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NRA Absurdists and Gun Proliferation in America: time to debate the Ninja Amendment?

This Sunday from 8-9am, Our Town and Revolution and Beer on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT invite you to join us for the first real and honest debate on reasonable gun control, the Second Amendment and the proliferation of guns since the Newtown tragedy. Many are calling this issue a mental health issue and not a gun issue. On both the Left and the Right the rhetoric around the mental health issue has taken a dangerous, wrong-headed, uninformed and regressive tone. The debate over guns in general has taken a decidedly perverse turn.

In fact, within a week of the Newtown tragedy, the NRA’s long awaited statement, following an unusually long silence, was in a word, absurdist. Their answer to the tragedy was not reasonable gun legislation, or even reasonable gun debate and responsibility. The NRA, instead, as a way of prevention for the next Newtown or Columbine was more guns, forcibly armed and trained school teachers, or roving gun-toting guards for every one of the nations 138,900 schools. Militarize the schools!

It is an easy sell to a knee-jerk trained populace, particularly on the Right.A trained man with a gun would certainly have a deterrent effect on a would-be gunmen intent on mayhem, right? But the money-changing marketing on the Right, like the effort by the gun-lobby and the NRA to use these stories as a way to accumulate cash through fear, is flimsy at best. That’s why they have to shout at you, or cajole you through fear and hysteria or false sincerity constantly through the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs or Mike Gallaghers in the media. That’s why they have consolidated and dominated fully their concentrated and fully one-sided message in the media. Drive, as I have done many times,through the south and you will be shocked at the proliferation of pro-Rightwing propaganda, and the absolute desert of unfiltered information.

But under any reasonable thought their absurdist ramblings of the Right and the NRA fall apart quickly. For example, who will pay for the 400,000 sainted and trusted armed guards for our schools who will be necessary to guard multiple entrances, recess, open and large campuses and the fat target of would-be gunmen of masses of kids going to and from buses? Or do we require all kids entering and leaving school straight to secured vehicles to serpentine to cover? All of those armed guards will need sick days, vacation days, mandated lunches and breaks, right? Who will pay that enormous bill? More taxes? Is the Right and NRA now arguing for greater taxation? What would the tea party say?

First and foremost, the ultimate flaw in logic with the gun pimps and absurdists deals with the gunmen themselves. Not a single school gunman has been stopped or brought down by police or anyone else with a gun. They usually kill themselves, or occasionally surrender. Always the would-be gunman comes prepared to shoot, often with greater firepower, more ammunition and body armor, whereas those who may confront them are always reacting.

Perhaps then we’ll simply engender an army of volunteers. Who will oversee and screen them? What if they don’t want to volunteer anymore or one day? Do we use the unemployed as free labor? How will they look for work on school/business days? Or maybe we arm teachers. Would we then require teachers to be armed? As part of teaching degrees would they be mandated to take firearms classes, and pack a weapon to every school and every class on everyday? I could make a joke about how well-behaved classes would suddenly become, but is that the reality and environment we want our children to learn in? Talk about a loss of innocence! 20 children died at Newtown. Does the arming of every school in America now victimize its 55 milliom-that’s million students? http://www.edreform.com/2012/04/k-12-facts/

So, in keeping with that, or in keeping up with the absurdity on the Right, I am proposing what I believe to be an equally workable, and perhaps even more practical solution to the gun issue: 900poundgorilla and Revolution and Beer propose THE NINJA AMENDMENT for school safety?ShinobiNoMono

Ninja’s are all privately funded, apparently. Never have I been at a job and said, “Hey Bob, what are you doing for the weekend?” only to hear, “I’m a part-time Ninja on the weekend.” So, it would seem, there would be no liability to taxpayers. A guard with a gun is also very apparent walking the halls of our schools, whereas a Ninja would drop unseen from a ceiling, burst from a locker or spring from a trash can above, behind or beside the gunman. A gunman could likely hear return gunfire and concentrate his heavier weaponry in hallways or stairwells with little or no cover. A swarm of silent Ninja stars could drop an assailant in the blink of an eye. And there are never costly funerals for Ninjas. Ninjas take care of their own. You’ll never hear a tearful relative at a ceremony lament, “I told Dave this whole Ninja life-style would catch up with him one day, but he just wouldn’t listen.”

