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5 October 2017
Full Moon, 2:40 pm (EDT)
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COLD WAR: THE NEXT GENERATION
Antidote to Endless War Spawned by September 11: the Full Exercise of Our Imagination and Intelligence
by David T. Ratcliffe
The protracted war envisioned by some in the White House, under the rubric of ending terrorism and “eradicating evil” will destabilize not only the oil-rich Arabic world, but potentially the various states of the former Soviet Union. These counties are similarly rich with the sort of resources and well-educated labor that the globalization agenda demands. It will also change economic relations here in the United States, throwing us back into the permanent war economy of the Cold War years, and a severe economic slump.
—John Judge, “A New War or a New World?,” 23 Sep 2001

John Judge wrote the above essay 12 days after the crimes of September 11. In his analysis he succinctly pointed out that, “A former Nuremberg prosecutor, Benjamin Ferencz, has spoken out this week stating that this is not a war, but a criminal act of mass murder, a crime against humanity, proscribed by all international law.” The roots of the single-minded push by the U.S. Executive Branch in the fall of 2001, to shift the global paradigm into the nightmare path of endless war, were in large part the result of two prior major U.S. covert operations. The first was suggested by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor in the Carter administration, to go into Afghanistan, as he acknowledged in a 1998 interview, for “the opportunity of giving the USSR its Vietnam war.” The undertaking in Afghanistan fed into the same funding circles, the same drug money of the next major covert operation known as Contragate where the U.S. was arming both Iraq and Iran during that war period of the Reagan, Bush senior, and into the Clinton years. During the 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the new enemy threat was terrorism. Articulated in sources such as internal RAND Corporation studies, counter-terrorism was framed to be the U.S. response. Many of the U.S. officials that ran Contragate, including some that were brought up on legal charges and convicted, were brought in as new advisors to the George W. Bush administration in 2001. Understanding the actual dimensions of interlocking foreign and domestic U.S. covert policies is the first step in reclaiming our collective history, turning away from permanent war, and collectively creating processes where all people affected by a decision make the decision together.


This is an invitation to explore the unknown possibilities of existence through the process of exercising our imagination and intelligence to visualize what an actual democracy would look like today. Not the centuries-old representative form fashioned in the 1700s where the only method of communication and travel was either a horse or a boat. In the present era of mass communication, participatory democracy is both feasible and of critical necessity if the human project is to survive, making it possible to mend the sacred hoop of Life’s creation to truly meet the needs of the seventh generation yet unborn.

In a letter earlier this year, author and researcher Graeme MacQueen wrote about the process he explored in writing “Beyond Their Wildest Dreams...” (see below). His motivation was “to understand how people come to know the world and how we can open up closed minds.” He explained some of this as his “imagination approach” in the following:

I adopted the word [imagination] from German philosopher Gunther Anders, whose little article, “Thesis for the Atomic Age” (published in 1962) had a big effect on me over the years as a peace and environmental activist. Anders said that in the nuclear age we are doomed if we don’t have imagination. He said,

The basic dilemma of our age is that “We are smaller than ourselves,” incapable of mentally realizing the realities which we ourselves have produced. Therefore we might call ourselves “inverted Utopians”: while ordinary Utopians are unable to actually produce what they are able to visualize, we are unable to visualize what we are actually producing.

He also said that escapists of today do not hide in imagination, they hide in the ivory tower of perception, because the senses are “senselessly narrow.” So, he was giving a power to this word “imagination” that we don’t normally give it. “Imagination” is what we give ourselves to when we have the courage to face the world, to actually visualize what is going on. It is, he says, part of the courage to be afraid.

[NOTE: For those interested, please contact me for PDF and text only copy of “Thesis for the Atomic Age.”]

The following “billboard” (now at the top of <ratical.org>) was composed to invite [re-]exploration of what has now entered the beginning of its SEVENTEEN YEAR: truly a global war of terror produced and executed by the United States. The rest of this invitation continues following the billboard.

Marking 16 Years of the US Global War Of Terror
Guy Debord: In 1967, in a book entitled The Society of the Spectacle, I showed what the modern spectacle was already in essence: the autocratic reign of the market economy, which had acceded to an irresponsible sovereignty, and the totality of new techniques of government that accompanied this reign....
Spectacular domination’s first priority was to eradicate historical knowledge in general; beginning with just about all rational information and commentary on the most recent past.... With the destruction of history, contemporary events themselves retreat into a remote and fabulous realm of unverifiable stories, uncheckable statistics, unlikely explanations and untenable reasoning....
All experts serve the state and the media and only in that way do they achieve their status. Every expert follows his master, for all former possibilities for independence have been gradually reduced to nil by present society’s mode of organization. The most useful expert, of course, is the one who can lie. With their different motives, those who need experts are falsifiers and fools. Whenever individuals lose the capacity to see things for themselves, the expert is there to offer an absolute reassurance....
Such a perfect democracy constructs its own inconceivable foe, terrorism. Its wish is to be judged by its enemies rather than by its results. The story of terrorism is written by the state and it is therefore highly instructive. The spectators must certainly never know everything about terrorism, but they must always know enough to convince them that, compared with terrorism, everything else must be acceptable, or in any case more rational and democratic.
COLD WAR: THE NEXT GENERATION
“It is a sobering thought that better evidence is required to prosecute a shoplifter than is needed to commence a world war.”
Anthony Scrivener QC, The Times, 5 Oct 2001
“It is different than the Gulf War was, in the sense that it may never end. At least, not in our lifetime.”
Dick Cheney, 21 Oct 2001
Legend has it the Cold War was closed out in 1991. 10 years later, its Next Generation spawn was inaugurated. 16+ years into this war that will not end “in our lifetime”, it is our moral responsibility to reveal its covert and overt roots and, in doing so, end it given that it is being done in our name every single day.
“Your loyalty belongs to the human race and not to a flag, not to a country that’s supposedly under attack from some mystical force that’s out there that you can’t even identify—I mean, these terrorists, the way they’re presented to us, it’s as if they dropped in from outer space. All you know about them is that they hate you and they want to kill you. You can’t negotiate with them. You can’t talk to them. You can’t understand them. All you can do is kill them. And you got to kill every last one except, you never know.... It’s like the pod people, you know, maybe it’s spread to somebody else and then you’ve got to start killing them.”
John Judge, 21 Feb 2005
Ed Curtin:
Graeme MacQueen:
John Judge:
Antidote to September 11 – Exercising Our Imagination:
John Judge was an unparalleled historian of the US National Security State. An exemplar earthling, his loyalty was to the human race, not to a flag or a country.

A mere 56-plus years ago, the values and purposes of the military-industrial-intelligence complex (the word “intelligence” was included in a draft of his address) that Eisenhower warned about in January 1961, has successfully insinuated itself into every dimension of this society. This includes and is not limited to: militarization of police; CIA Phoenix Program—developed in Vietnam comprising intelligence gathering, assassination, codification of torture, so-called pacification, and drug running—that becomes the organizational structure for Homeland Security; intelligence agencies establishing and operating global drug networks to fund off-the-shelf black-budget operations including CIA commandeering DEA; dissolution of Posse Comitatus; military spending outstripping combined totals of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, U.K., and Japan; and production of more than half of arms sales world-wide.

According to current definitions, one generation of human beings is 25 years long. This means we’re more than half-way into THE NEXT GENERATION since starting down the nightmare path’s global realignment and global war inaugurated by the “one-two punch” of the September 11 crimes against humanity and the subsequent anthrax WMD attacks. These crimes, among other results, sealed passage of the first of two Patriot Acts, activated full-spectrum electronic domestic surveillance, and instigated global war that we were told in October 2001, may go into 60 countries and involve the coming generations.

As Graeme MacQueen writes above, imagination is what we give ourselves to when we have the courage to face the world, to actually visualize what is going on. To face the human world as it is, as its systems of irresponsible authority actually operate—especially economic as well as political—, does require courage. It also requires perseverance. Included in this challenge to see the facts of what is occurring in the present by what has preceded it in the past, is the ubiquitous covert and overt dynamics of perception management operating on every level of society, first and foremost by military and civilian intelligence agencies, and then by corporate programs to mold, direct, and control public awareness of world events. In the 2002 recording of his September 11 Critical Analysis talk, John Judge points out:

The problem is not only that we don’t understand what’s happening around us, that we aren’t allowed to know what’s happening around us. That’s a piece of the problem. Martin Schotz, in a book about the Kennedy assassination called History Will Not Absolve Us ... says the political paralysis in America rests in the fact that we are allowed to believe anything but we are allowed to know nothing. When you cannot know you cannot act. So you can believe it’s gray aliens from the Pleiades, the Illuminati, or you can believe that it’s the Pentagon, but until you can know something you don’t have a way to make decisions.

The annotated articles presented above by Ed Curtin and Graeme MacQueen provide present day critical analysis of the massive fraud perpetrated in 2001 that was used to justify launching the global war of terror. Truly, this global war is The Next Generation successor of The Cold War which was supposed to have ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Ed Curtin is Professor of Sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His students are exceedingly fortunate to have such an illuminated teacher well-versed in the covert history of U.S. National Security State operations with the willingness and dedication to impart his knowledge and understanding to succeeding generations.

Along with his varied background including Buddhist and Peace Studies, Graeme MacQueen is the author of The 2001 Anthrax Deception, The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy. Published in 2014, the book presents meticulous critical analysis of the history of the only bio-weapons attack, a categorical weapon of mass destruction, in U.S. history. The book sets out to prove five key points:

  1. The anthrax attacks were carried out by a group of perpetrators, not by a lone wolf;
  2. The group that perpetrated this crime included deep insiders within the U.S. executive branch;
  3. This group of perpetrators was linked to or identical with, the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks;
  4. The anthrax attacks were the result of a conspiracy meant to help redefine the enemy of the West, revising the global conflict framework from the Cold War to the Global War on Terror;
  5. The establishment of the Global War on Terror, to which the anthrax attacks contributed, enabled the U.S. executive branch to reduce the civil liberties of people in the U.S. and to attack other nations. Domestically and externally, these events were also used to weaken the rule of law.

In the chapter titled, “Anthrax and Civil Liberties,” the point is made that the more precise term for “terrorism” is the academically recognized concept of “strategy of tension”:

For several decades in post-WWII Europe a program of fear and intimidation was mounted by members of European security services working with non-state and international allies, including the CIA and NATO. The most common name for the general program is GLADIO [see Operation Gladio - 1992 BBC documentary (2:25:44)] meaning “Sword,” the name originally given to the Italian version of the program. The strategy of tension was central to GLADIO. GLADIO scholar Daniele Ganser [Daniele Ganser, PhD, Swiss Historian, Peace and Energy Researcher, Director of the Swiss Institute for Peace and Energy Research; TMR 097 interview: Dr. Daniele Ganser: NATO’s Secret Armies - GLADIO & The Strategy of Tension, January 2015 (1:20:55) + transcript] explains it as follows:

In its essence, the strategy of tension targets the emotions of human beings and aims to spread maximum fear among the target group. ‘Tension’ refers to emotional distress and psychological fear, whereas ‘strategy’ refers to the technique of bringing about such distress and fear. A terrorist attack in a public place, such as a railway station, a market place, or a school bus, is the typical technique... After the attack—and this is a crucial element—the secret agents who carried out the crime blame it on a political opponent by removing and planting evidence.
The Strategy of Tension in the Cold War Period,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, May 2014, p.2.

The strategy of tension as a subcategory within psychological warfare was employed in post-WWII Europe both to arouse antagonism towards selected groups and to induce the fearful population (as well as targeted members of elected state bodies) to take refuge in, and cede power to, the state’s security apparatus. (pp. 48-49.)

In his paper quoted above, Ganser goes on to observe how great power can be wielded by a covert group to influence thoughts and feelings without the people being targeted understanding that such influence is being exercised. Conversely, once such covert attempts at influence are noticed by people, the power of the process is diminished:

The strategy of tension forms part of what is called “psychological warfare” or PSYWAR. As the term indicates, this form of warfare does not attack human bodies, tanks, planes, ships, satellites, and houses in order to destroy them, but human psyches, human minds. Leaving aside the fact that philosophers, psychologists, neurologists, and theologians have never been able fully to agree on exactly what “the mind” is, we can for our purposes here define it simply as our human ability to think and feel. If a group can get access to our thinking and our feeling without our noticing, it can exercise great power over us. Once we notice that our psyches are being manipulated through psychological warfare, the technique loses some of its effect.
Ibid.

In 1996, John Judge gave a talk in Los Angeles titled, “Are You Scared Yet? Phony Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and the Strategy of Tension.” As he described it in a 12 February 2002 talk,

I was tracking these groups for twenty years and it’s like phony terrorism. I did a talk in Los Angeles in ’96. It was called, Are You Scared Yet?, and my point was they’re doing these things here in the United States and abroad in order to increase the level of social fear to the point that you’ll give up rational thought, you’ll give up your liberties, and you’ll go along with them telling you who your enemy is and go along with them establishing martial law. My main message then, and still now, is Calm Down! Step back a little bit. I mean, okay, it was a black eye it was a couple of thousand people. I mean we’re not on our knees. If you’re looking at it that way—defend the country—you can’t live in a society where you’re going to figure out the worst possible thing that could happen and build a fortress state of security around every single thing to keep it from happening. I mean, you’re going to exhaust your resources and go nuts living that way.

The motivation for writing this invitation to explore the above cited works of Ed Curtin, Graeme MacQueen, and John Judge, is to see how our world actually operates. From this vantage point, we can consciously move to change direction away from the nightmare path, given its latest push in the fall of 2001, and towards reclaiming our intelligence and imagination granted by right of birth at this time on Earth in the human project’s course.

Decades ago I read Inside The Third Reich and Spandau, The Secret Diaries. The author, Albert Speer, was Hitler’s Chief Architect, and in the latter part of the war, Armaments Minister. I’ve thought many times about the symbolism of a dream Speer relates having in 1962 while in Spandau Prison:

Shortly before Hitler is coming for an inspection I myself, though armaments minister, take broom in hand personally in order to help sweep up the filth in a factory. In conjunction with this I find myself in an automobile and try in vain to get my arm into the sleeve of my jacket, which I had taken off while sweeping; my hand repeatedly lands in the pocket instead of the sleeve. The drive ends in a large square surrounded by government buildings. On one side of it is a memorial. Hitler goes up to this memorial and lays a wreath. We enter the marble entrance hall of one of the buildings. Hitler says to his adjutant, “Where are the wreaths?” The adjutant turns reproachfully to an officer. “Why, you know that he lays wreaths everywhere nowadays.” The officer is wearing a light, almost white uniform made of a kind of glove leather; over his jacket he has a smock ornamented with lace and embroidery, rather like an altar boy’s. The wreath comes. Hitler goes to the right side of the hall, where there is again a memorial before which many wreaths have already been laid. He kneels and begins a plaintive song, rather like Gregorian chant, repeating again and again a long drawn out “Jesus Maria.” Many other memorial plaques are aligned side by side along the wall of the high-ceilinged, long marble hall. In ever swifter succession Hitler lays down wreath after wreath; the wreaths are handed to him by bustling adjutants. His plaintive singsong becomes more and more monotonous; the succession of memorials seems to go on forever. An officer ventures to smile and is reproved by the escort.

In his book, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, author Erich Fromm proffers the following interpretation of the dream:

This dream is interesting for many reasons. It is one of those in which the dreamer expresses his insight into another person rather than his own feelings and desires. These insights are sometimes more precise than the dreamer’s conscious impression of another person. In this case Speer clearly expresses in a Chaplinesque style his view of Hitler’s necrophilous character. He sees him as a man who devotes all his time to paying homage to death, but in a very peculiar way his actions are entirely mechanical, leaving no room for feelings. The wreath-laying becomes an organizational ritual to the point of absurdity. In juxtaposition, the same Hitler, having returned to the religious belief of his childhood, is completely immersed in the intonation of plaintive tones. The dream ends by stressing the monotony and the mechanized manner of his grief ritual.

In the beginning of the dream, the dreamer brings to life a situation out of reality, from the time when he is still a minister of state and a very active man who does things himself. Perhaps the dirt he is sweeping is a symbolic expression of the dirt of the Nazi regime; his inability to put his arms into the jacket sleeve is most likely a symbolic expression of his feeling that he cannot participate further in this system; this forms the transition to the main part of the dream in which he recognizes that all that is left are the dead and the necrophilous, mechanical, boring Hitler.

While the costs of the global war on terror in human lives and suffering—as well as impacts on all other species we share Earth with, alongside planetary ecology and stability in general—are rampant in other countries, the ever-increasing costs are more and more difficult to ignore in the United States. One striking indicator of the level of rising tension is the murder by gunfire of police primarily directed at people of color, as well as what are being labelled by the mainstream media (MSM) as “mass shootings.” The spectacle of such focused violence, reflected in the way it is incessantly latched onto by the MSM, resembles a contemporary societal manifestation of paying homage to death akin to what Speer’s unconscious gave form to in his dream about the necrophilous, mechanical, boring Hitler.

Such mechanical, repetitive acts of killing civilians inside the U.S.—many of the especially spectacular occurrences with weapons that are military (not civilian) grade—with its complementary obsessive repetition and rehashing of the killing acts by the MSM, are indicators that bear remarkable resemblance to instances of the strategy of tension being enacted inside the perpetrator state of the global war of terror. With escalating banality, it can be seen how, in Guy Debord’s words, “the autocratic reign of the market economy, [has] acceded to an irresponsible sovereignty” and how “Spectacular domination’s first priority [is] to eradicate historical knowledge in general; beginning with just about all rational information and commentary on the most recent past.”

In all the MSM reporting about this focused violence, it is striking that there is virtually no observation nor reflection of how the now-entering-its-17th-year “global war on terror” initiated by the United States, is at the very least influencing—if not causing—the ongoing reiteration of paying homage to death occurring domestically. Truly, U.S. society is collectively thrall to the effects of the eradication of historical knowledge “beginning with just about all rational information and commentary on the most recent past.”

Which brings us to the goldmine of four works cited herein by John Judge. All are film recordings augmented with accompanying mp3 files and full hyperlinked transcripts of the first two and partial transcripts of the third and fourth talks (full transcripts will be produced). His incisive insights and assessments cover a great deal of ground and offer a plethora of ways to exercise our intelligence and imagination to break down the specific sets of illusions presented by government actors as well as commercial print and broadcast media which promote a representation of reality through omission, distortion, lack of contextual analysis, and disinforming opinion stated as obvious, incontestable fact. Among many noteworthy observations are two of special note. The first is from his 2002 talk:

Pentagon War Planning—They Know Where There’re Going

Instead we’re being asked to go into an endless war, a war that was predicted to last ten years. I know the war will last at least ten years. I know that because my mother was the highest-paid Pentagon employee for more than almost all of her thirty years career in the Pentagon. But for many, many years, the highest paid employee under the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Directly under the Deputy Chief Staff for Personnel, my mother’s job was to project the draft call. She had to project for the Joint Chiefs how many do they have to draft in order to keep the force level at where the Joint Chiefs wanted it to be....

I asked my mother after she retired, When did they tell you they would escalate the war in Vietnam? Because she had to be among the first to know. She told me that in April of 1963, for the first time in her career at the Pentagon, she was told to reverse her projections, to change her projections. She’d never been asked to do that before. She said it was on orders from the White House, which meant it was on orders from John F. Kennedy. She was told to change the projections to reflect a full withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam by the end of 1964. She put those figures into the projections.

I said, When did they tell you they would escalate? She said the last week in November. I said, Late November, last week—I said—Kennedy’s killed Friday the 22nd of November in 1963. She said, The Monday following the assassination. He’s barely in the grave and she’s given figures and my mother couldn’t believe the figures. My mother told me she took the figures back up to the Joint Chiefs and she said, These can’t be right. And they told her to use them. I used to tease her that that was the first civilian protest of the war in Vietnam.

The figures she was given on November 25th ’63 was that the United States was entering into a ten-year war in Vietnam with 57,000 American dead. Exactly on target. Till ’73: fifty seven thousand five hundred names on the wall. They know where they’re going. They plan ahead. So when they tell you they’re going into a ten-year war you better listen.

Now Cheney says it may be a war that won’t end in our lifetime. Maybe they plan the next ten years for all I know and certainly for all you know. They’ve got a million excuses for it....

I worked from 1964 on with the hope that future generations wouldn’t have to face the kind of choices my generation faced in Vietnam. And these are worse choices the coming generation has to face. And they face all of us. Because all of what was done secretly that got us to September the 11th, from 1945 onward, was done in our name. And everything that’s being done now in these countries around the world is done in our name. And we have to live with the consequences....

It’s done in our name and it belongs to us. It’s our country. It’s our foreign policy. It’s our military. It’s our intelligence agencies. If we want them or we don’t want them, what they’re to do. But those decisions aren’t made by asking any of us. They’re made in secret behind closed doors by a few people and we live with whatever decision they make because we don’t live in a democracy. This is not a democracy in this country. A democracy would be a situation where all the people affected by a decision would make that decision. We may as well live on the moon for how far we are from that.

At the close of both of John’s 2002 and 2005 talks he speaks to exercising our imaginations to visualize what a present-day, living democracy would comprise:

from 2005:
So that’s the nightmare path. And of course it also takes a permanent war economy and permanent war, end of civil dissent, end of the Constitution, martial law, and all those things. That’s the nightmare path—but we’re at that crossroads now. We don’t have a lot of time. We don’t have all the wiggle room we could. But we’ve got more wiggle room than anyone else on earth to not go down that path. To change that path in the other direction toward a world that’s different.

But in order to build that world you have to have the imagination to understand not only what your enemy is and what form it takes—of this global fascism and these international relations and the economic relation that capitalism forces all of us into with each other and how that could be broken; how you pull back aspects of human community that have been stolen from you and then sold back to you in their most distorted form by this system.

But you also have to have the imagination to see what a real democracy would look like. I would submit to you that the democracy envisioned by Thomas Jefferson was not adequate in his mind for the following generation and he said it himself. He said there will probably have to be a revolution in this country every 20 years to make sure that power doesn’t aggregate again in the hands of the few.

from 2002:
Well it’s been over 200 folks and nobody has been re-envisioning that liberation, re-envisioning what their democracy is, what kind of world they live in. And now we have the technology to actually create a world that takes human value into account and gives people back the thing at the bottom that’s stolen from them and that really, I think, it’s the source of all the violence in the world: which is the whole idea of social privilege however it plays itself out, along race, along gender, along caste, or on class.

Privilege is the first and most basic violence asserted in a society. It kills the human spirit. It creates the rage that leads to all the other violence, historically. So if you end that privilege, if you restore justice, then you restore hope. And you know that from a family argument. I don’t have to go to an international argument with you. You don’t resolve it by fighting back, you don’t get even with somebody. All that does is create a feud and it makes the violence cycle into yet another generation. The Paris attack bombings were done in part by young kids whose parents had been murdered by the French and the Algerian freedom fighting wars from 20 years before.

If you get a veteran honest enough to talk about their war experience they will tell you the dirty secret is that they take the dead with them. I learned that from the Vietnam vets. Violence is no resolution to an issue....

from 2005:
[Jefferson] said he wouldn’t expect his children to wear a threadbare coat that he owned just because he liked to wear it. He said if he built a fort around them to protect them from a threat and the threat went away he wouldn’t force them to live in the fort any longer. He said that even if he planted a tree so they could have fruit to eat and they didn’t like the fruit he wouldn’t force them to eat it. These are his metaphors for—he knew that his imagination only stretched so far and that then every subsequent generation would have to imagine and realize its own freedom, it’s own sense of democracy.

The other thing Jefferson realized, and Washington as well, is that parties, political parties are inimical to democracy. Jefferson said that in any given society you can only have two parties no matter what they call themselves. Those who want to take power from the people and put it in the hands of the few, he called the aristocrats. Those who want to do the reverse and put power in the hands of the people he called the democrats. But he said if you build a democratic government machinery and you build a constitution that’s actually democratic and a social contract that’s democratic, you don’t need a democratic party. Washington, when he left office, said that policies belong to the people as a whole and that parties put those decisions back in the hands of a few.

When you lived in the 1700s your only method of communication and travel was either a horse or a boat. When the meeting you had to go to was going to be two days away by horse, the whole community couldn’t go so you picked a representative to go; smaller community, maybe not too far fallen from the tree; probably picked the guy you wanted around the least and sent him off for two weeks to listen and be your representative and then bring back the report.

We’re in the 21st century. We don’t rely on a horse and a boat. We have mass communication. It’s a common wealth. You’ll say, The corporations own the media. They don’t own the media. They monopolize the licenses. The licenses are issued on the basis of it being a common wealth and they’re issued by the public to the broadcasters. They own some of the broadcasting equipment. That hardly seems insurmountable. But it is still a common wealth that belongs to all of us and it’s our public media so we should take back sufficient time to raise issues with each other and debate them in an open way and then everyone participate in the decision-making power that we should have. Because that’s a power that belongs to all of us.

We know by now—don’t we?—that any representative that we would put in our stead can be blackmailed or bullied or bulleted or bribed. It’s not so hard to control four or five hundred people. It’s a little harder when the decisions rest in the hands of us all. And it can be done in a fair way, it can be done in open way. You also have to break open the common wealth of the educational system here so that people get real information.

See government..... Jefferson said given a choice between a government without a newspaper and a newspaper without a government he would always choose the latter. Because he understood that the flow of information is more central to democratic process than the machinery you set up to carry it out. But that’s all that is—is machinery that you set up to carry out your vision of democracy. And if it ain’t working then you dismantle it and you put some machinery together that makes it happen in the right way.

And, I mean, I don’t vote for representatives. I have two buttons. One says: If Voting Worked It Would Be Illegal. And the other says: Don’t Vote It Only Encourages Them. I would gladly vote for referenda but not the kind of referenda they have out—and in issues they have in many of the places out here because those are rigged so that only the rich can get enough signatures to get over the hump. But if you made voting registration automatic, if you made it very simple to put something on the ballot and then maybe chose what were the most popular ones for each month and ran them, then you could debate them and you could choose by them. But there’s no reason not to be making those decisions—especially when they affect lots of people—and no reason not to be making them on a decentralized level. Not all on some kind of a national or state level but a decentralized level that thinks globally and acts locally but also does the reverse: that when it acts globally it thinks locally. And you can put those two things together.

Then if you’re going to pay taxes—and there are alternatives of alternate money and not having a money or a tax system and all that—but if you’re going to pay taxes, we have a bumper sticker in DC that says Taxation Without Representation because we don’t even have a voting representative. We have Eleanor Holmes Norton who can go and sit on a committee but she can’t vote. My version of representation with taxes is not Eleanor Holmes Norton voting for me because she doesn’t represent me. I doubt I could represent anyone else in the room here much less all of you. Why would I want to try? I can represent myself perfectly well. As can you.

If your response to this is, Yeah but people are too stupid. Jefferson thought of that too. He said the only safe repository for power is in the hands of the people. He said if you think them unable to exercise their discretion in a wholesome fashion—that means you think they’re idiots—he said the solution is not to take the power from them and put it in the hands of an elite. The solution is to inform their discretion; that you have to trust rationality, you have to trust communication, and the ability that we can educate each other and ourselves about things. (from 2002: Jefferson said, There are those who say that men are not capable of governing themselves. His response to that was, Are they then capable of governing others?) Does it mean we’d never be wrong? No. But I would tell you we will fix a mistake sooner than this system will fix a mistake and we won’t vote for things that are obviously not in our own self-interest on a broader scale. Will there be differences? Of course there will be. But breaking through some of those other things would make it possible.

But if I was going to pay tax to the federal government I think that I would want the last page of the Tax Form to be an allocation form. Now that would be taxation with representation. Because I would directly allocate the tax that I paid. And I even want to just send a three-part carbon out to everybody that pays taxes in my community and show them a brochure with a pie: here’s where your money’s currently being spent. Here’s your blank pie. Fill it in. Put one in with your tax form—doesn’t have any legal weight but tell them how you’d like the money to go. Send one to your representative or put it in the drawer. And send one back to me. I’ll take the results. I’ll put them into a people’s tax pie. I’ll go to the voting record and put up the representatives tax pie. I can guarantee you they won’t be the same pie. And then I’ll ask the representative to come out and explain who it is that they’re representing.

Now it’s very simple but it plants that seed. You’ve got Bush running around saying, It’s your money. It’s your money. And I said, Yes it is my money and I want to allocate it. I don’t want the chump change back that’s left for social services after you overfund the Pentagon and the CIA. I want to spend the money myself. Okay? And it’s a process.

I’m not saying these are magical solutions. But if you don’t start thinking of a different way to invent democracy this late then we are going to go on the nightmare path. And if you don’t understand that your loyalty belongs to the human race and not to a flag, not to a country that’s supposedly under attack from some mystical force that’s out there that you can’t even identify—I mean, these terrorists, the way they’re presented to us, it’s as if they dropped in from outer space. All you know about them is that they hate you and they want to kill you. You can’t negotiate with them. You can’t talk to them. You can’t understand them. All you can do is kill them. And you got to kill every last one except, you never know.... It’s like the pod people, you know, maybe it’s spread to somebody else and then you got to start killing them. And how long is it before you start fingering each other? Well, I think you’re one of them.

It’s just dead end. It’s the 21st century. We know what war does. And now the weapons that make it happen are so bad that the planet is not going to survive. If we don’t make war obsolete, we’re going to make ourselves obsolete....

I do these things because I’m hoping that a little bit of humor, a little bit of perspective, it’ll open up something for you that you’ll look at the paradigm in a different way. In fact I wanted to write a memoir, and thinking about a title of a memoir would be Brother Can You Paradigm? Because if you can’t paradigm you’re in trouble. It’s not that everything they’re telling you is a lie. But the focus, the lens, they’ve got is a little skewered so that you don’t see it straight when you look at it.

conclusion from 2002:
If violent response to terrorism, which is as they say asymmetrical warfare—it means a smaller weaker group, a certain party of people that use violence and then they’re backed by other people who feel a long string of abuses—if you respond violently to that—Israel and Palestine is a pretty good example that that’s not the way to resolve the matter or Israel would be one of the safest countries in the world.

It’s obvious to anybody that thinks about it that you have to go the other direction. That the way you end what you’re calling terrorism is to restore justice, is to restore hope and then the sanction and the support for violence in those communities diminishes and it goes away. Because instead you have the sort of natural, civil and community structure that all of us would have were it not for the fact that we live under the demands of capital and its accumulation. We live under a situation that mis-educates and under-educates us. A situation where it’s hard for us to find out what the truth is about our society or our world. And a situation that values us the same way that miners in the 1930s were told that when the mine begins to collapse you push the mules out first because it costs money to replace a mule.

That’s the position we’re in in relation to the people that hold the wealth in this world. We are expendable and they’re going to escalate that expendability. The choice and the power is there. But the choice to recognize that power, and take responsibility for it, and make this into a world where all of us can live, sits right here.

conclusion from 2005:
... If we approach our belief systems as religions then we’re going to put people out in the street and away from us. But if we approach it as respect between two people and let’s see if we can’t get to the truth; in my lectures people come up afterwards and say, Gee, you talked about this and my uncle did that. The little piece of a woman at the picnic table.

If we told the stories of our own families, the whole system would break. They do what they’re doing because they are deathly afraid of us. They need for us to be in denial. They need for us to try to protect the little bit of privilege we have over somebody else rather than sharing. They need us to keep the needle in our arm, the television on, the consumer mentality going; keep quiet, consume and die; and they’re afraid of us. And they need us to feel that we are powerless.

But we are the least powerless people on the planet. And there might be a way for the whole rest of the world to stand up to this juggernaut but it wouldn’t be easy. But where the potential is to stand up for it is right here, among us. And the moral responsibility to stand up to it is right here because it’s being done in our name and it’s being done each day. And we can build another world. We can invent another world. We can include each other. We can build community. We don’t have to be afraid of each other. But we have to tell the truth. And once we tell the truth to ourselves and to others, once we pull the needle out of our arm and say I’m not playing anymore, that’s it. Game’s over.

In the 13th section of “Thesis for the Atomic Age” Gunther Anders affirms the benefit of opening to fear commensurate to the magnitude of the real danger:

When speaking of the “imagining of nothingness,” the act meant is not identical with what psychology imagines to be imagination, for I speak of fear, which is the imagining of nothingness “in concreto.” Therefore we can improve the formulations of the last paragraphs by saying: it is our capacity to fear which is too small and which does not correspond to the magnitude of today’s danger. As a matter of fact, nothing is more deceitful than to say, “We live in the Age of Anxiety anyway.” This slogan is not a statement but a tool manufactured by the fellow travellers of those who wish to prevent us from becoming really afraid, of those who are afraid that we once may produce the fear commensurate to the magnitude of the real danger. On the contrary, we are living in the Age of Inability to Fear. Our imperative: “Expand the capacity of your imagination,” means, in concreto: “Increase your capacity of fear.” Therefore: don’t fear fear, have the courage to be frightened (It is not Roosevelt’s “Freedom from Fear” for which we have to strive, but the Freedom to Fear) and to frighten others, too. Frighten thy neighbor as thyself. This fear, of course, must be of a special kind: 1) a fearless fear, since it excludes fearing those who might deride us as cowards, 2) a stirring fear, since it should drive us into the streets instead of under cover, 3) a loving fear, not fear of the danger ahead but for the generations to come.

A loving fear for the well-being of generations to come that stirs participation to jointly raise our voices, hearts, minds, and bodies to champion the future of today’s children as well as generations yet unborn is creative, life-affirming practice. Educating and instructing ourselves in the actual ways our world operates informs our actions and choices in constructive and helpful ways.

Such willingness to understand how our world truly operates is terribly important. As with the resultant killing of hope wrought by the sixties assassinations, the factual past is evermore being pulled into the terrifying black hole of the eradication of historical knowledge. In his own apprehension of the nuclear nightmare, Gunther Anders understood all too well the necessity of being open to experiencing and being moved and motivated by our capacity to fear the genuine and profound magnitude of extant danger. Today that danger is a direct and ongoing reflection of past crimes including the paradigmatic shift wrought by the perpetrators of the global war of terror.

I worked from 1964 on with the hope that future generations wouldn’t have to face the kind of choices my generation faced in Vietnam. And these are worse choices the coming generation has to face. And they face all of us. Because all of what was done secretly that got us to September the 11th, from 1945 onward, was done in our name. And everything that’s being done now in these countries around the world is done in our name. And we have to live with the consequences.
—John Judge, September 11 Critical Analysis, 16 Feb 2002

The appalling magnitude, as understood by John Judge, of being thrown back into the permanent war economy of the Cold War years, is made all the worse by the fact that the perpetrators not only succeeded with the execution of their make-believe so-called New Pearl Harbor and ensuing cover-up, but continue to profit and materially benefit from the results of the world shifting re-alignments those deeds engendered.

All this to the detriment and disintegration of the prospects for the human project to make it out of this adolescent age, lurching from one existential crisis to the next, into something more befitting the history and evolution of consciousness on this planet. The stakes are incalculable. The fear for the well being of generations to come must guide and direct our choices and actions on their behalf.

My awareness and understanding of the world was greatly enhanced by Richard Grossman. Ralph Nader called Richard Grossman the preeminent historian of corporations. In the opening of his talk at Antioch College in November 2006 on the subject of “When Injustice Is Legal,” he quoted Christopher Hill, an English historian from his 1972 book, The World Turned Upside Down, Radical Ideas During the English Revolution:

History has to be rewritten in every generation, because although the past does not change the present does; each generation asks new questions of the past, and finds new areas of sympathy as it re-lives different aspects of the experiences of its predecessors....

... So reinterpretation is not only possible but necessary. Just as Professor Barraclough has made our generation aware of the narrow provincialism which dominates the outlook of most historians and urges us to extend our geographical area of study, so experience of something approaching democracy makes us realize that most of our history is written about, and from the point of view of, a tiny fragment of the population, and makes us want to extend in depth as well as in breadth.

Each generation, to put it another way, rescues a new area from what its predecessors arrogantly and snobbishly dismissed as ‘the lunatic fringe’. (pp.15,16)

An inverted echo of the above that is reflected in the summation of George Orwell’s 1984 from Part I is useful to repeat here:

The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control’, they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink’.

History does need to be re-written in every generation as each subsequent group’s lifespan will necessarily require extending the depth and breadth of what was then, and what is now, being recorded. And in rescuing areas that were previously rejected, omitted, skewed, or distorted, a redemption of the struggles and lives of all our human ancestors can be successively restored to a more holistic representation of the multi-dimensional tapestry of the human project’s past. In this way, the past can reflect itself more fully, with constructive intelligence, creativity, and imagination in the present, to consciously evolve a future that includes the interests of all species’ generations—including humans—to come.

The present time is exceedingly heavy in deed. Guy Debord’s understanding that we are evermore confronted with the eradication of historical knowledge is an essential motivator to highlight and promulgate accurate historical knowledge of our epoch, of our world. Weighing and sharing the knowledge, insights, intelligence, and awareness highlighted here is an invitation to engage all one’s wits and creative imagination to help the human project change course and stake out a different future than this current one based on the demands of capital and its accumulation. Exercising our intelligence in this manner, with clarity and coherence, is of the highest calling Life presents us with.

It is up to us to come up with another vision. A vision of what democracy, freedom, and social justice might look like. Just as the founders of this country had to envision something more than British colonialism to escape it. It is the responsibility of each generation to see beyond the limitations of history and privilege to a better world. Now, we must make that vision global in its perspective and local in its realization. The human rights and human dreams of all the people of the world must be taken into account. And this vision must include the structure and tools that empower and enfranchise all of us, not just a few.
—John Judge, “A New War or a New World?,” 23 Sep 2001

For the Earth, the children, and all that follow us here: may we all continually awaken to and be renewed by recognition of our participation in and partaking of life at this unique time of Koyaanisqatsi.


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