a better world
is probable
  1. We are History

    March 23, 2008

    For many progressives and people that become seriously committed to global justice there is a moment where everything clicks. I remember when I had my “ah-ha” moment. I was at my grandfather’s Detroit Townhouse when he presented a large, blue binder to me across the dining room table. I was sixteen years old.

    The binder contained the stenograph documents of my great-grandfather’s deportation trial. There was an attempt made between around the 1920s by the U.S. Justice Department to kick out well over 10,000 immigrants mostly from Eastern Europe for “radical activity.” My great-grandfather, Peter, was just one of those immigrants taken during what became known as the Palmer Raids.

    He traveled to the State’s from after deserting the Bulgarian Army during the Balkan Wars as a pacifist and anti-royalist. He came to the US in New York as a fur worker. He was politicized through his travels and the people he met at his workplace and in his churches. After settling in Detroit, he became very active in union organizing and socialist activity. After the failed attempt by the US Attorney General to deport him, he had toned down his radicalism, but stayed active with unions.

    I reflect on this part of my life often. I feel like it’s important for me as an organizer to understand where my politics come from and at what points they developed.

    I took a lesson from hearing this story.


  2. GM Exec to World: Global Warming is a Crock of …

    February 23, 2008

    Global warming is “a total crock of shit” wrote the Vice President of General Motors Corp in a company blog entry titled “Talk About a Crock.” According to Reuters, the GM Veep wrote this as a response to recent pressure he’s been getting from bloggers (I wonder if they could be talking about this?).

    There’s no spin or clever corporate greenwashing here.

    I feel like I want to write a rant, but words can’t explain the monumental absurdity of this. He wrote that his personal feelings concerning global warming have “no bearing on GM’s commitment to build environmentally friendly vehicles.” So, the corporate head of product development thinking that global warming is bunk has nothing to do with GM’s refusal to take leadership in meeting consumer demands for more efficient, oil-free transportation?

    Strange coincidence than, no?


  3. Why have 4 million people watched this video?

    February 23, 2008

    I found this video linked to the last video I posted, “A Vision of Students Today.”

    A quick synopsis: This guy, The Hermit, stays in his house all day and makes movies about politics and media. No joke. In this video he tells students (that’s us) that we didn’t do anything to prevent or end the war on Iraq. He challenges us to use our creative energy and spare time to fight the good fight.Personally, I kinda found the video a bit self righteous and preachy. This is the same kind of tone I try to avoid when speaking to people about activism and the war.

    But here’s the thing. I can say that the tone and message behind this video is alienating, but the numbers really speak for themselves. This video has just under four million views. I couldn’t tell you any other video with that many hits (short of Bro Rape.)

    I talked about this video with a friend of mine a little while after watching it. I was complaining about the paternalistic “Generation Q” attitude I see among so many older, cynical progressives that was exemplified in this video. “We’re doing a lot!,” I said. My friend responded that people don’t know that because the media refuses to cover us.

    And suddenly I realized: Well, why the hell are we waiting for them? Obviously the media didn’t care about Davis Fleetwood’s cynical rant. But the four million people (presumably youth) who viewed it did. Combined, all the YouTube videos from PowerShift don’t even add up to an eighth of that.