Progressive Calendar 05.09.12 /2
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 9 May 2012 14:26:40 -0700 (PDT)
*P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.09.12*

1. Nazis/gays     5.09 6:30pm
2. Syria              5.09 7pm

3. StopFBI/eat    5.10 5:30pm
4. Home vioence 5.10 7pm

5. Chris Hedges - Welcome to the ssylum

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From: Human Rights Center Office Administrator humanrts [at]
Nazis/gays 5.09 6:30pm

MAY 9, 2012
Film Screening: Paragraph 175
The film chronicles the lives of several gay men and one lesbian who were
persecuted by the Nazis. The gay men were arrested by the Nazis for the
crime of homosexuality under Paragraph 175, the sodomy provision of the
German penal code, dating back to 1871.

When: 6:30pm
Where: University of Minnesota Mondale Hall Room 25 (Subplaza)
229-19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455

For additional information, please see attachment
May 2+9 Discrimination-by-Design.pdf

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From: Dave Bicking davebicking [at]
Syria  5.09 7pm

Syria has been in the news a lot in this last year.  We hear mostly about
government shellings and other atrocities.  What is really happening?  And
what should we do about it, as individuals and as a nation?

Please come this evening to hear a different viewpoint than the drumbeat
for intervention and war that is most prevalent in the corporate media.
We are not getting the whole story, and much of what we hear comes from
groups with hidden agendas.

I'll be joined by two active members of WAMM, who will be bringing lessons
and perspectives from past US interventions.  Please join us!

***** Wednesday, May 9, 7 - 9pm  Syria: the Myth of Humanitarian
Intervention, at the Cahoots Coffee Bar, 1563 Selby Avenue, St. Paul

Here is WAMM's announcement of the event:

Humanitarian intervention, especially under the guise of
"Responsibility to Protect" is a modern form of waging war.
Accusations against countries in the cross-hairs of U.S./Western
regime change strategy provide the pretext for sanctions, no fly
zones, and lead ultimately to military intervention. These tactics
were applied to Iraq and now, more recently, the same tactics have
been applied to Libya, Syria and Iran. U.S. citizens of conscience
need to oppose U.S./NATO interventions, in all their variations.

Speakers include: Mary Beaudoin, WAMM newsletter editor; Margaret
Sarfehjooy, WAMM board member and chair of the WAMM Middle East
Committee; Dave Bicking, antiwar and community activist


Syria: The Myth of Humanitarian Intervention
Wednesday, May 9th from 7-9 PM @ Cahoots Bar, 1562 Selby Avenue, Saint
Paul, MN 55104 (east of Snelling Ave.)

Humanitarian intervention, especially under the guise of “Responsibility to
Protect” is a modern form of waging war. The country in the
cross-hairs—e.g., Yugoslavia, Libya, and now Syria—is accused of genocide,
ethnic cleansing, killing its own citizens.  The allegations, often lurid
and unfounded, are promoted by a coalition of US-led NATO countries and
partners and are supported by propaganda in the media, as well as
non-governmental front organizations. They provide the pretext for
sanctions, no fly zones and ultimately—military intervention. And now, the
NATO/US use of nuclear weapons, along with conventional weapons, has been
added to the arsenal that can be used against a targeted country. To be
effective and strong, the US peace movement must understand that opposing
US/NATO interventions, in all their devious forms, is our most important

Speakers include:
Mary Beaudoin-Editor of the WAMM newsletter and WAMM Middle East Committee
Margaret Sarfehjooy- WAMM member and chair of the WAMM Middle East Committee
Dave Bicking-Long time anti-war and community activist and co-host of a
popular radio program about the corporate media
Organized by the WAMM Middle East Committee.

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From: Meredith Aby
Stop FBI/dinner 5.10 5:30pm

Free Dinner for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression
Thursday, May 10th from 5:30 - 7pm @ Walker Church basement, 31st St & 16th
Ave South, Minneapolis

Come get tasty food and an update on the fight back against political
repression happening here and across the country.  You are also invited to
stay at 7pm for the CSFR meeting if you want to get involved.  Vegan and
gluten free food will be available.  Organized for the MN Committee to Stop
FBI Repression.  FFI:

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From: Carole Rydberg carydberg [at] email person for NW Neighbors
for Peace763-546-5368
Home vioence 5.10 7pm

One in three women in the United States will be a victim of domestic
violence, the second leading cause of death for women in their childbearing

On Thursday May 10, 7 pm, the ISAIAH Domestic Violence Task Force will
discuss what we can do to break the silence on this vital issue. The Task
Force is made up of volunteers who are dedicated to creating peace in our
homes and promoting action at the federal and state legislative levels and
through community action groups.

This program will be at the Parish Community of St. Joseph, 8701-36th
Avenue North, in New Hope (SW corner of Boone and 36th).

The interactive program will challenge the members of our area to reject
domestic violence and work to bring justice to our community in the form of
victim safety and offender accountability. Like all programs sponsored by
NW Neighbors for Peace, this event is free and open to all. For additional
information, Carole Rydberg, 763-546-5368.

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Published on Monday, April 30, 2012 by

Welcome to the Asylum by Chris Hedges

When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the
Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be
poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one
useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme
poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism,
accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and
theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news
consists of Snooki’s pregnancy, Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Kim Kardashian’s
denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on
the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night
comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon
colony. “[A]t times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote
in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens
its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties
overboard!”People collect scraps from a garbage dump in Hyderabad, India.
(AP/Mahesh Kumar A.)

The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate
greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s
version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to
exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a
collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the
self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who
entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts
that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of
intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization
calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from
chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression—which seems to me to be a
normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the

When the most basic elements that sustain life are reduced to a cash
product, life has no intrinsic value. The extinguishing of “primitive”
societies, those that were defined by animism and mysticism, those that
celebrated ambiguity and mystery, those that respected the centrality of
the human imagination, removed the only ideological counterweight to a
self-devouring capitalist ideology. Those who held on to pre-modern
beliefs, such as Native Americans, who structured themselves around a
communal life and self-sacrifice rather than hoarding and wage
exploitation, could not be accommodated within the ethic of capitalist
exploitation, the cult of the self and the lust for imperial expansion. The
prosaic was pitted against the allegorical. And as we race toward the
collapse of the planet’s ecosystem we must restore this older vision of
life if we are to survive.

"When the most basic elements that sustain life are reduced to a cash
product, life has no intrinsic value."

The war on the Native Americans, like the wars waged by colonialists around
the globe, was waged to eradicate not only a people but a competing ethic.
The older form of human community was antithetical and hostile to
capitalism, the primacy of the technological state and the demands of
empire. This struggle between belief systems was not lost on Marx. “The
Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx” is a series of observations derived
from Marx’s reading of works by historians and anthropologists. He took
notes about the traditions, practices, social structure, economic systems
and beliefs of numerous indigenous cultures targeted for destruction. Marx
noted arcane details about the formation of Native American society, but
also that “lands [were] owned by the tribes in common, while
tenement-houses [were] owned jointly by their occupants.” He wrote of the
Aztecs, “Commune tenure of lands; Life in large households composed of a
number of related families.” He went on, “… reasons for believing they
practiced communism in living in the household.” Native Americans,
especially the Iroquois, provided the governing model for the union of the
American colonies, and also proved vital to Marx and Engel’s vision of

Marx, though he placed a naive faith in the power of the state to create
his workers’ utopia and discounted important social and cultural forces
outside of economics, was acutely aware that something essential to human
dignity and independence had been lost with the destruction of pre-modern
societies. The Iroquois Council of the Gens, where Indians came together to
be heard as ancient Athenians did, was, Marx noted, a “democratic assembly
where every adult male and female member had a voice upon all questions
brought before it.” Marx lauded the active participation of women in tribal
affairs, writing, “The women [were] allowed to express their wishes and
opinions through an orator of their own election. Decision given by the
Council. Unanimity was a fundamental law of its action among the Iroquois.”
European women on the Continent and in the colonies had no equivalent power.

Rebuilding this older vision of community, one based on cooperation rather
than exploitation, will be as important to our survival as changing our
patterns of consumption, growing food locally and ending our dependence on
fossil fuels. The pre-modern societies of Sitting Bull and Crazy
Horse—although they were not always idyllic and performed acts of cruelty
including the mutilation, torture and execution of captives—did not
subordinate the sacred to the technical. The deities they worshipped were
not outside of or separate from nature.

Seventeenth century European philosophy and the Enlightenment, meanwhile,
exalted the separation of human beings from the natural world, a belief
also embraced by the Bible. The natural world, along with those pre-modern
cultures that lived in harmony with it, was seen by the industrial society
of the Enlightenment as worthy only of exploitation. Descartes argued, for
example, that the fullest exploitation of matter to any use was the duty of
humankind. The wilderness became, in the religious language of the
Puritans, satanic. It had to be Christianized and subdued. The implantation
of the technical order resulted, as Richard Slotkin writes in “Regeneration
Through Violence,” in the primacy of “the western man-on-the-make, the
speculator, and the wildcat banker.” Davy Crockett and, later, George
Armstrong Custer, Slotkin notes, became “national heroes by defining
national aspiration in terms of so many bears destroyed, so much land
preempted, so many trees hacked down, so many Indians and Mexicans dead in
the dust.”

The demented project of endless capitalist expansion, profligate
consumption, senseless exploitation and industrial growth is now imploding.
Corporate hustlers are as blind to the ramifications of their
self-destructive fury as were Custer, the gold speculators and the railroad
magnates. They seized Indian land, killed off its inhabitants, slaughtered
the buffalo herds and cut down the forests. Their heirs wage war throughout
the Middle East, pollute the seas and water systems, foul the air and soil
and gamble with commodities as half the globe sinks into abject poverty and
misery. The Book of Revelation defines this single-minded drive for profit
as handing over authority to the “beast.”

The conflation of technological advancement with human progress leads to
self-worship. Reason makes possible the calculations, science and
technological advances of industrial civilization, but reason does not
connect us with the forces of life. A society that loses the capacity for
the sacred, that lacks the power of human imagination, that cannot practice
empathy, ultimately ensures its own destruction. The Native Americans
understood there are powers and forces we can never control and must honor.
They knew, as did the ancient Greeks, that hubris is the deadliest curse of
the human race. This is a lesson that we will probably have to learn for
ourselves at the cost of tremendous suffering.

" is only through the impractical, through that which can empower our
imagination, that we will be rescued as a species."

In William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Prospero is stranded on an island
where he becomes the undisputed lord and master. He enslaves the primitive
“monster” Caliban. He employs the magical sources of power embodied in the
spirit Ariel, who is of fire and air. The forces unleashed in the island’s
wilderness, Shakespeare knew, could prompt us to good if we had the
capacity for self-control and reverence. But it also could push us toward
monstrous evil since there are few constraints to thwart plunder, rape,
murder, greed and power. Later, Joseph Conrad, in his portraits of the
outposts of empire, also would expose the same intoxication with barbarity.

The anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan, who in 1846 was “adopted” by the
Seneca, one of the tribes belonging to the Iroquois confederation, wrote in
“Ancient Society” about social evolution among American Indians. Marx noted
approvingly, in his “Ethnological Notebooks,” Morgan’s insistence on the
historical and social importance of “imagination, that great faculty so
largely contributing to the elevation of mankind.” Imagination, as the
Shakespearean scholar Harold C. Goddard pointed out, “is neither the
language of nature nor the language of man, but both at once, the medium of
communion between the two. ... Imagination is the elemental speech in all
senses, the first and the last, of primitive man and of the poets."

All that concerns itself with beauty and truth, with those forces that have
the power to transform us, are being steadily extinguished by our corporate
state. Art. Education. Literature. Music. Theater. Dance. Poetry.
Philosophy. Religion. Journalism. None of these disciplines are worthy in
the corporate state of support or compensation. These are pursuits that,
even in our universities, are condemned as impractical. But it is only
through the impractical, through that which can empower our imagination,
that we will be rescued as a species. The prosaic world of news events, the
collection of scientific and factual data, stock market statistics and the
sterile recording of deeds as history do not permit us to understand the
elemental speech of imagination. We will never penetrate the mystery of
creation, or the meaning of existence, if we do not recover this older
language. Poetry shows a man his soul, Goddard wrote, “as a looking glass
does his face.” And it is our souls that the culture of imperialism,
business and technology seeks to crush. Walter Benjamin argued that
capitalism is not only a formation “conditioned by religion,” but is an
“essentially religious phenomenon,” albeit one that no longer seeks to
connect humans with the mysterious forces of life. Capitalism, as Benjamin
observed, called on human societies to embark on a ceaseless and futile
quest for money and goods. This quest, he warned, perpetuates a culture
dominated by guilt, a sense of inadequacy and self-loathing. It enslaves
nearly all its adherents through wages, subservience to the commodity
culture and debt peonage. The suffering visited on Native Americans, once
Western expansion was complete, was soon endured by others, in Cuba, the
Philippines, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Iraq and
Afghanistan. The final chapter of this sad experiment in human history will
see us sacrificed as those on the outer reaches of empire were sacrificed.
There is a kind of justice to this. We profited as a nation from this
demented vision, we remained passive and silent when we should have
denounced the crimes committed in our name, and now that the game is up we
all go down together.

© 2012

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated
from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign
correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books,
including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should
Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on
America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy
and the Triumph of Spectacle.


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