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Tereza Coraggio

Third Paradigm is an out-of-the-box thinktank on community sovereignty and regenerative economics.

We look at how to take back our cities, farmland and water; our money, production and trade; our media, education and culture, our religion and even our God.

We present a people's history of the Bible and a parent's view on how to raise giving kids in a taking world.

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Tereza has been interviewed on...

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Past Shows


Trees, Bees and Fireflies

October 11, 2009

3P-046 Show Information (includes MP3 download link)

Welcome to the 46th episode of Third Paradigm. Our title this week is Trees, Bees, and Fireflies. To start with the Fireflies, this week, my daughters and I got hooked on the discontinued Joss Whedon TV series by this name. It combines two of my childhood favorites, for those old enough to remember them — Star Trek and the Wild Wild West. But there's an interesting twist. In the Star Trek future, after a period of war, planetary empires merge into an alliance. Their code of honor is a mature, benevolent noninterference. The only conflict this creates is when their hearts go out to some backwater border planet whose problems they could solve in a jiffy if not for the voice of their Vulcan conscience. And so the clever Captain has to find a way to sneak civilization onto their plate, without them thinking it's his idea. It's a lot like raising kids. And it's a lot like the Eurocentric spit and polish put on the concept of colonization. To educate the savages or leave them to their primitive devices? Dear me, what's an imperial power to do? Let's take the gold and resources while we have a civilized debate.

In the story line of Firefly, however, the imperial powers of China and the US have merged into an interstellar monopoly with its tentacles into every type of corruption and greed. The Sergeant had led his troops in a battle for independence on their planet — like Ireland going up against the British. After a long, bloody siege, it's clear they're going to lose, and the airship arrives to get them out. But it keeps on going, flying the powerful to negotiate the surrender, and leaving the wounded soldiers to die in the field. When they finally return a week later, the warrior woman sidekick says, "Thank God," and the Sergeant replies, "Oh yeah? I wonder what colors He's flying."

Disillusioned, he jerryrigs an out-of-date smuggler's ship called a Firefly, and puts together a loveable team of mercenaries. Among them is a prostitute, called a companion, which is considered to be one of the highest status professions. She's their emissary and cover, as they scavenge and loot, but only from those who deserve it.

Although they're pirates and anarchists, they hold themselves to a higher code of loyalty and decency than the empire does. Amidst snappy dialogue and cursing in Mandarin Chinese, which is one of the funniest effects, they always end up doing the right thing. Against their pure self-interest, they help fugitives, refugees, slave colonies, and sweatshop workers. When we come back, we'll contrast this to our own pirates in local space here at the radio station. But first, we'll explore inner space with three poems, the first two by Li-Young Lee and the last by Jane Hirschfield. These are dedicated in memory of Dorothy Bock Goodman, Amy Goodman's mother, who died from cancer this week.

For people who aren't already listening to the show,
here's some music to go with the poetry:

src="3523697345-audio-player.swf" flashvars="audioUrl=" width="400" height="27" allowscriptaccess="never" quality="best" bgcolor="#ffffff" wmode="window" flashvars="playerMode=embedded">

Night Mirror

Li-Young, don't feel lonely
when you look up
into great night and find
yourself the far face peering
hugely out from between
a star and a star. All that space
the nighthawk plunges through,
homing, all that distance beyond embrace,
what is it but your own infinity.

And don't be afraid
when, eyes closed, you look inside you
and find night is both
the silence tolling after stars
and the final word
that founds all beginning, find night,

abyss and shuttle,
a finished cloth
frayed by the years, then gathered
in the songs and games
mothers teach their children.

Look again
and find yourself changed
and changing, now the bewildered honey
fallen into your own hands,
now the immaculate fruit born of hunger.
Now the unequaled perfume of your dying.
And time? Time is the salty wake
of your stunned entrance upon
no name.

~ Li-Young Lee ~

* * * * * * *

One Heart

Look at the birds. Even flying
is born

out of nothing. The first sky
is inside you, friend, open

at either end of day.
The work of wings

was always freedom, fastening
one heart to every falling thing.

~ Li-Young Lee ~
From Book of My Nights

* * * * * * *


"Almost the twenty-first century" —
how quickly the thought will grow dated,
even quaint.

Our hopes, our future,
will pass like the hopes and futures of others.

And all our anxieties and terrors,
nights of sleeplessness,
will appear then as they truly are —

Stumbling, delirious bees in the tea scent of jasmine.

~ Jane Hirshfield ~
From Lives of the Heart

We'd like to express our gratitude to Dorothy Goodman, as she makes her own "stunned entrance upon no-name." Flying may have been born out of nothing, but we don't believe Amy was. Perhaps Dorothy has been the other wing attached to the one heart, whose work was always freedom.

How different the poets' views are of our future from the hellfire or heavens of organized religion. To Li-Young, space is our own infinity, we who are the bewildered honey, the immaculate fruit, the unequalled perfume of our dying. For Jane Hirschfield, our worries are just "stumbling, delirious bees in the tea scent of jasmine." If you wanted to write a scripture that would calm fears and inspire action, wouldn't this be some good news?

Another character in Firefly is called the Shepherd, a Desmond Tutu-style minister with an Albert Einstein 'fro. At one point he's watching over the young girl who's part genius, part idiot-savant. While he's not looking, she goes through and "fixes" his Bible, tearing out pages and crossing things out. She says, "It's broken. It's full of contradictions." He answers, "You don't fix faith. Faith is what fixes you." This seems a far cry from the philosophy of Li-Young Lee and Jane Hirschfield, in which no one needs fixing except in their limited understanding of their own perfection.

There's a collection of photographs called MILK, which stands for Moments of Intimacy, Love and Kindness. In one of the photographs, twin brothers are making their way down Elephant Road in Dhaka, Bangladesh. One brother, crippled since birth, is being carried by his twin. Joe Riley, whose Panhala group provides all of our poems, posted the photo with this Sufi story, which goes:

Three men found a bag of 17 gold pieces in a field.

They could not decide how to share the gold so they went to Mullah Nasrudin and asked him to decide.

He asked them, "Would you have me divide it as I see fit or as God would do it?"

"As God would do it," they all said at once.

"Here, then," said the Mullah, "ten for you, five for you, and two for you."

Photo by Rashid Un Nbi from the MILK collection, source

While on the topic of God, this week, Radio Havana Cuba was on the Shortwave Report, a 30-minute digest by In talking about the escalating violence in Chiapas, they quoted an old saying, "Poor Mexico — so far from God and so close to the United States."

To include the trees of our title, last week's Shortwave Report also broadcast that China has planted 2.6 million trees — two for every person in China. In the meantime, their reproductive policy, which allows only one child per couple, is being opened up a little — but from the bottom-up, not for the elites. In poor regions where there are few children, select couples are being encouraged to have a sibling. In the meantime, the UN has completed their planting goal ahead of schedule — 7 billion trees, or one for every person on the planet.

When I went to, I noticed that FRSC is the only station listed on their home page to stream the Shortwave Report. They also link to A 2006 article by Cassandra Roos for an Emerson College paper. It says this:

"...shortwave radio is sort of like the wild west of the dial. You can find anything on it. In addition to finding plenty of mountain-dwelling conspiracy theorists, American evangelist programming, static, and weird beeping sounds, you can pick up the widest range of global programming available in any medium. You can listen to everything from BBC World Service, Channel Africa, China Radio International, Kol Israel (Voice of Israel), Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Laser Radio Latvia, Radio Afghanistan, Radio Cairo, Radio Finland, Radio Free Iraq, Radio Havana, Voice of Mongolia, Vatican Radio...and Voice of America, the official broadcasting service of the U.S. government.

To figure out where to start, check out OutfarPress Shortware Report: a short, summarized audio compilation of snippets of news from radio stations around the world.

OutfarPress is the project of Dan Roberts. Dan lives in a cabin which uses only solar energy in Mendocino County, California. He runs 65 feet of wire from one end of his house to the other ... connected to a $1500 shortwave radio which can pick up stations from around the world. ... His report is currently run on 50 licensed US radio stations, not including illegal pirate stations or international stations.

Roberts explains "basically most radical big international voices aren't on the internet... the American population think[s] shortwave is something that happened a long time ago [but] shortwave has stayed popular in other countries."

One of the reasons that shortwave radio has remained so popular outside of the U.S. is because, unlike the internet, it can be listened to with a cheap, compact and portable receiver (around $50) in rural areas, on the ocean, and in regions that have no internet access at all. ...

In ...2001, Groupe France Telecom estimated that 2.5 billion people worldwide listen to shortwave radio, with more than 200 million listening at any moment ." But here in the US, without community stations to relay globally-focused programs like this, few of us would know what 2.5 billion people in the world already know.

[Sara Thompson – Is It for Freedom]

That was Sara Thompson with "Is It for Freedom?" Thank you to Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now, who played it this week. Of course, if you listened to Democracy Now on anything but a pirate station, you wouldn't have heard this meaningful song. Instead, you'd hear a station identification, and a couple of sponsors thanked, along with what seem like ads to me, although I'm sure there's some hairs to split to call it noncommercial. If you were lucky, they might have gotten back before the interview started, so you wouldn't have to guess who they were talking to.

Music is one of the most powerful mediums of social change, and Democracy Now is currently the world's radio forum for truth-telling, although Aljazeera probably trumps them in the televised world. It's a shame that radio stations treat the songs as filler. At the other end of the spectrum, I talked this week to the program director at KZSC, our local university station. I had hoped to recruit some students as Third Paradigm groupies, and partner with the college in forming a local global affairs forum.

However, he confirmed that the station's focus is on providing a learning platform for students, and that the students' focus is on music. Besides Pacifica News, there's only one hour a week of locally-produced national or global affairs. He also saw radio as a waning technology, to be replaced with hand-held internet devices that allow every person unlimited choice. Besides being expensive, infinite choice is overrated and complicated to work.

It seems like there should be a middle ground between wiring your house with 65 feet of antenna to get your global news on a shortwave radio, or becoming an I-pod whiz navigating the globe from your own two thumbs. This middle ground is a perfect space for independent radio. Let's listen to what people have had to say about Free Radio SC.

FRSC promo mix

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Those were a variety of Free Radio programmers and guest speakers talking about why pirate radio is important. What's emphasized again and again is that Freak Radio is the people's radio, without whom it wouldn't exist, and what the community values is unbiased, noncommercial information. Not music. Not local talk shows. These are fine, but they're not what Free Radio's about, at least according to our promos.

This is why it's come as a shock to donors and listeners to discover that they aren't considered part of the Free Radio community, which is exclusive to programmers. I've been threatened with expulsion for letting listeners know what goes on at meetings, and for asking listeners their preference on programming decisions. When the summer demonstrated the collective's lack of commitment to putting on the independent news, supporters banded together to take responsibility for it themselves.

All the collective needed to do was give a separate news group, with programmers, donors, and listeners, a minority share of the schedule, in return for the over $5000 in donations currently in savings. None of this money would be used — it would only pay for the time while new money would be raised to guarantee continuity and reliability in the schedule. But the percentage of time would be equally distributed in evening and late night hours, not just time that programmers don't want. If the collective refused, donors felt entitled to apply their donations to starting a new venue. Three times Free Radio has done this for Spanish-language pirate stations in Watsonville. If reason and fairness failed, they were willing to go to small claims court.

At the last meeting, I proposed a motion that one-third of the schedule in each time block be devoted to independent news. No one seconded the motion. In the discussion, objections were raised to having any percentage of the schedule set aside. Currently, no news plays after 5:30 pm, and every show but Democracy Now can be changed at will to a new time or agenda. Late-night programming has no Free Radio programs, contrary to policy. There are no consequences for violating policy, including leaving trash, open beers, and empty cases for the early morning programmer to clean up.

After this failed to garner any support, a program advisory subcommittee was proposed. It would suggest shows to fill empty timeslots, and be composed of programmers in all agendas: music, Spanish-language news, local and global affairs. Like the news now, there would be no system or consequences for how these would get on the air. As an unofficial subcommittee with no decision-making ability, the public would be welcome to attend. This passed unanimously.

Last, a policy was discussed for whether anyone threatening legal action against the collective should be expelled. Some expressed the opinion that trying to sue anarchists was ridiculous, insane, and would likely be laughed out of court. An ally suggested that when a group isn't right, that person should leave voluntarily.

The latter took the fight out of me, and I took the threat off the table. It felt like being hit with friendly fire. What a strange phrase that is, "friendly fire." What's friendly about being fired on by your own? An expletive that includes the term "cluster" would be more descriptive, translated, of course, into Mandarin Chinese.

Going back to Firefly, how does a pirate spaceship compare to a pirate radio station? They're both going against the empire. They both disregard laws made to serve the interests of power. But there the comparison ends. Rather than a two-state solution to end the conflict, we want every decision fought individually. We don't take responsibility for putting on the news, but we won't give it to anyone else. We reject society's mechanisms for justice, even small claims court where lawyers aren't allowed, but we won't establish our own rule of law. As pirates, how does that make us different?

This has been Tereza Coraggio with Third Paradigm. Thanks to Skidmark Bob for producing the radio show, and to Mike Scirocco for producing the website. If Third Paradigm does go off the Free Radio airwaves, either by our or the collective's choice, listeners can find it posted weekly here on our site.

[Muse – Time Is Running Out]

Thank you for listening.