Sunday, December 07, 2008

T.W.I.N. #7: Beat 'em, or Sue 'em.

So much has happened around the world over the last seven days. I wish I had more time to devote to it all. I apologize for the abbreviated coverage of Greece, Iraq, Mecca and the rest of the world...so it goes. I really wanted to revisit the Mumbai/Pakistan story that I wrote about last week, but that will have to wait. At any rate, though this week's review may seem bleak, do not despair! It's full of People Power!!!

300


In Greece the people have taken over their streets in the wake of the murder of a 16 year old boy by the police. What if we reacted like this when the cops killed one of ours? (Timothy Stansbury, anyone?) In related news, closer to home--actually 2 subway stops from my Brooklyn apartment) at least one cop has been indicted by a grand jury for sodomizing a 24 year old tattoo artist at the station. The beasts who walk the beat chased Michael Mineo to the station because they thought he was smoking a joint--a misdemeanor offense--though it's unclear if any charges have brought against Mineo.

The New York Times says:
The police say the assertion is not supported by civilian witnesses.

But a grand jury and the Brooklyn district attorney are investigating what happened to Mr. Mineo at a Brooklyn subway station, and additional witnesses have surfaced. Investigators say that medical records support Mr. Mineo’s assertion that he suffered internal injuries, and a transit officer has come forward to say that he saw a colleague jab a baton into Mr. Mineo’s buttocks.

June Jordan says:

POEM ABOUT POLICE VIOLENCE

Tell me something
what you think would happen if
everytime they kill a black boy
then we kill a cop
everytime they kill a black man
then we kill a cop

you think the accident rate would lower
subsequently?

sometimes the feeling like amaze me baby
comes back to my mouth and I am quiet
like Olympian pools from the running the
mountainous snows under the sun

sometimes thinking about the 12th House of the Cosmos
or the way your ear ensnares the tip
of my tongue or signs that I have never seen
like DANGER WOMEN WORKING

I lose consciousness of ugly bestial rabid
and repetitive affront when they tell me
18 cops in order to subdue one man
18 strangled him to death in the ensuing scuffle (don't
you idolize the diction of the powerful: subdue and
scuffle my oh my) and that the murder
that the killing of Arthur Miller on a Brooklyn
street was just a "justifiable accident" again
(again)

People been having accidents all over the globe
so long like that I reckon that the only
suitable insurance is a gun
I'm saying war is not to understand or rerun
war is to be fought and won

sometimes the feeling like amaze me baby
blots it out/the bestial but
not too often

tell me something
what you think would happen if
everytime they kill a black boy
then we kill a cop
everytime they kill a black man
then we kill a cop

you think the accident rate would lower
subsequently?


BECAUSE TOO MUCH IS NEVER ENOUGH


Five Blackwater mercenaries have been indicted for massacring 17 unarmed Iraqis in September of 2007. Of course, contractors in Iraq operate outside of all laws until January 2009.

Halliburton has also been sued for poisoning its workers in Iraq. This is only the latest for Dickhead Chaingang's company. They were also recently sued for human trafficking:
According to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, the Nepalese workers were recruited in 2004 in their home country by KBR and its Jordanian contractors, Daoud & Partners, to work as kitchen staff in a luxury hotel in Amman. Once they reached the Jordanian capital, however, their passports were taken from them and they were sent to Iraq. While travelling in an unprotected convoy, the Nepalis were kidnapped and later executed.

"It doesn't appear that any of them knew they were going to Iraq," said Matthew Handley, a lawyer representing the only survivor and the families of those who were killed. "A few were told they were going to work at an American camp...They thought they were going to work in America."


MECCA: Peace, Forgiveness, Justice

The Hajj is extraordinary, which makes this Palestinian story all the more heartbreaking.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

T.W.I.N. #6: Mumbai, Gujarat, Pakistan

TANQUERAY




If you're going to listen to anyone talk about Pakistan and India, Tariq Ali is the one. The round-the-clock coverage of the Mumbai hostage crisis was essentially hollow. I had MSNBC on for nearly all of Thankstaking Day, and they talked about nothing but Mumbai. Unfortunately they provided scant context and history, let alone analysis of the attacks. And forget about any discussion of root causes--I didn't hear "Gujarat" mentioned once. In 2002 over 1000 people, mostly Muslims, were massacred by Hindus (in retaliation for a Muslim massacre of 58 Hindus on a train). As if the deaths aren't awful enough, the slaughter was apparently carried out with encouragement from the right wing Hindu nationalist state government, which takes the whole affair from "communal violence" to a pogrom. According to Ashutosh Varshney, associate associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and director of its Center for South Asian Studies,
Reports in almost all major newspapers of India, with the exception of the vernacular press in Gujarat, show that at least in March, if not April, the state not only made no attempt to stop the killings, but also condoned them.6 That the government “officially encouraged” anti-Muslim violence—something often believed—cannot be conclusively proved on the basis of the evidence provided by newspaper reports, though later research may well prove that. What is unquestionable is that the state condoned revenge killings.


