Monthly Archives: April 2007

Servant Leadership: Ten Characteristics

Robert Greenleaf is said to have coined the term servant leadership. Since then, others have taken up the ideas and promoted them. The following 10 characteristics, based on Greenleaf’s work, seem to me to be the the kind that need to be cultivated by anyone who would aspire to lead in any realm. They seem especially important in the development of a new paradigm of social justice, global harmony, and sustainability.

Ten Characteristics of Servant Leadership

Based on the ideas of Robert K. Greenleaf

1. Servant leaders are servants first, and consciously choose to lead as a way to serve the development of others.

2. Servant leaders respond to any problem by listening first. Their attitude emulates St Francis: “Lord, grant that I may not seek so much to be understood as to understand.”

3. Servant leaders maintain empathy for the essential humanity of other people, even when they cannot accept the other person’s acts.

4. Servant leaders utilize both analysis and intuition to develop foresight (Greenleaf considered foresight to be the Central ethic of leadership.)

5. Servant leaders cultivate awareness and hone their powers of perception.

6. Servant leaders create change by inspiration and persuasion, not coercion.

7. Servant leaders are highly creative, drawing from their unique strengths to create fresh responses to new situations.

8. Servant leaders remember that healing means “to make whole.” They know. that to be wholly human, one must joyfully accept both the goodness and the bitterness of life” while contributing to the good.

9. Servant leaders recognize that healing actions take place in the context of community.

10. Servant leaders change the world by first changing themselves.

“Money as Debt ” – a “must see” video

Paul Grignon’s video production, Money as Debt, is the best presentation I’ve yet seen that explains in simple and straight forward language (with supporting animated visuals) the true nature of money and the dysfunctional and undemocratic nature of the global banking system. It is available on Google video and runs about 45 min.

The main website is:
Here is a brief description from the web:

“Paul Grignon’s 47-minute animated presentation of “Money as Debt” tells in very simple and effective graphic terms what money is and how it is being created. It is an entertaining way to get the message out. The Cowichan Citizens Coalition and its “Duncan Initiative” received high praise from those who previewed it. I recommend it as a painless but hard-hitting educational tool and encourage the widest distribution and use by all groups concerned with the present unsustainable monetary system in Canada and the United States.”

While I have some difference of opinion about what needs to be done to remedy the situation, I give this video the highest marks for its accurate reporting and clear presentation of its essential message.

Please give it your close attention.

Speech by John Perkins, “Economic Hit Man”

Here is a link to a speech that was given by John Perkins at the Veterans For Peace National Convention in Seattle, WA in August 2006. Perkins is author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and a courageous former insider who tells the truth about the present imperial world order.

John Perkins, Parts 1-3 Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Middle East Central and South America Corporatocracy

Jimmy Carter Wins Ridenhour Courage Prize

2007 Ridenhour Prize Winners Announced

The Fertel Foundation and The Nation Institute are pleased to announce he recipients of the 2007 Ron Ridenhour Prizes. Former security contractor and Navy veteran Donald Vance is the winner of the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling. Journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran is the winner of the Ridenhour Book Prize for Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone. President Jimmy Carter is the winner of the Ridenhour Courage Prize.

The awards, each of which carries a $10,000 cash stipend, memorialize and foster the fearless spirit of Ron Ridenhour, who broke the story of the My Lai massacre and later became an award-winning investigative journalist. The awards were established by the Fertel Foundation and The Nation Institute in 2003. More information is available at .

New Page on Sustainability, Relocalization, and Bioregionalism

I’ve posted on this site a new page on Sustainability, Relocalization, and Bioregionalism (over to the right on this page). Have a look…

Vermont May Be the First to Secede

An editorial from the Washington Post,Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Once and Future Republic of Vermont

By Ian Baldwin and Frank Bryan


The winds of secession are blowing in the Green Mountain State.

Vermont was once an independent republic, and it can be one again. We think the time to make that happen is now. Over the past 50 years, the U.S. government has grown too big, too corrupt and too aggressive toward the world, toward its own citizens and toward local democratic institutions. It has abandoned the democratic vision of its founders and eroded Americans’ fundamental freedoms.

Vermont did not join the Union to become part of an empire.

Some of us therefore seek permission to leave.

A decade before the War of Independence, Vermont became New England’s first frontier, settled by pioneers escaping colonial bondage who hewed settlements across a lush region whose spine is the Green Mountains. These independent folk brought with them what Henry David Thoreau called the “true American Congress” — the New England town meeting, which is still the legislature for nearly all of Vermont’s 237 towns. Here every citizen is a legislator who helps fashion the rules that govern the locality.

Today, however, Vermont no longer controls even its own National Guard, a domestic emergency force that is now employed in an imperial war 6,000 miles away. The 9/11 commission report says that “the American homeland is the planet.” To defend this “homeland,” the United States spends six times as much on its military as China, the next highest-spending nation, funding more than 730 military bases in more than 130 countries, abetted by more than 100 military space satellites and more than 100,000 seaborne battle-ready forces. This is the greatest military colossus ever forged.

Few heed George Washington’s Farewell Address, which warned against the danger of a permanent large standing army that “can be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.” Or that of a later general-become-president: “We must never let the weight of [the military-industrial complex] endanger our liberties or democratic processes.” Dwight D. Eisenhower pointedly included the word “congressional” after “military-industrial” but allowed his advisers to excise it. That word completes a true description of the hidden threat to democracy in the United States.

The two of us are typical of the diversity of Vermont’s secessionist movement: one descended from old Vermonter stock, the other a more recent arrival — a “flatlander” from down country. Our Vermont homeland remains economically conservative and socially liberal. And the love of freedom runs deep in its psyche.

Vermont seceded from the British Empire in 1777 and stood free for 14 years, until 1791. Its constitution — which preceded the U.S. Constitution by more than a decade — was the first to prohibit slavery in the New World and to guarantee universal manhood suffrage. Vermont issued its own currency, ran its own postal service, developed its own foreign relations, grew its own food, made its own roads and paid for its own militia. No other state, not even Texas, governed itself more thoroughly or longer before giving up its nationhood and joining the Union.

But the seeds of disunion have been growing since the beginning. Vermont more or less sat out the War of 1812, and its governor ordered troops fighting the British to disengage and come home. Vermont fought the Civil War primarily to end slavery; Abraham Lincoln did so primarily to save the Union. Vermont’s record on the slavery issue was so strong that Georgia’s legislature resolved that a ditch be dug around the “pestiferous” state and it be floated out to sea.

After the Great Flood of 1927, the worst natural disaster in the state’s history, President Calvin Coolidge (a Vermonter) offered help. Vermont’s governor replied, “Vermont will take care of its own.” In 1936, town meetings rejected a huge federal highway referendum that would have blacktopped the Green Mountain crest line from Massachusetts to Canada.

Nor did Vermont sign on when imperial Washington demanded that the state raise its drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1985. The federal government thereupon resorted to its favored tactic, blackmail. Raise your drinking age, said Ronald Reagan, or we’ll take away the money you need to keep the interstates paved. Vermont took its case for state control to the Supreme Court — and lost.

It’s quite simple. The United States has destroyed the 10th Amendment, which says that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The present movement for secession has been gathering steam for a decade and a half. In preparation for Vermont’s bicentennial in 1991, public debates — moderated by then-Lt. Gov. Howard Dean — were held in seven towns before crowds that averaged 230 citizens. At the end of each, Dean asked all those in favor of Vermont’s seceding from the Union to stand and be counted. In town after town, solid majorities stood. The final count: 999 (62 percent) for secession and 608 opposed.

In early 2003, transplanted Southerner and retired Duke University economics professor Thomas Naylor gave a speech at Johnson State College opposing the Iraq war. When he pitched the idea of secession to the crowd, he saw many eyes “light up,” he said. Later that year, he and several others started a loosely organized movement (now a think tank) called the Second Vermont Republic, which has an independent quarterly journal, Vermont Commons, and a Web site.

In October 2005, about 300 Vermonters attended a statewide convention on the question of secession. Six months later, the annual Vermont Poll of the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies found that about 8 percent of respondents replied “yes” to peaceful secession, arguably making Vermont foremost among the many states with secessionist movements (including Alaska, California, Hawaii, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Texas).

We secessionists believe that the 350-year swing of history’s pendulum toward large, centralized imperial states is once again reversing itself.

Why? First, the cost of oil and gas. According to urban planner James Howard Kunstler, “Anything organized on a gigantic scale . . . will probably falter in the energy-scarce future.” Second, third-wave technology is as inherently democratic and decentralist as second-wave technology was authoritarian and centralist. Gov. Jim Douglas wants Vermont to be the first “e-state,” making broadband Internet access available to every household and business in the state by 2010. Vermont will soon be fully wired into the global social commons.

Against this backdrop, secessionists from all over the state will gather in June to plan a grass-roots campaign to get at least 200 towns to vote by 2012 on independence. We believe that one outcome of this meeting will be dialogues among different communities of Vermonters committed to achieving local economic vitality, be they farmers, entrepreneurs, bankers, merchants, lawyers, independent media providers, construction workers, manufacturers, artists, entertainers or anyone else with a stake in Vermont’s future — anyone for whom freedom is not just a slogan.

If Vermonters succeed in once again inventing vibrant local economies, these in turn may reinvigorate the small-scale democratic town meeting tradition, the true American Congress, and re-create the rudiments of a republic once again able to make its own way in the world. The once and future republic of Vermont.

Ian Baldwin is publisher of Vermont Commons. Frank Bryan, a political science professor at the University of Vermont, is author of “Real Democracy: The New England Town Meeting and How It Works.”