A Declaration of Financial Independence
Judi Bari's Friends Vow to Pursue Her Killers
Canada's Supreme Irony: Schmeiser v. Monsanto
The Roots of the 'Nonviolent Peace Army' Concept

June 27, 2004

Celebrate International Day in July. Withdraw your money from commercial banks and invest it in locally owned community enterprises.
A Declaration of Financial Independence
The Solari Action Network Team

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the [financial] bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the [financial] separation."

-- Adaptation of "Declaration of Independence"

We hereby declare our transformation from the financial behavior that is destroying our country and our world. We are not going to wait for November. We are voting now. We are not going to ask more Congressmen, Commissions, Administration Representatives or Presidential Candidates for help. We have the power of our votes in the marketplace. We are going to exercise that power now!

On Independence Day, July 4th, we are calling for 600,000 people worldwide to join us in pulling our checking accounts, certificates of deposits, credit cards and other business out of multi-national banks such as Citibank, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, and switching to local, well managed community-friendly banks or credit unions.

Why 600,000? Our financial system is highly leveraged. That means that a tiny shift in customers from big banks to local banks can cause a dramatic shift in political and economic power and behavior. We estimate that 600,000 is 1% of 1% of our worldwide population. If we each do this and teach 10 of our friends to do this and they each teach 10 of their friends, that's a lot of coin power!

In our Declaration we changed "political" to "financial" because the key to establishing integrity in our government is to bring transparency and accountability to the management of government resources.

Increasingly, our government assets are being transferred or out-sourced to private interests. Meantime, those private interests are transferring their liabilities back to government. Our currency is managed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System of 12 privately owned Federal Reserve Banks, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which serves as depository for the US government bank accounts. The member banks that own and control the individual Federal Reserve Banks receive extraordinary credit subsidies through the governmental apparatus.

Meanwhile, there is over $3.3 trillion missing from our government accounts. In short, our government is being manipulated to serve a private agenda. Hence, with our marketplace choices as consumers and investors, we are supporting the very banks that are orchestrating the corruption of our government.

We invite you to start a Solari Circle -- a "moral conspiracy" of trusted family, friends and neighbors convened to help determine how to "cleanse" your money in a way that is good for you and those you love. The idea of doing a Solari Circle is open-source and free. You have no obligation to anyone but those you choose.

Why Switch your Bank Account?
  • This will make news.
  • This will make heads turn on Wall Street.
  • This will shift the power in Washington.
  • This will send a strong signal to the powers-that-be that your vote counts.
  • This will send a strong vote of confidence to trustworthy leaders and candidates.

    The November election is important. Voting with our money now can increase support for the honest candidates in November. Voting with our money now can shift the political and economic agenda that the winning candidates will face in January.

    Revisit the story of the Boston Tea Party or Gandhi's salt march to the sea. Learn about the US-led economic and investment boycott of South Africa that helped to end apartheid and free Nelson Mandela from prison. We have the power to "vote" in the marketplace with our bank deposits, our attention, our purchases and our investments and we are going to use it!

    What You Can Do: For every bank account you move, take a dime and send it with the names of your old and new banks and any donation you wish to contribute to: "My Dime is Powerful," Solari Circle Campaign, PO Box 157, Hickory Valley, TN 38042, Attention: Catherine Austin Fitts. http://solari.com/campaign/

    Judi Bari's Friends Vow to Pursue Her Killers
    Gar Smith / The-Edge

    On May 24, 1990, an assassin's bomb exploded in Oakland and nearly claimed the lives of two Earth First! activists. Judi Bari was almost killed when the bomb erupted directly beneath her car seat. Her companion, folksinger/organizer Darryl Cherney, was cut, deafened and briefly blinded by the blast.

    Within minutes, the FBI showed up to arrest the two injured activists. The Oakland Police quickly rushed to inform the media that they had arrested two bomb-wielding terrorists who were almost killed by their own bomb. The ensuing bad press sabotaged Earth First!'s plans to organize a major resistance to the clearcutting of California's ancient redwoods.

    The bogus charges were eventually dropped and Judi and Darryl filed suit against the FBI and the Oakland Police. In 2002, a Federal Court jury determined that the arrests and false accusations had violated the activists' Constitutional rights. In May, the FBI and the City of Oakland each handed over $2 million to Cherney and to Bari's estate. (Judi died of cancer on March 2, 1997.)

    A $4 million judgement is reason to celebrate but the folks gathered to remember Judi with songs and speeches during a noontime rally in the City Hall Plaza had something else on their minds.

    The message reverberated across downtown Oakland when Darryl Cherney stepped up to the microphone to sing the chorus of his song, "Who Bombed Judi Bari?" Cherney wore a T-shirt that bore a quote from Judi that read: "The FBI should find the person who planted the bomb… and fire him!"

    Oakland's declaration of May 24 as "Judi Bari Day" was an important victory, Cherney said, since "the FBI and the police never apologize. It's not in their vocabulary." But there was a more important concession that the activists' attorneys had won -- the return of all the evidence (including Judi's fiddle).

    "The FBI never seemed too interested in solving this case," Cherney recalled. "They left the remains of Judi's bombed car sitting in the rain, unexamined and uncovered, for four days." And there was another piece of unexamined evidence, Cherney revealed: "There was a second bomb!"

    The individual who anonymously claimed credit for the car bomb also tried to frame Earth First! by bombing a timber company in Judi's northern Califronia neighborhood. Because that bomb failed to fully detonate (Cherney jokingly referred to it as "a partly used bomb"), the weapon's components could very likely contain fingerprints and DNA evidence that could help identify the bomber (or bombers).

    Before wrapping up the celebration, Cherney vowed to continue the search for Judi's would-be killers "no matter where it leads."

    [For more on Judi's extraordinary life, go to www.judibari.org.]

    Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser stands tall in a field of canola.
    Credit: Schmeiser / Nature Magazine
    Canada's Supreme Irony: Schmeiser v. Monsanto
    Gar Smith / The-Edge

    On May 21, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a 5-4 split decision that Monsanto "owned" the genetic formula contained in Roundup Ready canola seeds and that Schmeiser's re-use of genetically contaminated canola seeds constituted patent infringement.

    Monsanto claimed that its patented genes gave it the rights to the use of the canola plant itself but Canadian law does not permit the patenting of higher life-forms like plants and animals. The bare majority of the Court staked out a troubling new precedent by suggesting that the mere presence of genetic ingredients confers ownership of the plant. By extention, this ruling could mean that, if a neighbor filled the gas tank of your auto with Techron ™ gasoline, Chevron would be within its rights to charge you a fee to drive your car.

    The Supreme Court ruling was widely reported as a win for Monsanto but, just as clearly, it could be seen as a victory for Schmeiser.

    "I do not have to pay Monsanto one cent for profits, damages, penalties, court costs or their 'technology-use fee' of $15 an acre," Schmeiser told supporters. The Supreme Court agreed that Schmeiser had not made any profit from the unwanted presence of Monsanto's patented genes. Because of this narrow ruling, Schmeiser predicts that Monsanto "will have a hard time pursuing patent infringement against other farmers" since the mere use of Roundup Ready seeds only promises, but does not guarantee, any added profit.

    "I also believe that Monsanto will face huge liability issues down the road," Schmeiser stated. The Court ruled that Monsanto "owned" the herbicide-resistance genes, Shmeiser explained, but "with ownership comes responsibility and I assume more lawsuits will be filed against them for the contamination of farmers' fields."

    Monsanto (like other of the bio-industries Gene Giants) steadfastly dismissed critics who warned that, once released into the environment, GMOs could spread uncontrolled. But, in the four years since Monsanto planted its first fabricated canola, the unnatural seeds have spread at least 200 km across Canada's three prairie provinces and is now showing up as "a major weed" in fields, road landscaping, cemeteries and backyard gardens.

    The problems caused by Monsanto's "genetic spill" are no longer limited to the farming community. As Pat Mooney, of the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration notes: "There are about 5 million Percy Schmeisers out here. For all any of us know, we could have Monsanto's canola in our window boxes."

    One of the problems with the court's one-vote majority ruling, Mooney notes, is that it places "the burden of coping with GM contamination… on the farmer rather than the corporate polluter." Mooney's group has come up with a response that takes its inspiration from Monsanto's press releases.

    "Monsanto claims that anyone who thinks they might have the company's GM canola without Monsanto's permission, must notify the company in order not to infringe on Monsanto's patent." Mooney's organization has created a form letter that informs the multinational that its mutant genes are suspected of taking up residence on the letter-writer's property. Monsanto is instructed to send investigators out to determine whether or not a case of commercial "trespass" has occurred. [The letter can be downloaded at www.etcgroup.org/takeaction.asp]

    The next step, Schmeiser says, is up to Canada's legislators. "We have a conflict between plants breeder's rights and patent law and the government will have to sort that out."

    At stake is a 12,000-year agricultural tradition of seed-saving and seed-sharing that currently sustains 1.4 billion farmers around the planet. Under the court's ruling, Schmeiser cautions, "a company's patent will take precedence over the rights of farmers to save and reuse their seed. I believe that this ruling is an injustice and Parliament must act to ensure that farmers' rights are protected."

    The Roots of the 'Nonviolent Peace Army' Concept
    Gar Smith / The-Edge

    The philosophical roots of nonviolence can be traced to the earliest days of the world's oldest religions. The Prince of Peace preached neighborly love and nonviolence. Mohammed was an advocate of peace. The Buddha once demonstrated the power of nonviolence by stepping in to prevent a war over competing water claims.

    But it was Mahatma Gandhi who elevated nonviolence to a collective moral force with his satyagraha ("truth force") campaign against British colonial occupation. Gandhi was putting together a Shanti Sena (Peace Army) when he was assassinated.

    University of California Professor Emeritus Michael Nagler is the co-founder of Berkeley's Peace and Conflict Studies Program. In his American Book Award-winning tome, Is There no Other Way? The Search for a Nonviolent Future, Nagler explains the goal of proactive pacifism. It is "not merely to end violence after it has already begun, but to prevent or dampen outbreaks of violent conflict before they escalate." Nagler defines the traditional triad of nonviolent intervention as follows:

    Witnessing: "Being present as an observer, sharing information with the outside world and demonstrating to all the parties involved that the world is watching. The mere presence of.... third parties can actually reawaken the humanity in people under arms."

    Nonpartisanship: "You are not there to protect one group from another. You are there to protect peace, for everyone, and that means getting in the way of violence against anyone -- as did the African American women from Michigan Peace Teams who covered a fallen Klansman with her own body when he was attacked by an anti-racist mob."

    Accompaniment: "Peace Brigades International has provided escorts to threatened human rights workers around the world for more than 20 years -- saving the lives of countless activists from Central America to East Timor."

    But the real "war-stopper," Nagle agrees, is the "nonviolent army." [For more information on the work of nonviolent armies, see "Peace Activists Test an Alternative to War" in Around the Bend.]

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