It was a Tuesday morning and I found myself in a NYC subway car, traveling downtown. Staring straight ahead, I noticed a poster calling for help for the people of Haiti. I thought of similar calls for help in Darfur and in New Orleans. Throughout the world there are hundreds of thousands of people barely surviving. The need for humanitarian intervention is constant. While some of the catastrophes are due to natural phenomena, most are man-made, either because of neglect or the desire for profit.
of people have dedicated their lives, offering their time, energy, and money to
right these wrongs. These are folks who care for those less fortunate. Multitudes of progressive
organizations, each with its own turf and focus, work hard to achieve their mission. Some fight against poverty, others racism.
Then there are those fighting against the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the threat of war in Iran, nuclear proliferation. There are those who fight for the welfare of the homeless, decent education for all children, gun control, a woman's right to choose, a peaceful settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians, protecting the environment, a livable minimum wage, and last, but not least, a true and honest accounting of what really happened on 9-11. I have not accounted for all the important and legitimate struggles, but my point is to demonstrate the unending social, economic, and political crises that we must respond to. The key word here is RESPONDING.
the importance of all these causes, our involvement in them allows us to stay
active but also remain impotent and separated from one another. Why? BECAUSE THE AGENDA IS BEING ESTABLISHED BY
THOSE WHO HAVE THE MONEY AND POWER. The progressive movement will always
remain fractured as long as we limit our activism to the unending crises that arise or are thrust upon us by the powerful
We need to reflect on the common thread that runs through most of the world's problems. A relatively small group of wealthy and powerful people have established the political and economic agendas, not only in the U.S., but around the entire globe as well. (I recommend you, if you have not already done so, read "The True Story of the Bilderberg Group" by Daniel Estulin.)
They have successfully kept us chasing our tails, responding to one crisis after another. With all the technological advancements, can we not do a better job of providing basic life-enhancing resources to all people? Not when a small group of greedy people control -- with the support of their governments -- these very resources, and whose main focus is the bottom line.
Our goal in responding to humanitarian crises is to relieve the human suffering. If successful, we feel good and move on to the next crisis. However, the core of the problem remains untouched. The structure and ethos of the system under which we function, which is corrupt and the cause of most of the human suffering in our world, continues to thrive.
is founded on the premise that each of us is free to pursue our individual
goals and maximize our own good fortune. It ignores the principles of community
cooperation and the individual sacrifice for the good of the many. To be
successful within this framework, one must accept that we are in competition
In fact, competition is always defined as being basic to
human nature despite the fact that human survival has historically depended on
communal cooperation. Therefore, capitalism dictates that to maintain what one
has, one must continuously expand and grow in order to remain competitive.
Under the guise of "freedom," our capitalists expand their influence and,
hence, their exploitation of the world's resources, looking to profit without
any sense of obligation to the people and the regions in which these people
live. In our "new world order," everything is for sale. This is the disease
that we have chosen to ignore.
The time has come for all of us to put our personal issues on hold and join hands and focus on the issues that will set the stage for real change, which are...
1) No private funding of elections;
2) The private media
networks are currently using the public airways. They must be obligated
to provide a specific number of hours daily for public interest agendas which
would include political debates;
3) All industries that provide services or products (health care, food, shelter, etc.) required for the survival or safety of our citizens must be controlled by public institutions. We must stop dealing with the symptoms and attack the disease itself.