From Johninnit Ni
Congratulations on your historic achievement, and that of your supporters. And congratulations too for coming out so strongly in favour of Employee Free Choice. In the current economic climate, you're going to get a lot of vested interests asking you to slow down on EFCA, so as not to 'burden' business. Please hold your nerve here. To transform America and build your way out of the downturn, you need a strong democratic civil society. And that means strong unions to make change happen in their workplaces and in their communities.
America's attempts to support democratic civil society in countries around the world looks hollow if you don't practice this at home. Please put EFCA in your inbox from day one.
Johninnit Ni, member Union Island SL community
Saturday, 31 January 2009
From Johninnit Ni
our regularly updated webblog is http://www.slleftunity.com
events so far: 7/2/09
12.45am-1.45pm Unity Stn
is from Wales, land of song, dragons and druids. He sings and plays a Martin electro-acoustic guitar, and has been performing live in SL since Sept 2007. Lyn likes to play a folky style like Paul Simon, Steve Earle, Gordon Lightfoot, Luka Bloom, Eva Cassidy, and loves bluesey-mushy-weepy romantic covers of Clapton, Dylan, Dire Straits, Elvis, and many others. Lyn also sings some traditional Irish and Welsh love songs and a few of his originals.
Check out Lyn's Myspace site:
And listen to some of his music on
Videos on Youtube - search for Lyn Carlberg
1.45pm Unity Station
Russell Eponym (Russell Taylor Ashby) is a British folk singer currently resident in the US. He was one of the first live musicians in Second L ife and has performed in most of the major venues. Primarily influenced by the British and European folk tradition, Russell has played in bands and ensembles covering many musical genres and as a solo artist and street singer in London, Paris and Vienna.
As a musician, Russell's major influences include Davy Graham, Bert Jansch and John Renbourne. It is not surprising therefore that he is a versatile and accomplished guitarist. His unique sound is characterized by his meticulous fingerpicking style, his soft lulling voice and charming British stage presence. Russell also plays mandolin, banjo and harmonica, though it is as a guitar player that he has become so well known and popular in Second Life.
Russell is also a songwriter and poet and his many fine compositions have become regularly requested at his performances. His songs have an enchanting, lyrical quality and musical flow which have been likened to the sounds of 'summer mountain streams'. His repertoire also contains many songs by other writers such as Donovan, Dylan and Knopfler, but Russell always manages to recreate something in his inimitable style.
Russell also enjoys close contact with his audiences and will often take a few minutes to tell a story or to explain the meanings in a song. He is always articulate and always tasteful in his choice of words.
Russell is the eponymous hero of his own life.
For free downloads of Russell's recordings please go to:
3pm Unity Station
Virtual Live Band are playing at the SLLU Unity Station... a rawking gig on the Left Unity group's second birthday! For more information on SLLU go to http://www.slleftunity.com... for more information on the wonderful VLB go to www.myspace.com/virtualliveband and www.virtualliveband.com
Virtual Live Band is a real life band of 4 members from 3 different countries and 4 different locations playing at the venues of Secondlife. They use Ninjam Software to synchronize and stream their music into the Virtual World of Second Life.
Virtual Live Band is the first band of this kind and the only band in Secondlife to work in this way.
Contact Plot Tracer, Maggy Portello
4pm Unity Station
Maximillion Kleene's Fan Group is called Rhythm Collective
Maximillion Kleene is...
Rock/Pop/Alternative solo acoustic stylings, covering well loved
classics to newer, hip stuff and an eclectic mix in between...
A versatile vocal style, with a full toned acoustic sound...
from soft and melodic to pulsing and energetic
...a seasoned musician hailing from Niagara Falls, Canada
...is a versatile, all-around rock performer with a sugary sound,
smooth groove, a little punk edge and alot of in-your-face ROCK!
"is a FUN, PLEASANT, LISTENING EXPERIENCE!"
"The essence of a song is it's heart and soul"
FASHION SHOW BY AERIS BETSEN - owner of "the Muse"
Details on sllu - we are a left unity group and have been on sl for 2 1/2 years. Our aims and principles are here...
Friday, 30 January 2009
As Obama enters the Cape Fear Barbeque restaurant.
The demons of Ravana howl their hatred.
At the same time, a short distance away,
12,000 Shabaris wait for the arrival of Rama
Like the long-suffering low caste devotee
Their darshan was promised by the King
More than two score years ago
A prophet standing before
The marbled emancipator.
Shabari’s guru died before Rama arrived;
The emancipator’s prophet was martyred
In a southern city much like Fayetteville.
Obama arrives with several Secret Service Laxmans
These Laxmans would also reluctantly eat Shabari’s taste-tested fruit.
Obama mounts the podium
His strength, his baracka, flows out over the crowd
Where is Siva’s bow?
Obama can surely bend,
Yes, even break it!
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Obama, on his negotiating style
While it may be true that "the devil is in the details", and that we cannot expect absolute, ideal policy and action from Obama, I think he has taken some fairly substantial initial steps in the first week of his presidency.
Also, while there is substantial basis for criticism, or, at the very least, some cynical skepticism, about many of his earlier appointments and projected policy statements, many of his appointments and statements have been much more positive and laudable than that.
People can rip and shred Obama, and nitpick every little detail of his position and practice, and they won't necessarily be "wrong", heh...
Obama is far from perfect...but I still have to say that he's clearly far "better", relatively speaking, than anything we could have expected from McCain/freakin' Palin.
Among Obama's more positive steps taken thus far as President:
Orders to close Guantanamo and secret CIA prisons, bring in Red Cross, stop military prosecutions and review cases, stop torture
End "Mexico City Policy" that restricted international US funds from abortion
Advocated, signed equal pay act.
Announced restoration of science as a major priority in all policy
Ordered Transportation to set new fuel efficiency standards, and EPA to review whether to allow Cali, other states to exceed those standards if they wish
Gave first media interview of his presidency to an exclusive with Saudi TV, where he offered a hand of friendship to Muslims, called for peace, promised to change policies
Advanced $819 billion economic stimulus bill, which passed in the House despite 100% "No" vote from Republicans
I have to acknowledge that even these more or less positive moves may have "devils" in the details, heh, but it still remains to be seen, for the most part, exactly what those will be, and exactly how things will actually develop, in practice...
I think attempting to ruthlessly and prematurely demonize Obama is going to tend to have negative blowback from the general public, whether that comes from the left, or the right.
If the left does not want to just be lumped in with the hostile spewing of the wing nuts on the right, as far as public perception goes, I think they should show a lot more restraint, and bring a more calm, reasonable, principled approach, and a lot less of what may seem like, and may even prove to be, in some regards, unfounded speculation and extrapolation.
Acknowledging what Obama does right, more or less, is as important as criticizing what he does wrong, if we want to appear objective and rational, and to show some principled solidarity with his unavoidably huge popular democratic mandate for hope and change, in pursuit of justice and peace, to save the planet.
In order to avoid taking up too much of the front page, I'm submitting my fairly lengthy actual response to Zoe's call for polemics on Obama as a comment to this item.
However, I have chosen to address my remarks to the left, rather than to Obama, which I hope will be more productive.
as part of our "Obama" series, we are publishing a link to a document being circulated by Noam Kiranov inworld and over the web. This has been drawn up by Noam and others. The document can be found in PDF form HERE
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Leading up to the inauguration of Barack Obama to the U.S. Presidency on January 20th, we asked people across SL to write a letter to him/ express their feelings on a world led by him (see HERE for details if you would still like to contribute). Some members put their thoughts straight to blog (see below) and some sent their contributions inworld to Zoe Parness and Plot Tracer- and some placed notecards in the collection points at our builds.
We will be publishing, intermittedly, those posts sent inworld, starting with a view from the U.S. and a view from France.
How Do I Fuck My Base? Let Me Count The Ways.
A poem by Barack Obama
(as translated by GenJCChristian Homewood)
How do I fuck my base.
Let me count the ways?
I fuck them by reaching out to homophobic pastors
and the bigoted throngs they represent.
I fuck them by embracing war-mongering apparatchiks
and the neo-con wet dreams they blindly followed.
