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Resistance Manual

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Why I am NOT an ATHEIST

by Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Chaplain

I respect Atheists for their good intentions in attempting to free Folks from their superstitions and in helping to create laws that prevent religious domination from continuing to erode our Civil Liberties and our Right to Free Thought and the right of children to not suffer the indignities of coercion, fear and illogic.

I respect the adherents of religion who engage in GOOD WORKS for Humans, Here and Now, doing their best to improve Earthly conditions that are contrary to their own best beliefs in loving, compassionate, forgiving behavior. I do not begrudge them their “interior motives” of a heavenly reward. “Theism” is not the big problem. Resultant power, hypocrisy and greed are the REAL problems.

Because I am naturally optimistically inclined, and my life’s experiences have taught me that “change-for-the-better” can actually be achieved, my cup stays “half full” rather than half empty, and emphasizing the positive is my style.

Therefore, I do not PRESENT myself with a name announcing what I DO NOT BELIEVE! Why should I assume a title describing what I’m AGAINST? This is nonsense! To my way of thinking, it’s a negative and counter-productive stance.

To use the ancient term “A” meaning “absence of” to describe what I do NOT believe, or anything about me, is not helpful. Here’s how I see it! For instance, I believe with all my life experiences and the wisdom that I have amassed in all of these years, that the Capitalist Economic System, under which we suffer, does more harm to more people in this world, presently, than does any theistic belief. Even more, it exacerbates religious divides and causes more blaming.

Shall I then bill myself as an Acapitalist? This is nuts! Why should I focus who I AM, on what I DO NOT believe? My efforts are devoted to doing all I can, same as Atheists are, working toward changing things in the best interest of Humans.

I claim allegiance to the positive belief that guides my lifestance. I’m NOT an A-capitalist! I’m not an A-theist! I AM a HUMANIST!

I believe with all of my heart and mind that we must treat our precious Planet Earth, all Earthlings and other living things with respect; that we must take responsibility to do all that we can to make beneficial changes; to make Peace and live in harmony and promote the opportunities for all to live the Good Life!

In agreement with the Humanist Philosophy espoused by Corliss Lamont in all of his lifetime efforts, I believe that dismantling the war mind-set and its machinery, and protecting our would-be democracy from moneyed special interests is the proper focus for the work of helping to Humanize this war-weary World! Perhaps you agree?

The Long, Slow Death of Religion

Guest Post by James A. Haught

By now, it’s clear that religion is fading in America, as it has done in most advanced Western democracies.

Dozens of surveys find identical evidence: Fewer American adults, especially those under 30, attend church — or even belong to a church. They tell interviewers their religion is “none.” They ignore faith.

Since 1990, the “nones” have exploded rapidly as a sociological phenomenon — from 10 percent of U.S. adults, to 15 percent, to 20 percent. Now they’ve climbed to 25 percent, according to a 2016 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.

That makes them the nation’s largest faith category, outstripping Catholics (21 percent) and white evangelicals (16 percent). They seem on a trajectory to become an outright majority. America is following the secular path of Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and other modern places. The Secular Age is snowballing.

Various explanations for the social transformation are postulated: That the Internet exposes young people to a wide array of ideas and practices that undercut old-time beliefs. That family breakdown severs traditional participation in congregations. That the young have grown cynical about authority of all types. That fundamentalist hostility to gays and abortion has soured tolerant-minded Americans. That clergy child-molesting scandals have scuttled church claims to moral superiority. That faith-based suicide bombings and other religious murders horrify normal folks.

All those factors undoubtedly play a role. But I want to offer a simpler explanation: In the scientific 21st century, it’s less plausible to believe in invisible gods, devils, heavens, hells, angels, demons — plus virgin births, resurrections, miracles, messiahs, prophecies, faith-healings, visions, incarnations, divine visitations and other supernatural claims. Magical thinking is suspect, ludicrous. It’s not for intelligent, educated people.

Significantly, the PRRI study found that the foremost reason young people gave for leaving religion is this clincher: They stopped believing miraculous church dogmas.

For decades, tall-steeple mainline Protestant denominations with university-educated ministers tried to downplay supernaturalism — to preach just the compassion of Jesus and the social gospel. It was a noble effort, but disastrous. The mainline collapsed so badly it is dubbed “flatline Protestantism.” It has faded to small fringe of American life.

Now Catholicism and evangelicalism are in the same death spiral. One-tenth of U.S. adults today are ex-Catholics. The Southern Baptist Convention lost 200,000 members in 2014 and 200,000 more in 2015.

