Nov 2014 Sovereignty News

We’re talking a lot about sustainability, whose interdependent concept is sovereignty – the right of self-determination. Some people don’t get that sovereignty depends on sustainability – you can’t control your own community if you’re dependent on exploiting other people for your food, energy and goods.

But ultimately sustainability also depends on sovereignty. If the banks create the credit that buys the houses, the money is an IOU to them. Therefore they, under their other hat as corporations, create the jobs. Growing food, creating energy and making products is a lot of work. If our collective labor serves corporate profits we’re left to do the real work of becoming sustainable in our spare time. That’s not going to work!

Here’s a way that I adapted a Buckminster Fuller quote to describe the goal:

To enable a world that works
for the most amount of people,
in the shortest possible time,
with the least degree of disparity,
and the best repair of ecology,
through voluntary cooperation
between small sovereign states.

So here are some recent things that came to my attention:

From Move to Amend, 600 communities nationwide now have resolutions that corporations are not people. The Union of Concerned Scientists, along with Michael Pollan and others, is calling for a National Food Policy and is being called terrorists and anarchists because of their support of the EPA in slashing carbon emissions from power plants.

Slow Money is livestreaming their 2014 Louisville conference for free. The keynote speakers are Wendall Barry, Vandana Shiva and Joel Salatin.

The Citizens Trade Campaign is pushing to derail Fast Track, which means that trade deals are written in committee and Congress can only vote yes or no without amendments (unless necessary to get them passed.) This is especially dangerous with the TPP – TransPacific Partnership – on the table during the lame duck session. This would cover 40% of the people in the world, dictating tariffs, medicine patents and financial regulations and overruling environmental laws, labor rights, “Buy Local” programs, food safety and consumer labeling. Click here to oppose it.

Good things happening in Asia include Kailash Satyarthi winning the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai. Kailash started RugMark, now called GoodWeave, which certifies that rugs aren’t made with child labor – children as young as 4 shackled to looms. He’s had bones in every part of his body broken in the process of liberating children. He works with the International Labor Rights Forum which also works with child slaves in cocoa and third-generation slaves on the Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia.

I particularly like Shankar Singh and the Chariot of Scams, who uses satire to convey how representative democracy is divorced from people and their realities. He once popped up with a puppet that asked Ban Ki Moon if the UN would meet basic transparency norms in its expenses around the world.

And this is a great short video of Bhagwati Agrawal, a US entrepreneur whose Aakash Ganga, or River from the Sky, has brought drinking water to 10,000 people in rural Rajasthan through rainwater harvesting.

John Feffer, editor of Foreign Policy in Focus, is always a joy to read. This week he talks about South Korea and Seoul’s progressive mayor who has already cut energy use by the equivalent of one nuclear reactor and is now aiming for two more. He’s the head of the World Mayors Council on Climate Change, an interesting workaround to the UN stalemate. He’s also big on participatory democracy and working on a soccer tournament with North Korea, an investment in their railway to Russia, a joint tourism area in the Kumgang mountains and a cooperative remedy to overfishing.

You will love this! How Wolves Change Rivers. Through something called Trophic Cascade, introducing predators into Yellowstone changed the herd behavior of elk (called deer because it’s a Brit thing narrated by George Monbiot.) This restored the ecosystem where the elk no longer went and even changed the course of the river. Glorious photography, produced by Sustainable Human.

Almost lastly, since the consolidation of currency by the Euro which allowed banking scams to cross borders, Europe is a harbinger of things to come in the US . Greece, Spain, Ireland and Scotland have been severely impacted but the government in Poland still wants to join the party and is replacing jobs with junk-contracts of 2-3 months of temporary employment in order to look fiscally viable.

I’ve been reminded that the Mondragon Corporation is the antidote to this. Located in the Basque region of Spain, which adopted a declaration of self-determination this year and voted in 2/3rds of legislators on a secession platform, Mondragon is a federation of worker cooperatives that employs 75,000 people in over 250 companies. They’re part of the International Co-operative Alliance that represents 272 federations in 97 countries.

And really lastly, if Citizen Four is coming to a theater near you, go see it! I went with my 16-yr-old daughter and, although we thought we were well-informed about Edward Snowden, it was very touching to see him in the moments when he doesn’t know what will happen to him but acts out of conviction anyway. An important point made by Greenwald is that the foreign spying is more about corporate competitive advantage than terrorism. Likewise, those spied on in the US are more likely to be threats to corporations and banking than to people and government. Be forewarned!

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