If John Brown Were Alive, Could He Help in Ferguson?

 This year marks the 155th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. Although he isn’t the most revered figure in American history, he most certainly is honored as a revolutionary and a hero ranging from the likes of Malcolm X to Quentin Tarantino. A contemporary of Brown, famous author, poet, naturalist and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau, wrote an essay called “A Plea for Captain John Brown” and recited it publicly many times before the execution of Brown. He pleaded abolitionist supporters to remember him as a true hero, a martyr, and not as a fool for giving his life for what he believed.

If John Brown, abolitionist, insurrectionist, and self-proclaimed martyr, who called for the immediate end to chattel slavery in the United States were still alive, he most certainly would be of great help in Ferguson, Missouri. His enthusiasm, passion, and belief that no person should be subjugated to slavery or injustice is what people of color in the United States need from the white majority. Although what is happening in Ferguson isn’t slavery, John Brown’s call to action during his lifetime motivated members of the white community in the 1800’s willing to support direct action efforts of achieving equality and justice for the African-American community.

John Brown was born in 1800 in Torrington, Connecticut, where he grew up in a religious household. His father, Owen Brown, was not only an abolitionist by belief, but also an active participant in the Underground Railroad, a network of people, safe houses, and pathways that helped fugitive slaves escape to free states and Canada.  John Brown’s name has been etched into American history for his famous raid on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (now part of West Virginia). On October 16, 1859, John Brown along with 20 other men attacked an arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia with the intent of stealing enough weapons in order to start a slave revolt. His plan failed and he was eventually captured by local soldiers and U.S. Marines led by Colonel Robert E. Lee. John Brown was tried, convicted of treason, and executed by hanging on December 2, 1859. His legacy lives on as a polemic character in American history whose martyrdom is honored by some members of the black community and condemned by others who described him as simply a terrorist.

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So where does John Brown fit into contemporary American social issues? One can argue that a person like John Brown hasn’t existed in the white community since his death.

When white Americans says,  “there is a lack of leadership in the black community” they must recognize that there is also a lack of leadership in the white community regarding racial equality and the call to justice for all people living in the United States. John Brown would be a perfect example of a leader for the white community who could command them in their efforts to combat institutionalized racism and injustice.

The shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American, has sparked a new wave of protests condemning not only the use of excessive police force, but also racial profiling, the criminal justice system, and the apparent apathy white Americans have for the plight of minorities in the United States. Michael Brown was shot by Darren Wilson, a white police officer on August 9, 2014. Although there is overwhelming evidence and witness testimonies conveying that Michael Brown had indeed tried to surrender to the police officer with a “hands up” motion, he was shot multiple times by Wilson. At an estimated distance of 35 feet from the police cruiser, and no visible weapon possessed by Brown, witnesses heard Wilson fire approximately 10 shots. Based on the evidence present, one can conclude that officer Darren Wilson did not act in self defense, and that Michael Brown was murdered in cold blood.

Two months after the shooting of Michael Brown, Darren Wilson is still on paid administrative leave and has not yet faced charges or arrest. The state and federal investigations are taking a long time to reach a conclusion. Protesters believe this is deliberate, concluding that the local government is hoping that protests in and around the Ferguson – St. Louis area of Missouri will die down. The fact that charges haven’t been formally brought up against Darren Wilson is just the tip of the iceberg for the African-American community as they can foresee the murder of Michael Brown going unpunished. Below the murky waters of American race relations there is a lot of racist backlash against African-Americans coming from the white community with respect to demonstrations and vociferous opposition to unpunished white-on-black murders.

The fundraising efforts of people who support Darren Wilson was one of the first things outside of the investigation that struck a nerve within the African-American community in Ferguson. There were wristbands that read “I am Darren Wilson” being worn by members of the Ferguson police (as if to say that they also supported extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals). There were online fundraisers that had raised more money, about $400,000 for Darren Wilson and his family than for the family of the Michael Brown.

The amount of money raised for Wilson is nothing compared to the vitriol and racial hatred perpetrated by television news pundits and online social commentators. Young black men, who dress, act, or look a certain way are victims of verbal abuse in the media when they are all referred to as “thugs” “gangsters” and “hoodlums”. There has been an additional racial polarization in the United States regarding white America’s negative perception of young black males, hip-hop culture and whether they are innocent/guilty in the eyes of the law. As if the election of Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the United States, wasn’t enough to cause deep-seated racism to surface, the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and John Crawford, by white men has opened up old wounds in the African-American community, reminding them of lynchings and unpunished murders, which lasted from since the end of the American Civil War up until the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960’s.

The American prison system is disproportionately filled with African-Americans compared to white Americans. It is estimated that “one in three black males will end up in prison”. Similarly, African-Americans, along with other people of color, make up approximately 30% of the U.S. population, but represent 70% of all arrests and 60% of the prison population.

Constant police surveillance, police brutality, harsher punishments and longer sentences for people of color is akin to modern-day slavery and social injustice. John Brown would condemn the American prison system and fight tooth and nail until all unlawfully imprisoned people of color were released. Missouri is one of the states continuing the tradition of disproportionately sending people of color to prison.

John Brown definitely could be of good help in Ferguson in order to show other white people what true support for justice looks like. After a few weeks of protests and demonstrations in Ferguson, Governor Jay Nixon deployed the Missouri National Guard. Protestors were met with excessive force in the form of tear gas, flash grenades, riot police and soldiers with high-grade military equipment. It basically looked like a war zone in Ferguson during the Governor’s “invasion.”

A parallel can be drawn between how white Americans feel about social injustices, whom they support, and how the media portrays key players during a controversial event. One example comes from the Cliven Bundy standoff. Bundy is a Nevada rancher who has been disputing with the United States Bureau of Land Management over unpaid grazing fees. With the threat of government repossession of Bundy’s cattle, protests ensued and armed militias, mostly right-wing white Americans, came out to support Clive Bundy in an armed standoff against federal agents. Although those who supported Bundy were armed and aggressive, the government agents didn’t fire cans of tear gas, flash grenades, nor did the Governor of Nevada send in the Nevada National Guard. Conservative news media personalities like Sean Hannity were quick to support Bundy and his anti-government crusade, but soon realized how racist Bundy was when he made comments like “are black people better off as slaves?”.

How would John Brown respond to Cliven Bundy’s remarks about black people being “better off as slaves”? He would have killed Clive Bundy and all who attest to racist ideology. John Brown would have joined the protestors in Ferguson, Missouri to support the African-American community against the local police, the state police, the National Guard, and federal agents. He would have mounted his own militia of fellow whites to help protect the African-American community from white aggression.

The importance of having white people fight alongside people of color in Ferguson is tantamount to how the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s was such a success. In the same way, John Brown represented the ideologue of vengeful justice through direct action since before the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln, well known for upholding his abolitionist beliefs and declaring war upon the Confederacy for breaking up the Union, later paid for his beliefs with his life. Later on, during the 1960’s, John F. Kennedy was killed for unknown reasons, but speculation has it that he was killed for trying to end the Vietnam War, and for trying to give civil rights to African-Americans.

Although John Brown’s personality and legacy as a Christian religious fanatic and insurrectionist can be seen as somewhat of an ethical dilemma for pacifists, atheists, and the United States government, it would be interesting to see how much could been achieved as far as civil rights in America if a person like John Brown were around. John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry on October 16, 1859 is said to have been one of the key factors in polarizing the country so much that it started the Civil War, which restored the Union and ended slavery. The positive aspects that came after the most devastating war in United States history is difficult to justify on both sides. In the spirit of the 155th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, there is Ferguson October, which is a call for action and civil disobedience pleading for justice not only for Michael Brown, but all American citizens victimized by the prison-industrial complex. There are some things that aren’t as simple as being labeled as liberal or conservative. Morality, liberty and justice have no political party, and therefore, more people should abandon party affiliation and fight injustices for all people regardless of race, class, or gender.

