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TBF

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Wisconsin
Current location: Tejas
Member since: Thu Jan 17, 2008, 12:44 PM
Number of posts: 25,268

About Me

You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one

Journal Archives

Dwight D. Eisenhower - hardly a socialist

but his quotes are better than most of what I read in the news today:

Prison to Table: The Other Side of the Whole Foods Experience

July 9, 2014 ~ Dissent

It’s not clear what shocked people most about the report in Fortune that Whole Foods Market sells goat cheese and tilapia prepared with prison labor—the horrendous exploitation of prisoners for a base rate less than one-tenth of Whole Foods’ starting wage, or the fact that even after paying prisoner-workers sixty cents an hour, that tiny wheel of goat cheese still costs upward of seven dollars. Whichever reason it was, for many the story disturbed the experience that Whole Foods carefully cultivates for its customers.

Walk into any Whole Foods Market and the messaging is clear. Colorful panels above neatly displayed quarts of organic chicken broth boast that Whole Foods pays the highest minimum wage in the grocery business ($10 an hour, which is still a poverty wage for most workers). Pamphlets outside the meat cases detail the company’s animal welfare rating system and explain why it doesn’t sell shark meat and other seafood that can’t be fished sustainably. Workers in a seemingly casual but carefully tailored uniform set out “Whole Trade” bananas while smiling and making small talk with customers. Along the walls, posters introduce you to different vendors whose products the store stocks. When you check out, a cashier may ask you to donate to the Whole Planet Foundation—a program to give microloans to women entrepreneurs in developing countries. The stores are designed, from the crates used to display produce to the boat-deck-style overalls worn in the seafood department, to give you the impression of a highly compressed supply chain, carefully monitored for quality and decentralized to produce “win-win” relationships with vendors.

Whole Foods portrays this experience as the natural state of affairs in a bastion of so-called conscious capitalism—a strategy that has contributed in no small part to the company’s incredible success. It pioneered a new model for grocery stores that based its marketing not only on the products it sold but on its image as an “activist” company that “revolutionized” the way the grocery business was run. The real secret of Whole Foods’ success, however, is far less novel or glamorous: it has essentially profited from scamming its customer base ...

More here: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/prison-to-table-the-other-side-of-the-whole-foods-experience

Is there a feminist spring?

July 2014 ~ Hazel Healy

<snip>

These girls are part of what is being described as a new wave of feminism. Feminism never stopped, of course, but there is something in the air – a new surge of energy and interest. In Britain alone, the number of grassroots groups has tripled since 2010, according to advocacy network UK Feminista. It is now inundated with requests for talks and training.

<snip>

Daring, in-your-face activism is booming. Russian anarchists such as Pussy Riot have become household names, and the ‘sextremists’ Femen have rediscovered the power of baring their breasts as a confrontational means of attracting attention. With media coverage guaranteed, their method has been adopted from Mexico to Tunisia to Germany.

On the face of it, employment rights for women are an area of considerable progress. We’ve broken into new occupations, and made up half the workforce during the last 20 years. But writer and activist Beatrix Campbell has described how the advent of ‘neopatriarchal neoliberalism’ (‘an ugly name for an ugly deal’) has left women across the globe concentrated in low-paid, precarious work and a persistent gender pay gap.

An impressive 135 countries now enshrine maternity leave in law. But most women who juggle work and childcare will testify to the statistics that place domestic labour firmly in women’s court. Men are taking on more, yet if current trends continue, women in the West alone will have to wait until 2050 for a 50:50 split ...

Much more here: http://newint.org/features/2014/07/01/keynote-feminist-spring/#sthash.WM1mQyLM.DHdekmmL.dpuf

Popular Agrarian Reform: An Alternative to the Capitalist Model

Popular Agrarian Reform: An Alternative to the Capitalist Model
Written by João Pedro Stedile and Osvaldo León
Monday, 07 July 2014

Since the 1980s, we are living in a new phase of capitalism, marked by the hegemony of finance capitalism and transnational corporations, which have gained control of the production of the principal commodities and world trade, generating structural change in agricultural production.

