Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Vote @ War Tax Resistance Video Contest

Vote @ War Tax Resistance Video Contest
The War Tax Resistance Video Contest has
picked its 4 finalists.
While we do have a horse in this race,
go and vote for who you think is best at:

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A few notes

Bush's spokesperson, Tony Snow, has just announced that he has cancer and we are observing two responses. Liberals, perhaps a bit shocked on the response of Edwards staying in the presidential race after his wife's own cancer announcement, were quick to wish Snow, a fellow human being, well. The corporate media immediately tossed any petty issues to the side and have embraced him for his fight ahead.
Unfortunately, our response must be less kind and solipsistic. Tony Snow is the messenger dog of the empire using depleted uranium against the people of the world, Iraqi civilians and American soldiers included. It is said that new parents in Iraq are met with a new first question. No longer "Is it a boy or a girl?," but "is it normal?" The radiation across Iraq, from the current war and the previous ten years of constant bombardment, has poisoned everything and nowhere is it more apparent as in the deformities of a newborn. The chart above features the rate per 1,000 births of congenital malformations observed at Basra University Hospital, Iraq (reported by I. Al-Sadoon, et al., writing in the Medical Journal of Basrah University). The data for the period 1990-2001 show an incidence increase of 426% for general malignancies, 366% for leukemias and of over 600% for birth defects, with all series showing a roughly increasing pattern with time.
Currently, there are over five hundred news articles about Tony Snow in the latest news cycle. Where is the balance? Whose life is valued in this system? The same system that gloats over the murder of Saddam Hussein (who was gross in his own right and knowingly supported by the U.S. empire during his very worst crimes).

Saw The Wind That Shakes The Barley. Go see it. It is amazing.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

The Activist Top Ten for 2007

1) There is no purchasing the revolution or surfing to it online. While this might seem like a no-brainer to most, the tendency to reduce social change to individual action penetrates even the sharpest minds. So while we might be too cool for the (red) scam, we can still get caught up in the American Apparel branding. Which brings us to...

2) A lifetime of purity is worth a good ten minutes of coalition. What's it worth if you believe all the right things but can't work with anyone who doesn't? People getting shot at in Iraq don't care if you're working with democrats, nationalists, liberal reform groups, or radical communists if it stops the war. Jerry Falwell and the Chamber of Commerce may not agree on banking regulation and sermon subjects (or they might...), but they rule because united they stand, divided we fall. We don't need to drink together, but we have to let bygones be bygones and keep our eyes on the prize.

3) Even a vigil a day won't keep the system at bay. A moral argument may convince regular people to join us, but the empire isn't rhetorical. Politicians and the various institutions of war, from Exxon to the Ivy Leagues, don't give a whit about our moral arguments: they know their goal and they've made calculations to achieve it. Getting them to change their actions means getting them to change those calculations: politicians want to stay in office and corporations want to maintain profits. Threaten their primary needs and they won't just listen, they'll respond.

4) Accountability isn't optional. The worst sentence ever is "At least we're doing something." From meeting attendance to successful actions, the objective isn't to make ourselves feel better, but to grow and strengthen into a movement that can make the world better. Even the smartest ideas in the world have to survive the furnace of reality. If things are going well, they should be noted so we can repeat them; If they're going poorly, we have to trust ourselves enough to work out the kinks; we need to be honest with ourselves if we're going to have a chance. The point isn't to tear people down, but to always improve.

5) Education is nice, but there's no quiz at the end and no entrance exam. We don't need people who can quote Chomsky and know all the best lefty websites if they're too busy to do their share of organizing. This is a collective effort and nobody gets a free pass for catching all the radicaler-than-thou references. This also encourages the fence sitters who're considering getting involved but feel that they "don't know enough" yet.

6) Get in an affinity group. Encourage other people to get in affinity groups. Don't wait for an impending action. It's the fastest way to become more than the sum of our parts.

7) Community is critical. We're all going to feel defeated and none of us is an island. The system breeds misanthropy ("everyone else lets it continue this way cause they're sheep..."), but community is a stark reminder that there are actually a lot of people out there who're dreaming and working towards a better world.

8) Remember that we've won before: the biggest empires come crashing down, the hardest chains break, and the cruelest plantations burn. We've done it before, and with some hard work, we'll do it again.

9) No one has all the answers. Listen to our elders and learn from the teachers, but remember that the solutions haven't been figured out yet. It is really up to us. And last but not least...

10) Work and Hope. We can make it happen.

brought to you by History Is A Weapon (
What're we forgetting?


Monday, March 12, 2007

This upcoming week

It is a week until next monday, the fourth anniversary of this criminal war. For our American readers, we hope that you are doing more than just preparing to show up at a protest, but that you are actively helping organize one in your area. Any excuses that you are too busy, too old (or too young), too inexperienced, or too anything, and we will quickly remind you that Iraqis (and Afghanis) with identical excuses didn't get to opt out of the war. Go shut down a recruitment center, military base, congress person's office, whatever. If you don't know where to look, check out,, or your local Independent Media Center Affiliate. And if you can't find something happening in your area, pick the best nearest target and put something together with your friends (and email them and post about it on your blog, you internet-literate fiend you).
Be Your Heroes.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Updated World Map

We uploaded the updated map on US Foreign policy, mostly because the coverage of Bush's trip to Brazil has been so embarrassing. Corporate media is essentially offering a big "huh?" on why virtually all of Latin America doesn't trust the United States government. You have these completely inane comments from Washington scum who are like "well, we just haven't properly presented what we have to offer." You'd think that after a century of of the US government funding, training, and organizing death squads and ultra-right wing dictatorships who "disappear" any critics just as fast as they welcome in the Walmart and nike sweatshops, that most Latin Americans would have a pretty good sense of what the Bush calls "free trade" and "democracyTM." I just picture these commentators laughing when they get off the phone like "geez, those idiots will believe whatever I feed them!" Anyway, check out the map.

We're going to keep updating this map, so if you have suggestions or want to copy-edit any of the countries, send us an email. We're going to keep doing this until we can "trick" someone who knows flash into teaching us how to make the map in flash. If you are that person or know that person, send us an email too.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.'s death this week has been remarked on quite extensively by the New York Times. Today, they aggravate the already disproportionate praise on the man by lamenting that he was the last "great public historian." No. No, he wasn't. Schlesinger was certainly an influential historian and a popularizer, meaning that he wrote for a non-academic audience. But he was a poor public historian, one infatuated with power and a hagiographer of bad men, especially the Kennedys, who too many Americans think highly of (John was obsessed with his place in history, even if it meant committing war crimes in Vietnam; Robert's odd turn at the end of his life has given some progressives hope, but his work against the Civil Rights movement was shameful).
Not only was Schlesinger a poor public historian, but there are many excellent ones left. It should surprise no one that we would quickly point out the excellent Howard Zinn, whose enduring contributions as a popularizer, an academic, and as an activist make Schlesinger look like a brown-nosing grad student. There is also, among many others, Jeremy Brecher, Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Angela Davis, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Barbara Ehrenreich, Eric Foner, Dan Georgakas, Joy James, James Loewen, Staughton Lynd, Robert McChesney, Vijay Prashad, David Roediger, and, neither last or least, Kristian Williams.
The Times is a degenerate publication hampered by ideology, but its attempt to identify a barren lot in the midst of a growing and bountiful crop shouldn't go unremarked.