It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on..." The War Prayer, is a short story by Mark Twain about blind patriotic war and the God who is on both sides. Written around 1904, published after his death in 1923.
It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the Read more [...]
In DC on Tuesday 18th October, I had a chance to observe and talk directly with protestors, learning more about what they are really about. Camps and protests have been spreading throughout the city, I came across two of them. Each were occupied by a mixed age group, mainly students, retirees, and unemployed. Some had been there a couple of days, others a couple of weeks. Some supporters I met who have jobs join the protest even if just for an afternoon, to show their support.
At the first Occupy Read more [...]
If you're not in Sydney (like me) or can't make it to protest, you can still spread the word about this peaceful protest to change the rules of our global capitalist game.
Stop banks and corporations:
- reducing humans to commodities
- controlling media
- funding both sides of wars
- destroying the environment
SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER 2:30pm
Reserve Bank of Australia
Martin Place and Macquarie Street
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122116297893189&ref=ts
Occupy Read more [...]
Who benefits from carbon trading? Wall street??? De ja vu...
Annie Leonard, my favourite "make it simple and tie a bow around it" chick, reveals the "devils in the details":
1. Free permits to big polluters
2. Fake offsets
3. A massive distraction
It's like going on a diet to lose weight. We all know in the long term, diet's don't work!
If you wanna reduce carbon there's a very simple solution (which works for losing weight too): REDUCE YOUR CONSUMPTION.
We Read more [...]
Three years ago, before I went back to uni, I voted Liberal. Why? Three reasons: (1) Because my Dad voted Liberal. (2) I wasn't interested in Politics. (3) I didn't know the difference between Liberal and Labour (Australia's Right and Left). Not a good place for any voting citizen to be. And certainly not the best intellectual place for a person who has just enrolled in a Master of Arts. But that was why I was there. I felt an abyss of lacking knowledge and a desire to try to fill it.
I thought Read more [...]
I am assisting the teaching of a master's subject called The Political Economy of Conflict and Peace, at the University of Sydney this semester. My first presentation was yesterday and in the lead up to it I drowned myself in the political economic papers and books I wrote or read over the last couple of years. And searching YouTube for parts of documentaries that I have found useful in the past. This entry has become a bit of a dumping ground for me to refer and share again at later times... maybe Read more [...]
Does school prepare us for life in the real world? Is knowledge passed from academia to public spheres? Are we learning from the past, or do we continue to make the same mistakes? How well do we really understand ourselves and others in our geopolitical, social, and historical context?
It seems to me there are major gaps within our distribution of knowledge.
Today I want to focus on one of those gaps, the gap between life in school and life after school. Over the coming weeks I will look at Read more [...]
Content in living out your life: work, money, weekends, holidays, home, kids... and then something happens: a cataclysmic event changes everything.
Be it a sudden illness or a natural disaster like the flooding Brisbane is now facing, everything you know - everything you care about, everything you have dedicated your life to, everything you imagined for your future - can disappear in an instant.
As I write, Brisbane faces 12 people dead, 43 missing, 20,000 homes, and 3000 businesses under water. Read more [...]
I want to revisit the social, economic and political pyramid I discussed in my last post: Preserving the Pyramid- the Reason Things Are the Way They Are, sharing my evolving thoughts on the question: do alternatives exist?
While it seems overall human civilisations only really know the pyramid, if we think outside the square - could any other shapes work?
When I first considered this question I drew a number of shapes:
Could we operate in a circle, a flat line, a square, a rectangle, a diamond?
"How Read more [...]
Today the Westminster Magistrates’ Court will decide the fate of Julian Assange, well at least whether or not he will get bail. And so while I haven't even told you much about last Friday's rally yet, I had better briefly inform any Sydney readers that there will be another rally at 530pm, again at Town Hall, today. 
Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees (from Sydney Peace Foundation, and my friend and mentor) will be speaking, so if you are Sydney, do come along. It's sure to be informative, Read more [...]
There are two sides to every story. We all know this, even if we choose to only see our side. Seeing the side of others takes empathy, a virtue that (unlike patience and many other virtues) I think I'm not half-bad at. Lucky so, given the nature of my recent social life.
On Friday night I updated my facebook status: Pro wikileaks rally outside town hall by day, dining inside town hall with army boys by night. Oh the irony!
The irony, in my mind, stemmed from the stark contrast in world-views Read more [...]
I've never been much of a hands-on activist. While I support many causes, I tend to action my support in different ways. But tomorrow's protest is different. Tomorrow is about making a stand for our fundamental freedoms, for democracy, free media and free speech. The more people who turn up the more this voice will be heard. So if you are in Sydney then come with me to the Support WikiLeaks Rally at 1pm at TOWN HALL tomorrow (Friday the 10th December). Otherwise sign the petition here - http://www.avaaz.org/en/wikileaks_petition/?vl
I Read more [...]
I posed this question to Q&A, a political TV show in Australia, sometime last year. They didn't air it but it's had a lot of views on their website, and a comment or two...
"We need a new system"
There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that puts profit before people and our planet. Billions suffer so that few of us can accumulate more "stuff", leading to poverty, depression, and pollution If we continue our current trajectory, our own consumption will cause our own extinction. Big Read more [...]
Why did the Global Financial Crisis actually happen? The best explanation I have come across was when about this time last year Canadian professor Jim Stanford came to speak at my uni - he tries to demystify the economy by explaining the concepts and jargon in a simple, easily understandable way.
What is the economy? It is WORK. 'The total sum of work we do to meet our needs and wants.' The economy is about meeting human needs.
Jim separates the economy into:
1. the "real economy" - that Read more [...]
Have you noticed the reoccurring pattern of almost hypocritical contradictions contained in my most recent entries? There seems to be a battle going on inside my mind:a battle between my leftist idealistic side (a perspective largely shared at the peace conference) that seems to abruptly clash with my more right-wing conservative side (a result of my experiences in India).
I care about people. I care about those who live in unsanitary conditions, those who suffer from war, from hunger, from Read more [...]
I knew I would leave India with a new perspective of life – but the upturning of my worldview has happened in a far different way than I expected. I thought I would arrive home more passionate about social justice, more inspired to make a difference to the lives of “poor” people. Instead I am leaving India with a hardened heart, more humility, and an increased concern for the future of humanity as a whole. Why? Because the population problem, the elephant in the room, is far too big a problem Read more [...]
One day a prime minister, the next you’re not. A captain thrown overboard by his crew. Why? Was he really so bad? Was he leading the ship in a direction they didn’t want to go? Was a pirate about to overtake his ship? Was he working his crew too hard? Or is there some other reason they’re not telling us??? Who knows… What I really want to know is if Rudd is out, does that mean we’re saved from the China-inspired Internet censorship proposal? God I hope so.
What is going on at the moment? Read more [...]
'What do you think our generation will be remembered for?' a friend said at dinner.
'The generation who ruined the planet for everyone.' I replied without a thought.
'I was thinking more about what architecture style or something... but....'
Oops. Yep - I'm great at small talk.
Did I really believe it, those words that came out of my mouth? I thought I was optimistic about our future. I thought I believed we were really going to change things. I think for the most part I do, it's just the small Read more [...]
Bored? Never! Check out this website: http://freedocumentaries.org/index.php
In particular I recommend:
Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky ... if you haven't seen this one you better watch it NOW!
The War on Democracy - The US manipulates politics of South America
The Power of Nightmares - The rise of the Religious Right in America, and Islamic Fundamentalists.
Jesus Camp - SCARY!
The Story of God - explores the history of humanity's search for our creator.
Zeitgeist - as I Read more [...]
In the hidden-away tranquility beneath the branches of large shadowy trees, in the Secret Garden hostel in a mysterious little town called Vilcabamba, in Ecuador December 2008, I met a man with white hair and a white beard. It was from this man that I first learned of the Zeitgeist...
The word “Zeitgeist” comes from the German word Zeit, which means time, and Geist, which means spirit.
So basically Zeitgeist means the “spirit of the times” and according to wikipedia this Read more [...]
'If a single phrase could encapsulate society in 2015 it would be "more difference and starker differences".
Those differences will be between individuals and households: those with high skill levels and those without; those with property-related inherited wealth and those without; those who are fit and healthy and those who are not; those in traditional households and those who are not.
There will be differences between communities: those that are ethnically mixed and those that aren't; those Read more [...]