Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Selected Scarry Thoughts

I'm currently living in Berkeley, CA. Below are some of the issues I'm working on.


Anyone who has had to write a speech knows that the hardest part is to land on the main idea. Once you've got that right, the rest practically writes itself.

(See "The way to respond to ISIS is not through violence." )





What I'm feeling particularly energized about is the potential for thousands of people who have decided that we can really say no to ALL war to become active participants in spreading this good news.

(See News Worth Spreading: "There IS An Alternative to War!" )





There is an eerie similarity between events in the book Paul Revere's Ride and events in our world today. I'm thinking particularly of how a network of mass resistance springs into action.

(See American Rebellion: Just Think What They Would've Done with Twitter!)












One thing that is clear to me is that the way community forms on Twitter bears the closest resemblance to the characteristics of community formation that we, as activists, need to work with from now on.

(See Twitter Community for Activism: What Do We Understand?)



"Could it possibly be that we're not supposed to try to hang onto people? Is is possible that we're supposed to prepare people, and then let them go?" 

(See What I Learned in Church (7 Habits) )













The panopticon was a prison design that reversed the old paradigm, in which prisoners were stored away, "out of sight, out of mind," and instead arrayed them in a way in which they could be observed as efficiently as possible by the fewest number of managers.

(See Drones, 1984, and Foucault's Panopticon)











The biggest idea coming out of the 2013 Drone Summit? We will only deal successfully with the crimes being committed using drones when we understand them as part of the much larger war against communities of color . . . .

(See Drone Gaze, Drone Injury: The War on Communities of Color )












I believe Easter is God's gift to humanity of victory over death, hopelessness and frailty, and I believe that God is alive and in our midst. The witness of the Guantanamo lawyers has confirmed me in those beliefs.

(See Easter Victory: The Guantanamo Lawyers )






So as I watched Ziggy for the first time last night, I asked myself, "What is it? What is it? What is the frisson that one feels? It's part charisma, part sexuality, partly the thrill of gender-bending, partly adolescent rebellion . . . . But what is it that Ziggy did (and does) for so many people?" (It can't be a single thing, can it?)

(See "You're NOT alone!" (Ziggy the Subversive) )

Faced with chorus of voices saying, "Isn't it time for you to tone it down? Can't you be more reasonable? What is it you want, anyway?" Jesus kept right on doing what he was doing. And that was a sign to us about how to live our lives . . . .

(See WWJD? Occupy! )







This past fall, a friend said to me, "It's good that you came to the demonstration; it would be even better if you brought a sign!" That was the start of something I've enjoyed a lot. And a lot of those signs have found their way into my blog posts.

(See Scarry Signs )






How might an uprising against inequality and dismantling the military-industrial complex dovetail?

(See WHERE'S MINE? Inequality in the US and the Military-Industrial Complex )







More than anyone else, the beneficiaries of permawar are the politicians who thrive on the power to make and control wars. The number one prime beneficiary is the President, as well as presidential aspirants. But it doesn't end there . . . .

(See J'ACCUSE: The Beneficiaries of Permawar )




 

I don't think Alanna and I ever talked about what it must be like to be trying to escape a shower of sparks and hot ash. But she seemed to know that the sparks and hot ash are too important a part of the picture to be left out.


(See The Children Are Waiting )









I'm marveling at the adjacency of a piece of public art -- one with a very clear message about the risk of human ambition and self-absorption and heedlessness -- to the center of political power in the city of Chicago.

(See NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Who will bring us down to earth? )










Hibakusha is a word that has traditionally been used to refer to people affected by the nuclear blasts in Hiroshima and Nagaski.  It is now being broadened to recognize the many additional victims of acute affects of nuclear radiation (including fallout from tests and radioactivity from mining and processing). In fact, we are all subject to the impact and threat of nuclear radiation spread indiscriminately by nations and corporations.

(See HIROSHIMA: What does it mean to say, "We are ALL 'hibakusha'?")






Before there was the NATO5 -- or the NATO3 -- there was NATOin5. People tweeted their summaries of NATO in just 5 words (hashtag: #NATOin5). It all started with an interview between Eric Zorn and Andy Thayer about NATO ....

(See #NATOin5)


At the end of the first day of the 2012 CODEPINK drone conference, I came to a realization: the fundamental problem that we had all gathered to address is that drones render killing 100% invisible. And as long as the killing is invisible, we lose the most powerful tool we have for fighting the killing: the disgust and outrage of the general public.

(See Make Drone Killing 100% VISIBLE!)



Cook County Jail is the perfect example of the nationwide injustice that Michelle Alexander described in her groundbreaking book, The New Jim Crow: mass incarceration, focused principally one people of color, in which "crimes" (often related to drug possession or other low-level offenses) become the mechanism for entrapping people in a cycle of incarceration that is brutalizing and often begins a downward spiral of lifetime discrimination.

(See Free Them All )



 Years later, during the time I was busily traveling to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and many other places, I had occasion one day to flip open my (real) passport, and all the extension pages, filled with visa stamps, cascaded out. The memory of Expo 67 and my "globetrotting" came rushing back to me . . .

(See O Canada! (We'll always have "Expo" . . . . ))


Ever since I went there to study Chinese as a junior in college, I've considered Taiwan my "second home."


(See Taipei c. 1979 )





 


What people in Asia (and others) have seen for the past century is that something is happening in the Pacific, and it's being driven in part by advances in naval (and, subsequently, aviation and electronics) technology, and in part by powerful nations (principally, but not limited to, the U.S.) proximate to the area.

(See The Imperialized Pacific: What We Need to Understand)





Oil companies are valued by the market based on their reserves. The problem with this approach is that the total reserves claimed by the oil companies is FIVE TIMES what can possibly be burned without driving up the temperature of the atmosphere up by a catastrophic amount and, as McKibben puts it, "breaking the planet." How can the value of oil companies be a function of reserves that can never be used?

(See The REALLY Big Short: The Jig is Up with Oil Companies)





 


Eventually, in large part due to Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, the United States was converted from a country in which a small number of people thought slavery needed to be ended into a country determined to act to end slavery. This literary work took the movement wide, and it took it deep.

Why is a novel an important tool for creative resistance?


(See Creative Resistance 101: Uncle Tom's Cabin )


 


A campaign exists to bring about a democratically-elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) in Chicago. The campaign would involve the people in electing the watchers of the police, and put the ultimate control of (and responsibility for) the police in the hands of the citizens of Chicago.

(See Does a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) need to be part of a "new plan of Chicago"? )
 

When Chicagoans fully succeed in fully connecting the dots -- especially to the crimes being committed in their name with their tax dollars and the weapons produced by their favored corporate citizen, Boeing -- I think there will be some new and different phone calls taking place . . .

(See What's New in Chicago: Connecting the Dots - US Aid, Boeing Weapons, Gaza Massacre, Chicago Complicity )








Steven Salaita has forced us to speak quite openly about three rather distinct things that get treated (incorrectly) as if they were the same thing: the state of Israel (and whether you criticize it or support it); the ideology of Zionism (and whether you criticize it or support it); and the religion of Judaism (and whether or not you share in its values and beliefs).

(See "What good is a tweet?" (The Packing and Unpacking of Meaning and the Steven Salaita Case) )


For the members of this congregation,
who will continue gathering as a people of God in a new place,
that today will mark not only the end of an era
but also the beginning of new opportunities for worship and service.

(See A Prayer for St. Luke's (Annotated and Illustrated) )