I’m a longtime newspaperman in Appalachia’s Bible Belt. I’ve watched the retreat of religion for six decades. Back in the 1950s, church-based laws were powerful:

It was a crime for stores to open on the Sabbath. All public school classes began with mandatory prayer. It was a crime to buy a cocktail, or look at nude photos in magazines, or buy a lottery ticket. It was a crime for an unwed couple to share a bedroom. If a single girl became pregnant, both she and her family were disgraced. Birth control was unmentionable. Evolution was unmentionable.

It was a felony to terminate a pregnancy. It was a felony to be gay. One homosexual in our town killed himself after police filed charges. Even writing about sex was illegal. In 1956, our Republican mayor sent police to raid bookstores selling “Peyton Place.”

Gradually, all those faith-based taboos vanished from society. Religion lost its power — even before the upsurge of “nones.”

Perhaps honesty is a factor in the disappearance of religion. Maybe young people discern that it’s dishonest to claim to know supernatural things that are unknowable.

When I was a cub reporter, my city editor was an H.L. Mencken clone who laughed at Bible-thumping hillbilly preachers. One day, as a young truth-seeker, I asked him: You’re correct that their explanations are fairy tales — but what answer can an honest person give about the deep questions: Why are we here? Why is the universe here? Why do we die? Is there any purpose to life?

He eyed me and replied: “You can say: I don’t know.” That rang a bell in my head that still echoes. It’s honest to admit that you cannot explain the unexplainable.

The church explanation — that Planet Earth is a testing place to screen humans for a future heaven or hell — is a silly conjecture with no evidence of any sort, except ancient scriptures. No wonder that today’s Americans, raised in a scientific-minded era, cannot swallow it.

Occam’s Razor says the simplest explanation is most accurate. Why is religion dying? Because thinking people finally see that it’s untrue, false, dishonest.

White evangelicals tipped the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump, giving an astounding 81 percent of their votes to the crass vulgarian who contradicts church values. But white evangelicals, like most religious groups, face a shrinking future. Their power will dwindle.

It took humanity several millennia to reach the Secular Age. Now it’s blossoming spectacularly.

James Haught, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is editor emeritus of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

The Long, Slow Death of Religion was first published on CounterPunch on December 29, 2016.

Code of Ethics for a Corporation

by Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Chaplain and Advocate

We, the undersigned individuals, and as Members of the below designated Corporation, do ascribe to the following considerations in the daily practice of our Business:

  1. We agree with, and strive to uphold, the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as described by the United Nations. Respect and Ethical treatment for All of Humankind on Planet Earth is of greatest importance in our business practices.

  2. Respect and protection for our precious gift, Planet Earth, as our one and only Human Habitat, and the home to be inhabited by our own Grand Children and our own offspring for centuries to come, is vitally important! We must be cognizant of the relationship between the activities of our Corporate work and its effect upon the atmosphere and other conditions that had, before industrialization, remained fairly stable and hospitable to life on Earth for many centuries. Climate change must be acknowledged! Scarcity of clean water will be a threat to our lives, and the rising of the Oceans, an immediate concern.

  3. Wherever we do business, in whatever country or community, we promise to respect and uphold all local law. When we have entered into a contract to do business, and those with whom we have made such arrangement find fault or disagreement with the way we are proceeding, their complaints must be considered, and perhaps some compromise or agreement must be found. Local concerns and governments must never be found, by the World Trade Court, of being in “violation of profit making.” We honor local concerns!

  4. We will pay proper local or national taxes in each country where we do business, and never claim that our headquarters is located in a place where no taxes are required.

  5. We will honor local labor needs and prevailing wages in every country where we do business. If we do business in the USA, for instance, we will always hire locally available workers rather than “outsourcing” to another country where the labor is cheaper.

  6. We acknowledge that the “Value” of our Stock on the Market is of great importance to the stability of our corporation, BUT, we also recognize that profit for “investors” is of lesser importance than the survival of our corporation, the good work that it does, and the continuity of its Board of Directors and its Staff. When we avow and prove compliance with all of the above considerations, we then demand that the “Value” of our Stock be enhanced by crediting appropriate points, as to “Compliant Ethical Corporations.” These credit points will be established by a Consumer Corporation Accreditation Committee headed by People’s Advocate Elizabeth Warren in Congress, and will always henceforth be reported to the Public on the “nightly news” as a celebratory acknowledgment of our Corporation’s respect for the People and the Planet, as well as the profit-making.