In no way am I trying to condone the Deccan Mujahideen's actions--they stand out as examples of just how awful we, as humans, can be. I do, though, think there is a lot more to it than "Muslim fundamentalism/extremism/terrorism." I mean, the media here, and the state of India, are pushing the idea that terrorism is endemic to Islam. Just listen to the coverage! The rush to connect these 19 year old boys to Pakistan was incredibly swift. Why?

Well, this view of Muslims has a practical, geopolitical function, namely military action against the people of Pakistan. Which brings us to the Tariq Ali video at opening of this post. It doesn't look good, folks. The fearsome military power (both state and private) that will be shifted from Iraq to Pakistan and Afghanistan will not be good for any of us. It's terrorism, too, afterall.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

T.W.I.N. #5: Homage; Barack & The Rest of Us; Sports Roundup

HOMAGE TO MAMA AFRIKA: MIRIAM MAKEBA

In the midst of the (inter)national excitement at our election of Barack Obama, one of the great leaders of The People has passed. To Miriam Makeba, all praises due. She is one of the true revolutionaries of the last century, fighting with body, soul and song. She and June Jordan share so much...I wonder if they ever met.

In thinking of the connections between these two women, it's appropriate to use the "Soweto Blues" video, which starts off with the banning of languages. June was passionate about language, and organized in Oakland to get Black English recognized and taught in schools. Well before that, she wrote "Nobody Mean More to Me Than You' and The Future Life of Willie Jordan'" in which she laid out the foundations for the language. Her "Poem for South African Women" also rings loudly when I consider the connections between her and Makeba, as well as the prospects for a just future:

POEM FOR SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN


Our own shadows disappear as the feet of thousands
by the tens of thousands pound the fallow land
into new dust that
rising like a marvelous pollen will be
fertile
even as the first woman whispering
imagination to the trees around her made
for righteous fruit
from such deliberate defense of life
as no other still
will claim inferior to any other safety
in the world

The whispers too they
intimate to the inmost ear of every spirit
now aroused they
carousing in ferocious affirmation
of all peaceable and loving amplitude
sound a certainly unbounded heat
from a baptismal smoke where yes
there will be fire

And the babies cease alarm as mothers
raising arms
and heart high as the stars so far unseen
nevertheless hurl into the universe
a moving force
irreversible as light years
traveling to the open eye

And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and
if necessary
even under the sea:

we are the ones we have been waiting for.


from Passion: New Poems, 1977-80, by June Jordan
copyright 1980 June Jordan
reprinted with permission of the June M. Jordan Literary Estate Trust

OBAMA & THE REST OF US


Obama lifted the last line of that poem, without attribution, in one of his speeches. I guess it's a tribute to the beauty of the poem that a line can embed itself in the vernacular, but I'm still a little upset that she wasn't credited. This all leads me into some thoughts about the administration he'll be appointing. Last week I mentioned the Rahm Emmanuel represents a clear move away from us, the People, and our interests. And tonight on 60 minutes our President-elect said that he'd be appointing at least one Republican to the cabinet. Again, a shift away from us, though not terribly surprising.

As it turns out, some other folks have been putting in some thought on this, too. Check out the articles below, one from Naomi Klein, and the other from the Black Agenda Report.

NAOMI KLEIN: FIRST THINGS FIRST
Naomi Klein argues that the most important thing to do is to stop the corporate thugs from taking our taxes while rewriting the laws to pay themselves off:
It’s not too late to halt the robbery in progress, but it cannot wait until inauguration. Several great initiatives to shift the nature of the bailout are already underway, including bailoutmainstreet.com. I added my name to the “Call to Action: Time for a 21st Century Green America” and invite you to do the same.

Stopping the bailout profiteers is about more than money. It is about democracy. Specifically, it is about whether Americans will be able to afford the change they have just voted for so conclusively.


BLACK AGENDA REPORT: HOLDING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ACCOUNTABLE

Bruce Dixon explains why Rahm Emmanuel is poisonous, and why OUR antidote is the Employee Free Choice Act.



MORE HOPE?
Representative John Conyers has promised to pursue impeachment hearings against Bush. Check it out!

SPORTS NEWS ROUNDUP

Thank gawd for E:60, ESPN's international sports documentary series. The most recent segment is about a soccer academy in Ghana (another shout out to Mama Afrika, who was married to Kwame Ture and lived there, I believe). Hungry for a Better Life documents how so many young kids use sports as a last vestige of hope. For good or ill, here it is.

So, there you have it friends! Thanks for all your feedback!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

T.W.I.N. #4: Natural Selection; A Series of Unfortunate Events; Sports


In all my time working with youth I've never experienced young people truly believing that their leader(s) believe in them. Tuesday that changed. Here's what I said to my students:

"Today is a big day! A new day! Today, this day, is different than any other day in our lives; different than any other day in our nation's history.

"We elected Barack Obama last night! (Hoots, hollers, jubilation)

"Yeah! WE did it! Our parents, our aunts and uncles did it! We, the People, did it! We said that we believe in this man, and we will allow him to lead us. Make no mistake, he didn't get to where he is without us--we put him there. That's right. We elected a leader we believe in (affirmations!). And for the first time in our lives, we have a leader who believes in us. Yes, yes, today is a new day!

"But just look around us. There's trash on our play field. Again. That dog crapped in front of our school entrance this morning. Again. Last night people were arrested and taken from their families. People will still be sleeping on the streets this night. Today is a new day, for sure. But our world hasn't changed over night.

"And it won't. You have to change it! And it's going to take hard work. Your job now is to come to school every day and work your butts off. Every day. You are where the change begins. We, the people elected Barack Obama last night because we believe that, with his leadership you can be all that you hope to be. You can change your world, starting right now.

"And you have to. In four years they're going to ask if people did better. If people got better. If the answer is no; if you didn't work your butts off and become great; if you don't succeed, then they will elect someone else. And there may never be another black president here. There may never be another leader who believes in you again. It's that serious! Your every day work here, in this school means just that much. So, let's get to it!



A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
I do believe in what I said to my students. I do see the honest to goodness hope in their eyes. I do believe that the opportunity now to actually move forward (to the Left) is real. Now, Obama is the symbol of this opportunity, but make no mistake, we're going to have to fight him and his administration tooth and nail all the way. But at least we're ready to fight again!

On the upside, Obama is going to reverse some of Bush's anti-human executive orders, including the Global Gag Rule. This is huge, and as far as I'm concerned, fair reason to vote for a Democrat, no matter how terrible they will inevitably be.

As for those terrible things, here's some of what we'll have to contend with:

Rahm Emmanuel. This guy is a NAFTA supporter and generally a worker's nightmare. According to John Laesch:
As a senior member of the United States Congress, Rahm continued to support unfair trade agreements like NAFTA, cap-stoning his time in Congress by pushing hard to pass the largest piece of corporate welfare in American history, the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.


His involvement in the bailout makes sense, as he was also a Freddie Mac big-wig during a tidy little scandal where Freddie Mac
misreported profits by billions of dollars in order to deceive investors between the years 2000 and 2002.

That's the kind of change we could spare, if you know what I mean.

Oh yeah, did I mention that he introduced Obama to AIPAC.

SHOCK DOCTRINE NEWS

Royal Dutch Shell has been given a monopoly of Iraq's oil!
A secret document obtained by United Press International reveals a planned joint venture company between Royal Dutch Shell and the Iraqi Oil Ministry would give the company a 25-year monopoly on the gas industry of southern Iraq.

The ACLU has reported that the Bush administration is (again) blocking the release of photos that document the abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo.

SPORTS
Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos was prevented from paying tribute to Barack Obama after scoring a touchdown. Apparently he was about to pull a black and white glove from his uniform and put it on, as a symbol of progress with regards to racism. He says he got the idea from John Carlos and Tommy Smith.

Lebron James shared some boilerplate remarks about Obama. You'll have to excuse my cynicism when it comes to the "Witness" who refused to sign on to an open letter, written by Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Ira Newble, condemning China’s government for contributing to the genocide of people in the Darfur region of Sudan. Later for him.


Steve Young, on a brighter note, came out (ha!) against Prop 8 in California. He and his wife donated 50,000 to the campaign against the marriage equality ban.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

T.W.I.N #3: Barack The Vote; The Stupid Economy;

BARACK THE VOTE

So, according to fivethirtyeight.com (check out the side panel on the right) it's looking like Obama is going to walk away with this election. I mean, it's not over, but a 96% chance of victory is one that seems pretty clear. If you haven't checked out fivethirtyeight (so named b/c that's how many electoral votes there are in the nation), definitely do so. It was started by a baseball/moneyball guy, a stat-head who's got too much time on his hands. Thank Gawd for that! He basically weights all the state and national polls based on their historical accuracy and creates like 10,000 electoral scenarios a day to come up with a snapshot of the electorate. Today's 'results' are below:


NOTSOFAST

It's great to poll "likely" voters or registered voters or undecided voters or whomever, but what happens when that "likely" voter's vote is discarded? Or not picked up? Or blocked?


OK, so Oprah's voting tribulation is fairly innocuous, right? But check out this story from Georgia.
In a bold move this week, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) announced she was sending letters to 4,770 registered voters that they may have to cast "challenge" ballots that won't be counted on election day.

In a striking announcement, she also declared that regular citizens could address the "problem" of non-citizen voting by contesting the citizenship of fellow voters at the polls -- forcing them to also cast challenged ballots that won't be included in election day tallies.

Cynthia McKinney knows a little bit about the voter disenfranchisement in Georgia. She had her congressional seat ripped from under her due to republican gerrymandering (the Republicans used some of the same tactics in Connecticut re: Ned Lamont and Joe Sleaziman). McKinney's now running for prez on the Green Party ticket. Though I think this move is a mistake at this point in time I do support her run. She's pushing the Democrats to the left, which must be done. And, if we believe in the accuracy of 538, the questions that we have to ask circle around how we can force the Dems, and Obama, to recognize us and meet our needs.

In some uplifting news, 109-year old Amanda Jones cast her ballot for Obama last week. She's the daughter of a slave. Seriously. No words...











THE STUPID ECONOMY



Exxon posted record 3rd quarter profits. Surprised?

Goldman Sachs bags up $12 billion
of our money, and pays its execs $14 in bonuses! Seriously!

The Global Bailout = $5,000,000,000.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Week in Review #2: Gas; Bombs; Zizou

!DAME' GASOLINA!

Three countries that export gasoline (can you guess which ones?) have set up a "higher technical committee" to explore the possibilities of creating an OPEC for gas-exporters. Here's your hint for who these nations are:





According to the BBC article, the EU and US are pissed, for obvious reasons. But I think this could be a rather good thing. If nothing else, the electric cars that have been shredded in the desert could be reassembled!



MORE ON THE AXIS OF EVIL


A blogger for PBS has just written a story about how Google has blocked people in Iran and Syria from downloading Chrome, their new browser.
This news comes on the heels of an act of war against Syria by the US. Over the weekend the US bombed Syria, killing eight people, including four children, apparently. Don't you love double-standards!

I guess it's all about the bottom line for the Disaster Capitalists .

THE WORLD OF SPORTS

To cheer me up, I'm going to see Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

This Week In the News

I'm trying something which is, for me, a little new: This Week In News. The acronym is incidental. I read a fair amount of news, from the mainstream to the mundane; from the radical to the regular. I don't, however, have the time to focus my thoughts enough go in depth on any single topic. So, i figured I'd share some stories of interest and my thoughts about them. Here goes:


Fidel Drinks Your Milkshake

The BBC has reported that Cuba may have as much as 20 billion barrels of oil in its area of the Gulf of Mexico.
"If correct, Cuba's oil reserves would be almost the same as those of the US - 21bn barrels, according to the Oil & Gas Journal - and nearly twice the size of Mexico's - 11.7bn barrels."
If Cuba is able to develop this, the balance of power in the Western Hemisphere could significantly shift. Will an Obama administration engage Cuba diplomatically and end the retarded sanctions?!


Destroy Iraq, Then Skate

A venture capitalist from Colorado is planning a $500 million zoo and skate park project inside the "Green Zone."

'It's estimated that the country "will spend between $80 and $100 billion over the next four to five years rebuilding their economy," he says. "That's a tremendous entrepreneurial opportunity."'


According to the World Health Organization, upwards of 220,000 Iraqis have been killed in this conquest. John's Hopkins says it's over 600,000.

Often times people use the word "cynic" to describe me. Now, I won't get into it here--the difference between the Philosophy of Cynicism and the common usage--but to call Iraq a 'tremendous entrepreneurial opportunity' is sickening. You'll have to excuse my mistrust of this guy's motives.

I've been reading The Shock Doctrinelately, which deals with insane, anti-human "opportunities" like this skate park in Iraq. Whether it's war or tsunami or hurricanes, the destruction of a culture allows for others to pave their ways to some Orwellian utopia.

War is peace.


Schooling Disaster

On a related note, John McCain wants to replicate the "success" of New Orleans school "reform" nationwide. Since the government failures there in the preparations for, and aftermath of Katrina, the state of Louisiana has taken over 95 schools in New Orleans. They fired hundreds of veteran teachers, smashed the union (now there's no right for teachers to bargain collectively) and began the process of privatization by granting an enormous amount of school charters to private companies.

Nearly 70% of students in New Orleans are now educated in a variety of charter schools, with varying degrees of success/failure. According to this articlethere's no difference in achievement, two years into this "experiment", b/w public school students and charter school students. This is remarkable, to me, b/c charter schools are not bound by state funding restrictions, and can spend more money per student than public schools can. (Though not all charter schools do this, KIPP most certainly does.) Charters also have much more freedom to operate, which *should* ensure their success.

For example, a charter school likely starts up with only one grade, and adds a grade per year. They have the ability to set the tone for their schools with a small group of students, who can carry the mantle forward for years to come. The difference is huge.

Charter school advocates want to center the debate around "results", which is definitely compelling, but it over-simplifies things. There is a bigger picture, a picture that includes charters, for sure. But any notion that the way to "save" education is to essentially subsidize a private business takeover is completely ridiculous.

For the sake of full disclosure, I've worked in a charter school for the past two years, after 4 years of public school, and I do see benefit in them. I think that it is a mistake, a lack of imagination, for the Left to abandon them. But I do not pin my hopes for our educational future on them.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Israeli Terrorists Bomb Peace Now Activist & Professor

Professor Zeev Sternhell on Friday said the bomb attack against him late Wednesday was a sign that settler violence was spilling over the Green Line into Israel proper.

read more | digg story

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rape, Pillage & Palin


As it turns out, this policy (like Track) isn't one of Palin's babies. And Wasilla, Alaska isn't the only town that charges women for these forensic examinations. Palin did, however, support the policy. Maybe Alaskans can put some of that $1200 per year oil "stimulus" money to use here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Israel PM Ehud Olmert Indicted, Shaul Mofaz Under Investigation for War Crimes

Obama will not turn off this faucet


The Israeli Attorney General has been urged to launch a criminal investigation into whether Shaul Mofaz, a leading prime ministerial candidate, ordered "war crimes" to be committed when he was the military's chief of staff.

The corruption charges against Olmert are one thing--not terribly surprising, either. They highlight the instability and volatility of the Israeli political establishment. They've had so much turnover over the last 8 years, since the second Intifada started. Ehud Barak was forced out, Sharon the War Criminal took over, but his extreme right coalition failed and they had to realign. Then the "moderate" coalition took over, running on a hard right platform w/ regards to the Occupation. All-the-while Binyamin Netanyahu has been lying in the cut, waiting for the moment to re-emerge. Look out.

The War Crimes investigation are, to me, much more interesting (if not more significant). I figure it can play out in one of two ways: 1) the investigation will go nowhere and Mofaz will be shifted to a new post; or 2) Mofaz will take the fall to preserve, and even strengthen, the systems that are in place. If you watch The Wire, think Ervin Burrell.


read more | digg story

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Obama, Israel and the Continuing Occupations



Robert Fisk, a hero for real, wrote a lucid piece recently about Obama and the illegal occupation of Palestinian land by Israel. The piece also touches on The future of Iraq, which is bleak, to be sure.

The link to above is to Obama's recent speech to AIPAC (who I've talked about before--some of their members are on trial for passing US Security/War plans to Israel). They are the policy organ for Israel in the US, and every president, Republican and Democrat alike, takes direction from them.

The speech is about 36 minutes long, which is definitely too much for my stomach to handle, but if you have a little time, check out some of it.

I can't help but to wonder what the hell he means when he says: "we must mean what we say when we speak the words 'Never again.'"

