Monthly Archives: July 2006

Worrying about what is televised is not yet the revolution.

Worrying about what is televised is not yet the revolution. (apologies to Gil Scott Heron)

Photographs. The pictures we see of the wounded and dead from Lebanon deserve close brave attention (never looking away) not only because they still have affective purchase and really do provoke outrage and anger but also because they produce so much frustration and despair. To use these pictures to call for petition signatures or to gather people to a demo is not their best purpose, even when for some, or most, they are so specifically deployed. These pictures also undermine any lingering attachments to or illuions in (if there still were any) figures like Condoleeza Rice, Bush, Bliar, and to democracy, civilization, justice, sanity, safety. All very necessary to note, but hardly all that new. So maybe what is still needed – in the face of cold hard staring, shock, tears, rage, is the persistent articulation of a project to build a political alternative which can work here – and not the false alternative scorched-earth war-crimes adventures of Israel, Rice and Blair, but the alternative of a communist future radically different from the death from the sky we see on television and internet every day now. This is why Lenin is relevant, why State and Revolution should be reread and why despair in the face of these horrific pictures is only the first stumble that must be followed by further quick steps that – we can still hope – will someday gain us some balance. Worrying about what is televised is not yet the revolution.

Get to the demonstration at 5pm today at Downing Street:

[END THE ATTACKS ON LEBANON & GAZA •END BLAIR'S SUPPORT FOR BUSH'S WARS London Protest Friday 28 July 5pm to 7pm Downing Street, Whitehall, SW1].

The trouble with the affective call of the photograph or video report of the scene of horror is that to sign petitions, attend a demo or give to charity is still a step in-line. None of these ethically-applauded gestures are sufficiently disruptive of capital to avoid seamless editing back into the commercial programming that is televisual War. What I am more interested in are those organizations that have managed painstakingly to recruit and educate a constituency that sustains such a disruptive critique of capital in and though struggle. The programme of education and the ethical charge of such groups deserves our support and our participation, and if must needs be, long hours of study at the very least. I am interested to know how, despite seemingly over whelming attacks, have the Maoists in Nepal, the Naxalites in India or the New Peoples Army in the Philippines organized for success.

What is it that Leftist education has that is not there in other alternatives – I am thinking of the rote learning, recitation and other dullities that, at least usually, ideally, are not part of the critical countenance of the Marxist cadre (clearly I am excluding a kind of clichéd Trotskyite fanatic here, who reads off simplified political diagnostic from the condescending pages of the Socialist Worker). That a critical education is part of the Leninist or Maoist party is not always guaranteed is probably true – there are many possible examples – but there are some – even within the SWP for sure – that sustain and cherish this kind of education work, and it is sustained over vast stretches of time and against all sorts of odds. Especially so I think in some places more than others, in my experience, which is confined to a few small groups of ‘former’ Naxalites in Kolkata, a few meetings with members of the NPA, and connections with Malaysian comrades that still inspire, even when sometimes enamoured with other kinds of (art, literature, law) projects. I learnt much from such education and leave it to others to learn themselves alongside if that is possible – indeed, it continues to structure even my vane attempt to turn interests in culture in London towards a global politics rather than a culture industry cash-in (though often at Goldsmiths the latter looks more likely – and that Saatchi, Murdoch or Unilever will employ the best minds – the managing director of Unilever once told me ‘john, teach them the most critical Marx you can, we do not want to employ yes men, we want thinkers’… eeek. So the task is to teach critical thinking and to learn alongside, but also to organise an employment other than for Unilever, Murdoch or Saatchi. Ideally maybe also other than Goldsmiths inc).

Sorry. But I just can’t do that straight routine academic serious role-play anymore today. Course I do not have a better option and I do not want to be president of the world of the party, but there seems no justification for passively watching my flat screen tv, even with ‘informed’ critical liberal concern, while Lebanon, Iraq are soon Iran are refashioned into Greater Texas. And I don’t want to write a research application about it.

Texas. Sure, Greater Texas has been in trouble for a while, ‘darnit, we jus’ can’t get them Iraqis to lay down dead’ either. And though going to the demos over years and years has not dinted a single cell in the barren stalk that is Bush’s war-mongering brain, and his Bliar glove puppet (not puppy – enough poodle jokes, that just makes the killer look cute) still clings on to his sub-commander post in worse shape than ever, its still the case that we have not managed to stand up yet. I still believe we should and can, even in London, by-passed withered heart of the old Empire… My day is unravelling at the thought of what might happen if the United Nations were instead United Communists and the anti-war demo was not just a long walk to the park… Someone said tonight maybe more than a stumble is needed

Can you believe Janis Joplin was also from Texas. How is that plausible?
“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”

Protest against Condi Rice in Kuala Lumpur – Get Lost adn Get Out

Protest against Condi Rice in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, 27 July 2006

A small crowd of two hundred people called on US Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice to get lost and condemned the Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as well as ASEAN foreign ministers for having an audience with Rice.
The crowd led by Coalition Against War Malaysia gathered in front of the KLCC Twin Towers and walked to the KL Convention centre where the 39th. Asean Ministerial meeting was to take place. The Coalition was led by political parties and Non Government Organisation. The gathering today was mainly participated by members of the Parti Socialist Malaysia (PSM), Malaysian Justice Party (PKR) and the Islamic Party PAS. Others present were the Coalition of the Oppressed People – JERIT. Food not Bombs, DEMA and SUARAM. A huge number of media people were present to cover the event.
In a surprising move, the police contacted the organisers in the morning and gave an express permit for the gathering in spite of no parties applying for one.

From the KLCC towers, the group carried their banners and walked to the Convention Centre. The groups then gathered in front of the Convention centres and shouted slogans and gave speeches. A moderate presence of Police blocked the entrance and put up a human barricade. The demonstrators went on shouting slogans. Among the most used phrase was “ Down with US”, “Rice get lost”, “ Stop the War”, “ Down with Zionist Israel” .
A string of speakers gave speeches bombarding the US and its role in the current crisis in Middle East. Among the speaker’s were PSM’s National Chairperson Comrade Nasir Hashim, PAS National Treasurer Hatta Ramli, JERIT Coordinator. Letchimi Devi, SUARAM Executive Director Yap Swee Seng and PKR Vice Youth Chief Shamsul Iskandar.

S.Arutchelvan, the Secretary General of PSM as well as spokesperson for the Coalition Against War Malaysia read the joint statement. The joint statement called on the following
Israel immediately stops its attack on Palestine and Lebanon
The US immediately stops its occupation of Iraq and pull out its troops from Iraq
Israel and the US be held accountable for the crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression and be prosecuted under International law
The United States close down the infamous Guantonomo Bay detention centre
Malaysian government not to negotiate free trade agreement with the US that will further promote its imperialist agenda and economic hegemony at the expense of Malaysians.
Attempts to submit the joint memorandum failed as no one from the ASEAN Secretariat wanted to receive the joint statement in spite of numerous attempts made by the police to contact them. Finally a delegation of five people walked to the staircase of the convention centre accompanied by policemen and placed the joint statement at the stairs of the Convention centre and left the venue.
The gathering today was a small one but was a symbolic gesture that the US is not popular anywhere in the world. The people gathered today were frustrated with the US and even more frustrated for them to be given special audience by ASEAN.


Updates on the aggression against lebanon

Updates on the aggression against lebanon: “Mapping of Israeli assault: July 12-24

posted by zeina at 8:18 PM 3 comments
Minute by Minute:: July 25
14:01 Six Israeli air strikes on environs of al-Khiam, Ibl al-Saqi and al-Khiam/Marjeoun road
13:58 Lebanese army command calls on all soldiers and reserves to help with relief work
13:50 Nabih Berri: only solution is for Israelis to withdraw from Sheba’a Farms and K’farshouba hill, hand over landmine maps and exchange prisoners; afterwards if US wants comprehensive solution, Lebanon will be part of it
13:37 Israeli shelling of populated area in Mays al-Jabal
13:35 Renewed Israeli shelling of several villages near Sour (Tyre)
13:30 Nabih Berri: Israelis lost number of tanks in Maroun al-Ras and were not able to advance; that is why every single house in Bint Jbeil is being demolished; there is no difference in outlook with Siniora
13:24 Italian Prime Minister: main aim of Rome conference is implementation of ceasefire in Lebanon
13:20 Nabih Berri: Israel’s policies in Lebanon unrelated to abduction of two soldiers; timing for their abduction was known since last exchange of prisoners, which was incomplete; [DR!] Rice’s effect on Lebanon remains, although she is no longer here, through her minions; Rice did not give priority to cease fire and her conditions are danger to Lebanese unity; Rice called for keeping border area uninhabited, till after reconstruction; Israel is blocking swift exchange of prisoners; we only suggested prisoner exchange
13:14 Nabih Berri to al-Arabiya TV: meeting with Rice was tense
13:12 German News Agency: 25 injured in Haifa as result of Hezbollah shelling
13:10 Fouad Siniora to lead Lebanese delegation to Rome
13:05 Olmert in favor of continuing war, Rice calls for new Middle East
The horror, the horror

correspondences of theory – citation

- a reply to a fav student on our MA Postcolonial in CCS who asked about ways to present his work on charity/WTO etc. My reply turned out to be as much for me as for him, got me thinking about how trinketization in anthropology left us adrift, bereft of purpose and value, and how critique, curriculum, and theory might be transformed so as to… anyways… –

Hi Timo

You ask which theorist? Of course this was exactly the problem I had with my Calcutta book – looking for a theorist to say the sort of things I wanted to say: that charity is a way of assuaging guilt; that it would never do for redistributive justice; that issues of representation still matter – but matter more than the those who wrote of the crisis of representation in anthropology could see; indeed, that the crisis – at least in anthropology – led us to a politics without radicalism; that the constant talk of crisis is a substitute for a sustained politics of change; and from there that the anthropology curriculum needs substantial reform; that universities have lost their capacity for critical appraisal of their role; that the current vogue for difference is misplaced and under theorised; that anti-racist work in the university and metropolis is more about avoiding guilt that acting against really existing racism… and all this I ended up writing about as “trinketisation” – how our discrete studies became fascinated with discrete items, unable to theorise how it all fits together as neo-cultural imperialism. Of course Marx was the theorist that mattered, but who uses him in a way that addresses these specificities? Well, only Gayatri Spivak. Who is the one person I will always read first.

Well, and maybe in a lesser way George Yudice in ‘The Expediency of Culture‘ – though that book does not go far enough.

Hmmm, this is becoming a speech – guess I will post it somewhere (everything is a blog-athon nowadays).

I hope you can find a way forward – sounds to me that you can/are already.
Thanks for the nice words – stay in touch.
Its a good time to be in Berlin.

be well

Marx Course for next Year. (draft)

Lecture course 2006-2007 – Centre for Cultural Studies. [draft]

“Cultural Studies and Capitalism”

Lecturer: John Hutnyk, CCS.

This course will take Marx’s Capital Volume One as a core text, reading a chapter a week (Penguin translation), supplemented by more recent commentators and examples prominent in the theoretical and practical corpus of cultural studies broadly defined. A reader of key texts will be provided.

Week 1. Introduction –Trinkets. Commodities. Consideration is given to how we will read “Marx”, and why.

Spivak 1985 ‘Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value’ in Diacritics vol 15 (4).

Week 2. Fetishism, Exotica. The secret of commodities. The fetish is the key concept in the opening chapter of Capital. This mysterious moment has to be contextualized.

Derrida 1994 Spectres of Marx London: Routlege

Week 3. Market and the trick of Exchange – Exchange value leads us to the market, the site of a transaction where labour is sold to capital in what looks like a fair deal.

Bataille 1934 ‘The Notion of Expenditure’ in 1997 The Bataille Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.

Week 4. Production – technology, mechanization, machines, the factory… ‘No admission except on business’.

Penley 1997 NASA/TREK. Popular Science and Sex in America London: Verso

Week 5. Workers – class composition. Marx spends considerable time in Capital documenting the conditions of the factory. Engels did similar work in Manchester.

Wright, 2000 Storming Heaven, London: Pluto.

Week 6. Programme Monitoring Week

Week 7. Time and Technology – There is a general perception that the time of production is dominated by speed.

Heidegger 1955 The Question Concerning Technology New York: Harper Collins 1982.

Week 8. Education – control-reproduction. The workforce has to be trained, taught, brought up. Their runny noses must be wiped.

Fortunati 1996 The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labour and Capital new York: Autonomedia.

Week 9. Circulation, transport, world system, fall of all Chinese walls, compelled to adopt the culture industry,

Adorno 1991 ‘The Culture Industry Revisited’ in The Culture Industry London: Routledge

Week 10. Pre Capitalistic Economic Formations. Marx goes back to origins at the end, but thinks forward. Onwards and Upwards.

Hardt and Negri 2000 Empire Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press

Week 11 – revision. Marx, 18th Brumaire London: Pluto Press.

3quarksdaily deluge on the tongue, taste that, anticipate, our appetites agog…

3quarksdaily: “Pynchon on Amazon
In Slate:
Things did not delay in turning curious when the first beats of the drumroll began for Thomas Pynchon’s forthcoming book. Last month, lit-bloggers and news-writers reported that Penguin Press would issue the author’s sixth novel in December. This whetted the palates of those hard-core fans who have spent the years since 1997’s Mason & Dixon speculating that Pynchon was at work on a doozy about lady mathematicians of the old school and also, uhm, Mothra. Last week, put up a page that listed Untitled Thomas Pynchon at a svelte 992 pages and bore a description purportedly written by the master himself. In fact, it purported quite well indeed and also rather charmingly, promising an archetypal Pynchonian buffet of settings, characters, and old tricks (‘Characters stop what they’re doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically.’) Then the description just vanished from the page.
Was this a hoax? A jump-the-gun glitch? A hype?
Posted by Robin Varghese at 05:04 PM Permalink Comments (0) TrackBack (0) ” | Three Letters from Beirut Three Letters from Beirut:
[thanks to Kee Yong for pointing towards this]

“As per the usual of Lebanon, it’s not only about Lebanon, the country has paradigmatically been the terrain for regional conflicts to lash out violently. Off course speculations abound. There is rhetoric, and a lot of it, but there are also Theories.

1) Theory Number One. This is about Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah negotiating an upper hand in the negotiations with Israel. Hezbollah have indicated from the moment they captured the Israeli soldiers that they were willing to negotiate in conjunction with Hamas for the release of all Arab prisoners in Israeli jails. Iran is merely providing a back support for Syria + Hamas.

2) Theory Number Two. This is not about solidarity with Gaza or strengthening the hand of the Palestinians in negotiating the release of the prisoners in Israeli jails. This is about Iran’s nuclear bomb and negotiations with the Europeans/US. The Iranian negotiator left Brussels after the end of negotiations and instead of returning to Tehran, he landed in Damascus. Two days later, Hezbollah kidnapped the Israeli soldiers. The G8 Meeting is on Saturday, Iran is supposed to have some sort of an answer for the G8 by then. In the meantime, they are showing to the world that they have a wide sphere of control in the region: Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. In Lebanon they pose a real threat to Israel. The “new” longer-reaching missiles that Hezbollah fired on Haifa are the message. The kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia issued statements holding Hezbollah solely responsible for bringing on this escalation, and that is understood as a message to Iran. Iran on the other hand promised to pay for the reconstruction of destroyed homes and infrastructures in the south. And threatened Israel with “hell” if they hit Syria.

3) Theory Number Three. This is about Lebanon, Hezbollah and 1559 (the UN resolution demanding the disarmement of Hezbollah and deployment of the Lebanese army in the southern territory). It stipulates that this is no more than a secret conspiracy between Syria, Iran and the US to close the Hezbollah file for good, and resolve the pending Lebanese crisis since the assassination of Hariri. Evidence for this conspiracy is Israel leaving Syria so far unharmed. Holders of this theory claim that Israel will deliver a harsh blow to Hezbollah and cripple the Lebanese economy to the brink of creating an internal political crisis. The resolution would then result in Hezbollah giving up arms, and a buffer zone between Israel and Lebanon under the control of the Lebanese army in Lebanon and the Israeli army in the north of Galilee. More evidence for this Theory are the Saudi Arabia and Jordan statements condemning Hezbollah and holding them responsible for all the horrors inflicted on the Lebanese people.

There are more theories… There is also the Israeli government reaching an impasse and feeling a little wossied out by Hezbollah and Hamas, and the Israeli military taking the upper hand with Olmert.

So, this all is a more elaborate way of saying its shit from all sides. Lebanon gets it bad whatever the scenario.

Fun^Da^Mental’s ‘All Is War’

hawgblawg: “Positive review of Fun^Da^Mental’s ‘All Is War’
At last, a critic able to actually engage with Fun^Da^Mental’s forthcoming release (due out at the end of the month) All Is War–a review by Chris Campion, writing in The Observer. Some choice bits:

Strip away the outrage, then, and what’s left is an album pieced together with great consideration. To provoke not just a reaction but thought and debate…Musically, too, it’s audacious and, at times, exhilarating…it is underpinned by a militant faith: a faith in humanity to lance the boil afflicting society and reveal the poison swelling up within. Fear, intolerance, ignorance and self-interest are the hallmarks of Blair’s Britain underneath its thin veneer of civility and morality.
posted by Ted Swedenburg @ 8:57 PM “

Aki here and FDM here.

double-think Australian mining PNG mining Indonesian (alleged) terror mining Riotinto and Tim Spicer in Iraq just loving it. (and Israeli Blitzkrieg)

OK, here is a convoluted double-think. News just in. The Papua New Guinea army commander that ousted that mercenary pom and stiff-lipped bastard Tim Spicer and Sandline International from PNG when they came to intervene in the Bougainville war in 1997, must now be jealous that the same bastard Lord of War (Spicer) is suddenly resurgent and making mega millions selling arms in Iraq. So he – PNG commander (actually now retired Major General) Singirok – is complaining that the Australia Government’s cutting of the PNG military budget is making it more likely that (alleged) Indonesian terrorists from Jemaah Islamiah will enter PNG and threaten Australian mining interests, making the miners a target. This is truly choice. Remembering that the reason Singarok was able to get rid of the mercenaries of Sandline was because his own PNGDF troops rebelled at not being paid for months and months while being on the back foot in the Bougainville war (despite considerable covert and overt Australian military support), made worse by the fact that the then PNG PM purchased outside mercenary help, which in turn drove the demoralised and unpaid rebellious soldiers to near mutiny. Spicer and his mercenary cronies didn’t even have time to pack their bags, leaving all sorts of weaponry on the Port Moresby tarmac. On the back of this, ten years later the Australian effort is to reduce the PNGDF via payouts to halve the size of the force – that in itself quite twisted double think – pay your enemies to have less troops (in another zone, you can’t help but think the Israeli Blitzkrieg in Lebanon might go easier if they did the same eh, evil nasties). All of this convolution in terms of ‘defence support’ and mining interests is, I guess unsurprisingly, a consequence of tactical deployment of funds to bolster international econonmic interests (Australian, British and US mining) via the flexing of Australian military aspiration/asdventurism in the area, becoming regional cop and invading Solomons, East Timor etc… So Singirok’s delightful double-think threat is that because of the (alleged) targetting of Australian miners in PNG (awww, diddums) from (alleged) Indonesian terrorists, his own defence force (PNGDF) should be re-tooled so as to have capacity to protect said Australian miners. Lost track yet? – the mining operations are the biggest cash cow for international mining companies yet imagined, perhaps with the exception of arms sales. An audit of contemporary colonialism will clearly require more than average accountants. Rio tinto corporate executives must be licking their filthy chops.

You can read the article about Singirok in today’s Australian newspaper here.

double think Australia-PNG etc etc

Here is an amazing article from the Australian newspaper today, also (double think) discussed on Trinketization:

Australia has ‘opened PNG door to JI’

By Lloyd Jones in Port Moresby

July 19, 2006

INDONESIAN terrorists have an open door into PNG to target Australians and their mining and energy interests thanks to Canberra’s push to slash the size of PNG’s military, says the force’s former commander.

Retired Major-General Jerry Singirok, who in 1997 defied PNG’s government and ousted Sandline mercenaries deployed to crush Bougainville secessionists, said the downsizing of the PNG military from more than 5000 troops to 2000 had crippled it.
Security on the border with the Indonesian province of Papua was already severely compromised with few or no PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) soldiers in place where full companies should patrol, he said.
The Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) posed a huge threat to Australia and PNG when the porous 760km border allowed illegal and suspicious migrants to cross with ease, Maj-Gen Singirok said.
“They would certainly target Australia’s major investments in Papua New Guinea.
“As we have seen with the calls by Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts, they group Australia together with America and England as their enemy.”
Major resource targets such as the Hides gas project, the proposed gas pipeline to Australia, the Ok Tedi and Porgera gold and copper mines, and oil installations in the Gulf of Papua were potential targets, he said.
“Any terrorist with intention (to do harm) would obviously strike where there’s no defence, no security systems in place.
“If they cannot hit Australia on its home soil, they’re going to hit Australia where it hurts.
“There’s billions of dollars of Australian investment in PNG and there’s a relatively significant population of Australians.”
The downsizing of the PNGDF, with soldier payouts funded by Australia, was “humiliating” and “a major security blunder” that compromised PNG, Australian and regional security, he said.
Maj-Gen Singirok said Australia constantly accused the PNGDF of being a destabilising factor though the force had never threatened to take over the government.
“My challenge to Australia is it should not see us a destabilising force, it should strengthen us, give us equal training and the same standards as the Australian Defence Force because we can be a major force of deterrence in the region.”
An Australian-backed program to destroy around 3000 surplus PNGDF weapons also compromised the force’s capability, Maj-Gen Singirok said.,20867,19840036-1702,00.html

in Utrecht this is not a pipe

No news from lebanon?

Yehia writes – Monday, 17 July 8.10pm:
“dear friends.

I am crying and shaking from head to toe with rage and grief. so forgive me for sending this. But everyone should know what is happening in lebanon. And this will not happen through the mainstream corporate media.
The following message was sent by Hanady Salman, an editor at a local lebanese newspaper As-Safir:

Dear friends and colleagues ,

You will all have to excuse me for sending this. It’s pictures of thebodies of babies killed by the israelis in South lebanon. They are all burnt. I need your help. I am almost certain these pictures won’t bepublished in the West, although they are associated press pictures. I need your help exposing them if you can. The problem is these are people who were asked to leave their village , Ter Hafra , this morning , within two hours , or else…. So those who were able to flee went to the closer UN base wherethey were asked to leave. I think that after the Qana massacres in 1996 when civilians were bombed after they took shelter in UN headquarters , the UN does not want to be responssible for the lives of civilians.

A FEW MINUTES AGO , the Israeli asked the people of Al Bustan village in the south to evacuate their homes. I am afraid massacares will keep happening as long as Israeli actions are uncheked.

Please help us if you can

Hanady Salman “

Media Racism

This piece was written by Imogen for a possible book on the film Injustice. We approached 19 publishers for the book, but while screenings do occur now, because the film was banned/threatened for so long by the court injunctions of the Police Federation, no publisher seemed able to risk a publication. As you can see from below, the failure of the publishers (some respected left wing houses) was not because of the quality of the writing – here as ever Imogen was on the case. [pic by Sheila - Goldsmiths Graduation - top Imogen with Brian and Cinzia in blue, bottom, some of the graduating class].

Media Racism:
Reporting black deaths in the British press: Injustice and the right to reply.

‘Black deaths do not have a good press, especially when they occur in the custody of our custodians…the media leads the public to believe that our guardians can do no wrong. Racism leads them to believe that blacks can do no right. The silence of the custodial system is compounded by the silences of racism’ (Sivanandan).

It is from within these silences that Injustice speaks. As Sivanadan’s resolute remark suggests, the film was, in part, a necessary response to the media’s selective and often dubiously scarce reportage. Why is it that the one thousand deaths in custody that have occurred since 1969 can largely have slipped through the pages of our national press whilst at the same time the deaths of Stephen Lawrence, Victoria Climbe and Damilola Taylor have, for instance, frequently made the front covers of both broadsheets and tabloids? When the key suspects in the murder of Stephen Lawrence were charged with committing a racist attack on an off duty black police officer the Daily Mirror’s front page announced ‘GOTCHA! Two down, three to go, as justice finally catches up with racist Lawrence thugs’. And yet, in the post-Macpherson world it is all too easy perhaps to be seduced by such jubilance. After all, justice for the death of Stephen Lawrence never did catch up with his killers. The justice just delivered was for a racial attack on a police officer. And, if we are to be cynical, it mostly provided a perfect space for the press to celebrate an apparently reformed Metropolitan police.

The same week however, on page eight of the Guardian we are told that when Christopher Alder died face down in a police station in Hull in 1998, he was surrounded by police making monkey noises. In a letter to his sister, the CPS reported that ‘it is not possible to infer that there was a racist motivation here’. This, less impressive judicial decision is far from the front page – ‘black deaths do not have a good press’. Injustice was a way of exposing the long and continuing history of (black) deaths in custody where a politically correct rather than a politically [engaged?] press had not been adequate. Exploring the press’ handling of the cases featured in the Injustice provides a way of understanding the sticky politics of reporting deaths in custody and may open up a space in which to re-view the cases.

Whilst it is probably a truism for those involved in the campaigns for justice of people who have died in police custody, it is worth noting at the outset a point all too often forgotten when Britain celebrates the freedom of its press and the quality of its news, that is:

‘The media do not simply and transparently report events which are ‘naturally’ newsworthy in themselves. ‘News’ is the end product of a complex process which begins with a systematic sorting of events and topics according to a socially constructed set of categories’ (Hall et al 1978:53).

Deaths in custody are reported within a wider media context of black deaths, which more often than not, are associated with crime, gangs and drugs. The furore over guns from the ghettos at the concerts of the So Solid Crew was synchronous with the trial of the killers of schoolboy Damilola Taylor. And, whilst providing stark contrast to one another, together portrayed a kind of black underworld where, as the Guardian noted, ‘Gun crime in London is at an all-time high, and black violence against black people of particular concern, with 21 deaths last year’. A few months later, rising crime rates were the front cover of all the national press, and the shadow home secretary announced that ‘everyone on the estates in our inner cities knows…it is gangs and drug dealers rather than the forces of law and order that are in charge’ (Guardian 12/7/2002).

When gangs and drug dealers have been repeatedly inferred as being black, the violence of the police force towards to black people, or the disproportionate figures of black deaths in custody can be seen not as racism but rather as the inevitable result of black criminality. This might be one of the ‘socially constructed set of categories’ within which black deaths in police custody are reported, or not. And what it effectively creates is the idea that the force of the police is ‘reasonable’. However, when the controversial stop and search laws make it five times more likely to be stopped if you are black, then already there is a disproportionate chance that in being stopped, the police feel that a certain degree of force is reasonable. Indeed race and crime are so closely associated by the media that the Guardian chose to quote the Voice editor calling for more stop and search in the face of rising street crime and gun related offences,

‘Most people would prefer not to be stopped and searched, but increasing crime is warranting that and the majority of people who have nothing to hide won’t mind very much’ (Guardian 5/3/2002).
So, Mike Best, portrayed as a spokesperson for black people, has reiterated the most cunning of media tricks, creating the functional equivalent of the deserving and undeserving poor. The emphasis is shifted from the fact that stop and search, undertaken by a self confessed ‘institutionally racist’ police force is a dubious and dangerous tactic. And again, it obfuscates the fact that people stopped and searched, such as Brian Douglas, or arrested on suspicion of robbery such as Wayne Douglas, are dead. It is not even that the people who ‘have nothing to hide’ always get off lightly. Moreover, following the theme of the deserving and undeserving, a great deal of post-Macpherson media spin has played on the idea that the police are now too afraid of being accused of being racist that they won’t stop black people. The delight with which the nation mimicked Ali G’s ‘Is it cos I is black?’ was a serious indicator of how little the term ‘institutionally racist’ had been taken seriously and, like Mike Best, black M.P Paul Boateng was showcased demanding that:
‘The power [of stop and search] cannot be removed – it is a vital tool in the armoury of the police. We must never lose sight in our response to the Lawrence report what brought it about – a gang of thugs on the street obsessed by knives. The police must have the power to stop and search for knives’ (Observer 28/2/1999).

In fact this ‘gang of thugs’ were a white racist fraternity and yet stop and search renders black people five times more likely to be stopped. Indeed this kind of neutralisation of the police in the press is common. A crucial aspect of deaths in custody is that, by their very nature they might provoke terror and anger in the public eye as we are forced to ask who can protect us from those who are there to protect us? And yet, deaths in custody have repeatedly been portrayed as almost an inevitability, or the just deserves of a minority of people on the wrong side of the law. An example might be a report of the death of Shiji Lapite that appeared in the Sunday Telegraph which ran:

‘Mr Lapite was arrested outside a nightclub in Stoke Newington, north-east London. During a struggle he was pinned down and his larynx partially crushed. He died of asphyxia and cocaine intoxication.’

In the same way, the Times made sure to note that Brian Douglas was, at the time of his arrest, thought to be ‘under the influence of either drugs or drink’. Whilst the Sunday Telegraph described how, when Joy Gardner’s mouth was gagged with 13 feet of surgical tape, the police had arrived at her home,

‘with an arrest warrant, restraining equipment…and the information that she tried to evade deportation before and had a record of violence’.

This is perhaps the most telling account in that it shows how a criminalised history or an inference of involvement with drugs is a resource that can be used by the police in the same way as an arrest warrant might be. Similarly, both Joy Gardner and Shiji Lapite were described first and foremost as asylum seekers. Read within the context of a media who infamously echoed Enoch Powell’s speech of Britain being ‘flooded’ by immigrants, it is easy to see how these deaths might have been construed.

A demand for information, accountability, and justice that might arise through reporting a death in custody is augmented by an inference of criminality. In these instances, police action no longer, it seems, is under such scrutiny. Middle England, reading the paper over their breakfast can rest assured that it won’t be them on the floor of Stoke Newington police station. Whilst, bombarded with spectacular reports of rising crime, drugs and guns, the police must be justified in their actions.

Looking at the press reports of all of the cases featured in the film exposes a pattern in the press’ handling of both deaths in police custody, and the relationship between black people and (usually violent) crime. When these issues converge, deaths in custody, rather than being an outrageous – and in this sense – morbidly newsworthy issue, become part of publicising the police in favour of ‘mentally unstable’ (Press release from Stoke Newington police the night of Colin Roach’s death in the foyer of the police station) ‘immensely strong’ (Daily Telegraph quoting P.C Wright’s description of Ibrahim Sey 26/1/1996) ‘violent’ (Sunday Telegraph quoting P.C Brian Adam’s description of Joy Gardner 30/11/1997) victims. Such dramatic adjectives are an example of how

‘media forms produce the urban (ghetto) as lawless, anarchic and violent…[and] from pop videos, Hollywood cinema, American police series and surveillance videos, the black male body has been an object of scrutiny’(Sharma and Sharma 2000:109).

Victims who have died in custody are somehow posed as Goliaths to the Metropolitan’s Davids whose political and technological strength is creatively overlooked. The figure of the big, black dangerous criminal becomes mythical and the police can be posed as heroes, risking their own safety to keep the streets safe.

An example of this use, by the police, of the media might be found in a report such as that in the Daily Telgraph whose headline was ‘Met officers to be given body armour and C.S gas’. Here, the death of Brian Douglas, following his arrest is noted within the context of police deaths. The article reads:

‘all members of the metropolitan police are to be issued with body armour in the wake of gun attacks that have left seven officers dead in the past five years’.

The implosion of Brian’s death with the death of police officers seems to suggest three key themes. Firstly that death is inevitable within police work. Secondly, that the death of a police officer on duty might be equivalent to the death of a citizen who is, for any reason, stopped by the police. And, thirdly, that the death of an officer is enough to warrant the introduction of more repressive measures [technologies?]. It is the press who have juxtaposed the stories of Brian Douglas death and the police death and, in doing so, have occluded the seriousness of both the frequency and similarity in the death in custody cases. The 1000 deaths since 1969 are not of course, juxtaposed with the 7 police deaths in 5 years, a statistic that might put the police death rate into some kind of perspective.

Breaking up the continuity of black deaths in police custody through intermittent reporting distracts the public from the chilling similarities in the cases. Beyond that however, for those families, friends and allies involved in campaigning for justice, the press’ spectacularisation of particular cases is extremely damaging. It sets up a dis-jointed politics where alliance must be traded for sympathy. Whilst the Guardian headline of a report into the death of Roger Sylvester was ‘Another death in custody, another family mourns’ (24/1/1999), what the article actually stressed was to not see the death as another of the same. Yet again, another family mourns, and yet ‘they are wary…of Roger Sylvester’s death becoming another Stephen Lawrence or Michael Menson case’. The fact is that in many respects, the death is already another Stephen Lawrence or Michael Menson case. The depoliticising of yet ‘another death in custody’ happens through the emotiveness of a family, in obvious disbelief, who, it was reported, in response to questions over a demonstration held outside the High Court said, ‘it had nothing to do with us’.

Along similar divisive lines, a large part of a BBC Newsnight report after the death of Michael Menson in Stoke Newington police station in 1983 was given over to P.C Paul Pacey, who demanded that:

‘you go out and talk to those people on the streets, just in the normal course of your duty and they’ll…talk to you about the police and about what happens to you back at Stoke Newington station…and they’ll say, “things happen to you back there” and you’ll say “well what?”, “well, I’ve heard stories…”, “Well, who off?”, “Well, people”, “ Has it happened to you?” “Well, no…” And its very hard to find. In fact I can’t find these people its happening to’.

Death in custody becomes the urban myth of a paranoid black community rather than a serious and discrediting narrative in the history of Stoke Newington police station. Injustice found the families and friends of ‘these people its happening to’ and in calibrating the deaths that have occurred over the last thirty years fill in the gaps left by the media.

These gaps are, it seems, so easily maintained because the usual model of reporting is impossible. When death occurs in the ‘custody of our custodians’ what ‘actually happened’ is only known by the police involved. The ‘news’ of a death in custody is framed by information given by a whole brigade of officials from the police, to the police coroners, to the Crown Prosecution Service, to the Police Complaints Authority into the nature of the death. Stuart Hall (et al) has noted that,

‘what is most striking about crime news is that it very rarely involves a first-hand account of the crime itself…Crime stories are almost wholly produced from the definitions and perspectives of the institutional primary definers’ (1978:68).

Within this are assumptions about the relationship between race and crime, crime and violence and violence and state-protection. So, from a pre-established context, it is really only the police who have a voice on a particular case. This process may be highlighted by the extent to which the press uses direct quotes from the police officers involved in the deaths. Cloaked in the officialdom of their speaking position, deeply subjective descriptions are used:

‘P.C Wright : “He [Shiji Lapite] was immensely strong. I was in fear for my life and P.C Macullum’s life”…P.C Wright believed the suspect’s “tremendous strength” might have been the effect of crack cocaine’ (Daily Telegraph 26/1/1996).

‘“She [Joy Gardner] was the most violent woman I have ever encountered”, said P.C Brian Adam’ (Sunday Telegraph 30/11/1997).

There is no space for counter comment – for an opposing claim. Both the ‘facts’ of the death and opinion or comment are given by the state. Disentangling this tightly woven knot of (mis) information becomes the private struggle of each family rather than a public and publicised campaign. The silencing of Injustice is another thread in this cloth, where each time a screening was due to take place, the cinema was threatened by the Metropolitan police lawyers. In privileging the voice of the state over and above the voice of those harmed by the state, the media reaffirms the position of an institutionally racist police.

‘we are now at the very heart of the inter-relationships between the control culture and the ‘signification culture’…In this moment, the media – albeit unwittingly, and through their own ‘autonomous’ routes – have become effectively an apparatus of the control process itself – an ‘ideological state apparatus’(Hall et al 1978:76).

Indeed there is a curious levelling mechanism that needs to go on with cases of death in custody. The Metropolitan police, especially after the Stephen Lawrence case, has worked incredibly hard on its image. It is almost as if the sympathy of the press is needed in direct proportion with the violence of the police. As Cohen has noted,

‘The more resources allocated to increasing the efficiency of repressive policing, the more manpower has to be poured [in]…to restabilize the public image of the force’ (quoted in Jefferson 1991:171).

A thousand deaths in police custody since 1969 is not a statistic that might enhance the image of the police. The double movement of repression and promotion is mediated by the press who, for example, in reporting the death of Joy Gardner at the hands of police and immigration officers explain how ‘sticky tape was wrapped around her head to stop her biting more officers’ (Sunday Telegraph 30/11/1997). The police restraining technologies are laconically justified despite the fact that they were fatal for Joy Gardner. The press have maintained the police framing of the event to such an extent that the possibility of alternative opinions, transgressive questions and redressive actions are edited out. ‘In this lost world of politics without conflict, division or debate, the spin doctors are always right’ (Gilroy 1999:12) and the only sniff of disagreement reported surrounds the suitability of particular technologies in particular cases. The fundamental questions of race, class and institutionalised violence are obscured by the histrionics of endless police reviews.

Relying on a benevolent media however, also has its dangers and limitations, precluding the politics and economics of why there are deaths in custody and of why black people are five times more likely to die in custody. A sympathetic press may have its own agenda within the status quo. In a global and historical level, the story of Stephen Biko, the anti-apartheid activist killed in police custody in South Africa in 1977 is best known perhaps by the film Cry Freedom, which, instead of telling the story of Biko, actually tells the story of Donald Woods, a sympathetic white journalist who tried to expose the killing of Biko in police custody. We can see that the story becomes one of a sympathetic white media rather than of the political economy of black death within the apartheid regime. The connections between the media as an apparatus of the state are eroded in portraying a laudable exception to the rule. Similarly, the problem of the media’s treatment of death in custody can not possibly be solved by having more black journalists, just as the police won’t stop being racist if there are more black officers. As Hall has pointed out,

‘The media do not only possess a near monopoly over ‘social knowledge’, as the primary source of information about what is happening; they also command the passage between those who are ‘in the know’ and the structured ignorance of the general public’ (1978:64).

Alternative media such as Injustice, made in collaboration with the families of those killed and screened in cinemas, social centres, political meetings and festivals reconstitute the desiccated narratives of deaths in custody. Marxists are not imagining things when they note that the ideological state apparatus of the mainstream media will always voice the opinions of the ruling classes. Hoping for a sympathetic report is, it seems, both naïve and insubstantial. However, it is crucial that the press are interrogated, challenged and disturbed by other voices, voices normally excluded from the debates. For deaths in police custody, the problem will always be that the victim is criminalized, and, ‘the criminal by his actions, is assumed to have forfeited, along with other citizenship rights, his ‘right of reply’ (Hall 1978:69). Restoring this right of reply has been, in a sense the project of Injustice. As it traces the struggles of the families of those who died, it recreates the space of comment – it re-collects the testimonies, it redefines the parameters of the debate.

Imogen Bunting

Imogen Bunting

This is a pic of Imogen with Brian and Cinzia (top) and Imogen and many of her graduating year in the back field behind Goldsmiths (bottom – pics by Sheila).

I am not just quoting when I repeat what I have heard from so many people: I cannot believe she is gone.

Below – today – an obituary in The Guardian

Imogen Bunting

by Sue White Friday July 14, 2006

Imogen Bunting, who has died aged 25 following a heart attack, was a courageous peace activist, a brilliant academic and a loving daughter, sister and friend. She possessed a sense of social justice and compassion for her fellow human beings, along with a joy and passion for life. Her gift was to see and encourage the best in people.

Imogen packed an enormous amount into her life. She was born at Dartington, in Devon, and during her time there experienced a strong sense of international community and sharing. She shone at Knowles Hill school, Newton Abbot, and in the sixth form became a moving force in politics and human rights. From this time she pursued and developed her love of art, music and drama.

In 1998 she was the youngest of the winners of a writing competition. The prize was a place on the Japanese peace boat, travelling around the world taking practical aid to poor communities. It was a turning point in Imogen’s life; she developed the conviction that we can change both the world and ourselves. In 1999 she went to Dharamsala, in India, where she taught Tibetan Buddhist nuns English and how to use the internet.

Imogen studied anthropology at Goldsmiths College, London. Here she met and lived with an international group of friends – she enjoyed the diversity and opportunities that city life offered for thought, music, art, film and culture. She graduated with a first-class degree in 2002, achieving the highest mark in the 25-year history of the anthropology department. Along with her studies, she also took on political activism and protest as part of her life.

In 2003, she spent five months in Chiapas, Mexico, doing volunteer work and preliminary research for her intended doctoral project. In just a few months she became a fluent Spanish speaker and acted as a translator and international observer. Back in England, she brought her brilliance, learning and political activism to her job with the TUC (2003-2004), helping to develop a new equality project. She helped to organise the first trade union youth camp at Tolpuddle, in Dorset.

With a prize fellowship to the New School for Social Research in New York, Imogen began her MA and PhD studies in anthropology in 2004, focusing on the political legacies of internationalism in the contemporary context of globalisation. She found a new international community; she was interested in how poor and powerless people can resist and how that resistance can inform hope.

Imogen’s MA examination again achieved the highest grade ever awarded by her department. The New School has set up a permanent fellowship in her name devoted to ethics and social justice in scholarship.

On February 10 she suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed in the street in New York. She went into a coma for many days; the prognosis was poor. She was brought back to hospital in England, where she continued to defy the medical predictions, and achieved a miraculous recovery. She was back, as if in a second life. She died, unexpectedly, from another massive cardiac arrest early on April 23.

Imogen lived her life to the full. She loved life even though she had a deep connection with its sadness and injustices. Her beautiful smile and the attention she gave to everyone lit their hearts. She enriched the lives of so many people, and was herself enriched by them. She is survived by her parents, Angela and John, and her brother Freddy.


Well done Sue White. Links to Imogen’s writing here, and here; comments about her from friends here and here.

Mind The Gap

I am always suspicious of travellers’ tales, especially those I’ve heard (or told) before. They get refined and streamlined, they come to resemble one’s own version of the Lonely Planet guidebook.

Jacques Derrida knew this, commenting on travel narrative – he identifies two ‘risks’ of travelogues in the possible meanings of the terms we use: ‘The first is that of selectivity’ and he describes a ‘recit raisonne’ as a ‘narrative that, more than others, filters or sifts out the supposedly significant features – and thus begins to censor’ (Derrida 1993:197-8); and the second, from the first; ‘raisonner also signifies, in this case, to rationalise … active overinterpretation’ (Derrida 1993:198). These two themes of perspective and ordering selection are the themes for a necessary work which will take up the call (this is not the only call) for a Marxist analysis of trinkets, and of the coin the buys them, so as to open up a ‘systematic reflection on the relations between tourism and political analysis’ at a time when tourism has become highly ‘organised’. Derrida writes that such an analysis ‘would have to allow a particular place to the intellectual tourist (writer or academic) who thinks he or she can, in order to make them public, translate his or her ‘travel impressions’ into a political diagnostic’ (Derrida 1993:215).

So, here is another little travel story. From the London Tube. And about a trinket called Dum Dum – double stupidity.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission report on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes was revealed today – six long months after it was given to the Crown Prosecution Service, way back in January, and only now they are about, perhaps, to act on it .The report has been said to recommend that the 2 Police who shot Jean Charles, and the chief cop running the action (Cressida Dick), should be prosecuted for manslaughter. (Why not murder?). We have been here before, and everyone knows from the film Injustice that talk of even a manslaughter charge doesn’t mean there is much hope of a conviction of cops who kill (too many other examples go against that forlorn hope for legal justice). The resonances in this case are too strange for me not to think something very weird is going to happen every time I mind the gap.

For starters, the strange peripheral bit that grabs me is that the police shooters operating under Kratos shoot to kill ‘rules’ of engagement used Dum Dum bullets and these little beauties were said to be less dangerous for the general public. Of course this is madness – what are the BBC thinking in saying this? Is that what it said in the advertising brochure when the MET went to the arms fair to buy them, from the Lord of War himself AKA Nicolas Cage?.

It also seems patently wrong that there is a body set up to decide in advance that cops who kill should face watered down charges. Even though the Independent Police Complaints Authority does say the 2 cops and Commander Dick should be charged, they mean charged only with manslaughter – and this comes after the operation report of the action was ‘corrected’ or amended. Surely the courts themselves (if not the people’s court) should get to decide the significance of this? What is to say there are not other tamperings and fiddlings with the facts? And in singling out Dick and the trigger happy killers, have they not let Commissioner Ian Blair (head MET cop) off the hook as well – all these people are involved in a murder; I mean, they had him held down, pinned, motionless… this was a death in custody, wasn’t it? Another one.

I hate to say it, but this just presses all of my buttons. Dum Dum is in Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal, where you can find the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose airport, itself built on the site where British Raj era soldiers invented the bullet also known as ‘dum dum’ - an onomatopoeic name from the sound of the bullet leaving the gun, then exploding inside the target – a doubled report, a nasty little piece of weaponry, brutal in its effects. Used to kill Afridi tribesmen in the North West Frontier. Which charmingly links the police of the Stockwell killing directly to the colonialism of many years ago, but no-one will really be surprised. And of course this kind of Police protection (protection of us, they are there using Dum Dum bullets to protect us – I believe it!) is clearly linked to the themes of the film Injustice and deaths in custody – Jean Charles was in custody when he was killed, they have a duty of care. This is something I have written about elsewhere, both in terms of the concerns of the film, and in general with detention issues in the wake of the War of Terror. But now I am interested in how operation Kratos is an updated version of those old manuals of procedure that James Bond must have memorised, that offer up the blow by blow (literally) guide book of how to deal with protesters, miscreants, threats to the state and other average citizens. What did that Nick Cage type goon say at the arms fair anyway: ‘Hey, pssst, over here … these bullets are great, they explode inside the victims head'; ‘Yeah, wow, gimme a couple of dozen boxes, we can use them on public transport'; ‘Safety first, dib dib dib’.

Finally, it drives me nuts to endure the stupidity of BBC news reports that continue to repeat the fudge that implies Jean Charles was somehow not just a member of the public – a public, qivvering before its screens, that is now going to be so much safer because the Kratos shoot to kill policy is mitigated by these Dum Dum bullets… Such is the danger to our tube travellers and other denizens of the city that by the middle of last year this Kratos policy had been called upon 250 times, and almost used 7 times – and, obviously, really was used the once. Dum really Dum.

I am reassured once again that only in Nepal has there been any repeal of new terror laws – the rest of us are protected, so we can travel safe. As I keep saying over and over (refine and streamline, diagnose, repeat). Tubes run on time thank Ken, and they are safer now, thank Bliar. Aren’t we living in the best of all worlds?

> The travel text is from Derrida, Jacques 1993, ‘Politics and Friendship: An Interview’, in Kaplan, E. Ann & Sprinkler, Michael 1993, The Althusserian Legacy, Verso, New York, pp. 183-232.

> The picture is honour of Jean Charles de Menezes, tube traveller. In need of proper justice.

Additions needed for update next steps onward forward and upward bigger better stronger away

Trinketization – as manifest so far in books like Rumour, Exotica and BM, will soon have to be expanded beyond the bits and bobs here…

Where did I leave it last time?

Ahh, oh yes, the obligatory six-point programme [a bit of obscure blather at the end of the book]:

1. Fetish and trick – requires dexterous analysis not grinning

2. Trinketisation – requires contextualisation, recognition of systematic

3. Contextualisation – requires an ethnographic engagement with
enframing (with all its methodological hang-ups born of
Malinowskian fieldwork and its disintegration, have a look for
yourself, learn to learn from below).

4. The curse of sanctioned ignorance – requires slow work for
transnational literacy.

5. The public secret of institutional complicity – requires mainstreaming,
articulation, visibility.

6. Visibility – requires a politically transformatory project.

- page 207 of Bad Marxism.

[the pic is sent by Elena, who threatens/promises to come study in CCS at Goldsmiths again from September – its from “a place [in Barcelona] called “Caixa Forum” (amazing building up a hill) and the artist (Dan Perjovschi -romanian born, 1961) drew it on the wall with a chalk (along with many other things). It’s the third project for a series called “made to measure””.
She says ‘Enjoy’. I say yep, lets enjoy recovering Marx from the trinketising abusers and smash, thereby, such subplanetary flotsom as Mike Gane, whom I have not yet forgiven for teaching people to forget Mao]

The Vinyl ain’t Final

The review here is mixed, but whatever Dipa may or may not have detailed in terms of specifics, she makes up for in organisational zeal. It was a long long time coming, but good to see this book noticed. I wrote this in a rush, adn I hope the evidence of that rapidity is there for all to see. there is even a bit of humour there, despite our reviewer – otherwise generous to all but deeps, not noticing. And sure, mine was a silly question, as I already said, but then when I am feeling silly, I read The Wire.

Link on some different wires here.

Zinedine Zidane

I want to start a campaign to revoke the Italian Whirld Cup win:

This so-called global version of football that we just watched for a month may be mostly beyond me, since I prefer Australian Rules, where you are allowed to use that stunning innovation of evolution, the opposable thumb and actually grab the ball – ipso facto soccer is devolution, clearly – a game for lower primates, yet more refined than rugger… and global is pretty much code for only the developed world, with a few elite exceptions and the occasional feel-good pseudo-documentary about kicking coconuts in the pacific or old tin cans in Tibet.

Yet, I do get the idea that Football is really about politics and sponsorship deals, not the Corinthians spirit – so despite this, I am moved to admiration for Zidane if his was a retaliation against the words ‘you are the son of a terrorist whore’ or some such (so also says the Mirror just now – ooh, it must be true!). The spurious impact of sending him off for what seems to me to be a legitimate use of the head (he refrained from punching that fool Materazzi, since using the hands is banned – right?) makes me think we should scrub out all results from an earlier stage and play it all over – starting I think from the dubious dive of Grosso in the game against Australia… so replay the whole second part of the cup from that point on… was supposed to be the anti-racist world cup wasn’t it – I recall Beckham mumbling something at the start of the Portugal game to that effect…

As I keep saying, unfortunately I do not really understand the appeal of soccer [unless its a displacement of sociological interest in something to do with the money, capital, corporate power ... I guess]. So I will have to wait for FIFA to realise the wisdom of my suggested strategy – ie playing a great big ‘let court’ and doing it all over again…

Meanwhile, a massive increase in racist attacks in Europe, and especially Britain, goes barely noticed. Something Marco and Zinedine have at least opened up with their playground spat – which we might turn for a moment into a diagonal pass that at least mentions the issues, more than mumbles from the pitch. Who do you need to head butt to start a campaign that achieves something better than more sponsorship deals and pretty faces (David) reading prepared scripts of innocuous feel-good blah blah. The attacks on Muslims in Britain are given an alibi by avowals that this kind of verbal slating on the pitch is the sort of racism that has to be ‘kicked out of football’ – NO – there are worse kinds of racism hidden behind these publicised slurs, and much much more is needed to re-organise our hierarchical, mad, fundamentally war-mongering multi-racist society. The campaign to defend Muslims from racist attacks that mean death and injury requires more than soccer star mumbles – you have to put your hands up. Zinadine should have gone much much further than he did.

Nevertheless, viva ZZ (and is this pic of him butting someone much more deserving?).


From ‘fieldwork / filed works: the madness of anthropology’ in Celebrating Transgression (Berghahn 2006):

7.1 If fieldwork in the traditional sense is ‘over’, in British Anthropology it has a half-life because it is something to sell to funding model types, research council, accountabilities etc. It becomes a mantra that can somehow seem to be measured, but fieldwork works best as open-ended and creative (Köpping 2002).

7.2 The trouble with fieldwork as taught in the credentialising system of the new teaching factory is that it relies primarily upon the assemblage of anecdote-trinkets. Theoretical gestation and contemplation – slow-moving as they are – is not well suited to the imperatives of pass rates and research assessment calculation. Trinketisation of culture here assigns the politics of interpretation to a place of fast and loose generalities – ritualized reflexive moves that surprise no one.

7.3 Not only is fieldwork not so neat, we should rescind the tacit requirement that all new doctoral successes participate in the post hoc reconstruction (lie) of fieldwork as a time of deep insight, with full language capability, and no transgressive human foibles – though of course it may sometimes happen like that. Honesty would not be compromised if it were admitted that a language cannot be learned with sufficient fluency for significant insight in less than two, and usually five, years. The stressful effects of having to pass off hesitant and halting speculation as description and conclusion might be abandoned. The complicity with the founding father myth and mystique of single-site fieldwork might be usefully left behind. This of course does not mean the end of detailed and serious work – the packaging of how to fieldwork in export education itemization-trinketisation mode is an anathematic alternative.

7.4 Commercialisation and corporatisation of the university and the depoliticisation and administerisation of intellectual work goes hand in hand with a calculated demobilisation of participation – mass movement – though there are ‘days of exception to the rule’ – limited and controlled inversions like May Day and the anti-war protest that greeted the invasion(s) of Iraq.
7.5 For a moratorium on the kind of fieldwork that anthropologists anyway did not ever practice.

Home Page – Bioinnovit : Intellectual Property Exchange and Technology Transfer Services for Life Sciences

Earlier it was anthropologists being head hunted by television. Then there was Saatchi & Saatchi’s CULT-GEISTT global intelligence network, and various other corporate education fandangle-athons: the ‘pureGoldsmiths’ link at the end of my failed attempt to revamp ALL graduate provision at Goldsmiths (OK, it was a mad idea) and various comments on think tanks. Now its getting that the world is tailoring services to make industrial linked drones of us all. This letter just in my mailbox:

Dear Prof. Hutnyk
FP7 is the largest and , likely, one of the very rare sources of significant funding (EUR 10+ Billion fro Life Sciences) for ambitious R&D projects in Europe. So, it is time to make a move! First calls in Q406.
Now! Learn more about FP7 at
Are you considering coordinating an Integrated Project, a Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) , a Network of Excellence ? Contact us for expert advise at no cost to you.
For your FP7 project we are well positioned to be the Contractor/Partner responsible for the management of the business aspects. You, the Coordinator take care of the Science. We will take care of the rest!
We will assist you in the following areas:
- Selection and Recruitment of scientific and industrial partners
- Strategic Advisory on definition of Scientific Plan
- Development of R&D, Financial and Management plans according to EU guidelines
- Assistance in supporting the application- Preparation of EU contracts
- Preparation of the Consortium Agreement
- Assistance in negotiating Intellectual Property Rights among partners
- Consortium Financial and Accounting Management
- Intellectual Property Rights protection and management
- Preparation of Periodic & Final Reports to the Commission.
Please don’t forget to visit the European Life Sciences Exchange (LSX) at and list your project . To list is simple and it takes 5 minutes.
Sincerely, Partnering Team

Home Page – Bioinnovit : Intellectual Property Exchange and Technology Transfer Services for Life Sciences
pic is from the new Man Uni empire…


hawgblawg: “Hutnyk on Aki
Check out John Hutnyk’s post on Aki, from his blog Trinketization. Says Hutnyk: ‘Aki Nawaz is just the sort of threat we need much more of, in the sense that we have to debate, discuss, challenge and change.’ And check out the comment, there’s one from Aki. (It’s the same post, dated July 4, found on the fun-da-mental website.) ”

On the Bus – I mean, on the side of the bus. 7/7 attack anniversary.

A year ago tomorrow the July 7 tube and bus bombings took place. Terrible. Blowback. Sublime. Whatever your evaluation, opinion, fear, craziness – its the case that the whole thing has become a political football and some folks this week are playing for penalties with flippers and snorkel in a way that can only remind me of Grosso and Henri. Blair trying to play the blame card, moderate Muslim ‘leaders’ trying to suck up, everyone managing to avoid discussion of the reasons and the ongoing open wounds that are Afghanistan, Iraq…

Even some highly respected theorists seem incapable of a open eyed examination of the issues, the grievances, the consequences of global imperial war (on terror): both Buck-Morrs and Zizek have noted that those who attacked the New York Trade towers on September 11, 2001, left no ‘message’ and ‘no list of demands’ – suggesting this absence of explicit message offers a new fold in the practice of dissent. Is it that they want to suggest/agree with the popular understanding that these ‘terrorists’ are only crazed fanatics raged against us, and nothing more? This is poor analysis if so – the ‘reading’ of intent and the characterisation of ‘terrorists’ as fanatics strikes me as something that needs a more careful examination. Not conspiracy theory, but discussion of the ways we talk ourselves into compliance with Blair, accepting the profiles, conceding to the demonisation of Muslims etc etc (shooting on the train, armed police with kill orders – operation Kratos) and other militarisations of everyday life.

Was there really no message? – the portrayal of the fourth bomber on July 7, 2005 as the younger of the lads who had, somehow, chickened out and failed to set off his bomb on the tube, then gets on a bus and ‘accidentally’ the bomb goes off … this should also be reconsidered. Check the bus, check the choice of bus – not that it was on the way to Hackney Wick, but check the image on the side of the bus. Apologies to those who would like to think this was not an organised act of resistance, but there does seem to be a message here. War of terror indeed. Not a matter of profiling, but of examining the ways the event of July 7 (and Sept 11) is managed as an alibi for continuing global violence, bombings, occupations and absolute failure to think through the outcomes achieved on the back of 500 years of global capitalist wealth extraction.

Of course the press misrepresent, but then so does all critique that does not always worry at this question of the co-constitution of outlook and action, prejudice and project.

I think its fairly boring for intellectuals to comment (Zizek, Buck-Morrs) that today protests (the Sept 11 bombers) have ‘no list of demands’. Its not quite so clear cut, but when Zizek, for example, points out that there were no demands, and no ideological program, beyond some claim – as far as he knows – for recognition, and a wish to make an impact, we should take a moment to look. We live in a universe which celebrates the absence of ideology, the dangerous reflexive society (of Giddens) gives rise to the gesture of fascism but not fascism that restores order and dignity (to those of the homeland) but rather now a fascism which would attribute meaning as only a gesture, and achieves this as a totalitarian control. So we comply with fascism when we accept those commentators who would have us avoid thinking, so as to spin the images on our screens. But we do know its not like that, we can actually see the signs on the bus.

South Asian Anthropologist Group Meet at Goldsmiths.

I was asked to do a commentary ‘discussant’ talk on the two papers in the Movement panel at Alpa and Ed’s South Asian Anthropologists Group workshop, held today and tomorrow at Goldsmiths. These are the rough notes I spoke from.

Conference details and programme at:

The articles I was asked to discuss were:
Business and Community Between India and the Gulf
Fillipo and Caroline Osello

Degrees of Separation
Katy Gardner, Zahir Ahmed

Ice-breaking preamble:
The structure of these kinds of meetings seems peculiar to anthropology – its only in anthro conferences that I’ve seen this format where paper givers do not read their papers but distribute them beforehand (I guess this could happen elsewhere) but its a wierd practice which involves silencing the paper presenters until after someone has maliciously misrepresented their writing in the interests of starting a debate for the workshop. So, with the usual apologies, I offer the following misconstruals under the alibi of having been asked to summarise, contextualise and critique.

Pleased to be asked, at first I looked in vain for the connection these two papers had to the workshop theme statement about “Revolutionary Movements” – ostensible topic of the event and reason I was keen to be there. I am always happy to hear stories of Maoists, Naxalbari, Telangana and Nepal, but these are not what I was expecting. Well, just get over it John, I tell myself. It is also crucially important to engage with the desultory effects of globalising capital, especially when it comes with culturalist inflections like this. I guess I can see why I was asked to comment, since I have worked on charity, some time ago. Also diaspora. Still, I do wish these papers had said something more on Keralan or Bengali Reds.

These two papers both ostensibly have to do with migration and good works, charity, or jakat (Zakat), but they are both actually more about power hierarchies as played out through land and education.

This first one is about religious obligation to community, in the form of investment in education.

Business and Community Between India and the Gulf
Fillipo and Caroline Osello

In kerala, the Osello’s lived in a middle-class neighbourhood, and sent their children to a ‘Muslim owned and managed English school’ – and I guess have made a virtue of this circumstance because this piece – a chapter in a forthcoming book – is largely a consideration of schools.

We start with a quick run through of the specific Muslim history of the area: Lahala uprising in 1921, British desire to get rid of Islam, deportations to – interestingly – the Andaman Islands (misspelled throughout as Adaman, but how interesting it would be if these were people Radcliffe-Brown got to talk to on his verandah – side point…1921 is probably far too late for anarchy Brown to meet anyone for a book he was revising as Durkheimian tract…)

Anyway, in the context of this uprising, the paper documents suspicion and disdain for British schools on Muslim side – counterpointed with the ‘ease’ that post-independence Hindus had in ‘modernizing’. So we have ‘marginalized’ Muslim communities (by their own doing, of course) and the Muslim League become the ‘sole’ representatives of the community, but can only advocate a cautious reformism. The paper will later go on to stress the importance on education as a marker of (internal) respectability and uplift. We need to register education as a marker of development/reform.

Just before the (summaries of) the interviews that make up the main body of this paper – with various business men – we have a characterisation of such businessmen (Muslim/Arab) in contrast to John Harris’s rendering of Hindu entrepreneurs in Chennai. Muslims are ‘utterly morally accountable to their community and business is utterly embedded in community responsibility’ Aside from these somewhat jarring iterations – utterly morally and utterly embedded, I will come back to them – there are issues here about the construction of good Muslim money making, the character of which is subsequently detailed, but not critiqued.

So what we have next are the interview summaries – and it’s a ‘modern Muslim’ story line – how these men struggle to be businessmen but maintain their morality, ‘making and using money in an Islamic way’. There are a couple of case studies of the ‘Gulf kings’ – wealthy businessmen who ‘maintain the Muslim community’. Typical ‘rags to riches turned philanthropist’ (‘upliftment’) stuff. In here we get some curious attitudinal titbits, such as the businessmen’s view of ‘education as a double edged sword’ – it is their educated attitude that holds back the Malayali and prevents them from real success. Also we hear the businessmen’s claims that theirs is a ‘culture of risk taking’ (leaving things in the hands of god) but tempered by a ‘community orientation’. There is a brief recognition of this being ‘traditionally’ gendered, but little made of it. More interesting perhaps the appearance of a Scottish University joint project on the scene in Kerala. Also, various choice asides – a great quote in here about the need to read the Gita and the Bible to understand others – but our businessman who suggests this hates atheists. As ever, the two main themes here are ‘get educated and build community’.

Then another figure, and we are into interviews with the local, Calicut businessmen – also focused on the role of education, in this case the establishment of SAFI, the Social Advancement Foundation of India, a body set up to raise money for a university to teach IT, biotech and other ‘new economy’ sort of subjects. Because of soliciting Arab investors, one of the two first programmes will be Islamic Studies, to counter atheism – the ‘best of western education with contemporary Islamic framework’. And donors will also received plots of land and secured places in the schools and University – a double sense of investment here (or a land grab). This project is seen as part of a global Islamic renaissance, and trades on the glamour of the Gulf.

My trouble with this is that I do not see any space for critique in the paper. And this I would land at the door of the research conception at the level of planning. I return to those words, repeated a couple of times – embedded and utterly. It might be bad etymology to pick up on this sense of the term, but its curious that the utterance, in the summary interviews, of the first Muslim businessman, directly confirms what had been presented as the potted history offered by our embedded anthropologists: Muslims suffered because of the British so hated everything the British brought, including schools, but now there is a renaissance and they do not boycott and are educated.

I wonder if we might have had a critique of the way education articulates with entrepreneurial modernizing if we went beyond the utterance of this informant and the brochures of the SAFI school plan? A questioning of these charitable entrepreneurial modes of ‘education’ (that would extend to the ways we construct our own educational involvements, including research projects and schemes like UKIERI that would set up UK-India research centres and teaching programmes under PM Bliar’s 18 Mill corporate PPP initiative).

I think it worthwhile – beyond the specifics of this paper – even to question whether education is ever a social good when it comes in the charitable form – ideological, patronising, and as some sort of life-work enclave colony (see the work of Paul James, and Castells and Hall on these integrated planned urban-education university-community developments and their dubious progeny – in particular the Multi Media Super Corridor project in Malaysia, as discussed by Tim Bunnell [and myself, in the Nettime reader]). I think there is reason to question the turn of education advocacy into charity stunt – smuggling is an interesting sub theme in this paper – almost like a rumour at its edges (its those Malayali again that do the smuggling in Kerala) – but this is not just a local slur, in a wider sense I think something more is smuggled in with philanthropic activity around education for business (IT, biotech, Islamism), as, I believe, charity always is a smugglers trick, as we see with Bill Gates, Mother Theresa or State Aid (Dfid). I wanted a more general and critical take on charty. The problem is that the pro-education project is not open to question in terms of its reinforcement of a certain social hierarchy, its use by self-aggrandising capitalists, of the way debates about education construct ideas of public good etc etc, because this paper presents the views of businessmen as document, not in a critical mode. Perhaps we could hear some further views on this?

Instead, the ‘conclusion’ looks once more at the lack of spaces for women-as-entrepreneurs, stresses the role of ‘contacts’ in the business world, talks about the perceived importance of english schools but the lack of ‘discipline’ of the families, and then an odd intriguing bit at the end: “This far-reaching moral critique of public and private life – which increasingly also targets the not-so-Islamic behaviour of many Arab Muslims (eg drinking, prostitution and excessive consumption, but also failure to stand up to the Americans during the last Iraq war and in the face of increased threats to Iran) – has led organisations such as Jama’at Islam to declare full support to the Left Democratic Front during the recent assembly elections. As we write it is yet unclear the extent to which Islamist might have influenced vote switching, but Muslim League candidates failed to get elected in what had been historically safe seats. Significantly, amongst those who were defeated we find many former ministers – eg industry and PWD – closely associated to the six entrepreneurs we discussed in this paper.”

Basically, the paper looks at ‘Muslim’ attempts to modernize through education, while trying to assert Islamic values – but neither of these are questioned systematically in the paper – our anthropologists get out of critiquing the former by presenting it as the view of the community, and avoid the latter by being reluctant to critique the construct of a good Muslim businessman, in a developed society, a public minded Mulsim, a Muslim public sphere as a rhetoric of Islamist capital – we can see the idea of a good Muslim is never a neutral figure in the current post Sept 11/War of Terror/demonisation of all Muslims type environment. It would be great to debate this.

On education as a social good, or rather as a social evil, reinforcing hierarchy – ‘breeding ignorance and feeding radiation’, there is one dramatic interview passage in the paper I think is revealing of a more complex situation than my demand for critique can address. This passage opens up the paper and is worth the read in itself. It makes me want to hear more about curriculum, institutional formation, and business model in far more systematic terms. I would stop and have us read that together before addressing the next paper:

“One lower-middle class woman, Haseena, told Caroline confidentially, “It is my dream that my daughter should become a doctor; I left school at 14 and was married at 16; I could have done something with my life, but look at me!” Yet when Haseena’s cousin took admission to a prestigious and academically demanding English medium school run by the NSS (Nair Service Society) for her son, Haseena was scathing: the child would be put under too much pressure; the fees were too high and they would also be forever asking for extra money for trips or equipment; the child had to travel in an auto, whereas it was better to have a local, convenient school. Finally, the school was English medium: better, argued Haseena, to know one’s own mother-tongue properly than be half-proficient in both mother tongue and English. Haseena’s daughter was not sent to nursery and began to attend the local Malayalam medium girls’ school near home at age five. When Haseena’s husband came home from the Gulf on leave, daughter was taken out of school for two months so that the whole family could enjoy being together. Yet still Haseena believes that her daughter has a chance of entering a profession. She genuinely has no idea that the mothers in the middle-class colony where we lived, for example, had been drilling their children since age two (sic) in the English alphabet and in the answers to the nursery class admissions tests set by Calicut’s best schools. She could not begin to imagine the discipline imposed upon these children of the established middle-class, much less to impose what would seem to her such horrible cruelty upon her own beloved daughter. “

I tend to agree, this sounds horrible – education of this sort is nowhere near a social good. What sort of education will be?

If the first paper was sort of about pseudo-religious obligation to community, in the form of investment in education, this paper is about kinship proximity and charity – the good old gift-as-family-tyranny.

Degrees of Separation
Katy Gardner, Zahir Ahmed

The paper gives detailed analysis of the various household arrangements of a Bangledesh village (‘Jalalgao’ … [challo=go?]) There are five groups of people discussed – Londoni (those who have been/ continue to be in England); those who are/have family ties to those in Dubai (not much discussed); locals; temporary/permanent labourers (usually from the surrounding area); and those who live in the colonies (rented accommodations, the people here are usually from other, poorer, starvation parts of Bangladesh). The main thesis (illustrated by lots of case studies) is that Londoni provide an important ‘informal social protection mechanism’, but because these are disguised as gift relationships (therefore non-negotiable) they take the form of patron-client relationships. The authors also want to stress that those from the area are more likely to receive patronage and better ‘job’ opportunities.

Families who have ties to Britain are the wealthiest – they own the most land and property, though they do not work it and often rely on family members, or increasingly, paid help to look after it. Wealth gets redistributed in a variety of ways – through certain rituals and festivals to everyone, through remittances to immediate family members, through gifts in times of need etc to extended family members (primarily the gusti, patrilineal line), through arranging marriages to British Bangledeshis, and then for the more distant family, through a sort of pseudo employment/ indenture, where ‘gifts’ are given for ‘help’- non-negotiated, of course.
Various other interesting comments – women are less likely to know their wage. It is common to have people look after homes of absent Londoni. Colony inhabitants tend to come from areas suffering disasters etc. They are attracted by the relative wealth of the village, due to its large amount of Londoni. Relationships of trust are crucial for temporary labourers to get hired back… etc. And the village is far more a site of transformation and flux than ‘the stable villages conjured up in classical South Asian ethnography’ (a footnote reference to Inden is probably not enough to explain that this idea of sleepy villages was always a myth – myself I would use ADF:

A mass of sleeping villages
That’s how they’re pitching it
At least that’s what they try to pretend
But check out our history
So rich and revolutionary
(Naxalite from the album Rafi’s Revenge, 1998. Asian Dub Foundation.
Lyrics, Das, Pandit, Zaman, Tailor, Savale)

So back to Gardiner and Ahmed’s paper and I want to make some critical comments, address some absences. Some are no big deal, others I think worthy of discussion – unlike the previous paper, education is never mentioned as a factor, whether this be in increasing ‘development’ or merely as a part of modernization, which itself is never mentioned.

Nor do our authors describe what the people themselves see as good for long term ‘development’ – short term survival strategies are all that are discussed. Actually, they describe a very precarious situation (and do point out that when patrons die, these forms of ‘insurance’ disappear) with little ‘hope’ in it except for maintaining the ties that secure remittances etc, or for people to get a chance, through marriage perhaps, to also migrate to England.

Its also barely mention why Londoni are better off beyond brief hints that its success in the restaurant trade (and I guess earlier industrial work – mills etc – since British pensions play a big role in local wealth). This will, I take it, be rectified as there is a phase two of the research. I hope in this phase we also here more of why it was difficult to get information about remittances, why these are ‘sensitive’ issues – we can guess, but why not discuss it?

Gardiner and Ahmed keep suggesting that place is crucial, but I am very interested in how they have to admit in the conclusion that safety net functioning is determined more because of kinship and relational ties. Thus they end with a worry ‘that these ties will dissolve in the face of transnationalism’ – a sort of romanticism – what is disturbing here is that there seems to be no force of critique deployed at all – even if its clear in tone that what is described is not good – it might have been worth saying that this mode of ‘aid’/safety net, with all its inequities, favours, precarious contingency, personally tied aid, is arguably an even worse sort of dependence than if the area did access Grameen Bank funds! Why not a more explicit critique of remittances, charity, pensions as just that sort of charity that does nothing to achieve adequate redistribution. That once again reassures in the way that all charity does – a little gift so as to feel ok about never addressing the major inequalities.

So I wonder why this expanded level of critique is not present in the paper? Again I think the questions not asked are a consequence of the research set up. The project is one investigating patron-client relationships to draw attention to the power relations involved. I would certainly like to hear more about power in this scene. And I will suggest two homologous structures that seem to be reflected in this transnational patronage. Where the authors point out that some family members of employees may lose benefits if relations turn sour or kin members die, thereby support is withdrawn as the second and third generation migrants in England get less and less interested in maintaining ties to the ’desh, I wonder if there is not a larger homology with colonial power as such. As Britain becomes more and more reluctant to maintain even the semblance of aid/development obligation it earned as the great beneficiary of wealth extraction under the Raj. This makes me worry about the ways research projects might turn towards uncritical celebration of non State modes of poverty relief (safety nets etc). This is not neutral.

There are of course now programmes by the state that try to re-establish relationships, such as the UKIERI funding project I mentioned previously. In this regard then there is a smaller homology too – I would then wonder about the future of the two researchers who carried out ‘much of the fieldwork’ for Gardiner and Ahmed. These were Rushida Rawnek Khan and Abdul Mannan. No doubt like other clients these were ‘honest, reliable and skilled’ but I would like to hear more about them. I mean in terms of the patron-client relation in research. What is their safety net, given they are not named as co-authors? Perhaps not all the details are here for this case, but in many similar ones I think we can be concerned that something like ‘patron-client fieldwork’ structures the scene here, as homologous in that its a farmed out, sharecropper fieldwork, an absentee landlord (occasional fly by night visits) sort of ethnography, one that leads to a neo-liberal anthropology, one we should best critique in terms of power. And so I am keen again to call for a revolutionary anthropology, and for redistribution of wealth that does more than charitificate out loud.


Geert Lovink on Delhi Sunderam Sarai etc.

Latest reports from the Nangla Maanchi eviction (Dehli settlement)filed under Uncategorized , geert @ 01:03
Disturbing reports came in last night from Delhi, thanks to Ravi Sundaram from Sarai, who sent the personal accounts, written over the past days about the eviction of the Nangla Maanchi settlement where one of Sarai’s media labs (called cybermohalla) was based. I have saved some of the messages on my pages. A few days ago I posted a letter about this on my blog (see below). You can follow the latest news and activities on their own blog. How the elites imagine Delhi you can see here.

March 28th, 2006
Blog about endangered Delhi settlementfiled under Uncategorized , geert @ 02:03
Monica Narula of the new media centre Sarai in Delhi has written the following call about the eviction of a settlement in Delhi where one of Sarai’s media labs (called Cybermohalla) is based:
Dear friends,
Over last 35 years we have seen many an internal dislocation of habitations and life worlds within the city of Delhi. This is something that started with high intensity from the early 70s. Now the process of this internal dislocation has become intense and harder.
Nangla Maachi is a 30 year old habitation. It was made by its inhabitants over this period. It is along the river bank and next to Pragati Maidan (Progress Grounds). It has now become valuable real estate as it is prime land for new urban development fairly close to the centre of the city.
The process of its dislocation has, therefore, begun.
In Nangla Maachi Sarai/Ankur had set up a cybermohalla lab two years ago. Many practitioners have been through the lab.
Over these two years, diaries have been written by the lab practitioners and many of the entries have been about life in Nangla. These diary entries are also a way to stubbornly remind us all that Nangla was made into a lively, heterogeneous habitation by countless people’s efforts, and needs to be remembered for this creative act of making and finding ways of living together.
A recent entry reads – “Packing up and leaving from Nangla has begun.” The diary is now a record of a contested terrain of the violence of dislocation.
We have set up a blog in both English and Hindi, to share with a wider public the various diary entries of the practitioners. Do visit it, read it, circulate it, share it and link it further. Your comments and stories will be very valuable.
English language blog:
Hindi language blog:
More postings from the practitioners will be made. A countdown to yet another disappearance of a self-organised urban space has begun.
bestMonica ….

Maoist Revolutionary parties and organizations in India

The abundance of this site is truly wondrous:

Maoist Revolutionary parties and organizations in India: “
Maoist-Influenced Revolutionary
Organizations in India
[Last revision: Feb. 18, 2005. This information is subject to further correction and updating.
For more information about a specific organization, click on its name if highlighted below.]

Current Maoist or Mao-influenced Organizations in India
All India Peoples Resistance ForumAIPRF

Founded in 1992. Focuses mainly on democratic rights, opposition
to imperialist globalization, etc. Viewed by some people as a
front group for CPI(ML) People’s War. Some of its adherents,
however, view its program as an alternative to that of the PW Group.

Communist League of India (M-L)CLI(ML)Lal Tara
Founded on Feb. 20, 1978.

Communist Party of India (Maoist)CPI (Maoist)
Engaged in
war in many
states.Formed on Sept. 21, 2004 as a merger of CPI(ML) People’s
War and MCC(I). This is by far the largest and most
important revolutionary party currently engaged in guerrilla warfare
in India.

Communist Party of India (M-L)
[A new formation as of 2005]CPI (ML)
Centrist This new party will be formed in January 2005 by a merger of
CPI(ML) [Sanyal Group] and CPI(ML) Red Flag. Both of
these groups are substantial, so the new party will be one of
the more important middle-of-the-road Maoist organizations in India.

CPI (M-L) Bhaijee GroupS. R. Bhaijee Group
Formed in 1990. Active in Bihar.

CPI(ML) Central Team
Surkh Rekha
Formed in 1977. In Aug. 1994 the Punjab section of Central Team
merged with 3 other groups to form the CPRCI(ML), but the
Maharashtra and W
West Bengal sections refused to go along.

CPI (M-L) Janashakti — Rajanna group — Ranadheer group — Chandra Pulla Reddy group — Other factions
CPI (M-L)People’s Power
Formed in July 1992 by merger of 6 CPI(ML) groups. There are nowmany independent groups with this same name. Active in at least8 states. The Rajanna faction is critical of the “mass line” groupswhich it says do not really seem to be advancing toward people’s war.After a period of internal confusion, it seems to have settled ona strategy of guerrilla warfare.

CPI (M-L) Jan Samvad
CPI (M-L)People’s Dialogue

CPI (M-L) Liberation
Liberation,ML Update,WWW
Claims to be the main continuation of the original CPI(ML). Backedaway from armed struggle in the 1970s. Probably the largest CPI(ML)group. Active in many states including Assam, W. Bengal and Bihar.

CPI (M-L) [Mahadev Mukherjee]
CPI (M-L) [MM]
Bharater Iskra,WWW
Split from CPI(ML) 2ndCC. They claim to be the “real” CPI(ML).Small, doctrinaire and idiosyncratic; they continue to support Lin Biao!

CPI (M-L) Maharashtra
[Maharashtra is a state in west India.]

CPI (M-L) Nai Pahal

CPI (M-L) Naxalbari
Advocatesimmediatepeople’s war.

CPI(ML) MUC merged into this group in April 1999. After 2000,a splinter group from the CPI(ML) Red Flag, led by someone namedRauf, merged with CPI(ML) Naxalbari. Rauf is the current Secretary ofthis group. It is affiliated with CCOMPOSA and RIM.

CPI (M-L) New Democracy
CPI (M-L)Prajapandha
New Democracy,Pratirodh ka Swar
Possiblyin flux.
Formed in 1988 by Yatendra Kumar. Active in Bihar and elsewhere.Say they favor the “revolutionary mass line”, but also leaning moretoward guerrilla warfare lately.

CPI (M-L) New Proletarian

CPI (M-L) Organizing Committee
CPI (M-L) OrganizationCommittee
Said to be active in Bihar under the leadership of B. N. Sharma.(Unclear if this is the same group that merged into CCRIin 1988.)

CPI (M-L) Praja Pratighatana
Engagedin armedstruggle.

CPI (M-L) Prajashakti

CPI (M-L)People’s Power

CPI (M-L) Prathighatana

CPI (M-L) Retribution;CPI (M-L) [PhaniBagchi]
Engagedin armedstruggle.
Split from CPI(ML) Praja Pratighatana.

CPI (M-L) Provisional CentralCommittee
For a New Democracy
Formed in 1977 with the merger of the CPI(ML) S.N. SinghGroup and the CPI(ML) Unity Committee. The CPI(ML) CentralTeam split off in 1978. In 1980 the C. P. Reddy Groupsplit off. Active in Bihar, etc.

CPI (M-L) Shantipal
CPI (M-L)Santi Pal Group
Formed around 1972 in northern West Bengal. Also activein Bihar, etc.

CPI (M-L) Second Central Committee
Formed in 1972 by Mahadeo Mukerjee, who was later expelled.Active in Bihar, etc.

Communist Party of the UnitedStates of India
Engagedin armedstruggle.
Split from CPI(ML) Janashakti in 1997. Wanted more attentionto caste issues.

Communist Party ReorganizationCentre of India (M-L)
Surkh Rekha,The Comrade
Advocatesthe “revolu-tionary massline”.
Formed in 1994 by merger of 4 groups: the Punjab unit of CPI(ML)Central Team; Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India;Communist Unity Centre of India; and the Marxist-LeninistOrganising Centre.
Communist Revolutionary Centre

Communist BiplabiKendra

Communist Revolutionary Leagueof India
Small party in West Bengal. Founded and led by former CPI(ML) studentleader Ashim Chatterjee. May now lean towards social democracy.

Marxist Communist Party of India
People’s Democracy
MCPI is a splinter group from the revisionist CPI (Marxist). Althoughits Maoist credentials are weak, it seems to be exploring unity withseveral centrist Maoist groups.

Marxist-Leninist Committee
ML Committee
Seems to be a small middle of the road group (i.e., not engagingin guerrilla warfare) in the eastern part of Andhra Pradesh.

Revolutionary Communist Centre,India (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)
This may be a separate organization from RCCI(Maoist) which mergedwith MCCI in Jan. 2003. It is also affiliated with CCOMPOSA.
Revolutionary Socialist Partyof India (M-L)

Formed in 1969.

Unity Centre of CommunistRevolutionaries of India (M-L)
Proletarian Path
Formed in 1975 and led by T. Nagi Reddy (who died in 1976) andD.V. Rao. The Punjab Coordination Committee of CommunistRevolutionaries merged with UCCRI in 1976.


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