Archives

Tagged ‘Culture‘

WATCH: El Perro Del Hortelano [Dog in the Manger]

Produced by Magic Flute Films and Selva Rica

dog-in-a-manger-poster

“The film you are about to see was written by Indigenous and international artists in Peru who volunteered their time and talents because they had a story to be told. With just $8,000 dollars, as well as generous donations of equipment, food, and lodging, they created the first ever cooperative film in the Amazon.

This film is based on real events that took place in 2009 near Manu National Park, Peru.

In Peru the phrase, ‘El perro del hortelano,’ commonly refers to Indigenous people & environmentalists as dogs who do not eat from the garden of natural resources and do not let others eat from it either.

Over the last decade, more than 70% of the Peruvian Amazon Rain forest has been sold to US and other foreign companies for oil, gas, and mining operations without the consultation of the hundreds of Indigenous communities residing there.”

Lisa Intee : “In this mockumentary genre of film, the main character, Brus, plays an indigenous artist (which he is in real life too) trying to deal with the invasion of oil companies, NGOs, and volunteers. Cue the head of the NGO literally going to bed with the main oil guy brought in to convince the community to accept oil exploitation, and a woman from the US doing some suspicious research, whilst volunteers do absurd presentations in English which the community cannot understand or play cards in the background unsure as to why they’re there and what they’re actually doing. Brus sums it up with: ‘Development, NGOs – another type of colonialism.'” [Release date: February 10, 2010]

dog-in-a-manger-awards-2

 

Mammon’s Mania

A Culture of Imbeciles

February 9, 2016

by Jay Taber

change paris2

 

In a culture of imbeciles — assaulted by advertising, and fed on fantasies – the pursuit of authentic life, liberty and happiness faces the formidable obstacles of complacency and wishful thinking. As this toxic commercial onslaught on our collective psyches becomes pandemic — and pandemonium ensues — the plague of profit prophets threaten to plunge the planet into a state of total chaos. At that point – and events indicate it isn’t far off — no amount of reason can save us, leaving panic and hysteria to reign.

 

Download: Imbeciles Guide to the Spectacle1
[First published as ‘Part 1: The Concept of the Spectacle’ in Anselm Jappe’s Guy Debord, University of California Press, 1999. This edition published by Treason Press, February 2004]

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website:www.jaytaber.com]

WKOG Op-Ed: Mining for Blood

Wrong Kind of Green

November 12, 2015

by Forrest Palmer

 

ademov-iphone2-1

If Apple’s gold-tinted iPhone 6 isn’t enough for you, now you can upgrade to the real thing. For $7,300, luxury electronics store Ademov will sell you an iPhone 6 plated in 24-carat gold. Even the Apple logo is given special treatment, plated with 18-carat gold and encrusted with VS1 white diamonds. [Source]

As I sit here at my computer, I realize the cost in human lives that came from the production of this outlet from which I am writing this presently. When people look at the electronics equipment and luxury items that are a staple of the Western world and our lifestyles, they rarely ever look at these objects within the context of what it takes to bring them to market in regards to the human life and environmental cost that is sacrificed to do so. As Western consumers, we have been indoctrinated into believing that the birthplace of our goods is the item residing in the packaging and the plastic that surrounds it as we throw it on the cashier conveyor belt to purchase it. The most costly dependence on bringing our smartphones, computers, gaming systems, car circuitry and innumerous other equipment to market is the outlay of human lives through manipulation of labor in the Third World or Global South. For however much importance we put on the Amerikkkan loss of life in mining (which is minimal at best), we feel as if it is simply “the price of doing business” for any life residing outside of its borders and progressively less ambivalent the darker the hue of the people providing us these resources through mining practices.

child_in_mines

AFRICA | Half of gold miners in Africa could be children: According to the UN International Labour Organisation (ILO) up to one million children aged as young as five work for small-scale mining and quarrying operations around the world. The statistics are particularly stark in Africa where more than a quarter of the world’s child labourers live. [Source]

Regarding the loss of life in the Global South, which is more pronounced as many of the mining activities in the Western world have become mechanized in comparison to their counterparts in the aforementioned region, manual human labor is needed in the most impoverished nations to provide us with the precious and rare Earth metals that power Western lifestyles, with much of it being child labor. And in a nod to how exploitation of labor is at the foundation of the capitalist system, although the countries and workers that provide us with these elements should be rich, the fact of the matter is that they are the most impoverished regions in the world. Now, the narrative expressed by the leaders, media pundits and talking heads in the West is that in the Global South, comprised of continents like Africa and Asia, the problems reside in corrupt and/or inept leadership .

Cell Phones and Western Children

UNITED STATES | And where approximately half of of gold miners in Africa are children, in the U.S. a new survey finds most children get their first cell phone when they are just 6 years old. The study also found that 96% of children have a cell phone, 83% have a TV or sound system, 75% have a tablet, 71% have a handheld gaming console, 65% have an eBook reader and 51% have an Xbox or Playstation. [Source

However, as even Western labor is starting to lose the gains that it was able to garnish over the past 70 or 80 years due to globalization and the need to extract labor at as minimal amount of cost as possible, it must now be recognized that any leaders in the Global South will be acceptable to the Western world as long as they can control the labor market to hold down wages to as low level as feasible and provide regional stability, a component which is rarely discussed as far as importance to the production of Western consumer goods that needs global commodities. As inanimate objects don’t have the ability to be controlled regarding the amount of money invested in them (for example, the cost to mine, to transport, to turn into manufactured goods), the only variable that can be manipulated by the corporate state is how much capital is expended on labor (to clothe, to feed, to house and provide MINIMAL resources to workers). Therefore, any entity that can control the cost of labor is seen as an ally of Western corporate interests, be it a despotic regime or the president by way of a “democratic” coup. As a capitalist state, the United States is more than willing to support anyone and everyone who can provide labor at the cheapest cost possible as well as keep stability in place that will never impede the daily transportation of resources from the Global South to its necessary destination in the Global North. Although the United States is most guilty since it has about 6% of the world’s population, but uses over 30% of its resources, the Western world is built upon cheap consumer goods with electrical devices being at the foundation of the present industrial age (which is rapidly declining).

Ultimately, the Western world must exploit the Global South for its resources to power this energy intensive lifestyle. Since corporations will not eat the cost of a rise in production of goods and services and the consumer can only be expected to absorb the rise in prices of consumer goods to a certain extent, the producers of these goods can only depend upon labor providing the resources for manufactured goods at a lesser and lesser expense. As raw materials have always been provided by the ones who are seen as inferior, the Western world learned to view the physical conduits that provide us with these materials as useless adjuncts of resource procurement in regards to their humanity, be it the Western slaves of yesteryear that provided sugar or cotton or rice to the modern version today that provides coltan and cobalt in the mines of the Congo. With the caveat being that Western labor has been able to procure some concession from business, the story of all labor itself has been one of being perpetually viewed as living, breathing machinery that is nameless, faceless and always replaceable. Yet, it has been these few rights provided by the corporate state to Westerners that has disabled the totality of labor to ever be in solidarity, as there is the Global North and the rest that resides in the Global South, with the division being a seemingly insurmountable barrier of culture, ethnicity and nationalism.

ISweat-660x440

So, as we are presently, the link between affordable consumer goods and labor exploitation in the Global South are both inextricably intertwined with one another. Hence, there can be none of the trappings of the Western economic system without some type of exploitation of someone or something, no matter how people want to frame it as far as trying to find a “humane” way of living our current lifestyles and not blatantly taking advantage of those at the lowest rung of society that provide our toys and goodies.

Although mining has been a part of man’s existence since ancient times, it is now turned from one of mere extravagance to a necessity to keep us alive since the everyday processes of all our existences is dependent on technology to some degree, with the basis being mining. However, the question now is how much longer can this continue?

Time will tell, but until that day comes, the one externality that can’t be accounted for in any economic system in regards to this issue of mining: the present blood on our hands in the Western world.

 

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]

Edited with Cory Morningstar, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

FLASHBACK | Nostalgia for Origins – Miguel Amorós

Libcom

October 18, 2007

by Miguel Amorós

Translated in December 2012 from the Spanish text obtained from the website of the Spanish journal, Argelaga: https://argelaga.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/la-nostalgia-de-los-origenes/.

Aeneas and Venus

 

A 2007 essay on nationalism, whose “most progressive” historical variant “in the human sense” stood for the defense of “old customs and traditions, communitarian institutions, egalitarianism [and] the rejection of the industrialization process”, a tendency that is currently “being jettisoned in favor of an extreme economic modernization” in which “local oligarchies that are intimately linked with world finance” dominate ethnic and regional separatist movements and the real historical foundations of “peoples” in the old sense have been suppressed and replaced with fake “nationalist paraphernalia, neo-folklore, flags, anthems … and subsidized culture”.

Nostalgia for Origins – Miguel Amorós

“Undaunted youths, go, seek that mother earth
From which your ancestors derive their birth.
The soil that sent you forth, her ancient race
In her old bosom shall again embrace.”

Virgil, The Aeneid

The dissolution of all social bonds that are not reducible to transactions that bear within themselves the total reign of the commodity over human life arouses two kinds of reactions: one rational, and the other foreign to Reason. The first reaction was concretized in a radical democratism that broke with bourgeois liberalism to converge with a socialist anti-capitalism, with its first most incisive variant, in our view, being the anarchist naturist school. But the annihilation of memory that goes hand in hand with commodity colonization favors irrationality to the detriment of reflection and historical critique, and therefore it is also prejudicial to legitimate resistance to capital, especially when this irrationality is expressed among rural social groups, and is often manifested in sentimentalism, conservatism and religious traditionalism [de manera … ultramontana]. Although the first tentative expressions of anti-capitalism often speak the language of religion, it is a struggle that only requires the consciousness of what it is actually doing in order to become revolutionary. The local impulse to rally around “the old laws”, tradition or the absolute monarchy, which responded to the same causes as the millenarian peasant revolts or the Luddite riots of the weavers and miners, occurred in various locations on the Iberian peninsula during the 19th century. The deepest roots of regional nationalism were embedded during this era, and in the case of the Basque Country they are quite evident, but nationalism properly speaking is manifested in very diverse ways in accordance with the class interests that use it as an ideological or political umbrella, depending on the specific weight of the proletariat and the degree of capitalist development that has been attained. At the present time, now that the process of industrialization has culminated in the transformation of society itself into one vast global industry, when the standardizing steamroller of mass culture has abolished differences, and when deracination is leading to nostalgia for lost identity, many are those who share the search for their “mother earth”, and nationalism, often mixed with other ideologies, is coming to the fore. The question concerning what relation the nationalist polemic can maintain with projects for social emancipation has different answers depending on the type of nationalism involved and the specific historical moment. To begin with we can say that at the present time almost all identity-based nationalisms and patriotisms are in practice alternative political approaches for carrying out capitalist development, approaches that oppose central State regulation of capitalist development, which is why their relation with freedom and the end of oppression is nil. Precisely the most interesting part of nationalism, and the most progressive in the human sense, that of its romantic origins, that is, the defense of old customs and traditions, communitarian institutions, egalitarianism, the rejection of the industrialization process and, in general, everything that really sets it apart, is the ballast which is being jettisoned in favor of an extreme economic modernization that is supposed to set the standard for and provide the new pattern for development in less developed nations. Most contemporary nationalists do not want to defend their identity by preserving their territory from global financial flows, but instead seek to create a profitable local franchise that will attract those flows. The development of regional metropolitan systems as nodes of the networks of globalized capitalism provide them with the best secessionist arguments: the conurbation-State is the most adequate political form for economic globalization, the form that provides the highest profits. This nationalism therefore defends the interests of the local oligarchies that are intimately linked with world finance; the differences that distinguish various nationalist trends, to the degree that these differences have any meaning, respond to the variable impact of the emerging middle classes in their schemas, which are more or less oriented towards independence depending on the greater or lesser need for or fear of the central State power.

