CHESA needs us NOW!!

September 20, 2019

Chesa’s campaign is on fire: https://www.chesaboudin.com/

He’s endorsed by Angela Davis, Tiffany Caban, Shaun King, Rebecca Solnit and a zillion other progressives.
He needs to raise several thousand dollars by Saturday at midnight, the end of the reporting period.
Please donate now—NOW—and if you are at the maximum, ask a friend to join in. https://www.chesaboudin.com/
Joy and Justice, Bill
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I’M AFRAID YOU HAVE HUMANS

September 20, 2019

 

By Robert C. Koehler

The irony of this old New Yorker cartoon by Eric Lewis is so precise I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for two years. The speaker is the planet Saturn, clad in doctor’s garb — a stethoscope circling his forehead — giving the bad news to a sick and miserable-looking Earth:

“I’m afraid you have humans.”

What more can you say? But of course the dystopian irony is intensified by the fact that the artist is human, the reader (me) is human, and the drawing itself portrays Planet Earth with a human face, all of which summons forth a half-century-old quote an oceanographer, a member of President Lyndon Johnson’s science advisory committee, told Bill Moyers when he was a special assistant to LBJ. Moyers recounted his words at a climate conference earlier this year:

“Now, he said, humans have begun a ‘vast geophysical experiment.’ We were about to burn, within a few generations, the fossil fuels that had slowly accumulated in the earth over the past 500 million years. Burning so much oil, gas and coal would release massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it would trap heat that otherwise would escape into space. Earth’s temperature could rise, causing polar ice to melt and sea levels to rise, flooding the earth’s coastal regions.”

Johnson, according to Moyers, took this all seriously until — yeah, the irony gets too hot to handle here — the Vietnam War fully consumed his attention. Now it’s 2019, not 1965, and the “vast geophysical experiment” has continued unabated. So have America’s wars, militarism and global weapons sales. And nationalistic paranoia is spreading across the whole planet.

I’m afraid you have humans, oh Planet Earth. Even the national paranoiacs, with Donald Trump seemingly in the lead, know it. That is to say, they know the planet is in trouble and global chaos is inevitable, but they see only one way to respond: tighten the borders, build walls, protect themselves from refugee invasion, prepare for war.

But something else is also emerging: an alternative to this insanity. Perhaps you could call it awareness.

What is emerging, as exemplified by the looming climate strike that is set to start on Sept. 20, led by young people in some 150 countries — the generation coming of age on this injured planet — who will stage numerous rallies and demonstrations demanding real change (at long last, for God’s sake), is something that can only be called transnational. Climate change is global in nature and the only way to address it is beyond the national borders that cage our thinking and protect the financial beneficiaries of this “vast geophysical experiment” that remains ongoing.

One of these young people is, of course, the internationally known 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, who will be leading a demonstration in New York City on Friday, where the million-plus students in the city’s public school system have been excused if they want to join the strike.

Has sanity — and by sanity, I mean hope — finally emerged as a counterforce to the impenetrable status quo of fossil fuel consumption, capitalism and nationalism?

Here’s how Thunberg put it in a TED Talk she gave last year in Sweden: “The one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.”

Has the upcoming generation taken it upon itself to save the planet? Is a transnational human unity beginning to create itself?

Naomi Klein, in an interview with Common Dreams following the release of her new book, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, attempting to describe the enormity of the movement, said:

“It is a spiritual project. It is a narrative project. It is a movement project. It is a political project. And it is all of those forces coming together. We have a long way to go to build the political power required to turn the vision of the boldest, most justice-based Green New Deal into policy. But it is absolutely extraordinary to think how fast we have moved already.”

Indeed, as Klein pointed out, climate change is now on the Democratic political agenda. The party’s candidates for 2020 are addressing it and expressing support for the Green New Deal — “whether they meant it or not,” Klein noted. But even a candidate’s tepid endorsement of climate change action is shocking. Media and political bouncers have kept issues of real significance (e.g., war, demilitarization) out of presidential campaigns since George McGovern was clobbered by Richard Nixon in 1972.

Let hope emerge! I don’t know what it will look like, except that it has to be global. It has to be the size of World War II, which spawned the Manhattan Project and a nuclear-armed planet with the capacity to kill itself in the short term as well as the long term.

And by no means does hope mean ignoring the melting ice, rising oceans, devastating fires and intensifying storms — or the extinction of species — that our century-plus of geophysical experimentation has produced, or the seeming rise of fascist governments around the globe and the “climateapartheid” they are preparing for.

Like it or not, we have humans here on Planet Earth. It’s up to all of us to determine what that means.

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.


NEW YORK TOMORROW 9/21

September 20, 2019
STUDY HALL: Radical Study + Stuart Hall
 
Haiku Workshop…Radical Study…Stuart Hall
 
Saturday, September 21, 2019 5:30 PM until 9:30 PM
 
Worker Writers School—Mark Nowak
 
The People’s Forum
320 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10018
 
Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Hiroaki Sato, Eli Meyerhoff, Bill Ayers

Back to School

September 19, 2019

https://www.semcoop.com/event/panel-discussion-education-and-liberation-back-school-edition


My Book Review of COMRADE in CI

September 18, 2019

https://criticalinquiry.uchicago.edu/william_ayers_reviews_comrade/


L and C

September 17, 2019
LOUD & CLEAR:

Salvador Allende’s last words

September 16, 2019
Salvador Allende’s last words as the CIA coup stormed the presidential palace 46 years ago:
 
Many friends,
 
Surely this will be the last opportunity for me to address you. The Air Force has bombed the towers of Radio Portales and Radio Corporación.
 
My words do not have bitterness but disappointment. May they be a moral punishment for those who have betrayed their oath: soldiers of Chile, titular commanders in chief, Admiral Merino, who has designated himself commander of the Navy, and Mr Mendoza, the despicable general who only yesterday pledged his fidelity and loyalty to the government, and who also has appointed himself chief of the Carabineros [national police].
 
Given these facts, the only thing left for me is to say to workers: I am not going to resign!
 
Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seed which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever. They have strength and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested neither by crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.
 
Workers of my country: I want to thank you for the loyalty that you always had, the confidence that you deposited in a man who was only an interpreter of great yearnings for justice, who gave his word that he would respect the constitution and the law and did just that. At this definitive moment, the last moment when I can address you, I wish you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, together with the reaction, created the climate in which the armed forces broke their tradition, the tradition taught by General Schneider and reaffirmed by Commander Araya, victims of the same social sector which will today be in their homes hoping, with foreign assistance, to retake power to continue defending their profits and their privileges.
 
I address, above all, the modest woman of our land, the campesina who believed in us, the worker who labored more, the mother who knew our concern for children. I address professionals of Chile, patriotic professionals, those who days ago continued working against the sedition sponsored by professional associations, class-based associations that also defended the advantages which a capitalist society grants to a few.
 
I address the youth, those who sang and gave us their joy and their spirit of struggle. I address the man of Chile, the worker, the farmer, the intellectual, those who will be persecuted, because in our country fascism has been already present for many hours — in terrorist attacks, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railroad tracks, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to protect them. They were committed. History will judge them.
 
Surely Radio Magallanes will be silenced, and the calm metal instrument of my voice will no longer reach you. It does not matter. You will continue hearing it. I will always be next to you. At least my memory will be that of a man of dignity who was loyal to the workers.
 
The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.
 
Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again where free men will walk to build a better society.
 
Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!
 
These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.
 
[Salvador Allende (1908–1973) was the president of Chile from 1970 to 1973.]