The Cannibis Companion
by Steven Wishnia
Running Press, 2004

If you haven’t been pinched for herbal indiscretions of late, you could be forgiven for thinking weed became legal long ago. With grandmothers smoking herb to ease glaucoma and a president with a predilection for the harder stuff (cocaine as a youth, Jesus in recent years), marijuana has never been more pervasive, less taboo or higher quality. So while teenagers across Brooklyn are still tucking bags beneath their tender scrotums, Indypendent contributor Steven Wishnia’s The Cannibus Companion offers “the ultimate guide to connoisseurship” in a tasteful, and tasty coffee-table book artfully designed to amuse your stoned-out brethren while they’re glued to the couch.

And, it’s educational too. Learn how racial paranoia fed into early prohibition efforts. Marvel bud porn so explicit the pages stick together. Ponder the difference between indica and sativa. Geek out over the technology of hydroponics. Enrich yourself with regional rolling techniques such as blunts and the exotic “European” spliff – mixed with tobacco to make it truly rebellious. And weep, weep I tell you, at the palty skinny on the “New York joint,” famous around the country for being so slim you can “pick your teeth.”

Which reminds me, something needs to be done about the crazy price of the smokables in this city. Reading chapters on how they roll “Texas-sized” down south, I can’t remember the last time I even saw a dime-bag. An eighth of hydro reportedly runs $70-$80. Community merchants blame the “war on terror,” with cops randomly searching at bridges and tunnels for Osama Bin Smokin, but I smell profiteering. If you can’t get lifted on a working man’s wage, then the terrorists are winning. And we wouldn’t want that.

"How to Cross Borders, Social or Otherwise"

Elizabeth Bard, The New York Times

In the basement of the New Museum of Contemporary Art's temporary home in Chelsea, a seemingly ironic invitation appears on a black-and-white label next to a flat-screen computer:

"The Status Project aims to aid those who seek change, for example moving from homelessness to a career in bank management, or from the legal identity of a 32-year-old American woman to a male Pakistani teenager.''

This is not a joke. Or rather, it is a joke, but one with potentially serious consequences.

Heath Bunting and Kayle Brandon, two British artists, are compiling a database exploring elements of legal status in Britain, with the ultimate goal of allowing people to create a new identity from information collected on the Internet. The first stage of their project is the focus of "Rules of Crime,'' a small show that runs through Nov. 13 at the New Museum.

Setting the Standard for the Study of the Russian

Kevin J. Murphy

Reviewing Alexander Rabinowitch, The Bolsheviks Come to Power

Chicago: Haymarket Books, London: Pluto Press, 2004.

xxxiii + 394 pp. Photographs, maps, notes, selected
bibliography, index. $65.00 (cloth), ISBN
0-745-32269-7; $18.00 (paper), ISBN 0-745-32268-9.

Contemporary politics always have figured prominently
in framing the way historians approach the Russian
Revolution. The social movements of the 1960s inspired
a generation of historians to study history "from
below," in which they attempted to reconstruct the
actions and aspirations of those previously written out
of history. In no area did this new social history
produce a more thorough revision than in the contested
field of Russian studies. Over a course of a decade, a
small but extremely talented group of historians proved
beyond doubt what many on the Left had long argued —
that a massive popular uprising had ushered in the
transfer of power to the soviets in 1917.

"Once Upon a Time…"

Jacques Depelchin

Reviewing Ayi Kwei Armah's
KMT: In the House of Life, An Epistemic Novel

[Jacques Depelchin, PhD, is
Executive Director of the Ota Benga International Alliance for Peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Visiting Scholar, University of California, Berkeley]

The twenty four chapters of this novel are divided into three unequal parts. Part one (the scholars) starts with the narrator (Lindela) confessing to the contradiction she had lived through: on the one hand trying to run away from her mission in order to achieve peace of mind, and on the other hand, so to speak, the mission constantly presenting itself and calling on her to act. What had caused her to seek forgetfulness was the loss of her best friend while attending a school (White castle school) set up by well-meaning white colonizers to train future native leaders. Her dilemma is a familiar one: a witness of a crime who cannot help but respond to her conscience and speak the truth, whatever the cost.


JJ, North Star (A) Collective, FRAC writes:

"Anarchist Review of the Million Worker March"

The Million Worker March is a new beginning for the anti-globalization, anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-racist and anti-sexist, pro-union, pro-environment and anti-state commons in the US (here on out it will just be called anti-capitalist movement). In the past few years we as a movement have consistently been on the defense. This can be seen when we threw up our resistance to the WTO in Seattle in 99, to the IMF protests in D.C. in 2000, to the Philadelphia protests in 2000, FTAA in Miami in 2003, and many other battles. The momentum was building for a genuine resistance movement but the movement was dealt a backlash on 9/11 and the state buckled down and put our many movements into remission.

