Season’s Blessings from friend Tom Pinkson

My old friend and compadre Tom Pinkson, sent out a wonderful Season’s Blessings letter, from which I’d like to quote the following two paragraphs – may they inspire you to search within for the abundant resources of inspiration and reward available to all of us.

In support of that light during this holy time of darkness may we remember that “When the going gets tough, We get what we practice”. If you do not have a practice that connects you with a light that sustains you through hard times, this winter is an excellent time to travel within to reflect on what qualities of Being you want to grow in your life, your sense of mission and purpose, why you are here, what gifts you bring to share with others that in so doing will bring you a sense of meaning and fulfillment – light through darkness.

In awareness of this when confronting challenge you can now ask yourself – “How can I respond to this situation in a way that moves me in the direction I want to grow/go/glow?” Because you have taken the time to discern the direction you do want to grow in, you are empowered out of victim reactivity into creative spiritual warriorhood consciously choosing to use your life-force energy in a skillful manner for positive manifestation – honoring the light within and being a channel for that light in the world.

Rethinking the Global Economy: The Case for Sharing

In a powerful essay published on the Common Dreams website,  economists Rajesh Makwana and Adam Parsons make the case for an entirely different economic system, one based on cooperation and sharing rather than competition, in other words a socialist rather than capitalist model (though they themselves don’t use that terminology). The key difference between these two models, as I have come to understand it, is the following: a socialist model has as its explicit goal the meeting of human needs in the society as equitably as possible (this is referred to, in textbooks, as “public or common ownership of the means of production and distribution”); whereas the capitalist model is based on maximizing the profitability of individuals and enterprises (this is referred to, in textbooks, as “increasing concentration of the means of production and distribution in private and corporate ownership”). A capitalist system leads inevitably, as we have seen over the past several centuries, to ever greater wealth for the few and greater immiseration for the many in “boom and bust” cycles.

As the 21st Century unfolds, humanity is faced with a stark reality. Following the world stock market crash in 2008, people everywhere are questioning the unbridled greed, selfishness and competition that has driven the dominant economic model for decades. The old obsession with protecting national interests, the drive to maximise profits at all costs, and the materialistic pursuit of economic growth has failed to benefit the world’s poor and led to catastrophic consequences for planet earth.

The incidence of hunger is more widespread than ever before in human history, surpassing 1 billion people in 2009 despite the record harvests of food being reaped in recent years. At least 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty, a number equivalent to more than four times the population of the United States. One out of every five people does not have access to clean drinking water. Every day, around 50,000 people die needlessly as a result of being denied the essentials of life. In the face of these immense challenges, international aid has proven largely ineffective, inadequate, and incapable of enabling governments to secure the basic needs of all citizens. …The enduring gap between rich and poor, both within and between countries, is a crisis that lies at the heart of our political and economic problems.

If humanity is to survive the formidable challenges that define our generation – including climate change, diminishing fossil fuels and global conflict – it is necessary to forge new ethical understandings that embrace our collective values and global interdependence. We urgently need a new paradigm for human advancement, beginning with a fundamental reordering of world priorities: an immediate end to hunger, the securing of universal basic needs, and a rapid safeguarding of the environment and atmosphere. No longer can national self-interest, international competition and excessive commercialisation form the foundation of our global economic framework.

The crucial first step towards creating an inclusive world system requires overhauling our outdated assumptions about human nature, reconnecting our public life with fundamental values, and rethinking the role of markets in achieving the common good. In line with what we now know about human behaviour and psychology, integrating the principle of sharing into our economic system would reflect our global unity and have far-reaching implications for how we distribute and consume the planet’s wealth and resources. Sharing the world’s resources more equitably can allow us to build a more sustainable, cooperative and inclusive global economy – one that reflects and supports what it really means to be human.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/11/26-2

Sane Reflections on the Weird California Elections – by the redoubtable Starhawk (from her blog)

1. Invest in life, not death:

Stop spending our money on war and death. Instead, spend it on things that improve peoples’ lives and address our grave environmental problems. Create those new, green technologies that will put more people to work. Fund education so young people don’t start their lives as debt slaves to college loans. Fund health care. Open up the prison gates and stop incarcerating people at one of the highest rates in the world.

2. Make the rich pay their fair share:

Raise taxes on those who can afford to pay them. It’s obscene that a Meg Whitman has $160 million dollars to spend on a campaign. The rich amass their money using the infrastructures we all pay for—they benefit inordinately and they are required to give very little back. Roll back the tax cuts for the wealthy. If California taxed the rich and the corporations at the rate we did under Reagan, we would not have a budget shortfall today.

3. Hold the real criminals accountable:

Executives who sign off on shoddy safety systems that destroy the ecology of a region, companies that cut corners with cut-rate cement, officials who authorize torture, banks that foreclose on the unemployed with ‘sloppy paperwork’ read ‘fraud’, hedge fund managers that do the dirty deals that eat up the pensions of working people—shut them down. Prosecute them—with criminal, not just civil, lawsuits when they deserve it. Put a moratorium on foreclosures.

4. Get big money out of our elections: Until we do this, until we have true campaign finance reform, those that serve big money will always have a competitive edge over those that challenge the interests of the rich.

Remember that the real work of change is always going on—if not in Washington, then in thousands of towns and neighborhoods and communities, if not in the halls of power, then in the streets. Don’t be complacent, but don’t despair. All around us are allies working for more justice, more freedom, more ecological balance, more peace. This is not a time to fall back, but to step up, to be bolder, braver, louder, funnier, more inventive, more outrageous, more committed. Political winds blow back and forth—hold to your deepest values, and we’ll stay the course.

Starhawks Blog

A conversation with Fidel Castro about the ever-present danger of war

A very interesting and wide-ranging conversation between the 80-year old leader of the Cuban revolution and Michel Chossudovsky, a Canadian political scientist, in which Castro advocates the abolition of not only nuclear weapons but all weapons, was published in the Global Research website; (www.globalresearch.ca/)

Michel Chossudovsky and Fidel Castro

Chossudovsky wrote:

The World is at a dangerous crossroads. We have reached a critical turning point in our history.
This interview with Fidel Castro provides an understanding of the nature of modern warfare: Were a military operation to be launched against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the US and its allies would be unable to win a conventional war, with the possibility that this war could evolve towards a nuclear war.
The details of ongoing war preparations in relation to Iran have been withheld from the public eye.
How to confront the diabolical and absurd proposition put forth by the US administration that using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran will “make the World a safer place”?
When a US sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, condoned and accepted by the World’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back: human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction.
What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.

Michel Chossudovsky and Fidel Castro

 

In his October 15 speech, Fidel Castro warned the World on the dangers of nuclear war – indeed all war!

“The conventional war would be lost by the US and the nuclear war is no alternative for anyone. On the other hand, nuclear war would inevitably become global”
 
“I think nobody on Earth wishes the human species to disappear. And that is the reason why I am of the opinion that what should disappear are not just nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons. We must provide a guarantee for peace to all peoples without distinction…
 
“In a nuclear war the collateral damage would be the life of humankind. Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”

Watch video of Castro giving the speech on the dangers of nuclear war: