Counterpunch -- A Parody of a Protest
A Parody of a Protest
We Came, We Marched, And ... ?
By PAUL CANTOR
April 29, New York City. The sun was shining. It was cool but not cold. You might say it was a picture perfect day for a demonstration. We were at Broadway and 22nd Street.
The plan was to proceed down Broadway to Foley Square in lower Manhattan for a "peace and justice festival." All the usual suspects were there: some with costumes, some with signs, some with musical instruments, some with video cameras, and a few with "stop bitchin' and start the revolution" T-shirts. For over an hour we waited in place.
Then slowly, peacefully, between metal police barricades we began to make our way downtown. When we reached Houston Street in Greenwich Village an officer with red cheeks, white hair, a policeman's paunch, a bullhorn and a New York accent instructed us to stop so he could let traffic pass through our line. We did as he instructed.
"Thank you folks for your cooperation," he bellowed moments later. "Hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather. Isn't it a great day to be out in the sun?"
Was this man ridiculing us? Was he showing off for his fellow officers? Had we become a joke? No matter. People applauded his good natured aplomb. Meanwhile in Iraq United States soldiers were breaking into houses and shooting innocent Iraqi civilians.
Counterpunch -- "The End of This War Will Be Very, Very Messy"
"The End of This War Will Be Very, Very Messy"
Seymour Hersh versus the Bush Administration (and the DC Press Corps)
By ROBERT FISK
Sy Hersh is an ornery, cussed sort of guy, not one to suffer fools gladly. As the man who broke the My Lai story and the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, I reckon he has a right to be ornery from time to time--and cussed.
He's dealing with powerful folk in Washington, including one--George W Bush--who would like to cut him down. And when Hersh wrote--as he did in The New Yorker this month--that "current and former American military and intelligence officials" have said Bush has a target list to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and that Bush's "ultimate goal" in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change--again!--you can see why Bush was worried. "Wild," he called the Hersh story. Which must mean it has some claim to veracity.
So when I cornered Hersh at Columbia University in New York and dropped him a note during a Charles Glass presentation asking for an interview, I expected a stiff reply. "Anything you ask," he scribbled obligingly on a piece of paper.
Avi -- Gideon Levy --Collateral damage: Entire Gaza family
Palestine / Israel
Collateral damage: Entire Gaza family
By Gideon Levy
The entire family of Hamdi Aman, a 28-year-old Palestinian from Gaza who spent his youth in Tel Aviv's Carmel market, was hit in the assassination of Islamic Jihad operative Mohammed Dahdouh in Gaza a week and a half ago.
Aman's 7-year-old son Muhand was killed; Naima, his wife, 27, was killed; his mother Hanan, 46, was killed. His three and a half year old daughter Mariya is lying in the pediatric intensive care unit at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, permanently paralyzed and on a respirator. Aman is not allowed to be with her.
Rene -- The Lost Dress of Paradise
The Lost Dress of Paradise
A Theology of Nakedness: Vanessa Beecroft’s Performance in Berlin
By Giorgio Agamben
[Originally published in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, April 12, 2005. Translated from the German by Christian Nilsson]
The first impression that the performance by Vanessa Beecroft gave the audience present at the Neue Nationalgalerie was of a political nature: nothing but dressed urban people, looking at naked urban people. The extreme and at the same time hopeless situation of man in mass society shows itself yet again in its full ambiguity, in this strange form that characterises the situation of contemporary man: as non-event. Something that could have happened did not take place.
If, however, someone in retrospect would reflect on the peculiarities of this non-event, the initial impression – that as could be expected was of a political nature – would be pushed aside by a genuine theological consideration. For exactly what was it that had not taken place? Neither an orgy, nor torture, nor an S&M session, but the simple nakedness of man.
In our culture, nakedness is inseparably tied up to a theological meaning. And this is not only because, when looking at these one hundred random women – standing in rows, dressed only in nylon-stockings, who were lingering without moving, as if they were expecting something – you could not avoid thinking about the nakedness of the resurrected at Judgement Day. These people, exposed as naked, I thought, are the resurrected waiting for judgement. The dressed people circling around them were, without knowing it, servants in some celestial administration, who were preparing to lead them to heaven or cast them into Gehenna.
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
In this paper, John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago's Department of Political Science and Stephen M.Walt of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government contend that the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is its intimate relationship with Israel. The authors argue that although often justified as reflecting shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, the U.S. commitment to Israel is due primarily to the activities of the “Israel Lobby." This paper goes on to describe the various activities that pro-Israel groups have undertaken in order to shift U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.
Rene -- Military to Report Marines Killed Iraqi Civilians
Military to Report Marines Killed Iraqi Civilians
By THOM SHANKER, ERIC SCHMITT and RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
WASHINGTON, May 25 — A military investigation into the deaths of two dozen Iraqis last November is expected to find that a small number of marines in western Iraq carried out extensive, unprovoked killings of civilians, Congressional, military and Pentagon officials said Thursday.
Two lawyers involved in discussions about individual marines' defenses said they thought the investigation could result in charges of murder, a capital offense. That possibility and the emerging details of the killings have raised fears that the incident could be the gravest case involving misconduct by American ground forces in Iraq.
Officials briefed on preliminary results of the inquiry said the civilians killed at Haditha, a lawless, insurgent-plagued city deep in Sunni-dominated Anbar Province, did not die from a makeshift bomb, as the military first reported, or in cross-fire between marines and attackers, as was later announced. A separate inquiry has begun to find whether the events were deliberately covered up.
Naeem -- Senate Immigration Battle
Compliments of Shobak:
The US Senate continues consideration of amendments to the
comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Some Key Amendments
Inhofe Amendment: English the "national language" of the U.S. The
amendment states that, unless specifically required by law, no person
has a "right" to have government services or materials provided in a
language other than English.
Additionally, the Inhofe amendment strikes the option that an
undocumented immigrant who is applying for legalization, or a
participant in the temporary worker program who is self-petitioning
for permanent residence show that he or she is "satisfactorily
pursuing a course of study" in English and civics. Instead, these
individuals will have to meet the requirements of persons applying for
naturalization (they will have to know enough English and Civics to
pass the naturalization test).
The amendment also contains provisions that may make the
naturalization test (for persons applying for citizenship) more
Emily -- House Passes Anti-Palestinian Legislation
Palestine / Israel
House Passes Anti-Palestinian Legislation, Senate Fight Continues
Press Release, CNI, 23 May 2006
The House of Representatives today passed a controversial bill (H.R.
4681) that would punish all Palestinians, not just members of Hamas,
for electing a Hamas-led government in January's legislative elections.
The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 passed the House under
suspension of the rules by a vote of 361-37 (with 9 members voting
"Present"), despite nearly four months of strong opposition from the
Council for the National Interest and other national organizations,
including Churches for Middle East Peace, the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops, Americans for Peace Now, and the U.S. Campaign to End
the Israeli Occupation. The Bush Administration itself deemed the bill
"unnecessary" in a memo outlining its opposition.
"With the passage through the House of H.R. 4681, which divided the
Israel lobby because of its harshness, the fight now moves to the
Senate, where S. 2370 remains in a state of suspended animation in the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Obviously, the Israel lobby hoped
to have a final bill in time for the appearance of Ehud Olmert at a
joint session of Congress on Wednesday morning. The debate was
rancorous. The Tuesday morning interview with Congressman Gary Ackerman
(D-NY) on C-SPAN was marked by a shouting match between Ackerman and
the people who called in from all over the country. We hope that both
Palestinian Americans and ordinary Americans will make their anger felt
as the bill in the Senate is taken up," said CNI President Eugene Bird.
In a three hour floor debate on Monday evening, several
representatives came to the floor to express their opposition to the
bill, including Democrats Earl Blumenauer (OR), Lois Capps (CA), John
Dingell (MI), Maurice Hinchey (NY), Marcy Kaptur (OH), Dennis Kucinich
(OH), Betty McCollum (MN), David Price (NC), Nick Rahall (WV) and
Republican Ray LaHood (IL).
Znet -- Noam Chomsky visits Lebanon
Ya Libnan - Lebanon
May 9 2006
Noam Chomsky visits Lebanon
Beirut, Lebanon - Noam Chomsky, one of world's most important
intellectuals, is currently visiting Lebanon. He came to Beirut from
Cyprus where he delivered several lectures at the University of
Cyprus and received an honorary doctorate.
Chomsky is an internationally esteemed academic, scholar and activist
with a unique passion for the Middle East. His illustrious
bibliography contains volumes on the very subject.
The legendary Chomsky has been one of the harshest critics of United
States foreign policy, and his latest book Failed States is no
exception. He is scheduled to lecture Tuesday about "The Great Soul
of Power" at the American University of Beirut and will also give a
speech on linguistics on Wednesday.
Chomsky, will also speak at al Madina Theater and at the Lebanese
Cultural Council in the South, located in the town of Nabatiyeh.
Excited about his first trip to Lebanon, Noam Chomsky is looking to
learn as much about the country as possible by "riding around in taxi
cabs" to get a different view from the one that "President George
Bush has from Texas."
"Lebanon has many facets. I am here today for the first time to learn
what I can during my short visit," Chomsky said in an interview with
An Nahar newspaper.
Born in Philadelphia in 1928, Chomsky spent his undergraduate and
graduate years at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a
PhD in Linguistics in 1955. He was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard
University Society of Fellows and joined the staff of MIT (the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 1955; in 1961 he was
appointed Full Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and
Linguistics, where he has worked ever since.
In a recent interview by Lebanese-Armenian Khatchig Mouradian,
Chomsky discussed Lebanese political affairs. Following is an excerpt
from the interview:
Khatchig Mouradian - In an article entitled "Domestic
Constituencies," you say: "It is always enlightening to seek out what
is omitted in propaganda campaigns." Can you expand on what is
omitted in the US propaganda campaign on Lebanon and Syria after the
assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in February 2005?
Rene -- A diplomatic war about genocide
Could not find too many interesting articles about the subject, this was the best I could find. -rg
A diplomatic war about genocide
CBC News Online | May 9, 2006 | More Reality Check
John Gray has worked for a number of Canadian newspapers, including most recently more than 20 years with the Globe and Mail, where he served as Ottawa bureau chief, national editor, foreign editor, foreign correspondent and national correspondent.
On the distant matter of Turkey and Armenia there must be some sympathy for the anguish of Bill Graham when he was Canada's foreign minister two years ago. At the time, Canada's parliamentarians were debating whether the mass slaughter of Armenians by Turkey between 1915 and 1923 could legitimately be called genocide.
The Liberal government of the day, like every government for decades before, was trying to duck a decision on the question. As Parliament debated the issue and the minority government wriggled like a worm on a hook, Graham said plaintively, "We'd like our Armenian friends and our Turkish friends to put these issues in the past."
jimmy carter -- Hamas and the Palestinians: Punishing the Innocent is a Crime
Palestine / Israel
Hamas and the Palestinians: Punishing the Innocent is a Crime
by Jimmy Carter
Sunday, May 7, 2006 by the International Herald Tribune
Atlanta -- Innocent Palestinian people are being treated like animals,
with the presumption that they are guilty of some crime. Because
they voted for candidates who are members of Hamas, the United
States government has become the driving force behind an apparently
effective scheme of depriving the general public of income, access
to the outside world and the necessities of life.
Overwhelmingly, these are school teachers, nurses, social workers,
police officers, farm families, shopkeepers, and their employees
and families who are just hoping for a better life. Public opinion
polls conducted after the January parliamentary election show that
80 percent of Palestinians still want a peace agreement with Israel
based on the international road map premises. Although Fatah party
members refused to join Hamas in a coalition government, nearly 70
percent of Palestinians continue to support Fatah's leader, Mahmoud
Abbas, as their president.
It is almost a miracle that the Palestinians have been able to
orchestrate three elections during the past 10 years, all of which
have been honest, fair, strongly contested, without violence and with
the results accepted by winners and losers. Among the 62 elections
that have been monitored by us at the Carter Center, these are among
the best in portraying the will of the people.
One clear reason for the surprising Hamas victory for legislative seats
was that the voters were in despair about prospects for peace. With
American acquiescence, the Israelis had avoided any substantive peace
talks for more than five years, regardless of who had been chosen to
represent the Palestinian side as interlocutor.
The day after his party lost the election, Abbas told me that his
own struggling government could not sustain itself financially with
their daily lives and economy so severely disrupted, and access
from Palestine to Israel and the outside world almost totally
restricted. They were already $900 million in debt and had no way to
meet the payroll for the following month. The additional restraints
imposed on the new government are a planned and deliberate catastrophe
for the citizens of the occupied territories, in hopes that Hamas
will yield to the economic pressure.
Rene -- Opening the Debate on Israel
Palestine / Israel
Opening the Debate on Israel
by Norman Solomon
Sunday, May 7, 2006 by the Baltimore Sun (Maryland)
The extended controversy over a paper by two professors, "The Israel
Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," is prying the lid off a debate that
has been bottled up for decades.
Routinely, the American news media have ignored or pilloried any
strong criticism of Washington's massive support for Israel. But
the paper and an article based on it by respected academics John
Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt, academic
dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, first
published March 23 in the London Review of Books, are catalysts for
some healthy public discussion of key issues.
The first mainstream media reactions to the paper - often with the
customary name-calling - were mostly efforts to shut down debate
before it could begin. Early venues for vituperative attacks on the
paper included the op-ed pages of the Los Angeles Times ("nutty"),
the Boston Herald (headline: "Anti-Semitic Paranoia at Harvard")
and The Washington Post (headline: "Yes, It's Anti-Semitic").
But other voices have emerged, on the airwaves and in print, to bypass
the facile attacks and address crucial issues. If this keeps up,
the uproar over what Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt had to say could
invigorate public discourse about Washington's policies toward a
country that consistently has received a bigger U.S. aid package for
a longer period than any other nation.
In April, syndicated columnist Molly Ivins put her astute finger on
a vital point. "In the United States, we do not have full-throated,
full-throttle debate about Israel," she wrote. "In Israel, they
have it as a matter of course, but the truth is that the accusation
of anti-Semitism is far too often raised in this country against
anyone who criticizes the government of Israel. ... I don't know that
I've ever felt intimidated by the knee-jerk 'you're anti-Semitic'
charge leveled at anyone who criticizes Israel, but I do know I have
certainly heard it often enough to become tired of it. And I wonder
if that doesn't produce the same result: giving up on the discussion."
The point rings true, and it's one of the central themes emphasized
by Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt.
If the barriers to democratic discourse can be overcome, the paper's
authors say, the results could be highly beneficial: "Open debate
will expose the limits of the strategic and moral case for one-sided
U.S. support and could move the U.S. to a position more consistent
with its own national interest, with the interests of the other states
in the region, and with Israel's long-term interests as well."
