RN: Sharing what we learn


Jan Slakov

Dear Rn list,   Oct. 10

I doubt I am alone in finding that there is quite a gulf between the e-mail
world I inhabit (where concepts such as globalization or financial warfare
have meaning) and the "real" world where I live.

On RN subscriber wrote to tell about the work he is doing to reach people
who wouldn't know about all this stuff otherwise:

Date: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 23:46:24 -0700
To: •••@••.•••
From: Oscar and Mary Priem <•••@••.•••>
Cc: •••@••.•••

I apologize to you folks for the tardiness of this reply.

The PT web site [Brazilian Worker's Party] is *very* attractive.
Unfortunately neither Mary nor I have Portuguese or Spanish.  My
Spanish-speaking friends are Serena Cruz and Martin Gonzales.  They are
running for political office in my city, Portland, OR, and are being
supported by the New Party. NP, as you may already know, began in Wisconsin.
Its politics are progressive and populist in the modern sense.  NP members
-- I am a member, BTW -- would be supportive of the ideas that you and RKM
are bringing forward.

I have not been participating in discussion lists.  I don't consider myself
to be an original or philosophical thinker. I am however an activist.  I do
follow the CDR and CyberJournal lists closely because they furnish
information and opinion that are fundamental to our struggle.  

My current work is with KBOO FM Radio, a community broadcast station that
supports a brand of politics you would like.  Recently the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting (the US gov't funder of public as opposed to commercial
broadcasting) has discontinued monetary support of KBOO because we refused
to follow their programming dictates; in other words, be less radical and
more "mainstream, " supposedly to attract more paying members.  Well, we
understand the prevailing agenda within the Beltway.   But we are continuing
without them, and we will succeed.  Also, I work at the Portland Alliance
monthly newspaper, another progressive-populist organ.

Mary and I have taken a "business" name in Oregon, Progressive Free Press
(email •••@••.•••).  It is our intention to publish simple tracts
or pamphlets which will aim at educating working people, people who normally
get all of their political information from corporate-controlled media and
our two corporate-controlled political parties.  People need to know why
their wages are low, why it is that when they want our Congress to provide
universal health care, Congress looks the other way.
People need to be informed of all of these abuses, abuses that the three of
us can enumerate so easily.  We intend to use copy machines to publish on
plain white letter-sized paper.  We will use informative articles, with
copyright holders' permission, which may be freely reproduced.  Those who
read the publications will see an invitation to copy the pamphlet and pass
it along free of charge.  Naturally these materials will be distributed and
given free to everyone.

It seems that we have at least an average amount of progressive-populist
political activity in Portland.  Last summer, Portland State University was
the site of "End Corporate Dominance," a very well attended conference.
Richard Grossman was one of the featured speakers.  I wish that RKM had been
there.  That conference will be held again this coming summer.

Ronnie Dugger spoke at Lewis and Clark College October 2.  That appearance
wound up a week's tour of our state, during which time he organized five new
chapters of his Alliance for Democracy.  His tour was arranged by Harry
Lonsdale, Oregon's most visible progressive.  Harry is a very talented man,
a youngish retiree from the computer industry -- am not totally sure about
the retirement part -- who has made significant runs for the US Senate on
three occasions.

Jim Hightower was in town September 26 to do a benefit for the Portland
Alliance.  The turnout was excellent.

Well, this message has grown larger than I had intended.  But I feel that I
need to introduce myself because I identify so strongly with the good work
you do in CDR and CyberJournal.  I must share with you that Richard's work,
"RKM's Revolutionary Manifesto (brief recap of 'rkm's model of the world'),"
has influenced me in a very big way indeed.  

In solidarity,


" . . . financial capital has definitely become a socially useless and
dangerous parasite."

- - Cesar Roberto

Oscar, your appreciation for our work is, in turn, much appreciated! If you
could send us some examples (by e-mail) of the pamphlets you produce that
might be useful for sharing with others.

Those of us who are subscribers to RKM's cyberjournal will have already seen
Michel Chossudovsky's article on "Financial Warfare". It very important, and
also quite long, precisely the kind of thing we need to understand ourselves
in order to be able to share it with others. 

(If you would like to see the paper, send any message to
<•••@••.•••>.  This will get you an index of cj postings and
directions on how to order them.You can also get an index for this list:
   Retrieve subjects of messages, including 1 though 100
   from the archive. Subjects are returned in sets of 100.
   A maximum of 2000 subjects are returned per request. )

I'm hoping to use the upcoming Remebrance Day (Armistice Day? in the US?)
holiday as a springboard to help get this message (on "financial warfare" out.

The idea is to go beyond the typical glory to nation- and macho-hood
celebration that is so typical of Remembrance Day to a deeper questioning of
what war really means and how we can help bring and end to the killing. Here
is a press release that I drafted as a kind of template that others can use
for helping to change our understanding of war:

Remembering the Causes and Costs of War

Every year, Canadians remember their "war dead" at Remembrance Day
ceremonies from coast to coast.

Kris Mansfield, co-ordinator of the Victoria-based peace group, Conscience
Canada, will be commemorating Remembrance Day with white poppies this year,
as she has done before. "White poppies are part of an old and revolutionary
tradition dating back to 1933 when the Women's Co-operative Guild chose this
peace symbol. The symbol also has its roots in Flander's Fields - where red
poppies grow," explains Mansfield. "Wearing a white poppy is a way of
remembering not only our veterans and their sacrifice, but also our own
complicity in war and the efforts of people throughout the world to build
peace." Mansfield continues, "The white poppy also reminds us of the true
causes and costs of war: The arms trade, in which Canada actively
participates, flourishes at the cost of empty bellies and displaced peoples.
We need to remember that 95% of the vicitms of war are not soldiers but
civilians. We need to remember also that many of the economic policies our
government pursues create conditions which make war almost inevitable,"
explains Mansfield. 

Eric Fawcett, Founding President of Science for Peace, adds, "Financial
warfare, the deliberate undermining of regional economies,  kills people
and cripples even more lives than the hot wars that inevitably follow."
The concept of 'financial warfare' refers to the grinding poverty in which
up to half the human race lives in poor countries that are loaded with
huge debts that can never be paid; and now with free market economies
being forced on Asian countries, the former Soviet Union and East Europe,
we see major nations like Russia and Indonesia falling into the same
morass.  Johan Galtung, the world-famous peace researcher, calls this
"structural violence", which destroys even more human lives than the
violence of weapons.

Bruna Nota, president of WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and
Freedom), hopes that the white poppy tradition will help us arrive at a new
way of viewing security. "We are like the people who created a whole science
based on the false premise that the earth is flat.  We are operating on the
false premise that security is garanteed by military forces and
preparedness. In fact only a just sharing of all resources, by the
availability of education, food, shelter, sanitation, health care, by the
full respect of human rights, by adopting practices that ensure the health
of the earth, air, water and all its inhabitants, can provide the security
in which we can care for each other in trusting and responsible communities." 

"I would like for Remembrance Day to become a day for renewing our
commitment to work for this vision of security," says Jan Slakov, a member
of the Voice of Women/la Voix des femmes who has taken up the white poppy
idea for the first time this year. "My hunch is that there are many people
who want to revitalize Remembrance Day and I want to do what I can to let
them know about the white poppy tradition and what it represents. People can
write to me at Box 35, Weymouth, NS, B0W 3T0 or <•••@••.•••> if
they would like me to send them a sample homemade white poppy or if they
would like more information."


As you will see, this press release is aimed at a Canadian audience, but it
could quite easily be adapted for other countries, I think. Actually, the
white poppy idea is being most seriously promoted in Britain, I think:

Reproduction of a poster from the  UK-based Peace Pledge Union:

        children killed in war

        more than the total number of soldiers
        killed in wars during the last ten years

                time for peace

        over 200 million people killed in wars this century - over 80% were 

        Britain is the third largest arms exporter in the world -
        producing and selling arms that kill and fuel tensions

        wars are not accidental events or simply caused by
        'evil' people; wars are the outcome of social, political
        and economic structures which we can influence

        and call for conversion of the armaments industriy and for
redirection         of resources from preparations for war to conflict

For more information see our web site:

I called up a leading Canadian peace group and got the stats to adapt the
poster for Canada:
change the second "remember" point to read:

With about .5% of the world's population, Canada is a leading arms exporter,
(ranks varying from 7th to 11th, depending on the source).

Note: I have actually gone into "poppy production". However, I won't be able
to send any out until Oct. 23 or so (and it would be hard for me to send out
lots and lots, of course). AND, it's really not that hard to make your own.
(I have practice because my daughter still gets me to make figures for her
to play with using this "boxboard" technique):

You take a conventional poppy as a model (or draw one yourself). Cut it out
of paper with at least one plain white side. Then either paint or draw a
green centre (with a bevelled edge). It's more work to cut one out of green
paper but it's also more attractive. Glue the white poppy onto a piece of
boxboard (eg. a cracker box or whatever). Cut it out and attach a safety pin
to the back by glueing it on with a small rectangular piece of fabric which
goes over the side of the safety pin which does not open. (Too bad I can't
add a diagramme :-(

These poppies will actually stay on better than the usual ones and they are
made of scraps, so are "environmentally friendly". I plan to wear both a red
and a white one; I don't want to suggest I think the idea of thanking
veterans is a bad one, but I do want to say that we need to change and
expand our understanding of war... and security.

All for now and all the best, friends, Jan

PS I made a couple mistakes in my haste the other day. One that should be
corrected: Mumia Abu-Jamal's book is called _Death Blossoms_, not Dearth