr. 28, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. Email or call 202-882-9649.

The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro. By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area.

By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr., and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begin at 8 AM. No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. Restrooms are located inside Marriott Residence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr.

72] – The Committee for Palestinian Rights, Howard County, is sponsoring a showing of the documentary film “Stone Cold Justice,” on Tues., May 6 at 7 PM at the East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia 21045. The film, produced by Four Corners, an Australian investigative journalism/current affairs TV program, explores the Israeli government’s systematic strategy of threats, arrests, and detention of Palestinian youth. After the film, there will be a discussion led by Philip Farah, co-founder of Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace. The showing is free and open to the public. Email

73] – SAVE THE DATE!!!!! Get over to "Family Fun" night to raise funds for Dr. Mutulu Skakur and the development of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to free our Political Prisoners/Prisoners of War. It will take place at Skateland North Point, 1113 Old North Point Rd.,
Baltimore 21222, on Sun., Aug. 10 from 4:30 to 7:30 PM. Admission is $10 which includes skate rental. Contact Abdul-Jabbar at 610.621.0699 (Maryland State Jericho). Go to

74] -- Max is seeking a place to live. Let him know of any possibilities. He can be reached at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at net.

75] -- Ronda Cooperstein has taken to social media, and is recording her opinion pieces on You Tube. Check out her latest essay - THE WASHINGTON POST WITH TOAST:

76] -- The Washington Peace Center has a progressive calendar & activist alert! Consider signing up to receive its weekly email:

77] -- Fund Our Communities campaign is a grass roots movement to get support from local organizations and communities to work together with their local and state elected officials to pressure Congresspersons and senators to join with Congresspersons Barney Frank and Ron Paul, who have endorsed a 25% cut to the federal military budget. Bring home the savings to state and county governments to meet the local needs which are under tremendous budget pressures. Go to

78] -- If you would like to get rid of books, videos, DVDs or records, contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

79] -- Can you use any book shelves? Can you use any file cabinets? Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

80] -- Join an extraordinary global campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons: A growing group of leaders around the world is calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and a majority of the global public agrees. This is an historic window of opportunity. With momentum already building in favor of Zero, a major show of support from people around the world could tip the balance. When it comes to nuclear weapons, one is one too many.

81] -- WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER signs from Friends Committee on National Legislation are again for sale at $5. To purchase a sign, call Max at 410-366-1637.

82] – A Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil takes place every day in Lafayette Park, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 24 hours a day, since June 3, 1981. Go to; call 202-682-4282.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Latin America: Then and Now

Published on Portside (
Latin America: Then and Now
April 26, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

The picture tells the story. Latin America has democratized, moved to the Left, and elevated the status of women. Top foto, left to right: Cristina Kirchner (Justicialist Party), president of Argentina; Michelle Bachelet (Socialist Party), president of Chile; Dilma Roussef (Workers' Party), president of Brazil at the inauguration of President Bachelet, 2014.

Bottom, left to right: Jorge Rafael Videla dictator of Argentina from 1976 to 1981. Augusto Pinochet, dictator of Chile from 1973 to 1990. Artur da Costa e Silva, second President of Brazil during the military regime (1964-1985) created after the 1964 coup d'état.

Source URL:

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Friday, April 25, 2014

Baltimore Activist Alert - April 25-27, 2014

45] Max at JHU Spring Fair – Apr. 25 - 27
46] Vigil at the White House – Apr. 25
47] Protest at Chamber of Commerce – Apr. 25
48] Silent peace vigil – Apr. 25
49] Second Acts Conference – Mass Incarceration and Jim Crow – Apr. 25 - 27
50] MUPJ dinner and conference -– Apr. 25 & 26
51] Ballroom Dancing – Apr. 25
52] "Shifting Portrait: Latinos, Public Health and Inequality" – Apr. 26
53] Communist Party convention – Apr. 26
54] Olney Peace vigil – Apr. 26
55] West Chester, PA demo – Apr. 26
56] Ecofest – Apr. 26
57] Stop the Keystone pipeline – Apr. 26
58] Silent peace vigil – Apr. 26
59] Congregations for Climate Change Solutions – Apr. 26
60] Stop the Keystone pipeline – Apr. 26

45] – Max will be at the JHU Spring Fair on Fri., Apr. 25 from noon to 8 PM, Sat., Apr. 26 from 10 AM to 8 PM and Sun., Apr. 27 from 10 AM to 6 PM. Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility will be at Space 88 in the upper quad by Gilman Hall on the Homewood Campus. For sale will be books, vinyl, buttons, bumperstickers, videos, CDs and DVDs. Call 410-366-1637 or email

46] – On Fri., Apr. 25 from noon to 1 PM, join the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in a vigil urging the powers that be to abolish war and torture, to disarm all weapons, to end indefinite detention, to close Guantanamo, to establish justice for all and help create the Beloved Community! The vigil takes place at the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Contact Art @ or at 202-360-6416.

47] – There is protest on Fri., Apr. 25 at 2 PM in front of the Chamber of Commerce, 1615 H St. NW. RSVP at Every day is the perfect time to act for the planet. The US Chamber of Commerce is guilty of putting corporate profits before people, peace, and the planet, and is doing everything it can to stop climate action. Now, the Chamber is trying to push through the Trans Pacific Partnership, a job-killing trade agreement! Tell the Chamber that democracy, people and the planet should take priority over profits!

48] – There is a silent peace vigil on Fri., Apr. 25 from 5 to 6 PM outside the Cathedral of the Incarnation, University Parkway and St. Paul St. The vigil, sponsored by Homewood Friends and Stony Run Meetings, will remind us that War Is Not the Answer. Stop torture.

49] – On Fri., Apr. 25 to Sun., Apr. 27, be at the Second Acts Conference – Mass Incarceration and Jim Crow. The first Christians embodied a counter-cultural discipleship marked by their trust in each other and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The church described in the book of Acts was a living vessel, animated by a palpable connection to God, issuing the love of Jesus in practical ways to each community, household and heart. That way of being continues into our own era with resurrection power and Spirit-led faith. It is named for a book of Scripture as yet unwritten: The Second Book of Acts. It will claim anew the Easter resurrection of Jesus! People of faith will gather from Friday evening through Sunday morning to reflect on the life of Christian discipleship, and the intersection of discipleship and the world’s injustice. Mass incarceration will be a key focus. If you are not able to pay the full cost, be in touch about a reduced rate. Register at.

50] – Maryland United for Peace and Justice will hold its annual peace, justice and environmental conference starting on Fri., Apr. 25 at 6:30 PM and concluding on Sat., Apr. 26 in Annapolis from 8 AM to 4:45 PM. This is the first time since year 2000 that this statewide event has been in Anne Arundel County, providing a great opportunity for local folks to attend. Friday’s program will be at St. Phillips Episcopal Church, 730 Bestgate Road, and Saturday’s program will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, 333 Dubois Road (off Bestgate Road). This year’s theme is “Peace and Justice Through the Generations: Passing the Torch for a Better World.”

Friday’s schedule will feature a pot luck dinner (bring a covered dish for all to enjoy) and a presentation by Paul Chappell of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Go to Saturday’s event includes talks by Kristi Casteel of the Joshua Casteel Foundation, Kathleen McClellan of the Government Accountability Project and NSA whistleblower W. Kirk Wiebe, and Maryland State Sen. Jamie Raskin. There also will be three workshop sessions with 14 choices, and entertainment by Max Ochs. A really great lunch (including vegetarian options) provided by Lighthouse Caterers of Annapolis is included. The cost is $30 for individuals, and $40 for families. There are reduced rates for retirees and part-time students ($20) and for full-time students ($15). Scholarships are available for low income persons. Visit Email phamm001 AT earthlink. net or call 443-418-5479.

51] – There is an opportunity to participate in ballroom dancing, usually every Friday of the month, in the JHU ROTC Bldg. at 8 PM. Turn south on San Martin Dr. from the intersection of Univ. Parkway and 39th St. Drive on campus by taking the third left turn. The next dance will be Apr. 25. Call Dave Greene at 410-599-3725.

52] – The Johns Hopkins University Program of Latin American Studies presents "Shifting Portrait: Latinos, Public Health and Inequality" with the plenary speaker, Edward Telles, Department of Sociology, Princeton University. The event takes place on Sat.., Apr. 26 from 8:30 AM to 6 PM in Mason Hall, Homewood Campus. Register at Call 410-516-7540.

53] – The Communist Party of Maryland is doing fundraising to send delegates to the National Convention. Attend a District convention on Sat., Apr. 26 from 10 AM to 5 PM at Red Emma's Bookstore, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21202. Call 443-604-2298 and visit

54] – Friends House, 17715 Meeting House Rd., Sandy Spring, MD 20860, hosts a peace vigil every Saturday, 10:30 to 11:30 AM, on the corner of Rt. 108 and Georgia Ave. [Route 97] in Olney, MD. The next vigil is Apr. 26. Call Chuck Harker at 301-570-7167.

55] – Each Saturday, 11 AM – 1 PM, Chester County Peace Movement holds a peace vigil in West Chester in front of the Chester County Courthouse, High & Market Sts. Go to Email

56] – Baltimore Green Week concludes with Ecofest, where live music, bike rides, “ecovendors,” free workshops, and guided nature hikes collide. Green Works is a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life in Baltimore through supporting environmental efforts. This was the 11th annual event. Visit the Baltimore Green Works website at On Sat., Apr. 26 from 11 AM to 5 PM, do the Ecofest at Druid Hill Park, 2600 Madison Ave., Baltimore 21217.

57] – Join a powerful action to tell President Obama to reject the dirty, dangerous Keystone XL pipeline. Get with the Cowboy Indian Alliance -- a coalition of ranchers, farmers and tribal communities along the pipeline route -- in marching to the White House to tell the president that Keystone XL is not in the national interest. Reject and Protect rally and march is on Sat., Apr. 26 starting at 11 AM on the National Mall, between 9th and 12th Sts. The march will be a culmination of a week’s worth of events. Visit

58] – There will be a peace vigil on the West Lawn of the Capitol at noon on Sat., Apr. 26. Look for the blue banner with the message, "Seek Peace and Pursue It.--Psalms 34:14." The vigil lasts one hour and is silent except when one responds to the occasional questions. Go to or email

59] – Partner with NoVA Congregations for Climate Change Solutions! It is happening on Sat., Apr. 26 from 1 to 3 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, 2709 Hunter Mill Rd,, Oakton, VA. Join with Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA) and the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS) for an afternoon of conversation and collaboration about how Northern Virginia's religious communities can partner together for climate change solutions. Over a dozen congregations have already signed up to be part of the solution. Join with them, and RSVP at

60] – You are invited to be moved, lifted up, and inspired as the Charm City Labor Chorus—and special guest Lea Gilmore—sing anthems of the civil rights movement, songs of workers’ and immigrants’ struggles and of the South African freedom movement, as well as works that envision a better world for all of us. Join your friends and comrades at the Charm City Labor Chorus’s “And the Choir Keeps Singing of Freedom”—the 5th anniversary concert! The performance starts at 7 PM on Sat., Apr. 26 in the Recital Hall in Morgan State University’s Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Building, 2201 Argonne Drive. Tickets are $15 ($5 for students). Email

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

The Change Within: The Obstacles We Face Are Not Just External

Published on Portside (

The Change Within: The Obstacles We Face Are Not Just External

Naomi Klein

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Published in The Nation via

This is a story about bad timing.

One of the most disturbing ways that climate change is already playing out is through what ecologists call "mismatch" or "mistiming." This is the process whereby warming causes animals to fall out of step with a critical food source, particularly at breeding times, when a failure to find enough food can lead to rapid population losses.

The migration patterns of many songbird species, for instance, have evolved over millennia so that eggs hatch precisely when food sources such as caterpillars are at their most abundant, providing parents with ample nourishment for their hungry young. But because spring now often arrives early, the caterpillars are hatching earlier too, which means that in some areas they are less plentiful when the chicks hatch, threatening a number of health and fertility impacts. Similarly, in West Greenland, caribou are arriving at their calving grounds only to find themselves out of sync with the forage plants they have relied on for thousands of years, now growing earlier thanks to rising temperatures. That is leaving female caribou with less energy for lactation, reproduction and feeding their young, a mismatch that has been linked to sharp decreases in calf births and survival rates.
Scientists are studying cases of climate-related mistiming among dozens of species, from Arctic terns to pied flycatchers. But there is one important species they are missing - us. Homo sapiens. We too are suffering from a terrible case of climate-related mistiming, albeit in a cultural-historical, rather than a biological, sense. Our problem is that the climate crisis hatched in our laps at a moment in history when political and social conditions were uniquely hostile to a problem of this nature and magnitude - that moment being the tail end of the go-go '80s, the blastoff point for the crusade to spread deregulated capitalism around the world. Climate change is a collective problem demanding collective action the likes of which humanity has never actually accomplished. Yet it entered mainstream consciousness in the midst of an ideological war being waged on the very idea of the collective sphere.

This deeply unfortunate mistiming has created all sorts of barriers to our ability to respond effectively to this crisis. It has meant that corporate power was ascendant at the very moment when we needed to exert unprecedented controls over corporate behavior in order to protect life on earth. It has meant that regulation was a dirty word just when we needed those powers most.

It has meant that we are ruled by a class of politicians who know only how to dismantle and starve public institutions, just when they most need to be fortified and reimagined. And it has meant that we are saddled with an apparatus of "free trade" deals that tie the hands of policy-makers just when they need maximum flexibility to achieve a massive energy transition.

Confronting these various structural barriers to the next economy is the critical work of any serious climate movement. But it's not the only task at hand. We also have to confront how the mismatch between climate change and market domination has created barriers within our very selves, making it harder to look at this most pressing of humanitarian crises with anything more than furtive, terrified glances. Because of the way our daily lives have been altered by both market and technological triumphalism, we lack many of the observational tools necessary to convince ourselves that climate change is real - let alone the confidence to believe that a different way of living is possible.

And little wonder: just when we needed to gather, our public sphere was disintegrating; just when we needed to consume less, consumerism took over virtually every aspect of our lives; just when we needed to slow down and notice, we sped up; and just when we needed longer time horizons, we were able to see only the immediate present.

This is our climate change mismatch, and it affects not just our species, but potentially every other species on the planet as well.

The good news is that, unlike reindeer and songbirds, we humans are blessed with the capacity for advanced reasoning and therefore the ability to adapt more deliberately - to change old patterns of behavior with remarkable speed. If the ideas that rule our culture are stopping us from saving ourselves, then it is within our power to change those ideas. But before that can happen, we first need to understand the nature of our personal climate mismatch.

* Climate change demands that we consume less, but being consumers is all we know. Climate change is not a problem that can be solved simply by changing what we buy - a hybrid instead of an SUV, some carbon offsets when we get on a plane. At its core, it is a crisis born of overconsumption by the comparatively wealthy, which means the world's most manic consumers are going to have to consume less.

The problem is not "human nature," as we are so often told. We weren't born having to shop this much, and we have, in our recent past, been just as happy (in many cases happier) consuming far less. The problem is the inflated role that consumption has come to play in our particular era.

Late capitalism teaches us to create ourselves through our consumer choices: shopping is how we form our identities, find community and express ourselves. Thus, telling people that they can't shop as much as they want to because the planet's support systems are overburdened can be understood as a kind of attack, akin to telling them that they cannot truly be themselves. This is likely why, of the original "Three Rs" - reduce, reuse, recycle - only the third has ever gotten any traction, since it allows us to keep on shopping as long as we put the refuse in the right box. The other two, which require that we consume less, were pretty much dead on arrival.

* Climate change is slow, and we are fast. When you are racing through a rural landscape on a bullet train, it looks as if everything you are passing is standing still: people, tractors, cars on country roads. They aren't, of course. They are moving, but at a speed so slow compared with the train that they appear static.

So it is with climate change. Our culture, powered by fossil fuels, is that bullet train, hurtling forward toward the next quarterly report, the next election cycle, the next bit of diversion or piece of personal validation via our smartphones and tablets. Our changing climate is like the landscape out the window: from our racy vantage point, it can appear static, but it is moving, its slow progress measured in receding ice sheets, swelling waters and incremental temperature rises. If left unchecked, climate change will most certainly speed up enough to capture our fractured attention - island nations wiped off the map, and city-drowning superstorms, tend to do that. But by then, it may be too late for our actions to make a difference, because the era of tipping points will likely have begun.

* Climate change is place-based, and we are everywhere at once. The problem is not just that we are moving too quickly. It is also that the terrain on which the changes are taking place is intensely local: an early blooming of a particular flower, an unusually thin layer of ice on a lake, the late arrival of a migratory bird. Noticing those kinds of subtle changes requires an intimate connection to a specific ecosystem. That kind of communion happens only when we know a place deeply, not just as scenery but also as sustenance, and when local knowledge is passed on with a sense of sacred trust from one generation to the next.

But that is increasingly rare in the urbanized, industrialized world. We tend to abandon our homes lightly - for a new job, a new school, a new love. And as we do so, we are severed from whatever knowledge of place we managed to accumulate at the previous stop, as well as from the knowledge amassed by our ancestors (who, at least in my case, migrated repeatedly themselves).

