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Continental Drift II

Articulating the Cracks in the Worlds of Power

Brian Holmes, New York City, Nov. 3–5, 2006

Is there such a thing as a national Skid Row? What happens when the hegemonic country goes on a multibillion-dollar binge, drinks itself blind on the fictions of power, loses control, collapses in public, hits bottom with a groan?


After its first anniversary, the slow-motion blowback of Hurricane Katrina seems finally to have carried the war all the way home to the USA, water-slogged and banal, drenched in the flow of time, choking on the stupid truths that the blazing spectacle of the Twin Towers pushed outward for years, beyond unreal borders. Yes, the levees broke. Yes, the New Economy was a fitful dream. Yes, there were no WMD. Yes, the invasion of Iraq was a terrible mistake. Yes, it's not over. Yes, it takes some kind of care for others to make a world livable.


In September and October of 2005, at 16 Beaver Street in New York's financial district, the first sessions of Continental Drift tried to put together a set of lenses to examine the present condition of Empire, with its Anglo-American foundations stretching back to WWII and its normative models projected across the planet, beneath the guise of neoliberalism. We wanted to have a collective try at mapping out the world that our divided labor helps to build. But at the same time as we carried out this cartographic project, all of us struggled to see how the imperial condition inexorably cracks, along the great continental fault lines that increasingly separate the earth's major regions, but also at the heart of the very ties of belief, habit, complicity and sheer affective numbness that keep the silent majorities convinced that somewhere there is still something "normal."


That was before the last war in Lebanon.

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Anonymous Comrade writes:


Caliban and the Witch:
Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation

Silvia Federici

6 Session Class Begins

Tuesday, October 10

5:30–7:30 PM

The class will read and discuss Silvia Federici's latest book,Caliban and the Witch:
Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation
, a history of the body in the transition to capitalism. Moving from the peasant revolts of the late Middle Ages to the witch-hunts and the rise of mechanical philosophy, Federici shows that the birth of the proletariat required a war against women, inaugurating a new sexual pact and a new patriarchal era: the patriarchy of the wage. Firmly rooted in the history of the persecution of the witches and the disciplining of the body, her arguments explain why the subjugation of women was as crucial for the formation of the world proletariat as the enclosures of the land, the conquest and colonization of the ‘New World,’ and the slave trade.

Silvia Federici, a long-time feminist activist and teacher, is co-founder of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa and the RPA (Radical Philosophy Association) Anti-Death Penalty Project.


Federici’s published work includes: Enduring Western Civilization: The Construction of the Concept of Western Civilization and its ‘Others (editor) and A Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities (co-editor).

Sliding scale: $65/$85

The Brecht Forum

451 West St. (Betw Bank & Bethune)

New York, NY 10014

(212) 242- 4201

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Autonomous African Communities in Latin America?

New York City, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday September 24, 2006

MXGM Unity Brunch
388 Atlantic Avenue 3rd flr
Brooklyn, New York 11217

718-254-8800
A or C train to Hoyt [Hoyt-Schermerhorn]

What is the status of Latin Americas Quilombos and Palenques in the 21st century? What are their current political, cultural, and economic challenges? How can communities in the Diaspora work more effectively to achieve Pan-African and revolutionary unity?

A screening of "Quilombo Country" @ 11:30 and Unity Brunch @ 1 p.m. beginning with MXGM general updates and discussion with activists Jesus Chucho Garcia and Gilberto Leal.

"Quilombo Country," a documentary film shot in digital video, provides a portrait of rural communities in Brazil that were either founded by runaway slaves or began from abandoned plantations. This type of community is known as a quilombo, from an Angolan word that means "encampment." Contrary to Brazil's national mythology, Brazil was a brutal and deadly place for enslaved Africans. But they didn't submit willingly. Thousands escaped, while others led political and militant movements that forced white farmers to leave. As many as 2,000 quilombos exist today. "Quilombo Country" provides a glimpse into these communities, with extensive footage of ceremonies, dances and lifestyles, interwoven with discussions about their history and the issues most important to them currently.

Unity Brunch: Discussion with Guest Speakers

Working extensively in Venezuela's palenques, Jesus "Chucho" Garcia is the founder and director of the Afro-Venezuela Network (Fundacion Afroamerica), and a world expert on the impacts of globalization and militarism on Latin America.