Undersigned below:   _______________________________________________

Flowerchild

Because I’m a wilted Flowerchild from Haight-Ashbury, I advocate making love, not war!

Are we making any progress?

“Open Mic Gypsy” Beth Lamont for Rimes of The Ancient Mariner September 28, 2016 @ Three of Cups Lounge.

Published on YouTube on October 9, 2016 under a Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed) by Phillip Giambri aka “The Ancient Mariner” who is a writer, storyteller, poet, and spoken word performer.

Running time: 2 minutes 8 seconds

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Beth Lamont and Corliss Lamont.
Beth Lamont and Corliss Lamont

  

$15. Minimum Wage? Free healthcare? Free education? Equitable income taxation? No longer allowing the US capitalist economic system to dominate the people? Reform the inequitable voting systems? WOW! Bernie! Bless your heart! You have the attention of the distressed American public! We are listening! YES! We, the People, will at last have a say in the governance of our lives! We now have people power! And Bernie is articulating its details! Bernie is feeling our frustration and responding in a marvelously affirmative way!

I would love to see our first woman President, and had long planned to vote for Hillary if she were running. She has been a champion of people’s healthcare even before she was First Lady; I’m proud of her courage. I hear Hillary promoting respect and change for the workers, for education, for health, for all the right things! However both Bernie and Hillary have worrisome baggage to contend with: She, for perhaps being too close to the war machinery and to Wall Street; and He, for inheriting the fearful “Evil Empire” stigma! O my god! Not Socialism! Even prefacing the word with Democratic…hardly lessens the impact to a knee-jerk response!

Come sit by my side and listen to this wise old granny (I’m left-over at 86 because there’s work to be done!) I have a story to tell, and, here’s an innovation! I wish for you good children to check every detail with Google.

I’ll take you way back to a Christmas time in the last century, almost one hundred years ago; it was in 1917. Likely, you’ve never heard this story before. I’m about to describe a pivotal moment in the history of humankind, and the likelihood of your being unaware of its importance, is in itself, part of the problem! You see, at this time, an Earth shaking decision was being made. Humankind has since been the worse-off because of it!

Corliss Lamont, a child of privilege and of Wall Street, can tell you in his own words, the story of a cable announcing his Father’s unexpected return from Europe, by steamship. (No planes in those day, dearies!) This gentleman, Thomas William Lamont, a man of humble upbringing, who put himself through Harvard, and at that time, as a partner of J. Pierpont Morgan, was representing Wall Street in the Reparations Talks that were determining the amount that aggressive Germany would have to pay to it’s victims of World War I. Tom Lamont was not home for Christmas, he was on an urgent errand to see US President Woodrow Wilson.

In as much as war was still raging, talks of Reparations seemed premature. Tattered, freezing Russians were still defending their borders from German assault, and The Red Cross had been bringing life-saving supplies. Tom’s Harvard classmate, William Boyce Thompson, was a deliverer of supplies, and became quite aware of the Russian people’s movement taking place. It became know as the Bolshevik Revolution. He reasoned that more help to them to sustain their defense against German assault would keep German forces divided between Russia and France, and thereby weaken the German war machine. Britain’s Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, agreed that becoming allies would be a good move. He asked Lamont to secure Wilson’s US pledge.

In spite of Winston Churchill’s admonition that we should “strangle the menacing infant of Socialism in its cradle,” Tom attempted to persuade US President Woodrow Wilson that the US should come to the aide of the Bolsheviks. Tom was not allowed to speak with Wilson, however. He apparently was thwarted by Colonel Edward M. House, an aide to Wilson, (who hated those goddamn atheist Commies) and instead, Wilson was persuaded that it was important to send American troops to thwart them. This was, indeed a pivotal moment!

You can even read about our 1918 invasion of Archangel and Vladivostok in a history of the event that was written by General William Graves, entitled “Our Siberian Adventure.” Alas, we made a wrong choice! And, the fact that our US foreign policy chose at that time to make enemies of the Russians, rather than becoming allies, has reverberated ever since, in Earth shaking decisions from which we may not recover. It is still in the balance, and questionable: NATO was created as a bulwark against the USSR. Why was the Ukraine invited to join it? The US practically went ballistic over such an incursion on our Cuban doorstep! Talk about illogic!

Corliss’s father, Thomas W. Lamont, remained adamant in his support of the Russians, and in 1945 both gentlemen appeared on the same Madison Square podium promoting American-Soviet Friendship! Both courageous in their stands, advocating friendship with what had begun to be called “The Evil Empire”, was truly heroic. So, this bit of history from 1917, that is totally unknown to the general public, and was fearfully propagandized ever since, may have a present day gut-level impact upon this Presidential Election.

