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WE MUST WATCH FOR INFILTRATORS

...without becoming uber-paranoid....
I think that the event decribed below, which happened in Geneva, might happen in Sacramento. Read below for a future reference...

AUTONOMOUS MEDIA COLLECTIVE BESIEGED IN GENEVA by Jamie King ( jamie@jamie.com)

At approximately half past nine Sunday Jun 01, the L'Usine, a center of anti-g8 activity in Geneva, was raided by police. The police were dressed in 'black bloc' gear, only identified as police by pink armbands and ID.

After surrounding the L'Usine during a gradual accretion of forces in the preceding hours, the police eventually massed in front of the building on the side of the public square that had become a meeting point for many demonstrators and activists. The police made one abortive attempt to enter the building in a small number, then fell back, regrouped, and made another sortie.

They were stopped temporarily by some activists who formed a chain. It is confirmed that these activists were beaten. Some few were injured, but not, it currently appears, badly.

Fighting then broke out in the 'Zoo' section of the L'Usine building. Activists trapped in the 'Zoo' were chased around by the police wielding telescopic batons.

Eventually the activists were subdued, or sent into hiding. Police then set to work on the inner doors, cheering and shouting, seeking to make their way into back sections of the L'Usine building. This section hosts the Geneva03 streaming project, which has been covering the anti-g8 demonstrations since late last week. Geneva03 continued to cover the raid live. The stream was taken down temporarily as activists rushed to save equipment, but is now up and running again at <www.geneva03.org>. Footage of the raid will be shown throughout the next days.

Also in the back section of L'Usine is the Forde, an art school/practice, and some art studios. It is rumored that one of the motives behind the police action, however, were allegations made in the national media today that L'Usine was also home to so-called 'black bloc' activity, a claim rejected by the Geneva03 team and others within L'Usine.

Police battered at the door inside the Zoo section of L'Usine for about fifteen to twenty minutes, while activists were besieged in the media room. There, workers from Indymedia, Mute, Candida, Everyone Is An Expert, Lora Radio and other groups struggled to remain calm and. The fact that police could be heard shouting and smashing things, made this difficult. A significant number of those present, especially from the Italian contingent, had also been present in Genoa at the raid of the media centre there.

An escape route was determined in the event that police broke through the doors violently with intent to harm the activists inside. This was an exit through a back window with a significant drop. The activists trapped in the center attempted to address Indymedia dispatch for a vehicle to break their fall, and also to call to legal aid outside.

It was discovered that the keys given to the Geneva03 workers to secure their studio were made available to the police, presumably at some stage after they smashed the inner door down. Although significant damage was cause to the building inside by police, they gained entry to the Geneva03 streaming studio peacefully, using the keys supplied by administrators of L'Usine.

Once inside, it was extremely fortunate that there were moments to talk privately with the police, and to explain clearly and without panic that those trapped inside were media workers. It is certain that the authorities knew this already, since they had observed us openly filming them out of the window and talking to the legal help. They were clearly aware of the stream since they immediately demanded it be turned off and that microphones be removed. The activists inside were told to put their hands on their heads. Some collected essential tapes and managed to first hide them, and then hand them to legal aid.

The activists were soon split into two groups and searched. Their personal effects were laid on the floor in front of them. These effects were then examined by the same 'black bloc' style police, who were by now peaceable and made all efforts to appear reasonable and controlled. Passports were examined and taken. The police phoned a source to check each passport. Of the nine people arrested throughout L'Usine, three people are thought to be media activists from the Geneva03 collective, or at least amongst those trapped in the streaming media center.

After much consideration, orders 'from high up' came and the media activists were told that they could go about their work. All passports were returned. Contrary to early statements by the police, no tapes were taken. It seems that the decision has been taken to go on streaming from <www.geneva03.org>. There is footage from inside the building from at least four cameras. The activists in Geneva03 are now free to leave and enter the building, which has otherwise been temporarily closed. The local state of affairs in the late hours of Sunday seems calm, although it is understood that there is significant trouble in nearby parts of Geneva.
Don't worry 02.Jun.2003 12:02

James

American cops are too stupid to pull something like that off.

Have fun in Sacramento.

Stupid is not the issue 02.Jun.2003 12:20

look at May's activity in St. Louis

I just wanted to mention that the St. Louis police have recently engaged in
pre-emptive stikes against a group of bicyclists/canrnval activists that
were planning a cravan from St. Loius to D.C regarding food saftey and anti-GMO
messages. Check out the biodevistation 7 web site for lots more detials about this incident. This is current events folks.

When I was at the IMF World Bank protect in DC a few years back the cops closed down the convergence center on some bullshit fire code/building permit alligations.

The cops are definitely gearing up in regards to harrassment and protect of
corporate agendas on many fronts so be careful out there!

We must be cautious and sensible, but not paranoid. 02.Jun.2003 13:20

StevetheGreenarchist

For far too long now, the "left" in Portland has allowed John Ashcroft and his "big brother" agenda to frighten us all into going underground and the results are exactly what the" Ashcrofts of the world" had hoped for!!!!

As a result, many grass roots organizations are even more fragmented than they once were.
The necessary growth of these groups has been effectively stifled by casting a suspicious eye on anybody who is new or not well known.
Valuable alliances have been quelched by fear of infiltrators.
Even somewhat mainstream groups like the Green party are suspicious of who the new people are.
We can't even have meetings about working legally within the construct of the "current sham of a system" we now endure without casting suspicious eyes on anybody who we don't know or who doesn't look "quite right".

Everybody is a "Freddy".
Every new person is a possible infiltrator.

When is this going to end people????

I don't have dreadlocks or hemp khakis but I am a progressive and a local activist.
Many people know me and recognize me, but many don't. This is true with many people that I meet as well.
Just once, I would like to look at the Indymedia calendar and think about attending a function with a new group without having to worry that I will be seen as a possible Freddy or some other type of infiltrator.

I realize (better than most) that our world has dramatically changed and the fascist state we are living in is real and is not an exxageration, but aside from speaking directly about certain types of direct action with unknown people in the room, why should we let Ashcroft succeed in destroying our ability to created alliance and allow grass roots movements the growth that is necessary if we are to ever fight against the machine????

Using illegal direct action tactics should be limited to individual acts or comprised of long term associates that are beyond suspicion.
Everthing else is wide open.

If the "man" wants to infiltrate, let him.
He will only be bored and the evidence he gathers will be useless if we are cautious, but not paranoid.

and in Denver - the police kept spy files 02.Jun.2003 13:38

Her Pinkness christy@pspc.com

In Denver the police have been keeping "spy files" on political activists for years - cops taking photos of activists and taking down their license plate numbers for these "spy files." Cops infiltrating activist organization's meetings - their excuse: "We have to know what they're planning to be prepared for possible violence."

Article summary below. More info at NPR Morning Edition. See  http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/segment.jhtml?wfId=1283130

Yes, we do have to be careful. Don't assume this isn't happening here - at marches, at our activist meetings, and even on this site.

--Her Pinkness


ACLU, Denver Police Reach Deal in 'Spy Files' Case
from Morning Edition, Monday , June 02, 2003

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Denver Police Department reach a settlement in a class-action lawsuit that alleged the department's decades-old practice of monitoring political activists amounted to spying. Under the agreement, police must have reasonable suspicion that a person or group is involved in criminal activity before opening files on them. Hear NPR's Jennifer Ludden.

To listen to the entire article, go to  http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/segment.jhtml?wfId=1283130


whatever 02.Jun.2003 14:59

--

but can we leave out the contrived folksiness of "people" and "folks" appended to rhetorical questions? it just reeks of "i've seen the sixties, son"/"look here li'l lady" smugness.

government needs to do their work 02.Jun.2003 15:10

a real american

if the government is infiltrating groups obviously those groups are dangerous or terrorists otherwise the government wouldnt infiltrate the group. most groups wont be infilitrated because theyre just suburban kids who arent terrorists but if there are terrorists then the government need to protect us by doing their jobs and they need to infiltrate the group anyway so if you try and stop them you are basically helping terrorists which is treason so stop.

to real american 02.Jun.2003 15:17

a student of history

You mean terrorists like Martin Luther King Jr., right?

No... 02.Jun.2003 15:35

Yanqui

No, i think the "Real American" means dirty terrorists like the ones at that Boston Tea Party- or maybe ones like those who ran the underground railroad.

hehe 02.Jun.2003 15:42

right on

We must never forget that the individuals who ran the underground railroad were a bunch of thieves determinied to ruin the american way of life.

As for those damn tea-partiers, what were they thinking with all their talk of unfair corporate tax breaks. Clearly they were just a bunch of privledged white kids with nothing better to do than complain and break stuff.

Of 'people' and 'folks' 02.Jun.2003 15:43

James

That could, quite possibly, be the truest statement I have ever read. Peace, brother.

to the real american 02.Jun.2003 16:29

CatWoman

That's a joke, right?

Want to help win? Or not? 02.Jun.2003 19:43

Lefty.

Come on, kiddies.

You say you want change -- but what are you doing -- as an anarchist -- other than pissing-off average American? The 21-percent of uncommitted voters in America elect 80% of our presidents and representatives. And you're out there marching in the approved uniform of the radical left... with all the corny sloganeering backing you... TRYING to alienate yourself from those who hold your future in their voting hands. Don't start with the denial babble... Florida chads... voting doesn't matter spin... everyone in D.C is a corporate sellout... and all that bunk. Some of you might learn, some day, that playing WITHIN the system is the ONLY way for any meaningful changes.

The good part of being pissed-off about a problem is being challenged enough to SOLVE the motha. Yea, the anarchists are solving one thing... that is to relegate the democratic party into permanent minority status. Forget the third party crap -- it's never gonna work. Read the newspaper. No, Brian, not the NY Times. You'll soon learn that

You're pissing-off average Americans (remember, we're not Europeans anymore) with childish, unconstructive rhetoric and behavior. And your pissing-away MY hopes of seeing a Democrat controlled congress and Whitehouse for a generation. Groovy, Dude. Break another window, and burn some trash. You'll be sure to make the 11-o'clock news. Pfff.

-Lefty

...forgot one thing... 02.Jun.2003 19:49

Lefty

Sorry. I missed a thought in the previous post.

The end of paragraph three should read:

Forget the third party crap -- it's never gonna work. Read the newspaper. No, Brian, not the NY Times. You'll soon learn that our federal government is A ONE PARTY SYSTEM.

Sorry 'bout that.

Lefty.

ahh... if Lefty's a democrap 02.Jun.2003 19:52

i=

it's a fucking GREAT reason not to have those imbeciles in the wipe house.

har de har 02.Jun.2003 21:04

--

god you're an imbecile ... and fooling yourself. stop trying the ID game; you're no good at it.

Another typo, "Reality Check". 02.Jun.2003 21:31

Lefty.

Please, give the man upstairs some credit...

......it's "God", not "god"! (Did I mention academic probation?)

In other words, "Cap G".

Now, back to insulting me. What about my Mother? Sister?


Lighten up, little guy, and have a GREAT DAY :-)

-Lefty.

Third parties 02.Jun.2003 23:12

James

Well, the Reform ticket got something like 20% of the popular vote in the '92 elections. Ventura won the Minnesota gubernatorial. And the Greens and Libertarians are picking up local seats everywhere. Mainly, it just takes a good candidate.

Though you're probably right. In most all cases, a third party in the United States does not stand much chance of winning a major election. That's unfortunate, but it doesn't necessarily matter (as much as you might think). If a third party is able to make any major showing - 5%+, let's say, they can move the direction of and campaign promises of the other candidates. They control if and when they drop out, which makes a huge impact on close elections.

Still, it would be nice if third party candidates were electable. It's a typical Catch-22. Many people dislike the Republicans and Democrats and would prefer to vote for a third party candidate, but don't want to "waste" their votes. Others don't like the Repubs or Dems, but don't even know of another option. (In any detail, anyway).

Well, the solution to the former is a preferential voting system, which is a much smarter idea than simply ticking off your candidate of choice.

In a preferential voting system, like the one used in Australia, you choose your order of preference for a candidate or party. You might mark the Green candidate as your first choice, a Democrat as your second, and a Libertarian as your third. Then, when the votes are tallied, if your first choice cannot win, your vote gets carried over to your second choice. Your vote for your second choice is still weighted the same, it's just that your vote only goes to that candidate if your first choice doesn't have the votes to win.

Now people can vote their conscience without worrying that their vote may contribute to their last choice being elected.

That system would undoubtedly 'cause more people to choose a third party candidate. And with the increased votes would come increased media attention.

In a free society like our's, you'd think government would want to encourage choice in political party. But strangely they don't. (Which is why we need voter referendums on the national level. But that's a different post).

hey lefty 03.Jun.2003 00:26

--

it's god. small g, retard. it wasn't a typo. you cops sure get paid for some bad repartee.

Preferential voting 03.Jun.2003 00:34

--

I like that idea. It would still take revocation of corporate personhood and de-clear-channeling of the media to make it work well though.

Preferential voting 2 03.Jun.2003 07:48

Lefty

I, too, think you might be on to something here.

However, do you think it will really solve the problems found in the third-party concept? Sure, it's a mechanism to achieve greater theoretical inclusion, but could it -- as a result -- create a situation where practical consensus-building between political factions would no longer be encouraged? Cross-pollination of ideas and strategic implementation between third and forth parties would no longer be necessary if all groups could "go it alone", in effect cannibalizing each other.

However, you make some thought provoking points, with fully-supported facts.
Thanks for the ideas.

-Lefty the "retard cop"

de-clear-channeling? What? 03.Jun.2003 07:58

Lefty

Perhaps I'm missing something here... like a pot of rubber cement.

How does additional FCC control of the media
make the preferential voting concept easier to implement?

Revocation of personhood?

Wha?

The post by "--" is a confusing jumble of unrelated ideas.
Care to try your idea again?

-Lefty

hey lefty 03.Jun.2003 09:39

--

glad to see you can't read. that's encouraging. lighten up and HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Way off course 03.Jun.2003 11:38

Nick Olmstead

Lefty, you've only succeeded here in dragging the dialogue way away from the original intent of this post. Specifically, this post was directed toward the general issue of activist security, specifically with regard to Sacramento. As for working within the system, I suggest you consider the fact that our system is the accumulation of at least 500 years of colonialism, and with the war in Iraq, it is apparent that that tradition of arrogance, brutality, and greed has not come to an end. It is not simply a matter of politicians, for the problem lies deeper--in the fact that U.S. citizens do not have direct control over foreign policy, nor do they have a direct relationship with the consequences of their actions within the political sphere. And as for god, haven't you heard? god is dead, and in the words of Nietzsche, we have killed him. Its time to move on. However, I would say that god is alive and well--its existence consists in multinational corporations which receive our prayers with every dollar exchanged, offering us eternal youth and wealth as seen on tv. However, meaningful change will only occur when that god, too, has fallen. Burn the stores, hurl petrol bombs, wipe your ass with cash. That way, at least god will know your name.

OK... right, I'm off the map. 03.Jun.2003 15:36

Lefty

You're right -- to a point Nick.

You mentioned, "Lefty, you've only succeeded here in dragging the dialogue way away from the original intent of this post. Specifically, this post was directed toward the general issue of activist security, specifically with regard to Sacramento."

I did take the opportunity to stray from the original topic. And for that I'm deeply sorry. Your post is a perfect example on how to stay on-topic, especially the stuff about God is dead, etc.. However, you forgot to mention Sacramento and security. Hmm.

And by the way, isn't "activist security" an oxymoron?

Nick, old pal, you sound like a very bright person who can put his thoughts down with some elegance and style. Seriously, unlike the young emotional cripple "Reality Check" aka "--", you have a good analytical sense about you. Therefore, PLEASE answer me this, why are you so "down" with God? I'm seriously interested in your point of view, and hope you can articulate it without the usual name calling, and the rest of the juvenile stuff found on this web site when radical-leftists are challenged.

As to the colonization issue, you would agree with you -- that is, if we STILL occupied and enslaved the people of the nations we "overtook" at the point of a bayonet in wartime, like Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, France, Holland, Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, Iran, Germany, and Japan -- to name just a few.

-Lefty

just because we don't CALL it a colony 03.Jun.2003 20:13

m

does not mean that it isn't. please, if you have a chance, look into how the IMF and World Bank fucntion. the good old USA has alot of veto power there- just like in the UN security council. NONE of these people are elected- most are buddies of those in power. buddies who just HAPPEN to have alot to gain from "free" trade.

"free" trade, which as just about anyone can figure out, is nothing more than CORPORÅTE colonialism.

just follow the money trial...

In response 04.Jun.2003 12:11

Nick Olmstead

Well, lefty, it is an arbitrary decision, for myself, to keep within the limits of the initial post. Seeing that the later posts do have something on which i have many opinions, i figure that this is a good place to put forth some idea blips on things like god and the norms of using the word textually--especially since you suggest that, on indymedia, we should appreciate the traditional honor given to the word "God". Now, before I go on, i should say that i will do so in full consciousness of the fact that i am, again, pulling this thread away from the original post. So be it, however, theology in the activists circles is also an important issue as there is something in existence called "liberation theology" which is a faith-based ethics that essentially thinks that saving souls is not to be carried on to the exclusion of the saving of starving children and people who are facing corporate-government oppression. Now, with that said, I am "down" on god because of its history of resentment when it comes to morality as it takes the self-creation of values, the positing of one's own "morality" to be a sin, for to creat one's own values is very much to posit something over and above the god of the bible (this is explicitly a Nietzschean idea and here begins a fragmented laundry list of reasons). Christianity is a metaphysics of inversion, it says to look to the sky before casting one's glance upon the earth. It uses god as the universal equivalent, i.e., all of existence is given its value in terms of a non-existent abstraction--god. This is also my view on money, as it possesses the same power over society. Now, here I have obviously taken issue exclusively with christianity, as it is the religion constitutive of western theological discourse. Now, as an inversion of what Nietzsche described as nobility, the power of the will to create itself according to its own chosen values, and as it is the inversion of the metaphysics of lived experience, it is obvious that christianity requires an originary world-view against which it must react for its own very existence. This is to say that the relationship of Christianity to history, to our own lives, and discourse in general, is one of co-dependence. Its existence presupposes the existence of something against which it can react for the expressions and assertions of the will of those who take up christian discourse. Now, aside from christianity, if one wishes to believe in one's own, self-created or self-conceived god, that is a fine thing to do so long as one does so with a sober consciousness. As for other religions, I must say that my experiences with studying buddhism and the vedantic texts which have been the constitutive foundations of hinduism--have been very intriguing and insightful. Buddhism in particular, as it takes itself up self-consciously. Buddha said of his teaching that they are like a raft to aid one in crossing a turbulent river to get to the other side whose land is filled with flourishing life. However, upon reaching the other side with my raft, said the buddha, one must let go of my raft, letting it flow away, down the river. This brings up another point: christianity and its professors take an attitude of universality in their resentment, i.e., they believe it is their duty to convert the world's population for the second coming of christ. And this resentment becomes explicit when people have the will power to think outside of the box which christianity places of spiritual discourse, in fact, resentment, as Nietzsche would say, is the sole motivating force behind the notion of sin. Now, of course, there are some christian and jewish philosophers that i deeply admire (e.g., Kierkegaard and Martin Buber). Nevertheless, I find Nietzsche's critique of christianity to be right on the mark and I like to begin with his ideas when critically discussing western faiths as he provides an interesting, inspiring, and uselful basis out of which one can grow to begin one's own critique of religion and the creation of one's own spiritual existence. For there is the danger that one will start placing one's faith in philosophers like nietzsche--and that is something i allude to above with reference to buddha. Now, of course, this is just a portion of my own thoughts on christianity, but these above are the ones i have been ruminating over these days.

On colonization: physical occupance is not the sufficient condition for colonization. However, we establish our physical presence in other countries these days nonetheless. Whether it be through puppet-dictatorships, the effects of corporate globalization, or the actual u.s. military presence in places like iraq and afghanistan, it is quite obvious the that u.s. that a narcissistic view of its world relations. Bush himself delcared to the world: "markets must be open". Our economic agenda and our geo-political agenda has become the new faith (which is also why god is dead--people like bush and those who fall in accordance with him seem to forget that whole "love thy neighbor" concept...the values of christianity cannot even impress christians themselves!). And those who think outside of these agendas are denounced as sinners, essentially--terrorists, communists, rogue nations, or what have you. This is merely a continuation of using black listing, or red light words--words that are invested with so much cultural power that they can command, through people's faith in certain status quo ideologies, the entire world-view of people to stand against certain dessenting entities--that we find in religions like judaism and christianity. Colonization is also ideological: with the spread of our homogenizing culture, the u.s. can effect something of a cultural grey-out by which western culture predominates over and against other cultures. We find this evidenced in the diminishing number of distinct languages. There used to be something of about 6000 different languages used by human beings, now there is only something of 3/4 of that, roughly. Anyways, hopefully i have avoided any passive/aggressive remarks and personal degredations...after all, we live in a world of alienation--why continue it?

Nicky 04.Jun.2003 14:17

James

I was interested in what you were writing, but I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Paragraphs are used for a reason. Without their benefit, the resulting amalgam of words looks like letter vomit. I'll admit my eyes aren't great, but I constantly lose the line I'm reading.

Wow man. That's some answer. 04.Jun.2003 16:37

Lefty

You delivered, Nick!

(I'm sure you're not "Reality Check" or "-- " , posing as Nick!)

Sorry that I don't have the time to reply with commensurate length.

First, your explanation about why you're "down with God" (my words) is based upon an obvious understanding of modern comparative religious studies. Did you take such a college class? If so, is your thesis the same -- or different -- than the one delivered by your instructor?

Your "issues" with Christianity are interesting, and quite academic. However, my question was more about God -- than the Christian Religion. You didn't mention reasons for your atheistic or agnostic belief system. Can you explain?

Regarding imperialism -- you make two separate distinctions: a physical presence and a cultural presence. With that loose, flapping, and arbitrary definition one could say that Mexico has colonized California, the French still hold North African and parts of Canada, England still holds India, Sweden still holds Norway, and the like. Then we've shamelessly diluted the real understanding of the term for conversational vanity. For as smart as you are, and YOU ARE, you must understand that there are some of us who can't do a disservice to peoples who ARE under the REAL thumb of colonization, for the sake of nuance-filled hyperbole. No disrespect intended, but I think your ideas of American colonization go pretty far afield. But, that's just my humble opinion.

Cheers, and thanks again!
You sound like a reasonable person.

-Lefty

when i'm talking about corporate colonialism 04.Jun.2003 19:06

m

i'm talking about THE MONEY TRIAL.

yes, i agree that "free" trade and the road that led here, as well as the historical population migration mean that CULTURALLY, to use your example, california has taken on much of mexican culture.

HOWEVER, you don't see mexican multinational corporations laying off mexican workers and moving to california so they can pay californians next to nothing to do the same amount of work as they were paying mexican workers at home, and then moving the profit they have made from this decision back to mexico. BUT YOU SURE DO SEE US MULTINATIONALS DOING TH IS EVERYWHERE, and not just with labor, but also with natural resources (diamonds, coal, OIL, WATER, trees, medicinal plants, land...............).

and although i do think that an important aspect of that happening is the increasing dominance of US CULTURE (meaning consumerism), what i am mostly talking about is the money trial, and the enforcement of it. Just for example, the militaries of theoretically soveirgn nations being used AGAINST CIVILIANS to enforce US oil corporate intrests. keep in mind that the us corporate oil robber barons are there ONLY because of "free" trade, and that these people, who have often lived on this land sustainably FOREVER are being slaughtered for trying to save their homes..........

Money, jealousy, then hate. 04.Jun.2003 20:30

Lefty.

Greetings, M-

Money trail? Corporate colonialism?

Where -isn't- a money trail? Who -doesn't- have a money trail?

That's my point, exactly.

To call anyone associated to a money trail a colonial power is absurd. The single element -- after labor -- that fuels ALL economies is petrolium. (Still safer than nukes.) Petrolium makes economies. Economies make jobs; jobs give people currency to purchase food; food allows people to work; work allows people to eat; and so on, and so on. I understand your hatred of money, but it's a long uphill road to change any of this now.

Please, offer another solution other than capitolism.
I'm ready to listen to your good ideas.

Thanks,

-Lefty

listen up folks 04.Jun.2003 23:08

hippie girl

I'd call fascism the problem, and a rough definition for that is:
a ruling corporate state that controls the media,
- a fine approximation of our status quo my friends.

Bush's "Free Markets" are supported by military power, supported by governments
"run like a business", supported by bought out politicians, supported by.....
surprise...corporate donations.

And we know that certain people in power would rather spend our public dollars ensuring the
strength of the status quo by wasting our money on things like the military industrial complex,
spying on civic discourse at community meetings, knocking bicyclists down at Critical Mass rides,
and making certain companies rich by giving them huge contracts to "protect us against terrorism"

For the record - I'd buy a sustainable triple bottom line style "capitalist model" ala Natural Capitalism.
All the rest just comes down to exploitation, pure & simple.

And your dislike of my smarmy 60's attide is pure projection, because I wasn't even born in the 60's.

P.S. If you are going to criticize me, stick to my ideas, okay people?

uh huh 05.Jun.2003 02:50

shazam

""""The single element -- after labor -- that fuels ALL economies is petrolium. (Still safer than nukes.) Petrolium makes economies. Economies make jobs; jobs give people currency to purchase food; food allows people to work; work allows people to eat; and so on, and so on. I understand your hatred of money, but it's a long uphill road to change any of this now.

Please, offer another solution other than capitolism.
I'm ready to listen to your good ideas.""""

Actually, it is a downhill road to change this. The current system is inherently unsustainable and is swiftly reaching its demise. Petroleum is nearing its end, and as you point out, that is what drives economies. No new oil in significant quantity is being discovered. World oil reserves are over estimated.

Life as you know it is coming to an end.

My thoughs... 05.Jun.2003 07:59

Lefty

Thanks for the response... Hippie Girl.
Your passion is excellent.

As for my impressions --

Your definition of fascism is -- as I interpret your logic -- quite different from the real "Webster's" version. It's good when we use terms appropriately... it's the basis for honest discourse.

Fascism--
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control <early instances of army fascism and brutality -- J. W. Aldridge>

••• Key passage -- "centralized autocratic government "

Autocrat--
1 : a person (as a monarch) ruling with unlimited authority
2 : one who has undisputed influence or power

••• Key concept -- GWB doesn't have undisputed power. We've been protesting against him. We've made sure -- by our very protests -- that he doesn't become the holder of unlimited, unchecked, unquestioned ruling authority. Right? That's what we protest for! Get it? How can you have a Fascist state when 15-20% of the citizenry protest and move against it?

That's why we need to be more careful with our rhetoric. If not, the real fascists are not recognized and properly defined when they stick their heads above ground. Let's not use the term "fascist" for the sake of theatre. It's a shame to dilute its power.

And, I don't get part about "Bush's Free Markets". What has Bush done to free markets other than to depress the global economy? It was Bill Clinton who lifted the worlds economic picture with 8-years of booming tax coffers. Clintons "Free Markets" helped feed, cloth, and educate the worlds children like no one in recent history. Bush's "Free Markets" are a ghost town. Maybe I'm missing your point here. Please clarify.

Thanks, Hippie Girl, for your thoughts and passion.
Have a great day!

Lefty

Our Obituary 05.Jun.2003 08:12

Lefty.

Sorry to sound so boring, and such a moderate here.

But...

You mention that the current system (capitalism) is unsustainable, and is swiftly reaching its demise. What facts would you base this observation on? I'm interested in knowing your views. Thanks.

You're right about several things here. No new oil -- in massive amounts -- is being discovered, but that doesn't mean we're almost "out". Also, I think you're right about the world coming to an end -- and it has nothing to do with oil. It has to do with the foretelling of Earth's destruction by an asteroid in 2012 as told by the Mayan Calendar. Oil, schmiol. That -- in my opinion -- has nothing to do with it.

I don't know much... but there's one thing I am 100% sure of.
Our days on earth are limited. You will be DEAD someday. Shazam!
So will all those you see around you. Make the most of it whilst you're here.

Cheers,

Lefty

A follow-up 05.Jun.2003 12:13

Nick Olmstead

My use of english has been partially ruined from writing too much philosophy papers for academia. So i apologize ahead of time of this gets wordy, pretentious, or boring. And before i nose dive, thank you lefty for your thoughful reply.

Yes, Lefty, I do make the distunction you mention above. However, what makes the u.s. a colonist in the cultural sense is that there is an asymmetrical flow of ideas that is tended by political-economic power dynamic between, say, the U.S. and Mexico. What influx of culture we will recieve from Mexico will be determined by the capitalist economy, i.e., by what can produce capital--or profit. In this way, all influx of culture within the U.S that is not purely academic (for instance, the ethnographies within anthropological studies that bring the culture of Others home) is subjecgated to the economic conditions of the U.S. Secondly, influxes will also be determined by status-quo ideologies. If a cultural belief or practice from afar can reinforce ideological structures within our society, then the influx of that cultural implement will be widely accepted. However, our perceptions of these cultural implements will indeed be mediated by the political-economic and ideological structres that be. For instance, food is easily a thing of influx as it is easy to profit from (so long as the food can please the palette) and is rather benign and neutral (as opposed to, say, certain magical practices which, upon glancing at their position, seem to have the potential to undermine western medicine and the ideology of materialist and christian metaphysics).

Now, the dynamic of power is key here, for with capitalism's need for expanding markets, it demands that markets be opened up abroad. Hereby capitalism forces certain economic conditions upon foreign cultures, which then manipulates those localized ideologies and the values therein. And of course, this could never happen the opposite way--the ideology of our culture would resist any dominant economic system that would threaten the hold of capitalism. So, essentially, via economic and military might, the U.S. does in fact still colonize.

Now, as for the god discussion, I have not taken any comparative religion courses, though I did go to a lutheran high school, the administration of which hadn't a clue as to what jesus was really trying to reveal, nor did they have any decent foundation for their belief in god, aside from the fact that they had obviously been surrounded by this religion all their lives, and like a conformist, had merely followed their herd-instincts. And anyone who has read Keirkegaard knows that that is a bullshit foundation for any religion.

Nor am i regurgitating anything my professors have taught (although, yes, i am a philosophy student). I can truthfully say this only on account of the fact that i have never taken a class on nietzsche, but i have taken a few in which his ideas were discussed. Nonetheless, as it is an issue of integrity here, i will say in my defense that i read quite a bit on my own time--and i admitted in my above post that i have not yet attempted to put forward an original position, but merely one with which i find myself in accordance. Altough, come to think of it Albert Camus said that those who prevent me from concieving of my own philosophy do me an injustice, for they strip away not only my integrity, but also they make the task of living easier--and we all know that the greatest things there are are those which require the greatest struggle.

As for god qua god, it is my own thinking that to live one's life imagining that there is a presiding god, whose eyes watch constantly and whose conceived existence sheds many a relief upon one's own, is but a strike against one's own integrity and perhaps even one's mental health. This, i am sure, has been said before and i am sure i have read something akin to it earlier. Nonetheless, if one's god is omnipresent, the theology strikes me as one belonging to a paranoiac. And as i said, along with nietzsche, to create one's own values and live accordingly is a life lived with integrity and responsibility--for there is no one, then, but yourself upon which you can rely for guidance and justification. And whether or not you believe in god, that is still the case, for one chooses to believe in god, even if that choice consists in following the beliefs of others.

Furthermore, i never really lived with thoughts of god consistently. The idea simply doesn't enter into my experience of life. I have had experiences i would call spiritual--certain protests have offered this experience, also some of my experiences with nature or with good friends. But i would stop short of calling them divine or infused with the heavens. Thus, i don't have a systematic account of athiesm, as i hardly consider myself an atheist. The very notion of athiesm is, like i described that of christianity above, a reactionary one. It is one whose existence relies of a thesis for its antithesis. To have such an account would be like having an account of why i do not believe that within the center of mars there exists an invisalbe elephant that controls the world's political relations. For me, it is absurd. Though some of my friends do have absurd beliefs and i wouldn't change them even if i could. Absurd beliefs can be great--they can also be scary at times, but at others they make life a bit more interesting and enjoyable. And what is worse than boredom?

Despite the accomplishments of Marx and the applicability of Foucault, boredom, perhaps, is the greatest argument against capitalism.

too many 05.Jun.2003 12:16

Nick Olmstead

too many, not too much....

ok 05.Jun.2003 13:06

Nick Olmstead

Ok, i realized there were a ton of typos...sorry about that. But a last comment on colonialism. Colonialism and colonization have become useful metaphors for the way the cultural environment is permeated and conditioned by dominant power ideologies. The u.s. flag that went up (and was quickly removed) over Saddam's face in Iraq--symbolic act of colonization. Furthermore, any act of cultural colonization is usually based on the pretense of economic gain and capitalism's need for new markets to exploit. This is to say that if we dominate another culture with our ideology, it is usually to get them to accept, in some way or another, the encroaching economic system of capitalism. If anyone is interested in some amazing critiques of capitalism and western ideology and its discourse in general, I would suggest (even though they are lengthy and dense) the writings Foucault, Marx (particularly Das Kapital and his writings on alienated labor), and Martin Heidegger's Question Concerning Technology and The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking (which, to be understood, must be contextualized by his earlier writings). But if you spend time with these, surely you will have a comprehensive grasp on our historical situation, the historical contingency of capitalism, and perhaps where we are headed (and of course, why we should resist to our heart's content)...

Excellent. 05.Jun.2003 16:24

Lefty.

Greeting, Nick.

No prob with the typos. Not very many at all. [ I can't remember a single one that detracted from your message(s).]

Thanks for the effort(s) you put into explaining your ideas. Your summary, as seen in the post "ok', puts a very reasonable frame about our discussion regarding Colonialism. Specifically, that we're talking about a new type of colonialism -- cultural colonialism. That I will certainly "buy into". It's not the act of enslaving a native people under the threat of death... torture, etc. It's the act of populating their minds with our ideas, recreation, information systems, entertainment and technology. Some take root, and don't.

For example, I've seen the t.v. show "Lancelot Link -- Secret Chimp" (70's comedy played by costumed chimpanzees) in Berlin with dialogue dubbed in German. I've seen the T.V. show "Dallas" in Oslo -- one of the most popular t.v. shows in Norway of all time! (Wealthy oil barons in Texas, same as in Norway... get it?) The London "club scene" today is 100% disco (crap) -- a 70's timewarp thing. American computer operating systems DOMINATE the world, and the Internet is American-English centric in language.

