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All the Right Enemies: Farewell to the Utterly Unique John Ross
John’s gone. John Ross. I doubt that we will ever see anyone remotely
like him again.
The bare bones, as he would say, are remarkable enough. Born to show
business Communists in New York City in 1938, he had minded Billie
Holliday’s dog, sold dope to Dizzy Gillespie, and vigiled at the hour
of the Rosenberg execution, all before he was sixteen years old. An
aspiring beat poet, driven by D.H. Lawrence’s images of Mexico, he
arrived at the Tarascan highlands of Michoacan at the age of twenty,
returning to the U.S. six years later in 1964, there to be thrown in
the Federal Penitentiary at San Pedro, for refusing induction into the
New Issue of Affinities on Radical Imagination
Affinities: A Journal of Radical Theory, Culture, and Action
Vol 4, No 2 (2010): “What is the Radical Imagination?”
This issue of Affinities focuses on the importance of radical imagination to radical social change.
We step in to the terrain of the imagination cognizant of its promises and its pitfalls. On the one hand, imagination brings to mind utopian fancy, a dangerous and demobilizing escapism, and forms of collective or subjective delusion which perpetuate the status-quo. On the other, the ability to imagine the world, social institutions and human (and non-human) relationships otherwise is vital to any radical project. Indeed, as numerous commentators and theorists point out, we cant do without the radical imagination, both on the level of our movements and on the level of our everyday lives – the ability to believe that things can be better -- is a key part of our social, psychological and spiritual lives (for better or for worse). But even if we acknowledge that we cant do without the radical imagination that still doesn't tell us what it is or what we might be able to do with it. These are the kinds of provocations we take up in this issue of Affinities, but without suggesting we or our contributors have anything approaching definitive answers (indeed, definitive answers may not be possible). We do, however, have an abundance of questions.
2011 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints
Radical Heroes for the New Millennium
Our 19th annual wall calendar, with artwork by James Koehnline, and text by the Autonomedia Collective.
Hundreds of radical cultural and political heroes are celebrated here, along with the animating ideas that continue to guide this project — a reprieve from the 500-year-long sentence to life-at-hard-labor that the European colonization of the "New World" and the ensuing devastations of the rest of the world has represented. It is increasingly clear — at the dawn of this new millennium — that the Planetary Work Machine will not rule forever! Celebrate with this calendar on which every day is a holiday!
32 pages, 12 x 16 inches, saddlestitched ISBN: 978-1-57027-227-1 : price $9.95 : 32 pages
Buy two, get one free!
"Not Such Wicked Leaks"
[For the celebrated novelist and intellectual Umberto Eco, the Wikileaks
affair or "Cablegate" not only shows up the hypocrisy that governs
relations between states, citizens and the press, but also presages a
return to more archaic forms of communication.]
The WikiLeaks affair has twofold value. On the one hand, it turns out to be
a bogus scandal, a scandal that only appears to be a scandal against the
backdrop of the hypocrisy governing relations between the state, the
citizenry and the press. On the other hand, it heralds a sea change in
international communication – and prefigures a regressive future of
Twelve Theses on WikiLeaks
Geert Lovink & Patrice Riemens
"What do I think of WikiLeaks? I think it would be a good
idea!" (after Mahatma Gandhi's famous quip on "Western Civilization")
Disclosures and leaks have been a feature of all eras, however never
before has a non-state or non- corporate affiliated group done
anything on the scale of what WikiLeaks has managed to do, first with
the "collateral murder" video, then the "Afghan War Logs", and now
"Cablegate". It looks like we have now reached the moment that the
quantitative leap is morphing into a qualitative one. When WikiLeaks
hit the mainstream early in 2010, this was not yet the case. In a
sense, the "colossal" WikiLeaks disclosures can be explained as the
consequence of the dramatic spread of IT use, together with the
dramatic drop in its costs, including for the storage of millions of
documents. Another contributing factor is the fact that safekeeping
state and corporate secrets -- never mind private ones -- has become
difficult in an age of instant reproducibility and dissemination.
WikiLeaks becomes symbolic for a transformation in the "information
society" at large, holding up a mirror of things to come. So while one
can look at WikiLeaks as a (political) project and criticize it for
its modus operandi, it can also be seen as the "pilot" phase in an
evolution towards a far more generalized culture of anarchic exposure,
beyond the traditional politics of openness and transparency.
It’s a short walk from 24 E. 12th St. to 19 W. 21st St., but for Soft Skull Press the trip took almost 20 years. And it’s been a wild ride. The two rooms that Soft Skull inhabits sit at the end of a hall in the offices of a commercial art firm, and today both are almost empty. It’s the day before the office is closing and operations move to Berkeley, Calif., where Counterpoint Press, the book publisher that bought Soft Skull in 2007, is based. It’s essentially the end of the line for a company born in 1993 at a Kinko’s just below Union Square that has, over the years, been one of the most provocative, daring, loved and hated independent presses in New York.
“The whole ethos of Soft Skull came out of a very New York, punk, Lower East Side, radical place,” says Denise Oswald, Soft Skull’s editorial director, sitting in her office the day before she would be out of a job. “A lot of writers were situated here and, by its very nature, it’s representative of a counterculture that exists here.”
Lecture at the Istanbul Conference on Freedom of Speech
The title of one of our earlier sessions was Cogito, “I think.” That may
serve as a useful reminder that even more fundamental than the right of
free expression is the right to think. And that has not gone
unchallenged. Right here for example. I suppose the most famous case is
that of Ismail Besikci, who has endured many years in prison on the
charge of having committed “thought crimes.” And even worse, for having
dared to put his thoughts into words, in his documentation of crimes
against the Kurds in Syria, Iran, Iraq — and finally Turkey, the
Institute for Anarchist Studies Newsletter, Fall 2010
Dear IAS friends:
In the midst of the circus of witchcraft, sexual liaisons, allegations of socialism, barter medicine, and human brains in mice that is electoral politics, and throughout the ongoing horrors visited on people and ecosystems by capitalism and war, the IAS has persevered in its small way to encourage a broader and deeper debate. We see people every day engaging in projects that give life and meaning to the possibility of another world. Through book tours, support for radical authors, conferences, and collaboration in the work of other organizations, we connect in solidarity with people who are forging ties of real and free community.
Worlds & Knowledges Otherwise Dossier on Europe, Education, Global Capitalism and Ideology
Volume 3, Dossier 2: On Europe, Education, Global Capitalism and Ideology
Edited by Marina Grzinic
The Dossier on the topic of Europe, education, global capitalism and ideology is part of de-coloniality at large (of which WKO is an outlet) and the established - as well as of growing - network of decolonial researchers, scholars, intellectuals, artists and activists, made the publication and distribution of the Dossier possible.
Marina Grzinic asked a new generation of writers from a European context coming mostly but not exclusively from the former Yugoslav area and Austria, as well as from the United States, Latin America, and the second generation of African Diaspora in Austria, all formed within the (west) European humanity system, to re-question its foundation and to implicate a process of straightforward decoloniality, antiracist politics, critique of anti-Semitism and slavery in the present global world of capitalism on all its numerous levels (from theory, epistemology, art, social and the political).
"The End of Capitalism"
Lewis Lapham and Lynn Parramore
[This is the second installment of "The Influencers," a six-part interview series that Lynn Parramore, the editor of New Deal 2.0 and a media fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, is conducting for Salon. She talked to Lewis Lapham, the former longtime editor of Harper’s and the founder of Lapham’s Quarterly, about the nature of American-style capitalism — its beginning, its historical manifestation and, possibly, its end.
Q: Historically, what do you see as the dominant characteristics of America?
A: It’s faith in the spirit and mechanics and moral value of capitalism. It is a country of expectant millionaires. You have the notions of risk, of labor put to a productive use, deferred pleasure — ideas that come out of our Puritan ancestry. And Puritans, by the way, were also venture capitalists. The plantation in Plymouth, and then in Massachusetts Bay, was intended to bring money to its investors in London.
Capitalism is the promise — it’s the bet on the future. It’s the hope of a new beginning over the next ridge of mountains, around the next bend in the river. It gives the common man a chance. That’s in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The original wording was: life, liberty and property. But happiness and property were almost synonymous in the Calvinist mind!