Navalny's Beginning a Hunger Strike — So Should We

On Wednesday, imprisoned activist Alexei Navalny began a hunger strike to protest the unfair treatment he has received as an inmate of a penal colony outside Moscow. But while Navalny's hunger strike highlights the shameful handling he has been subjected to, there is much that can be done from outside his cell. That's why we must go on a hunger strike in solidarity.

Navalny claims he has been denied proper attention for severe pain and harassed by staff at the prison, which he describes as "a real concentration camp 60 miles away" from the Russian capital.

It's no surprise that Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most popular critic, has suffered this sort of mistreatment. Only last August, the Kremlin tried to kill him with poison. And ever since his return from Germany, where he fled to recover from the botched assassination attempt, he has been a political prisoner of the Russian state.

But none of that has stopped him from launching the largest wave of protests his country has seen in a decade, or from publishing a damning investigation into Putin's private wealth. Even behind bars, Navalny remains a thorn in Putin's side.

Until Navalny is free, the tide of our discontent will not be stopped. In solidarity with the Navalny and the anti-Putin movement, renounce all food until all of Putin's assets are frozen, sanctions are imposed on his autocratic regime — and Navalny is justly freed.

Give Putin — authoritarian thug and criminal "killer" — his just deserts. Go on a #HungerStrikeForNavalny and #KickPutinsAssets.

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Be an Early Bird This Full Worm #Moonday

This Sunday, March 28th, wrench your eyes away from your screen.

Toss your device aside

And get outdoors beneath the Full Worm Moon for an early-spring cleaning of your mental plumbing.

This #Moonday, it's time to declutter your thoughts . . . and dig deep in search of the grit needed to take the Year of the Ox by the horns.

We're hatching a revamped new Left — and a movement to match — to sweep aside the rabid Right and steer things onto a sane sustainable path. And having had enough of banks, billionaires, tyrants and technocrats, we're launching a #WorldwideGeneralStrike in the lead-up to the 10th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.

One perfectly timed global ritual can change the course of history. To pull it off, it'll take a clear head and all the guts you can muster.

Are you ready?

America begins,

not with ideas of democracy and freedom but with settler colonialism wiping out the Native populations to make room for white development, chattel slavery fueling capitalist growth through the 19th century, and imperialism enabling the economic exploitation of societies abroad.

American muscle-flexing

around the world -from World War 1 through the Cold War - was just justified in terms of the global good, with "national exceptionalism" transformed into an "unimpeachably noble" crusade for democracy.

A few affluent, white, mostly male political

philosophers like John Rawls (author of A Theory of Justice), hailing exclusively from Harvard, Princeton and Oxford, expanded their historically innocent abstractions at the expense of feminist and anti-colonial writers. A whole history of conquest and domination was erased.

The Empire Files: Created and directed by fearless American journalist Abby Martin, the investigative documentary and interview series examines America's imperial reach and impact.

America's moral self-justification

for its military incursions became even more inflated after 1989, with elites throughout the West coming to believe that the expansion of the capitalist marketplace around the world was not only universally beneficial but perhaps inevitable.

Those degraded by racist Western empires

had very different ideas about how to achieve liberty and justice, and a range of figures - from Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Jose Marti, Rabindranath Tagore, Mohandas Gandhi, and Sun Yat-sen to W.E.B. Du Bois, Aime Cesaqire, and Frantz Fanon - offered both a strong critique of Western political and economic arrangements and alternative visions of human coexistence on a fragile planet. But these figures were largely ignored in the West.

When cultures crack and societies implode,

there is always a bunch of big abstract-thinking intellectuals running around pontificating for all they're worth.

- liberally adapted from Pankaj Mishra's Bland Fanatics - Liberals, Race and Empire

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#MakeSecrecyTaboo

Democracy is the defining virtue of Western political systems. We worry that if it fails we’ve got nothing.

That’s why what’s happening now is so troubling. Democracy seems to be on the verge of failing.

But the real glue in the gears of democracy isn’t what you think.

It’s secrecy.

Secrecy has become so commonplace that what should have been jaw-dropping geopolitical developments have passed us by, unnoticed.

Many of the dictators and strongmen of the past century were secretly propped up by Western governments. Almost all genocides and government-afflicted atrocities were orchestrated in secret.

There are always “good reasons” cited for withholding information. But the real reason so many public and corporate proceedings are classified isn’t for safety or national security interests. It’s to shield the actors and institutions from embarrassment and accountability. To let them cover their butts.

Here’s the thing: it should not be up to some brave individual to step up and shine the light on systemic institutional violence. It’s the person who hides vital information who should be rotting in jail.

Only when We the People know what’s going on can a political system truly be called a democracy. Because the right to freely express yourself depends first on the ability to make an informed judgment. That’s what “power to the people” means.

It’s unconscionable that it’s the victims of secrets who feel shame. It should be the secret-keepers who feel shame. It should be embarrassing to keep secrets. We need to keep hollering this from the rooftops until keeping secrets becomes a taboo.

Let’s make that the rallying cry of a new movement . . .

. . .a movement to #MakeSecrecyTaboo.

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America Begins

America begins, not with ideals of democracy and freedom but with settler colonialism wiping out the Native populations to make room for white development, chattel slavery fueling capitalist growth through the 19th century, and imperialism enabling the economic exploitation of societies abroad.
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Let’s get into something personal right off the hop. Let's talk about resistance.

Resistance is what people feel when they just can’t face what needs to be done. Something important is right in front of them, but it’s so hairy, so scary in its implications on their life, their cozy way of keeping on keeping on, that they can’t deal with it.

Resistance grips us when our very soul recognizes just how much is on the line. Like right now.

Caught in an existential crisis with no obvious way out, we begin to question the hidden coordinates of our reality and start thinking about a new operating system for Planet Earth. We hatch a new grand narrative, a set of ideas so fundamental, so systemic, so profound that a sane sustainable future is unthinkable without them.

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