I was brimming with delight to read the letter from Paddy Lane (Spring 01). She proposed that people meeting face to face in regional dialogs could be “our salvation,” an antidote to the isolation and disempowerment that is so easy to feel in our technology-rich, community-deprived society.
I and my cohorts, who are involved in planning a conference called Co-Opportunities Northwest: A Sustainable Communities Conference, feel in line with this sentiment, so much so that we have taken action on it. We plan to host a collaborative and fun networking event for the Seattle area in October 2001. We hope to involve people from the nonprofit, governmental, and private sectors, as well as the public at large.
All of the organizing has occurred out of volunteer energy and lovely in-kind donations, so the whole conference will be free of charge to all participants.
So, to directly answer the question: “Who could volunteer to find a site, set an agenda, and begin to invite participants to a first gathering of this sort?” — We are here! See www.coopnw.org.
Syd D. Fredrickson
YES! Goes Hiphop
Wow! I am still in a state of shock of how I didn't know about this magazine before and how it is not in the home of every person in amerikkka.
I once thought the ideas that ran through my head were shared by a very few people. I used to think that I was alone in how I felt about this sadistic amerikkkan society and the workforce. I totally agree with Bob Black on “Why Work?” (Spring 01). The thought is revolutionary, but we must realistically think of the type of system we the people will be ready to put in its place. It is definitely a cool idea.
This is the first time I have ever written to a magazine. What I love about this journal is the flow of thoughts, ideas, and concepts without obedience to nonsense imperialist, capitalist politics. I can't wait to spread the fire to others in the Hiphop community (which is a lifestyle that rap is a small part of, not the whole).
Lastly, how can this “modern” society speak proudly of amerikkka being “the land of the free” when the “founding father” was a slave owner? Things that make you go “hmm.”
Tanya D. Robinson
New Rochelle, NY
New Daughter, New Work
What excellent timing to receive your Spring 2001 issue during my second week of paternity leave for the birth of my first child.
These slow days away from my management job at a Seattle dot-com, savoring the miracle of a new life, cooking healthy meals, reading, puttering, have only served to further reveal what I've known in my heart since I took my first engineering job 11 years ago — that I would never be happy doing work that doesn't satisfy my soul. So the question is, as always, what to do now?
Having lived roughly half my life, my true “vocation” (or as writer James Hillman would put it, my “daemon”) is still pretty much terra incognita. But one thing that is clear to me is that the most urgent issue of our times is the need to undo the scorched earth policy of the American way of life, and this is where I fantasize about applying my energy and talent.
My new daughter, who now gives me a most tangible connection to the future, inspires even deeper motivation to do work that matters, though at the same time, the responsibility of a mouth to feed will demand practicality.
Thanks for the encouragement that myriad “work for life” alternatives are possible. My first humble task—negotiate a four day work week.
Legal Challenge to the WTO
Walden Bello's article (“We Withdraw Our Consent!” Spring 01) took me back to the teach-in by the International Forum on Globalization at WTO/Seattle, where Lori Wallach discussed the legal steps in the creation of the WTO. It seemed evident that the WTO was unconstitutional. Specifically, the government exceeded its authority when it gave away our right to a representative government. I seem to remember reading about some Bostonians dumping tea for this very reason. I continue to be amazed that no one I have heard about has challenged the participation of the US in the WTO.
In response to the article “We Withdraw Our Consent!” about the World Trade Organization: we lose sight of the fact, and it can never be emphasized enough, that our consumption habits are what keep corporations in existence. We are the prisoners and victims of our own greed. The less we consume, the more their power shrinks. This is the most powerful way to withdraw our consent.
Takoma Park, MD
Less Pollyanna, More Meat
I do like your good magazine because it is an expression of David Korten's ideas, and I am completely devoted to his writings. But after I read it each time, I feel that it is too positive, Pollyannish.
Now that the election is over and we are in the midst of the “cold shower” Nader predicted if Bush became president, I miss the deep analysis of our times that he gave us in his campaign.
I would like to see an article by him and more articles by David Korten in YES! — something with more meat in it. Our mass media give us such a distorted picture of reality. I would like to see articles now that tell the truth about what is wrong with our whole culture, not just a few bright spots.
I found myself feeling disturbed at the content of the article “George W.
Robotics” ( Spring 01) and that YES! reprinted it. I questioned how this article could contribute to a positive future. To me, the article makes a mockery of the person, George W. Bush, dehumanizing him. It probably feeds on the frustration and cynicism of others as well, encouraging the same behavior. Worst of all, the impact creates more distance between us rather than bringing us together.
Instead, I offer this as an example of communication. I feel nervous, threatened, concerned, and scared by the actions I see and hear coming from George W. Bush and his administration. Now, I wonder how many readers are relating to me right now and possibly experiencing at least one of these emotions. I also feel hope, opportunity, and excitement. And how many more readers now feel drawn to me and want to hear more? More important, how many readers are now experiencing a desire to engage with me? And to share their concerns, thoughts, curiosities, excitement, etc.? And are feeling recognized, understood, and not alone in their experience? The impact is quite different and probably more desirable to YES! than what I believe is experienced from reading the article.
