We Must Not Abandon Myanmar!

As the remaining shreds of Myanmar's long-troubled democracy disintegrate, atrocities are being committed against civilians. But where is the rest of the world?

More than 700 have been killed by the military since it took power on February 1st. Last Friday, in a single city, it murdered more than 80 anti-coup protestors; reports suggest that heavy weaponry — including artillery and machine guns — was involved. That same day, 23 citizens were sentenced to death by a military court.

The UN's office in the country has limply insisted that "violence must cease immediately." But what government, organization, or individual actor has lifted a finger to take substantial action against Myanmar's brutal junta? Who stands in solidarity with its citizens?

It's time to separate the wheat from the chaff. We the people of the world must take charge of our own geopolitical destiny. Force the Bidens, Johnsons, Trudeaus, Morrisons, Merkels and Macrons of the world to put their moral mettle where their mouths are. Tell them to stop the Myanmar military from murdering its own people by all means possible. Tell 'em: "I won't vote for you unless you stand up for Myanmar."

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#154

Fake Planet

Adbusters #149 The Re-enchantment of the Political LeftGet this issue

On the back cover of the first issue of Adbusters, published back in 1989, was a stern-looking Planet Earth pointing an accusing finger: I WANT YOU TO CURB YOUR CONSUMPTION.

The world was in a phase change. The Berlin Wall was about to fall. Solidarity was in the air, and the environmental movement was driving it. We’d seen the whole Earth from space and by God it looked vulnerable, hanging out there in the darkness.

Environmentalism wasn’t some kind of consensus we all arrived at: it was an existential reaction that prompted a million gut-level responses.

But let’s face it: fifty years of environmental activism has added up to little more than a rounding error on the climate emergency.

Now we need to go deep-down, system-wide, third-order.

So, in this issue we sink our teeth into the problem of climate change and shake loose one mighty idea — the mother of all metamemes — that’ll show the world a way out of the existential fix we’re in.

Don’t believe us? Read on . . .

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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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?

Read

the

introduction

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The Third Force

The hierarchical, top-down power structures that ruled the world for thousands of years are collapsing before our eyes. The street now has unprecedented sway.

I'm about to give you the codes.

Are you ready?

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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.

Read Full Story

Institutionalized: The Films of Frederick Wiseman

Frederick Wiseman's latest documentary, City Hall, is his forty-third, but who’s counting? In the half-century since the release, and prompt two-decade ban, of Titicut Follies (1967) — his harrowing début about a prison for the criminally insane — Wiseman has chronicled the myriad ways (chiefly) American life is raised up and laid low, dignified and debased, spared and squandered by institutions.
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