By: Opton A. Martin

John Brown: Mártir y Terrorista, Héroe y Villano.

¨Los héroes y villanos tienen los mismos motivos, espíritu y corazón. Es el público que decide si quiere olvidarles en la horca o si se les acuerda en la tumba.¨

2014: La Unión Europea consiste de países como la República Federal de Alemania y la República Francesa. Después de la Guerra Civil Estadounidense (1861-1865) la esclavitud norteamericana ya no es legal. El Reino de España después de casi cuarenta años de una dictadura ultra derecha se unió con sus vecinos europeos en tener elecciones democráticas. Después de revueltas de esclavos en Haití, Francia con Napoleón Bonaparte de Primer Cónsul tuvo que vender los territorios de Luisiana, un territorio que extiende de Luisiana a Canadá aproximadamente un tercio del territorio de los Estados Unidos. Haití en 1804 consiguió su independencia tras derrotar a las fuerzas francesas, británicas y españolas. También han liberado sus vecinos de Santo Domingo de los españoles.

¿Cómo sería la vida en aquellos países si Alemania Nazi ganó, si Los Estados Confederados de América ganaron contra los norteños y mantenía la esclavitud, si Francisco Franco hubiera perdido la Guerra Civil Española, si Napoleón nunca vendió Luisiana a los Estados Unidos con la administración de Thomas Jefferson, si los Haitianos no consiguieron su independencia en 1804…?

En 1805 había un millón de esclavos en los Estados Unidos. En 1860 había cuatro millones de esclavos. A los esclavos  les trataban simplemente como propiedad y activos económicos. A los Estados Unidos valían aproximadamente tres mil millones de dolares.

Lo que es moral no es necesariamente legal.  Lo que es legal no es necesariamente moral. La esclavitud en los Estados Unidos seguía creciendo durante el siglo XIX sin parar. El beneficio económico para los negreros, inversores y el negocio internacional se solidificó la política de la época. Desde cuando Cristóbal Colón llegó a América en 1492 los europeos usaron el cristianismo y la búsqueda de oro para justificar la esclavitud, la guerra y conquista de los ¨paganos¨

John Brown el abolicionista usó el cristianismo no para justificar la esclavitud, sino destruirla. Es único porque en los ojos de los Estados Unidos y la historia estadounidense que enseña en las escuelas norteamericanas se le recuerda a John Brown como el único terrorista honrable.

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John Brown nació en el año 1800 en Torrington, Connecticut, EEUU, parte de una región conocida como Nueva Inglaterra. En el norte de los Estados Unidos había un movimiento de abolicionismo, morales, éticas y doctrinas religiosas en contra de la esclavitud. Los origines de la filosofía del abolicionismo en los Estados Unidos se formaba a base de una combinación de la Ilustración estadounidense, (American Englightenment) que abarca todo el siglo XVIII, y las éticas de los grupos de protestantes como los cuáqueros y calvinistas. El padre de John Brown, Owen Brown, era calvinista y se crió a sus hijos de así manera. En 1805 la familia de Brown se trasladaron a Ohio.  El efecto que tenía el padre de John Brown sobre él era profunda. Su padre le decía que la esclavitud es un pecado y que es imperativo terminar con ello.  Con dieciséis años John Brown viajó para seguir sus estudios en Connecticut y luego viajó y vivió en muchos lugares como Massachusetts, Nueva York y Ohio y trabajó como un sastre, granjero y más.

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Durante su vida vio como los negreros pegaban y azotaban a los esclavos. Se dio cuenta que los negros en los Estados Unidos no tenían derechos. Hasta los negros ¨libres¨ no tenían derechos tampoco. Durante su juventud se hizo amigos con niños esclavos y vio como su amo le pegaba y trataba. El padre de John Brown y él ayudaron a los esclavos escapados con el ferrocarril subterráneo, una red de casas, caminos y túneles para esconder a los esclavos fugitivos en camino a estados libres o a Canadá.  John Brown leyó sobre la revolución de Haití y las revueltas de esclavos en otras islas del caribe. Vio como Nat Turner, un esclavo afroamericano dirigió una revuelta en 1831 que resultó en su captura y ejecución.  Elijah Parish Lovejoy, un ministro presbiteriano y editor de periódicos fue asesinado en 1837 por una multitud de pro-esclavistas en Illinois que no apoyaron sus publicaciones abolicionistas. Puede decir que todas las acciones y experiencias abolicionistas y revolucionarias que vio John Brown le impactó de alguna manera.

En respuesta al asesinato de Elijah Lovejoy durante una reunión abolicionista John Brown proclamó, ¨¡Aquí, ante de Dios, en la presencia de estos testigos, a partir de ahora, consagro mi vida a la destrucción de la esclavitud!¨ Así empezó lo que los históricos dicen que es la ¨radicalización¨ de John Brown.  Justificó las acciones violentas contra la esclavitud como su destino, su deber en frente del dios, para matar para poner al fin a la esclavitud. Creía que la única manera para terminar con el pecado de esclavitud una insurrección armada.

Entre los años 1840 y 1850 John Brown conoció a los más importantes escritores, activistas, lectores y abolicionistas de la época. Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth, son contemporáneos de Brown que participaban en activismo, sermones, publicaciones y el ferrocarril subterráneo. Sin embargo, la mayoría de abolicionista y intelectuales preferían una resolución pacifica para terminar con la esclavitud. John Brown mantuvo que sólo hay una manera liberar a los esclavos: matar a todos que apoyaba la esclavitud.

Con la llegada de la ¨Fugitive Slave Act¨ o la Ley de Esclavos Fugitivos de 1850, parecía que el congreso de los Estados Unidos iba al contrario al abolicionismo. La ley fue escrito por los pro-esclavistas para castigar a la gente que intentaban ayudar a los esclavos que escaparon de sus amos. El camino común para muchos esclavos era irse del sur hacia el norte. El país en aquel tiempo fue dividido prácticamente en dos: el norte consistía de estados libres (donde la esclavitud era prácticamente ilegal ) y los estados del sur donde consistía de estados esclavos. La Ley de Kansas-Nebraska de 1854 abrió territorios a los que quierían colonizar los territorios en el centro de América del norte. Habitantes de los estados a su alrededor de los territorios de Kansas y Nebraska querían expandir la esclavitud. John Brown y sus seguidores empezaron un conflicto armado, un pequeño guerra civil contra los pro-esclavistas intentando ocupar el estado nuevo. Se conoce el conflicto como ¨Bleeding Kansas¨ o Kansas Sangrienta.

John Brown encontró muchas tragedias durante su vida. Tuvo dos mujeres durante su vida. Su primer mujer murió durante el parto del séptimo hijo. Se casó de nuevo con Mary Anne Day. Ella tenía 16 años y eventualmente tenía 13 hijos con él. En total John Brown tenía 20 hijos, pero solo 11 vivían a ser adultos.

El final de John Brown es la parte más conocida de su historia y legado. En 1859, después de planear, recaudar fondos y armas, su plan consistía en atacar un arsenal y empezar una revuelta de esclavos. Durante el 16 de Octubre de 1859, John Brown dirigió una redada en el arsenal del pueblo de Harper´s Ferry, Virginia (hoy en día parte de Virginia Occidental). Con sólo 21 hombres, entre ellos dos hijos, el plan de Brown era ocupar el arsenal, robar los rifles y armar a los esclavos cercanos para que podían luchar para su libertad. Brown tenía la esperanza de que los esclavos pululaban como una ¨masa de abejas¨.  Durante el primer día consiguieron tomar el arsenal, pero con el paso del tiempo la situación empeoraba cuando el conductor de un tren pasó por el pueblo y llegó a la próxima estación para comunicarse que ¨150 abolicionistas¨ han tomado el pueblo de Harper´s Ferry con la intención de liberar a los esclavos. Se informaron al Presidente de los Estados Unidos James Buchanon y envió a Harper´s Ferry soldados, los marines, dirigidos por Coronel Robert E. Lee. Los marines y soldados estadounidenses sobrepasó en numero a los esclavos y el ¨ejercito de John Brown¨.