Perhaps in academic circles these historical issues may have been clinically diagnosed, and if one is already interested they can research these 1917 happenings, especially in a book:” Ambassador From Wall Street” by Edward M. Lamont, the Grandson of Thomas, but the significance of this history hasn’t filtered into the realm of general knowledge by our populace. This is especially worrisome to potential voters. This is my biggest scare!

This history needs to be known! We’ve truly been sold a bill-of-goods about the original ideals of the Socialist philosophy, and how it was intended to respect and honor the workers, the farmers, the soldiers, the sailors, the peasants of Russia, specifically against heinous injustices, years of atrocities perpetrated by mounted Cossacks riding down, and slashing with sabers, the throngs of hungry protestors in the streets. Always to be considered is: compared to what! What was going on in their world? If we still know nothing of the Bolshevik Revolution, we have no right to judge it harshly! It was a justified expression of “People Power! Read John Reed’s “Ten Days That Shook The World.” The biggest fear was that it would catch-on like wildfire right here!

You may be old enough to have experienced the Red Scare right here in the good ol’ US of A? No? You haven’t heard of the Ludlow Massacre? The Palmer Raids? How about the Socialists who we re elected into office by New York voters, and who were refused acceptance by the NY legislature, because of their “foreign” beliefs? They were elected by their New York constituents, expressing Socialist convictions at the ballot box. Imagine! How about tales of the “Evil Empire” and fearsome Communism? Totalitarianism? What about the House Un- American Activities Committee dedicated to rooting out the frightening cancer of Communism right here in our own communities, then even worse, Joseph McCarthy, on his rabid rampage, who saw a “Commie” under every bed? And who, in a sneering and contemptuous manner, demanded of Corliss Lamont, and so many other American patriots: “Are you now, or have you ever been a Communist?” This in the “Land of the Free?”

Come sit by my knee, and let me tell you another story. It began, way back in the late 1800s , when at the time, the compassionate scholarship of some important whistle-blowers of their time, saw from their research that the powerful industrial revolution that was going on, didn’t filter down to the workers. The great potential for human betterment was being short-stopped at the paycheck, and was overflowing the coffers of the investors. WOW! What a shocking assertion! The ideas of Karl Marx were gaining traction! Surplus value? This should be shared? “Pay the Workers more? Ha! Certainly not! Preposterous! We Captains of Industry certainly have no obligation to benefit workers, much less, all of humankind. Workers are necessary, but they are completely expendable, interchangeable tools toward that end, and plenty more where they came from. Workers should be grateful for the job. How dare they ask for more? Strike? O my god! Call the police!”

The whole point of investing money was for building and creating progress, but ultimately, in the end, it had to…guess what? It had to make profit for the investors! If there were any altruistic aspects of their investment, these had to be sacrificed upon the alter of profit-making. Powerful corporations had the upper hand! So, naturally, they prevailed in their own best interests, and the interests of the entire capitalist enterprise, They must oppose at all costs this mistaken conspiracy that they’re abusing and neglecting the workers. Indeed, capitalism has held this power, for more than a century, at horrendous cost to humankind…in pain and blood. Ever since, in one form or another, corporations and management attempt to vilify, propagandize, thwart, oppose, deride, any move by the workers to gain respect, ensure their safety, and to obtain a more equitable share of the profit, and to this day they have succeeded. Labor strikes must be thwarted at all costs, even to murdering the strikers. Please read about a strike activist murdered by firing squad: his name was Joe Hill.

I’ll tell you, the powers that be, have really done a number on the concept of equitable treatment of workers and of human beings in general, even respect for planet Earth, in convincing us that we Earthlings are not worthy of better treatment and humane considerations for our own health and well being, or for the safety and happiness of our families, or for fair treatment of all of us humans regardless of our heritage.

Many workers, to this day, might automatically respond negatively to the word “Socialism” This is almost an unconscious knee-jerk reaction, with head shaking, disapproving of any thought of those foreign ideas. Alas, the workers of the world are in desperate need of the best protection of the socialist economic ideals. Workers of the World Unite! That was the battle cry in the 1900s! We weren’t able to unite then. The battle still rages! Particularly because of the misunderstanding of it’s origin and its true meaning.

Socialism does NOT automatically mean totalitarianism! This is part of the propaganda against it. It does NOT mean government control of everything, as is asserted. Consider “responsibility” as the operant word! To protect the best interests of the people and the planet is a powerful mandate. Let’s consider these apparently opposing ideas? We fear control, but respect the need to take responsibility. Right? These aren’t necessarily two opposing concepts, but a continuum, sort-of an extension of the level of responsibility. First, the ethical consideration of assuming responsibility, but then in execution, becoming necessary or asserted control. A little picture of this could be seen as taking a child’s hand to help her or him to cross the street safely. Clearly, this is taking logical and compassionate responsibility for the child’s protection. But, if instead, a cruel person would angrily snatch a kid around, smack and drag her or him across the street, all the while berating the child for non-obedience, this would clearly have become, instead, a horrible matter of control and punishment!

Taking responsibility to promote one’s best interests and prevent a danger is clearly a concept that is both humanitarian and of benefit to the people. On the other hand, we can readily recognize in the exercise of control, the similarity to police brutality, inequitable incarceration, thwarting of protestors, and even the withholding of health and educational facilities and the badmouthing of those who object to this control. This can even be extended conceptually to include inequitable taxation at home, and promotion of economic and military domination around the world. Do we believe that might makes right?

We’ve been propagandized to fear the control of “The Evil Empire” but it can happen here, as well. It is only when a government is fierce and controlling in protecting ITSELF, and its secret information, rather than protecting the rights of it’s own people, that it BECOMES totalitarian! Why should a would be democracy even HAVE secrets? What is government doing that its people should NOT know? Is the US totalitarian? Horrors!

Because the average American voter, who may not be aware of our own history, or is steeped in the alluring lore of our own oft touted promotion of equality and justice, may therefore not identify with the actual history of the people’s attempt to have a stronger voice in decisions made in this country, we might be vulnerable to a strong backlash surge of militaristic nationalism in an upcoming election, in which the ideals of “America First” might prevail.

This Strangelovian surge could usher us into a world of fascism that could make the Nazi’s look like Boy Scouts in comparison. Never mind dominating Europe; some fanatics in this country envision global domination. There was a US Website that was so shocking and embarrassing that it was eventually removed…called: “US Space Command.gov.”(Google it!) It purported to dominate space; protect the US interests and it’s investments, and..(get this!)..Zap Naughty Nations!

How is it that the US believes itself to be the World’s Policeman? Why does the US have a military finger in every pie on the face of this Earth? Maybe, more truthfully, it’s a finger in the EYE of almost every Human! This is truly a fearful prospect. We need a peaceful Planet Earth; promoting peace should be our aim.

I fear that passionate nationalism with all of its fearful implications will become the official US stance on the world scene, if not properly grounded in some scholarly (and grand motherly) concerned attention to this segment of our United States history.

On this February Day of 2016, amid the televised angry exhortations as to who should lead this land, I’m so painfully aware of the great dichotomy of political opinion regarding the strengths and weaknesses of this great country. We have certainly confused the concepts of democracy and of capitalism. Recognizing that one is a political ideal and the other is an economic system, we are somehow reluctant to consider that they might not even be compatible. Indeed, this incompatibility has give rise to fact that we now have “the best democracy that money can buy.” How shameful! We workers and citizens are realizing that capitalism isn’t what it’s “cracked-up to be: Matter of fact, it has shown to be counter productive to our best interests!

And, of great concern right now, where on Earth does socialism fit in? Regardless s of our heartfelt passions, we might all assert to be “Patriotic Americans.” Of course. Some will point to the “undisputed fact” that “We’re The Good Guys!” Didn’t we defeat the Nazis, and come to the rescue of the world? My own loving son believes that I’m too critical of US foreign policies. I respect and fully understand his point of view, in that he believes in US economic and military power on the world stage, and with his assigned male role as protector, and that role’s perceived extension as protector and defender of the US, he would naturally wish to champion and exercise that power politically. I champion the 3 Rs: Reason, Respect, and Responsibility!

But, from my own assigned alternate female role as nurturer and as a mother, my focus is more on the well being of the whole human family, not just a few sub-segments of it. After all, the United States of America is just one member of this global human family. We assert to be the most powerful, because we hold, and will not relinquish, the power to respond militarily to any asserted threat that our militarily minded leaders may perceive. This literally scares the hell outta me! I favor negotiations! What tha’Hey! Drop Bread not Bombs!

