Tag Archives: war

Anthropology and the War Machine, winning.

It seems very wrong to classify this ‘jobs.ac.uk’ post under ‘social care':

Anthropologist
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) – Behavioural and Cultural Systems Team
Location: Fareham, Portsmouth
Salary: £23,500 to £33,500
Hours: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Placed on: 13th June 2014
Closes: 18th July 2014
Job Ref: 1415972
Dstl is responsible for designing, developing and applying the very latest in science and technology for the benefit of UK defence and security, across government. We work with the best people with the best ideas around the world – from very small companies to world-class universities, huge defence companies and sometimes other nations. Together we develop battle-winning technologies, based on deep and widespread research, to support UK military operations, now and in the future.

This is a genuinely involving, unusual and rewarding anthropology role – it’s an opportunity to apply your expertise to inform the way the UK responds to security and defence threats.

You will be joining the Behavioural and Cultural Systems team within Dstl’s Strategic Analysis Group, a 50 strong group of specialists drawn from diverse backgrounds such as psychology, theology, war studies and law. Anthropology is an important element in the mix, as the UK’s ability to tackle future challenges depends on in-depth, accurate insight into populations and societies.

You will be supporting analysis at strategic and operational level, by drawing on a wide range of established and emergent human and social science theories. Your analysis, assessment and advice will be crucial to aiding our understanding of individuals, groups and organisational systems – relating to a wide range of social and cultural issues confronting Her Majesty’s Government. Ultimately, your contribution can help shape and influence government policy and UK Armed Forces operations.

It’s essential that you have an Honours degree in Anthropology or a related subject, and membership of a relevant professional body.

You need a proven record of using a variety of structured social science analysis / research methods to support decision making, together with practical experience of applying Anthropological principles in problem-sets.

You will be a customer-focused researcher who works well both independently and collaboratively.

An understanding of UK defence and security environments or experience of analysis on counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism is an advantage.

Dstl is responsible for designing, developing and applying the very latest in science and technology for the benefit of UK defence and security, across the government. We work with the best people with the best ideas around the world – from very small companies to world-class universities, huge defence companies … even other nations. Together we develop battle-winning technologies, based on deep and widespread research, to support UK military operations, now and in the future.

In return for playing your part in the UK’s defence and security, we offer extensive benefits that include everything from a pension and generous leave, to excellent learning and development opportunities – all in addition to a competitive salary. Our sites are equipped with gyms and restaurants. But it’s not just your working environment that we’ve thought about. Your home life is important too, which is why we offer childcare vouchers, a flexible work-life balance and even discounts on everything from bus tickets to the cost of a new bicycle. In short, we’ve done our best to ensure that our rewards reflect your talents.

To find out more about this role and the work of Dstl, please go to Civil Service Jobs https://jobsstatic.civilservice.gov.uk/csjobs.html/ and search for the vacancy reference 1415972. Follow the instructions to apply.

Due to the reserved nature of this role, it is only open to UK Nationals who have lived in this country for more than five years. All posts require standard Security Clearance (SC).

Closing date: 18 July 2014.

M.I.A.; The Partysquad – Double Bubble Trouble official music video Unc…

DIY Anti War Drones and more:

Bougainville: shareholders v board

Radio Australia, 8 May 2014

Bougainville Shareholders support corporate review

Updated 8 May 2014, 9:30 AEST
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility says it is encouraged that most Bougainville Copper shareholders are in favour of appointing an independent jurist to investigate the company’s involvement in counter-insurgency activities during the Bougainville civil war.

The Centre’s resolution, put to the Bougainville Copper annual meeting in Port Moresby was overwhelmingly defeated.

Presenter: Jemima Garrett

Caroline le Couteur, Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacific/radio/program/pacific-beat/bougainville-shareholders-hsupport-corporate-review/1307728

hybridity-talk

A paragraph or two… i dunno how useful… on hybridity-talk… [possible reprint of Debating Cultural Hybridity 1997 in the works]:
.
There was a time when ‘hybridity-talk’ seemed shiny and new. It is still important to question this of course, but the shifts that were already underway in 1997 have made the critique all the more pertinent. Today we are living in an age of unparalleled fluid and all-pervasive war. A cultural project that runs alongside the military project has infected everyday life, breeding anxiety and paralysis together. A cocktail that circulates culturally coded fears, hardly hidden, and weaponised streets always present. On the one hand bombing campaigns, assassinations, drone strikes, rendition, detention, deportation, police violence, deaths in custody, on the other hand a discursive deployment of sociologists, musicologists, anthropologists, educators, social workers, designers, media pundits and lifestyle gurus. A military-cultural mash-up – we can not see these fields as separate. The railway station announcement warns you to check your baggage, the television soothes with Thelonious-era jazz as the soundtrack to a spy drama called Homeland. Comedy cartoons cause fracas, insults fly, Rushdie delivers another doorstop of a book to shore up the facade of crisis-ridden Capital. Syria stews in an orgy of death already rehearsed in Libya by NATO when the Arab Spring became the Arab Sting. In Britain the Conservative Party invites immigrants to go home and offers hollow talk of ‘us’ being all in it together. The English Defence League looks towards the electorate, the UK Border authority sweeps the streets in dragnet formation.

OK OK, we were only talking culture here, but there was always that backdrop of murder and death – and culture and killing are connected even if the words we have to describe what is going on seem to have lost their analytic purchase. What shifted critical thinking? It was never Islam versus the West, but bombing, militarism, exploitation and its excuses and alibis versus a critique of these things. We wanted to rethink hybridity critically, and it still seems so necessary, even if the stakes are higher, and mere talk is never enough.
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My chapter from DBH 1997 was updated as the first chapter of Critique of Exotica 2000

Filthy bastard mining corp Riotinto slips the (legal) noose once again (the law is an ass)

Rio Tinto wins end to human rights abuse lawsuit in U.S.

Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:47pm EDT
* Bougainville residents sued over activity linked to mine
* 9th Circuit rules after top U.S. court narrows law’s reach
By Jonathan Stempel
June 28 (Reuters) – Benefiting from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Rio Tinto Plc has won the dismissal of a nearly 13-year-old U.S. lawsuit accusing the Anglo-Australian mining company of complicity in human rights abuses on the South Pacific island of Bougainville.
Friday’s ruling by a majority of an 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ends litigation begun in 2000.
Roughly 10,000 current and former Bougainville residents had sought to hold Rio Tinto responsible for human rights violations and thousands of deaths linked to polluting a copper and gold mine it once ran.
The ruling follows the Supreme Court’s April 17 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co, where the justices limited the sweep of a 1789 U.S. law that lawyers had used for roughly three decades to fight human rights abuses worldwide.
Five justices said the Alien Tort Statute was meant to cover international law violations occurring in the United States, and that violations elsewhere must “touch and concern” U.S. territory “with sufficient force” to displace that presumption.
The Bougainville residents alleged that after workers in 1988 began to sabotage the Rio Tinto mine, the company goaded Papua New Guinea’s government to exact retribution and conspired to impose a blockade, leading to thousands of civilian deaths.
On April 22, the Supreme Court threw out an earlier 9th Circuit ruling that let the lawsuit proceed, and asked it to revisit the matter in light of Kiobel.
Steve Berman, a lawyer for the Bougainville plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
He had asked the 9th Circuit to send the case back to the Los Angeles district court so that his clients could try to proceed with other claims, “sans invocation of the ATS.”
Kiobel was also cited this week by a Virginia federal judge who dismissed a lawsuit accusing defense contractor CACI International Inc of conspiring to torture detainees a decade ago at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The judge in that case said that because the alleged abuse occurred outside the United States, he lacked jurisdiction to consider claims by four former detainees. They plan to appeal.
The case is Sarei et al v. Rio Tinto Plc et al, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 02-56256.

Iraq AC/DC

AC/DC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX05dWBoeUs – accessed April 7 2008

Marilyn Manson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOWmTyrz1RA – accessed April 9 2006

Doco http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=related&v=1ljXnV4Ibpk  – accessed April 7 2008

Comic stuff: http://gocomics.typepad.com/the_sandbox/2008/03/5-years-1-year.html – accessed March 27 2008

Who remembers Ibrahim?

Ibrahim-Al-MarashiIbrahim al-Marashi was the guy whose article was plagiarised from the Middle East Review by Blair and Labour in 2003 to justify the start of the second Iraq war against Saddam. al-Marashi complained about not being cited properly, and one hopes, much else. It seems he went on to be a pretty cool history professor if you go by the comments on Rate My Professor: here.

ANTI-WAR RETROSPECTIVE OF THE LAST DECADE – 15.3.13 Goldsmiths

Ten years since the invasion of Iraq, what is the state of the anti-war movement?

TriContinental Anti-Imperialist Platform

image

TriContinental Anti-Imperialist Platform is a newly set up organisation that seeks to champion the causes of the peoples of the GlobalSouth through GlobalSouth Diaspora leadership for people-centred progress and the central challenges to the GlobalSouth which remains western military and cultural hegemony. On the panel at this event will be spokepersons of some of the countries and people impacted by imperialist wars. We will be reflecting on the failures, successes of the anti-war movement of the last decade, and the continuing challenges of the anti-war movement, especially in the light of the collapse of the anti-war movement especially in relation to the nato war on Libya, now Syria, Mali, Algeria and open imperialist war strategies of in relation to China, Russia (“pivot to Asia”) and other sections of the Global South which what passes as the anti-war movement in england fails utterly to address.

Location: 137a, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Cost: free
Website: www.facebook.com/events/212155682257314/
Department: Centre For Cultural Studies
Time: 15 March 2013, 18:30 – 21:30

stream will be here at 6:30: http://www.gold.ac.uk/live-stream/high/

More UKBA crap

This is despicable:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19650640

Military Realism on TV – more detail than you need I am sure

The good people behind South/South are more informative than most TV Listings pages. Want to know what your co-hosts have been up to? Well, here’s a former Rhodes Scholar – and NATO commander – Wesley Clark now kitted out with all the tricks of the military TV trade… and there’s Terry Crew from The Expendables, and football (Gridiron I presume) strutting his stuff. Add a boxer, an Olympic Gold Medalist and a few others, and Ka-Pow! You really don’t need to watch much of this to realise its the bright new shiny future of TV. You thought a Cathode Ray was a weapon the Martians had – well, scifi or BB never got this real. Set your scheduler to record (or to the vomit setting – its already on stun).

By South/South. This first appeared at The New Inquiry.

Stars Earn Stripes is a freshly pressed NBC drag show reality television series which debuts its two-hour premiere on 13 August, or ‘Monday after the Olympics at 8/7c!’ as its promotional spots blared all throughout the station’s Olympic Games coverage. The emphatic promise of militarytainment—a real NATO ex-general, real ex-Navy SEALS, real ex-Delta Force commanders, real ex-Green Berets, real celebrities, etc.—outranks previous shows of its ilk. It also makes the Pentagon Channel look like the army version of the perpetuated congressional yawn that is C-SPAN. Here is the show’s self-description:

Hosted by General Wesley Clark (retired) and Samantha Harris, “Stars Earn Stripes” is an action-packed competition show that pays homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-responder services. The star-studded cast includes four-time undefeated world boxing champion Laila Ali, actor Dean Cain (“Out of Time,” Five Days of War”), actor and former National Football League player Terry Crews (“The Expendables 2,” “The Newsroom”), multi-platinum recording artist, actor, producer and television personality Nick Lachey (NBC’s “The Sing-Off”), Alaska businessman and four-time Iron Dog snowmobile race champion Todd Palin, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” trainer Dolvett Quince, Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street, and WWE diva, Eve Torres.

In this fast-paced competition, the eight celebrities will gather at a remote training facility where they will be challenged to execute complicated missions inspired by real military exercises. From helicopter drops into water to long-range weapons fire, the contestants will be tested physically, mentally and emotionally. Each will be paired with a special operative from a military branch or one of our first-responder forces, including former U.S. Army Delta Force and Green BeretsU.S. Navy SEALSU.S. Marines and police officers, who train alongside their partners and compete in the missions with them. Each of the teams is competing for a cash prize on behalf of a military, veterans or first-responder charity.

Take any of the day’s popular television series and you’ll notice they have one claim in common: authenticity. Reality shows based on human affect fundamentally rely on ‘drama’ (let’s imagine it on a spectrum ranging from Dostoevsky to 1980s Mexican soap operas) and not a single one fails to remind viewers how authentic the drama is. Real people generate real emotions that generate real drama. (For a contemporary paragon look no further than Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, and its paratexts.)

Yet unlike other reality shows Stars Earn Stripes cannot and does not aim for authenticity. It can only aim for realness. Realness is the perfect execution of an imitation of the real. Toward that goal, SES has spared no prop nor expense, even hiring retired General Wesley Clark as a co-host. As Supreme Allied Commander Europe Clark commanded the NATO air bombing campaign of Yugoslavia. He is also a former Rhodes Scholar, Democratic Party presidential candidate, and author of Waging Modern War and Winning Modern Wars. He is not filled with hay as some reports suggest. Clark is an essential realness ingredient, and gravely assures viewers, ‘There are no stunt doubles. This is real.’ Then he punctuates that promise: ‘Real ammunition. Real explosives. Real danger.’ Skier Picabo Street was quoted on the show’s Twitter feed: ‘I rode a real fine line between show & reality. What defined that line was the live ammunition.’ In case you needed more reassurance (after all, how could we trust that Wesley Clark is not some silver-haired cardboard simulacrum if the show’s advertisement spots didn’t constantly remind us he was a ’real’ general?) producer Mark Burnett says:

As you know I am a veteran and served in the [British Army] Parachute Regiments. I love the military. What this show is, and what you’ll see, is a love letter, in a fun way, to those who protect and serve us, showing how hard it is to do their job.

Since SES bills itself as a competition show, it could favor a little theatrical pre-game we might call Real v. Realness. I chose three items, but the possibilities are nearly limitless.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Real: Ušće Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Belgrade, as it caught fire during Operation Allied Force’s large-scale air bombing campaign in 1999 under General Clark.

 
Realness: The show’s promotional photos show (top) a giant explosion behind all eight celebrities and (bottom) Dean Cain, Terry Crews, Laila Ali, and Nick Lachey (curiously the only contestant without a rifle in both pictures, as though not carrying a gun was stipulated in his contract). An unidentified blast mushrooms in the background next to the tagline, ‘They’re not in Hollywood anymore.’

Read the whole post, and indeed, watch the trailer: here.

Suicide Without Fame, without Responsibility

I have mentioned before the Joy Devotion picture book out by Jennifer Otter (launched last week) – It is a study of the things left by Joy Division/Ian Curtis fans at Curtis’s graveside in Macclesfield. A year of trinkets:

http://www.blurb.co.uk/bookstore/detail/3364538?utm_source=badge&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=140×240

Makes me think of the media frenzy over a the Batman deaths in Texas, and about having watched footage on Syria and Libya back to back with documentaries on Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain recently… What would the various Death devotions around Curtis and Cobain be if not the industrial remnants – turned trinket commodity detritus – of people spat out by the individualization machine, in which there are no longer actual individuals, only icon figurines of abjection that come to stand in their place – ie, stand in for actual expressive individuality. All the while mass death at the hands of the weapon system barely raises a murmur. This is trinketization, expressive if dysfunctional personality and creativity is turned into a mass produced semblance of a false individuality – and it must be embodied in a fallen idol who is then unable to remain alive inside this brutalizing system. The myopic fans (we?) cling on to this brutal departure because as fans/we are unable to find a way out ourselves – somehow both caught wanting to leave, but with no-where to actually go, because suicide without fame is nothing. This, sadly, also gives a hint as to why someone might style themselves the Joker and shoot a dozen people at a movie screening. Think Brievik in Norway too – these are also the people that the Curtis and Cobain cults create. Along the way distracting from NATO’s more gruesome wars, which are barely opposed by STW or anyone.

seven minutes away

- walking distance from my house… The militarisation of London was well in place before the Olympiss, so I am hoping the appearance of these toys in the park up the road gets people more interested. Its not like Britain doesn’t also already sell plenty of these babies worldwide. Scumbag Lords of Death Piggy Pollies. Cute puppy too – I bet your Guardian editor was rapt when they found this pic in the proof sheets – oblique little reference to Bliar/Cameron as Bush/Obama’s lackey-in-chief. Not sure the fence is secure though – joy riders anticipated, does the new Camry even come with a tow-bar these days?

That free-thinking even-handed paper of record

Even handed as always, the Guardian media ads pages today carries two ‘provocative’ ads for Torturer and Abuser. Ironic ‘sick joke’ ads that eventually ask us to log on to the website for the rehabilitation NGO Freedom from Torture. So far so transparent, a senior human rights abuser is needed for ‘A militia group in Central Africa’ and a senior torturer is needed by the ‘Government of a Middle East state’. Oh the wit. I guess the Guardian copy editor thought these would be ok, and not grotesque renderings of undifferentiated Middle East and Africa as land of despots, because the next page, or tomorrow, or all next week, there would be exposés of USA tortures in Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, etc and British abuses via deportations, immigration raids, complicity with the US and all that. But, undermining such even-handedness, today’s edition clearly ran out of space for anything acknowledging Western abuses. Only in the darker nations, where presumably irony is not lost, and prejudice excused, does Freedom from Torture want to operate its humour. When the international criminal court indicts Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy, and has already locked up the Bush boys, Gunshot Cheney and Tony Bliar, for good, will we look back and say, well done vigilant Guardian editors, your objectivity is sound, and the name of your paper not a cipher for panto.

20120430-104050.jpg

20120430-104141.jpg

Update: the freedom from torture website helpfully completes the geo-imperial slur framing with its third ad, for a kidnapper in South Asia. Excellent – a return to growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Update 2: And if you do click on the link, look for their video with its seeds metaphors and its water torture feature in their reception room. ‘Torture is bad’ – they campaign to tell people that. I can only agree.

Disarm DSEI


Confront “Counter Terror Expo”: Confront the real terrorists!

Posted on Friday 23 March 2012

April 25 2012, 6.30pm
at the Royal Garden Hotel,
2-24 High Street Kensington:
nearest tubes High Street Kensington and Knightsbridge.

As “counter-terrorist experts”—many better known as armament companies—gather at the Royal Garden Hotel to guzzle champagne followed by four course dinner. Pausing only to gaze over Kensington Gardens. (At a mere £156 a ticket—guess who isn’t suffering from “austerity”?)

Join Disarm DSEi as we confront exhibitors at the so-called Counter Terror Expo—an event showcasing the latest equipment used by states to spy on, restrict and murder their citizens under the guise of “preventing terrorism”. Let’s help them choke on it! (Remember the DSEi dinner demo at the National Gallery!)

Dinner guests include:

General Dynamics
British arm of US-based firm agreed deal to upgrade military equipment for an elite Libyan government security brigade.
Chemring Defence
British contractor produced CS gas canisters fired at civilians by Egyptian security forces in Tahir Square.
L-3 Security & Detection Systems
A division of $15bn surveillance and communications giant L-3 Communications.
Thales
French aerospace and defence company paid fine of €630m in 2010 over bribes to win contract for 1991 sale of frigates to Taiwan.
Northrop Grumman
US global aerospace company, world’s fourth largest defence contractor.

(Check out the full list of exhibitors)

Across North Africa and the Middle East, dictatorships have, and still are using equipment supplied by UK companies to spy on and attack demonstrators, and yet some of these countries will be shopping for more equipment at the Counter Terror Expo, along with other repressive regimes from around the world.

The UK is a major market, where police are widening their surveillance and repression to even the mildest dissidents. As the government relentlessly destroys the welfare state and drags our wages to rock bottom, it continues to subsidise and promote the arms and “security” industries

The event hosts hundreds of exhibitors, not only leading arms companies, who make huge profits from conflict and repression. It is officially supported by a vast range of military, police and private security organisations, and is endorsed by state agencies such as the MoD and NATO.

Surveillance systems will be a major focus, with companies again promoting biometric and data gathering/mining technologies; promoting “freedom” through ever greater control and documentation of our daily lives, not to mention drones (coming to a demo near you shortly!)

The event is organised by Clarion, which also runs DSEi—the world’s largest arms fair. What with governments everywhere looking to increase control of their citizens, and the industry exaggerating threats to increase their profits, Clarion must think they’re onto a winner. Let’s show them they’re not.

www.dsei.org / www.corporatewatch.org

22 March 2012 Iran – Goldsmiths

US Weather Report

Protesters confront battleships en route to world’s largest arms fair

10.09.2011 10:49

For immediate release:

Protesters confront battleships en route to world’s largest arms fair

HMS Dauntless is Daunted

Today, warships en route to the world’s largest arms fair were disrupted by protesters angry at a trade that inflicts untold misery and death across the planet. Protesters, including locals, manoeuvred six kayaks in front of the ships to prevent them gaining access to Royal Victoria Dock.

At a time of austerity and government cuts, East London will be hosting Defence Systems Equipment International (DSEi) from 13th – 16th September, with much of the cost borne by the taxpayer.

Every 2 years the ExCeL centre in London’s dockyards welcomes dictators, arms dealers and suspected war criminals in an attempt to persuade them to buy British weaponry. Many of the weapons used by dictators to kill demonstrators during the Arab spring were procured from DSEi exhibitors.

This year DSEi falls on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. It is worth remembering that (according to the British Medical Journal) nearly 400,000 people die every year from armed conflict.

A spokesperson for Disarm DSEi stated “The same politicians that shed crocodile tears for the 9/11 victims are fuelling the fires of war and armed conflict around the world. It is up to ordinary people to intervene to stop the obscene traffic in arms. DSEi, the world’s largest arms fair, must be stopped.”

This is just one action in a concerted campaign. Protesters have vowed to disrupt DSEi throughout the week, including a day of action on the 13th to blockade the DLR and prevent delegates attending the event.

For further information and pictures contact – 07592 769 907 or 07415 810 637

Notes for Editors:

Several warships will form part of this year’s DSEi – hosting receptions and showcasing military technology, including HMS Dauntless, the pride of the British Navy.

Over 1200 arms companies will be selling their wares to 25,000 buyers from around the world, including military delegations from some of the world’s most repressive, human rights abusing regimes.

DSEi is held in Newham, one of London’s most impoverished boroughs. Whilst the government has subsidised DSEi by £320,000 and paid up to £4million for policing, Newham council are being forced to cut
£116 million from their budget over the next four years.

For years leading up to the “Arab Spring”, arms companies have exported equipment to the regimes which are now being condemned by governments rapidly backtracking on their support. A report issued in April this year confirmed that since 2009 the UK have exported components for military helicopters to Algeria, sub-machine guns and tear gas to Bahrain, machine guns to Egypt and hand grenades to Jordan. British defence contractors have also sold small arms ammunition to Syria, hand grenades, sniper rifles and tear gas to Saudi Arabia and shotguns to Morocco.

DISARM DSEi
Stop the world’s largest arms fair!

Photos of Kayaks vs The Dauntless here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67368949@N04/

Disarm DSEi
- Homepage: www.dsei.org

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.

Jodi

Having the assassination cheer squads on heavy rotation on the Jingo channel (BBC news) is embarrassing us all. No critical voice yet on tv, as far as I’ve seen. Worse than the Saddam execution on the Hanging Channel. Who needs media critique when they cartoon it up so bad by themselves? And to think that the rest of the election campaign just inaugurated is gonna be built up on this four-fronts-war led by the Geronimo-killer Kool-aid seller. Thank Obiwan for Jodi Dean, who can at least think past the ‘barbarous variant’ of ‘capitalist anarcho-fascism':

Cheerleaders, chants, and beach balls are barbaric responses to the announcement of a political assassination.

Political assassination is not an act of justice. It does not bring about justice in some kind of cosmic tit for tat.  It is not the doing of justice. Justice is not done when another is killed in retaliation.

Retaliation, retribution, revenge–are these now the common terms through which justice is understood in the US? Do we think that victims are avenged when their assailant is killed? The victims are still dead, still gone, still mourned. Are they brought back in the acts of terror, torture, and imprisonment enacted in their name? Are they memorialized daily in airports as we take off our belts and shoes, as we put our hand behind are heads, spread-eagled, and searched, as we are x-rayed and scanned?

For a moment, the twenty minutes or so when the intertubes were alive with the news and before the president spoke, I felt something–something like relief, the sense of an end, perhaps even hope. It was, I think, the anticipation of an end to the disaster of the last ten years of ritualized humiliation, electronically stimulated fear, widespread surveillance, and the enjoyment of camps and torture.

The television media quickly made it clear that this sort of anticipation has no place: the war on terrorism is endless, total. It won’t stop. We are not the same people. We have been reconfigured in a massive psycho-political experiment in transforming democracy into fascism, or a new barbarous variant of fascism, capitalist anarcho-fascism.

We are now the sort of people who cheer for death and murder, who repeat mindless lies, who glory in inequality–not bread and circuses but cheetos and reality tv. Everything is a game, yet we don’t even recognize the levels on which it is played, the levels on which we aren’t players at all but the targets captured or shot as the real players, hot shots, move on up.

Can we glimpse post-terrorism? Can we use it as an opening to something else, a focus not on war but on global capitalist exploitation? Can it be a chance to remake the decade’s choice for barbarism into a new choice for socialism?

http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/i_cite/2011/05/post-terrorism.html

Gaza protest: Saturday 14 May 2011

Join the protest: Saturday 14 May

12 noon opposite Downing Street

Called by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Palestinian Forum in Britain

End the siege on Gaza Supported by: Amos Trust, Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK, Communications Workers Union (CWU), Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Friends of Lebanon, Friends of Al-Aqsa, GMB, The Green Party, ICAHD UK, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Lib Dem Friends of Palestine, Pax Christi, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Twinning with Palestine, UNISON, UNITE the Union, University & College Union (UCU), War on Want, Zaytoun
Support the Freedom Flotilla: Follow‘Britain 2 Gaza’ on Facebook or@britain2gaza on Twitter Britain to Gaza logo
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PSC is campaigning to end the siege on Gaza, is demanding that the right of Palestinian self-determination is respected, and that Palestinians finally achieve freedom, peace and justice. Together, we can change the future. Join the PSC today!
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Global Day of Action on Military Spending

Memorandum to the Malaysian Defence Minister

By Malaysian NGOs on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending,

April 12, 2011

In 2009 alone, global military spending rose to an all-time high amount of $1.53 TRILLION! Because we encounter countless crises in today’s world -poverty, hunger, lack of education, poor health care, and environmental issues – it is essential that we come together and create a global movement focusing on what IS important: human lives and their needs. It really is up to us… if not, then who? But we must act NOW!

Global Day of Action on Military Spending on April 12, 2011 has been organized to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) new annual figures on world military expenditures. On this day, people on all continents will join together in joint actions to focus public, political, and media attention on the costs of military spending and the need for new priorities. Such events will help us to build the international network around this issue.

Join us in this historic Global Day of Action on Military Spending. This day of action has been coordinated by:

The International Peace Bureau (IPB), dedicated to the vision of a World without War. IPB are a Nobel Peace Laureate (1910); over the years, 13 of its officers have been recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. They have 320 member organisations in 70 countries, together with individual members from a global network, bring together expertise and campaigning experience in a common cause. Their current main programme centres on Sustainable Disarmament for Sustainable Development.

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. They work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power. As Washington’s first progressive multi-issue think tank, the IPS has served as a policy and research resource for visionary social justice movements for over four decades.

Statement by Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending, 12 April 2011

Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending are concerned about the carte blanche given to the Ministry of Defence for arms purchases while health, education and other social services are still so deplorable. The total security allocation under the Tenth Malaysia Plan is RM23 billion. Through the years, the allocation for security (internal security + defence) has been as high as 15.9% and 15.0% under the 3rd and 6th Malaysia Plans while the allocation for health has been as low as 1.6% and 1.0% under the 4th and 5th Malaysia Plans respectively. The Education Minister said recently that 600 schools in the country are in critical condition, most of these in East Malaysia.

The arms race among the Southeast Asian countries seems the most pointless after all the talk at conferences on ASEAN integration. Even so, each country’s attempt to be ahead in the race is self-defeating.

In 1997, Malaysia was described as one of “East Asia’s Big Eight” countries devoting “lavish resources” to develop its military industries. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said that these countries – China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia – were enhancing their capabilities in military organization, arms purchases, and military industrialization.

Malaysia’s rivalry with Singapore springs not from ideological differences but from the latter’s forced separation from the Malaysian federation in 1965, after a crisis emanating from the racial politics of their ruling classes. From this rivalry we can see how the ensuing arms race has burdened the peoples in the two countries with billions in arms spending.

Many are not aware of the rapid growth of Malaysia’s domestic military-industrial complex. The top brass of the military guard their power and privilege and this is nourished by easy access to the defence budget and the simple justification of “national security”. Today we have seen the growth of such a complex in many countries, including Malaysia. An offshoot of the arms purchases is the race to develop domestic defence equipment industries in each of the S.E. Asian countries.

It is clear that the BN Government could get away with such huge defence budgets during the last few decades because of the erosion of these safeguards in our democratic system, viz. dominance of the executive over parliament; loss of public accountability; absence of Freedom of Information legislation; inadequate separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary; poor safeguards for civil rights. The National Defence Policy is as good as giving a carte blanche to the Ministry of Defence for “deterrence and forward defence”.

The Non-Aligned Movement was founded upon the principles of peace, neutrality and impartiality to the Superpowers. A genuine non-aligned policy can therefore go a long way toward ridding us of the need to procure expensive arms.

Disarmament must ultimately be inclusive of all the nations within ASEAN. The peoples in ASEAN deserve a better quality of life compared to the status quo which is committed to an irrational arms race among the ASEAN countries themselves and deprives their peoples of valuable resources for social development.

Minimising the defence budget in Malaysia and throughout ASEAN can free more valuable resources into urgently needed social services and socially useful production. Wasting money on arms prevents it from being spent on health, education, clean water or other public services. It also distorts the economy and diverts resources, such as skilled labour and R&D away from alternative economic activity.

Leaders have the responsibility to initiate that fundamental change and involving everyone in that peace-building process. It involves overcoming the fears, prejudices and other contradictions that give rise to misunderstanding, violence and conflict. It involves re-ordering our financial priorities away from wasteful and destructive arms to the social well-being of all our peoples.

Facilitating greater democracy in our society also creates a culture of peace since the more that citizens have the opportunity to participate in the running of their society and the freedom to express their aspirations and criticisms, the less likely are they to take up arms to overthrow the government.

To achieve a culture of peace would require a profound reformation but reform we must. Cooperating in shared goals and nurturing positive interdependence can help to build this culture of peace. A culture of peace should be our nation’s vision. It is a vision that is only attainable in a society that respects human dignity, social justice, democracy and human rights. It is an environment that can settle conflict and differences through dialogue and democracy and not through threats and repression.

Social change will only happen when the people are mobilised in a movement for peace. Only such a movement and consciousness can divert the billions spent on unnecessary and wasteful armaments to peaceful and socially useful production.  Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending have a responsibility for initiating this movement.

Libya: immediate ceasefire call.

PRESS RELEASE

CIVILIANS FOR PEACE

7th April, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BRITISH PEACE DELEGATION HEADS FOR LIBYA TO CALL FOR AN END TO THE KILLING

LONDON – ENGLAND A twenty-five person peace delegation made up of academics, lawyers, journalists and

professionals will be departing for Libya on 9th April, to call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya and an end to all hostilities. This is the first half of a two stage process that will involve reconciliation talks with tribal leaders, government officials and key opposition fig- ures.

After almost three weeks of continual bombing by Coalition forces and heavy fighting in key cities, countless civilians have lost their lives and there appears to be no end in sight to the untold suffering of the people. An immediate end to the conflict and the protection of civilian lives is the aim of this mission.

The Civilians for Peace Delegation will be meeting with key officials and parties to the conflict and calling for:

1. An immediate ceasefire and an end to hostilities from all sides, including NATO. 2. Immediate peace talks between representatives of government and the opposition. 3. Fair and honest arbitration between the opposing forces. 4. The immediate positioning of credible and impartial International Observers to monitor a possible ceasefire. 5. Humanitarian corridors to provide Medical assistance, food and water to civilians in the affected areas.

In addition, the Civilians for Peace delegation will be calling on the African Union to take a lead role in arbitrating peace and for the United Nations to call an immediate meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the Libyan situation and the broadening crisis in the region.

The delegation will be leaving on Saturday 9th April @ 5.45pm from Terminal 4, Heathrow Airport. There will be a press statement made from Terminal 4 @ 2.30pm and members of the public are encouraged to attend and to support the delegation.

 

On the technical difference between a No Fly Zone and a U.N.-backed military attack on a third world nation.

David ‘Desert Rat’ Cameron

As we watch appalled as the UN decides to declare war with No Fly Zone and more, this is the onward march into the new crusades on the part of David ‘Desert Rat’ Cameron. With his arms-trader interest in weapons sales and colonial intervention as a sideshow, he can secure his ‘legacy’ with the every-leader-must-have-one bespoke middle east war. Its clearly not just daft daft daft, its criminal – and it worked out so well for his twin Thatcherite brother Bliar. Both of a type…

so, as we watch this car crash unfold…

…a reminder to read the Vijay Prashad piece on Ghadafi in The Paper.

Libya’s Lost Promise

Write me for actual paper copies while they last.

STW: 10 Reasons to say no to western intervention in Libya

By Andrew Murray National Chair, Stop the War Coalition 14 March 2011 The political campaign to launch a military intervention in Libya – ostensibly on humanitarian grounds but with patently political ends in sight – is gathering steam among the NATO powers. A “no-fly zone” has now been urged by the Arab League – for the most part a collection of frightened despots desperate to get the US military still more deeply involved in the region.  That would be the start of a journey down slippery slope. 

Here are ten reasons to resist the siren calls for intervention:

  1. Intervention will violate Libya’s sovereignty.  This is not just a legalistic point – although the importance of observing international law should not be discounted if the big powers in the world are not to be given the green light run amok.  As soon as NATO starts to intervene, the Libyan people will start to lose control of their own country and future.
  2. Intervention can only prolong, not end the civil war.  “No-fly zones” will not be able to halt the conflict and will lead to more bloodshed, not less.
  3. Intervention will lead to escalation.  Because the measures being advocated today cannot bring an end to the civil war, the next demand will be for a full-scale armed presence in Libya, as in Iraq – and meeting the same continuing resistance.  That way lies decades of conflict.
  4. This is not Spain in 1936, when non-intervention meant helping the fascist side which, if victorious in the conflict, would only encourage the instigators of a wider war – as it did.  Here, the powers clamouring for military action are the ones already fighting a wider war across the Middle East and looking to preserve their power even as they lose their autocratic allies.  Respecting Libya’s sovereignty is the cause of peace, not is enemy.
  5. It is more like Iraq in the 1990s, after the First Gulf War.  Then, the US, Britain and France imposed no-fly zones which did not lead to peace – the two parties in protected Iraqi Kurdistan fought a bitter civil war under the protection of the no-fly zone – and did prepare the ground for the invasion of 2003.  Intervention may partition Libya and institutionalise conflict for decades.
  6. Or it is more like the situation in Kosovo and Bosnia.  NATO interference has not lead to peace, reconciliation or genuine freedom in the Balkans, just to endless corrupt occupations.
  7. Yes, it is about oil.  Why the talk of intervening in Libya, but not the Congo, for example?  Ask BP.
  8. It is also about pressure on Egyptian revolution – the biggest threat to imperial interests in the region.  A NATO garrison next door would be a base for pressure at least, and intervention at worst, if Egyptian freedom flowers to the point where it challenges western interests in the region.
  9. The hypocrisy gives the game away.  When the people of Bahrain rose against their US-backed monarchy and were cut down in the streets, there was no talk of action, even though the US sixth fleet is based there and could doubtless have imposed a solution in short order.  As top US republican Senator Lindsey Graham observed last month “there are regimes we want to change, and those we don’t”.  NATO will only ever intervene to strangle genuine social revolution, never to support it.
  10. Military aggression in Libya – to give it the righty name – will be used to revive the blood-soaked policy of ‘liberal interventionism’.  That beast cannot be allowed to rise from the graves of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Middle East Arms Fair Oil Panic Crisis Endgame.

Note with contempt and scorn the efforts of the British Prime Minister to appear relaxed walking through Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the way to his important gloat over the first Gulf War, accompanying his arms-trader mates heading to a Lords-of-War fest in Abu Dhabi. View the PMs itinerary in the context of over a thousand UK weapons and ‘defense’ contracts signed in Kuwait since 2003, and recall that it was US tear gas used recently against protesters in Egypt, and that Libya’s Colonel was so recently embraced by Blair, Obama and, no surprise given the Pretorian angle, Berlusconi. Be amazed, but understand that with the current apoplectic convulsions of the Western elite vis a vis the people’s uprisings across the world – of course the right, just and timely thing to do now is visit a weapons sales conference! The consequences of the financial crisis, banking bailout and housing mortgage collapse means repressive gun-belt-tightening cut-backs at home, but it also entails a frantic drive for quick fire investment in unstable markets. Its an old play called cowboy capitalism, and the infamous likes of Halliburton, Blackwater (now Xe) and Aegis (formerly Sandline), are joined by the PMs own arms-‘trade delegation’ that includes manufacturers of attack planes, Riot control vehicles and CS gas, armaments and other radar, surveillance and secret ops specialists. Alongside Cameron on the trip are decorated scions such as: Ian King of BAE Systems; Charles Hughes, of defense/security service communications systems specialist and top 100 defense contractor, the Cobham Group; Douglas Castner of Ultra Electronics Airborne bomber designers with radio communications interests; and the managing director of military ‘nuclear market leader’ Babcock International, and more. Yes, of course these are the travelling companions you want with you when you head into Kuwait to commemorate 20 years of war with Iraq. Along the way, the discussion must turn to the volatile oil price, which bucks and trends with more than a little in-flight turbulence. What was conceived in one crisis plays out as a scramble for contracts during another – and the alibi of meeting a few ‘genuinely inspiring’ people who ‘have risked a lot for what they believe in’ while flanked by dodgy security grunts in Tahrir only reinforces the disingenuous hypocrisy of a man who believes in nothing but the short-term advantage for his gunslinger mates. If any tyrannical regime needs urgently to be defeated and changed, it is the ongoing market imperialism of the British Arms Industry, financed by bank bailouts and opportunist-militarist sales-talk even amidst cuts and crisis. These travellers should be kicked off the plane, the plane should be refused reentry and ditched, the PM dumped at sea. We need a Tahrir of our own, and it surely starts in Parliament Square SW1. -TW.

WikiRebels

This is the documentary to watch, harrowing stuff, do not put an axe through your screen – though it may seem to suggest you need to do this.

watch the video here: http://svt.se/embededflash/2258254/play.swf

Apparently this vid version is only going to be up till January or so.

http://wikileaks.ch/

A search engine for wikileaks would of course be handy and lo and behold: But apparently the searches are a bit ‘hit and miss’. Nevertheless, developing search engines for the leaks is clearly good – the issue will be algorithmic I suppose as the volume of leaked pages rises… do add more search options as you find them:
Wikileaks ‘Cablegate’ search engine: http://cablesearch.org/

Release Assange

RELEASE ASSANGE – Letter to the Australian High Commissioner London to be delivered Mon D13 (original location here)

Australians in UK for Immediate Release of Julian Assange, 12.12.2010 17:07

*If you are an Australian based in UK, or presently travelling through,
and wish to sign this letter.
Make contact through…..releasejulianassange at gmail.com Ph.079 392 90 576
**This letter will be hand delivered to the Australian Embassy, London, Monday December 13th. 2010.

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

Australia House
Strand,
London WC2B 4LA

Dear Mr Dauth,

We Australians, here in London and from further afield, ask you to convey our urgent and emphatic request to the Gillard Government to do its utmost to defend Julian Assange?s human rights and the free and lawful operation of Wikileaks.

Australians around the world watch with grave concern as an Australian citizen is vilified by his own Prime Minister and Attorney-General, experienced lawyers whose words display a shocking disregard for the human right to the presumption of innocence, and risk prejudicing any legal proceedings Mr Assange may face.