Gilberto Leal is a geologist and founder of the Bahian NGO, NIGEROKAN, which works closely with numerous quilombo communities. Mr. Leal also works closely with the Palmares Cultural Foundation in Brasilia.


Nicole Lavonne Smith, who will be facilitating the discussion, has taught language arts, financial education, neighborhood development, urban design and capoeira from Brooklyn to Brasil. Her masters thesis is entitled "Brasil's Disenfranchised: Quilombos and Agrarian Reform Black."

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“Bolivia ­TBD”

A Speech by Evo Morales

Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006, 3:00–5:00 p.m.

Miller Theatre, Columbia University

New York City

A talk by His Excellency Evo Morales, President of Bolivia. President Morales is the first indigenous head of state elected in South America in over 500 years. His address will be followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger

Third Annual Hip Hop Labor Cultural Festival

September 4th, 2006 - Schenectady, NY


On Labor Day, Sept. 4th, 2006 the Capital District Area Labor Federation (CDALF) will host the third annual “Hip-Hop Movement Meets Labor Movement” Cultural Festival. This event is co-sponsored by Schenectady Mayor Brian U. Stratton. The purpose of the event is to connect the labor movement with the hip-hop movement and to open a dialogue between these two movements that are rooted in collective action.

The festival will showcase local artists exclusively: dance troupes, poets and local emcees will share the stage with local labor leaders. Performers include Albany’s own Broadcast Live, Origin, JB!!, and many more. Stencil artists Chris Stain and Josh MacPhee will be painting murals live.

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The Seeds of the New

A Discussion with Chris Carlsson, author of Critical Mass: Bicyclings Defiant Celebration Friday, September 1st - 7pm - $5 to $10 suggested donation

Bluestockings Books, Café, and Activism Center - 172 Allen St. Lower East Side, NYC

Beneath the visible madness and barbarism of life at the dawn of the 21st century, an invisible social transformation is underway. As capitalism continues its inexorable push to corral every square inch of the globe into its logic of money and markets, while simultaneously seeking to colonize the very essence of biological life and dominate our very thoughts - new practices are emerging that are redefining politics. In myriad behaviors, people are appropriating their time and technological know-how from the market and in small "invisible" ways, are making life better right now - but also setting the foundation, technically and socially, for a genuine movement of liberation from market life. Outlaw bicycling, urban permaculture, biofuels, free software, even the Burning Man festival are windows into these new social dynamics. Chris Carlsson, author of Critical Mass: Bicycling's Defiant Celebration, among other books. He is one of the original founders and participants in Processed World magazine, as well as the Critical Mass bicycling movement in San Francisco. His talk is based on a new book that he is currently writing.

Circus Amok Is Coming to Town!

September Performances

*CITIZEN*SHIP*: AN IMMIGRANT RIGHTS FANTASIA IN 10
SHORT ACTS

1st – Riverside Park, Manhattan (6pm)

2nd – Sunset Park, Brooklyn (4pm)

3rd – T.B.A.

4th – Coney Island, Brooklyn (2pm & 5pm)

7th – Union Square, Manhattan (1pm & 4pm)

8th – Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan (6pm)

9th – Prospect Park, Brooklyn (1pm & 4pm)

10th – Red Hook, Brooklyn (4pm)

14th – Columbus Park, Manhattan (1pm & 5pm)

15th – Ft. Greene Park, Brooklyn (5pm)

16th – Socrates Sculpture Garden, Long Island City
(1pm)

17th – Tompkins Square Park, East Village (1pm & 4pm)

20th – Battery Park, Manhattan (1pm & 4pm)

21st – Rufus King Park, Queens (5pm)

22nd – St. Mary's Park, Bronx (5pm)

24th – Washington Square Park, Manhattan (1pm & 4pm)

for updates and more details: www.circusamok.org

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Anarchism & Sexuality: ethics, relationships and power

4 November 2006

University of Leeds

Sponsored by the Specialist Group for the Study of Anarchism

Anarchism offers a tremendous body of knowledge and practice
challenging the legitimacy of coercion, domination and rigid social
hierarchies. Sexuality is a realm of social life all too frequently
characterised by (or produced through) hierarchy. Both in theoretical
writing and other forms of social action, anarchist traditions are
rarely acknowledged for their potential in addressing issues of
sexuality. Likewise, in much of the anarchist tradition, sexuality has
been and continues to be all too frequently marginalised. But exciting
things happen in the margins!

The invitation for papers resulted in an unexpected response and we
are able to offer a packed day including six sessions covering a
diverse range of topics. But, you can see for yourself. The full
programme with abstracts is now available online at the conference website.

A Proposal for the Adoption of the Blackout as a Holiday

J. Sinopoli

Care of The New York Ministry of Unofficial Popular Holidays


In Berlin there is a blown up church you drive by everyday, still
there from World War 2. They kept it there as a reminder of the time
we bombed Berlin. It is a powerful, lucid monument to a complicated
era of history.

The reason we can reach no satisfying solution as to how to
memorialize Ground Zero is because we tore it down already. The
shards were beautiful, like a tree struck by lightning, a natural and
perfect horribly sordid shape. We should have kept it. Had we been
braver, or more honest, we would have. Instead we treated it like
vandalism, and cleaned it off. Any memorial at Ground Zero will never
quite satisfy without it. Anyway, we feel we do not memorialize
enough and it is in this spirit we call to formalize, as a holiday,
the August 14 Blackout.

It could be our version of Carnival, and we could use one. It
requires no municipal support. We as a people could simply do it. A
harmless ritual: You come home from work, or wherever, switch off
your circuit breakers, and that's all, it begins. It is not a
debauchery, not a wild night, but perhaps a free one. Free of the
system, free of the machine, free of the exhaustive burdens of
ambition. Free of electricity, and the 24 hours a day you-don't-stop
that goes with it. There was a time, before electricity, when people
simply retired at night. What else could you do? It was dark. Not
anymore. Progress has its compromise. The blackout took us back to
the basics, of who we are as human beings, with none of this shine
and polish to distract us from the truth.

As with anything good, the blackout as a holiday would be optional;
none of the hospitals must shut down, no vital services would close.
No one must do anything. But for those who can do it, and wish to,
the blackout offers a pre-existing holiday so simple to celebrate
there is almost no reason not to. Every August 14 we could easily
stage a re-enactment of the largest-known naturally-occurring party
in the history of the human race. The city went dark that night and
10 million people did not flip out or riot, or conduct themselves in
any way sinister or foul. Newscasters were amazed at how peaceful it
was. What we did do is get giddily drunk; we danced in the streets,
we opened the hydrants, we made love on rooftops, we handed out sushi
and ice cream. Enterprising restaurants will repeat this last aspect;
bars will sell dollar beers, and those that do will remain beloved
for their unnecessary generosity. Kindness, we have seen, is good
business. The blackout instinctively reminded us, for it was in
living memory, of our city's experience during the weeks following
9/11. Everyone was kind to each other, thoughtful, considerate. You
didn't know which stranger passing by had had someone close to them
die, and all normal modes of self segregation collapsed. With no real
alternative, we were just kind to everyone. We were beautiful. We
were as we would want to be, and as we would want others to be to us,
if there weren't so much wearying over-complicated bullshit to wear
down our decency. We were not competitive; we all pulled together,
looked out for each other, reached out. We held communion. This is a
worthwhile sentiment to exercise, periodically.


And the blackout brought this out it us, instinctively, collectively,
again. Do you remember how it felt? You could see stars in midtown.
It was giddy and magical, like a snow day. It is in remembrance of
this remarkable spirit that we advocate and endorse the unofficial
popular acceptance of August 14 as the purely optional -- but fucking
beautiful -- New York citywide recreational blackout, an unequaled
holiday opportunity. Flip the switch, and enjoy.

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A Caring Strike – Precarias a la Deriva

Tuesday, August 22 – 7pm – Bluestockings Books, Café, and Activism Center

172 Allen Street, NYC – $5 to 10 donation


Precarias a la Deriva is a Madrid based activist research project which has worked for the last few years to map and to explore the changing life and work situations of its participants, seeking those fragile moments and places of aggregation which allow us to break the solitude and the impotence of our individual—and very different—lives and imagine relevant forms of organization and collective resistance. Recently we have focused on the notion of care, both as a common ground of universal necessity and as a specifically feminized and unregulated sector of work: What would it mean to organize care? What would a care strike look like? How might care be structured differently? Maggie Schmidt will speak briefly about the history and methodology of Precarias a la Deriva as a collective research-action project and within the emerging European discussions on precarious work, present some of the debates around care, and introduce the current project which has arisen out of Precarias: the ‘Agency of Precarious Affairs,’ a center for resources, organizing and mutual aid. She looks forward to getting in touch with similar projects and processes in the US.

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