Why is negotiation and seeking non-military solutions considered wimpish and subject to criticism? I am so concerned that, in the absence of, or the ineffective presentation of a coherent model of world power that is non-military, we Americans will fall prey (let-us-prey?) to the “Military Industrial Complex” of which Dwight Eisenhower warned us, and in the din of electoral politics, in this “best democracy that money can buy,” might choose to confront adversity, as-in: “the Christians against the Muslims” with insanity. I’m hearing screams of: “Go Kill ISIS!” with stabbing upraised fists! This totally denies the fact that Isis is certainly a “blowback” product of our “Shock and Awe” intrusion into Iraq, a war based on lies. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, I fear that Dr. Strangelove might be convincingly more powerful. The basic primitive response to perceived aggression is “us against them,” wholly disregarding the truths of our thousands of years of human history and of the sadly earned, but totally ignored, wisdom gained, thereby. We Earthlings All are “us!”

Corliss Lamont, a patriotic champion of civil liberties, wrote in 1952, pamphlets discussing US foreign policies, and titled one pamphlet: “Are We Being Talked Into War?” This man saw , way back then, the dangers of commitment to military “solutions” in response to perceived or imagined threats as insanity!

Let’s consider the progress brought to us by technology. Human creativity and ingenuity have brought us to an amazing never before moment in our human evolution. We now have the power to cause the extinction of this whole human experience! Poof! In a series of nuclear blasts, you know…the “mushroom shaped cloud” bit! Nothing left but, maybe the cockroaches. ON THE OTHER HAND…..tada! We now have, PEOPLE POWER! Thanks to technology, We human beings can communicate with EACH OTHER! Maybe , we can get it together, in the best interest of human survival? If we are truly evolving, and becoming less primitive and more suitably adapted, wouldn’t this be the beautiful and ironic “happily-ever-after” solution to hatred and militarism! YES!

More History: In the 1930s, in Germany, the ideals of socialism and of communism were in opposition, and with adherents of each party competing fiercely, rather than articulating and presenting a coherent and even comprehensive vision, to appeal to the workers and the voters of Germany. They were pretty much rejected as a source of wisdom and power, almost like “You trouble making foreigners go home to the USSR!” It was into this absence of a coherent articulation of the positive ideals of a socialist society, that the powerful surge of German nationalism arose. “Germany Uber Alles!” This led to the promotion and exercise of Nazi power.

It will be coming up soon: Mother’s Day 2016. I worry about all the kids on the face of this Earth who are in danger, and who will benefit from a socialistic and humanistic approach to the complex problems on this planet. Military power will not bring safety, respect, equality, civil liberties, healthcare, education, food and shelter. Our realistic human concerns are more closely aligned with the societal aspects of the all embracing and universal humanist philosophy as promoted by Corliss Lamont and other humanists! The concept, when translated into political terms, is actually pronounced: O my god – Socialism! It must not be feared! We’re very sSocial beings, and we’ve evolved from some of the most compassionate of ancestors: MOTHERS!

If the concept of Social is a good, as in Social Security, then adding those 3 letters…I-S-M…should not be a frightening spectacle! Socialism can mean what we citizens wish for it to mean, by exercising our People Power! Hooray for Bernie Sanders! He is the most courageous man on Earth at this time! His vision and his rousing passion for the plight of the people is the greatest remedy for the woes of the world…for the painful ills of humankind that fear and greed and hate have brought us. May his message prevail and catch fire in the hearts of all American voters! I warily approve of Hillary Clinton and would want for her “negotiating experience” to prevail. I’ve been joking for some time now about him teaching her, and teaming up. This would be powerful!

Here’s my little limerick with that suggestion:
Hey, Hillary! Bernie’s eating your lunch!
You’d better invite him to dinner!
Party at Madison Square!
Discuss issues there!
I have a Hunch………that You’ll BOTH come off Winners!

Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Chaplain and widow of Corliss Lamont.

Note: This essay was originally published on Portside on February 24, 2016.

Celebrating February 12th

Beth K. Lamont  2015

Two of my heroes were born on this day,
Creating milestones in history, each in their way.
Earthshaking Giants born 18-09.
From humble beginnings, new thoughts would align.

ABE hoping that issues of slavery were solved;
CHARLIE explaining how Humans evolved!
Each scathingly criticized, reviled and offended
By haters of truth…still today hasn’t ended!

Are we ONE People and ONE Human Race?
How did we get here? Zapped into place?
By god or by allah, each favoring “a few.”
And these tribes are still warring! Is anything new?

Planet Earth is in trouble! Millions scream it out loud!
We could all be aborted in a mushroom shaped cloud!
Tribunals can’t deal with these problems for solving.
One hopes that we Humans might still be Evolving!

A four million year childhood? Let’s put this behind us!
Adult caring and sharing and love should remind us
That we’re not wicked, not evil, not that kind of creatures!
We’re hard-wired for goodness. that’s one of our features!

The view of our Planet Earth captured from Space
Proves that we Earthlings are ONE Human Race!
It showed no nation’s dominions; no ethnic enclaves…
Some People the Masters; some People the Slaves!

Now, there’s accessible info and sharing of tech!
No more back-of-the-bus! Now, all-hands-on-deck!
We precious Humans are equal; there are no sub-sets!
No more killing and warfare! Make no more regrets!

Power to the People! We’ll level the field!
No more profits to warmongers! They’ll have to yield!
Let’s salute CHARLIE and ABE! A toast to them would be nice!
Observe us multi-hued Humans on your hand-held device!

Charles Darwin.

Lefties Are In Their Right Minds!

I will be leading the Lefties Are In Their Right Minds! panel discussion at Left Forum 2015 today. Please attend!

Left Forum 2015.

Political Misunderstanding Of The Mothering-Nurturing-Compassionate Aspect Of Our Lives

On Mother’s Day 2015, I’m painfully aware of a great dichotomy of political opinion regarding the strengths of this country. We might all assert to be “Patriotic Americans!” Of course!

Some will point to the “undisputed fact” that “We’re The Good Guys!” Didn’t we defeat the Nazis, and come to the rescue of the world? My own loving Son believes that I’m too critical of US Foreign policies. I respect and fully understand his point of view, in that he believes in economic and military power, and with his assigned role as Protector, defending US is primary, BUT,

As a Mother, my focus is more on the wellbeing of the whole Human Family, not just a few sub-segments, of it. After all, the United States of America is just one Member of this global Human Family. We assert to be the most powerful, because we hold, and will not relinquish, the power to respond militarily to any asserted threat that our militarily minded leaders may perceive.

This literally scares the hell outta me! Why is negotiation and seeking non-military solutions considered wimpish and subject to criticism? I am so concerned that, in the absence of, or the ineffective presentation of a coherent model of World Power that is non-military, we Americans will fall prey (let-us-prey?) to the “Military Industrial Complex” of which Dwight Eisenhower warned us, and in the din of electoral politics, in this “best democracy that money can buy,” might choose to confront adversity, as-in: “the Christians against the Muslims” with insanity!

Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, I fear that Dr. Strangelove might be convincingly more powerful. The basic primitive response to perceived aggression is “us against them,” wholly disregarding our thousands of years of Human history and the wisdom gained thereby. Corliss Lamont, a Patriotic Champion of Civil Liberties, wrote in 1952, pamphlets discussing US Foreign Policies, and titled one pamphlet: “Are We Being Talked Into War?” This man saw the dangers of commitment to military “solutions” in response to perceived or imagined threats as insanity, way back then!

Here’s a bit of history that is not often discussed for the general public. Perhaps is academic circles it may be clinically diagnosed, but any finding produced thereby have not filtered into general knowledge by our populace, especially potential voters. This is my biggest scare.

I fear that passionate Nationalism with all of its fearful implications will become the official US stance on the world scene, if not properly grounded in some motherly attention to history.

Let it begin with technology. Human creativity and ingenuity has brought us to an amazing never before moment in our human evolution. We now have the power to cause the extinction of this whole human experience! Poof! In a series of nuclear blasts, you know…the “Mushroom shaped cloud” bit! Nothing left but, maybe the cockroaches. ON THE OTHER HAND…..tada, we now have, thanks to technology, PEOPLE POWER! We human beings can communicate with EACH OTHER! Maybe, we can get it together, in the best interest of human survival?

Come sit by my knee, and let me tell you a story. It began, way back in the late 1800s, when the compassionate scholarship of some important whistle-blowers of the time, saw that the powerful industrial revolution that was going-on, didn’t filter down to the workers! The great potential for human betterment was being short-stopped at the paycheck, and was overflowing the coffers of the investors! WOW! What a shocking assertion! Of course, this accusation didn’t sit well with the investors, the bankers, and the corporations that promoted the industrial revolution. It literally sacred the hell-outta-them! The whole point of their investment was…guess what? It was to make money! If there were any altruistic aspects of their investment, they were usually sacrificed on the alter of profit-making, by decisions of the powerful. So, naturally, in their own best interests, they must oppose this mistaken conspiracy at all costs! And indeed, they did.

Ever since, in one form or another, the attempt to thwart, deride, propagandize, oppose, any move by the Workers to gain respect and a more equitable share of the profit, has succeeded!