The evidence abounds. It is happening. Again.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Conventional: Watch and Discuss



I watched Obama's acceptance speech the other night...in a bar (200 5th, in Brooklyn). The man has surely intrigued the people of the nation, if he hasn't captured our imaginations outright. I mean, I never thought that a sports bar would shut off the game (NCAA Football's opening day) for a political speech. But it happened! And although the substance of the speech itself was fairly standard, and doesn't approach Jesse Jackson's 1984 DNC address, I think that Obama did connect with people in some significant ways. Jackson set the bar for convention speeches, and it's troubling in the extreme how Obama has turned away from the Reverend(s).

It would be easy to dismiss his speech as boilerplate. It definitely stuck close to the formula. However, I think he did something extremely important--he identified w/ us, the People, in a real and true way. He has recognized that we, the people of this nation, are not "warriors"--we don't relate to being at war in the traditional sense. By that I mean, "war" for most of us is Vietnam. It's that dirty word, that morally repugnant aspect of our nation that we don't want to identify with.

And though we don't identify with war in the way that our parents and grandparents do, we do love our elders and understand that they have been through that hell. And that is strength! Check out what he says about this below:

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great - a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Breaking Bread


I Googled myself again (soooo goooood!) and came across this review in the Institute for Jerusalem Studies. It must've been written in the Winter/Spring of 2004-'05. Alain Epp Weaver reviews a number of books published over the last few years by international solidarity activists in Palestine. His review is incredibly important, as it's the only one that i've come across that treats our work as literature. Most of the commentary on the subject (genre?) is either dismissive or sycophantic. Weaver treats us as serious writers and activists, and raises some great questions along the way.

I also appreciate the way that he uses my work to frame his discussion for a couple reasons: 1) i feel like my work has sound political analysis; 2) i believe in the goals of this specific peace and justice work, and the connections between the work and the writing. Ultimately, it's about real people doing real things. It's not a "historical/religious conflict" as it is so often portrayed to be. The true religion is the actual, living communion of peoples.

I'm really glad that he picked up on that and raised the "is this some sort of secular eucharist?" question. Yes! For me it is. I try to convey that through my writings, and i'm glad that it came through, personally. On a bigger scale, i'm elated that he's centering his discussion in this context. It feels awesome, actually. I know it's a small thing, and that very few ever even read that publication (i had never heard of it), but whatever. I feel like, if that idea is out there, then my writing wasn't in vain, which is how i've been feeling for the last 6 years.

On a related note, i'd be remiss to leave out the story of how Peace Under Fire came to publish my work in the first place...the truth is that I don't know. I do know and respect a couple of the editors, but they never requested any work from me. Neither did they notify me that they my articles were being used. I only found out when I was in Bluestockings one day and came across the book on the shelf. Of course I was interested, so I flipped through it and, lo-and-behold, there's "My Mother's Son"! I was, and am, grateful that they used it, but slightly distressed that nary a word was ever said to me. I contacted Verso multiple times, by phone and email, and never got a reply. To this day, I don't know what to make of it all.

Searching Jenin is the other book that published my work, and for that I am eternally grateful. (Ilan Pappe reviewed it inCounterPunch). Ramzy Baroud has done a great service to human history with this book. I can't say enough about the book. It's a grenade.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

AIPAC on Trial!

Israeli kids writing messages on bombs during summer camp.

Click the picture for the NY Times article about the trial of AIPAC lobbyists on trial for passing US war plans (for Iran) to Israel. Elliot Abrams can be called as a witness, which should be enlightening. He has a long history of espionage, specifically Iran/Contras.

For related news, check out this story from Counterpunch in 1999 about the Anti-Defamation League's spying on u.s. citizens who supported the ANC in South Africa.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell



The Times Square Military Recruiting Station was bombed early this morning. Nobody was injured. Traffic was only temporarily interrupted.

read more | digg story

Friday, February 29, 2008

No Spring Rolls!? What'll Sharon Eat Now?

Oh, yeah...Palestinan babies

Click on the picture to read this story from a couple weeks ago. One interesting thing about the article is that it says Israel was "seeking to plug a gap in the labour market during the first Palestinian uprising [so it] allowed in foreigners to work. But now it is trying to limit those numbers to create more jobs for Israelis." There is no mention, let alone questioning of the explicitly racist nature of this state. It is, truly, insane!

