Saturday, 5 October 2013
Friday, 4 October 2013
The Sparks of Rebellion
By Chris Hedges
By Chris Hedges
|Editor’s note: Chris Hedges will be giving a talk titled “The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies” on Oct. 13 in the Los Angeles area. Click here for more information.|
September 30, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "Truthdig" - I am reading and rereading the debates among some of the great radical thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries about the mechanisms of social change. These debates were not academic. They were frantic searches for the triggers of revolt.
Vladimir Lenin placed his faith in a violent uprising, a professional, disciplined revolutionary vanguard freed from moral constraints and, like Karl Marx, in the inevitable emergence of the worker’s state.Pierre-Joseph Proudhon insisted that gradual change would be accomplished as enlightened workers took over production and educated and converted the rest of the proletariat. Mikhail Bakunin predicted the catastrophic breakdown of the capitalist order, something we are likely to witness in our lifetimes, and new autonomous worker federations rising up out of the chaos. Pyotr Kropotkin, like Proudhon, believed in an evolutionary process that would hammer out the new society. Emma Goldman, along with Kropotkin, came to be very wary of both the efficacy of violence and the revolutionary potential of the masses. “The mass,” Goldman wrote bitterly toward the end of her life in echoing Marx, “clings to its masters, loves the whip, and is the first to cry Crucify!”
The revolutionists of history counted on a mobilized base of enlightened industrial workers. The building blocks of revolt, they believed, relied on the tool of the general strike, the ability of workers to cripple the mechanisms of production. Strikes could be sustained with the support of political parties, strike funds and union halls. Workers without these support mechanisms had to replicate the infrastructure of parties and unions if they wanted to put prolonged pressure on the bosses and the state. But now, with the decimation of the U.S. manufacturing base, along with the dismantling of our unions and opposition parties, we will have to search for different instruments of rebellion.
We must develop a revolutionary theory that is not reliant on the industrial or agrarian muscle of workers. Most manufacturing jobs have disappeared, and, of those that remain, few are unionized. Our family farms have been destroyed by agro-businesses. Monsanto and its Faustian counterparts on Wall Street rule. They are steadily poisoning our lives and rendering us powerless. The corporate leviathan, which is global, is freed from the constraints of a single nation-state or government. Corporations are beyond regulation or control. Politicians are too anemic, or more often too corrupt, to stand in the way of the accelerating corporate destruction. This makes our struggle different from revolutionary struggles in industrial societies in the past. Our revolt will look more like what erupted in the less industrialized Slavic republics, Russia, Spain and China and uprisings led by a disenfranchised rural and urban working class and peasantry in the liberation movements that swept through Africa and Latin America. The dispossessed working poor, along with unemployed college graduates and students, unemployed journalists, artists, lawyers and teachers, will form our movement. This is why the fight for a higher minimum wage is crucial to uniting service workers with the alienated college-educated sons and daughters of the old middle class. Bakunin, unlike Marx, considered déclassé intellectuals essential for successful revolt.
It is not the poor who make revolutions. It is those who conclude that they will not be able, as they once expected, to rise economically and socially. This consciousness is part of the self-knowledge of service workers and fast food workers. It is grasped by the swelling population of college graduates caught in a vise of low-paying jobs and obscene amounts of debt. These two groups, once united, will be our primary engines of revolt. Much of the urban poor has been crippled and in many cases broken by a rewriting of laws, especially drug laws, that has permitted courts, probation officers, parole boards and police to randomly seize poor people of color, especially African-American men, without just cause and lock them in cages for years. In many of our most impoverished urban centers—our internal colonies, as Malcolm X called them—mobilization, at least at first, will be difficult. The urban poor are already in chains. These chains are being readied for the rest of us. “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread,” W.E.B. Du Bois commented acidly.
Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan examined 100 years of violent and nonviolent resistance movements in their book “Why Civil Resistance Works.” They concluded that nonviolent movements succeed twice as often as violent uprisings. Violent movements work primarily in civil wars or in ending foreign occupations, they found. Nonviolent movements that succeed appeal to those within the power structure, especially the police and civil servants, who are cognizant of the corruption and decadence of the power elite and are willing to abandon them.
“History teaches that we have the power to transform the nation,” Kevin Zeese said when I interviewed him. Zeese, who with Dr. Margaret Flowers founded PopularResistance.org and helped plan theoccupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., continued: “We put forward a strategic framework that would allow people to work together in a common direction to end the rule of money. We need to be a nationally networked movement of many local, regional and issue-focused groups so we can unite into one mass movement. Research shows that nonviolent mass movements win. Fringe movements fail. By ‘mass’ we mean with an objective that is supported by a large majority and 1 percent to 5 percent of the population actively working for transformation.”
Zeese said this mass resistance must work on two tracks. It must attempt to stop the machine while at the same time building alternative structures of economic democracy and participatory democratic institutions. It is vital, he said, to sever ourselves from the corporate economy. Money, he said, has to be raised for grass-roots movements since most foundations that give grants are linked to the Democratic Party. Radical student and environmental groups especially need funds to build national networks, as does the public banking initiative. This initiative is essential to the movement. It will never find support among legislative bodies, for public banks would free people from the tyranny of commercial banks and Wall Street.
The most important dilemma facing us is not ideological. It is logistical. The security and surveillance state has made its highest priority the breaking of any infrastructure that might spark widespread revolt. The state knows the tinder is there. It knows that the continued unraveling of the economy and the effects of climate change make popular unrest inevitable. It knows that as underemployment and unemployment doom at least a quarter of the U.S. population, perhaps more, to perpetual poverty, and as unemployment benefits are scaled back, as schools close, as the middle class withers away, as pension funds are looted by hedge fund thieves, and as the government continues to let the fossil fuel industry ravage the planet, the future will increasingly be one of open conflict. This battle against the corporate state, right now, is primarily about infrastructure. We need an infrastructure to build revolt. The corporate state is determined to deny us one.
The corporate state, unnerved by the Occupy movement, has moved to close any public space to movements that might reignite encampments. For example, New York City police arrested members of Veterans for Peace on Oct. 7, 2012, when they stayed beyond the 10 p.m. official closing time at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The police, who in some cases apologized to the veterans as they handcuffed them, were open about the motive of authorities: Officers told those being taken to jail they should blame the Occupy movement for the arrests.
The state has, at the same time, heavily infiltrated movements in order to discredit, isolate and push out their most competent leaders. It has used its vast surveillance capacities to monitor all forms of electronic communications, as well as personal relationships between activists, giving the state the ability to paralyze planned actions before they can begin. It has mounted a public relations campaign to demonize anyone who resists, branding environmental activists as “ecoterrorists,” charging activists under draconian terrorism laws, hunting down whistle-blowers such as Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden who shine a light on the inner secrets of power and condemning them as traitors and threats to national security. The state has attempted—and in this effort some in the Black Bloc proved unwittingly useful—to paint the movement as violent and directionless.
Occupy articulated the concerns of the majority of citizens. Most of the citizenry detests Wall Street and big banks. It does not want more wars. It needs jobs. It is disgusted with the subservience of elected officials to corporate power. It wants universal health care. It worries that if the fossil fuel industry is not stopped, there will be no future for our children. And the state is using all its power to stymie any movement that expresses these concerns. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show Homeland Security, the FBI, the Federal Protective Service, the Park Service and most likely the NSA and the CIA (the latter two have refused to respond to FOIA requests) worked with police across the country to infiltrate and destroy the encampments. There were 7,765 arrests of people in the movement. Occupy, at its peak, had about 350,000 people—or about 0.1 percent of the U.S. population.
“Look how afraid the power structure was of a mere 1/10th of 1 percent of the population,” Zeese said. “What happens when the movement grows to 1 percent—not a far reach—or the 5 percent that some research shows is the tipping point where no government, dictatorship or democracy can withstand the pressure from below?”
The state cannot allow workers at Wal-Mart, or any other nonunionized service center, to have access to an infrastructure or resources that might permit prolonged strikes and boycotts. And the movement now is about nuts and bolts. It is about food trucks, medical tents, communications vans and musicians and artists willing to articulate and sustain the struggle. We will have to build what unions and radical parties supplied in the past.
The state, in its internal projections, has a vision of the future that is as dystopian as mine. But the state, to protect itself, lies. Politicians, corporations, the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and our ridiculous television pundits speak as if we can continue to build a society based on limitless growth, profligate consumption and fossil fuel. They feed the collective mania for hope at the expense of truth. Their public vision is self-delusional, a form of collective psychosis. The corporate state, meanwhile, is preparing privately for the world it knows is actually coming. It is cementing into place a police state, one that includes the complete evisceration of our most basic civil liberties and the militarization of the internal security apparatus, as well as wholesale surveillance of the citizenry.
The most pressing issue facing us right now is the most prosaic. Protesters attempting to block the Keystone XL pipeline can endure only for so long if they have nothing to eat but stale bagels. They need adequate food. They need a system of communication to get their message out to alternative media that will amplify it. They need rudimentary medical care. All of these elements were vital to the Occupy movement. And these elements, when they came together, allowed the building of a movement that threatened the elite. The encampments also carried within them internal sources of disintegration. Many did not adequately control some groups. Many were hijacked or burdened by those who drained the political work of the movement. Many found that consensus, which worked well in small groups, created paralysis in groups of several hundred or a few thousand. And many failed to anticipate the numbing exhaustion that crushed activists. But these encampments did provide what was most crucial to the movement, something unions or the old Communist Party once provided to militants in the past. They provided the logistics to sustain resistance. And the destruction of the encampments, more than anything else, was a move by the state to deny to us the infrastructure needed to resist.
Infrastructure alone, however, will not be enough. The resistance needs a vibrant cultural component. It was the spirituals that nourished the souls of African-Americans during the nightmare of slavery. It was the blues that spoke to the reality of black people during the era of Jim Crow. It was the poems of Federico Garcia Lorca that sustained the republicans fighting the fascists in Spain. Music, dance, drama, art, song, painting were the fire and drive of resistance movements. The rebel units in El Salvador when I covered the war there always traveled with musicians and theater troupes. Art, as Emma Goldman pointed out, has the power to make ideas felt. Goldman noted that when Andrew Undershaft, a character in George Bernard Shaw’s play “Major Barbara,” said poverty is “[t]he worst of crimes” and “All the other crimes are virtues beside it,” his impassioned declaration elucidated the cruelty of class warfare more effectively than Shaw’s socialist tracts. The degradation of education into vocational training for the corporate state, the ending of state subsidies for the arts and journalism, the hijacking of these disciplines by corporate sponsors, severs the population from understanding, self-actualization and transcendence. In aesthetic terms the corporate state seeks to crush beauty, truth and imagination. This is a war waged by all totalitarian systems.
Culture, real culture, is radical and transformative. It is capable of expressing what lies deep within us. It gives words to our reality. It makes us feel as well as see. It allows us to empathize with those who are different or oppressed. It reveals what is happening around us. It honors mystery. “The role of the artist, then, precisely, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through the vast forest,” James Baldwin wrote, “so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”
Artists, like rebels, are dangerous. They speak a truth that totalitarian systems do not want spoken. “Red Rosa now has vanished too. …” Bertolt Brecht wrote after Luxemburg was murdered. “She told the poor what life is about, And so the rich have rubbed her out.” Without artists such as musician Ry Cooder and playwrights Howard Brenton and Tarell Alvin McCraney we will not succeed. If we are to face what lies ahead, we will not only have to organize and feed ourselves, we will have to begin to feel deeply, to face unpleasant truths, to recover empathy and to live passionately. Then we can fight.
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 yearswhich he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years
Thursday, 3 October 2013
WOMEN AND FIREWATER
I can't argue much with what you say Mike but surely the solution is to learn from our mistakes, stop lying to ourselves, exercise economic Irish sovereignty and stop borrowing abroad from lying banksters, whose models, are based on glorified Ponzi schemes. We then need an Irish national, collectively owned bank in compliance of transparent, honest standards, to to trade with other smaller, independent nations, that apply the same standards. It's not rocket science but first we have to get rid of the political liars committing economic treachery. I believe the video below, helps clarify our current economic reality, past errors and the Bush administrations part in the problem. Sound money is based on honesty. Clearly Irish politicians are at best chancers, more likely liars, Labour Scabs and Fatbarsturds.
Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Tuesday, 1 October 2013
EIN DA LABOUR FATBASTARDS support slumps to lowest level in more than a quarter of a century - Political News | Irish & International Politics | The Irish Times - Tue, Oct 01, 2013
Monday, 30 September 2013
SAVAGE IRELAND My mother’s ordeal suggests the A&E system may be beyond repair - Health News | Irish Medical News | The Irish Times - Mon, Sep 30, 2013
Sunday, 29 September 2013
Biddy Early was a fake, like many things in Clare, which copy the original in Galway. The original Biddy was from Meelick across the River Shannon in Galway, whose material was plagiarised by Biddy Early. Clare like Offaly, on the wrong side the River Shannon in Banagher, also plagiarised their hurling, from the original Biddy village of Meelick, on the beautiful side of the River Shannon in Galway. Saint Brendan "The Navigator" whose followere found America, when he first saw Meelick (Míleac, Irish) part of a townland on the River Shannon in Ireland called Eyrecourt once said, he was convinced that the more he saw Galway, that the wise men came from the West, which prompted him to set up his ancient ecclesiastical centre, west of the Shannon in Clonfert, in the beautiful parish of Dun An Uchta.
Meelick which has also the oldest Catholic church in Ireland used since 1414 AD while Clonfert has the grave of Saint Brendan, "The Navigator," the ancient Cathedral with the famous Celtic doorway and the 14th century Penal statue of Our Lady of Clonfert. Clonfert Cathedral is the oldest continually operating church in Ireland.
Mileac, Galway Played the All-Ireland
Senior Hurling Championship Final 1887
While the people of Galway were very happy yesterday, to see Clare win their all Ireland yesterday in such a great match, that will be remembered forever and break the fake taboo curse of Biddy Early once and for all, a woman with an ouija board in East Galway, declared she was in touch with the original Biddy from Meelick. Apparently Biddy from Meelick was going at it all day yesterday, with Biddy Early from Feakle as they were ripping shreds off each others backs and cursing to bate any ceili band from east Galway. Apparently Biddy from Meelick won and put a new curse on Clare, that they will not win another All Ireland, until Galway win another three in a row first unless they change the name of the fake Meelick in Clare. People of Clare, you now have fair warning from Galway!
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Biddy Early (c. 1798 – 1874) was a traditional Irish healer who helped peasants. She acted against the wishes of the local tenant farmer landlords and Catholic priests and was accused of witchcraft.
Biddy Early was born on Faha Ridge (na Póirt in Irish) to John Thomas Connors, a poor farmer, and his wife Ellen Connors, née Early, who often used her maiden name even after she was married. Biddy was baptized Bridget Ellen Connors but later adopted the Early name.
As a child, Biddy wore clothes that her mother made by weaving fibers from the flax that was grown nearby. She spent most of her time alone and was said to "talk to the fairies". She was good humored and showed a keen intellect but, like most people of her time, she did not learn to read or write. With her family and friends she spoke Irish, but she also had some knowledge of English. She may also have spoken Shelta, the language of Irish Travellers, but it is unknown where or how she would have learned it.
Ellen Early was well known for her exceptional herbal cures and taught her daughter many of her recipes. These recipes were regarded as family secrets, as was common for the time. When Biddy was 16 years old, her mother died of malnutrition, leaving Biddy in charge of the household. Just six months after her mother's death, Biddy's father died of typhus. Unable to pay the rent, Biddy had no choice but to leave her childhood home. Little is known about this period of her life, but for the next two years she probably wandered the county roads, working where she could along the way and experimenting with herbal cures.
Adult life[edit source]
When Biddy was 18, she began working for a landlord in Carheen near Limerick, but she was often taunted for her aloof behavior. She left after a short time and went to live in the local poorhouse, where she was treated even more poorly. During this period, she would often walk into Gurteenreagh on market days, and it was there that she met her first husband, Pat Malley of Feakle. The couple faced a number of obstacles: Pat was twice Biddy's age and already had a son named John, and Biddy had no dowry to offer. However, there were advantages to the relationship as well, such as the security that Pat could offer, so they married. After their marriage, Biddy gave birth to a son and they named him Paddy. This would be Biddy’s only child.
The family lived in a three room cottage in Feakle, and this is where Biddy began to earn a reputation for her cures. Biddy never requested money for her services, but allowed her clients to decide how to compensate her. Whiskey and poitín were common trade items in those days, so her house was frequently stocked with an abundance of alcohol and eventually became known as a place where people could go to drink and play cards. This ready availability of poorly distilled alcohol may have contributed to the death of Pat Malley five years into the marriage. Biddy became a widow for the first time at age 25.
Biddie married her stepson, John Malley, shortly after Pat’s death. John was closer to her age than Pat had been, and the two of them got along well. During this marriage, Biddy's fame was increasing but her family life was frequently disrupted by large numbers of people coming and going at various times of the day and night. Her son, Paddy, left home some years after her marriage to John and never returned. John died in 1840 due to a liver ailment that developed from excessive consumption of alcohol, and Biddy was a widow again at 42.
Biddy's third marriage was to a man named Tom Flannery, who was younger than she was. Tom was a laborer and native of Finley, Quin, County Clare. The couple moved into a two room cottage on Dromore Hill in Kilbarron. It was situated over a lake, which came to be known as Biddy Early’s Lake. Biddy's fame peaked during this period and her house became even busier and more crowded.
Work and fame[edit source]
When people didn't get the help they wanted from the priests or doctors, or if they couldn't afford to see a doctor, they would turn to Biddy. Her cures did not only consist of applying herbs to a wound or feeding a recipe to the sick. She was insightful and intuitive, which helped her to recognize and understand people's needs and choose appropriate yet creative measures to address them. People even thought that she could tell if someone had visited a doctor before consulting her. They believed that seeing a doctor showed a lack of faith in Biddy's abilities, so she would not treat them.
Biddy was also called upon occasionally to treat animals. During her time, the death of an animal could lead to an inability to complete required tasks and cause a farm to fail. This was important because it could, in turn, lead to eviction and poverty and, in extreme cases, loss of human life. For the same reasons, farmers also asked Biddy to help with other problems related to daily life, such as restoring a spring well or fixing a problem with the farm's butter production.
At some point Biddy acquired a bottle that became as famous as she was. She would frequently look into the bottle, which contained some sort of dark liquid, when considering possible cures for her visitors. She took the bottle everywhere, and it was even with her when she died.
Biddy’s cures are the main reason she became well-known, but her strong personality was also an important factor. According to one biographer, "In many ways, what Biddy is purported to have done is what an oppressed peasantry would themselves wish to have done if they had dared", because she was independent and refused to be "browbeaten by [the priests’ and landlord’s] authoritarian ways".
<< Is it permissible to add a family lore story here? Biddy was my 1st cousin 5x removed. The story is she met a cousin ("The Dasher", an O'Shaughnessy of local fame as well) on the road and told them to run home as their father was sick. She had no way to know this in the communications of the day. She was in fact, right, and "The Dashers" father passed away but only after he was able to see him. There seems to be truth about her clairvoyance. >>
Although the Catholic Church, which had a strong influence in the lives of many peasants, did not approve of Biddy’s activities, she encouraged people to listen to the priests. The priests openly disapproved of Biddy and discouraged people from visiting her, yet some of them secretly visited her. In one story, a priest disguised himself and called on Biddy in hope of learning some of her secret cures. She, however, knew what he wanted and dismissed him immediately.
The peasantry believed that Biddy was good, and some believed that the real reason the priests didn’t like her was that they "thought if Biddy wasn’t [practicing medicine] the people’d be going with five shillings an’ ten shillings to themselves". This notion is repeated frequently in interviews with those who had personal knowledge of Biddy. Another contributing factor must have been the peasant-classfolklore and mysticism that surrounded her. While Biddy was from a class of small tenant farmers, the priests were usually from more comfortable backgrounds and placed emphasis on education, so they were "only too anxious to leave behind them the half-lit world of peasant lore and herbal medicine".
In 1865 Biddy was accused of witchcraft under a 1586 statute and was brought before a court in Ennis. This would have been unusual in the 1860s. The few who agreed to testify against her later backed out, and she was released due to lack of sufficient evidence. Most of the peasant population supported her.
Old age and death[edit source]
In 1868, Tom Flannery died, leaving Biddy widowed for the third time at 70. In 1869, she was married for the fourth and final time to Thomas Meaney, a man in his 30s, in exchange for a cure. They lived together in her cottage in Kilbarron until he died, within a year of their marriage, from over-consumption of alcohol.
Biddy died in poverty in April 1874. A priest was present at her death, and her friend and neighbor, Pat Loughnane, arranged for her burial in Feakle Graveyard in County Clare. At her funeral a local priest remarked, "We thought we had a demon amongst us in poor Biddy Early, but we had a saint, and we did not know it". Her funeral was poorly attended because most people at this time were still afraid that their presence at her funeral would be misunderstood. Even many years after her death, people in County Clare rarely spoke of her. There is no marker on her grave so the exact location is not known, although some local people claim to know where it is.
The last generation of people who had personal contact with Biddy ended in the 1950s. The stories that persist today originated in the strong oral tradition on the west coast of Ireland. Later, Lady Gregory compiled a valuable collection of stories 20 years after Biddy’s death, and Meda Ryan and Edmund Lenihan wrote books that they based on interviews with many people whose parents or grandparents had personal contact with Biddy.
Biddy accomplished a great deal of success in the face of oppression and hardship, during a time when her religion and heritage were the subject of discrimination by the rulers of Ireland. The best evidence of her success is the fact that she is the only individual Irish healer from previous centuries who is remembered today despite Ireland's long history of folk medicine. The cottage where she lived has been restored and is now a minor tourist attraction in the area.
See also[edit source]
- Moll Anthony
- Cunning folk in Britain
- Curse of Biddy Early, afflicting Clare GAA and Galway GAA.
- The Fisherwife of Palermo
- Karin Svensdotter
|This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (February 2009)|
- Lenihan, Edmund. In Search Of Biddy Early. The Mercier Press. Cork. 1987.
- Biddy Early's death is reported in the newspaper "Irish American Weekly" as having occurred on 1 June 1872. Ref: "Irish American Weekly" Published NYC, NY on June 29, 1872, page 3
- Augusta, Lady Gregory. Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland. Putnam’s Sons, New York; 1920.
- Ryan, Meda. Biddy Early: The Wise Woman of Clare. Mercier Press, Dublin; 1978.
- Yeats, William Butler. Witches and Wizards and Irish Folk-Lore. Printed in Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, collected and arranged by Lady Gregory (1920; rpt. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1970).