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Utah Phillips: May 15, 1935 – May 24, 2008 John Pietaro Utah spoke directly to each of us in that filled auditorium on April 24 of this year. It didn’t matter that it was his disembodied voice, speaking over a cell phone held up to a microphone, held aloft by Pete Seeger, one of the event's headliners. The strength of Phillips' message message was as clear as the vitality in his tone. I was happy to be there to hear Utah's response to our benefit concert on his behalf, happier still to witness the warm exchange between he and Seeger, another elder of fighting the good fight. But this room on that sunny spring day in Rosendale New York was dedicated Utah Phillips; we'd all come with the intention of helping this man who’d been there for the greater “us” for decades. Utah told us of his life and plans for the future. Sure, he sounded tired, but none could accept that Utah would not get through this challenge. He told us so. None would believe that he would pass away just about a month later. Damn, at least we can say that it took a lot to silence Utah. But the echo of his work rings loudly, as sonorous as the music onstage that day from Pete, Dar Williams, Redwood Moose, Sarah Underhill, Norm Wennet, Bill Vanaver, my own Flames of Discontent and others.
Memories of “Popular Power” in Venezuela’s Economy * From false co-management and cooperatives to the deceitful EPS, we present a balance of what has happened in Venezuela after at least 7 years of pretending to build a socialist economy, where the available data and verifiable facts belie the failure of the Chavez administration.
Seeking Autonomous POC to Make Something New Are you interested in founding an organization of people of color united around anti-authoritarian politics? Over time, many collectives self-identified with APOC (Anarchist People Of Color) have come and gone. New autonomous people of color are getting involved. Interest in seeing something more consistent is a common refrain. What could be needed is an organization that helps strengthen and build collectives, supports activists and puts out a coherent vision for the present and future as autonomous people of color.
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Linguist Noam Chomsky Gives Students Lesson in Free Thinking Emily Krone, Daily Herald Staff http://tinyurl.com/4qcvs3 In a second-floor classroom at a Carpentersville [Illinois] high school, one of America's most renowned free-thinkers warned about 40 assembled students that the American public school system conspires to blunt their creativity and engender their obedience. Via speakerphone from his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, linguistics professor Noam Chomsky told Dundee-Crown High School students that a two-tiered educational system exists: While the elite attend schools that promote critical, independent thought, the masses attend schools that train students to pass tests and follow orders. The system evolved after the Industrial Revolution, Chomsky said, when the ruling elite recognized the need to transform independent artisans and farmers into pliant factory workers. Today as then, Chomsky said, the imperative is the production of a docile work force that will perpetuate the status quo.
Christian Fundamentalists Promote Child Abuse Manuals Following the murder of 4-year-old Sean Paddock, the truth about Child Abuse, Christian Fundamentalists and homeschooling is coming to light. Books and dvd's promoting severe physical violence against children are being pumped out by the religious right.
“Forging a Black Liberation Agenda for the 21st Century” Black Radical Congress, June 20-22, 2008, St. Louis, Missouri With the launch of the Black Radical Congress (BRC) in 1998, a current of optimism rippled through the social justice movement. In the tradition of other black political gatherings such as the National Negro Congress, the National Black Political Convention and other more recent ones, the BRC set out on a mammoth challenge to build unity within the Black Liberation Movement (BLM) and consensus around the Freedom Agenda.
New Radical Subjectivities: Re-thinking Agency for the 21st Century The University of Nottingham, UK Friday, September 19th, 2008 Keynote Speaker – Professor Peter Hallward (Middlesex University) This one day conference for postgraduate students and early career researchers explores recent articulations of subjectivity and political agency in critical theory and cultural studies. The continued ascent of neo-liberalism and economic globalisation, along with postmodern and poststructuralist theorising around subjectivity, potentially sets a dangerously de-politicised subject against the expanding forces and inequalities of contemporary capitalism.
On Mike Davis' "Planet of Slums" Richard Pithouse Visions of the future, presented as aspiration or inevitability, exercise tremendous power over certain kinds of decision making in the present. In cities where local elites are able to imagine a convivial future for themselves and where the economy is based on consumption as well as production or extraction, the vision of the future is, above all, the idea of a ‘World Class City’. This is the idea that guides and justifies the decisions of the technocratic elites organized in ‘partnerships’ across governments, donor agencies, NGOs, the academy and corporations. Their decisions produce broadly similar results around the world – the exclusion and eviction of the poor, the commodification of public space and public investment in projects for private profit such as conference centers, casinos, hotels, shopping malls, golf course estates, major sports events and so on at the direct expense of public investment in public housing, public facilities and public space. Rem Koolhaas tells us that it is time to get real and the reality is that shopping is “the last remaining form of public activity.”1
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Critical Art Ensemble's Steve Kurtz is Cleared of Mail and Wire Fraud Charges Artist and University of Buffalo Professor Steve Kurtz was cleared of charges for mail and wire fraud today in federal court. U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara ruled that criminal charges brought against him by federal prosecutors were “insufficient on[their] face.”
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HOW CLASS WORKS — 2008 A Conference at SUNY Stony Brook June 5-7, 2008 The Center for Study of Working Class Life is pleased to announce the How Class Works – 2008 Conference, to be held at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, June 5 - 7, 2008. Purpose and orientation : The conference seeks to explore ways in which an explicit recognition of class helps to understand the social world in which we live, and ways in which analysis of society can deepen our understanding of class as a social relationship. Presentations should take as their point of reference
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