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Tereza Coraggio

Third Paradigm is an out-of-the-box thinktank on community sovereignty and regenerative economics.

We look at how to take back our cities, farmland and water; our money, production and trade; our media, education and culture, our religion and even our God.

We present a people's history of the Bible and a parent's view on how to raise giving kids in a taking world.

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The Ethics of Anarchy

January 18, 2009

3P-010 Show Information (includes MP3 download link)


Welcome to the 10th episode of Third Paradigm. Thanks to Roger Barrett who aired last week's show, Friends Don't Let Friends Condone Genocide, on his show, Global Notes, on CHLS Radio Lillooet out of British Colombia. His show centered on Gaza and the force field that seems to protect the Israelis from censure. As an aside, I told him that my oldest daughter believes that she's a misplaced Canadian baby born in California. As a blue-eyed blond, unlike my husband and I, she wants to rejoin her people of the pale, her Caucasian comrades, because she burns too easily for Santa Cruz. She also says that Canadians are funnier and nicer, although I think the improv "Whose Line Is It Anyway" has formed her bias. Roger says that, as a Brit, he can't lay claim to any humor that won't get him committed. He writes, "I understand that Canadians had an admirable reputation for peace-making, peace-keeping and mediation - now we have the Right Horrible Harper, a toad of the same water as Blair and Bush, and a seemingly endless series of governmental scandals that, nice as we Canadians are, seem to be almost immediately forgiven."

In this show, however, we'll continue to hold Israel accountable, since no one's ever accused us of being nice. We'll look at a Do-It-Yourself strategy for divesting from Israel recommended by Naomi Klein. After this act of economic anarchy, we'll untangle the roots of anarchy in a little-known apocryphal gospel. Then we'll look at a portrait of the Santa Cruz anarchist in elementary school, at the high school, at the drum circle, and at this radio station. But first, a poem by Antonio Machado.

http://www.panhala.net/Archive/Last_Night.html

Last Night As I Was Sleeping

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion

that there was a spring breaking out in my heart.
I said, "Along what secret aqueduct are you coming to me
Oh water, water of a new life that I have never drunk."

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a beehive here in my heart.
And the golden bees were making white combs
and sweet honey from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a fiery sun here in my heart.
It was fiery because it gave warmth as if from a hearth
And it was sun because it gave light and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was God here in my heart.

God, is my soul asleep?
Have those beehives who labor by night stopped, and
the water wheel of thought, is it dry?
The cup's empty, wheeling out carrying only shadows?
No! My soul is not asleep! My soul is not asleep!
It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches, its clear eyes open,
far off things, and listens, and listens
at the shores of the great silence.
It listens at the shores of the great silence.

~ Antonio Machado ~
http://www.uark.edu/depts/flaninfo/monumentos/monmachado.htm
From The Winged Energy of Delight, translations by Robert Bly

That was Last Night by Antonio Machado, from The Winged Energy of Delight translated by Robert Bly. Machado is Spain's most beloved poet. When he was 61, Franco's coup d'état divided him from his brother and from his lover, both of whom he collaborated with each weekend. They were left on Franco's side of Spain and he was driven into exile on the other. If anyone saw Pan's Labyrinth, it gave an idea of the sinister flavor of Franco's Spain along with some intensely weird animation. Machado died a few years after this with his last poem in his pocket.

In one piece he writes about the two Spains - one that dies and one that yawns. This could also describe our world, divided between the third world and the first. We are consumers, who live off the products of other people's labor and they are producers with no right to live except by serving the consumer market. They die and we yawn. Already, crisis fatigue is setting in over Gaza, and they're not done dying. White phosphorus is still burning through lung tissue and mini-nuclear weapons are leaving triple amputees in their wake. But here in the first world, we neither sleep nor dream, but watch, not far off things like in Machado's poem, but instead flat-screen things. And we yawn.

Between Antipathy and Apathy

Where is the second world in between these two, which neither dies nor yawns? Where are the consumers who produce, and the producers who are allowed to feed their families? Between the fronts of antipathy and apathy there's a very thin line of anarchists - economic, agricultural, industrial. These are the ones who aren't trying to get someone to bail them out. They are, with Naomi Klein, figuring out how to divest from Israel. In Naomi's latest newsletter, she refers to the Global movement to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) Israel. Back in 2005 they wrote:

"One year after the historic Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which found Israel's Wall built on occupied Palestinian territory to be illegal; Israel continues its construction of the colonial Wall with total disregard to the Court's decision.

Thirty-eight years into Israel's occupation of the Palestinian West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights, Israel continues to expand Jewish colonies. It has unilaterally annexed occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and is now de facto annexing large parts of the West Bank by means of the Wall.

Israel is also preparing - in the shadow of its planned redeployment from the Gaza Strip - to build and expand colonies in the West Bank. Fifty-seven years after the state of Israel was built mainly on land ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian owners, a majority of Palestinians are refugees, most of whom are stateless. Moreover, Israel's entrenched system of racial discrimination against its own Arab-Palestinian citizens remains intact."

They then write about the hundreds of UN resolutions since 1948 that have condemned Israel's occupation, oppression, and disregard of human rights, and compare the situation to South African apartheid, a comparison that Desmond Tutu has also made. The BDS strategy, in solidarity with the resistance movement, broke the empire's grip in Africa. The BDS strategy, enacted by housewives, was also instrumental in ending the transatlantic slave trade. Throughout Europe and America, ladies refused to buy sugar - a sacrifice that would cut to my heart for sure. So Christopher Columbus fathered the transatlantic slave trade and the mothers killed the bastard.

Could this work in Gaza and is there time? If I could think of a more effective short-term strategy, I'd be for it. Naomi writes that

"Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures – quite the opposite. The weapons and $3 billion in annual aid that the US sends to Israel is only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first non-Latin American country to sign a free-trade deal with Mercosur. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45 percent. A new trade deal with the European Union is set to double Israel's exports of processed food. ...over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's flagship index actually went up 10.7 percent."

From Babel-on to Andalus

In recent days, however, Bolivia has cut off relations with Israel. Naomi writes that her own books had been published by an Israeli company, Babel. With the Shock Doctrine, she wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of the BDS team, she found Andalus, an activist Israeli publisher that exclusively translates Arabic texts into Hebrew. She wrote a contract, if I'm understanding it correctly, that gives all of her proceeds to them. What a gal! And when I read the Andalus website, it was the first time that I saw the real Israel, the Israel that could be, the curious Israel. They translate a dozen novels a year by Palestinians, Egyptians, Syrians, by men and women, with fascinating, evocative titles. It was a feast that I could only nibble at, reading neither Hebrew nor Arabic. But this moving towards what you love is as important as the divestment strategy of moving away from what you abhor. While I've been sickened by Israel in general, this did my heart good to see.

Another feast of cultures is happening in Paris where a guy named Jim Haynes invites the world to dinner each Sunday. He was born in Louisiana, ran a bookstore in Scotland, created a theater company in London, launched a newspaper in Amsterdam and taught media studies in Paris. What he does now is introduce people to people. This is from NPR's This I Believe series (NPR has a link to a recording of Tom speaking):

http://parispointgriset.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html) January 12, 2009

Every week for the past 30 years, I've hosted a Sunday dinner in my home in Paris. People, including total strangers, call or e-mail to book a spot. I hold the salon in my atelier, which used to be a sculpture studio. The first 50 or 60 people who call may come, and twice that many when the weather is nice and we can overflow into the garden.

Every Sunday a different friend prepares a feast. Last week it was a philosophy student from Lisbon, and next week a dear friend from London will cook.

People from all corners of the world come to break bread together, to meet, to talk, connect and often become friends. All ages, nationalities, races, professions gather here, and since there is no organized seating, the opportunity for mingling couldn't be better. I love the randomness.

I believe in introducing people to people... If I had my way, I would introduce everyone in the whole world to each other.

....At a recent dinner, a 6-year-old girl from Bosnia spent the entire evening glued to an 8-year-old boy from Estonia. Their parents were surprised, and pleased, by this immediate friendship.

....I have long believed that it is unnecessary to understand others, individuals or nationalities; one must, at the very least, simply tolerate others. Tolerance can lead to respect and, finally, to love. No one can ever really understand anyone else, but you can love them or at least accept them.

Like Tom Paine, I am a world citizen. All human history is mine. My roots cover the earth.

I believe we should know each other. After all, our lives are all connected. ...OK, now come and dine.

Independently produced for All Things Considered by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, with John Gregory and Viki Merrick.

While this and the publishing company Andalus presents a future I want to believe in, there was one photo on the BDS movement website that chilled me to the bone. It's a picture of a young Israeli girl, about 10 or 11, my youngest daughter's age, using a crayon to sign a bomb to be dropped on the people of Lebanon in 2006. The look in her eye says, "this will serve them right." She resembles the youth for Hitler proudly painting the swastika.

AP Jul 17, 2006: Israeli girls write messages on a shell at a heavy artillery position near Kiryat Shmona, in northern Israel, next to the Lebanese border:

"Jazrala with love from Israel and Daniele"

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7760/1663/1600/israeli%20girls%20signing%202.jpg

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7760/1663/1600/more%20girls%20signing%20bombs.2.jpg

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7760/1663/1600/israeli%20girls%20signing%201.jpg

If the tables were turned, I could picture her as a young Eva Braun huddled in the bunker, saying "Mommy, how can there be a God if this could happen to us?" But dropping bombs with impunity is proof that your God exists.

The Victim Shield and the Giant Bullseye

One of the tropes of the Israeli propaganda machine is how horrible it is of Hamas militants to use women and children as shields. With 20,000 people per square mile and half of them children, maybe the men should line up in the shape of a giant bullseye to help the Israeli pilots, since they count all men as militants. But how can Israel believe its own rhetoric? Isn't that the definition of war by occupation - you bring your women and children in as settlers before the dust clears on the bulldozed house? That way they can't fire back without firing on civilians. But when you fire on them, you're aiming for the militants, a.k.a. the men. These Palestinian fathers ruthlessly keep throwing their children in the way of the bullets and bombs.

Israel, we are not stupid. Everyone is a civilian in their own country. You are the militants who use your wives and children as shields, protecting you from censure and from attack. The people of Israel, for the vast majority, aren't the generation that lived through the Holocaust. They haven't been the victims of persecution and oppression. On the contrary, they inherited a legacy of international sympathy that their parents paid for. How have they spent this legacy? By allowing their victim status to be used in a proxy war. Where they've inherited the innocence of victims, their children will be viewed with suspicion and hostility - assumed to be pro-Zionist unless stated otherwise. This is the debt that Israel has incurred on her children's behalf, squandering a fortune in one generation.

We'll break with DeVotchKa playing Undone, and we'll return with our feature rant on the Ethics of Anarchy.

That was Undone from DeVotchKa's recent CD, A Mad and Faithful Telling. I liked the gypsy feel of it and the correspondence of the Spanish guitar with the Machado poem. But I also like the lyrics and their mix of regret and defiance, accepting the consequences of an action but unwilling to go quietly. It seemed like an act of desperation, conviction, or both. The author would accept his own death, except for the one waiting on him and the things he's left undone. It seems to me like the anarchist in extremis, at the end of a rope where all that you have is trust.

