The Paper May Day edition

The Paper is at the printers tonight. But here is a sneak peak.
Anyone thinking of getting married in the next couple of days should probably have a look at the back page.
We recommend you consult The following wedding gift list.
What would you buy our favourite couple?
Matching Police Crackdown Pajamas and dressing downs.
Monogramed royal condoms (we do not want your filthy spawn).
Silver bullet vampire-sucking love-of-my-life Tea-servants, with matching kettle.
Joy-ride Titanic tickets (not for the film, for the re-enactment).
A drink-drive driver warning video.
Limited-edition Duchy gourmet swan-fed corgi pâté
Honeymooner tickets to Tripoli/Deraa/Sanaa etc.

See the paper PDF ThePaperMayDayEdn

May Day 2011

Spoiled for choice on May Day?

A instrument for our Leninist battle in the global crisis

 FOR us, theory always has a practical meaning – it allows us to make CRUCIAL CHOICES in the STRUGGLE.



May Day 2011


At 14:30 on SUNDAY 1st May 2011

Russell Room

The Conway Hall,

25 Red Lion Sq,

London WC1 4RL

(near Holborn Underground station)

 «We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not of retreating into the neighbouring marsh”.

(Lenin What Is To Be Done?”)

 The Marxist Study Centre is a discussion group

dedicated to spreading Marxist science.

Come along, find out more, & participate!


Marxist Study Centre


Sergio Motosi Institute

The “Sergio Motosi Institute for the Study of the International Working-Class Movement” was founded and registered at Genoa in the April of 2005.

The Institute is not a money-making concern, and as laid out in its charter, “its aim is the in-depth study of the history of the working-class movement throughout the world, with particular reference to the forms of political and trade union organisations from their inception to the present day; and the promotion of contact and exchange of ideas and experiences, whether between members of the Institute itself or with other institutes researching or studying the same subject”.

The Institute is named for Sergio Motosi (1946-2002), the initiator of its activities. A first collection of essays and articles by Sergio Motosi, a student of economy and of the problems of the proletariat, was published in Milan in 2003.

Our Institute edits a monthly publication, a “Bulletin” in a variety of languages, featuring analytical articles on international politics and economy.

May Day 2011

celebrating for over 110 years
international workers’ day
May Day has been celebrated in London since the 1880s. The Committee has ensured this key day of international solidarity is marked every May 1st. Despite often being ignored by the mass media, the celebrations have maintained the traditions of unity and solidarity in London.The London May Day has been a unique bringing together of trade unionists, workers from the many international communities in London, pensioners, anti-globalisation organisations, students, political bodies and many others in a show of working class unity (see our supporters list). The whole theme of May Day is unity and solidarity – across the city, across the country, across the world. Three constant calls have been made – trade union rights, human rights, international solidarity. We have been proud that a vital and major part of the March are workers from the different international communities in London – a practical expression of working class solidarity. Along with the solid support of trade union organisations, these have been the bed rocks of LMDOC

We continue the demand, adopted by the whole trade union movement in the 1970s, for May 1st to be a public holiday. The Labour Government of the time imposed the divisive decision to make the nearest Monday a Bank Holiday. This created many difficulties and separated Britain from virtually every other European country that celebrates May Day on 1st May. The anti-union laws of the Tories further pressured the movement and made participation in May Day difficult. But in the last 5 years May Day has been growing.

We have held a major march each year, whether going to Wapping in the mid-80s, supporting Sky Chef workers or Rover & Ford workers in 2001 and 2002. LMDOC also responded quickly to the fascist bombings in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho in 1999 by involving those communities in the March, showing in a clear practical way the solidarity of the organised trade union movement, an important message to the right.

In 2001 we tied up with key sections of the anti-capitalist globalisation movement who had been campaigning on May Day. The common concerns about exploitation around the world, the role of multinationals and the advocates of aggressive free trade agendas meant there was the basis for unity – the basis of May Day. In 2001 and 2002 this swelled the ranks of the demonstration and introduced new aspects of May Day. Each year May Day in London has sought to unite with different campaigns and activities to keep the action very relevant to current challenges and expand those getting involved in May Day. A key victory of 2002 was getting use of Trafalgar Square on working days and the encouragement of the Mayor to make the Square a focus of activity for Londoners, as it has been since it was created.

More on the site here:
The fight to save jobs & services has to intensify. The pressure must be kept up.
The bankers are back on the bonus gravy train whilst we are being hit to pay
for the crisis they created. We face price rises and wage cuts, pensions slashed
and the most vulnerable in society under attack. Yet if the big companies and
rich paid their taxes there would be no crisis.
This attack is hitting workers across Europe & the world.
Unity is our strength.
Trafalgar Square Speakers include

LMDOC supported by  GLATUC, S&ERTUC, UNITE London & Eastern Region,
CWU London Region, PCS London & South East Region, ASLEF, RMT, MU London,
FBU London & Southern Regions, GMB London & Southern Regions, UNISON Greater
London Region, NPC, GLPA and other Pensioners’ organisations and organisations
representing Turkish, Kurdish, Chilean, Colombian, Peruvian, Portuguese, West Indian,
Sri Lankan, Cypriot, Tamil,  Iraqi, Iranian, Irish, Nigerian migrant workers & communities
plus many other trade union & community organisations

May Day 2011 is the next big London anti-cuts Trade Union March.
Celebrate International Workers Day – with a march for Trade Union Rights,  Human Rights,  International Solidarity
Sunday May 1st – Assemble 12 noon  Clerkenwell Green  (nearest tube Farringdon) March to Rally in Trafalgar Square 1pm

May Day poster - London 2011The organisers say:

“The fight to save jobs & services has to intensify. The pressure must be kept up.  The bankers are back on the bonus gravy train whilst we are being hit to pay for the crisis they created. We face price rises and wage cuts, pensions slashed and the most vulnerable in society under attack. Yet if the big companies and rich paid their taxes there would be no crisis. This attack is hitting workers across Europe & the world. Unity is our strength.”

Trafalgar Square Speakers include


And if you get there one hour earlier, the Anarchists of London recommend you ‘wear shorts’ (a radical departure from protocol I am sure – but I like it :).

London Mayday 2011 – A celebration of our strength // Anarchist Public Assembly

Anarchists of London | 17.04.2011 19:45 | Workers’ Movements

In the winter of 2010 the nation’s school and university students showed that it isn’t only opinion polls or media corporations that can set the agenda, but also the mass actions of the people. Suddenly the talk changed from how could we best afford this crisis to whether we could actually resist the austerity measures and reject the whole notion of a crisis for us so that the rich can continue rule. What was considered possible, realistic and justifiable was changed: the students had lost their battle but started a war

On March 26th we faced a real danger of a tiny handful calling a ceasefire on our behalf; in the crowd of 250,000 one voice was already trying to sell ‘slightly less cuts at a slower pace’. On Oxford Street and in Mayfair, on Piccadilly and finally in Trafalgar Square thousands of others made their intentions clear: no cuts at any pace – in place of protest, action.As if a few shirtless drunks had had a row, mouthpieces for the elite quickly called the targeted sabotage and occupations carried out by several organised groups of over a thousand the work of ‘mindless thugs’. A principled minority of journalists have already opposed this blatant nonsense, but a real question faces the radicals now: what form does our opposition take next? How do we communicate it? One month ago we walked the walk. Now we have to talk the talk.

We don’t think a few broken windows will be the tactic for change any more than pre-approved marches and speechathons. We believe in the direct action of the majority of society against the parasitic minority. The anti-cuts movement is the latest flare up of the fight between employer and employee that has been raging since the beginning of capitalism.

If we believe we can do more than change the agenda, we have to start acting like it – and we have to start saying it. These are our services, these are our workplaces, these are our streets. This is our day.

THIS IS NOT A PROTEST AND THIS IS NOT A BLACK BLOC. This is a day to celebrate ourselves and our struggle together, to take pride in the fight and our ability to carry it out. It’s hopefully going to be sunny, wear shorts – bring your friends, families, and co-workers.

London Mayday 2011 – A celebration of our strength // Anarchist Public Assembly
Speakers * Music * Infostalls * Fun

Facebook event:


Meanwhile, a longer and more southern view from Neil Transpontine – yaay:

Hot off the press, this new pamphlet published by Past Tense covers the history of May Day festivities in South London from ancient times through to the present day. It covers both the traditional seasonal customs and the more recent May Day socialist and anarchist demonstrations, and indeed shows how these ‘green’ and ‘red’ elements of May Day have become interwined over the last 100 years.

This pamphlet includes the stories of Walworth and Bromley May Queens, May Games in Greenwich Park and Shooters Hill, the Deptford Jack in the Green, demonstrations in Bermondsey and Woolwich, Horse Parades on the Old Kent Road, Maypoles in Kennington and St Mary Cray, festivals on Clapham Common and at Crystal Palace. The cast includes Henry VIII, Robin Hood, John Ruskin, milkmaids, chimney sweeps, Bermondsey Settlement, Woolwich Children’s Co-operative Guild, North Camberwell Radical Club, the New Cross National Union of Railwaymen and the Dulwich College National Union of School Students.

May Day in South London: a History by Neil Transpontine (Past Tense Publications, 2011), 50 pages, A5, £3.00. Available to order online (£3.50 including P&P) – see box in right hand bar.Also available from:

– Bookseller Crow

, 50 Westow Street, Crystal Palace SE19

– The Review Bookshop
, 131 Bellenden Road, Peckham SE15 

downloadable texts

Culture Move‘ on ADF: in Ghadar May 2000

early version of the Pantomime Terror article

an article on Asian Communists in the UK from Social Identities ;

a piece on Fun*Da*Mental from South Asian Popular Culture;

Adorno at Womad from Postcolonial Studies.

The Chapatti Story from Contemporary South Asia;

Michael Palin’s Himalaya in in Journal of the Moving Image

The Politics of Cats from Stimulus Respond;

Culture from Theory Culture Society New Encyclopedia Project

Bataille’s Wars from Critique of Anthropology;

Jungle Studies from Futures;

Photogenic Poverty: Souvenirs and Infancy from the Journal of Visual Culture;

Hybridity from Ethnic and Racial Studies;

also Hybridity as ‘Contact Zones’ in shorter form at Transversal here.

and with Laura King, ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Gaius Baltar’ from Breaching the Colonial Contract: Anti-Colonialism in the US and Canada, ’Chapter Twelve – King and Hutnyk‘ [spoilers to end of BSG S03E20)

Tourism: Trinketization and the Manufacture of the Exotic


FULL TEXT OF Dis-Orienting Rhythms: the politics of the new Asian dance music

FULL TEXT OF Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies, from Scribed.

Statistical measures in anticipation of the next issue of The Paper

The following are the top 20 searched for items that led people to my blog this year. There I am between possums and metropolis, or maybe more revealingly, between American Psycho and vampires. I see this as a kind of I ching-like divination of a significance I as yet do not grasp.

Search Views
bees 3,744
laika 2,500
burt lancaster 2,221
possums 2,116
hutnyk 2,107
metropolis 2,041
deborah kerr 1,664
trinketization 1,168
vera lynn 861
american psycho 833
john hutnyk 750
vampire 642
risk game map 530
tube zoo 461
risk game 353
cityscape 325
kufiya 270
imogen bunting 240
bees pictures 214
some like it hot 179
shut down london 172

For toast and marmalade in the afternoon.

The pain of loss so great that only distraction measure it’s significance. Unbearable to forget, unbearable to remember, a sort of planned denial is the only survival. I miss her so, and still cannot understand her death. I cannot introduce her to my boy, who she would have loved as if the world. It is surreal that I can must and just cannot bear to write this, with stupid angry tears caught in my chest and pain in my eyes. Five years ago today.

Talk: Machiko Nakanishi 11 May 2011 4pm

CCS invites you to a talk by:

Machiko Nakanishi

The Transformation of Reflexivity  

Venue: Goldsmiths, LG G3,  4pm, 11th May 2011 (Chair: Scott Lash)

The purpose of this seminar is to discuss the transformation of reflexivity, to compare the difference of reflexivity between the UK and Japan, and to study the relation of the market and reflexive modernization for the future.

1   Change of Reflexivity according to Social change

At first, I discuss the transformation of reflexivity. Reflexivity means the concept of reflecting oneself to others, and determining oneself by the reflection of others. The character of reflexivity changes according to social change. It changes from cognitive reflexivity (self-reflexivity and structural reflexivity as suggested by Giddens and Beck) affected by rational modernization to aesthetic and hermeneutic reflexivity( as suggested by Lash)   affected by modernization of aesthetics. It again changes to phenomenological reflexivity in the information society.The concept of reflexivity is changing and extending.

2   Difference of reflexivity between the UK and Japan

Secondly I will compare reflexivity and reflexive modernization between the UK and Japan.  Influences of reflexive modernization flow from Western modernization, but affect the world as a whole-and they refract back to start to reshape modernization at its point of origin. In Western society including the UK, the ‘I’ is most important. While in Japan, the ‘ we ’ is more important than the ‘I’. In the traditional Western society, reflexivity remains limited, while in the traditional Japanese society, collective, hermeneutic and phenomenological reflexivities   work very well together. A different reflexive modernization can be possible in Japan.

3   Market & Reflexivity

In the reflexive society, where phenomenological reflexivity works, our senses have changed, reflecting market change. I express it as ‘ market-sense reflexivity’. It is sense, emotion and society which are exchanged through the framework of the market. In addition, new reflexivities can be born and transform themselves according to the transformation of market.

Visiting fellow of CCS
Associate Professor of Sociology and Marketing
Faculty of Management ,
Chukyo University, Nagoya, Japan

  All Welcome.

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
To sign the petition to end the siege click here.
Join the PSC logo
‘Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’
— Nelson Mandela
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!

File Notes on Christian Marazzi’s ‘The Violence of Financial Capitalism’

On Marazzi, after reading his little Semiotext(e) booklet: The Violence of Financial Capitalism, where, among many interesting assertions, he says:

“The thesis that is being put forth here is that financialization is not an unproductive/parasitic deviation of growing quotas of surplus-value and collective saving, but rather the form of capital accumulation symmetrical with new processes of value production” (Marazzi 2011:48)

Here he has in mind the extraction of value in the sphere of circulation, in reproduction and distribution – ‘a phenomenon, let it be noted, well known to women for a long time’ (p48-9) – but also including crowd-sourcing and facebook, flickr, google etc., as ways to ‘harness and valourize user browsing’ and ‘extract surplus value from common actions like linking to a site, flagging a blog post, modifying software, and so forth’ (Marazzi following Terranova and O’Reilly, in Marazzi 2011:51-2)

“The first important consequence of the new proceses of capitalist valourization is the following: the quantity of surplus-value created by new apparatuses of extraction is enormous. It is based on the compression of direct and indirect wages (retirement, social security cushions, earnings from individual and collective savings), on the reduction of socially necessary labour with flexible network company systems (precarization, intermittent employment), and on the creation of a vaster pool of free labour (the “free labour” in the spere of consumption, circulation and reproduction, with a more intensified cognitive labour). The quantity of surplus-value, i.e., of unpaid labour, is at the root of the increase in the profits not reinvested in the production sphere, profits whose increase does not, as a consequence, generate the growth of stable employment, let alone wage increases” (Marazzi 2011:52-3)

It should come as no surprise that Marxists are also concerned with consumption, and this is of course necessary for the valourization of appropriated surplus value, but what then of the relative importance, in post-post-Fordist financialized globality, of the distinction Marx makes between division 1 and division 2 – consumption by the workers for reproduction of their labour power (food, clothing, education, sex) and consumption in the labour process (of materials, energy, machines, ideas [can ideas be consumed?])?
Isn’t financialization and circulation underscored still by the universal equivalent, a mode of calculation and measurement of unlike things through the like code of money, however abstracted in credit? For example, would the crisis of sub-prime mortgages suggest that it is not new tools of valourization of surplus-value so much as that the credit card economy which now supports valourization in division 1 in the developed world may turn out to also be as fragile as the banking credit system that supported division 2 before and through, to an extent that remains to be tested, the recent crisis?
What attention to this distinction between division 1 and 2 might question is whether the harnessing of social labour, free labour, crowd sourcing, open source, is really that different than the fluctuations of demand harnessed through shopping? Is it that this contribution is now just better tracked within a digital economy of scale, just as just-in-time production in the Toyota model was a stagnation inducing set up for manufacturing? If the crisis is that this tracking and contribution does not valourize capital for reinvestment in production, but rather only in development of new enclosures (web 2.0, Facebook platforms, google as enclosures and nations without allegiance – the pirate metaphor so beloved of netizens), is it indicative of where to fight that this enclosure has further abandoned any obligations or constraints to provide for education, health, cultural or social cohesion of its constituency beyond registration or i.P address? That is, the struggle is not with sociality 2.0, but rather the vapourization of social ties at the very moment of their fetish characterization via ‘friending’ on facebook, the you in you tube, and the vacuous instamatic photo-realist representations of flickr?
and these questions after the Marazzi talk at Queen Mary and discussion with The Paper crew:
When you speak of ‘the main functions of fixed capital, of the machine’ as having been ‘transposed into the body of labour power’ what does this mean for the place of Marx’s notion of the collective labour and the forms of the reserve army of labour (floating, latent, stagnant) as well as the reproduction of skilled labour, which Marx notes, is carefully protected be capital even in times of crisis? Do these categories still have any purchase in the context of financialization? Are they distributed differently, but still operative – eg collective labourer includes many ancillary non-productive labour functions.
Would consideration of the categories of Reserve army of labour as applicable to the global economy viewed from India or China not dwarf the relevance of free labour through internships or open source?
When you talk of bankruptcy as a strategy, do you mean to reclaim a kind of negative commons – along with this would disasters and the dysfunctions of climate, be also commons? What are the implications of this for nature?/our nature?
What are the forms of organization and kinds of struggle that would be adequate to win against this financialization, this measurement in crisis and crisis of measurement? Isn’t the commons too big a grab bag to even pint out that it cannot be named even as we codify and constitute it though naming.

Anthropologies of Tourism

Issue 2

Anthropologies of Tourism
April 2011
Tourists at Cobá, Quintana Roo, Mexico 2008 – Photo by Ryan Anderson

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.

Press Repress

A senior United Nations representative on torture, Juan Mendez, issued a rare reprimand to the US government on Monday for failing to allow him to meet in private Bradley Manning, the American soldier held in a military prison accused of being the WikiLeaks source. It is the kind of censure that the UN normally reserves for authoritarian regimes around the world. Guardian 11.4.2011

About time we heard something on this, as the UN continues to follow its usual daft tandem policy of total war and humanitarian bleating, and on the day that the BBC is reminding us that David-Desert Rat-Cameron took a degree at Oxford and, oh, now he wants to come across all mr-man-with-an-issue in a caring social mobility tone. Crikey, Mr numbnuts, you imagine yourself as some sort of advocate (patronizing git) and the dark lord of cuts. Plus it turns out you can’t even count, and so any chance the ‘story’ you told us could do nothing more than make you seem foolish is confirmed. What I want to propose is a direct exchange, a prisoner swap so to speak. Dave C, as a more than prominent figure, you get a ticker tape parade to welcome you to New York, but then you have to take Bradley Manning’s place in the stalag and serve out your time in solitary. You deserve it, lizard loser.


postscript 4am: I was nearly asleep when I wrote the above stub, hence the lack of reference which I should document, but also the strange lizard references and general rantiness, which I should remove but will leave as symtom of exhaustion. Hmmm, still nearly asleep – please forgive my improper grammar. For the record, Cameron was on the news having been to Oxford to butter up to those who gave him his degree, but along the way he made the stunning observation that Oxford is a bastion of white supremacy. Well, that’s not the phrase <em>he</em> used, but he has direct personal experience of it. Trouble is he got the numbers wrong with a mad exaggeration and error born of some probable trauma in his elite hi-jinx Bilgewater Club life with Boris. As media-worthy event it becomes another instance of a stir-up-trouble foot-in-mouth-as-policy strategy on the part of Government. They can’t be this clever eh, an attack on the poshest University means the rest of the University sector has to defend Oxford, and the consequent radicalization of Oxbridge students draws the wrong type of well-dressed radical into the student campaign (if this is the thinking, good grief – but all radicals will be welcomed, just some will need re-education camp). Along the way Cameron’s number fiasco undermines legitimate analysis of racism by making it sound like some twisted version of grade inflation. Doesn’t matter if its just 1 or 27, the evidence is plain to see – disproportionate enrollment is white supremacy no matter how you look at it. And its hypocrisy, because other organizations are demonized, funding withdrawn, and closed down for far less serious versions of being ‘not fit for purpose’.

The prisoner swap thing – we give you Cameron, you give us Manning – well, of course we need to be in a strong position to do a deal like that, which we are not, yet. And if the UN needs to sometimes be seen to criticize the US, well and good – though note how rare that is. It is no surprise that different parts of the colonial machine can be dysfunctional and snipe at each other, and yet both parts are still deadly. Stop bombing Libya and free Bradley Manning!

The Colonial and the National: Critical Questions. Ishita Banerjee-Dube 26 May 2011

Public Talk and discussion:

The Colonial and the National: Critical Questions

Professor Ishita Banerjee-Dube

El Colegio de México

Recent endeavours within history, anthropology, gender and postcolonial studies have pointed to the usefulness of analysing the Empire and the Nation together in order to track the critical ways they shaped each other. In particular, they have underscored the mutual imbrications of gender and sexuality in formations of colony and empire. Drawing upon such impulses, my talk will attempt an experimental juxtaposition of the empire and the colony, across time and continents. It will explore the politics of gender and the dominant cultural discourse of nationalism in the two colonies of Mexico and India and underscore how under different circumstances and through divergent modes, the ‘woman’ provides the key element in imperial strategies of domination and nationalist tactics of containment.

Centre for Cultural Studies and Department of Politics

Goldsmiths College, University of London

26th May 2011 – 5pm-7pm

Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre

all welcome.

Ishita Banerjee-Dube is a Professor of History at the Centre for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de México. She has been a Visiting Professor at the Department of History and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, University of Syracuse, and a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and the School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University. She is the author of Religion, Law and Power: Tales of Time in Eastern India (Anthem Press, 2007/2009); Divine Affairs: Religion, Pilgrimage and the State in Colonial and Postcolonial India (IIAS, 2001), and, in Spanish, Fronteras del Hinduismo (El Colegio de México 2007). Among her more than half a dozen edited books are: Ancient to Modern (Oxford University Press, 2009), Caste in History ((Oxford University Press, 2008/2010); and Unbecoming Modern (Social Science Press, 2006).

Her research interests cover questions of gender and cuisine, empire and nation, and popular religion and state practices.

Libya: immediate ceasefire call.





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.



..ment Issue 01: Welfare Statement, O(nline)UT Now!

Friends and collaborators from …ment, new online journal on contemporary art, culture and politics, have released their first issue ‘Welfare Statement’. This first issue explores recent debates on the crisis of the welfare state and related issues. Contributors include Franco Bifo Berardi, Markus Miessen, Margit Mayer, DOXA, Patrick Coyle, The Public School, amongst others. Whilst the journal primarily operates online, a beautiful risograph print limited edition of 150, featuring a contribution fromElmgreen & Dragset, is available from various art bookshops in Berlin and shortly in London.
The London/Berlin based collective also announces a first event at the Chisenhale Gallery, London, on 16th April, co-organised with DOXA and the Amateurist Network. The event AMASS: Towards an Economy of the Commons, consists of an afternoon of round-table discussions and presentations on the notions of the commons. Participants and contributors include Anthony Iles (Mute) and the University for Strategic Optimism. Next issue is expected towards the end of the summer, and an event in Berlin is lined up in collaboration with Archive Books/Kabinett.

Scanning the jobs section for the possibility of an admin-idioten free life, the following research post seemed like the honey pot of honey pots – a cultural history of the secret handshake??

Dodgy Dodgy Dodgy: ‘many thousands of young men have been introduced to Freemasonry through these two Lodges [Oxford and Cambridge], and they provided the inspiration for the Universities Scheme’. As blokey as Wee Willie Willets and his heinous kind.

I do hope calling for Regime Change on Danish radio is treason!

Along with some eloquent comrades, this, for Danish listeners (English snippets) is a just broadcast interview about the current conjuncture, cuts, coalition shenanigans and possibilities for regime change in the UK… Download the pod-cast here. The first 12 minutes are Lara, Nina and I.

Britisk protestbevægelse

Europa lige nu 03. april 2011 kl. 17:10 på P1

En studerende på et britisk universitet skal fremover betale op til 75.000 kr om året i afgift til universitetet for at få lov til at studere.

Det er en del af den britiske regerings store projekt om at skære ned og øge brugerbetalingen.

– Vi føler os sat tilbage til Thatcher-tiden,  og fremover er det kun de riges børn, der får en uddannelse,  siger en britisk filosof, Nina Power,  mens en anden univeritetslærer, John Hutnyk på trods af besparelserne også glæder sig, for nu er de studerende begyndt at gide at læse Marx igen.

Hutnyk mener også, at briterne er ved at vågne op med en ny politisk bevidsthed – sidste week-end resulterede det i en efter britisk målestok usædvanlig stor demonstration – nemlig en halv million mennesker i Londons gader i protest mod de offentlige besparelser.

Download the pod-cast here

Looking forward to a June visit to see the Danes – Jeg savner dig.

For those that hounded Hasan Elahi

I offer you this documentation of last night’s dinner. I do this in solidarity with Hasan Elahi who, as I read in Amitava Kumar’s excellent new book (mentioned below in the Ruthless post), was detained for questioning after visiting an Artist’s Residency program in Senegal and subsequently became subject of a 6 month FBI investigation after being falsely accused of having fled the country leaving explosives behind in a locker… ‘In order to prove to his interrogators, over the course of dozens of interviews, what he had been doing on that particular day as well as the days that followed, Elahi showed them all the information he had on his PDA … And when the investigation was over, Elahi began working on documenting publicly his every move … His aim is to overwhelm those who have him under surveillance … [he says] “If 300 million people were to offer up the details of their private lives, you would need to hire another 300 million people just to keep up”‘ (Kumar -2010, p28-29 A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb).

It seems to me this is the entire rationale of Facebook, but it is also another example of the Scheherezade complex I discuss here and here, and in the new book soon.


Thursday 07 April 2011, 6 – 9pm,

V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA


Time Out First Thursdays at V&A Museum of Childhood

It’s Your Write: A Celebration of the Self-Published!

Artists, Musicians, Performers and Writers get political this April

Thursday 07 April 2011, 6–9pm

This March witnessed record-breaking numbers attend The Papered Parlour’s ethical fashion evening at the V&A Museum of Childhood, now the Parlour girls return to the East London venue to host ‘It’s Your Write’, a mini festival celebrating a new wave of DIY counter-culture and craftivism. Sing, stitch and scribble your way into the political arena with the help of London’s creative elite!

Engage in workshops, join in panel discussions, watch performances, and browse over 20 stalls from independent creators to the beat of a live music backdrop from Noah and The Whale’s Indie label ‘The Young and Lost Club’, who will bring new bands Planet Earth, Hot Feet and Florian LunaireNick Hornby’s Ministry of Stories will kick off the night with a collaborative writing workshop, and you can make badges and banners thanks to The Craftivist Collective and Craft Guerrilla’s Zeena Shah. Be inspired by folk champion Sam Lee as he sheds light on the rich political history of Romany Gypsy and Traveller music, write that letter you haven’t had time for at the aptly named Letter Lounge, or find out how to make a ‘zine’ worth reading thanks to self-publishing collective, The Alternative Press.

The Papered Parlour will be running a live blogging station on the night and Guardian investigative journalist of the moment Shiv Malik will be discussing the changing nature of protests with founding member ofStop the War Coalition Chris Nineham, environmental activist and Climate Rush founder Tamsin Omond, and the most talked-about activist group of the past year, UK Uncut.

Discover the ‘do it yourself’ movement by joining in a creative night led by singers, songwriters, authors and digital artists as they take over the museum and present an alternative perspective on global city living free of the big corporations.

More About the Evening

–        Lindsey German will be talking about her career as the UK’s most prominent female activist.

–        Cool indie band Planet Earth will lead a workshop on protest song writing.

–        The Women’s Library and The Institute for International Arts (Iniva) will share highlights on collecting

women’s zines, dating back to Riot Grrrl.

–        Illustrator and designer David Janes will discuss his political portrait series, 650 Gargoyles.

–        Typewriter artist Keira Rathbone will be in residence with her vintage typewriter.

–        AND Publishing discuss the wave of book piracy hitting emerging countries and explore text


–        Interventions from The University for Strategic Optimism and Climate Rush.

–        Plus the It’s Your Write Book Swap and The World’s Largest Knitted Poem courtesy of The Poetry Society.

Notes to Editor

It’s Your Write: A Celebration of The Self-Published is a mini-festival that brings together artists, activists and the general public to discuss self-publishing and activism through the frame of art and design. Organized by The Papered Parlour, the event aims to engage audiences with lively cross-disciplinary discussions and hands-on workshops that promote an active and imaginative approach to art and activism.  It’s Your Write: A celebration of the self-published takes place at:

V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath  Road, London E2 9PA /

About The Papered Parlour: Enter through a small green door off an alley in the heart of Clapham and step into The Papered Parlour – a creative paradise packed to the rafters with nimble fingered artists from a diverse range of design fields. Since opening in May 2009 The Papered Parlour have been developing a series of ambitious workshops across all areas of art and design, pushing back the limits of creative learning to get as many people as possible involved in DIY design.  Our varied programme of workshops and events reflects our desire to create incredibly engaging arts events that everyone can get involved in.  Feel free to take a look around and check out what we do – and if you like what you see, come along and join in.


Talks & Panel Discussion

Chris Nineham (@chrisnine) – One of the UK’s most established and high-profile political activists. He is national organiser of the Stop the War Coalition (‘Britatin’s Biggest Mass Movement’) and was a founding member of the Stop the War Coalition and Counterfire.

Shiv Malik (@shivmalik1) – Investigative journalist of the moment, Shiv Malik has a column in the Guardian, and regularly contributes to New Statesman. Shiv recently co-wrote the book, The Jilted Generation: How Britain has Bankrupted its Youth.

Lindsey German (@lindseygerman) – One of the most prominent female socialists in the UK, Lindsey German was editor of the Socialist Review for twenty years. She has twice stood as the Left Wing candidate for Mayor of London.

Aaron Peters of UK Uncut (UKUncut) – The most talked-about UK activist group of the past year. The use of social media is central to UK Uncut’s communication with its audiences and supporters.

Tamsin Omond (@tamsinomond) – Environmental activist, author of Rush: The Making of a Climate Activist, and Climate Rush founder.

Chaired by Academic Director and Convenor of PhD Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, John Hutynk.


Artist Talks/Demos

David Janes (@davidsjanes) – Illustrator and designer, discussing his political portraits and self-publishing.

Sam Lee ( – Exploring the use of folk music in the Romany Gypsy and Traveller as a means of political protest, and performing a sampling of songs from the genre.

The London Women’s Library (@WomensLibrary) and Iniva (@StuartHallLib) – Discussing their extensive collection of feminist zines with samples of the zines to consult.

FineCell Work (@finecellwork) – Find out more from this charity using embroidery and cross stitch in prisons through London.

University for Strategic Optimism (@UFSO) – A performance based on the principle of free and open education.

Keira Rathbone (@KRTypewriterArt) – Will be in residence with her vintage typewriter.

Free Workshops

The Ministry of Stories (@Mini_Stories) – Learn more about the secret Ministry through this collaborative writing workshop.

Craft Guerrilla’s Zeena Shah (@heartzeena) – Stitch Your Message onto a badge with Zeena.

The Craftivist Collective (@craftivists) and Climate Rush (@ClimateRush) – Make patchwork train carriages for the Rushette’s Railway Adventures project campaigning against escalating rail prices.

AND publishing ( – Interactive workshop and talk on book piracy.

Alternative Press ( – ‘Make a zine in a night’ with Jimi Gherkin, including spontaneous contributions from workshop leaders, speakers and stallholders for the official It’s Your Write zine to be assembled and distributed at the end of the night.

Letter Lounge (@letterlounge) – When was the last time you wrote a good old fashioned letter?

Planet Earth – Write a new protest song that will be performed at the end of the evening by Planet Earth.


The Young and Lost Club DJ set (@YALCRecords)

Florian Lunaire

Hot Feet

Planet Earth

Plus 20 specially selected self-publishers and DIY artists, campaign stalls including

The Hoxton Street Monster Supplies pop-up shop

Zeena Shah

Economic Thought Project

Lorna Crabbe

Mark Applegate

Ed Boxall

Mary Kilvert

Landfill Editions

Fat Quartet

Eye Ball

AND Publishing

Strange Fruit

Katriona Chapman

Alternative Press

Neil McNally, Ouse Records

The Women’s Library and Iniva

Acorn Press

Climate Rush


Ruthless: Written for TT (draft)

Critique of Everything.

Cultural Studies, as the generic name for a range of challenges to thinking that operate through innovative practices of inquiry, analysis and investigation, in a wide range of materials, styles and forms, is under threat in the UK, along with much else. I write and wonder how this extends, and in some ways follows from, forced transformations in other places. As I set down this brief and exploratory meditation, I intentionally choose the format of a provocation so as to underscore what I think and feel is most important. The challenge to thinking that seeks to think differently than we do now. A built-in opposition to complacency. I also write as the Conservative-Liberal Democratic alliance that governs these Islands is introducing an unprecedented raft of cuts, marketization and operationalization of higher education, alongside swingeing cuts in most other sectors of society, and wages war on, now, at least three fronts – Afghanistan and Iraq, of course, and also in Libya. There has not been a more relevant, nor disquieting time, to be a practitioner of critical theory.

We are of a discipline, or are advocates of an inter-disciplinarity, that promised much. How does it fare in interesting times? (‘Everything under heaven is in chaos. The situation is promising’). In all fields of relevance for the practices of cultural studies, the dual context of austerity and war economy demands attention. The No-Fly zone that includes arming recently adopted, and largely unknown, rebels offers a metaphor for the disciplinary regulation of scholarship and the constraints of funding for research. The directives for research funding bodies to adopt themes of interest to government, with an eye to national economic priority, commercial and vocational application, and issues of national security, amount to knowledge twisted to the service of Empire. Disquiet amongst colleagues and protests in the streets, occupations on the campuses, refusals of regulation, threats, strikes, despair, all suggest a volatility that needs to be cut with a knife, or a pen. A double and somehow dialectical impasse that, we should be reassured, the critical and inquisitive, creative spirit of cultural studies is dedicated to undo.

Concurrently, new work on identity and subjectivity suspended within institutional structures and border regimes address bodies and affect with a political sensibility. We write in a war zone, with a siege mentality. The containment of movement in volatile times opens up fissures of feeling and meaning, passionate encounters as well at intractable blockages. One astonishing example of recent work that illustrates a challenging venue for cultural studies is the architectural practice of the group ‘Mes-Architectures’ in France. A body-conforming flight container for deportation, designed for in-hold air cargo, viciously critiques the exclusion, deportation and repatriation regimes of Fortress Europe. The troubling shape of this container, that is so familiar from the catering boxes roughly loaded from the tarmac beneath the plane, recalls the body shape of the Stateless in stasis, prone, trussed, beaten, and soon to be dumped in who knows what no-man’s land from which again and again economic refugees start out endlessly and too often fruitlessly for the apparent richer promise across the border. That every step of the way is subject to costing, charging, extortion and loss is only part of the tragedy. That hostile reception awaits, and that cold-hearted calculation has replaced policies of compassion, are the affective indicators of a moribund culture. Many years ago the discipline of the body was made a theme for Cultural Studies by Michel Foucault. Fruitful work since then has adapted the comportment and affective co-ordinates of contemporary life to be staples of analytic investment. Inquiry troops the colours of social science up the flagpole of anticipation, but then nationalizes the curriculum. Restrictions on visa application, closure of so-called ‘fake’ colleges, privileged export education market for some, declining recruits for others – the UK Border Authority demanding University staff report attendance records for all foreign students. The fall-out here is immense, teaching as surveillance, the border in the classroom. Keeping with the architectural, I have long been inspired by Eyal Weizman’s book Hollow Land (Verso) which is one of several new appraisals of border-politics that embraces theoretical and political engagement. But it also reconfigures – like all good books should – the very possibility of thinking about this topic. We must want destabilizations such as this – Weizman’s book I mean, not the tensions at eh check-point. That the geography of Palestine and the politics of the Israeli military can be rendered three-dimensional shows both the enormity and the stakes of the border as contest. A propositional art work or a pre-propositional theory can cut through the barriers to make space for thinking and to welcome other ways of intervening.

It is the cross-imbrication of interests, politics and practices that invigorates Cultural Studies and offers the possibility of relevance. New media and on-line activisms inspired by philosophical commentary and activist mischief creatively re-tool the cultural industries and challenge marketization. Open source in the political field opens up new vistas for the sociology of struggles and trades union herstories. Multimedia and direct-to-camera journalism, albeit co-ordinated on corporate platforms adopted uncritically (Web 2.0 FB, YouTube) alongside global news outlets seeking untested, and so fresh, talking heads, offers geography reconfigured as a time slot schedule as much as geopolitical mapping. In Jonathan Beller’s book The Cinematic Mode of Production, attention to the gaze an the market of the spectacle advances both film theory and situationist ideas to offer a platform for understanding new media as a terrain of struggle in market, ideology and practice. Just as we willingly go and sit in the dark before the cinema, we also comply with the protocols of the digital. Virtual selves abroad in the world while backache and repetitive strain compensate for touch type immediacy. The world shrunk to a venture start-up as if the assembly of work-station and media-console wasn’t also co-ordinated with wiring configurations, electricity grids and mining industries that make the corralling of workers in all kinds of underpaid labour also part of an integrated geo-circuit.

Libya this week, Bahrain last week, Cairo and Tunisia the week before. We have seen amazing scenes unfold on the global news channels that beam images from elsewhere into our palms, laps, desk-tops and living rooms. The whole world is televised, sometimes from our own street view, as distraction and investment. This scene-setting is often then filtered into a streaming and screamingly traumatic tension, for example the Japanese quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, as well as the hypocritical grotesque – the  farcical rerun of tragedy in David Cameron’s citation of George Bush seniors’ ‘line in the sand’ comment to justify the full-frontal launch into yet another military imbroglio (Bush Snr in February 1991 re Kuwait, Cameron March 2011 referring to Libya). It may seem that each world leader now needs to access their own brand development option of a legacy war, but of course analysis also shows that arms sales, commercial imperatives, political positioning, and playing to camera for domestic concern are also shaping factors. Even in London the so-called anarchist so-called rioters who broke one or two windows and threw a few missiles during otherwise ‘peaceful’ demonstrations are playing out largely media-tested tropes. That these events are unconnected both near and far is a position held by perhaps only by the fabled nobody of narrative myth. The distraction machine as a weapon of war is our topic.

Television and screens in the context of the short circuit of attention and the long circuit of sociality are pertinent and deserving of close inspection. Our often too quick assumptions that alienation and disaffection are the consequence of corporate media capture of youth can be challenged and debated. A range of possible, creative, apparent misuses of media become interesting. The social in media sounds out a sonic probe for the long-distant and non-locative, non-proximate conviviality of electronic company. We can be together over space, indeed we always have been, even as we value the immediate in a knowing staginess. The pastoral nostalgia for the community is challenged by the specificities and distribution of cosmopolitan competence in so many places. Empathy across airwaves can be as constitutive as close physical contact – and as violent, destructive or mundane. As half a million people marched in London against the cuts on March 26th (this was the Government’s own estimate so we might expand the number) the attempt to distract focus from a large working class refusal of Government policy is set to backfire where the demonization of rioters and rebels is carefully examined. In my experience, the street mobilizations have brought with them an increased analytical engagement – an attention to politics and to meaning that had perhaps been dormant, or buried in a kind of lethargy. The irruption of struggles into the public is itself an opportunity for Cultural Studies, though only in a reworked, re-imagined way. We are all in this together, as the slogan goes.

We can call this being together ‘culture’, but that word is looking decidedly worn – The Expediency of Culture is a very fine work by George Yúdice, critical of the way sponsored and strategic cultural deployments have had commercial and calculating imperatives. The work has released a number of subsequent studies that take on the bureaucratic deployment of culture for gain. In London this means the hype and boosterism of the Olympics, with local initiatives promising much but delivering little – early targets for social improvement quietly abandoned. There is a peculiar and hollow aspect in the sound of State endorsed cultural capital – the tragic and useless life of a salesman already at death’s door, peddling old wares without enthusiasm, not even able to pass for crack whore at the annual accounting meeting. As I write, perhaps unknown beyond the shores of this overworked Island, the current conservative Minister for Universities is featured in the press as having said that he thinks one of the problems for social mobility for men is a consequence of women working. It must be noted that he did say this on April Fool’s day, but perhaps I can be forgiven for not getting the joke. The conservative defence of the family takes on an absurd form, picking a sure to be incendiary fight with the gains of feminism and ignoring the Conservative destruction of the manufacturing sector in the first place. A resurgent feminism – for example the popular text of Nina Power, One Dimensional Woman, from Zero Books, offers a healthy riposte to such tomfoolery.

The point is to take all this together – the cuts, the war, the economy, the struggles. And to then use this resurgent multi-disciplinary enthusiasm for critical work that breaks with the mould of convention. I am reading Amitava Kumar’s new book A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, examines the new literatures that have emerged in the wake of the war on terror post September 11, 2001. By new literatures Kumar means ‘War Lit’ reporting, and ‘Terror Lit’ to which, consistent with his ever-creative drive, he adds to a genre that might be called ‘detainee lit’ – seeing out and interviewing a number of those unjustly or disproportionately incarcerated or persecuted in America and elsewhere by the legal and covert war administration. Among the heart-wrenching cases he reports is a range of photographic interventions curated in galleries that document the lives of detainees, and, in one striking example that deserves more attention, the deployment of photography as a research tool. Photography here is implicated in multiple ways in the production of terror, but some of these documentary practices turn that around. For example, Trever Paglin’s book Torture Taxi seeks out and exposes, thorough a range of media and the investigative techniques of nerdy Plane-spotters and private eye investigators, the ‘dark sites; of special rendition and the kidnapping of citizens of sovereign countries for transport to off-shore torture and disappearance. To turn to photography as a tool challenges it too-easy earlier ascription as fact. The mug shot, the exposé, the front page scoop – photography as evidence has been though the truth test of exploding indexicality. The picture must lie, the editing, cropping and perspectival conditions of partial view are almost so commonplace now they are again obscured. Documentary evidence turns out to be a question of ratings, as Endomol’s Big Brother franchise so successfully had shown, imaging celebrity and everyone in the same blank canvas persona. The most natural performance before the camera is now staged as self-knowing – and didn’t the paparazzi at Abu Ghraib know that, as did the military who hung the hapless Lynndie England out to dry but left the detention system intact.

To have mentioned the torture photos of Abu Ghraib does raise the question of specific responsibility on the part of Cultural Studies. Responsibility to the situation and the circumstances which we can work to know and redress. There remains a felt, but only sometimes explicitly articulated, need to attend to the counter stories of the war on terror without making them a publishing curiosity. I am not keen on conspiracy tales, but I am interested in the efforts of those who would caution and err on the side of proportion by insisting that the excesses of the war are a political strategy on the part of a paranoid capitalism. No need to overplay this drama, the numbers of the dead in the equation have their own tragic eloquence. We do have to look at the photographs and count the dead. There is possibly nothing more important that the injunction to have a look for yourself that is the heart of the investigative impulse behind all study of culture. Interpretation and analysis require working with those who practice, and although of course research can be practice, and indeed no one without the other, the imperative to look to the local meanings and articulate the detailed significance of always complicated predicaments is the beginning of informed and collective participation. I have in mind the careful work of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, the patient effort to rearrange desire and inculcate a lexicon-consulting responsibility in those who would choose, as if any other choice was viable, to fight and write against injustice – her essay ‘Righting Wrongs’ is most salutary in this regard (in her book Other Asias). The narrative the attends to the displacements of desire is a wake-up call. If we are to take seriously the way Cultural Studies sometimes proffers proposals for a renewed democratic culture it means something more than a once every four years celebrity-popularity context that abdicates responsibility for governance to a bunch of barely accountable apparatchiks. The participatory democracy on the cards now, the only one that would challenge the war machine, the bureaucracy machine, the celebrity machine and the television screen, must be a truly militant and informed cultural studies for all. Everything must be studied, occupied, and debated. From all perspectives, and unrelenting. For this we need a critical questioning of everything, a ruthless criticism of all that exists, as Old Beardo once said (Marx’s letter to Ruge). Without a rampant intellectual embrace, Governance is ordering, disorder is control, thought is a box and life is dead. The bombs that are falling and the cuts that are cutting are no way to live, and the collective project of exploring how else to organise things is the only, multiple, extravagant, voracious and viable option.

I imagine these writers, artists, authors and theorists trudging the world as a new shock troop against complacency, never marching in formation but driving thinking and theory with a force towards the responsible and the rampant. Creative outrageous, extravagant and thorough – the stories told here are the ones we must live by. This is a performative Cultural Studies in many ways – a critical theory that has to use the stage to draw all into the possibility of engagement. I imagine a diaspora of the discipline, all secretly ready to adopt the orange jump suit as curatorial uniform, reminding us that detaining possible jihadists (many falsely accused) and depriving them of legal redress (let alone dignity) does not make anyone safer, though it does outrage and help politicise millions. To say this is not a reporting on the militant people’s of the world as some sort of fit-for-purpose surveillance, but it recognizes the hybrid here and there co-constitution of subject and consumption that produces and travels to draw metaphor and meta-theory together as practice. For the dialectic of a critical Cultural Studies, that would look back on the way forward and make the world different to now. Cultural Studies on the march, singing. Zindabad!

John Hutnyk

Occupation Cookbook from Zagreb

The Occupation Cookbook*
or the Model of the Occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social
Sciences in Zagreb
Introductions by Marc Bousquet and Boris Buden
Translated from the Croatian by Drago Markisa

The Occupation Cookbook is a “manual” that describes the organization of
the student occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
that took place in the spring of 2009 and lasted for 35 days. It was
written for two reasons: to record what happened, and to present the
particular organization of this action in such a way that it may be of
use to other activists and members of various collectives if they decide
to undertake a similar action.

What does it mean to “occupy” a school? A school occupation is not, as
the corporate media like to portray it, a hostile takeover. A school
occupation is an action by those who are already its inhabitants —
students, faculty, and staff — and those for whom the school exists.
(Which is to say for a public institution, the public itself.) The
actions termed “occupations” of a public institution, then, are really
re-occupations, a renovation and reopening to the public of a space long
captured and stolen by the private interests of wealth and privilege.
The goal of this renovation and reopening is to inhabit school spaces as
fully as possible, to make them truly habitable — to make the school a
place fit for living. — Marc Bousquet, from the Introduction

Cover and design by Dejan Krsic
Photos by Boris Kovacev

PDF available freely online
(, discounts
for ordering multiple copies.

Released by Minor Compositions, London / New York / Port Watson
Minor Compositions is a series of interventions & provocations drawing
from autonomous politics, avant-garde aesthetics, and the revolutions of
everyday life.
Minor Compositions is an imprint of Autonomedia |


FLOODLINES is a firsthand account of community, culture, and resistance in New Orleans. The book weaves together the stories of gay rappers, Mardi Gras Indians, Arab and Latino immigrants, public housing residents, and grassroots activists in the years before and after Katrina. From post-Katrina evacuee camps to torture testimony at Angola Prison to organizing with the family members of the Jena Six, FLOODLINES tells the stories behind the headlines from an unforgettable time and place in history.

Dear Educator,

FLOODLINES: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six has been adopted in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, at Amherst College, Smith College, University of Toronto, University of San Diego, Middlebury College, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Xavier University, Tulane University, University of New Orleans and more. Please consider adding FLOODLINES to your course curriculum. Professors can request a free pdf exam copy, or order the book, available at $5 for consideration for college courses, by writing sarah[at] with their credentials.


An absolutely compelling and essential book for anyone interested in contemporary politics of resistance, and an
excellent addition to any syllabus in American studies, gender and sexuality studies, sociology, political science,
or ethnic studies.
– Kate Drabinski, Professor, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Tulane University, New Orleans

Floodlines takes students to the heart of struggle, and emphasizes culture, community, resistance and resilience as the core of a city and its people. At the same time, Jordan Flaherty does not allow readers to distance the violence, racism, inequality and oppression highlighted in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the trial of the Jena Six as something that happens “over there.” Instead, he identifies them as specific manifestations of the way in which global capitalist imperialism reinforces hierarchies of race, class, gender, sexuality and nation – and invites readers to examine how this is happening in their own communities also. In the process, he outlines a practice of solidarity that connects communities of resistance and opens a path forward for us all. Floodlines enrages and inspires. It moved my students to understand and to act. For that, it is more than an invaluable teaching tool: it is a gift.
– Sujani Reddy, Professor, American Studies, Amherst College

Jordan Flaherty has done what no academic, journalist, archivist, or artist has done so thoroughly or interdisciplinarily in the five years since Hurricane Katrina: he has linked the vibrant history of New Orleans to the ongoing post-Katrina present and taken it right into a future, which, despite the odds, he reveals to pulse with possibility. Floodlines is an extremely accessible text and reads like a story; I recommend it to anyone interested in social movements, culture, community, race, disaster, or anything at all having to do with U.S. politics in the twenty first century.
– Rachel E. Luft, Professor of Sociology, University of New Orleans


Floodlines opens with a history of New Orleans and closes with a quietly hopeful call to action. In between is a narrative of love, loss, anger, despair, indifference, murder and music…Floodlines is an electric piece of journalism. Not only does Flaherty tell a story that needs to be told, he does it with a style that reads like the best of reportage. There is lots of detail, yet it is never tedious. The writing here is reminiscent of two of the United States’ best journalists–Lincoln Steffens and I.F. Stone. Like the city Flaherty loves so much, this book has soul.
– Counterpunch

An invaluable addition to the history of racial justice work.
-Bitch Magazine

Floodlines reveals how events we see unfolding in the news are part of a complex history of Black cultures of resistance dating all the way back to the beginnings of slavery in the south. Outsiders and insiders alike will benefit from Flaherty’s uniquely personal and unabashedly political account of some of the most important untold stories of our time.
-Prison Legal News

While reading Floodlines, I was forced to confront how my understanding of New Orleans has been shaped by mainstream media reports that focused obsessively on individual acts of violence while ignoring the large-scale state violence imposed on mostly poor communities of color. I was moved by how Flaherty, a white journalist and organizer based in New Orleans, manages to tell a story that encompasses both the staggering injustice of structural racism and the inspiring grassroots activism of New Orleanians.
-Tikkun Daily

Jordan Flaherty plays a crucial role in documenting and contexualizing this potential power source for our movements. What we have witnessed in New Orleans needs to deeply inform our work as community-accountable organizers for justice everywhere.
-Make/Shift Magazine

There is hope in Floodlines, as we read the stories of people who are willing to fight the status quo, of the resistors and activists that envision a brighter future for New Orleans, a city rich in history and contrasts.
-Seattle PI

Indispensable to the historical record of a disaster and recovery effort that has become a devastating primer in American racism.

Flaherty is not another author looking to make sense of what went wrong. He’s here to declare the inconvenient truth that what went wrong didn’t make sense — and wasn’t making sense long before Katrina.
-The Root


As the floodwaters rose in New Orleans, Jordan Flaherty began to write, rescuing precious truths about the reality of racism and solidarity in his city that risked being washed away in the tide of formulaic corporate journalism. I can think of no journalist that writes with deeper knowledge or more love about this highly contested part of the United States. These remarkable stories of injustice and resistance must be heard.
– Naomi Klein, author “The Shock Doctrine”

Floodlines manages to chronicle the multiple system failures after the storm yet uplift by passionately detailing
the spirit and history of organizing by grassroots New Orleanians.
– Mab Segrest, author, Memoir of a Race Traitor

This is the most important book I’ve read about Katrina and what came after. In the tradition of Howard Zinn this could be called “The People’s History of the Storm.” Jordan Flaherty was there on the front lines. He compellingly documents the racism, poverty, and neglect at the core of this national failure and the brave, generous, grassroots revolutionaries who saved and continue to save a city and a people. It is my favorite kind of book – great storytelling, accurate accounting, a call for engagement and change.
-Eve Ensler, playwright, The Vagina Monologues, activist and founder of V-Day
Here’s the missing news from the Crescent City: folks are fighting back. Indeed, as Flaherty reminds us in this remarkable and noble book, the very soul of New Orleans is struggle. As southern Louisiana again faces a man-made catastrophe, his portraits of activism and hope could not be more timely.
Mike Davis, Author, “Planet of Slums”

Jordan Flaherty is a journalist who causes revolution with the printed word. This book is a testament to the power of the pen when its in the hand of a freedom fighter and a global thinker. While others are just writing these stories, Jordan Flaherty is living them.
– Jesse Muhammad, Final Call Newspaper

Jordan Flaherty’s first calling is as a dedicated community organizer, but he’s also a top-rate investigative journalist. The oppressed communities of New Orleans and larger Louisiana are fortunate to have this talented and compassionate reporter in their midst. This book is invaluable to the United States’ social justice movement that relies on his expertise, honesty, and truth.
-Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Author, “Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War”

FLOODLINES: Community & Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six
Book link here/
ISBN: 9781608460656 – Trade paper – 320 pages
FLOODLINES is a firsthand account of community, culture, and resistance in New Orleans. The book weaves together the stories of gay rappers, Mardi Gras Indians, Arab and Latino immigrants, public housing residents, and grassroots activists in the years before and after Katrina. From post-Katrina evacuee camps to torture testimony at Angola Prison to organizing with the family members of the Jena Six, FLOODLINES tells the stories behind the headlines from an unforgettable time and place in history.

JORDAN FLAHERTY is a New Orleans based journalist and organizer. He was the first writer to bring the story of the Jena Six to a national audience, and his award-winning reporting has been featured in outlets from the New York Times to Argentina’s Clarin newspaper. He has produced news segments for Al-Jazeera, TeleSur, and Democracy Now!, and appeared as a guest on CNN Morning, Anderson Cooper 360, and Keep Hope Alive with the Reverend Jesse Jackson.