Friday, June 28, 2013

The Trigger Words of Freedom

We're told all we say is mined for specific trigger words We're placed in classes and categories by our bywords Our data is stored without our permission All in the name of the Homeland mission

They wage war on the truth tellers and whistleblowers alike Accountability and transparency they highly dislike Do as they say and not as they do A life of comfort they can undo

Freedom of speech can be stifled by fear Afraid to say the words we want to hear So be aware of what's going down Freedom in a slow motion breakdown

As our civil rights are reduced to naughts A society split by the haves and have nots What the future holds does not look pleasant The Rule of Law could no longer be relevant

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Battle Within

I happened upon a man sitting on the side of the road
His clothes were tattered and his face was furrowed
There was worry tattooed upon his face
Of happiness and hope there was no trace

I offered him some water and he drank of it deep
Then he dropped his shoulders and began to weep
A shadow of the man he had been before
His reasons to live no one could restore

He had seen more than his fragile mind could take
His life transformed into an unceasing heartache
After the four tours in the sands of the Middle East
The connection between his heart and mind had ceased

For him the world and the living were now external
The ghosts of his past were internal and infernal
Slowly any hope of his recovery had disappeared
He was no longer needed and budgets were sheared

Once proud and he was cheered for doing his duty
Now sitting alone and can no longer see any beauty
The thought of death once would make him tearful
Now it's life of which he is the most fearful

Of the horrors of war he'd witnessed therein
Seems the most terrifying battle is the one within
The fields of war he was able to leave behind
But in his mind the war remains confined

Photo: Banksy

Thursday, May 23, 2013

We Are the Creators

Gravel roads full of beautiful stones that are not sought They're just rocks and not worthy of a second thought But knap and flake A stone tool create Voilà for a price it can be bought I use the rocks as an example only to illustrate how we create value by our investment of labor. Labor always comes first. Its fruits are what create value. Regardless what any of us do, we should never forget...we are the creators...we create the capital...the capital does not create us. Though the 1% want to rewrite the story and try and convince us the creators of wealth can be found in the backrooms of our corpolitical chambers. They don't create...they benefit from our labor. Empower yourself...believe in you...empower ourselves...believe in us! We can either fall into many pieces and accept their terms of the coming austerity, or we can rise in a united voice and demand transparency and accountability from government representatives and their corporate sponsors. We have them outnumbered 99 to 1...and those are extremely good odds...if...
"...think of what ninety nine percent of the human race want – food, shelter, a secure family life and to be left alone by bosses and busybodies. Unfortunately the one percent who are interested in power and ideals and ideologies are the ones who call the tune." — Aldous Huxley

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hubs and Spokes

I just read a piece on business implications of tribal aggregation by Jay Deragon on the "The Relationship Economy" website. It is a great explanation of how tribal organizations of purpose, through their behavior, create a hub & spoke of connections, influence and communication. Through shared goals of the tribal organizations, hubs are created where like minded people can communicate, collaborate and co-create in order to achieve specific common goals.

This idea of tribes and hubs is relevant to the Repeace community. The community goal is to make accountability a profitable place the power back into the institution of the people. This common goal of demanding accountability from business and political leaders is what creates the hub in order to build the numbers needed to make those demands of accountability.

Repeace hopes to rally people behind 4 positive pledges, or demands. To make this work requires large numbers of people who believe in these simple demands, and who are willing to stand up and be counted. Numbers are what businesses and politicians understand, and in order to avert their attention away from the corrupt influence of money, and place the power back into the people's hands, we have to reach a critical mass of people demanding change. The four pledges are simple, and require only that people go to the Repeace website, and invest a couple of minutes to click on the pledge buttons. Here are the four pledges:

  1. I will support businesses that focus on sustainable, local products and services, not on buying influence.
  2. I will support politicians who are accountable to me, not to corporations.
  3. I will support countries that promote and defend freedom of expression.
  4. Worldwide support for all nations.
"The way Repeace wants to give power back to the institution of the people is by creating a worldwide, massive, virtual demand of accountability from businesses, and directing all power of purchase towards businesses who will make concrete steps toward abandoning their financial influence in public policies (money out of politics for increased support)."
  • "We tell businesses: "Back off of my representatives and I'll buy your products, or else I'll buy from businesses who will."
  • "We tell politicians: "Find alternative ways to find support and voters other than private cash, or else I'll support candidates who will".


