Race Politics

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polo submits "Stupid White Men

Michael Moore in Belfast

"amongst those who are oppressed are many who like to oppress..."

Anthony McIntyre • August 19, 2003

When Tommy Gorman phoned me on a Saturday evening and asked if I would like to accompany him to the Michael Moore talk - a roar would be a more apt description - at the West Belfast Feile, I was delighted to get the chance. Previous to his call I had assumed no tickets were available due to such a high early demand. The Feile's Carol Jackson later explained that within an hour of release the tickets were gone. Not that surprising given that they went gratis and few would have survived the opening rush once made available to a hungry public.

Moore has assumed something of iconographic status for many on the left seeking alternatives to the less than inspirational clowns that the left have been wont to worship over the years. Breezy and irreverent he has made a reputation for ridiculing the sacred cows of the right. Amongst the issues he has tackled, according to one report in Dissent magazine, are the increased use of prison labour; botched urban renewal schemes; the temping of the workforce; and problems of welfare, violence and racism. The prospect of hearing him thunder live was not to be turned down.

Rob Eshelman

I didn’t sleep very well; all night I heard the sound of tanks maneuvering through the streets of Jenin. Or were they the sounds of bulldozers? Why would a bulldozer be running at three in the morning? Getting up from the flat roof of an office building where I was trying to sleep I’d look over the edge of the building.

Then came the sound of distinct gunfire. The rapid crackle of fully automatic M-16 fire, the tell tale sign of the Israeli Defense Forces. They’ve got unlimited ammunition whereas Al Aksa and other Palestinian resistance groups don’t so they opt for semi-automatic bursts or single shots. I didn’t sleep much and the next day I was to travel to Salfit.

"No, It's Not Anti-Semitic

Judith Butler

Profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-semitic in their effect if not their intent. -- Lawrence Summers, 17 September 2002

When the president of Harvard University declared that to criticise Israel at this time and to call on universities to divest from Israel are 'actions that are anti-semitic in their effect, if not their intent', he introduced a distinction between effective and intentional anti-semitism that is controversial at best. The counter-charge has been that in making his statement, Summers has struck a blow against academic freedom, in effect, if not in intent. Although he insisted that he meant nothing censorious by his remarks, and that he is in favour of Israeli policy being 'debated freely and civilly', his words have had a chilling effect on political discourse. Among those actions which he called 'effectively anti-semitic' were European boycotts of Israel, anti-globalisation rallies at which criticisms of Israel were voiced, and fund-raising efforts for organisations of 'questionable political provenance'. Of local concern to him, however, was a divestment petition drafted by MIT and Harvard faculty members who oppose Israel's current occupation and its treatment of Palestinians. Summers asked why Israel was being 'singled out . . . among all nations' for a divestment campaign, suggesting that the singling out was evidence of anti-semitic intentions. And though he claimed that aspects of Israel's 'foreign and defence' policy 'can be and should be vigorously challenged', it was unclear how such challenges could or would take place without being construed as anti-Israel, and why these policy issues, which include occupation, ought not to be vigorously challenged through a divestment campaign. It would seem that calling for divestment is something other than a legitimately 'vigorous challenge', but we are not given any criteria by which to adjudicate between vigorous challenges that should be articulated, and those which carry the 'effective' force of anti-semitism.

"Lepers, Witches and Infidels:

Or Shall We Just Call Them Refugees?"

Karen Eliot, Adelaide, 28 July 2003

In the space of just under 4 hours the crispy blue Adelaide winter
morning turned to fat grey rain and wind. In the climate-controlled Room
R on Level 5 of the Family Court in the city centre the passage of time
and weather didn't directly touch the crowd of sixty activistas, human
rights observers, Indigenous elder, lawyers, media, translators,
parents, ACM drones, Federal Police and ghosts. Just as the five Afghani
children whose immediate fates and long-term futures were at stake
didn't touch us by their actual presence. The un-famous five existed,
like the weather, outside of this impersonal room, in the liminal space
of immigration detention, 'between the floor and the sky', somewhere
no-one wants to be.

Né qui, né altrove - Migration, Detention, Desertion:

A Dialogue between Sandro Mezzadra & Brett Neilson

University of Bologna :: University of Western Sydney

1. Sandro Mezzadra teaches the History of Contemporary Political
Thought at the University of Bologna. He is an active figure in the
alternative globalisation movement in Italy, and has been particularly
involved in bringing the question of migration to the centre of
political struggle in that movement. Sandro is the author of works
such as Diritto di fuga: Migrazioni, cittadinanza, globalizzazione
(2001) and (with Fabio Raimondi) Oltre Genova, oltre New York: Tesi
sul movimento globale (2001). He is also a member of the editorial
collective of DeriveApprodi magazine, one of the chief venues in Italy
for the critical analysis of contemporary capitalism. We met in
Bologna one foggy January afternoon to discuss the global movement,
migration, and border control in Europe and Australia.

2. (Neilson) In your talk in the seminar 'Diritto a migrare, diritto
d'asilio' at the European Social Forum you emphasized that the
question of migration had become a central concern for the global
movement in Italy. While the issue of migration had not been a primary
concern at the first World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, it had
emerged as a fundamental question in the lead-up to the Firenze
meetings, particularly in the wake of the G8 protests in Genova. Can
you describe how migration became a central issue for the global
movement, giving some detail about concurrent developments in border
control at the European level?

"Anti-Apartheid Campaigner Walter Sisulu Dies, Aged 90"

AP, 06 May 2003

Walter Sisulu, a charismatic, quiet leader who brought Nelson Mandela into
the African National Congress and helped lead the fight against apartheid
for five decades, has died, aged 90.

He had been suffering from a long illness, according to the ANC

"His absence has carved a void. A part of me is gone," Mr Mandela said in a

Anonymous Comrade writes Note: This article has not appeared in Yellow Times which is still not operating.

"Was Einstein Right?"

John Chuckman

"My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain - especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state." Albert Einstein

Einstein is one of my favorite twentieth-century characters. He was remarkable, and I don't mean only for his profound contributions to our understanding of the physical world. He was someone who drove authoritarians like J. Edgar Hoover mad. He was one of those rare souls, like George Orwell, who despite mistakes and flaws, consciously worked to direct his actions, and redirect them after missteps, by principles of decency, humanity, and rational thought. He never subscribed to menacing slogans like "My country, right or wrong" or "You're either with us or against us." Quite the opposite, he knew any country was capable of being wrong at times and did not deserve blind allegiance when it was.

dr.woooo writes "An Engagement with the Real:
a dialogue between ben and claire

We were encamped in an isolated location, like a bunch of contestants in a reality TV show, and in some way those parameters forced us to make contact with our material context. For those of us outside the concentration camp there was no escaping the fact that a bunch of people were locked up behind razor wire, very close. We had come to make contact and to contribute to the creation of freedom. Disengagement was not an option. Nobody could be a bystander.

This dialogue was born in various debriefing, late-night phone conversations between us that occurred after the Easter Woomera 2002 protests. We wanted to capture on paper our thoughts about the significance of the protests and what could be taken from them. We came to the Woomera protests from very different starting points. Claire had been involved in the "refugee campaign" for the past year with groups like the Refugee Action Collective and No One Is Illegal and had visited Woomera twice before. Ben felt like he'd just been "rent-a-crowd" at rallies. We felt, along with everyone else, that Woomera was very significant both personally and politically, but why? We also felt, like many people, that the Woomera protests should not be overly fetishised, but what would this mean exactly? This is by no means an attempt at a definitive piece. There are big black holes because maybe some of this stuff cannot be theorised outside of particular contexts. We wanted to throw out some ideas, ask some questions and perhaps begin a dialogue.



Sunday 8 December 2002 1-6pm

Kurdish Community Centre

11 Portland Gardens

London N4

Tube: Manor House (Piccadilly line)

Bus: 29, 141, 341

What has been the impact of Western investment in key communities such as the Kurds, Colombians, Afghans and Tamils? ....... What’s behind the threats to abolish the 1951 Geneva Convention, the only legal protection for people fleeing persecution and oppression? ....... How does the British Government contribute to human rights violations? ........ Why are UK backed infrastructure projects (such as dams and oil and gas pipelines) anything but benign? ........... How do arms sales support repressive regimes? ........ How is the ‘War on Terrorism’ being used to criminalise communities? ..........

Asylum seekers are increasingly demonised as ‘economic migrants’ in search of easy welfare. But the vast majority are fleeing social or economic oppression. The seminar will examine the broader links between enforced migration and globalisation, as well as how the ‘War on Terrorism’ is demonising those forced to migrate.............

Corporate-led trade liberalisation ensures that labour costs are kept punishingly low throughout the developing world, subjecting millions to destitution. Similarly, the IMF's structural adjustment programmes imposed on weaker economies benefits Northern consumers and local elites at the expense of the lives of the poor in the South. Meanwhile, life is being made increasingly intolerable for those forced to migrate by such policies............

An article by Ferruccio Gambino analyzing Du Bois and his views
on Black Reconstruction from an autonomist perspective is now up
on the Collective Action Notes web page:

Du Bois

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