Archive for the good news Category

The system is broken: strategic voting, coalitions, and the political regime under which we live

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, Chomsky, class, collapse, common ground, communism, conservative, Conservative Party, conservatives, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, crisis of legitimacy, democracy, Democrat, elite, empowerment, Feudalism, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, good news, inspiration, left, liberal, Media, money, nation state, national democracies, Noe-feudalism, people's movements, philosophy, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, propaganda, reading, Republican, Republican Party, resources, right, right wing, social theory, sovereignty, the right, tipping point, truth on May 28, 2011 by jtoddring

While I can of course see the rationale for strategic voting, there is much to be said for voting with one’s conscience. When we consistently choose the lesser of two evils, our choices are reduced to evil, and the results are evil. When everyone holds their nose and votes, essentially, for one of the parties or candidates of the status quo, believing no other option is feasible or can succeed, this collective act of despair becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: and low and behold, all other options are nullified – by our own act of choosing not to support them.

Put the blame where it belongs: the dominant parties are ensconced through the powers of the major media, which are controlled by the business and political elite who are in turn in bed with the party elite of the major parties: if we had a free press, and not a propaganda system, the people’s representatives would more closely resemble in action as well as words the views and values of the people, the great majority of whom by clear and consistent polls wish for more justice, equitability, sustainability, peace and compassion in the land and in the world.

How does a new party or a minor party build itself to a major force in politics? Certainly not by people choosing between the lesser of two evils and voting “strategically.” I’d almost be inclined to say that voting strategically is voting idiotically, for it is a vote of despair, a fatalistic action that presumes no major change is possible. While this is not entirely true, there is a great deal of truth to that picture painted. Maybe we should trust our conscience and common sense more often, and leave the horse racing to the track. This is not a game: it is our future.

Would it be better to vote for the devil if we thought he had a better chance of winning? Have we lost our reason and our faculties, our moral compass altogether? Politics is not about winning: it is about doing something virtuous in the world, for the benefit of all – or else it is truly a devil’s bargain, and we are both the prisoners and the captors ourselves. A vote is never wasted if it is the expression of our voice and true belief. Moreover, if it is an expression of our common sense and humanity, it would be a waste to thwart that and conceal it behind a shroud of “realpolitique” or imagined “realism.” When everyone defers to the present norm and the dominant powers, the present norm, no matter how profoundly abnormal or even pathological, becomes further entrenched, and real change, intelligent change, humane and sane and good-hearted change, becomes pushed ever farther off.

At the very least, we should make our views and values known, otherwise, democracy cannot function, and is reduced to a reification and endorsement of the existing structures of power and the dominant players. That scenario is dismal, to say the least. Let’s break it open. It is time to broaden the debate, broaden the discourse, and look to our options in a much wider field. The future is only as narrowed as our minds.

As to the dominant political parties in North America, they are all – Republican and Democrat, Conservative and Liberal – beholden to the corporate elite who rule this continent. Whoever wins of this pack of four cronies and lapdogs, we get corporate rule; and whichever of them wins, we get either the fast-track or the sugar-coated program for bringing us a global neo-Dickensian corporate feudalism in which the elite rule, the privileged servile few prosper, and the rest suffer in misery and disenfranchisement. If we are serious about social change, then we need to break out of this stranglehold. A coalition is one way to break the hegemony of the forces of corporate power and their political lackeys, and that is something I would like to see emerge sooner rather than later.

What I believe could work, is now truly viable, and perhaps is our only hope within the arena of formal party politics, is a coalition that spans left, right and centre: it would be a coalition of everyone who prefers authentic democracy and rule by the people, to corporate rule and the rapidly emerging neo-feudal order. I will leave that to the organizers and political strategists to ponder, and hope that the call does not go unheeded. Our future is waiting.

For myself, while I admire the best and brightest of party activists, representatives and candidates – few and far between as they are – I have very little faith in the existing electoral and political system, for reasons of money and media corruption, and so, choose to focus my energies elsewhere. The system is broken. Everyone by now knows it, and the polls world-wide show a dramatic and profound crisis of legitimacy and loss of confidence in the political and economic structures and powers that rule us. To change this, the media monopoly must be broken, and serious, major and fundamental electoral reform brought in. However, the existing media powers and electoral financing system benefits the dominant political players and parties, so they are not willing to do what needs to be done, hence, the broken system perpetuates itself, via a self-serving political and business elite who dominate the political, economic and media spheres which are by now fully intertwined and mutually reinforcing. Choice under this political-economic system is largely an illusion: a small elite rule, and have for a very long time. As George Carlin so aptly put it, “You don’t have any choice – you have owners.” Or as John Lennon said, “You’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.” Democracy is a dream yet to be fulfilled. (See C. Wright Mills, David C. Korten or Noam Chomsky if this is not immediately self-evident.)

A break must come somewhere, and the growing and deepening global crisis of legitimacy of the ruling powers and systems guarantees that it will come. Remember the collapse of the Soviet Union and the entire Communist bloc just a few short decades ago: when a crisis of legitimacy reaches its culmination, a breaking point occurs, and the game is over: the entire edifice collapses, and something new – depending upon what the people do, arises to replace the old order. “Let them eat cake” did not stave off the demise of the old regime. In fact, such smug and cold arrogance hastened the coming change, and every repressive action in defence of the old and dying system, fuelled the fires of the imagination, of indignation, and of revolution. Stay tuned, stay alert, and keep your good heart. As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over `till it’s over.” Remember Ozymandias. This is not the end of history, and democracy is yet being born.

J. Todd Ring,

May 27, 2011

Situation Normal: All Fucked Up

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, anthropology, consciousness, democracy, empowerment, freedom, good news, life, ontology, people's movements, philosophy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, psychology, social theory, sociology, the world's other superpower, truth with tags , , , , , on September 25, 2008 by jtoddring

Anything can become normal – if we live with it long enough. Violence can become normal; addiction can become normal; living surrounded by a constant mess can become normal; apathy and despair can become normal; aggression can become normal; vapid, mindless voyeurism and consumerism can become normal. Or, joyful empowerment and engagement in life can become normal; caring for the people around you, for yourself, your environment, home and community can become normal; peace and contentment can become normal; compassionate kindness can become normal; self-honesty and a preference for truth over lies and illusions can become normal; healthy eating, exercise, a positive frame of mind and enthusiastic vitality can become normal. Normal is simply what we have grown accustomed to. It can be all fucked up, as the military expression SNAFU (situation normal – all fucked up) describes so well, or it can be sublimely beautiful. It is a matter, ultimately, at least to a very high degree, of habit. What have we become habituated to? What do we accept as normal, and do we really want to continue to accept this as “normal?”

Habit is the driving force, more than 90% of the time. And yet, as we all know, but forget routinely, nothing is permanent, everything is subject to change, and everything can therefore be transformed. If we do not like our present “normal” we are free to change it. What this requires is a) a recognition of impermanence – that all things are impermanent, all things are subject to change; b) that while we are never in control – for linear, unilateral causality does not exist and all things are mutually interdependent – for the same reason that we are never fully in control, we are also never truly powerless. If we can recognize these two inter-related points, which are a matter of the nature of existence, then we will realize immediately that we can in fact transform the patterns in our lives which have become normal to us. The same holds true for the macrocosm of society as it does for the microcosm of the individual, household or community, though a greater effort and patience is required to transform patterns in the macrocosm, for the simple fact that there are more actors involved in the play at that scale.

The microcosm is like a small boat: since it has less inertia than a large ship, it can change direction more rapidly. The macrocosm of society is like a large ship, and therefore has more inertia than a single individual, and thus requires more effort and patience to alter its direction. In either case, however, there is no permanence to things, and all phenomena are in their true nature fully transmutable. Change is not only possible, but inevitable. The question is, what kind of change do we wish to set in motion?

Whether it be our personal lives or the society we live in, since all phenomena in existence are impermanent, having no fixed intrinsic or independent existence, but depending at all times upon changable and changing causes and conditions, therefore we can see that control is an illusion, just as powerless is an illusion, and therefore we can realize that we are truly empowered, as soon as we recognize this fact, to engage actively in the moment by moment and daily choices of our lives and the collective life of our society, that we can and do have an influence, and that we can work to transform any existing pattern, no matter how normal it has come to seem.

This is at once at tremendous responsibility, and also a tremendous source of joy and freedom. If we engage in life with a sense of the impermanence, and also the precious of life, with a sense of empowered involvement or responsiveness – aliveness – then we can see that not only is there a light at the end of the tunnel, but that our whole world brightens. It is a matter of what view of life we take, to a great extent: what attitude we take. There patterns which are slow to change, and others which require only modest effort. If we approach things with energy and an empowered attitude, an attitude that expresses the recognition that nothing is permanent and that all things are interdependent – which entails that we are both actors as well as acted upon – then the world lightens, opportunities are seen where none appeared to exist, and an inner dynamism and enthusiasm arises which is one of the greatest powers in existence: the power of the human spirit it has been called, but the terms are unimportant here.

It is a matter of balancing patience with energetic engagement in life. One side that we can fall toward is aggression, with its obvious troubles associated, including constant tension, stress, strain and frustration. The other side we can fall toward is apathy or despair.

Aggression and apathy are two sides of the same coin. In Eastern terms, one is too yang, while the other is to yin: one is too much pushing; the other, too much foot-dragging or collapse. One side we can err on is the illusion of control, or the attempt to forcefully control, which produces aggression. The other side is the illusion of powerlessness, and the result is collapse, apathy, defeatism, despair, cynicism, or simply a drifting passivity and complacency (all the rage these days with many people). One error requires a loosening up, a softening up, a relaxation – it is too tight. The other error requires a greater vigour, a greater initiative, a greater energy – we have become too sloppy, or simply to meek, too timid, too pleasing of others or too apathetic toward our circumstances or the circumstances of our world.

Whatever the error in the present moment – too tight or too loose, too much push or too much holding back, we can observe how we are engaging with life, and add the necessary correction through an inner change, a change in tack. Of course, at first we may over-correct, as someone new to sailing or piloting a ship will tend to over-correct, and end up zig-zaging excessively through simple lack of skill. We end up then, as most people do routinely and with little awareness, oscillating between too tense and too sloppy, too forceful and too lackadaisical. But as our perception of the subtleties of our inner states and their outer expressions becomes more clear, and our practice at correcting the subtle errors in tack or approach becomes more refined, it becomes increasingly easy, simple and natural to automatically give the right inner correction so that we bring ourselves again back into a more skillful approach to piloting our little ship and navigating the vast expanse of life.

What is needed is a mindfulness, a presence of mind, that is here for the long run, and not just an occasional reflection or a one time decision to make a change. We need on-going mindful awareness of what our situation is, and how we are engaged with it, so that we can practice the subtle – or sometimes large – corrections which are needed to bring a greater harmony, happiness, well-being and empowerment for ourselves and others – which ultimately, is the only goal worth pursuing, and one that is not only both path and destination, but also within our reach.

Clearly, some patterns are daunting and difficult – even to face, let alone address and transform. But we err generally on the side of drastically underestimating our power. Should we begin to realize impermanence and interdependence, we will begin to realize that we are far from powerless. Some patterns, such as social and ecological crises in particular, require collective effort, clearly, but that does not change the facts of impermanence and the openness of phenomena or patterns of life to change. A greater awareness of our personal and collective power is, however, urgently needed. Certainly panic, despair and complacent denial are equally useless. Aggression is likewise short-sighted and unskillful. Where then does that leave us?

It is a matter primarily of attitude. What kind of normal do we want to create? Let us start first with a recognition of impermanence and also of our own power, and we can create anything we like.

JTR,

September 25, 2008

What Must Be Done: When corporatism and Leninism have both failed – part two

Posted in activism, alternative, Canada, Chomsky, common ground, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporatism, crisis of legitimacy, democracy, ecological crisis, ecology, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, freedom, FTAA, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, good news, history, human rights, imperialism, inspiration, Jefferson, left, liberal, Martial Law, NAFTA, neoliberalism, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, political theory, politics, right wing, Security and Prosperity Partnership, social theory, sociology, SPP, the right, the world's other superpower, tipping point, trade, U.N., U.S., WEF, World Social Forum, WTO on February 28, 2007 by jtoddring


Building a World Federation, from the Grassroots Up

The U.N. is failing and in need of fundamental reform – people everywhere are rightly skeptical about its present and future role in the world. Corporate and financial power is clearly out of hand, to say it mildly, and great powers, in the traditional sense of powerful nation states, clearly also have to be reigned in. In this context, it is becoming clear to all that only the global human community, the people of the earth themselves, united in solidarity across our great and wondrous diversity, joined together by some few commonly shared principles, can reign in the unwieldy and anti-democratic, anti-ecological destructive powers which now dominate the earth.

The mood of humanity, if you can make such a broad statement, and I believe one can with a fair degree of accuracy (see the World Economic Forum global poll 2002), is one of deep concern for the future; deep discontent with the present state of global power, economy and relations; deep disillusionment with existing forms of power and institutions; and showing a clear and growing realization of the need to both deepen democracy, and simultaneously build bridges of world solidarity for mutual protection and creative action.

Can humanity agree upon a few basic principles, while allowing for mutual respect of our differences and diversity? I think this is not only a reasonable proposition, but one that has already been demonstrated. We have international agreements such as the Kyoto Accord, ratified by 141 nations, the Montreal Protocol on ozone depletion, ratified and implemented around the world, the Ottawa Treaty, banning landmines world-wide, ratified by the majority of the world’s nations, and the Geneva Convention, to name just a few examples of human agreement and consensus internationally. We have the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, for example, which the vast majority of the world have accepted as a basis for international unity and understanding.

The basic principles of freedom, democracy, equality, peace and sustainability are acceptable to the vast majority of the global village. It is only the rogue financial and corporate powers, along with an unfortunately large number of political elites from many countries around the world, and a relative handful of extremists, who cannot or will not accept these principles as binding. The populace, as a whole, and world-wide, in virtually every nation on earth, already accepts these principles as foundational for any decent human society. Agreement is already there. It is solidarity that is lacking. Alienation and division must be overcome. We already agree on enough to build a better world. It is the unity across diversity that is missing, but that is changing quickly.

Some form of world federalism is needed now. Before this statement can be misunderstood, it must be said that I am not advocating the further institutionalization of hyper-concentrated global power. We do not need any further centralization or concentration of power in the world – in fact, what is needed is a radical decentralization and democratization of social, political and economic power. At the same time, however, it is clear that we need a greater degree of solidarity and cooperation amongst humanity and human communities world wide. We need thus, some form of global federation in which power is democratically held and concentrated at the grassroots level.

After the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle of 1999, just such a grassroots-based global network of solidarity began to emerge. Individuals and popular movements world-wide began to recognize the need to respond to social and environmental issues in a more comprehensive, systematic and globally linked fashion, with greater international solidarity, across all lines of geography, issue-orientation, race, class, gender and religion. Seattle `99 was a watermark, a turning point. Since then, much has been done to create and develop such a decentralized, democratic and popular-based unity amid diversity: a global network of peoples’ movements. This phenomenon shows great promise. It may be the only thing that can reverse the trend toward hyper-concentration of global power, the destruction of human rights, freedom and democracy, and the destruction of our home on earth.

The shining star to emerge out of this growth of grassroots global solidarity is the World Social Forum. The WSF is not a body with any direct political or economic power. It is a gathering, a place of networking and bridge-building. It is a place for individuals and popular movements to come together to exchange information and ideas, to discuss and debate, and most importantly, to generate greater solidarity and cooperation among peoples, communities and movements world-wide for the creation of a better world. It is not a centralized power, but a place where decentralized, democratic grassroots constituencies can discuss, come to certain agreements as to shared values and goals, and together, without the need for a centralized authority directing them, in the spirit of equality, freedom and democracy, bring about greater cooperative and effective action for the benefit of humanity and the earth. Noam Chomsky recently remarked that the World Social Forum is presently the most promising phenomenon on the planet.

Along with 1) the pervasive global questioning and challenging of all forms of power in society and all previously held assumptions, 2) the emerging spirit of democratic citizens’ empowerment world-wide, 3) the increasing realization by humanity of the interdependent nature of our world, 4) the dawning awareness that unity and diversity are not intrinsically contradictory, but in fact can be mutually enhancing, 5) the rapidly developing and growing global solidarity among diverse peoples, groups, communities and social movements world-wide, and 6) the rapidly unfolding genuine human renaissance which is perhaps unprecedented in its depth as well as its breadth; I would have to agree with professor Chomsky: the World Social Forum is one of the most promising things happening on earth at this time.