Outsized support for Israel has been "the centerpiece of U.S. Middle
Eastern policy," the professors contend - and the Israel lobby makes
that support possible. "Other special-interest groups have managed to
skew America's foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as
far from what the national interest would suggest," the paper says. One
of the consequences is that "the United States has become the de facto
enabler of Israeli expansion in the occupied territories, making it
complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians."
Nettime -- Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps
Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps
News Analysis/Commentary, Peter Dale Scott,
New America Media, Feb 08, 2006
Editor's Note: A little-known $385 million contract for
Halliburton subsidiary KBR to build detention facilities for
"an emergency influx of immigrants" is another step down the
Bush administration's road toward martial law, the writer says.
BERKELEY, Calif.--A Halliburton subsidiary has just received
a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland
Security to provide "temporary detention and processing
The contract -- announced Jan. 24 by the engineering and
construction firm KBR -- calls for preparing for "an
emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid
development of new programs" in the event of other
emergencies, such as "a natural disaster." The release
offered no details about where Halliburton was to build
these facilities, or when.
To date, some newspapers have worried that open-ended
provisions in the contract could lead to cost overruns, such
as have occurred with KBR in Iraq. A Homeland Security
spokesperson has responded that this is a "contingency
contract" and that conceivably no centers might be built.
But almost no paper so far has discussed the possibility
that detention centers could be used to detain American
citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law.
For those who follow covert government operations abroad and
at home, the contract evoked ominous memories of Oliver
North's controversial Rex-84 "readiness exercise" in 1984.
This called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary "refugees,"
in the context of "uncontrolled population movements" over
the Mexican border into the United States. North's
activities raised civil liberties concerns in both Congress
and the Justice Department. The concerns persist.
"Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after
the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly
dissenters," says Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst
who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S.
military's account of its activities in Vietnam. "They've
already done this on a smaller scale, with the 'special
registration' detentions of immigrant men from Muslim
countries, and with Guantanamo."
Rene -- Brian Holmes -- Hierglyphs of the Future: Jacques Rancičre and the Aesthetics of Quality
Hierglyphs of the Future: Jacques Rancičre and the Aesthetics of Quality
We're not a surplus, we're a plus. The slogan appeared at the demonstrations of the French jobless movement in the mid-90s in journals, on banners, and on tracts printed by the political art group, Ne pas plier. It knitted the critical force and the subjective claims of the movement into a single phrase. To be "a surplus" (laid off, redundant) was to be reduced to silence in a society that subtracted the jobless from the public accounts, that made them into a kind of residue—invisible, inconceivable except as a statistic under a negative sign. Excluded, in short: cut out of a system based on the status of the salaried employee. Until they finally came together to turn the tables, reverse the signs, and claim a new name on a stage they had created, by occupying unemployment offices in a nation-wide protest during the winter of 1997-98. The people with nothing erupted onto the public scene. "We're a plus," they said, intruding through the TV cameras into the country's living rooms. Which also meant, "We'll drink champagne on Christmas eve."
A way to grasp the aesthetic language of the French social movements in the 90s—and of the transnational movements now emerging—is through the work of Jacques Rancičre and his writings on the politics of equality. In Disagreement (published originally in 1995), he confronted the philosophy of government with the scandal of the political.1 Government fulfills an ideal of order when it administers, manages, and tries to totally account for a population; but its reality is the police. The police keeps everyone in their place, imposes the calculations of value, apportions out the shares in society.
Interactivist -- Ranciere -- Who is the Subject of the Rights of Man?
"Who Is the Subject of the Rights of Man?"
[From the South Atlantic Quarterly 103.2/3 (2004) pp. 297-310.]
As we know, the question raised by my title took on a new cogency during the last ten years of the twentieth century. The Rights of Man or Human Rights had just been rejuvenated in the seventies and eighties by the dissident movements in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe—a rejuvenation that was all the more significant as the "formalism" of those rights had been one of the first targets of the young Marx, so that the collapse of the Soviet Empire could appear as their revenge. After this collapse, they would appear as the charter of the irresistible movement leading to a peaceful posthistorical world where global democracy would match the global market of liberal economy.
As is well known, things did not exactly go that way. In the following years, the new landscape of humanity, freed from utopian totalitarianism, became the stage of new outbursts of ethnic conflicts and slaughters, religious fundamentalisms, or racial and xenophobic movements. The territory of "posthistorical" and peaceful humanity proved to be the territory of new figures of the Inhuman. And the Rights of Man turned out to be the rights of the rightless, of the populations hunted out of their homes and land and threatened [End Page 297] by ethnic slaughter. They appeared more and more as the rights of the victims, the rights of those who were unable to enact any rights or even any claim in their name, so that eventually their rights had to be upheld by others, at the cost of shattering the edifice of International Rights, in the name of a new right to "humanitarian interference"—which ultimately boiled down to the right to invasion.
Rene -- Ranciere -- The politics of aesthetics
The politics of aesthetics
I shall start from a little fact borrowed from the actuality of art life . A Belgian foundation , the Evens Foundation , created a prize called Community art collaboration . The prize is aimed at supporting artistic projects encouraging " the invention of new social coherence based on diversity of identities " . Last year , the laureate project was presented by a French group of artists called Urban Campment . The project , called"I and us" proposed to create , in a poor and stigmatized suburb of Paris a special place , "extremely useless , fragile and non-productive" , a place at remove , available to all but than can be used only by one person at once .
So a prize destined to art was given to the project of an empty place where nothing designates the specificity of any art . And a prize aimed at creating new forms of community was given to a one seater place . Some people would probably see there the derision of contemporary art and of its political pretensions . I shall take an opposite way . I think that this little example can lead us to the core of our problem .
The first point that it reminds us is the following . Art is not political owing to the messages and feelings that it conveys on the state of social and political issues. Nor is it political owing to the way it represents social structures, conflicts or identities . It is political by virtue of the very distance that it takes with respect to those functions . It is political insofar as it frames not only works or monuments , but also a specific space-time sensorium , as this sensorium defines ways of being together or being apart , of being inside or outside , in front of or in the middle of , etc. It is political as its own practices shape forms of visibility that reframe the way in which practices , manners of being and modes of feeling and saying are interwoven in a commonsense , which means a "sense of the common" embodied in a common sensorium .
It does so because politics itself is not the exercise of power or struggle for power. Politics is first of all the configuration of a space as political , the framing of a specific sphere of experience , the setting of objects posed as "common" and of subjects to whom the capacity is recognized to designate these objects and discuss about them. Politics first is the conflict about the very existence of that sphere of experience , the reality of those common objects and the capacity of those subjects. A well known aristotelian sentence says that human beings are political because they own the power of speech that puts into common the issues of justice and injustice while animals only have voice to express pleasure or pain. It could seem to follow from this that politics is the public discussion on matters of justice among speaking people who are all able to do it. But there is a preliminary matter of justice : How do you recognize that the person who is mouthing a voice in front of you is discussing matters of justice rather than expressing his or her private pain ? Politics is in fact about that preliminary question : who has the power to decide about this? In another well-known statement Plato says that artisans have no time to be elsewhere outside of their work . Obviously this "lack of time" is not an empirical matter , it is the mere naturalization of a symbolical separation . Politics precisely begins when they who have "no time" to do anything else than their work take that time that they have not in order to make themselves visible as sharing in a common world and prove that their mouth indeed emits common speech instead of merely voicing pleasure or pain. That distribution and re-distribution of times and spaces , places and identities , that way of framing and re-framing the visible and the invisible , of telling speech from noise and so on , is what I call the partition of the sensible . Politics consist in reconfigurating the partition of the sensible , in bringing on the stage new objects and subjects , in making visible that which was not visible, audible as speaking beings they who where merely heard as noisy animals . To the extent that it sets up such scenes of dissensus , politics can be characterized as an "aesthetic" activity , in a way that has nothing to do with that adornment of power that Benjamin called "aestheticization of politics" .
Bidoun -- The Wall: Settlement Archeology
Eyal Weizman in conversation with Markus Miessen
Posted From Bidoun
Markus Miessen: Eyal, your work allows for an alternative architectural and spatial reading of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In your publication A Civilian Occupation as well as the ‘Territories’ exhibition at Berlin’s Kunst-Werke, you have explored the spatial dimension of the occupation in the West Bank. In a series of articles and studies for openDemocracy.com, you have argued that a coherent mental map of the conflict must include a three dimensional perspective and the intro-duction of the vertical dimension into geopolitics. Could you explain how verticality has become an important factor?
The landscape - Showing the barrier separating the Jewish colony of Giloh, within the expanded borders of Jerusalem and the Palestinian cities of Bet Jallah and Bethlehem. The tunnel is not used to bypass natural barriers; rather it traverses political boundaries. The road is in Israeli jurisdiction and is used exclusively by the colonists and the military. This condition fragments the coordinates of traditional geopolitics by spanning over the valley which is in Palestinian jurisdiction and diving under the Palestinian city of Beth Jallah.
Eyal Weizman: The politics of verticality is the process that fragmented the territory of the West Bank not only in surface but also in volume. Since the 1993 Oslo Accord, the territorial arrangement of the West Bank limited Palestinians to enclosed territorial islands with Israel controlling the sub-terrain (the aquifers) under them as well as the electromagnetic fields and the airspace above them. In this strange logic of partition, the horizon formed a national boundary by separating air from ground and the terrain from sub-terrain. Furthermore, and following this logic, the complete fragmentation of the territory necessitated efforts to physically connect both types of enclaves created: the colonies and Palestinian cities and villages. Since this could not have been achieved on a single surface, it was performed three dimensionally within a volume. Some Israeli roads and infrastructures connect colonies while spanning Palestinian lands as bridges or tunnels. Under these conditions, known since the time of the 1947 partition plan as “the kissing points,” Israeli controlled areas could be above Palestinian ones and vice versa. Currently, the Am-erican promise for Palestinian contiguity as a part of a final status agreement is based on the assumption that a similar series of tunnels and bridges could achieve this contiguity for the fragmented Palestinian territory. This state of affairs is what the writer Meron Benvenisti calls the crashing of “three dimensional space into six—three Israeli and three Palestinian.” The current plan for partition includes dozens of kissing points, especially in and around Jerusalem, where the geographies overlap in such intensity. Even the Clinton plan from 2000 implied about forty bridges and tunnels in and around Jerusalem.
In this respect, the intensity of the conflict seems to have created a new type of political space, and perhaps even a new way of imagining and practicing territoriality. The politics of verticality is as much a product of a constructed political imagination as it is a physical practice that involves architecture and planning. It fuses Israeli ideological and religious belief in the sacredness of the historical sub-surface (archaeology) and the transcendental value of topographical latitude and the heavens together with a strategic logic of absolute territorial control. By fusing messianic beliefs with military strategy, it is the inevitable territorial product of Zionism itself.
On the other hand, the creation of this conceptual and physical space means that the politics of separation is always going to face a “spatial contradiction.” The term is Henri Lefebvre’s description of political paradoxes embodied in spatial terms. Each one of the territorial layers—the sub-terrain, the surface and the airspace—embodies a different logic of partition. The hydrological cycle moves across and transcends historical borders and ceasefire lines. So does the logic of electromagnetic frequencies and airspace. All attempts to partition this land along simple lines have thus faced spatial contradictions. The layers simply do not overlap.
With the technologies and infrastructure required for the physical segregation of Israelis from Palestinians (the tunnels and the brid-ges), it appears as if this most complex geopolitical problem of the Middle East has gone through a scale-shift and taken on architectural dimensions. The West Bank appears to have been reassembled through regional politics as if it were a complex building such as a shopping mall or an international airport.
If a viable way of managing this conflict does not lie within the realm of design, the logic of partition is doomed to fail. Instead of a further play of identity politics in complex geometry, a non-territorial approach based on cooperation, mutuality and equality must lead to a politics of space-sharing.
Dr. Wooo -- Zapatista Red Alert
Zapatista Red Alert: The Other Mexico on the Verge of an Explosion from Below
The Story Behind the Zapatista Red Alert as the Other Campaign Arrives at Zero
By Bertha Rodríguez Santos and Al Giordano
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in Mexico City
May 3, 2006
MEXICO CITY: From his first statements early this morning on Mexico City’s
historic Alameda, Zapatista Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos was clearly informed
about — and visibly bothered by — the police riot underway in the nearby city
of Texcoco, where 800 heavily armed riot cops stormed the local flower growers’
market in the dawn’s early light, leading to a violent nationally televised
standoff between the firearms of above and the worktools of below. By the
afternoon — after “Delegate Zero” traveled through downtown Mexico City by
foot, by subway and by motorcycle, through its most working-class
neighborhoods, listening to the grievances of the people — he exploded in the
Plaza of the Three Cultures: The Zapatistas have gone on Red Alert, the Other
Campaign is suspended, and Marcos is heading to the scene of the crime to
confront the Mexican State.
Nettime -- UN Broadcasting Treaty seen as severely limiting essential freedoms
UN Broadcasting Treaty seen as severely limiting essential freedoms
5/3/2006 4:04:20 PM, by Anders Bylund
A remarkably unacceptable treaty proposal is currently being pushed through the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, seemingly concieved by the RIAA and MPAA and backed by traditional old-line media businesses. The Broadcasting Treaty, currently undergoing review at a UN convention in Geneva, Switzerland, contains passages that would severely restrict the concepts of fair use and freedom of speech—on a global level. IP Watch has an excellent overview of the issues:
The proposed broadcasting treaty would create entirely new global rights for broadcasting companies who have neither created nor own the programming. What's even more alarming is the proposal from the United States that the treaty regulate the Internet transmission of audio and video entertainment.
It is dangerous and inappropriate for an unelected international treaty body to undertake the task of creating entirely new rights, which currently exist in no national law, such as webcasting rights and anti-circumvention laws related to broadcasting. A global treaty is not the place for experimentation with new rights, but rather for the harmonization of existing legal norms. WIPO treads on shaky ground by proposing to create new rights that no elected body in the world has yet agreed to.
Rene -- Mouffe/Keenan/Deutsche/Joseph -- Every Form of Art Has a Political Dimension
Originally published in Grey Room
Every Form of Art
Has a Political Dimension”
CHANTAL MOUFFE, INTERVIEWED BY ROSALYN DEUTSCHE,
BRANDEN W. JOSEPH, AND THOMAS KEENAN1
Branden W. Joseph: Since Grey Room is primarily dedicated to questions of aesthetic practice, I’d like to begin by asking how you would understand forms of cultural discourse—for example, art—having access to the political or, rather,
to the strictly political in the way you have come to de
Rene -- Mark Dery interview with Ken Wark
The Leisure of the Theory Class: Academy Hacking with McKenzie Wark
In another life, the Australian media theorist and cultural critic McKenzie Wark was (in his words) a "lapsed Marxist in the pay of Rupert Murdoch"; his provocative column, which ran for nine years in The Australian newspaper, was an Improvised Exploding Device in the salons of the Australian intelligentsia, inflicting collateral damage on—and inspiring fiery blowback from—some of the country's more reactionary intellectuals. Now he's an accidental theorist in New York, where he teaches cultural and media studies in Lang College, at the New School University. A critic of uncommon gifts, he views American empire from a parallax angle that is at once Australian, post-Marxian, and ineffably Wark-ian.
Photo courtesy V2, an an interdisciplinary center for art and media technology in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Wark's most recent book is the critically acclaimed A Hacker Manifesto (Harvard University Press, 2004), which the cybercritic Julian Dibbell deemed nothing less than "The Communist Manifesto 2.0." Additionally, Wark is the author of Virtual Geography (Indiana University Press, 1994), The Virtual Republic (Allen & Unwin, 1998), and Celebrities, Culture and Cyberspace (Pluto Press, 1999).
For his 2002 book, Dispositions (Salt Publishing), he took his own adage "we no longer have roots, we have aerials" seriously and reimagined himself as a rootless theorist. Equipped with a laptop and a global-positioning system, he filed a series of philosophical dispatches, each one ID'd by exact time and pinpoint location. Sample transmission:
We're all soldiers now, and know exactly where our asses are. The luxury of accuracy—the fifth coordinate. Let X equal X. Your ass is where and what you think it is. No wonder they pronounce him Colon Powell. The English ruled the seas with their chronometers; now Americans rule the skies. Hold this yellow ruler and hold with it the logic of empire. Digital sextant. Precision's cutting edge. The perfect good for a perfect world. It arms me for that other struggle: to find what tiny wavering lines might steal away from all perfected surfaces. An art of digging digits that don't add up.
Hart and Negri's Empire crossed with Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere." Or something like that.
Rancičre Report: How does the Outside enter the Museum?
Rancičre Report: How does the Outside enter the Museum?
What does Rancičre understand by aesthetics? Not a science or a philosophy of art, but a distribution of the sensible: the myriad ways of articulating action, production, perception and thought.
What does Rancičre understand by art? That which frames the space/time sensorium, that indicates new ways of being together.
What does Rancičre understand by politics? The opposite of the Police. A form of dissensus that polemically confirms the axiom of equality - the only universal axiom of politics: not rights or representation, but the starting point for any and all thought of emancipation. Politics is: 'the introduction of a 'proper-improper' that challenges the police order' - (The Politics of Aesthetics, Glossary)
Thus, 'if it's neither art nor politics it's ethics' (ethics = the hierarchical rule of representation, the static order of placing and apportioning).
Rene - Smith -- After Iraq: Vulnerable imperial stasis
After Iraq: Vulnerable imperial stasis
I dread our being too much dreaded.
At the end of the twentieth century the American ascendancy appeared almost inexorable. Despite personal scandal and impeachment hearings, a seemingly unassailable Bill Clinton led a global neoliberalism that was methodically sweeping all other contenders aside. At home he pursued a dismantling of welfare that none of his predecessors could even have contemplated, and the domestic economy was recovering. Globally, the Kyoto environmental protocol had been signed, agreement on the International Criminal Court (ICC) seemed assured, and a breathtakingly comprehensive Multilateral Investment Agreement (MIA) was in the works.
In Israel, the ‘moderate’ Ehud Barak was elected, giving hope of a renewed US-brokered settlement with the globally humiliated Palestinians. East Timor gained long-sought independence. Peace was not exactly universal – Iraq was subject to constant low-intensity bombing, Afghanistan and Sudan were attacked a year earlier, NATO planes were bombing Serb forces in Kosovo, and alienated youths were gunning down their classmates in Columbine, Colorado. There was the extraordinary anti-globalization protest in Seattle. And fear of the ‘millennium bug’. But in retrospect, the mood was upbeat and in 1999 the future looked pretty rosy for an American-led neoliberalism. Even as late as 2001, the USA drew overwhelming global sympathy when nearly three thousand people perished in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. German leader Gerhard Schröder and the French newspaper Le Monde declared in unison: ‘We are all Americans now.’
Naeem -- They Could Be Citizens and They Might Be Deported
They Could Be Citizens and They Might Be Deported
The government has jailed family-supporting, lifelong U.S. residents who seem as American as the next person—but can't prove it.
By Nina Shapiro
Charlotte Gonzalez's husband, Julio Gonzalez, is in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma because his citizenship is undocumented. He was born in Mexico to an American mother.
Kevin P. Casey
In a courtroom behind a locked door, Julio Gonzalez sits on a bench waiting to hear whether he will be allowed to stay in the country where he has lived for nearly half a century. He's wearing a blue jumpsuit provided by the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, the privately run federal holding facility for immigrants the government wants to deport. The proceedings of the U.S. Immigration Court take place inside the detention center.
A courtroom officer calls for Gonzalez by the number he has been assigned: "Nine-zero-eight, your honor." He steps forward, a graying, plump 47-year-old with a mustache and glasses, and passes his wife, Charlotte, a woman with long, dark hair sitting quietly on a bench across the aisle. He shrugs at her with his eyes, the kind of look you give to someone who has shared your life for no small amount of time.
Julio and Charlotte Gonzalez, whose marriage certificate was signed 21 years ago at the Precious Memories chapel in Huntington Park, Calif., are up against a challenge of Kafkaesque proportions. Julio's late mother was an American citizen, according to the Gonzalezes and a copy of a birth certificate documenting the arrival of baby Raquel Sandoval in Santa Fe, N.M., on April 4, 1934. Her parents were born in New Mexico, Julio says. Julio's father was a legal resident who worked at a chroming factory for 25 years in Arizona, where he died. Julio's wife is an American citizen, with a California birth certificate to prove it. Julio and Charlotte have four children, ranging in age from 24 to 16, all born in the U.S.
Julio has lived in this country since he was a baby, he says. Before he was born, however, his mother spent some time in Mexico, where she delivered Julio, one of her 10 children, most of whom were born in the U.S. She returned to this country in time to give Julio memories of waking up from naps and being fed orange juice and peanut butter crackers in a Los Angeles kindergarten.
But to immigration officials, his Mexican birth is what matters. One rainy day in early February, Julio drove to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to pick up his wife and oldest son, also named Julio. A month earlier, the younger Julio, who lived in Idaho, had fallen into a coma, the result of a staph infection. Charlotte was bringing him home.
Somehow, Julio veered into the wrong place at the airport and was stopped by a security officer, who discovered through a background check that Julio had a warrant out for his arrest due to driving with a suspended license. He was taken to the Kent City Jail. "An immigration officer was right there," Julio recalls. "He asked me where I was born. I said Mexico."
The next thing Julio knew, he was on his way to the detention center in Tacoma.
Charlotte Gonzalez and her sons, Steven (left) and Julio.
Kevin P. Casey
Nationwide, the detention population has been booming in response to a backlash against illegal immigration that began in the mid-1990s and has grown ever more intense since 9/11. In 1994, the federal government detained 7,444 immigrants on any given day, according to Detention Watch Network, a D.C.-based group that advocates for detainees. The government today has bed space to detain 22,000 immigrants, and those available beds tend to be used. President George W. Bush's fiscal year 2007 budget allocates money for an additional 6,700 beds, which would make the increase since 1994 almost fourfold. The number of removals every year from the U.S.—whether formal or "voluntary"—is even greater. In 2004, they totaled 1,238,319, according to the Office of Immigration Statistics.
The intense debate over immigration now playing out in Congress, provoking unprecedented demonstrations by immigrants in Seattle and across the country, is over proposals to further increase the number of people detained and deported. The House passed a measure that would criminalize all illegal immigrants. Legislation proposed by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., which offers a chance at citizenship for many of the 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants believed to be here, was supposed to be a compromise but nevertheless contains toughened enforcement provisions that would allow indefinite detention and create new grounds for deportation. It was attacked for being too lenient. Said U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., author of the stricter House bill: "This is a slap in the face to those who are following the law and taking the right steps to enter this country." Such a statement implicitly references people most of us undoubtedly have in mind when we think of immigrants that face, or should face, deportation: lawbreakers who recently snuck across the border.
But many immigrants at risk for deportation are deeply integrated into American life after numerous years here. They are surrounded by American citizens, who may be their spouses, children, parents, brothers, sisters, or, as in the case of Julio Gonzalez, all of the above. They may not even have come here illegally.
Ken -- Colbert skewers Bush
[NOTE: The fact that much of the mass media did not even mention this
astonishing event, or dismissed it with a few contemptuous sentences, is one
more demonstration of the media complicity Colbert was satirizing. And the
fact that online video clips of his performance have now been seen by
several million people is one more indication that the Internet and other
alternative means of communication are in the process of making the mass
media increasingly irrelevant.--KK]
Comedian Stephen Colbert's keynote speech at the White House Correspondents'
Association dinner last Saturday may represent a new stage in the crumbling
of the Bush regime's image from within the dominant spectacle itself. The
following link gives a Windows Media clip of the last 15 minutes --
http://movies.crooksandliars.com/WH-Dinner-Colbert.wmv . The entire talk
(about 25 minutes) can be viewed in three parts here --
It's a bizarre experience because most of the audience was decidedly not
sympathetic. Not only was Bush himself sitting a few feet away at the same
table along with various other political bigwigs, but the major portion of
the audience was the very journalists who with rare exceptions have treated
the Bush regime with kid gloves over the last five years, and who were
satirized almost as scathingly as Bush himself. So some of Colbert's
funniest remarks are received with a deafening silence, and the rare moments
of laughter are brief and uneasy, the audience obviously not having expected
such a scandal and wondering how they were supposed to take it.