When we dehumanize another human being, we are actually giving away our power and dehumanizing ourselves. To reveal the personal response that is triggered by another's actions takes courage. It also shows our humanness, which others can relate to as well. And it is this courage and humanness I believe is so important to a positive future
Saying YES! to students
I just returned from my sixth visit as a chaperone for a 12th-grade biochem class. I brought out a few copies of your magazine and discussed the value of the content to advanced minds in need of paths to challenging vocations. Through your global approach in viewing solutions to issues that eventually touch us all, I felt the students sensed more doors and windows of opportunity.
I make this known as a prelude to asking you for additional copies of your lastest issues. I'd like to distribute them to students who did not receive any and offer to discuss topics discussed therein. I'm also offering to pay for their first year's subscription for those interested. You provide global vistas of hope and success.
Where Are Those CCs?
I have a question for you and Ray and Anderson (Winter 01). If there are 50 million “cultural creatives” in this country, why isn't Ralph Nader in the White House? Ray and Anderson's survey would seem to hit upon much of the Green Party agenda. Although the Greens were marginalized by the media, it is not as if the Greens and Nader were not out there! The gap between 50 million and 2.7 million votes for Nader tells me that either we have a disconnect here or whimsical math.
Violence? It's Been Tried ...
In your Spring issue, letter writer Steve Schnaar says that violent resistance is a legitimate avenue for social change because “none of us knows all the answers to the world's problems, so we should support people at any level” (The Case for Violence, p. 5). He goes on to say, without any evidence, “Consistent, politically motivated property destruction has been one of the single most effective tools of the environmental movement.”
Are we in the same movie, Steve Schnaar?
If I didn't think I had ideas about how world problems could be solved, I wouldn't be an activist. And if violence were a viable avenue to change, as Schnaar says, I wouldn't engage in political work. I'd go work at Wal-Mart.
The oft-argued point that the likes of the Colombian villagers being terrorized by US-trained soldiers warrants advocating violence is pure rhetoric. Did I not hear this during the Vietnam War, during the wars in El Salvador in the l980s, and again in Nicaragua at that time?
Please tell me something new.
Every moment we all have the choice to practice nonviolence, including that choice of not driving or owning a car — for as a friend in New York says, every time a car ignition is turned on, it's part of the campaign to bomb Iraq (for oil).
Andrew Kay Liberman
Los Angeles, CA
Meeting Spot for Like Minds
I am 90. Since soon after taking a course in 1930 from Harold Lasswell on “The Psychology of International Relations,” I have hoped there might be established a simple “Idea Exchange”— maybe a filing cabinet in some little office — like a Christian Science Reading Room — with a copying machine — where anyone —no holds barred — could put in any thoughts and copy those of others.
People with like interests and highest values need to be able to connect.
Joseph L. Miller, Jr.
Where's Bob Black?
I found myself devouring the article by Bob Black, “Why Work?” in the Spring 2001 issue. Who is he? What is his background? What else has he written? Is there any way to write to him, email, mailing address?
Bob Black's identity is a mystery. We tried to reach him through several channels, without success. The essay was followed by a note placing it in the public domain, so we took him at his word. —Editors
An Old Partnership After All
I'm glad to see the magazine informing people that labor-environmental cooperation is within the realm of possibility (“The New Solidarity,” Winter 01). But it's nothing new.
Indeed, there is quite a history of “workers” and “environmentalists” crossing definitional, constituency, class, and cultural lines on an array of issues, from nuclear power to toxics in the workplace to labor law....
From 1976 to 1985, I worked with the Washington, DC, group Environmentalists for Full Employment (EFFE). We nurtured labor-environmental solidarity. We produced studies and analyses to counter corporate and political lies.
One thing I discovered: others had been doing such work before EFFE. Often, I came across evidence that Barry Commoner, Tony Mazzocchi, Senator Philip Hart, and others had made their contributions.
But the reality remains that as long as corporate decision making on investment, technology, production, and the organization of work are regarded by law as the private property of corporations, there will be real conflict between “jobs” and “environment.”
As long as corporate operatives, backed by sycophantic elected officials, can remove even public capital investment to new locations at the drop of a hat — as long as the corporation wields more power under law than unions, it will continue to be difficult for communities, bio-regions, and the nation to unite around sensible investments and useful, safe, dignified work.
Milton Mills, NH
In the Spring 2001 issue, on pages 28 and 42, you listed the old and now wrong web address for Center for Labor and Community Research. Our new web address is www.clcr.org.
A Rosy Wreath
This is an extremely brief love letter from a distant admirer.
Yesterday I got some news that a Very Big Corporation is thinking of trying to buy some of my stock in my rinky dink little company that feebly tries to make better machines for a better world (see sunpower.com). At the same time I got in the mail your gift book by David Korten. I read the book, saw in it what appeared to be direct quotes of my exact thoughts on so many things, especially the emptiness of most “work” and the destructive nature of so many aspects of Big Corporation, and I decided not to consider the impending offer to purchase Sunpower. So, folks, you are influencing at least one life in rural Appalachia!
But love letters are supposed to make the recipient vulnerable to improper advances by way of flowery personal references— “I sent thee late a rosy wreath...” When in fact I sent thee late a piddling little check for a few bucks. Hold out for More!