Protect Democracy & Expose Western Liberal Democracy

Posts tagged ‘Occupy Wall Street’

National and Correct Policy of Privatization


National and Correct Policy of Privatization

National and Correct Policy of Privatization

The objectives of privatization policy in African countries and in all developing and developed countries should not include the attraction of foreign direct investments.

Governments must build all sorts of services; businesses; and industries not to keep them under their control or management but rather to sell them to the public in shares. This way private ownership can be served.

Governments should own no business simply because they own no wealth. It is the people who should own the national wealth and every thing including the government itself. But governments  and private foreign companies must create all sorts of businesses and transfer their ownership to the citizens.

This is more national and the correct interpretation of privatization. Selling big businesses to foreign investors is not privatization but it is  in most cases treason and exploitation.

Earth Is a Better Place Without the Super-rich


Earth Is a Better Place Without the Super-rich

Earth Is a Better Place Without the Super-rich

Peace and justice would be better once the World has no super-rich. They are dangerous liabilities and very few of them are useful assets.

Earth Is a Better Place Without the Superrich

Earth Is a Better Place Without the Super rich

Excessive poverty, wars, and crimes inflicted on billions of miserable humans are the direct results of the incredible greed and cruelty of just few hundreds super-rich.

Earth Is a Better Place Without the Super-rich 3

Earth Is a Better Place Without the Super-rich

Occupy’s Pledge to FIGHT BACK


Occupy's Pledge to FIGHT BACK

Occupy’s FIGHT BACK

Occupy’s Pledge to FIGHT BACK

We Didn’t Start the Class War

(This is a partial copy of online form from OccupyWallSt.org

To act now please check the form at: Will you help us wage resistance?)

The 1% wreck our economy, kill our jobs, seize our homes, assault our rights, destroy the environment, and sentence us to lives of debt and war. For years, we have petitioned our governments for change without redress and have fought tirelessly to elect politicians who only betray us. In a world where the 1% have usurped democracy and politicians refuse to serve the people, the people have but one choice—to fight back!

The relentless class war against the 99% must end. We’ve been deceived our whole lives into believing the only way to create change is by voting, but now we’re learning there’s another way. A revolution for real democracy is underway, and it falls on each and every one of us to fight together for our common future. We will cast the vote of resistance. We will take direct action to shut this broken system down and build a better world that works in the interest of all people, everywhere.

Will you help us wage resistance?

  1. I pledge to come out in the streets when Occupy calls for a day of action.
  2. I pledge to attend at least one meeting with my local Occupy group.
    Click Here to find one in your area
  3. I pledge to help promote #occupy news and actions via social media.
  4. I pledge to donate what I make in one hour to an Occupy-related project.
    Click Here for our curated list of places to donate
  5. I pledge to never go to work during a general strike.
  6. I pledge to help organize my co-workers to make demands. It doesn’t matter if I’m behind a desk, a cash register, or a machine—we deserve better treatment.
    Click Here to learn how
  7. I pledge to attend a direct action / civil disobedience training session.
    Click Here for NYC Summer Disobedience School
    Click Here for online video training
  8. I pledge to dump my bank and join a credit union.
    Click Here to find one in your area
  9. I pledge to start an affinity group to occupy something.
    This can be just about anything. Like a park, a farm, defending a foreclosed home, or holding a sit-in at your town hall or school. You might only need a half dozen or so dedicated people. Issue demands if you like, but don’t go home until they’re met. You can even use blockading to make it extra hard for them to remove you. Remember: Occupying is a militant nonviolent tactic meant to assert control over physical space by reclaiming it for a new purpose while disrupting the ability of your adversary to use that space, thus forcing recognition of your cause. You don’t need a permit any more than Martin Luther King Jr. needed permission to hold sit-ins at lunch counters. This is the very meaning of civil disobedience, but it also means you’ll be risking arrest so you should consider seeking legal counsel beforehand. How much does change mean to you?

Source: Occupy’s Pledge to FIGHT BACK

email: general@occupywallst.org | help line: +1 (516) 708-4777

Pledge to Fight Back

Fellow occupier, we need your help to end the relentless class war against the 99%. Sign your name to something better by taking the FIGHT BACK pledge at OccupyWallSt.org.

http://occupywallst.org/fightback/

Why should I promise to fight? Because the 1% wreck our economy, kill our jobs, seize our homes, assault our rights, destroy the environment, and sentence us to lives of debt and war. For years, we have petitioned our governments for change without redress and have fought tirelessly to elect politicians who only betray us. In a world where the 1% have usurped democracy and politicians refuse to serve the people, the people have but one choice—to fight back!

How can I fight? Occupiers use direct action

to create change, because it works better than voting and is way more fun. Read the pledge to learn how to use some of these tactics.

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.” – Howard Zinn

Click here and pledge to flight back today!

If you’ve already signed, please forward this to a friend or consider a donation to support a part of the occupy movement.

How America Went Rogue


America's Shadow Wars

America's Shadow Wars

What We All Need to Know About Our Government’s Shadow Wars

Reagan’s shadow government was a disaster, but it was a pygmy compared with Obama’s.

April 22, 2012   The Nation / By Juan Cole

Covert operations are nothing new in American history, but it could be argued that during the past decade they have moved from being a relatively minor arrow in the national security quiver to being the cutting edge of American power. Drone strikes, electronic surveillance and stealth engagements by military units such as the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), as well as dependence on private corporations, mercenary armies and terrorist groups, are now arguably more common as tools of US foreign policy than conventional warfare or diplomacy. But these tools lend themselves to rogue operations that create peril for the United States when they blow back on us. And they often make the United States deeply unpopular.

Shadow power has even become an issue in the presidential campaign. Newt Gingrich advocates ramped-up “covert operations” inside Iran. President Obama replied to Mitt Romney’s charge that he is an “appeaser” by suggesting that his critics “ask bin Laden” about that.

Obama often speaks of the “tide of war receding,” but that phrase refers only to conventional war. In Afghanistan, where the administration hopes to roll up conventional fighting by the end of 2013, it is making plans for long-term operations by special forces through units such as JSOC. It is unclear what legal framework will be constructed for their activities, other than a wink and a nod from President Hamid Karzai.

Although the Iraqis managed to compel the withdrawal of US troops by the end of last year, Washington is nevertheless seeking to remain influential through shadow power. The US embassy in Baghdad has 16,000 employees, most of them civilian contractors. They include 2,000 diplomats and several hundred intelligence operatives. By contrast, the entire US Foreign Service corps comprises fewer than 14,000. The Obama administration has decided to slash the number of contractors, planning for an embassy force of “only” 8,000. This monument to shadow power clearly is not intended merely to represent US interests in Iraq but rather to shape that country and to serve as a command center for the eastern reaches of the greater Middle East. The US shadow warriors will, for instance, attempt to block “the influence of Iran,” according to the Washington Post. Since Iraq’s Shiite political parties, which dominate Parliament and the cabinet, are often close to Iran, that charge would inescapably involve meddling in internal Iraqi politics.

