Sunday, August 27, 2006

We Don't Need The Ig

The Globe And Mail Article on Micheal Ignatieff reveals two things about his character which shows why it would not be good to have him as a PM. A one-time socialist, he sided with Thatcher during the Coal Miner's Strike. His reasoning? Coal mining was on its way out and the miners were on the wrong side of history. Such an attitude is indicative of moral weakness. Let's see, we sacrifice thousands of people for the sake of History. Where have we seen that before? Then in 2003 he supported the neocon attack on Iraq. This, in spite of the fact that everyone who knew anything about the Middle East opposed it. This in spite of the fact that the war was built upon obvious lies. Such willingness to dismiss the people who know something about a subject indicates incredible arrogance. His willingness to go along with a lie indicates moral weakness once more. We do not need the Ig. We already have an amoral individual in the PM”s chair.

Thanks to Hope And Onions blog for the GandM article

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Education System Can't Educate

It can't educate because that's not what it was set up to do. This applies both 120 years ago and today. The original concern was creating a disciplined work force with enough basic education to follow written instructions and add a column of figures. The working class was not to be interested in the world of culture or learning, or as U.S. Commissioner of Education, William T.
Harris, 1889 stated in 1889,
"Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening. The average American (should be) content with their humble role in life, because they're not tempted to think about any other role." (1) This was echoed by Woodrow Wilson, “We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” (2)

Enough was handed to workers to make them respect “their cultural heritage” as an aspect of nationalism and at the same time feel inferior to the “geniuses” who created this culture. This world, however, was disconnected from them and deliberately so. As far as history and philosophy went, none whatsoever for the latter, and imperial propaganda for the former. Philosophy teaches you to think and reason and that would be fatal for the system if everyone started doing that. (3)

This situation was fine up until the 1960's. Then came the rising consciousness of heretofore oppressed peoples. The crude racist and classist propaganda of the past – combined with ignoring women and minorities, would no longer work. Back-handedly dismiss Native People in a school history text and they protest. Ignore women's role in history and women teachers are up in arms.

This leaves the education system in a bind. No more ham-handedness, but on the other hand, they cannot tell the truth either. The plain fact about the Boer War is that it was blatant imperialism, so too, the suppression of the Metis People in the Riel Rebellion. The First world War was a human disaster that gave rise to the Second World War. Teach the facts and young people are liable to think critically, and perhaps apply what they have learned to the present conflicts. Not a good thing for those who profit from war and empire.

As for literature and poetry, go into any depth into writer's lives, let alone their writings, and you a common factor. Virtually all the great writers, poets (and artists and composers as well) were non-conformists, many of them deeply at odds with the system they lived under. One is supposed to identify with “the greats” , but what is the message of their lives? People you admire, creative people, are non-conformists. Therefore non-conformism must be a good thing, and the system that ignored them, ridiculed them, persecuted them is loathsome. When a youth sees a singer, artist or writer condemned in the media for being a troublemaker, what must he or she think?

One way out of the dilemma is to stop teaching history and culture, and I think this is largely what has been happening.


2. ibid.

3. Take a course in basic logic or read a book like “Straight Thinking Crooked Thinking” by Robert Thouless and you can sit and pick out the logical fallacies in editorialist's and politician's arguments. End result, you think these people are either liars or ignoramuses.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Conservative Nanny State

The Conservative Nanny State by US economist Dean Baker shows how the state develops and encourages corporate capitalism and how the rich generally suck the statist tit. The book is free as a download, see:

Thanks to London Freedom for this information –

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Victory For Native People Is A Victory For All People

Non-Aboriginal people ought to support Native People in their fight to maintain their treaty rights and to regain the territory stolen from them. They should also support the teaching of Native languages, spirituality and culture. They should also demand that the school books no longer whitewash the invasion and theft, but tell the truth to our children.

This should be done, not only from a sense of justice, a sense of humanity and decency, but also from self-interest. How so, you might well ask? In two fundamental ways. Both Native People and the great mass of Newcomers face many similar problems. The source of these problems is the same.

Let's deal with the common problems first. When the European conquerers came to the Americas they stole the land, forcing the inhabitants onto a few small parcels. In South America they turned the inhabitants into serfs, and in the North, when they didn't kill them outright, turned many into wage laborers. They were able to commit these crimes with speed and efficiency because they had years of practice at it. The free peasants of Europe had their lands seized by brigands and were turned into serfs. The remaining common lands were later stolen by the landowning "nobility" through the Enclosure Acts. The first colonization was against the Irish, who were also rounded up and sold as slaves, long before the “nobles” enslaved Africans.

Once the European rulers had made sufficient inroads into the Americas, they began the practice of cultural genocide. Agents called missionaries were sent to destroy native beliefs. Sacred areas were desecrated and Elders were maligned as "pagans" and "devil worshipers." Native languages were stamped out. A similar process occurred in Europe. Peasants were forced to convert to the master's cult at sword point and had to abandon their nature religions. Those who kept the old ways were tortured and murdered by the hundreds of thousands as "witches and devil worshipers." Jews and Muslims suffered similar pogroms. Efforts were made to destroy old customs like dancing around the May Pole and many sacred megaliths were broken up. People were forced to give up their languages and speak French, English or Castilian. Few people now speak Occitan, Breton, or Gaelic. Catalan just survived. Long gone are Cornish and Manx, and countless other local languages and dialects across Europe.

The Invaders forced a foreign concept of government upon Native People. Self-governing communities became subject to bureaucrats, politicians and police of a distant and uncaring state. But so too are the vast majority of the Newcomers a powerless mass. They vote in elections, but the outcome is the same – little changes, and what improvements are made – with a tremendous effort – are soon taken way again.

What was the source of these problems common to European workers and Native People? Europe once had its own Aboriginal People, the remnants of which are the Basques. Mediterranean peoples arrived during the early Neolithic and integrated peacefully with these original inhabitants. Later came the Celts who may have evolved out of these "Two Founding Nations". Then came the invasions of Slavic and Teutonic tribes, who as tribal peoples had a fairly egalitarian outlook. There did not seem to be a complete social and political break with the past.

The Roman Empire changed all this. Julius Caesar gloated how his armies slaughtered some two million Celts. Even taking exaggeration into account, this act foreshadows the genocide to come in the so-called New World. Roman conquest of Western Europe imposed a powerful centralized state and a class system. The former inhabitants became slaves and their lands were stolen by the conquerers.

Some Celts and Teutons became Romanized, and when Rome collapsed in the Fifth Century they imitated their former master, with a class system of serfs, lords and kings. Attempts were made by various kings like Charlemagne to re-establish the Empire. While Rome was gone, the Roman Church persisted and imposed its authoritarian, woman-hating, sex-hating, child-abusing, nature-despising ideology on the ex-tribal peoples. In Eastern Europe the role-model was the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire, and the results were similar. While the Roman Empire was never restored, individual countries like France, Spain and England became empires modeled upon it. On the backs of peasant farmers, fishers and hunters were created the monsters that terrorized the globe from 1492 on.

We are a damaged people. Traumatized by 80 generations of bullying, exploitation, child-abuse, race hatred, misogyny, cruel religious cults, sexual repression, cultural and linguistic repression. Is it any wonder many of us go insane, commit suicide, take up drugs or alcohol? (By the way, I am not saying that Whites suffer as much as Indians. Not at all. Compared with them, we are privileged. But nonetheless, we suffer the same type of problems, if not the same degree of intensity, and for essentially the same reasons.)

The resolution is for the European Newcomers to shed the imposed Roman heritage and go back to the true and ancient roots. Of course, we cannot re-create the ways of Old Europe in America, any more than the Plains People can restore the annual buffalo hunt. But we can reject Empire in all its vile forms. We can reject a world view that is anti-nature, anti-woman, anti-child. We can reject inequality and base our property relations on usufruct and not political power. We can return to decentralized, self-governing and federated communities that practice mutual aid, gift-giving and reciprocity.

In doing this, we would create a society based on justice. With justice, Native People's rights would be restored. In doing this, our ways of being, our outlook, would be similar to those of Native People, but without stealing from them, without become False Indians as so many well intentioned, but none the less imperialist New Agers and counter-culturalists have done.

When we Europeans look at a Native Person who has refused to assimilate the ways of the white man, what we see is much of what we have lost. It thus makes sense for us to make common cause with the First Nations, to help heal our own wounds, to restore our freedoms, as much as theirs.

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