tideshift

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Property Rights

When I heard Bush's voice this morning, on Democracy Now, chiding the burst of populism and nationalized resources in Venezuela and Bolivia, by saying: "I am going to continue to remind our hemisphere that respect for property rights and human rights is essential for all countries in order for there to be prosperity and peace,'' I danced a little on that edge of berserk I seem to live on more and more. When he went on to talk about how America tries to "do something" about poverty, I began screaming obscenities at the radio and turned it off.

It was striking to see the naked truth uttered in public, however. Property rights before human rights, always. For more information, start here: http://www.dominicantoday.com/app/article.aspx?id=13708

It also reminded me of Three Guineas, the superb book by Virginia Woolf about how to stop war. The phrase that leaped to mind:

"The small boy struts and trumpets outside the window: implore him to stop; he goes on; say nothing; he stops. That the daughters of educated men then should give their brothers neither the white feather of cowardice nor the red feather of courage, but no feather at all; that they should shut the bright eyes that rain influence, or let those eyes look elsewhere when war is discussed—that is the duty to which outsiders will train themselves in peace before the threat of death inevitably makes reason powerless."

Maybe what we need to do is start consciously ignoring the Powers as a political act. There is power in organized people. There is power in organized money. And there is power in organized indifference - maybe the right kind of power to combat the organized indifference of those in Power toward poverty, sickness, hunger, homelessness, fear, despair, rage. I'm not talking about just tuning out. I'm talking about pouring all our energies into extremely local actions, neighbor helping neighbor, tax resistance, barter economies, boycotting the rigged elections, cancelling all our newspaper subscriptions, cutting off our phone service: letting the federal and the state governments wither away while we build communities block by block.

Marches and letter-writing aren't working. With every passing day, things are getting worse.

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