Cuando llegó el ejército estadounidense han asesinado a 10 insurgentes de Brown, incluyendo sus dos hijos.  John Brown fue capturado y juzgado un mes después. Se declaró culpable de traición y condenado a ejecución por horca el 2 de diciembre 1859. Las acciones de John Brown y sus seguidores provocó una nueva discusión sobre la institución de la esclavitud. La confianza entre los sureños que apoyaban la esclavitud y los norteños en contra de ello se deterioró. Fue entonces que los sureños empezaron a preparar a las milicias por si acaso que otro norteño pretendía copiar las acciones de Brown o una posible guerra civil.

Políticos y miembros del partido republicano (el partido con muchos abolicionistas) intentaron mantener la distancia de John Brown y sus acciones porque el año después de la redada de Harper´s Ferry había una elección presidencial. En 1860 Abraham Lincoln ganó las elecciones y los estados del sur cuyo economía se basaba del labor de los esclavos separaron de los Estados Unidos para formar los Estados Confederados de América. La Guerra Civil Estadounidense empezó en 1861 y terminó con la victoria de ¨La Unión¨ o el norte sobre el sur en 1865. En 1865 el congreso ratificó el Decimotercera Enmienda a la Constitución de los Estados Unidos que abolió la esclavitud.

Las acciones de Brown destaca sólo un ejemplo de un hombre blanco haciendo algo tan revolucionario para la vida de los negros. Para atacar la institución de la esclavitud a su corazón es un acto noble. Dedicó su vida a la lucha contra el racismo y quería vivir en un mundo donde los negros y blancos pueden vivir como iguales. Había en su época abolicionistas que todavía no veía a los negros como iguales. La Guerra Civil Estadounidense liberó a los esclavos, pero tardaba cien años más para que los blancos en el Congreso de los Estados Unidos pasara las leyes para garantizar derechos civiles para los ciudadanos de todas etnias.

Mucha gente no puede comprender lo que ha hecho John Brown. Hoy en día, tanto como en el pasado, se les compara John Brown con terroristas y extremistas religiosas como Osama Bin Laden. Sí, es evidente que John Brown usó el cristianismo para justificar matando a la gente que apoya la esclavitud, pero ningún otro blanco en la historia de cultura popular estadounidense se sacrificó individualmente para las vidas de los negros.

Hoy en día hablan mucho sobre ¨el privilegio blanco¨ y como el racismo en los Estados Unidos hace la vida más fácil para los blancos que a las minorías. John Brown también tenía privilegio blanco y lo usó para enviar un mensaje a los blancos y a los negros. El racismo de hoy es un problema grave en la sociedad americana. Hay muchas minorías luchando cada día en contra del racismo. Sin embargo, hoy en día falta acción y interés del congreso y la gente común en combatir el racismo moderno, brutalidad policial, violencia con armas y el terrible sistema penitenciario. No puede ganar la justicia, hay que tomarla.

Por: Opton A. Martin

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Violencia con Armas de Fuego: El Viejo Mundo v. El Nuevo Mundo.

“Ejecución y difamación es una táctica del Nuevo Orden Mundial para censurar a la gente.”

“El Nuevo Orden Mundial pretende destruir las tradiciones y monumentos que llevan cientos o miles de años de existencia. Es un club internacional de hombres poderosos que tienen más en común entre ellos que sus propios compatriotas como militares, políticos y socios económicos.  Exterminan y difaman a toda la gente en su camino y esperan que se les olviden.”

Sólo a veces es la muerte evitable. A veces a propósito, mayormente sin saber, nosotros construimos sociedades peligrosas con fallos en la estructura social que a consecuencia, trabaja para aislar a la gente para privar de derechos civiles y empujarles a la periferia. La clase baja tiene limitaciones económicas, educativas y representativas (para votar) porque la clase media apoya las leyes y la política de la clase gobernante que pretenden mantener el sometimiento de los pobres.

La gente que vive en la periferia luchan entre ellos porque compiten para pocos recursos. El “centro” del capital no es para ellos porque está siendo guardado por la policia, pagado por los ricos. Aquí es donde el poder legislativo, político y económico controla los elementos del estado – el estado semi-fallido.

La violencia con armas de fuego en toda América (salvo Canadá), desde los Estados Unidos hasta el punto de Argentina y Chile es muy diferente que la violencia con armas en África, Europa, Asia y Oceanía. Los motivos de la violencia con armas difiere de como está distribuida y su prevalencia. La similitud de violencia con armas entre el viejo mundo y el nuevo mundo se trata del control del territorio, espacio, tierra, región, zona, estado, país, califato, comunidad, manzana, ciudad, pueblo, isla, ruta de comercio y sobre todo, recursos naturales (el dinero). Aunque puedes decir que el robo cuenta por mucho del uso ilegal de armas de fuego, los países de América tienen las problemas graves del narcotráfico y la guerra contra las drogas que contribuye a la mayor parte del día a día violencia con armas.

El tráfico de las drogas a través de América va de sur a norte y acaba en las manos de los norteamericanos y europeos para consumir. Los estadounidenses consumen más drogas ilegales que cualquier otro país del mundo. Brasil, Colombia, Venezuela, México y todos los países de sus alrededores están plagados de violencia de bandas de narcotraficantes que amasan sus imperios y reciben protección personal a través del dinero generado del trafico de drogas, la extorsión y los sobornos pagados a agentes policiales. El comercio ilegal de las armas es por lo tanto parte a las drogan porque uno es necesario para proteger al otro. Algunos países de Centroamérica y el Caribe sufren de mucha violencia del narcotráfico a causa de su geografía. Los cárteles pasan por ¨caminos¨ estrechos y como un embudo, la violencia se concentra en países como Honduras. Con una cifra de homicidio a 82 por cada 100,000 residentes, Honduras es el país con más homicidios con armas de fuego en el mundo. Nicaragua, Guatemala y El Salvador también están estirados por el narcotráfico y violencia que han causado una crisis humanitaria que es la inmigración irregular de niños desde Centroamérica hacia los Estados Unidos.

La violencia actual que ocurre en países centroamericanos ha llegado a niveles bélicos principalmente por la política americana durante las administraciones de Ronald Reagan y George H.W. Bush que apoyaron a los ¨Contras¨ (comandos anti-izquierdista) para cumplir las campañas anticomunistas a través de golpes de estado y operaciones secretas contra ideologías izquierdistas como marxismo-leninismo, comunismo, o cualquier banda afiliada con las ideas y creencias de Che Guevara y Fidel Castro. Reagan autorizó la asistencia de la CIA para fundar y entrenar a los ¨Contras¨ para luchar contra los Sandinistas en Nicaragua.  Y quién puede olvidar la invasión estadounidense de Panamá en 1989 para deshacerse de Manuel Noriega, un antiguo empleado de la CIA y narcotraficante dictador militar. El gobierno estadounidense ayudaba establecer los cárteles de drogas con los mismos Contras, prácticamente en paro, que luchaba contra los izquierdistas (soldados a narcotraficantes).  El escándalo Irán-Contra era real, no una conspiración elaborado por periodistas. El acontecimiento del escándalo destaca lo poco que sabemos sobre la profundidad de las operaciones en América Latina.

La guerra contra las drogas continúa clandestinamente cuando el gobierno estadounidense ayuda crear parte del caos. Un ejemplo es la ¨Operación Rápido y Furioso¨ . El nombre tomado de una película de acción, describe el escándalo de la venta de armas de los Estados Unidos a cárteles mexicanos. Entre 2006 y 2011, la agencia de Alcohol, Tabaco, Armas de fuego y Explosivos (ATF) vendían armas a los que creían que formaban parte de bandas narcotraficantes para ¨rastrearlos.¨ Al final, las armas de fuego de la ATF se encontraban en escenas de crímenes brutales en México y el gobierno mexicano perplejo porque no tenía información previa de la operación.

Cuanto más hacen esfuerzo para parar el tráfico de drogas, la gente tiene que pagar más dinero y los cárteles ganan más dinero, se compran más armas, se ponen más violentos y controlan más territorio. Los cárteles siempre están buscando nuevas rutas para transportar las drogas y las armas. La violencia ¨se atasca¨ en países pequeños como Honduras, El Salvador y Jamaica, países que tiene lo más homicidios (por 100,000 habitantes) con armas del mundo. Jamaica ha llegado a ser muy peligroso últimamente porque envíos de cocaína y otro contrabando ha desviado para viajar a través del Caribe vía Jamaica. Si las drogas fuesen legalizadas o parcialmente legalizadas los cárteles tendrían menos dinero para fundar su conflicto armado. También los norteamericanos y europeos pueden dejar de tomar drogas completamente lo cual nunca pasará.

Hay menos violencia con armas en Europa y Asia que América. Las leyes de Europa preserva el derecho a las armas para los que tienen permiso de caza o si son agentes policiales. En España por ejemplo, si quieres comprar una escopeta primero hay que conseguir un permiso de caza. Las pistolas están muy restringidas para el público general.  En los Estados Unidos, comprar un arma no requiere nada más que el dinero porque la Constitución de los Estados Unidos dice que poseer armas y formar una milicia son partes de su independencia y seguridad nacional. Entonces, poseer un arma en Estados Unidos es una cosa de cultura. Resulta que para cada 100 estadounidenses hay 88 armas. Es el pueblo con mayor cantidad de armas del mundo. Puede ser porque ciudades como Chicago, Il ,USA, cuenta más de 500 homicidios por año, la mayoría a bases de violencia con pistolas. Altas cifras de homicidios con armas son comunes en ciudades con 100,000 habitantes o más. No debe ser así.

Algunos países en Europa tienen muchos propietarios de armas pero no padecen de la violencia con armas como América. Las capitales Europeas como Madrid, España, que tiene una población parecida a Chicago (incluyendo las cercanías) tiene aproximadamente 30 homicidios al año, y sólo una parte de la cifra incluye homicidios con armas de fuego. Oceanía (Australia, Nueva Zelanda, Polinesia) tienen cifras de homicidios con armas parecidas a Europa.

Sólo Suiza y Finlandia acerca a los Estados Unidos en cantidad de propietarios de armas de fuego con una cifra de 47 por 100 suecos o finlandeses respectivo a sus países. Violencia con armas no es muy común entre agente de policía en Europa tampoco:

“Según Der Spiegel de Alemania, la policía alemana dispararon solo 85 balas en todo de 2011. Un recuerdo de que no todos los países del mundo son tan locos por pistolas como los Estados Unidos…La mayoría de los disparos no se apuntaron a nadie: 49 disparos de aviso, 36 disparos a perpetradores, 15 personas heridas y 6 personas muertas.” thewire.com

 En los Estados Unidos es común oír una historia de un policía que disparó 90 veces a una persona.

Las temas de raza, etnia y protección policial son partes de una sociedad que es más peligroso para las minorías, especialmente los afroamericanos que los europeo-americanos. En 2002, la policía americana mataron a 313 hombres afroamericanos. Las ejecuciones de hombres negros fue calculado como ¨cada 28 horas un hombre negro es matado por la policía.¨ La violencia con armas sale de personas que han perdido totalmente su humanidad. Es la mecanización de matar.

En Asia, casi no tiene violencia con armas en China y Japón. Japón tiene casi 1/2 de la población de los Estados Unidos (128,000,000 est. 2010) metidos en un país el tamaño del estado de California, pero sólo hay aproximadamente 2 homicidios con armas de fuego al año. Comprar una pistola en Japón es un proceso agotador, hay limitaciones del modelo, análisis psicológicos, hay que tomar un curso y hay rutinas de inspecciones. En China, posesión de armas de fuego está prohibida para los ciudadanos. La falta de acceso a las armas y bajos niveles de violencia con armas están relacionados, pero en países menos industriales es más complicado.

Una de las cosas que separa la violencia de armas en los Estados Unidos a Europa o Asia es cultura. Los estadounidenses sienten que necesitan tener un arma porque fue fundamental en formar las fronteras de América del Norte al estilo ¨Wild Wild West.¨ Al contraste,  Europa y Asia tiene estado-países antiguos formados con matrimonios, diplomacia, rutas de comercio, batallas con espadas, cañones, y mamutes cruzando los Alpes  suizos. Ir a campos de tiros o disparar a cosas en el jardín es una forma de diversión para los estadounidenses (al resto del mundo no tanto). A veces, son demasiado listos para disparar a cosas o personas que no amenace a nadie.

El continente de África y la región del Oriente Próximo tienen violencia con armas de fuego pero los conflictos del ¨viejo mundo¨ son problemas propagados por el Nuevo Orden Mundial. Reinos antiguos en África y el Oriente Próximo se formaban hace muchos siglos, interrumpidos por las invasiones de Europeos que re-dibujó estas zonas durante los siglos XVIII, XIX y XX. Países modernos como India, Pakistán, Nigeria, Argelia, Sudan, Egipto, e Israel son zonas donde los británicos y franceses bordeaban y cruzaban países ignorando vínculos culturales,  lingüísticos y étnicos cuando formaban países nuevos.

Zonas de conflicto armado como Siria, Libia, Sudan, Malí, Israel, Yemen, Pakistán y otros, requiere armamentos de países occidentales (EE.UU, Europa Occidental y Rusia). Debido a la inundación de armas, la violencia continúa para borrar las linea que los Europeos han dejado hace un siglo. Es una puerta giratoria, pero los países occidentales tiene lo más para ganar mientras los países de conflicto sigan comprando y lanzando las armas.

Aunque parece que quitar las armas de la gente para reducir homicidios es una solución simple, no es así de fácil. Si la gente quiere matar a otro, lo harán. En Sudáfrica, donde la cifra de homicidios es más alta que los Estados Unidos, homicidios con armas de fuego sólo cuenta por 45% de ellos, pero 67% en los Estados Unidos. Hay problemas profundas que provocan la tensión entre ciudadanos en cada país.  La disponibilidad de las armas sólo exacerba las problemas, luchan una falta de recursos. Lo que es verdad es que aunque países en América están en un estado de ¨paz¨ las cifras de homicidios competen con zonas de conflictos armados. Hay que llamar la atención al público para acabar con el despliegue rápido de policías militares al estilo futurista, distópica y Orwelliano. No más tanques, granadas, y metralletas en las calles de América apuntados a los ciudadanos. El estado policial, pre Segunda Guerra Mundial del siglo XX era malo, el estado policial del siglo XXI será peor.

Por: Opton A. Martin

Possible Solutions to Increase Efficiency of Voter Participation and Representation

¨When the State uses high technology, it´s usually working against the population in that personal information is forcefully collected, distorted, and made to intimidate us into thinking that we´re all criminals, without due process. When the general public uses high technology, it´s usually for entertainment, which blinds us into thinking everything is just great.¨

The power of numbers and statistics allows people to gather enough information in order to act on solving or causing an expanding or contracting situation involving a population. As digital and fiber optic technology reach speed of light velocity, people can be quick to react to stimuli in their surrounding areas. One example of a rapid development contrived by social media is the Arab Spring of 2010-present. Some people give credit to social media like twitter for helping connect people before, during and after protests, so that people could offer all types of services, aid, and exchange of ideas. This is one way social media wasn´t used only for entertainment.

As much as some people would like to ¨live off of the grid,¨ which is to say, ¨auto-sufficiency, out of the government´s eyes,¨ people all over the world still have to use state services to obtain simple things like a driver´s license, a passport, pay for taxes, go to a university, graduate high school, and enlist in the military. Registering to vote is probably the last thing on this list of things Americans would want to do involving the State, but would more voter participation procure a society that were more representative, and better?

Voter participation is at an all time low in most countries in the world, the United States in particular is dropping fast possibly due to Congress having record low approval ratings.  What I hope to offer are possible ideas that could advance voter registration and representation to ameliorate, or lessen, systematic racism, sexism, gentrification, xenophobia and all other forms of minority discrimination.

Voter participation is lower in U.S. compared to economic allies.

voting-by-country1

Above: data from 2011 from http://www.idea.int/vt/https://lifeinthecsu.wordpress.com/tag/civic-education/

Here is a list of things that could be changed in the United States to get people into the habit of participating if they want to.

1) Change the voting day to Sunday: The United States is possibly the only country in the world that votes on Tuesday. Most other countries, about 42 of them, that have higher voter participation than the U.S., vote on Sundays. It is the day of the week when more people are available. Although one would imagine that American politicians are against Sunday voting because it is ¨God´s Day,¨ recognize that there is no official religion in the United States, it is not a theocracy, and voting on Tuesday does not seem that efficient. Data has been collected suggesting that 17% of Americans use the excuse of  ¨conflict with schedule¨  for not voting. This could be due to the fact that ¨Election Day¨ is not a holiday – the majority of people still have to work – and work comes before voting for someone who is eventually going to disappoint you anyway.

2) High School graduation rates are up to about 75%,offer registration: I remember being able to register to vote before I graduated from High School. Students who were seventeen-years-old, were able to register to vote at school, if their 18th birthday fell before Election Day in November. Those who were interested registered because student clubs made it their priority to try to register teens. School should be able to offer this service to all students who want to.

3) 85% of Americans have a driver´s license, offer voter registration: Government agencies like the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) U.S. Mail (for passports) and the local city hall are government services that collect all of your personal data: residence, age, height, weight, prior convictions, marital status etc, they should offer to register people to vote. They don´t have to collect data about your political party, but it could easily be a point for voter registration.

4) Give Felons the right to vote back: What are the politicians afraid of? That all the felons in the United States will unanimously vote to legalize crime? Either change the Constitution or honor it. Under the 14th, 15th, & 19th Amendments to the Constitution, the state must not deny a citizen´s right to vote because of their color, race, sex(gender), or previous condition of servitude. Grant them the right to vote! People ignorant enough to regurgitate political talking points about what the Founding Fathers said, did, or wrote in the Constitution, fail to implement and support basic human rights. One would think that going to prison is punishment enough for a crime when in actuality, you become a target for entrapment, abuse, constant surveillance and disenfranchisement. There are about 6 million American felons who cannot vote, even after serving their time in prison.

5) Stop gerrymandering and implementing voter identification laws:  There isn´t much a person can do once an elected official decides during his or her term in office that prohibiting voter turnout by trickery or requiring special identification is best for their citizens. Racism plays a huge part in the repartitioning of local and state districts that are predominately black, latino, asian, white, native american etc, in order to consolidate their constituents. Knowing that the majority of Blacks vote Democrat and happen to live in isolated, concentrated parts of metropolitan areas, Republicans are ¨gerrymandering¨ or redrawing the map in order to exclude African-Americans from voting in a particular area. Voter ID laws are also directed towards people of lower income who might not be able to afford a car, or the price for a voter ID card.

Becoming Naturalized Citizen in the United States has some generally requirements including passing a an exam. Citizens born in the United States generally have no idea what the process of becoming a citizen is, also, an embarrassingly low number of them could not actually pass a citizenship exam or have much knowledge of civics. One of the questions on the Citizenship exam is: ¨What is the greatest or most important right granted to U.S. citizens?¨ The answer: the right to vote. If voting is the most important right, why has it been taken away from so many people? Why is it so hard to get those rights back? It just goes to show that ¨rights¨ can be less important than privileges if they can be taken away for more time than you spend in prison. There are currently 6 million Americans who have had their right to vote rebuked.

(list of disenfranchised citizens:http://felonvoting.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000287)

Becoming an actual candidate in an election is a whole other story. U.S. voters cling firmly to red and blue – Republican and Democrat. The Reds and the Blues team up when a possible third party or fringe group intends to wedge their way into their voting block. The current Tea Party, Libertarian Party and Independents are unfortunately satellite parties of Red and Blue in that they use the mainstream parties as their surrogates in order to carry their ideas to the people. Although Red and Blue might be ¨too big to fail,¨ it also helps to force these candidates to discuss tough issues by introducing a third, fourth, fifth, sixth party – might as well form a parliament – to the political scene to represent the 317,000,000 American citizens.

By: Opton A. Martin

The Positive Correlation between Women in Parliament and Standard of Living in High Income Nations.

¨The religious heterosexual male majority has homogeneously denied women´s inclusion¨

For high income nations there is a correlation between the percentage of women in parliament (congress) and the standard of living in a society. According to the World Bank, a high income nation can be described as a country whose working citizens earn above $12,746 per capita (2013). Countries with high incomes have intricate and diverse economies that allocate taxes in order to provide services for the population that support it. The doctrine of ¨No Taxation Without Representation¨ was part of the English-speaking world´s Enlightenment period, but it still rings true today in that women, who represent 50% or more of the human population, are not properly represented in various governments worldwide.

¨Rich¨ countries are able to provide more social services from taxes than ¨poor¨ countries. High income nations have a focus on the family, health, education, equality, and security; while acts of aggression like war, the death penalty, and lengthy incarceration are not priority. In all these cases, the United States and Japan seems to be the outliers, but in two distinct ways.

Data provided for this opinion and social commentary come from a website that monitors women in government. Because of failure of transparency and disclosure of information, commentaries are made based only on the number of women in the lower house of parliament. For Americans, the graph represents the percentage of women in the House of Representatives, not the Senate.

 

women in parliaments

 

Not included on this graph is the country of Rwanda, whose parliament is composed of 63.8% women. It is currently the only country in the world where women form the majority of the lower or single house. Rwanda, although it had a devastating civil war and genocide in the 1990s is beginning to recuperate and reconcile with those who had committed atrocities. Now it is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

Andorra, a principality located between Spain and France, has a General Council that is 50% women.  The country has the third highest life expectancy in the world at 82 years. Andorra, like many European nations, enjoy a free healthcare system and free higher education.

Nordic countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark have a range between 39% – 45% women in their lower houses of parliament. These countries are known for their high standards of living, low crime, human rights, and gender equality. Free education and healthcare are values that have become a thing of culture, not politics.

The Romance-speaking countries like Spain, France, Italy and Portugal vary with respect to women and their representation in government. Spain has the highest number of women in their lower house (Congress of Deputies) at 39.7%; France has the lowest at 26.2%. These countries are still bastions for Catholicism, whose doctrines are opposed to women´s reproductive rights like abortion, birth control instruments like the IUD, and contraception medication, yet politics and religion do not get in the way of women´s health.

All four of these countries also have a higher life expectancy than the United States maybe because their healthcare system is subsidized by the everyone, including the government, much like the Nordic countries, to ensure  that a larger portion of the population have free and easy access to a doctor. There is recognition among political leaders and citizens in these countries that contraception medication is not only for preventing pregnancy, but for preventative health against tumors, to regulate hormones, and some types of cancers. The Spanish government, currently ruled by the conservative People´s Party, decided to restrict women´s access to abortion and birth control. No one is really sure how the law works, or when it goes into effect, but it is understood that state-run hospitals (under social security) no longer provide abortions, it must be provided by a privately-run hospital with private healthcare*.

Anglophone countries like New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and Canada also have free healthcare and free higher education. They also have higher life expectancies than the United States as well.  Generally, Western Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have higher life expectancies based on their social systems that have more women in government. These high income nations can afford to balance their mixed economies in order to provide for a well-educated public where political debate on whether or not citizens should be offered free health services is a ¨no brainer.¨

¨On a substantive level, studies systematically show that female politicians are more likely to concentrate on issues that matter more to women such as daycare, gender equality, reproductive rights, flex time, elderly care, children’s welfare.1 It seems pretty intuitive that there are some issues that are more important to women and affect them more. It also seems like common sense that women would be more likely to focus on these issues than men.¨ Christine Cheng

Maternity leave, which also includes paternity leave in progressive countries, is another concept foreign to the general American citizen. Although Americans would claim that they live in the richest and best country in the world, it provides about as much subsidized, ¨free¨ healthcare and maternity leave as the Democratic Republic of the Congo – zero.

 

Maternity-leave-chart-final

 

The United States government does not have provisions for maternity leave. After giving birth, you basically have to get back to work in 3 days or quit your job.

The United States has a lot in common with countries that have poor records in human rights or countries that have very restrictive women´s reproductive rights. At 27.7% and 25.3%, Afghanistan and Iraq both currently have more women in their lower house than the United States. Only 18.2% of the House of Representatives is represented by women in the United States.  Saudi Arabia has 19.9% in their lower house and women aren´t even allowed to drive! Qatar, a major U.S. ally in the Middle East currently has 0.0% women in their government. Apparently, they currently have no restrictions on women running for positions in an Advisory Council. Qatar is technically the richest country in the world per capita, and like Saudi Arabia, is ruled by a family monarchy.

Ireland, although lauded for its high standard of living and general health of the public, has maintained a strict anti-abortion policy. There was a fire storm in Ireland in 2012 when a woman of Indian heritage, who had severe pain and was miscarrying, was repeatedly denied an abortion. She was denied because ¨Ireland is a Catholic country and the fetus still had a heartbeat.¨ She eventually died of sepsis (septicemia). Another case involves a woman in Ireland – apparently suicidal – who was also repeatedly denied an abortion. They ¨legally¨forced her to submit to a C-section at only 25 weeks of pregnancy after her attempts at a hunger strike.

Pro Life Campaign spokeswoman, Dr Ruth Cullen, said the news “underlines the horror and deep-seated flaws of the government’s legislation”.

“To induce a pregnancy at such an early stage inevitably puts the baby at risk of serious harm, such as brain damage, blindness or even death,” she said.

The lower house in Ireland is composed of only  15.7% women. This could be a direct correlation of how women´s health is buried beneath the apparent Catholic theocracy in Ireland.

India, the world´s largest democracy has a huge problem with women´s rights, rape, sexual assault and other indigenous beliefs that force underage women into marriages with significantly older men. In a country with more than 1 billion people, women are only 11% of the lower and upper house of parliament. The lack of representation in India has serious consequences in that male sex offenders are often not punished for violating women.  In the heart of Africa, there is the problem of female genital mutilation, which is performed in countries, where women represent less than 11% of the parliament (Kenya, Nigeria, Cote d´Ivoire, Mali, Sudan, Congo etc). They are forced against their will to submit to a barbaric practice for the benefit of men who want women to remain virgins.

The main outlier in this correlation between standard of living and women in parliament is Japan, where women represent only 8.1% of their 480 seats of the house. Japan, which has one of the lowest birthrates in the world and second highest life expectancy, is struggling with internal issues that would need to be further studied by sociologist and anthropologists specializing in Japan. Recent sexist comments by Japanese parliament members like ¨ Breed, don´t lead¨  have cause a wave of protests. Low birth rates were attributed to both men and women: women, who under threat of losing their jobs after taking maternity leave, prefer to keep working in order to maintain their careers; and men, who have similar goals, have replaced physical contact with ¨digital contact.¨

In Iran, the Ayatollah called for a ¨population boost¨ effectively banning ¨permanent¨ birth control for men and women in various forms. Doctors can be imprisoned for performing vasectomies, abortions or other operations like installing an IUD. This is an example of a theocratic government controlling reproductive rights for men and women in a country where their lower house in parliament is only 3% women. Controlling the population by prohibiting birth control can be seen as an act of aggression in that more soldiers are wanted for an anticipated war.

The United States still hovers around 20% women in the House of Representatives and 20% in the Senate. In 2016, American citizens might have the opportunity to elect the first female U.S. president. Hillary Clinton is closer than any other women in history due to her popularity among Americans of all walks of life. But electing just the first female president is not enough to close the gender gap in congress. Hopefully in the midterm elections there will be a cultural shift to honor the demands of the nation´s women and promote the diversity that makes the United States unique. LBGT peoples and minorities should also be represented in all facets of life and protected by the law (the religious heterosexual male majority has homogeneously denied their inclusion). Americans have to decide whether civil rights for all people will be distributed by force or by principle. As Abraham Lincoln famously said:

¨A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.¨

 

By: Opton A. Martin

 

* http://www.para-abortar.es/aborto/ley-actual-del-aborto-2014-enero/

Food, Fresh Water and Electricity Without Fossil Fuels.

“We are only limited by our lack of investment and interest.”

What is needed to feed a population of 100,000 – 250,000 people? How much does it cost to produce electricity, clean water and food? Can this all be done in a sustainable fashion without fossil fuels? 21st Century technology is doubling its efforts to supply a rapidly growing human population.

Current techniques for fresh water extraction and food production has exacerbated aquifers, rivers and lakes to the point of no return. For agricultural purposes, humans are extracting more water from wells and aquifers than is being replenished naturally by the water cycle. The unfortunate consequence of over-exploitation is that humans only start thinking of alternative methods of fresh water, food and energy production when natural sources have been depleted.

In order to understand how technology is helping with sustainability, we must look to places where fresh water is scarce, but the sun and wind are plentiful. Places like Israel, Spain, Libya, Saudi Arabia, California, Australia and China have shortages and droughts of fresh water for human consumption and the agriculture industry.

I will briefly describe some of the costs affiliated with creating a system that is relatively eco-neutral in that less atmospheric contamination is produced and water is conserved and recycled more so than current methods.

The CIA world fact book is a database that includes specific information about each country ranging from natural resources, electricity consumption, military capacity, geography, to imports and exports. It is a reliable source to compare data between countries. It currently states that 75.3% of all electricity in the United States of America is produced by fossil fuels, 9.7% from nuclear, 7.6% from hydroelectric, and only 5.3% from renewable sources. The renewable sources of electricity production include wind power, solar power and geothermic power. It is no secret that Americans consume more energy, more food, more water, and contaminate more than any other people on Earth (though the United Arab Emirates is catching up). It is said that if the whole world lived like Americans, we would need 4 Earths!

“I think we have all come to the realization that America consumes way more of the world’s “stuff” than the people we account for.  Americans make up for roughly 5% of the world’s population, but we consume much more than that.  We use 20% of the world’s energy, eat 15% of the world’s meat and create 40% of the garbage on Earth” – Jason Jeffrey Semon

Not all geographical locations are the same, nor have the availability of natural resources, but countries like Nicaragua, Germany, Spain, Iceland, Denmark and Portugal all produce between 20% – 40% of their electricity using renewable resources. Germany, which receives significantly less sun per year than the USA, produces more solar energy and exports more solar panels to countries weening themselves from fossil fuel-based energy sources.

