Thursday, May 12, 2011

Clean Water Clean Air

When I first encountered the Wise Use Movement — corporate funded vigilantism against environmentalists — it was just after CBS 60 Minutes aired its September 20, 1992 program Clean Water, Clean Air about community activists assaulted by corporate thugs. One of those threatened with murder was my closest friend.*

Over the last twenty years, efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice to make life miserable for those who advocate sane environmental policy has escalated. In 2006, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D)-San Francisco proposed a law that would make interfering with corporations in any way a federal crime.

In the current issue of Mother Jones magazine, James Ridgeway examines FBI harassment and incarceration of environmental activists, and the Homeland Security mindset that views these non-violent activists as a greater threat to America than militias that blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City.

*Recalled in this excerpt.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

New College of California

As a member of the class of 2001 at New College of California, 2011 marks our ten-year reunion. Unfortunately, the school closed in 2008, so there is nowhere to gather.

As an integral part of the community of San Francisco for over thirty years, the Mission District campus at 777 Valencia was once a beacon of progressive thought and learning that has yet to be replaced. As I celebrate it's memory alone, I leave readers with a remembrance by one of its more thoughtful faculty, edited for length but not content.

I feel that New College wasn’t a place but rather was a time when people came together to attempt to make the world a better place. Maybe New College can continue to create environments (through us) for contributions to the larger world. The present and future acts of those that made up the more substantial aspects of New College will determine it’s legacy, and whether it will have any lasting or sustainable humanitarian value.

For those of us who found New College more than a mirage, a utopic fantasia of “good will and good works”, New College will continue to evolve and morph through us, through human effort, and the capacity to link in the larger world.

I encourage you to start building the possibility of a conference -– invite a larger audience — challenge the community to use the experience to learn, to think, to continue radical processes of reflection that goes way beyond the domain of any single institution.

As thinking is the domain of people. And this is what we desperately need right now.

There are always spaces within collapse to move through, but sometimes they are narrow. Still it is incumbent on some of us to find those narrow spaces and move through them to secure the freedom of thinking of people on safer ground. A ground which safeguards and protects thoughts and minds rather than blowing them out and blowing them away.