The better word is…

Galanthus nivalis – Snowdrop. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author: Nino Barbieri.

by Anthony J. Marsella

To the many experiencing a diminution in their activism, and questioning their powers and commitment, I say:

 The better term is “demoralization.”  Not depression, nor any other pathological condition.  Rather a normal response to life conditions denying agency, limiting will, or restraining courage thru punishment and torture.

 The cure is not to be found in testosterone, serotonin, or dopamine, but in the recovery and building of a new self – identity relevant to the pressing and oppressing social conditions nurturing “demoralization.” 

 Demoralization! 

A normal human response to anguish and desperation caused and sustained by offenses to the human spirit caused by injustice and abuses in the social fabric! 

 Right the wrongs, when you can, where you can, how you can.  

 The “demoralization” will diminish, but return until such time justice is the arbiter. 

 The struggle is constant, but the vision restorative. 

Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii. Dr. Marsella has promoted cross-cultural understanding and acceptance as a key to peace within and among nations. He has conducted international research for three decades, as a Fulbright Scholar in the Philippines, a project director for a psychiatric epidemiological study in Borneo, a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Culture and Mental Health Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, and a professor of psychology and director of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is Past President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR).

Posted in politics, Protest, resistance, social justice, Torture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Trails of Tears

Trail of Tears sign from the Cherokee Heritage Museum.This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Author: Wesley Fryer from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

by Kathie Malley-Morrison

The current standoff between Native American Water Protectors and the Army Corps of Engineers is only the most recent event in a long history of inhumanity carried out unflinchingly by invasive power structures motivated by greed.

Last fall, during the closing months of the Obama administration, thousands of people—even some banks—rallied around the Water Protectors as they tried to protest yet another treaty violation and protect their water supply and land from the encroachment of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Victory was joyfully embraced when the pipeline was stopped.

Yet, less than one month into the Trump administration, the pipeline is once again underway, protestors are being forced out of the area, and the battle cry of the public is sadly diminished.

What has happened?

Are the people who are disturbed by the Trump agenda just overwhelmed with Executive Orders, resignations, firings, noisy town meetings, references to Fascism?

Are some people so focused on stopping Trump that they do not have the energy to focus on and resist his carrying out of some of his threatened actions?

If you are concerned with the changes (or extensions of former changes) that seem to be bombarding our experiment in democracy from all sides, my suggestion is to continue as best you can to roll up your sleeves and attend to the three Rs:

  1. Resist oppression.
  2. Reject exploitative capitalism, with its disregard for the human costs of greed.
  3. Repair the system.

Reverse side Trail of Tears sign. Cherokee Heritage Museum. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Author: Wesley Fryer from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.

 

 

Posted in Armed conflict, capitalism, colonialism, Donald Trump, Genocide, Human rights, Military-industrial complex, politics, Protest, racism, resistance, social justice, Torture, Understanding violence | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Heads out of the sand time

A photo from the People’s Climate March in 2014, which brought together hundreds of thousands of people to demonstrate in favor of strong action on climate change. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Author: South Bend Voice.

It may not be dessert sands that are in your future.  It may be floods, it may be asthma, it may be starvation.  But the future is not bright if people don’t take action on climate change.  It’s not everyone who needs to speak out, just enough people to get their voices heard.

Dahr Jamail gives us fair warning:

In January, NASA released data confirming that globally, 2016 was the hottest year on record for the third consecutive record-breaking year.

Birds, fish, forests, crops are dying off at terrifying rates.

Extreme flooding around the world is becoming commonplace. In the US, there were more floods in 2016 than any year in recorded history. In Europe, disastrous flood have more than doubled during the last 35 years. Floods kill.

South America has been beset with a deadly increase in droughts, accompanied by an deadly increases in fires.

For the first time in millions of years, global atmospheric CO2 concentrations exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm).

As the  U.S. Global Change Research Program   (GlobalChange.gov) explains in detail, these changes are not good for your health. (I wonder how long that agency will be allowed to do its work. I suggest you visit its site soon and download the report.)

There remains little debate among climate scientists that the major contributing causes to these problems are rooted in human behavior–i.e., anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD).

Many decades of inadequate and counterproductive governmental (non)response have led  to this point, but my focus here is on the response of the government in 2017. Dahr Jamail also provides disturbing information about that response:

In his first week as President, Trump ordered all references to ACD to be deleted from the White House website; it was done.

Trump also ordered the EPA to cut the climate page from its website; it was done.

Do you think his next step will be to stop US military from pushing ahead with its plans to protect its bases and assets across the globe from sea-level rise and other ACD-related impacts? I kind of doubt it.

To learn more, please read Jamail’s complete article.

Ultimately, violence to the environment is a war on life. Don’t fall for the propaganda demonizing scientists who speak truth to power. Resist. It’s your right.

Posted in capitalism, Donald Trump, Human rights, politics, Propaganda, Protest, resistance | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Remember what they do

New Orleans march against violent crime in response to multiple recent murders. Marching to City Hall from Poydras Street. the GNU Free Documentation License. Author: Infrogmation.

by Sarah Mensch

Every day, 93 Americans are killed by gun violence. I am twenty-one years old. In my lifetime, more than 630,000 people have been killed by guns in the United States.

That many victims, many of them children, could fill NRG Stadium, where this year’s Super Bowl was held, about ten times.

In 1996, Congress eliminated $2.6 million from the budget of the Centers for Disease Control. That money was restored, but only with the stipulation that neither it, nor any other funding to the CDC, be used for research on gun violence and its effect on the American public. This makes obtaining reliable gun violence statistics difficult. Given the political power of the National Rifle Association, passing gun control legislation is even more difficult.

Earlier today Kathie Malley Morrison  asked me if I personally knew any victims of gun violence. At first, I described myself as “one degree of separation”  from several gun violence victims, but then remembered a former camp counselor of mine who was killed in late 2006. Kathie told me that years ago one of the girls who grew up in her small town neighborhood was shot and killed by her husband in front of their two small children.

With an average of 30,000 people killed by guns in the US each year, I think it would be hard to find someone who was more than one degree of separation from a victim of some sort of gun violence. Yet most people do absolutely nothing to prevent this violence.

The available gun violence statistics are dismal, to say the least. Americans are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than people in other developed nations. In 2016 alone, there were 58,205 instances of gun violence in the U.S. and there is no real end in sight—despite all the violence, 45% of Americans believe that Americans are safer with more guns rather than fewer.

Resolving to end gun violence in a country where the media flaunt and profit from portrayals of violence isn’t easy, but I want to suggest two ways readers of this article can help.

  1. Make a donation to Everytown For Gun Safety, a nonprofit gun safety advocacy group. Donations are tax-deductible. If you don’t want to contribute financially, consider signing up for Everytown’s mobile list of Gun Sense Activists for texts with ways to help make your community safer.
  2. When you hear about upcoming gun control legislation, go to this site to find out how to contact your state’s senators and representatives and tell them how you think they should vote. You’re their elector, which means you’re their boss. If calling your representative sounds intimidating, check out this comic for some easy guidelines for doing so .

Sarah Mensch is a psychology major at Boston University. She is thrilled to be working on a Directed Study focusing on the effect of the media on gun violence under the supervision of Dr. Malley Morrison. When Sarah graduates, she aims to go on to graduate school to earn an MSW and become a therapist. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys pursuing her minor in Deaf Studies, photography, and exploring Boston.

Posted in capitalism, culture of violence, gun violence, Media, politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments