Progressive Calendar 12.29.11 /2
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2011 11:30:57 -0800 (PST)
* P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    12.29.11*

1. Landmines/Jack  12.29 5:30pm

2. Palestine vigil      12.30 4:15pm
3. Poetry                 12.30 7pm

4. CUAPB               12.31 1:30pm
5. Northtown vigil      12.31 2pm

6. Richard Wolf - Voters leaving Republican, Democratic parties in droves
 7. Eric Walberg - 2011: The year that shook the world
8. ed                - The over throne  (haiki & bumpersticker)

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From: WAMM
Landmines/Jack  12.29 5:30pm

International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions Annual Meeting
and Birthday Party for Jack

Thursday, December 29, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The Lao Family Building, 320 University Avenue West, St. Paul.

Jack Rossbach Coordinator of the Minnesota Campaign to Ban Landmines and
Cluster Munitions in partnership with the Lao community calls the annual
meeting to order while celebrating his birthday. Potluck—bring a dish to
share. FFI: Contact Jack 651-488-0524.

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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 12.30 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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Poetry 12.30 7pm

Friday, December 30, 7:00pm
Exploring Human Experience through Poetry
First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, 900 Mount Curve Avenue,
Minneapolis, MN in the Library at the far end of the gallery

Our poetry themes this month are family, friends and celebration.

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From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB 12.31 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 12.31 2pm

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

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Voters leaving Republican, Democratic parties in droves
By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

Updated 2d 3h ago Comments Reprints & PermissionsWASHINGTON – More than 2.5
million voters have left the Democratic and Republican parties since the
2008 elections, while the number of independent voters continues to grow.

By Danny Johnston, AP

A USA TODAY analysis of state voter registration statistics shows
registered Democrats declined in 25 of the 28 states that register voters
by party. Republicans dipped in 21 states, while independents increased in
18 states.

The trend is acute in states that are key to next year's presidential race.
In the eight swing states that register voters by party, Democrats'
registration is down by 800,000 and Republicans' by 350,000. Independents
have gained 325,000.

The pattern continues a decades-long trend that has seen a diminution in
the power of political parties, giving rise to independents as Ross Perot
and Ralph Nader and the popularity this year of libertarian Republican Ron

"The strident voices of both the left and the right have sort of soured
people from saying willingly that they belong to one party or the other,"
says Doug Lewis, who represents state elections officials. "If both sides
call each other scurrilous dogs, then the public believes that both sides
are probably scurrilous dogs."

Registered Democrats still dominate the political playing field with more
than 42 million voters, compared to 30 million Republicans and 24 million
independents. But Democrats have lost the most — 1.7 million, or 3.9%, from

Democratic registration has fared worse than Republicans in Colorado,
Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina and
Pennsylvania — the eight swing states with party registration. Republican
losses are biggest in Nevada, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

The decline is due to a variety of factors. People move, people die, people
revolt in disgust. Many are stripped from registration rolls by states
seeking to remove inactive voters.

By contrast, the number of independents has grown for years and is up more
than 400,000 since 2008, or 1.7%. States with big gains: Colorado, Florida,
North Carolina — and Arizona, a possible target for President Obama in 2012.

The 2012 winner, says North Carolina elections director Gary Bartlett, will
be "whoever is attractive to the unaffiliated voter."

For more information about reprints & permissions, visit our FAQ's. To
report corrections and clarifications, contact Standards Editor Brent
Jones. For publication consideration in the newspaper, send comments to
letters [at] Include name, phone number, city and state for
verification. To view our corrections, go to

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2011: The Year that Shook the World by Eric Walberg
December 28th, 2011

A Tunisian fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in a public
square in a small town in December 2010, sparking protests that brought
down dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and began a tidal wave of change both
in the Middle East and farther afield. Add in the 2011 American withdrawal
from Iraq and failed attempts to subdue Afghanistan and Iran , and the
writing on the wall for empire is written boldly — in blood.

After a century of scheming in the Middle East and Central Asia by first
Britain and then the US, the tables turned much faster than anyone could
have imagined. As the pivotal 2011 draws to a close, it is the perfect
moment to look at how we got here. The rollercoaster ride has been long and
terrifying, and it is vital to understand where it is taking us.

>From the 19th century on, it was clear to imperial strategists such as
Cecil Rhodes and Halford MacKinder, motivated by the desire to conquer the
world, that the “heartland”, Eurasia, was the key to securing the proposed
world empire. WWI was supposed to clinch the deal, with the collapse of the
Ottoman Caliphate leaving the Levant “free” to be carved up and secured.
The Indian Raj was the empire’s base for securing Central Asia and the Far
East .

But the horrors of the war led to an unforeseen result: revolution in
Russia, inspiring a growing anti-imperial movement across Eurasia. Inspired
by Russian revolutionaries, the Raj seethed in discontent, demanding
freedom from the British yoke, and Chinese patriots coalesced around their
own rapidly growing Communist movement. Historic Turkestan was now off
limits, part of the Soviet Union or in the case of Afghanistan,

WWII erupted as Germany attempted to snatch the world empire from the
British and destroy its Russian nemesis, but this merely accelerated the
decline of the Euro-imperialists, their schemes exposed as relying on mass
slaughter and cold, calculating privilege for the elite of the imperial

When the war ended, there were hopes that imperialism would end too. The
empire had been forced to ally with the Communists to defeat the Germans,
and to promise to dismantle the imperial system after WWII. This new world
order was to be one of independent nations competing on a level playing
field. But what should have been the last gasp of this inhuman system of
“free trade” in the service of empire gained a new lease on life, as the US
had escaped the 20th century’s cataclysms unscathed, and its capitalists
were eager to take on the mantle of empire ceded by the bankrupt Brits.

Moreover, a new, subtle but key force in the new empire was the Jewish
state established by the British and Americans in the heart of the Middle
East, a blatant colonial entity which draped its imperial role in the
language of anti-colonial liberation. This, despite the fact that it was
created by dispossessing the native Arabs, even as neighbouring Arabs in
Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and North Africa were gaining nominal independence
from their colonial masters.

This new playing field witnessed a long, bloody match, pitting the empire’s
forces against both Communists and anti-colonial forces. After millions of
deaths, it culminated in the defeat of the Communists in 1991, and a new
game began, with world control once again the prize.
The dreams of revolution and an end to empire were dashed, and this new
world order was once again baldly imperial, as planners accelerated their
plans, epitomised by the rise of the neoconservatives with their Project
for a New American Century, combining market fundamentalism and imperial
aggression in a deadly cocktail where there were no longer any geographical

The former Communist union, especially Turkestan, with its strategic
location and oil wealth, was quickly brought into the imperial orbit. Even
China was accommodated, as it acceded to the world economic order
established by the empire after WWII.

But the baggage of empire continued to complicate the picture. The
Islamists, so useful in the destruction of the Communist bloc, resisted
imperial designs. Israel, also useful throughout the post-WWII struggle
against both the Communists and the 3rd world liberation forces,
established itself as an independent player and even posed as the new
imperial coach, penetrating to the heart of the empire and asserting its
own goals of expansion and hostility against its Muslim neighbours.

At its beheast, the resulting wars have been against the Arab and Muslim
world, but two decades of attempts to subdue them have merely hardened
Muslims’ opposition to empire, even as the devastation caused by imperial
designs increases.

Hence, the Arab Spring of 2011 and the accession to power of Islamists via
the ballot box across the Middle East . Hence, the unwinnable war against
the Afghan people, that brought empire to its knees in fateful 2011, even
as the slaughter of insurgents and civilians increased. Yes, the
imperialists managed a clever ruse, invading Libya to depose the clownish
Gaddafi, but the Islamists and fiercely independent tribes there are
unlikely allies of empire.

The tsunami of resistance to imperialism surged throughout 2011 around the
world, while the empire’s leaders put a worldwide “missile defence” system
in place. But even as radars and missiles were installed in Europe, the
rising tide reached the empire’s shores in 2011, as financial crisis led to
rising poverty and unrest in the imperial centre itself.

Taking inspiration from the Arab Spring, mass demonstrations in Greece and
Spain erupted and Wall Street, the empire’s “heartland”, was occupied. The
“99 per cent” entered the political lexicon as the people vs the ruling
elite (the 1 per cent who own half of the country’s assets). Even Israel
and newly capitalist Russia witnessed mass demonstrations, as ordinary
citizens began to realise how the system works, or rather doesn’t work for
them. How increasing disparity of wealth is the logical result of market
fundamentalism and control of the economy by financial capital.

2011 will go down in history as a year as fateful as 1917, when the
blinkers fell away from the common people’s eyes in Russia and they rose up
against their oppressors. But while 1917 witnessed a Communist revolution
against capitalism and imperialism by a small corps of professional
revolutionaries, 2011 has witnessed a mass, leaderless revolution
facilitated by telecommunications, and in the case of the key Middle East,
inspired by Islam.

There is no Lenin, not even a Gamal Abdel-Nasser, the one Arab leader who
managed to slow down the imperial steamroller in the Middle East and is
still revered for his defiance. Unlike Communist revolutionaries of yore,
the new leaders in the Middle East of what must be called the Islamic
revolution of 2011 are not the object of veneration, something that Islam
as a religion warns against.

Revolutions always start in the weakest links. Thus, the Middle East has a
head start on the revolutionary process over the West, though through the
growing Palestinian solidarity movement, notably the global Boycott
Divestment and Sanctions campaign, the struggles of East and West are
increasingly seen to be one and the same. What will be the decisive test
for the new revolutionaries in the Middle East and the West itself is how
well they can navigate the political shoals and landmines laid by a century
of empire.

How to dismantle apartheid Israel without it unleashing nuclear war on the
world? How to put an end to US world financial blackmail centred on the
dollar without the US strategists taking everyone else down with them?
While the empire is on the defensive, it is still powerful and as its star
wanes, it will only become more lethal.

The foes of empire are popping up faster than the empire’s drones can knock
them off. They are found not only in Arab (and Persian) lands, or even in a
skeptical Russia and still-Communist China. As the links in the system
continue to fray, they are increasingly in the heart of the empire itself.
Americans and Europeans will continue to develop alternatives to empire,
financially, economically and politically, in their own communities and
continue to link up with their comrades-against-arms in the heart of the
supposed enemy in Eurasia .

More and more Americans are involved in co-ops, worker-owned companies and
other alternatives to capitalism. Some 130 million Americans are part
owners of co-op businesses and credit unions. As Obama cuts funding to
states, the latter considers establishing their own banks and use public
pensions to fund state economic development.

There is a wealth of expertise in the “heartland” of the empire that can
help show the whole world the way out of the imperial dead end. The new
generation in America lacks the Cold War paranoia about socialism:
Americans under 30 years old are “essentially evenly divided” as to whether
they preferred “capitalism” or “socialism”, according to a 2009 Rasmussen
Even as the world environment degrades, even as imperial arms continue to
kill, maim and choke demonstrators and insurgents both at the heart of the
empire and in the heart of the “enemy”, we can take heart in the new sense
of human dignity which 2011 spawned, and fight the intrigues of empire with
new vigour in 2012.

Eric Walberg is a journalist who worked in Uzbekistan and is now writing
for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo. His recently published book is Postmodern
Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games.

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Overthrow the rich
before they kill everything
everywhere on earth.

Put the rich on
the over throne


                                                        Clove Shove
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