Nor can we be sure that the CIA will engage only in espionage or influence-peddling in Iraq. The American shadow government routinely kidnaps people it considers dangerous and has sent them to black sites for torture, often by third-party governments to keep American hands clean. As usual with the shadow government, private corporations have been enlisted to help in these “rendition” programs, which are pursued outside the framework of national and international law and in defiance of the sensibilities of our allies. How the United States might behave in Iraq can be extrapolated from its recent behavior in other allied countries. In November 2009 an Italian court convicted in absentia twenty-three people, most of them CIA field officers who had kidnapped an alleged Al Qaeda recruiter, Abu Omar, on a Milan street in the middle of the day and sent him to Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt for “interrogation.” Obama has explicitly continued this practice as a “counterterrorism tool,” though he says torture has been halted. Iraq is likely to continue to be an arena of such veiled struggles.

The Obama administration’s severe unilateral sanctions on Iran and attempts to cut that country off from the world banking system have a shadow power aspect. Aimed at crippling Iran’s oil exports, they are making it difficult for Iran to import staples like wheat. Although Washington denies carrying out covert operations in Iran, the US government and allies like Israel are suspected of doing just that. According to anonymous US intelligence officials and military sources interviewed by The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh, the United States has trained members of the MEK (Mojahedin-e Khalq, or People’s Jihadis), based in Iraq at Camp Ashraf, to spy on Iran and carry out covert operations there, just as Saddam Hussein had done, though any American support for the organization would directly contradict the State Department listing of it as a terrorist organization. The MEK is suspected of carrying out a string of assassinations against Iranian nuclear scientists, but US intelligence leaks say Israel’s Mossad, not the CIA, is the accomplice. Indeed, the difficulty of disentangling Washington’s shadow power from that of its junior partners can be seen in the leak by US intelligence complaining that Mossad agents had impersonated CIA field officers in recruiting members of the Jundullah terrorist group in Iranian Baluchistan for covert operations against Iran. Jundullah, a Sunni group, has repeatedly bombed Shiite mosques in Zahedan and elsewhere in the country’s southeast. Needless to say, the kind of overt and covert pressure Obama is putting on Iran could easily, even if inadvertently, spark a war.

The recent release of more than 5 million e-mails hacked from the server of the private intelligence firm Stratfor shows that it did more than analysis. It engaged in surveillance and intelligence activities on behalf of corporate sponsors. Dow Chemical, for example, hired Stratfor to monitor a protest group agitating on the issue of the catastrophic 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India, which killed at least 3,500. WikiLeaks maintains that Stratfor exemplifies the “revolving door” between private intelligence firms and the US government agencies that share information with them.

The increasingly frequent use of civilian “security contractors” — essentially mercenaries — should be a sore point for Americans. The tens of thousands of mercenaries deployed in Iraq were crucial to the US occupation of that country, but they also demonstrate the severe drawbacks of using shadow warriors. Ignorance about local attitudes, arrogance and lack of coordination with the US military and with local police and military led to fiascoes such as the 2007 shootings at Baghdad’s Nisour Square, where Blackwater employees killed seventeen Iraqis. The Iraqi government ultimately expelled Blackwater, even before it did the same with the US military, which had brought the contractors into their country.

* * *

The bad feelings toward the United States generated by hired guns can also be seen in the infamous Raymond Davis incident in Lahore, Pakistan. On January 27, 2011, Davis, a CIA contractor, was waiting at a traffic light when two Pakistanis pulled up next to him on a motorcycle. Davis, who later alleged that one of them had a gun, became alarmed and shot the men. The driver survived the initial volley and tried to run away, but Davis shot him twice in the back. Instead of fleeing the scene, he spent time searching and then photographing the bodies and calling the US consulate for an extraction team. Undercover CIA field officers raced toward the site of the shooting in a consulate SUV, hoping to keep Davis out of the hands of Pakistani authorities, who were approaching, sirens blaring. In its haste, the extraction team killed a motorcyclist and failed in its mission. Davis was taken into custody. His cellphone yielded the identities of some forty-five members of his covert network in Pakistan, who were also arrested.

The incident provoked rolling street demonstrations and enraged Pakistanis, who are convinced that the country is crawling with such agents. Davis was jailed and charged with double homicide, and only released months later, when a Persian Gulf oil monarchy allegedly paid millions on behalf of the United States to the families (in Islamic law, families of a murder victim may pardon the murderer on payment of a satisfactory sum). It was a public relations debacle for Washington, of course, but the salient fact is that a US public servant shot two Pakistanis (likely not terrorists) in cold blood, one of them in the back.

American drone strikes on individuals and groups in the tribal belt of northwestern Pakistan, as well as in Yemen, also typify Washington’s global shadow wars. The United States has 7,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, which it has deployed in strikes in six countries. Both the CIA and the US military operate the drones. Rather than being adjuncts to conventional war, drone strikes are mostly carried out in places where no war has been declared and no Status of Forces Agreement has been signed. They operate outside the framework of the Constitution, with no due process or habeas corpus, recalling premodern practices of the English monarchy, such as declaring people outlaws, issuing bills of attainder against individuals who offend the crown and trying them in secret Star Chamber proceedings.

Despite President Obama’s denials, the Britain-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found that not only are civilians routinely killed by US drone strikes in northern Pakistan; often people rushing to the scene of a strike to help the wounded are killed by a second launch. The BIJ estimates that the United States has killed on the order of 3,000 people in 319 drone strikes, some 600 of them civilian bystanders and 174 of those, children. Some 84 percent of all such strikes were launched after Obama came to office.

Moreover, the drone operations are classified. When asked about strikes, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refuses to confirm or deny that they have occurred. The drones cannot be openly debated in Congress or covered in any detail by the US media. Therefore, they cannot be the subject of a national political debate, except in the abstract. The Congressional intelligence committees are briefed on the program, but it is unlikely that any serious checks and balances can operate in so secret and murky a realm, and the committees’ leaders have complained about the inadequacy of the information they are given. No hearing could be called about them, since the drone strikes cannot be publicly confirmed. Classified operations create gods, above the law.

* * *

The WikiLeaks State Department cables reveal that Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh secretly authorized US drone strikes, pledging to take the blame from their angry publics. But a private conversation with a single leader, repeatedly denied thereafter in public, is hardly a treaty. The only international legal doctrine (recognized in the United Nations charter) invoked to justify drone strikes is the right of the United States to defend itself from attack. But it cannot be demonstrated that any drone strike victims had attacked, or were in a position to attack, the United States. Other proposed legal justifications also falter.

The doctrine of “hot pursuit” does not apply in Yemen or Somalia, and often does not apply in Pakistan, either. The only due process afforded those killed from the air is an intelligence assessment, possibly based on dubious sources and not reviewed by a judge. Those targeted are typically alleged to belong to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or some kindred group, and apparently thought to fall under the mandate of the September 14, 2001, Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force by the president against those behind the September 11 attacks and those who harbored them. The AUMF could probably legitimately be applied to Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Al Qaeda faction, which still plots against the United States. But a new generation of Muslim militants has arisen, far too young to be implicated in 9/11 and who may have rethought that disastrous strategy.

Increasingly, moreover, “Al Qaeda” is a vague term somewhat arbitrarily applied by Washington to regional groups involved in local fundamentalist politics, as with the Partisans of Sharia, the Yemeni militants who have taken over the city of Zinjibar, or expatriate Arab supporters in Pakistan of the Haqqani network of Pashtun fighters — former allies of the United States in their struggle against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. How long will the AUMF be deployed in the Muslim world to authorize cowboy tactics from the skies? There is no consistency, no application of the rule of law. Guilt by association and absence of due process are the hallmarks of shadow government. In September the Obama administration used a drone to kill a US citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki. But since the Supreme Court had already ruled, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006), that the AUMF could not authorize military tribunals for Guantánamo detainees that sidestepped civil due process — and since the subsequent Military Commissions Act of 2006 allows such tribunals only for aliens — it is hard to see how Awlaki’s right to a trial could be summarily abrogated. Two weeks after he was killed, his 16-year-old son, also a US citizen and less obviously a menace to the superpower, was also killed by a drone.