An ideal and sustainable society is very complicated, but we can ameliorate atmospheric contamination and over-exploitation of fresh water by including new techniques to the energy and agricultural industries. For coastal cities in arid or semi-arid territories, a desalinization plant is a great way to preserve underground aquifers. Over-exploiting wells can cause environmental disasters that include sinkholes and salt water intrusions.

In the southeast part of Spain, in a city called Carboneras, is where the largest desalinization plant in Europe is located. The province of Almería, where Carboneras is located, is one of the driest places in Europe. It is also home to the largest concentration of greenhouses in the world. The province is home to a ¨sea of plastic¨, greenhouses that cover over 80,000 acres of land and exports food to a number of European countries. The province is also home to more than 640,000 people, all of which need electricity, food and fresh water in the desert.

The desalinization plant at Carboneras, Almería cost about 121 million euros to construct ($158,768,335 Sept. 2, 2014). It provides water for 7,000 hectares of greenhouses (17,297 acres) and a maximum of 200,000 residents. The desalination plant uses a lot of energy. The figures range from 1kwh/m3 – 2kwh/m3 (per cubic meter) of water. The electricity for converting brackish water into fresh water is currently generated by a coal-fired plant. The plant converts sea water into fresh water using a reverse osmosis method, which uses a membrane to physically “strain” the salt water. Price estimates vary from 0.50 euros – 1.0 euros per m3 for consumption. Coal and petroleum-fired plants are clear sources of atmospheric contamination, and are subject to fluctuating international price markets of import and export of fossil fuel.

A cheaper and cleaner way of generating electricity for a desalination plant would be wind, solar, or even wave power (using ocean waves to do work).  Roscoe Wind Farm in Texas has 634 wind turbines that produce enough energy for 250,000 homes. This wind farm was once the largest in the world and cost about $1 billion to install. It produces about 781.5 MW (megawatts) of electricity.

Andasol Guadix

Above: Andasol solar power plant in Guadix, southern Spain.

A revolutionary solar power station located near Guadix, Spain, called Andasol Solar Power Station is a parabolic trough solar power station. This solar farm uses a parabolic mirror to focus solar energy onto a tube, which in turn, heats water flowing through it. The heat or steam can then be used to power machinery or move a turbine. It also contains a system that is able to generate energy during the night using salt water. Andasol Solar Power Station cost 900 million euros ($1.1 billion) and can produce 165 million kilo-watt hours of electricity each year. To put it in perspective, about 450,000 people currently benefit from the energy produced by this station. It will reduce carbon emissions by 150,000 tonnes per year when compared to coal-fired energy plants. This is a significant victory for clean and renewable energy industries for future endeavors.

In agriculture, intensive greenhouse horticulture is becoming more popular, more sustainable and more profitable than conventional agricultural methods. Popularity comes from the agriculturist’s ability to have more control over aspects of cultivation ranging from wind, humidity, nutrient absorption, water use, temperature and pests. They have been able to reduce or eliminate chemical pesticides for pest control by using simple sticky paper, insects, arachnids and other arthropods that eat fungi or other insects. New substrate and hydroponic systems allow for agriculturists to recycle water and use less fertilizer. In a hydroponic system, the water is continuously recycled in a closed system and the water solution does not seep into the soil. This prevents fertilizers from entering the local water table, which can provoke unwanted environmental reactions like algae blooms. A water recycling system also reduces water use in that it is not “lost” through the soil.

 

Campo de Dalias_1-busco-en-el-poniente-el-ejido-1271116254

Above: Campo de Dalías, El Ejido, Almería, southern Spain. Part of 100,000 hectares (247, 105 acres) of greenhouses overlooking the north Mediterranean coast.

Intensive agriculture projects like those in Campo de Dalías and Campo de Níjar in the southeast corner of Spain is said to also reduce global warming because of its design. The greenhouses are painted white, a technique used in southern Spain, especially with housing, to reflect the solar intensity away from buildings. The glimmer of the greenhouses in the Almería province helps to reduce the overall temperature of the plants it harbors as well as the surrounding territories. Compare the white, energy-reflecting greenhouses to the vast and expansive black-top parking lots in the United States that absorb so much energy. If they would only equip all American parking lots with sun-shade solar panels – not only will it keep your car cool from the hot summer heat, it will produce enough energy for the building you are about to walk into.

As new technologies and cost-effective materials are tested, the increase in food consumption and human population does not necessarily have to degrade our environment. In traditional farming, soil is the primary medium from which crops grow. In monoculture farming, each year more fertilizer must be applied and depending on the water source, salt deposits begin to accumulate, which causes a reduction in crop yield. To avoid the environmental and production risks to crop yield, intensive agriculturalist have turned to substrate materials. Substrate is a growth medium, either organic or synthetic that replaces soil. Hydroponic growth substrate varies from place to place and is still being developed to produce the cheapest, but most effective growth medium. Some greenhouses in Spain and other parts of the world use grow bags, rockwool, perlite, vermiculite,  sand, and coconut fiber. Coconut fiber is great because it is organic and is usually a bi-product, or waste product of the coconut industry. What was once “garbage” is now a viable medium for the agricultural industry.

These techniques must be embraced if we are to ensure our food, water and energy needs in the present and in the future.

“The world is less than 40 years away from a food shortage that will have serious implications for people and governments”

 “For the first time in human history, food production will be limited on a global scale by the availability of land, water and energy,”  Dr. Fred Davies

So in the end, how much money will it cost to produce enough food, electricity, and fresh water for 250,000 people in a semi-sustainable way? I would estimate about $3 billion. At about $1 billion for each industry, $1 billion for solar/wind power, $1 billion for desalinization plants, and $1 billion to produce tens of thousands of acres of greenhouses that can sustain perhaps an even larger population than current methods. Implicating this three-pronged system can do wonders for impoverished areas of the world that struggle to survive from international donors.  It has been studied may times that international aid to places like Africa have actually made things worse.  Places like Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, Congo and Ethiopia are well endowed with natural resources like petroleum, natural gas, minerals and metals, but the profits from these industries cannot support their current populations. They must harvest alternative energy in order to change the political, social and economic landscape of the continent. They must, in addition to meeting electricity needs, convert to clean energy for agriculture, so that, the African continent can industrialize, engage in infra-continental agricultural trade, and maintain its status as the least contaminated continent in the world.

International paternalism restricts the local economy from developing in that it gets flooded with international products, which are sold at a cheaper price than local products. $3 billion is a lot to develop wind parks, solar parks, desalinization plants and thousands of acres of greenhouses, but it is far cheaper and more effective than the $50 billion in international assistance the continent receives each year.  The more international aid that goes to the African continent, the more impoverished and more destitute the people become. The wind, sun, and ocean are three resources that are renewable and ecological sources of energy that will eventually triumph over fossil fuels, therefore, it is best to begin now before the wells dry up. We are only limited by our lack of investment and interest.

Only through environmentalism and social ecology can 21st century humans be able to meets our energy and sustenance needs, which in effect, reduce our impact on the climate and environment.

 

By: Opton A. Martin

Old World Guns v. New World Guns

“Execution and defamation is a New World Order tactic for censorship.”

“The New World Order seeks to destroy traditions and monuments, some hundreds or thousands of years old. It’s an international club of powerful men who have more in common as military, political and economic partners than their own countrymen. They exterminate and slander those in their way, those who they hope will be forgotten.”

Only sometimes is death preventable.  Sometimes knowingly, mostly unknowingly, we engineer dangerous societies with flawed socio-structural elements that are designed to push certain groups of disenfranchised people to the periphery. The lower class are limited by economic, educational, and representational boundaries, which are supported by the suburban middle class who vote for these policies.  Those living at the periphery fight against one another because they compete for the little resources that have been left for them. The the “center” is off limits, because it is being guarded – this is where legislative, political and economic power control the elements of the state – the semi-failed state.

Gun violence in the Americas (with the exception of Canada) from the United States to the tip of Argentina and Chile is very different than gun violence in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. It differs in the motives behind how gun violence is distributed and executed and the prevalence of such. The similarities between Old World Guns and New World Guns is that it all comes down to who controls the territory, space, land, turf, region, zone, state, country, caliphate, community, block, city, roadways, access, building complex, county, town, island, trade route, port – and above all natural resources (money). Although robberies could account for much of the world’s use of firearms illegally, the Americas have the problems of heavy drug trafficking and the drug war which makes up part of regular, day to day gun violence.

The flow of drugs through the Americas normally flows South-North and ends up into the hands of North Americans and Europeans to be consumed.  The citizens of the United States of America consume more illegal drugs than any other country in the world. Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, Mexico and everywhere in between has been plagued with intense violence from gangs who amass their empires and personal protection from the money generated by the drug trade, extortion and bribery of police forces. The illegal gun trade is just as much a part of the illegal drug trade in that one is needed to protect the other – they go hand and hand. Central American and Caribbean countries suffer a great deal from the drug trade because of their geography. It is a narrow passageway for cartels coming up form the South American mainland. At about 82 homicides per 100,000 residents, Honduras has the highest murder rate of any country in the world. Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador are also stretched thin by narco-trafficking and violence, which has caused a humanitarian crisis that is the irregular immigration of children to the United States.

The current war-like levels of violence and armed conflicts in Central America was propagated from the foreign policy campaigns under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush who supported the Contras (anti-leftist commandos), in covert operations and coup d’etats against left-wing ideologies including Marxist-Leninists, Communists, or any political fraction in support of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro’s revolution. Reagan authorized the CIA to help fund and train the Contras to fight against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. And who can forget the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989 to dispose of Manuel Noriega, former CIA employee, and narco-trafficking military dictator. The U.S. government effectively helped to establish Latin American drug cartels with out-of-work Contras  who before fought against leftists. The Iran-Contra Affair of the 1980s was real, not a fabricated conspiracy, which highlights how little we know about how deep these operations run in Latin America.

The drug war continues in mysterious ways as the U.S. government helps to create some of the chaos, especially with their “Fast and Furious” operation of 2006-2011 in which the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) sold weapons to those they believed were tied to Mexican drug cartels (in an attempt to “track” them).  Eventually those same weapons began appearing at brutal crime scenes in Mexico, and the Mexican government was perplexed as they were not informed of these American operations.

As American police crack down,  drug prices go up, the cartels make more money, they buy more guns, they become more violent, then they control more territory. Drug cartels continue to look for newer routes for transport of guns and drugs, which at times causes the violence to “bottleneck” in small countries like Honduras, El Salvador, and Jamaica, which have the highest rates of homicides (per 100,000 people) by guns in the world. Jamaica has become especially violent since cocaine and other drug shipments have diverted to travel through the Caribbean via Jamaica. If drugs were legalized or at least partially legalized, drug cartels would have less demand ergo less money to fund their armed conflicts. Or Americans and European could stop doing drugs all together, which will never ever happen.

In Europe and Asia gun violence is far less prevalent than in the Americas. Legislation in these geographic areas generally only permit gun purchases for hunters and law enforcement officers. In Spain for example, if you want to buy a shotgun, you have to get a hunting permit, hand guns are rigidly regulated. In the United States, buying a gun doesn’t require much of anything besides money. The United States Constitution states that bearing arms and forming a militia is part of independence and homeland security, therefore, gun-ownership is a cultural thing in the United States. It is a direct result as to why there are about 88 guns per 100 Americans, making the United States the most gun-packing nation on Earth. It might also shed light on why cities like Chicago boast 500 homicides a year, the majority of them being gun-related. High gun related homicide rates in U.S. cities over 100,000 people are common – they shouldn’t be.

Some countries in Europe have relatively high gun ownership rates, but don’t suffer the amount of gun violence present in the Americas. A European capital like Madrid, Spain, which has a population similar to Chicago (including metropolitan zones) suffers from only about 30 homicides a year, with only a fraction of them being gun related. Oceania, which includes Australia, New Zealand and island nations in Pacific, have similar gun related homicides to Northern Europe.

Only Switzerland and Finland come almost close to the United States in gun possession at about 47 guns per 100 Swiss and Finns in their respective countries. Gun violence is rare in Europe even among police:

” According to Germany’s Der Spiegel, German police shot only 85 bullets in all of 2011, a stark reminder that not every country is as gun-crazy as the U.S. of A. As Boing Boing translates, most of those shots weren’t even aimed anyone: “49 warning shots, 36 shots on suspects. 15 persons were injured, 6 were killed.” – thewire.com

In the United States on the other hand, it is not uncommon to hear a story about a single police officer who shoots a person 90 times.

Crime and police protection with the theme of race and ethnicity are part of what make America an unsafe place for minorities as they are treated differently than European Americans. In 2002, police officers in the United States killed about 313 African-American men. Gun violence and police execution of a minority group has been calculated as “Every 28 hours a Black man is killed by the police in America.” Gun violence comes from those who have completely lost their sense of humanity – it’s the mechanization of murder.

In Asia, China and Japan have effectively gotten rid of gun violence. Japan has almost 1/2 of the U.S. population (128,000,000 est. 2010) crammed into an area equivalent to California, yet might have about ~2 gun-related homicides per year.  Buying a gun in Japan is an enduring process, there are strict limitations on the type, there are psychological and metal exams, a course must be taken, and it is subject to government inspections. In China, private possession of firearms is practically forbidden for citizens. The lack of guns and lack of gun related violence are clearly related, but the subject is more complex in countries less industrialized.

One of the main things that separate gun violence in the United States to gun violence in Europe and Asia is culture. Americans feel the need to have a gun because it was instrumental in carving out the North American continent in a Wild Wild West fashion, whereas Europe and Asia have older nation-states that were conquered by marriages, diplomacy, trade routing, epic battles with swords, cannons and mammoths crossing the Swiss Alps; in Europe and Asia, they have other ways of having fun besides shooting at things in their back yards, or shooting at people in their front yards.

The continent of Africa and the Middle Eastern region have some gun violence, but these current “Old World” conflicts are New World Order endeavors. Ancient African and Middle Eastern kingdoms were cut out centuries ago the same way kingdoms were formed in Asia, India, and South America until they were abruptly invaded, and geographically redrawn by Europeans in the 18th,19th, and 20th centuries. Current places like India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan, Egypt, and Israel were all cut up by the British and the French who ignored cultural, linguistic and ethnic elements when they crammed different people into a states.

Conflict zones like  Syria, Libya, Sudan, Mali, Israel, Yemen, Pakistan and more, require guns and armaments to be sent from Western nations (i.e. North America, Europe and Russia). As these zones become flooded with more weaponry, the violence continues as new fractions seek to redraw the lines that were left there by the Europeans in the first place. It is a revolving door of violence, but the Westerns nations profit the most so long as the guns keep firing.

Though it might seem simple enough as to just restrict firearm availability to reduce firearm homicides, it might not be that simple. If people want to kill each other, they will do it. In South Africa, where the homicide rate is higher than in the United States, firearm homicides account for only 45%, while in the United States the rates is about 67%.  There are deep-seated social problems that lead to friction between groups of people. The availability of firearms only exacerbates social tension of lack of resources. What is certain is that in the Americas, where many countries are at “peace” , they have just as many or more casualties, as current war zones. These problems must be addresses as to not coerce the governments of the Americas to deploy  futuristic, dystopic, and Orwellian permanent military police who will monitor the streets with tanks, machine guns and stun grenades. The police states pre World War II of the 20th century were bad, the police states of the 21st century will be worse.

by Opton A. Martin