Even for those of us who manage to stay put, our daily existence can be disconnected from the physical places where we live. Shielded from the elements as we are in our climate-controlled homes, workplaces and cars, the changes unfolding in the natural world easily pass us by. We might have no idea that a historic drought is destroying the crops on the farms that surround our urban homes, since the supermarkets still display miniature mountains of imported produce, with more coming in by truck all day. It takes something huge - like a hurricane that passes all previous high-water marks, or a flood destroying thousands of homes - for us to notice that something is truly amiss. And even then we have trouble holding on to that knowledge for long, since we are quickly ushered along to the next crisis before these truths have a chance to sink in.

Climate change, meanwhile, is busily adding to the ranks of the rootless every day, as natural disasters, failed crops, starving livestock and climate-fueled ethnic conflicts force yet more people to leave their ancestral homes. And with every human migration, more crucial connections to specific places are lost, leaving yet fewer people to listen closely to the land.

* Climate pollutants are invisible, and we have stopped believing in what we cannot see. When BP's Macondo well ruptured in 2010, releasing torrents of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, one of the things we heard from company CEO Tony Hayward was that "the Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume." The statement was widely ridiculed at the time, and rightly so, but Hayward was merely voicing one of our culture's most cherished beliefs: that what we can't see won't hurt us and, indeed, barely exists.

So much of our economy relies on the assumption that there is always an "away" into which we can throw our waste. There's the away where our garbage goes when it is taken from the curb, and the away where our waste goes when it is flushed down the drain. There's the away where the minerals and metals that make up our goods are extracted, and the away where those raw materials are turned into finished products. But the lesson of the BP spill, in the words of ecological theorist Timothy Morton, is that ours is "a world in which there is no `away.'"

When I published No Logo a decade and a half ago, readers were shocked to learn of the abusive conditions under which their clothing and gadgets were manufactured. But we have since learned to live with it -not to condone it, exactly, but to be in a state of constant forgetfulness. Ours is an economy of ghosts, of deliberate blindness.

Air is the ultimate unseen, and the greenhouse gases that warm it are our most elusive ghosts. Philosopher David Abram points out that for most of human history, it was precisely this unseen quality that gave the air its power and commanded our respect. "Called Sila, the wind-mind of the world, by the Inuit; Nilch'i, or Holy Wind, by the Navajo; Ruach, or rushing-spirit, by the ancient Hebrews," the atmosphere was "the most mysterious and sacred dimension of life." But in our time, "we rarely acknowledge the atmosphere as it swirls between two persons." Having forgotten the air, Abram writes, we have made it our sewer, "the perfect dump site for the unwanted by-products of our industries....

Even the most opaque, acrid smoke billowing out of the pipes will dissipate and disperse, always and ultimately dissolving into the invisible. It's gone. Out of sight, out of mind."

* * *

Another part of what makes climate change so very difficult for us to grasp is that ours is a culture of the perpetual present, one that deliberately severs itself from the past that created us as well as the future we are shaping with our actions. Climate change is about how what we did generations in the past will inescapably affect not just the present, but generations in the future. These time frames are a language that has become foreign to most of us.

This is not about passing individual judgment, nor about berating ourselves for our shallowness or rootlessness. Rather, it is about recognizing that we are products of an industrial project, one intimately, historically linked to fossil fuels.

And just as we have changed before, we can change again. After listening to the great farmer-poet Wendell Berry deliver a lecture on how we each have a duty to love our "homeplace" more than any other, I asked him if he had any advice for rootless people like me and my friends, who live in our computers and always seem to be shopping for home. "Stop somewhere," he replied. "And begin the thousand-year-long process of knowing that place."

That's good advice on lots of levels. Because in order to win this fight of our lives, we all need a place to stand.

This article appeared in the May 12, 2014 edition of The Nation [1].

[Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times and #1 international bestseller, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Published worldwide in 2007, The Shock Doctrine is being published in 30 languages and has over a million copies in print. It appeared on multiple `best of year' lists including as a New York Times Critics' Pick of the Year. Rachel Maddow called The Shock Doctrine, "The only book of the last few years in American publishing that I would describe as a mandatory must-read."

Naomi Klein's first book No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies was also an international bestseller, translated into over 25 languages with more than a million copies in print. The New York Times called it "a movement bible." In 2011, Time Magazine named it as one of the Top 100 non-fiction books published since 1923. A tenth anniversary edition of No Logo was published worldwide in 2009. The Literary Review of Canada has named it one of the hundred most important Canadian books ever published. A collection of her writing, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate was published in 2002.]

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Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs