"A time comes when silence is betrayal, that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam..."
In some ways, this speech is just as relevant today as it was in 1967.
Please take the time to listen to this brilliant oration.
50 Minutes: MLK: Beyond Vietnam
Here are some photos from yesterday's rally at the Washington State Legislative Building. The rally was to defend Washington State Basic Health Care and it was organized and sponsored by Sisters Organizing for Survival, a campaign of Radical Women. Participants in the rally called for substantial tax reform - including taxes for the rich and for corporate profits, and also to defend the poor and working class against the tyranny of the profit driven economic system. Over 3,000 signatures were gathered for a petition that demands, in a time of economic crisis, the expansion of health and welfare programs. The petition was delivered to the Office of the Governor shortly before the State of the State speech.
ACLU sponsored event at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, Washington to discuss the decriminalization and legalization of possession of small amounts, and sale, of Marijuana, also known as Cannabis.
Alison Holcomb of the ACLU facilitated the discussion between Rick Steves, and three legislators who are the sponsors of bills relating to this issue. The legislators were Representative Brendan Williams 22nd Legislative District, and Representative Mary Helen Roberts 21st Legislative District, and Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 36th Legislative District.
The presentation highlighted the concept of marijuana's illegality as a serious harmful social injustice.
When society lies to young people and tells them that marijuana is a harmful monster, it does damage. When society lies to us, then we lose trust in and respect for society.
Marijuana/Cannabis does not drive people to madness or insanity.
It's the insanity of this profit system that is causing all of the violence. It ought to be plain for people to see that the profit system is NOT working. (Unfortunately it's not clear for people to see, because of the workings of the unjust status quo - the dominance paradigm - and the corporate controlled media that feeds into and off of it.)
I want to remind everyone again about the great coverage from Copenhagen provided by Democracy Now! - Please consider checking out the last two week's of shows.
Here's a segment from an interview with Vandana Shiva, by Amy Goodman, from a few days ago.
VANDANA SHIVA: I think it’s time for the US to stop seeing itself as a donor and recognizing itself as a polluter, a polluter who must pay, a polluter who must pay compensation and pay their ecological debt. This is not about charity. This is about justice.
3:00:06 - 2 years ago
You'd think that things like disasters, or the purity of childhood, or even milk, let alone water or air, would be sacred. But no. Corporations have no built-in limits on what, who, or how much they can exploit for profit. In the fifteenth century, the enclosure movement began to put fences around public grazing lands so that they might be privately owned and exploited. Today, every molecule on the planet is up for grabs. In a bid to own it all, corporations are patenting animals, plants, even your DNA. Around things too precious, vulnerable, sacred or important to the public interest, governments have, in the past, drawn protective boundaries against corporate exploitation. Today, governments are inviting corporations into domains from which they were previously barred.
I had a great time celebrating the election at the Citizens for a Responsive Local Government party tonight: more about that later. Right now I want to share an interesting bicycling related interaction that I had on my way home.
The following story is made all the more interesting because of a conversation about bicycling I had at the Election Party. The person I was listening to had just returned from a visit to Europe, and she told a wonderful story about the friendliness toward bicycles in the area she visited. She told of not riding in a car for the whole duration of her stay. She said that car drivers customarily expressed an attitude and behavior of respect toward bicyclists. It sounded to me like car-drivers made a general point to give bicyclists the right of way.
Now, what a contrast that is to here in Olympia, where every time I get on my bicycle I feel like I have to fend for my life. And I worry about those cyclists amongst us who are less defensively minded. And I really strongly wish we had a safe environment to ride bikes around here.
After having a delicious cup of Sleeping Universe at SIZIZIS ($1 off tea on Tuesdays...) I stopped by the new City Hall in order to graph some photons (pictured). After that, la-dee-dah, I got on my bike and started riding East on 4th Ave toward home. I was on the left side of the street, and since I turn left off of 4th Avenue, I stayed in the left hand lane the whole way from Cherry Street until my turn-off. One-half block from where I turn off 4th (on Quince) I heard a loud voice behind me saying "Get in the bike lane." So I yelled back, "what am I supposed to do if I am turning left?"
Turns out the loud-voice was that of an Olympia Police Officer.
I was pissed. I mean I could understand it if was a private citizen. Someone just trying to give a guy a hard time - after all people do need ego reinforcement, and our society doesn't provide a whole lot of healthy ways for people to boost their self-esteem. But this was a cop.
So I stopped.
PMR press release:
October 30, 2009 – Olympia, WA
Women celebrate victory, dismissal on all charges pending.
Since the anti-war demonstrations at the port of Olympia in November 2007, a number of women have been defending themselves against misdemeanor charges in Thurston County District Court. The last eight defendants, known as the Patient Eight, celebrated victory today after the Gross Misdemeanor charge of Obstructing an officer was dismissed, and the lesser charge of Attempted Disorderly Conduct was scheduled for dismissal on March 1.
In late October, 2008, a full year after the port protests, 25 women were singled out for prosecution by Thurston County Proscutors. Since then, defendants and their attorneys have appeared in court more than 13 times over eleven months. While scaling back prosecutions of misdemeanors across the board, the cash-strapped prosecutor's office has doggedly continued to persue these charges. At the hearing today presiding Judge Sam Myers commented, “everyone's anxious to get these matters over with.”
After the Poor People's Candidates Forum last week, I wrote a letter to the Candidates in order to ask them some questions. I wanted to ask them during the forum, but my thoughts weren't as clear as I would have liked, and I was kind of worked up about it. I was trying to compose my question, and I was having trouble listening to the questions people were asking as well as the responses from the Candidates. I kept feeling a very strong and burning nervous sensation whenever I looked in the direction of the front of the room where the Candidates were sitting...
One of Susan Sarandon's favorite bumper stickers is, "Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes." So, in resonance with the spirit of that idea, I wrote the candidates. I will post the original letter below for reference. But I want to preface it with some more thoughts, perhaps to clarify the intent and the message of the original letter. I was originally thinking of posting the Candidates' responses, but upon second thought, I have decided against doing that. I think that this may be not the appropriate forum to deal with this subject matter in that way. Nonetheless, a big Thank YOU to those of you who did respond (although I'm not going to name names now, here on OlyBlog.) I learned a lot from your responses.
Vandana Shiva visited Olympia last week. Her visit was hosted by the SPSCC group BRICK (Building Revolution by Increasing Community Knowledge). Dr. Shiva presented a wonderful speech, that was informative and educational, and moving and inspirational.
I am hoping that video will become available to post on the Internet, because there is no way a description can do justice to her speech. Getting a transcript would also be good, because there was so much information. The SPSCC Performing Arts Center was full -- people who showed up hoping to attend the speech were denied entry into the auditorium.
Janine Gates has an article about Dr. Shiva's visit at Little Hollywood: Shiva Speaks to South Sound Community about Food Politics. Some of this article will cover the same topics covered there, but I will add a couple other details from the speech. Check out Janine's blog for more information about the Shiva speech.
An early topic of the speech was the structural nature of hunger. Over one billion people on earth are without adequate food and nourishment. And it's not because there isn't enough food, or enough ability to produce food for all the people. Instead it is because of a lack of distributive justice, and because of appropriations of seed, water, and land. One billion people hungry. That's a lot of people. (And in my opinion it is a huge strike against our system of capitalism. One billion hungry people is indefensible. Really, should any human being live in hunger?)
Jeremy Pawloski has an article in The Olympian today about the the trial of the port protesters (Port Protesters Head to Trial). I think it's a good article. It has information about what's happening with the cases. I want to share my opinion about the protesters, and the prosecution.
I think that the prosecution of port protesters is just plain wrong. I am of the opinion that the protesters are true heros, and that they ought to be treated accordingly. They deserve to be rewarded, instead of prosecuted - and certainly not fined or otherwise punished.
The protesters who were arrested did not intend to hurt anything, or anyone - nor did they ever actually hurt anything or anyone. I believe it can be rightly understood that the protesters are the true sheriffs. Their intention was to protect U.S. military personnel and the Iraqi people from harms associated with acts of aggression committed by the U.S. government. Thus, they should not be treated as criminals.
Rather, instead of being subject to prosecution for alleged criminal activity, the protesters ought to be commended, even rewarded with a peace prize, and certainly they ought to be provided with restitution for any harms, grievances or inconveniences incurred as a result of their courageous stand.
The real criminal act, relating to enabling military shipments through the port, is to stand by and do nothing while the U.S. government runs military and economic riot in Iraq (and elsewhere.)