This control over goods by financial capital that circulates in the world in proportions five times greater than their equivalent in actual production (255 billion dollars/year in currency, for 55 billion dollars/year in goods), transforms natural assets – such as land, water, energy, minerals – into mere commodities under its control. And due to this, there is an enormous concentration of property in land, natural assets and food.

In effect, at the present time, close to one hundred food and agriculture transnationals (such as Cargill, Monsanto, Dreyfus, ADM, Syngenta, Bunge, etc.) control the greater part of world production of fertilisers, agrochemicals, pesticides, agro-industries and the food market. This is because foods are now sold and subject to speculation in international markets, like any raw material (iron, petroleum, etc.), and the big financial interests acquire millions of tons of food for speculation. Millions of tons of soya, maize, wheat, rice, even harvests not yet planted, for the year 2018, are already sold. That is to say, millions of tons of grain that do not exist already have owners.

This production model that capital is now establishing in the whole world is known as agribusiness, and this basically involves organizing agricultural production in the form of monoculture on an ever increasing scale, with the intensive use of agricultural machinery and toxic chemicals, along with the growing use of GM seeds.

Thus this productive model of agribusiness is socially unjust, since it tends to expel the workforce from the countryside, it is economically unsustainable, since it depends on the import of millions of tons of chemical fertilizers; it is subordinated to large corporations that control seeds, agricultural inputs, prices, the market and are left with the greater part of profits from agricultural production. It is not environmentally sustainable, since the practice of monoculture destroys naturally-existing biodiversity, the irresponsible use of toxic chemicals destroys the natural fertility of soils and their microorganisms, contaminates the environment, and above all, contaminates the food produced, with grave consequences for human health ...

Much more here: http://upsidedownworld.org/main/international-archives-60/4924-popular-agrarian-reform-an-alternative-to-the-capitalist-model

Capitalists encounter Millennials (toon)

Well, if they have any $$$ left after paying their myriad student loans ... (source: New Yorker cartoons)

How the US can legally kill its citizens -

Here’s How it is Legal for the Government to Kill an American Citizen
By: Peter Van Buren Monday July 7, 2014 8:27 am

When you are saying something true, pure, clean and right, you often do not need many words. Like most of the Bill of Rights, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is beautiful in its brevity. Americans may not “…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” There are no footnotes in the Fifth Amendment, no secret memos, no exceptions. Those things were unnecessary, because in what Lincoln offered to his audience as “a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” the government was made up of us, the purpose of government was to serve us, and the government was beholden to us. Such a government should be incapable of killing its own citizens without an open, public trial allowing the accused to defend him/herself.

<snip>

On September 30, 2011 a U.S. drone fired a missile in Yemen and killed American Citizen Anwar al Awlaki, born in the United States. A few days later the U.S. also killed al Awlaki’s 16 year old American Citizen son. Al Awlaki had once been a friend of the American military, invited in the aftermath of 9/11 to speak and lunch at the Pentagon. A few years later, al Awlaki was connected by the same U.S. government to al Qaeda, apparently mostly as a propagandist who may or may not have taken on an online role in persuading other Westerners to join the cause.

In 2012 Attorney General Holder said of the al Awlaki killing and the Fifth Amendment “that a careful and thorough executive branch review of the facts in a case amounts to ‘due process’ and that the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment protection against depriving a citizen of his or her life without due process of law does not mandate a ‘judicial process.’” It was unknown at the time, but Holder was referring to a secret white paper prepared by the Office of the Legal Counsel laying out the legal justification for the U.S. government to kill one of its own citizens extrajudicially, in apparent violation of the Fifth Amendment ...

much more here: http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/07/07/heres-how-it-is-legal-for-the-government-to-kill-an-american-citizen/

Rethinking the 4th of July

Rethinking the 4th of July
July 1, 2014
By Bill Bigelow

<snip>

n 1774 common farmers and artisans from throughout Massachusetts rose up by the thousands and overthrew all British authority. In the small town of Worcester (only 300 voters), 4,622 militiamen from 37 surrounding communities lined both sides of Main Street and forced British-appointed officials to walk the gauntlet, hats in hand, reciting their recantations 30 times each so everyone could hear. There were no famous “leaders” for this event. The people elected representatives who served for one day only, the ultimate in term limits. “The body of the people” made decisions and the people decided that the old regime must fall.