Share this with friends, and ask them to send this post to your Congressman and Senator in Washington, the NRA, President Obama and Vice President with a respectful demand to sponsor the Ninja Amendment if they insist on the absurdist course Washington, the Media and the NRA are currently on with regards to guns and our children.

Contact the NRA: https://contact.nra.org/contact-us.aspx, and call, 1-800-672-3888

Contact your House Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Contact your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Email President Obama here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/fellows/contact

Contact Vice President Biden: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact-vp

Stay tuned for the exact wording for the proposed NINJA AMENDMENT.ninjacatva11

Listen to 900poundgorilla every Sunday morning 8-9 on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT am820 and streaming live worldwide for the Revolution and Beer show only on Our Town with Mike Sanders.
Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook  at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com. And check out their fine beer glasswear selections  at the “Beerables” link  at the bottom of their page. 

Gender and Revolution: The World from the Outside

I grew up in small towns in the 60s and 70s. There were four types of people. There were boys and girls, which could then be safely and neatly subdivided down into kids and adults. You were a kid until the age of 16, when you could legally drive and hold a part-time job. From 16 to 18, you were kid-ish, until the time you could order a beer, vote and join the military. From that magic stroke of midnight on your eighteenth birthday, a literal blink of an eye, where only a second before midnight you were legally a child, you became an adult.

Somewhere, during those seemingly formative and all too confusing and frustrating adolescent and teen years we take agency in the further sub-divisions of the assumed realities of our lives and our world; Race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexuality, gender.

Where, as young children we were cloaked in the paradigms of our parents, or the principle adults in our lives, we begin to fashion or challenge those paradigms to fit our perception of reality. We either reject, redefine or redouble those assumptions and paradigms. No small part of that is the rigidity of culture and society, channeling us into a larger paradigm. The constructs of culture and society provides necessary structure, but it can also be a trap. And whether you are an ardent defender of the unwaivering status quo or a radical revolutionary we struggle against  our own innately limited perspectives.

I am no different. I have, and continue to struggle with my own perspective of the world. I do battle daily with assumptions and prejudices that seem to out-pace my desire for better perspective and understanding. In my defense, I have learn to stop mid-judgment and scrutinize my ignorance, tearing  at issues from every conceivable angle, often out loud in the car driving my wife to work in the morning before she has had her coffee.

“How are you that awake?” she frowns. “I can’t think until I’ve had my coffee.” 

On tomorrow’s show our guest will be Rebecca Kling, a trans-gender woman, whose autobiographical book, No Gender Left Behind, http://www.rebeccakling.com/ is one of the bravest and most honest books I’ve read. Our show is called Revolution…Revolution and Beer. But what do the experiences of  a trans-gendered woman have to do with community activism and revolution? It is a valid question, at least within the narrowest constructs and assumptions of society and gender.

First, revolution, at least the positive revolution that preserves and defends individual human rights and dignity, in a sustainable system is not possible without properly enfranchising and including all people in that communal definition of freedom and dignity. And second, no innovative and lasting change is possible without gaining the power to intelligently and sensitively deconstruct the conventions, assumptions and constructs of society, religion, economics, sexuality and gender.

Rebecca is a dear friend, and we have worked together in the theater, but I have lots of friends, all of them far more brilliant than I, but I don’t have all of them on the show. I found something critically important both within and behind Rebecca’s story that I thought merited a greater discussion. That is that gender is fundamental to each person’s identity. The scope and temper of that identity is profoundly imposed by society around us, but also from within us. All too often people stop at their own perspective on gender as defined by their individual reality, and the influence of society around them. The essence of positive change and lasting dignity-based revolution is about shattering all of that.

Reality is a potentially dangerous trap. Whose reality is being defined, and from what perspective? Philosophically there may be absolute realities, but we may never, as sovereign and autonomous, and separated beings, ever truly comprehend absolute realities. Our reality is our own, and ends at the limits of our bodies. It is when we recognize that limitation, and accept the perception of reality for others that we begin to collect shared realities. And that, I hold firmly is the cornerstone of a truly dignity-centered community, and the beginning point for lasting and a sustainable peaceful and positive revolution that humanity so badly needs right now.  

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck with Brian Murray and the whole Our Town gang every Sunday 8-9am on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCTP during the Revolution and Beer segment, and find out more about all of the great craft Beers we feature by googling Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. Like us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer, or subscribe for free to 900poundgorilla.wordpress.com.



21 Days in May: an Occupy novella, part seventeen

Jack awoke with a start in the stairwell where he’d hidden out for more than a day. Deacon was nowhere to be seen. Jack checked his pockets, finding his stash of dwindling cash. He quickly felt a twinge of guilt for the effort. His throat was parched and he ached from hunger, as it was far too risky for either of them to venture out until the heat was off a bit. But he was warm and modestly comfortable, and more or less trusted Deacon. Jack lifted the water jug and wiped the opening with a sleeve, wondering where Deacon had gone off to.

He went up to the next landing and chanced a look out of the busted window. Out past the empty lot and nearby rundown apartment flat, the Chicago skyline shown in the bright morning sunlight. Fresh air poured through the broken window. Jack gulped it in and sank to a step, fighting to divert his thoughts from hunger.

His mind spun to find a way through all this and back to Eva and Jeffrey. With each passing minute, that tore so terribly at his aching heart, Jack was much less interested in who had done all of this than simply being finished with the nightmare he was trapped in. But this wasn’t the movies. This, Jack knew would be a long tough slog.

What he needed was some way to get to a computer. Social media, Facebook, Twitter, email were the best weapons he had, but how to get to them, and how to cover his tracks sufficiently not to alert authorities, which could track him easily. Jack wondered how he might exploit the protests, to cover his tracks or…he didn’t have a clue. A wave of anger swept over him, and he slammed his fist against the peeling plaster wall. His hand burned white-hot with pain, but it helped to focus his thoughts a bit

The irony, he thought, was that the great weight of the status quo, those struggling hardest against inevitable change, and those complacent in their lives were the greatest force for chaos and upheaval. Those at the bottom of the social and economic ladder will not remain compliant there for long. It wasn’t a class or envy thing. It was that they were being robbed of the opportunity to better themselves, and were being blamed for not being happy about that. It was that old ghosts and sins that had forever haunted the nation, like racism, reasserted themselves. It was the perversion of morality that religion was now being used to codify the privilege of wealth as a god-given right.

Those forces threw up impossible barriers, casting themselves as the ultimate arbiters of fairness and law. Those barriers squashed free speech, the salvation of dissent and the right of redress. It force people into antagonistic positions, rich against poor and poor against poor. Those forces of cynicism, and ultimately of abuse, twisted truths, manufactured facts and blithely sowed confusion to polarize and partition good-hearted people, and fling them against one another.

And so they invented the Tea Party, this new conglomerate fully at odds with the original tea party asserting itself against corporatism and privilege. They were hardly a revolution, but rather an affirmation of a massaged and manipulated political line. The intent was to whip them into a fearsome rage by diverting the true assailants of their freedoms and security to constructed cartoons based on race, immigration, class and religion. The inventors of the Tea Party, in partnership with groups like ALEC cocooned and blinded these dupes with nationalism flag waving and the condescension-ist promotion of soldiers returning tragic from war as heroes, despite that these inventors were themselves chicken-hawk cowards.

Jack stood and groaned loudly as the tension of those thoughts threatened to crush him. He washed his hands across his face and started back down the stairs when he heard a noise from the ground floor.

“Deacon?” he said softly, his voice echoing in the stairwell.

When no reply came back Jack’s heart froze. He retreated part way up the stairs, without having a clue where he might go from there. He pondered climbing out a window, and at giving himself up. Both promised equally bad outcomes. He strained over the banister, where he could just catch a glimpse of the dark foyer below, with its stained and broken tiles.   

He could hear steps, shuffling and a little uneven. Then, all at once, Deacon appeared, looking up at him. He held a plastic shopping bag. From inside came the wondrous scent of fresh bacon, toast and biscuits. Jack bounded down the stairs, all but fawning over the bag and what lay inside.

“Must be starvin’, boy,” Deacon laughed. “The way you’re practically droolin’ over the bag.”

“I didn’t know where you went. I got worried.”

“No worry,” said Deacon. “No and a gain this fella throws me a little work at his restaurant; washin’ dishes, cleanin’ up. I figured you’d be half-starved.”

They sat on the cold hard floor of the foyer as Jack devoured eggs, a couple of biscuits and three gloriously crispy pieces of bacon. He inhaled it while Deacon watched with amusement.

“Oh my god that was amazing,” Jack exclaimed. “I think that might be the best food I ever tasted!”

Deacon drew a paper from his pocket. It was a wanted flier of Jack. “Stopped by the police precinct. This was on the board. I swiped it, but you are sure in it deep, son.”

“Believe me if I said it was all a lie?”

Deacon looked him square in the eye. “If I didn’t you’d already be in jail, and I’d be sleepin’ between sheets tonight.”

Downtown there was a ruckus along Jackson Street. Sixty or so boisterous protesters, party of a larger group protesting immigration issues in Little Village filled the sidewalk, flanked on the street by a phalanx of police officers on bicycles. The protesters were defiant and charged with bravado and emotion.

“Welcome home!” roared one of the protesters as they triumphantly crossed La Salle, returning to the Bank of America building where the Chicago movement had begun its stand the previous fall. Two of their group had been arrested, peaceably at the ICE enforcement offices.

A few miles to the north, along Lincoln Avenue, Dan Holman sat in a fast food place, waiting on a former partner who had retired a few years earlier. He didn’t have to wait long.

A dark blue Lincoln Towncar pulled up across the street. Out stepped a big man, in every sense of the word. His name was John Bohannon, an old-school Irish cop. He was dressed in a dark brown suit and  an open-collar white polo shirt. Leading with a pronounced belly, Bohannon strode across the street as if he owned it.

Big John was far less imposing than he appeared, though imposing enough when he needed to be. He’d grown a big mustache, which Dan looked rather odd on the normally clean-shaven Bohannon. It was the consequence of a second sort of career as an extra in locally filmed movies, and a bit of stage acting. The mustache was for a period piece, yet another iconic Chicago gangster film. The rest of the time he freelanced as a private investigator.

Powerful as he was, Bohannon practically pulled the door off the hinges as he entered. Dan rose to greet him and was immediately smothered in the man’s giant arms.

“God its good to see you, ya ugly piece of…” said Bohannon.

“Had lunch?’ said Dan. “I’m buying.”

“I’m good.”


“Nothing, thanks. So what the hell did you get into the middle of that you need me to dig your ass out?” Big John smiled warmly. “As usual!”

“I was looking into something for my niece and I ended up getting strong-armed by a couple suits and ties.”

“Ain’t like you to get bullied and not hit back. Losing your touch, Dan? Who were they with?’

“Didn’t say,” Dan replied. “They sure had the captain shitting his pants.” He took a piece of paper, the one Eva had given him and pushed it along the narrow counter to Bohannon.

The big man picked it up, holding it out a bit to see more clearly. “So who is this guy?”

“That’s the guy who got me the visit.”

Bohannon nodded thoughtfully and stuffed the paper in his inside jacket pocket. “Don’t like people messing with my old partner. That’s my job.”

“Appreciate the favor, Johnny. Just be careful of these guys. I don’t think they like playing by the rules.”

“Who said I was either,” he winked. “Give me twenty-four hours.”

Eva couldn’t help herself and drove the city streets that evening in a vain attempt to find jack. Time was running out, and she could feel it slipping away, sliding towards a calamitous culmination of all of this. When exactly that calamity would come was impossible to say, but she could feel it nonetheless. Sometime around midnight she returned home, disappointed and discouraged. Exhausted, she laid her head down on the couch. There was a knock at the door. She sat up quickly and trudged wearily down the hall. Looking through the window she felt suddenly save and pulled open the door excitedly.

“Oh my god!” she exclaimed.


The Twenty Year Siege-Part 2

Eleven thousand five hundred forty-one red chairs. There were eleven thousand chairs arranged from curb to curb down Titova Boulevard in central Sarajevo. I enjoy theater and could have swelled at such a display if not for the terrible symbolism behind the display. Eleven thousand red chairs to memorialize the eleven thousand Sarajevans killed during the war. I still recall those days, the morning after a battle or following an attack. The siege hit civilians the hardest. And for the cynics-and there are scores- even among those fighting from the beleaguered trenches around and within the city, most were civilians pressed into a desperate 31/2 year fight to protect their families, save the city and maintain what feeble supply opportunities could be found to sustain the slowly strangling city of 300,000.

Ana. My Ana, was a child of 15 when the war began, still struggling with her own identity in the best of times. Fifteen. An age filled with the naive but eager assertions of emerging adulthood, but imbued and tethered deeply to the innocence, curiosity and vulnerability of childhood. And so she was thrown into the ultimate construction of human cynicism and cruelty, emerging in the incongruous and unsatisfying strangeness of adulthood and something called”the end of the war.”

I won’t call it peace. Peace is a fraud. It is not the end of war, because wars do not end, except for fools and politicians. war only changes character. The dead are still dead. The scarred and still forever scarred. Only the character of war changes, receding as embers to a half buried fire to smolder in the hearts whom it has affected or ruined. 

She cried all day Friday, lamenting and commiserating with friends and family back in Bosnia or scattered by the aftermath of war around the planet to strange and foreign cultures.  There was rage and sorrow, but mostly the injustice of what had been stolen from them. These modern accoutrements of Skype and Facebook make it more immediate for those commiserations and lamentations, but are only bandages to unalterably wounded souls. Ana’s friend Alma in Sarajevo summed it up succinctly, “I feel as if the devil was sitting on my shoulders all day.”

When I climbed aboard that Lufthansa 747 back in 1993, the siege was already better than a year old. I still did not know “my” Ana yet. Nor would I for another year.  I did at least realize that I was temporarily departing a home in Chicago for a war, and that if I made it home from the war I at least had a home and friends, a job and a culture to return to. war, that war, its true implications on personal levels was still very much an abstract, just as it was for all those watching 30 second sound bites and out-of-context reports on the nightly news.

I would never face the rationalization of choosing a new homeland because mine had been destroyed. On holidays, such as this one I would never longingly recall family holidays and reunions that will never occur again, because of those lost or refugeed across the planet. I would never search soulfully for purpose or justice or rationale to the fate that robbed me of my innocence, my dreams or my right to a life unaffected by what amounted to a meaningless tantrum over real estate that swept into cycles of vengeance and ultimately left much of that land unusable for centuries for millions of landmines.

The sun was setting as my plane lifted off from O’Hare that September evening back in 1993. The  future was unknown to me, but I was charting, at least in part my own fate-arrogance in the face of what was happening all across Bosnia. I understood that well enough, but would soon come to find that fate is hardly our own. As I gazed  at the photograph of those 10,000 red chairs in Sarajevo Friday, knowing the faces and names of a good many of those whom each empty chair recalled, that realization became all too apparent.

The task of the writer: be bold and daring

The Last man is a big novel in a small package. As a reader told me recently, it begins introspectively, inside the Last Man’s head and then “it punches you right in the face.” This was the novel I was meant to write. It challenged me as no other novel I have written, assailing unexplored frontiers and realities, not just within my heart but those beyond my normal experience.

A couple of weeks ago I went to see  a theater piece by friends and former cast members of my play “Occupy My Heart” For the play my director cast a black woman, Donier (pronounced: Donyay) Tyler, in the role of  a ditsy girl, but in this new piece I recall watching her come to several parts with this amazing strength and confidence. The realization was instant and powerful; The Last Man could be, or should be a woman!

The whole point of the book, and the stage adaptation is to besiege paradigms on systems of power. I’d written the main character as a black man on trial for his life. Casting Donier in a dramatic reading for the stage and Youtube later this month revealed a whole new dimension to the story, one I exalt in realizing and lament for not realizing earlier.

And so, this past weekend I sat down to read the piece aloud with Donier. The piece is from the trial, in which the Last Man is arguing for his very life. Alone, with the court and odds stacked plainly against him, he remains defiant, if for no other reason that to show pride and disdain for his accusers and would-be executioners. She paused a moment, pulling herself into the part. Slapping her hand hard to the table she began, with all that strength and passion I’d glimpsed earlier. Her voice rose in the still of the livingroom. She was the Last Man.

“Kill that dog!” Her hand fell loudly against the table.  “If a man uses a dog to keep you from what is yours, kill that dog! Violence is the last domain of the downtrodden. Power concedes nothing without demand, said Frederick Douglas. There is an implicit power behind any demand, or it has no value. The only true power of the powerless is violence. Or the potential for violence. It must be a possibility when power is unbalanced. You must understand, that when your power overcomes reason and justice and mercy, that I may rise against you, and that our very existence becomes part of the negotiation…”

Against those who hold and abuse power, the words of the writer are violence, and are thus met with their ultimate rage. It is the reason that oppressive regimes and rulers single out the writer and artist first for destruction. and whether under benevolent or oppressive government, the writer has a responsibility to be bold, to dare to tell the truth that resides within the human heart, and which ultimately guides or rampages in human society. In that way, The Last Man might well be applied to the responsibility and the danger of writing and writing the truth.

“…I must justify my existence,” Donier continued. “Men must tolerate men by right of agreement. You must know that my rights are inviolable, and that no man may ‘give’ another man rights, for if you can give those rights then you may take them away.  No one gives me rights. They are mine, and if taken away then they are stolen, and that is the difference. Hence the words of Malcolm X; Kill that dog! I have done nothing. This right to exist is mine by virtue that I am, and if you remove that from me then it is you have committed the real crime!”

As Powerball fever grips the nation, the prize now a historic 623 million, I have this recurring fantasy of 300 million Americans each winning 2 dollars, and that the collective sigh as 300 million people realize they have to share that prize would push us out of orbit just enough to stop global warming, and that at that moment Rush Limbaugh, fresh off a new skree in which he bullies a woman or minority, an Occupy protester or a Union worker, would leap into the air as he cheered his verbal pummeling of someone weaker and lacking a voice would be catapulted into space. I know, I know, it is an impossible fantasy which could never happen in a million years. What a rediculous thought. Rush Limbaugh can’t jump!

Must we suffer through wars today to enjoy peace tomorrow? War is the last indication that hope and wisdom have failed in favor of our ignorance and hate. It is the generation that has abandoned hope and reason, the generation polluted by the generation before that accepts the possibility of war. Must the generation that is heir to the future also be polluted by the ignorance of the past? When do we learn that lesson? When do we decide to learn that lesson? I think that is the ultimate measure of our species.

