If Only We’d Listened to the Indians

By noreply@blogger.com (Carl Kline)

If Only We’d Listened to the Indians

Did you know that the democratic government of the U.S. was inspired by the Iroquois Confederacy? That constitutional framers like George Washington and Ben Franklin so admired that native form of governance that they enshrined many of its principles within our country’s foundational documents?


If you don’t believe it, check out Senate Resolution 331, from the 100th Congress in 1988: “…the confederation of the original thirteen colonies into one republic was influenced…by the Iroquois Confederacy, as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the constitution itself.”
If you’re still unconvinced, consult such books as Bruce Johansen’s Forgotten Founders: How the American Indian Helped Shape Democracy. They line the shelves of our libraries and bookstores. Unfortunately too few of us read them. So we end up believing that Europeans arrived on the shores of this continent to find only savage wilderness in need of civilization. Far from the truth. The Iroquois Confederacy is compelling proof. That alliance of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and (eventually) Tuscarora nations was highly organized, vast in scope and had a longstanding tradition of participatory democracythe oldest on earth, in fact.

So let’s congratulate the Founders for knowing a good thing when they saw it. But they should have listened more carefully to the sachems.

Last week Roberta Hill was among some native writers speaking at a conference held on the campus of a local university. Of Oneida heritage, she’s a wonderful poet and scholar, a professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. And as she told it, our Founders refused the counsel of native leaders on at least three critical points:

First, the sachems advised, democracy must provide for an equitable distribution of wealth, so that the Read on….

From: living nonviolence

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Collaboration, Cooperation and Do-ocracy

By Gibrán Rivera

I always describe IISC as a “Collaboration Shop.” The founder of Interaction Associates, David Strauss, authored the seminal book “How to Make Collaboration Work.” I’m all for people working together to achieve a common goal. I make a living helping them do that.

But Stowe Boyd has me thinking about the distinction between collaboration and cooperation. He says that cooperation means not subordinating your own interests to those of some ‘collaborative’ collective, it instead leads to nimble fast-and-loose connectives.

I am wondering if cooperation is a more appropriate term for working together in the network age. In social movement work, I often draw the distinction between a coalition and a network.

I describe a coalition as a fundamentally industrial formation. Coalitions are centripetal in nature; they are oriented towards a center. When we work in coalition we agree to bring our strength together by agreeing to do the same thing at the same time – this way we can pull a bigger lever.

I describe a network as a post-industrial formation. Networks are more centrifugal in nature. More accurately, it’s not so much that they move away from a center, it’s that they are resilient because they are decentralized.

If we agree with Boyd’s definition, then the distinction between collaboration and cooperation seems to follow a similar pattern. In which case it seems that in the age of networks cooperation might indeed be more appropriate than collaboration.

Harry Waisbren of the Jobs Party recently introduced me to the Occupy Network’s concept of “do-ocracy.” Which, if I understand it correctly, has the potential of liberating the movement from the tyranny of consensus. He says that “do-ocracy” is centered around respecting the work from those who do it.

“[I]f a team member does the heavy Read on….

From: interaction

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Hundreds of Bangladesh garment factories shut down as women take to streets in Dhaka

By Laura Gottesdiener

bangladesh image

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People employed in Bangladesh’s garment factories protest unsafe conditions and low wages. (Flickr/Dblackadder)

Exclusive stores in Manhattan, London and Milan are busily stocking shelves with the one-shouldered dresses and Miley Cyrus-esque crop tops that were on display earlier in September at New York City’s Fashion Week.

But half a world away, in the city where the western world’s clothes are actually made, the sewing machines have stopped.

More than 300 garment factories are currently shut down in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as hundreds of thousands people — mostly women — take the the streets in the third day of sweeping protests for wage increases in the notoriously exploitative industry.

The latest round of protests began on Saturday, when approximately 50,000 women rallied in Dhaka to demand a wage increase to just over $100 a month. The rally appeared to have been aimed at actually stopping production rather than making appeals to public officials or the international community. About 10,000 women blocked the highway about 18 miles north of the capital city, halting traffic. Many of the remaining 40,000 women rallied outside various factories, forcing them to close operations for the day.

The demonstrations continued to grow on Sunday. By Monday, the police chief of the region’s industrial district reported that about 200,000 people employed in the garment industry were demonstrating in the streets, prompting the closure of some 300 factories that supply clothing to Walmart and other western companies. The desired wage increase, up to $103 a month, would represent a more than doubling of the women’s current salaries, which averages about $38 a month.

Since last April’s collapse of a factory building killed more than 1,000 people, Bangladesh’s government and the country’s garment industry have been under scrutiny. The European Union threatened to cut trade benefits to Bangladesh over the summer, prompting the nation’s government to Read on….

From: wnv feedburner

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What will it take to end the suffering in Syria?

By Bryan Farrell

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What’s less clear, given the parameters of the conflict, is whether or not peace activists and opponents of intervention can do more to help foster a peaceful resolution to Syria’s conflict. Given the lack of an apparent solution to the conflict, it may be worth engaging in some conjecture. Perhaps, an attempt at a sort of international diplomacy from below could serve as a starting point to building a more constructive American antiwar movement.

In this context “international diplomacy from below” means: purposeful efforts to resolve the Syrian humanitarian crisis through international coordination and communication between domestic civil society and activist groups rather than governments (e.g. imagine Britain’s Stop the War Coalition coordinating with an anti-Putinist group in Russia).

To see how this sort of activism could fit into the broader framework of traditional diplomacy on Syria, it’s worth thinking through what a diplomatic process to resolve the Syrian Civil War might look like.

Read on….

From: wNV experiments

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Where’s the Growing Edge?

By Cynthia Silva Parker

Several persistent questions keep us learning and experimenting.

How do we avoid re-traumatizing people of color in this work? Often, people of color in racially mixed learning spaces bear the burden of teaching through telling their own stories. While sometimes liberating, this can also re-open wounds and create resentment at having to prove one’s reality to people who may be reluctant to accept what they have not experienced. And, over time, it can be disheartening to keep extending grace to different people in different spaces for the same mistakes. Racially homogeneous caucuses are one useful antidote. How else can we avoid these dynamics, particularly working in mixed-race settings?

How can we break the tyranny of the urgent? One common error is to attempt to involve people of color in an initiative without making enough time and space for them to influence the framing of the work or the design of the initiative. We need to find ways to help groups see the importance of letting go of unreasonable time pressures to nurture nascent relationships and ensure that voices on the margins move to the center of the work.

How do we stop convincing and create space for genuine breakthroughs to emerge? I have made this mistake many times. While knowing that people rarely change in an instant, I sometimes get hooked, thinking “if I just explain this clearly, or tell one more story, or offer the right bit of data or historical facts, this person will see what I see—right now.” And I can give that person too much space in the group and potentially subject others to injurious ignorance. Knowing that in every group people are at different places in their journey, how can we create space for exploration while keeping the space safe for everyone?

How do we deal with the effects Read on….

From: interaction

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Peace Paradigm Radio, September 20, Moral Mondays and Nonviolent Leadership

By stephanie

Get your dose of nonviolence inspiration for this week!

Join Michael Nagler as he explores this week’s nonviolence in the news. Stephanie Van Hook shares a new segment on nonviolence in history, a collaboration between PPR, Metta Center and Lokashakti, and Russ Faur-Brauc meets President Obama in the Oval Office to talk to him about Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping and other constructive solutions that do not require military violence.

During part 2 of the show, the team is joined by Rev. Barber, North Carolina chapter President of the NAACP and leader of the Moral Monday protests that have take shape in NC and are spreading throughout the country. Listen and be inspired . . . to action!

Listen to PPR for September 20, 2013 by clicking this link or clicking on the grey arrow below. (If you right click on the link you can download the talk to your computer and listen on-the-go.)

The post Peace Paradigm Radio, September 20, Moral Mondays and Nonviolent Leadership appeared first on Metta Center.

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From: metta center

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Commitment #18: Nonviolent Struggle

By stephanie

gandhi-ji

A headnote from us: These days we are locating the people and projects we come across on our Roadmap. These contributions from Miki Kashtan are easily, and centrally located: she is speaking to point four, “Practice personhood” in the inner circle of the map — a ringside seat!

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by Miki Kashtan

New to this blog? Read Miki’s Introduction to this series ‘All -in: fully committing to a life of nonviolence’ before getting started. Check in every other week on Mondays for a new commitment and practice for daily living. If you feel called, please comment on posts and engage with one another.

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Nonviolent Struggle: Even when afraid of consequences, I want to be ready to struggle with others in support of transforming social structures using nonviolent means to create a world that embraces everyone’s needs. If I find myself retreating into the comfort of my life or developing anger or hatred towards those whose actions I want to transform, I want to seek support to bring my intention back to maintaining love and care for the humanity and dignity of everyone and using the least amount of force necessary to support an ultimate solution that works for all.

How far can a human heart open before the suffering of others propels us to take action to create change in the world beyond our own living? How much generosity can we cultivate before recognizing that our own resources, alone, can only go so far, and begin to dream of a worldwide flow of giving and receiving? How long can we live, individually, based on a consciousness of needs before we envision entire systems based on putting human needs at the center?

There is no doubt that our very presence becomes an inspiration when our level of inner Read on….

From: metta center

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