We welcome the Government?s subsequent assurance that Mr Assange?s passport will not be cancelled and that your embassy will afford him ?all appropriate consular assistance.?

We learn from an Australian Government website[1] that the High Commission has a duty to ensure Mr Assange ?is treated no less favourably than local citizens detained for similar offences.? UK citizens, of course, enjoy the protection of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantee their right to freedom of expression, presumption of innocence and fair trial. That is, UK citizens enjoy a significantly higher degree of legal protection than do Australians, and the Australian High Commission must ensure Mr Assange?s treatment by UK authorities accords with those more stringent standards.

May we remind all consular staff and the Australian Government that Mr Assange ?has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers?[2] and to do so ?without interference by public authority.?[3]

Further, Mr Assange has a human and legal right to be ?presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law? and to be given a fair trial.[4]

As you must know well, it is unlawful under s104 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 for anyone intentionally or recklessly to cause death or serious harm[5] to an Australian citizen outside
Australia. And yet the Australian Government has voiced no objection to the death threats levelled against Mr Assange by high-profile US citizens and others.[7]

In light of the above, we, the undersigned:

1. Ask that Ms Gillard publicly and unequivocally withdraw her statement alleging illegal conduct on Mr Assange?s part, explain to the public why it was wrong for her to say that, and to apologise to Mr Assange.

2. Call on the Gillard Government to robustly defend Mr Assange both at home and abroad and to respect and defend his right to receive information and impart information freely, without interference by any public authority.

3. Ask the Attorney-General to initiate investigations into threats of violence against Mr Assange by persons in the United States and Canada, including Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, in violation of Australian law.

4. Urge the Gillard Government to oppose strenuously any application to have Mr Assange extradited to the United States, because it is unlikely he would receive a fair trial there.

We thank you for your attention to these matters of fundamental importance to a free and democratic society.

[1] ?Consular services: Arrested, detained and jailed overseas? ( http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/faq.html)

[2] Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (emphasis added). The same is stated more fully in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Australia is a party, and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which also applies to Mr Assange.

[3] ECHR, Art. 10(1)

[4] ECHR, Art. 6 and elsewhere

[5] Including ?harm to a person?s mental health (whether temporary or permanent) [including] psychological harm to the person;? and conduct that ?endangers, or is likely to endanger, a person?s life? (s146)

[7] See  http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/41914.html

Sincerely, your compatriots,

- John Pilger (from Sydney, Australia)  http://www.johnpilger.com/
– Peter Tatchell, (from Melbourne, Australia) London based, Human Rights Activist
http://www.petertatchell.net/
– Michael Dutton, (from Brisbane, Australia) Professor of Politics,
Goldsmiths University of London.
– Deborah Kessler, (from Brisbane, Australia) concerned citizen.
– Ciaron O’Reilly, (from Brisbane, Australian), London Catholic Worker/ Ploughshares.
http://www.londoncatholicworker.org/
– Eden Boucher, (from Adelaide, Australia) musician “Lovers Electric”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovers_Electric
– David Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia), musician “Lovers Electric”.
– Sharon Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia) classical musician.
– David Warburton (from Adelaid, Australia), Coffee Brewster
– Saul Newman, teaches Political Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London.
– John Hutnyk, (from Melbourne, Australia) Professor of Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths Univrsity of London.
– Peter Thomas (from Rockhampton, Queensland) teaches History of Political Thought at Brunel University, London.
– Maria Albrecht, (from Melbourne, Australia) Catholic Worker Farmhouse
http://www.thecatholicworkerfarm.org/

- e-mail: releasejulianassange at gmail.com

Ben Watson applauds Edgard Varèse

Ben Watson is pretty much on the money here when he writes (in an antidote to most of the half-digested theory and rad-posturing drivel written about war and music of late):

Edgard Varèse brought the noise of sirens and bombs into music in the 1920s, a response to the terrors of World War I. His Hyperprism predicted the Nazi strategy of the Blitz, when civilian populations first became long-distant targets of military hardware. Unlike his ‘objectivist’ follower Iannis Xenakis, Varèse bent the shapes he heard into organic ovaloids which speak for the suffering ear. This is why, of all the pre-war orchestral composers, only Varèse has a non-salon, yet humanist ruggedness: a realism that moves the blood and shakes the entrails. Sonically, Varèse can stand comparison to Coltrane and Hendrix, who provided lasting testimonials to a different noise: a struggle against racial oppression in America and genocidal war in Vietnam.

Read the entire piece again here or here [ie. read it twice more!]

Stop the War, 20 November 2010

THE TIME TO GO FROM AFGHANISTAN IS NOW

National Demonstration • Afghanistan: Time to Go
Saturday 20 November • Assemble 12 Noon
Speakers’ Corner • Hyde Park • London
Called by: Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, British Muslim Initiative. Supported by: War on Want, UNITE the union, University and College Union, Pax Christi, Islamic Forum of Europe, The Cordoba Foundation and Friends of Al Aqsa
Speakers will include Tony Benn, Eric Joyce MP, Guardian journalist Seumas Milne, rap artist Lowkey, human rights’ lawyer Phil Shiner and academic Terry Eagleton (more to be announced soon).
Defend the democratic right to protest

We will defy the ban on the demonstration assembling at Speakers’ Corner.
More details and how to complain here

The war in Afghanistan has entered its tenth year, making it longer than World War I and World War II combined. Both prime minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband support continuing the war, at least till 2015. Thousands more Afghan civilians and Nato soldiers will be killed in a pointless and unwinnable war, when over 70 per cent of the British public want all British troops withdrawn now. Join this crucial demonstration which will give voice to the anti-war majority in the country and tell the politicians the time to go is now.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Call 0207 801 2768 or email office[at]stopwar.org.uk

1. Volunteer. Everyone can make a difference. Volunteers are needed to prepare for the demonstration.
2. Publicise in your neighbourhood. Publicity for the demonstration should be visible in every city, borough, town and village. Posters, flyers and stickers are available to use now from the Stop the War office.
3. Get involved with a local Stop the War group. In towns and cities around the country, local groups are booking transport, organising meetings, leafletting and campaigning to mobilise the widest possible support. Contact the Stop the War office for details of a group in your area.
4. Spread the word online. Online media can reach millions. Use Facebook, Twitter, your email, website, blog etc. Our online resources page has banners, images, Facebook and Twitter avatars, counters etc.
5. Donate. Demonstrations come with a price tag. Help make this one a success – donate to Stop the War Coalition.

 

Bosnia – A Painful Peace – doc by Aki Nawaz ….parts..2-4..in comments…

Free Gaza

Any surprise that Israeli commandos might ‘botch’ a raid on the boats of the Free Gaza flotilla should be tempered by the recognition that they planned this provocation, at night, with guns.

In response, a new Dunkirk? Another Malta convoy? Send all boats, Send in the navy, The Trident subs to find a use at last. To have the Gaza blockade broken for good would be the only viable response – and a show of what people organised can do against Military Muscular Zionist State Crazies.

Thinking of Ewa J from Goldsmiths, Edda M from the Border Infection event, and many others on the convoy.

(Pic of Lewisham STW on the way to Embassy with thousands – not the hundreds reported in tamed and insipid press)

Barbaric Poetry – notes for later…

Theodore W. Adorno Quotation:

To write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric”
(to 1969 Herbert Marcuse interview about Adorno)
From the web site of Evelyn Wilcock, http://members.aol.com/eandcw/adquotes.htm,

accessed July 28, 2003
People who ask about Adorno want to know the source of his dictum about writing poetry after Auschwitz. Providing them with the date (written in 1949 for a festschrift) and source (published in “An Essay on Cultural Criticism and Society,” in Prisms, p.34) of the quotation may only increase their mystification. The sentence is part of the conclusion to an essay, and reading it on its own may be as fruitless as attempting to understand the last act of Hamlet without having first seen the rest of the play. This is the opening of the essay, ‘Cultural Criticism and Society,’ the whole of which may be read in Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1967), p.19.
To anyone in the habit of thinking with his ears, the words ‘cultural criticism’ (Kulturkritik) must have an offensive ring, not merely because, like automobile, they are pieced together from Latin and Greek. The words recall a flagrant contradiction. The cultural critic is not happy with civilization, to which alone he owes his discontent. He speaks as if he represents unadulterated nature or a higher historical stage. Yet he is necessarily of the same essence as that to which he fancies himself superior.



source: <http://lists.ccil.org/pipermail/philnet/2002-June/002663.html>, accessed July 28, 2003On June 24, 2002 Frederik van Gelder of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research (where Adorno worked), answered a query on Philnet as follows:
> I wonder if anyone can tell me the precise location of Adorno’s

> comment that it is impossible to write poetry/produce art after

> Auschwitz? Much quoted, but apparently from a little-known piece of
> writing.
> From: Andy Hamilton
> Dept. of Philosophy
> Durham University
> Durham DH1 3HP
> UK
Original quote in *Prisms*, 1955, MIT Press. Reprinted London, 1967.
It’s a misquote, in as much as it’s a phrase inside of a sentence which is usually left out:

The critique of culture is confronted with the last stage in the dialectic of culture and barbarism: to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric, and that corrodes also the knowledge which expresses why it has become impossible to write poetry today.”
Adorno came back to this topic on three different occasions: in the Negative Dialectics, in Ohne Leitbild, and in Noten zur Literatur IV.
Page references are to the Gesammelte Schriften, where more details can be found:

Original: Prismen, vol. 10a, p. 30.
Kulturkritik findet sich der letzten Stufe der Dialektik von Kultur und Barbarei gegenüber: nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch, und das frißt auch die Erkenntnis an, die ausspricht, warum es unmöglich ward, heute Gedichte zu schreiben. (1955)
Negative Dialektik, 06, p. 355/356:

Das perennierende Leiden hat soviel Recht auf Ausdruck wie der Gemarterte zu brüllen; darum mag falsch gewesen sein, nach Auschwitz ließe kein Gedicht mehr sich schreiben. Nicht falsch aber ist die minder kulturelle Frage, ob nach Auschwitz noch sich leben lasse, ob vollends es dürfe, wer zufällig entrann und rechtens hätte umgebracht werden müssen.
Ohne Leitbild, 10a, p. 452/453:

Weniger stets verträgt jener Schein sich mit dem Prinzip rationaler Materialbeherrschung, dem er die gesamte Geschichte von Kunst hindurch sich verband. Während die Situation Kunst nicht mehr zuläßt – darauf zielte der Satz über die Unmöglichkeit von Gedichten nach Auschwitz -, bedarf sie doch ihrer. Denn die bilderlose Realität das vollendete Widerspiel des bilderlosen Zustands geworden, in dem Kunst verschwände, weil die Utopie sich erfüllt hätte, die in jedem Kunstwerk sich chiffriert.
Noten zur Literatur IV, vol.11, p. 603

Der Satz, nach Auschwitz lasse kein Gedicht mehr sich schreiben, gilt nicht blank, gewiß aber, daß danach, weil es möglich war und bis ins Unabsehbare möglich bleibt, keine heitere Kunst mehr vorgestellt werden kann.
best,

Dr. Frederik van Gelder
Institut fuer Sozialforschung
Frankfurt University
Senckenberganlage 26 60325
Frankfurt am Main
gelder@em.uni-frankfurt.de



page by Harold Marcuse, July 2003, uploaded June 8, 2005, updated:

back to top, to Herbert Marcuse Adorno Page,
Marcuse Publications PageHerbert Marcuse website

A recipe for w-o-t-w-e

Seumus Milne’s last two paragraphs in his Guardian article on Gaza today are worth noting:

“The British prime minister tried this week to claim that the growth of al-Qaida in Yemen and Somalia showed western strategy was “working”, because the escalation of the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan had forced it to look for sanctuaries elsewhere. In reality, it is a measure of the grotesque failure of the entire war on terror. Since its launch in October 2001, al-Qaida has spread from the mountains of Afghanistan across the region, to Iraq, Pakistan, the horn of Africa, and far beyond.

Instead of scaling down the western support for dictatorship and occupation that fuels al-Qaida-style terror, and concentrating resources on police action to counter it, the US and its allies have been drawn inexorably into repeating and extending the monstrosities that sparked it in the first place. It’s the recipe for a war on terror without end”. (Guardian 7 Jan 2010)

This Much is True

demenezesI will be attending this important bit of theatre:

THIS MUCH IS TRUE
By Paul Unwin and Sarah Beck

On 22 July 2005 Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by the Metropolitan Police at Stockwell tube station. It was a defining moment in London’s history yet too many questions are left unanswered.

Award-winning writer and director Paul Unwin’s (co-creator of Casualty and Holby City) and Sarah Beck’s play is a shocking, electrifying, insight into what really happened before, during and in the years following Jean Charles de Menezes’ death.

Weaving together new and personal testimonies from senior police officers including Andy Hayman (Metropolitan Police former head of counter terrorism), Brian Paddick, Jean’s family, his friends, the legal team (including Michael Mansfield QC), THIS MUCH IS TRUE brings the tragedy to the stage and reveals much that has never been said publicly before.

Cast: Amber Agar, Stefano Braschi, Alice Da Cunha, Gerald Kyd, Beatriz Romilly, Justine Waddell.

Directed by Tim Roseman with a multi award-winning creative team including Paul Wills, Mike Walker, Knifedge, Richard Howell and Daniel Pemberton.

http://www.theatre503.com/whatson/detail/144/
www.theatre503.com
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Crisis what “crisis”

cocoaineCrisis Theory: From Capitalism and Back Again.

On examination of the current distribution of forces and potentials, it is clear that capitalism will not and cannot change. In the present ‘crisis’, there is little chance of it becoming a “more human” version of itself. It remains ‘the same’ – exploitation and class inequality are its fundamentals, and these ‘fundamentals’ remain sound.

But, keen observers of political struggles might ask, might not the left somehow profit from the crisis? Historically, from a radical wing perspective it has been in times of crisis that revolutionary change seemed possible. The first world war was, of course in complicated ways, the catalyst for the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. The second world war precipitated revolutionary success in China, and – although Nehruvian socialism did not have such a significant leftist character – independence for India. Note also, through the 1950s and 1960s, a cascading series of anti-colonial victories in Africa and Asia were achieved, in a century of revolutions, precisely on the back of the weakening of the colonial powers.

It would not do, however, to present an ambulance-chasing theory of political change. It is not only after crises that the Left can come to power, but there are no guarantees that the collapse in the fortunes of certain banks, real estate and car manufacturers means we can anticipate a more ‘humane’ less exploitative capitalism. As Marx showed (if one reads as far as volume three of Das Kapital) there are always profiteers ready to take the place of those who fail in deals that go awry: opportunism is an analytical variable that cannot be denied. This is true even if the present political predicament may or may not be usefully compared to the depression™ which more or less paved the way for fascism (in my view a limited rendering of the equation, often held by left groups, but misguided since the hostility of the European bourgeoisie to the first wave of communist uprisings – Germany, Hungary – also played its part in the rise of Hitler et al). Today, however, the conditions are patently not as ripe for a significant fascist upsurge, notwithstanding gains across Europe for the likes of the BNP or the misnamed Danish People’s Party. No, the factor of significance today is the absence of organised progressive groups able to take advantage of the conjunctural moment. There is an astonishing openness to change alive in the media and the public – nicer capitalism is on the cards, climate change aware, fair trade, less corrupt bankers and ministers… but where is the militancy that would push this sentiment forward past a mere business-as-usual capitalist restoration (capitalism with pretty window decorations)? The militant left presently seems particularly unable to organise its way out of the proverbial paper sack; the parliamentary experiment is constrained so much by tabloid and opinion poll politics that it dare not risk an idea; and the anarchist-cum-environmentalist left are torn between a corporate lobbying and an alternate lifestyle model that on both sides seems unable to forget what the 1970s did to sixties idealism.

The crisis as opportunity to change everything will therefore be a misfire. There are, of course, discussions in the highbrow press, of ethical constraint, new democracy, hope, and ‘yes we can’. This however is branding. Worse, it is the triumph of B-team bourgeois reserve politics. The brutality of armaments, automobiles and mining as the core profit stream of capital will be supplemented in the interregnum by new media, culture and service. Neither mode of production is incompatible with wage slavery. Where is the seize-the-time crew today if not already compromised with business plans and flow-chart projections? Without a Leninist organization ready to bludgeon through the idea that real change – radical root and branch uprooting of the four alls – all class relations that are the bedrock of exploitation, all relations of production that enable the owners of capital to profit from those who do the work, all social relations that rise upon these relations of production and all the ideas that justify them – without all this, there is no crisis; only a “crisis”. Stage managed and good for news entertainment. Watch carefully, CNN is going to make a documentary, with a slick, well-groomed presenter. Business-as-usual (hence the pic). Red Salute.

Struggle for Justice is necessary. Free Gaza by whatever means. This time by donation.

dignity9

[Readers will know I do not endorse charity giving - see Rumour - but note the distinction between buying a boat for the Free Gaza movement and other good causes. This one must float. Lets buy a boat, ahoy].

AN URGENT APPEAL TO HELP BREAK THE SIEGE OF GAZA

Monday, 04 May 2009 15:47 Last Updated on Monday, 04 May 2009 19:20 Written by Free Gaza Movement

“From the groundbreaking work of Gandhi and King to the ongoing example of the Free Gaza Movement, we can discern the transforming power of nonviolence at a crossroads in our history.”
-H.E. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the UN General Assembly

Dear Friends,

we desperately need your help. It’s with heavy hearts that we have to inform you that the Free Gaza ship, the DIGNITY, has been lost outside Larnaca port in Cyprus. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident.

On 30 December 2008 the DIGNITY was rammed by the Israeli navy while on a mission of mercy to deliver critically needed medical supplies and doctors to the war-ravaged Gaza Strip. Thanks to the heroic efforts of its captain and crew, the DIGNITY was able to find safe harbor in Lebanon, later making its way to Cyprus for repairs. Early this morning we received a call from the Harbor Master in Larnaca, informing us that the ship was taking on water. While attempting to tow her to safety, the ship went down. An inquiry has begun into the circumstances surrounding her demise, possibly due to storm damage suffered during the night.

All of us in Free Gaza are deeply saddened by the loss of the DIGNITY. Since the Free Gaza Movement was founded in 2006 we have worked hard to overcome the siege of Gaza. Israeli policies of racism, ethnic cleansing and the brutal military occupation of Palestine demand our determined & direct resistance. When our governments fail to act, we – the citizens of the world – must stand up and make our voices heard.

To date, the Free Gaza Movement has organized seven voyages to Palestine, successfully arriving in Gaza Port five times. We have brought dozens of human rights workers, journalists, parliamentarians, and others to Gaza, as well as tons of desperately needed medical and humanitarian supplies. Free Gaza boats are the first international ships to sail to the Gaza Strip since 1967.

None of this would have been possible without you, our friends. Your emotional, political, and financial support is the foundation of all our successes.

We’re turning to you today, because we need your help now more than ever. Please visit our donate page for more information on how you can help ensure our continuing missions to Palestine. Please give generously.

Despite our loss today, we will not be deterred. In one month we will return to Gaza with the HOPE FLEET, a flotilla of cargo and passengers ships carrying significant amounts of humanitarian and reconstruction aid. Thanks to your support, we will go to Gaza again and again, until this siege is forever ended and the Palestinian people have free access to the rest of the world.

This is our solemn promise.

Sincerely Yours,
Huwaida Arraf
Greta Berlin
Eliza Ernshire
Derek Graham
Fathi Jaouadi
Ramzi Kysia
Vaggelis Pissias
The interim Board of Directors for the Free Gaza Movement

PS: We’re suggesting a donation of €50, but please give what you can. Your contributions will go directly toward the purchase and overhaul of new ship that can break through the siege of Gaza and help connect Palestine with the rest of the world.

http://www.freegaza.org/

Letter in today’s Guardian

The massacres in Gaza are the latest phase of a war that Israel has been waging against the people of Palestine for more than 60 years. The goal of this war has never changed: to use overwhelming military power to eradicate the Palestinians as a political force, one capable of resisting Israel’s ongoing appropriation of their land and resources. Israel’s war against the Palestinians has turned Gaza and the West Bank into a pair of gigantic political prisons. There is nothing symmetrical about this war in terms of principles, tactics or consequences. Israel is responsible for launching and intensifying it, and for ending the most recent lull in hostilities.

Israel must lose. It is not enough to call for another ceasefire, or more humanitarian assistance. It is not enough to urge the renewal of dialogue and to acknowledge the concerns and suffering of both sides. If we believe in the principle of democratic self-determination, if we affirm the right to resist military aggression and colonial occupation, then we are obliged to take sides… against Israel, and with the people of Gaza and the West Bank.

We must do what we can to stop Israel from winning its war. Israel must accept that its security depends on justice and peaceful coexistence with its neighbours, and not upon the criminal use of force.

We believe Israel should immediately and unconditionally end its assault on Gaza, end the occupation of the West Bank, and abandon all claims to possess or control territory beyond its 1967 borders. We call on the British government and the British people to take all feasible steps to oblige Israel to comply with these demands, starting with a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Signatories:

Professor Gilbert Achcar, Development Studies, SOAS
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Politics and International Studies, SOAS
Dr. Nadje Al-Ali, Gender Studies, SOAS
Professor Eric Alliez, Philosophy, Middlesex University
Dr. Jens Andermann, Latin American Studies, Birkbeck
Dr. Jorella Andrews, Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths
Professor Keith Ansell-Pearson, Philosophy, University of Warwick
John Appleby, writer
Dr. Claudia Aradau, Politics, Open University
Dr. Walter Armbrust, Politics, University of Oxford
Dr. Andrew Asibong, French, Birkbeck
Professor Derek Attridge, English, University of York
Burjor Avari, lecturer in Multicultural Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr. Zulkuf Aydin, International Development, University of Leeds
Dr. Claude Baesens, Mathematics, University of Warwick
Dr. Jennifer Bajorek, Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths
Professor Mona Baker, Centre for Translation Studies, University of Manchester
Jon Baldwin, lecturer in Communications, London Metropolitan University
Professor Etienne Balibar, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities
Dr. Trevor Bark, Criminology, WEA Newcastle
Dr. Susan Batchelor, Sociology, Glasgow University
Dr. David Bell, Tavistock Clinic and British Psychoanalytic Society
Dr. Anna Bernard, English, University of York
Professor Henry Bernstein, Development Studies, SOAS
Anindya Bhattacharyya, writer and journalist
Dr. Ian Biddle, Music, Newcastle University
Sana Bilgrami, filmmaker and lecturer, Napier University, Edinburgh
Professor Jon Bird, School of Arts & Education, Middlesex University
Nicholas Blincoe, writer
Dr. Jelke Boesten, Development Studies, University of Leeds
Dr. Julia Borossa, Psychoanalysis, Middlesex University
Dr. Mark Bould, Film Studies, UWE
Dr. Mehdi Boussebaa, Said Business School, University of Oxford
Professor Wissam Boustany, Trinity College of Music, London
Professor Bill Bowring, Law, Birkbeck
Dr. Alia Brahimi, Politics, University of Oxford
Professor Haim Bresheeth, Media Studies, University of East London
Professor John D Brewer, Sociology, Aberdeen
Victoria Brittain, writer and journalist
Professor Celia Britton, French, UCL
Professor Charles Brook, Paediatric Endocrinology, UCL
Dr. Muriel Brown, writer
Professor Ian Buchanan, Critical and Cultural Theory, University of Cardiff
Professor Ray Bush, African Studies and Development Politics, University of Leeds
Professor Alex Callinicos, European Studies, KCL
Dr. Conor Carville, Irish Studies, St. Mary’s University College
Professor Noel Castree, Geography, University of Manchester
Matthew Caygill, lecturer in History and Politics, Leeds Metropolitan University
Dr. Rinella Cere, Arts, Design, Communication and Media, Sheffield Hallam University
Dr. John Chalcraft, Government, LSE
Dr. Claire Chambers, English Literature, Leeds Metropolitan University
Dr. Sue Chaplin, Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University.
Dr. Sharad Chari, Geography, LSE
Dr. Lorenzo Chiesa, Critical Theory, University of Kent
Dr. Andrew Chitty, Philosophy, University of Sussex
Professor Emilios Christodoulidis, Law, Glasgow
Professor Sue Clegg, Education, Leeds Metropolitan University
Professor Claire Colebrook, English Literature, Edinburgh University
Dr. John Collins, Philosophy, UEA
Professor Guy Cook, Education and Language Studies, The Open University
Professor Diana Coole, Politics and Sociology, Birkbeck
Professor Annie E. Coombes, History of Art, Birkbeck
Charlie Cooper, lecturer in Social Policy, University of Hull
Julia Copus, poet
Professor Andrea Cornwall, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex
Dr. Don Crewe, Criminology, Roehampton University
Professor Simon Critchley, Philosophy, University of Essex
Dr. Stephanie Cronin, Social Sciences, University of Northampton
Eleanor Crook, sculptor & lecturer, University of the Arts London
Laura Cull, artist and researcher, Drama, University of Exeter
Dr. Sonia Cunico, Modern Languages, University of Leicester
Dr. David Cunningham, English, University of Westminster
Catherine Czerkawska, writer and historian
Dr. Sarah Dadswell, Drama, University of Exeter
Dr. Gareth Dale, Politics and History, Brunel University
Dr. Gary Daniels, Public Policy and Management, Keele University
Neil Davidson, Senior Research Fellow, Geography and Sociology, University of Strathclyde
Dr. Graham Dawson, Cultural History, University of Brighton
Christophe Declercq, lecturer in Translation, Imperial College London
Dr. Helen May Dennis, English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick
Dr. Caitlin DeSilvey, Geography, University of Exeter
Dr. Mark Devenney, Humanities, University of Brighton
Dr. Pat Devine, Social Science, University of Manchester
Dr. Jorge Díaz-Cintas, Translation, Imperial College London
Professor James Dickins, Arabic, University of Salford
Kay Dickinson, Media and Communications, Goldsmiths College
Jenny Diski, writer
Dr. Bill Dixon, Sociology & Criminology, Keele University
Noel Douglas, lecturer and graphic designer, University of Bedfordshire
Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Law, University of Oxford
Professor Allison Drew, Department of Politics, University of York
Dr. Judit Druks, Psychology & Language Science, UCL
Professor Mick Dunford, Geography, University of Sussex
Dr. Sam Durrant, English, Leeds University
Dr. Graham Dyer, Economics, SOAS
Professor Abbas Edalat, Computer Science, Imperial College
Professor Rasheed El-Enany, Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter
Gregory Elliott, writer and translator
Dr. Richard Elliott, Music, Newcastle University
Professor Hoda Elsadda, Arabic Studies, University of Manchester
Bernardine Evaristo, writer
Dr. Howard Feather, Sociology, London Metrolitan University
Professor Patrick ffrench, French, King’s College London
Dr. Clare Finburgh, Theatre Studies, University of Essex
Professor Jean Fisher, Fine Art, Middlesex University
Dominic Fox, writer
Dr. Jennifer Fraser, Spanish, Birkbeck
Professor Murray Fraser, Architecture, University of Westminster
Dr. Des Freedman, Media and Communications, Goldsmiths
Maureen Freely, writer and journalist, English, University of Warwick
Dr. Diane Frost, Sociology, University of Liverpool
Dr. Geetanjali Gangoli, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol
Juliet Gardiner, writer
Dr. James Garvey, philosopher
Professor Conor Gearty, Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE
Dr. Julie Gervais, Government, LSE.
Dr. Jeremy Gilbert, Cultural Studies, University of East London
Dr. Aisha Gill, Criminologist, Roehampton University, UK
Professor Paul Gilroy, Sociology, London School of Economics
Charles Glass, writer
Dr. Andrew Goffey, Media, Middlesex
Professor Barry Goldson, Sociology and Social Policy, University of Liverpool
Professor Philip Goodchild, Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham
Dr. Paul Goodey, lecturer and oboist
Professor Ian Gough, Social Policy, University of Bath
Dr. David Graeber, Anthropology, Goldsmiths
Dr. James Graham, Media Culture and Communication, Middlesex University
Professor Penny Green, Law, Kings College London
Dr. Simon Gieve, Education, University of Leicester
Dr. Steve Hall, Sociology and Criminology, Northumbria
Professor Peter Hallward, Philosophy, Middlesex University
Keith Hammond, lecturer in Education, University of Glasgow
Dr. Sameh F. Hanna, Translation Studies, University of Salford
Nicky Harman, lecturer in Translation, Imperial College London
M John Harrison, writer
Dr. Rumy Hasan, Science & Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex
Owen Hatherley, journalist and academic
Dr. Jane Haynes, writer & dialogic psychotherapist
Dr. Jonathan Hensher, French Studies, University of Manchester
Dr. Barry Heselwood, Linguistics & Phonetics, University of Leeds
Tom Hickey, Tutor in Philosophy, Politics and Aesthetics, University of Brighton
Dr. Jane Hiddleston, Modern Languages, University of Oxford
Dr. Nicki Hitchcott, French and Francophone Studies, University of Nottingham
Professor Eric Hobsbawm, President, Birkbeck
Dr. Jane Holgate, Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University
Professor Derek Holt, Mathematics, University of Warwick
Professor Ted Honderich, Philosophy, UCL
Professor David Howell, Politics, University of York
Professor Richard Hudson, Linguistics, UCL
Professor John Hutnyk, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths
Dr. Colin Imber, Turkish, University of Manchester
Professor Lyn Innes (emeritus), English, University of Kent
Professor Yosefa Loshitzky, Film, Media and Cultural Studies, University of East London
Dr. Lars Iyer, Philosophy, Newcastle University
Dr. Ian James, French, University of Cambridge
Dr. Daniel Katz, English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick
Dr. Mark Kelly, Philosophy, Middlesex University
Joanna Gilmore, lecturer in the School of Law, University of Manchester
Susan Kelly, lecturer in Fine Art, Goldsmiths
Dr. Christian Kerslake, Philosophy, Middlesex University
Dr. Alexander King, Anthropology, University of Aberdeen
David Kinloch, poet
Dr. Dianne Kirby, History and International Affairs, University of Ulster
Dr. Graeme Kirkpatrick, Sociology, University of Manchester
Dr. Laleh Khalili, Politics and International Studies, SOAS
Dr. Stathis Kouvelakis, European Studies, KCL
Professor Basil Kouvaritakis, Engineering Science, University of Oxford
Dr. John Kraniauskas, Spanish, Birkbeck
Dr. Cecile Laborde, Political Science, UCL
Professor Ernesto Laclau, Government, Essex
Dave Laing, writer and journalist
Dr. Juan Antonio Lalaguna, Humanities, Imperial College London
Professor William Large, Philosophy, University College Plymouth, St Mark and St John
Nicholas Lawrence, lecturer in English & Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick
Professor Andrew Leak, French, UCL
Dr. Barbara Lebrun, French, University of Manchester
Dr. Keekok Lee, Philosophy, University of Manchester
Professor Esther Leslie, English and Humanities, Birkbeck
Dr. Jo Littler, Media and Cultural Studies, Middlesex University
Tim Llewellyn, journalist and writer
Dr. Caroline Lloyd, Social Sciences, Cardiff University
Dr. Jill Lovecy, Politics, University of Manchester
Simon Lynn, lecturer in Social Work, UEL
David Mabb, artist and Reader in Art, Goldsmiths
Dr. Stephen Maddison, Cultural Studies, University of East London
Dr. Kevin Magill, Arts and Humanities, University of Wolverhampton
Michael Mahadeo, lecturer in Health and Social Sciences, University of Ulster
Dr. Suhail Malik, Art, Goldsmiths
Dr. Johanna Malt, French, KCL
Dr. Matteo Mandarini, Business and Management, QMUL
Professor Susan Marks, Law, KCL
Dr. Lee Marsden, International Relations, University of East Anglia
Professor Lauro Martines, historian
Dr. Luciana Martins, Spanish, Birkbeck College
Dr. Nur Masalha, Religion and Politics, St Mary’s University College
Dr. Dina Matar, Centre for Media and Film Studies, SOAS
Dr. Graeme Macdonald, English, University of Warwick
Professor (emeritus) Moshé Machover, Philosophy, KCL
Dr. Maeve McCusker, French Studies, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr. James McDougall, History, SOAS
Dr. Sonia McKay, Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University
Dr. Susan McManus, Politics, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr. Saladin Meckled-Garcia, Human Rights Studies, UCL
Professor Susan Melrose, Performing Arts, Middlesex University
Dr. Farah Mendlesohn, Media and Creative Writing, Middlesex University
Dr. Mahmood Messkoub, Business, University of Leeds
Dr. China Miéville, writer and academic
Dr. Anna-Louise Milne, French, University of London Institute in Paris
Dr. Surya Monro, Politics, University of Sheffield
John Moore, lecturer in Sociology & Criminology, University of the West of England
Professor Bart Moore-Gilbert, English and Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths
Dr Farhang Morady, Globalisation and Development, University of Westminster
Dr. Stephen Morton, English, Southampton University
Dr. Pablo Mukherjee, English and Comparative Literature, University of Warwick
Professor John Mullarkey, Philosophy, University of Dundee
Professor John Muncie, Criminology, The Open University
Professor Martha Mundy, Anthropology, LSE
Dr. Alex Murray, English, University of Exeter
Dr. Karma Nabulsi, Politics, University of Oxford
Ali Nasralla, Senior Fellow (retired) at Manchester University Business School
Professor Mica Nava, Cultural Studies, University of East London
Marga Navarrete, Lecturer in Spanish and Translation, Imperial College
Dr. Nick Nesbitt, French, Aberdeen
Dr. Michael Niblett, Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Warwick
Professor Christopher Norris, Philosophy, University of Cardiff
Julia O’Faolain, writer
Michael Oliva, composer and lecturer, Royal College of Music
Wendy Olsen, Development Studies, University of Manchester
Professor Peter Osborne, Philosophy, Middlesex University
Dr. George Paizis, French, UCL
Professor Ilan Pappé, History, University of Exeter
Professor Benita Parry, English and Comparative Literature, University of Warwick
Dr. Diana Paton, History, Newcastle University
Dr. Ian Patterson, Queens’ College, Cambridge
Lara Pawson, writer and journalist
Dr. Maeve Pearson, English, University of Exeter
Carmen Perea-Gohar, lecturer in Spanish, Imperial College
Dr. Luis Perez-Gonzalez, Translation Studies, University of Manchester
Dr. Andrea Phillips, Art, Goldsmiths
Dr. Nina Power, Philosophy, Roehampton University
Dr. Jane Poyner, English, University of Exeter
Professor Scott Poynting, Sociology, Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr. Nicola Pratt, Political, Social & International Studies, UEA
Professor Al Rainnie, Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester
Dr. Kamran Rastegar, Arabic and Persian Literatures, University of Edinburgh
Professor Jane Rendell, Architecture, UCL
Professor Dee Reynolds, French, University of Manchester
Dr. Chris Roberts, School of Community Based Medicine, University of Manchester
Dr. Mark Robson, English Studies, University of Nottingham
Professor William Roff, Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh
Professor Bill Rolston, Sociology, University of Ulster
Caroline Rooney, English and Postcolonial Studies, Kent
Professor Hilary Rose, Social Policy, University of Bradford
Michael Rosen, writer
Dr. Elaheh Rostami-Povey, Development Studies, SOAS
Professor William Rowe, Spanish and English, Birkbeck
Dr. Juliet Rufford, Theatre Studies, University of Reading
Professor Jonathan Rutherford, Cultural Studies, Middlesex University
Professor Alfredo Saad Filho, Development Studies, SOAS
Dr. Gabriela Saldanha, English Language, University of Birmingham
Dr. Shahira Samy, Politics, University of Oxford
Dr. Stella Sandford, Philosophy, Middlesex University
Professor Sanjay Seth, Politics, Goldsmiths
Carole Satyamurti, writer
Professor Yezid Sayigh, War Studies, KCL
Professor Phil Scraton, Law and Criminology, Queen’s University Belfast
Professor Richard Seaford, Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter
Amanda Sebestyen, writer and asylum campaigner
Professor David Seddon, Development Studies, University of East Anglia
Richard Seymour, writer and activist
Dr. Subir Sinha, Development Studies, SOAS
Dr. Debra Benita Shaw, Social Sciences, Media & Cultural Studies, University of East London
Professor Avi Shlaim, International Relations, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford
Mark Shuttleworth, lecturer in Translation, Imperial College London
Professor David Slater, Geography, Loughborough University
Dr. Andrew Smith, Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Science, University of Glasgow
Dr. Graham Smith, Law, University of Manchester
Professor Neil Smith (emeritus), Linguistics, UCL
Olivia Smith, Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr. Anthony Soares, Portuguese, Queen’s University Belfast
Ahdaf Soueif, writer and journalist
Professor William Spence, Physics, QMUL
Dr. Robert Spencer, Postcolonial Literatures, University of Manchester
Professor Paul Stewart, Human Resource Management, University of Strathclyde
Dr. Alison Stone, Philosophy, Lancaster
Colin Stoneman, writer
Professor Paul Sutton, Caribbean Studies, London Metropolitan University
Professor Helen Taylor, English, University of Exeter
Professor Phil Taylor, Business, University of Strathclyde
Dr. Jennifer Terry, English Studies, University of Durham
Dr. Nicholas Thoburn, Sociology, University of Manchester
Adriana Tortoriello, translator
Dr. Alberto Toscano, Sociology, Goldsmiths
Professor Martin Upchurch, Business, Middlesex University
Dr. Anastasia Valassopoulos, English and American Studies, University of Manchester
Dr. Rashmi Varma, English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick
Dr. Ritu Vij, International Relations, University of Aberdeen
Professor Dennis Walder, Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, Open University
Dr. Geoffrey Wall, English, University of York
Sean Wallis, Survey of English Usage, UCL
Dr. Vron Ware, Social Sciences, The Open University
Dr. Eyal Weizman, Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths
Professor Lynn Welchman, Law, SOAS
Dr. Jutta Weldes, Politics, University of Bristol
Tony White, writer
Geoff Whittam, Reader in Entrepreneurship, University of the West of Scotland
Dr. David Whyte, Sociology, University of Liverpool
Dr. Paula Wilcox, Criminology, University of Brighton
Dr. Caroline Williams, Politics, QMUL
Professor Eddie Williams, Linguistics, Bangor University
Professor James Williams, Philosophy, University of Dundee
Dr. Carla Willig Psychology, City University
Dr. Jon E. Wilson, History, KCL
Dr. Nicole Wolf, Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths
Dr. Jim Wolfreys, French and European Politics, KCL
Professor Andy Wood, History, University of East Anglia
Professor Geof Wood, International Development, University of Bath
Robin Yassin-Kassab, novelist
Professor Nira Yuval-Davis, Gender & Ethnic Studies, University of East London
Dr. Shamoon Zamir, American Studies, KCL
Professor Slavoj Zizek, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities
Dr. Paquita de Zulueta, Medicine, Imperial College

Chameleon

akifdmliv1For Kiwi and Alexander’s book, I’ve started (very late, overdue) to reconstruct my talk from the Berlin Chameleons conference in Feb last year. Its a draft as yet. Here is the first stab at an intro….

I have that sinking feeling again: I don’t trust the chameleon. I don’t like the guise. The chameleon is embedded, goes undercover, incognito, prefers covert operations, stealth, intrigues, performs with a secret agency, organizes an underground resistance, clandestine ops, a conspirator of deception. The associative range of ‘camouflage’ and ‘immersion’, when thought of as something that might pass as a strategy for understanding work in the arts, humanities or social sciences, immediately invokes a range of military and official connotations that do not bode well for a progressive politics of knowledge. Journalists as well as academics have been exposed in various local dress, false stories have been planted in the press, dossier’s collected that masquerade as truth, propaganda lies. There are a great many examples of dishonesty, feint and deceit that pass as truth amongst the casualty machine that is war. Increasingly war is fought in the media theatre as well as in blood – with murderous weapons on the ground, and equally brutal machines of war on screen.

The military have always liked to dress up, often in burlesque manner, and it was only with modern warfare that flamboyance was not always a dress code. All those red tunics of Empire of yore… Contemporary wars now sport desert patters or jungle greens, and contemporary war reporters increasingly opt for battle field chic in their to-camera reports. Television news and documentary series thrive on the new aesthetic of the embedded, combat boot wearing, hot spot on the spot presenter, mimicking military campaigns to stream live from Baghdad, Kabul, or the border of Gaza (as I write few journalists can enter Gaza as Israel relentlessly shells a trapped population of millions). The theatre of war has its own costume department.

This is, of course, also true of the opposition. In this chapter I will have something to say of the Palestinian scarf, the Kufiya, in relation to solidarity and resistance, and fashion, just as I think its important to acknowledge the symbolism of media use on both sides. In news and commentary, there are critics of war who stage their interventions with a certain style just as much as do the public relations and publicity-conscious Generals. I think not only of the Japanese news presenter that wore such a Kufiya every night as he reported the attacks on Baghdad in 2003, but also the role of such a scarf in the iconography of Aki Nawaz from Fun^da^mental, a long-time severe critique of anti-Muslim aggression. This chapter wishes to chart a politics of representation and fashion, recognising perhaps that all camouflage is war; that all fashion shoots are hostile; that all journalism happens by way of conflict. Today, whether safe at home before the screen, or on the streets of <insert battle-zone name here>. all our reports are war stories.

The chapter will go on to discuss Aki Nawaz’s recent adventures in media and on the Free Gaza boat, Ted Swedenburg’s excellent Hawgblawg, and research strategies under conditions of total war….

Solidarity

millie-yoot1The Observer of course slants the story the wrong way, always appearing to be news when it manages always to voice the ‘news’ of the ‘authorities’ (cops good; and its women and children over against ‘masked youth’ [see pic]). The saturday demonstration in London was about much more than trashing Starbucks or fashion stores, even if people did have to dress up for the occasion [see pic]. There is much to be read between the lines of this Observer puff. Violence did not ‘erupt’ – it started in Gaza. The panic did not ‘ripple’ through the crowd – it was anger at the atrocities and at the introduction of riot cops and mounted police. They say 20k, we say 100k. The relevant number is not in London: how many dead in Gaza today? Still, let’s read the report:

Violence erupts at embassy protest

Violent clashes broke out near the Israeli embassy in London yesterday as tens of thousands marched in protest against the military action in Gaza. Shop windows were smashed and police pelted with missiles by masked youths near the embassy during the largest demonstration in Britain against the Israeli offensive.

Last night, broken glass and debris littered the scene of the disturbances on Kensington High Street, where ranks of riot police waited behind locked gates near the embassy entrance.

Earlier in the evening, a number of demonstrators attacked a branch of Starbucks, smashing its front windows and ransacking it before shattering the facade of a clothes shop.

It continues here. [and must continue elsewhere: see pic]

Chilling

snc00146My fingers are falling off for cold, typing with gloves on. This with a heater under my desk – its sub-zero in London, so that should explain my silence so far this year, though I still maintain nothing explains Obama’s silence on the Israeli military’s crimes in Gaza (he finally said something vaguely related today).

2009 has started out bleak huh. The temperature appropriate to the mood.

I guess the inevitable news cycle shift will occur in about ten days, by which time the too many dead will be off screen. Second Wave posted a link to Nahida’s comparative bombings post on Palestinian Mothers. A certain ironic even-handedness. The pics are still grim, but the ones elsewhere on her page of the blog show yet worse atrocities, if you can look, you must look. All photos are war photos – even happy snaps are tainted by war.

Gaza as Distraction

obamaWe cannot cannot cannot excuse them. But looking for distractions after several days of Gaza watching might be inevitable … Look what they done to the Dignity boat (from Al Jazeera). Was that meant to distract us from the atocities? … Richard Falk come back, why have you gone off air after calling it this morning on the world service ['a shocking series of atrocities by using modern weaponry against a defenceless population - attacking a population that has been enduring a severe blockade for many months' <here>]. Maybe we can have maths as a diversion = Do we now have an equation – submit the numbers of dead to calculus – 345 Palestinians, 4 Israeli’s = 1::85 ? This is horrible. And in the meantime, as has been pointed out elsewhere, the US President Elect is trying to channel George Bush’s dad (remember how he also confused Golf with Gulf?). Oh “Yes we can” – shhhh.

So, distractions are clearly needed since we have been here before… If you do not fancy golf, you could profitably spend a moment looking at Ted Swedenburg’s hillarious post on Condi’s trinkets (anthropologists never really get over that Gift/Kula/Malinowski/Mauss/Hau theme huh). See it here. Thanks Ted. It is the bling that makes it obscene.

Jean Charles de Menezes

target_small1You can read the verdict and see the press conference by the family campaign on the website at the end of this press release:

Press statement from the family:
Friday, 12 December 2008

Press statement by the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the campaign and their lawyers Birnberg Peirce following the jury’s verdict

“Today is a very important day for our family and campaign for justice. We have spoken to Jean’s family in Brazil and they like us feel vindicated by the jury’s verdict. The jury’s verdict is a damning indictment of the multiple failures of the police and the lies they told. It is clear from the verdict today that the jury could have gone further had they not been gagged by the Coroner. We maintain that Jean Charles de Menezes was unlawfully killed” – Patricia Armani Da Silva, cousin of Jean Charles on behalf of all of the family.

The family’s legal team argued that evidence heard by the jury provided sufficient grounds for the jury to return unlawful killing (murder) in respect of the two police shooters, C12 and C2 as well unlawful killing (gross negligence manslaughter) in respect of the actions of three of the command team. We also submitted that, in accordance with Article 2 (ECHR) the jury should be permitted to return a meaningful narrative verdict that could identify all the police failings that caused or contributed to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.

The five legal teams representing supposedly separate interests of the police combined ranks to oppose our submissions, maintain that the evidence only supported a lawful killing or open verdict. The coroner ruled in favour of the police. As a consequence the family sought to challenge the decision, lodging an urgent application at the High Court. Mr Justice Silber considered the challenge in relation to the narrative verdict only but ruled that the coroner had a wide discretion and he would not interfere with his ruling.

The family considered that the coroner had effectively gagged the jury. Any verdict returned by them would have at best limited meaning and would not have the effect of holding the police accountable for any failings. At that stage, having exhausted all legal avenues, the family instructed their legal team to cease participating in the inquest proceedings.

We have lodged grounds to appeal the decision of Mr Justice Silber and our judicial review challenge of the coroner’s decision in respect of unlawful killing remains to be considered.

To date, not one police officer involved has been held personally accountable for failings that led to the death of Jean Charles. In fact the two most senior officers in the command team have been promoted. The law as it stands, effectively provides legal immunity for police officers who shoot innocent people in the cause of protecting the public.

This case raises questions of critical constitutional importance. Should our armed police service be protected from meaningful criticism (let alone criminal sanction) or are the public entitled to go about their day to day business free from the fear that they could be shot dead without warning if mistaken for a suspected terrorist?

For further information and background information visit: inquest.justice4jean.org

Malaysia ISA and Terror

GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA
(ABOLISH ISA MOVEMENT)
PRESS STATEMENT: 2ND DECEMBER 2008
ISA itself has served as an instrument of terror of the State

The Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)/ Abolish ISA Movement (AIM) finds the statement from the deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak that “ISA has protected country from terrorism” (NST 2nd December 2008) and that “the main reason why there have been no serious acts of terrorism in this country is because we have in place the ISA” is baseless and unconvincing.

Now the question is how an Act like the Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows detention without trial can be used as a tool to protect the nation from terrorism? Today, most of the detainees in Kamunting are those who are linked to the JI (Jemaah Islamiyaah) and DI (Darul Islam) movement. Currently there are five alleged JI (Jemaah Islamiyyah) detainees who have been held under the ISA for seven years. They are Suhaimi bin Mokhtar, Abdullah bin Daud, Mat Sah bin Mohd Satray , Shamsuddin bin Sulaiman and Abdul Murad bin Sudin. Many more are being held there for more than 2 to 6 years. Although the government claimed that they have sufficient evidence to show that these detainees are linked to terrorism activities, but until today none of them have been charged in an open court. How then the government can ascertain that these ISA detainees are terrorists without a court trial? Without the scrutiny of the court, how the public can be assured that there is no misuse of powers to detain innocent people?

Is Najib implying that blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Selangor State Exco and Member of Parliament Teresa Kok, Sin Chew Daily’s reporter Tan Hoon Cheng and many more political and civil society activists are all terrorists?

In reality, the ISA itself has served as an instrument of terror of the State and used consistently against dissidents who have defended the democratic and human rights of the Malaysian people. The ISA has been kept in use all this time mainly because it is a very convenient tool at the disposal of the ruling coalition.

Practicing arbitrary arrest and detention without trial by hanging on to an anachronistic law, which was formulated to tackle the emergency situation many decades ago, only disgraces Malaysia in the eyes of the world. The Malaysian government which is also a member of the Human Rights Council should be ashamed for using the barbarian law like ISA, which runs counter to the Federal Constitution and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

ISA detainees must be given recourse to a fair trial in conformity with international standards of due process and access to full legal representation and family members. If no evidence is found against a detainee, he/she should be released without delay, as holding them indefinitely merely on the basis of suspicion is a blatant violation of due process. This principle should not be compromised in any circumstances. If the Malaysian government objected to the detention of alleged terrorists without trial by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, why then detain alleged terrorists at the Kamunting detention camp in the same way as the United States does?

We strongly urge the government stop the double standards, abolish the ISA and release or charge all the ISA detainees who have been detained without trial under the ISA immediately. The people will continue to struggle until the ISA is repealed completely.

Released By,

Nalini.E

Secretariat GMI

Guest Image by Shiva Sulla Quinseina

“this is a photo montage I made and that I would like to put on your blog (it is in tune with your paper I realize)” – Shiva Sulla Quinseina

First Human Terrain Team casualty

As anyone who might have looked at my writing in ‘Jungle Studies’ (here) or ‘Clifford’s Ethnographica’ (in Critique of Anthropology and reprinted in Bad Marxism) knows, I am not much of a fan of the close embrace that anthropology has with imperialism. Having argued that the old ‘Anthro as Handmaiden of Colonialism’ argument needs to be updated to ‘Anthro as Globalization’s Filthy Pimp’, I am also not a fan of the mealy-mouthing of ‘pledges’ and worthy declarations (Catherine Lutz art CASCA was ok but too mild). I think a more active resistance to the disciplinary apparatus of war – knowledge in the service of death – is required. So, while no doubt upsetting for his family and friends, the death of Michael Bhatia cannot be taken just a marker of why this stuff is wrong, but why opposition to military anthro has to be a part of the opposition to the war in general. From Bill Stamets article from In These Times

“In 2007, his 4th Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division was the first to use a Human Terrain Team. It was also the first to have an HTT fatality. On May 7, 2008, a roadside bomb in the Afghan province of Khowst killed Michael Bhatia, an Oxford doctoral candidate and the brigade’s field social scientist. After his year-long contract, Bhatia had planned to finish his dissertation titled “The Mujahideen: A Study of Combatant Motives in Afghanistan, 1978-2005.”

A year long contract – another reason why lack of adequate funding for research and why forced temporary and short term employment contract research ain’t a good way to run a University. Thanks Kee, who pointed out the piece, which links up nicely with this.

Pic is of Major Robert Holbert, Anthropologist!

HQ Terrors and Uncertainties

Apropos research agendas and what the HQ might be up to. This (renewed) call is just out from ESRC/AHRC. It follows some debate already mentioned here, here and here. But I think now the conjoining of environmentalism, poverty and terror research ads a new, still more spurious fold.

“From: “ESRC
Date: 18 June 2008 12:22:43 BST
Fellowships under the RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme

Please could you bring to the notice of your membership the following
forthcoming opportunity for fellowships under the RCUK Global Uncertainties
programme:

RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme: Security for All in a Changing World
ESRC/AHRC Fellowships on Ideas and Beliefs

Call Launch: 30th June 2008

At the end of June there will be a joint ESRC/AHRC call for proposals for
Research Fellowships addressing key elements of the cross-Council programme
on Global Uncertainties: Security for All in a Changing World.

The cross-Council programme aims to understand the nature and interactions
of five global phenomena: conflict, crime, environmental degradation,
poverty and terrorism. Within this cross-Council framework, this Fellowship
call will focus specifically on ideas and beliefs. The call specification
is currently under development but headline issues will likely include:
• How ideas and beliefs evolve that underpin risks and threats evolve,
and why and when do these develop into violent or criminal activities
• Role of access to knowledge and information
• Communication and representation of risks and threats including the
use of language, images and symbolism
• Relationship between national security and civil liberties debates
• Role of different security institutions

We will be running workshops in different parts of the UK to explain the
call to potential applicants. Current thinking is for workshops in
Birmingham, Edinburgh, London and Southampton.

Please see the ESRC web page for further information and updates on
workshop details: www.esrc.ac.uk/gufellowships/

Any queries should be directed to: gufells@esrc.ac.uk.
______________________________

________________________________________
This email has been scanned by the MessageLabs Email Security System.
For more information please visit http://www.messagelabs.com/email
______________________________________________________________________

Public reading of ‘radical material’ that led to ‘terror arrests.

Demonstration against the deportation of Hicham Yezza and for academic freedom

Nottingham academics to give public reading from Al-Qaeda training manual.

The document had been downloaded from an official US government website, for academic research into political extremism.

Photo Opportunity: Outside the Hallward Library, University Park Campus, 2:00pm, 28/05/08. The reading will be followed by a silent protest to the Trent Building, the administrative building. There will be hundreds of students present many of whom will be symbolically gagged. There will be sales and a collection in aid of Hichams’ legal fees.

The demonstration was originally called to voice outrage and concern over the threat to academic freedom, illustrated by the recent arrest of two innocent people on campus. The focus has now widened to include support and solidarity for one of the arrested, Hicham Yezza, who is now facing imminent deportation.

Hicham Yezza, know to his many friends as ‘Hich’, has lived, worked and studied in Nottingham for the past 13 years. He won a scholarship to study for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and was later employed by the University of Nottingham. He is highly skilled and has made incredible contributions to the University and local community.

Hich’s MP, Alan Simpson, has written to Liam Byrne Minister of State for Borders and Immigration to express his concerns at what he described as an “arbitrary deportation with no right to a proper hearing.” Nick Palmer, MP for Broxtowe said, “I hope that Mr Yezza will have his case fully and fairly considered without any rush to deport him before all the facts are clear.”

Petitions are currently being signed by hundreds of students and academics worldwide, asking the University of Nottingham to lobby for Hicham’s release and to guarantee academic freedom on campus for all staff and students regardless of their ethnic background or political views.

[ENDS]

Contact the Campaign:

Phone: 07948590262 or 07505863957

Email: staffandstudents@googlemail.com

Website: http://freehichamyezza.wordpress.com/

Frankenstein in Iraq

me-lie.jpg“wretch … it is well that you come here to whine over the desolation you have made. You throw a torch onto a pile of buildings, and when they are consumed, you sit among the ruins and lament the fall” (Shelley Frankenstein 1818/1992 228)

I was sent some systems static by a close friend from America, who feels it more than most (but just as much as we all should feel). Not without a certain justifiable anti-patriotism, she offered a lot of questions about the plight of the boy soldier returned from Iraq, and these questions were more than I can ask or extend here – and are by and by engaging. But there are so many angles that for the first time I think that to ask questions is not even part one of the story. More like: when and why did we stop asking questions with an angry passion? Why did we start mouthing the words of critique? rather than finding better ways of putting critique to use? Naive eh, sometimes I just don’t get it. I don’t get it when what seems clear turns into convoluted mud, and I don’t get it when the committed and the dedicated also stall.

I certainly don’t get it when those that were not on ‘our’ side, turn themselves over to ‘our’ side, and yet still seem to have missed the point.

I am stuck in a convoluted never never land where it is ok, and even normal, to ask what is a confession? More, what is a confession of remorse when the atrocity is a crime against us all?

What can we do with such terrible stories from the wastelands of hypocrisy?

“…next image. This man right here was my third confirmed killed. As you can see, he was riding his bicycle. Later on in the day, we went ahead, and we had CBS’s Lara Logan with us, but she was with the other squad, and so she wasn’t with us. So, myself and two other people went ahead and took out some individuals, because we were excited about the firefight we had just gotten into, and we didn’t have a cameraman or woman with us. With that being said, any time we did have embedded reporters with us, our actions would change drastically. We never acted the same. We were always on key with everything, did everything by the books. The man on the bicycle, he was left in the street for about ten minutes until we realized that we needed to leave where we were. And his body was dragged about ten feet to the right of him, where his body was thrown behind a rock wall and his bicycle was thrown on top of him”

So, although I was sent this confession of the winter soldier on ‘Democracy Now’, I do not know what or how it confesses. Harrowing, and yet all stuff what we already knew.

Its My Lai again, but in the desert 40 years on (the My Lai massacre was May 16, 1968 – about 500 dead by ‘unofficial’ body count). Can the confessing soldier be redeemed. Ulysses took several months beforehand, and the players will never say cafe or leave a trip… too bourgeois…. ([added later - I was so tired end of term that I have no idea what this sentence was meant to really say - Odysseus must have been coming back from war with some sort of bloodfeast on his hands, but it took him ten years to muster up the courage to go back to his son Telemachus and wife Penelope. The players saying cafe and tripping - leaving a tip for a coffee - refers to who knows what... its the end of term, I was nodding off on the keyboard])

Frankenstein’s monster is full of remorse at the end, and prepares a funeral pyre. The horrific winter soldier’s tales are less honourable and have something self serving in them.

Frankenstein himself is addled with laudanum, unable to sustain his bourgeois genius:

“Ever since my recovery from the fever I had been in the custom of taking every night a small quantity of laudanum; for it was by means of this drug only that I was enabled to gain the rest necessary for the preservation of life. Oppressed by the recollection of my various misfortunes, I now swallowed double my usual quantity… (Shelley 1818/1992:189).

 

Several cascading families, social turmoil, ecological catastrophe … and no return … just say maybe to drugs. The soldier will need medication to get through those stories, and with not much of a public health support infrastructure in the States, his future as a Rambo-type crazy lost in the American badlands seems guaranteed. The monster has not burned on the pyre so much as turned into a self sustaining culture industry.

 

Writing Diary

The diary, a memoir, notebooks, letters from the field – the ephemeral residue of the research process of anthropology has increasingly attracted attention, become raw data for cultivation, sifting the soil. This text offers an elaboration and personal appropriation of the flux of comprehension across the unusual long-time visitation of a peculiar mode of culture vulture inscription practiced by some of those we call ‘ethnographers’. Ethnographer – the one who writes culture, but in the examples I want to consider here, does so over a long dureé, returning, in person and in purpose, not always both, to the site of a certain fieldwork. I am interested less in the fly-by-night consultancy that seems to gain in popularity as anthropology as an academic discipline wanes, nor do I mean that first year ‘training’ visit of the apprentice doctoral student that most anthropologists once were (they sometimes stay, they often return, I am not dismissing these visits, but looking to the recidivists). I am interested in the dynamics of a certain commitment, and its lacunae. Consider for example the anthropologist that returns each year for twenty or thirty years to the same village, town or urban area, watches families grow and places change, gets to know the locals and becomes part – if a somewhat irregular part – of local lives. Such a person – at first a stranger, more and more a familiar stranger – accumulates friends and debts, histories and enemies, may forget as much as recall, possibly learns to not jump to conclusions, explanations, understanding, and so understands all the better, and less. Over twenty years it is common that youthful enthusiasms are tempered by the realization that one ever knows less and less as knowledge grows. I am interested in this, and have diaries, notebooks and letters to help me make something of the scene.

Indeed, I have been worrying about this little corner of my office for a while – a pile of books and notes, some of them my own diaries, those of my grandfather, those of friends accumulate. Also, there are a good many great texts to be considered. For the moment I am leaving aside some of the best – Claude Lévi-Strauss and his “Tristes Tropiques” (he is 100 years old quite soon), Jean Genet in love in Palestine, Michel Leiris’ examining his Manhood, even the more conventional anthropology of Victor Turner and Sandombu or M.N.Srinivas and “The Remembered Village”. I will not forgoe some of the worst, or rather some of the most heavily cultivated, already over-farmed, franchised and perhaps turned into show-garden displays suited only for exercises in flower arrangement. I will write again about Malinowski’s diary, of which ‘everything has already been said’ (Rapport 19 XX). And I will dig about in my own soil a little too, at risk, great risk, of indulgence.

“My works are only waste matter, once they leave my body they cannot stand up by themselves” – Artaud.

I also want to talk about war. Wars and knowledge. Writing and its ephemera as a record of war. To think of the diary as analogous with warfare is one of Michael Taussig’s conceits in “Law in a Lawless Land”, his Colombia diary, published 2003. In that text, after some thirty years visiting a town in the Cauca Valley, the ethnographer published an elaborated diary (diary entry reworked at home – in New York and in London) documenting the rise of the Paramilitary in Colombia, who kill, assassinate and ‘cleanse’ towns and villages in response to/death-embrace with the left-wing FARC Guerrilla . To think of writing a diary as cathartic engagement, also a cleansing, means to think of writing as tactic and strategy of a war machine analogous with the Frieikorps of Germany and the henchmen of Hitler’s SA (Taussig 2003:11). Not a fashionable association by any means, suggesting an indictment of writing. Editing is glossed as tactics and strategy and the cut-ups of William Burroughs are a weapon. I suddenly remember that Malinowski’s diary is a war diary too.

In 1914, at the outset of World War One, Malinowski found himself in Australia…

[…here I would put a bunch of stuff about Malinowski as a war exile, right up to his comments on anthropology as a way of dealing with ‘the problem of Black Bolshevism’]

What I mean to say is that all diaries are war diaries, at least in the anthropology I read, whether it be the traditional far far away reports on the Third World and other brutal fictions, or the slight narratives inadequately rendered as ‘anthropology at home’ which persist in finding a patronising tribalism in the activities of locals that are merely not anthropologists: called migrants, marginals, deviants, exotics – diasporics, subcultures, women, the working class. This paternalism structures writing even when attempts are made at ‘study up’ or at ‘multi-site’ fieldwork: simulation tribal subjects are still made to conform to the ethnographer’s authority and expertise under the professional credo of a social science that says, ‘see these strange people, look closer and I will show you they are not so strange at all’. We do not have many diary format studies for the metropolis or for corporate sociology, and there are reasons for a lag in the uncertainty and doubt in the author-writing-structure where the powerful are concerned. Which is itself revealing, I guess.

But Taussig looks back over his ‘notes scribbled down at the time’ and ponders ‘over the frankness, the naiveté, and the imprecision’ (Taussig 2003:47). I am struck that such scribblings do not often appear in the texts of the urban anthropologists, and know the doubts of reflexivity, and the consequences of a political reassessment, have not (yet) transformed certitudes and authorities ‘at home’. This does not mean I am easily convinced, or that I even want to be easily convinced, by the enactment of uncertainty and doubt in the text of the Colombia diary. Easy queasy. There is still a very big problem of the subaltern and proprietary rights and writing at several levels. A longer quotation on the gang and guns-infested squatter settlement at the end of town might illustrate the tos and fros:

“Variously known as ‘the barrio’ … I keep wondering if the people who tell me about [it] in such vivid detail have ever been there. And what does it mean if all this imagery comes second- or third- hand? The logic is cruel. Because the barrio is so dangerous, nobody goes there, so people feed their fears through telling on another these stories. But can it be entirely fantasy? There must be some crucial connection with reality. But maybe that’s the inferiority complex of the ethnographer, not to mention the friend, who defers to the native’s point of view? What I mean is that you always submit to the authority of the trusted confidante, that because she lives here all her life, and sees so many people from different walks of life each day, she must get a true picture. But maybe that’s wrong? For surely a collective fantasy resists truth and makes its own reality? I go round in circles, which only gets more confusing when she tells me that either the police or the guerrilla supply the barrio with arms” (Taussig 2003: 61)

So many of the sentences in this paragraph begin with ‘but’ in a way that belongs only to the diary form, even if added to the scribbles later. It is important to remember that the published diary is always edited, for Malinowski in several ways, and this is true even where Eric Michael’s sad and tragic “Unbecoming” unravels the conceit of the locked journal with a vivid terminal urgency. Taussig’s diary elaborates in a way that stages diary-writing but has a greater purpose. It is the form of the diary at the service of ethnography, and may be the best way to tell the personal stories or terrible violence he collects from the people he knows in the town. Brothers, uncles, neighbours are killed, retributions, revenge, stalled legal proceedings and threats, fear and silences: ‘the more violence and horror, the more my work seems worthwhile’, writes our diarist (Taussig 2003:28) – but I suspect this was not written in the real-time diary itself, it must surely, necessarily be post-hoc, mustn’t it? This is ok. The diary form facilitates a writing that is not not ethnography, and includes phrasings like ‘in my opinion’ at he end of controversial sentences (Taussig 2003:31). To find a form of writing that best conveys what is so hard to convey is itself a great ethnographic skill, in my opinion.

Longer rhythms of fieldwork – sometimes – offer from anthropology a longer contextualisation of economic and political history. Usually a tragic story, these can be narratives of encroachment, invasion, ‘development’ and transformation, at best a heroic tale of resistance, more likely the notebooks tell of corporate appropriation and capitalist transition (not without romantic and pastoral nostalgia). Taussig laments the lost beauty of the ‘three-dimensional farming’ of the integrated forest and mixed economy (Taussig 2003:20) now replaced by sugar cane.

Transition is the context of so much ethnography, and for a long time has been impossible to ignore – already noted my Bronislaw, but made manifest in the work of the Manchester School and Gluckman et al

The war is always a part of a bigger war, and that is what we need to also understand. The encounter and the specificity are suspended in vicious webs of signification, or concentric circles, or venn diagrams that accumulate and overlay each other until the forest blocks out the trees. Yet this is the task of the little stories we will tell. That an encounter in a village in the tropics off the coast of Papua New Guinea is a part of a wider struggle between capital and those not yet pacified for commerce is a long bow. It can be drawn, and I only sometimes think this is a task only for Oddyseus, who has travelled twenty years from island to island.

Anthropologists today have learned to take an interest in ‘state declared tax-free zones called “industrial parks”’ (Taussig 2003:21)

What is the contribution that a diary can make that other forms of writing cannot? Is it a gentler form of persuasion, is it a more nuanced way of getting into the personal complexity and out and out messiness of lived experience, even amidst war, is it to remind our readers, and moreso ourselves, that the everyday has a greater impact than clinically calculated sentences do not capture? Does the diary form capture? Kidnap? Detain? Render (as in rendition)? Execute? Does it do all this all the more viciously for its mufti disguise? Camouflage is a uniform too, and khaki is not by accident the base colour of choice for the military since the 1840s.

More to come on: Rachel Corrie diaries, and War diaries from the Mass Observation project; my Grandfather’s war… more on jottings and idle talk…

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