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Subscription January 2019

Michael Pollan - Notes from the Psychedelic Underground

The legalization of marijuana across the U.S. and Canada is making headline news. The study of the medical uses of psilocybin (and other psychedelics) does not. Academic research of psilocybin found in hallucinogenic mushrooms, lysergic acid, and ecstasy is ongoing at major universities around the world. Peer-reviewed articles on the uses of LSD for alcoholism, micro-dosing of LSD for depression, and palliative care to help the terminally ill die peacefully. The Food and Drug Administration has approved some initial clinical trials. And psychotherapists are experimenting in both clinical and clandestine settings. There is a quiet revolution in the way doctors and government officials talk and think about psychedelics. In just a few years, some of these drugs could be publicly available.

Lilly Adams-Bruce Amundson - Preventing Nuclear Apocalypse

You may know Apocalypse as a Marvel Comics supervillain. It is a word of Greek origin, meaning the catastrophic final destruction of the world. The use of nuclear weapons would be apocalyptic. It is difficult to imagine extinction. Understandably, most people would rather not think about it. The term nuclear war is misleading and false. It suggests that one side would come out on top, that there would be a winner and a loser. No way. We’d all be losers. Nevertheless, countries, including the U.S., go on building new nuclear weapons, that are called smarter and packing more of a wallop. It’s a worldview Dr. Strangelove would have appreciated. In the interests of sanity and self-preservation, the nuclear weapons states must move toward eliminating these weapons of mass destruction that, if used accidentally or deliberately will destroy our precious planet.

Robin Kelley - The Dream of Revolution

In some ways Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered twice. First by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis and then by killing his revolutionary message. Today, King is largely remembered with special holiday sales. His vision of radical revolution muted. He posed a special threat to the power structure. It was one thing to demand desegregation of lunch counters and quite another when in his Beyond Vietnam speech he called for:

a radical redistribution of economic and
political power . . . a revolution of values . . . We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together. . . The whole structure of American life must be changed.

Those words in 1967 resonate today. The dream of revolution, of creating a society based on equality and justice lives on.

Steve Ellner - The Open Veins of Venezuela

Historically, Venezuela has been an ATM machine for U.S. corporations. Located on the northern coast of South America with a population of 32 million, Venezuela is rich in  natural resources: diamonds, bauxite, gold, iron ore, natural gas and oil, especially oil. The election of Hugo Chavez in 1998 heralded in what he called the Bolivarian Revolution. It was a challenge to U.S. hegemony. After his death in 2013 he was succeeded by Nicolas Maduro who stood for election in that same year and won. Maduro was reelected in 2018. The economy is in crisis. There is runaway inflation. Supermarket shelves are empty. Many people have left for neighboring countries. The economy is being crippled by sanctions imposed by the U.S., Canada, and other countries. Ordinary Venezuelans are sufferingWashington is leading the charge for regime change in Venezuela.

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