Author: seekingGood

Timothy Snyder Speaks

Remember the post from last summer when we highlighted Timothy Snyder’s book On Tyranny?  He has begun a YouTube series called “Timothy Snyder Speaks”.  Take a look at episode 7, in which Professor Snyder talks about “The Evil of ‘America First’”.

Timothy Snyder Speaks

Prof. Snyder describes the series as informal talks that fall between “the 90 seconds” afforded during a TV interview and a 45 minute class lecture.  Each is a five to fifteen minute treat of a learned person concerned about the current political climate in America.  Agree or disagree, his gentle, almost offhanded style should allow you the opportunity to debate with yourself in an open, civilized manner. While your there, check out other episodes in the series.

Empire Files Interview

A conversation between Abby Martin and Peter Joseph

Peter Joseph is the founder of the Zeitgeist Movement, a grassroots, worldwide organization that advocates an alternative economic system based on sustainability, cooperation and human need. His most recent book, The New Human Rights Movement delivers a startling exposé about the violent oppression that defines our economic order, while issuing an urgent call for global activism to unite to replace it.

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In a conversation with journalist Abby Martin, Peter Joseph describes the contradictions and crises of capitalism and what he advocates to save the future of the planet from catastrophe. Joseph describes the disappearance of humanity—real people—at the hands of those seeking to maximize profit and power. If we pay attention, we can see the slow but steady dissolution of our own humanity as a result of abuses by advertising, manipulation of stock markets, and a systemic subjugation of common people. Ms. Martin elicits descriptions of many of the topics covered in Mr. Joseph’s most recent book The New Human Rights Movement: Reinventing the Economy to End Oppression. Some of the topics addressed in the video include:

  • advertising and consumption-based society
  • technological efficiency requiring generation of artificial demand
  • the true nature of the stock market (83% of all stocks are owned by 1% of the population)
  • “dead peasants insurance”
  • the presence of artificial intelligence within the economy
  • the money making-machine and your retirement funds
  • debt-based currency
  • influence of the financial sector on political control

Zeitgeist Movement Fist

For many of us, these topics seem dry, obscure, too technical or just plain boring. Yet have you ever considered, the relationship between advertising and humane behavior, for instance—behavior you expect in a civilized society and yet which is lacking with regard to you and the way you and your loved ones are treated? Without a lot of technical jargon, Mr. Joseph paints an infuriating picture of abuse by the wealthy and corporations. This abuse is not aimed at somebody else, at those other people, but at you—at most of us.

If you are not angry already, perhaps you should be. The video lasts about 45 minutes. Take your time. Listen repeatedly. Get the gist of what he is saying. As an example, if you have never heard of “dead peasants insurance” that concept alone should have you reaching for your pitchfork. In general, presuming Joseph’s story is accurate, decide if you really want to be the victim of such systematic cruelty.

TZM logoYou can listen to a talk from November 2017 given by Mr. Joseph in which he speaks about his ideas about the “new human rights movement”. Additionally, you might also want to take a deeper look at the Zeitgeist Movement. This movement, founded by Mr. Joseph in 2008 advocates a transformation of society and its economic system to a non-monetary system based on resource allocation and environmentalism. You can also download The Zeitgeist Movement Defined (PDF).

What’s Old is New Again

Remember Dan Rather? Most of us who are even “just a little bit older” certainly do. Mr. Rather, a former anchor of the CBS Evening News, was one of the most well-known broadcast news journalists during a time when the news gave the appearance of being “truer” than many broadcasts manage these days. Some of us might find comfort in knowing such a persons is still at it.

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Apparently, Mr. Rather has teamed up with the Young Turks on their YouTube channel to present a weekly news broadcast. Take a look at the first one. Sober, direct, calm, seemingly non-partisan, the broadcast feels trustworthy enough. You might like it enough to subscribe.

Dan RatherThe endeavor, which Mr. Rather describes as “an answer to what TV news has become” is streamed on YouTube every Monday at 5:30 EST. You might at least get a bit of comfort, a brief respite from these troubled days of “fakenews”.

You might also want to check out the post “State of the Union Address” broadcast from the end of January.

 

Agitprop and Us

The point is not what we expect from life,
but rather what life expects from us.
~Viktor Frankl

agitpropWe constantly look to heroines or heroes to “save“ us. We wait for messiahs, we follow gurus and place considerable faith in politicians and other individuals, elevating them to the status of societal leaders, policy makers and ultimately gatekeepers of societal norms. Many of us dutifully cast our votes at election time, assuming our ballot can effectively shift the scales in our favor regarding civil liberties, personal protection as well as economic and physical well-being. Essentially, when it comes to getting things done, to make life better, we tend to look elsewhere instead of looking to ourselves.

History belongs to the people. So says Sophia Burns in her article “Star Wars: ‘The Last Jedi’ is Revolutionary Agitprop”. Such a belief portrays us as the captains of our fate, the rulers of our days. However the attitudes and behaviors expressed by most people seldom justify such heroic notions.

Yhero-01ou probably do not know the Russian word “agitprop” although you are certainly familiar with the concept. The term roughly refers to effort to spread ideas (pejoratively called “propaganda”) through popular media like movies, music, etc.. Sophia Burns proposes that while previous incarnations of the Star Wars saga presented a top-down view of leadership and socio-political change, The Last Jedi presents a very different idea. Stepping away from the focus on a single individual possessing some sort of royal birthright and almost single handedly challenging an evil empire, The Last Jedi manages to open the door for the rise of common people as a collective force against the Empire. But do we hear this message? Do we look beyond the space battles and the archetypical heroic figures to more pervasive, people-centered possibilities? Do we get the Gestalt, the overall message embedded in the relationships, the general narrative of the art form (the movie) itself? Are we even aware of the “propaganda” conveyed in ANY presentation over which we decide to linker for an hour or more?

Using our previous formula—to feature an article one week, then to post a more extensive follow-up in subsequent weeks—this week we present the agitprop article centered around the recent Star Wars movie. In the next few weeks we will delve into personal responsibility and the need for action by common people highlighted by Ms. Burns’ article. In the meantime, also consider Paul Street’s call for a strong leader of the more radical MLK ilk compared to a Naomi Klein/Opal Tometi article urging us to look past “leadership” personalities toward a more broad, global, interconnected understanding of our problems and the need for common people to build a saner society.

 

Free Tea in the South

Human freedom is not freedom from conditions,
but freedom to take a stand and to face whatever conditions
might confront [us]” ~ Viktor Frankl

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Remember the nomadic Giusepi Spadafora, the Tea Man? Instead of going west last fall, it turns out, the Tea Man and Edna Lu (the traveling Tea Bus) went south.  You can read a detailed account of what he has been up to the last few months on his blog.

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State of the Blog

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The first posting on this site appeared one year ago.  The blog arose out of a desire to focus the thoughts and actions of a group of social scientists, artists, educators and others around the general topic “what is happening to the United States and what should we do about it”.  We began 2017 largely with small reposts of articles and videos that seemed noteworthy without appearing overly partisan.  As the months passed and the vagaries of WordPress formatting presented less of an impediment, the posts began to change, dramatically increasing in length, complexity and containing significantly more original content.

The reset for this New Year (2018) will initially return to more “light” fare until the major stories for the year emerge (just as net neutrality and democracy became the major themes of 2017).  The blog’s intention, however, is to shift focus from external or civic (socio-political) events to more internal psycho-social states we each experience as individuals. (more…)

Are we having fun yet?

Death of Democracy trimmed

Here we are. Now what? After an expectedly tumultuous 2017, when various civil liberties and protections have been spirited away, stolen in the night, brazenly ripped from our freedom clutching fingers, who are we and where do we go from here? This post simultaneously represents the end of the “Death of Democracy” series and the turn from explicit descriptions of socio-political situations toward explorations of intra-personal, psycho-social elements that form our experience of EveryDayLife. (more…)