Nettime -- Electronic Blockade of Mexican Goverment
PLEASE PASS FORWARD
Electronic Blockade of Mexican Goverment that was started by "Reclaim The
Commons" on Sun, October 29, 2006 continues on the Electronic Disturbance
Theater site - due back end problems at mountainreble.net.
SO PLEASE JOIN US IN PROTEST AGAINST THE MEXICAN GOVERMENT FOR THE ATTACKS ON THE TEACHERS OF OAXACA
Electronic Blockade of Mexican Embassy and Consulate Websites In response
to a call to action to remember Brad, show solidarity with the teachers
and protesters of Oaxaca, and attempt to interrupt the invasion of Oaxaca
that Fox is beginning, join this electronic blockade of the websites for
all of the Mexican embassies and consulates in the United States and
CLICK HERE TO JOIN
Thank you Electronic Disturbance Theater
Police Storm Oaxaca to Suppress Protest
By Mark Stevenson
Monday, October 30, 2006; A14
OAXACA, Mexico, Oct. 29 -- On the order of President Vicente Fox,
federal police backed by armored vehicles and water cannons tore down
barricades and stormed embattled Oaxaca on Sunday, seizing control of
the city center from protesters who had held it for five months.
A 15-year-old boy guarding one barricade was killed by a tear gas
canister, said Jesica Sanchez, a human rights worker.
The conflict has pitted the governor of the state of Oaxaca against
a coalition of citizen groups and striking teachers demanding his
With helicopters roaring overhead, police earlier entered the city,
normally a picturesque tourist destination, from several sides. They
marched up to a final metal barrier blocking the center, but pulled
back as protesters armed with sticks attacked them from behind,
hurling burning tires. The air filled with black smoke and tear gas.
Some demonstrators used syringes to pierce their arms and legs, then
painted signs in their own blood decrying the police.
As night fell, however, protesters abandoned the center and regrouped
at a local university. They pledged to continue their battle to
persuade Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz to resign, even as police tore down
the banners and tents in the center that had served as demonstration
At least eight people have died in the unrest since August, including
Brad Will, an American and volunteer correspondent for the Web
site Indymedia.org who was shot dead Friday along with two Mexican
protesters. Fox, who leaves office Dec. 1, had for months resisted
repeated calls to send federal forces to quell the protests.
In Oaxaca, the teachers protest is an annual rite that began 26 years
ago. The protests are usually peaceful and generally last a week or
two, but this year the teachers became infuriated when Ruiz sent
police to forcefully remove demonstrators from the city's idyllic
Last week, teachers tentatively ratified an agreement that would
allow them to return to classes at an unspecified date and receive
30 percent raises spread over six years. Their unmet central demand,
Ruiz's resignation, threatened to undermine the fragile pact.
Rene -- 2 more on the Armenian Genocide
1. An op-ed from the Times. The double-standards that this paper upholds explicitly on so many issues is unbelievable. Also, if I am not mistaken, it was only recently that the New York Times stopped running in each article about the Genocide, some statement expressing either the "purported Genocide" or "Turks disagree with the claims, they say blah blah blah"
2. Closer to my own perspective, a text by Robert Fisk. The proposed French law itself is less the issue, that is interesting. It is the incredible degree of double standards that the rhetoric around this law makes explicit. Not just in relation to the Holocaust, but to the issue of "Freedom of Speech", the connections also to the recent cartoon fiasco. There is no ethical ground to stand it seems, more and more evident, politics is a functionalized sphere in the service of capital - the same goes for history and the law.
FRANCE IN DENIAL
New York Times
Oct 17 2006
We've argued many times that Turkey must come to grips with the crimes
of its past and stop prosecuting writers who mention the Armenian
genocide of the early 20th century.
But we found it as absurd and as cynical when the French National
Assembly voted overwhelmingly last week to make it illegal - on pain of
a fine and imprisonment - to deny that there was an Armenian genocide.
France's Senate still has a chance to throw out this outrageous bill,
and we hope it does. We hope, too, that the Turks do not retaliate
with something similarly nutty, like making it a crime to deny French
colonial atrocities in Algeria, as some legislators have suggested.
Nettime -- Micro-credit no Panacea for Poor Women
Given the recent discussions again of micro-credit, I thought this article may be interesting for folks. If micro-credit is presented as THE SOLUTION, this article does a great deal to clarify that it does short. However, the question remains, given that these structural changes are not taking place, is this not a better solution than leaving families without any possibility of credit? -rg
Micro-credit no Panacea for Poor Women
by Nan Dawkins Scully
Microenterprise credit is increasingly promoted by the North as a
panacea for the South. "World Bank President James Wolfensohn says
that credit is "a particularly effective way of reaching women." The
U.N. Secretary General calls it "a critical anti-poverty tool for the
poorest, especially women." Even First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton
points to microcredit as a tool that will help poor women "survive
Microenterprise development has, in some circumstances, contributed
positively to women's empowerment and helped extremely poor women
survive economic crises in the short term. However, donors and
advocates consistently over-exaggerate the power of microenterprise
credit and related assistance, while ignoring key structural issues
that are far more pertinent to the long-term problem of women and
poverty =AD i.e., agrarian reform, programs favoring export production
(typically male-dominated) over subsistence crops (typically
female-dominated), and trade agreements structured in the interests of
transnational corporations,. Three popular misconceptions permeate the
current rhetoric regarding microenterprise development and encourage
its mischaracterization as a panacea:
Myth #1: Microcredit programs empower women. Because some credit
programs foster group formation and enable women to generate income,
they offer potential for both political and economic empowerment.
However, since credit by itself cannot overcome patriarchal systems of
control at household and community levels, this potential is not
always realized. In Who Takes The Credit: Gender, Power, and Control
Over Loan Use in Rural Credit Programs in Bangladesh (World
Development, 1996), Anne Marie Goetz found that the majority of women
borrowers in the programs studied did not control either the loans
received or the income generated from their microenterprises.
Moreover, recent research suggests that the very non-contractual
nature of informal-sector trade can reinforce women's reliance on male
family members as enforcers in the marketplace (Peter Gibbons,
Structural Adjustment and the Working Poor in Zimbabwe, 1995).
Myth #2: Microcredit programs help the poorest of the poor. The
reality is that credit programs rarely reach the poorest. One reason
for this is that the tiny loans required by the very poorest people
are too small to generate significant interest income for lenders and
are expensive to deliver, especially in the case of hard-to-reach rur
al populations. Microlenders --=AD under pressure from donors to become
financially self-sustaining in a short period of time --=AD are drawn
toward less poor borrowers who can take out larger loans.
Ayrene -- Danièle Huillet, 70, Creator of Challenging Films, Dies
2 obit + one post on a blog
1. From Liberation
2. From NY TImes:
Danièle Huillet, 70, Creator of Challenging Films, Dies
By DAVE KEHR
Danièle Huillet, the French-born filmmaker who, in collaboration with her husband, Jean-Marie Straub, created some of the most challenging and intensely debated motion pictures of the modernist era, died on Monday at the home of friends in the Loire Valley in France. She was 70.
The cause was cancer, Agence France-Presse reported. Ms. Huillet, who lived in Rome with her husband, was visiting France for treatment of her illness.
Their latest film, “Ces Rencontres Avec Eux” (“These Encounters With Them”), is scheduled to open in France on Wednesday. In the film, nonprofessional actors recite from the Italian writer Cesare Pavese’s “Dialogues With Leuco” while standing in a forest. It was presented in competition in September at the Venice Film Festival, where the couple received a special award for “the innovative aspect of the cinematographic language” of their body of work.
Among the best-known films of Straub-Huillet, as the couple was known in critical shorthand, are “The Chronicle of Anna-Magdalena Bach” (1967), an approach to the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach as seen through the journals of his wife; and “Class Relations,” a 1984 film based on Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel, “America.”
As filmmakers, Mr. Straub and Ms. Huillet belonged to the generation that produced the French New Wave, although their work took a radically different direction. Their aesthetic, grounded in the philosophical materialism of Marx and Engels, was one of extreme realism that resisted superfluous embellishments and editing effects. Their work has been extensively analyzed and argued about in many books and film journals.
Anjalisa -- Blair devastated as Army chief savages his approach to Iraq
Blair devastated as Army chief savages his approach to Iraq By Colin Brown,
Terri Judd and Andrew Buncombe in Washington Published: 14 October 2006 The
authority of Tony Blair was left battered last night as he attempted to play
down a rift with the head of the British Army over his unprecedented warning
that the presence of foreign troops was "exacerbating" the security
situation in Iraq
The devastating assessment by General Sir Richard Dannatt, the chief of the
general staff, infuriated ministers and caused alarm in Washington.
However there was widespread backing across the Army yesterday as soldiers
of every rank praised General Dannatt for standing up to the Government.
Within hours of his comments being made public, the Army's unofficial
website was packed with hundreds of blogs from troops voicing their support.
The messages included: "Can Tony Blair recover from this and justify British
presence in Iraq, without using the words 'I was wrong ...?'" Another said:
"Dannatt gets my vote! Anyone care to disagree with him? We were lied to
when it all started and we are still lied to today!"
Other serving soldiers were also quick to voice their relief at the
Rene -- Retort -- Bulletin : All Quiet on the Eastern Front
Retort Bulletin : All Quiet on the Eastern Front
Created 08/08/2006 - 3:28pm
Victims of the Israeli bombing of Qana, Lebanon, July 24, 2006 (Photo: Tyler Ricks)
ALL QUIET ON THE EASTERN FRONT
WE HAVE NO WORDS FOR THE HORROR OF THE PRESENT, for the ghostly bodies showing through the plastic wrap. No words for the faces of despair and elation bubbling from the TV screen, faces of hatred and madness and dedication to death, faces that have had the truth of “collateral damage” played out to them over the cell-phone videos even before the sound of the drone has faded.
THE BALANCE OF POWER IN THE IMAGE-WORLD IS CHANGING.
No one who witnessed the moral bankruptcy of the media during the Iraq campaign can be left with the least illusion about the world the networks show us. But something is shifting in the pattern of image dissemination. The reality of “statecraft” and “deterrence” is more and more on view. And it is a reality that lies at the heart of modernity. For more than a century, modernity and state terror from the air – modernity and mass civilian death – have been mutually constitutive terms. But never before so instantly, so vividly, so ubiquitously.
AND THIS SITUATION – THIS VISIBILITY – PUTS THE FORCES OF ORDER IN A RAGE.
“Our federal government,” says Donald Rumsfeld, “is really only beginning to adapt its operations to the 21st century. Today we're engaged in the first war in history – unconventional and irregular as it may be – in an era of e-mails, blogs, cell phones, Blackberrys, Instant Messaging, digital cameras, a global Internet with no inhibitions, hand-held videocameras, talk radio, 24-hour news broadcasts, satellite television. There's never been a war fought in this environment before.” (Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, 17 February 2006) It is all so unfair, sighs the Torturer-in-Chief. It makes our Terror indistinguishable from theirs.
Rene -- Thoughts About Armenian Genocide Bill in France
I have yet to find an article that captures the ironies and contradictions of this current situation in France. I find it absolutely self-serving to speak about free speech, when it is mostly about money and business with Turkey; however, I do find these laws, in the case of the holocaust and the armenian genocide, strange.
On the surface, I understand the necessity or desire to force Turkey to recognize the Genocide (this itself has many philosophical dimensions) and I find it ridiculous and criminal that their own laws attempt to criminalize discussion of their own past and these murders. Turkey has been pacified for strategic and economic reasons by the West for far too long, and their policies against the Kurds continue to be abysmal, despite the improvements in recent years.
So from an Armenian perspective from the diapora and from the perspective of historical validation of these crimes, this (and any) law that applies pressure on Turkey is good. And in this sense of the laws against denying the holocaust stand, why not include other Genocides as well?
I have not pinpointed my own discomforts. but most have to do with the incredible amount of hypocrisy these laws reinforce. So this is the major point of contradiction. That, for example, we live in a time when genocides are committed in our midst, and yet we struggle to live out these dramas in (allbeit important) history.
The selectivity of these laws and more importantly their exclusions of many other genocides raises problems and questions. Is it necessary to forget the Armenian Genocide of 1915 or the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from historic Palestine (see Elan Pappe) to remember the Holocaust of the Jews? What is our relation to history? And how far our desire to rectify the past? What of our desire to rectify the present? Do they have a relationship and what is the nature of this relationship? How is history used within politics and for what purpose?
What I find interesting about this article is its position in relation to the holocaust (which btw from Agamben's perspective is a disastrous and incorrect term, see remnants of auschwitz) and the absurd contradictions of these EU officials, who speaks as if this law was such a great anomaly.
Of course, one interesting note not mentioned here is that Swiss anti-racism laws actually generalize this question of denial and make it illegal to deny any crime against humanity. More to be said about that, but these are just some quick thoughts. -rg
Paris Link, France
Oct 13 2006
Armenian genocide: The EU is picking the wrong battle
Thu, 12 Oct 2006 22:40:00
A law, proposed by the Socialist party, has been voted through the
Assemblée Nationale today. Turkey is furious, as is the EU. However,
they forget one thing - the holocaust is banned in many countries
across Europe. Time to be less selective with our memories.
A little perspective. Holocaust denial is illegal in the following
Austria (6 month to 20 years prison sentence),
Belgium (maximum one year sentence or a fine),
Czech Republic (6 month to 2 years prison sentence),
France (maximum two year sentence or a fine),
Germany (maximum five year sentence or a fine),
Israel (maximum five year sentence),
Lithuania (maximum ten year sentence),
Poland (maximum three year sentence),
Romania (6 month to 2 year sentence),
Slovakia (maximum three year sentence)
Switzerland (maximum 15 month sentence or fine)
Today, French socialists have voted through a law that will make
denial of the Armenian holocaust illegal as well, with a one year
jail sentence and a fine. Not wishing to take part in a debate that
they morally could not win, the UMP refused to take part, making the
actual vote (106-19) something of a cakewalk for the Socialists.
Rene -- Jean-Luc Godard -- Centre Pompidou
Art World Stuff
Have been looking for some articles about the exhibition, below a short text by Matthieu which was published in Frieze. I also found a article, which I did not paste below, because it really deserves to be looked at online, includes a diagram of the organization of the space and worth looking at, link below -rg
and this is Matthieu's text:
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Like an X-rated film, the much anticipated and controversial ‘Godard show’ began with a series of disclaimers. An official sign posted near the escalators read ‘not suitable for all audiences’. Museum attendants warned parents with kids not to take them into the final room (‘Beware there is a TV screen showing porn on a kitchen table!’). And finally, pasted on the entrance wall, instead of the usual vinyl lettering, an enlarged photocopy of what seemed to be a draft press release announced, ‘The Pompidou Centre decided not to carry out the exhibition project entitled “Collage(s) de France. Archaeology of the Cinema”, because of artistic, technical and financial difficulties that it presented, and to replace it by another project entitled “Travel(s) in Utopia, JLG, 1946–2006, In Search of Lost Theorem”.’ Jean-Luc Godard – initials JLG – himself carefully crossed out the words ‘technical and financial’ from the official text (but one can, of course, still read them). The exhibition’s new title was handwritten on the photocopy in marker pen, next to a crossed-out picture of a model of the cancelled exhibition. On some shelves left in the entrance (as if an employee had forgotten to remove them before the show opened) remained the pens used by JLG.
In the publication accompanying this exhibition – and the integral cinema retrospective of Godard’s 140 works (feature and short films, essays, commissions, music videos, commercials) showing alongside it – Dominique Paini writes: ‘At the beginning of the autumn, a model of nine rooms was developed, made manually by the filmmaker. Drawing methodologically on an exploration of memory (whence the notion of archaeology), this model “exhibited cinematic thought [...] and provided a critical point of view on the very fact of exhibiting cinema”.’ Half a year before the opening the press announced that Godard had evicted Paini, ‘his’ curator. Since then he has communicated only via handwritten faxes to the administrator of the Pompidou Centre. No press release was issued (according to the filmmaker’s wishes), and he did not attend the opening. He has not made any public comment so far except in an interview for the newspaper Libération, in which he summarized the show as ‘two exhibitions together, but nothing remains of the first one. What one sees is the screenplay of this exhibition, which was never made. It is the State. It is authority. And it is maybe my relationship with all that.’
Avi -- Amira Hass -- Forbidden to settlers, not the state
Palestine / Israel
Forbidden to settlers, not the state
By Amira Hass
The Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration did well to inform the Israeli public about the steps being taken to ensure that the olive harvest is conducted properly; the season began last week. Well-trained Israeli ears are quick to locate the matrices of that well-guarded harvest: any village that might serve as the target of settlers' attacks on Palestinian farmers, their orchards or their crops.
In contrast to the limited military and police protection that Palestinian harvesters received in the previous two years, this year, the protection is expected to be especially serious, and the IDF talks of "harvesting to the very last olive." This implies that attempts by settlers to attack or intimidate the harvesters will be averted. Rabbi Arik Ascherman, director of Rabbis for Human Rights, is under the impression that, at least at the command level, the IDF is determined to protect the welfare of the harvesters and the harvest.
Harassment and attacks by settlers, who tried to terrify the villagers, existed even before 2000, but they grew more prevalent after the second intifada began. The army and the police turned out to be either absent, helpless or apathetic. The military commanders found an easy way out: They closed vast areas of farmland to their owners, the Palestinians, as a means of "protecting them" against the settlers.
Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) and other left-wing Israeli organizations, such as the Ta'ayush Arab Jewish Partnership, decided as early as 2002 to accompany the Palestinian farmers, despite the danger that the settlers would also attack them. The rich experience of RHR activists supplied the factual basis for a petition against the state and the security forces that was submitted by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, together with this dissident group of rabbis and five Palestinian villages, to the High Court of Justice in 2004. It took the court two years to hear the petition, including the state's responses, additions and corrections to the petition, examining the state's assurances, correcting the responses and so forth. But in July 2006, the court handed down a ruling that obliged the security forces to protect Palestinians' property rights and their right to cultivate their land. The IDF, the Civil Administration and the police are now bound by the court's ruling. That is why they now sound more resolute than ever before in their warnings to the settlers.
Avi -- B'Tselem update - 1.4 million Gazans still without electricity
Palestine / Israel
All links are available via
09 Oct. 06
1.4 million Gazans still without electricity twelve hours a day
Israel must finance the rehabilitation of the power plant it bombed in the Gaza Strip. This is one of the conclusions of B'Tselem's new report, Act of Vengeance, which describes and analyzes the harsh effects of the Israeli Air Force's destruction of the power plant in June. B'Tselem states that the bombing was illegal, and calls on the government to finance upgrading the infrastructure for transferring electricity from Israel to the Gaza Strip; to reinstate legislation permitting individuals and entities harmed by the bombing to sue Israel for compensation; to open criminal investigations against the persons who planned and carried out the attack, with the intention of prosecuting them; and to prohibit the IDF from attacking civilians and civilian objects.
Some three months after the bombing, 1.4 million Gazans remain without a steady supply of electricity. The power stoppages significantly affect the level of health services they receive. The inability to refrigerate food has increased the risk of food poisoning. The water and sewage systems, which rely on a regular supply of electricity, have been severely impaired, with most city dwellers receiving water for two to three hours a day. B'Tselem warns that the sewage system in the northern Gaza Strip is liable to collapse and flood neighboring communities with raw sewage.
Lacanian Ink -- Badiou -- The Subject of Art
The Subject of Art
transcript from a talk by Alain Badiou
My Father was accustomed to say, "We must begin by the beginning." So, I must begin this lecture about the subject of art by its beginning. But, what is this beginning? I think we have to begin with the oldest question—the question of being, the question of being as being, of being qua being. What is being? What are we saying when we say something is, something of art is…? Something of art is a joy forever, for example. What are we saying? I begin by a fundamental distinction between three levels of the signification of being.
First, when I say something is, I just say something is a pure multiplicity. 'Something is' and 'something is a multiplicity' is the same sentence. So, it's a level of being qua being. Being as such is pure multiplicity. And the thinking of a pure multiplicity is finally mathematics.
The second level is when we are saying something exists. It is the question of existence as a distinct question of the question of being as such. When we are saying something exists we are not speaking of a pure multiplicity. We are speaking of something which is here, which is in a world. So existence is being in a world, being here or, if you want, appearing, really appearing in a concrete situation. That is ‘something exists.'
And finally, the third level is when we are saying that something happens. When something happens we are not saying only that it is a multiplicity—a pure multiplicity, and we are not saying only that it is something in a world—something which exists here and now. 'Something happens' is something like a cut in the continuum of the world, something which is new, something also which disappears—which appears, but also which disappears. Because happening is when appearing is the same thing as disappearing.
Urbanomic -- 20th Century Spinozist : Rancière on Deleuze
David Rabouin: How did you come to be interested in Deleuze's work?
Jacques Ranciere: Through others, in fact. I was a colleague of Deleuze's for a long time, but without feeling any particular affinity with his writings. After his death, there were a certain number of organised events where people wanted to include points of view that were a little bit "external". That is to say that there are many of his texts that I came to read very late -- although of course I knew certain of them for various reasons. I had for example read the Nietzsche for my agrégatif, the Proust because it interested me, Anti-Oedipus because of its polemical and political currency at the time; but many texts, I had only viewed from afar and I became interested through the agency of two things: firstly the request that was made of me to speak about Deleuze as a "non-Deleuzian", and secondly my own preoccupations, as a function of which I have privileged the texts in his oeuvre that one might call aesthetic.
DR: This aesthetic bias produces some interesting effects. When one reads the different studies that you have dedicated to Deleuze, whether on literature, painting or cinema, one is struck to see that he takes up quite a constant position despite the difference of his objects. Is there, to take up one of your questions, is there something like a "Deleuzian aesthetics"?
JR: I am struck, whether it's a matter of painting, literature or cinema, by the same fundamental approach of Deleuze. It operates in two moments: always, the affirmation of a sort of radical materiality, immanent to pictorial expression, literary language – for the cinema it's a little more complicated – the affirmation then, of a sort of characteristic of the pictorial or literary object; but, in a second moment, he produces a sort of return. For example, what seems to be a definition of painting starting from a formal grid is revealed as a description of a sort of history. I've said in speaking of Bacon that it is almost a manner of transforming each canvas into an allegory of the picture, then into an allegory of painting itself. Deleuze shows us in each picture a working on the Figure where it appears as assailed by the forces of the Outside, trying to evacuate itself but ultimately held in place. Each picture becomes a sort of crucifixion or a "Figure of violations" which is an allegory of all of painting. The same with happens with literature. For example, Deleuze literalises Proust's formula according to which the writer creates another language within language; he shows us the language of Kafka torn apart by the moaning of Gregory in Metamorphosis or that of Melville by the whispers of Isabelle in /Pierre/. But the langauge of Kafka or Melville remains the common language, unaffected by the sounds that it describes. Deleuze must therefore allegorise this unlocatable other language in transforming the fictional traits assumed in the description of the characters into imaginary traits of language. I've shown the same thing for cinema, in regard to this rupture of the sensory-motor schema which, according to him, divides cinema into two ages: that of the movement-image and that of the time-image. Here again the rupture is actually illustrated through fictional traits: there is for example James Stewart's leg in plaster in Rear Window or his vertigo in Vertigo which act as figuration of the sensory-motor paralysis and thus of the passage to another age of the image and of cinema. The same device appears several times. As if Deleuze makes of art a radical critique of representation, addressed to a sort of total immanence; and at the same time, as if this immanence must always be transformed at once into something like an allegory or a scenario, which is properly speaking a metaphysical scenario – and which, it every case, supposes that one must reintegrate or reinvest in a massive fashion all that depends on the fictional or historial aspect of the picture, the film or the novel.