By contrast, the United States and its allies are sanguine about a figure like the Libyan Abdel Hakim Belhadj, now in charge of security in Tripoli, who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union and was later held in US black sites. Released, he emerged as a rebel leader in Libya last year. The circumstantial case against him would easily allow a US drone strike on him even now under the current rules, but he was rehabilitated because of his enmity toward Muammar el-Qaddafi.

* * *

Among the greatest dangers to American citizens from Washington’s shadow power is “blowback,” the common term for a covert operation that boomerangs on its initiator. Arguably, the Reagan administration marked a turning point in the history of US infatuation with shadow power. Reagan strong-armed King Fahd of Saudi Arabia into providing funds to the right-wing Contras in Nicaragua, and the president developed his own resources for the Contras by illegally selling weapons to Iran (despite its being on the terrorist watch list and ineligible for such sales). Washington also joined Fahd in giving billions of dollars of arms and aid to the fundamentalist mujahedeen in Afghanistan (“freedom fighters,” Reagan called them, “the equivalent of America’s founding fathers”), where Arab volunteers ultimately coalesced into Al Qaeda. They later used the tradecraft they had absorbed from CIA-trained Afghan colleagues to stage operations in the Middle East against US allies and to carry out the 9/11 attacks. Two allied groups that received massive aid from the Reagan administration became among the deadliest US enemies in Afghanistan after 2002: the Haqqani network and the Hizb-i-Islami. Blowback goes hand in hand with covert operations.

The use of mercenaries and black units by the US government undermines discipline, lawfulness and a strong and consistent chain of command. Regular armies can be deployed and then demobilized, but Al Qaeda-like networks, once created, cannot be rolled up so easily, and they often turn against former allies. Black intelligence and military operations with virtually no public oversight can easily go rogue.

Reagan’s shadow government was a disaster, but it was a pygmy compared with Obama’s. Americans will have to be prepared for much more blowback to come if we go on like this — not to mention further erosion of civil liberties at home, as the shadow government reaches back toward us from abroad. (Electronic surveillance without a warrant and the militarization of our police forces are cases in point.) Moreover, the practices associated with the shadow government, because of the rage they provoke, deepen mistrust of Washington and reduce the international cooperation that the United States, like all countries, needs. The shadow government masquerades as a way to keep the United States strong, but if it is not rolled back, it could fatally weaken American diplomacy.


Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History and the director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan. His latest book, Engaging the Muslim World, is available in a revised paperback edition from Palgrave Macmillan. He runs the Informed Comment website.

Copyright © 2012 The Nation – distributed by Agence Global

Stories by Juan Cole

Juan Cole is a professor of history at the University of Michigan and maintains the popular blog Informed Comment.

How America Went Rogue: What We All Need to Know About Our Government’s Shadow Wars

Posted on Apr 22, 2012, Source: The Nation

Reagan’s shadow government was a disaster, but it was a pygmy compared with Obama’s.

Why Washington’s Iran Policy Could Lead to Global Disaster

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, Source: TomDispatch.com

What history should teach us about blockading Iran.

10 Catholic Teachings Conservatives Reject While Obsessing About Birth Control

Posted on Feb 13, 2012, Source: JuanCole.com

Santorum and Gingrich are both Catholics, and wear their faith on their sleeves, but they are hypocritical in picking and choosing when they wish to listen to the bishops.

How Students Landed on the Front Lines of Class War

Posted on Nov 23, 2011, Source: Truthdig

University students find themselves victimized by the same neoliberal agenda that has created the current economic crisis.

What Norway’s Terrorist Has in Common With the American Tea Party and Right Wing

Posted on Jul 24, 2011, Source: Informed Comment

Why seeing the world in black and white is so dangerous.

Police Downloading Your Data off Your Phone After Pulling You Over — A Nightmare Reality

Posted on Apr 20, 2011, Source: Truthdig

Obama is siding with police who want to use GPS devices to track you without a warrant.

Was the West’s Intervention in Libya Justified?

Posted on Mar 29, 2011, Source: Democracy Now!

Juan Cole defends the use of force to aid the Libyan rebel movement. Professor Prashad warns the US has involved itself in a decades-long internal Libyan struggle.

An Open Letter to the Left on Libya: Why Intervention in Libya Is a Good Thing

Posted on Mar 29, 2011, Source: JuanCole.com

Juan Cole: “I am unabashedly cheering the liberation movement on, and glad that the UNSC-authorized intervention has saved them from being crushed.”

Uprisings in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt — America Is Paying the Price for Supporting Corrupt Dictatorships in the Muslim World

Posted on Jan 25, 2011, Source: TomDispatch.com

Paranoia about Muslim fundamentalist movements and terrorism is causing Washington to make bad choices that will ultimately harm American interests and standing abroad.

Tunisian Revolution Shakes and Inspires Middle East

Posted on Jan 19, 2011, Source: Truthdig

Every state and movement in the Middle East is reading into the events in Tunisia its own anxieties and aspirations.

WikiLeaks: Israel Plans Total War on Lebanon, Gaza

Posted on Jan 3, 2011, Source: Informed Comment

The Israeli military is planning out massive bombings of areas full of innocent civilians.

Afghanistan: Obscenely Well-Funded, But Largely Unsuccessful War Rages on Out of Sight of the American Public

Posted on Nov 18, 2010, Source: Truthdig

That there has been heavy fighting in Afghanistan this fall would come as a surprise to most Americans. 10 NATO troops were killed this past Saturday and Sunday alone.

Asian Powers Are Starting to Call the Shots, and the US Can’t Do Anything About It

Posted on Nov 11, 2010, Source: TomDispatch.com

Just how weakened the United States has been in Asia is easily demonstrated by the series of rebuffs its overtures have suffered from regional powers.

Harvard Professor’s Shocking Proposal: Starve the Palestinians in Gaza into Having Fewer Babies

Posted on Feb 26, 2010, Source: JuanCole.com

At a recent conference, Prof. Martin Kramer called for population growth in the Muslim world to be restrained and made a series of other outrageous claims.

The Ten Worst Nightmares Bush Inflicted on America

Posted on Dec 22, 2009, Source: Informed Comment

Here are my picks for the top ten worst things about the wretched period, which will continue to follow us until citizens stand up to fix them.

100 Years of Imperial Paranoia About the Pashtuns

Posted on Jul 28, 2009, Source: TomDispatch.com

The doomsday rhetoric in Washington over lightly settled, mountainous Pashtun tribal lands is strikingly similar to that of the British Empire.

Let’s Hope India Doesn’t React Like We Did to 9/11

Posted on Dec 2, 2008, Source: Outlook India

The choices India makes now about the threat of terrorism will help determine what kind of superpower it will be.

Forget the Surge — Violence Is Down in Iraq Because Ethnic Cleansing Was Brutally Effective

Posted on Jul 29, 2008, Source: JuanCole.com

The bloodbath in Baghdad has resulted in fewer ethnically mixed neighborhoods, leading to the recent drop in violence.

Juan Cole — Iraq Civil War Round-Up

Posted on Mar 28, 2008, Source: Informed Comment

The latest, as violence flares up across Iraq.

Iraq’s Three Civil Wars

Posted on Mar 6, 2008, Source: MIT Center for International Studies

There are three major conflicts in Iraq — and the U.S. is virtually powerless to stop them.

New Iraqi Law on Baath Worries Ex-Baathists

Posted on Jan 14, 2008, Source: Informed Comment

The passage of the new law will be hailed by the War party as a major achievement. But as usual they’re misreading what really happened.

Romney: Some Beliefs are More Equal than Others

Posted on Dec 9, 2007, Source: Informed Comment

Romney’s “landmark” speech didn’t follow in Kennedy’s footsteps — it was the antithesis of JFK’s call for religious tolerance.

Iraq Oil Bonanza for Hunt; Displacement, Hunger, Alcoholism, Addiction for Iraqis

Posted on Sep 10, 2007, Source: Informed Comment

Texas oil cronies readying to clean up.

Big Lies Surround the Iraq “Surge”

Posted on Sep 1, 2007, Source: Informed Comment

Juan Cole slices and dices the administration’s spin.

Bush and Napoleon Both Believed Their Own Propaganda About a “Greater Middle East”

Posted on Aug 25, 2007, Source: TomDispatch.com

There are times when the resonances of history are positively eerie. The parallels of Napoleon’s occupation of Egypt with Bush’s disaster in Iraq are enough to make you jump out of your chair.

Al-Maliki Declines Turkish Terror Treaty; Kurds Pass Oil Law

Posted on Aug 8, 2007, Source: Informed Comment

Iraqi-Turkish relations are strained, and the Kurds pass an oil law before the national government in Baghdad.

Top Ten Iraq Myths for 2006

Posted on Dec 29, 2006, Source: Informed Comment

Sunnis, Civil War, Sadr and the prospects of ‘victory.’

A Ceasefire Call in Lebanon Bush Can’t Ignore

Posted on Aug 3, 2006, Source: Informed Comment

Shiite leader Ayatollah Sistani’s call for a ceasefire should be heeded, or else the U.S. military mission in Iraq could quickly become untenable.

Hitchens the Warmongering Hacker

Posted on May 5, 2006, Source: AlterNet

Juan Cole chastises Christopher Hitchens and tells warmongers to ‘sit down and shut up.’

Fishing for a Pretext to Squeeze Iran

Posted on Mar 17, 2006, Source: Truthdig

Despite Bush’s new national security report, it’s clear that Iran presents little threat, so the administration must have other motivations.

The Democracy Lie

Posted on Mar 19, 2005, Source: TomPaine.com

President Bush and his supporters are taking credit for spreading freedom across the Middle East. But where changes are genuinely occurring they have nothing to do with the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Elections: A Baby Step

Posted on Feb 2, 2005, Source: Informed Comment

The details behind the ballyhooed elections – that Bush first opposed them and then postponed them for his own benefit – tend to get lost in the media’s boosterism.

The Other Shoe Drops: bin Laden Weighs in

Posted on Oct 30, 2004, Source: Informed Comment

In a new video, bin Laden indicts Bush for still hiding the truth from Americans, saying that the reasons for attacking the U.S. are still there. In other words, Bush has not made us safer.

The New and Improved Iraq

Posted on Jun 28, 2004, Source: In These Times

The so-called handover is merely a symbolic act that does little to alter the daunting reality on the ground. The only move that could bring real change is the complete withdrawal of the United States.

The Cleric Who Would Be Rousseau

Posted on Jun 10, 2004, Source: TomPaine.com

The man who will determine the shape of the new Iraq is not Iyad Allawi but Shi’ite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. The good news: He’s no Khomeini.

Battle of the Photographs

Posted on May 3, 2004, Source: TomDispatch.com

The problem of war images from Iraq alienating Iraqis and Arabs has dogged the Bush administration from the start of the war. Now, the administration is losing the battle of images with the American public, as well.

The RAND Corporation: America’s University of Imperialism


RAND Corporation (Research ANd Development)

RAND Corporation (Research ANd Development)

By Chalmers Johnson, TomDispatch.com

[This essay is a review written by Chalmers Ashby Johnson for the book: Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire by Alex Abella]

The RAND Corporation of Santa Monica, California, was set up immediately after World War II by the U.S. Army Air Corps (soon to become the U.S. Air Force). The Air Force generals who had the idea were trying to perpetuate the wartime relationship that had developed between the scientific and intellectual communities and the American military, as exemplified by the Manhattan Project to develop and build the atomic bomb.

Soon enough, however, RAND became a key institutional building block of the Cold War American Empire. As the premier think tank for the U.S.’s role as hegemon of the Western world, RAND was instrumental in giving that empire the militaristic cast it retains to this day and in hugely enlarging official demands for atomic bombs, nuclear submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and long-range bombers. Without RAND, our military-industrial complex, as well as our democracy, would look quite different.

Alex Abella, the author of Soldiers of Reason, is a Cuban-American living in Los Angeles who has written several well-received action and adventure novels set in Cuba and a less successful nonfiction account of attempted Nazi sabotage within the United States during World War II. The publisher of his latest book claims that it is “the first history of the shadowy think tank that reshaped the modern world.” Such a history is long overdue. Unfortunately, this book does not exhaust the demand. We still need a less hagiographic, more critical, more penetrating analysis of RAND’s peculiar contributions to the modern world.

Abella has nonetheless made a valiant, often revealing and original effort to uncover RAND’s internal struggles — not least of which involved the decision of analyst Daniel Ellsberg, in 1971, to leak the Department of Defense’s top secret history of the Vietnam War, known as The Pentagon Papers to Congress and the press. But Abella’s book is profoundly schizophrenic. On the one hand, the author is breathlessly captivated by RAND’s fast-talking economists, mathematicians, and thinkers-about-the-unthinkable; on the other hand, he agrees with Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis’s assessment in his book, The Cold War: A New History, that, in promoting the interests of the Air Force, RAND concocted an “unnecessary Cold War” that gave the dying Soviet empire an extra 30 years of life.

We need a study that really lives up to Abella’s subtitle and takes a more jaundiced view of RAND’s geniuses, Nobel prize winners, egghead gourmands and wine connoisseurs, Laurel Canyon swimming pool parties, and self-professed saviors of the Western world. It is likely that, after the American empire has gone the way of all previous empires, the RAND Corporation will be more accurately seen as a handmaiden of the government that was always super-cautious about speaking truth to power. Meanwhile, Soldiers of Reason is a serviceable, if often overwrought, guide to how strategy has been formulated in the post-World War II American Empire.

(more…)

U.S. Constitution no longer model for developing democracies


U.S. Model is Losing in Developing Democracies

U.S. Model is Losing in Developing Democracies

Adam Liptak wrote on The New York Times, on February 6, 2012, the following:

The Constitution has seen better days. Sure, it is the nation’s founding document and sacred text. And it is the oldest written national constitution still in force anywhere in the world. But its influence is waning.

In 1987, on the Constitution’s bicentennial, Time magazine calculated that “of the 170 countries that exist today, more than 160 have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the U.S. version.”

A quarter-century later, the picture looks very different. “The U.S. Constitution appears to be losing its appeal as a model for constitutional drafters elsewhere,” according to a new study by David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia.

The study, to be published in June in The New York University Law Review, bristles with data. Its authors coded and analyzed the provisions of 729 constitutions adopted by 188 countries from 1946 to 2006, and they considered 237 variables regarding various rights and ways to enforce them.

“Among the world’s democracies,” Professors Law and Versteeg concluded, “constitutional similarity to the United States has clearly gone into free fall. Over the 1960s and 1970s, democratic constitutions as a whole became more similar to the U.S. Constitution, only to reverse course in the 1980s and 1990s.”

“The turn of the twenty-first century, however, saw the beginning of a steep plunge that continues through the most recent years for which we have data, to the point that the constitutions of the world’s democracies are, on average, less similar to the U.S. Constitution now than they were at the end of World War II.”

There are lots of possible reasons. The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights. The commitment of some members of the Supreme Court to interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning in the 18th century may send the signal that it is of little current use to, say, a new African nation. And the Constitution’s waning influence may be part of a general decline in American power and prestige.

In an interview, Professor Law identified a central reason for the trend: the availability of newer, sexier and more powerful operating systems in the constitutional marketplace. “Nobody wants to copy Windows 3.1,” he said.

In a television interview during a visit to Egypt last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court seemed to agree. “I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” she said. She recommended, instead, the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the European Convention on Human Rights.

The rights guaranteed by the American Constitution are parsimonious by international standards, and they are frozen in amber. As Sanford Levinson wrote in 2006 in “Our Undemocratic Constitution,” “the U.S. Constitution is the most difficult to amend of any constitution currently existing in the world today.” (Yugoslavia used to hold that title, but Yugoslavia did not work out.)

Other nations routinely trade in their constitutions wholesale, replacing them on average every 19 years. By odd coincidence, Thomas Jefferson, in a 1789 letter to James Madison, once said that every constitution “naturally expires at the end of 19 years” because “the earth belongs always to the living generation.” These days, the overlap between the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and those most popular around the world is spotty.

Americans recognize rights not widely protected, including ones to a speedy and public trial, and are outliers in prohibiting government establishment of religion. But the Constitution is out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care.

It has its idiosyncrasies. Only 2 percent of the world’s constitutions protect, as the Second Amendment does, a right to bear arms. (Its brothers in arms are Guatemala and Mexico.)

The Constitution’s waning global stature is consistent with the diminished influence of the Supreme Court, which “is losing the central role it once had among courts in modern democracies,” Aharon Barak, then the president of the Supreme Court of Israel, wrote in The Harvard Law Review in 2002.

Many foreign judges say they have become less likely to cite decisions of the United States Supreme Court, in part because of what they consider its parochialism.

“America is in danger, I think, of becoming something of a legal backwater,” Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia said in a 2001 interview. He said that he looked instead to India, South Africa and New Zealand.

Mr. Barak, for his part, identified a new constitutional superpower: “Canadian law,” he wrote, “serves as a source of inspiration for many countries around the world.” The new study also suggests that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, adopted in 1982, may now be more influential than its American counterpart.

The Canadian Charter is both more expansive and less absolute. It guarantees equal rights for women and disabled people, allows affirmative action and requires that those arrested be informed of their rights. On the other hand, it balances those rights against “such reasonable limits” as “can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

There are, of course, limits to empirical research based on coding and counting, and there is more to a constitution than its words, as Justice Antonin Scalia told the Senate Judiciary Committee in October. “Every banana republic in the world has a bill of rights,” he said.

“The bill of rights of the former evil empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was much better than ours,” he said, adding: “We guarantee freedom of speech and of the press. Big deal. They guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, of street demonstrations and protests, and anyone who is caught trying to suppress criticism of the government will be called to account. Whoa, that is wonderful stuff!”

“Of course,” Justice Scalia continued, “it’s just words on paper, what our framers would have called a ‘parchment guarantee.’ ”

Source: By Adam Liptak, The New York Times, Published: February 6, 2012

Adam Liptak is the Supreme Court correspondent of The New York Times.
Mr. Liptak, a lawyer, joined The Times’s news staff in 2002 and began covering the Supreme Court in the fall of 2008. He has written a column, “Sidebar,” on developments in the law, since 2007.
Mr. Liptak’s series on ways in which the United States’s legal system differs from those of other developed nations, “American Exception,” was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting.
In 2005, Mr. Liptak examined the rise in life sentences in the United States in a three-part series. The next year, he and two colleagues studied connections between contributions to the campaigns of justices on the Ohio Supreme Court and those justices’ voting records. He was a member of the teams that examined the reporting of Jayson Blair and Judith Miller at The Times.

U.S. Mass Incarceration of Black Men


Racial disparity between US and incarcerated populations

Racial disparity between US and incarcerated populations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, non-Hispanic blacks comprised 39.4 percent of the total prison and jail population in 2009, with an imprisonment rate that was six times higher than white males and almost three times higher than Hispanic males.

Journalist Lisa Ling has covered a range of topics on her documentary series “Our America,” which were aired in November 2011. In an episode titled “Incarceration Generation,” Ling explored the disproportionate number of black men behind bars and the challenges they face after being released. The show also discussed the effect imprisonment has had on multiple generations, creating a cycle of poverty in the African American community.

Ling spoke about her work with the OWN network (The Oprah Winfrey Network) series that is now in its second season, a venture she took on after doing investigative work for the National Geographic Channel and a three year stint on ABC’s “The View.”

“It has certainly been the most gratifying work experience I’ve ever had,” she said, according to Eurweb.com. “I can’t tell you how many times throughout the course of shooting this series, that I felt like I was in a foreign place or a distant place. But the reality is that all of these stories, in their greatest complexity, are in our backyards.”

Statistics show that an incarcerated man is not foreign within the black community. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, non-Hispanic blacks comprised 39.4 percent of the total prison and jail population in 2009, with an imprisonment rate that was six times higher than white males and almost three times higher than Hispanic males.

That number goes beyond prison doors and into homes. A Bureau of Justice Statistics special report found that over 1.7 million children had a parent in prison in 2008, usually a father. Of those fathers, four in 10 in state or federal prisons were black. Studies have found that children of incarcerated parents face unique difficulties including increased chances of homelessness, agressive behavior, failure in school and future imprisonment.

In addition, ex-offenders are far less likely to find a job upon their release from prison, crippled not only by their criminal record, but oftentimes, additionally hindered by their lack of experience and education. According to a 2003 report by the New York University Urban Institute Reentry Roundtable, about 70 percent of offenders and ex-offenders are high school dropouts.

Source: BLACK VOICES

[Lisa J. Ling (born 1973) is an American journalist, best known for her role as a co-host of ABC’s The View (from 1999–2002), host of National Geographic Explorer, reporter on Channel One News, and special correspondent for the Oprah Winfrey Show and CNN. She is the older sister of journalist Laura Ling.]

U.S. Prison System: Largest in the World

The U.S. prison system is the largest in the world, not only in terms of overall number of inmates, but as a percentage of the total population as well.  With over 2.3 million people behind bars, U.S. prisoners represent almost 25% of the world’s total prison population (the U.S. population is 5% of the world).  The only country that comes close is Russia, with South Africa a distant third.

The U.S. has the highest rate of jail in the world

The U.S. has the highest rate of jail in the world

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US Debt in Graphs and Charts


Political Party Responsibility in US Debt 1901-2009

Political Party Responsibility in US Debt 1901-2009

Composition of U.S. Long-Term Treasury Debt 2005-2010

Composition of U.S. Long-Term Treasury Debt 2005-2010

(more…)

Zionists Control World Finances; Shocking Facts from Dr. David Duke


Dr. David Duke

David Ernest Duke (born July 1, 1950) is an American activist and writer, and former Republican Louisiana State Representative. He was also a former candidate in the Republican presidential primaries in 1992 and in the Democratic presidential primaries in 1988. Duke has unsuccessfully run for the Louisiana State Senate, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and Governor of Louisiana.

Duke describes himself as a racial realist, asserting that “all people have a basic human right to preserve their own heritage.” He is a strong advocate of opposition to Zionism as well as what he asserts to be Zionist control of the Federal Reserve Bank, the federal government and the media. Duke supports anti-immigration, both legal and illegal, preservation of what he labels Western culture and traditionalist Christian “family values”, strict Constitutionalism, abolition of the Internal Revenue Service, voluntary racial segregation, and ardent anti-communism and white separatism.

David Duke wrote three books: Finders-Keepers (1976); My Awakening (1998); Jewish Supremacism (2002).

David Duke is campaigning for implementing the following policies:

Jewish Supremacism Book

1- We must break the Zionist control of Wall Street and The Federal Reserve; the IMF; and the World Bank;

2- We must break the Zionist control over the Global media;

3- We must break the Zionist corrupt political influence;

4- Understand that Zionism is a world problem;

5- We must end these insane Zionist wars;

6- We must break the Zionist matrix of power;

7- We must replace Zionist Globalism with freedom & independence for every nation & people.

From: About DavidDuke.com

http://www.davidduke.com/general/about-2_90.html on 11/18/2002

DavidDuke.com is the website of former Louisiana Representative; David Duke, PhD. Rep. Duke has dedicated his life to the freedom and heritage of European American peoples. Rep. Duke has led careers as a successful elected official, author, and activist.

He not only won a seat in the House of Representatives in Louisiana, but he jolted the political establishment by defeating the incumbent governor of Louisiana and garnering huge numbers of votes for Governor and for U.S. Senator. He also was elected in 1996 to the Parish Executive Committee of the largest Republican Party District in Louisiana, St. Tammany Parish where the other elected members chose him unanimously to serve as chairman of the District. He served as chairman until 2000.

Over sixty percent of the European American voters of Louisiana have voted for Rep. Duke in statewide races.

In addition: David Duke has a PhD in History. It was earned at the MAUP University system in Kiev, Ukraine, the largest university system in Ukraine.

David Duke is the author of two books: My Awakening. His latest book, Jewish Supremacism, has now been translated in 14 languages and is a bestseller in many nations. As an activist, Rep. Duke is the President of EURO, the European American Unity and Rights Organization, an organization for European American patriots.

Rep. Duke’s offices are in Mandeville, Louisiana, 30 miles north of New Orleans and he also teaches in Eastern Europe. From his Mandeville office you may select from the David Duke Online Bookstore found on this website and Mr. Duke’s EURO website: http://www.whitecivilrights.com. You will find many of his writings here as well as current spoken and written commentaries on current events.

If you read his writings with an open mind, you will discover a man of both intellect and courage.

About: Living Economies Forum


This is a re-posting compilation of three pages of the very informative website Living Economies Forum about: The People-Centered Development Forum (PCDForum) organization:

The People-Centered Development Forum

LOOKING FOR THE PCDForum WEBSITE?

Our former pcdforum.org, davidkorten.org and greatturning.org sites are now integrated into this livingeconomies.org site. Most material from thse sites of current or historical relevance is available here. You will find most of the content from pcdforum.org (also pcdf.org and developmentforum.net) under the “About Us” or “Library” sections. If you having difficulty finding a particular favorite item, try our site search function at the top right of this page.  Also see “About Us.

Our History

David Korten

The People-Centered Development Forum (PCDForum) [see also “About Us“] is the legal name of our organization. We trace our origin to March 1987, when more than a hundred leaders of non-governmental organizations and other development professionals from forty-two countries met in London for a Symposium on “Development Alternatives: The Challenge for NGOs.” Participants concluded that conventional development has failed and that officially favored prescriptions disempower and impoverish the majority of people and destroy the environment.

It became evident to many of us that the leadership for change would not come from the World Bank, the IMF or official agencies that remained committed to failed prescriptions. Change would depend on voluntary citizen leaders acting outside the establishment.

The founders of the PCDForum were among a then small and lonely band that stood up to challenge the prevailing growth-centered economic development mode. Recognizing the need for a global support group, we launched the PCDForum on January 1, 1990. Our office was in the Makati financial district of Manila, Philippines. A few months after our founding we released Getting to the 21st Century: Voluntary Action and the Global Agenda authored by David C. Korten, to carry our framing message to the world:

The human burden on the earth’s ecosystem already exceeds sustainable limits. Growth-centered economic policies increase this burden, accelerate the breakdown of the earth’s regenerative systems, and intensify the competition between rich and poor for the earth’s remaining real wealth. The result is a three-fold human crisis of increasing poverty, environmental destruction, and social disintegration. Growth-centered development must be replaced with a development that strengthens the self-reliant capacity of people and communities to better use their own resources to meet their own needs. Because official aid agencies are captive to internal structures and imperatives that serve the flawed logic of growth-centered development, leadership for change must come from citizen volunteers motivated by life-centered values rather than conventional economic and political rewards.

From 1990 through 1997 the Forum maintained an Information Service that distributed path-breaking think-pieces to cooperating publications around the world. By the end of 1991, the Forum had signed on 86 leading intellectual activists from 31 countries to as contributing editors who made regular contributions. By the end of 1997, some 200 people had served as PCDForum Contributing Editors at one time or another. They were, however, no longer a lonely and isolated band and the PCDForum Information Service no longer fulfilled a distinctive role.

Recognizing that the issue went well beyond the dysfunctions of myopic official aid agencies that the United States is the primary driver of the dysfunction, we moved the Forum’s office from Manila to New York City in 1992 and gradually began to focus our attention on the institutions of corporate globalization.

In 1994 we joined a parallel conversation with a global group of activists who formed the International Forum on Globalization (IFG). For nearly 10 years, the IFG served as the leading voice of a growing global citizen resistance against corporate globalization.

The PCDForum launched When Corporations Rule the World, by David Korten in October 1995. It become an international best seller and opened the Forum’s access to radio, television, and mass print media reaching millions of people. The second edition, which was released in April 2001, documented the global resistance movement that emerged subsequent to the release of the first edition.

It became increasingly evident that although resistance against a destructive economic system is essential, it only slows the damage. Change depends on active citizen engagement in building alternatives. To this end, the Forum took a lead role in establishing YES! Magazine dedicated to advancing awareness of positive alternatives and assisting individuals in finding their place of contribution toward their realization.

In March 1999 we released The Post-Corporate World:
Life After Capitalism
, which applies principles derived from the study of living systems to the creation of economies that serve life rather than money. This led to our contribution in 1991 to founding the Business
Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) to support local organizers in rebuilding local economies grounded in living system principles.

A few months later, the historic November 1999 Seattle protest against the World Trade Organization (WTO) by a broad alliance of labor, religious, environmental, youth, peace, women’s, gay and lesbian, human rights, sustainable agriculture, food safety and other groups marked a defining moment in the emergence of what eventually became known as global civil society. Successful disruption of the WTO negotiations inspired millions of people around the world to participate in similar protest actions in an expression of global solidarity.

In 2005, we launched The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community to put these events into a larger evolutionary and historical context. We focused on communicating and mobilizing around the Great Turning framework until the global financial collapse of September 2008. The collapse focused global attention on Wall Street excesses and opened an unprecedented window of opportunity to address the need for economic system transformation.

We launched the 1st edition of Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth in January 2009 to make the case that reforming the Wall Street system is not an answer. It must be replaced. We simultaneously joined with the Institute for Policy Studies in DC, YES! Magazine, and BALLE to form the New Economy Working Group to further develop the New Economy framework and advance its implementation.

The updated and expanded 2nd edition of Agenda for a New Economy was released in June 2010 as a report of the New Economy Working Group.

The Forum’s Defining Books

These books represent the progression of my primary contributions to framing a New Economy grounded in living system principles. Agenda for a New Economy, The Great Turning, The Post-Corporate World, When Corporations Rule the World, and Getting to the 21st Century defined critical stages in the Forum’s now more than 20 year campaign to change the stories that frame the economic discourse of our time. <See The Forum and the Economic Story Revolution> Note that this list puts the most recent first. To follow their story in chronological sequence, start from the bottom with Getting to the 21st Century.

Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth
A Declaration of Independence from Wall Street.

Agenda for a New Economy 2nd edition cover“The most important book to emerge thus far on the economic crisis. David Korten provides real solutions.”

— Peter Barnes, cofounder of Working Assts and author of Capitalism 3.0

This updated and expanded 2nd edition of Agenda is my most current and comprehensive effort to lay out a holistic New Economy agenda and a path to its realization. It brings together the spiritual, evolutionary, and historical perspectives of The Great Turning, the living systems perspective of The Post-Corporate World, and the critical organizational systems analysis of the failings global corporate capitalism of the 1st edition of When Corporations Rule the World, and the insights into the emergence and dynamic of global civil society of the 2nd edition of Corporations. The underlying message is clear and simple: Wall Street is corrupt beyond repair and serves no useful functions now better addressed in other ways. It must be replaced.

This new edition of Agenda is issued as a report of the New Economy Working Group (NEWGroup), which I helped to form following the financial crash of 2008 to take to the next level the policy framework outlined in the first edition of Agenda. The result of a year and a half of NEWGroup effort is a considerably more coherent and holistic systems agenda. It launched on June 12, 2010 in Washington, DC in the shadow of the capital building.

Perhaps the most significant advance is in the treatment of the money system as a system of power and the examination of critical money system design options and their implications. This provides the basis for a more systemic and nuanced treatment of key design choices needed to shift the values focus from money to life and the locus of power from global financial institutions to people and place based communities—call it a transition to real markets and democracy.

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community:

(2006) I wrote The Great Turning to put the economic crisis in its deeper spiritual, evolutionary, and historical context. It became evident following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers that the global citizen movement that emerged in response to the devastation wrought by corporate globalization needed a larger organizing framework. Events following the attack, drew attention to the fact that  the  rise of modern corporate power is only a modern manifestation of much deeper psychological, cultural, and institutional forces that have shaped the dominant human societies for 5,000 years. I joined with Nicanor Perlas from the Philippines and Vandana Shiva from India to examine the implications. We presented our conclusions in a discussion paper titled “Global Civil Society: The Path Ahead” released in November 2002. This paper in turn became a foundation for The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.  For more on this book and why I wrote it see “Everybody Wants to Rules the World: David Korten on Putting an End to Global Competition,” an interview by Arnie Cooper published in The Sun, September 2007.

David Korten never fails to shake me out of my complacency, and reveal complacencies I didn’t even know I had. This work is a stunning and compassionate tour de force, calling on history, science, economics and our human goodwill to illuminate the fact that we are at a fundamental choice point. I can’t stop thinking about the issues he raises nor what I’m going to do with my awakened consciousness. Thank you David.
—Margaret J. Wheatley, author Leadership and the New Science

Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World is Possible

The International Forum on Globalization (IFG) played a defining role in exposing the reality of corporate globalization and inspiring the global resistance movement. It was one of my primary affiliations during this period and a major influence on my work. The IFG formed around a shared critique. As that critique gave impetus to popular mobilization around the world, other IFG members joined my call to move beyond resistance and seize the initiative by framing and advancing a positive alternative to the free-trade, market deregulation regime being advanced by the world’s transnational corporations. We decided to produce a book length report presenting such a framework. I was an active member of the international team of 21 movement leaders who produced Alternatives to Economic Globalization under the editorial leadership of John Cavanagh and Jerry Mander. Our report spells out a more coherent and fully developed alternatives to the current rules and institutions of economic globalization than any previous such effort.

The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism  (1999)

This visionary, life-affirming sequel to When Corporations Rule the world sold over 25,000 copies in eight languages.

As the emerging global resistance movement against corporate globalization’s assault against democracy, community, and the natural environment gained momentum, it became clear that any individual victory would be only temporary until the life-destructive economic system is replaced by a life-serving system. We needed a compelling framework to demonstrate the power and natural potential of a radically decentralized community rooted economic system that defines a positive alternative to the ills of both capitalism and socialism.

I found the needed framework in insights from a small band of biologists working at the cutting edge of biology who were unraveling the secrets of life’s extraordinary capacity self-organize, innovate, and ever advance the boundaries of the possible. Their path breaking findings about life’s capacity for creative self-organization became the foundation of The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, which makes the translation from biological systems to economic systems to demonstrate the true potential of rule-based market economies that honor the foundational assumptions of grounded market theory.

When Corporations Rule the World (1995 & 2001)

Classic international best-seller with worldwide sales over 120,000 copies sold in fifteen languages.

As Fran and I moved from Manila to New York City in 1992, it was becoming ever more clear that the economic dysfunctions we witnessed in Asia were systemic, global, and a consequence a global consolidation of corporate power. Far from bringing universal prosperity, peace, and democracy, corporate globalization was spreading deprivation, violence, and political corruption.

I flew back to the Philippines in October for a ten day retreat in Baguio with a small group of Asian NGO leaders to reflect on  Asia’s development experience and its implications for future NGO strategies in the region. The conclusions of this retreat became the basis of a collective report titled “Economy, Ecology & Spirituality: A theory and Practice of Sustainability,” which outlined many of the ideas developed in my subsequent books and served as the foundation for  the first edition of When Corporations Rule the World.  One conclusion of this retreat that has shaped the work of the Forum ever since is that the need is not for an alternative theory of development, but rather a theory of a just and sustainable society that embraces the spiritual dimension of life and community.

I became involved in the earlier gatherings of the International Forum (IFG) in 1994 as I was completing the manuscript for the book, which was in turn influenced by those conversations with many of the leaders of what was to become a global resistance movement against corporate globalization, which was in turn shaped in part by the messages of the book. The first edition was launched in the Fall of 1995, just before the historic IFG teach-in at New York’s Riverside Church that brought the issue of corporate globalization to the fore of the consciousness of progressive leaders from throughout North America.

