How Transparent Are You?

The inimitable Arny Mindell delivering a spontaneous commentary whilst out walking.

To hear him speak about Worldwork and Deep Democracy go here. For an introduction to his body of work known as Process-Oriented Psychology, go here >>

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The Freedom of the Oppressed

frank-001-Custom-4Robert Frank’s classic book The Americans was a seminal piece of work in a variety of ways.
In this essay, George Cotkin explores how Frank’s photographic expression was fundamentally aligned with the literary vision of Beat writers (Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs et al) and their “sustained critique of the barrenness of American culture,” overlapping with “a vision of renewal and rebirth”.

As part of his thesis, Cotkin suggests that Frank saw and portrayed Black Americans in the Fifties as living an embodied form of existential freedom that far surpassed the experience of the theoretically freer White American “walking dead”…

Read the article here >>
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Posted in Babylon, Roots
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Becoming Aware of Privilege

primary_new-generic-police-lights-1It takes a long time for the privileged to become aware of their own privileges. For others around them it tends to be obvious what’s going on.

This incisive piece by Matt Zoller Seitz is searingly honest about the realities of being white in America (and probably most other WASP democracies), and how society is structured to maintain racially-based privilege.
Read the article >>
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Posted in Babylon, Journeys
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Change from the inside out

richard_martin“Rather than finding ourselves in an era of unprecedented change, we may find it is one of crushing tedium, uniformity and vacuous conformism.” writes Richard Martin as he looks back at true revolutionary periods from artistic, political or corporate perspectives. “People really should stop talking about talking…” he adds.

His proposal for starting the slow change processes that may produce a rich harvest many years hence: “Play them at their own game… accepting a role alongside them and operating as an outsider on the inside.” Read more here >>>

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Gender Revolution in Skateistan

skateboarding-makes-afghan-girls-feel-free-881-body-image-1422548662Skateistan began in 2007 when an Australian skateboarder, Oliver Percovich, discovered a perfect spot to skate at the weekend – Mekroyan Fountain, an abandoned, Russian-era concrete relic located in the heart of Kabul. In 2009 Percovich created the non-profit skate school in Afghanistan. The goal is simple: to use skateboarding as a tool for empowerment in a country worn away by 30 years of conflict and dislocation. The children, and especially the girls, come for skateboarding, they stay for education writes Kat Lister.

Read the full article here >>
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Charlie: A Few Perspectives…

paris-march-wide-shotCharlie Hebdo offices, Paris, 7th January 2015.
Another sudden intensification in our evolving multi-dimensional global conflict.

A few perspectives…

The western mainstream almost unanimously responded to events as a barbaric and failed attack on freedom. The massive, instant #JeSuisCharlie grief&solidarity movement appeared to uphold and defend the core liberal values (or rhetoric) of free speech and democracy. This cry was swiftly taken up by global politicians of all stripes – although a wide-angle shot shows their united ‘leadership of the march’ in Paris as a photo-op set-up in an empty street.

Right-wing commentators used the occasion to make absurd tragi-comic slurs about Islam, while in the real world French Muslims tried to navigate the complexity of their situation – and feelings.

It has mostly been left to Muslim and peripheral voices to interrogate the depth causes of the attacks and suggest responsibility might lie with the West’s own violence towards the Arab and Muslim world. Or that they were part of a Jihadist ‘false-flag’ strategy to radicalise European Muslims through “sharpening contradictions” – or even that this actually had nothing to do with religion, free speech or the clash of civilisations, but should be seen as a message from the dispossesed.

Meanwhile, in the quiet spaces, human beings (of liberal, Muslim, Jewish, secular and many other origins, sometimes mixed) have been reflecting on the internal and worldly challenges catalysed by the situation and meditating on the question “How do we respond?”
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[image still from TV news]
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Visions of the Visionmakers

Dreamy, leftfield portrait of contemporary photography by Tyrone Lebon.
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The Disease of Being Busy

busy_5805671020_0388362847_oThe unexamined life is not worth living… for a human. But how are we supposed to live, to examine, to be, to become, to be fully human – and free – when we are so busy? – asks Omid Safi. Read article here >>>
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Posted in Journeys
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Photographing the Unseen

20140626-lens-weston-slide-MZDE-superJumboAfter a near-death experience, the photographer Kim Weston re-awakened a dream of being an artist. She went back her to roots, creating “Seen, Unseen”, a subtle document of an African-American family, layered with meditations on culture, photography and the sacred. Read article & watch slideshow

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Building the Dream

There’s many dreamers out there with visions for new ways of living. The instigators of Kalu Yala are having a go at co-creating “the world’s most sustainable modern town” in the Panamanian jungle.

Posted in Liberation
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After the Fall

After-the-Fall_tumblr_inline_n8pif0zode1se9q8s“After the Fall” – Photographs by Hin Chua.
View here >>
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Posted in Movement
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Windows Onto a New Era

FinkNewEra12952842485-85.4_57The New Era windows factory in Chicago is a worker-owned cooperative. There are thousands of cooperative businesses in America and around the world, but New Era is remarkable in that it emerged, phoenix-like, from exploitative corporate ownership into an effective operation based on equal rights and consensus decision-making.

Astra Taylor chart the story of how the original company’s owners pretended to close down the factory and sack the entire workforce, only to try and take the machines to another, more profitable location. The workers, inspired by Argentinian horizontalidad factory occupations and the Basque Mondragon Co-ops, refused to leave, took over the factory and eventually managed to buy the facilities for a song and set-up New Era.

Read the full article by Astra Taylor >>

 

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Hacktivism: cracking the system

Anonymous_croppedKKK, Sony, Xbox… Hacking has never been so “en vogue”, whether the motivation is political, criminal, exposing the system – or “just for the LULZ.” But hacktivism and codebreaking are of course not new, having been around since the very technologies they use…
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This article by Helen Cahill looks back at some of the famous hackers in history >>
This longer read by David Kushner is a history of the now-notorious collective Anonymous >>
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Image by Jeff Nishinaka (paper sculpture) / Scott Dunbar (photograph)
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Posted in Movement, Roots
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The Fires of Resistance

thailand-red-shirt-burning-tires-2Fire is perhaps the most visual and emotive symbol of protest and resistance movements…

Jarret Martineau explores the role of anger in Indigenous and Black struggles for freedom in the U.S, suggesting that in the post-colonial historical context, collective expression of rage and resentment is a necessary precursor as well as fuel for liberation. Jarret Martineau is a Cree/Dene doctoral candidate in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria and this essay is inspired by Frantz  Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks and Sean Coulthard’s Red Skin White Masks. Read the essay here >>

Meanwhile, on the ground, read this post by Zig Zag on anti-fracking actions by Mi’kmaq activists, who have been using burning tyres to blockade vehicles engaged in shale gas exploration. Zig Zag, aka Gord Hill, is a writer and activist from the Kwakwaka’wakw nation.

Photograph from Red Shirts protest in Bangkok featured in Warrior Publications blog; AFP photographer unknown.
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Non-Linear Confusion – Political Control circa 2014

Adam Curtis presents his theory of how political and economic elites have gone beyond propaganda into deliberately crafting confusion and informational overload in order to neutralise public understanding and opposition. This summary traces the methods back to a long-time advisor to Russian President Putin, who emerged from avant-garde art to develop informational ‘non-linear warfare’.

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People vs. Power : a Greek tragedy

acropolis-of-athens-7-2Today the Greek Parliament will attempt to elect a new president. Bruno de Landevoisin’s analysis goes back some fundamentals of “Democracy” and reviews the main forces at stake in this socio-politico-financial tragedy. An interesting perspective from America on a highly sensitive issue for the Old Continent to resolve…

Read further here >>>

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The Long Walk from Eden into the World

06-exploring-roman-ruins-samaria-sebaste-670
Reportage journalist Paul Salopek is re-tracing the footsteps of humanity’s ancient ancestors, literally walking from Ethiopia in Africa, into Palestine/Israel and across the globe.
Out of Eden Walk tracks the progress of what is planned as a 7-year walking journey around the world and across the arc of time.

His latest dispatch is a fascinating meditation on the historical and contemporary complexities of the Holy Land and the Levant, cradles of agriculture, monotheism and cities – in fact civilisation as we know it. Read the article >>

Photograph from Samaria-Sebaste by John Stanmeyer. View the gallery >>
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Beyond Schools? Solar-powered Community-owned Education

solar-powered-kiosks

A Hello Hub is an outdoor computer kiosk hooked up to free, solar-powered Internet and running hundreds of educational games. It’s rugged enough to handle dust storms, rain, and thousands of users. Built and owned by the community, it’s available for anyone—adults or children—to use anytime. This report by Adele Peters outlines plans to bring Hello Hubs to communities without access to schools and/or teachers, including refugee camps.

It also raises interesting questions around how education looks when not rooted in human relationship, and whether the alliance of community and technology can replace, or re-shape the role of mentors.

Read full article here >>>
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Legal Rights for Mother Earth

bolivia-rightsDepending on who’s asking, the idea of giving legal rights to nature may seem completely outlandish or entirely sensible. Bolivia, which currently has a government with an indigenous majority is in a process of enshrining legal rights for the natural world.

It’s not without paradox, for the economy of the country is reliant on extractive industries such as mining and natural gas production, but it’s nevertheless a milestone in the diverse global movement expressed by some as eradicating ecocide.

Read the article >>

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The Liberation of Sitting Still

“With a calm mind we gain a broader perspective, a perspective on our environment. We seek not only our own happiness; instead, calmly looking at the circumstances surrounding us, we regard our environment as our companion and we are able to maintain a calm and peaceful state”

In an intense and sometimes crazy world that is seemingly tipping increasingly into chaos, Zen practice offers a pathway to stilling the mind and learning to maintain that mental stillness in the world.
Zen Master Taigen Shodo Harada Roshi offers a clear, simple 20minute introduction to the basics of Zazen sitting meditation. Bringing the mind to order, by connecting it to the simple order of the body and the breath.

[Note for viewers who don’t understand Japanese! – you may need to turn subtitles on: click the little cog on bottom right menu bar to get the option up.]

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