DIRECT ACTION

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Photo courtesy Max Wilbert

On Friday, January 15th, two activists drove eight hours from Eugene, Oregon, to a remote corner of public land in Nevada, where they pitched a tent in below-freezing temperatures and unfurled a banner declaring: “Protect Thacker Pass.” You’ll be forgiven if you’ve never heard of the placeit’s seriously in the booniesbut these activists, Will Falk and Max Wilbert, hope to make it into a household name.

One of the activists is Will Falk, a writer and lawyer who helped bring a suit to US District Court seeking personhood for the Colorado River in 2017. …


DEMOCRACY

Proceed with caution

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Road sign photo public domain, modified by author

The last few days I’ve been reminded of the period immediately after 9/11. That too was a media spectacle that fired up fevered emotions and over-heated rhetoric. With the word “spectacle” I am not questioning the reality or the gravity of either event; I am emphasizing that each featured a mediated aspect that itself instigated its own effects.

9/11 was a televised spectacle. There were the actual events of that day, where buildings collapsed in Manhattan, the Pentagon was attacked, and wreckage was strewn across the Pennsylvania countryside; and then there was the televised treatment of it, which had a…


SUSTAINABILITY

A place-based, indigenous approach to ecological restoration in eastern Oregon

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Bobby Fossek and daughter, Meadow, harvest Great Basin Ryegrass for a Camas Bake [Photo by Jaishri Spencer]

“Restoration of habitats and regenerative, localized food production need to be foundational in our economies moving forward. We should be turning resources towards these efforts with the same vigor the destruction and depletion was carried out with. Sucking the life out of our lands while polluting the water to grow human fodder void of nutrition and send it oversees to the highest bidder is a march toward extinction and most are chained to this way of life by the corporate oligarchies that have more rights than human beings or the very sources of our lives. …


2020

More crises — and more opportunities — are on the way

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“Castle Ruin” by Harold Broadfield Warren, 1896 [public domain]

2020, with its pandemic and its protests, was many things to many people: a hardship for those who lost homes, livelihoods and people they loved to COVID and insufficient government support; an inspiration for activists who have been working for years to call attention to police brutality; and an imposition to those who resent anything that makes them take other people into account (like demands for racial justice or requests to follow public health protocol).

What 2020 should have been for everyone was a wake-up call that the system is not as solid as it might have seemed, and further…


COVID-19

Review of an anthology by over 50 activists and independent journalists

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Asian countries have been far more successful than the US in responding to the COVID pandemic, but you’d never know that from the US media. Even most alternative media has been largely US- & Euro-centric. While our domestic issues here are important, we have been missing out on important lessons from other places.

A partial remedy to this dearth of information is provided by the just released, “Capitalism on a Ventilator: The Impact of COVID-19 in China & the U.S.” The book is an anthology of writing by over fifty activists and independent journalists, edited by Sara Flounders & Lee…


COVID-19

Speculations on an alternate universe…

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What most surprised me about 2020 was the eruption of partisan warfare over wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID. Metaphorically, it was like making a political issue of covering your mouth when you cough. WTF?

Was this inevitable? It’s not like this particular topic has been a hot button issue for decades like feminism or fluoride or gays. Surgical masks have been absent from the last half century of culture wars, unmentioned by Phyllis Schlafly, Ronald Reagan or Alex Jones.

So, having been off the table this whole time, the mask “issue” was up for grabs and I…


2020 ELECTION

Damned if you do…

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I don’t see Republicans and Democrats… I see European civilization killing everything. ~Conrad Justice Kiczenski

Here we are again, in the post-Convention frenzy of a presidential election year in the USA. All sense, reason and proportion go out the window as both sides hurl their invective and sling their spin. Passions rise and all composure is sidelined. Each team makes dire predictionsbut selectively, so as not to draw attention to the real issues, which neither one wants to acknowledge.

Partisanship is an affliction that threatens our survival. Both parties fully support ecocide and imperialism (regardless of what their…


POLICE REFORM

Undemocratic bureaucracy rejects City Council proposal

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Activist Robin Wonsley (Eric Mueller Photography)

In mid-July, Counterpunch published, “Minneapolis Ballot Measure to Dismantle the Police Will Test the Strength of Our Movement,” authored by Robin Wonsley & Ty Moore. Intrigued by this article, I contacted Robin, and less than a month later, I interviewed her for my podcast. But already the proposal — which had attracted so much national attention — was dead, killed by the city’s undemocratic and bureaucratic process. Robin and I talked in depth about how this happened, including how the activist community sabotaged itself by giving away its power to the City Council.

The…


Compromise & the Status Quo

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Source: The November Century Magazine LXXIII №1 (London, England: MacMillan and Co. LTD, 1906)

“Compromise” is nothing more than a means of preserving the status quo, which inevitably elevates greed over need. Agreeing to compromise is presented as mature, but it’s really just compliant. In this Orwellian perspective, rolling over is standing up.

When I look around at what amounts to “the left” in the US, I find it to be full of compromises, with nearly nothing be excited about.

Yes, I’ll support a campaign for a $15 minimum wage. But what I really want is a world where the necessities of life are no longer monetized. …


POLITICS

Time to expand your bubble

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Social media algorithms serve us up with what we like to see because the more we scroll, the more data they can harvest, and selling that data is their business model. Lately, it’s been popular to refer to the increasingly narrow worldview that we receive this way as an “echo chamber.” Commentators have been warning that both ignorance and polarization are the result, and that we need to take deliberate steps to avoid being boxed in and judgmental. Agreed.

One suggested remedy I saw recently is to keep people with “completely opposite political views” on your newsfeed, in part because…

Kollibri terre Sonnenblume

Writer, photographer, tree-hugger, animal-lover, dissident.

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