Ping Pong / Middlesex Declaration / dESFunctionality

Kernow Craig, Greenpepper Magazine

The events at the ESF around issues of precarity were interesting. I've
given a very brief overview of it all as I'm still a little fried by it
all, maybe others that attended can extrapolate on the following...

The initial events taking place within the official european social forum
on precarity was not attended by m/any of the non union groups organising
around this, leaving the 'official' discussions to what have been
described as the political undead. This event was largely seen by those
who withdrew as a photo opportunity for the italian unions to demonstrate
how they are putting this on the eurowide agenda.

"Old Bottles, New Wine:

Renewing the Anarchist Tradition"

Will Weikart

Anarchists today are relatively united by our dual commitment to anti-capitalism and anti-statism and the general feel that both are necessary in themselves but also insufficient in themselves.

"Fragility, Body, Love:

A Practical Lexicon for the Italian Effect, a
Conference in Sydney on the Influence of Radical Italian Thought over the
Past Decade"

Britt Neilson & Ida Dominijanni

[The following reviews of the Italian Effect conference (9–11 September
2004) were published in the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto on 28
September, 2004. These are collaborative translations, written after discussion between the
authors. The first is Britt Neilson's translation of Ida's piece in Il Manifesto. The
second is the English version of Neilson's piece, which has been slightly altered
after reading Ida's translation for Il Manifesto. They are both archived in Italian here and here.]

"From the Italian Laboratory of the 1970s

To the Global Laboratory of a
Politics Opposed to the Forms of War"

Ida Dominijanni

There is an effect of globalisation that neither its most enthusiastic
advocates nor its most apocalyptic critics manage to specify exactly; that
is, what it provokes on the plane of thought. As in other fields,
technology here tells us a lot but not everything. What we confront is not
simply improved ease of communication and the diffusion of ideas, sources,
and texts. With the exchange of experiences and direct contact with people,
contexts, places, times, and other seasons comes a different mode of
production of thought. Contrary to common belief, this effect is neither
one of bland homogenisation nor easy contamination. Rather there is a risky
but fruitful displacement that changes perspectives, alters dimensions,
adds importance to neglected particularities, forces a rough confrontation
with unfamiliar forms of otherness, and liberates mental associations that
have been held under the surface. In Sydney, in the course of an
international conference dedicated to the 'Italian effect' on radical
political thought, all of this occurred, thanks partly to the welcoming
environment of a 'global city' in which multicultural exchanges and
translations (linguistic, political, and artistic) are at once an everyday
necessity and a virtue.

Les C. Kressi writes:

"Double Crossing Back"
A Review Essay of the 2004 Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference


Part One: Send in the Spies?

Where is cultural studies?

Well it seemed like it was hiding in public at the headlining events of Crossroads. The two keynote speeches prompted a combined total of three questions. A star-studded plenary talk on the last day began almost twenty minutes late. "Why?" you may ask — was someone missing? were there technological problems? did someone forget their materials? None of the above. The speakers and the panel chair were standing and breezily chatting, while gazing at the audience. It was obvious, as one audience member observed, that they were disappointed with the turnout and were turning to the standard rock concert delay technique. The plenary was indeed one of the best moments of the entire conference, with provocative, engaging, and bold ideas. All the more reason it was baffling that Q&A almost didn't happen, as the silence went for so long the session almost closed. Three questions did eventually emerge, one of which came out of "friendship" from an audience member seeking to give a speaker a chance to talk. The paucity of questions, as well as the timidity of dialogue throughout the conference, makes one want to ask "Dude where's my conflict?"

Jungle Fever

Marshall Sahlins, Washington Post Book World
[Dec. 10, 2000]

Reviewing Darkness in El Dorado

How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon

By Patrick Tierney

Norton. 417 pp. $27.95

Guilty not as charged.

Well before it reached the bookstores, Patrick Tierney's Darkness in El Dorado set off a flurry of publicity and electronic debate over its allegations that, at about the same time American soldiers were carrying out search-and-destroy missions in the jungles of Vietnam, American scientists were doing something like research-and-destroy by knowingly spreading disease in the jungles of Amazonia. On closer examination, the alleged scientific horror turned out to be something less than that, even as it was always the lesser part of Tierney's book. By far the greater part is the story, sufficiently notorious in its own right, of the well-known anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon: of his work among the Yanomami people of Venezuela and his fame among the science tribe of America.