The Rachel Maddow Show - ACT UP marks 25 years of AIDS activism

super heroes

"Systemic risk in the financial system can be remedied by the taxpayer, but no one will come to the rescue if the environment is destroyed."
— Noam Chomsky

"Systemic risk in the financial system can be remedied by the taxpayer, but no one will come to the rescue if the environment is destroyed."

— Noam Chomsky

Report Election Fraud

This week we’ve seen mounting evidence of widespread fraud in the 2011 election. Now we need your help to find people who were directly affected, and lay the groundwork for possible new elections.
Over the last week we have seen mounting evidence of systematic fraud in the 2011 election. Now we need to learn the whole truth. Nearly 35,000 Canadians who have already taken action to protect our democracy. Together we can form a powerful fact-finding network, and lay the groundwork for possible new elections in the affected ridings.
Canadians’ confidence in the fairness and legitimacy of the last election has been deeply shaken. The news keeps getting worse. Call center employees have reported they were instructed to send misleading messages seemingly designed to stop non-Conservatives from voting. As the list of potentially affected individuals and ridings continues to grow, the NDP, Liberals and Greens have called for full investigations in all affected ridings.In response, the Conservative government has dismissed allegations of systematic election fraud as a mere “smear campaign”.
We need to help find the truth about what happened in the last election and use this knowledge to choose the best ways to restore the integrity of our democracy.
When this story broke last week, it started a 30-day count-down to begin court proceedings that could lead to new elections in the affected ridings. Our strategy may include legal challenges.
Were you, or was anyone you know, the target of any voter suppression tactics, or do you have any information about electoral fraud in your riding? OR, would you like to learn more about how you could challenge the result in your riding?

Report Election Fraud

This week we’ve seen mounting evidence of widespread fraud in the 2011 election. Now we need your help to find people who were directly affected, and lay the groundwork for possible new elections.

Over the last week we have seen mounting evidence of systematic fraud in the 2011 election. Now we need to learn the whole truth. Nearly 35,000 Canadians who have already taken action to protect our democracy. Together we can form a powerful fact-finding network, and lay the groundwork for possible new elections in the affected ridings.

Canadians’ confidence in the fairness and legitimacy of the last election has been deeply shaken. The news keeps getting worse. Call center employees have reported they were instructed to send misleading messages seemingly designed to stop non-Conservatives from voting. As the list of potentially affected individuals and ridings continues to grow, the NDP, Liberals and Greens have called for full investigations in all affected ridings.In response, the Conservative government has dismissed allegations of systematic election fraud as a mere “smear campaign”.

We need to help find the truth about what happened in the last election and use this knowledge to choose the best ways to restore the integrity of our democracy.

When this story broke last week, it started a 30-day count-down to begin court proceedings that could lead to new elections in the affected ridings. Our strategy may include legal challenges.

Were you, or was anyone you know, the target of any voter suppression tactics, or do you have any information about electoral fraud in your riding? OR, would you like to learn more about how you could challenge the result in your riding?

30 seat fraud:

The “robo-call” and voter-suppression scandal is rapidly threatening to become a full-blown political crisis for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, with the number of ridings where dirty tricks are alleged to have skewed races in the last federal election climbing to almost 30.
The New Democrats and Liberals on Sunday both listed 29 ridings in which they claim voters were either misled by automated calls purportedly from Elections Canada about where to cast ballots, or where live callers misrepresented themselves as working for rival parties. In some cases, voters allegedly received harassing late-night calls.

30 seats targeted:

Be it coincidence or political calculation, Rickford’s Kenora riding also sits squarely on the Conservative’s list of 30 ridings that are at risk of being lost or possible to steal away. The list of so-called targeted ridings is central to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s national campaign, which started the election holding 143 seats, a dozen short of a majority government.

what a coincidence
demand a full public inquiry

30 seat fraud:

The “robo-call” and voter-suppression scandal is rapidly threatening to become a full-blown political crisis for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, with the number of ridings where dirty tricks are alleged to have skewed races in the last federal election climbing to almost 30.

The New Democrats and Liberals on Sunday both listed 29 ridings in which they claim voters were either misled by automated calls purportedly from Elections Canada about where to cast ballots, or where live callers misrepresented themselves as working for rival parties. In some cases, voters allegedly received harassing late-night calls.

30 seats targeted:

Be it coincidence or political calculation, Rickford’s Kenora riding also sits squarely on the Conservative’s list of 30 ridings that are at risk of being lost or possible to steal away. The list of so-called targeted ridings is central to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s national campaign, which started the election holding 143 seats, a dozen short of a majority government.

what a coincidence

demand a full public inquiry

While the pro-surveillance spin campaign whirs into gear here in Canada, it’s interesting to note that Western governments all happen to be pushing this shit at the same time.
United States: Internet Providers to Save User Data Under Child-Porn Bill
Australia: Phone, net watchers fuel ‘surveillance state’ fears
United Kingdom: Phone and email records to be stored in new spy plan
do something
…and if you haven’t read 1984, this might be a good time to do so.

While the pro-surveillance spin campaign whirs into gear here in Canada, it’s interesting to note that Western governments all happen to be pushing this shit at the same time.

do something

…and if you haven’t read 1984, this might be a good time to do so.

"either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”
– Harper Government
"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation."
– Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf
do something

"either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”

– Harper Government

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation."

– Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf

do something

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Haruki Murakami - Always on the side of the egg

"Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg."
Yes, no matter how right the wall may be and how wrong the egg, I will stand with the egg. Someone else will have to decide what is right and what is wrong; perhaps time or history will decide. If there were a novelist who, for whatever reason, wrote works standing with the wall, of what value would such works be?
What is the meaning of this metaphor? In some cases, it is all too simple and clear. Bombers and tanks and rockets and white phosphorus shells are that high, solid wall. The eggs are the unarmed civilians who are crushed and burned and shot by them. This is one meaning of the metaphor.
This is not all, though. It carries a deeper meaning. Think of it this way. Each of us is, more or less, an egg. Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable soul enclosed in a fragile shell. This is true of me, and it is true of each of you. And each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, is confronting a high, solid wall. The wall has a name: It is The System. The System is supposed to protect us, but sometimes it takes on a life of its own, and then it begins to kill us and cause us to kill others - coldly, efficiently, systematically.
I have only one reason to write novels, and that is to bring the dignity of the individual soul to the surface and shine a light upon it. The purpose of a story is to sound an alarm, to keep a light trained on The System in order to prevent it from tangling our souls in its web and demeaning them. I fully believe it is the novelist’s job to keep trying to clarify the uniqueness of each individual soul by writing stories - stories of life and death, stories of love, stories that make people cry and quake with fear and shake with laughter. This is why we go on, day after day, concocting fictions with utter seriousness.



I have only one thing I hope to convey to you today. We are all human beings, individuals transcending nationality and race and religion, fragile eggs faced with a solid wall called The System. To all appearances, we have no hope of winning. The wall is too high, too strong - and too cold. If we have any hope of victory at all, it will have to come from our believing in the utter uniqueness and irreplaceability of our own and others’ souls and from the warmth we gain by joining souls together.
Take a moment to think about this. Each of us possesses a tangible, living soul. The System has no such thing. We must not allow The System to exploit us. We must not allow The System to take on a life of its own. The System did not make us: We made The System.


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Haruki Murakami - Always on the side of the egg

"Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg."

Yes, no matter how right the wall may be and how wrong the egg, I will stand with the egg. Someone else will have to decide what is right and what is wrong; perhaps time or history will decide. If there were a novelist who, for whatever reason, wrote works standing with the wall, of what value would such works be?

What is the meaning of this metaphor? In some cases, it is all too simple and clear. Bombers and tanks and rockets and white phosphorus shells are that high, solid wall. The eggs are the unarmed civilians who are crushed and burned and shot by them. This is one meaning of the metaphor.

This is not all, though. It carries a deeper meaning. Think of it this way. Each of us is, more or less, an egg. Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable soul enclosed in a fragile shell. This is true of me, and it is true of each of you. And each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, is confronting a high, solid wall. The wall has a name: It is The System. The System is supposed to protect us, but sometimes it takes on a life of its own, and then it begins to kill us and cause us to kill others - coldly, efficiently, systematically.

I have only one reason to write novels, and that is to bring the dignity of the individual soul to the surface and shine a light upon it. The purpose of a story is to sound an alarm, to keep a light trained on The System in order to prevent it from tangling our souls in its web and demeaning them. I fully believe it is the novelist’s job to keep trying to clarify the uniqueness of each individual soul by writing stories - stories of life and death, stories of love, stories that make people cry and quake with fear and shake with laughter. This is why we go on, day after day, concocting fictions with utter seriousness.

I have only one thing I hope to convey to you today. We are all human beings, individuals transcending nationality and race and religion, fragile eggs faced with a solid wall called The System. To all appearances, we have no hope of winning. The wall is too high, too strong - and too cold. If we have any hope of victory at all, it will have to come from our believing in the utter uniqueness and irreplaceability of our own and others’ souls and from the warmth we gain by joining souls together.

Take a moment to think about this. Each of us possesses a tangible, living soul. The System has no such thing. We must not allow The System to exploit us. We must not allow The System to take on a life of its own. The System did not make us: We made The System.

G

The Globe and Mail - Building a Progressive Voice with Focus

When Jamie Biggar and his colleagues in Canada’s youth climate movement returned from the disastrous Copenhagen conference on global warming in December, 2010, they did so with a deep sense of betrayal and abandonment.
The adults charged with addressing the world’s climate crisis seemed incapable of setting aside personal agendas, domestic political considerations and petty international grievances for the sake of the planet. And it was increasingly apparent that 20-somethings like Mr. Biggar were going to be stuck with the unhappy consequences of their short-sighted inaction.
It was around this time that Mr. Biggar and his friend, Adam Shedletzky, began talking about starting up a political-action organization in Canada modelled on MoveOn.org in the United States. Since its beginning in 1998, MoveOn had morphed into a powerful, and deep-pocketed non-profit that advocates and campaigns for progressive positions on a range of issues.
And in March of this year, leadnow.ca was born.
With the collapse of the Occupy encampments and the future of the movement in doubt, leadnow could well emerge as an intelligent and more focused alternative to a leaderless association that never had an overarching strategy for success.
In less than a year, leadnow has attracted 60,000 members. The 28-year-old Mr. Biggar says the organization’s goal is to have half a million by the time the next federal election rolls around. While it is youth-led, leadnow strives to be a group that bridges generations.


“I think there is a sense, particularly among young people, that a lot of the systems and institutions in our society are really broken,” Mr. Biggar told me. “And there is a deep desire, I think, to work not just on becoming more effective within the system we have today, but also starting to look at how we can make it better, how we can create a more equal society, how we can achieve deep sustainability.”


Mr. Biggar says leadnow will be involved in two types of campaigns. One will be reacting to what the federal government is doing, holding it accountable on behalf of the 62 per cent of Canadians who voted for change in the last election. The other will be longer-term, more strategic efforts to bring about more fundamental changes. Electoral reform and economic inequality are two of the areas on which the group is focusing.
Leadnow has assembled an impressive list of advisers that includes the likes of Alex Himelfarb, a former Clerk of the Privy Council, and Beth Wilson, a managing partner at KPMG and one of the most powerful female voices in the country.
“We want to talk to people across political parties and try and create a values-based coalition of Canadians to bring about constructive change,” Mr. Biggar says. “We want to be a participatory, member-led democracy that people can trust. That’s what we’re trying to build here.”

sign up
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The Globe and Mail - Building a Progressive Voice with Focus

When Jamie Biggar and his colleagues in Canada’s youth climate movement returned from the disastrous Copenhagen conference on global warming in December, 2010, they did so with a deep sense of betrayal and abandonment.

The adults charged with addressing the world’s climate crisis seemed incapable of setting aside personal agendas, domestic political considerations and petty international grievances for the sake of the planet. And it was increasingly apparent that 20-somethings like Mr. Biggar were going to be stuck with the unhappy consequences of their short-sighted inaction.

It was around this time that Mr. Biggar and his friend, Adam Shedletzky, began talking about starting up a political-action organization in Canada modelled on MoveOn.org in the United States. Since its beginning in 1998, MoveOn had morphed into a powerful, and deep-pocketed non-profit that advocates and campaigns for progressive positions on a range of issues.

And in March of this year, leadnow.ca was born.

With the collapse of the Occupy encampments and the future of the movement in doubt, leadnow could well emerge as an intelligent and more focused alternative to a leaderless association that never had an overarching strategy for success.

In less than a year, leadnow has attracted 60,000 members. The 28-year-old Mr. Biggar says the organization’s goal is to have half a million by the time the next federal election rolls around. While it is youth-led, leadnow strives to be a group that bridges generations.

“I think there is a sense, particularly among young people, that a lot of the systems and institutions in our society are really broken,” Mr. Biggar told me. “And there is a deep desire, I think, to work not just on becoming more effective within the system we have today, but also starting to look at how we can make it better, how we can create a more equal society, how we can achieve deep sustainability.”

Mr. Biggar says leadnow will be involved in two types of campaigns. One will be reacting to what the federal government is doing, holding it accountable on behalf of the 62 per cent of Canadians who voted for change in the last election. The other will be longer-term, more strategic efforts to bring about more fundamental changes. Electoral reform and economic inequality are two of the areas on which the group is focusing.

Leadnow has assembled an impressive list of advisers that includes the likes of Alex Himelfarb, a former Clerk of the Privy Council, and Beth Wilson, a managing partner at KPMG and one of the most powerful female voices in the country.

“We want to talk to people across political parties and try and create a values-based coalition of Canadians to bring about constructive change,” Mr. Biggar says. “We want to be a participatory, member-led democracy that people can trust. That’s what we’re trying to build here.”

sign up

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Some Thoughts on Canada
Forbes: The National Defense Authorization Act is the Greatest Threat to Civil Liberties Americans Face
even if Obama chooses to veto it, there are enough congressional votes to override him
CTV: Harper, Obama expected to sign perimeter security deal
Obama and Harper are set to announce their border security arrangement tomorrow, “The perimeter arrangement is an attempt to protect the continent from terrorist threats while speeding the flow of people and products across the border.”
National Post: Leaked U.S. cable lays out North American ‘integration’ strategy
one more step as we tiptoe down the incremental road to integration
The Guardian: WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops
integration with a country whose diplomatic forces see fit to actively punish the EU for exercising sovereignty in the management of their food systems and “to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative”
National Post: Conservatives’ omnibus crime bill clears Commons
meanwhile the wasteful, (sadist-)fantasy-based omnibus crime bill has just passed in the House, replete with mandatory minimum sentencing
CBC: Raitt suggests economy should be ‘essential service’
this from a government wanting “to look at changing the labour code to include the economy as an essential service”
CBC: 20 ‘rights violations’ require public inquiry: report
and in a country where, as a response to Toronto’s G20 protests, “Hundreds of police officers removed their badges and many told protesters that martial law had been declared and that protesters had no longer any rights and they could be held as long as necessary.”
so how long until we have U.S. armed forces stationed within our borders, arguments based in reality falling on deaf ears, systemic opposition effectively outlawed and rebranded as “economic terrorism” (strikes) or “unlawful disturbances of the peace” (occupy, protests), and example-making punishments ranging from mandatory sentences to indefinite military detention?
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Some Thoughts on Canada

Forbes: The National Defense Authorization Act is the Greatest Threat to Civil Liberties Americans Face

even if Obama chooses to veto it, there are enough congressional votes to override him

CTV: Harper, Obama expected to sign perimeter security deal

Obama and Harper are set to announce their border security arrangement tomorrow, “The perimeter arrangement is an attempt to protect the continent from terrorist threats while speeding the flow of people and products across the border.”

National Post: Leaked U.S. cable lays out North American ‘integration’ strategy

one more step as we tiptoe down the incremental road to integration

The Guardian: WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops

integration with a country whose diplomatic forces see fit to actively punish the EU for exercising sovereignty in the management of their food systems and “to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative”

National Post: Conservatives’ omnibus crime bill clears Commons

meanwhile the wasteful, (sadist-)fantasy-based omnibus crime bill has just passed in the House, replete with mandatory minimum sentencing

CBC: Raitt suggests economy should be ‘essential service’

this from a government wanting “to look at changing the labour code to include the economy as an essential service”

CBC: 20 ‘rights violations’ require public inquiry: report

and in a country where, as a response to Toronto’s G20 protests, “Hundreds of police officers removed their badges and many told protesters that martial law had been declared and that protesters had no longer any rights and they could be held as long as necessary.”

so how long until we have U.S. armed forces stationed within our borders, arguments based in reality falling on deaf ears, systemic opposition effectively outlawed and rebranded as “economic terrorism” (strikes) or “unlawful disturbances of the peace” (occupy, protests), and example-making punishments ranging from mandatory sentences to indefinite military detention?

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The Guardian - The Saturday interview: Vivienne Westwood

When Vivienne Westwood was four or five, she had an epiphany. “When I first saw a picture of the crucifixion, I lost respect for my parents. I suddenly realised that this is what the adult world is like – full of cruelty and hypocrisy.” At the time she was living in the Pennine village of Tintwistle, where her father worked in the Wall’s sausage factory and her mother was an assistant at the local greengrocer’s. “I thought they’d been lying to me by telling me only about the baby Jesus, rather than what happened to him.”
We’re sitting at a table teeming with glue, scissors and drawings in her fourth-floor office at the Westwood empire HQ in Battersea. She’s wearing a beautifully cut pin-striped suit, as well as dangly earrings and more makeup than usual for the benefit, she says, of the photographer. “I’ll tell you what I was like as a child,” says Westwood. “I was a good person. I was high-spirited but I was a big reader. What I remember as a child is that other kids didn’t care about suffering. I always did.”


We’re meeting because 70-year-old Westwood has just announced she’s going to give £1m to rainforest charity Cool Earth, which aims to stop such an intolerable future being realised. It’s the culmination of three years’ involvement with a charity established in 2007 by Labour MP Frank Field. Last year, she produced 20 tablecloth designs for the charity, selling at £1,000 each. Could posh tablecloths help save the planet?
Of all the world’s good causes, why Cool Earth? I ask. “I’m going to start by talking about how I see the world,” she says. “The capitalist system is about taking from the Earth and from the other great commodity, labour. What’s happening with this system is that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and the only way out of it is supposed to be growth. But growth is debt. It’s going to make the situation worse. We have got to change our ethics and our financial system and our whole way of understanding the world. It has to be a world in which people live rather than die; a sustainable world. It could be great.” It could be: the vision little Vivienne beheld of human hypocrisy, cruelty and delusion 60-odd years ago need not be our destiny.
But isn’t today’s imperative to nail the bankers; maybe later we can save the rainforest? “It’s presented as though the financial crisis and climate change are two different things, but they’re connected,” Westwood replies. “We’re letting businessmen do what they want. People get paralysed by the enormity of wrong things in the world. There’s only so much that one person can do. What I decided to do was to focus on the rainforest.” In September she launched her spring/summer 2012 Red Label collection with a call to support her £7m fundraising campaign. “We must begin today – tomorrow is too late,” she said then. “Governments have been talking about saving the rainforest for 40 years. Now only half of it is left.”


Her support for Cool Earth is only one example of Westwood’s rise as a political activist. She’s long supported Liberty and CND, but in recent years she seems determined to support every good cause going. Hermost recent blog posts detail her multifarious radical interests: she backs a fundraising campaign for the Refugee Council, pledges her support for Greener upon Thames, an organisation campaigning to make next year’s London Olympics plastic-bag free, and reprints a thank-you letter from the headmaster of Uaso Nyiro primary school in Kenya for the books she sent, adding: “The school was started in 1992 but they’ve never had a library. Now they have and they’ve named it the Vivienne Westwood Library – amazing!”


"I don’t feel comfortable defending my clothes. For 15 years I hated fashion." Why? "It’s not very intellectual, and I wanted to read, not make fashion. It was something I was good at; it wasn’t all of me." She’s never recaptured the thrill of the first fashion show she did with Malcolm McLaren at London’s Olympia in 1979. It was then they launched the Pirates collection that became the template for the New Romantic look. “I watched it and I was so captivated. I had done something.” But she has fallen in love with fashion design again: “I’m happy doing my work at the moment because everything is coming together.” Even in her eighth decade, she cannot contemplate retiring. “I really want to carry on.” She hints her husband may not, though: “Andreas is considering his position – he’s a perfectionist, and that can be very stressful.”
Last month she lent her support to the Occupy demonstrators outside St Paul’s. When she was there she told anyone who would listen that they should go to London’s art galleries to become freedom fighters against capitalism, consumerism and philistinism. Why? “It’s to do with consumption – if you go to an art gallery you’re putting in, not just sucking up. Propaganda can be resisted by loving art.”


Just before Westwood introduces me to a new experience (a parting kiss on the lips from a dame), she offers some advice for Guardian readers: “Try to use your time not worrying. Try to get involved. Try to get involved in seeing art then you’ll be a freedom fighter, you’ll be working for a better world.” Is that how you see yourself? “What do I know about anything?” she smiles. “I’m only a fashion designer.”

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The Guardian - The Saturday interview: Vivienne Westwood

When Vivienne Westwood was four or five, she had an epiphany. “When I first saw a picture of the crucifixion, I lost respect for my parents. I suddenly realised that this is what the adult world is like – full of cruelty and hypocrisy.” At the time she was living in the Pennine village of Tintwistle, where her father worked in the Wall’s sausage factory and her mother was an assistant at the local greengrocer’s. “I thought they’d been lying to me by telling me only about the baby Jesus, rather than what happened to him.”

We’re sitting at a table teeming with glue, scissors and drawings in her fourth-floor office at the Westwood empire HQ in Battersea. She’s wearing a beautifully cut pin-striped suit, as well as dangly earrings and more makeup than usual for the benefit, she says, of the photographer. “I’ll tell you what I was like as a child,” says Westwood. “I was a good person. I was high-spirited but I was a big reader. What I remember as a child is that other kids didn’t care about suffering. I always did.”

We’re meeting because 70-year-old Westwood has just announced she’s going to give £1m to rainforest charity Cool Earth, which aims to stop such an intolerable future being realised. It’s the culmination of three years’ involvement with a charity established in 2007 by Labour MP Frank Field. Last year, she produced 20 tablecloth designs for the charity, selling at £1,000 each. Could posh tablecloths help save the planet?

Of all the world’s good causes, why Cool Earth? I ask. “I’m going to start by talking about how I see the world,” she says. “The capitalist system is about taking from the Earth and from the other great commodity, labour. What’s happening with this system is that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and the only way out of it is supposed to be growth. But growth is debt. It’s going to make the situation worse. We have got to change our ethics and our financial system and our whole way of understanding the world. It has to be a world in which people live rather than die; a sustainable world. It could be great.” It could be: the vision little Vivienne beheld of human hypocrisy, cruelty and delusion 60-odd years ago need not be our destiny.

But isn’t today’s imperative to nail the bankers; maybe later we can save the rainforest? “It’s presented as though the financial crisis and climate change are two different things, but they’re connected,” Westwood replies. “We’re letting businessmen do what they want. People get paralysed by the enormity of wrong things in the world. There’s only so much that one person can do. What I decided to do was to focus on the rainforest.” In September she launched her spring/summer 2012 Red Label collection with a call to support her £7m fundraising campaign. “We must begin today – tomorrow is too late,” she said then. “Governments have been talking about saving the rainforest for 40 years. Now only half of it is left.”

Her support for Cool Earth is only one example of Westwood’s rise as a political activist. She’s long supported Liberty and CND, but in recent years she seems determined to support every good cause going. Hermost recent blog posts detail her multifarious radical interests: she backs a fundraising campaign for the Refugee Council, pledges her support for Greener upon Thames, an organisation campaigning to make next year’s London Olympics plastic-bag free, and reprints a thank-you letter from the headmaster of Uaso Nyiro primary school in Kenya for the books she sent, adding: “The school was started in 1992 but they’ve never had a library. Now they have and they’ve named it the Vivienne Westwood Library – amazing!”

"I don’t feel comfortable defending my clothes. For 15 years I hated fashion." Why? "It’s not very intellectual, and I wanted to read, not make fashion. It was something I was good at; it wasn’t all of me." She’s never recaptured the thrill of the first fashion show she did with Malcolm McLaren at London’s Olympia in 1979. It was then they launched the Pirates collection that became the template for the New Romantic look. “I watched it and I was so captivated. I had done something.” But she has fallen in love with fashion design again: “I’m happy doing my work at the moment because everything is coming together.” Even in her eighth decade, she cannot contemplate retiring. “I really want to carry on.” She hints her husband may not, though: “Andreas is considering his position – he’s a perfectionist, and that can be very stressful.”

Last month she lent her support to the Occupy demonstrators outside St Paul’s. When she was there she told anyone who would listen that they should go to London’s art galleries to become freedom fighters against capitalism, consumerism and philistinism. Why? “It’s to do with consumption – if you go to an art gallery you’re putting in, not just sucking up. Propaganda can be resisted by loving art.”

Just before Westwood introduces me to a new experience (a parting kiss on the lips from a dame), she offers some advice for Guardian readers: “Try to use your time not worrying. Try to get involved. Try to get involved in seeing art then you’ll be a freedom fighter, you’ll be working for a better world.” Is that how you see yourself? “What do I know about anything?” she smiles. “I’m only a fashion designer.”

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occupyposters:

Adam Winnik, Toronto, Canada. (Source.) Download.

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occupyposters:

Adam Winnik, Toronto, Canada. (Source.) Download.

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Robert Jensen - Occupy demands: Let’s radicalise our analysis

The people who run this world are eager to contain the Occupy energy not because they believe that the critics of concentrated wealth and power are wrong, but because somewhere deep down in their souls (or what is left of a soul), the powerful know we are right.
People in power are insulated by wealth and privilege, but they can see the systems falling apart. US military power can no longer guarantee world domination. Financial corporations can no longer pretend to provide order in the economy.
The industrial system is incompatible with life.
We face new threats today, but we are not the first humans to live in dangerous times. In 1957 the Nobel writer Albert Camus described the world in ways that resonate:
"Tomorrow the world may burst into fragments. In that threat hanging over our heads there is a lesson of truth. As we face such a future, hierarchies, titles, honors are reduced to what they are in reality: a passing puff of smoke. And the only certainty left to us is that of naked suffering, common to all, intermingling its roots with those of a stubborn hope."
A stubborn hope is more necessary than ever. As political, economic, and ecological systems spiral down, it’s likely we will see levels of human suffering that dwarf even the horrors of the 20th century. Even more challenging is the harsh realisation that we don’t have at hand simple solutions - and maybe no solutions at all - to some of the most vexing problems. We may be past the point of no return in ecological damage, and the question is not how to prevent crises but how to mitigate the worst effects. No one can predict the rate of collapse if we stay on this trajectory, and we don’t know if we can change the trajectory in time. There is much we don’t know, but everything I see suggests that the world in which we will pursue political goals will change dramatically in the next decade or two, almost certainly for the worse. Organising has to adapt not only to changes in societies but to these fundamental changes in the ecosphere.
In short: We are organising in a period of contraction, not expansion. We have to acknowledge that human attempts to dominate the non-human world have failed. We are destroying the planet and in the process destroying ourselves. Here, just as in human relationships, we either abandon the dominance/subordination dynamic or we don’t survive. In 1948, Camus urged people to “give up empty quarrels” and “pay attention to what unites rather than to what separates us” in the struggle to recover from the horrors of Europe’s barbarism. I take from Camus a sense of how to live the tension between facing honestly the horror and yet remaining engaged. In that same talk, he spoke of “the forces of terror” (forces which exist on “our” side as much as on “theirs”) and the “forces of dialogue” (which also exist everywhere in the world). Where do we place our hopes?"Between the forces of terror and the forces of dialogue, a great unequal battle has begun," he wrote. "I have nothing but reasonable illusions as to the outcome of that battle. But I believe it must be fought." The Occupy gatherings do not yet constitute a coherent movement with demands, but they are wellsprings of reasonable illusions. Rejecting the political babble around us in election campaigns and on mass media, these gatherings are an experiment in a different kind of public dialogue about our common life, one that can reject the forces of terror deployed by concentrated wealth and power.With that understanding, the central task is to keep the experiment going, to remember the latent power in people who do not accept the legitimacy of a system. Singer/songwriter John Gorka, writing about what appears to be impossible, offers the perfect reminder:  "They think they can tame you, name you and frame you,aim you where you don’t belong. They know where you’ve been but not where you’re going,that is the source of the songs.”

G

Robert Jensen - Occupy demands: Let’s radicalise our analysis

The people who run this world are eager to contain the Occupy energy not because they believe that the critics of concentrated wealth and power are wrong, but because somewhere deep down in their souls (or what is left of a soul), the powerful know we are right.

People in power are insulated by wealth and privilege, but they can see the systems falling apart. US military power can no longer guarantee world domination. Financial corporations can no longer pretend to provide order in the economy.

The industrial system is incompatible with life.

We face new threats today, but we are not the first humans to live in dangerous times. In 1957 the Nobel writer Albert Camus described the world in ways that resonate:

"Tomorrow the world may burst into fragments. In that threat hanging over our heads there is a lesson of truth. As we face such a future, hierarchies, titles, honors are reduced to what they are in reality: a passing puff of smoke. And the only certainty left to us is that of naked suffering, common to all, intermingling its roots with those of a stubborn hope."

A stubborn hope is more necessary than ever. As political, economic, and ecological systems spiral down, it’s likely we will see levels of human suffering that dwarf even the horrors of the 20th century. Even more challenging is the harsh realisation that we don’t have at hand simple solutions - and maybe no solutions at all - to some of the most vexing problems. We may be past the point of no return in ecological damage, and the question is not how to prevent crises but how to mitigate the worst effects. No one can predict the rate of collapse if we stay on this trajectory, and we don’t know if we can change the trajectory in time. 

There is much we don’t know, but everything I see suggests that the world in which we will pursue political goals will change dramatically in the next decade or two, almost certainly for the worse. Organising has to adapt not only to changes in societies but to these fundamental changes in the ecosphere.

In short: We are organising in a period of contraction, not expansion. We have to acknowledge that human attempts to dominate the non-human world have failed. We are destroying the planet and in the process destroying ourselves. Here, just as in human relationships, we either abandon the dominance/subordination dynamic or we don’t survive. 

In 1948, Camus urged people to “give up empty quarrels” and “pay attention to what unites rather than to what separates us” in the struggle to recover from the horrors of Europe’s barbarism. I take from Camus a sense of how to live the tension between facing honestly the horror and yet remaining engaged. In that same talk, he spoke of “the forces of terror” (forces which exist on “our” side as much as on “theirs”) and the “forces of dialogue” (which also exist everywhere in the world). Where do we place our hopes?

"Between the forces of terror and the forces of dialogue, a great unequal battle has begun," he wrote. "I have nothing but reasonable illusions as to the outcome of that battle. But I believe it must be fought." 

The Occupy gatherings do not yet constitute a coherent movement with demands, but they are wellsprings of reasonable illusions. Rejecting the political babble around us in election campaigns and on mass media, these gatherings are an experiment in a different kind of public dialogue about our common life, one that can reject the forces of terror deployed by concentrated wealth and power.

With that understanding, the central task is to keep the experiment going, to remember the latent power in people who do not accept the legitimacy of a system. Singer/songwriter John Gorka, writing about what appears to be impossible, offers the perfect reminder:  

"They think they can tame you, name you and frame you,
aim you where you don’t belong. 
They know where you’ve been but not where you’re going,
that is the source of the songs.”

G