Thursday, May 25, 2006

FBI wants an informant in Portland City Hall???

Wow-- check this out!

The Mayor of Portland, Tom Potter, has posted an open letter in his blog about an FBI agent asking a city hall worker "if she would be willing to pass information to him relating to people who work for the City of Portland."


This shit's incredible. And when viewed as a part of the larger context, it is damned chilling. The following is from a press release on the incident that was posted to Portland Indymedia Center from the NW Constitutional Rights Center:

"The government's monitoring of Americans' phone calls, illegal wiretapping phones, and mining for personal data suggest a concerted effort reminiscent of Big Brother. According to national media reports, the FBI continues to infiltrate, monitor and spy on critics and opponents of the Bush Administration without any suspicion of wrongdoing. These actions appear to be politically motivated, are likely to chill political dissent and may infringe upon fundamental freedoms protected under the U.S. and Oregon Constitutions."

Let's face it. There is bad stuff afoot. Most folks still don't want to think that fascism is something that could happen here or now. Well, it is. We must work to educate each other to the fact that the question is not "Could fascism happen in the US?" but "How do we stop the fascist take over?"

According to Dr. Lawrence Britt, there are fourteen warning signs of fascism.
Some say that fascism is already here, some say we are on the slippery slope to it-- how many of the fourteen warning signs apply? Judge for yourselves:

1) Powerful and continuing nationalism.
2) Disdain for the recognition of human rights.
3) Identification of Enemies / Scapegoats as a unifying cause.
4) Supremacy of the military.
5) Rampant sexism.
6) Controlled mass media.
7) Obsession with national security.
8) Religion and government are intertwined.
9) Corporate power is protected.
10) Labor power is suppressed.
11) Disdain for intellectuals and the arts.
12) Obsession with crime and punishment.
13) Rampant cronyism and corruption.
14) Frauduant elections.

Hmmm... not looking too good for us, is it. Sure, there are matters of degrees with a couple of the points, but there too many verifiable examples in each of the categories too ignore. Playing ostrich will not make the police state go away. Neither will clicking our heels together three times take us to that new autonomous free state wherein we can just ignore these bummers and they won't bother us anymore.

This stuff is, in fact, really friggin' creepy.

It is so creepy that it is starting to get noticed. Even outside of the activist community people are thinking about surveillance, and federal informants in City Hall. Maybe this can be an opening, an invitation to get more information on how far down the rabbit hole we've come in so short a time, and what we can do about it.

This open letter by a Mayor of a fairly large city, exposing an attempt to place informants within a city hall must be connected with the rest of the Orwellian happenings at the federal levels.

We must work together (SOLIDARITY) to raise awareness of the un-constitutional, anti-democratic executive branch. We must work together to remind folks who are not activists why we have a constitution (and what our constitutional rights are!), and how we must safeguard those rights.

Near as I can figure it, lot's of people know something is very deeply wrong. Bush's approval rating is less than 30freakin'%. A whole lot of folks need the benefit of some seriously grounded discussion about political rights (the right to privacy as guaranteed in the 4th amendment-- or what's left of it, the right to dissent, the right to protest, the right to participate in free and fair elections)and human rights (the UN calls for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, "our" un-elected prez supports torture). The more folks become aware, the more they will become outraged. These travesties only happen when people of good hearts go to sleep (or, more likely, watch Fox television.

Please let's all keep the discussion and awakening process going. Jim Hightower has a great two-part article summarizing the fascistic trends afoot federally-- you can find them at:
Bush's Imperial Presidency
Inside Donnie Rumsfeld's Orwellian Pentagon
Make copies of these and other relevant articles, leave them around your break rooms, worker bathrooms, coffee shops, laundro-mats, waiting rooms, etc.

As Dante said, "The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."

Or, try these words of wisdom from Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [sic] to do nothing."

Find inspiration where ever you can, but do SOMETHING TO MOVE US ALL INTO A BETTER, MORE JUST WORLD. It is not enough to sit by and smirk as folks who have their world explained to them on evening news. It is not hip, productive, chic, cool or excusable to be a cynic.

Motivate yourself and then motivate others.

We must create the change-- together.

Practice solidarity like our lives depend on it, cuz they do.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Don't Mourn, Organize!

One of my heroes passed away this week.

Comandanta Ramona died, January 6th, after a very long illness. She was an incredible fighter and visionary for another way of doing things. She knew that the world of International Monetary Fund policy and World Trade Organization rules were not simply the natural order. She saw through the lie that there is no alternative to the neo-liberal globalization movement, and she spoke truth to power.

For 12 years now, the EZLN, more commonly known in the U$ as Zapatistas, have been a force to be reckoned with. Women make up about 1/3 of the ranks of the EZLN, and are somewhat more than half of its base of support. Comandanta Ramona’s words lay bare the reason for this when she explained, “Women have been the most exploited . . . We get up at three in the morning to prepare corn for our husband's breakfast and we don't rest until late at night. If there is not enough food we give it to our children and our husbands first. So the women now have decided to take up arms and become Zapatistas."

Comandanta Romona helped to author the Revolutionary Laws of the Zapatista Women, which demand (among other items):
· The married women have the right to use family planning methods-natural or artificial- whichever they decide. The man has to agree with her decision.
· The women have the right to participate in meetings and in the decision-making process, without criticism. The women have the right hold office....
· The woman has the right to support from the husband when she is organizing, and when women go to meetings, men will watch and feed the children and tend the hearth.

Comandanta Romona has been an inspiration to me, as have the Zapatistas overall.

La lucha continua.