Beyond that, Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine is destroying its *own* economy. Its unemployment and poverty rates are as high as they've ever been (perplexing that a state founded on the strength of socialist ideals has unemployment at all), precisely because all of its resources--and plenty of ours--are funneled into the occupation. The only question I have is: Does the u.s. instruct, or learn from, Israel?

read more | digg story

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sympathize With Gaza!



Read David Zirin's column about Muhammad Aboutreika's bold act in the African Nation's Cup. In my view Zirin rightly compares this act with Muhammad Ali's Vietnam protest. Although Aboutreika is not risking jail time, he is siding with The People, against both his government (Egypt was the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel) and all other Arab regimes who cynically mouth support for Palestinians while profiting off of the continued subjugation of Palestinians.

DRY VICTORY?


Although neither Obama or Clinton will ever work to repeal NAFTA, the fact that the final nail in Hillary's coffin could be vague statements of support for the trade agreement, years ago, is a minor victory for us! Our true coalition of anarchists, labor, queers, commies etc has pushed the issue to the tipping point!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Guantanamo Panties!



Click the pic to take an hilarious quiz on the War of Errors AND win these hot bikinis!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The day politics stopped working


Well, I think the title is a little misleading. (To read the article that I'm responding to, click the "Day Politics Stopped" link after this post.) I mean, the machine didn't stop; it may have taken a smoke-break, but that was only to adapt and refine it's abilities to crush our collective will. We can't forget that The War, as it is now defined, hadn't yet begun. (Of course, this definition supposes that economic sanctions that only affect common people is not "war".) Our movements in the streets that day, all over the world (I was in NYC) would not affect that particular day. Nor would they stop or even slow this war. And although the author of this article rightfully criticizes us for not sustaining our movement (in the street), we have had some successes over the past years.

A number of local, state and national politicians have been voted out by, well, us based on their support for this slaughter. I won't run through them all here, but I will mention Joe Lieberman, who's own party has rejected him in the Connecticut state primaries. He ended up retaining his seat, but only because of Republican support. One can't help but to think that his days are numbered.

The Democrat presidential primaries, too, have come to be characterized by both Obama & Clinton's stance on Iraq. Clinton is slipping into irrelevance, as she just can't make up her mind about this war. We know she's made some money from it, though. Obama has learned from Kerry's moronic waffling, and is using organizing tactics similar to the ones "we" use for our own mobilizations. He's hitting the phones, the streets, the schools and the web and energizing the true base of the party.

Make no mistake, he and Clinton are fairly harmonious when it comes to policies, which is why Iraq is crucial in this primary (and will be even bigger against McCain if Obama wins the nomination).So, here in the u.s., our efforts have had some impact, though the war rages on. I fear however, that, like in Vietnam, the only thing that will end it is virulent resistance by the Iraqis.

Day Politics Stopped | digg story

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Review: "June Jordan's Life and Letters" by Valerie Kinloch (Chapters 1-3)


In reading Valerie Kinloch's sort of biography of June Jordan, June Jordan: Her Life and Letters, I get stuck in two thickets. The first is Kinloch's failure of political imagination. She approaches Jordan's life and work from the un-real world of The Academy, as opposed to the lived-in and living world of actual people. Over and over again Kinloch refers to the "alleged violence" in Jordan's early life, calling into question Jordan's own documented experiences. Kinloch has a peevishly liberal, and literal, understanding of violence, evidently. And even so, I'm bewildered as to how a young black woman who sleeps with a knife under her pillow, just in case her father comes for her in the middle of the night, warrents the appellation "alleged" violence. Even the most conservative defintion can't ignore that. It's a weapon! In the hands of a teen aged girl!

Kinloch provides scant evidence to refute any of Jordan's autobiographical work on the matter, which leaves me to question Kincloch's motive and position. This spurious scholarship belies a hopelessly elementary understanding of her "subject," the life and writings of Ms. Jordan.

Maybe my biggest problem is that Kinloch treats June as a subject. A cadaver to be studied. Her wooden prose (to borrow a term from Edward Said) certainly attests to this point. Her writing is dead. There is no passion for June--her life or her letters. Just dull recitations of information that is readily available from June's own work. Kinloch doesn't really come to any meaningful insights or reveal anything of value, which leaves me feeling terribly deflated. June's life was about the connections that words create between truly different peoples. Prose and poetry are not simply words on pages. June always stressed that all words--written, said, thought--must be connected to purposeful action. Kinloch has missed this ethic. She may get it conceptually, but in practice her writing is dead weight.