Posts Tagged ‘civil’

Epidemic of Silence

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Why does it seem like people in positions of power are too scared to speak their minds? Is it the same reason the vast majority of us don’t always stand up for what is right? There are these tremendous tasks ready to be accomplished, yet no one seizes the reigns. Reigns which are just waiting there idle, well within anyone and everyone’s willing grasp.

I speak to these blights on our world which, if we had our shit together as a species, would have been eradicated decades ago. Extreme poverty. Mass starvation. A behemoth industry that profits off the very war it creates. This faux-democracy perpetuated by businesses and their puppets within the political system.

We cannot afford to wait.

Especially when millions of lives are hanging in the balance daily, and the only ingredient missing is enough people willing to take action. We have the resources. We have the know how. But we don’t yet have the get-off-our-assedness enough to breach the threshold.

Take modern warfare, as an example. It is completely unnecessary  It serves no purpose, other than charging entire nations billions of dollars to kill a high percentage of our fellow global citizens. We don’t need it in our world to survive. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of what our world needs. Yet war, as so often is the case, remains absent from mind and mouths of the mainstream media, politicians, and most importantly – we the people. We know it’s wrong but we haven’t risen to the occasion and stopped it.

And speaking of war, the war on drugs is a proven failure which – thanks to conservative governance – we continue to pursue with greater ferocity than ever. What the hell, people? It’s like in the movies where a boulder or car is barrelling down from behind, and our only inclination is to run faster in the same direction when a step to either side would see our problems end.

The evidence is overwhelming. Making drugs illegal has done nothing to stem the harm they can cause society. If, on the other hand, drug prohibition is a means to institutionalize racism, reinforce poverty, and bolster a militarized domestic police force, then the war on drugs has been a resounding success.

But I digress. My point is that all of these institutionalized mistakes can be readily fixed, if only enough of us were to speak our minds. Just look at Women’s rights and minority rights. It works for them. And right now LGBT rights are at the crux of their struggle for same rights on Facebook and elsewhere. Plus, marijuana legalization is making some great headway.  All this happens because a big enough collective  of people found ways to share their voice.

It’s not that these injustices went unnoticed for generations. It’s that we regular people have been too scared to campaign against them with enough determination to make change. Only now, when for years just a handful of brave souls would dare to make noise, does the majority hop on board and then make what’s right become integrated into society as a whole.

Still, we have yet to reign in the banks, gain way more accountability over global corporations, clean up the collusion and corruption in the news media, end the war on drugs and then dismantle the whole war machine for good. And… oh yea, I’m gonna need us to go ahead and end world hunger while offering every human, at the very least, the most basic necessities for life. That’d be great.

These goals are quite clear. The sooner we get them done, the better. So what the hell are we waiting for?

Police Violated Civil Rights – G20 Report

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Dark days happened in 2010 as security forces caused the largest mass arrests in Canadian history.

Now, a new report confirms what many already knew – during the G20 summit police violated civil rights, detained people illegally, and used excessive force.

The 300-page report finds that “Numerous police officers used excessive force when arresting individuals and seemed to send a message that violence would be met with violence,” continuing on to state “The reaction created a cycle of escalating responses from both sides.”

The report also lambasted the unprecedented use of ‘kettling’, where protesters are corralled by riot squads into closed off areas to be detained and arrested. It is during kettling, where protesters are backed into a corner, where clashes can reach a boiling point and fatalities can occur.

So police were overbearing and essentially silenced attempts at peaceful protest. But what else is there to expect when the government spends 664 million on security? Had nothing happened, the price tag might have seem unjustified.

Still, what is most damning about this entire report is the utter lack of accountability. The authors of the report seem appeased to know their recommendations might be considered by police departments in the future.

But this does little to protect Canadian free speech. How about some firings or fines or something to teach the police a lesson? If anything, the lack of repercussions will just encourage more of the same in the future.

What would be nice to see is a clear message sent to police departments across the nation: do not stifle dissent, do not crush protests, do not silence free speech, do not impede peaceful assembly. Otherwise you will face stiff consequences.

Until that happens, ham-handed security will be free to trample our rights the next time we unite against the injustices of the system.

Update – May 17, 2012 Senior Toronto police commanders are expected to be charged in coming weeks for a variety of misconduct offences over their leadership at the G20 summit in June 2010, according to reports from the CBC.

Awesome! This is more than just a slap on the wrist, or at least it could be.

“Because we are at war…”

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

“We are at war.” “This is a war here.” “Our country is at war.”

How many times have we heard these words, most often uttered by someone trying and justify the unjustifiable, like sacrificing liberty for the illusion of security, or giving away inch after inch of precious power for the sake of the nation’s interests – not to be confused with our own interests.

If you’re like me, then you’re sick of hearing this wartime pretense being used to co-opt  both common sense and human rights alike.

We are at war… with who? Your only enemies are the ones you keep creating through your actions. Preemptive war only proliferates ideas of hate, and you can’t kill an idea no matter how hard you fight.

This is a war… no it isn’t! If you truly want to strike a critical blow against terror, stop terrorizing people. Quit believing that you are in a war. Withdraw from that mindset… then withdraw from the battlefields.

Awaken to our new world. It’s no longer about fighting religions, countries or cultures. The threats we do face, we face as a species. Cooperation, not infighting, is the way forward.

Occupy Rages On in Oakland

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

By now you are familiar with the routine: peaceful protesters engaged in non-violent civil disobedience meet armor-clad government-sanctioned thugs. Said security goons escalate situation by confronting and encircling large mobs of unarmed civilians. A clash ensues, tear gas and rubber bullets are fired. Many are injured, and many more are unlawfully detained. Freedom of speech takes yet another blow.

Yesterday this scene was re-enacted in downtown Oakland, as thousands of activists sought to reallocate an abandoned building, turning it into a headquarters, shelter, and symbol of something beautiful. ‘Not on our watch’ was the police response, as evidenced by the video below.

Keen observers will notice something new – the protesters are using makeshift shields along with a loosely followed phalanx formation. No doubt an adaptation learned from being shot at far too many times.

Speaking of an evolving response, cyber-activist group Anonymous released this video, along with the personal information of Oakland’s mayoral office. That’s sure to get someone’s attention.

If there’s a couple things to be learned from this, one, is that the people’s uprising isn’t going anywhere. And two, if you give humans training and a badge, along with a gun and the pretense to use it, you are pretty much guaranteed to see shots fired.

Stop ACTA – It’s like SOPA on Steroids

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Something extraordinary happened this week: droves of freedom fighters coordinated an online protest which successfully stalled the notoriously flawed censorship bills, SOPA and PIPA. It was a glorious victory for the people, exemplifying what can happen when millions of us work together.

But this is no time to get complacent. A greater threat has been looming. An international treaty – in development for a few years now – has the potential to go beyond simply crushing Internet freedom.

The Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – ACTA – is the product of background, closed door negotiations by appointed (not democratically elected) representatives. Whose interests do these people represent? Why, the biggest corporations on earth, of course.

Here’s some information to get you up to speed about this growing danger to the future of a free human race:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Po8UI6ujvY

Redditor justicia311 also shares a concise analysis of the latest version of ACTA and what it could mean for our world. Scary stuff!

If and when ACTA gets shot down, there will still be more liberty-stripping bills coming down the pipe. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and this holds true for the digital realm as well.

Occupy Movement Still Growing Stronger

Friday, January 13th, 2012

You don’t hear much about the Occupy movement in the news anymore. But it’s not due to a lack of news worthy stories. The mainstream news has gone black on the Occupy movement because of what it represents.

See, the same five (5) corporations that produce over 90% of all of our media are amongst those being targeted by the Occupy movement. It is safe to assume that decision makers for these companies will be smart enough to minimize the airspace given to any opposing interests, hence the lack of Occupy coverage.

Yet the people’s uprising has never been stronger. More individuals get involved every day, and those who are already engaged in the process continue to grow more energized and organized.

Take the Reddit group Occupy Wall Street, for example. After three and a half months of consistent growth, membership will breach the 30,000 person mark this week. Along the same lines, the Occupy Wall Street Facebook group now has over 360,000 fans, and the discussion rages on louder than it ever has before.

People really are waking up! It’s a slow process, what with the fierce grip the mainstream media (and other institutions) hold over the social consciousness. But it’s still happening!

The shared vision of a more just civilization has become too real in the minds of too many people. There is no going back now. It’s freedom or bust, and there is no earthly force greater than that of millions of humans working together.

World Peace by 2020?

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Be sure to check out the redesigned site at WorldPeaceIsComing.com!

Brutality on Wall Street – Stanford Comes Alive

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

One week down, countless more to go for the daring dissenters from the movement to occupy Wall Street. Despite dozens of arrests, the protesters are holding strong, maintaining an indomitable presence near America’s financial heart.

Now, if you’re looking to be outraged, check out the above video that shows police corralling and pepper spraying a group of frightened females.

Ugh, that is entirely reprehensible. Absurd! The officer who did the actual spraying should be fired, and the police department deserves to be sued.

Whenever these badged bullies use unnecessary force upon activists it makes me long for the days when we view the whole police/protesters scenario like a massive Stanford Prison Experiment.