The occupy movement sharesd a kinship and deep respect with the freedom movements in the Middle East. If ever there was an opportunity for common ground and future dialogue throughout the world, it has been planted here among the movement. Now is the time. Today is the day. The decision lives in each of us. History is ours to be written, if only we would write it rather than eternally being its victim.

Occupy Buffalo was shut down last night, despite it was completely peaceful and even held a Police Appreciation day to build bridges. There is a concerted and coordinated effort under way to destroy the movement. I hate to accuse the Obama administration, but their silence is suspect. Why now? This is the time for us to regroup and reorganize before the NATO/G8 summits in Chicago and more importantly, before we can become a substantial factor in the national elections. Now is the time to stand strong with all our brothers and sisters. Show your outrage and numbers in peaceful but stalwart and defiant protests and actions, bring your grandparents just making ends meet on Social Security, your children, drag your ancestors from their graves to join us. Now and this summer is the time you are needed, or the world ends up like it does in my novel. the book is not a fantasy but a warning. above all, ask yourself and your neighbor how serious they are about change, or if this is all a game. This, this is now life or death. Choose a future of life and passion and justice, or one of submission and regret.

W.C Turck is the author of The Last Man. Please support the movement by purchasing the advance offering on Amazon for  only $1.99. 100% royalties goes to support Occupy

Advance offering of The Last Man, by W.C. Turck and the 99%, cover design by Brian Murray, now available on Amazon Kindle ebook. The first Occupy novel from the writer/producer of Occupy My Heart: a revolutionary Christmas Carol


The Last Man. This is what happens if Occupy fails. we can’t fail. Buy the book. Support the movement. All royalties go to occupy Chicago. Show the world the power of this movement. Stay tuned. Printbook and additional formats coming soon. Key words: W.C. Turck, The Last Man

The Last Man coming to the stage? Stay tuned for details.

Top 200: The Rise of Corporate Global Power by Sarah Anderson and John Cavanagh, Institute for Policy Studies

Originally posted at: http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=377

(Is The Last Man a work of fiction or a vision of the future?)

  1. Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries (based on a comparison of corporate sales and country GDPs).
  2. The Top 200 corporations’ sales are growing at a faster rate than overall global economic activity. Between 1983 and 1999, their combined sales grew from the equivalent of 25.0 percent to 27.5 percent of World GDP.
  3. The Top 200 corporations’ combined sales are bigger than the combined economies of all countries minus the biggest 10.
  4. The Top 200s’ combined sales are 18 times the size of the combined annual income of the 1.2 billion people (24 percent of the total world population) living in ”severe” poverty.
  5. While the sales of the Top 200 are the equivalent of 27.5 percent of world economic activity, they employ only 0.78 percent of the world’s workforce.
  6. Between 1983 and 1999, the profits of the Top 200 firms grew 362.4 percent, while the number of people they employ grew by only 14.4 percent.
  7. A full 5 percent of the Top 200s’ combined workforce is employed by Wal-Mart, a company notorious for union-busting and widespread use of part-time workers to avoid paying benefits. The discount retail giant is the top private employer in the world, with 1,140,000 workers, more than twice as many as No. 2, DaimlerChrysler, which employs 466,938.
  8. U.S. corporations dominate the Top 200, with 82 slots (41 percent of the total). Japanese firms are second, with only 41 slots.
  9. Of the U.S. corporations on the list, 44 did not pay the full standard 35 percent federal corpo-rate tax rate during the period 1996-1998. Seven of the firms actually paid less than zero in federal income taxes in 1998 (because of rebates). These include: Texaco, Chevron, PepsiCo, Enron, Worldcom, McKesson and the world’s biggest corporationGeneral Motors.
  10. 10. Between 1983 and 1999, the share of total sales of the Top 200 made up by service sector corporations increased from 33.8 percent to 46.7 percent. Gains were particularly evident in financial services and telecommunications sectors, in which most countries have pursued deregulation.

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