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Don't Feed the Beast: First rule in conflict is not to help your opponent

99.9% of the world's population is being systematically impoverished by Greed Trade and Casino Economics. The weapon being used to enslave us is a monetary system based on debt and compound interest. Our oppressor is not human - it is a monstrosity that has been given all the rights of a human but it is not daunted by human compassion nor morals. It exists for one purpose - profit. All those things that we hold in high regard: love; life; beauty; peace; are of no consequence to this single-minded monster. Our existence is tolerated for one purpose - to feed the beast as consumers.

Ah, but you protest, because it is human beings, after all, who create and run corporations. Human beings are on the board of directors. Human beings make the laws that keep these monsters in check. and unfortunately, human beings are susceptible to the siren songs of greed and power. We have reached a tipping point where the same elite clique of unabashedly evil "human beings" sit on the boards of an increasingly consolidated group of global corporations.

Money is the manna of our oppressors. And debt is their dessert! Every time we borrow money we are feeding a system designed to keep us enslaved. It starts the moment our kids reach the threshold of adulthood and take out student loans for college - loans that can never be forgiven, no matter what, even in bankruptcy. Think about it - our taxes bailed out the banksters but our kids can't get bailed out even if they can't find a job - any job, after going into hock to get an education.

The only way we can keep the banksters at bay is to opt out of their debt ponzi scheme. Here's a few steps you can take:

1. Get out of debt. This is going to be difficult, if not impossible, if you are like most middle class Americans struggling just to make ends meet. Add up how much money you pay in interest every year and think about how much easier it would be of you didn't have to just give that money away to the banksters. That should motivate you to try step 2.

2. Don't spend money on anything you don't really need. We are constantly being bombarded with messages to hand over our money to the banksters. How much are you spending every month on web access on your cell phone? Do you really need to upgrade your car, computer, house or (fill in the blank?). Stay out of malls, big-box stores and supermarkets and any place that is designed to get you to spend money impulsively. That includes TV shopping channels and online stores. If you really need something, check to see if you can find it in a thrift store first. Buy your food as close to the raw ingredients as possible, and with the least amount of packaging or branding so you are not paying for the marketing. Check out your farmer's market and food co-op - even if prices seem a little higher, you are supporting your local economy instead of a factory-farm in China.

3. Get out of the stock market. If you still have money in the stock market, ask yourself why you are continuing to feed the hand that is choking you. People ask me, "Where should I invest my money?" Do you have family or friends who are struggling to pay off high interest debts? Some credit cards are charging as much as 30% interest! Yes, it's risky to lend money to friends and family, but in comparison to the shellacking' the banksters have in store for small investors, I'd put my money on family. Many cultures have been doing this for generations and it brings up the standard of living for the group. Imagine what a difference it would make if you earned 6% interest on a loan to a family member so they can pay off a 30% credit card. Everyone benefits except the banksters. Just make sure you stipulate that they have to cancel the credit card as part of the deal.

4. Stop banking with banks. If you have a bank account in any of the big bankster banks, you are a frontline beast feeder! Get out of there! There are many local credit unions that offer most of the same services as commercial banks and it takes only a small effort to make the switch. Most credit unions will also serve business accounts.

5. Invest in your community. These days, when money is tight, it's difficult for many of us to donate money to organizations and non-profits are feeling the pinch. It's worth doing some research before deciding where to contribute your money. I know I'm going to catch flack for this, but I'm a cancer survivor so I have a right to say it - think about where the money is going when you donate to a cancer cure organization. Do you really want to help fund pharmaceutical research departments when they are making phenomenal profits that they use to lobby Congress to keep regulations in check? Wouldn't your donation be better on a local group that helps poor people with terminal illnesses?

6. Give the gift of your time and attention. As another holiday season draws to a close, I'd like to suggest that we take consumerism out of Christmas. How did it happen that we have been convinced that we must buy stuff for everyone every year? Most gifts that are given are absolutely not needed by the recipient. We've bought into a "gimme gimme gimme" culture and we're passing it on to our children. We collectively agree to pretend that a mythical fat man is going to bring our children a bunch of stuff that they've been hypnotized into wanting, when in reality parents feel obligated go into debt every year to buy this stuff because, if they don't, somehow their kids are going to be traumatized! Stop letting Madison Avenue bully you! Instead of rushing around to the mall trying to figure out what shit you can buy your relatives, write them a letter, a REAL letter on pretty paper, that tells them how much you love them. Twenty years from now they will still slip that note out of its envelope and read it and feel loved. Or invite your friend over for lunch and make a big pot of homemade soup with enough that they can take a jar home with them so it will fill their home with a delicious aroma so much better than a scented candle!

7. Down size. Have you ever visited a friend who just bought a very big house and noticed that the rooms seem empty? Then you visit them a few months later and everything is beautifully decorated and fully furnished. Whether or not they had to go into debt to fill those rooms, odds are they don't really need all that stuff, or all the work of keeping things looking nice. Nature abhors a void, and so, it seems, do people. I learned this first-hand. In 2004 I reduced my possessions down to fit in a small RV and had everything I needed to get by. When the price of gas started to go up and the cost of space in an RV park got higher than renting an apartment, I sold my RV and rented a 400 sq. ft. apartment and that seemed like plenty of room at the time. Five years and one husband later I am renting a lovely two bedroom house and I don't know how I ever managed for a year in that RV. The point is that we can all live with a lot less. It might not be feasible for some people to downsize when their mortgages are "upside-down" (higher than the value of their house) and, in fact, many families are finding it necessary to double-up (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/29/us/29families.html) in these difficult times. One way many of us can downsize is by getting rid of everything you have in storage. Think about what it is costing you to keep stuff you don't use. These days it's pretty easy to sell things on Craigslist or eBay or give it away on Freecycle. if you want to know more about the benefits of down-sizing, look up "voluntary simplicity" on the internet or go to http://criscenzo.com/simplicity.htm.

8. Start living as if peak-oil has already happened - because it has. The price of gasoline is going to continue to go up. Families are spending more and more of their income on filling up the gas tank. Don't wait until only the wealthy can buy gas to start planning your no-gas strategy. Let your local government know that this is NOT the time to be cutting back on public transportation and increasing fares. Investing money in building roads is insanity! If your family can manage on one vehicle, sell the one that uses the most gas and start monitoring how much unnecessary driving you might be doing. If you take a bike to a local farmer's market you will only be able to buy what you can take home on your bike - it really make you more conscious of what you're buying, and you'll get some exercise in the bargain. If you are looking for a place to live, be sure access to public transportation and walkability to stores, work and school are on your checklist.

These are eight "doable" suggestions. I hope you will sit down with your family and talk about them and see if you can get consensus to try at least one of these blatant acts of Compassionate Resistance.

If you would like to know more about our efforts to help the homeless in the long term, please visit Amikas.org. Also, check out the website we are building to help coordinate all the groups that are working to feed the hungry, at KitchenCommons.org. Amikas can really use your help financially. We are a completely volunteer organization that, in addition to our big vision of getting people housed and working, have been supporting the efforts of other grassroots organizations who are helping people who are homeless. We also are collecting jackets and clothing and distribute them directly to people on the streets along with my fresh-from-the-oven home-baked scones. Your contributions, large or small will be put to good work. You can send a check to Amikas, 6842 Newbold Ct. San Diego, CA 92111. If you have warm clothing or blankets to distribute directly to the people who need it, please send me an email at jeeni@amikas.org. Thank you!

Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio is President of Amikas.org, a group working to alleviate poverty and create sustainabile community in the San Diego, CA area.


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