Howdy all. I've got to say that I'm crackling with excitement about this blogologue.
First a few things in response to previous posts. Elvis' decline was due in part to his increasing dependence on drugs and the extreme gambling addiction of his manager. In case you're interested, I loved the two part biography written by Peter Guralnick, titled "The Last Train to Memphis" and "Careless Love." Graceland is overpriced, but Heartbreak Hotel is endearing because it has a 24hr Elvis movie channel.
I'm stoked that someone else likes Phil Ochs! I've yet to meet someone who has even heard of him. He wrote a great song about all American borders being closed, visit Disneyland this year.
On the architecture of the coming nonviolent revolution: I'm inspired by the work of the Industrial Areas Foundation. The IAF was founded by Saul Alinksy, the grandfather of modern community organizing. Like any organization, they're not perfect. They work primarily with already established institutions - building a meta-institution that dialogues on problems in an area and creates a workable solution. Two great books on them: "Dry Bones Rattling," by Mark Warren is by a professor who really puts the modern IAF into context. "Going Public: An Organizer's Guide to Action" by Michael Gecan, an IAF orgaizer. "Going Public" has some choice paragraphs on how lefties standing on street corners shouting at passerbys don't create any change. That you have to dialogue with people of differing points of view in order to create a groundswell for change. Ironically, I can't offer a recommendation for Alinksy's books because I haven't read them yet.
I also welcome you to check out Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (and no, you don't have to be female to join WILPF). We're the oldest women's peace organization, celebrating our 90th anniversary this year. I'm currently on the national board as At Large Membership Rep (representing folks who don't live near a branch). US WILPF can be found at wilpf.org. US WILPF currently has four major national campaigns - one on Cuba (we used to have a travel license to go there); Challenging Corporate Power, Asserting the People's Rights; Disarm: Dismantling the War Economy; and United for Racial Justice, Truth, Restoration, and Reconciliation.
Peace Women is a project of International WILPF's UN office. It monitors the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls for equal particpation of women in peace building and peace sustaining.
Reaching Critical Will is the other major project of International WILPF's UN office. It's focus is on Reaching for a Critical Mass of Political Will for Nuclear Disarmament.
By the way, despite my many leftist credentials (including the fact that my BA is in Peace and Justice Studies), I'm a member of the Democratic Party. I don't think root social change will ever happen through an American political party, and I'm not going to waste my time trying. I am determined to continue voting in every election, continue attempting to dismantle the Electoral College, and continue working for election reform. Past that, I don't have that much time for traditional politics (except to keep up with political news). The transformation I want to see is so radical that simply changing our institutions wont create it. Through consensus, the national WILPF board created new vision and mission statements that completely capture the change I want to see in the world.