Along with the World Social Forum, we clearly also need a renewal and a deepening of democracy world-wide, in individual communities, states, provinces and nations. And, I would say, in order for this to be possible, a federation model, rather than a model of centralized power, needs to be developed or restored: otherwise we have the outer forms of democracy, but the democratic forms hide the real nature of power in society, which is oligarchy.
This needs to be done at the local level – the level of communities – and also at the state/provincial level, the level of the nation-state, and internationally. We need, in sum, a decentralization and democratization of power in society, along with a corresponding increase in global solidarity and cooperation: we need a decentralized and democratic world federation of some form.

It must be noted that it is absolutely critical that not only overt formal political power be decentralized and democratized, linked in a global federation of democratic communities (and perhaps for a time yet, also nation-states), but also economic and cultural power. We must swiftly, peacefully, and absolutely decisively deal with the exisitng hyper-concentrations of media power, and the parallel and even more fundamental hyper-concentrations of economic power – in the hands of banks, financial institutions, large corporations, family dynasties, old boys clubs, and trade agreements and bodies that effectively concentrate global power in the hands of the international investment class (such as the WTO, NAFTA, the FTAA, the SPP and the WEF).

Although their vision and example was imperfect, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine both held a clear and sensible, and in some regards, a noble view of the world as it could be – as can be yet. Thomas Paine, the primary political theorist for the American democratic revolution, along with Jefferson, took his inspiration from the Iroquois Confederacy, not the ancient Greeks, as is commonly believed. The Iroquois Confederacy still offers perhaps the best model for the future of humanity. Five nations lived in peace in a grassroots, community-based federation for mutual protection and prosperity. The people of these nations lived with greater peace, freedom and authentic democracy than almost any other peoples before or since. Jefferson himself admitted that the new American democracy was a pale imitation of the superior, more free and equal, and more democratic form of government which he saw in these native communities. Despite their faults, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, along with the Iroquois Confederacy, offer us now among the best and clearest inspiration for a better world, as we together look to our future on earth, and together face the ominous and simultaneously hopeful trends of the present.

Jefferson saw it clearly: either keep political power decentralized and out of any one group or individual’s hands (beware the ostensibly benign oligarchs), or watch tyranny arise, and freedom, democracy, human rights and even decency of life, decay and die. He also saw clearly that if the increasing concentration of economic power in the hands of the corporations is not checked, democracy will be overthrown by stealth: consumed and digested by the dominant power of money. He was right on both counts. We are late in heeding his warning, but not too late. There is still time to rescue the dream of democracy from the threats which surround her. There is still time to found a beautiful and just, free and fair world for humanity on earth. It is not to late. But we must act now.

J. Todd Ring,
February 2007

What Must Be Done: When corporatism and Leninism have both failed – part 1

A “Must-Read” Short List: Author’s Picks

Overview: Geopolitics 2006-2008

Whew, time for some good news

Posted in crisis of legitimacy, empire, empowerment, good news, hydrogen, inspiration, post-carbon, renewable on November 18, 2006 by jtoddring


With all of the terrifying developments in the world – and they are very real, unfortunately – it seems essential to pay attention to the good news and the victories, the positive examples and the hopeful signs, as well as the ominous trends. If we don’t, then we may well be swamped by feelings of powerlessness, and then very little is possible.

Empowerment, and therefore inspiration, is critical. In fact, I believe this is the bottle-neck: this is the limiting factor. People have a pretty good sense of what is going on, at least in rough outline. And polls repeatedly indicate that the basic values of the people of both the Western world and the world as a whole, are ones of fairness, ecological sustainability, peace, authentic democracy, and equity. What is needed is a greater degree of empowerment: that is, a recognition of our power.

In fact, if “the threat of a good example” is what the power elite and empire-mongers fear most, then that is precisely what we must provide: working alternatives to a self-destructive system of madness.

Together we shape the world. If we choose passivity and resignation, then we abdicate both our right – our privilege – and our responsibility to share collectively in choosing our future and our ever-unfolding present. In order to spur ourselves and one another to greater awareness of our collective power as citizens, and our empowerment as individuals, we need inspiration as well as determination. In short, sometimes we simply need some encouraging examples. That being said, here is a small selection of good news.

JTR,

November 18, 2006


Norway breaks the mould

Norway forgives 80 million in debts – Nordic country first to break silence on “illegitimate” loans.


Church of England divests $3.84 million from arms dealer

Church divests from arms dealers


Cities begin to take action on peak oil

Portland Passes Peak Oil Resolution | relocalize.net

Full text of San Franciso peak oil resolution | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse


Sweden declares it will be an oil-free society by 2020

Making Sweden an OIL-FREE Society

Nordic Countries Design Sustainable Communities: The Natural Step for Eco-Villages


Cuba demonstrates success in responding to oil crisis, creates an organic revolution

Cuba: the accidental revolution | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse

The Greening of the Revolution: Cuba’s Experiment with Organic Agriculture

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil – order video


Cities show leadership where “higher” governments fail

Twin Cities Competition for E-efficiency

Twin Cities Solar Tour – video


Not with a whimper: courts and journalists show they still have some spine

TheStar.com – Secrets law unconstitutional


An empire at twilight:

Superpower’s global dominance in question

50 Years After Suez, US Hegemony Ebbing Fast

“The United States is Terrified” – Noam Chomsky on Latin America’s Move Towards “Independence and Integration”

The Crumbling Empire: Latin America and Asia Breaking Free of Washington’s Grip – Noam Chomsky


The crisis of legitimacy:

Global corporate rule is now fragile

Confronting the Empire – Chomsky at the World Social Forum

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy of Liberal Democracy – Social and Economic Policy – Global Policy Forum


Chavez confronts US empire at UN,

Americans respond by showing more confidence in Chavez than Bush,
taking his recommendation and reading Chomsky in record numbers

Hugo Chavez at UN, 20 Sept 2006 (English) – I of III

ZNet |Venezuela | Chavez at the UN


The Western world’s leading dissident

becomes #1 author

on world’s biggest online bookstore

Chomsky Book Sales Skyrocket – Los Angeles Times


Nader publicly nominates Bill Moyers for President

Bill Moyers For President


Hydrogen is happening: cutting through the fog – and the smog

ITS Hydrogen Highway Launch Event

British Columbia’s own Hydrogen Highway | Hydrogen Use

Hydrogen Bus Demonstration Completed In Manitoba, Partners Invest $600,000 In Technology

Berlin, Shanghai and Amsterdam unveil hydrogen buses

London Hydrogen Action Plan

London Hydrogen Partnership – Peugeot

H2.ca – Hydrogen Water Taxi in Newport Harbor

BBC News | SCI/TECH | Iceland launches energy revolution

BMW’s hydrogen powered 7-Series

BBC NEWS Science-Nature Sun and hydrogen ‘to fuel future’

Canadian Group Produces Hydrogen from Water Using Solar Energy

SHEC Labs achieved breakthrough performance in manufacturing …

Sunlight Used To Produce Hydrogen From Water

US legislator wants to reward hydrogen inventors

Growing hydrogen for the cars of tomorrow – energy-fuels – 25 February 2006 – New Scientist

Treehugger Garbage to Hydrogen, Just Add Sun

Sewage turned into hydrogen fuel – 29 April 2002 – New Scientist

Nanotubes crank out hydrogen TRN 020905

Science begins to realize the obvious,

and begins to awaken to what Kropotkin

pointed out over 100 years ago:

cooperation is as natural as competition

– in fact, moreso among the primates and

other species of higher intelligence

Scientific American Mind: The Samaritan Paradox

Posted in crisis of legitimacy, empire, empowerment, good news, hydrogen, inspiration, post-carbon, renewable on November 18, 2006 by jtoddring


Whew, time for some good news

With all of the terrifying developments in the world – and they are very real, unfortunately – it seems essential to pay attention to the good news and the victories, the positive examples and the hopeful signs, as well as the ominous trends. If we don’t, then we may well be swamped by feelings of powerlessness, and then very little is possible.

Empowerment, and therefore inspiration, is critical. In fact, I believe this is the bottle-neck: this is the limiting factor. People have a pretty good sense of what is going on, at least in rough outline. And polls repeatedly indicate that the basic values of the people of both the Western world and the world as a whole, are ones of fairness, ecological sustainability, peace, authentic democracy, and equity. What is needed is a greater degree of empowerment: that is, a recognition of our power.

In fact, if “the threat of a good example” is what the power elite and empire-mongers fear most, then that is precisely what we must provide: working alternatives to a self-destructive system of madness.