The Stanford case, if you didn’t already know, involved a 14-day study with 24 students split into two groups – half as the prisoners and half as the guards. The entire experiment was abruptly stopped after only six days as the test degraded to the point of prisoners being tortured by the designated captors.

In New York, the same situation is playing out right now. On one side, some humans have taken the role as activists, and most choose to simply exercise their rights of non-violent civil disobedience.

On the other side, some humans have been entrusted with the role of protectors – sworn to uphold the law. But, as Stanford alluded to, authorities will abuse the power they’ve been given.

So what’s the solution? Well, why not pass laws that make it mandatory for every single member from riot squads to make public a video feed of their actions. Put it all online – unaltered -  open to public scrutiny.

Like the protesters on Wall Street are finding out, the 1% who control most of the wealth are scared of the 99% who want greater equality. It is imperative that we – the regular people of the world – push back against the encroaching security state, now, while we still can.

And one great way to do that is to make it really easy for anyone and everyone to police the police.

****UPDATE****

The officer who point blank maced a penned in group of young women and then slinked away has been identified as Deputy Inspector Anthony V. Bologna. Follow the link for a few ways to file a complaint.

Protest Like an Egyptian

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

(Al J’s coverage of the Cairo protests)

(Just like Tienanmen’s Tank-Man, one guy stands alone against a water cannon)

Last week the Tunisian people finalized a months long civil uprising that has successfully begun the process of regime change. Inspired by these events, Egypt is now rife with revolutionary tidings as protesters have been taking to the streets by the thousands.

Since they live under a highly authoritarian government, this type of civil uprising is rare in Egypt. But within the past few years a vital ingredient for change has been developing: Egyptians are migrating online. More than 1 in 5 Egyptians have Internet access today. This puts most of the planet just one uploaded cellphone video or a single tweet away from instantly knowing what is going on within Egypt’s borders.

Egyptian leaders now have to make decisions knowing the entire world is watching, and the inherent violence of an unjust system is getting harder to conceal from the global eye. Why go down in history as a mass murderer when you can just skip town and live off the fortunes you’ve got stashed offshore.

Just as it did in Tunisia, Egyptians will be emboldened as they hear the collective voice of their fellow citizens saying “No!” to the injustice. As well, Egyptian angst can be effectively channeled into a well-coordinated movement, letting the will of the people really be felt.

With technology getting so cheap so fast, pretty soon Internet access will reach the entire world’s population. This will enable a revolution paralleling those of Tunisia and Egypt to happen on a global scale. The collective voice of the world’s people will be felt, and it will embolden our species to really let our will be felt.

Humankind is rising up together to remove corruption from the system and usher in a more just civilization.

Tunisia: A Sign of Things to Come

Friday, January 14th, 2011

If yesterday was a milestone for Tunisia, today was a monument: President Ben Ali has fled the capital amid strong pressure from Tunisian dissenters. The ruling class has not yet been ousted, but this movement is unlikely to stop until the revolution is complete.

The Tunisian people have felt neglected and mistreated for too long. Confirming the people’s suspicion, a leaked cable has exposed Tunisia’s repressive regime to transparency, adding fuel to the fire. And now, via sites like Twitter and posterous, the collective fervor of Tunisia’s discontent is being effectively coordinated and mobilized to effect real change.

Pay attention to what is happening to the 10 Million Tunisian people, for the same social revolution is happening on a global scale, albeit more gradually.

Much like with Tunisia, our world has a corrupt ruling ‘family’ that hogs too much for themselves while a good chunk of the planet is left to suffer. This injustice has persisted pretty much since the dawn of human civilization, but it will soon change forever:

A social revolution is happening all around the world, and the Internet is helping bring it to fruition.

As the likes of Twitter and Facebook (and their successors) increase the world’s interconnectedness to unprecedented levels, our species will gain an entirely new degree of self-awareness.

From this, we will see how most of the world’s people are not that different from ourselves. We’ll learn how the vast majority of us can co-exist without killing each other.

On top of this, thanks to freedom fighters like Wikileaks, the hypocrisy and corruption that permeates our world’s system will be dragged into the light. Injustice will have no where left to hide. No more will today’s extremes of wealth distribution be tolerated if it means millions of preventable deaths every year.

And, just like in Tunisia, we too have been harnessing social media and instant tools to organize and channel our discontent. Humankind’s collective voice will effectively counterbalance the influence of our planet’s dominant institutions, allowing us to manifest a more just global civilization.

Eradicating extreme poverty. Ending institutionalized armed conflict. The world we are already in the process of creating is sure to be AWESOME!