We OWN the world in the areas of culture, film, food, television, technology, etc., etc, etc. As much time as I've spent around the world, I've come to realize one thing. Americans are LOVED -- something that you may not know. I've never had an "issue" with the locals in any country or continent I've visited. Our bright eyes, our clothing, our "accent", and our openness CAPTIVATES and FACINATES people of all ages. I've seen it with my own eyes, and it's impossible to forget. I could tell stories that would warm your heart -- how people have gone FAR out of their way to "assist" my wife and I abroad... just 'cause we are Americans! Therefore, I don't feel bad or even guilty about the cultural colonialism we unknowingly administer upon the words people.

Thanks for the rap.

Cheers,

Lefty.

Guilt and Domination 05.Jun.2003 17:41

Nick Olmstead

Again Lefty, thank you for your thoughts. However, I would be interested to know where you have been and, specifically, what demographics were you visiting? I have done a bit of traveling myself, most notably France and Panama. Resentment still lingers in Panama over the invasion that took place there and the strange amiability of the folks there seemed to have something to do with their perception of me as a monied person. The people I ran into were usually working class or impoverished. However, i was invited to the home of a wealthy man who owned a string of ranches because of family connections and he, of course, loved the u.s. as he owned a ranch in colorado. In France, and this was pre-Iraq-re-invasion, the parisians in many of the bohemian areas were pretty aligned with myself politically and outside of those areas, the sentiments were ambivalent--although France hasn't really been colonized by us, our corporations are ever increasing their presence there. I also have friends who travel, usually backpacking so as to get in touch with their surroundings without something of an isolated bubble of luxury. And more often than not, he usually runs into people who have negative preconceptions of u.s. americans. However, he does tend to run into more impoverished or working class people--yet these classes of people are the ones who constitute a large majority of the world's population.

Another point I should make is that you seem to justify homogenization by way of saying that people "LOVE" americans. Now, even if this were the case, which it is not (just think of the middle east, where sentiments are ambivalent at best, except for israel, of course), you are essentially saying that by ruling the world with a mere handful of american values, we are making the world a better place and that to subject the world to our neurotic, superficial, and wholly narcissistic culture, is to place us in the realm of gods--for the better. This, if you are serious, is pure arrogance and carries no thought as the fact that sometimes openness and humility before others is a way for us to learn new things, understand new truth--about both the world and others as well as about ourselves. And lastly, your supreme over-generalization seems to be too much of an obvious pitfall for even you to take seriously.


So, where's the truth of the matter?
Nick

My final post on the subject. 05.Jun.2003 20:23

Lefty

I'm off to Dublin, Ireland, in the morning.
Thank GOD it's Friday. Partyyyy!!!!!!!
This'll be my last post for several days.

Thanks for your previous post.
It looks like we've painted this topic into a corner.
It's evolved to a circular rhetorical debate, I now fear.

I was shocked to learn that I was discussing personal observations of "American Colonialism" with a person who's not seen the world. France and Panama are destinations, but they don't even get close to "qualifying". Learning about the planet earth doesn't come only from books. It comes from face-to-face conversations with the locals -- everywhere.

I don't have the time now to elaborate, or give "slice of life" examples of my travels to forty-something countries, but it's safe to say that you many have never discussed colonialism with a person better traveled than me. I'd be willling to bet you on this. I bring credibility to the debate, where you... well, honestly, you bring school books. Sorry if that sounds self-serving, really, but I've taken the effort to see the world, and it's peoples, by sitting in planes, trains, buses, automobiles, and boats for thousands and thousands and thousands of hours. I love talking with people, and find it an easy thing to do. These lessons and experiences abroad make my two academic degrees look trivial.

See the world. Then talk about it. Doing so will advance your understanding of truth.

Cheers,

Lefty

A quick reply 06.Jun.2003 09:11

Nick Olmstead

Lefty, that is a self-serving post. You didn't reply to any particular comment and you are falling back into more and more over generalizations. For one, you know nothing about my social life. You do not know who I know (of course), so you have no basis from which you can say "it's safe to say that you many have never discussed colonialism with a person better traveled than me. I'd be willling to bet you on this. I bring credibility to the debate". Also, you call the places i named destinations--an arbitrary label as you knew very little about how i got there and what i did there (and i wasn't really willing to give you a duplication of my journals). And that label serves to downplay those experiences, which seemed to be the intention. Whatever the case may be about your travels, you are only proving yourself to be of a mindset typical to many americans, and that is one of arrogance--and i find it incredibly difficult to carry on a dialogue with someone who is willing to play upon this mindset as it strips the dialogue of any sense of validation.

Holy Shit 13.Jun.2003 04:02

Qrg

i appreaciate nicks articulation of ideals and beliefes similar to my own, and although i wholeheartedly disagree with 90% of what lefty said, i also appreciate his candor and openmindedness in this debate. But really guys, a little two much time was invested in this circular ranting, and where you two ended up had nothing at all to do with the origional post, remember this is a news forum, and if you want to debate the definition of cultural impirialism (witch is fucked up, because if lefty was as smart and as educated as he says he is, then he should know the term), you can, simply create a new post and go nuts there.