Social Articles from 2018
The Shamanic View of Mental Illness
by Jayson Gaddis
Posted June 24, 2018
In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.
What those in the west view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. That what we sometimes call depression, bipolar, psychosis, schizophrenia, might actually be a significant transformation in consciousness and a necessary stage on the path of human development. More…
De-Briefing Academics: Unpaid Intelligence Informants
By Prof. James Petras
Posted June 23, 2018
In the course, of my activity I have discovered that many academics are frequently engage in what government officials dub ‘de-briefing’! Academics meet and discuss their field-work, data collection, research finding, observations and personal contacts over lunch at the Embassy with US government officials or in Washington with State Department officials.
US government officials look forward to these ‘debriefings”; the academic provided useful access to information which they otherwise could not obtain from paid, intelligence agents or local collaborators.
Academic informants in Chile helped the US Embassy identify neighborhood militants who were handed over to the secret police (DINA) during the Pinochet dictatorship.
US academic informants in Peru and Brazil provided the Embassy with research projects which identified nationalist military officials and leftist students who were subsequently purged, arrested and tortured. More…
Public to Be Scanned in Real Time as Police Body Cameras May Soon Get Facial Recognition
By Jack Burns
Posted June 22, 2018
In order for the prison industrial complex to be fed a constant stream of inmates, allowing prison corporations, county jails, and police departments to profit off of arrests, the charging of an impaired driver must be streamlined.
One company believes it has solved the problems that exist with subjective field sobriety tests and faulty roadside drug tests. Breathalytics has developed a kiosk that serves three purposes. It scans a person’s fingerprint, scans their face for biometrics data, and tests their breath for the presence of alcohol, and presumably, drugs. It also records the entire kiosk visit on video.
The company calls the kiosk an example of “effortless alcohol screening” and says its kiosk helps facilitate the “alcohol monitoring industry.” Yes, that’s right. Monitoring drug rehab attendees, parolees, work/release, and roadside participants is now being called an “industry.” If for one second you ever wondered what was meant by the term “prison industrial complex,” Breathalytics is a part of that self-professed “industry,” consisting of any business connected to the imprisoning of individuals.
If police departments adopt the alcohol kiosks they will, in essence, allow a private company to possess nearly all identifying information a person possesses. What could possibly go wrong? More…
Agrochemicals and Institutional Corruption: Pleading with the Slave Master Will Not Set You Free
By Colin Todhunter
Posted June 21, 2018
What is worrying is that these corporations are being facilitated by the World Bank’s ‘enabling the business of agriculture’, duplicitous trade deals like the US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture, the Gates Foundation’s ‘opening up’ of African agriculture and the bypassing of democratic procedures at sovereign state levels to impose seed monopolies and proprietary inputs on farmers and to incorporate them into a global supply chain dominated by these powerful companies.
For the reasons set out in my previous piece, pleading with public officials to roll back the actions and influence of agrochemical/agribusiness corporations may have no more impact than appealing to a slave master to set you free.
Ultimately, the solution relies on people coming together to challenge a system of neoliberal capitalism that by design facilitates the institutionalised corruption that we see along with the destruction of self-sufficiency and traditional food systems. At the same time, alternatives must be promoted based on localisation, the principles of a politically-oriented model of agroecology (outlined here, here and here) and a food system that serves the public good not private greed. More…
Atlantic Council Explains Why We Need To Be Propagandized For Our Own Good
by Caitlin Johnstone
Posted June 20, 2018
The western empire is ruled by a loose transnational alliance of plutocrats and secretive government agencies. That loose alliance is your real government, and that government has the largest state media network in the history of civilization. The mass media propaganda machine of the western empire makes RT (RT TV network) look like your grandmother’s Facebook wall.
In that way, we are being propagandized constantly by the people who really rule us. All this panic about Russian propaganda doesn’t exist because our dear leaders have a problem with propaganda, it exists because they believe only they should be allowed to propagandize us.
And of course, here in the real world, it is already happening. As I wrote recently, mainstream media outlets have been going out of their minds churning out attack editorials on anyone who questions the establishment narrative about what happened in Douma. A BBC reporter recently admonished a retired British naval officer for voicing skepticism of what we’re being told about Syria on the grounds that it might “muddy the waters” of the “information war” that is being fought against Russia. All day, every day, western mass media are pummeling the public with stories about how awful and scary Russians are and how everything they say is a lie. More…
A Jailbreak of the Imagination: Seeing Prisons for What They Are and Demanding Transformation
By Mariame Kaba and Kelly Hayes
Posted June 19, 2018
Outspoken opponents of abolishing the prison industrial complex typically portray abolitionists as politically inactive academics who spout impossible ideas. None of this could be further from the truth. Abolitionists come from all backgrounds, and most are politically active. From bail reform to strategic electoral interventions and mutual aid, prison abolitionists are steadily at work in our communities, employing tactics of harm reduction, lobbying for and against legislation, defending the rights of prisoners in solidarity with those organizing for themselves on the inside and working to forward a vision of social transformation.
As a political framework, abolition has gained significant ground in recent years, with groups like the National Lawyers Guild adopting the philosophy in their work. A growing number of grassroots abolitionist organizers have co-organized nationally recognized campaigns such as the #ByeAnita effort in Chicago, which helped to successfully remove former State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez from office. Abolitionist organizers also helped lead efforts to win reparations for survivors of torture that occurred under the now infamous police commander Jon Burge in Chicago — a city that has, over the past two decades, become a hub of abolitionist organizing. Abolition is a practical organizing strategy. More…
Fed Up With Big Banks That Fund Climate Crisis and Oppression, Community Coalition Demands Public Bank for New York
Fed Up With Big Banks That Fund Climate Crisis and Oppression, Community Coalition Demands Public Bank for NYC
by Julia Conley
Posted June 12, 2018
Chanting, “Wells, Chase, B of A, public bank’s a better way!” social justice groups rallied at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday to demand that New York City divest from Wall Street banks and establish a public bank that is “expressly chartered to serve the public interest.”
Investment in Wall Street banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of Americas, and JPMorgan Chase is synonymous with harming the environment, propping up private prisons, and putting working families at risk for financial collapse as well as pushing them out of New York neighborhoods, argued the groups. More…
Edward Snowden: ‘The people are still powerless, but now they’re aware’
By Ewen MacAskill and Alex Hern
Posted June 11, 2018
Edward Snowden has no regrets five years on from leaking the biggest cache of top-secret documents in history. He is wanted by the US. He is in exile in Russia. But he is satisfied with the way his revelations of mass surveillance have rocked governments, intelligence agencies and major Internet companies.
Snowden, weighing up the changes, said some privacy campaigners had expressed disappointment with how things have developed, but he did not share it. “People say nothing has changed: that there is still mass surveillance. That is not how you measure change. Look back before 2013 and look at what has happened since. Everything changed.” More…
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