The Inheritance Order of Archons

Where does the term anarchy come from? One of the books I'm writing is called Revolutionary Mystics and How To Become One. It's a free-wheeling interpretation of the apocryphal Gospel of Philip, using the Tao te Ching, a Course in Miracles and poetry from the East and West. The apocryphal texts were excluded from the Bible, and are literally "resurrected from the crypt," having been found in urns buried for over 15 centuries. In the Gospel of Phillip there's much discussion of the archons, who are the earthly corrupt powers that have imposed their rule instead of God's. The virgin Mary, for instance, is the one that the archons have no power over because she doesn't recognize or fear them. Hierarchy is the inheritance order of the archons, which is how they see themselves lining up for the divine right to rule.

The anarchists, in this era, were the ones who held themselves to a higher standard of integrity than just sucking up to the archons. Then as now, the easy road was collaboration with the empire especially for those who had advantages. The anarchist refused, at his or her own risk, to use privileges to advance their fortunes. Often this resulted in great harm to themselves. How does this compare to the modern anarchist?

The other day my fifth-grade daughter and I were talking. She said that her second-grade teacher had been her favorite, with the best combination of being both firm and nice. But she didn't know if it was because that was the only year that a particular boy wasn't in her class, whose behavior dominated the room because he both refused to be ruled and refused to rule himself. His anarchy deprived 29 other kids of the teacher's attention. Our schools can't leave any child behind, say, as the janitor's apprentice until they can respect their environment, their teachers, and their fellow students.

At the High School, juvenile anarchists litter, draw penises on bathroom walls, and try to break the record for pulling the fire alarm. So instead of raising funds for reforestation, the environmental club spent Saturday picking up trash. Instead of assessing the products of child and sweatshop labor sold by the schools, the Women's Honor Society is repainting the bathrooms. To deal with the fire alarm, frustrated teachers are resorting to Israel's tactic of collective punishment. But these aren't Palestinians fighting for the right of self-rule, they're kids inflicting their consequences on everyone else.

Anarchist Drum Circles and Pirate Stations

Next, at the Farmer's Market, an anarchist drum circle has proudly defied the police and the vendors, who feel that it dominates the space and scares away their customers. The drummers stand up to what they call police intimidation and gather solidarity from the activist community. In the meantime, the farmers are making plans to move to a less accessible place - somewhere that customers need to drive to. Instead of downtown, it may be in a mall parking lot. But striking a blow for anarchy requires some sacrifices - more commercialism and less food sovereignty.

Lastly, my anarchist radio station Free Radio Santa Cruz. An ongoing debate has been whether the free-ranging use of obscenity should be corralled into particular time zones, or at least have a few hours fenced off where obscenity is not allowed to roam. This would allow businesses, people who work in public spaces, parents, and people who just don't like it time when they can listen. Like drumming and fire alarms, obscenity is invasive - someone's right to do it overrides everyone else's right not to hear it. FRSC is the only station in town uncensored by commercial ties or sponsorships. I can criticize corporations, the university system, religion, the government, or Israel at will. There's no other venue to form a local community who's hearing the real news, as Amy Goodman has accomplished nationally. But everyone without a high tolerance for obscenity is excluded from my local audience.

Let's look at how obscenity works. First, it takes words that graphically describe sex in a way that's violent and ugly. I'm not talking about the occasional use of the f-word, but vivid rants that assault the listener with images and sensations. Whatever the speaker is criticizing, whether the military or the government or corporations, is then associated with an act of sexual violation. But hearing and imagining sexual violence is an assault in itself for those who haven't been numbed by years in prison or the military or public schools, from what my kids tell me. I don't want to drive away all but the most hardened listeners, sending the rest to the commercial stations. Commercialism is obscenity because it dehumanizes people. I can't fight it in a space that 24 x 7 does the same.

This has been Tereza Coraggio with Third Paradigm, produced and edited by Skidmark Bob. The final song is David Rovics with I'm a Better Anarchist Than You.

[David Rovics – I'm A Better Anarchist Than You]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPqsOBRO0hU

Thanks for listening.

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