Friday, August 26, 2011

Privilege and Perception

Chip Berlet runs down right-wing populism in the Tea Party ranks.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Every Hope Diminished

As millions of us, especially seniors and disabled, are exhausted by the competition for housing and medicine, the added stress of social insecurity and economic instability poses severe obstacles to normal functioning. Under such conditions, our inability to harmonize our visions, efforts and plans becomes systemic.

With such societal breakdown, every attempt at communication is painful, every hope diminished. Indeed, it's a wonder there aren't riots in the street every day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Whining as Strategy

After eight years of Bush and nearly three of Obama, one might reasonably expect professional activists and other community organizers to come up with something more effective than protests and placards. Indeed, given their ineffectiveness in altering public policy, one might think they would be inclined to reconsider the conventional strategy of whining their way to power. It has never worked before, and it isn't working now.

Yet, I watch many unions and social justice activists continually investing their time and resources in mass protests, marches, and media campaigns that are all but ignored by those who currently wield power under the globalization agenda. If anything, I expect these titans of thievery are reassured and amused by how predictable and easily controlled or manipulated these groups and events have become. It's like watching reruns of silly soap operas where B actors hit their lines and marks under the guidance of off-screen directors.

The professionalization of protest under the guiding hand of derivative philanthropy, of course, is part of the system of keeping democracy down, but that doesn't mean the rest of us have to follow their lead. After all, in this fight to the death over whether we can live lives of dignity and fulfillment, or succumb to a miserable existence of impoverished expectations, we need access to more effective weapons of resistance. When we start to see strikes, blockades, sabotage and acts of civil disobedience against the power elite, we will know the whining paradigm has finally died; until then, it is all high drama.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Seeds of Hope

In hard times, it is community that sees us through. An essential but often neglected part of nurturing community, especially when things fall apart, is mentoring. In this inter-generational exchange lies the seeds of hope for a better tomorrow.

With the knowledge and understanding gained from experience and reflection, imparted to those freshly assuming social responsibilities, comes an obligation to see that participating elders are able to live a life of dignity and fulfillment. Tribes, institutions and markets routinely make use of mentoring in order to perpetuate themselves; now it is time for networks devoted to intellectual development and humanitarian ideals to make use of this human resource in a way that respects the generosity of and meets the needs of mentoring elders.

Some programs honor wisdom of the elders through exposure of their ideas or examination of their lives, but it is the working relationships between elders and young people that promises to bear fruit. Investing in this relationship with scholarships and stipends, so both may participate without undue hardship, is possibly one of the most efficient uses of scarce funds to achieve meaningful change.

Large grants to tribes and institutions are important, but small grants to mentoring programs can prove to be equally effective. When they work in tandem, the sky’s the limit.

The world’s problems may get worse before they get better, but investing in mentoring now gives us a vital chance down the road. Without it, there is no chance at all.