Progressive Calendar 12.23.11 /2
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2011 22:59:52 -0800 (PST)
P R O G R E S S I V E    C A L E N D A R   12.23.11

1. Protest NDAA      12.23 12noon
2. Palestine vigil       12.23 4:15pm

3. CUAPB                12.24 1:30pm
4. Northtown vigil       12.24 2pm
5. Atheists/Christians 12.25 9am

6.  H. Samy Alim    - What If we Occupied language?
7.  Rebecca Solnit   -Compassion is our new currency:
8.  Ralph Nader       - Recommended holiday reading for the caring,
agitated mind
9.  ed                     - Trust Dems?     (75357)

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Protest NDAA 12.23 12noon

Protest NDAA! Stop Attacks on Civil Liberties!
Friday, December 23 - Noon to 1:00 pm @ Obama Re-election campaign
headquarters, 2722 University Ave SE, Minneapolis (A few blocks east of the
U of M East Bank. Map:

Join in front of the "Obama For America" campaign office in Minneapolis to
protest his signing of the National Defense Authorization Act--also known
as the NDAA--which allows the indefinite detention of American citizens
without trial by the United States military.  Facebook event:!/events/179266135503931/ FFI: see Democracy Now
coverage of NDAA here:

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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 12.23 4:15pm

The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs

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From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB 12.24 1:30pm

Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue
South <>

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 12.24 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

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>From AWE
Atheists/Christians 12.25 9am

Sunday, December 25, 9:00am-10:00am  “Atheists Talk” Radio
AM 950 KTNF in the Twin Cities or stream live at

Program:  A discussion between atheists and Christians.  Contact us during
the show with questions or comments at (952) 946-6205 or
radio [at]

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What If we Occupied language?
by H. Samy Alim
Published on Thursday, December 22, 2011 by the New York Times

When I flew out from the San Francisco airport last October, we crossed
above the ports that Occupy Oakland helped shut down, and arrived in
Germany to be met by traffic caused by Occupy Berlin protestors. But the
movement has not only transformed public space, it has transformed the
public discourse as well.


It is now nearly impossible to hear the word and not think of the Occupy

Even as distinguished an expert as the lexicographer and columnist Ben
Zimmer admitted as much this week: “occupy, ” he said, is the odds-on
favorite to be chosen as the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year.

It has already succeeded in shifting the terms of the debate, taking
phrases like “debt-ceiling” and “budget crisis” out of the limelight and
putting terms like “inequality” and “greed” squarely in the center. This
discursive shift has made it more difficult for Washington to continue to
promote the spurious reasons for the financial meltdown and the unequal
outcomes it has exposed and further produced.

To most, the irony of a progressive social movement using the term “occupy”
to reshape how Americans think about issues of democracy and equality has
been clear. After all, it is generally nations, armies and police who
occupy, usually by force. And in this, the United States has been a leader.
The American government is just now after nine years ending its overt
occupation of Iraq, is still entrenched in Afghanistan and is maintaining
troops on the ground in dozens of countries worldwide. All this is not to
obscure the fact that the United States as we know it came into being by
way of an occupation —  a gradual and devastatingly violent one that all
but extinguished entire Native American populations across thousands of
miles of land.

Dread Scott and Kyle Goen -- CLICK TO ENLARGEYet in a very short time, this
movement has dramatically changed how we think about occupation. In early
September, “occupy” signaled on-going military incursions. Now it signifies
progressive political protest. It’s no longer primarily about force of
military power; instead it signifies standing up to injustice, inequality
and abuse of power. It’s no longer about simply occupying a space; it’s
about transforming that space.

In this sense, Occupy Wall Street has occupied language, has made “occupy”
its own. And, importantly, people from diverse ethnicities, cultures and
languages have participated in this linguistic occupation — it is distinct
from the history of forcible occupation in that it is built to accommodate
all, not just the most powerful or violent.

As Geoff Nunberg, the long-time chair of the usage panel for American
Heritage Dictionary, and others have explained, the earliest usage of
occupy in English that was linked to protest can be traced to English media
descriptions of Italian demonstrations in the 1920s, in which workers
“occupied” factories until their demands were met. This is a far cry from
some of its earlier meanings. In fact, The Oxford English Dictionary tells
us that “occupy” once meant “to have sexual intercourse with.” One could
imagine what a phrase like “Occupy Wall Street” might have meant back then.

In October, Zimmer, who is also the chair of the American Dialect Society’s
New Word Committee, noted on NPR’s “On the Media” that the meaning of
occupy has changed  dramatically since its arrival into the English
language in the 14th century. “It’s almost always been used as a transitive
verb,” Zimmer said. “That’s a verb that takes an object, so you occupy a
place or a space. But then it became used as a rallying cry, without an
object, just to mean to take part in what are now called the Occupy
protests. It’s being used as a modifier — Occupy protest, Occupy movement.
So it’s this very flexible word now that’s filling many grammatical slots
in the language.”

What if we transformed the meaning of occupy yet again? Specifically, what
if we thought of Occupy Language as more than the language of the Occupy
movement, and began to think about it as a movement in and of itself? What
kinds of issues would Occupy Language address? What would taking language
back from its self-appointed “masters” look like?  We might start by
looking at these questions from the perspective of race and discrimination,
and answer with how to foster fairness and equality in that realm.

Orlando Arenas, Ernesto Yerena, Ricardo Lopez, Sandra Castro -- CLICK TO
ENLARGEOccupy Language might draw inspiration from both the way that the
Occupy movement has reshaped definitions of “occupy,” which teaches us that
we give words meaning and that discourses are not immutable, and from the
way indigenous movements have contested its use, which teaches us to be
ever-mindful about how language both empowers and oppresses, unifies and

For starters, Occupy Language might first look inward. In a recent
interview, Julian Padilla of the People of Color Working Group pushed the
Occupy movement to examine its linguistic choices:

To occupy means to hold space, and I think a group of anti-capitalists
holding space on Wall Street is powerful, but I do wish the NYC movement
would change its name to “‘decolonise Wall Street”’ to take into account
history, indigenous critiques, people of colour and imperialism… Occupying
space is not inherently bad, it’s all about who and how and why. When
 white colonizers occupy land, they don’t just sleep there over night, they
steal and destroy. When indigenous people occupied Alcatraz Island it was
(an act of) protest.

This linguistic change can remind Americans that a majority of the 99
percent has benefited from the occupation of native territories.

Occupy Language might also support the campaign to stop the media from
using the word “illegal” to refer to “undocumented” immigrants. From the
campaign’s perspective, only inanimate objects and actions are labeled
illegal in English; therefore the use of “illegals” to refer to human
beings is dehumanizing. The New York Times style book currently asks
writers to avoid terms like “illegal alien” and “undocumented,” but says
nothing about “illegals.” Yet The Times’ standards editor, Philip B.
Corbett, did recently weigh in on this, saying that the term “illegals” has
an “unnecessarily pejorative tone” and that “it’s wise to steer clear.”

Pejorative, discriminatory language can have real life consequences. In
this case, activists worry about the coincidence of the rise in the use of
the term “illegals” and the spike in hate crimes against all Latinos. As
difficult as it might be to prove causation here, the National Institute
for Latino Policy reports that the F.B.I.’s annual Hate Crime Statistics
show that Latinos comprised two thirds of the victims of ethnically
motivated hate crimes in 2010. When someone is repeatedly described as
something, language has quietly paved the way for violent action.

Melanie Cervantes -- CLICK TO ENLARGEBut Occupy Language should concern
itself with more than just the words we use; it should also work towards
eliminating language-based racism and discrimination. In the legal system,
CNN recently reported that the U.S. Justice Department alleges that
Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio, among other offenses, has
discriminated against “Latino inmates with limited English by punishing
them and denying critical services.” In education, as linguistic
anthropologist Ana Celia Zentella notes, hostility towards those who speak
“English with an accent” (Asians, Latinos, and African Americans) continues
to be a problem. In housing, The National Fair Housing Alliance has long
recognized “accents” as playing a significant role in housing
discrimination. On the job market, language-based discrimination intersects
with issues of race, ethnicity, class and national origin to make it more
difficult for well-qualified applicants with an “accent” to receive equal

In the face of such widespread language-based discrimination, Occupy
Language can be a critical, progressive linguistic movement that exposes
how language is used as a means of social, political and economic control.
By occupying language, we can expose how educational, political, and social
institutions use language to further marginalize oppressed groups; resist
colonizing language practices that elevate certain languages over others;
resist attempts to define people with terms rooted in negative stereotypes;
and begin to reshape the public discourse about our communities, and about
the central role of language in racism and discrimination.

© 2011 H. Samy Alim

H. Samy Alim directs the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Language (CREAL)
at Stanford University. His forthcoming book, “Articulate While Black:
Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the US,” written with Geneva
Smitherman, examines the racial politics of the Obama presidency through a
linguistic lens.

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Compassion Is Our New Currency: Notes on 2011’s Preoccupied Hearts and Minds
by Rebecca Solnit
Published on Thursday, December 22, 2011 by

Usually at year’s end, we’re supposed to look back at events just passed --
and forward, in prediction mode, to the year to come. But just look around
you! This moment is so extraordinary that it has hardly registered. People
in thousands of communities across the United States and elsewhere are
living in public, experimenting with direct democracy, calling things by
their true names, and obliging the media and politicians to do the same.

The breadth of this movement is one thing, its depth another. It has
rejected not just the particulars of our economic system, but the whole set
of moral and emotional assumptions on which it’s based. Take the pair shown
in a photograph from Occupy Austin in Texas.  The amiable-looking elderly
woman is holding a sign whose computer-printed words say, “Money has stolen
our vote.” The older man next to her with the baseball cap is holding a
sign handwritten on cardboard that states, “We are our brothers’ keeper.”

The photo of the two of them offers just a peek into a single moment in the
remarkable period we’re living through and the astonishing movement that’s
drawn in… well, if not 99% of us, then a striking enough percentage:
everyone from teen pop superstar Miley Cyrus with her Occupy-homage video
to Alaska Yup’ik elder Esther Green ice-fishing and holding a sign that
says “Yirqa Kuik” in big letters, with the translation -- “occupy the
river” -- in little ones below.

The woman with the stolen-votes sign is referring to them. Her companion is
talking about us, all of us, and our fundamental principles. His sign comes
straight out of Genesis, a denial of what that competitive entrepreneur
Cain said to God after foreclosing on his brother Abel’s life. He was not,
he claimed, his brother’s keeper; we are not, he insisted, beholden to each
other, but separate, isolated, each of us for ourselves.

Think of Cain as the first Social Darwinist and this Occupier in Austin as
his opposite, claiming, no, our operating system should be love; we are all
connected; we must take care of each other. And this movement, he’s saying,
is about what the Argentinian uprising that began a decade ago, on December
19, 2001, called politica afectiva, the politics of affection.

If it’s a movement about love, it’s also about the money they so unjustly
took, and continue to take, from us -- and about the fact that, right now,
money and love are at war with each other. After all, in the American
heartland, people are beginning to be imprisoned for debt, while the Occupy
movement is arguing for debt forgiveness, renegotiation, and debt jubilees.

Sometimes love, or at least decency, wins.  One morning late last month,
75-year-old Josephine Tolbert, who ran a daycare center from her modest San
Francisco home, returned after dropping a child off at school only to find
that she and the other children were locked out because she was behind in
her mortgage payments. True Compass LLC, who bought her place in a short
sale while she thought she was still negotiating with Bank of America,
would not allow her back into her home of almost four decades, even to get
her medicines or diapers for the children.

We demonstrated at her home and at True Compass’s shabby offices while they
hid within, and students from Occupy San Francisco State University
demonstrated outside a True Compass-owned restaurant on behalf of this
African-American grandmother. Thanks to this solidarity and the media
attention it garnered, Tolbert has collected her keys, moved back in, and
is renegotiating the terms of her mortgage.

Hundreds of other foreclosure victims are now being defended by local
branches of the Occupy movement, from West Oakland to North Minneapolis. As
New York writer, filmmaker, and Occupier Astra Taylor puts it,

Not only does the occupation of abandoned foreclosed homes connect the dots
between Wall Street and Main Street, it can also lead to swift and tangible
victories, something movements desperately need for momentum to be
maintained. The banks, it seems, are softer targets than one might expect
because so many cases are rife with legal irregularities and outright
criminality. With one in five homes facing foreclosure and filings showing
no sign of slowing down in the next few years, the number of people touched
by the mortgage crisis -- whether because they have lost their homes or
because their homes are now underwater -- truly boggles the mind.”

If what’s been happening locally and globally has some of the
characteristics of an uprising, then there has never been one quite so
pervasive -- from the scientists holding an Occupy sign in Antarctica to
Occupy presences in places as far-flung as New Zealand and Australia, São
Paulo, Frankfurt, London, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Reykjavik. And don’t
forget the tiniest places, either. The other morning at the Oakland docks
for the West Coast port shutdown demonstrations, I met three members of
Occupy Amador County, a small rural area in California’s Sierra Nevada.
 Its largest town, Jackson, has a little over 4,000 inhabitants, which
hasn’t stopped it from having regular outdoor Friday evening Occupy

A little girl in a red parka at the Oakland docks was carrying a sign with
a quote from blind-deaf-and-articulate early twentieth-century role model
Helen Keller that said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world
cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.” Why
quote Keller at a demonstration focused on labor and economics? The answer
is clear enough: because Occupy has some of the emotional resonance of a
spiritual, as well as a political, movement.  Like those other upheavals
it’s aligned with in Spain, Greece, Iceland (where they’re actually jailing
bankers), Britain, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Chile, and most recently
Russia, it wants to ask basic questions: What matters? Who matters? Who
decides? On what principles?

Stop for a moment and consider just how unforeseen and unforeseeable all of
this was when, on December 17, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian vegetable
vendor in Sidi Bouzid, an out-of-the-way, impoverished city, immolated
himself. He was protesting the dead-end life that the 1% economy run by
Tunisia’s autocratic ruler Zine Ben Ali and his corrupt family allotted
him, and the police brutality that went with it, two things that have
remained front and center ever since. Above all, as his mother has since
testified, he was for human dignity, for a world, that is, where the
primary system of value is not money.

“Compassion is our new currency,” was the message scrawled on a pizza-box
lid at Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan -- held by a
pensive-looking young man in Jeremy Ayers’s great photo portrait.  But what
can you buy with compassion?

Quite a lot, it turns out, including a global movement, and even pizza,
which can arrive at that movement’s campground as a gift of solidarity.  A
few days into Occupy Wall Street’s surprise success, a call for pizza went
out and $2,600 in pizzas came in within an hour, just as earlier this year
the occupiers of Wisconsin’s state house had been copiously supplied with
pizza -- including pies paid for and dispatched by Egyptian revolutionaries.

The Return of the Disappeared

During the 1970s and 1980s dictatorship and death-squad era in Chile,
Argentina, Brazil, and Central America, the term “the disappeared” came to
cover those who were kidnapped, held in secret, tortured, and then often
executed in secret. So many decades later, their fates are often still
being deciphered.

In the United States, the disappeared also exist, not thanks to a brutal
army or paramilitaries, but to a brutal economy.  When you lose your job,
you vanish from the workplace and sooner or later arrive at emptiness in
your day, your identity, your wallet, your ability to participate in a
commercial society. When you lose your home, you disappear from familiar
spaces: the block, the neighborhood, the rolls of homeowners.   Often, you
vanish in shame, leaving behind friends and acquaintances.

At the actions to support some of the 1,500 mostly African-American
homeowners being foreclosed upon in southeastern San Francisco, several of
them described how they had to overcome a powerful sense of shame simply to
speak up, no less defend themselves or join this movement. In the U.S.,
failure is always supposed to be individual, not systemic, and so it tends
to produce a sense of personal devastation that leaves its victims feeling
alone and lying low, even though they are among legions of others.

The people who destroyed our economy through their bottomless greed are, on
the other hand, shameless -- as shameless as the CEOs whose compensation
shot up 36% in 2010, during this deep and grinding recession. Compassion is
definitely not their currency.

The word “occupy” itself speaks powerfully to the American disappeared and
the very idea of disappearance.  It speaks to those who have lost their
occupation or the home they occupied. In its many meanings, it’s a big
tent. It means to fill a space, take possession of it, employ oneself, busy
oneself, fill time.  (In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the verb
had a meaning so sexual it fell out of common use.)  It describes the state
of being present that the Occupy movement’s General Assemblies and tent
camps have lived out, a space in which -- as Mohamed Bouazizi might have
dreamed it -- the disappeared can reappear with dignity.

Occupy has also created a space in which people of all kinds can coexist,
from the homeless to the tenured, from the inner city to the agrarian.
Coexisting in public with likeminded strangers and acquaintances is one of
the great foundations and experiences of democracy, which is why
dictatorships ban gatherings and groups -- and why our First Amendment
guarantee of the right of the people peaceably to assemble is being tested
more strongly today than in any recent moment in American history. Nearly
every Occupy has at its center regular meetings of a General Assembly.
These are experiments in direct democracy that have been messy,
exasperating and miraculous: arenas in which everyone is invited to be
heard, to have a voice, to be a member, to shape the future. Occupy is
first of all a conversation among ourselves.

To occupy also means to show up, to be present -- a radically unplugged
experience for a digital generation. Today, the term is being applied to
any place where one plans to be present, geographically or metaphorically:
Occupy Wall Street, occupy the food system, occupy your heart. The ad hoc
invention of the people’s mic by the occupiers of Zuccotti Park, which
requires everyone to listen, repeat, and amplify what’s being said, has
only strengthened this sense of presence. You can’t text or half-listen if
your task is to repeat everything, so that everyone hears and understands.
You become the keeper of your brother’s or sister’s voice as you repeat
their words.

It’s a triumph of the here and now -- and it’s everywhere: the Regents of
the University of California are mic-checked, politicians are mic-checked,
the Durban Climate Conference in South Africa had occupiers and mic-check
moments. Activism had long been in dire need of new modes of doing things,
and this year it got them.

A Mouthful of Truth

Before the Occupy movement arrived on the scene, political dialogue and
media chatter in this country seemed to be arriving from a warped parallel
universe. Tiny government expenditures were denounced, while the vortex
sucking our economy dry was rarely addressed; hard-working immigrants were
portrayed as deadbeats; people who did nothing were anointed as “job
creators”; the trashed economy and massive suffering were overlooked, while
politicians jousted over (and pundits pontificated about) the deficit;
class war was only called class war when someone other than the ruling
class waged it. It’s as though we were trying to navigate Las Vegas with a
tattered map of medieval Byzantium -- via, that is, a broken language in
which everything and everyone got lost.

Then Occupy arrived and, as if swept by some strange pandemic, a contagious
virus of truth-telling, everyone was suddenly obliged to call things by
their real names and talk about actual problems. The blather about the
deficit was replaced by acknowledgments of grotesque economic inequality.
Greed was called greed, and once it had its true name, it became
intolerable, as had racism when the Civil Rights Movement named it and made
it evident to those who weren’t suffering from it directly. The vast scale
of suffering around student debt and tuition hikes, foreclosures,
unemployment, wage stagnation, medical costs, and the other afflictions of
the normal American suddenly moved to the top of the news, and once exposed
to the light, these, too, became intolerable.

If the solutions to the nightmares being named are neither near nor easy,
naming things, describing reality with some accuracy, is at least a crucial
first step.  Informing ourselves as citizens is another.  Aspects of our
not-quite-democracy that were once almost invisible are now on the table
for discussion -- and for opposition, notably corporate personhood, the
legal status that gives corporations the rights, but not the obligations
and vulnerabilities, of citizens. (One oft-repeated Occupier sign says,
“I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas puts one to death.”)

The Los Angeles City Council passed a measure calling for an end to
corporate personhood, the first big city to join the Move to Amend campaign
against corporate personhood and against the 2009 Supreme Court Citizens
United ruling that gave corporations unlimited ability to insert their cash
in our political campaigns. Occupy actions across the country are planned
for January 20th, the second anniversary of Citizens United. Vermont’s
independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who’s been speaking the truth alone for
a long time, introduced a constitutional amendment to repeal Citizens
United and limit corporate power in the Senate, while Congressman Ted
Deutch (D-FL) introduced a similar measure in the House.

Only a few years ago, hardly anyone knew what corporate personhood was.
 Now, signs denouncing it are common.  Similarly, at Occupy events, people
make it clear that they know about the New Deal-era financial reform
measure known as the Glass-Steagall Act, which was partially repealed in
1999, removing the wall between commercial and investment banks; that they
know about the proposed financial transfer tax, nicknamed the Robin Hood
Tax, that would raise billions with a tiny levy on every financial
transaction; that they understand many of the means by which the 1% were
enriched and the rest of us robbed.

This represents a striking learning curve. A new language of truth, debate
about what actually matters, an informed citizenry: that’s no small thing.
But we need more.

We Are the 99.999%

I was myself so caught up in the Occupy movement that I stopped paying my
usual attention to the war over the climate -- until I was brought up short
by the catastrophic failure of the climate negotiations in Durban, South
Africa. There, earlier this month, the most powerful and carbon-polluting
countries managed to avoid taking any timely and substantial measures to
keep the climate from heating up and the Earth from slipping into
unstoppable chaotic change.

It’s our nature to be more compelled by immediate human suffering than by
remote systemic problems. Only this problem isn’t anywhere near as remote
as many Americans imagine.  It’s already creating human suffering on a
large scale and will create far more. Many of the food crises of the past
decade are tied to climate change, and in Africa thousands are dying of
climate-related chaos. The floods, fires, storms, and heat waves of the
past few years are climate change coming to call earlier than expected in
the U.S.

In the most immediate sense, Occupy may have weakened the climate movement
by focusing many of us on the urgent suffering of our brothers, our
neighbors, our democracy. In the end, however, it could strengthen that
movement with its new tactics, alliances, spirit, and language of truth.
After all, why have we been unable to make the major changes required to
limit greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? The answer is a word suddenly in
wide circulation: greed. Responding adequately to this crisis would benefit
every living thing. When it comes to climate change, after all, we are the

But the international .001% who profit immeasurably from the carbon economy
-- the oil and coal tycoons, industrialists, and politicians whose strings
they pull -- are against this change. For decades, they’ve managed to
propagandize many Americans, in and out of government, into climate denial,
spreading lies about the science and economics of climate change, and
undermining any possible legislation and international negotiations to
ameliorate it. And if you think the eviction of elderly homeowners is
brutal, think of it as a tiny foreshadowing of the displacement and
disappearance of people, communities, nations, species, habitats. Climate
change threatens to foreclose on all of us.

The groups working on climate change now, notably and Tar Sands
Action, have done astonishing things already. Most recently, with the help
of native Canadians, local activists, and alternative media, they very
nearly managed to kill the single scariest and biggest North American
threat to the climate: the tar sands pipeline that would go from Canada to
Texas. It’s been a remarkable show of organizing power and popular will.
Occupy the Climate may need to come next.

Maybe Occupy Wall Street and its thousands of spin-offs have built the
foundation for it. But perhaps the greatest gift that it and the other
movements of 2011 have given us is a sharpening of our perceptions -- and
our conflicts. So much more is out in the open now, including the greed,
the brutality with which entities from the Egyptian army to the Oakland
police impose the will of rulers, and most of all the deep generosity of
spirit that is behind, within, and around these insurgencies and their
activists. None of these movements is perfect, and individuals within them
are not always the greatest keepers of their brothers and sisters.  But one
thing couldn’t be clearer: compassion is our new currency.

Nothing has been more moving to me than this desire, realized imperfectly
but repeatedly, to connect across differences, to be a community, to make a
better world, to embrace each other. This desire is what lies behind those
messy camps, those raucous demonstrations, those cardboard signs and long
conversations. Young activists have spoken to me about the extraordinary
richness of their experiences at Occupy, and they call it love.

In the spirit of calling things by their true names, let me summon up the
description that Ella Baker and Martin Luther King used for the great
communities of activists who stood up for civil rights half a century ago:
the beloved community. Many who were active then never forgot the deep
bonds and deep meaning they found in that struggle. We -- and the word “we”
encompasses more of us than ever before -- have found those things, too,
and this year we have come close to something unprecedented, a beloved
community that circles the globe.

© 2011 Rebecca Solnit
Rebecca Solnit is an activist and the author of many books, including:
Wanderlust: A History of Walking, The Battle of The Story of the Battle in
Seattle (with her brother David), and Storming The Gates of Paradise:
Landscapes for Politics. Her most recent book is, A Paradise Built in Hell,
is now available. She is a contributing editor to Harper's Magazine.

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Recommended Holiday Reading for the Caring, Agitated Mind
by Ralph Nader
Published on Thursday, December 22, 2011 by

1. America Beyond Capitalism by Gar Alperovitz (Democracy Collaborative
Press and Dollars and Sense, 2011). If you want to see how community
economies are spreading to displace the sales and influence of companies
such as Bank of America, ExxonMobil, Aetna, ADM and McDonalds, this is your
book. Democratic credit unions, local renewable and efficient energy,
community health clinics and farmer-to-consumer markets are some of the
possibilities outlined in this optimistic book.

2. Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of
American Workers by Ellen E. Schultz (Portfolio/Penguin Hardcover, 2011),
award-winning reporter for The Wall Street Journal. This book meticulously
documents how big business and their attorneys avariciously turned pension
plans into piggy banks, tax shelters and profit centers, at the expense of
millions of trusting, loyal workers. This is the searing story of corporate
greed on steroids.

3. This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement ed. by
Sarah van Gelder of YES! Magazine. (Berrett-Koehler Publisher, Inc. San
Francisco, 2011). Sixteen short essays viewing the Occupy initiatives
around the country from a variety of perspectives. Very lively,
forward-looking, and filled with interesting insights.

4. The Vertical Farm - Feeding the World in the 21st Century by Columbia
University Professor Dickson Despommier (St. Martin's Press, New York,
2011). Scientific American writes "Imagine a world where every city has its
own local food source grown in the safest way possible, where no drop of
water or particle of light is wasted, and where a simple elevator ride can
transport you to nature's grocery store - imagine the world of the vertical
farm." This mind-stretcher shows how to feed people and save the
environment - see if it is too good to be true!

5. Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development - Transforming
the Industrial State by Nicholas A. Ashford and Ralph P. Hall (Yale
University Press, New Haven, 2011). This is a big picture, big book
integrating the design of multipurpose solutions to the sustainability
challenge so that economics, employment, technology, environment,
industrial development, national and international law, trade, finance, and
public and worker health and safety are taken into account. If the
piecemeal frustrate you, try this whole meal.

6. Amglish In, Like, Ten Easy Lessons: A Celebration of the New World Lingo
by Arthur E. Rowse with illustrations and caricatures by John G. Doherty
(Roman and Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland, 2011). Amglish is described as
informal American English, influenced by the syntax of tweets and the
slips-ups of celebrities that has begun to dominate the globe As William
Powers says "Amglish is not only here to stay, it's a kind of party and
Arthur E. Rowse shows us how to join in and have fun. Lively, illuminating
and totally cool-smart."

7. Crude Awakening: Money, Mavericks and Mayhem in Alaska by Amanda Coyne
and Tony Hopfinger (Nation Books, New York 2011). The authors, renowned for
their tough scoops that regularly appeared in Alaska Dispatch pour out into
this wonderful book their inside and outside knowledge of Alaska's
combustible politics of big oil, their politicians and the underhanded
dealings that attracted federal investigators who had their own problems.
Read about power in Alaska and what its future portends for the lower 48.

8. All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons by Jay Walljasper (The
New Press, New York, 2010). You may not know all of the commonwealth in our
country that belongs to you and other Americans. Sure we own the valuable
public lands- one third of our country - and the public airwaves. But the
finest writers in this burgeoning field of awareness point to much more.
But what we own - the immensity all around us - we do not control. Control
has been the preoccupation of corporations that strive to turn our
government against the core concept of the commons. Engage these engrossing
pages and see how we can recover the commons for the good life and for our

9. While We Were Sleeping: Success Stories in Injury and Violence
Prevention by David Hemenway. (University of California Press, Berkeley,
2009). In the swirl of corporate propaganda against health/safety
regulation, this book did not receive the notice it and its celebrated
author deserve. From his professional position at the Harvard School of
Public Health, David Hemenway takes you into your daily world and shows how
successful regulation made your immediate surroundings and environment
safer and more healthful. It is an ode to brave legislators and regulators
who stood up to the corporatists for a change, saved lives, and prevented
injuries and illnesses.

10. Consequential Learning: A Public Approach to Better Schools by Jack
Shelton (NewSouth Books, Montgomery, Alabama, 2005). A wake-up call to
parents and students so indentured to sterile, high-frequency
multiple-choice standardized tests. Mr. Shelton stresses that student
learning comes from both the classroom and the community, with the lessons
of the former applied to the benefit of the latter. He shows from his
experience in Alabama's schools and colleges how students become
"self-aware learners" from connecting school and community "in the
formation of their personal characters." Filled with examples and
strategies for both civic and academic growth.

11. Save the Humans?: Common Preservation in Action by Jeremy Brecher
(Paradigm Publishers, Boulder, Colorado, 2011). This book is about "common
preservation" past and present as "world leaders fail" to address problems
of deep significance to billions of human beings and their environment.
Brecher shows how common preservation worked in Gandhi's civil disobedience
campaigns in colonial India and the Polish Solidarity movement that
weakened the Soviet Union's control of Poldand. He takes his theme right to
today's Occupy initiatives.

12. Stanley K. Sheinbaum: A 20th Century Knight's Quest for Peace, Civil
Liberties and Economic Justice by Stanley K. Sheinbaum, with William A Meis
Jr. (Fairtree, Los Angeles, 2011). Don't let this just-published, witty gem
fall through the cracks. It is the absorbing story of a civic renaissance
man who shaped foreign policy, influenced police practices in Los Angeles,
protected whistle-blowers, pioneered campaigns of Eugene McCarthy and
George McGovern and took the tough stands to advance first stage
Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Called a "fearless activist" by
Norman Lear and "addicted to fairness and justice," by Barbara Streisand,
Scheinbaum's nine decades of robust activity is filled with motivational
and character lessons for a young generation looking for exemplary guidance.

Enjoy and replenish! Happy Holidays!

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent
book - and first novel - is, Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us. His most
recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.

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In the old days we could trust                  [form 7 5 3 5 7 syllables]
the Democratic
Party, now
and then. Now,"now" means
not now, and "then" means never.


                                                   Shove Grove
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