NYC Indymedia -- MIT Out of New Orleans!
For those interested in the developing effects of Neoliberal ideology in Post-Katrina New Orleans and the critical role universities can play, this is an important document. -rg
MIT Out of New Orleans!
MIT is partnering with the Catholic Church in the destruction of affordable housing in New Orleans.
By Elizabeth Cook
MIT is partnering with the Catholic Church and other entities in the "redevelopment" of Lafitte Housing Development, which will entail the destruction of over 800 units of affordable housing. We call on MIT to withdraw from this plan.
Keywords: Class, Local, Human Rights, Race, Globalization, Poverty, Corporations, Housing & Development, Civil Rights,
Nine activists were arrested in an attempted reoccupation of Lafitte Development
Dr. Yossi Sheffi
Professor at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
C3/Hands off Iberville
New Orleans, La.
October 3rd, 2006
Dr. Yossi Sheffi,
I read with your interest your statements, in regards to New Orleans, on the MIT web site, dated September 7, 2006 ( http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2006/katrina-sheffi.html).
I must say, that it is one of the most dishonest and self-serving analysis of the situation in New Orleans I have read in some time.
As someone serving in the field of academia, it is rather surprising that your analysis would be so flawed. But then again, when one examines your bio, the fact that you have personally profited off of government contracts probably explains this situation.
I am a native of New Orleans, having lived here most of my life, and just prior to Katrina, I became involved in housing issues in the city, namely in regards to public housing.
I am with C3/Hands off Iberville, and we have been involved with organizing and working with residents of public housing to save the Iberville Housing Development from developers, and, since Katrina, to reopen public housing in New Orleans.
HUD has slated much of public housing to be demolished, though many units were hardly damaged by the flood waters. MIT has chosen to become involved in one such demolition project, that of the Lafitte Housing Development.
MIT is partnering with Enterprise Foundation and the Catholic Church, through Providence Community Housing, to "redevelop" Lafitte after its demolition, and create "mixed-income" housing. I have seen some of the Lafitte apartments, since Katrina, and they are in excellent shape, many just needing a good scrubbing.
In terms of racial and social justice, so-called "mixed income" housing in this country has fallen far short of those ideals.
Under the guise of creating "mixed income" housing in the year 2000, the St. Thomas Housing Development was demolished, and 1400 residents permanently displaced. No one knows where the residents are living now or how they have fared since the destruction of their neighborhood, and then further displacement due to Katrina.
Fewer than 100 residents have been allowed to return to St. Thomas, in the "new" River Gardens Development. Does the same fate await the Lafitte Housing Development?
ZAPAGRINGO -- Urgent Solidarity with Oaxaca
Urgent Solidarity with Oaxaca
In addition to local solidarity actions such as protests at Mexican embassies and consulates, civil society organizations in Oaxaca are now calling for people from throughout Mexico and the world to come to Oaxaca to support them in resisting government repression...see the communiqué below and take action!
Encampment for Dignity and Against Repression in Oaxaca
Donate Seventy-Two Hours for Peace
By Civil Society Organizations of Oaxaca
October 3, 2006
Since the beginning of Oaxaca’s conflict, despite the arbitrary outrages to which the population has been subjected, there had not been such fear that the conflict would be resolved through the use of senseless, indiscriminate force.
The government’s discourse in recent days shows that there is a repositioning on its part going on in order to obtain control of the conflict and contain it, so that the people begin to accept that there will be no destitution of or resignation by Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, and that will be under the current government structure that what is being called a “New Reform” will be developed for the state.
The government has already begun the first phase of this operation, which is based the intimidation of the population, in order to persuade it not to continue fighting for justice.
Since last week there have been aerial operations on the part of the armed forces, mobilization of troops from the Federal Preventive Police, the Army and the Navy as part of preparations for an intervention in Oaxaca.
Nettime -- Brian Holmes -- Invisible States
[I would like to publish on nettime this rather long essay, which was
commissioned for Capital (It Fails Us Now) - not only a song by the
Gang of Four, but also an exhibition held in Oslo at the end of last
year and in Tallinn at the very beginnning of this one. The reason
for publishing this text on nettime is simply to ensure the free
circulation of cultural content, irrespective of its "value" (well
done, poorly done, not done at all, as Robert Filliou used to say).
