Saturday, August 28, 2010

Joel Kovel Reads Life

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Black Panther Ten Point Plan

  1. WE WANT FREEDOM. WE WANT POWER TO DETERMINE THE DESTINY OF OUR BLACK AND OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES. We believe that Black and oppressed people will not be free until we are able to determine our destinies in our own communities ourselves, by fully controlling all the institutions which exist in our communities.
  2. WE WANT FULL EMPLOYMENT FOR OUR PEOPLE. We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every person employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the American businessmen will not give full employment, then the technology and means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.
  3. WE WANT AN END TO THE ROBBERY BY THE CAPITALISTS OF OUR BLACK AND OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES. We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of our fifty million Black people. Therefore, we feel this is a modest demand that we make.
  4. WE WANT DECENT HOUSING, FIT FOR THE SHELTER OF HUMAN BEINGS. We believe that if the landlords will not give decent housing to our Black and oppressed communities, then housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that the people in our communities, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for the people.
  5. WE WANT DECENT EDUCATION FOR OUR PEOPLE THAT EXPOSES THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS DECADENT AMERICAN SOCIETY. WE WANT EDUCATION THAT TEACHES US OUR TRUE HISTORY AND OUR ROLE IN THE PRESENT-DAY SOCIETY. We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of the self. If you do not have knowledge of yourself and your position in the society and in the world, then you will have little chance to know anything else.
  6. WE WANT COMPLETELY FREE HEALTH CARE FOR All BLACK AND OPPRESSED PEOPLE. We believe that the government must provide, free of charge, for the people, health facilities which will not only treat our illnesses, most of which have come about as a result of our oppression, but which will also develop preventive medical programs to guarantee our future survival. We believe that mass health education and research programs must be developed to give all Black and oppressed people access to advanced scientific and medical information, so we may provide our selves with proper medical attention and care.
  7. WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER OF BLACK PEOPLE, OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR, All OPPRESSED PEOPLE INSIDE THE UNITED STATES. We believe that the racist and fascist government of the United States uses its domestic enforcement agencies to carry out its program of oppression against black people, other people of color and poor people inside the united States. We believe it is our right, therefore, to defend ourselves against such armed forces and that all Black and oppressed people should be armed for self defense of our homes and communities against these fascist police forces.
  8. WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO ALL WARS OF AGGRESSION. We believe that the various conflicts which exist around the world stem directly from the aggressive desire of the United States ruling circle and government to force its domination upon the oppressed people of the world. We believe that if the United States government or its lackeys do not cease these aggressive wars it is the right of the people to defend themselves by any means necessary against their aggressors.
  9. WE WANT FREEDOM FOR ALL BLACK AND OPPRESSED PEOPLE NOW HELD IN U. S. FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY, CITY AND MILITARY PRISONS AND JAILS. WE WANT TRIALS BY A JURY OF PEERS FOR All PERSONS CHARGED WITH SO-CALLED CRIMES UNDER THE LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY. We believe that the many Black and poor oppressed people now held in United States prisons and jails have not received fair and impartial trials under a racist and fascist judicial system and should be free from incarceration. We believe in the ultimate elimination of all wretched, inhuman penal institutions, because the masses of men and women imprisoned inside the United States or by the United States military are the victims of oppressive conditions which are the real cause of their imprisonment. We believe that when persons are brought to trial they must be guaranteed, by the United States, juries of their peers, attorneys of their choice and freedom from imprisonment while awaiting trial.
  10. WE WANT LAND, BREAD, HOUSING, EDUCATION, CLOTHING, JUSTICE, PEACE AND PEOPLE'S COMMUNITY CONTROL OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY. When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are most disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpation, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

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    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    DeeDee of Green Gables

    One of the seminal books of my youth was Anne of Green Gables-- the story of an orphan who is sent to live with an elderly aunt on Prince Edward Island.  I read it avidly and gobbled up the forthcoming sequels-- Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, etc.  It was after reading Little Women and the  Little House on the Prairie series, but just as influential. I must have been nine or ten, cause it was way before we moved to Cuba when I was 12, where I discovered the salacious passages in Frank Yerby and Thomas B. Costain at the library of the American Club in Nicaro.

    But Anne was my heroine in a more innocent period. She was a great role model-- spunky, adventurous and willing to confront the staid society of the conservative farming community.  I didn't read Pippi Longstocking until I read it to my kids in the 1970s, but Pippi was a similar girl with chutzpah.

    This house, owned by author Lucy Maud Montgomery's cousins, was the inspiration for the setting of the story.

    This month I visited PEI where the Anne industry is in full tilt. In fact the whole island is almost a theme park.

    There were lots of Japanese tourists there. Anne is one of the most popular books in Japan and couples come from Tokyo to have their weddings where Gilbert and Anne got hitched.

    Visiting the museum, I was struck by how similar the rooms and furnishing were to my own taste! Certainly my house in Willow looks more like the rooms in Green Gables  than it does my own parent's environment of 40s-50s high moderne style.

    The hooked rugs and embroidered sheets are things I always look for at yard sales...


    Even the geraniums in the window are just like what I now have on Claremont Avenue. Even the same shades of red and pink.

    The kitchen looks a lot like the kitchen in Willow-- even a wood cookstove.

    The 19th century genre print on the wall is exactly like two that I have in Willow. Likewise the simple still life and antique electric chime clock.  My great grandmother was the source of my electric chime clock. To her it was the height of up-to-date fashion, to have an ELECTRIC clock.  My mother kept it in a closet because she found it too old fashioned.


    Anne's handmade quilt is similar to the ones I have in the bedrooms in Willow, and this spindle bed is like the one I bought at a yard sale and has been Molly's bed for 28 years.

    All these furnishings, the spindle bed, the quilts, the corny genre prints, the hooked rugs and embroidered sheets were things my mother absolutely HATED. To her they were backward, uncouth, pathetic. She especially hated geraniums. Her house plants were Ficus and African Violets.

    I guess she never read Anne of Green Gables.

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    Saturday, August 07, 2010

    Good bye to Tony Judt: Ill Fares the Land

    Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: Is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society or a better world? Those used to be the political questions, even if they invited no easy answers. We must learn once again to pose them.

    The materialistic and selfish quality of contemporary life is not inherent in the human condition. Much of what appears “natural” today dates from the 1980s: the obsession with wealth creation, the cult of privatization and the private sector, the growing disparities of rich and poor. And above all, the rhetoric that accompanies these: uncritical admiration for unfettered markets, disdain for the public sector, the delusion of endless growth.

    We cannot go on living like this. The little crash of 2008 was a reminder that unregulated capitalism is its own worst enemy: sooner or later it must fall prey to its own excesses and turn again to the state for rescue. But if we do no more than pick up the pieces and carry on as before, we can look forward to greater upheavals in years to come.

    And yet we seem unable to conceive of alternatives. This too is something new. Until quite recently, public life in liberal societies was conducted in the shadow of a debate between defenders of “capitalism” and its critics: usually identified with one or another form of “socialism.” By the 1970s this debate had lost much of its meaning for both sides; all the same, the “left–right” distinction served a useful purpose. It provided a peg on which to hang critical commentary about contemporary affairs.....

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    Rooftop Acres

    Farmer Ben Flanner has created a one acre dream of urban farming. companion planting to max out every inch of this long island city farm is inspiring and delicious. Flanner has planted 1/4 acre of this skyline farm with heirloom tomatoes and a Northen blvd. exposure of sun flowers!