Bury the TPP and Instead Plant Seeds for a Sustainable, Democratic Economy

The current economy benefits the few oligarchs running our nation while exploring all inhabitants of the earth and poisoning all of us as well as the planet which sustains us. It’s time for a new system. A new economy. It’s time for a change to a new system based on equality, social justice, sustainability and protecting and nurturing our planet Earth. Without Earth, none of us survive. If we band together and create innovative, socially just and sustainable alternatives using green power, we can bring manmind into a new era. We could change life as we know it and build a healthy planet, culture and economy for future generations. We can talk and battle politics forever and see little to no change. It comes down to each of us individually and what we do to bring about positive changes in the communities we live in. 

What would happen if we all worked together? What would happen if I got together a local group of creative thinkers that also want to change their lives and see vast improvements in our community? I envision a place. A space where we could form a worker cooperative that would benefit the entire community. A place is business where local food are sold and made, wood workers making furniture, bookshelves and anything else their creative mind thinks will benefit the community. Why buy plastic chairs from Walmart or pricey furniture from a corporation who doesn’t share the wealth if you would buy it from a local craftsman? Maybe we would have some seamstresses making linens for the house and clothing. A shoemaker who crafts lovely sandals. An artist. A sculptor. A farmer. People who are talented in making natural, healthy, harsh chemical free cleaning products, soaps and shampoos. I envision a worker/community cooperative where people can make practical items that we all need so that we no longer need to turn to ones lining the shelves in Corporate America that usually do animal testing and contain harsh, in some cases, cancer causing chemicals. 

I envision a different, better, healthier future that is sustainable and benefits the entire community. I hope you can see it to. I hope you want it. Let’s make it happen. Democratic Sustainable Economy Tools 

    
    
 

  

Sustainable Coop Organization with Resources
Be a localist! Check out BALLE

https://bealocalist.org/

Land of The Free? Free to Suffer

I learned recently that there are over 2,400 homeless school age children in the county I live in. That is just accounting for the children that are of school age and doesn’t include parents and children from birth to the age of 5. How can this be?! How can this be considered “normal” in this day and age in the wealthiest nation in the world? We can spend trillions of dollars invading other countries on dubious grounds? We can give tax breaks to companies with billions of dollars in annual profits? We can bail out the banking industry with trillions of dollars? But we can’t ensure that children are fed and have a home? What does that say about our society? Take a look at our priorities. Take a look at what our government spends our resources and tax dollars. Obviously, we all need to pay attention to what’s going on here and speak up for ourselves and the hungry, homeless children and families. Also, the overworked and the underpaid. Oh, and we can’t forget about the blacks being killed and incarcerated at a horrifying rate. Certainly, I thought slavery had ended but millions of hard working, black Americans who have lost family members and friends from violence and discriminatory laws and incarceration policies will disagree. Slavery has not ended at all. It just has a different name, or even a slew of phrases. Are you outraged? I hope so because if you aren’t you either don’t care about justice, freedom and equality or you are too busy with your own life to even see the perils in the lives surrounding you. Pay attention. Look around. Be outraged. These are just a few examples of things we should all be outraged about. I could write a library full of books about so many other issues…. 

It’s a horrifying yet undeniable fact that this nation IS taking steps down a road paved with violence, greed, corruption and injustice. In fact, the U.S. isn’t taking steps down that road, it is speeding full throttle ahead on a road it’s been traveling on for decades at an alarming rate. We need to rally. Be active. Be aware. Share your beliefs and help to open the eyes of people in your life who either just don’t see what is happening or do see it and feel helpless and hopeless. We are not helpless. We are not hopeless. We are being enslaved and need to take off our chains. Some people may disagree with that statement, arguing that we are not slaves and have more freedom then anywhere else in the world. I beg to differ. Slavery is alive. It resides in America and every nation around the world. In one way or another, every nation has its segment of people enslaved and victimized by others more powerful or brutal then they. In my opinion, we can’t make any kind of significant, posive impact in other nations until we address the root of most evils. That root of evils has a name: Capitalism. The corporations have taken over. They now own America and control most of it’s politicians and media sources. Destroy Capitalism and then we have a chance to heal all the damage it created. Nothing can ever bring back the people that it has killed along its path towards Global Dominance. 

If you aren’t convinced about the evils of Capitalism and need some proof, I will share one small piece of it now. The production of goods in the U.S. has risen dramatically over the last 20 years which resulted in enormous, unprecedented profits. How did these enormous profits benefit the workers who made that possible? Did the pay rate increase at the same level as the increase in production and profit? Not at all. In fact, wages have remained relatively stagnant with a minimal increase that is insignifiicant when the dramatic increase in cost of living is taken into account. 

Capitalism exists with the sole purpose of benefitting a very minuscule elite group of people at the grave expense of millions who suffer or die. We are their fuel. Without us, there is no one to make their products and buy them. We have more power then we ever realized perhaps. 
Food for thought… Much more to come…

#MoveToAmend  #feelthebern #wageinequality #poverty #capitalism #corporategreed #blacklivesmatter #homeless #slavery #Bernie2016 #thestruggleisreal #corporatepersonhood

   

     

Sometimes A Student Teaches the Teacher

Several years ago, I was going through a very tough time, overwhelmed with problems in nearly every area of my life. Financially and emotionally, especially, I was suffering when it was apparent that nothing could be done to save my home, my time was nearly up living in it and it was time to move on and start a new chapter in my life. Well, coming up with thousands of dollars to move and trying to find the time to make it all happen in between working two jobs must have been taking a toll on me. I was under so much pressure and didn’t have enough money to really pull it all off smoothly. I thought I was holding myself together rather well and it keeping a calm exterior. One night, I realized that at least one student had really seen through me and saw I was in really bad straights.  This student, Marion, and I had clicked right away. She has a light about her, her personality is like a breath of fresh air on a sunshiny day after a dismal winter. You can’t help but get caught up in her and feel your spirit lifting when you’re with her. She has a joy and enthusiasm for life that is contagious. I knew that she was a genuine, caring and thoughtful person but what she did for me nearly made me weep tears of gratitude. Maybe I even did. I was so shocked I can’t exactly recall. So, what did this angel student do? She showed up at school one night and asked me to come outside with her, that she had something to give me. It was bags and bags of food. It was a gift, a vision to soothe my worry and fear: delicious, fresh, healthy food! I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I literally didn’t know how we were going to eat that week.  God did though. He knew. And he used Marion to not only stock our pantry, fridge and freezer but also to renew my faith. I had been feeling so down, feeling sorry for myself and wondering if life would ever get better. It seemed at that time to be on a steady slope downhill with no hope of making it back up the hill. But Marion was an answer to my prayers. She fed us physically and spiritually. My son couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw that first delivery and all the weekly subsequent ones that followed. Through her, I found sustainace and my faith was reborn. Timothy, my son, always possessed a strong faith but I think his was boosted also. My life quickly changed after she came into my life. Problems I had seen no solution for seemed to magically drift away. They say God can move mountains, well he sure did during those times for me. Marion taught me without even meaning to probably. She just did what comes naturally to her, she saw someone who needed help and she gave it. I learned to be more patient and faithful. God has a plan. We just need to wait and keep on doing the best we can do while that plan unfolds. 

I’ll never forget Marion and am glad that we are still in touch. Right now, my heart bleeds for her and her family. You see, Marion is a godly woman. She and her husband devote their lives to spreading the word and love of God, helping addicts learn to life a clean, wholesome life. They have touched hundreds of lives and done countless good deeds. But tragedy has struck a cruel blow in their lives. Sadly, two of Marion’s cousins were killed in the South Carolina church last week. Her cousins and all the members of the church don’t see life in terms of black and white. They see so much more, like love and opportunity to do good deeds to glorify God. Any white person can go to any black church and get received with wide, welcoming arms. Can white people say the same? If one lone black man walks into a 100% white congregation during their bible study, will he immediately, without any hesitation, get a warm welcome to join them? 

I think America needs to take a closer look at the black Christian community and take out a notepad and a pen. It’s time to learn from them. They embrace all people, regardless of race or class, who need a helping hand. Let them be our teachers. Let them be our inspiration for change. 

With ever lasting gratitude, respect, admiration and affection for Marion Adair, with sympathy and heartfelt condolences for her family and those of all the victims of the shooting, I write these words. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. 

My Reaction to “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh

Race is on my mind.  It’s everywhere I turn.  We are seeing black people litterally gunned down and killed, arrested and incarcerated unjustly, their voting rights being revoked, the list goes on and on and what a sad and tragic list it is. Slavery in a formal sense may have ended but they are still being enslaved, bound and constricted by the very society who claims they have equal rights.  Equal rights? No way. To even make that statement with a straight face in light of current events and atrocities being committed in black communities is an insult and a farce.

I don’t claim to have any answers to the crisis we face.  However, I do know that knowledge is the key to unlock most doors and have started to read more inequality.  That is how I ran across an article by Peggy McIntosh titled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” and was so mind blown by it that I read it twice, back to back. For the first time in my life, I realized that I have not accomplished what I have in my life simply based on my own merit.  I had a hand, a big white, ugly hand and it is called “White Privilege”.   I suddenly thought about how one black girl at CVS reacted to the announcement that I, after only about a year of employment, had been given a large promotion. She had been with the company much longer, had expressed interest in the position numerous times and had been told she could interview for it if the position ever opened up again.  Well, when the current Pharmacy Trainer was up for a promotion, she was asked to give names of possible successors.  Mine was one of them and I think the black girl’s was also but I could be wrong.  The bottom line is this: one day I got a call and invited to an “informal” meeting with some of the company’s higher ups.  Within two weeks, I had the job I wanted without even having it posted within the organization.  At the time, I didn’t even realize it was wrong.  I thought that I had been recognized based on my own performance.  I had seen the customer service scores for my store plummet for the entire time I was out on a leave of absence from a shattered patella. After my return, they raised dramatically.  It was noticed and commented on by people in upper management.  However, it was not just this that landed me that promotion.  I was handpicked by my white peers who wanted me because I “fit in”. That is a rude awakening to me and humbling.  It’s a slap to the ego to realize that you have not TRULY earned your achievements based on your own personal abilities.  No, it’s your skin color that has a starring role in a play you didn’t even know was on stage.

I actually felt a little sick when I read it because it really made me challenge my beliefs about race and how I have been trained to mistrust blacks and avoid deep ties or associations with any.  How can one person undo the damages caused by a life time of training and immersion in a culture that is truly based on oppression?  How do I go about removing those mental blocks holding me back?  How can I make any real, significant, contributions in a predominantly black community if I don’t make a conscious effort to retrain my thinking?  I am a loving and accepting person.  I don’t commit or condone hate crimes of any nature, In fact, I am outraged and disgusted by the inequalities so obvious in our society today and the increasing levels of violence being inflicted in the black community from hate mongers and even at the hands of our own police force and other governmental agencies.  I have never mistreated any black people and have always considered myself to be untainted by racist ideals. I have gone above and beyond to help black students of mine that I could quite clearly see needed some extra time, attention and resources.  I would like to think that I have helped some struggling students but really now I am thinking thats not enough.  There is so much more that I can do to help the movement for social justice.  I am not immune to our culture’s indoctrination into the oppressive society we find ourselves in and not 100% untainted.  I want to be.  I suppose that’s half the battle, seeing it and wanting to change.

So, in this article, Peggy McIntosh provides a list of ways her daily life is effected by white privilege and as I read it, my eyes widened in horror as I realized something personally horrifying to me.  I too have been privileged. I have been only partially aware of how society favors me and my family because of our race. Now. my eyes are opening up more and more and I am motivated to keep the process going.

Please read the excerpt below from her article and share your thoughts with me.

Here is a link to where I got it from: https://organizingforpower.wordpress.com/power/anti-oppression-resources-exercises/

Daily effects of white privilege

I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

  1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
  2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
  3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
  4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
  5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
  7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
  8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
  9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
  10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
  11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.
  12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
  13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
  14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
  15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
  16. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.
  17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.
  18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.
  19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
  20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
  22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
  23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
  24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race.
  25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
  26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
  27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.
  28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
  29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
  30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.
  31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.
  32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.
  33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
  34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
  35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.
  36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.
  37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
  38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
  39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
  40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
  41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
  42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
  43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
  44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.
  45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
  46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.
  47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.
  48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
  49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.
  1. I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

Don’t Kick a Dog When It’s Down

Some of us have been harder hit by Capitalism and flung further into poverty then some people in our very own families. When an entire family suffers, maybe they unite and struggle to survive as a team. Maybe they don’t and each battles for his or her own survival. I’m not sure because that’s not the way things are in my family. In my family, there is one person who really got sucker punched in the face and lost everything while the rest held on to their homes and bright, shiny new cars. One fell far and the rest continued their lives much as they were before the bubble burst. They may have lost some money but not enough to change their lifestyle at all. Maybe they had government jobs or wages that didn’t plummet and had also purchased their homes well before the lending crisis. Maybe they were just lucky. They slept peacefully in their cozy, king sized beds blissfully free from the persistent, nagging, gloomy thoughts many of us endure who are painfully aware that ahead is an uncertain and unstable future. 

So, that scenario can, of course, lead to countless different outcomes. There is one outcome that I suspect is quite prevalent however. That is the one where the folks relatively unscathed by the depression feel superior to the ones now captured in the relentless cycle of poverty. They feel that somehow it is their fault they are poor and should be made aware of their folly, for their own good. Surely, they must have made unwise decisions, spent frivolously, went down the wrong career path or “didn’t use” their college education. It’s impossible that other forces contributed. The world isn’t “out to get them”, so the blame sometimes gets placed upon the working poor individual. Repeatedly criticizing people and telling them it is their fault that they are now poverty stricken when the preponderance of evidence proves otherwise, that the government and corporations joined forces and declared an economic war on society, is the ultimate slap in the face and adds insult to injury. How many of you can relate with this scenario? 

I worked so hard, maintained two jobs simultaneously with powerful corporations, but it’s wasn’t enough. I still lost my house and eventually my jobs at both companies. Good bye health insurance. Good bye mediocre wages. Hello, slave wages and total absence of “affordable” health care.

If the working poor don’t experienve humiliation and shame within their own circle of family and friends, not to worry, society as a whole will send the message loud and clear. The media and the government, which is undeniably controlled by the evil and heartless 1%, excels at manipulating and distortion the public’s perception of reality. Years ago, the assault had begun and was overwhelmingly successful at planting an image of our nations welfare recipients and poverty stricken in the minds of the American public. The image depicted many welfare recipients as lazy, abusers of “the system” who lived life high on the hog at the tax payer’s expense. It is to the government’s and elite’s great advantage if we all believed that people receiving public assistance were enjoying life at our expense, cruising around in their BMW’s between appointments at the nail and hair salon, doing nothing to contribute to society. You see, if they were successful in their endeavor and the public disdainfully viewed them all as leeches, there would be no public outcry when slashed funding for social spending. Why “waste” the money hard working Americans paid for with their taxes? That wouldn’t benefit anyone but the greedy. They had a better idea: increase military spending to lead us to victory in our “War on Terror”. That sounds better then, let’s take from the poor and spend billions of dollars on our military fighting to benefit the elite and bring them more profit, in the trillions of dollars. When people are poor, tired, over worked, underpaid and barely able to think of anything beyond their own misery a state of apathy ensues. Hope for the future and the belief that we have the power to change anything slowly erodes away until all hope for a better future is extinguished. As for power, people born into poverty may never feel they have any power to change their own life much less our society as a whole. For people “new” to poverty, that illusion of power fades fast. 

The moral of my ramblings tonight is this: we have a suffered enough. The criminals controlling our government made sure of that. Is it morally just to inflict more pain upon one another? Isn’t it cruel to kick a dog when it’s down? WE ARE THE DOGS. We’re down, people. We have to stop kicking each other.