Nationalism is based on the assumption of the existence of a separate, homogeneous, ethnic population with its own interests, which speaks its own language, has its own culture and therefore constitutes a nation. By “historical right” it is supposed to be entitled to the development of its own sovereign institutions, the products of the popular will, in the framework of an independent State, with its parliament, its officials, its police, its army, its judges and its borders. We shall attempt to show that all of this is false. Everything that could define a people has long since ceased to exist and for that reason there is no popular will, either. The need for a national market created the central State, ruined the local non-capitalist economies and abrogated their laws. The rural areas were impoverished, their “historical” institutions were abolished, their popular folklore and traditions were lost together with all social relations extraneous to the economy (relations based on reciprocity, mutual aid, the gift, redistribution, barter…), communal lands were confiscated, guilds were dissolved, classes arose, migratory movements were set in motion and, finally, the individual was uprooted from his community and thrown onto the market. In the transition from a pre-capitalist society to a capitalist society, populations were gradually standardized and homogenized, that is, transformed into a proletarianized social class. Any community or harmony of interests that might have been able to exist among the Estates of the Ancien Régime disappeared, erased by the capitalist intrusion into society. Economic interest dominated every other kind of interest, popular culture passed away and the popular language ceased to be used among the elites. Despite the meritorious cultural renaissances linked to the local intelligentsia or to bourgeois sectors in conflict with the State (due to the unequal development of the ruling classes), the process nonetheless continued, and with the appearance of mass culture, that is, of the spectacle, of generalized entertainment, of the mass media, etc., language lost its validity as a vehicle of culture and means of communication—any language—putting an end to its role as the last sign of surviving identity. The current institutionalization of culture and teaching of regional languages has the same effect as the erstwhile institutionalization of Castilian culture and the promotion of the national language: no language can be used to communicate. The modern conditions of existence prevent any serious communication; language and communication do not go hand in hand.

The uniformity achieved under capitalism means the end of peoples and nations. The real content of popular resistance to the implications of this standardization, that is, the resistance against the creation of a market for money, land and labor, was distorted by the local bourgeoisie and petty bourgeois by way of the contrivance of ethnic stereotypes and national myths, the manipulation of history and the invention of a spurious tradition amalgamated with folkloric residues. The nationalists need a Golden Age whence they can extract idyllic images and fabulous visions that serve as models for the patriotic imagination and their electorate. This is never enough, however, and the active presence of the militant proletariat, a new factor, forced the nationalist movements to define themselves with respect to the proletarian movement. There was no lack of individuals who discovered that the revolutionary working class was the only subject capable of resolving the problem of the national question. The proletariat, as “working people” and social majority, became the depository of the essence of the fatherland. In general, the diverse socialist tendencies reacted against this trend. The anarchists, for example, opposed national independence in the name of the unity of the proletariat, and opposed the formation of a new State in the name of their principles. In its time, the CNT rejected the Catalan statute, despite the fact that the majority of its members had voted for the nationalist party, the ERC (the Catalan Republican Left), because the proposed new State was conceived in accordance with capitalist interests. The social revolution was real independence. Proletarian federalism went even beyond the statist secessionist movement, which diverted the attention of the workers and left exploitation as it was. The CNT recognized the “Catalan people”, but not the Catalan bourgeoisie; Catalonia was a country, but not a nationality. Nation and State were only artificial creations. Catalonia would be free only as a sum of federated municipalities, without borders, rather than as a State. The defense of the oppressed Catalan culture and language was perfectly compatible with the class struggle, for even though the proletariat is internationalist and has no fatherland—its fatherland is the world—it does have a language. Indeed, Catalonia was never more free than during those two and a half months when it was ruled by the Committee of Anti-fascist Militias, but this was not the kind of freedom that was desired by the diverse interests camouflaged under the flag of Catalanism, with the exception of those who were represented by the POUM. These interests were transformed during the civil war into the vanguard of the counterrevolution, excavating an abyss between the workers and Catalan nationalism that has yet to be bridged. The ephemeral resurgence of the workers movement in the sixties and seventies gave way once again to a socialistic nationalism, and even led to a certain type of anarcho-patriotism that hardly made any contribution to the identity debate and even less to libertarian theoretical renewal. The lure of lost roots caused the workers movement to fall into the trap of recovered “identity”, endorsing with greater or lesser enthusiasm the most suspect nationalist paraphernalia, neo-folklore, flags, anthems, [linguistic and cultural] “normalization” and subsidized culture, all of it presented by the local oligarchy as the recovery of national identity, while it is actually nothing but the obligatory supplementary curriculum for the subject who desires to prosper in the new political framework.