"Tribal behavior creates a “hub and spoke” of connections, influence and communications. Each of us have our “hub” which represents a gathering of friends, family, business associates and extended relations. We reach out to others via “spokes” and we pull others to us via use of distribution “hubs” in which we communicate, collaborate and co-create.

"Tribal communities of purpose willingly share common goals with individuals and other tribes that identify with the philosophical bonds that unites people. Tribes stand for meaningful issues of importance to the human network.

"Tribes are creating five new dynamics that will change the way markets behave. These are:

  1. The tribes control the message with growing influence over markets. If your business cannot relate to the message then you are considered an outsider.
  2. Tribes have a purpose. Help them fulfill their purpose and just maybe you can be a member of their tribe. Understand the purpose and you’ll understand the tribe.
  3. Companies will have to learn that they are not the “connection” to the marketplace rather tribes, internal and external, hold the keys to tribal influence. Marketing, in the traditional sense, carries no influence.
  4. Tribes do not need management they need tools to accomplish their objectives. Tribes are and always will be self managed.
  5. Tribal leaders are dedicated to serving tribe members and the common purpose than themselves.
"The irony of today’s social dynamics is that brands and large networks think and behave like they are the “hub” and “tribes” are the “spokes”. The reality is that as technology progresses tribes are becoming the “hub” and the marketplace, the networks and every organization trying to aggregate us for their purpose are becoming the spoke." read the rest...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Privatized Warriors

The following is a commentary by Glen Ford, taken from Black Agenda Radio Commentaries.

"The best thing for the U.S. any movement that truly wants an end to U.S. wars, would be to bring back the draft. “The all-volunteer military has made it far easier for the United States to wage unjust and illegal wars, because the vast majority of the population has no direct stake in keeping the peace.” A new study shows the disconnect between Americans and their military is deeper than ever. “This vast experiential chasm between the general population and the U.S. military has reached an all time high during the same decade that has seen ‘the longest period of sustained conflict in the nation’s history.’

Back in 2003, readers argued heatedly that a draft would encourage U.S. militarists to concoct even more expansive war plans, because they would have access to more manpower. But, in this age of drones, smart bombs and million-dollar per man armies it is not manpower concerns, but domestic politics, that dictates how many wars the generals can fight. The Pentagon will wage as many wars as the American public will bear. At present, the U.S. is busy killing people in four large theaters of war and many smaller ones, yet the Pentagon shows no sign of having a full plate. Indeed, the last thing the U.S. military wants is a return to the draft, because they know that selective service would instantly shrink their options for war, because more people would oppose them." the rest...

Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We are fools to make war
On our brothers in arms.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jobless Citizens Organize

By the end of the 19th Century, Samuel Gompers and the American Federation of Labor were accepting American capitalism. This was a huge shift from the existing AFL model whose founding Preamble had been constructed around the reality of class consciousness. Prior to this shift from class consciousness to class collaboration, the organization had stood for abolishing wage slavery and preached that capitalism would inevitably create class conflict. After the shift, the organization began proclaiming that class harmony was possible under a benevolent form of capitalism. Under this "benevolent" form of capitalism, organized labor moved away from the horizontal member run model and began structuring itself after the corporate structure of the top-down hierarchy. This is when Labor moved away from class-consciousness and into trade-consciousness, and Business unionism was born!

Here we are 100 years later and the Business Union model has all but disappeared, primarily at the hands of those benevolent capitalists. Years ago Dave Neal did a piece concerning the future of organized labor. The article can be found at H.E.A.R.D., and also at IWW. The piece was pertinent prior to the turn of the Century, and given the further demise of collective workers and the political attack on the public workforce, it's even more pertinent now. The future of the working people arrived at this crossroads years ago, and the devil sang such a sweet tune we were individually mesmerized and Lucifer received the better deal. He walked away with our soul of solidarity. This is what Neal has to say about Business Unionism and its future.

It is my belief that business unionism will eventually die out, and we'll be back to where we were at the turn of the century, where Capital dictates the conditions under which we work without consideration of the consequences -- which are invariably measured in the lives of working people everywhere.

Business unionism won out in the past struggles between Labor and Capital, but in the long run, their vision of worker/owner solidarity is a false one, which is unravelling as we speak, particularly in the wake of NAFTA, GATT, and now MAI. Increasingly, it is Capital who calls the shots, and Labor who takes the lumps -- which explains why hundreds of thousands of working people have been "downsized" for the sake of corporate profits.

