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We Can't Give in to the Culture of Fear and Apathy — Channel Your Discontent into Positive Action

The very forces that protect the status quo have been effective in misleading and distracting the public, often misdirecting their energies into futile activities.

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In Overcoming the Global Order of Oppression, Fear and Paranoia, Gilbert Mercier writes, “We have been enslaved by our own fears and paranoia for the benefit of corporate global capitalism. The ultimate form of capitalism is slavery, and our history is in the process of regressing to this. The turning point might be when a large majority of people have nothing to lose. Perhaps then, we can reverse the tide, return to a sense of ownership over our own destiny, and embrace the deep belief that the human spirit cannot be kept permanently shackled and will triumph against all odds.”

We have an opportunity to confront corporate global capitalism right now in a way that unites our struggles. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is entering its last round of negotiations in Brunei starting Aug. 22. Following that, the White House and leadership will pressure Congress to give Trade Promotion Authority (Fast Track) to President Obama so that he can sign the agreement and Congress will only have the ability to vote yes or no on it. Stopping Fast Track is essential to stopping the TPP. And stopping the TPP is fundamental to protecting all of the issues that we care about.

Activists concerned about a broad variety of issues such as food safety, worker’s rights, the environment, internet freedom, health care, immigrant rights and more are demanding that members of Congress promise to vote ‘No” on Fast Track. Actions are being planned to either “Thank” or “Spank” members on September 17. There are more information and tools available on

The TPP is a corporate power grab in the form of a free trade agreement. Some call it “NAFTA on steroids.” Like NAFTA, if the TPP passes, it will do so against the consent of the people. When NAFTA went into effect in January, 1994, the Zapatistas in Mexico declared war on the Mexican government.

Nearly ten years later, “having exhausted the road of dialogue with the government as well the one of a ‘big R’ Revolution that would overthrow the Mexican state — the Zapatistas of Chiapas  decided to ‘abandon the politics of demands, and with it, all contact with the state.’ Instead, they chose to concentrate on building their own autonomous, horizontal forms of self-government within their own territories and with their own means.”

The Zapatistas are celebrating ten years of autonomy with a “Little School” to share what they have learned with others. They invited everyone to join them online for the school. Classes are conducted in Spanish. Alternatively, articles are being written each day in English on the topics discussed and we are posting those on

John Pilger writes this week about the neoliberal assault on public institutions such as the postal service and utilities in the UK. Similar assaults are occurring in the US. is supporting efforts to protect and expand the US Postal Service. Pilger is concerned about the normalization and acceptance of the theft of public institutions and the smear tactics used to destroy those who take a stand. He concludes, “Momentous change almost always begins with the courage of people taking back their own lives against the odds. There is no other way now. Direct action. Civil disobedience. Unerring.”

And so, let us go forward in this summer of discontent in solidarity and with a clear understanding of the forces that will attempt to distract, divide and discredit us. We have the ability to confront power directly and demand change, and if that is not successful, to delegitimize institutions of power and build our own. Either way, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves, connect our issues and protect people and the planet together.

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