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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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Past Shows


Confusion in the Cosmovision

July 05, 2009

3P-034 Show Information (includes MP3 download link)

Welcome to the 34th episode of Third Paradigm, entitled Confusion in the Cosmovision. This phrase is taken from a radio interview with Tupac Enrique Acosta, called Wars of the Petropolis, from which we'll play an excerpt. Tupac is quoting from the Declaration that resulted from the recent summit meeting of the Abya Yala. This was a gathering of 6500 representatives of hundreds of indigenous nations from 22 countries. They call themselves the Abya Yala or the mature continent, from the time before the invaders came to subjugate those they continued to call Indians, enshrining the ignorance of that misnomer. They are the roots of humanity – those whose communities and connection to a place go back through scores of generations. Their vision also extends forward generations, unlike the Kleenex culture we live in, which regards the forests as resources to be used and discarded like so many dirty tissues.

We'll also present the sovereignty news from the other frontline in Honduras. Today, in an exclusive interview on TeleSUR, the multinational media network, President Mel Zelaya announced that he's flying into Tegucigalpa accompanied by Miguel d'Escoto, president of the UN General Assembly. A second commission is heading for El Salvador, headed by the secretary general of the Organization of American States, the presidents of Ecuador, Paraguay, and Argentina, and the foreign ministers of Venezuela and Bolivia.

Yesterday, 200,000 Hondurans marched to the airport to meet him, with the leaders of international NGO's like Nonviolence International, Code Pink, Global Exchange, SOA Watch, and Rights Action. Zelaya urged Hondurans not to carry weapons, that their weapons are those of truth and democracy. The de facto regime closed the airport early this morning, has thousands of heavily-armed soldiers blocking the entrance, and has said that they'll arrest Zelaya if he lands. Snipers, belonging to the Cobra special swarm unit, occupy the airport control towers with their rifles aimed at the hundreds of thousands of people. The Catholic Cardinal and 11 Bishops have come out in FULL SUPPORT of the coup and warned Zelaya to stay away and avoid a "blood-bath." No one knows what will happen, but we'll provide some background information, along with an ending comment about the Free Radio Santa Cruz micro-coup. But first, let's hear two poems by Judy Brown and e.e.cummings. The music is...

[Remaining Light – God is an Astronaut]

* * * * * * *


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.
We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

~ Judy Brown ~
From Leading from Within, ed. by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner

* * * * * * *

seeker of truth

follow no path
all paths lead where

truth is here

~ e. e. cummings ~
From E.E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962

That was Fire by Judy Brown, and seeker of truth by e.e. cummings. The music was Remaining Light by God is an Astronaut.

The poem Fire talks about paying attention to the spaces in between, the breathing space. It makes space itself animate. In some religious concepts or cosmovisions, it's only in relationship that anything exists – the so-called negative space between subjects is really the foreground, like the picture that flips between being a vase or a woman's profile. Judy Brown's poem also speaks to me as a metaphor for social action. It's possible, I think, to pack the logs too tight, fuel it with so much serious attention that you smother it. There needs to be a little bit of dancing in between, openings in which the flame, an animate force that already knows how it wants to burn, can find its way. I remind myself that as important as doing my part is then getting out of the way, trusting in the fire to do its thing.

This last week my daughters and I held our second Food in the 'Hood – a frontyard Farmer's Market, Gourmet Deli, and Bake Sale for global charity. We're doing it every other Thursday throughout the summer to raise money for the Amazonians of Peru and the Hondurans. We're supporting Peru through a local nonprofit called IF, that can direct the money to a group called Red Ambiental Loretana (or the Loreto Environmental Network). Their Director is an Irish/British Christian Brother, Paul McAuley, who is at the top of the list of those who'll be arrested if a state of emergency is declared in Iquitos. Everyone else in the group is local, and it includes very strong indigenous participation, especially indigenous youth. Three of their uncles were among those killed in the Bagua massacre. They're a great little group and a direct connection to the region.

An important source of US information on the Abya Yala is Tupac Enrique Acosta, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He's translated the declarations that have come out of this globally unprecedented indigenous alliance. This is especially important because there are few speakers of Kuna, Quechua, or other indigenous languages available. He was recently interviewed on the Phoenix Jeff Farias show, in an episode called Wars of the Petropolis.

Speaking about the divine right of kings, Tupac confirms the role that religion has played in moralizing conquest. Without an ideology that glorifies or sanctifies destruction, people wouldn't go along with it. Later in the interview, Tupac says that Evo Morales has just declared Mother Earth Day, rather than just Earth Day. It's the first step, he says, to acknowledging our sacred relationship to the material world, rather than as a commodity. Jeff says to Tupac that at the heart of the conflict are two entirely different mindsets – one of dominion and one of living in harmony. Tupac agrees and extends it to the relationship between ourselves and the universe. The Declaration of the Continental Congress of the Abya Yala refers to this as a "confusion in the cosmovision" that's resulted in extractive industries that aren't sustainable, and are terracide at the expense of future generations. He ends by calling for a check on the Peru-US free trade agreement and the market forces that are the new religion – the divine right of supernational corporations. More information can be found at Let's break for Ethan Miller with The Invisible Hand of the Market.

That was Ethan Miller with The Invisible Hand of the Market from his In Times of War album. It can be downloaded for free through Open Source Audio at the Internet Archive. Special thanks to Lyn Gerry, the host of radio4all's most popular show, Unwelcome Guests. Along with giving me the link, she remembered fondly when freak radio was born, and said what a great honor it was for her show to be played on it.

Going back to Food in the 'Hood, our second charity recipient for the summer is Rights Action out of Canada, to help Hondurans recover their democracy from the military coup. Since 1998, in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, Rights Action has supported and worked with a number of indigenous, campesino and human rights groups in Honduras: the Civic Counsel of Indigenous & Popular Organizations, the Fraternal Organization of Garifuna People, and the Committee of Family Members of the Disappeared. Since 2002, they've supported groups that are opposing the environmental, health, and human rights violations caused by the Canadian corporation Goldcorp, and their open pit, cyanide leech gold mine in central Honduras. This includes the Siria Valley Enviro-Defense Committee and the Center for Torture Prevention.

The Director of Rights Action, Grahame Russell, is one of the people in Honduras now. I've been impressed with their integrity and deep knowledge of the issues. Here are some of the points that they're stressing:

  1. Under US law, all military aid has to cease if a government has been usurped by military coup. Obama and Hilary Clinton have paused some of the aid programs that make up the $40 million given annually. But they're still dancing around the issue and acting like it's coup-lite– debating whether it's a political or military coup, and saying that both sides need to compromise. The US is the only country that's not recalled their ambassador. If someone forced you and your family out of your house at gunpoint, should the police help you negotiate sleeping arrangements? Obama needs to call it what it is – a military coup – and stop giving our money, any of it, to an illegal and immoral faux-government.
  2. The bombing of the Supreme Court and a pro-coup radio station may have been executed by the coup government itself, to give them an excuse to suspend constitutional rights. Sweatshop workers are being forced to take part in pro-coup rallies, supplemented by private security forces and guarded by the army. Meanwhile members of the resistance are being arrested if there are more than three people together.
  3. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has taken precautionary measures to protect at risk people. Those detained include a cartoonist and his 17-month-old daughter, and those forcibly disappeared to unknown locations include journalists for TeleSUR, Radio Globo, Canal 36 and directors of the LGBT Rainbow Alliance. Radio Progreso is operated by a Jesuit priest, whose abduction was only averted by a public demonstration of support.
  4. The coup leaders include several well-known human rights abusers, trained at the School of the Americas (SOA).

The general in charge of the coup is the third SOA graduate to depose a Honduran head of state. During a former graduate's rule, two of his SOA underlings tortured and executed two priests, throwing their bodies in a well along with two women and five peasants who were baked alive in bread ovens. This massacre took place on the Los Horcones hacienda, which was owned by the father of Manuel Zelaya. The SOA used to boast about how many of the school's graduates had become heads of their countries, but stopped after the graduates' undemocratic paths to power became better known.

SOA Watch and Rights Action are both raising money to help their Honduran partners and defend those illegally detained by the regime. If you want to donate on-line, and not wait until the next Food in the 'Hood, we encourage you. Drop me a note and we'll reserve a plate with your name on it at the next event. At the last one, the high school students played ukuleles and sang until late, then walked the girls back home. I felt like I was in a Jimmy Stewart movie.

In this last segment, I'd like to relate the Honduran situation to the conflict here at Free Radio Ssnta Cruz (FRSC). What did Mel Zelaya do? He tried to conducted an opinion poll, a non-binding referendum on whether or not they should vote in November on whether or not they should convene a committee to write a new Constitution that they could then vote whether or not to adopt. Mel Zelaya isn't a radical, as you can tell by his father's plantation where the SOA killed and tortured. But asking the people what they want is what democracies do. Most human rights groups weren't great fans of Zelaya, who wasn't progressive enough for them. But they're still risking their lives to get him back. It's not Zelaya they're defending, but the people's right to choose.

Three weeks ago, at FRSC, I conducted an opinion poll, a non-binding referendum, asking whether listeners and donors should be considered in programming decisions. Should Free Radio be a democracy in which programmers serve the interests of a respected and participatory audience? Or should it be an oligarchy, in which programmers make the decisions for the good of all? If programmer dues paid all of the bills, I might agree that programmers should call the shots, even if it turned out to be an audio vanity press. But the solicitation of donations, especially with promos touting it as "the people's radio," and Amy Goodman saying "Free Radio is your radio," implies a certain obligation, I think. It's applying the slogans of socialism to a government that's actually run by cronyism.

The reaction to my poll within FRSC was first, an attempt to get me thrown off the station, and then, a three-hour attack on my character by five people with documents and witnesses. It resulted in the censorship of any programmer broadcasting the survey. On the air since, as with the media on Honduras, the question was changed. The right-wing press focused on Zelaya extending term limits, rather than the fundamental issue of whether he had the right to ask the people what they thought. When I tune in, even three weeks later, I hear programmers using abusive profanities in English against people who are trying to get Spanish off the air. I hear anonymous callers, whose voices resemble those of programmers, who interject the Spanish debate into guest shows. I hear messages on the station voicemail of people offended by the PSA that hasn't played for a month. Of course, PSA is a programmer's term, rather than listener survey, which I called it. When the caller says whose efforts he applauds, he starts to say the name of a programmer before he switches it to FRSC.

But in all of this, the question has been changed. The issue isn't whether Spanish-language news should or shouldn't displace English language news. The issue is whether listeners can be asked what they think. Are we a totalitarian government in which everyone needs to toe the party line? Once a decision is made behind closed doors, can no dissent be voiced? In Honduras, the stakes couldn't be higher, and yet people are defending the right to choose, even when the candidate wasn't their first choice. At the station, there's no need to present a unified front. No one's life hangs in the balance. We can dissent in a respectful way. Isn't that was free speech is about?

This has been Tereza Coraggio with Third Paradigm. Thanks to Skidmark Bob for editing, production, and sanity checks. Responses and comments can be sent to me here. Our final song is a short little ditty by Chumbawumba called To a Little Radio.

[Chumbawumba – To a Little Radio]

Thanks for listening.