Monday, April 27, 2009

Deconstructing the Power of the Global Elite Part 1: Brute Force, The Power to Hurt, and Psychological Control By Judith Young, Ph.D.

In the aftermath of Congressional approval of bailout legislation granting sweeping powers to the financial elite, the body politic appears to be helplessly mired in the relentless unfolding of classical fascism before its very eyes.
Coming to terms with this terrifying predicament can benefit from a primer that renders naked the forms of raw power used by the global elite in advancing its agenda for full spectrum dominance. This will enable us to determine if we are in fact helpless and to use care and deliberation in finding the means to take our power back.

In his seminal book Arms and Influence, Thomas C. Schelling addresses the comparative efficacy of brute force and the power to hurt in influencing or controlling others.1 A classic example is the application of American power to achieve the unconditional surrender of Japan in World War II: continuing to use brute force to overcome Japanese military forces and occupy Japan (as the Allied Forces had done in Germany) was deemed far more cumbersome than terrorizing the Japanese through the use of atomic bombs against two civilian targets. This use of the power to hurt, with the implicit threat of its further use on a wider basis, got virtually immediate results.

The application of these two sources of power by the power elite is not hard to find. With respect to brute force, it is no secret that the US military has been training and arming state and local law enforcement across the country, including supplying some of the same weaponry used in a war zone against an external opponent. Even more alarming, the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team Unit, fresh from action in Iraq and having access to both lethal and non-lethal weapons, including tanks, has recently been assigned to a 12 month tour of duty for domestic security operations.2

Regarding the power to hurt, as the populace witnesses the official acceptance of torture, as well as the increasing brutalization of ordinary citizens (e.g., the use of taser guns to inflict massive electrical shock and even death), it inevitably adopts a mode of self-protective retrenchment or "self-censoring."
In a pervasive climate of fear, protest and dissidence become less and less likely, and the march to a full-blown police state is thereby facilitated. Among the most blatant applications of the power to hurt, used as a form of terrorist manipulation, have been the elite's obscene threats of a massive depression and nationwide martial law in the service of its bailout legislation.
But in addition to brute force and the power to hurt, the elite uses another form of power that is chilling in its efficacy: sophisticated techniques for controlling information and, more generally, for controlling the perceptions and behavior of the populace through mental and emotional manipulation of the very reality it experiences.
Elite control of the media extends beyond manipulating the news that the public receives to molding public opinion and behavior by means of media advertising and entertainment. Examples range from sponsorship of the TV show 24, which attempts to legitimize "enhanced interrogation techniques" (the sanitized phrase for torture), to manipulative TV commercials showing stars cheerfully accepting personal identification technology that smacks of Big Brother. The elite cabal exploits its control over media and entertainment to keep the public misled, distracted and ultimately imprisoned in a matrix of disinformation, rampant consumerism and the lowest common denominators of human nature, including raw violence and mindless sexuality.
In a renowned speech given in Berkeley in 1962, British writer Aldous Huxley contrasted his dystopic novel Brave New World with George Orwell's novel 1984, written just after the collapse of the Hitlerian terror regime and while the Stalinist terror regime was still in full swing.3 In Huxley's view, 1984 was "a projection into the future of a society where control was exercised wholly by terrorism and violent attacks upon the mind-body of individuals," whereas his own novel addressed "other methods of control...probably a good deal more efficient."
"We are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling get people to love their servitude....There seems to be a general movement in the direction of this kind of...a method of control by which a people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs by which any decent standard they ought not to enjoy."
Huxley's concerns about the newly available non-terrorist techniques for "inducing people to love their servitude" were echoed by Nobel Prize winner Bertand Russell, who predicted that as a result of the gradual and ruthless use of technological advances, "a revolt of the plebs would be as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton."4

A powerful form of psychological control used by the global elite is to induce widespread depression stemming from a feeling of futility or helplessness. This brings to mind the famous quote from Thoreau that most humans live "lives of quiet desperation," which he elaborated on by stating that "what is called resignation is confirmed desperation." It also brings to mind the concept in clinical psychology known as 'learned helplessness'.

The phenomenon of learned helplessness was discovered through psychological experiments in 1967 by Martin Seligman and Steve Maier. A group of harnessed dogs was given painful electric shocks, which they could end by pressing a lever. Another group received shocks of identical intensity and duration without a means to stop them. The dogs who could stop the pain recovered from the experience quickly, but those who could not learned that they were helpless and exhibited symptoms similar to chronic clinical depression: when they were put in a shuttle-box apparatus in which they could escape electric shocks by jumping over a low partition, most of the dogs just lay down passively and whined rather than trying to escape the shocks.5
Another powerful from of elitist mind control is to create dependency on authority figures through "shock and awe" techniques. In her brilliant work on the "shock doctrine" of disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein argues that it is the knowledge of human nature gained through the application of torture techniques by intelligence agencies that has infused the broader mind control strategies of the disaster capitalists.6
In the CIA's basic interrogation manual declassified in 1963, for example, a window of opportunity is highlighted in which torture reduces its victim to a state of traumatized disorientation and childlike regression, creating an opening for the interrogator to be transformed into a protective father figure. This is one of the classic tactics of tyrants across the planet. In the view of Klein and others, it was used after the shock of 9/11 to create a national lens of perception within the overall control matrix, a kind of template to be used by the mind to reflexively process all relevant concepts in terms of the 'war on terror'.

Klein sees the solution as contained in the problem: as we gain awareness of the same pattern playing out again and again, we can become prepared for the next shock and its exploitation by disaster Capitalists:

  • "If we understand how our states of shock are exploited, if we can recognize the signs, then the next time there is a crisis (and it can be an economic crisis)...then when the next shock hits we can prepare."

  • "I have a quote...from Milton Friedman, who says that only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change, and...when the crisis hits, the change depends on the ideas that are lying around. So it's not just about recognizing a pattern; it's also about having your [reformist] ideas lying around when the next shock hits." 7
Despite the apparent setback of the new bailout legislation, I share Klein's confidence in our ability to overturn the psychological impairments resulting from shock and awe tactics. More generally, I am optimistic about reversing the spectrum of impairments grouped here under the rubric of psychological control. Even cases of severe mental disorders induced by the horrific CIA mind control program known an MK Ultra have been healed, in a benevolent use of a technique known as reverse engineering.
As a practitioner in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), I have become personally familiar with extraordinary new techniques for healing previously intractable syndromes such as learned helplessness and war-induced post-traumatic stress disorder.
As an educator who has worked with children and adults with cognitive disabilities, I have seen next to miraculous results from the innovative methods now available.
And, finally, as a human being who reveres the human spirit and its perennial indomitability, I refuse to believe that a small cabal of beings solely in service to self will ever be able to take over the minds and souls of mankind.

As our best minds address the hair raising elitist victory represented by the bailout legislation, I encourage their deconstructing just how this criminality managed to succeed by tracing its origins in history in terms of the threefold model of power given in this article. In my own view, the current crisis is a crisis in the Chinese sense of the term, i.e., an opportunity in disguise. Because the crisis is rightly perceived as a conflict between Wall Street and Main Street, as an incongruence between the actions of government and the political will and best interest of its constituents, and more generally as a power grab by authoritarian capitalism that is in full daylight for all to examine, it is an opportunity like no other for educating the populace. It is an opportunity like no other to awaken and educate the people so they are no longer sitting ducks for the three forms of power delineated in this article. Especially the third: history abounds with examples of how the first two forms of power lose their hold, indeed in many cases back off, when confronted with a people who value the quality of life over life on any terms, a people who will go to any lengths to protect their basic rights as human beings.

It is that spirit that infused the birth and early life of our Republic. I am betting that it is still alive and well in America.
Read Part II of this article on Axis of Logic
End Notes

1. Thomas C. Schelling, Arms and Influence, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1966

2. Gina Cavallaro, "Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1," the Army Times, September 30, 2008.
4. Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society, Simon and
Schuster, New York, 1953, pp. 49-50

5. Christopher Peterson, Steven F. Maier, and Martin E. P. Seligman, Learned Helplessness: A Theory for the Age of Personal Control, Oxford University Press, USA, 1995

6. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt & Company, New York 2007, passim.

7. Keith Olbermann interview with Naomi Klein: "Iraq Is the Classic Example of The Shock Doctrine
" December 2, 2007

Judith H. Young, Ph.D., has a B.A. and an M.A. in Philosophy and a doctorate in Political Science (Brandeis University, 1973). In the 1960s she was a published think tank researcher with a Top Secret security clearance in the areas of arms control, strategic studies and international aerospace activities.
In 1973-74 she taught International Politics at Mount Holyoke University in Massachusetts.

In the 1990s Judy became a practitioner and teacher in several venerable healing arts, including animal-assisted therapy and traditional Reiki. She founded a nonprofit animal and nature center dedicated to promoting the healthy development of children and youth, which she directed from 1994-2004, and she published widely in the field of equine-assisted activities and ecotherapy. After the shocking events of 9/11/2001, Judy returned to her earlier vocation as a writer and educator in the field of International Politics, while also maintaining a professional practice in complementary and alternative healing.

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Deconstructing the Power of the Global Elite Part II: States of Mental Disempowerment By Judith H. Young, Ph.D.

In Part I of "Deconstructing the Power of the Global Elite," I discussed a threefold model of power: Brute Force, the Power to Hurt and Psychological Control.
In Part II, I will address several forms of psychological control designed to induce states of mind that are inherently disempowering, that eliminate or severely diminish our will to take corrective action in the face of grievous harm.
As stated in a famous quote from Henry David Thoreau, the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation, marked by a state of resignation which is confirmed desperation. This phenomenon, which is so antithetical to the joyful natural instincts of newborns, has not come about by accident, but rather through the careful crafting of a cold-blooded global oligarchy. An oligarchy whose insidiousness calls to mind an ancient story in which a perfect murder is committed by Brak the ice man, who kills a woman with an icicle dagger: both he and his weapon melt away in the next day's sun, leaving nothing behind as a basis for prosecuting the crime.
For in addition to brute force and the power to hurt, the global elite uses another form of power that is as stealth like and chilling as Brak's perfect crime: sophisticated techniques for psychological control stemming in large part from the ability to mold the perceptions and behavior of the populace through mental and emotional manipulation of the very reality it experiences. As observed by Aldous Huxley in 1962 in explaining his novel Brave New World, these are methods of control that are "probably a good deal more efficient" than control "exercised wholly by terrorism and violent attacks upon the mind-body of individuals."1
Although it would take volumes to do justice to deconstructing the crimes against the human spirit perpetrated by the globalists, I will here attempt to expose several of their common themes: normalizing the abnormal, learned helplessness, and the disorientation of the betwixt and between syndrome. In my view, if we explore the ways these states of mind disempower us, they will be stripped of their disabling mystique and reveal the very ways they can be neutralized. This truth is stated well by Jungian Analyst and wise woman Clarissa Pinkola Estés in discussing the core agenda of terrorists, that of casting a net of mental poison over their victims by trying to deprive them of hope - by trying to limit their living life as a completely free person focused on goodness, love, peace, and happiness:
"How strongly that poisonous net holds when one is unaware of what it is made of, and how easily it falls apart when one consciously begins to contradict its malicious urgings."2
Normalizing the Abnormal
Dr. Estés observes that the disorder of normalizing the abnormal is rampant across cultures. When there are formidable punishments for breaking silence, for pointing out wrongs, for demanding change, we cut away our rightful rage and become used to not being able to intervene in shocking events. Despair, fatigue and resignation follow.3
Normalization of the abnormal has been achieved in large part through the power elite's control of the news media and entertainment. This dominance has permitted not only deciding the "information" the public is allowed to receive, but also the molding of public opinion and behavior. One example is sponsorship of the TV show 24, carefully designed to desensitize the viewers to the use of torture. Another is the use of TV commercials showing stars cheerfully endorsing invasive personal identification technology, as part of a carefully designed program for grooming us to accept Big Brother surveillance and control, including the eventual implantation of microchips under our skin.
The power elite goes to any lengths to keep the public misled, distracted, fearful, and ultimately imprisoned in a matrix of disinformation, rampant consumerism and the lowest common denominators of human nature, including raw violence and mindless sexuality. As Huxley observed in 1962, the controlling oligarchy has long been at work developing scientific methods of control to "induce people to love their servitude" - to make them "enjoy a state of affairs which by any decent standard they ought not to enjoy."4 This dystopic scenario was echoed by Bertrand Russell, who predicted that as a result of the gradual and ruthless use of technological advances, "a revolt of the plebs would be as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton."5
I would contend that the disorder of normalizing the abnormal consists in large measure of reshaping our very construct of human nature in terms of its basest parameters, especially in the areas of acquisitiveness, violence, and sexuality. Massive effort has gone into studying and modifying human behavior to serve the global elite's greed for money and power. The modern consumer is not reflective of genuine human nature, but rather a phenomenon created in great part by the psychoanalytic studies, experiments and recommendations of the brilliant capitalist asset Edward Bernays. The widespread aberration of a dumbed down populace, unaware and largely uncaring regarding its destiny, has taken years of careful elitist effort to orchestrate. And the disgusting extremes of human sexual behaviors that are fast approaching the excesses of the infamous last days of the Roman Empire are similarly a product of diligently researched scientific techniques of psychological and social control.
It is terrifying but essential to come into awareness that it is in great part the knowledge of human nature gained through the application of torture techniques by intelligence agencies that have infused the broader mind control strategies of the ruling class. More generally, its control techniques have evolved in large measure from "black" psychological operations (psyops) that are carefully compartmentalized and hidden from our bone fide representatives in all three branches of government.
Many of the current mind control techniques have been derived from barbaric projects secretly conducted by governments, private laboratories and universities. In his 2000 book titled The Mind Controllers,6 Dr. Armen Victorian used the Freedom of Information Act to document experiments by the CIA and other agencies exploring new forms of "non-lethal" weapons which exploited hospital patients, pregnant women, school children, prisoners and military veterans without their consent. Other extremely dangerous experiments, including nuclear radiation experiments, have been conducted on an unsuspecting public at large, and even on our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Learned Helplessness
The phenomenon of normalizing the abnormal was given experimental validation in the 1970s through controlled studies with groups of dogs. The experiments revealed a great deal about the innate flight or fight reactions to danger and indicated that self-protective instincts can be overriden by inducing "learned helplessness." In one experiment the bottoms of cages were wired to produce a shock on one side only, resulting in the expected avoidance behaviors; then the entire floors of the cages were wired to give random shocks, resulting in confusion, then panic, and then just lying down in resignation, taking the shocks as they came and no longer trying to avoid or outsmart them. Next the cage doors were opened, but the dogs did not move to escape as expected, leading to the hypothesis that they had adapted to or "normalized" their pain and were consequently exhibiting symptoms similar to chronic clinical depression.7
Learned helplessness manifests in everyday situations or environments in which people perceive, rightly or wrongly, that they have no control over what happens to them, e.g., war, famine, or detention (those who refused to care or fend for themselves in the Nazi concentration camps were called Muselmänner). When the instincts for self-determination are injured, as observed by Dr. Estés, humans will 'normalize' assault after assault, acts of injustice and destruction toward themselves, their offspring, their loved ones, their land, and even their moral and spiritual values.8
The electroshock of the dogs in the learned helplessness experiments has, as Naomi Klein documents, been copied on a societal level by the financial oligarchy. The capitalist elite shocks a nation with an event like 9/11, and in the ensuing stage of confusion and panic rushes in with salvation in the form of protective father figures who provide a narrative that offers a perspective on the shocking events that allows the profoundly disoriented victims to make sense of the trauma.9 Hence the extraordinary power of the mind control matrix known as the War on Terror.
But what is learned can be unlearned; what has been forgotten can be relearned. Especially in the case of our inherent instincts of preservation, we can engage in forensic analysis with a view to restoring the natural skills that give us power:
"[The] normalizing of the shocking and abusive is refused by repairing injured instinct....To re-learn the deep...instincts, it is vital to see how they were decommissioned to begin with....[We compose] a map of the woods in which we live, and where the predators live, and what their modus operandi is....[Then] if our wild nature has been injured by something, we refuse to lie down to die. We refuse to normalize this harm. We call up our instincts and do what we have to do.10 Klein demonstrates a similar optimism: "Once the mechanics of the shock doctrine are deeply and collectively understood, whole communities become harder to take by surprise, more difficult to confuse-shock resistant."11
The Betwixt and Between Syndrome
The relentless march toward tyranny in the United States and other nations with a heritage of freedom, underscored by the blatant criminality of the recent bailout package implemented against the political will and interest of the populace, seems to portend a terrifying future for humanity. It leaves us in a no man's land between the familiarity of our previous reality and the uncharted dangers lying ahead.
This loss of bearings should be seen as a form of psychological control by the globalists over the populace for two reasons. First, it is a situation they have engineered, and engineered in such a way as to serve their self-interest. Second, our fear of a destiny they have designed for us keeps us from exercising our full potential of actively opposing its unfolding. At a time of the implementation of what can only be perceived as their endgame, we find ourselves floundering and cut off from our inner fire.
Humans have an instinctive fear of the unknown, which is exacerbated if trends indicate an unknown that is negative rather than positive. In the present case the unknown seems to be characterized by the probability of enormous global destabilization, with massive suffering in store for the populace. Although the world as we have known it is far from acceptable, the horizon appears quite possibly unbearable--hence the phrase "looking into the abyss" used recently by a number of analysts.
This makes the betwixt and between predicament more difficult to navigate than it would be in less extreme situations, such as adolescence as a normal and predictable transition from childhood to maturity. Another exacerbation is the endless onslaught of crises that the oligarchy orchestrates in order to keep us in a state of continual disorientation, seemingly unable to process one trauma before the next one hits.
But as in the case of normalizing the abnormal and learned helplessness, the solution lies in keen understanding of the problem. Once we dissect the betwixt and between predicament, a predicament that all of us have experienced and navigated in our personal lives but may well not have recognized and named as such, our fear will lose its hold and we can reclaim our power.
The betwixt and between predicament occurs whenever we are forced to revise our previous sense of self and reality, and are required to remain in a zone of unfamiliarity, disorientation and loss of control until a new set of truths emerges and is integrated. All of us have faced this predicament again and again in our lives, e.g., during the teen years, after a major loss, and in our daily lives when our personal growth process entails the death of old aspects of the self and the birth of new ones. Even transitions that one welcomes gladly, such as marriage, a better job, or moving, are in fact highly stressful because of their magnitude.
Anthropological insights on initiations and rites of passage have much to teach us regarding the betwixt and between phenomenon. Rites of transition are marked by distinct (although often overlapping) stages:
  • Separation: a detachment or departure from a previous state, whose familiarity provided a sense of security;

  • Marginality / Ambiguity: entering the margin between the former and the new state of being, not quite here but not quite there, having lost the security of familiar boundaries and facing disorientation;

  • Consummation: a culmination in which one integrates a new state of being and sense of self.12
In a classic essay on the betwixt and between predicament, Victor Turner observes that the transition from separation to ambiguity is marked by temporary invisibility: one cannot be classified either in the old or the new way and is therefore structurally invisible.13 This goes a long way in explaining the fear that marks major transitions and initiations.
The good news is that, as with the process of grieving, there is a well-charted process by which we can move from the frightening state of ambiguity and achieve a new equilibrium: a new equilibrium that is in fact healthier and more resilient because it is based on full awareness of the truth of things. It is less painful to accept the need for change than to stay in denial. Indeed, as the renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell stresses, there is great dignity in answering the call to heroism, a call that is now sounding to all of humanity.
The good news goes further: Turner and others in fact see potential gifts in the betwixt and between ambiguity that is so emotionally difficult. The inability to classify oneself, while one is in the stage of uncertainty and not-knowing, is also freedom to explore new ways of constructing reality and identity. The stage of ambiguity can become one of enormous creativity and fertility as we move to a new reality that we ourselves construct.
It is vital to keep this awareness as we face and oppose the unfolding of the financial elite's endgame of cementing its global control through the current economic crises and so-called solutions it has itself engineered. As an advancing power nears its goal of full spectrum dominance, its crimes break the surface for all to witness, as evidenced by the audacity of the corporatocracy in forcing the passage of the bailout package and in its brazenly self-serving implementation.
Our Republic was not always ignorant and apathetic in the face of such criminality. In reaction to an offer in 1905 of a $100,000 donation by John D. Rockefeller for the missionary work of the U.S. Congregationalist Church, its most eminent leader asked, "Is this clean money? Can any man, can any institution, knowing its origins, touch it without being defiled?" The Reverend Washington Gladdington, echoing the prevalent outlook of the era, berated the accumulation of wealth on every side -
"by methods as heartless, as cynically iniquitous as any that were employed by the Roman plunderers or robber barons of the Dark Ages. In the cool brutality with which properties are wrecked, securities destroyed, and people by the hundreds robbed of their little, all to build up the fortunes of the multi-millionaires, we have an appalling revelation of the kind of monster a human being may become."14
No longer can the oligarchs use the insidiousness of the iceman Brak to further their agenda. And longer do we need to allow them to disempower us through technocratic techniques of psychological control. The efficacy of these techniques has stemmed in great measure from our internalization of oppression, a process we can work to reverse once we understand it.
The technocrats would have us believe we are helpless to join battle. We are not. I support this optimistic claim with a comment on Part I of my deconstruction of the power of the global elite, which serves as a powerful ending to end Part ll:
"I for one have been subjected to much of this torture as being part of a marginalized class of society. The criminal global elites like to practice their abuse experiments on the less fortunate that cannot defend themselves and offer any resistance, but as the author so rightly observed the human spirit is indominitable and will not go quietly into the night. Excellent job in exposing these psychological crimes for what they are. When people start realizing they were once human beings and hate what the behavioural criminals are doing, we can stop this learned helplessness and say with Patrick Henry, 'Give me Liberty or give me death'."15
End Notes
2. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, "An Open letter: Healing from Terrorism Sickness," September 15, 2001, p.3.
3. Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Ballantine Books, New York, 1992, p. 244.
5. Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1953, pp. 49-50
6. Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, passim.; Dr. Armen Victorian, The Mind Controllers, Lewis International, Inc., Miami, 2000; Colin A. Ross, The CIA Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists, Manitou Communications, Inc., Richardson, TX, 2006.
This phenomenon brings to mind another form of disempowerment that afflicts freedom fighters and others who see all too clearly the abnormal and grotesque nature of the oligarchy's evil: the evil is so horrific to those with an open eye that they recoil utterly. There is a powerful Latin phrase for phenomena (such as incest) that are so far outside the archetypal realm of acceptability that they fall under a special category: "contra naturum." The power elite's audacity is indeed opposed to the very laws of nature. Rather than allowing our disbelief and horror to disable us, including our horror over dehumanization efforts that attempt to degrade the majesty of the human species, we must find the outrage needed to confront and eradicate it as an evil that is so aberrational as to be itself sub-human.
7. Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 244.
8. Ibid., p. 246.
9. Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, p. 458; Keith Olbermann interview with Naomi Klein: "Iraq Is the Classic Example of The Shock Doctrine" December 2, 2007
10. Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 252-53.
12. Victor Turner, in Stanislov Grof, ed., Spiritual Emergency, Jeremy P. Tarcher, New York, 1989.
13. Ibid.
14. Peter Collier and David Horowitz, The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty, Holt, Reinhart and Winston, New York, 1976, p. 3.
15. See Keepers of the Trust community on the author's website

the article originaly found in Axis of Logic:

Rebel Diaz: This is What Democracy Looks Like - in New York! Directed by David "Drizz" Rodriguez

Warning to Mayor Bloomberg and his machine:
Don't underestimate the revolutionary movement from the below! Rebel Diaz!Watch your backs!

This family oriented video is the response to the unjust actions and the unnecessary push for a third term by Mayor Bloomberg. He has to be held accountable for the police murders and brutality, for lack of housing, for being an investor in so much of the gentrification going on in Brooklyn, Harlem, and the South Bronx.
Lah Tere (Rebel Diaz)
G1 (Rebel Diaz)
Rodstarz (Rebel Diaz)
Mark Bucannons
John Mega
YC The Cynic
Directed by David "Drizz" Rodrigue

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Battle to Take Back the New School By BARUCHA CALAMITY PELLER

April 22, 2009

"Occupy Everything"

The Battle to Take Back the New School                              


Owing to pending legal issues, as well as continuing intimidation from school administration towards student organizers, all the New School students are quoted anonymously in this article, at their request. CB

"We occupied a university building, workers in Chicago occupied their factory, people facing foreclosures have refused to leave their homes. Occupation is not merely a tactic to get some demands met; it is a practical strategy for taking our lives back into our own hands. Let's occupy everything until everything is ours.” – a student at the New School for Social Research, NY
On Friday, April 10, in the first lights of a cool Manhattan dawn, banging could be heard up to a block away from the four-story New School building at 65 5th Ave, and the sound of chains scraping against metal permeated the silent morning.

When school security arrived the entire building, which takes up a city block steps away from bustling Union Square, had been barricaded by students inside. A huge banner appeared hanging from the roof: “The New School is now re-Occupied.”

Although only lasting four hours before a brutal eviction by NYPD, the bold occupation has once again raised the stakes in the young student movement in New York City. But more importantly, the politics that have been bought forth from within recent occupations at NYC universities challenge reformist solutions to atomized “issues,” and now more than ever gone beyond focusing solely on student demands. Students are proposing direct action, and specifically occupation, as a natural response to the financial crisis, with a distinct anti-capitalist critique.

“The New School’s problems are symptomatic of the larger economic crisis in whish we live, the crisis which is being dealt with by service cuts, foreclosures, bank bailouts, mass unemployment, and layoffs,” said a student inside the barricaded school. “We reject these false solutions. To really fight the crisis means to take over the spaces in which we live and work, and make them our own. And that is what we are doing.”

An escalating resistance to commodification

The April 10 occupation stepped up an already active scene of dissent at the New School, a movement whose contagious energy continues to spread to other universities. On December 17, New School students occupied a large area of the same building at 65th 5th ave for three days, and fights with authorities for the space broke out both inside and outside the building. Among their demands was the resignation of President Bob Kerrey and Vice-President James Murtha, as well as the Board of Trustees Treasurer James B. Millard. Early in the month, faculty had voted no-confidence for Bob Kerrey. The occupation ended after negotiations with the school, but only small concessions to the demands were made, and the administration remained.

Among a plethora of concerns, the students cite a lack of financial transparency and political centralization as their primary grievances with the New School administration. They say Kerrey is making the school into a corporate entity that disregards student and faculty needs.

“We don’t have a library, the school has spent millions on a new logo, and Kerrey is only concerned with making the school profitable,” a student has said. “Our school is a progressive front for the corporate, commodification of education.”

The administration themselves are shadowy characters. Kerrey, a former Nebraska senator, is considered a war criminal for leading a massacre on a village of unarmed civilians during his tour of duty as lieutenant in Vietnam. According to reports, civilians including women and children were executed outside their homes and others were stabbed.

Millard sits on the board of L3 communications, a large war contractor whose subsidiary in Iraq, a company called Titan, was sued in May 2008 for abuses and torture at Abu Ghraib.

After winter break the movement continued. In February, NYU students, with support from their New School counterparts, occupied Kimmel Hall for three days, requesting that the school release a report of the annual operating budget and grant 15 scholarships to students from Gaza.  The NYU occupation ended when police lifted the barricades at Kimmel Hall. Students were photographed and suspended.

Meanwhile there was an obvious lack of any serious changes occurring at New School after the December occupation. A socially responsible investing committee was to be set up, but Kerrey called it merely advisory. Wearing ski-masks, a student group called New School in Exile held a February 10 press conference to announce an ultimatum:  President Kerrey must be out by April 1 or else the students will shut down the school. Any concessions made by the school after the occupation were considered irrelevant if the current administration remained.

Things only escalated further from there. More student groups signed onto the ultimatum. Frequent meetings were held and at one point Kerrey’s house was vandalized.  A February teach-in on the history of student resistance at the New School was disrupted by school security that threatened to arrest and suspend students if they continued the teach-in. A second teach-in was similarly disrupted in March. Using intimidation, administration showed a flagrant disregard for freedom of academic and political expression at the school, and tensions rose.  

April 1 came and went and Kerrey remained. A heightened security detail at the school slackened its  efforts, but the students had not forgotten their ultimatum.  

