Have an hour and a half or so? Check out Dirt! the movie:

DIRT! The Movie–directed and produced by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow–takes you inside the wonders of the soil. It tells the story of Earth’s most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility–from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation.

The opening scenes of the film dive into the wonderment of the soil. Made from the same elements as the stars, plants and animals, and us, “dirt is very much alive.” Though, in modern industrial pursuits and clamor for both profit and natural resources, our human connection to and respect for soil has been disrupted. “Drought, climate change, even war are all directly related to the way we are treating dirt.”

DIRT! The Movie–narrated by Jaime Lee Curtis–brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact that the soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and are able to harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil.

DIRT! The Movie is simply a movie about dirt. The real change lies in our notion of what dirt is. The movie teaches us: “When humans arrived 2 million years ago, everything changed for dirt. And from that moment on, the fate of dirt and humans has been intimately linked.” But more than the film and the lessons that it teaches, DIRT! The Movie is a call to action.

“The only remedy for disconnecting people from the natural world is connecting them to it again.”

What we’ve destroyed, we can heal.

For more information about the documentary and the issues raised in the film, as well as a blog, check out the official website!

Watch the movie here:

Take a gander, and add your links in the comments!

Diversity of Tactics and the One Percent:

[T}he movement’s violence in Tahrir Square isn’t relevant to other movements that are still in stage three. In the U.K., the U.S. and so many other places, our task is to conduct confrontations in ways that maximize the contrast between our behavior and that of the opponent. Our creativity and courage need to show dramatically to the public why they should join us, as happened in Occupy Wall Street’s early confrontations and were largely responsible, through police violence, for its remarkable growth.

With All The Suffering in the World, Why Invest in Science?

Occupy vs eviction: radicals, reform, and dispossession:

A number of individual radicals are involved and providing important work within Occupy Homes. It’s possible that their role plus the experience of struggle will radicalize reformist elements within Occupy Homes and it will become more radical over all. It’s also possible that radical elements will organize within the emerging Occupy Homes network to push out reformists. It’s also possible that reformist elements will set the agenda and draw on the energy and militancy of radicals to accomplish reformist aims.

Analysing Obama’s Track Record

In completely unsurprising news, Hooter’s is a revolting place with advertising so disgusting and sexist that I hardly believe it’s real.

The Wheel Has Been Invented:

Ironically, I’ve also spent a lot of this past month researching the New Atheist ascendancy, which I detailed here and here. The more I looked at it the more dismal and bankrupt it seemed to be, and how it seemed less like some brave march to a (sterile) new future, but the lancing of a boil.

The more the public sees of these people the less they will like them and maybe one day the New Atheists will realize people don’t care for them because they spend most of their time attacking and insulting other people’s beliefs (Dawkins on how to talk to religious people: “Mock them, ridicule them in public.”).

What Do Chick-fil-A Boycotters and the Catholic Bishops Have in Common?

Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act:

The AETA was passed in 2006, with just six members of Congress in the room, just hours after lawmakers and celebrities were on hand to break ground for the new memorial honoring Martin Luther King Jr. The law is so vague and broad that the non-violent tactics of MLK could be prosecuted as “terrorism.”

The “Busy” Trap:

Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs  who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.

Voting either Democrat or Republican is waste of vote – Interview with Scott Olsen:

Most likely people are either going to vote for Democrats or Republicans and I think both those are wrong choices. They are both working for the same system, they are both taking money from the same people, from the same banks and you can see in their policy that they are rewarding their donors. Voting for the continuing of this policy is not going to change anything at all.

Interview With the Green Party’s Jill Stein, Candidate for Organizer in Chief:

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein spent Wednesday night in a Philadelphia jail after being arrested at an Occupy protest against Fannie Mae, something not entirely surprising for a politician that throws around words like “imperialism” and “economic violence” while celebrating “the battle that has already come to our streets.”

Today in labor and people’s history: “Rebel Girl” born:

Gurley Flynn gained fame as a fiery leader of the 1912 “Bread and Roses” Lawrence, Mass., textile strike. She was a founder of the Industrial Workers of the World (the “Wobblies”) and the American Civil Liberties Union, and leader of the International Labor Defense, which defended Sacco and Vanzetti and the Scottsboro Youth. She joined the Communist Party in 1936, and was elected chairperson in 1961.

Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others:

10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.

Obama fights ban on indefinite detention of Americans:

Manhattan federal court Judge Katherine Forrest ruled in May that the indefinite detention provisions signed into law late last year by US President Barack Obama failed to “pass constitutional muster” and ordered a temporary injunction to keep the military from locking up any person, American or other, over allegations of terrorist ties. On Monday, however, federal prosecutors representing President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta filed a claim with the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in hopes of eliminating that ban.

Brother Ali hosts Occupy show in north Minneapolis

Last year, Monique White asked Occupy activists, who had set up in a plaza in downtown Minneapolis, to help her fight foreclosure of her north Minneapolis home.

"She decided in the midst of that fight to begin planting a garden," said Occupy Homes MN member Jillia Pessenda. "Even when the bank was trying to take her home, she was planting roots and planting seeds of change."

White was one of the first homeowners in the country to successfully renegotiate her mortgage with the help of Occupy activists. That victory helped spawn the Occupy Homes movement across the country, as Occupy activists shifted their focus from public plazas to foreclosed houses, Pessenda said.

Patriotism: A Menace to Liberty:

What, then, is patriotism? “Patriotism, sir, is the last resort of scoundrels,” said Dr. Johnson. Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our times, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment for the exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities of life as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory than that of the average workingman.

What have you been reading and writing?

Leave your links and recommendations in the comments!

Do you love your community, but hate the way patriotism is expressed — or encouraged — in the USA?  Here’s how you can really show your love for your country, and the people with whom you share it:

1. Buy local.  Support your local community by shopping for food at farmer’s markets, and even by buying things like beer and wine that are produced locally.  I bet your state, city, or town has at least one really excellent craft beer available that was brewed in the state, and many communities are also known for certain treats or delicacies. Perhaps you have a beekeeper neighbor who makes his own honey, or someone down the street with a chicken coop and a large tomato plant. Maybe you live in Wisconsin, which is allegedly made almost entirely of cheese, or perhaps you live in Minnesota and have an option at your local grocer to buy Bushel Boy tomatoes or a brand shopped in from another country; when possible, choose the local option. Better yet, give your neighbor some of your cucumbers in exchange for some of her tomatoes!

2. Whenever possible, walk, ride your bike, or use public transportation.  Not only is cutting down on car use good for the planet, walking, biking, and using public transportation help you get to know your city and your neighbors better. You’re more likely to stumble across the charming diner, family-run hardware store, or amazing thrift store if you’re out walking around than you are if you’re driving the same route every day. Instead of being isolated in the car on your way to and from your destination, why not take a stroll and stop and say hi to others out walking around? If you must own a car, consider buying an American car.  This isn’t as cut-and-dry as it seems at face value, of course, since many of the cars we make here have parts made elsewhere, or are assembled in other countries.  But it is a start.

3. Support workers’ right to organize.  While there is much to be debated about the efficiency, organization, and management of many unions in existence today, unions are one way in which we can help ensure that the workers in our communities  — the people who make your clothing, cars, and infrastructure, as well as those who teach our children, care for our sick and elderly, and many, many other vital things — are fairly-compensated and continue to have the right to negotiate for better pay, health insurance, and working conditions.

4. Support renewable and clean energy.  No, coal is not “clean.”  By supporting these types of energy, we will lessen our reliance on foreign energy sources.  No, the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t good enough.  We don’t need to continue our reliance on oil; this much is abundantly clear and painfully obvious.  Oil is not renewable.  Oil is not renewable.  Once more for good measure:  Oil is not renewable.  Causing immense pollution and ecological disaster will not make it so, and the terrorists will not win because we have some windmills.  I’m also convinced that the people who claim that windmills and wind farms are eyesores have either never seen one in real life, or they are simply lying in hopes that the public will decide they agree with them.  Because wind farms are some of the coolest-looking human-made structures I’ve ever seen.  What better way to express your pride in the craftsmanship of our fellow citizens than by taking a moment to appreciate some of the profoundly amazing things that we’ve built?

6. Learn about the history of your town, city, and/or state.  Learning where you come from will help you understand why you’re there, and increase your appreciation of where you live.  Learn about the people who founded the town or city where you live.  Learn about the cultural history that shaped, and continues to influence, where you live.

5. Visit local, state, and national parks and libraries.  These invaluable public resources are kept and maintained for our enrichment, convenience, accessibility, and enjoyment, and are public places that we can all enjoy.  Get out of your house once in a while and see what your community — and your tax dollars — have to offer.

It is notable that many of these suggestions involve pride in one’s local community, rather than the entire country as a whole.  It’s no secret that I have immense civic pride— I love Minneapolis, and the Midwest as a whole.  I find this to be very different from a blind allegiance to one’s nation.

This local pride, as opposed to nationalist pride, should please right-wingers and neoliberals who constantly extol the benefits of stronger states’ rights, as they pretend to believe in a more localized governing of our country, as many of the Founders intended.  Of course, they’re lying, and only follow such principles (or claim to believe in them) when it benefits them— never when profit may be directed elsewhere by the real free market.  And anyway, following any number of these recommendations would be unfavorable to those who perpetuate the jingoistic, fascist, and utterly meaningless kind of patriotism that we are spoonfed today.  We all know there isn’t enough massive profit for multinational corporations to make if we all bought local, and if we all started using the library more often, they might have to admit what we already know — that taxes can, in fact, be used for beneficial purposes that are agreed upon by and benefit the community as a whole.  And, of course, sustainable energy doesn’t make any money for Big Oil and Big Coal, so they’ll do anything to oppose it, truth and accuracy be damned.  Also, knowledge is dangerous to them because it helps foster a true democracy, and they all know that if the people were really in charge as we’re always told we are, that they wouldn’t get away with the massive exploitation of humans and the environment that they do now.  Hell, it’s probably only a matter of time before the shock doctrine kicks in everywhere, so we’ll need all the community support we can muster. Since the emergence of the Occupy movement, many Occupy groups are forming community- and neighborhood-involvement campaigns to help bring neighbors together. Does your neighborhood have one? If not, get some friends together and get started!

What are some ways that you show your pride for your community?

This is definitely not a call to discourage individuals from seeking a higher education, but rather… this is a call to all individuals that would like to look at both the economic perspective of public education, along with those that are wanting to focus upon the quality of education that individuals receive from both private and public colleges.

A recent report by congress is making headlines by focusing in on for-profit universities and how they are possibly placing profits before education… now, while this is more than likely true on the side of ‘For-Profit University’ systems, as a former student of the Public University System, I can see inherent similarities in the way that public universities do just the same.

While it is notable that for-profit institutions can both take advantage of individuals that have such benefits to their education such as the G.I. Bill, it must be noted that public institutions themselves have moved toward a more corporate-minded approach themselves. While this report states that G.I. Bill recipients, along with the average student, are at risk of being over-charged for a sub-par education in a private school, they fail to notice that more often than not, private schools themselves are not, in themselves, an affordable option for the majority of those seeking a higher education.

When it comes to the education itself that is recieved at a public university, and the meshed-in corporate structure that serves the public university system, it is no coincidence that the public university student is at the same risk as a private university student when it comes to being taken advantage of financially -not to mention the fact that most grants for schooling are federal. This trend of sub-par education and corporate-mindedness will eventually take it’s toll on our already failing economy.

The critique of how private universities are taking advantage of public funding is not only correct, but also true to the public university structure. If it isn’t apparent that the American way of life is focused primarily upon capitalism, it should be noted that not only have we become mindless zombies of corporate advertising, but that this is also true of the public educational institution.

Public universities not only contracts with Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Papa Johns, TCF Bank, U.S. Bancorp, and multiple foodservices such as Aramark & Sysco, but they also maintain a focus upon  merchandising the school and it’s teams.

When the senate begins to stir up claims that private institutions have taken advantage of the government itself, we must also examine the possibility that the public system itself is in competition with that private system. They too survive in the same capitalist-driven environment. So this brings forth the question, how is this sub-par, capitalist-driven, education benefiting our society today? What are the student’s of today given after achieving a degree in the American workforce?

The answers, unpleasingly, are simple… competition for jobs is high and many of those that have either graduated with a degree or maintained some sort of focus in education are simply allowing themselves to work for nothing or are outside of their preferred specification. This is being done, in part, for the sake of survival.

While we, as individuals, go into the collegiate system with the hopes of achieving success within our preferred fields, we are constantly met with struggles to achieve financial dependence within the collegiate lifestyle, and the ability to balance education between survival itself. Once an individual is overwhelmed with survival in itself, they become burdened with not only the debt of survival, but also the debt of their seemingly useless education.

This debt, that many of us are struggling to overcome, is almost fallibly in the hands of the government itself, and while the collegiate system is working within our sponsorship-and-branded society, those that default on their loans may end up unintentionally bankrupting the already overwhelmed system that governs us. This, in itself, is how the higher education system fails us all, regardless of whether it is a public or private university.

As depressing as this news may be, people are waking up! In Canada, for instance, students are standing up against carrying the burden of student loans that they built up whilst receiving a lack-luster education. We are on the brink of, at the least, a student revolution in North America… whether or not the awakening of those in Canada will drift towards those in the United States, it seems that a global awakening of some sorts is happening. The more we continue to voice our opinions, the louder we will become as we unify into one united front.

Thus is our focus here at Paper Revolution, to document and inspire those that are becoming awakened.

What are your feelings on both public and private educational institutions in America or your country?

[alert style=”info”]Osha Karow is a writer for Paper Revolution, an activist, and an artist with a philosophy in bacon-free anarchy. Prior to Paper Revolution he was involved in the OccupyMN Movement. [/alert]

I could never stop eating fruit… I mean, it’s so delicious. Fruit was made by God for a reason, and it’s my right to eat it! Fruits cannot feel, and even they can it doesn’t matter because fruits are food. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not the fruit was genetically modified, sprayed full of petroleum-based fungicides, pesticides, and fertilizers -I’ll wash it off.


You will not convince me with any argument to change my ways. I am incapable of feeling compassion toward things that were seemingly once rooted in the ground. I’m at the top of the food chain for a reason and you have no right to dictate my fruit intake.

As humorous as a meme depicting violence against fruit may be, the excuses that one could use to defend one’s right to eat fruit is similar to common responses from individuals that haven’t considered living off of a plant-based diet. If the sentience of fruit actually existed (knowing that some may believe that fruits and flora can feel pain) it should be common sense that we should both recognize and prevent pain to that life-form.

In the Animal Liberation Movement, vegetarians and vegans alike not only recognize the fact that non-human animals are capable of feeling pain, but that they, too, deserve compassion. Although my ‘excuse for the right to eat fruit’ is sourceless, ridiculous, and apathetic to the possibility that plants could feel pain, if you would replace the word ‘fruit’ with ‘meat’ that is the most common thing I hear in regards to not choosing a plant-based lifestyle. Regardless of whether or not fruit can actually feel pain, and regardless of the fact that animals do feel pain, the fact of the matter is that entitlement does not supersede the pain that we can cause through our choices, nor does it have any impact over the possible effects that such a diet can have upon our bodies.

It has been proven that meat and most animal products are not only unhealthy for human consumption, but that they are also the direct product of torture, abuse, and genetic modifications despite the fact that they have the ability to yearn and desire for something a bit more natural — they yearn for compassion. Animals yearn to be a part of their own natural life, and they are often denied that right due the human control.

This issue, in itself, is an issue that even we humans face today. We desire to spend time doing things we enjoy with those we love, but are constantly at battle with society itself. What we all need to achieve is a sense of enlightenment, and we can only do this through developing, at the very least, an appreciation for the other beings that surround us. We should make our arguments based off of actual thought and the understanding that we develop throughout our lives by being both open and compassionate individuals.

We, ourselves, are confined to our standards set by society and tradition. We are just like non-human animals that are kept within confinement. Many of us are working class slaves for those that gain a sense of fiscal entitlement and judge based from that spectrum itself. We live in a society that has been dominated by beliefs of territory, property, and honor.  This is the plight of rulers, kings, masters, ministers, and any other sort of leadership role or business ownership. In order to maintain rule, people become expendable. Examples of this can be seen through slavery, war, and ongoing discrimination based on intrinsic human traits like ethnic background, gender, and sexual orientation, amongst many others.

An acceptance of pain toward other living creatures, and an acceptance of viewing living creatures as expendable, is not something that is within the natural confines of who we are as human beings. This is something that is taught that stems from both society and tradition. One of greatest examples of learned apathy toward other living creatures is be the religious story of Noah’s Ark: even a god-figure, themselves, can view what they rule over as something that can be destroyed by their hand. While some could argue that Noah’s Ark is from the Old Testament, and therefore not a true reflection of the values of Christianity itself, we can always look to the story of Jesus Christ and how human beings were willing to allow him to be placed upon the cross itself, but we could also look at God’s willingness to sacrifice it’s son, and and how the Christian God had that sense of entitlement to it’s creation.  Another example of a Christian god’s sense of entitlement is shown as the end of the world is depicted by the Book of Revelation; the earth is to be controlled. Nonetheless, these are just a few instances from one religion; every religion, every society, and every culture is overwhelmed with intrinsic hypocrisies and calls of apathy towards others and the planet. Our misunderstandings of each other allow us to accept our own justifications and sense of entitlement over the interests of other life-forms. From plants, to animals, to other individuals, we make illogical arguments and manipulate the truth to justify our actions.

Our sense of entitlement and apathy contradicts our impeccable ability to be sentient creatures. We need to break free of the traditional way of thinking and begin to open ourselves to each other, and this is where revolution comes into play. Although an argument can be made to entitle one to eat fruit — even if the baby oranges cry — we have the power to take a deep look at things and wonder if, in fact, oranges do feel pain, and once we truly think about these things, we then can figure out how to deal with that knowledge. If oranges feel pain, their pain should be avoided. If animals feel pain, their pain should be avoided. This holds true for any creature that exhibits sentience, but nonetheless, we should carry ourselves with both compassion and a yearning to understand. This understanding will not only allow us to empathize, but it will prepare us lest the oranges revolt.

We, ourselves, must revolt if we notice anything that is straying from the path of compassion and understanding. If our ability to be self-aware is something that is both important and can give us a sense of entitlement, we must choose to use it to learn all we can about the world that surrounds us, and we must accept that despite our sense of entitlement, others can be just as callous as we ourselves have the ability to be.  This is the only way we can coexist, and this is the way of the oranges and apples. No matter how funny the meme may be, the lessons to be learned are many.

What are some of your personal ideas and struggles that you wish others would be open to?

[alert style=”info”]Osha Karow is a writer for Paper Revolution, an activist, and an artist with a philosophy in bacon-free anarchy. Prior to Paper Revolution he was involved in the OccupyMN Movement. [/alert]

Like most American kids, I was raised to believe I was born in the best country in the whole world, the only truly free place on earth, and that the United States military were our heroes, because it was because of them that we are free.  I also learned quickly that one of the reasons America was so great was because we all got to vote.  We had mock voting booths and elections every election day in all schools I went to.  We said the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning in elementary school, at least for the first few years, and I didn’t think much of it.

When 9/11 happened, I had just turned 18, and had just graduated high school.  I was talking with Army and Army National Guard recruiters about joining, just before the attack happened, because I had always entertained an interest in joining the military that I’d kept on the backburner, and decided I was ready to take it a little further.  I thought “the discipline would be good for me,” and of course, the college benefits sounded great — I didn’t have any concrete college plans, and I certainly wasn’t interested in working my low-paying retail job forever.  I was also interested in serving my country in one way or another, and traveling.  A lot of my desire to join, though, came from a sense of pride that I felt when I thought about my dad and uncle and other members of my family who had served in various branches of the military and overseas.  I wanted to have that sense of pride for myself.

I’m ultimately glad I didn’t end up joining, for a multitude of reasons, but it’s got me thinking about what patriotism really means, and my relationship to it.

When I hear patriotic songs — especially when I hear people singing them live — like the Star Spangled Banner, or even the cheesier ones like Proud to be an American, I still feel chills and occasionally tear up.  I still feel this way when I see military formations and think about things like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And it’s very strange, because it’s directly contradictory to the way that I feel about these things intellectually.  No, I am not “proud” to be an American, regardless of the wars we’ve sent our brothers and sisters overseas to die for since the Revolutionary War.  I don’t believe it makes sense to be proud of being accidentally born somewhere, and I don’t believe that glorifying the military in the blind and uncritical way that we are wont to do in this country is wise or beneficial.  I see it for what it is: nationalist propaganda and pulling the wool over our eyes. To be proud of our country and participate in the kind of patriotism that is encouraged here means I would be affiliating myself with the kind of disgusting barbarians who cheer when it’s mentioned that Rick Perry has enthusiastically allowed for the murder of the most Texan prisoners ever during his governorship.  It means I have to be connected to the kind of people who really love and identify with one of the most disgusting displays of “patriotism” ever heard in a song, that awful one by Toby Keith about putting boots in the asses of innocent Iraqi civilians.

Of course, “patriotism” comes in many forms, and to practice it in one way doesn’t necessarily mean one associates with the more violent and jingoistic rhetoric of our conservative politicians.  Of course I do know people who call themselves “patriotic” who would never dream of voluntarily associating with such people.  But you know what, I’m just not interested in “patriotism” at all.  Not one bit.  I’m not interested in the divisive mentality that arises from the mistaken and patently false notion that we are “the best country on earth”; I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean anymore.  Politicians from all stripes claim to have pride in our country; it’s like a requirement to be taken seriously as a candidate, to utter such meaningless statements like they’re going out of style (I’d actually argue that they are going out of style).

To bring my convoluted point home, the whole “support our troops!” meme that gets passed around is unsettling— you don’t hear that line very often from many folks who don’t believe we should be murdering innocent civilians all over the world, who wish for real peace in the world.  You hear it from people who get off thinking about how awesome guns and wars are, and people who talk about how backwards and awful brown people with funny religions are.  I don’t want to hear this so-called support for our troops from these people; I want to hear it from people who want our troops to stop being sent off to their deaths for reasons that go well beyond “protecting our freedom,” from people who are upset that so many of our service men and women come home from multiple stints overseas and commit suicide.  I want to hear it form people who take “support our troops” to mean “don’t cheer for our soldiers to be murdered because of lies from the government.”  I want to hear it from people who actually care about our troops — not from people who just love being at war and flexing their “America’s the best!!” muscles.  Why don’t more people who claim to be patriotic actually care about our country?  No wonder we’re all plagued with a deep sense of hopelessness and cynicism.  What a joke we’ve all been told for so long.

It’s not that I resent people memorializing our fallen soldiers, or appreciating the sacrifices made on behalf of Americans.  Those sacrifices are very real, as are the sacrifices that our soldiers’ families make as a result.  I just want everyone to drop the nationalistic bullshit and open their eyes to what’s really happening. Our wars are not fought for our “freedom,” and they haven’t been for some time. They’re fought for the benefit of the wealthy, and the corporations who stand to make enormous profits from wars. And I don’t want to see any more of our soldiers dying in vain.

[alert style=”info”]April is a writer and activist from Minneapolis. She figures she will write a better bio later.[/alert]


Every day is bank transfer day! (Taken with Instagram)


Peavey (Taken with Instagram)