Posts Tagged With: Social Change

Mickey Hart Accelerates Next Stage in Music’s Evolution

Throughout a career spanning over 50 years, Mickey Hart has been an innovative and inspirational leader in musical research and performance.   Known as “The Rhythm Devils,” Mickey and Bill Kreutzman were the driving force behind The Grateful Dead – particularly during their extended jam experiences.  It is only fitting that Mickey’s latest venture – Mysterium Tremendum – is ground-breaking and entertaining at the same time.  Mickey and his band weave together a host of musical styles and influences, including world music, electronic wizardry, hippie rock, and psychedelic trance.

In this article I will personally review Mickey’s latest CD project.  I will include selected lyrics – written by Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter.  After that I will summarize some other CD reviews, as well as reviews of the band’s live performances.    I have abstracted  some recent interviews with Mickey and several band members – bassist Dave Schools and producer/keyboardist Ben Yonas.  After that you can read about some of Mickey’s innovative, interdisciplinary research projects, as well as some of the awards he has received.  He is truly an interdisciplinary musical scholar who has written some really fine books.

I find the fact that Mickey has been a lifelong musician, who has also explored cutting-edge science to be personally and professionally very inspirational and unique.  I just spent almost three decades in academia earning degrees in Biology, Journalism, and Sociology (Ph.D. Iowa State University in 1986.)   I worked as a Professor of Sociology and Food Science at North Carolina State University from 1987 – 2010.  For the last 15 years I have again been playing a lot of music (guitar, mandolin, and percussion) – something I had done a lot between 1965 and 1980.

Click Below to learn “all you need to know” about Mickey Hart’s life-long and continuing contributions to the evolution of music (and society.)

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Categories: Musician Tributes, Visionaries | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“99% Spring” Organizes Occupy’s Momentum to Fight Inequality and Corporations

The Occupy movement received a major boost from the progressive establishment which will impact American society and the upcoming elections.   The 99% Spring movement has arrived and is already creating a stir at shareholder meetings and in the streets.  This article provides full details on the 99% Spring (including their recent national trainings and links to their tools.)  I also summarize media articles about the debate over whether the two movements are compatible. I believe they clearly are given that many of the same people and groups are involved with each.  Read on in order to learn how and why to get involved with future actions.

I attended the three-hour training session in Durham, NC on April 12, 2012 (and have reviewed the entire seven-hour workshop training guide.)   About 25 people were there – with only a few folks under 40.  The training was well-designed and well-received.   We gained important insights and skills – even from this abbreviated session.  To provide a context, during my 25 year tenure as Sociology Professor at North Carolina State University, I designed and conducted similar training sessions and produced companion documents and videos (e.g., team-building, social change, community organization, and watershed management.)  I also have written extensively about the Occupy movement since its beginning.  

Click below to learn how you can join this important initiative.

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Categories: Activism - Occupy, Economy | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saul Alinsky Would be Impressed and Encouraged by the Occupy Movement

The Occupy movement learns and benefits from all the struggles and creative activism during the 20th Century.  One of the key intellectual and innovative leaders was Saul Alinsky who has again become part of the public dialogue – thanks to Newt Gingrich.  Just like Mr. Alinsky his reputation has now become larger than life.  At the same time, most people (including Bill Maher) readily admit they don’t know who Alinsky was, what he did, or why he matters to America today.  Given that I taught about Alinsky for many years, I find this lack of understanding and respect to be disappointing – but not surprising.

This article explains why Saul Alinsky’s work that started in my hometown of Chicago in the 1930s is so important and relevant for understanding our society.  This article starts with the latest burst of Newt-inspired news about Alinsky (that will likely continue throughout the campaign season.)  IYou will also learn how right wing politicians continue to spread myths and misperceptions about Saul Alinsky and President Obama’s connections (which are indirect at best.)  Finally, this article also lists Alinsky’s various rules and selected quotes.  As you read, you will see connections to the strategies and tactics of the both the Occupy Movement and the Tea Party.  CLICK BELOW TO LEARN MORE.

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Categories: Activism - Occupy, Visionaries | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Bob Marley Would Say “Occupy Yourself Before You Occupy Outside”

The Occupy Movement has focused on occupying physical spaces to draw attention to important issues.  However, it is even more important that each of us work hard to get our own lives together.  We need to free our minds and resist the outside forces of capitalist consumption.   Be ready to live with less and avoid entrapment by credit schemes.  As the system continues to melt down, only those who are resilient and self-sufficient will be able to thrive.  One of the best ways to do this is to understand and practice the Rastafarian lifestyle as modeled by Bob Marley.   His words that inspired this title are “Judge not, before you judge yourself.”   Get your own life in order if you want to be able to challenge the Babylon system.  He summed it up perfectly:  “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.  None but ourselves can free our minds.”

I personally became aware of and interested in Rastafarianism about ten years ago through Bob Marley’s life and music.  I did my own research into what it means to live the Rasta lifestyle.  I found that this social movement has much to teach us about how to free ourselves and take down the system.  We can’t get one without the other.  I began to teach about this in my social change and social movement classes.  I found many young people eager to embrace the principles and practices that Bob Marley and others preach about in their music.  In fact, the Occupy fighters already believe in and live many of the values and practices espoused by the Rastafarian way of life.  I developed a series of slides to use in my lectures and have included them here.  Each should be self-explanatory.  Then, I include lots of great pix and quotes from Bob Marley’s music and interviews.  This tribute recognizes that Bob Marley’s music and messages are more relevant today than ever.

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Categories: Activism - Occupy, Musician Tributes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Occupy 4:20 for Civil Disobedience and Building Community

One social issue that should be of great interest to members of the occupy movement is the legalization of marijuana.  This cause clearly cries out for organized civil disobedience (as it did in the 1960’s.)    Growing and using both hemp and marijuana were rights for all Americans when our country was founded.  We all have the obligation to finally end this unethical and ineffective war against an ancient plant.  This situation is urgent given how President Obama has actually escalated the war on medical marijuana despite earlier promises and his personal history   Ending the drug war will save billions in police, legal and prison costs.  States like California and Colorado are already harvesting millions of new tax dollars by allowing patients to safely buy medical marijuana.

Fortunately, pot possession laws are easy to break and involve very little chance of getting caught (if you follow the approach outlined here.)  I first explain how we can Occupy 420 to build and sustain the global occupy movement.  Then, I share tips about how to get away with getting high, whenever, and virtually wherever you want.  I have also included some key quotes to inspire you as to why marijuana needs to be legalized NOW.  This article also includes reports of recent Marijuana Activism and a historical perspective on the Flash Mob phenomenon. As an added bonus, the article concludes with insightful and inspiring quotes about Civil Disobedience.  Click Below to Learn How and Why to Get High and Become Free!!

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Categories: Activism - Occupy, Legalize Ganjah | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hippies Deserve Respect for their Values and Vision

The Occupy Movement owes much to the Hippie Movement of the sixties.  Now, the right wing has predictably started another round of “Hippie Bashing.”   The hippie subculture was a youth movement that began in the United States during the early 1960s and was largely gone by 1973.    The word hippie is from hipster (used to describe kids who flocked into San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district.  Hippies inherited the counter-cultural values of the Beat Generation.  They also created their own communities, listened to psychedelic rock, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such as marijuana and LSD to explore alternative states of consciousness.  Above all, hippies were promoting the idea of peace, love, unity and freedom.

Hippie fashions and values had a major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts.  Since the 1960s, many aspects of hippie culture have been assimilated by mainstream society.  The religious and cultural diversity espoused by the hippies has gained widespread acceptance.  Their adoption of Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts has now spread to a wide audience.  The hippie legacy can also be observed in contemporary culture from health food, to music festivals, to contemporary sexual mores, and the cyberspace revolution.  It is also clear that the well-established environmental movement owes a lot to the hippies (i.e., tree-huggers.)

This article includes recent reflections on the hippie movement in light of the occupy movement.  Original writings about the hippies from the sixties are also included.  This article includes quotes from Timothy Leary, Abbie Hoffman, Eldridge Cleaver and others. Finally, there are links to the best hippie videos on Youtube.   Click below to learn more about why the hippies are more important now than ever.

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Categories: Hippie Legacy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Class War Rages Inside the Viper Dens and Out in the Streets

Repressive and brutal class warfare has been waged for centuries in this country and elsewhere.  The rich use their ill-gotten power to grab more wealth – leaving the majority of people shut out in the cold.  For the last two weeks a brave group of protestors has been trying to wake and shake up the 99 percent of Americans who have been screwed by the “banksters.”  These protests on Wall Street represent the leading edge of a larger assault against those who have manipulated the system to gain power and money.  Too bad Obama is also beholding to Wall Street or else we might see some arrests and prosecution for these despicable characters.  This article provides a detailed overview of the Wall Street protests to date, along with the participants’ motivation and movement structure.  I highlight the main messages and implications for the future.