Today—in the Iberian peninsula and, more generally, in the countries where modern conditions of production and consumption prevail—there are no peoples, and to prove this we shall note the decline of the birth rate of the native population, the indisputable aging of the population and the flood of immigrants that maintains the level of exploitation that the functioning of the economy requires. Nor are there any specific places or landscapes; unrestricted urbanization has merged the countryside with the city by destroying both and scattering over the surface of the land a single predatory model of territorial occupation. Constant mobility has done the rest. There are no more real roots, or particular ethnicities, or national interests, or any greater identity than the one that is disseminated by the generalized uniform way of life. Under the absolute rule of capital, amidst the full-blown globalization of the economy, what causes people to resemble one another, regardless of their background, is much greater than what sets them apart. The levels of consumption or the degree of repression may vary, but the standardizing tendencies are increasingly erasing any and all differences. In a manner of speaking, everyone will end up either singing along with the “Macarena” or hating it. Even racial mixing and mixed race children are the inadvertent result of the planetary rule of finance. There are more than fifty languages spoken in every conurbation. The national interest is nothing but the interest of international capital represented in the “national” territory by its political-economic oligarchy. Only the oppressed are a nation. Does this mean that nationalist demands are reactionary? Not necessarily; at least not in their anti-capitalist and anti-centralist tendency. Not as the historic reference to a life outside the market and separate from the bourgeois State. It is reactionary, however, as bourgeois mystification and an alibi for leaders. It is reactionary as spectacle. The struggle against the oppression of the tide of globalization is essentially a local struggle and a struggle for the reassertion of local rights, but everywhere it is the same; freedom must start from the bottom, concretizing in local forms, direct relations, communities speaking their own languages, and this, without deviating from the cosmopolitan exigencies, will lead us to the real discovery of the past. This does not involve a return to the past, or disinterring an extinguished society, or giving life to a mummified people, forgetting about the rest of the world. It is not a return of the kind recommended by the god Apollo to Aeneas in our quotation from Virgil. It is rather a matter of recovering memory, identifying the point where society first took its demented turn, discovering in the old wisdom and the old collective practices of the peoples, but not only in them, the forms of a lost freedom, with the intention of availing ourselves of them in our modern anti-capitalist battles. It is in this historical connection between past and present, between local experience and the polyglot reality, that, in order to orient ourselves by real radical struggles—struggles that go to the root—we shall all have to find the signs of our future identity.

Islam, Hip Hop and the Liberation Struggle w/ Daulatzai & Almustafa

Published on Feb 9, 2015

Islam, Hip Hop, and the Black liberation struggle as discussed with acclaimed author and professor, Dr. Sohail Doulatzi. Plus the People’s Poet, Kahlil Almustafa. teleSUR

 

 

 

Communication: the Invisible Environment

A Culture of Imbeciles

January 22, 2015

 

In his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman — American media theorist, humanist and cultural critic — noted that “new technology can never substitute for human values.”

hqdefaultIllustration by Stuart McMillen

In American society today, our social amusements have come to occupy not only our pastimes, but everything about our lives, politics, values and beliefs. Even our most heartfelt emotions and concerns have been hijacked by the amusement industry, penetrating so deeply into our collective psyche, that we have become social robots.

huxleyorwellIllustration by Stuart McMillen

amusing ourselves to death7Illustration by Stuart McMillen

Capitalizing on this corrosion of civil society, Wall Street marketing agencies like Purpose and Avaaz — sponsors of campaigns to support “humanitarian war” and the “new economy” — have designed and exploited an advertising niche to make money from this social pathology.

conformity-is-unity-3Illustration by Mark Gould

While American faith about the truth in advertising might suffer as a result of these amusements, the deaths that result take place mostly in the Third and Fourth World. As Americans are herded into waving signs and marching around Manhattan wearing the color blue, millions around the world are dying from starvation, disease and murder resulting from American consumerism.

 

 

As a professor of Culture and Communication, Postman taught a course called Communication: the Invisible Environment. While he was concerned primarily with the decline in the ability of mass communications to share serious ideas, Postman was aware that the turning of complex ideas into superficial images — that become a form of entertainment — leads to a society where information is a commodity, bought and sold for entertainment, or to enhance one’s status. In contemporary society, mediated by technology, individuals will literally believe anything.

havas-worldwide-prosumer-report-communities-and-citizenship-52-638

Imperialism, Arrogance & Privilege on Full Display: Greenpeace Damages World-renowned Nazca Lines in Peru – Peru Seeks Criminal Charges

Associated Press

December 9, 2014

by Frank Bajak

542-ip8Fv.AuSt.55

LIMA, Peru (AP) – Peru will seek criminal charges against Greenpeace activists who damaged the world-renowned Nazca lines by leaving footprints in the adjacent desert during a publicity stunt, a senior government official said Tuesday.

“It’s a true slap in the face at everything Peruvians consider sacred,” Deputy Culture Minister Luis Jaime Castillo said of Monday’s action by the environmental group at the famed drawings etched into Peru’s coastal desert, a U.N. World Heritage site.

“Focus on tangible climate actions”: “Hop the Scotch” for Climate Change

Wrong Kind of Green

Sept 21, 2014

HoptheScotch

 

In his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman — American media theorist, humanist and cultural critic — noted that “new technology can never substitute for human values.”

In American society today, our social amusements have come to occupy not only our pastimes, but everything about our lives, politics, values and beliefs. Even our most heartfelt emotions and concerns have been hijacked by the amusement industry, penetrating so deeply into our collective psyche, that we have become social robots.

Capitalizing on this corrosion of civil society, Wall Street marketing agencies like Purpose and Avaaz — sponsors of campaigns to support “humanitarian war” and the “new economy” — have designed and exploited an advertising niche to make money from this social pathology.

While American faith about the truth in advertising might suffer as a result of these amusements, the deaths that result take place mostly in the Third and Fourth World. As Americans are herded into waving signs and marching around Manhattan wearing the color blue, millions around the world are dying from starvation, disease and murder resulting from American consumerism.

As a professor of Culture and Communication, Postman taught a course called Communication: the Invisible Environment. While he was concerned primarily with the decline in the ability of mass communications to share serious ideas, Postman was aware that the turning of complex ideas into superficial images — that become a form of entertainment — leads to a society where information is a commodity, bought and sold for entertainment, or to enhance one’s status. In contemporary society, mediated by technology, individuals will literally believe anything.

When the NYC Purpose marketing agency finds spare time from selling hate for empire [Two Minute Hate] and creating mass mobilizations for their clients that will ignite the illusory green economy, the Avaaz co-founders of Purpose are busy working on campaigns like the one below.

“Hop the Scotch” for the continued annihilation of species. Balance on a handrail rail for  unprecedented ocean acidification and collapse of ecosystems. Walk the moonwalk for continued genocide of Indigenous peoples. Walk in fancy shoes for  unprecedented venting of methane and melting permafrost. Do a flip in the air for disappearing ancient glaciers.

As we stare vacantly at the multiple crises that comprise the greatest threats to all life on the planet, greater than anything that our species has ever faced, we find ourselves on the doorstep of complete madness and idiocy. Yet, oddly, and tragically, Euro-Americans continue to be enraptured by the spectacle, hypnotized by their false prophets.

 

8 ways people are walking the walk on climate change

World leaders are meeting in New York City next week for a historic UN summit on climate change.

Using the slogan “catalyzing action,” the UN is bringing together world leaders to “focus on tangible climate actions.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn’t the only one who can’t make it, so NYC-based Purpose has launched the #WalkTheWalk campaign for those who can’t march themselves at the People’s Climate March on Sunday in the lead-up to the UN meeting.

Here are eight must-see short #WalkTheWalk videos:

In fancy shoes:

https://vine.co/v/OWh06dFxDZ0

In ski boots:

Or penguin feet:

Or why not hop the scotch?

Try balancing on a handrail (talk about a balanced approach!) :

Or moonwalking the walk:

Meanwhile, others aren’t satisfied to just “walk the walk” on climate change. They think our whole approach to climate needs a backflip:

And hey, look, Desmond Tutu is walking the walk:

Historic Speech by Uruguayan President, Jose Mujica, in the UN [Video: Spanish & English]

Semana

September 25, 2013

PRONUNCIAMIENTOEl presidente de Uruguay impactó con su intervención a los demás mandatarios reunidos en la Asamblea General.

JoseMujica

José Mujica durante el debate general de la 68 Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas en la sede de esta organización en Nueva York, Estados Unidos. Foto: EFE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Amigos todos, soy del Sur, vengo del Sur”, se presentó con simpleza el martes el presidente uruguayo José Mujica, sorprendiendo a la Asamblea General de la ONU con un discurso poético en el que destrozó al capitalismo salvaje y la situación mundial actual.

Como si estuviese cantando “Cambalache”, el célebre tango del poeta Enrique Santos Discépolo que pinta un mundo en decadencia, Mujica entregó a los líderes mundiales reunidos en Nueva York una visión oscura de los tiempos que corren.