I fuck them by allowing war-criminals and torturers
to escape the punishment they so richly deserve.
I fuck them by endorsing domestic spying
and allowing the telecoms to profit from their complicity.
I fuck them and smile
as I reach out to everyone but them.
Mister President Obama
I am French artist and as well as mine,i like your country , Mister President… and I am like many people in this world… happy of your election; I would say that is a great step for American and a step of giant for humanity… You carry in fact our desire to all to fraternize!
...And certain minds as mine believe in the possibility a better world, I wish that you be able to profit from all inspiration and energy necessary to manage to carry out this hope which share of the citizens of the whole world.
Mr. President of the United States
Monday, 26 January 2009
Brief notes of the meeting of the Left Unity Feminist Network held on Sunday 25th January, by SLLU member/ SLLU Feminist Network member Zoe Parness.
(Click photo for slurl to feminist space)
This was the first discussion meeting held by the network and the topic was ‘Virtual Rape ... fact or fantasy’ Eleven people came along for the discussion.
The debate was lively, friendly and interesting and it’s impossible to try and summarise all that was said.
Some of the points made were:-
Searches had revealed that women had experienced ‘virtual’ rape in SL. This ranged from being ‘bumped’ by a male avi with an erect penis, being tricked into clicking on pose balls, descriptions of rape in text to accepting objects which contain hidden rape animations.
There were reports of pressure being applied in role playing sims and other forms of deception.
Some women may laugh these things off and some retaliate or just quit, however others, particularly if they have had similar experiences in RL have suffered emotional distress.
Was there a definition of 'virtual rape'? Did this definition revolve around the question of consent?
There was also a discussion on rape as part of consensual role play (it was noted that rape pose balls were for sale). While feminists have been working on an understanding of the relationship between sexual fantasy and the exercise of sexual power within relationships, there has been research which raises concerns that such role play can impact upon attitudes to rape in RL.
We wondered if it were also possible that role play may give a new insight into the impact of this kind of sexual behaviour and accepted that role play can be both damaging and therapeutic.
We discussed whether it was feasible to expect SL to issue warnings, introduce protection of offer support to particularly newbies who were the most vulnerable.
Self defence workshops are available in SL.
Suggestions made included improved warnings about the nature of some sims, demystifying virtual rape, self-defence strategies and sources of counselling or support for those affected.
It was agreed to work with the Women's Resourse Hub to draft a letter requiring Linden Lab to include warnings in newbie induction processes. (we need to check what is already included)
We ran out of time so it was agreed to continue this discussion next Sunday at the same time.
Ellie was thanked for moderating the discussion.
Sunday, 25 January 2009
“You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us.”
The words of Alice Walker in her open letter to Barack Obama.
“Us being the black people of the Southern United States.”
Most Socialists outside the U.S. would do well to remember we are looking on at events through a prism of white privilege.
It is easy for us to dismiss the symbolic power of a black president as another mainstream Democratic victory but I would argue that this would be missing the point and a serious own goal.
On a personal level I know how I felt when Scottish Socialists Frances, Carolyn and Rosie were elected. I felt validated as a working class woman. It mobilised me to join the SSP.
I can only imagine what it must mean to African Americans to see a black man enter the Whitehouse - built by their ancestors in chains. Who Alice Walker hopes ‘knew he was coming’ because ‘ancestors have to take a very long view’ and have to live on in faith in the struggle.
The symbolic significance of the most famous black person in the world being a U.S. President and not an entertainer or a sportsperson hit me when I saw a young teenage black girl was so overwhelmed by emotion on television that she expressed through sobs that she never thought she’d live to see the day.
There is no denying it must be a moving affirmation of the significance of the horror of the black struggle and where her ancestors came from.
She must be walking tall for the very first time.
It is not abstract theory or politics, it is personal and real. Real people’s experiences are tangled up in this. People have heard their families talk of slavery. Lynchings are in living memory.
It is personal and emotional. Perhaps that is why poetry has expressed it’s significance better than political discourse.
Poetry in motion – Part of the relay race…
More recently, Katrina embodies how much African Americans have borne the brunt of the last reactionary eight years. Subsequently the symbolic power of a black president cannot be dismissed as worthless.
African Americans do not need anyone to tell them - least of all white leftists- that their struggle is not over or that Obama is not their Messiah but a mainstream Democrat who may well end up reactionary.
This does not diminish their achievement. The torch has been passed – that is all.
The struggle continues…
Nevertheless, a black presidency has captured the imaginations of people all over the world and Scottish Socialists dismiss this at our peril. Consciousness is changing. We can easily sniff at it in our ivory towers, but to do so would be to abandon those progressive voices of struggle to cynicism, and apathy. We must ask ourselves- if we are honest - where is the left’s alternative?
I for one realise that no president of the United States is likely to be a standard bearer for the left. Obama himself is of little interest to me as a Socialist. Yet I understand it is remarkable that a grassroots organisation has galvanised so many for the forces for progress in America.
It may not be the Socialist Revolution I would want but we have to address the reality as it is not what we would like it to be. Otherwise we are abdicating our historic duty to seize the day.
We need to admit that the left has never been weaker. The U.S. left in particular has been decimated in the past 30 years. I would argue that we only have an opportunity to rebuild it by engaging with these newly mobilised groups in a long and difficult process. This is much more productive than dismissing them as misguided.
We need to stop congratulating ourselves on our correct analysis and reach out to what is actually happening around us if we are to stop being an irrelevant sect in the U.S. but also in the countries we organise in.
Obama’s symbolic victory has the potential to be truly consciousness changing. Rather than dismissively arguing that the victory means more of the same ole same ole we must recognise it as an historic opportunity for previously dispossessed groups to engage and really put the pressure on. We can use Obama’s rhetoric as well as the new technologies he has used to great effect during the campaign against him to organise. For the white left to do otherwise would be to abandon any future hope of real change in America.
One of Barack’s supposed mentors is Saul Alinksy, who said that ‘a good tactic was one that your people enjoy’. People are enjoying this small victory. We should stop being churlish and join the party! They do not need to be told of the white Marxist alternative. Black activists already know this and will continue to protest. They do not look to anyone else to solve their problems.
We will win or lose by struggling together.
In the words of the campaign slogan” We are the people we have been waiting for!”
This article and photograph has been reproduced by kind permission of the author.
It was originally published at www.campsiesocialists.com and in the Scottish
Socialist Voice - Scotlands only socialist Newspaper.
Posted by Neil Scott at 20:07
>Opinion by SLLU member Anango Magic
We have heard report after report of the many “accomplishments” in the first few days of Barack Obama's new presidency, and yet he still can't shake off that whole war loving imperialist ugliness that plagues America.
“ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The death toll from two suspected U.S. missile attacks on al-Qaida bases in northwest Pakistan has risen to 22, officials and residents said Saturday. Eight suspected foreign militants were among the dead. ” [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28811723/]
This is one of the many things left behind by the Bush Administration that President Obama is obviously in favor of continuing. Out of 22 casualties, only 8 were SUSPECTED as militant terrorists; I Guess that makes the 14 innocent deaths a 50/50 weigh out, and this is just in the first 4 days!
In the past 8 years, I have been disgusted, and many times absolutely horrified on how the Right justified these types of genocide, but now that Obama has taken the helm of this ship and obviously plans to stay the course, How will the American left justify them?
If history has taught us anything, it's that in order to justify horrendous act's such as this, we simply give it a different name. The Clinton administration didn't want to call the atrocities in Rwanda genocide until much later, when half a million were slaughtered. So I can only imagine what words the "progressives" are going to use to justify more recent atrocities, primarily the ones carried out by US forces.
I don't want to only focuse on who's in power, I want to also focus on the people. I don't want to believe that the millions who voted for this man, who praise every little footstep he makes, will start saying that these continued attacks are necessary, just because it's their man doing it. We would have verbally crucified the past administration for this, and I would hope we do the same with our new administration, but I have not seen much evidence to convince me of that.
During the Inauguration events in Second Life, I was amazed at the absurdity of comments coming from the “smartest people in the world “ [http://slleftunity.blogspot.com/2009/01/netroots-nations-progressiveness.html]. Many of these people seem to think that every error of the past will now be erased with our new fresh face of imperialism.
Barack Obama is nothing more then an appointed politician, and people need to remember that. The change we need will NOT be brought by a politician. To sit by and expect change from a politician gives you nothing but a crushing disappointment.
It's absurd to say that closing Gitmo in 100 days is an accomplishment. It's absurd to believe that racism is coming to an end because of our first black president. Not only is it not going away, it's going to resurface in a VERY ugly way. It's absurd to believe that the Republicans and Conservatives, won't be coming back. Any POSITIVE change that Obama makes, will undoubtedly be short lived.
And it's absurd to think that any continuation of the Bush Administrations policy should go un-condemned just because it's being carried out by our new face of "Change".
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Here is their mission statement:
Jewish Voice for Peace is a diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights. We support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination.
• A U.S. foreign policy based on promoting peace, democracy, human rights, and respect for international law
We are among the many American Jews who say to the U.S. and Israeli governments: "Not in our names!"
FOR A CHANGE IN U.S. POLICY
Jewish Voice for Peace calls for a U.S. foreign policy that promotes democracy and human rights. The United States must stop supporting repressive policies in Israel and elsewhere.
Under these guidelines, U.S. military aid to Israel must be suspended until the occupation ends, since the occupation itself is in violation of these guidelines. Military aid allows Israel to avoid making serious efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as conflicts with its other neighbors. It enables the occupation, contributes to the devastation of Palestinian society and fosters the increasing militarization of Israeli society.
FOR PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI PEACE
Israelis and Palestinians have the right to security, sovereignty, and self-determination within political entities of their own choosing.
The plight of Palestinian refugees needs to be resolved equitably and in a manner that promotes peace and is consistent with international law.
The parties must equitably distribute water and other natural resources.
FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
All people of the Middle East deserve the right to democratic participation and equality within their societies, regardless of religion, ethnicity, culture, national origin, language, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or other status.
Moreover, Israel must stop land seizures; destruction of homes, infrastructure, orchards and farms; arbitrary arrests and imprisonment; torture; assassinations; expulsions; curfews; travel restrictions; abuse at checkpoints; raids; collective punishment; and other violations of human rights.
The international community must support Palestinian efforts to promote democracy and human rights, while understanding that this aim cannot be fully achieved under occupation.
(Jewish Voice for Peace)
Their website includes information and support for imprisoned Israeli youth resisting the IDF draft:
While I'm not real big on petitions as the most viable means of political struggle, heh, it only takes a second to sign one, and it can't hurt, right?
But I just wanted to emphasize that there is a dedicated peace movement in Israel that people should be aware of, and that anything we can do to support and coordinate with them would probably be a good thing.
Even though they are themselves Israeli, some of these groups are now starting to call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel, as was done against apartheid South Africa, which is probably the only material way to really apply sufficient pressure on Israel to change it's policies and negotiate a just peace, short of a complete reversal of US foreign policy.
If Obama is not willing or able to withdraw the present automatic US veto in the UN against any resolutions for action against Israel, and to completely cut off, or apply stringent conditions for, the huge money and weapons the US provides Israel, then international boycott seems the only other option.
I propose that people should join the boycott movement now rather than waiting to see what Obama does. That extra pressure on him won't hurt either, and may prove necessary:
Another project, which provides video cameras to Palestinians, to document their treatment by the IDF and settlers on a day to day basis, has produced some poignant and compelling evidence, for anyone who needs convincing that Palestinians have legitimate grievances against Israel that must be resolved for justice and peace in the Middle East:
A blog reporting on the Israeli peace movement:
One of many other Jewish peace groups organizing in Israel
I'd also like to say that I offer this information not to attempt to negate support for Palestinian peace groups, or recognition of Hamas, as the present duly elected representative of Palestinian interests.
Indeed, it is worth noting that most of the Israeli peace groups recognize Hamas, and demand an end to the US and Israeli isolation of Hamas, refusal to talk with them, and attempts to assassinate their leadership, which have served only to harden the line and practice of Hamas and posed an obstacle to resolution of the conflict.
But for those who wish to temper support for Hamas, to avoid seeming to also offer absolute, unqualified, unquestioning support for some of the more hateful rhetoric emanating from some elements of that movement, or the rocket and suicide bomber attacks, it seems that contact with the Israeli peace groups could be a big help, since they are likely to be very careful in that regard, and in finding principled, effective ways to provide direct, on the ground support and relief for the Palestinian cause.
They have been working for many years, often at great personal risk and danger, to establish the kind of links with the Palestinian people to provide such relief, and that are necessary for eventual resolution, as well as to counter the barrage of propaganda emanating from the Israeli government, to "justify" it's policies.
Friday, 23 January 2009
...To have no illusions.
To finally address, in some depth, what the real events have been like within Second Life during the course of demonstrations and vigils held in certain sims over the slaughter of Gazans over the period of Israeli bombing and occupation.
We have heard from many parties that we have done well, that vigils in sims such as SL Israel have been quite productive. Negative feedback has been fed toward those militant protestors (I’m not talking about the griefers) who found themselves in rather heated clashes with right wing Israel supporters. But very little has been said on the depth of the opposing side, that of the political right, or the apolitical bigots who frequent SL Israel.
As we all have heard from Ernest’s blog articles, there have been a substantial amount of people using derogatory slurs to verbally bash the protestors. These slurs have included sexist slurs, racist slurs, threats of violence toward protestors and Arabs to name a few. By far the worst of my experiences in SL Israel have happened very recently.
At first it was a standard unfounded attack which labelled all Arabs as terrorists. That is nothing new, the majority of people who go to SL Israel share this belief. However, as things went on, things got uglier. “Hagai Aeon: where r u from abel?” – “Abel Koskinen: And where I am from, why do you ask?” – “Hagai Aeon: i wonder what kind of shit hole you come from?” This in itself does not concern me, I’m no patriot, or a nationalist, I recognise my nation state to be a shit hole. However, we can see where this was going, luckily, it did not persist down this line.
“Bruce365 Helendale: abel - Bruce365 Helendale: ya sharmuta” For those who do not speak Hebrew, he just called me a whore. Completely unprovoked. “Abel Koskinen: So I'm a whore? - Abel Koskinen: For having a political opinion about a massacre performed by your nation's military...” – “Bruce365 Helendale: no, u take money for sex” So already, my worth to these people is nothing more than a prostitute, and they have no qualm with making sure I know it. We now move on to the objectional stance on the massacre of Gazans, “Sir Delicioso: Well you elect a terrorist organization, you reap what they sow.” In other words, Sir, along with these other persons there that night, believe that getting to Hamas justified 1300 dead civllians, 6000+ injured civilians, 44,000 destroyed homes, no infrastructure, starvation and imminent epidemics.
“Abel Koskinen: In my time coming here, I have been insulted more than I ever have at a muslim/arab sim.” Said to point out that much of the anti-muslim/arab propaganda is that they are oppressive and vile. And yet, I have only come across that when speaking to ‘Israelis’ at the SL Israel sim.
“Abel Koskinen: The hypocrit isn't the one defending the unarmed. The hypocrit is the one holding the smoking gun claiming, "It was defense!" – “Bruce365 Helendale: abel is a hypicrite, she's a bitch too, and yes we israelis give such whore like her names, cuz we dont like ppl like her :) make sence” – “Bruce365 Helendale: just pissed off on whores like abel” ... “babybabe Zsigmond: abel are you bored ?” – “Abel Koskinen: Why do you ask?” – “babybabe Zsigmond: go coock some lunch for your family” – “babybabe Zsigmond: abel do you want lm for orgy room ?” – “Abel Koskinen: No thanks, I don't fuck Nazis.” – “babybabe Zsigmond: oh no abel there are some hamass left there” – “babybabe Zsigmond: you can fuck hamass” – “babybabe Zsigmond: abel do you know what shakshuka is ?” – “Abel Koskinen: No, and frankly, I don't really care either.” – “babybabe Zsigmond: i will tell you how to coock shakshuka”
As you can see, the sexism just spews and spews and spews. The racism runs fairly rampant as well. But these people had far too much fun belittling me to what I said was “some pigs house-bitch.”