What we do from this point forward is what will shape the terrain of the working people for a long time to come. It is time for those in authority to step up and help be the change that our working families so drastically need. Yes, we will all have to make some unwanted sacrifices, but if organized labor truly cares about the working people out here, now would be a good time to show it and carry the torch of social change that will benefit all working people, not just a chosen few. When it is all said and done, it's not the capitalists who are Labor's allies, it's the working people of our world.

I am not naive, I know a shift from craft-consciousness to class-consciousness will not be an easy transition. Any progressive social change will inevitably be a fight of will. Power never cedes power readily; it has to be fought for by the people -- and given the wealth disparity which is so apparent in our country -- as the people participating in the OWS Movement have so eloquently pointed out -- the time for change is ripe!

However, with the continued withering away of business unions, an opening has grown for renewed radical unionism. The challenges are enormous, but the opportunity is there. This has been made possible, conversely, by the greed and machinations of Capital itself -- as the bosses seek to reduce American workers' pay, increase their hours, and slash their benefits, they have themselves created a revolutionary situation.

Management is very aware of this situation, however -- which is why there has been a proliferation of "empowerment sessions" and "team-building" initiatives in companies, where they seek to buy off the workers they still retain with union-style benefits without the unions. In other words, the appearance of empowerment, versus actual workplace empowerment. This masterful PR effort by management reveals the extent to which they'll go to see unionism finally destroyed. Companies want workers to think they're on the same team as their bosses, the way business unions believe. But it's a lie, and always will be.

To all of Organized Labor, there are two questions that need to be asked, followed by sincere discussions of how we can help be the change our people so desperately need. — "If not now, when? If not us, who?"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

OWS Poetry Anthology

People from around the world have been sending poems to the People's Library of Occupy Wall Street in order to create this anthology and show solidarity with the movement. As the OWS movement is horizontal and democratic, all poems are accepted in any language and are subject to be included in the anthology which is updated weekly. The details of submissions can be found on the OWS page I have linked following this poem by Stuart. It is the very first one in the anthology. Keep Occupying!

Taking Brooklyn Bridge
By, Stuart

I apologize Walt Whitman,
when I was young you spoke to me,
I would sit in the old church cemetery
surrounded by the tombstones of patriots
reading you out loud to the stray cats
and you came to me, you sang to me,
showed me myself in everyone and everything,
taught me a democracy of the soul, to live
in the rough and tumble world with dignity,
to grant that same dignity to the people around me.

I apologize Walt Whitman,
I let the song fade into the din
of everyday life, there are excuses
I could make, I will not make them,
I did not carry your song through the streets,
I worried about the strange looks and awkward postures
I might see in those who needed to hear it.
I got complacent, I was informed,
yes, informed, I read the papers, watched the news,
debated over dinners,
knew full well since the days of Reagan
what was happening to the common people like me
that you taught me to love, watched as we were turned
from citizens to consumers to the dispossessed,
and I did not rise up, I did not take to the streets,
did not risk or struggle, did not sing your song
that you so generously gave me.

Over the years I saw the passage of events,
I began to wonder why I and so many others
did not pour into the streets when our votes
were laughed off and our presidency stolen by
fools and plunderers, I wondered why I and so many
others did not challenge the brigand government
when they led us into the unjust war, did not let them
know that the battle we would wage here at home
against that corporate sponsored, oil sopped war of lies
would be far more passionate and just,
I began to wonder why so many citizens did not see that
they were being sold out, duped with the frivolous,
hyped by the hollow, bankrupted by spurious ideologies.

And this unrest began to churn within me,
as I watched the fall of the people, watched
as the great common people were being baited
and cheated by robber barons who would
delight in rekindling the gilded age, to gloat from
their palaces at the miserable, and I wondered
how this could be, how I could be watching the country
I grew up in, the heirs of independence, the tough,
decent, imperfect, hardworking people I venerated
lose the freedom that so many before us fought and died for.

There was a silent book on the shelf, your book,
Walt Whitman, I had kept the exact same copy
I discovered as a youth, inert on the shelf, the song
you taught me muted in the dark, and I was the same
as that book, a song stifled in the closed pages,
serving no one, a dusty decoration.

Then I saw the people who occupied Wall Street
on the news, heard their chants, read their signs,
was drawn by their passion and courage,
and I realized I had watched and wondered
for far too long, that I was perhaps even more guilty
than those who had perpetrated and even profited
from the disaster they now expect us to pay for
because I had done nothing.