“Occupy Everything”

On the morning of April 10 crowds of student supporters and pedestrians gathered around the occupied building. Kerrey, who labeled the occupation illegal and refused to recognize it as a political demonstration, summoned the police in force. The demands had expanded since the passing of the April 1st deadline:  the resignation of the Kerrey administration, and full control over the otherwise underutilized building at 65 5th Ave. At the same time, those barricaded within the building used the occupation as a call to action to other students and non-students and as a model of resistance.

“There are two aspects of our struggle,” said a student inside the occupation. “The first revolves around the crisis at our university, which is symbolized by the corrupt and authoritarian President Bob Kerrey. The second, and more important aspect is rooted in the general struggle against capital, as well against all hierarchical power relations.  The solution we propose is a means without end. Our occupation of 65 5th Avenue is a small model of our proposal, which is for workers, students, and dispossessed of all kinds to collectively occupy the places where they live, work and circulate through.”

Huge banners were dropped from the roof of the school: “Occupy Everything.”

As morning pedestrians began to swarm the sidewalks outside the building, wondering what was happening, people fell silent and heads turned upwards toward the roof, where a dozen occupiers appeared masked and waving a black and red flag. The scene was striking- against the backdrop of a grey sky, the masked occupiers began to read a communiqué from a bullhorn. “…When we delve below the surface appearance of everyday life, it becomes clear that a generalized critique of society based on the twin logics of capitalist accumulation and hierarchical domination has everything to do with our struggle to redefine our school.”

The students went on to critique capital and the commodity form to the constantly swelling gathering of press, police, pedestrians, and student supporters below.

President sicks NYPD on students 

Shortly after the occupiers disappeared back into the building, NYPD appeared in their place on the roof, and began a calculated operation to remove the student occupation and hinder outside support by barricading the perimeter of the school and shutting down over a block of 5th Ave. In a move that would later be heavily criticized by both faculty and students, Kerry gave the go-ahead to the NYPD to remove the occupiers, without offering negotiation from the administration.

In an absurd reaction to the occupation, Kerry actually went as far as to compare the students to Al-Qaida, saying, “Some of us still remember 9/11 around here.”  Kerrey, who at one time termed his students as “customers”, later called the students who occupied “terrorists”.

In the late morning, the occupiers attempted to leave the building through a side door. When the door opened, police reached inside and heavily pepper sprayed the students, and then closed the door, preventing them from peacefully retreating from the occupation. Outside the door, police attacked supporters, arresting three and leaving one student with a concussion and scrapes and bruises across his face. The NYPD denied the use of pepper spray on the students until a video surfaced on the Internet clearly showing the brutality at the side door.

The occupation ended when scores of police sawed through the front entrance. Inside, occupiers unlocked the second door and sat in three lines and 19 people were arrested without resistance.

Appalled by president Kerrey’s response that led to the incidents of police brutality at the occupation that day, an angry crowd of 200 masked students from various schools descended on Kerrey’s house in Greenwich Village late at night.  They shouted his name and broke some car windows while barricading the street from approaching police.

Faculty have heavily criticized President Kerry’s calling in of the NYPD as an executive unilateral decision reflecting his general lack of accountability to other existing powers at the New School community. Historically, school administrations hesitate to use police to settle student demonstrations on campus.  It was no small deal in the 60s when Columbia University sent the police in to evict an occupation, and after words, several faculty members resigned in protest.

 “We can see no justification for the administration’s resort to police force against the occupiers of 65 Fifth Avenue…in our view, (Kerrey’s) statements evince no understanding of longstanding traditions of university autonomy vis-à-vis state power and protection from apparatuses of repression.” wrote two prominent professors, Nancy Fraser and Eli Zaretsky. “His action appears to have been taken in ignorance of the specificity of academic life, its values, traditions, and historic rights.” 

A Global Context for Unrelenting Students

President Kerry should consider himself lucky that New School students are only going after buildings. A few days before the latest New School occupation, students in Orleans, France, held their school president hostage, with a motto that reflects sentiments of students in New York: “education is not merchandise.” 

As the December occupation was greatly inspired by the insurrection in Greece and the wave of occupations there, students in New York continue to connect their experiences with others across the globe, specifically in Europe where students are concerned with an unstable job market and university reforms that serve capitalist interests. Since December, letters of solidarity from student occupations from Greece to Italy and Spain have been pouring into New York, and students scour the web for communiqués from their anti-capitalist “comrades” overseas.  Clashes between police and students have swept Italy and France for months.

Despite the administration’s continued efforts to repress dissent through threats of expulsion and disciplinary action, the students at New School continue to organize and escalate: holding assemblies, encouraging direct action, and writing intelligent communiqués to articulate their every move and counter naïve charges that they are merely “political thugs,” or that occupation is an act of violence. Students from schools around the city have come out in support of the New School demonstrations, and are planning actions at their own schools. Pressure from faculty led the to the temporary lifting of suspensions on students involved with the recent occupation.

Last week, Kerrey’s house was visited once again by a mob of students reminding him that they want him to leave, and Fifth avenue was blockaded in front of the school. “Occupy again!” The crowd shouted.

“The students are determined,” said a student yesterday. “The school cannot continue doing this, because we wont back down. Occupation is a powerful experience- to take back space and make it your own. Now that we have had a taste, we know what is possible.”

Barucha Calamity Peller is a writer and photojournalist, high school dropout, and rebel-rouser. For years she has worked within and reported on social movements from Mexico to Europe. She can be reached by email at

the artwork of this article created by Void Art Laboratory

the article originaly published in the Counterpunch digital mag.:

Monday, April 13, 2009

You are being lied to about Pirates by Johann Hari

Who imagined that in 2009, the world's governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy – backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the US to China – is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth. But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labelling as "one of the great menaces of our times" have an extraordinary story to tell – and some justice on their side.

Pirates have never been quite who we think they are. In the "golden age of piracy" – from 1650 to 1730 – the idea of the pirate as the senseless, savage Bluebeard that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: pirates were often saved from the gallows by supportive crowds. Why? What did they see that we can't? In his book Villains Of All Nations, the historian Marcus Rediker pores through the evidence.

If you became a merchant or navy sailor then – plucked from the docks of London's East End, young and hungry – you ended up in a floating wooden Hell. You worked all hours on a cramped, half-starved ship, and if you slacked off, the all-powerful captain would whip you with the Cat O' Nine Tails. If you slacked often, you could be thrown overboard. And at the end of months or years of this, you were often cheated of your wages.

Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied – and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively, without torture. They shared their bounty out in what Rediker calls "one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the eighteenth century".

They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. The pirates showed "quite clearly – and subversively – that ships did not have to be run in the brutal and oppressive ways of the merchant service and the Royal Navy." This is why they were romantic heroes, despite being unproductive thieves.

The words of one pirate from that lost age, a young British man called William Scott, should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: "What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirateing to live." In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: "If nothing is done, there soon won't be much fish left in our coastal waters."

This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence".

No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But in a telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali: "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas." William Scott would understand.

Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We won't act on those crimes – the only sane solution to this problem – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 per cent of the world's oil supply, we swiftly send in the gunboats.

The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarised by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know "what he meant by keeping possession of the sea." The pirate smiled, and responded: "What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor." Once again, our great imperial fleets sail – but who is the robber?

This article is written by Johann Haris: and appeared originaly in 5 January 2009 in English newspaper The Independent:

you can find the same article with some interesting comments in:

for further reading about the pirates of previous centuries, the myths and the lies about them read the books :

"Villains of all Nations" & "The Many Headed Hydra" by Marcus Redikers "Pirates and Buccaneers" by Gilles Lapouge "Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates" by David Cordingly

for a great report-photogallery from photographer Veronique de Viguerie about Somalia pirates:

for a profile of Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse, a 16 years old pirate that just arrested from American governement and brought to trial in New York, in the first pirate trial for the last century:

Muse is the sole surviving Somali pirate suspect from the hostage-taking of commercial ship captain Richard Phillips from the Maersk Alabama. photo gallery from his arrest:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

ACT NOW! UK Police Killed a Man at London G20, new video evidence

moments after this man died

UK Police Killed a Man
at London G20,
new video evidence:

Some people have started a call out for actions at UK Embassies at 12noon this Friday, 10 April, to call for charges of murder for the officer who is reponsible for the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 inLondon.
There is a new video just in the last few hours (this is being postingnow at 23:13, European time), proving that an unprovoked attack by a masked UK policeman is responsible for the death of an innocent by-stander during the G20 meeting in London a few days ago. A quick search on Google for the name of the killed man:Ian Tomlinson...shows that as of now no international press at all is covering thisstory. Please forward this immediately to every contact you can. We need to make a huge issue of this immediately. All anti-repression groups should look at this, and the guilty officer needs to be immediatelycharged with murder.


UK Guardian articles:G20 police assault revealed in video:
Footage shows Ian Tomlinson, the man who died during G20 protests inLondon, being attacked from behind (by masked police)
De Menezes taught the Met nothing:Footage of a police assault on Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demo – moments before he died – suggests their tactics are dangerously wrong

further articles:
G20 activists want public inquiry
Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Sunday, 5 April 2009 11:38 UK
"In a statement, a group calling themselves G20 Witnesses said: "We call for a full public inquiry to look into Mr Tomlinson's death and thepolice tactics used throughout the G20 protests."...G20 death man 'had heart attack'
Page last updated at 02:49 GMT, Saturday, 4 April 2009 03:49 UK
..."The City of London Police said: "A post-mortem examination found hedied of natural causes."...