“Who Are You to Say?”
By Dennis Loo (9/22/14)
Part 2 added late 9/22/14 and 9/23/14
This question - “who are you to say?” - gets posed, either explicitly or implicitly, fairly frequently by at least some, if not many, people in retort to those who seek to lead others in political change. “I have my own views. Who are you to say what’s right or wrong? I will do my thing and you do your thing. It’s all good.”
In the US where individualism and “personal choice” are highly valued by the dominant (mass) culture, the idea that anyone would challenge the notion that everyone’s opinions are all equally valid – or at least, depending upon what company you keep, the views that are most common among your chosen political persuasion - strikes many people as at best rude and at worst the views of someone you should avoid.
Who are you to say that evolution is true? Who are you to say that intelligent design is hogwash? Who are you to say that climate change is a dire emergency and not a hoax or an exaggerated response to “adverse” weather? Who are you to say that voting is worse than a waste of time? Who are you to say that your views are scientific/right/true and that (some) others’ views are not?
The Gravest Threat to Planet Earth – Ever
By Dennis Loo (9/19/14)
Since Earth’s creation, no natural threats to its existence compare to the danger that it now faces from climate change, caused by human activity.
Gigantic meteors have struck the earth and volcanoes have spewed out enormous amounts of smoke and ash that dramatically altered the landscape and deeply impacted the flora and fauna, and perhaps caused the massive die off of dinosaurs … but they are not as grave a threat to the existence of Earth now confronting us.
Nuclear winter, a threat during the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union that could have been catastrophic had it happened, is arguably less of a threat than climate change.
©2014 by Alice Walker
for Carl Dix and Cornel West
Editor's note: Alice Walker - on her own initiative - penned this poem in honor of Carl Dix and Cornel West, calling forth others to join in this October's Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. It's a powerful and eloquent statement from one of America's greatest treasures.
It is still hard to believe
that millions of us saw Eric Garner die.
He died with what looked like a half dozen
standing on his body, twisting and crushing
especially his head
He was a big man, too. They must have felt
like clumsy midgets
as they dragged him down.
This site aims to accomplish two related goals. First, it complements Dennis Loo's book Globalization and the Demolition of Society so that people reading the book can get more deeply into it. (See navigation bar above, labeled "GDS Book Annotations"). We believe that his book is a landmark, providing a solid foundation for politics of a new path. Taking such a path is critical to humanity and the planet's future. As his book's dust jacket states:
[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
Second, in order to get at the truth and because the ways in which humanity's historic striving for understanding and its capacity to wonder and imagine are very rich and diverse, we seek to reflect that richness and diversity on our site. See "About Us" on navigation bar. We intend to be engaging and compelling, as the best investigative journalism and art are, and relentlessly scientific, rigorous, and direct, as those who cherish the truth are. We believe that we can be both accessible and sophisticated. As Loo lays out in his book,
Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)