“babybabe Zsigmond: are you arab abel ?” – “Abel Koskinen: Is that any of your business?” – “babybabe Zsigmond: not my business but its your problem” – “Abel Koskinen: Being arab is a problem?” – “babybabe Zsigmond: sure it is” and now for the threats of violence. “benjo33 Alter: u just keep your dor locked” – “benjo33 Alter: fuck all the arabs supporters of shit” – “benjo33 Alter: in Israel - benjo33 Alter: we fuck your black uss and then u can say it” – “Hagai Aeon: come to israel abla we a part hide your skinny ass” – “benjo33 Alter: thay fuck me up my arabic shity uss” – “benjo33 Alter: dirty ling chity arabs” – “benjo33 Alter: to fuck tham up the palestinian dirty litel uss” – “benjo33 Alter: we will send our dogs to fuck the palestinians girl in they dirty uss”
Now, you might be wondering why I just plastered this in a blog post. Simply put: This is what the majority pro-israel support is like in Second Life. I have not had a single conversation with a Zionist that has not resorted to their use of such vile language and threats. This is the reason why when trying to reach out to people in Second Life, that you cannot do so in a hot bed of Right Wing bigotry. Nothing is achieved by it, and all you do is waste your time.
The other reason is to finally oust one, who has been praised by certain other members of the left through their dealings with her for being just and fair. Beth Odets. The person in charge of the SL Israel sim. She is without any illusions, just as right wing as the people who come to her sim, she however, is much less vocal. I do not believe this is a choice for her either. I believe that she avoids letting herself voice her opinions on the basis of the media spot light that will be thrown on her if she does.
So how can I possibly make this claim? Well it is not as if I have never spoken to her. She is someone who believes that indigenous people across the world, and Arab/Palestinians, have no right to have their land returned to them because – “I didn’t do anything, its my land, I don’t have to give it up.” – As I’ve said before, there is no giving up of anything really, but whatever, this is sort of beside the point. Beth Odets shows a complete complacency to the issue, and merely humours our protests there on the basis of the media attacks she may receive if she does not.
Today, I returned to SL Israel to participate in a vigil, one of the people from the previous night were there, and Beth Odets was also. There was a man beside me waving an old German flag apparently joking as he said “Put the wall back up! East Germany out of West Germany!” etc. I requested Beth eject this person as per the obviously disgusting statements. I was then informed it was a joke, nothing was done. I showed Beth my notecard logging the previous night’s conversation, asked her to hold those parties responsible and briefed what happened in the notecard.
The joking person began to call my sign Racist, it read: Israel, U.S.A, how many kids have you killed today? He claimed it was racist toward the Jews and Americans. I at first began to rebut, stating that Israel does not represent nor equate to Jews as a whole. However, I changed my tune and merely said I could not be stuffed having another fruitless conversation, and ended it with “You are a fucking idiot.”
It was at that point Beth Odets ejected me and banned me from the sim. Did I forget to mention she dragged her heels on the subject that I’d approached her with? About the racism, sexism and threats? She claimed they were silly on SL, and it went no further than that. I call a person a “fucking idiot.” And that warrants immediate banning.
It just goes to show that Beth Odets is no better than the counterparts who vomit their ridiculous bigotry across the SL Israel sim.
In closing: Consider this a demand to Beth to hold those parties accountable. Such favour toward those backwards elements is utterly disgusting, and you should be ashamed of yourself. Especially when you act on a single, off hand comment, that was perfectly justified, before acting on the utterly grotesque actions of people who frequent your sim.
Beth Odets is no friend of the left. Nor is she someone worth any praise.
Following persons should be remembered:
Beth Odets, Hagai Aeon, babybabe Zsigmond, Bruce365 Helendale, benjo33 Alter. Do not tolerate their disgusting positions.
Abel Koskinen, SL Internationalist Socialists writing for the SLLU.
Posted by Keitopop at 04:46
Thursday, 22 January 2009
People in the rest of the world will also be hoping that military aggression, state sponsored torture, the demonisation of the Islamic faith, the support of Israel’s actions, the failure to support initiatives to halt climate change may end now. Is any of this hope justified? Half of the American people voted for a very different agenda. Is his election only an extension of the myth that in the US anyone can succeed and that poverty is merely individual failure? The economic climate will demand more attention than the implementation of progressive policies. Will there be any significant changes in foreign policy? Can one person, even in such a position of power actually achieve any meaningful change? Are you hopeful or cynical? Share your thoughts at this time. This can be in the form of an open letter to Obama, a poem or any other way you wish to express your thoughts. You can send your note card to Zoe Parness or Plot Tracer or come to the SLLU Unity station parcel - http://slurl.com/secondlife/Oculea/159/152/43 - or the SLLU Freebie shop - http://slurl.com/secondlife/Gaori/160/115/37 - and deliver it personally and see what others have written. A sample of contributions will be posted on the SLLU website. We look forward to hearing your views. Half of the American people voted for a very different agenda. Is his election only an extension of the myth that in the US anyone can succeed and that poverty is merely individual failure? The economic climate will demand more attention than the implementation of progressive policies. Will there be any significant changes in foreign policy? Can one person, even in such a position of power actually achieve any meaningful change? Are you hopeful or cynical? Share your thoughts at this time. This can be in the form of an open letter to Obama, a poem or any other way you wish to express your thoughts. You can send your note card to Zoe Parness or Plot Tracer or come to the SLLU Unity station parcel - http://slurl.com/secondlife/Oculea/159/152/43 - or the SLLU Freebie shop - http://slurl.com/secondlife/Gaori/160/115/37 - and deliver it personally and see what others have written. A sample of contributions will be posted here on the SLLU website. We look forward to hearing your views.
People in the rest of the world will also be hoping that military aggression, state sponsored torture, the demonisation of the Islamic faith, the support of Israel’s actions, the failure to support initiatives to halt climate change may end now.
Is any of this hope justified?
Half of the American people voted for a very different agenda. Is his election only an extension of the myth that in the US anyone can succeed and that poverty is merely individual failure? The economic climate will demand more attention than the implementation of progressive policies. Will there be any significant changes in foreign policy? Can one person, even in such a position of power actually achieve any meaningful change?
Are you hopeful or cynical?
Share your thoughts at this time. This can be in the form of an open letter to Obama, a poem or any other way you wish to express your thoughts.
You can send your note card to Zoe Parness or Plot Tracer or come to the SLLU Unity station parcel - http://slurl.com/secondlife/Oculea/159/152/43 - or the SLLU Freebie shop - http://slurl.com/secondlife/Gaori/160/115/37 - and deliver it personally and see what others have written. A sample of contributions will be posted on the SLLU website.
We look forward to hearing your views.
Are you hopeful or cynical?
You can send your note card to Zoe Parness or Plot Tracer or come to the SLLU Unity station parcel - http://slurl.com/secondlife/Oculea/159/152/43 - or the SLLU Freebie shop - http://slurl.com/secondlife/Gaori/160/115/37 - and deliver it personally and see what others have written. A sample of contributions will be posted here on the SLLU website.
We look forward to hearing your views.
A song that was originally introduced by the Israeli Defense Forces Entertainment Brigade, but banned by the right wing government, only to become a popular theme song for the Israeli peace movement.
Yitzhak Rabin, popular Center/Left Prime MInister of Israel sang along with this song at a large election rally, just before he was assassinated, Nov 4th, 1995, by a right wing fundamentalist extremist settler, for making decisive moves toward peace. A blood soaked copy of the lyrics were found in his coat pocket.
Early Performance by IDF Entertainment
Shiri Maimon sings, to large youth audience, including many IDF in uniform
With Memorial Ytzhak Rabin photo montage
I am re-publishing the Charter and Aims and Principles of Second Life Left Unity.
For friends - please make sure you understand the group you say you support.
For those who feel they are "foe", ensure you understand what it is you disagree with.
The SLLU seeks creative, non violent means to foster revolutionary social dialogue. We oppose capitalism, as well as racism and sexism as a part of capitalism. Our goal is to develop socialism in order to maximise left activity and thought on SL.
SLLU is part of a world wide left unity movement in SL. We are a diverse group, united around social justice and anti-capitalism. We are a democratic collective.
AIMS & PRINCIPLES
1 Our name shall be Second Life Left Unity (SLLU)
1.1 The group offers the means of a left environment, the term Unity
does not claim anything since there is no monopoly. It is a proposition.
2 The SLLU stands for the transformation of society. To replace
capitalism with an alternative classless, stateless economic system
based on collaborative democratic ownership and control of the key
sectors of the world and hence, the Second Life (SL) economy. A system based on physical
freedom; artistic freedom and environmental protection rather than
private profit and promotion of Real-Life mass produced corporate
3 The SLLU will provide political support and solidarity to all those
who are involved in fighting back against injustice, whether it be
trade unionists, community organisations, tenants groups, anti
nuclear protesters, animal rights campaigners, anti racist
organisations, feminists, anti-war groups, mental health advocacy
groups, LGBTI rights organisations and other campaigns and protest
4 The SLLU will oppose discrimination in any form on the basis of race, religion, language, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age or ability.
5 The SLLU will campaign for an environment where each individual user is fundamentally considered to be equal: we stand in opposition to the divide between haves and have nots, both in online environments and in real life and seek a balance between technocratic power and citizen power. Recognising that in SL as in RL, sovereignty resides, and ought to reside in the people, we will endeavour to highlight, oppose and redress corporate and governmental oppression, in whichever environment we find it.
6 The SLLU actively promotes the international solidarity of the
world community and oppressed to defeat capitalism and imperialism.
While preserving its political and constitutional autonomy the SLLU
will build the closest possible links with peace loving, left
radicals, socialists and left revolutionaries. across SL and the real
7 We oppose the use of violence as a group strategy within SL.
By violence we refer to the use of symbolic RL or fantasy weaponry
and/or the imposing of our will on others by forceful means. Rather,
we are committed to encouraging the empowerment of all individuals,
through education, debate, and consensus.
8 SLLU firmly stand for the bringing of international cooperation and
awareness through education and the discussion of the issues raised
by capitalist hegemony which the RL mainstream media systematically
fail to report. SLLU believe that by avoiding authoritarian teacher-
pupil models of education and based on peoples actual experiences and
continued shared investigation, every human being, no matter how
impoverished or illiterate, can develop a new awareness of self which
will free them to be more than passive objects responding to
uncotrollable change. As Freire said, and SLLU agree, each
individual wins back the right to say his or own word - to name the
"You may have noticed the world's media creaming its collective pants over the Obama inauguration yesterday, with superlatives every bit as hyperbolic as Obama's speech was bland. Gullible liberal columnists couldn't get over the "magic" - it was like being five again, and Santa Claus was coming. Everyone, it seems, got the chance to cry again, and to tell everyone else about how they cried, as well as where they were when they cried. All of that stuff about Obama's disappointing appointments, his bellicose language, the support for TARP and his Wall Street backers, and the silence over Gaza, was forgotten for one spellbound day, sprinkled with fairy dust and dubya pee. Today, it's back to the bad news."
http://leninology.blogspot.com/2009/01/to-earth-with-crash.html The rest of the article is viewable here.
I was going to write my own, but I feel this article illustrates the point far better than I could have.
Redistributed by Abel Koskinen, SL Internationalist Socialists for the SLLU.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Brief notes of our first meeting on 18 January
It was really well attended for a first meeting with avis from at least six different countries which gave it a truly international feel.
We spent some time learning a little about each other and our varied interests followed by a discussion about possible future activities for the group.
The discussion covered:-
- Links with other groups and sims eg Gender Square
- Joining in with activities planned for International Women’s Day on March 6th
- Exploring the possibiltity of forming a NOW group in SL
- Generating support for the first virtual international women’s conference in SL
- The need to combine discussion with action
- The bridge between SL and RL
- Generating a list of interesting topics for future discussion
It was felt that discussions should be supported by for example a speaker, article, web link, published research, movie, book or YouTube clip and where possible generate a form of action within SL.
The topic for discussion at the second meeting on Sunday 25th January at 12 pm (noon) SLT is :-
‘Virtual rape: fact or fantasy?’
This could be followed up by planning some activity at a rape enactment or sex slave market sim.
The following links will form a basis for the discussion.
Posted by sllu feminist networker at 20:52
1 : limits to how much stuff each group who use SLLU as a hub place - perhaps a limit to prims and talk about "reasonable" size etc/limit amount of promo material for other groups – Unity had limited prims…
Real life affiliations wall will allow for this to some respect. That is to be one prim for an org/party. This will of course be able to house an inventory which can be dispensed.
Weekly meetings to ensure there is balance in groups represented. Some voiced concerns over “Vanity groups” like thoise controlled by Genjcchristian Homewood,
Concerns: What constitutes a “group” in SL – some are controlled by one person… some by a few individuals… some are as democratic as SL conditions allow.
Reminder of SLLU charter/Aims and Principles
Suggested: groups should show some sort of democracy eg group shared land/ members notice enabled etc – if in doubt join the group - see if you have notices perms/ land is group owned.
2: Update on RL affiliations wall
Smoke Wijaya: yep, did not make it yet ...
[14:45] Plot Tracer: kk - when do u think you would be ready to start?
[14:45] Smoke Wijaya: but will send out a notice to ask if people who would want their Rl affiliation on there to send to me and someone else so we can discuss them on the next meeting?
[14:45] Smoke Wijaya: I can make the wall tomorrow
[14:48] Plot Tracer: yes - cool. you will be able to have something with the rl group/orgs insignia... and an inventory then?
[14:48] Smoke Wijaya: the prim can have inventory
[14:48] Smoke Wijaya: and there texture on it
[14:49] Plot Tracer: sounds great. where will you build it?
[14:49] Smoke Wijaya: I think we decided on the second floor, or first .. the one above this one .. but I think it would be better at the lowerfloor, but that is another point on the agenda, point 4
[14:49] Smoke Wijaya: yeah, I thinkwould be good to have down here
3: winding down the current feminist exhibition - set an end date. Downstairs in the hub needs to be cleared for a dancefloor for the party. There are two more exhibitions lined up - one from a rl art gallery in new york... (Plot to follow these up). Also Tooter Claxton is working on something for union island - and this was to be mirrored here. (Plot to follow this up as well)
Suggestions that instead of “winding down” it is moved to the parcel in Flagg of the feminist network – though, this is up to the Feminist Network.
It was suggested that the exhibition be cleared for Wednesday 4th February in order for the space to be cleared in time for the party on 7th. And dancefloors and lights/ dance poseballs to be placed.
4: the downstairs floor in the hub to be used for SLLU and info around it? Teleporters to other places/notecsard dispensers etc.
Suggested: Promo space in the hub for the feminist space.
notecard dispensers about sllu/ sllu feminist network/ history of sllu etc etc
SLLU exhinbition space would move upstairs.
Bottom floor to be for the notecard dispensers/ teleporters etc - and keep for live music venue.
5: Dance pose balls for the SLLU birthday party on 7th Feb. (VLB and Russell Epobnym have been booked so far – details are on Events)
Jasmine Hancroft to help with with dance balls or stuff for party.
Smoke Wijaya to supply dancefloor, poseballs and lights.
[15:09] Plot Tracer: can u supply some poseballs and a dance floor?
6: Obama letter request – Zoe Parness to report back
Sorry I can't be at the meeting ... have another event i promised to attend
This was not a *huge* sucess
So far I know of only six contributions (and one of these was mine )
Oh well .... nevermind
I did contact most of the pro-Obama groups in SL so hopefully it has raised the profile of SLLU with people who may possibly be interested in joining.
Anyone want a second-hand post box?
[15:10] Smoke Wijaya: only 6? thats not bad
[15:10] Smoke Wijaya: jesus
[15:10] Smoke Wijaya: Zoe never tried to organise something in SL I think ... lol
[15:11] Plot Tracer: i can add to that - we have had 10 contributions - which is not bad. one of the contributions was from the UK TUC
[15:11] Smoke Wijaya: thats not bad at all
[15:11] Jamadagni Lefavre: give it time
[15:11] Plot Tracer: indeed
[15:11] Smoke Wijaya: man, I wish I had that every time I ask for contributions
[15:11] Jamadagni Lefavre: organizing in sl is slow
[15:11] Plot Tracer: yes
[15:12] Plot Tracer: i reckon by the end of the week we will have more - i would say we can expect about 20 - all of which should go on the website www.slleftunity.com
7: Freebie shop - people can donate things to the freebie shop - it has a lot of stuff - but it can always do with more!
Suggestions: Plot to promote with notices/ims calling for materials.
Anango Magic to supply some stuff.
Jamadagni Lefavre gave: Temporary Autonomous Zones – Plot will place this later in the week.
8: Who can facilitate next weeks meeting?
Plot to compile agenda from the suggestions of comrades thoughout the week. Smoke to facilitate. Meeting will be on Sunday at 2pm SLT.
9 : Update on Abel’s, Ernests and Sol’s articles on their view/ their groups view on Palestine. These are to be subimitted to Plot so he can place them all on the www.slleftunity.com website at the same time.
Abel and Ernest have submitted articles and Sol will forward one to Plot. Bugme Diavolo has
[15:22] Smoke Wijaya: well..I think we would welcome any articles of members on Palestine .. but the Ernest/Abel?sol thing has also a bit history to it...
stipulation that no-one attacks other people in their pieces for the blog.
10: Support for pro-Palestinian groups in SL. - in particular what would be positive things to do within these groups to support the Palestinian cause - and remain comradely and united.
Suggestions- use of the blogspace
No further suggestions were made.
Smoke said he would look into the teleporters in unity Station and make them more “logical”
While meeting was going on, Maximillion Kleene confirmed he will play at the Birthday party.
Booked so far – Russell Eponym, Virtual Live Band, Maximillion Kleene, Wildo Hoffman
by Smoke Wijaya
(this is personal opinion, and not (necesarily) that of SLLU)
Tuesday, the 20th of Januari, inauguration of Obama. Netroots Nation (formerly YearlyKos Convention) in SL, amongst others, organized events around this day, starting off with live streaming of the inaugural events.
I went to the Progressive Island where the event was held and joined the small crowd that had gathered there, sitting on a stage while looking to a big screen for the inauguration. People present voiced their irrational joy, patriotism and hope for what change Obama might bring to the US: “History is happenin' !!”, “This is a beautiful day!!”, “peace is never wrong, love is never wrong. Let Freedom Ring”, “I am so proud again to be American”, “God Bless America”. For these progressives of Netroots Nation, Obama being sworn in somehow already makes an end to the suffering and violence that the Bush-administration (and US in general) created over this world as well: “Just a few minutes away from the end of the bloody Bush years!! YIPPEE!!”
I took place behind the crowd, next to Plot, as to not disturb their view of the screen and attached a placard (normal size) which showed Israeli and American flag, a call to “stop the genocide” and to boycott Israel. Plot wore a Palestinian flag.
Being at an event by progressive Americans, their conviction of Obama bringing change, US being the biggest supporter of Israel and biggest frustrator of sanctions against Israel, it seemed a good event to quietly, in a non-disturbing manner, also point to international politics of the US and the need for change. Expected by me was support for such change by these self proclaimed American progressives, but that proved to be a wrong thought.
In between US-supremacy and instant-diabetes statements like “LOOK AT THAT!! It's a sea of people!!” - “that sea of people are the smartest people in the world - giggles - a long with us here . . and every American who voted for OBAMA” and “the light in their faces is making me cry it's so full of HOPE” and “oh the smiles - the light beaming from their joy is amazing” by people like Elizabeth Spieler, Dianna Eberhardt, Michele Mrigesh and others, I suddenly got ejected by a certain Trouble Streeter, triggerhappy “security” of Netroots Nation group, who directly IMd me stating that I should loose the sign. Returning to the stage I asked why that ejection was necessary (note, I did not utter one word yet besides greetings).
Apparently I was being radical and disturbing 'their celebration of this beautiful and historic day' by just standing there with the sign. Questioning of this action, their idea of freedom of speech and progressiveness, made them hit the ban button while uttering ridiculous statements like “Trouble Streeter: he is an anarchist who enjoys disruptions” (I did not say a word before the initial ejection) and “Elizabeth Spieler: we have the right to ignore terrorists seeking to ruin our day of victory”.
So there I stood, barred from the celebration, banned from their land. Soon I was joined by Plot who these “progressives” also banned, initially we though because of his questioning of my banning, but apparently because of a personal grudge: “GenJCChristian Homewood: Nah, I banned you for simply being an asshole”. And none of the people present opposed the banning of us (besides one person that IMd me saying that she did not agree with the banning).
Apparently we were such a threat that they thought it was also necessary to ban us right away from their other island, Netroots Nation, which we did not even visit.
To me at least, this experience showed pretty clear that these Americans, the progressives of Netroots Nation, Cafe Wellstone and the like, are blinded by irrational patriotism, uncritical sheep behaviour, unsubstantiated hope and misplaced adoration of Obama as messiah, not to speak about their bigotry towards left (radical) views. For any true progressive person, who also looks to the rest of the world, instead of just on the narcissistic hyper religious island that is the US, and acknowledges the effects of US imperialism, these are not the people to support and organize with.
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
The Poverty of the Left and Freedom for Palestine
There is an underlying current among the left, no matter where you go, no matter who is your president. A perverse sense of liberalism within the current system, within the current dynamic of society. The free world, the great nation, the democracy. An ideology permeating through the minds of many, and despite the rhetoric and promotion of social justice, even far left suffer from the poverty of the system.
The system I am talking about is Capitalism. A system based on commodity production, which organises itself on the accumulation of profits. Despite the constantly revolutionised technology and industry, the system of Capitalism to this day does not, nor can it, provide for all. And yes, for a time, Capitalism promised providing for all, “Believe in Capitalism, and you will be wealthy!” And yet wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small minority, while the remainder are either scraping by or so impoverished that they can barely afford clean drinking water.
Imperialism, a necessary outcome of Capitalism, has rocked the world since the turn of the 20th century. As Capitalism grew, through the competitive market, the amount of competitors decreased. Ponds that once had many small fish had become ponds holding very few fat and bloated fish. Markets within nations are swallowed up and monopolised leaving nowhere else for the Capitalist to accumulate his or her profits. So it becomes necessary, with the help of the Capitalist State to go into competition with other nation states. To open new markets through Imperialist wars. World War I and II saw the most extreme in these inter-nation competitions. The results of which were a re-carving of the world into major Capitalist blocs, dominated by one power or another - be it through military force or economic treaties. The biggest of these major blocs,
and by far the most powerful is the United States of America. And it is no wonder then why every major war since the Second World War has been provoked/instigated by the U.S.A.
One of the ways in which the United States established its dominance was to seek 'watchdogs' across the world. Nations who would be willing to trade off with the United States. Mutual interests so-to-speak. Australia, formerly a close friend of the United Kingdom, quickly became one of these friends post Vietnam. Another of these watchdogs was the State of Israel. Israel, which was formed in 1948 with the aid of the British Government, had grown considerably. Through military expansion, it had progressively ostracised Palestinians and broken down the borders of Palestine, until Palestine was no more than isolated settlements within Israel. However, it was not till the bombing of Libya by the United States that Israel got on board with the U.S's Imperial project. Israel bent over for the U.S., begging for a trade off. Israel was to become another Watchdog of the United States. The trade was simple. The United States was to give aid to Israel, and arm Israel to allow it to become the strongest nation in its region, to have the most powerfully armed ruling class in its region and to finally have the means to easily squash Palestine once and for all, to ensure Israeli hegemony. In return Israel would put down any and all dissent toward the U.S from its neighbours and in doing so, ensure the U.S had a stake in the massive reserves of Oil. Oil, under Capitalism, is by far the most important commodity. Every economy in the world relies on Oil, to fuel their machines, to run their automobiles.
“We must become owners, or at any rate the controllers at the source ... of supply ... of oil.” - Winston Churchill.
Not only did the U.S want a stake, it needed a stake. This strategic alliance with Israel would not only mean a control over resources U.S Capitalism needed, but also inhibit the ability of lesser powers, such as the United Kingdom and Russia, from being able to use it to their advantage. And so it was set in stone. Israel and the United States became the best of friends, and Israel did not disappoint.
As I briefed above, Israel has always been the Apartheid state that we know and loath today, from its very creation. Its birth was one of apartheid agenda, to turn arabs into second-class citizens, deliberately impoverish and ostracise them wherever possible, to so severely undermine them that Palestine would no longer be remembered. In its place would be Israel, and only Israel. Its birth and its continued existence was justified with Zionism and Racism. Dirty arabs, long live Israel! And to back up the things I am saying, I will add the following quotes:
“In Palestine we do not propose to even go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants ... The Four Powers are committed to Zionism.” - Lord Balfour 1919 (Prior to the formation of Israel)
“If we dig in here, England will come to our aid. It is not the Arabs who the English will pick to ... colonise Palestine, it is we.” - Golda Meir 1921
Zionism, which once represented the idea of Israel, of the Jewish homeland, was becoming the idea of sovereignty to colonial powers. And not too long after, with the formation of Israel in 1948, Zionism would be transformed. No longer did it require religious connotation. Zionism was now all about the State of Israel itself and its right to exist on the shoulders of the Palestinians.
Some more quotes to further show Israel's position in regards to its brutality and resistance groups:
“Behind the official excuse of we shall not tolerate shelling or terrorist reactions' lies a strategic view which holds that the physical annihilation of the PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organisation] has to be achieved. That is, not only must its fingers and hands in the West Bank be amputated (as is now being done with an iron fist), but its heart and head in Beirut must be dealt with. As Israel does not want the PLO as a partner for talks or as an interlocutor for any solution in the West Bank, the supporters of confrontation with the PLO hold that the logical continuation of the struggle with the PLO in the territories is in Lebanon. With the loss of its physical strength, in their opinion, the PLO will lose not only its hold over the territories but also its growing international status.” - Ha'aretz 1982.
“We have no solution... You [Palestinians] shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads.” - Moshe Dayan, Chief of Staff of the IDF, early 1970s.
“When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle.” - Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the IDF, 1983.
“The significance of the [Gaza Strip disengagement] plan is the freezing of the peace process, It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians ... When you freeze [the peace] process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the [Palestinian] refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. ... Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. ... And all this with authority and permission. All with a [US] presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.” - Dov Weisglass, Advisor to the Israel Prime Minister, 2004.
“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger." - Dov Weisglass, Advisor to the Israel Prime Minister, 2006.
“The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger 'shoah' [Holocaust] because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” - Matan Vilnai, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister, 2008.
The above should correct any uncertainties you (the readers) had, if not, I will address them later. The bloody history of Palestine since the turn of the 20th century has been, absolutely upon the shoulders of giants. The United Kingdom, the United States and Israel. Israel's other mode of justification is 'protection.' The same excuses the United States used against Stalinist/Maoist-Communism during the Vietnam war and the Cold war, the same excuses the United States used against Iraq and Afghanistan. Claiming protection, defense, when it is they who are the instigators of the violence. When it is they who created the reacting terrorist factions. When it is they who oppressed and butchered so many middle-easterners that they had no where to turn other than to Terrorism or Arab-Nationalism.
I wont spend too much time on this point. It needs not much more than this. To be final and clear: Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom are all responsible for the turmoil in the Middle-east, and it is they who are the terrorist states. It is they who callously murder and pillage for their precious Capitalism.
The Left and Terrorism
I find it peculiar, the state of the Left on Terrorism. They can barely keep their hats on at the first sight of it. What do we do? What do we say? Are they right? Are they wrong? 'They must be wrong! ' They say in the end. 'Because our governments don't strap bombs to children! Our governments don't use suicide bombers! And they don't kill civilians and terrorise them!”
Obviously, this is far from entirely true. First of all, rather than strapping bombs to children, governments such as Israel, the U.S and the U.K bomb them. Over 400 of the dead in Gaza in the past days are children. (Also, I have yet to see a substantiated claim about bombs strapped to children by Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah or any group of the like.) 'Our' governments don't use suicide bombers, but they have no problem with sending thousands, often hundreds of thousands, of young working people, good people, to war to die. It might not be suicide bombing, but it is most certainly for many of them forced suicide. And finally, as I have already shown, 'our' governments do kill civilians and terrorise them. And by all stretches of the imagination, disproportionately. 3000 (approx.) dead in the World Trade Center bombings in 2001, 1.2 Million dead (conservative estimate) in Afghanistan alone by Coalition forces (Australia, United States, United Kingdom and several other smaller nations). 1 Dead due to rocket fire from Hamas into Israel, 1200 dead from bombings and ground occupation in Gaza by Israel.
Proportionate or not, the acts are still wrong. They are not for 'defense' but rather for dominion. They are the result of ruling classes fighting other ruling classes at our expense. And no, let's be clear on this, no Imperialist state will willingly agree to end its hostilities. They cannot. The foundations of a superpower lie in Imperialism itself. The foundations of those Imperialist states lie in the oppression and exploitation of their people. None of these states seek peace. And for any of the left to assume peace can be achieved through the likes of presidents such as Obama, is living a pipe dream. (Obama in early 2008 voiced that he thought Australia ought to send 20,000 troops to Afghanistan, has made clear he intends to boost troops in Afghanistan, and has not taken Iran off the table of possible invasion.)
All 'democratic' reasoning with the state of Israel, of the U.S, is met with utter callousness.
What to do?
What must be done is mobilise. The only way to achieve peace in the middle-east, or indeed anywhere, including at home, is to show that neither you, or your friends, brothers or sisters, will lie down and accept what you are told. Millions across the world already have, and those numbers are growing with no signs of stopping yet. Average working people across the world are an amazingly powerful social force, one which can bring to a stand still Capitalism, warmongering States and the like.
It is a case of poverty on the left, that very few recognise this beyond a spur of the moment outrage. We, who are supposed to be more aware, more analysing, more astute in the politics, should be setting the example, acting out, acting now, and acting relentlessly. However, the left is not. Groups on the far left have done exceedingly well, as have the Arab and Palestinian and Muslim populations across the world. The remainder of the left however have been utterly slack, and rather disgusting in their actions.
We have lefties who have stated they need to 'deepen the politics' by holding 'public meetings' which will 'educate' people in the struggle and 'appeal to the wider audience.' This idea is a few things, first and foremost, its a farce. To say that the politics were not already deep is arrogant and outright wrong. It assumes the people turning up to demonstrations are stupid, and that they know very little, when it is all too clear - the people turning up by and large know more about middle eastern politics and what needs to be done than the majority of the left. Public meetings also deter from mobilisation of the people, and essentially stagnate movements, and themselves. It is not public meetings that build movements, it is action that builds movements. The idea of having to educate the masses is essentially elitist, but elitism aside, is also racist. Acting as if you have to appeal to everyone but Arabs and Palestinians is ridiculous, and expecting Arabs and Muslims to be subject to the whims of backwards elements of white society is clearly wrong. I need not say more on that.
I have heard claims, 'the movement is tiring.' Which is outrageous, as all signs point to it growing stronger. Numbers across the board have increased astronomically since the beginning of the attacks on Gaza. This statement has no basis in the reality of the movement.
I have heard claims that education and lobbying should be the focus, as that is the only way to get things done. This is so poor an idea I almost cannot bare to have to repeat it to you all. Lobbying? Who needs a lobby when you have 1.5 million people on the streets? That was the number in Turkey. Who needs a lobby when you have 150,000 people on the streets, or 100,000 people on the streets? (Paris, London) Education is fundamental, yes, but it does not take priority over activism. It is impossible to educate the masses if you do not make yourself relevant to them, and the majority of people requiring education are people who honestly do not care about the issue, and quite often hold very racist ideas toward Muslims and Arabs. Again, Palestine has not the time to waste waiting for the white left to get their people educated, and Arabs should not have to sit around and wait for us to work ourselves out. Rather - They lead, we should support, and in doing so educate. Activism and Education go hand in hand, and through that, agitation to mobilise comes. We should not be seeking the backwards elements, or the Parliament to fix the problem, but rather the billions across the world who are angry, who are outraged at these war crimes, who want to see justice!
Back to Palestine...
Palestine has come under massive attack, both ideologically and physically. It is backed into a corner, but never the less is fighting. Just as the Warsaw resisting Jews did, so too will the Palestinians. It so happens at this time that Hamas are the only organised resisting force in the Gaza Strip, and it so happens that Palestinians look toward Hamas as a result of this. Never the less, to quickly cut through the fat, Hamas are neither the problem, nor the instigators of the current issue. Hamas is merely the product of decades of repression and brutality.
So I say simply, remove the apartheid and Hamas will have no justification for its existence. Replace Israel with a single, secular, democratic state, and Hamas will be further undermined. And that is all I will say on Hamas.
As for the Apartheid State of Israel. Just as South Africa's Apartheid had not the right exist, neither does Israel. There is no room for brutality and repression of this nature in today's 'free world.' The two state solution, which so many are trying to revive, already exists. What we have today is the result of the two party solution. So long as Israel continues its existence, it will continue to smash to pieces the Arab population of Palestine. That is why I say the One State Solution is the only viable option left.
But how? The One State Solution would be a radical change from the current regime, it would not be either Arab-Nationalist, nor Zionist. All Jews, all Arabs would have equal rights, be recognised as equal citizens. It would ensure that the U.S and the U.K can no longer exact that Imperialist agenda in the region to the same levels they had been in the past, and it would effectively undermine the regimes in its neighbours countries. How can this come about? The broader layer of people, of course. They say “The road to Jerusalem runs through Cairo.” In other words, the working people, the average people, of nations such as Egypt, Lebanon, Syria etc, will have to work in solidarity with the resisting Palestinians. Opposing their own government complacency toward Israel and the U.S. Strike waves, mass demonstrations - these things are their tools - and they have used them before. It will take working, average people from other nations also, in the western blocs especially, to oppose Imperialism in their own countries.
This world is not stagnant. This world is constantly in flux, and constantly pushing people to resist. The question is, what will we do when people do resist? Will we work together and point the way forward? Or will be stay away, within our own sects, our niches? Well, those are my thoughts on how.
Second Life and the Justice for Palestine Coalition
Among some of the things I have been doing recently, which include Branch meetings RL, Organising meetings for Pro Palestine rallies RL, Stalls RL, Demonstrations every week RL, Speakouts RL and Media stunts RL, I've also been trying to work at the same ends within Second Life. I, with a handful of others which include not only members of the broader left, but also Arab and Palestinian people, created a group named “The Justice for Palestine Coalition.” It was intended to be a broad coalition of tendencies and groups and people working toward one goal: Justice and Freedom for Palestine. From day one, the SL Internationalist Socialists have participated, pushing motions such as involving more Muslim, Arabic and Palestinian involvement, pushing for a concise charter in support of the One State solution an end to the blockade as well as several other organisational things in regards to how we conduct ourselves when out in public for demonstrations etc. Now I can say rather confidently, none of these motions were met with a happy face by everyone. In fact, so far, the only frowny faces have been by the 'broad left' within the group, and one or two Muslims who consider themselves Liberal, and without attacking them, do not have anymore sense of the situation in Gaza than most of the lefties do. It just so happens that activities with the JFPC, particularly organising meetings, have been predominantly these people, and not a single Arab or Palestinian present. Anarchist tendencies had the louder opposition to my motions ( due to the politics of Anarchism - which did not surprise me, and I am not attacking those politics, I am merely giving the reason ). However, to be honest, nothing was achieved much at all. Slowly, JFPC land has been transformed, religious symbols sprouting everywhere, along with commandments from the Torah, despite the fact that this is not an issue between religious doctrines.
Some clashes came shortly after, and I was expelled from the JFPC.
Demonstrations however were held, and were, in my opinion successful. We had issues with Pro-Israel and Anti-semite griefers on occasion, however overall, the dialogue was constructive. A fair amount of racist and sexist comments were flung toward the protestors by presumably very devout Zionists. At one stage I was called a bitch, a terrorist, a nazi and an anti-semite - despite there being nothing in support of those statements. So yes, you can see there was some hostility.
But I can say this clearly: The SL Internationalist Socialists at no point correlated Judaism to Zionism, rather, we pointed out the Zionist philosophy as a justification for Israel's continued existence. I will say that none of us should be afraid of the term “Zionist.” That we should merely be sure to understand what the word means. At no point did the SL Internationalist Socialists attempt to push Trotskyism or Socialism on any of the people we spoke to. At no point did we put Bolshevism before the struggle for Palestine. Those are unsubstantiated claims. Everything I have argued in this article I had argued at the demos and meetings. No more, no less. Support Palestine, and do not break off into sects. That was and is my agenda.
Overall, dialogue has been excellent with those I have spoken to by and large. The SL Internationalist Socialists have managed to stay in contact with many Arab and Muslim SL users, and many are keen to be involved in activism and educationals with the JFPC.
To reiterate though, these people were approached by the JFPC, not by the SLIS tags.
My final thoughts on this are that the movement in Second Life should not be considered separate from the movement in the real world. That we are but another part of the broader movement. And it is for that reason I believe we should do more than pretend to be different, it is for that reason I think we should have opposed Zionism from the start.
The JFPC, unfortunately, has become something of a vanity club to the people who run it. Never the less to the broader membership it is not. And the broader membership seem to agree more is needed. And I agree. Palestine will not rest, and neither should we. Act now, before its too late.
Final thoughts on the Poverty of the Left...
What the left in the real world, and in Second Life, have become is nothing more than a hands tied, rag tag bundle of people. Very few of whom actually intend to create fundamental change to the way society runs. I understand the conditions in which people grow these ideas, so this is not an attempt to chastise or belittle. But I believe we should all understand. True power does not lie in the media spotlight, or how the media portrays a movement. True power does not lie in Parliament with the Obamas, the Rudds etc. True power does not lie in the hands of the Bosses. True power, that is social power, that is the power to change the world, lies in the hands of the 'consumer,' the working person, the 'little people.' So to see things change for the better we must be willing to assert that power, and to do away with those who would see us belittle ourselves to mere 'voters' or to mere 'consumers.'
There is more that we can do in Second Life. I do not doubt it for even a moment. And though I have not always been the most amicable person, I can promise every single one of you that I will not give up on my goals. Activism, Education, Agitation. I believe that if we all act, as one coherent force, that we can achieve something unfathomable. We wont achieve that, however, so long as people are encouraged to stand idle, to think within the confines of Capitalism and its 'democracy.'
If you would like to speak to me in world, my screen name is Abel Koskinen.
For more on Palestine's struggle:
“Israel: Hijack State - America's Watchdog in the Middle East” - http://www.marxists.de/middleast/rose/index.htm
“Its a Lie!: There is no Israeli Ceasefire in Gaza” - http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1878&Itemid=66
“Gaza slaughter an indictment of the system...” - http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1879&Itemid=66
“No Compromise - Only mass struggle can free Palestine” - http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1880&Itemid=66
“They're wiping out entire families...” - http://socialistworker.org/2009/01/12/theyre-wiping-out-entire-families
“Dispatches - the Killing Zone” - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5863204188744026936
“Clashes follow Israeli 'cessation'” - http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2009/01/200911834825963827.html
“Gaza doctors tragedy caught on Israeli TV” - http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/200911715289337400.html
“Take a walk through Gaza” - http://youngfoxredux.blogspot.com/2009/01/take-walk-through-gaza.html (Warning, very graphic.)
“Powerless in Gaza” - http://www.marxists.de/middleast/alexander/gaza.htm
For more on my own politics:
“The Socialist Movement: Our History” - http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=72&Itemid=124
“There is a Power in Every Land: The Modern Working Class” - http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=79&Itemid=124
“The Meaning of Marxism” - http://socialistworker.org/Featured/MeaningOfMarxism.shtml