Together we shape the world. If we choose passivity and resignation, then we abdicate both our right – our privilege – and our responsibility to share collectively in choosing our future and our ever-unfolding present. In order to spur ourselves and one another to greater awareness of our collective power as citizens, and our empowerment as individuals, we need inspiration as well as determination. In short, sometimes we simply need some encouraging examples. That being said, here is a small selection of good news.

JTR,

November 18, 2006


Norway breaks the mould

Norway forgives 80 million in debts – Nordic country first to break silence on “illegitimate” loans.


Church of England divests $3.84 million from arms dealer

Church divests from arms dealers


Cities begin to take action on peak oil

Portland Passes Peak Oil Resolution | relocalize.net

Full text of San Franciso peak oil resolution | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse


Sweden declares it will be an oil-free society by 2020

Making Sweden an OIL-FREE Society

Nordic Countries Design Sustainable Communities: The Natural Step for Eco-Villages


Cuba demonstrates success in responding to oil crisis, creates an organic revolution

Cuba: the accidental revolution | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse

The Greening of the Revolution: Cuba’s Experiment with Organic Agriculture

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil – order video


Cities show leadership where “higher” governments fail

Twin Cities Competition for E-efficiency

Twin Cities Solar Tour – video


Not with a whimper: courts and journalists show they still have some spine

TheStar.com – Secrets law unconstitutional


An empire at twilight:

Superpower’s global dominance in question

50 Years After Suez, US Hegemony Ebbing Fast

“The United States is Terrified” – Noam Chomsky on Latin America’s Move Towards “Independence and Integration”

The Crumbling Empire: Latin America and Asia Breaking Free of Washington’s Grip – Noam Chomsky


The crisis of legitimacy:

Global corporate rule is now fragile

Confronting the Empire – Chomsky at the World Social Forum

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy of Liberal Democracy – Social and Economic Policy – Global Policy Forum


Chavez confronts US empire at UN,

Americans respond by showing more confidence in Chavez than Bush,
taking his recommendation and reading Chomsky in record numbers

Hugo Chavez at UN, 20 Sept 2006 (English) – I of III

ZNet |Venezuela | Chavez at the UN


The Western world’s leading dissident

becomes #1 author

on world’s biggest online bookstore

Chomsky Book Sales Skyrocket – Los Angeles Times


Nader publicly nominates Bill Moyers for President

Bill Moyers For President


Hydrogen is happening: cutting through the fog – and the smog

ITS Hydrogen Highway Launch Event

British Columbia’s own Hydrogen Highway | Hydrogen Use

Hydrogen Bus Demonstration Completed In Manitoba, Partners Invest $600,000 In Technology

Berlin, Shanghai and Amsterdam unveil hydrogen buses

London Hydrogen Action Plan

London Hydrogen Partnership – Peugeot

H2.ca – Hydrogen Water Taxi in Newport Harbor

BBC News | SCI/TECH | Iceland launches energy revolution

BMW’s hydrogen powered 7-Series

BBC NEWS Science-Nature Sun and hydrogen ‘to fuel future’

Canadian Group Produces Hydrogen from Water Using Solar Energy

SHEC Labs achieved breakthrough performance in manufacturing …

Sunlight Used To Produce Hydrogen From Water

US legislator wants to reward hydrogen inventors

Growing hydrogen for the cars of tomorrow – energy-fuels – 25 February 2006 – New Scientist

Treehugger Garbage to Hydrogen, Just Add Sun

Sewage turned into hydrogen fuel – 29 April 2002 – New Scientist

Nanotubes crank out hydrogen TRN 020905

Science begins to realize the obvious,

and begins to awaken to what Kropotkin

pointed out over 100 years ago:

cooperation is as natural as competition

– in fact, moreso among the primates and

other species of higher intelligence

Scientific American Mind: The Samaritan Paradox

Whew, time for some good news

Posted in crisis of legitimacy, empire, empowerment, good news, hydrogen, inspiration, post-carbon, renewable on November 18, 2006 by jtoddring



With all of the terrifying developments in the world – and they are very real, unfortunately – it seems essential to pay attention to the good news and the victories, the positive examples and the hopeful signs, as well as the ominous trends. If we don’t, then we may well be swamped by feelings of powerlessness, and then very little is possible.

Empowerment, and therefore inspiration, is critical. In fact, I believe this is the bottle-neck: this is the limiting factor. People have a pretty good sense of what is going on, at least in rough outline. And polls repeatedly indicate that the basic values of the people of both the Western world and the world as a whole, are ones of fairness, ecological sustainability, peace, authentic democracy, and equity. What is needed is a greater degree of empowerment: that is, a recognition of our power.

In fact, if “the threat of a good example” is what the power elite and empire-mongers fear most, then that is precisely what we must provide: working alternatives to a self-destructive system of madness.

Together we shape the world. If we choose passivity and resignation, then we abdicate both our right – our privilege – and our responsibility to share collectively in choosing our future and our ever-unfolding present. In order to spur ourselves and one another to greater awareness of our collective power as citizens, and our empowerment as individuals, we need inspiration as well as determination. In short, sometimes we simply need some encouraging examples. That being said, here is a small selection of good news.

JTR,

November 18, 2006


Norway breaks the mould

Norway forgives 80 million in debts – Nordic country first to break silence on “illegitimate” loans.


Church of England divests $3.84 million from arms dealer

Church divests from arms dealers


Cities begin to take action on peak oil

Portland Passes Peak Oil Resolution | relocalize.net

Full text of San Franciso peak oil resolution | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse


Sweden declares it will be an oil-free society by 2020

Making Sweden an OIL-FREE Society

Nordic Countries Design Sustainable Communities: The Natural Step for Eco-Villages


Cuba demonstrates success in responding to oil crisis, creates an organic revolution

Cuba: the accidental revolution | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse

The Greening of the Revolution: Cuba’s Experiment with Organic Agriculture

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil – order video


Cities show leadership where “higher” governments fail

Twin Cities Competition for E-efficiency

Twin Cities Solar Tour – video


Not with a whimper: courts and journalists show they still have some spine

TheStar.com – Secrets law unconstitutional


An empire at twilight:

Superpower’s global dominance in question

50 Years After Suez, US Hegemony Ebbing Fast

“The United States is Terrified” – Noam Chomsky on Latin America’s Move Towards “Independence and Integration”

The Crumbling Empire: Latin America and Asia Breaking Free of Washington’s Grip – Noam Chomsky


The crisis of legitimacy:

Global corporate rule is now fragile

Confronting the Empire – Chomsky at the World Social Forum

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy of Liberal Democracy – Social and Economic Policy – Global Policy Forum


Chavez confronts US empire at UN,

Americans respond by showing more confidence in Chavez than Bush,
taking his recommendation and reading Chomsky in record numbers

Hugo Chavez at UN, 20 Sept 2006 (English) – I of III

ZNet |Venezuela | Chavez at the UN


The Western world’s leading dissident

becomes #1 author

on world’s biggest online bookstore

Chomsky Book Sales Skyrocket – Los Angeles Times


Nader publicly nominates Bill Moyers for President

Bill Moyers For President


Hydrogen is happening: cutting through the fog – and the smog

ITS Hydrogen Highway Launch Event

British Columbia’s own Hydrogen Highway | Hydrogen Use

Hydrogen Bus Demonstration Completed In Manitoba, Partners Invest $600,000 In Technology

Berlin, Shanghai and Amsterdam unveil hydrogen buses

London Hydrogen Action Plan

London Hydrogen Partnership – Peugeot

H2.ca – Hydrogen Water Taxi in Newport Harbor

BBC News | SCI/TECH | Iceland launches energy revolution

BMW’s hydrogen powered 7-Series

BBC NEWS Science-Nature Sun and hydrogen ‘to fuel future’

Canadian Group Produces Hydrogen from Water Using Solar Energy

SHEC Labs achieved breakthrough performance in manufacturing …

Sunlight Used To Produce Hydrogen From Water

US legislator wants to reward hydrogen inventors

Growing hydrogen for the cars of tomorrow – energy-fuels – 25 February 2006 – New Scientist

Treehugger Garbage to Hydrogen, Just Add Sun

Sewage turned into hydrogen fuel – 29 April 2002 – New Scientist

Nanotubes crank out hydrogen TRN 020905

Science begins to realize the obvious,

and begins to awaken to what Kropotkin

pointed out over 100 years ago:

cooperation is as natural as competition

– in fact, moreso among the primates and

other species of higher intelligence

Scientific American Mind: The Samaritan Paradox