“You can think of death bitterly or with resignation … and take every possible measure to postpone it. Or, more realistically, you can think of life as an interruption of an eternity of personal nonexistence, and seize it as a brief opportunity to observe and interact with the living, ever-surprising world around us.” Barbara Ehrenreich
The proletariat cannot be victorious except through democracy, i.e., by giving full effect to democracy and by linking with each step of its struggle democratic demands formulated in the most resolute terms…While capitalism exists, these demands—all of them—can only be accomplished as an exception, and even then in an incomplete and distorted form. Basing ourselves on the democracy already achieved, and exposing its incompleteness under capitalism, we demand the overthrow of capitalism, the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, as a necessary basis both for the abolition of the poverty of the masses and for the complete and all-round institution of all democratic reforms.
~~Lenin on Self-Determination (1915)
Democracy and capitalism are in fatal conflict, and the contradictions are clearer and clearer in the contemporary US: the militarization of domestic police forces accompanied by unsustainable military expansion around the world; mass incarceration and the criminalizing of whole communities; permanent war; political power in the hands of a tiny super-rich cabal; rampant corruption and political paralysis; an economy (casino/disaster/zombie/crony capitalism) built on gambling, collecting rents, and debt; crumbling infrastructure; chronic underemployment and unemployment; galloping income disparity; the eclipse of the public and the selling off of the public space to the highest bidder (or the closest and most genial family member); massive poverty, hunger, and homelessness as a choice by power in the richest country in the world.
Our fight is for full democracy—political, economic, international—not the mangled, disfigured “democracy” we see all around us.
Let the people decide!
Contact: Robert Shetterly, 207-326-8459 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“Americans Who Tell the Truth” is excited to announce a public event to honor Bob Koehler with an unveiling of Robert Shetterly’s new portrait of him at the Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington, Chicago, on June 16, from 2 pm to 4 pm.
Long-time, award-winning Chicago writer Bob Koehler describes himself as a peace journalist: a journalist who believes in tearing back the status quo and reporting the complex—the human—story behind the news. To a peace journalist, love is complex and violence is simplistic, and it is the journalist’s duty to report a story in its complexity, to look for the path toward healing in every conflict. He calls his columns prayers described as op-eds.
On his website, commonwonders.com, he writes: “Nonviolent response to conflict is, simply put, the foundation of civilization, is it not? Conflict — between and among people, between species, with our planet and universe — is inevitable. Violent response belittles the conflict, shatters the complexity, perpetuates the problem, endangers the innocent and often blows up in our faces. But violence is an industry, shrouded in mythology and consensus. Working to undo the mythology of violence is the most responsible act a writer can commit. We can’t dehumanize others without doing the same to ourselves.”
He has devoted his career—forty-plus years as a reporter, editor, syndicated columnist and teacher—to empowering readers and students alike, to find their voices, to participate in the creative process of social evolution, which begins with speaking and writing the truth.
The “Americans Who Tell the Truth+ portraits, now numbering over 235, travel to schools, colleges, museums, churches and libraries all over the United States to promote engaged and courageous citizenship. “Bob Koehler’s portrait will be a great addition to this project,” Shetterly says. “I know of no greater contemporary writer and no greater source of wisdom for how we must think of ourselves in relation to one another and to the future if we want to survive in a healthy and humane way on this planet. Bob Koehler is surely guilty of that most responsible act a writer can commit—compassionate, courageous, peace-loving sanity.”
At the unveiling Robert Shetterly will introduce Bob and together they will unveil the portrait ,and then Bob will speak.
Please visit http://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org to get an idea of the scope of this project, and to see the company of portraits Bob Koehler will be joining.