My family and I came to stand with the occupiers,
to be one with them,
to raise our voices and march with them, so, that,
at the very least, true freedom and real democracy
would not be ground down without a struggle,
that we could look in the mirror and know
we fought for the just cause, not only for ourselves,
not only for America, but for all people,
now and one thousand years from now,
to tell humanity, to teach them, that freedom is not
purchased on a shopping spree, does not glow
on a TV screen, cannot be put on a credit card,
freedom is a responsibility that one must choose to bear
each and every day and no one can carry it for you,
that you must fight for the freedom of others
in order to have it yourself.

I came to atone for my apathy,
I came to teach the future vigilance,
better to be loud, be awkward, be dirty, be flawed,
you who are to come, make the people uncomfortable
because they are too timid to join you,
make the leaders uncomfortable
because they know you are unafraid,
I tell you that it is better to be one of the great democratic
people than it is to be a lord or a peasant.

We began to march from Liberty Square, a place
that now fully deserves its name, toward
the Brooklyn Bridge, and we chanted and sang
and called to those who watched to join us,
and there was a feeling in the air, a passion that
joined together every hearty soul, we all knew
we were on the side of the just, that we meant
no harm to any person, that we sought no more
than what was fair and sought it not only for ourselves,
and several times on the march my eyes welled with tears,
my emotions overwhelmed by the chaotic, brilliant
beauty of those marchers, of that which we marched for.

The long line of the protesters wound beneath
the towers of those who would squander the world,
devouring all that is good with their insatiable appetites,
making our way to the Brooklyn Bridge and when I saw
the towers of the bridge before me I started to laugh,
what better way to pay back Walt Whitman than to honor
his song at the crossing to Brooklyn,
to march across the bridge
over the waters he crossed so many times,
the bridge that poets have embraced as a symbol,
not only of ingenuity and progress,
not only of endeavor and perseverance,
but as a symbol of democracy,
of the great crossing of humanity from tyranny to freedom.

They are here Walt and I am with them, the African father
pushing his daughter in a stroller,
she holding a sign that proclaims
she too will fight for her future, the old man singing
‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ with wit and irony,
the veterans who know only too well of betrayal,
the young girl with bright fiery hair
whose strong voice chants, “We got sold out,
banks got bailed out!” the unshaven college boy
who has slept in the park for two weeks
seizing the future with determined hands,
the middle aged lady, vibrant and experienced, rallying us
to raise our voices, the mother and daughter holding a sign
that reads –
America, Can you hear us now! All ages, all races,
all voices, songs and chants overlapping, strangers becoming comrades.

As the marchers cross the bridge
on the pedestrian walk way
we see that a radical few have veered off onto the road,
blocking the traffic, arms linked, faces resolute,
an infectious spirit fills the air,
there is no way I can not join them,
my family and I climb the rail,
with many hands reaching out to help us,
we jump down and walk with them, this is not a day
to be a pedestrian, it is a day to agitate.

Many more come clambering down and you
can feel the tension rise, the police growing in number,
the people marching, earnest, a point has to be made,
the bridge has to be taken, and then we see the barricades
before us, the crowd jamming together
as those behind us keep coming forward,
the police now closing in from both sides,
we are trapped not quite half way across the bridge,
and many are firm that they will not just leave,
some climb on dangerous girders to escape as others
call out to them to be careful, others sit and get ready
for their arrest, some are confused, not knowing that they
would come to this end, I see an older man,
the first I think to be arrested
and there is both strength and weariness on his face
as he glares at the police with fearless eyes,
and though as it turned out
we had been stopped there and would go no further,
our true momentum was not halted,
I knew we had triumphed, because we had taken action,
the people had risen, and with no violence or hatred,
we had shown our willingness
to risk and struggle for our liberty,
and while it might seem a small thing to some,
an event to go largely unnoticed, not as bloody as a battle,
or news worthy as a riot,
I knew that we had come to the Brooklyn Bridge
and given it the meaning poets had sought
to give it in their words,
we had brought the rough,
sacred spirit of democracy to the Brooklyn Bridge,
we had restored Whitman’s song to it’s very birthplace,
for he had called to us, the future,
in his song, he sings to us now,
he knew that we would be here,
he stands with us, chants with us,
and here I am on the Brooklyn Bridge
on a day as important as any day that has ever passed,
watching Walt Whitman above the bridge towers,
sounding his barbaric yawp
above us, calling down the sign of democracy,
calling us to remember, not just one amazing day,
but the task to come - Sing on – Sing on – Sing on!

Much, much more! Visit the OWS Poetry Anthology page for more. The anthology is on-going, but you can download the current PDF compilation here. Pass the word and keep Occupying!
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