Monthly Archives: June 2011

Chalk and Cheese

The University is the last uneasy comfortable place that is not yet in 100% total denial of the white supremacist neo-imperialist war-mongering social privilege and violence that is, frankly, the condition of the whole of Western capital, the ruling class State, and its many comprador clients, including, of course, the University itself (approx 2% of 100 makes the total pretty thin). The circular sentence and bad math does not mean anything is ok. Everywhere else there is also denial, but perhaps the ongoing complicity of the critic is the most jarring. That said, I don’t think giving up the possibility of teaching jar-heads a critique of everything is the best next move. A ruthless critique of everything that exists, said Marx, in his famous Letter to the Rube. Where else will those one day a year adventurers (two days this year already, stop and admire) get their fill or fillip and citation to carry to the afterparty?

I am waiting to hear more of the anti-war movement. The raids on Libya continue unabated. The French are arming the Rebels, from whom we hear less and less. Britain’s Apache attack helicopters raid the city. Saudi Police snipers are UK-trained with a ‘it will save lives’ rationale. A vast war apparatus at home services the military effort – a cultural industry itself – worse than Mother Courage in Brecht’s old play, selling her kids to service the troops – ‘war will find a way’, and for 30 years the battle for the Holy Roman Empire rages. The present war effort for Empire stalls in Afghanistan, and Iraq is a twisted failed and abandoned building site. Yet more and more money is ploughed into the profit making venture of arms sales and the reckless escalations are bantered palab katakata style by William Hague in the Parliament, while the so-called opposition leadership of Millibrand can only gurn and insult. The burning issue (ouch!) that will only be glossed as an inconvenience to parents when the teachers defend their pensions is as far from an adequate politics that can win as chalk is to cheese-sticks.

Self-Defence is No Offence! 30th Anniversary of the Bradford 12 Meeting in London on July 23 2011


A Day of Speakers, Discussion, Celebration.
23 July 2011, from 10:30am till 23:30pm
Khalili Theatre, SOAS, London, WC1H 0XG. United Kingdom
In July 1981, 12 young Asian men were arrested in dawn raids across Bradford and charged with conspiracy to make explosives and to cause explosions. Almost a year later, following a trial which exposed the scale and intensity of everyday racist violence and the extent of police racism faced by their communities, they were all acquitted. 1981 had already witnessed uprisings of working class African-Caribbean, Asian youth, joined at times by white youth, angry about poverty, unemployment, racist attacks and police harassment. These had spread from St. Paul’s in Bristol to Brixton, Southall, Toxteth in Liverpool and other areas. On the other side, racist skinhead thugs linked to the National Front (predecessor of today’s BNP and EDL) had invaded Black (mainly African-Caribbean and Asian) communities attacking people on the streets and in their homes and targeting community buildings. On July 11th the news that vanloads of skinheads were planning to invade Manningham, Bradford’s main Asian area spread through the community. Only a week before coachloads of skinheads had attacked Southall’s Asian community and it was community self-defence, not the police, that had protected Southall. In Bradford, the recently-formed United Black Youth League (UBYL) responded by organising a protest through Manningham. And with an attack imminent they had also filled milk-bottles with petrol, in preparation, they later explained, for creating a “wall of fire” to prevent the thugs from entering Manningham. They hid them in bushes in case they were needed.Fortunately the skinhead plan was called off and the ‘petrol bombs’ were never used. But they were discovered and the police swung into action. A Special Branch list was used to identify members and sympathisers of the UBYL. In response to the arrests, campaigns to defend the Bradford 12 sprang up organised by Black communities and their anti-racist allies across the country. The trial starkly revealed the police’s attitude with one officer after another denying the reality of racist violence which the defendants described. Despite attempts to rig the jury by failing to include anyone from Bradford’s Asian community, the Bradford 12 were found not guilty on the basis of the right to self-defence. Now, in the face of escalating racism, particularly targeting Muslim communities, it is time to reclaim the spirit of the Bradford 12 and remember our slogan:

Self-defence is no offence!

