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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Dissent is not merely a right of sovereignty, it’s an obligation. Parroting Marie Antoninette, our current political leaders declare "let them eat cake", when there’s plenty of "bread" to share from our nation’s table. I can only speak for myself and my experience. Yet, drive around your local community. What do you see? Here’s what […]

Drowning in a Sea of Apathy

by Philip Farruggio

Dissent is not merely a right of sovereignty, it’s an obligation. Parroting Marie Antoninette, our current political leaders declare "let them eat cake", when there’s plenty of "bread" to share from our nation’s table.

I can only speak for myself and my experience. Yet, drive around your local community. What do you see? Here’s what I observe in my town: trailer parks and slews of rental complexes, many containing families or singles struggling financially. They earn too little, pay too much for gasoline, rent, utilities–even a movie rental from the monopoly run video store costs over $4. How about my neighbors, all homeowners of modest means? They’re mortgaged, car leased (or loaned), credit carded and health premiumed against the preverbal wall. Two paychecks per family is not the choice nowadays–rather the necessity, the norm.

I pass by the superstores, the Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowes–all within a few hundred yards of one another. Fewer & fewer "mom and pops" in my town–that dinosaur is being preserved in the "museum of lost dreams." As my usually conservative neighbor Tony prophesizes: "as soon as Wal-Mart cannibalizes all the competition, you’ll see those low prices start to climb–then it’ll be too late!"

I see my fair little town growing so rapidly. What was once a community of 38K when I moved here four years ago, is now approaching 50K. I see our politicians allowing the developers to build, build, build–not just on the outskirts of town, but within the already congested areas. I sit in traffic at many intersections, reminding me of why I fled Long Island NY. I see more and more "road rage" and anger between residents.

Yet, the saddest sight I see in my fair town is apathy. To quote famed journalist George Seldes, "apathy is the disease of civilization". There is no group dissension against the above stated business and political behavior. Only resignation. The very people most adversely affected by the elites who run our system are the most silent. If only they would realize how powerful they really are. If only they would speak up and speak out–not waiting for some political "knight in shining armor" to speak for them. Rather, if the "dumped on" public would demand, not ask, but demand, action on certain issues, these elected officials would have to act–or be out of office ASAP. It takes a little energy to call those politicos, or fax them or e-mail them. It takes a little time to show up at those city and county council meetings. When people join together to address common issues, results usually happen.

We need not drown in this sea of apathy–dissent is our lifeboat!

Philip Farruggio, son of a longshoreman, is "Blue Collar Brooklyn" born, raised and educated (Brooklyn College, Class of ’74). A former progressive talk show host, Philip runs a mfg. rep. business and writes for many publications. He lives in Port Orange, FL. You can contact Mr. Farruggio at e-mail: brooklynphilly@aol.com.