As Raphael concludes, “Textbook authors and popular history writers fail to portray the great mass of humanity as active players, agents on their own behalf.” Instead, textbooks credit Great Men—Washington, Franklin, Jefferson—and render all others as “mere followers.”

And there is a lot more that complicates the events surrounding the 4th of July and the Revolutionary War. As Raphael notes, “Not one of the elementary or middle school texts even mentions the genocidal Sullivan campaign, one of the largest military offensives of the war, which burned Iroquois villages and destroyed every orchard and farm in its path to deny food to Indians.”

For use with students, see “George Washington: An American Hero?” in Rethinking Columbus, published by Rethinking Schools. In an excerpt included in Rethinking Columbus, Washington wrote to Gen. John Sullivan on May 31, 1779:

The expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians with their associates and adherents. The immediate object is their total destruction and devastation and the capture of as many persons of every age and sex as possible.

It will be essential to ruin their crops now on the ground, and prevent their planting more. . . .

Parties should be detached to lay waste all settlements around . . . that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed. . . .

Those are the orders of a war criminal ...

more here: https://zinnedproject.org/2014/07/rethinking-the-4th-of-july/

Smash the Engine

7.3.14 ~ by Peter Frase

Snowpiercer’s underlying themes go beyond merely pointing out class exploitation to challenge the logic of capital

Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer has been praised for its action-movie spectacle and its message of class struggle. It exceeds expectations on both counts. Amid tightly-paced sequences that eschew standard-issue Hollywood pyrotechnics, it evokes some of the thorniest dilemmas of socialism and revolution, in the twentieth century and today.

This is a science-fiction adventure set entirely on a train. Or rather, the train, which forever zooms around the planet carrying the last remnants of humanity because the outside world has been rendered uninhabitable. The class hierarchy within the train is expressed physically: the closer you are to the front of the train, the more opulent and leisurely your existence.

The script, written by Bong and Kelly Masterson, takes the central conceit of the train from a decades-old French graphic novel of the same name, though the plots of the two stories are quite different.

Most of the movie’s story focuses on the figures of Curtis and his mentor Gilliam (wonderfully portrayed by John Hurt). They lead a proletarian revolution, touched off by a police raid that seizes several working-class children and takes them away for reasons unknown. They are fighting to make it to the front car and confront the mysterious Wilford, who controls the train and whose corporate emblems appear throughout it.

Curtis makes the stakes plain in an early conversation with Gilliam. “If we control the engine, we control the world,” he says. “Without that, we have nothing. All past revolutions have failed because they couldn’t take the engine.” Not exactly subtle ...

More here - https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/07/smash-the-engine/

Why We’re Marxists

Marxism lives because we have not gone beyond the circumstances that created it.

Months after its release, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is still getting praised in reviews and sitting near the top of bestseller charts. If the invisibility of a system is a marker of its ideological success, this can’t be a good sign for capitalism.

It’s no surprise that people are curious about the causes of the injustice that surrounds them. Average workers’ wages in the US have fallen sizably from 2007 to 2012; in the same period, over 90 percent of all new income went to the top 1 percent; while around 46 million Americans live in poverty, the gap between corporate profits and workers’ wages has never been greater. Piketty’s conclusion that capitalism, if left unchecked, generates a concentration of wealth among a tiny minority sits well with this lived experience.

Merit or hard work, the standard justifcation for inequality, has little to do with our new gilded age ...

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/07/why-were-marxists/


The Bible and Student Loans (Internet Meme)

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