You may be old enough to have experienced the Red Scare right here in the good ‘ol US of A? No? You haven’t heard of the Palmer Raids? How about Socialists elected-into office by New York Voters, who were refused entrance to the NY Legislature, because of their “foreign” beliefs? How about tales of the “Evil Empire” and fearsome Socialism? Totalitarianism? What about the House Un-American Activities Committee to root out the cancer of communism in our communities, then even worse, Joseph McCarthy who saw a “commie” under every bed?

I’ll tell you, the powers that be have really done a number on the concept of equitable treatment of workers and of human beings in general, even respect for planet Earth, to convince us that we Earthlings are not worthy of better treatment and humane considerations for our health and wellbeing, for the safety and happiness of our families, for fair treatment of all of us humans regardless of our heritage. Many workers, to this day, will automatically respond negatively to the word “socialism” This is almost a kneejerk reaction, with head shaking, disapproving of any ideas of those foreign ideas. Alas, our workers are in desperate need of the best ideals of the Socialist economic ideals. Workers of the World Unite! That was the battle cry in the 1900s! They didn’t unite, and the battle still rages. Socialism does NOT mean totalitarianism! Instead, it is a concept that is humanitarian and of benefit to the People. It is only when governments are fierce and controlling in protecting ITSELF, rather than the rights of its own People!

Because the average American voter, who may not be aware of our own history, or steeped in the lore of equality and justice, and identify with the history of the people’s attempt to have a stronger voice in decisions made in this country, we might be vulnerable to a strong backlash surge of militaristic nationalism in an upcoming election, in which the ideals of “America First” might prevail. This could usher us into a world of fascism that could make the Nazi’s look like Boy Scouts in comparison. Never mind Europe; some fanatics envision Global domination. Don’t we have a military finger in every pie on the face of this Earth? Maybe, a finger in the EYE of almost every Human? This is truly a fearful prospect. We need a peaceful Earth.

In the 1930s, in Germany, the ideals of Socialism and of Communism were in opposition, with adherents of each party competing fiercely, rather then articulating and presenting a coherent and comprehensive vision to appeal to the voters of Germany, they were pretty much rejected as a source of wisdom and power, almost like “You trouble making foreigners go home to the USSR!” It was into this absence of a coherent articulation of the ideals of socialist society, that a powerful surge of German Nationalism arose. Germany Uber Alles! This led to the Nazi power.

It’s still Mother’s Day 2015. I worry about all the kids on the face of this Earth who will benefit from a Humanistic approach to the complex problems on this Planet. Military power will not bring safety, respect, equality, civil liberties, health care, education, food and shelter. Human concerns are more closely aligned with the social aspects of the Humanist philosophy and must not be feared. We’re social beings; we’ve evolved from compassionate ancestors: MOTHERS!

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Remembering a Volga River Tour with Promoting Enduring Peace

Running time: 8 minutes 42 seconds

YouTube Channel: Struggle Video Media

TSVN – The Struggle Video News a Project of The Middle East Crisis Committee, Woodbridge, CT.

Interview with Beth Lamont, widow of Corliss Lamont, at the two-day event entitled “Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction” held February 28 & March 1, 2015 at the New York Academy of Medicine.

The symposium is a project of The Helen Caldicott Foundation for a Nuclear Free Future, Ashville, NC.

Features recollection of her travel on the Volga River in the then Soviet Union in the 1980’s.

Video courtesy of Stanley Heller, Secretary of Promoting Enduring Peace, New Haven, CT.

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We’re pleased to announce that HSMNY Executive Director Stephen James will be moderating a panel discussion at this year’s Left Forum 2014 conference entitled “Prejudices, Fantasies, and Justice”.

The panel discussion, scheduled to take place from 10:00 AM to 11:50 AM on the morning of Sunday, June 1, is sponsored by the New York Chapter of the Ernest Becker Foundation.

If you’re in the New York area this weekend, please try to attend Left Forum 2014, and especially the “Prejudices, Fantasies, and Justice” panel discussion.

Left Forum 2014 is being held May 30 through June 1 at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York (CUNY), 524 West 59th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues), New York, NY. The theme for this year’s conference is “Reform and/or Revolution: Imagining a World with Transformative Justice”.

Now celebrating its 10th year, Left Forum is the largest annual conference in the United States of the broad spectrum progressive intellectuals, activists, scholars, organizations and the interested public. Each year thousands of conference participants come together in New York City to discuss pressing local, national and global issues; to better understand commonalities and differences, and alternatives to current predicaments; or to share ideas to help build social movements to transform the world.

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