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CHAPTER 15

Boyd, John Kirk Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Dag Hammarskjold, the second Secretary-General for the United Nations, was a strong advocate for institutions to make human rights fully realized for people in all countries

Once we have taken the first three steps, the last step of deciding together is primarily to implement what we have done. Our focus, thinking, and writing have created a draft document of such substance and authenticity that it is ready for implementation. Having followed Gandhi, while acknowledging differences we will also have found “what we have in common.”

It is important that we do not jump too quickly to try to decide together. This is not to say that we should not have a specific timetable, and 2048 provides one, but it should span many years so that there is sufficient time for the process of focusing, thinking, and writing together to grow and develop. It is important to go through a series of drafts. By being patient and thorough, when we act as an international community to decide together, we will have a substantial body of work about which we feel confident. Then we can meet in Rome to decide together.

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12 World Social Forum: Multitude versus Empire?

Patrick M. Brantlinger Indiana University Press ePub

At the heart of building alternatives and localizing economic and political systems are the recovery of the commons and the reclaiming of community.

—VANDANA SHIVA, “THE LIVING DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT”

On a Global Exchange “reality tour” in 2005, we traveled to the fifth World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Our group included pacifists, anticorporation activists, a contingent of young Bioneers from California, and a practitioner of liberation theology—a Church of Christ minister who is also an avowed atheist. The first half of the tour took us to a number of the encampments staked out by MST (the Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement) and to an MST school in Veranópolis, which trains the movement’s leaders. We also visited a school, a recycling center, and a women’s cooperative funded through Porto Alegre’s participatory budgeting process.1

Estimated at two hundred thousand, an enormous march through the streets of Porto Alegre opened the WSF. Besides those who had come for the WSF, there were delegations from all seventeen of Brazil’s political parties and many Brazilian trade unions. The march took the general form of a protest against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Together with the standard peace signs, many signs, including the one I carried, condemned President George W. Bush as a war criminal. Even while many protested the Bush regime’s warmongering, the march was not an angry event but a celebratory one—an expression of hope and a welcoming for those who had come to the WSF from every corner of the world.

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25. The glow of health

John de Graaf Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The glow of health

… one word to you and your children: stay together, learn the flowers, go light.

—GARY SNYDER, Turtle Island

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.

—LILY TOMLIN

Everyone knows that feeling of waking up after a long illness and suddenly, miraculously, feeling full of life again! Good-bye, daytime TV. Hello, energy! How we love to dive back into our favorite activities when we don’t feel isolated, powerless, or estranged anymore! That’s what happens when we beat affluenza—we realize at last how stressful it was to keep up with the Joneses; to stay at a job we hated just for the money and benefits; to write endless checks to credit card companies and always be worried about the next house payment … What a relief, when we discover there’s a way out!

In the course of writing and then updating this book, we discovered that many other Americans feel the way we do. Their comments and ideas became part of our own thought processes. One early reader of the manuscript saw similarities between victims of affluenza and prisoners of war. “Except we’re prisoners of an economy that destroys our environment, our communities, and our peace of mind,” he said. “Imagine what it must feel like when the war is over, and we’re liberated. Or when affluenza is purged from our lives. We’ll feel such a sense of freedom and such a sense of lightness.”

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CHAPTER 6 The Early Role of Corporations in America

Thom Hartmann Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

An effort is being made to build a railroad from Springfield to Alton. A [corporate] charter has been granted by the legislature, and books are now open for subscriptions to the stock. The chief reliance for taking the stock must be on the eastern capitalists; yet, as an inducement to them, we, here must do something. We must stake something of our own in the enterprise, to convince them that we believe it will succeed, and to place ourselves between them and subsequent unfavorable legislation, which, it is supposed, they very much dread.

—Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln, addressing the leaders of Sangamon County, Illinois, June 30, 1847

JANE ANNE MORRIS IS A CORPORATE ANTHROPOLOGIST AND WRITER IN Madison, Wisconsin, and she is affiliated with the Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy (POCLAD), one of the leading organizations doing research and work in illuminating the story of corporate personhood.

Morris discovered that on the eve of his becoming chief justice of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, Edward G. Ryan said ominously in his 1873 address to the graduating class of the University of Wisconsin Law School,

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1. Economic Collapse: It IsTheir Fault

Dean Baker Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Imagine if the economy were managed by people who did not know basic arithmetic, the stuff that we all learned in third grade. Imagine further that as a result of their inability to understand simple arithmetic, huge economic imbalances grew to ever more dangerous levels.

If this happesned, surely the business and economics reporters would be on the job, pointing out the ungodly incompetence of the country's top economic officials and the risks that their ignorance posed for us all. Undoubtedly, thousands of economists, all quite skilled at mathematics, would be pointing out the errors. Members of Congress, especially those sitting on the committees that have major economic responsibilities, would be organizing hearings to call attention to the mismanagement of the economy.

If the media, the economics profession, and Congress somehow failed to move quickly enough, and disaster struck, certainly those most responsible for this calamity would lose their jobs and suffer public humiliation. Lengthy news stories would denounce problems in our system of governance that allowed for extraordinary incompetence at the highest levels.

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