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Mark Poster, 1941–2012
Mark Poster, Emeritus Professor of History and Film & Media Studies at UC Irvine, passed away in the hospital earlier this morning. Mark Poster was a vital member of the School of Humanities, and for decades one of its most widely read and cited researchers. He made crucial contributions to two different departments, History and Film & Media Studies, and played a central role in UCI's emergence as a leading center for work in Critical Theory.
In the first part of his career, when his focus was on modern European intellectual history, his path-breaking publications included the influential book *Existential Marxism in Postwar France* (Princeton University Press 1975), a study of the intellectual world around Jean-Paul Sartre. When the theory boom hit the U.S., thanks in part to this book, he became a widely sought-after authority on French critical thought, especially the writing of Michel Foucault, whose work he helped introduce to American audiences. He played a crucial role in setting the History Department on its current course, as one of the first departments--if not the first department--in the discipline with a required graduate sequence in theory. In that sequence Mark taught a Foucault seminar that became legendary.
Neil Smith, 1954-2012
Bill Roberts and Hector Agredano
A Passionate Scholar and Socialist
Bill Roberts, a founding member of the ISO, and Hector
Agredano, a doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate
Center, remember the life of a determined activist.
Neil Smith, the renowned scholar, beloved teacher and
devoted activist, died on September 29 at the age of
Neil is best known for his academic work. He was a
professor of anthropology and geography at City
University of New York. In particular, his writings on
the patterns of social development in cities--drawing
on history, economics, political and social theory, and
ecological studies--are among the most prominent left-
wing views on the subject.
Michael Wreszin, Biographer of American Radicals, Dies at 85
Michael Wreszin, a biographer of radical 20th-century American intellectuals who were prominent antiwar activists, among them the social critic Dwight Macdonald, died on Aug. 12 in Manhattan. He was 85. His son, Dan, announced his death this week.
Mr. Wreszin, a history professor at Queens College and an antiwar activist himself, was a student of the American left and the many ideological movements competing for dominance of it between the 1920s and 1960s, including socialism, communism, libertarianism and anarchism.
His subjects were cosmopolitan, humanist thinkers who saw a growing militarism in American political culture but whose scrupulous habits of mind could make them misfits in the ideological camps they joined.
Shulamith Firestone, Feminist Writer, Dies at 67
Shulamith Firestone, a widely quoted feminist writer who published her arresting first book, “The Dialectic of Sex,” at 25, only to withdraw from public life soon afterward, was found dead on Tuesday in her apartment in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. She was 67.
Ms. Firestone apparently died of natural causes, her sister Laya Firestone Seghi said.
International Call for Solidarity with Zapatista Support Bases of San Marcos Aviles
“It is not only the task of the independent/alternative media to circulate the truth, but rather it is the responsibility of us all to do so.”
“Our compas from San Marcos Avilés are suffering this violence because they are indigenous, because they are Zapatistas, and because they have opened their own autonomous school."
Terror hangs in the air of San Marcos Avilés, a small indigenous Tzeltal-speaking community located in the highland region of the state of Chiapas, in southeastern Mexico. The women, men and children from the community have sent out an urgent call to the world for support, a call that echoes in our very heartbeat and demands our solidarity, “as if it were said in the very language of our being”.
This urgent message comes from the nearly 200 Zapatista support bases members (BAZ) in San Marcos Avilés, who are fighting to live according to their own indigenous culture and struggling for freedom, justice, democracy and a dignified life for all. But they are faced with men with firearms and other weapons who intend to eradicate all that the Zapatistas represent and believe in.
Gore Vidal 1925–2012
Almost everybody in Southern California has, or should have, a
Gore Vidal story, because if you have been in any way active
in anything here --- anti-war or civil rights or environmental
activism, you would have encountered - and I use the word
pointedly, admiringly - Vidal, at a debate, lecture, reading,
demonstration, book fair, any public celebration of the life
of the mind, and of civic participation. He lived here, in
the Hollywood Hills, and regularly attended marches and
gatherings, in fact was one of the small, reliable group of
local Left stalwarts who'd add their names and deliver their
bodies to a cause. As an undergraduate years ago at Cal State
Long Beach, and as a young, eager and impressionable student
activist, I met him. I'd been invited to join a small group
meeting with the candidate when he visited campus during his
1982 run for US Senate. Sincere, good-hearted liberal and
progressive faculty, staff and other students were there, with
their questions for the Great Man, who seemed to only put up
with the responsibility of listening to his presumed
constituents, the whole tiny opera of expectations a farce of
course, since we were all there to listen to him, to be
delighted, impressed, instructed, amused and, yes, empowered
to imagine, absurdly, that an American man of letters, of
history, a radical gay public intellectual and literary artist
might stand a chance of being elected to one of nation's
highest offices as a Democrat.
Chris Marker Dead at 91
Chris Marker, an enigmatic figure in French cinema who avoided publicity and was loath to screen his films yet was often ranked with countrymen Alain Resnais and Jean-Luc Godard as an avant-garde master, died at his home in Paris on Sunday, his 91st birthday.
His death was reported by Agence France-Presse, but the cause was not given.
Marker, who worked well into his 80s, made more than two dozen films during a six-decade career. Known as a pioneer of the film essay, he was most admired for "La Jetee" (1962) and "Sans Soleil" (1983), which explored time, memory and history in an unconventional and evocative style.
Alexander Cockburn, 1941–2012
Alexander Cockburn, long time journalist and contributor for CounterPunch, The Nation and First Post, died last night in Germany at the age of 71 after a two-year battle with cancer.
Friend and co-editor Jeffrey St. Clair writes:
Farewell, Alex, My Friend
Our friend and comrade Alexander Cockburn died last night in Germany, after a fierce two-year long battle against cancer. His daughter Daisy was at his bedside.
Share Our Future – The CLASSE Manifesto
For months now, all over Quebec, the streets have vibrated to the rhythm of hundreds of thousands of marching feet. What started out as a movement underground, still stiff with the winter consensus, gathered new strength in the spring and flowed freely, energizing students, parents, grandparents, children, and people with and without jobs. The initial student strike grew into a people’s struggle, while the problem of tuition fees opened the door to a much deeper malaise – we now face a political problem that truly affects us all. To find its remedy and give substance to our vision, let us cast our minds back to the root of the problem.
The way we see it, direct democracy should be experienced, every moment of every day. Our own voices ought to be heard in assemblies in schools, at work, in our neighbourhoods. Our concept of democracy places the people in permanent charge of politics, and by « the people » we mean those of us at the base of the pyramid – the foundation of political legitimacy. This becomes an opportunity for all those who are never heard. It is a time for women to speak up as equals and to raise issues that are too often ignored or simply forgotten about. The democracy we see does not make promises: it goes into action. Our democracy banishes cynicism, instead of fuelling it. As we have shown many times over, our democracy brings people together. Each time we take to the streets and set up picket lines, it is this kind of democracy that at last breathes free. We are talking about shared, participatory democracy.
New Issue Launched: Networked Utopias and Speculative Futures
Edited by Su Ballard, Zita Joyce and Lizzie Muller
Our 20th fully Open Access issue, in our 10th year of publishing!
Articles on: The material substrate of networks; the Arab Spring; re-imagining mobile communications via encounters with a neolithic village; the 'freedom of movement and freedom of knowledge' events that have taken place between Spain and Morocco; utopias and political economies of networks, space and time; networks and health; networks and food; and Montréal residents' appropriation of train tracks.