The Bradford 12 case was fought in an era in which migrants to the Britain from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and their descendants born here came together in Black organisations: their names, whether Asian, African or African Caribbean, did not preclude unity among themselves and with progressive white British people. It was a unity that resonated through the central slogan of the Bradford 12, Self-Defence is No Offence.

The Bradford 12 campaign, legal as well as political, epitomised the uncompromising principle of the right to resist racism and came out of an understanding that what was experienced in this country was an extension of colonialism’s racism and its plunder, exploitation and the occupation of our countries.

Now, 30 years later, extreme right groups with a variety of names are still given police protection to rampage through communities. But the working class communities like the one which the Bradford 12 had defended are in a far worse position. In the last 30 years they have faced increasing unemployment and poverty under the neoliberal policies of successive Conservative and Labour governments. Now, they are confronted by a new onslaught in the Con Dem sledgehammer of benefit cuts and public service closures – for which the previous Labour government laid the foundations.

State racism is alive and well. Racist immigration laws, housing policies, education, employment and the criminal justice system affect not only long-established Black communities in this country but many other groups. They include new migrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa and people fleeing the imperialist wars being fought by Britain and its allies in the name of human rights. Seeking asylum and safety in this country – known for its ‘democratic values’ – these refugees find themselves denied the means of survival – evicted as it were from the category of human.

Racism has also been recast. Islamophobia- nurtured by the last Labour government to meet the global needs of imperialism and facilitate the new scramble for Africa, Asia and the Middle East, has been added to the earlier arsenal of racist ideas – justifying unprecedented racist violence and repression.

On a day-to-day level, this means that Muslim communities in Britain now live in fear of the ever-increasing armies of spies being paid by projects such as Prevent. And terror raids by the police mean people often cross the road from those who have been raided, while some community centres and cafes refuse to allow campaigners meeting rooms to discuss the cases of those arrested under terror laws.

Muslims and Muslim ‘lookalikes’ are now gunned down in Britain in the interests of ‘security’. This old racism with new claws continues on, now hidden, now open, now in attacks on people’s homes and workplaces, now on the streets, and always in the establishment. Just as Margaret Thatcher whipped up racism and justified repression with her notorious ‘swamping’ speech in the era of the Bradford 12 , David Cameron in his recent speech at the European Security Conference declared not only the death of state
multiculturalism but unbuttoned the gloves, threatening to launch a ‘muscular liberalism’ against those opposing British colonial wars.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=101645783263959

J30

Suspend all cultural programming/work on June 30th!

for more information and details please visit:

www.j30strike.org
www.falseeconomy.org.uk
www.artsagainstcuts.wordpress.com
www.precariousworkersbrigade.tumblr.com
www.anticuts.com
www.coalitionofresistance.org
www.educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com

Raya Dunayevskaya

More than one hundred writings of the Marxist-Humanist philosopher
Raya Dunayevskaya (1910-1987) that were printed in the paper she
founded in 1955, News & Letters, are now available from News and
Letters Committees at:

http://newsandletters.org/WritingsofRD.asp

Dunayevskaya was one of Trotsky’s secretaries when he was in exile in
Mexico. She broke with him over the Hitler/Stalin pact, and later
founded News and Letters Committees, developing the philosophy she
called Marxist-Humanism. Her books include Marxism and Freedom: from
1776 until today; Philosophy and Revolution: from Hegel to Sartre and
from Marx to Mao; and Rosa Luxemburg,Women’s Liberation, and Marx’s
Philosophy of Revolution.

A wide-ranging collection of documents from the Raya Dunayevskaya
Collection that have appeared in the pages of News & Letters newspaper
are available online. The writings, from the 1940s to the 1980s,
include work on Marxian economics, Hegelian philosophy, women’s
liberation, correspondence with Herbert Marcuse, Eric Fromm, and
Adrienne Rich. Only a few of the subjects taken up include the Black
liberation struggle in the United States, Che Guevara, the Cuban
Revolution, France ’68, and Marxism as a philosophy of “Revolution in
Permanence.”

Among the titles: “The Dialectic of Marx’s Grundrisse,” “The Black
Dimension in Women’s Liberation,” The Philosophic Legacy of Karel
Kosik,” Historic Roots of Israel-Palestine Conflict,” “Levi-Strauss
and the Battle of Ideas,” “Rough Notes on Hegel’s Science of Logic,”
“Recollections of Leon Trotsky,” “Tragedy of China’s Cultural
Revolution,” “On C.L.R. James’ Notes on Dialectics,” “Remembering
Allende, 1973”.

The writings are listed in an index with direct links to the documents
and can also be found in back issues of News & Letters to see them in
the context in which they were printed.

 

Graphic Novels of different stripes

— On Wed, 22/6/11, jon sack <jsaanum[at]yahoo.com> wrote:

Dear friends,I’d like to ‘officially’ share with you my latest graphic novel, ‘Prisoners of Love’, which chronicles Ewa Jasiewicz’s experience on the Freedom Flotila last year (it has been ‘unofficially’ making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter this week).  This is a chapter in a larger project I’ve been (slowly) working on, but felt it was appropriate to publish this now in the lead up to the upcoming flotilla about to sail to Gaza – Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human.  Please visit the blog for more info or to buy a copy.  A press release is below for further reading.Thanks,

Jon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Graphic Novel Tackles Israeli Raid on Last Year’s Freedom Flotilla

London, UK – June 21, 2011

A new graphic novel, Prisoners of Love, tells the story from the point of view of Ewa Jasiewicz, an activist who took part in the Freedom Flotilla’s mission to Gaza last year, bringing much needed material support and solidarity to the Palestinian people living under Israel’s brutal and illegal blockade.

The Israeli PR machine commandeered the narrative before the gun smoke had cleared, constructing a story replete with “violent extremists” who attacked the Israeli soldiers who had stormed their ship in an attempt to ‘lynch’ them.

Israeli officials confiscated all material of the event recorded by passengers, and in doing so created a factual vacuum that it filled with a well planned, well orchestrated media offensive to justify their use of deadly force.  However, soon other voices, and other stories began to emerge, stories that ran counter to the official Israeli version, of indiscriminate assassinations, of brutal treatment of wounded passengers, and a searing contempt of due process.

The narrative of the comic is based on the final chapter of Ewa Jasiewicz’s book ‘Podpalic Gaze’ (Razing Gaza) published in Poland by WAB in February 2011.  The book is based on Jasiewicz’s experiences as a medical volunteer during Operation Cast Lead 2009 as well as analysis of the historical and present-day relationship between Poland and Israel.

Sack finished Prisoners of Love a year to the day – May 29th – that this occurred, and hopes this raises awareness of the upcoming Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human, which is due to sail with 10 ships and 1000 people to Gaza in late June.

Prisoners of Love is part of a larger collection of graphic short stories, from Israel and Gaza, to the jungles of Congo, the streets of London and Warner Bros Theme Park in Spain.

Contact:
Jon Sack
jsaanum[at]yahoo.com

For updates on the progress of the forthcoming Freedom Flotilla, see http://www.freedomflotilla.eu/ and http://witnessgaza.com/ 

.
And then from the dark side, the Guardian reports on this truly mad bit of Panto:

Graphic novel outlines raid to capture bin Laden

MATT MOORE – AP foreign, Friday June 24 2011

Associated Press= PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The daring secret mission to get Osama bin Laden by elite U.S. forces will be told in the pages of a new graphic novel that aims to shed more light — with a bit of creative license — on the event.

Written by retired U.S. Marine Capt. Dale Dye and Julia Dye, the 88-page hardcover “Code Word: Geronimo” takes a look at the mission that is free from politics, a move the authors said was aimed at keeping the focus on those who planned, conducted and executed the raid. IDW Publishing said a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the American Veterans Center.

“People from all parties and from more than one administration made this all possible,” Julia Dye told The Associated Press. “It’s an American celebration.”

It was also a quick process adapting the real-life event for the book, illustrated by artists Gerry Kissell and Amin Amat, and set for release Sept. 6, less than a week before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

IDW, a San Diego-based publisher known for its line of comics that include “G.I. Joe,” ”Star Trek” and “Doctor Who,” said the story about bin Laden’s capture would appeal to both new and established readers.

Tom Waltz, IDW’s editor and a Marine who was in the Gulf War, called the story a detailed account of the mission.

“I firmly believe you won’t get a more accurate account [for sure! - ed] of this pivotal moment in history unless it is told by the SEAL team members themselves, [even better - incredulous ed]” Waltz said.

Julia Dye called the work necessary for the nation [uh huh -ed], particularly having had to live “within the shadow” of bin Laden for so long.

Read the rest online here. [if you dare - ed]

Riotinto Kills – that we knew, but here it is in detail.

SBS TV [Australia] – Dateline [show] on Sunday 26 June 2011 at 8.30pm

It’s 14 years since the war ended over what was once the world’s largest copper mine, at Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, but Dateline has uncovered claims that the PNG government was acting under instruction from mining giant Rio Tinto, when it killed thousands of people who wanted the mine shut down.

The allegations come from PNG’s former Opposition Leader, and now Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, in 2001 court documents obtained by SBS Chief Correspondent Brian Thomson for Dateline.

In them, Somare says the company, and its subsidiary Bougainville Copper Limited, effectively used its wealth to control the government – a claim denied by BCL.

With negotiations now underway to reopen the abandoned mine, could Bougainville be heading for a repeat of the bloody battle over its resources?

WATCH – Brian’s special report can be seen on Dateline this Sunday at 8.30pm on SBS ONE.

http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/about/id/601246/n/Blood-and-Treasure

Pantomime Paranoia in London, or, ‘Look Out, He’s Behind You’

The book version of a commentary on various things Fun^da^mental (plus stuff on the Kumars at No. 42, Jean Charles de Menezes, Forest Gate, and the general mayhem of war-on-terror culture) is now out in a volume edited by Ian Peddie. Some of this material first appeared in various places across this blog, and was my inaugural lecture.

Now the pdf of my chapter is available on this link: 011 Hutnyk Ch 4 Peddi, by grace and favour of the publisher.

Under the Skies of Rust

A lovely little film on the National Instruments factory in Jadavpur.

Thanks Lara

More on National Instruments here

Clandestino 10-12 June 2011 Gothenberg

CLANDESTINO TALKS

Jasmine Revolution

With the whole world twitching, a seemingly sudden outbreak of political unrest swept across North Africa and the Middle East during the spring of 2011. The media gaze fixed upon the region, with stories of courageous civilians confronting oppressors, demanding freedom, reported around the clock. Although the ultimate outcome of these struggles remains uncertain, the stories have undoubtedly stirred the admiration and hopes of a global audience. Inspiration gave rise to a need for interpretation and explanation. It was no surprise that the main thrust of western reporting seemed to settle for a narrative which borrowed its framework and concepts from key moments of modern political history. ‘Regime change’, ‘liberty’ and ‘democratic rights’ became the catchwords associated with – what in its earliest phase was already baptized a ‘revolution’ – the ‘Jasmine revolution’.

This narrative of a flowering of revolutionary spirit reaches back to a time when sovereigns, monarchs and autocratic dictators were dethroned. The old worlds entered an era of enlightenment and liberty, embodied in the shape of parliamentary democracy and market capitalism. Official historiography was ready with the image of a tardy Arab World, slowly but finally catching up with the West – whose close relations with the ancient régime were conveniently masked under the necessities of benevolent intervention.

There is a whole other history of revolution that is exorcised by this liberal writing of official analysis. Besides events such as the Haitian, Russian, Chinese and Cuban revolutions being ignored and distorted, the bloody history of capital and the bourgeois world order and its victims is rendered irrelevant for the understanding of the struggles. Thus, very little is mentioned of striking workers, of hunger riots or of the financial crisis of 2008. These are the crucial contexts in relation to the writing of new constitutions, military ‘caretaker’ government, air strikes against formerly benevolent dictators, no-fly zones and the like. The pundits are beginning to call any connections made between Tahrir and growing civic unrest in the Euro-zone inappropriate and distasteful. Yet the squares of London, Madrid and more are also contested, however hesitantly.

We – spectators, activists and revolutionaries, would be’s and actual – are facing serious questions. What and who makes a revolution? What does it mean to be a (commenting) spectator or a ‘helping’ interventionist? What makes one revolutionary event ‘political’ and another ‘economic’? Who are made recognisable as victims, and whose existence is denied? Who (and what) is held responsible for the old order? Who is the subject that revolts – and who is the subject supposed to observe? These are questions that will hardly be answered, but at Clandestino Talks they constitute the background to the two panels and the lectures to be held during the festival and continued during the Autumn course at Clandestino Insitut.

Programme: http://clandestinofestival.org/2011/?page_id=646&lang=en


Emerging Publics: A Geo-Critical Forum 9.6.2011

A one day conference. Speakers include: Wang Hui, Achille Mbembe, Saskia
Sassen, Ravi Sundaram

Emerging Publics combines buzzwords of the day like ‘emerging nations’ and
‘emerging markets’ with the idea of the public. It asks what will be the
new publics as partly driven by the emerging world: China, India and
Africa. It asks what can we hope for after the destruction of the classic
public sphere – one framed by Keynes and Habermas. This classic public has
been largely decimated by some 2-3 decades of reigning neo-liberalism.
There has been very little response to the global finance crisis, the bank
and possible sovereign debt defaults in the wake of 2008. There probably
is no going back now to the classic public sphere. Instead we need to ask
what are the possibilities for new publics, perhaps both more localized,
and more global (than the classical national public sphere). These new
publics may be driven by something like Paul Krugman’s regional economies
of scale. The new economies of scale that this event will address are also
social, cultural and surely political. They are increasingly driven by
what is other to the West. These emerging publics are also a question of
the ‘pirate modernity’ of spaces in, say, Lagos and Mumbai, in which
software and politics is cycled and recycled, in which another urbanism is
emerging in the context of grassroots politics, NGOs, the arts. Today’s
emerging publics operate in the context of massive Chinese foreign primary
goods purchase and infrastructure investment. They are a question of
Chinese (and German) ‘sovereign surplus’ overload. And where there is
sovereign surplus, there is Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. These
emerging publics – from the BRICs, Africa and the Middle East – have
massive implications for what we in the West and the UK are encountering.
What kind of community, what kind of public can be constructed in Britain
in the wake of thirty years of neo-liberalism? What kind of art, what kind
of media are at stake in this pirate modernity of also the battles between
neo-liberalism’s monopoly copyright and the new public goods of a
networked ‘copyleft’? What new kind of political economy is at stake in
this? What sort of new critique of political economy? What kind of cities
and what kind of urbanism? Indeed what kind of politics do we need for the
twenty-first Century?

Programme:

10 -11:30 AM.
Emerging Modernities. Chair: Chris Berry; Speaker: Wang Hui (Tsinghua
University); Discussant: Michael Dutton

11:30-11:45 AM break

11:45 AM-1:15PM
Emerging Geo-Politics. Chair: Les Back; Speaker: Achille Mbembe (WISER
Institute/Duke University); Discussant: Irit Rogoff

1:15-2:30 PM
Lunch Break

2:30-4:00 PM
Emerging Media. Chair: Sanjay Seth; Speaker: Ravi Sundaram (Sarai-CSDS
Delhi); Discussant: Scott Lash

4:15-4:45 PM. break

4:45-6:15 PM
Emerging Urbanisms. Chair: Michael Keith (Oxford); Speaker: Saskia Sassen
(LSE); Discussant: Abdoumaliq Simone

Event Information

Location: Lecture Theatre (Room 002), New Academic Building
Goldsmiths, University of London
Cost: Free, all welcome, but please register via email: cup01fc@gold.acuk
Department: Centre for Cultural Studies
Time: 9 June 2011, 10:00 – 18:30
http://www.gold.ac.uk/find-us/

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,723 other followers

%d bloggers like this: