Archive for the 'Social Justice & Advocacy' Category

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IVA…

October 20th, 2014

BETWEEN the aims of the post-totalitarian system and the aims of life there is a yawning abyss: while life, in its essence, moves toward plurality, diversity, independent self-constitution, and self organization, in short, toward the fulfillment of its own freedom, the post-totalitarian system demands conformity, uniformity, and discipline. While life ever strives to create new […]

WAITING TO EXHALE IN FERGUSON…

October 20th, 2014

This internal thread concerning events in and about Ferguson, Missouri, is stuck to the top of the blog, newer, less vital, posts appear below. Meanwhile, comments on PZ Myers’ Good Morning, America now exceed 1,600… Ferguson is a city holding its breath as it waits for the other shoe to drop. The protesters have mostly […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIIC…

October 19th, 2014

The smaller a dictatorship and the less stratified by modernization the society under it, the more directly the will of the dictator can be exercised. In other words, the dictator can employ more or less naked discipline, avoiding the complex processes of relating to the world and of self-justification which ideology involves. But the more […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIIB…

October 18th, 2014

Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and […]

OHIO COAL THRIVES UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA…

October 17th, 2014

As angry bipartisan crowds of Ohio politicians gather to defend “our coal jobs” from the US EPA’s proposed new rules for coal power plants, it’s worth noting just how many jobs we’re talking about. Yes, those are the actual numbers—no zeros have been omitted. (It’s off topic, but note the increase in Ohio coal employment […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIIB…

October 17th, 2014

Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,” he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own […]

OUR FANTASIES SAP OUR MOTIVATION…

October 16th, 2014

[P]icturing an imaginary glass of water might make people less motivated to get up and head to the watercooler or the tap in order to quench their real, non-imaginary thirst. This conclusion is precisely the reverse of one of the central tenets of pop psychology: the idea that picturing the future you desire makes it […]

VISITING THE WHITENESS PROJECT

October 16th, 2014

The Whiteness Project is a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as “white” experience their ethnicity. The project is conducting 1,000 interviews with white people from all walks of life and localities in which they are asked about their relationship to, and their understanding of, their own whiteness. It also includes data drawn from […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIIA…

October 16th, 2014

THE MANAGER of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so […]

ROLDO RIGHTS ON SERIOUSLY PLAIN DEALER…?

October 15th, 2014

Just how often do you get really angry with the Plain Dealer? I guess I’ve made an obsession with it over the years. Last Sunday provided another example of why. I’m talking about the sports section of the Sunday PD. Twenty page of sports in a town that so badly needs space for real news […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIG…

October 15th, 2014

The profound difference between our system—in terms of the nature of power—and what we traditionally understand by dictatorship, a difference I hope is clear even from this quite superficial comparison, has caused me to search for some term appropriate for our system, purely for the purposes of this essay. If I refer to it henceforth […]

ROLDO RIGHTS ON A SALES-TAX VACATION:
A TAX BREAK FOR THE LOWER ECONOMIC PEOPLE…

October 14th, 2014

If I were a politician today there are two things I would promote in Cleveland and Ohio. First, a state-wide raise in the minimum wage. If not, a push for city-wide minimum wage hikes. Where are Cleveland politicians? Second, I’d call for a temporary vacation or permanent decrease in the state’s sales tax. If there […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIF…

October 14th, 2014

Finally, if an atmosphere of revolutionary excitement, heroism, dedication, and boisterous violence on all sides characterizes classical dictatorships, then the last traces of such an atmosphere have vanished from the Soviet bloc. For some time now this bloc has ceased to be a kind of enclave, isolated from the rest of the developed world and […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIE…

October 13th, 2014

Fourth, the technique of exercising power in traditional dictatorships contains a necessary element of improvisation. The mechanisms for wielding power are for the most part not established firmly, and there is considerable room for accident and for the arbitrary and unregulated application of power. Socially, psychologically, and physically, conditions still exist for the expression of […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IID …

October 12th, 2014

One legacy of that original “correct” understanding is a third peculiarity that makes our systems different from other modern dictatorships: it commands an incomparably more precise, logically structured, generally comprehensible and, in essence, extremely flexible ideology that, in its elaborateness and completeness, is almost a secularized religion. It of fears a ready answer to any […]

FUCK VOTER SUPPRESSION…

October 11th, 2014

To all politicians who’ve ever tried to block access to voting: What the hell is the matter with you people?! You need to get your head on straight. The cornerstone of this great country is the right to vote—and you should be fighting to make sure that every citizen who can vote, does! But instead […]

EDWARD SNOWDEN IS NOT UNIQUE OR ALONE…

October 11th, 2014

The investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald has found a second leaker inside the US intelligence agencies, according to a new documentary about Edward Snowden that premiered in New York on Friday night. Towards the end of filmmaker Laura Poitras’s portrait of Snowden – titled Citizenfour, the label he used when he first contacted her – Greenwald […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIC…

October 11th, 2014

In the second place, if a feature of classical dictatorships is their lack of historical roots (frequently they appear to be no more than historical freaks, the fortuitous consequence of fortuitous social processes or of human and mob tendencies), the same cannot be said so facilely about our system. For even though our dictatorship has […]

SO, HOW DO WE FIX THIS…?

October 11th, 2014

APPROVAL VS. LEGALITY…

October 10th, 2014

The comic notes a curious inversion between the timing of legal and popular opinion trends for interracial marriage vs. same-sex marriage. In the 11 years since Massachusetts first legalized same-sex marriage, at no point have there been more people living in states where it’s legal than there are people who support its legality (although this […]

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