The text has been printed, along with many other documents from the
exhibition, by Simon Sheik, Katya Sander and B_Books, Berlin. Get your
copy from them. I haven't yet seen the results but I'm sure it's a
The essay attempts to diagnose the vicissitudes of the welfare state,
particularly in northern Europe, over the last 50 years. It is based
on my research and on interviews which I conducted in Norway and
Estonia, making use of the funds of the soon-to-be-defunct institution
NIFCA (a relic of the Cold War, you will no longer need to know what
the letters stand for). There is some solid analysis in here. I
believe this is a lucid and precise look at the decay of the common
over that period of time. The recent Swedish elections prove the
point. Continued belief in this kind of state would be idiotic - if
there weren't so much to lose by abandoning it all together. For
better and for worse, the invisible welfare state is the paradox of
our time. We will all remain hamstrung until we collectively go beyond
Europe in the Age of Capital Failure
After 9/11 and its worldwide consequences, after the travesty of
Iraq?s supposed weapons of mass destruction, after the collapse of the
project for an EU Constitution, after the banlieue riots in France
and all they reveal about neocolonial racism on the Old Continent,
it might be easier to agree that capital is really failing us, right
now. But the most important question is: who are ?we?? And how exactly
do we experience the very real breakdowns of that immense and highly
abstracted articulation of society which goes under the name of
capital? How to map out that articulation, as it changes over time to
reach a point of what now appears as permanent crisis? How to locate
and name the living flesh of capital failure?
The exhibition Capital (It Fails Us Now) has its locus in two national
states on the northern edges of Europe: Norway, which has declined to
be a formal member of the European Union, and Estonia, which is among
the new members in the former East. In both these countries (but for
very different reasons) the form of the state as a democratic instance
and an economic project is intensely at issue. In what follows I will
not give any account of the exhibition itself, but rather focus on the
changing forms of the capitalist state, within a European context that
is structured not only by its shaky supranational architecture, but
also by far-ranging transformations of the world economy.
The point is not to expect salvation or damnation from what Engels
famously referred to as ?the ideal collective capitalist.? 
Instead, the point is to create a framework for understanding the
transformations of an institutional and legal mix (the state) that
attempts to mediate, on the one hand, between the inhabitants of a
national territory and the individual capitalist enterprises that
organize their productivity; and on the other, between this bounded
national territory and the relatively anarchic transnational space
into which it is inserted by the constant flux of trade, investment,
interstate alliances and relations of force.
Within the world-system composed by the capitalist democracies of the
post-WWII era, the state has in effect been called upon to act a kind
of double filter, articulating the specific relations between its
various classes of inhabitants, as well as their general relations
with the outside world. In this respect, the state is - or more
precisely, has attempted to be - the ?integral of power formations,?
to borrow the phrase with which Felix Guattari once described capital.
 The democratic state, as a crossroads of economic power and
popular representation, has at its best been something like the means
which society has given itself to make capital visible, to place
its operations on the negotiating table. One need not be surprised,
then, to find a complex and problematizing exhibition of visual art
exploring precisely the ways in which this project of visibility now
appears to fail.
Indeed, the postwar democratic state has claimed to be an integrally
public and fully transparent articulation between all the conflicting
forces at play in the human universe, including not only the powers
of capital and its associated imperatives of military production and
warfare, but also the expressed needs and desires of populations
outside any economic logic or will to domination. It is precisely the
existence of this claim, or this aspiration - concretized for a time
in what was known as ?the welfare state? - that allows us to speak of
the failure of capital. But it is also this democratic claim that is
clearly and inexorably breaking down, as the form and function of the
mediating national state morphs and reconfigures under the pressure of
global economic forces and conflicting wills to dominance. The result
of the breakdown is a murky, opaque society, a world of unexpected
clashes and fires in the night. What we should then explore - if there
is any wish to even begin rediscovering a ?we? - is the very texture
of this opacity: the forms of capital fa
Rene -- Etienne Balibar -- Some Remarks about the Controversy on whether boycotting or not the Israeli Universities
Palestine / Israel
Conduct a search in Google with boycott Israel and Etienne Balibar and most of the results have the following quote:
As Etienne Balibar says, “Israel should not be allowed to instrumentalize the genocide of European Jews to put [itself] above the law of nations.”
These are often pages which are justifying the academic boycott. What I have posted below is a text by him after a visit to Israel. The Joseph Massad article posted earlier got me curious to see what he had written. Here it is, -rg
Professeur mrite lUniversit de Paris X Nanterre
Professor, Critical Theory, University of California Irvine
Some Remarks about the Controversy on whether boycotting or not the Israeli Universities
I have just returned from a visit to Israel and Palestine, and I want to contribute some remarks to the ongoing debate about the proposal of a boycott of Israeli Universities.
I shall be permitted to first recall in which conditions I was invited to Israel and went there on a short visit from January 5 to 9, 2003. I was presenting a paper at the International Workshop on Catastrophes in the Age of Globalization organized by scholars working at Tel Aviv University, sponsored by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Israeli Science Foundation. I am very grateful for this invitation, which allowed me to travel for the third time to this country in a difficult period of its history. To this main purpose of my visit, another two additional activities were added: 1) (with the other participants of the workshop) a meeting and debate, co-sponsored by the Jerusalem Center for Alternative Information, with representatives of Israeli and Palestinian Humanitarian Associations and NGOs active in the Occupied Territories, and the UNRWA, which took place in East-Jerusalem on January 8 ; 2) a Lecture with debate that I gave on January 9 at MUWATIN (Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy) in Ramallah, on the joint invitation of MUWATIN and SHAML (Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Center).
On the occasion of the open session of the Workshop held at Tel Aviv University on January 3, I made the following statement before presenting my contribution :
This is not a banal opportunity for me to visit Israel, not only because it is only my third visit, but because of the dramatic circumstances. Another bloody suicide-bombing yesterday in Tel Aviv, and in the same time several targeted or untargeted murders of Palestinian civilians, while the US troops preparing for a war in the region have reached the 150 000 I have come here to work, talk, listen, discuss topics of common interest, but also to protest against the Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories, and more generally the way the State of Israel is treating the Palestinian Question, i.e. the rights and lives of the Palestinian people. But I am not very fond of teaching lessons to others, and I would not have come if the protest did not come first, very eloquently, and with considerable risks for themselves, from Israeli Citizens, Intellectuals and Peace Activists. Indeed I want to join this protest, to participate in it in a modest manner.
Rene -- Massad -- The legacy of Jean-Paul Sartre
Palestine / Israel
The legacy of Jean-Paul Sartre
Until European intellectuals take on board the racist basis of the Jewish State, their support for the struggle of the Palestinians will always ring hollow, writes Joseph Massad*
What is it about the nature of Zionism, its racism, and its colonial policies that continues to escape the understanding of many European intellectuals on the left? Why have the Palestinians received so little sympathy from prominent leftist intellectuals such as Jean- Paul Sartre and Michel Foucault or only contingent sympathy from others like Jacques Derrida, Pierre Bourdieu, Etienne Balibar, and Slavoj Zizek? Edward Said wrote once about his encounters with Sartre and Foucault (who were anti-Palestinian) and with Gilles Deleuze (who was anti-Zionist) in this regard. The intellectual and political commitments inaugurated by a pro-Zionist Sartre and observed by Said, however, remain emblematic of many of the attitudes of leftist and liberal European intellectuals today.
While most of these intellectuals have taken public stances against racism and white supremacy, have opposed Nazism and apartheid South Africa, seem to oppose colonialism, old and new, most of them partake of a Sartrian legacy which refuses to see a change in the status of European Jews, who are still represented only as holocaust survivors in Europe. The status of the European Jew as a coloniser who has used racist colonial violence for the last century against the Palestinian people is a status they refuse to recognise and continue to resist vehemently. Although some of these intellectuals have clearly recognised Israeli Jewish violence in, and occupation of, the West Bank and Gaza, they continue to hold on to a pristine image of a Jewish State founded by holocaust survivors rather than by armed colonial settlers.
In an interview with the Revue d'études palestiniennes in 2000, the late Pierre Bourdieu said: "I have always hesitated to take public positions...because I did not feel sufficiently competent to offer real clarifications about, what is undoubtedly, the most difficult and most tragic question of our times (how to choose between the victims of racist violence par excellence and the victims of these victims?).
If by this, Bourdieu was referring to the holocaust, then he was a victim of Zionist propaganda. No matter how much Zionism continues to resurrect it and claim it as the excuse for its racist violence against the Palestinians, the holocaust does not justify Israel's racist nature. If Bourdieu accepted this, then his dilemma of choosing between Israel and its victims would have been readily resolved.
Take Jacques Derrida as another example, who when lecturing in occupied Jerusalem in 1986 stated his position as follows: "I wish to state right away my solidarity with all those, in this land, who advocate an end to violence, condemn the crimes of terrorism and of the military and police repression, and advocate the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the occupied territories as well as the recognition of the Palestinians' right to choose their own representatives to negotiations, now more indispensable than ever." Derrida, however, felt it necessary to assert in his speech that the Israeli State's "existence, it goes without saying, must henceforth be recognised by all".
Rene -- How George Bush Admitted His War Crimes
"War on Terror"
Although I like the point that this is a tacit admission of war crimes, I disagree that the act itself is nothing but a shield for prosecution. According to a lawyer from CCR, at no time in the history of the US has such a wide reaching denial of habeas corpus been enacted by Congress. This is no insignificant bill. -rg
How George Bush Admitted His War Crimes
by Richard W. Behan
It was brilliantly deceptive, trumping even his orchestrated dishonesty in leading us to war.
Buried in the 94 pages of the Military Commissions Act of 2006-the "detainee act" or the "torture bill"-the Bush Administration tacitly admits it has committed war crimes.
There is no question war crimes have been committed. Corporal Charles Graner, Private First Class Lyndie England, and several of their teammates are serving time, for mistreating prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.
At the time these soldiers were tried and sentenced many people felt the culpability must extend above the ranks of enlisted personnel, up some distance into the chain-of-command, perhaps to the top. Many still do.
There are two pairs of dots to be connected. One is a pair of small dots, the other two are huge.
On December 28, 2001, a memo to President Bush from his Office of Legal Counsel made two claims: the US court system had no jurisdiction regarding the detainees at Guantanamo, and the Geneva Conventions did not apply to them.
Anjalisa -- Open Letter: Shaheed Bhagat Singh's nephew appeals against Death Penalty
Compliments of Multitudes:
Open Letter: Shaheed Bhagat Singh's nephew appeals against Death Penalty
To President Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
We are writing to appeal to you to commute the death sentence of
Mohammed Afzal, the only accused in the Parliament Attack case to have
been sentenced to die. We write just in case what we have to say has
not already occurred to you, or in case you are inclined not to act on
your own natural instincts because you have been persuaded by some
more cold hearted logic.
We wish to argue that our country can honour Mahatma Gandhi and
Shaheed Bhagat Singh by doing away with the death penalty altogether
as there are many valid grounds for this:
1. A civil society should not descend to the status of murderers by
preferring revenge over far better forms of justice.
2. All investigations, however meticulous, are subject to human error.
Such errors become irreversible in case the death penalty is imposed.
All over the world there have been cases of executed people being
proved innocent after their death.
3. In countries like ours where there is a huge gap between the
privileged and the dispossessed, the death penalty becomes the final
method of implementing class injustice. A cursory glance at the list
of all those executed in our country will reveal the blatant fact that
almost all of them were poor. The rich are rarely found guilty and
even if they are, they are rarely executed.
4. There is no international evidence to suggest that the death
penalty is a deterrent to violent and heinous crime. Countries like UK
that did away with the death penalty did not see a rise in such crimes
while countries like the USA that continue to impose the penalty, show
Moving from the general to the particular, our main argument is not
that Mohammed Afzal is likely to be innocent, and we are not appealing
for a pardon but for the commutation of the death penalty imposed upon
him. Such a bold decision may or may not change the heart of Mr.
Afzal, but it is likely to send a positive signal to the world.
Mute -- 21st Century Noir
21st Century Noir
Created 15/08/2006 - 2:23pm
Central to the next issue of Mute, Vol.2 Issue 3, are questions about the apparently devastating future of 21st century urban development raised by Mike Davis' book Planet of the Slums. As a trailer to the forthcoming issue Iain Boal, member of the Bay Area group Retort, reviews the book, examines charges of ‘demographic reductionism’ and assesses the damage
While crews were still excavating the remains of dead firefighters and stockbrokers from the crater that was once the World Trade Center, the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctic suddenly collapsed. Sixty stories thick and covering more than 1300 square miles, the shelf had survived every warm pulse since the end of the Pleistocene. Yet in a mere few weeks, it pulverized – like a window hit by a cannonball – into thousands of iceberg shards…We don’t need Derrida to know which way the wind blows or why the pack ice is disappearing.
To anyone inside, and to many beyond, what passes for the radical academy, this is the unmistakable voice of Mike Davis, anatomist-in-chief of what Naomi Klein has dubbed ‘disaster capitalism’.
His dispatch from post-Katrina New Orleans – a powerful blend of vivid reportage and trenchant analysis – was vintage Davis. It is hard of think of anyone else with his ability to jump scale so tellingly from the micro-topographies of class and race to the hydrometeorology of the Mexican Gulf. Davis's bulletins from the disaster zones of modernity are beacons in a dark time.
Mute -- Imagined Affinities? Benedict Anderson's Pre-History of Globalisation
Imagined Affinities? Benedict Anderson's Pre-History of Globalisation
Created 30/08/2006 - 11:54am
In his latest book Under Three Flags: Anarchism and the Anti-Colonial Imagination, Benedict Anderson advances his longstanding ambition to rehabilitate the image of nationalism. Through a collaged history of the late 19th century, Anderson forges uncanny connections between anarchism and anti-colonial bourgeois nationalism. The interconnections between these autonomous forces, and not Marxism's internationalism, supposedly provide today's alter-globalisation movement with its pre-history. But, asks Esther Leslie, how many get to share in this 'globalised sensibility'?
Benedict Anderson’s Under Three Flags presents a history told in terms of action at a distance, where events, people and political movements are subject to forces darkly exerting their power across seas and continents, rather like the moon affecting water or the stars’ gravitational mass accumulating and compacting cosmic material. Anderson’s book is made of compressed material, dense with numerous historical figures who are drawn more or less fleetingly into a forcefield that pulsates through late 19th century political communities. Anderson’s own reference in the introduction is starry – his ‘comparative method' (which compares Japanese nationalism with Hungarian, or Indonesian with Swiss) confronts its objects first as discrete points of light in dark skies, but realises in the course of researching that these bright spots are not static and disconnected from each other, rather they are in ‘frantic motion, impelled hither and yon by the invisible power of the gravitational fields of which they are ineluctable, active parts’. Anderson as astronomer mapping the heavens is a recycled image. Previously he compared his critical gaze to the view through an ‘inverted telescope’: what is close is suddenly far away, defamiliarised. Now in Under Three Flags the distant bodies – anti-colonial campaigners and activists – are brought into view and the usual perspective from the centre is reversed, not simply by focussing on events far away from the centres of power, but by reflecting the centre – in all its refracted perspectives - through the eyes and intellect of the colonised. Names flash up here like suddenly glimpsed stars - Zo d’Axa, Suehiro Tettyo, Juan Luna and a thousand others in this firmament - though largest of all loom two men, the Filipino folklorist and political activist Isabelo de los Reyes and cosmopolitan intellectual Jose Rizal, the proponent of independence for the Philippines. Around them and in their wake diverse men brush past each other, travelling between political movements located at opposite poles of the planet, sharing goals, knowledge based on experience and sometimes prison cells. Blasted into visibility these myriad names fade one by one back into the inky canopy of the book (just see how long the index is and how many entries are singular). Constellations appear suddenly - Anderson writes in the introduction of a ‘montage’ style of history-writing - or they do not appear at all in any concrete sense, the connections between parts being rather, as Anderson has written of elsewhere, born of ‘simultaneity’, the shared consciousness of a shared temporal dimension.
The forces that jostle the book’s characters are powerful. On the negative side, and stunningly generative, is colonialism and its violence towards indigenous peoples. It is countered by no weaker a force, the twinned energies of anarchism and militant nationalism, a seeming paradox curiously entwined in the anti-colonial struggle, and manifested in one way or another in both legitimate bourgeois political parties and outlaw terrorists acting in concert or alone. Anderson finds this particular constellation of forces – colonialism, revolution, nationalism – compelling. He has long wanted to combine nationalism with Marxism, that is to say, to remedy from within what he perceives as Marxism’s reluctance to understand nationalism and especially its utopian progressive and fantasized aspects. In Imagined Communities, he has previously explored how ‘nation-ness, as well as nationalism, are cultural artifacts of a particular kind.’
Rene -- Pirates of the Mediterranean
"War on Terror"
Pirates of the Mediterranean
By ROBERT HARRIS
IN the autumn of 68 B.C. the world’s only military superpower was dealt a profound psychological blow by a daring terrorist attack on its very heart. Rome’s port at Ostia was set on fire, the consular war fleet destroyed, and two prominent senators, together with their bodyguards and staff, kidnapped.
The incident, dramatic though it was, has not attracted much attention from modern historians. But history is mutable. An event that was merely a footnote five years ago has now, in our post-9/11 world, assumed a fresh and ominous significance. For in the panicky aftermath of the attack, the Roman people made decisions that set them on the path to the destruction of their Constitution, their democracy and their liberty. One cannot help wondering if history is repeating itself.
Consider the parallels. The perpetrators of this spectacular assault were not in the pay of any foreign power: no nation would have dared to attack Rome so provocatively. They were, rather, the disaffected of the earth: “The ruined men of all nations,” in the words of the great 19th-century German historian Theodor Mommsen, “a piratical state with a peculiar esprit de corps.”