Article 43

 

American Solidarity

American Solidarity - Time To Stand Up

Monday, August 14, 2023

Sagan and Star Trek

image: universe
 
We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements - transportation, communications, and all other industries; agriculture, medicine, education, entertainment, protecting the environment; and even the key democratic institution of voting profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
- The Dumbing Down of America
 
My brothers and sisters, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves.  All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbors work, will become a cause for pride.  For all must carry their own loads.
 
Emotional contagion can occur at political rallies, in combat zones, in mass protests and revolutions, at public killings, or in ecstatic religious rites. Within families, emotional contagion can set the tenor of a household. A sensitive child may absorb a mother’s non-verbally expressed depression or a father’s pent-up anger and feel it as their own.
- Transforming Empathy into Compassion, Psychology Today
 
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh, but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all and especially for those of the family of faith.
- Galatians 6: 1-10
 
Emptiness and compassion go hand in hand. Compassion as transaction - me over here, being compassionate to you over there - is simply too clunky and difficult. If I am going to be responsible to receive your suffering and do something about it, and if I am going to make this kind of compassion the cornerstone of my religious life, I will soon be exhausted. But if I see the boundarylessness of me and you, and recognize that my suffering and your suffering are one suffering, and that that suffering is empty of any separation, weightiness, or ultimate tragedy, then I can do it. I can be boundlessly compassionate and loving, without limit. To be sure, living this teaching takes time and effort, and maybe we never entirely arrive at it. But its a joyful, heartfelt path worth treading.
- Thich Nhat Hanh

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Cosmos 1980

Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group.

Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations.

We have broadened the circle of those we love. We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together - surely a humanizing and character building experience.

If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth.

Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant. They will fear the loss of power. We will hear much about treason and disloyalty. Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones. But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly thoe universe or nothing.

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image: star trek

The Radical Politics of Star Trek

By Simon Tyrie
Tribune UK
August 14, 2023

Star Trek envisioned a world beyond capitalism, racism and oppression where technology is harnessed to end all forms of exploitation and injustice - its lessons remain as relevant as ever.

It’s the year 2364 and a tatty old space shuttle containing former Wall Street capitalist Ralph Offenhouse, who was cryogenically frozen in 1994, has just been discovered floating through space by a starship called the Enterprise-D. Upon waking, Offenhouse discovers that, although science has found a cure for his previously terminal illness, his bank accounts and investments have all gone. To his horror, not even his beloved The Wall Street Journal has survived the ravages of time.

A lot has changed in the past three hundred years, the ships captain Jean-Luc Picard tells him. ‘People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We’ve eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We’ve grown out of our infancy.’

It’s particularly striking that in a genre that trends towards bleak, dystopian futures, Star Trek is an outlier in science fiction for offering an optimistic vision for humanitys future. In fact, while it may be overly simplistic to say that Star Trek depicts a socialist society, its utopianism owes much to the ideas of Marx in that it imagines a future where collectivism triumphs, money is obsolete, and every material need is met.

Beyond Capitalism

Spaceship and its crew whose enduring mission is to ‘boldly go where no one has gone before’. But as Captain Picard explains in First Contact (1996), ‘The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.’

Instead of working just to live, humans are free to spend their time exploring the cosmos, or inventing, or making art - and sometimes doing all three. This optimistic view of human nature is in stark contrast to films such as Pixar’s WALL-E, which follows the right-wing line of thinking that achieving a post-scarcity society (solving what Keynes calls the economic problem) would lead to sloth and hedonism, and ultimately the demise of humanity.

In Star Trek, geopolitics is a thing of the past. Instead, there’s the United Federation of Planets, a United Nations-inspired organisation founded on the principles of liberty, equality, justice, progress, and peaceful co-existence, which is dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and the universal enfranchisement of sentient life. It is a world in which economic conditions allow each person to contribute to society according to their ability and consume according to their needs.

Its worth noting here that Star Trek is a product of a political era that preceded the post-Fordist, neoliberal conditions, when different futures were not only imagined but contested. The Original Series aired between 1966 and 1969җa fertile period for the political imagination in spite of great unrest.

Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek’s creator, certainly subscribed to this optimism. He believed that humanity, rather than being doomed to self-destruct, was destined to evolve out of our political myopia. It was thanks to Roddenberry that The Original Series, though dated by today’s standards, was ahead of its time with its multinational, multi-ethnic, and multi-gender crew. Famously, the show televised the worlds first interracial kiss (in an episode banned by the BBC), and Martin Luther King once said that Star Trek was ‘the only show I and my wife Coretta will allow our three little children to stay up and watch.’

Today, Roddenberry’s flaws and hypocrisies are well documented. According to his last wife, Magel Barrett, he identified as a communist. But we know from the many accounts of his unethical business practices that he was also obsessed with making money. He preached peace and love but was infamously difficult to get along with. And he flew the flag for feminism while being a notorious womaniser. 

Rather than focus on Roddenberry the man, I find it more interesting to evaluate Roddenberry the salesman. When the show aired, there was widespread unrest; the US was being torn apart by race riots and anti-war protests; and the then very new and horrifying threat of nuclear Armageddon loomed large on the horizon. But rather than offer an extrapolation or exacerbationђ of these conditions, as culture is prone to do, Roddenberry saw the appeal of a brighter future.

Perhaps he recognised this appeal because he knew better than most HOW AWFUL humans could be.

When the show was rebooted in the 1980s, the political horizon was narrowing. Yet it was in this decade, just two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, that Star Trek became most notably Marxian. This was all thanks to the introduction of the \replicator’, a futuristic 3D printer that can create anything out of recycled matter, thus solving the problem of scarcity. So far, so science-fiction.

But in Star Trek, technology alone doesn’t bring about utopia. As we learn through the introduction of the Ferengi - an alien race whose culture centres around greed and profiteering - the socialisation of the replicator is a political choice. The Ferengi’s replicators are privatised, whereas replicators in the Federation are publicly owned.

While concepts such as warp-speed propulsion and teleportation remain firmly in the realm of science fiction, many of Star Treks technological predictions have materialised or are coming to pass - including the concept of 3D printing at the molecular level and the increasingly EXPLOITATIVE APPLICATIONS of ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. What capitalism renders unthinkable is the politics behind technology: that developments in technology might benefit us rather than USHER IN further alienation.

Star Trek provides an antithesis to how capitalism predisposes us to view technology, allowing us to imagine what society might look like if technology were used purely for improving our quality of life. Instead of following this path, the morsels of convenience we’ve received through technological advancements are only enough to numb us to the realisation that weve become locked into a cycle of consumerism and surveillance capitalism.

Constructing Utopia

Another utopian aspect of Star Trek is its depiction of solidarity. Roddenberry had many ‘rules’ he insisted upon the show following, but his most infamous is what’s become known as ‘Roddenberry’s principle’: a mandate that conflict must never be between the main characters, only with external forces.

Roddenberrys argument was that, for the utopian conditions of Star Trek to be believable, the characters must represent the best of humanity. In the episode ґRemember Me, the ship;s doctor Beverly Crusher notes that crewmembers are disappearing. But each time a person disappears, they become forgotten by everyone else; to the rest of the crew, they never existed.

In a typical drama, this would be whats called a ґCassandra Truth plotline: the hero discovers a conspiracy, nobody else believes them, and so the hero has no choice but to solve the mystery alone. But in Star Trek, rather than treat the doctor as though she has lost her mind, the possibility that people are being erased from existence is taken seriously and investigated by her colleagues.

Instead of the showҒs drama revolving around interpersonal conflict, problems are overcome through teamwork, and very rarely as the result of one persons heroism. ItҒs one of the most unique aspects of the show; as viewers, weve come to expect conflict between characters to be one of the most fundamental aspects of drama.

There’s comfort in knowing that no matter the scale of the problem, you can trust the characters to communicate their thoughts and feelings, weigh the situation objectively, and work together. But more than comfort, Star Trek continuously offers examples of cooperation, conflict resolution, kindness and empathy that are in short supply in most modern dramas.

To me, this is perhaps the most radical element of Star Trek. In simply showing the possibilities of cooperation, the show offers something for us to all strive towards - and solidarity is no doubt the first building block required for constructing utopia.

Sci-Fi Optimism

When the time comes for the twentieth-century capitalist Ralph Offenhouse to return to twenty-fourth-century Earth, he’s at a loss. ‘What will I do? How will I live?’ he asks. ‘Whats the challenge?’ The problem is, Offenhouse has never allowed himself to imagine an alternative to capitalism. And to someone that has lived his whole life in a prison, there is nothing more daunting than being set free. Like the prisoner in PLATO’S CAVE, the instinct is to return to the darkness that hes accustomed to.

In a sense, we are all Offenhouse. We might not all suffer from his peculiar strain of capitalist Stockholm syndrome, but we all, naturally, struggle to imagine an alternative way of living. We all live under the same political system that snuffs out any threats to its existence by design, and it becomes harder to imagine an alternative each day that this system entrenches itself deeper into our lives.

Here lies the power of Star Trek. It’s easy to dismiss utopian science-fiction as escapist, as though capitalist escapism is a lower form of art realism, but what good does the constant reminder that everything is bad do for society? Negativity is hardly inspiring. And besides, as Gene Roddenberry recognised (politicians take note), optimism sells.

About the author: Simon Tyrie is a musician and activist from Luton. 

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Posted by Elvis on 08/14/23 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section American Solidarity • Section Spiritual Diversions • Section Science
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Sunday, July 09, 2023

To Scab or Not To Scab

image: union workers
 
A good contract for UPS workers adds pressure for improvements at these competitors, some of which are non-union.
- UPS and Teamsters negotiations matter to us all.
 
“Civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths. All civilizations, our own included, have been based on slavery and warfare.” Incidentally, the latter term is a euphemism for mass murder.
- Twilight of the Psychopaths, 2008

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Rarely a political thought goes through my head without thinking about OCCUPY WALL STREET.

It really was a MOVEMENT TOO BIG TO FAIL. But it did.

Resistance, real resistance, to the corporate state was displayed when a couple of thousand protesters, clutching mops and brooms, early Friday morning forced the owners of Zuccotti Park and the New York City police to back down from a proposed attempt to expel them in order to clean the premises. These protesters in that one glorious moment did what the traditional liberal establishment has steadily refused to do - fight back. And it was deeply moving to watch the corporate rats scamper back to their holes on Wall Street. It lent a whole new meaning to the phrase - too big to fail.

Tinkering with the corporate state will not work. We will either be plunged into neo-feudalism and environmental catastrophe or we will wrest power from corporate hands.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, like all radical movements, has obliterated the narrow political parameters. It proposes something new. It will not make concessions with corrupt systems of corporate power.

The truth of America is understood only when you listen to voices in our impoverished rural enclaves, prisons and the urban slums, when you hear the words of our unemployed, those who have lost their homes or cannot pay their medical bills, our elderly and our children, especially the quarter of the nations children who depend on food stamps to eat, and all who are marginalized. There is more reality expressed about the American experience by the debt-burdened young men and women protesting in the parks than by all the chatter of the well-paid pundits and experts that pollutes the airwaves.

It layed a lot of ugly things about my country - our country - out in the open, and along with America’s favorite politician - BERNIE - opened what I THOUGHT was a door for that “POLITICAL REVOLUTION” Sanders has been talking about for most of my life.

Then we tried to roll out the President’s chair for him in 2016, and again in 2020.

But Sanders walked away both times.

The political revolution NEVER HAPPENED.

It’s a sad day to wake up and realize Sanders may have sold us out.

Was his betrayal just part of the GAME OF POLITICS that keeps us going around in circles while clinging to a little hope something will stir enough of us up to really change things for the good of the people, the planet, and all it’s life?

If so, then I consider the guy a psychopath no different than the OTHERS in the PARASITE CLASS of government and runners of big business.

In 2016 the universe delivered us President Trump.  A lot like Sanders with his talk of “making America great again”.  At first I thought he was pretty cool killing the TPP.  And he got people out in the street.  Everybody know what happened January 6, 2021.  It should be a wake up call to things other than an a big, bad insurrection of democracy, but we need to FIGURE THAT OUT FOR OURSELVES and recognize FASCISM hiding in PLAIN SIGHT.

And now we have President Biden BETRAYING THE WORKING CLASS worse than his mentor Obama.

After a 3-year saga of stalled contract negotiations between the country’s freight rail carriers and the 12 unions representing over 100,000 railroad workers, “pro-union” President Biden and Congress last week averted a national rail “shutdown” by overriding the democratic will of rail workers and forcing a contract down their throats.

That’s a lot of old men giving all old men a bad name.

NO WONDER younger people hate us.

In 2009

I heard on the grapevine AT&T is looking for people with DS1/3 testing experience to possibly SCAB if the CWA does strike. I know a lot of desperate people they layed off years ago that need money so bad, they may be willing to swallow their pride, and hurt the American labor movement - for a couple of quick bucks.

Can you blame THIS GUY?

I have been working for the last two years as a TELCO CONTRACTOR on piecework.

I have enough for the rent on the 1st if I don’t eat.

I have done a couple odds and ends but there is absolutely NO WORK out there.

Even minimum wage jobs are hard to find. So should I go do some strike work or go to a homeless shelter next month?

I mean IF THESE GUYS don’t want to WORK I do.

I have NEVER CONSIDERED anything like this before or thought I would be in THIS SITUATION.

I hate myself for the few times I scabbed.  It felt like selling my SOUL to the devil. 

This time me and my spotless driving record aren’t going to try to get a temp job scabbing for UPS drivers if its members GO ON STRIKE NEXT MONTH.  Instead you can find me picketing the neighborhood UPS building.

The Teamsters have said they want an agreement that “guarantees better pay for all workers, eliminates a two-tier wage system, increases full-time jobs, resolves safety and health concerns, and provides stronger protections against managerial harassment.”

The Teamsters are still pushing to raise wages for part-time workers at the company, with union leaders pointing to UPS’ rise in profits during the pandemic.

A line needs to be drawn, and elders like me need to show our kids we haven’t lost our morality.

The Teamster’s x-boss JIMMY HOFFA may be just as bad as the CWA’s RALPH MALY by not looking out for their members as much as expected - but the issue now is people power and solidarity of the 99%.

Imagine if working class people everywhere - pilots, bus drivers, railroad workers, retirees, etc - all walked out together in support of the UPS folks.

My bet is a lot of boomers already retired, or a few years from retirement, aren’t ready to draw a line and join a massive general strike.

Too selfish.  Too afraid.  Too busy drinking pina coladas at the pool.  Or maybe a CRUISE SHIP.

It gives us a bad name.

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‘Get Back to the Negotiating Table,’ Says Teamsters as UPS Trains Scabs for Strike
“UPS is making clear it doesn’t view its workforce as a priority,” the union said. “UPS should stop wasting time and money on training strikebreakers.”

By Jessica Corbett
Common Dreams
July 14, 2023

After negotiations between the United Parcel Service and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters BROKE DOWN last week, UPS on Friday ANNOUINCED “business continuity training” to prepare for a POTENTIAL STRIKE by 340,000 union members next month.

“We remain focused on reaching an agreement with the Teamsters that is a win for UPS employees, our customers, our union, and our company,” the shipping giant said. “While we have made great progress and are close to reaching an agreement, we have a responsibility as an essential service provider to take steps to help ensure we can deliver our customers’ packages if the Teamsters choose to strike.”

“Over the coming weeks, many of our U.S. employees will participate in training that would help them safely serve our customers if there is a labor disruption. This temporary plan has no effect on current operations and the industry-leading service our people continue to provide for our customers,” UPS added, claiming that such activities “will not take away from our ongoing efforts to finalize a new contract” with union workers.

Meanwhile, the Teamsters told The Associated Press on Friday that “UPS is making clear it doesn’t view its workforce as a priority.”

“Corporate executives are quick to brag about industry-leading service and even more quickly forget the Teamster members who perform that service,” the union said. “UPS should stop wasting time and money on training strikebreakers and get back to the negotiating table with a real economic offer.”

As the Teamsters EXPLAINED earlier this month, the union is fighting for a deal that “guarantees better pay for all workers, eliminates a two-tier wage system, increases full-time jobs, resolves safety and health concerns, and provides stronger protections against managerial harassment.”

Last month, 97% of UPS workers represented by the Teamsters voted to strike if there is no deal by July 31. The union has been holding practice pickets, including one in Brooklyn, New York on Friday that was joined by SEAN O’BRIEN, the Teamsters general president.

“For too long, this multibillion-dollar corporation has padded its bottom line with the unpaid wages of our members who sacrificed themselves and their families during the pandemic,” O’Brien said at the event, according to the union. “UPS is not ready for the fury of 340,000 Teamsters.”

After the Friday rally, O’Brien made clear that the union is still prepared to negotiate with UPS, telling Reuters that “the clock is on our side, not theirs. I assume at some point they’ll be reaching out looking to try and get a deal.”

The last strike by UPS workers represented by the union was in 1997 and is considered a major labor win in U.S. history. As Labor Notes recalled in 2017: “For 15 days, Teamsters shut down UPS nationwide. Managers struggled to make even a tiny fraction of deliveries… Out of options and running out of time, management surrendered on every key demand.”

If the looming strike happens, “things could be a lot worse this time around, putting even more pressure on companies, consumers, and UPS. That’s because the ECONOMY a quarter-century ago is entirely different than now - one where package delivery is more important than it’s ever been,” Vox REPORTED Friday. “While competitors like FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service could pick up some of the deliveries, experts said logistics networks are too strained to fill many of the gaps that would be created.”

“A 10-day strike would cost the economy more than $7 billion and be the costliest work stoppage in at least a century, according to a new STUDY by Anderson Economic Group, which researches labor disruptions,” Vox noted. “That includes $4.6 billion in losses to consumers and businesses that rely on UPS, as well as more than a billion in lost wages and $800 million in company losses.”

About Common Dreams: Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Emanuel Pastreich Interview - How to Take Down the Billionaires

image: emanual pastreich interview

How to Take Down the Billionaires
Chuck Fall hosts a discussion of Green Party Members with independent candidate for president Emanuel Pastreich

By Emanual Pastreich and Chuck Fall
Global Research
June 19, 2023

Chuck Fall: My name is Chuck Fall, an activist at Green Liberty Caucus. We are following up on our recent interview with Emanuel Pastreich concerning his run for president, which he launched in 2020, and truth politics.

We here at Green Liberty Caucus found Emanuel to be a champion for all the things that we value and believe in. Today, were going to discuss Emanuel’s manual How to take down the “Billionaires” in eleven chapters.

Emanuel, the topic is incendiary! Let us conduct a rapid-fire summary review of the 11 chapters as an elevator speech and give an opportunity for our guests to pose questions.

Why have you have written this 11-chapter manual and what is society’s predicament relative to the billionaire class? What is going on?

Emanuel Pastreich: To start with, we live in a profoundly controlled society wherein the rapid concentration of wealth over the last 20 years, and especially over the last 5 years, means that a very, very tiny number of wealthy individuals and families have an almost absolute decision-making power over many policies in the United States and around the world.

I wanted to articulate in this book how we can take down the billionaires, in a practical manual of 11 chapters. I discuss what specifically we need to do to rectify the situation and to create a transparent democratic and egalitarian society.

Chuck Fall: Chapter One is titled, “Assessing our position in the middle of the battle.” You describe what we the people confront in this plutocracy.

Emanuel Pastreich: We have to start the battle by first fully comprehending what were up against. Who is included in this group, who are the special interests. We need to know who the families like the Waltons, the Kochs, or the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia, are.

We have to consider what they’re trying to achieve using their various networks and the banks and funds, the private intelligence firms, the consulting firms and media firms that they employ.

We also need to consider where we are as individuals, and as a group. Although we outnumber the billionaires vastly, we have been fragmented. Also, we have sauteed in this narcissistic, self-centered, culture for the last 50-60 years, that makes it difficult for us to pull ourselves together and make a long-term plan. Many thoughtful intellectuals are more concerned about their family vacation in Italy than about risking their lives to defend the rule of law.

Finally, we’ve tended to outsource advocacy to other people. We think to ourselves that someone else is going to do the hard lifting, not me. The result?  Although our numbers are far greater, and we have greater assets, we’re not necessarily winning this battle.

Chuck Fall: In an in a nutshell, why is the billionaire class such a problem?

Emanuel Pastreich: If we read between the lines, we can observe their intention to reduce us to idiocy, by using technology in the form of social media, pornography, games, memes featuring fat cats and cafe lattes to dumb us down and make us passive and reactive.

They then slowly strip away our ability to participate in the decision-making process in our community, make the political parties dictatorial by nature so that there is no way to participate in them, or influence them, and make us dependent on multinational corporations for energy or food, and even for the means we use to communicate with each other such as Facebook, Twitter, or Zoom.

There are declassified reports from RAND, DARPA and elsewhere that explain the concept of mass control. Essentially the plan is to make the United States into an entertaining Disneyland with secret police and torture chambers.

We need to assess, to be honest with ourselves, as to where we stand, what we’re up against. Then we can make concrete plans that can be implemented.

A presidential election is a great way to get attention, but it’s not what were ultimately about. If I am elected, but the manner in which the rules of the game have changed is not challenged, it will be a meaningless election.

Chuck Fall: There was a movement back in the nineties to oppose corporate domination. Fighting the billionaire class is not a novel idea. We saw that struggle in the Occupy Wall Street protests. You’ve moved beyond that, homing in on the 0.0001%.

Emanuel Pastreich: Well, that distinction between the 1% (which was the target of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the puppet masters 0.0001% is a subtle one.

Bernie Sanders who ran a pay-to-play “liberal progressive” role in the Democratic Party, used that expression “the 1%” all the time - while he secretly sucked up to the big corporate money and made himself a tool, a cardboard messiah.

Yes, we need to identify concretely the .0001% and go after them.

At the same time, we need to grasp that there are two aspects of the domination of capital, and the control over policy. On the one hand, there are the 0.0001%, Koch, Walton, Rockerfeller and other families in the US, and around the world, who control billions of dollars in assets.

There is also a group of people who see their interests as aligned with those guys. I am taking about investment bankers at Merrill-Lynch, Goldman- Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Vanguard. These players are lawyers, managers, technicians and others who make things work.

You can think of them as a swarm of flies buzzing around the rotting dead pigs head.

That second group is the 1%, and they are also plenty dangerous.

Ultimately, in this battle, the super-rich will have no hesitation destroying all those people who trusted them, who thought that they were on the same side. This is a war.

Chuck Fall: Chapter two is titled :the weaknesses of the billionaires.: Here you endeavor to demythologize the billionaire class. I wonder though, whether the American people generally kind of like their billionaires. Do we not internalize the possibility that maybe someday, we can rise to that level of accomplishment and achievements. We do not want to deny ourselves that opportunity to rise to that level in the future.

We do not want to diminish their accomplishments. Youre challenging that. And you’re saying that the billionaire class is parasitic, is fundamentally a threat to our culture, to our society.

There is one part in your book that is hard to follow: You argue that the wealth of the billionaire class is a fraud, that they have no money. That sounds paradoxical.

Also, you talk about how the billionaire class uses super computershow? Finally, you argue that we the people need to change the rules of the game in this struggle.

Emanuel Pastreich: I see the struggle against the billionaire class as the equivalent of war.

That is why I invoke the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu whose writings I know since my field is Asian studies. I studied classical Chinese, so books like “The Art of War” are very familiar to me. “The Art of War” stresses understanding who your enemy is, what their nature is, what their desires are, and what they’re striving for. At the same time, it demands that you understand yourself, know your own weaknesses, your own misperceptions, your own indulgences.

The implication is that if you can grasp both, who your enemy is, who the person you’re struggling with is, and who you are, then you are on the road to success. But if you don’t get the second part, if you don’t understand who you are, or if you don’t understand who you’re dealing with, then the situation is quite dangerous.

The billionaires have spent, billions of dollars over a long period of time, on research from back in the 1960s on how to make people stupid, over time, using TV, movies, pornography and games. They conducted a lot of research on mass manipulation, as I mentioned regarding the work of DARPA on this subject. Basically, the effort has been quite successful.

It is true that many people look up to the billionaires. Elon Musk or Bill Gates are glorified because they promote themselves, spreading myths about their start as entrepreneurs creating their business in their basement, or in their garage. Supposedly, thanks to their genius and the American way they became billionaires. And so could you if you were only a bit smarter.

This narrative is a clear fraud. These billionaires rise to wealth was fixed. It wasn’t about technology; it was about access finance.

There was some brilliance in people like Mark Zuckerberg. The way in which he played various investors against each other to keep Facebook under his control was smart. But that was not his brilliance in technology or his vision for humanity-just his greed and cunning. Anyone could have built the Facebook if they had access to 50 billion dollars in loans that they did not have to pay back anytime soon. The key was the use of global finance and the leveraging of the use of supercomputers to manipulate people.

These days, money is calculated by supercomputers. Most of those supercomputers handling digital currency are not accessible to third parties. The parasite class can get billions, or trillions, of dollars by just cooking it up, using derivatives and other financial mythical beasts that live in super computers.

Supercomputers are also used to track us, anticipate our actions and manipulate, “nudge” us into making decisions that are not in our interests.

This part of the conspiracy is left out of most alternative media.

Using super computers, multinational corporations get access to extremely detailed descriptions of all of us that allow them to track us as individuals, as groups, or as communities all over the whole world: hundreds of millions of people in real time.

They use this information to anticipate what we will do. And they float all sorts of false news, concepts, ideas, and initiatives - the test runs you get in the Washington Post that is owned by Jeff Bezos - in order to test us, manipulate us, shock us, and to lull us into a state of passivity and mental disorientation that allows, assures, that no effective resistance will be organized. This mass manipulation via profiles of just about everyone and customized information fed to individuals and populations undermines the whole sense of governance.

The bottom line for us is not uncovering the latest fraud. It must be forming meaningful, organized, long-term, planned resistance that will take them down step by step by step.

Chuck Fall: So, leads into Chapter 3, “Formulate a Comprehensive Strategy.”

The Billionaire Class is a problem because in effect they have their tentacles in every aspect of society, especially with the emergence of a national security state that has since morphed into a full-blown surveillance state as a consequence of the 9/11 Patriot Act.

Emanuel Pastreich: One aspect of what is happening today which is not understood is the historical similarity between what was done during the German occupation of Eastern Europe and Russia after 1940 what is happening now.

At that time, there was a plan to eliminate a large number of people to make room for the German population. The mass killings were headed by a separate command than the war effort - then as now.

If you read what the World Economic Forum says, or what people like Bill Gates or Elon Musk say off the cuff, you can see the traces of such an agenda.

And the Eastern front was not the first time. The same project was undertaken by European settlers moving into South and North America from the seventeenth century on. They systematically destroyed indigenous civilizations and then reduced the survivors to slavery - or killed them.

Their campaign against us is extremely serious. These guys are not playing a game. They have no interest in softball democracy.

Chuck Fall: They’re not playing softball democracy. Everyone on this call agrees with your sentiment. We are all opposed to the emerging globalist, techno- totalitarian program. We are in solidarity with the call for the US to exit the World Health Organization.

Chapter Three is a call to formulate a comprehensive strategy. You invoke Martin Luther King and the movement he was building. But you go further and speak explicitly about seizing assets; locking up criminals. On what grounds do you make such a demand?

Emanuel Pastreich: Regarding the comprehensive. Strategy, I’m not here to lecture you. I think that other people in this group probably know many of the historical details better than I do. My purpose here is to try and bring us all together, and not to tell you what to do.

I welcome your contributions to our long-term strategy. Regarding the strong language I useit should be obvious.

If you or I made up a plan to kill off millions of people using bogus vaccines, or, if we blew up a major skyscraper and used it to start 20 years of foreign wars, thereby killing millions of people, what would happen to us?

This is pretty simple stuff, right? I can tell you what will happen to you. If you survive, you’ll be in jail, and all your assets will be seized.

That’s what happens. I am not taking a radical position. We’re, were basically advocating that these billionaires are citizens of the United States, or citizens of their countries, and they are subject to laws just like everyone.

They do not enjoy a special off-limits that creates a safety zone for billionaires.

At this moment that’s exactly the case, there is a safety zone that has been created for them over last 50 years, a space in which national law doesn’t apply. And this trend has entered hyper drive with the COVID-19 operation from 2020.

The first step is to say, “You guys are going to jail and these are your crimes.” I am not alone in my criticism of the Billionaire class.

Other people are pursuing this goal in parallel, and that’s welcome. I have no interest in dominating others.

My unique role is to declare, “I’m a candidate for president, and billionaire malfeasance is at front and center in my campaign.” That alone goes far beyond what Robert Kennedy says, just stating that vaccines are unsafe.

I say that if Blackrock and the multi-billionaire families hiding behind Blackrock funded and planned the Covid event, then all their assets should be seized, just as my assets would be seized if I engaged in massive manslaughter in an effort to make a profit.

Chuck Fall: Green Liberty Caucus supports the calling out of state crimes, and that part of our movement demands that we explicitly identify these crimes. The covering up of these events has given a free pass to the billionaire class. I am reminded of the book “The Devils Chessboard” by David Talbot. He relates the story of Allen Dulles who served the Billionaire class when he worked at the firm Sullivan and Cromwell back in the day.

Next is chapter 4: “Stop complaining.” You’re telling people, don’t complain; Instead organize, file legal motions at the local level. Talk about what you mean by “stop complaining” and getting active. What does that mean?

Emanuel Pastreich: I find current politics extremely frustrating. People invite me to discussions, to talk on their online broadcasts, and such. I hear people complain to each other in great detail there about what;s wrong. Much of what they describe is correct. But that discussion ends up being a distraction from taking actual action.

Action would be organizing groups of people who like us who are closely tied together, who are willing to take risk coordinating their efforts in concentrated way for both a long-term goal and a short-term action. That team has to be asking every day, what are we going to achieve in the next battle? If you don’t have that that sort of discussion, nothing will get done. The old phrase comes to mind, “Don’t complain. Organize!”

We need to get away from, complaining and organize. That means breaking out of the narcissistic, self-indulgent cult-of0self in which one just complains when something is wrong.

Instead, make a plan; build a team; get to work. If we throw ourselves into it we will get to the point where Green Liberty Caucus has much more legitimacy than the Federal government.

And that’s where we want to head, to form an institution that is legitimate, that represents the people, and that follows the Constitution. Those other agencies that call themselves Homeland Security, NSA, or whatever, those institutions are not legitimate and ultimately, they are not the government.

To put it simply, we should take the position that if institutions do not follow the Constitution, then have no legitimacy. They are the puppets of this elite class, not the government. We have numbers of people on our side.

Chuck Fall: Chapter four is titled “End government secrecy”

You open the chapter with an appeal to JFKs speech of April 1961 to journalists which opens with the line, “The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society. Green Liberty Caucus.” is founded on accountability, transparency, protection for whistleblowers, and the need for an independent media (although I don’t mention the last so much in writings).

Why you why you’re highlighting secrecy as a problem. And why do you appeal to Kennedy?

Emanuel Pastreich: Kennedy was inspiring for me.  I was born eleven months after his death. Even as a child, I had a sense of myself as being “post-Kennedy.” I didn’t really understand it, but I felt that JFK had a vision. I felt sympathy later in my career since he, like myself, started from an establishment background, and was pushed to take a more radical position by the forces he encountered in his career.

You learn how things really work when you take a stand.

Secrecy casts a long shadow over our democracy. I am disturbed that much of the alternative media, and even the conspiracy websites, don;t discuss the core issues of secret governance in the United States.

Let me do so here. There are three primary tools, as I describe in book.

The first is the use of classified directives, a practice that has expanded enormously over the last 15 years, but especially over the last 4 years.

These days it is not just the CIA and Department of Defense that serve people with classified directives, but also the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services - and other agencies that have nothing to do with security.

So, you can be served at any time with a classified directive that tells you what to do, even if you do not work for the government, and you are not allowed to tell anyone about it.

This secret governance, often carried out by multinational firms on contract with the government, has gutted the entire political system.

The second tool in the box is secret law. Secret law is passed by the Congress. The existence of secret law is not a secret. What is unique about secret law is that although it has the same legal authority as Federal law, you cant disclose it. You can be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for violating secret law. Nobody knows that that the strange statements you make as a politician, or lawyer, or journalist, is a result of the secret laws you are subject to.

I am not a lawyer and cannot give great detail about secret law, but I have encountered it and I would say all political figures in the US run into secret law and classified directives on a daily basis.

The third tool of secret governance, and the most prevalent, is non-disclosure agreements.

So nowadays, if you’re subject to some evil act by a corporation or the government, you are forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement that declares that what was done is a secret forever.

Nobody knows what was done to you. For many jobs you must sign some sort of non-disclosure agreement that says that you can never discuss the illegal and unconstitutional actions that you are involved in.

I want to say something about whistleblowers, people like Snowden or Assange, who dominate the corporate media. These guys are not representative of the struggle against secrecy, nor are they central.

Most people in government or corporations who encounter state crimes and put down their foot, speaking the truth, are just eliminated without a trace.

They are not necessarily killed, but they will spend the rest of their lives teaching part-time at community colleges, their careers will be destroyed. This is how government works in the US and it is now about laws but secret law and classified directives.

Chuck Fall: The Department of Commerce is subject to a law that specifies that anybody employed (that covers everyone from air airline pilots to the engineers that wrote the NIST report on WTC Building 7) have no whistleblower protections and they are not provided protection under that law. Youre raising an important element in in our struggle, and that the need for transparency in governance. We are not getting that in our current national security government now hyped-up after the Patriot Act.

Emanuel Pastreich: It all goes back to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 coming out of the Civil War and Reconstruction whereby Congress said the military cannot be used domestically to handle civil disturbances. There have been serious incursions into domestic affairs by the military even after the Federal troops left the South in 1876 as part of the settlement of the Rutherford Hayes / Samuel Tilden electoral count dispute. Today, that separation of powers is in the trash. Homeland Security is setting up fusion centers in Southeast Asia, in Central Asia, in in South America. We have the FBI signing agreements with contractors to information for profit. The military is authorized to infiltrate and to engage citizens. Much of it has privatized so as to serve multinational corporations and billionaires, using classified directives a to shut up, and shut down, people.

Chuck Fall: That is a big and serious problem. You are the only one on the Presidential campaign circuit addressing this issue in such detail.

Robert Kennedy is speaking a truth politics, and Im proud of him for raising truth issues in his campaign. But you are definitely going further.

Moving on, “Chapter 6. Don’t outsource the movement.” What do you mean?  By “don’t outsource the movement” are you suggesting that people need to step up, to take responsibility, to take control of our liberation?

Emanuel Pastreich: We face the moral equivalent, literal equivalent, of war. Of course, it’s not war in the sense that we are used to.

Look at these NGO’s that bombard you with email and letters.

You donate to them on the assumption that if you give the money they will do the hard lifting for you, they will solve the problems for you. That advertising is a fraud.

Most of the money for these NGOs come from a handful of rich people who follow a corporate agenda (even those who pose as anti-corporate).

And then there are the little fish like you who send in $25. They completely ignore you.

These NGOs function as a distraction from the real crisis in our society and they siphon off money from, and draw attention away from, actual change.

The only way to organize real opposition that’s capable of taking back the government and restoring the Constitution is to organize ourselves tightly and to rely on our internal cohesion and collective efforts. We need to rely on people whom we trust in our group and then to expand that group. I think that this group, those in this discussion, about 10 people, is an excellent start. I mean, it’s more than enough to build a movement.

Chuck Fall: In Chapter 7 you call for forming independent communities. I want to point out that at the Green Liberty caucus website we have a section on libertarian municipalism. You and others in the movement, both left and right, are calling for the decentralization of power into communities. Are independent communities realistic? Explain your vision.

Emanuel Pastreich: I am not a romantic who extols the glories of agrarian America. It was great that American agriculture all organic, but there were lots of problems in rural America. Humans are flawed animals from the beginning,

We must recognize that we have lost our self-reliance, especially since the end of the Second World War. We’ve been made dependent on energy in the form of oil gas, coal, and foods, processed, factory farmed and imported.

Before, most farms were able to produce energy using windmills and water mills, human and animal labor. Now we are dependent on corporations for energy just as we are dependent on corporations, and on the Federal Reserve, for money.

In the nineteenth century, even early twentieth century, people were much more independent. Many families didn’t need to use money unless they went to town. You could barter, or use other means, to support yourself from your farm and from the farms of your neighbors.

This loss of independence, the growth of corporate and state dependency, makes us depend on auto makers, distribution and logistics companies, and supermarket chains. City planning it designed to make automakers and oil companies happy. If you are a good parent, care for your neighbors and grow organic food, it means nothing. If corporations build thousands of automobiles that no one wants, it is called growth.

By creating communities in which we can grow our own food, make our own furniture and tools, help each other - and most important of all make sure the money stays in the community and is not syphoned off by multinational corporations - that will make us independent.

We cannot do this tomorrow, and not all of us are going to be able to do it.

It is the correct direction.  The intention of the other side is clear. The intention of the other side is to dumb us down, to restrict our access to energy, to degrade the quality of food, and set lay out a path into the invisible prison that they have prepared for us. And we will accept that prison ultimately because it seems more comfortable than freezing in the dark.

Chuck Fall: Chapter 8 is titled: “End the cult of the self and stop corporate corporations from inducing narcissism.” Speak briefly about that topic.

Emanuel Pastreich: We face a systematic effort, based upon research conducted back in the fifties, manipulate people by inducing narcissistic, self-centered behavior.

If you notice that youth are more self-centered today than was the case before, that is because they have been brainwashed by the corporate culture around them - it is not a natural change.

That is how were controlled. Milton MayerҒs book “They Thought they were Free” describes how under the Third Reich in Germany citizens were convinced that they were entirely free through advanced psychological manipulation in media and entertainment, in music and art. The advances in technology make the assault even more dangerous today. We are not free at all. We are deeply manipulated people.

Chuck Fall: Chapter 9, “Take control of the economy” demands fundamental banking and monetary reform. You suggest that money is created out of thin air, and that the billionaires employ the banks, intelligence agencies, and other institutions with authority to create artificial wealth. What do you mean by, “Take control of the economy?”

Emanuel Pastreich: You probably have a better understanding of economics than I do. I’m proud to say I didn’t take a single economics class as undergraduate, and I believe it’s a false science. I think bloodletting is maybe a little bit more effective than economics as a science and astrology has its charms.

But I take no offense if you studied economics. I would be happy to learn from you.

Money belongs to the people and we need a monetary policy that is determined by the people.

If we are focused and we develop a plan, we can implement it systematically and build out so that citizens slowly take control of our local economies, and then, building up from there take back the national economy.

We need, above all, to build a grass-roots local economies focused around food production.

Chuck Fall: Chapter 10 discusses the role of the intellectual, and how to reestablish meaningful education, build out independent journalism. The title is “The Treason of the intellectuals.” That seems to be a very critical perspective on the intellectual leadership of our country.

Emanuel Pastreich: I’m a card carrying intellectual, and even could be called an establishment intellectual as I studied at Yale and Harvard.

I acknowledge my part in the establishment, and I have profoundly sorry for how we have failed you.

It’s always going to be true that citizens are dependent on a group of highly educated people. It’s a fact that not everybody can gain specialized knowledge in all fields, and be able to judge what information is reliable.

Working people are not going to be able to understand national security issues, economics, semiconductors, energy production, etc. They are going to be dependent on the honesty and the integrity of the intellectual class, on its willingness to speak truth to power.

What went wrong in the United States? I think it has to do with the end of the Cold War - but I am not sure. It is a fact that over the last thirty years increasingly intellectuals saw their interests as aligned with those of the rich, essentially standing on the side of the establishment and against ordinary citizens. They did so often while employing coloration that made them appear “progressive” and “diverse.”

I watched the growing influence of the wealthy on the college environment. I was a professor at University of Illinois, starting teaching in 1997, and I watched the process by which the money increasingly ran the show. The universities, and the professors in them, were no longer interested in society. In the end, when I said, “we should talk to citizens,” people thought I was insane. They told me, “You should be publishing articles that can get you grants and thus secure your tenure at Harvard, or wherever. Play the game.”

So, we lost the intellectual class and it with went education.

Now, education has become a coronation. You receive this degree, a crown, that allows you to get a job working at Goldman Sachs. You dont actually have to learn anything. You just have to jump through the hoops. We witness education being boiled down.

At my alma mater, Yale University, there has been profound drop in the quality of education for students. The facilities are beautiful; all the ivy league colleges are lovely these days. They’ve been spruced up like resorts; they polished all the wood and there are beautiful rose bushes that are carefully trimmed. But the quality of education has gone down. There are no serious questions being asked and lots of taboo topics.

The students are prepared to follow orders and trained to enjoy an indulgent, self-centered life. The idea that somehow you have an obligation to country and society, or that you have an obligation to know the truth, these quaint ideas have vanished.. There is no sense that receiving that education, which others cannot, involves a moral obligation to serve society, or even to know the truth. But I do not think it is okay to be fuzzy about what COVID-19 is.

Journalism is an extension of education, and it’s more important than schools because many people rely on reports in the media who do not get quality educations.

We see now the beginning of a renaissance of journalism. There are people who writeindependently, who engage in thoughtful, journalistic writing. And I’ve been impressed by this development because such journalism was not there before. I spend so much time just trying to figure out what’s going on in the world.

It’s a puzzle. You have to read all these different sources, and apply your critical reading skills, check for plausibility, and to read between the lines, in order to know what they’re saying, what the vested interests are trying to achieve. As J. P. Morgan said famously, “There are always two reasons behind a political decision: a good reason and a real reason.”

Journalism as a whole has died, has been absorbed into advertising. I noticed this trend when I was teaching at Berkeley in 1995. When the New York Times went from black and white to color, suddenly it because sensationalist and impressionistic.

Of course, the New York Times had problems way back but it had certain sort of standards for reporting and for presenting a diversity of opinions. The New York Times became an advertising medium for selling an an upper West Side lifestyle of cafe latte at lavish bookstores to the masses, Integrity went out the window.

We are here now trying to talk to a general audience, about real issues. I writespeeches, which are articles that inform ordinary people about whats happening in our country.

Chuck Fall: Chapter 11 is titled “Taking the Billionaires down one step at a time.” You emphasize here that we cannot take them down until the steps described in the prior chapters are attended to, especially secret governance. You envision multiple organizations to push forward these efforts, including, possibly a provisional government. You say we must name names, calling out malfeasance.

Emanuel Pastreich: Chapter 11 is sparse on details because we will have a lot of different people involved with different approaches. I want to say that we cannot take these people down overnight. If Bill Gates is arrested tomorrow, I will not consider that to be a victory. I would think that the powers that be behind the scenes said lets just scapegoat, Bill Gates so we can go on with the party.

The only way that we can establish a more democratic, more transparent, and more egalitarian society is using a slow, step by step, process - which is what they used against us.

First, we take back the foundations. The foundations would be, above all, spiritual and intellectual independence. That means we establish a society in which the citizen is able to comprehend the world, and to think for herself, for himself. Next, we need independence in terms of community, and an economy over which you have control over. That means stopping the money that is flowing in and out from multinational investment banks behind the scenes. They have taken over local banking for much of the country.

We need to get the word out to the people about how we will take them down. Getting accurate information out is the next step after we have some solid communities.

These efforts are already taking place, and not my brilliant ideas. My manual is based on things that I have heard from others, or that I saw others doing.

My role was to bring it together. Bringing things together at this transitional moment is critical.

I want to make it clear to everyone that power is not my goal. I’m willing to take considerable amount of risk but I have no financial interest in this. No one’s paying me to do this, and, in fact, like Mark, I have taken considerable financial damage for the effort to articulate another view.

Tom Rodman: How do we get these people out of their comfort zones, get them to wake up?

Emanuel Pastreich: Waking people up can be tricky. My language is not always so friendly, and I’m not good at kissing babies as a politician. I ran into enormous problems concerning climate change. There’s now a large number of people who are taking secret kickbacks to say that climate change, the environment crisis, is all a fraud made up by the World Economic Forum. They dont even touch on biodiversity, on real science.  Clearly there is money for people in the alternative media to say that itҒs all made up.

But I was there. I saw people in academia, and in government who were dismissed from their jobs, or denied funding because they spoke out about climate change and the collapse of biodiversity. We were not paid, but punished.

But these days if you say that COVID19 was a fraud, and 9.11 was a false flag, everyone expects you to say climate change is also made up. I am not going to bow before that false idol.

Chuck Fall: Thanks for your insights. We will come back to this topic and transhumanism in the future.

Jon Olsen: I think were all pretty much congruent with the views that youҒve expressed to your manual. I want to note that I am disturbed by the current conflation by so many of fascism with communism. Fascism is totalitarian systemin which I command and you obey, or else. There is no real ideology or philosophy involved. No intellectual content.

Communism, by contrast, has rich history of ideology and political philosophy. It was committed to the empowerment of the working class. We need to keep that tradition in mind.

Our movement resembles the little boy who says that the emperor has no clothes.

I watch the mainstream media on occasion for reconnaissance purposes, to see what those guys are saying. What we need is for thousands of us to say publicly what we know privately, that we do not believe those lies. We have to take down the media of lies that is part of the foundation of the empire.

Chuck Fall: Judith, what comments or questions do you have?

Judith Osterman: You have studied past rebellions and revolutions. I wonder what lessons you;ve drawn from them. Perhaps you can talk about strategies that you admired, that we might imitate from the past.

Emanuel Pastreich: That’s a fascinating question, and I hope we can have another session to discuss what we can learn from other revolutionary movements, what was successful and unsuccessful in the American Revolution, the Civil war, the Paris Commune, the Russian Revolution, the Mexican revolution, efforts in the Spanish Republic or the New Deal.

The bottom line is getting uncompromising revolutionary change done is always difficult. We will start with a small number of people who are committed intellectually, have the ability to organize and carry out these changes. At the same time, we have to make a broad appeal to everybody.

What worries me is that when the people trauma induced by COVID-19 and 9/11 that there will be such revulsion and anger against the establishment, including those among my classmates who betrayed the people. It is going to be difficult to take the next step in a rational, democratic manner. People will want blood. Thats my greatest concern at this moment.

Perhaps the Russian Revolution is a good parallel. In 1905 there was hope of some sort of democratic process, a progressive politics.

But the scale of the betrayal of the people in the First World War by the ruling class, the pointless slaughter of farmers and workers following secret diplomacy in Russia, that pushed the entire discourse to an extreme. Perhaps the response made sense, but it limited what Russia could do after the revolution.

Judith Osterman: I have heard that the power elites plan to create a severe global economic crash that will force to adopt a digital currency. Clearly that has already started. What do you think?

Emanuel Pastreich: I think the enactment of digital fascism has not gone as fast as they were hoping because people are finally starting to organize. There are people like us even in the Green Party.

I guess people were not as stupid as they postulated in their DARPA scenarios. The billionaires and their advisors underestimated the ability of people to organize resistance under complete ideological assault. Some people were not wasting all their time watching memes on Facebook.

But they got a lot right. The vast majority of people were totally asleep, let them advance this level without resistance. It is sad for me to see my friends, extremely educated and previously political committed people who have bought into this COVID19 fascism out of cowardice or exhaustion.

Most are not thinking about digital payment systems as a form or war. They are unaware of the possibility that another 9/11 would result in all their money just vanishing. We still have a lot of work to do.

Marvin Sandnes: I saw this YouTube video last week of a graduating class that was presented with a twenty-foot screen featuring the face of Zelensky.

The whole graduating class was wildly cheering.

Im sure that 90% of those kids embrace the vaccination campaign. IҒm sure that 90% of those kids accept the story that terrorists, Muslim enemies, were behind 9/11.

We need to work with people first with those who think like us. We need to work with young people who work with their hands, who understand what needs to be done. Most of the kids at universities are lost.

But where to start? There is no organization that helps us to reach that vast group of youth who are far more intelligent than these college graduates.

Your effort to reach out is commendable, but sadly we tend to focus on people who in college, or college graduates.

Chuck Fall: Good point, Mark. How do we reach people? Of course, we have to reach people in college. Be we need to reach more people than that. I think it is valuable to stop at truck stops and talk with truckers while theyre eating or drinking having coffee.

Emanuel Pastreich: I’m there. I’d be happy to do a tour like that.

Chuck Fall: You talk about the importance of education and journalism

We have to rely on the first amendment, on our ability to speak, to protest, to assemble and petition grief.

That needs to happen on multiple levels and we need multiple points of engagement by well-organized grassroots, organizations. That is the core, no, of your proposal?

Emanuel Pastreich: Absolutely. The Constitution is central to this project, to this battle. It’s going to come down to this in the final scene: we will say that we follow the Constitution and since the Constitution defines what the United States of America, and is not, what government is, and what it is not. If we run into some clown who works for a transnational IT firm, a corporate intelligence consultancy, we will say, “You may think that you have a contract with DoD that allows you to call yourself the ‘government,’ but, in fact, you are illegally meddling in governance. Get out of here.”

That is why the Constitution is so critical for us; we need some sort of compass to guide us through this maelstrom.

Mark Goldman: We need to have more of these conversations in order to consolidate our approach and focus on whats possible. I think there is plenty that possible.

The crisis is so deep today that these problems you have identified are now visible to many for the first time. We now know who the people are behind this and what the problems are. We know the secret history of the elite of which most were previously totally unaware.

A big part of our effort must concern educating our children. Marvin suggested that our children are lost, and I have to agree.

We have lost our way because we failed to teach them, to tell them why have a constitution? What does it mean to have freedom? We will must do if we lose that freedom?

We must start, not with major donors and corporations, but with the truth, with dignity, compassion, courage, and love. That is what will transform the nation, not a series of commercial advertisements. Most of us were never taught these fundamental values.

We need a common foundation, an affirmation of what is important in life.

Truth is our most powerful weapon. We should tell the truth no matter what we are up against.

The commitment and the understanding of how important truth is will make the difference. Emanuel suggests some strategies.

I don’t know what all the strategies must be, but we must start by fundamentally reevaluating what is important in life, and what we are morally obligated to create through our efforts.

Chuck Fall: I say Amen to that. An excellent concluding remark from Mark. I am Chuck Fall of the Green Liberty Block; we support the efforts of Emanuel Pastreich in his run for President, and his efforts to advance a national conversation, and to be a leader in truth politics. We are building a movement for truth politics and invite everyone to join us.

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Friday, June 16, 2023

Corporate Unionism Redux

image: biden yelling at working american
 
The AFL-CIO was involved in one of the worst scandals in labor history, when 26 current and former national union leaders, including AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, approved an insiders stock trading scheme as directors of the Union Labor Life Insurance Company (ULLICO) that enabled many of them to gain a total of more than $7 million in profit, from January 2000 to November 2001… The AFL-CIO, as presently constituted, serves as a model of corporate unionism, in which a group of labor leaders. acting like a corporation, treat unions as their collective property. Big-time union leaders each have their own tightly-controlled fiefdoms. They regard union democracy as an outdated practice, even a luxury, in a global economy that requires labor leaders to act quickly and decisively… If they control negotiations with employers and make decisions about the terms of a contract, while DENYING ANY INPUT from their members or allowing discussion and a fair vote on the final settlement, that;s corporate unionism.
- Corporate Unionism, Internet Archive, 2004
 
Union voters delivered this [2020] election for Biden and Harris. Their message and commitment to create the most significant “pro-labor, pro-worker administration” resonated with ours and 12.5 million member, 56 affiliated unions who are hungry for a bigger voice in our economy and our politics.
- AFL-CIO Looks Forward to Working with President-Elect Joe Biden, November 7, 2020
 
Amid the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic, frontline workers are showing the world what heroism looks like. And as we confront the coronavirus with courage, big businesses and corporate executives are profiting from the service and sacrifice of American workers. Billionaires have increased their collective net worth by more than $1 trillion in the past three years… America’s inequality crisis began long before this public health crisis, but failed leadership has deepened it… I was in the meeting where Biden, just days after he was elected, looked a group of CEOs in the eye and said that in his administration, “unions are going to have increased power.”
- What Biden and Congress can do to support unions, CNN, January 26, 2021
 
After a 3-year saga of stalled contract negotiations between the country’s freight rail carriers and the 12 unions representing over 100,000 railroad workers, “pro-union” President Biden and Congress last week averted a national rail “shutdown” by overriding the democratic will of rail workers and forcing a contract down their throats.
- Railroad Workers Speak Out After Congress and Biden Block Rail Strike, Real News Network, December 7, 2022
 
In 2018, former Teamsters President James P. Hoffa FORCED A CONTRACT UPON MEMBERS despite a majority no vote. It kept part-time wages low and established a second-tier driver position, named “22.4” for the contract section that created it. Now new drivers make less money and get fewer overtime protections than existing drivers doing the same work.
- Will The Teamsters Sell Out Its Members, June 2023

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How can the biggest union in America throw its support behind the guy who abandoned and forced union represented railroad workers back to work in 2022?  It was the biggest blow to organized labor SINCE PRESIDENT REAGAN fired the air traffic controllers in 1981.  Along with breaking his campaign promise to raise the minimum wage, and PLEDGING to not use union-hating companies like Amazon for federal contracts - President Biden is no friend of working America.  I’m ashamed - but NOT SURPRISED - the AFL-CIO supports him. The solidarity movements of tomorrow may be better off excluding WORTHLESS UNIONS, and starting FRESH, with new people, new blood, and new hope.  Like those union bosses at the CWA that sacrificed me and a bunch of other techs in 2004, corporate unionism and our PLUTOCRACY need to go.

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image: i wish this was fake news

Biden is returning to his union roots as his 2024 campaign gears up

By Will Weissert and Seung Min Kim
Associated Press
June 16, 2023

JOE BIDEN opened his 2020 presidential run at a Pittsburgh union hall, declaring, “I’m a union man. Period.” As he gears up for reelection, the president’s FIRST POLITICAL RALLY is being held at a union gathering on the other side of Pennsylvania, punctuating just how much Biden is counting on labor support to carry him to a second term - especially in a critical battleground state.

The symmetry is no accident. Rallying labor activists on Saturday at Philadelphia’s convention center can help Biden’s campaign spark enthusiasm and tap early organizing muscle. That may eventually boost Democratic voter turnout in the city’s suburbs and other key parts of Pennsylvania, which in 2020 helped him flip the state where Biden was born from DONALD TRUMP.

It speaks to this president’s visceral understanding that, when the labor movement in the United States is strong, the economy and our democracy are strong, said Mary Kay Henry, international president of the 2-million-member Service Employees International Union. “He sees the role that working people and unions play in everything that he’s trying to make happen.”

Many of the country’s top unions, including the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, announced Friday their endorsements of Biden’s 2024 campaign - the first time the groups have done so in a coordinated manner and this early in the presidential election cycle.

“We wanted to have all of the unions onboard and making a very strong statement,” said Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and head of the AFL-CIO’s political committee, who pushed for the coordinated endorsements. “We’re going to hit the ground running and make it clear that all of labor is supportive of the president, and were going to do what is necessary to get him reelected.”

The announcement was similar to one Wednesday night, when top environmental and climate groups teamed up for a joint endorsement of Biden’s reelection.

Biden has used executive actions to promote worker organizing, personally cheered unionization efforts at corporate giants like Amazon and authorized federal funding to aid UNION MEMBERS’ PENSIONS. He’s also TRAVELED THE COUNTRY, trumpeting how union labor is building bridges and improving train tunnels as part of the BIPARTISAN, $1.1 TRILLION PUBLIC WORKS PACKAGE Congress passed in 2021.

Though the number of workers belonging to a union has risen, overall union membership rates nationwide fell to an all-time low in 2022. The country’s largest unions have nonetheless built sprawling get-out-the-vote efforts, which Biden is counting on to help turn out his supporters in pivotal swing states.

Still, the White House’s relationship with labor has occasionally been tested, such as in December when some union activists criticized Biden for signing legislation preventing a nationwide rail strike.

The United Auto Workers said last month that it wasn’t immediately endorsing Biden’s reelection campaign due to concerns over the administration’s efforts to transition the U.S. into a nation reliant on electric vehicles. Biden supporters attribute the holdout to the union’s new leadership, which is taking a more confrontational posture ahead of bargaining sessions with the major auto companies.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who leads the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, said :we still have a lot of time right now between now and the election and that the auto worker union will likely endorse Biden’s reelection eventually.”

“He’s clearly, probably, the most pro-union president we’ve had in a very long time, if ever,” Peters said.

Meanwhile, ongoing strikes have sometimes complicated the administration’s messaging.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has given conflicting comments on whether the administration weighs in on strikes that are in progress, saying in early May that “we don’t speak to an ongoing strike” when asked about Hollywood writers, yet offering support earlier this month to striking journalists at the Gannett newspaper chain.

The White House press office also apologized last week for crossing a digital picket line by referencing in a news release coverage from the news outlet Insider, where reporters are striking.

Biden nonetheless frequently addresses union gatherings and seems to revel in doing so. Though Saturday is his first campaign rally, mere hours after he announced that he was seeking reelection in April, the president made an official visit to the North America’s Building Trades Union’s Legislative Conference in Washington and declared, “I make no apologies for being labeled the most pro-union president in American history.”

His economic message can also resonate with non-union members. Charlotte Valyo, Democratic Party chairwoman of Chester County in Philadelphia’s suburbs, which Biden carried comfortably in 2020.

There are issues that are universal, regardless of socioeconomic status, or whether youӒre in the suburbs or the cities or rural areas, Valyo said. But she also said that the top issue among Chester County voters was defense of abortion rights after the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to an abortion last summer.

“Roe v. Wade is huge,” Valyo said.

Even as Biden won major endorsements from union leadership in 2020, meanwhile, some rank-and-file members supported Trump. Biden won the support of about six in 10 union members then, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the national electorate. That’s a healthy, but not commanding, margin.

Brent Booker, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, which represents mostly construction and energy sector workers and endorsed Biden last week, said that a key reason the union announced it was backing Biden so early was to ensure its members know how much his administration has accomplished, especially with the public works law.

“We saw what 2016 to 2020 looked like and those policies - or lack thereof - for our membership,” Booker said. Noting that Trump is again running for president, he added, “If it is Biden vs. Trump part two, I can point to: ‘What did the Trump administration do on infrastructure? And what did the Biden administration do on infrastructure?’”

Henry also noted that her union “had some small percentage of members that were for Trump” in the past. But she said the group has worked to counter that with ongoing messaging on union websites, through social medial campaigns and field staff work and even via paper leaflets and that such efforts continue during canvassing this summer.

She said Biden’s pro-labor reelection message is a strong one, but also cautioned that the president, when he speaks to voters, refrain from against getting דbogged down in the recitation of accomplishment” and instead makes clear “how those accomplishments are going to make a difference in people’s everyday lives.

“Talking about how he understands that, for the vast majority of the American people, there’s still a lot of struggle to make ends meet,” Henry said, “and that hes tried to use his first four years in office to intervene in that struggle.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 06/16/23 •
Section American Solidarity • Section Dying America
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Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Will The Teamsters Sell Out Its Members

image: union workers

1) Organized all LNS (AT&T Local Network Services/formerly TCG) switch techs, consipring with AT&T to unionize only a portion of them. Some techs with signed union cards were LAYED OFF from AT&T with no representation and only silence as replies from CWA officials when confronted with the issue. 2) Made an AGREEMENT with Tucker Technologies to have Tucker hire former CWA members layed off from AT&T - at around $17/hr with no benefits and questionable union representation.
- Why I Think The CWA Stinks, 2005
 
Meanwhile, at General Motors Orion Township, Mich., plant about 45 minutes away from where Rattner spoke, there are three tiers of hourly workers. Roughly 900 workers at the top tier, the most senior UAW workers, make $29 an hour, a rate unchanged since 2008. Another 500 or so UAW workers are paid about $16 an hour a rate, adjusted for inflation, equal to the famed $5 a day Henry Ford started paying his workers in 1914… And at the bottom scale are 200-odd workers technically employed by an outside supplier but who work in the plant moving parts to the assembly line, jobs once done by GM workers paid $29 an hour. The contractors’ pay: $9 an hour with no health care, a rate which over a years work would leave them below the poverty level for a family of four.
- GM’s Post Bailout Race To The Bottom, 2012
 
Going into bargaining, the biggest demand from the overwhelmingly part-time inside workers who sort, load, and unload parcels was for a $15 starting wage, with catch-up raises for people whove been underpaid for years… What they got instead was a $13 minimum, with no catch-up raises. UPS is forecasting $6 billion in profit this year... For the drivers who deliver packages, the biggest sticking point is that this deal will create a second tier of “hybrid drivers” who will deliver packages at a much lower wage.
- Teamsters Brass Overrule Member ‘No’ Vote at UPS, 2018

UPS Teamsters Start Strike Authorization Vote

By Sean Orr and Elliot Lewis
Labor Notes
June 7, 2023

With the largest private sector labor contract in the United States set to expire on July 31 at midnight, the eyes of the American labor movement are on United Parcel Service (UPS) and the nearly 350,000 Teamsters who work there.

The Teamsters announced a UPS strike authorization VOTE starting this week, with results to be announced June 16. Union leaders are strongly urging a yes vote. “This is how we win,” said Teamsters General President Sean OBrien.

Our contract fight matters for the entire working class. We want workers everywhere - and especially at Amazon and FedExto see that organizing a union leads to better pay and working conditions and greater control over their working lives, and opens the door to a better world.

There’s no better opportunity to show what we mean than a strike victory against UPS and Wall Street this summer.

SECOND-TIER DRIVERS

The roots of this fight go back decades. UPS jobs were once considered a yardstick of secure union jobs. Now 60 percent of the workforce is part-time, making around the minimum wage in many regions.

Drivers in many locations are forced to work six days a week and up to 14 hours a day with forced overtime. Managers follow drivers in personal vehicles and relentlessly harass workers to scare us into working faster.

In 2018, former Teamsters President James P. Hoffa FORCED A CONTRACT UPON MEMBERS despite a majority no vote. It kept part-time wages low and established a second-tier driver position, named “22.4” for the contract section that created it. Now new drivers make less money and get fewer overtime protections than existing drivers doing the same work.

The rank and file, organizing through the reform caucus Teamsters for a Democratic Union, fought these concessions the whole way. TDU activists organized a “vote no” campaign in 2013 and again in 2018 against concessionary contracts. Then in 2021, TDU led the charge to ELECT A COALITION SLATE OF REFORMERS to the union’s top leadership, on a platform of fighting more aggressively to reverse these concessions.

Now UPS Teamsters are demanding a significant pay increase for part-timers to $25 an hour, the elimination of 22.4s two-tier wages for package car drivers, an end to forced sixth days of work, increased PENSION payouts for 60,000 workers so they’re more equal across the country, no driver-facing cameras, more holidays, and an end to subcontracting and the use of gig workers.

In the rank and file, expectations are high. If the two-tier wage structure for drivers is not eliminated on day one of this contract, it is a strike issue. If part-time workers do not get a significant pay increase, it is a strike issue. If all work days beyond the five-day work week are not totally voluntary, it is a strike issue.

Some of these demands are about regaining ground lost by past union administrations. But for many workers, especially those hired since the last contract, this is about fighting for more. UPSers kept the economy running throughout the Covid-19 pandemic without a penny of hazard pay, and we watched UPS make record profits off our backs while working forced overtime. Of course we now want our fair share.

There’s widespread support for these demands, and people are ready to fight for them. The rank and file will not accept a half deal, trade-offs, or sharing the burdenӔ with UPS.

WALL STREET MARCHING ORDERS

Seventy-two percent of UPS stocks are owned by Wall Street firms; the two largest shareholders are Vanguard Capital and BlackRock. These firms and others own big chunks of our economy, including not just UPS but also its main private competitors, including FedEx and the railroads.

What does Wall Street want out of the UPS contract? Steady and massive profits. From their perspective, UPS is one of the great success stories of the pandemic.

From 2012 to 2019, UPS yearly profits ranged from $7.1 billion to $8.2 billion. In 2020, when the rest of the economy was suffering, UPS still made over $8.7 billion. Then the company reported the largest profits in its history: $13.1 billion in 2021 and $13.9 billion in 2022.

UPS will try to further increase these profits in the 2023 contract by asking for flexibilityӔ to schedule employees to work any of the seven days in a week, the installation of driver-facing cameras to further harass workers, and the continued use of gig workers to deliver packages.

The biggest impediment to Wall Street dictating terms for the entire logistics industry is the Teamsters’ UPS contract. Simply look to the competitors to see what corporations would do without a unionized counter-force: Amazon drivers are paid nearly minimum wage and get their hours cut next week if they do not meet inhumane production standards this week; FedEx is moving to eliminate all direct hires and switching to a 100 percent subcontractor model.

A two-week strike could cost UPS about $3.2 billion. But more important, a strike at UPS would be the largest demonstration of working-class power seen yet in the post-Covid economy. Every worker could see that they have the power to win better conditions by collectively withholding their labor.

That result is what Wall Street fears the most.

STARTED A YEAR AGO

Our contract fight started nearly a year ago. Last August, we had contract kick-off rallies around the country. In the fall, we filled out contract surveys, affirming the popularity of ambitious demands. Over the winter, thousands of us stood at gates and in break rooms handing out Contract Unity Pledge Cards to build support for the major contract demands were willing to strike over.

In the spring, we held Contract Action Team trainings around the country to map our workplaces, select picket captains, and develop organizing plans to engage our co-workers. And in the last month, rank-and-file TDU activists began petitioning at dozens of UPS “barns” to demand the company accept a higher national pension plan and raise part-time pay to $25 an hour.

We’re firm in our high expectations. We want to win the best contract in Teamster history - and if we have to, we’ll be willing to hit the streets on August 1 to do it.

About the author: Sean Orr is a UPS package car driver and elected shop steward in Teamsters Local 705 in Chicago. Elliot Lewis is a UPS package car driver and alternate shop steward in Teamsters Local 804 in New York City.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 06/14/23 •
Section American Solidarity • Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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