“Soy del Sur y vengo del Sur a esta asamblea. Cargo con los millones de compatriotas pobres en las ciudades, páramos, selvas, pampas y socavones de la América Latina, patria común que está haciéndose”, afirmó Mujica, de 78 años, en la gran cita anual de Naciones Unidas.

“Cargo con las culturas originarias aplastadas, con los restos del colonialismo en Malvinas, con bloqueos inútiles a ese caimán bajo el sol del Caribe que se llama Cuba. Cargo con las consecuencias de la vigilancia electrónica que no hace otra cosa que generar desconfianza”, agregó, enumerando algunos de las grandes cuestiones de la región.

Ante las miradas cómplices de las delegaciones latinoamericanas que ya lo conocen y la estupefacción de las de África, Medio Oriente o Asia, Mujica criticó el orden económico mundial actual con metáforas y no tanto.

“Hemos sacrificado los viejos dioses inmateriales y ocupamos el templo con el dios mercado. Él nos organiza la economía, la política, los hábitos, la vida y hasta nos financia en cuotas y tarjetas la apariencia de felicidad”, afirmó.

“Parecería que hemos nacido sólo para consumir y consumir”, martilló, señalando que si la humanidad aspirase a “vivir como un norteamericano medio” serían necesarios “tres planetas”.

“El hombrecito promedio de nuestras grandes ciudades deambula entre las financieras y el tedio rutinario de las oficinas, a veces atemperadas con aire acondicionado. Siempre sueña con las vacaciones y la libertad, siempre sueña con concluir las cuentas. Hasta que un día el corazón se para y adiós, dijo.

“Sería imperioso lograr grandes consensos para desatar solidaridad hacia los más oprimidos, castigar impositivamente el despilfarro y la especulación”, sostuvo Mujica, más como una expresión de deseo que como una propuesta.

“Tal vez nuestra visión es demasiado cruda, sin piedad”.

Mujica, un exguerrillero que sobrevivió a casi 14 años de cautiverio en manos de la dictadura militar (1973-1985), asumió en 2010 como el segundo presidente de izquierda en la historia de su país.

El mandatario ha atraído la atención en el mundo por algunas medidas impulsadas por él o aprobadas en su gobierno como la legalización del aborto, el matrimonio igualitario, así como por el proyecto de legalización de marihuana

Este singular cóctel ha hecho que figuras de la política y del espectáculo hayan citado y elogiado a Mujica, que en Nueva York debía ser seguido de cerca por el cineasta serbio Emir Kusturica que filmará un documental sobre él.

Ante la ONU, el mandatario aseguró que la humanidad entró en otra época aceleradamente, “pero con políticos, atavíos culturales, partidos y jóvenes, todos viejos ante la pavorosa acumulación de cambios que ni siquiera podemos registrar”.

“Tal vez nuestra visión es demasiado cruda, sin piedad”, admitió en una breve pausa a su devastador panorama.

Lo cierto es que nadie se salvó en su discurso, y si bien habló de la ONU como una organización “creada como una esperanza y un sueño de paz para la humanidad”, dijo que el planeta tiene “una democracia planetaria herida”.

El final de su alocución no fue mucho más optimista: “Necesitamos gobernarnos a nosotros mismos o sucumbiremos; sucumbiremos porque no somos capaces de estar a la altura de la civilización que en los hechos fuimos desarrollando. Este es nuestro dilema”.

Vea aquí el discurso completo:

[With English Translation]

[Spanish Only]

 

When Divestment Isn’t Enough

Generation Progress

September 23, 2013


Demonstrators call for the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline during a rally in front of the White House. (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)(Via The Nation Blog)

It’s early March and raining as I ride through the mountains of the Mad River Valley. Where white usually paints lines thicker than the lane marker, there is no snow. As I hitchhike through Vermont with two talkative strangers, I’m worried by the stories a mother tells one of my teenage companions. This native Vermonter recounts the winters of her childhood, full of snow and flurries, while her daughter stares out at the pavement, as grey and dry as sky. I look out the window myself, only to see sleds abandoned and pale yellow tracts of grass. The stories of this woman’s childhood now pass as legend. The daughter grimaces as her mother tells a story she’s heard many times before.