Clearly, these protests show a great need and opportunity to Occupy Charlotte, NC next summer  with all manner of activists for engaged descent and civil disobedience (glad to be two hours away!!).   I wrote an article in 2008 encouraging people to come to Denver and have their voices heard.  This also provides many lessons from Chicago in 1968.  Click here to read Get Involved to Recreate the Spirit of 1968.  This type of street protest is already expanding across the country – having drawn inspiration and insights from Cairo, London, and elsewhere.  One of my earlier articles entitled Karl Marx Would be Marveling at Capitalism’s Colossal Collapse.  This is widely read article will give you  details  on the reality and inevitability of class conflict in a capitalist society.  Marx would say that the protests are an attempt to create a class consciousness among the 95 percent of Americans who have been screwed to feed Wall Street’s greed.   You will learn how this constitutes a legitimate, grass roots movement that is likely to grow quickly – according to Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon and others profiled here.  Click Below to Get Fired Up!!

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Categories: Activism - Occupy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Global Leaders Urge United States to End the War on Drugs

The evidence has just gotten a lot stronger that the Obama administration is continuing to lead a war against individual marijuana users that is no longer supported by the world community.   Now is the time to end the 80 year war against a plant that has been used for over 5,000 years.  The US is the only country in the world that wants this wasteful war on weed to continue.  This is particularly hypocritical since the US is also the biggest market for consuming illegal drugs. As I wrote earlier, the Obama administration has even been worse than the Bush administration in terms of interfering with states’ rights and punishing sick people.

Since the reign of Harry Anslinger between 1937 – 1962, America has been intimidating other countries to go along with the US moral crusade against getting high.  It is useful to consider how much better our world would be if the US government would declare the end of the war on marijuana   State and local governments would save a lot of money that could then be spent on schools and infrastructure – rather than prisons and cops.  The federal government could apply the savings to balancing the budget or funding important programs.

Think of all the small business opportunities that are growing around marijuana.  These include food, tinctures and other value-added cannabis products. Marijuana also has been proven to build up local and state economies, particularly by promoting tourism and innovation (consider Oakland, CA and Amsterdam.) Most important is the fact that law enforcement will finally be forced stop intimidating and prosecuting millions of basically good citizens – particularly the young, poor and minority.

CLICK to read more about this important report and why we need to put pressure on the US government – particularly former pot-smoker Barack Obama.
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Categories: Legalize Ganjah | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Video “Chicago 10” is Great Way to Learn from 1968

The 1968 Democratic convention was the site of intense protests against the Vietnam war.  Held in Chicago, then Mayor Daley made sure that the police and national guard were in place and ready to confront and control any demonstrators.  Young people were drawn from all over the country in hopes of attending a music festival and making their voices heard.  The television networks filmed as the police over-reacted and beat demonstrators, who chanted “The Whole World is Watching.”

After the convention was over, the federal government launched a conspiracy trial against an unusual assortment of eight defendants.  The trial was a circus in many respects.  The film “Chicago 10” provides a very entertaining, educational and enlightening history of the Chicago convention riots in general – and the conspiracy trial in particular.  I have summarized quite a few reviews and also include a series of educational resources from the PBS companion website.  Click below to learn why you need to watch this important film!!

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Categories: Activism - Occupy, Visionaries | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Ted Rall’s Anti-American Manifesto Speaks Compelling Truth to Power

Ted Rall is among the most competent and confident voices in the new progressive movement emerging in America.  As a noted author and editorial cartoonist he produces smart and strident sarcasm aimed at waking people up.  His most recent book – entitled The Anti-American Manifesto – contains the rationale and strategy for taking back control of our country from the corporate-government regime that threatens to destroy our country and the world.  As more people experience relative deprivation they will become angrier and ready for revolution.

Ted Rall outlines the challenges and opportunities that progressives face as they try to change the corrupt and decaying capitalist system.  This BLOG post contains reviews and excerpts from this excellent book – along with interviews Ted has recently conducted .  You will also find two his most relevant syndicated columns.  I also have included some of his cool and creative cartoons – many more of each can be found on his website.   Click below to be enlightened, entertained and enraged!!

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Categories: Activism - Occupy | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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