“Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience

By Henry David Thoreau

1849

I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe- “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.
This American government- what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and, if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.
But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.
After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?- in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislation? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy-Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts- a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniments, though it may be,
“Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O’er the grave where our hero we buried.”

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TED talk: Glenn Greenwald on why privacy matters

Glenn Greenwald was one of the first reporters to see — and write about — the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States’ extensive surveillance of private citizens. In this searing talk, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide.”

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
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Occupy Forum presents . . . Occupy the Food Supply: Two films on the politics of food (“Ripe for Change” and “Occupy the Farm” — Trailer) on Monday, October 13

Monday, October 13th from 6 – 9 pm at Global Exchange
2017 Mission Street near the 16th Street BART station

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!
Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue
on all sides of these critically important issues!

 Occupy Forum presents… 

Occupy the Food Supply:

Two films on the politics of food

Ripe for Change – a film by Emiko Omori &

Jed Riffe and Occupy the Farm (Trailer)

by Todd Darling

Ripe for Change: California — always a fascinating marriage of opposite extremes — is at a crossroads in agriculture. Many Californians are struggling to fend off over-development and the loss of farming lands and traditions while embracing innovative visions of agricultural sustainability. At the same time, California is where fast food was born and a center of the biotechnology industry and large corporate agribusiness. The debates raging in California over issues of food, agriculture, and sustainability have profound implications for all of America, especially in a world where scarcity is the norm and many natural resources are diminishing.

Ripe for Change explores the intersection of food and politics in California over the last 30 years. It illuminates the complex forces struggling for control of the future of California’s agriculture, and provides provocative commentary by a wide array of farmers, chefs, and noted authors and scientists. The film examines a host of questions: What are the trade-offs between the ability to produce large quantities of food versus the health of workers, consumers, and the planet? What are the hidden costs of “inexpensive” food? How do we create sustainable agricultural practices?

Through the window of food and agriculture, Ripe for Change reveals two parallel yet contrasting views of our world. One holds that large-scale agriculture, genetic engineering, and technology promise a hunger-less future. The other calls for a more organic, sustainable, and locally focused style of farming that reclaims the aesthetic and nurturing qualities of food and considers the impact of agriculture on the environment, on communities, and on workers.

Occupy the Farm will premier November 7th at the UA Berkeley (see link below — OccupyForum will preview the trailer!) On April 22, 2012, hundreds of urban farmers (and many Occupy peeps) marched onto the land in East Bay’s Gill Tract in Albany—an agricultural research center for the University and the last large piece of farmland in the East Bay, which had been marked for development by UC Berkeley. They brought 15,000 seedlings, farming equipment, camping gear and a powerful conviction about the human right to grow their own food and to connect with the land. Students, community members and even UC Berkeley professors and researchers joined forces to “take back the tract” and protect the land for important food research and as a valued public resource for access to land and agriculture.

On that same day, film director Todd Darling received a text about the protesters who were occupying the Gill Tract, and he grabbed his camera and followed their story for five months. Out of this was born Occupy The Farm, a documentary film about the plight and triumph of hundreds of urban farmers during their campaign to protect the tract from development. This film focuses on the human need for access to local agriculture, and shows the possibility that local communities can change the direction of powerful institutions and have a lasting impact on generations to come.

http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/ripe_for_change

http://ediblesiliconvalley.com/2014-articles/occupy-the-farm/

TEDxOjai – Jacque Fresco – Resource Based Economy

Jacque Fresco is a self-educated structural designer, practitioner of science, concept artist, educator, and futurist. He is considered by many to be a modern-day Da Vinci. Peer to Einstein and Buckminster Fuller, Jacque is a self-taught futurist who describes himself most often as a “generalist” or multi-disciplinarian — a student of many inter-related fields. He is a prolific inventor, having spent his entire life (he is now 95 years old) conceiving of and devising inventions on various scales which entail the use of innovative technology. As a futurist, Jacque is not only a conceptualist and a theoretician, he is also an engineer and a designer.

His organization, The Venus Project, works to provide a global vision of hope for the future of humankind in our technological age. The Venus Project reflects the culmination of Jacque’s life work: the integration of the best of science and technology into a comprehensive plan for a new society based on human and environmental concern. It is a global vision of hope for the future of humankind in our technological age.

A major documentary entitled, Future By Design, on the life, designs, and philosophy of Jacque Fresco is now available at http://www.fbdthemovie.com. The film Zeitgeist Addendum featuring Mr. Fresco and The Venus Project produced by Peter Joseph was released in 2008. A sequel to this documentary Zeitgeist Moving Forward was released in 2011 featuring Mr. Fresco, his work, and direction for the future.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Occupy Forum Field Trip to hear Vandana Shiva in Berkeley on Monday, October 20

F I E L D   T R I P !  OccupyForum has 17 tix left! 

Monday, October 20th at 7:30 pm

at the First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

near Downtown Berkeley BART

OccupyForum F I E L D  T R I P

VANDANA SHIVA

The Rights of Mother Earth

Vandana Shiva is an internationally esteemed Indian environmental and anti-globalization activist.

Trained as a physicist, she received an Integrated M.Sc.Honours Degree in Particle Physics from the University of Punjab prior to earning a PhD in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Western Ontario. In 1987 she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, which led to the creation of Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seed, and the promotion of organic farming and fair trade. For the past two decades Navdanya has worked with local communities and organizations. Vandana Shiva has steadily fought for change in the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food, intellectual property rights, biodiversity, biotechnology, bioethics, genetic engineering, all fields in which she has contributed both intellectually and through grassroots campaigns.

Join KPFA and Global Exchange for an evening with renowned environmental activist and anti-globalization author, Dr. Vandana Shiva.

Shiva will speak on the Rights of Nature – a global movement working to establish legal standing for the environment in law.

From promoting food sovereignty in India, to challenging global corporations destroying local economies, to authoring more than 20 advocacy books,

Dr. Shiva consistently speaks on the critical issues of our time, with a vision for a better future.

BACKGROUND:

More than half of the world’s commercialized seeds are in the hands of just three companies – Monsanto, Dupont, and Syngenta.

The hybrid seeds these companies promote are bred in a way that future generations of seed are unable to maintain the same qualities of the hybrid seed.

As a result, farmers develop a dependency on the seeds and must re-purchase them after each growing cycle if they want production to remain stable.

Hybrid crops can require more chemical inputs and water than traditional varieties.

Fortunately, organizations such as Navdanya, La Via Campesina, andETC Group are advocating on behalf of farmers

to promote farmer sovereignty through the development of local seed-saving and sustainable agricultural initiatives.

Saving seeds helps contribute to food security by securing the accessibility of safe, nutritious food through community seed banks.

These seed banks facilitate greater sharing among farmers and promote greater economic stability.

Community seed saving also supports local adaptive capacity by helping to conserve indigenous knowledge and culture.

Farmers are more easily able to adjust to changing weather conditions due to centuries of careful seed selection and breeding.

Traditional seeds are thus more genetically diverse and environmentally resilient, which can better prepare communities for an unpredictable and changing climate.

Most importantly, “Seed saving gives farmers life,” according to activistVandana Shiva. According to Shiva, the increased poverty and indebtedness that results from dependency on seed corporations like Monsanto led to the farmer suicide tragedies in India.  Seed saving can empower small farmers to regain sovereignty and independence so they can take control over their own futures and the futures of their families.

OccupyForum has 18 tickets for Occupy @ $12.00 each:

contact andy g.:  candymansf@yahoo.com

Hosted by Carleen Pickard of Global Exchange

$15 advance tickets
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/864925
brownpapertickets.com :: 800-838-3006

or Pegasus (3 sites) Moe’s, Walden Pond, Diesel a Bookstore, Mrs. Dalloway’s Books
SF: Modern Times,  $20 door   Benefits KPFA, GX & Navdanya

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON RIGHTS OF NATURE:

http://therightsofnature.org/rights-of-nature-tribunal/
http://therightsofnature.org/rights-of-nature-tribunal/
http://therightsofnature.org/2014-ron-conference/