working together for social inclusion in America

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lock Step

One thing corporate fascists like Hillary Clinton and theocratic ideologues like Sarah Palin agree on is authoritarianism; they just disagree on who that authority should be. But despite this petty disagreement, they both firmly support the need for government to keep its dirty secrets from the citizenry. Transparent government, particularly an empire with tendrils in almost every tyranny on the planet, is from their anti-democratic viewpoint, a recipe for disaster.

Hillary and Sarah may never become fast friends, or run on a political ticket together, but in their pathological political beliefs, they are emphatically in lock step.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Faded From View

Americans by and large are immune to outrage over petty lying and graft. Slush funds, tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud—ordinary stuff.

Then Wikileaks shined a light on the pathogens that had managed to reinfect the ideoscape after Watergate and Iran-Contra had faded from view. Hillary Clinton caught spying on UN officials, Barack Obama funding death squads in West Papua, both carrying water for Goldman Sachs and the carbon cartel in Copenhagen and Cancun.

Neither very sophisticated. Certainly not as sophisticated as their supporters would like to believe; they just have all the resources to threaten and bribe, and think that is enough to cover their hide.

Following on the heels of the Wikileaks exposure of dirty tricks by State under Secretary Clinton vis-a-vis Copenhagen, Cancun and the Indigenous Peoples Forum, it may be a good time for the National Congress of American Indians to follow the Assembly of First Nations example in pressing more forcefully for implementation of UNDRIP in domestic policy and law.

Real News has been dogging Cablegate, and Indian Country Today has covered the fraud of Copenhagen and Cancun. I am wondering how long until these alternative media discussions about the collusion between State, the UN and others to prevent indigenous participation in climate change talks becomes common knowledge.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Out of Control

Monica Alonzo of the San Francisco Weekly reports on the abuses of Mexican immigrants by the US Border Patrol. Documenting the beatings, sexual assaults and attempted murders is difficult with the Homeland Security agency mired in secrecy, but the evidence available suggests Customs is rampant with agents ill-suited to the task. Reading Alonzo's account of the murder of Hernandez Rojas, an immigrant kicked and tasered while handcuffed, facedown on the ground, in custody, one has to wonder what is going on. The fact that despite almost impenetrable secrecy, 103 agents of US Customs have been arrested since 2004 for smuggling, money-laundering and conspiracy, speaks for itself.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Vicarious Vitality

A while back, I wrote about Zuni Pueblo protector societies that maintain barriers against unhealthy influences on their people. More recently I came across another metaphor in the Apache Mountain Spirit People -- protectors, teachers, role models -- who, like the mountains, serve, look over, inform, and provide inspiration to those below.

Recently, I was thinking about the threats we face as a multicultural society in battling political violence, racism, and social exclusion, and how our collective understanding and institutional memory expressed and explored in gatherings and discussions propels social transformation. Which reminded me of the Zuni Pueblo protector societies that meet regularly to discuss threats to their social harmony and well-being and develop means of guarding against poisonous ideas, be they economic, emotional, intellectual, medicinal, physical, political, or spiritual.

And I thought about the Zuni means of preservation of memory of these tools of survival recorded in their architecture, food, pottery, and regalia, and how through five centuries they've managed to adapt and endure without sacrificing their core values. Which is instructive in the need to develop our storytelling through art, ceremony, dance, oratory, and ritual, if we, too, hope our values will someday triumph.

One story about such values is Zuni and the American Imagination by Eliza McFeely, from which I quote:

At the heart of evolutionary anthropology lay the assumption that the human mind was guided by universal, not culturally specific, impulses...This assumption had two important methodological implications. First, it allowed ethnologists to reason by analogy, and to do so with the same certainty with which they reasoned deductively from observation.

Because they believed that all societies evolved through similar stages, developing similar or at least comparable technologies and social institutions along the way, they were perfectly comfortable studying ancient Native American cultures by proxy, deducing their histories from the present lives of people who occupied the same rung on the evolutionary ladder.

The conviction that ancient and contemporary aboriginal peoples might be considered virtually identical allowed the scientists to call their work an empirical science despite the absence of the actual subject matter they claimed to be analyzing.

Read David Farber's review to learn more about McFeely's book.