A Shattering Moment in America's Fall from Power John Gray, The Observer Sunday September 28 2008 The global financial crisis will see the US falter in the same way the Soviet Union did when the Berlin Wall came down. The era of American dominance is over. Our gaze might be on the markets melting down, but the upheaval we are experiencing is more than a financial crisis, however large. Here is a historic geopolitical shift, in which the balance of power in the world is being altered irrevocably. The era of American global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War, is over.
"Hank Paulson and the State of Exception" Malatesta, The "bad loans" i.e. the tender of high interest money to people who could not make the payments, have caused a banking crisis and Henry "Hank" Paulson seeks to take complete control to impose decades of austerity on main street America; nationalize the insolvent companies and give a handout to the banks of "treasury" money. Hmmmm....first off, wouldn't nationalizing a profitable company like an oil company make the money available and hurt far fewer people? Well, besides the obvious there is an amazing Constitutional crisis and a time for boiling anger. I wonder where and when some protests will erupt?
*Commonplaces of Transition* Screening and talk by Joanne Richardson, D Media, Romania Wed, 24 Sept, 7pm - 9pm Mute, Main Hall, The Whitechapel Center, 85 Myrdle Street, London E1 *Films* In Transit (30 min, 2008) Precarious Lives (excerpt, 43 min, 2008) Two or Three Things about Activism (excerpt, 73 min, 2008) On the following night 'Two or Three Things about Activism' will be screened at RampArt, see http://therampart.wordpress.com/ Commonplaces of Transition is a collaborative project between D Media (Romania), Ak-Kraak (Germany), Interspace (Bulgaria) and K:SAK (Moldova) that has produced 8 videos about the remapping of borders, the transformation of labour and the evolution of activism. Joanne Richardson will screen In Transit (30 min, 2008), Precarious Lives (excerpt, 43 min, 2008) and Two or Three Things about Activism (excerpt, 73 min, 2008), and discuss the connection of the project to video activism and counter-documentary. 'In Transit' is a diary of a journey through space and time, composed of subjective impressions of the present, childhood memories and recycled fragments of the past. While traveling across Romania in the year of its EU accession, the monologue reflects on the meaning of transition, the re-writing of history and the relation between images and memory. Multiple layers of signification emerge in references other films by Guy Debord, Chris Marker and Peter Forgacs. Joanne Richardson is living and working in Cluj as a theorist, artist and program director of D Media ( http://www.dmedia.ro ). She is the editor of a webzine ( http://subsol.c3.hu ) and two books on digital culture, has written essays on the radical left, video activism, tactical media, copyleft and has made videos on issues ranging from globalization, to nationalism and postcommunism.
"The Social Factory" Otonom “Meanwhile, and incidentally, there opened up for us the prospect, which cannot be sharply defined yet at this point, of a specific relation of capital to the communal, general conditions of social production, as distinct from the conditions of a particular capital and its particular production process.” (Marx, Grundrisse Notebook V, 1973)1 This emphasis by Marx which has mostly remained unrealized among the lines of Grundrisse has not been paid attention and reflected upon by Marxists in general except Negri. Even if it may have been reflected upon, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the implications of such a reflection have been very few in political theory and practice. This is not a problematic which is disregarded intentionally. As Marx has already said, this is related to the insufficient historical and social development of the specific relation of capital to communal, general conditions of social production, which is a prospect for us that cannot be defined yet at this point.
"The Climate Camp at Kingsnorth" Shift Mgazine The Climate Camp at Kingsnorth was great! These were our initial thoughts on arrival at the first German climate camp in Hamburg, which took place just one week after Kingsnorth. The Hamburg camp seemed less organised, there were far fewer people and the lack of a clear neighbourhood structure meant that we aimlessly walked around the site for a good half hour before finally pitching the tent in the ‘anti-barrio’ barrio.
"Corruption in Tanzania" Albanie Marcossy, Dar es salaam, Tanzania Under the Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP), the local government authorities, including the sub-council level authorities, are undergoing the following reforms: (i) Capacities enhancements to either provide the services directly or facilitate their delivery through other actors and players. (ii) Restructured and re-organized to become more efficient in carrying out their new functions. (iii) Acquiring more legal and administrative powers and freedom, in formulating their plans, budgets, activities and in managing their human and financial resources. (iv) Acquiring powers to mobilize their own resources.
"From the Edge of the Blade" New Documentary on Oaxaca On June 14th 2006, when police forces attacked thousands of striking teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico, the annual strike turned into a widespread popular rebellion, demanding the governors' resignation. A broad social movement of teachers, social organizations, unions, students, activists, and indigenous communities took over the city in an effort to change the devastating conditions imposed on them by international trade agreements and corrupt politicians. To watch a preview, and for more info, go to http://www.trickleupfilms.org. "From the Edge of the Blade" tells the story about the 2006 popular uprising in Oaxaca, as put by some of the teachers, activists, workers, students, human rights workers, tortured and imprisoned. Do you want to arrange a screening? I can help! Send an email to contact@trickleupfilms.org.
borders 2.0 - future, tense Angela Mitropoulos* Mute Magazine Arrayed beyond and around the obvious walls of migration control, the architectures and technologies of the border proliferate. These technologies seek to sort, expunge, confine and delay; to sift potential value from non-value; to fix the border inside and round both states and selves; to foreclose the future to versions of an infinitely stuttering present. Just as new instruments of financial debt and the offshore internment facility were exported from their post-colonial laboratories situated beyond Europe and the United States, so 'civil', metropolitan spaces have, in turn, been restructured by devices once reserved for those declared to be 'uncivil'. The partitioning of 'third' and 'first' worlds, colony and empire, the zoning of regular, waged work and that of precariousness and slavery – these are some of the divisions that have been shaken by the unprecedented movements of people around the world since the late 20th century. Flows shifted course, reversed, the (ex-)colonised moved toward the colonisers. And so, there is the militarisation of policing, the amplification of the prison lockdown as urban crowd control, preemptive surveillance and simulated warfare, a diffused fear and suspicion no longer confined to the 'margins'. To be sure, these expanding technologies oftentimes multiply death and suffering in an attempt to re-impose the ways in which misery was previously displaced to others, elsewhere – that is, marginalised. They aim to reinstall the borders, to fine tune the ramparts of wealth and its extraction, sometimes by new means, often as retrofits. Yet, as such, this expansion indicates the failure of the walls to hold firm against a future which is contingent upon movements that cannot be identified before they occur.
Gathering Storms: A Team Colors Statement on the Upcoming 2008 Convention Protests Conor Cash, Craig Hughes, Stevie Peace & Kevin Van Meter | Team Colors Collective On the eve of this year’s Democratic National Convention in Denver, and mere days before the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, we have borne witness to a number of narratives unfolding in the political landscape. We see an election year play out before us; we see an astonishing upsurge of activism and participation, much of it connected to the campaign of Senator Obama; we see organizations and individuals planning a wide array of protests, mobilizations, and direct actions. Many of these intertwining strands will converge into massive storms of activity and interaction at the upcoming conventions. We at Team Colors sought to examine narratives such as these, and over the past several months, have collected articles, interviews, discussions, essays - any and all evidence we could dredge up, recording the ways and means of today’s movements. We uncovered a lot - some problematic, some confusing, some even deplorable - but thankfully, enough whirlwinds of promise and potential emerged before our eyes to lend credence to a feeling of change, of gathering storms. Yet despite these discoveries – or rather, primarily because of them - we feel compelled to state that the storms that intrigue us the most will not show themselves at the convention protests. We don’t disallow the potential for new wrinkles and exciting surprises as the actions unfold - indeed, we’d welcome them - but we also can’t ignore the honest circumstances of where we are at: these protests, overwhelmingly, do not come out of substantial movements, and will not generate substantial movements. This deficiency necessarily clouds over any ‘successes’ and ‘gains’ from the protests, a gloomy yet heartening prospect; after all, we may see ourselves better without the dazzling sun that inadvertently blinds us. And we know those sunlit moments all too well: skill-sharing, long-term institutions, creating spaces, increasing morale among radicals, tapping into larger networks, diversity of tactics frameworks, solidarity between causes, better planning, better communication - the list of ‘betters’ is seemingly endless when it comes to these protests. As a collective, we have heard even more pronounced claims than these - that this will be “one of the largest actions at a convention in history,” that this won’t be “the same old ritualized protest,” that “we’ll be a stronger movement afterwards” by “bringing the struggles home.” Behind these rejuvenating words lies a vacuum, an inability to understand or discuss movements; specifically, where (if anywhere) are the convention protests situated in the flow of movements, and how do all the ‘betters’ contribute to movements, if at all. The notion of “bringing the struggles home” as a key to movement, while comforting, is especially dangerous when unquestioned; for we may define ‘home’ as a very small ‘radical community’ marked by regression and fear, rather than a larger field of growth, openness and genuine encounter - the basic ingredients of movements.
ANTIWAR ACTIVISTS WIN $2 MILLION SETTLEMENT FROM NEW YORK CITY A group of 52 local activists today announced a $2 million settlement in their lawsuit against the City of New York. The activists were illegally arrested on April 7, 2003 while protesting against the Iraq war in front of a military contractor's offices in midtown. The settlement in Kunstler et al v. New York City follows the dismissal in 2003 of all criminal charges brought against these individuals and four costly years of delays by the City in negotiating an end to the civil lawsuit. “The New York Police Department violated core constitutional rights when it arrested a group of peaceful demonstrators who were lawfully protesting against the commencement of the Iraq war and those who stood to profit from it,” notes Sarah Netburn, attorney with Emery Celli Brinkerhoff Abady LLP, which handled the civil rights case along with the Center for Constitutional Rights. “We are gratified by the City’s decision to compensate these individuals whose targeted arrests were without probable cause and intended to quell future protest in New York City. This lawsuit, and this settlement, vindicates our clients’ rights to assemble and speak their mind free from the fear that they will be punished for their views.” Attorneys and plaintiffs noted, however, that the City's decision to drag the case out is part of a long and disturbing pattern by which it attempts to “wear down” plaintiffs to avoid political damage, even at huge expense of tax dollars and City resources. “My question is, why did the NYPD send over 100 police in riot gear, along with vehicles to block the street and disrupt the flow of morning rush hour traffic, all to stop a legal, peaceful protest, when there are far more important matters they could be pursuing? And, why did they fight us in court so doggedly when they knew the evidence proved that we were arrested without any police orders to leave?” asked Ahmad Shirazi, a film editor and grandfather and one of the plaintiffs in the case.
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