Independent Media

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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" Umberto Eco [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 “crabwise” progress.
Twelve Theses on WikiLeaks Geert Lovink & Patrice Riemens Thesis 0 "What do I think of WikiLeaks? I think it would be a good idea!" (after Mahatma Gandhi's famous quip on "Western Civilization") Thesis 1 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.
"Raging Skull" Adam Rathe 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 Noam Chomsky 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 unpardonable offense.
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!
Pirate Bay Down, Police Raids Across Europe thing.co.uk Police in up to 14 countries carried out raids against suspected file-sharing servers this morning. According to file-sharing news site TorrentFreak, the bulk of police action seems to have taken place in Sweden. Swedish Internet service provider ISP, which hosts both The Pirate Bay and whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks, earlier denied rumours of a police raid, saying that officers had visited them to ask questions over two
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