The first edition makes no mention of a global resistance movement, because it was not yet visible by the time of the launch. From the Fall of 1994 forward the resistance quickly grew in size and visibility. The success of the November 1999 demonstrations against the WTO in Seattle gave the movement global visibility, disrupted the process of multilateral trade negotiations, and energized ever larger protests. By 2000, When Corporations Rule the World had become an international classic. At the urging of my publisher I wrote an updated 2nd edition that launched in early 2001 with five new chapters on the further advance of the global corporate takeover and the nature and dynamic of the then powerful global resistance.

Getting to the 21st Century: Voluntary Action and the Global Agenda (1990)

I wrote or edited 6 books prior to Getting to the 21st Century, all addressed primarily to people working on problems of Third World development. This one represents a critical transition to a focus on global systems failure and the essential role of citizen action in addressing it. I was critical of the drive for growth at all costs, but growth was so at the forefront of the consciousness of the audience I hoped to reach that I equivocated with a call for a different kind of growth that begins with policies to increase equity and builds growth on that foundation. I largely finessed the larger issue, as so many economists still do, of what Herman Daly famously called the “impossibility theorem” that infinite growth is possible on a finite planet.

I continue, however, to hold to the book’s central message that our most powerful government institutions lack the capacity for self-transformation. Therefore, the essential transformational system change necessarily depends on the leadership of people willing to forgo conventional institutional financial and political rewards. Getting to the 21st Century thus anticipated the emergence of global civil society as a people power counter to the forces of corporate empire and framed the initial guiding vision of the People-Centered Development Forum (PCDF).

About Us

Our Website

This website integrates three previous sites maintained by David Korten and the People-Centered Developments Forum (PCDForum): davidkorten.org, greatturning.org and pcdforum.org. It serves as the web home of David Korten, the PCDForum, and the Forum’s work on the themes defined by our two most recent books: Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.

Most websites reflect the chaos and clutter of modern sound-bite communication. Our goal with this Living Economies Forum Website is to help our visitors cut through the clutter to see and understand the big picture from a systems perspective. We undertake this challenge not as an academic exercise, but because we believe a systems framework is essential to effective action to create a future that works for all our children.

In addition, we have designed this site to serve as a portal to our partner organizations and to David Korten’s current thoughts and commentary on Twitter, Facebook, and his blog at yesmagazine.org.

Founded in 1990 as the People-Centered Development Forum, the Living Economies Forum works with and through partner organizations and a circle of extraordinary colleagues to articulate and communicate framing ideas that light the path to a New Economy grounded in positive living system principles that recognize life’s extraordinary capacity for cooperative self-organization.

We are a small organization with an ambitious vision and a proud history paralleling the historic emergence of global civil society. [See The Forum and the Economic Story Revolution.] We are currently based  in the United States near Seattle, Washington on Bainbridge Island.

Since the time of our founding, we have been a global leader in efforts to expose the fallacies and illusions relating to economic growth models, corporate led economic globalization, and the Wall Street phantom-wealth machine. We are currently focused on advancing awareness of New Economy alternatives based on real-democracy and real-markets.

Our Logo

Our spiral logo symbolizes life’s continuing process of renewal as the dying of the old gives way to the birthing of the new. It is evocative of the Ollin, an ancient Aztec symbol for movement and evolution. Here it signifies this historical moment when we humans may perceive and actualize new possibilities latent in our being.

Our Name

When the Forum was founded in 1990, our defining concern was that Third World development programs and policies too often gave greater priority to producing financial returns than to improving the lives of people. We observed millions of people being displaced from the lands and waters that were their source of livelihoods to make way for “development” projects that served those already better off.

We founded the People-Centered Development Forum to advance a dialogue aimed at making people the centerpiece of development. That was more than 20 years ago.

Our analysis, language, and reach have since evolved. To serve people, the economy must serve the whole of life and the very meaning of the term development has become corrupted beyond redemption. We must come to think of economies as flows of life energy rather than flows of money. Thus, we present ourselves here as the Living Economies Forum devoted to defining a living future of living communities, service by living economies comprised of living enterprises with living owners. We support living markets of the sort envisioned by Adam Smith, who recognized that markets work best when they are predominantly local and operate within a framework of shared moral principles and sensible rules.

Our Organization

We have two full-time staff. David Korten serves as president and Kat Gjovik serves as director of communications and outreach. We have a five member governing board, an international advisory board, four primary partner organizations, and a advisory panel of of Great Turning navigator advisers. We remain small by choice to maintain our ability to respond quickly and flexibly to emergent opportunities. We achieve scale by working with and through other organizations and influential colleagues, which allows us to achieve a level of influence far beyond our modest size.

Our Vision

We envision a planetary system of interlinked locally-rooted, living-wealth economies that mimic the living structures and dynamics of Earth’s biosphere and support ecological balance, a just distribution of Earth’s real wealth, and a living democracy inclusive of all beings.

Our Mission

We contribute to creating a New Economy supportive of this vision by working with and through partner organizations to:

  • Articulate its cultural and institutional design characteristics;
  • Raise public awareness of the possibilities, requirements, and path to its realization;
  • Develop supporting theory and practice;
  • Provide tools for civil society organizations engaged in advancing the necessary cultural and institutional transition.

Our Theory of Change

We believe that transformational system change is most likely to be achieved through a process of emergence and succession that draws inspiration from forest ecology. Organizational change practitioner Margaret Wheatley says it well.

Once an emergent phenomenon has appeared, it can’t be changed by working backwards, by changing the local parts that gave birth to it. You can only change an emergent phenomenon by creating a countervailing force of greater strength. This means that the work of change is to start over, to organize new local efforts, connect them to each other, and know that their values and practices can emerge as something even stronger.
—Margaret Wheatley

We see virtually no prospect that the Wall Street system will transform itself from within. Change depends on citizen’s working from outside the establishment to create from the bottom up a New Economy based on new values and institutions. As they grow the New Economy into being, it provides others with ever more  diverse and attractive opportunities to redirect their investment, employment, and shopping choices from the old to the new. As people thus redirect their life energy to the New Economy from the Old Economy, the New Economy becomes ever stronger and more vibrant.

Our Strategy

We think of ourselves as a movement building catalyst working with a select group of individual and organizational partners to advance a three-fold strategy for navigating a Great Turning from Empire to Earth Community.

The Forum Archive of selected publications and presentations provides a record of the earlier phases of our work when our focus was on the patterns of economic development in the world’s low income countries.

  1. Change the framing stories of the culture to accelerate the awakening of a new consciousness of our species potential to create vibrant self-organizing, life-serving societies and economies based on real markets and real democracy. YES! Magazine is our lead partner on changing the story.
  2. Create a new economic reality through citizen action to build from the bottom up a global system of local living economies. The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies is our lead partner on creating a new living economy reality.
  3. Change the rules to favor behavior and institutions that support ecological balance, equitable distribution, and living democracy over behavior and institutions that support environmental destruction, wealth concentration, and political corruption. The Institute for Policy Studies is our lead partner on changing the rules.

Historically, our primary contribution has been to element #1: changing the framing stories of the culture.  This aligns with our distinctive competence and will continue to be our primary focus. Geographically, our focus is on advancing the awakening in the United States—the world’s one remaining self-proclaimed Empire.

The source: the Living Economies Forum

You will find many articles of David Korten, co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, on his blog which is on YES! Magazine Blogs

YES! Magazine has Ongoing coverage of the people’s movement #OccupyWallStreet to take back our democracy and build a new economy.

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