Rene -- ROBERT FISK: WHY BOMBING ASHKELON IS THE MOST TRAGIC IRONY
Palestine / Israel
ROBERT FISK: WHY BOMBING ASHKELON IS THE MOST TRAGIC IRONY
Independent.co.uk Tuesday, 30 December 2008
How easy it is to snap off the history of the Palestinians, to
delete the narrative of their tragedy, to avoid a grotesque irony
about Gaza which â€" in any other conflict â€" journalists would be
writing about in their first reports: that the original, legal owners
of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.
That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon
and the fields around it â€" Askalaan in Arabic â€" were dispossessed
from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on
the beaches of Gaza. They â€" or their children and grandchildren
and great-grandchildren â€" are among the one and a half million
Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of
whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically,
is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don't come from Gaza.
But watching the news shows, you'd think that history began yesterday,
that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped
up in the slums of Gaza â€" a rubbish dump of destitute people of no
origin â€" and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic
Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air
force. The fact that the five sisters kil led in Jabalya camp had
grandparents who came from the very land whose more recent owners
have now bombed them to death simply does not appear in the story.
Rene -- GAZA: THE LOGIC OF COLONIAL POWER
Palestine / Israel
GAZA: THE LOGIC OF COLONIAL POWER
by Nir Rosen
December 29, 2008 UK
As so often, the term 'terrorism' has proved a rhetorical smokescreen
under cover of which the strong crush the weak
I have spent most of the Bush administration's tenure reporting
from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia and other conflicts. I have
been published by most major publications. I have been interviewed
by most major networks and I have even testified before the senate
foreign relations committee. The Bush administration began its tenure
with Palestinians being massacred and it ends with Israel committing
one of its largest massacres yet in a 60-year history of occupying
Palestinian land. Bush's final visit to the country he chose to occupy
ended with an educated secular Shiite Iraqi throwing his shoes at him,
expressing the feelings of the entire Arab world save its dictators
who have imprudently attached themselves to a hated American regime.
Once again, the Israelis bomb the starving and imprisoned population
The world watches the plight of 1.5 million Gazans live on TV and
online; the western media largely justify the Israeli action. Even some
Arab outlets try to equate the Palestinian resistance with the might
of the Israeli military machine. And none of this is a surprise. The
Israelis just concluded a round-the-world public relations campaign
to gather support for their assault, even gaining the collaboration
of Arab states like Egypt.
The international community is directly guilty for this latest
massacre. Will it remain immune from the wrath of a desperate
people? So far, there have been large demonstrations in Lebanon,
Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Iraq. The people of the Arab world
will not forget. The Palestinians will not forget.
"All that you have done to our people is registered in our notebooks,"
as the poet Mahmoud Darwish said.
I have often been asked by policy analysts, policy-makers and those
stuck with implementing those policies for my advice on what I think
America should do to promote peace or win hearts and minds in the
Muslim world. It too often feels futile, because such a revolution in
American policy would be required that only a true revolution in the
American government could bring about the needed changes. An American
journal once asked me to contribute an essay to a discussion on whether
terrorism or attacks against civilians could ever be justified. My
answer was that an American journal should not be asking whether
attacks on civilians can ever be justified. This is a question for
the weak, for the Native Americans in the past, for the Jews in Nazi
Germany, for the Palestinians today, to ask themselves.
Anj -- Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood
Palestine / Israel
Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood
This is a guest post written by Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of
the Palestinian National Initiative. These comments and views are his
own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Huffington Post.
Barghouti is a former secular candidate for President of Palestine and
has been a strong advocate of non-violent responses to Israeli
occupation. Barghouti is thought by many to be a leading contender in
the next Palestinian presidential election. Perspectives have also been
solicited from various national leaders and incumbent Knesset leaders in
Here is a link to an interview
that Steve Clemons did with Barghouti in July 2008 regarding Barack
Obama's trip to Israel and Palestine.
Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood
The Israeli campaign of 'death from above' began around 11 am, on
Saturday morning, the 27th of December, and stretched straight through
the night into this morning. The massacre continues Sunday as I write
The bloodiest single day in Palestine since the War of 1967 is far from
over following on Israel's promised that this is 'only the beginning' of
their campaign of state terror. At least 290 people have been murdered
thus far, but the body count continues to rise at a dramatic pace as
more mutilated bodies are pulled from the rubble, previous victims
succumb to their wounds and new casualties are created by the minute.
What has and is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the
Israeli public relations machine is in full-swing, churning out lies by
Once and for all it is time to expose the myths that they have created.
Rene -- An interview with Roberto Esposito
Interesting to think about unfolding calamities in Gaza and elsewhere and the notion of immunity that has been investigated by Roberto Esposito. -rg
from diacritics 36.2 (2006) 49-56
Timothy C. Campbell
Translated by Anna Paparcone
In his first interview to appear in English, Esposito answers a number of questions as they relate to his elaboration of an affirmative biopolitics. He suggests where his own understanding of biopolitics converges and diverges with other contemporary Italian thinkers working on biopolitics, namely Giorgio Agamben and Antonio Negri, and then offers a concise summary of his own work on immunity, especially as it emerges in his Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy. He concludes the interview with a series of reflections on the meaning of death and birth for Nazism in light of its perverted concept of biopolitics.>
Timothy Campbell: The theme of biopolitics figures prominently in contemporary thought originating in Italy, especially in the work of Giorgio Agamben, Toni Negri, and your own. What do you think accounts for this recurring interest in bios and politics in Italy, and what distinguishes your discussion of biopolitics from both Agamben's and Negri's?
Roberto Esposito: It's true that Italy, perhaps more than any other country, is the place in which Foucault's reflections on biopolitics, which were left interrupted at the end of the 1970s, have been extended with more breadth and originality (without of course overlooking the important contributions Agnes Heller and Donna Haraway have made). Why? We might begin by observing that Italy is a country on the frontier, not only in a geographic sense, but also culturally, between different worlds, between Europe and the Mediterranean, and between North and South, with all of the richness and contradictions that come with that position. Italy is traversed but also in a certain sense constituted by this fracture, that is, by this sociocultural interval. Perhaps the sensibility to a theme such as biopolitics may be linked to this liminal condition of the border, for biopolitics is also situated at the intersection between apparently different languages such as those of politics and life, of law and of anthropology.
Rene -- If Gaza falls . . .
Palestine / Israel
If Gaza falls . . .
Israel’s siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip, no doubt designed finally to undermine the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June. Although both sides had violated the agreement before, this incursion was on a different scale. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel and the violence has not abated since then. Israel’s siege has two fundamental goals. One is to ensure that the Palestinians there are seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims. The second is to foist Gaza onto Egypt. That is why the Israelis tolerate the hundreds of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt around which an informal but increasingly regulated commercial sector has begun to form. The overwhelming majority of Gazans are impoverished and officially 49.1 per cent are unemployed. In fact the prospect of steady employment is rapidly disappearing for the majority of the population.
On 5 November the Israeli government sealed all the ways into and out of Gaza. Food, medicine, fuel, parts for water and sanitation systems, fertiliser, plastic sheeting, phones, paper, glue, shoes and even teacups are no longer getting through in sufficient quantities or at all. According to Oxfam only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza in November. This means that an average of 4.6 trucks per day entered the strip compared to an average of 123 in October this year and 564 in December 2005. The two main food providers in Gaza are the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme (WFP). UNRWA alone feeds approximately 750,000 people in Gaza, and requires 15 trucks of food daily to do so. Between 5 November and 30 November, only 23 trucks arrived, around 6 per cent of the total needed; during the week of 30 November it received 12 trucks, or 11 per cent of what was required. There were three days in November when UNRWA ran out of food, with the result that on each of these days 20,000 people were unable to receive their scheduled supply. According to John Ging, the director of UNRWA in Gaza, most of the people who get food aid are entirely dependent on it. On 18 December UNRWA suspended all food distribution for both emergency and regular programmes because of the blockade.
The WFP has had similar problems, sending only 35 trucks out of the 190 it had scheduled to cover Gazans’ needs until the start of February (six more were allowed in between 30 November and 6 December). Not only that: the WFP has to pay to store food that isn’t being sent to Gaza. This cost $215,000 in November alone. If the siege continues, the WFP will have to pay an extra $150,000 for storage in December, money that will be used not to support Palestinians but to benefit Israeli business.
Rene -- Gaza is Buckling -- Richard Falk, Israel and the New York Times
Palestine / Israel
Gaza is Buckling
Richard Falk, Israel and the New York Times
By ELLEN CANTAROW
December 26-28, 2008
As Israel nails shut the coffin that is Gaza under a siege that has
lasted nearly three years, steadily intensifying so that malnutrition
rates rival those of sub-Saharan Africa, sewage runs raw in the streets
and pollutes the ocean, homes are still being bulldozed to super-add
collective punishment upon collective punishment; men, women and
children are still being sniped at and killed; children are deafened by
continuing sonic booms, the vast majority of them suffer from
post-traumatic stress syndrome, and many of that majority have no
ambition other than becoming `martyrs,' Israel in mid-December denied
entry to Richard Falk, UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on
the occupied territories.
It is Dr. Falk's responsibility to report to the UN on conditions in
the occupied territories. Israel is blocking him from carrying out this
job. In an article that reads as if it rolled off the computers in
Israel's Government Press Office (no quotes by anyone friendly to
Falk's point of view, for instance), The New York Times, tells us Dr.
Falk `has long been criticized in Israel for what many Israelis say
[emphasis mine] are unfair and unpalatable views.' The blind
attribution is typical.
Unlike European Union ministers who recently condemned Israel's acts in
Gaza and the West Bank only to turn around and approve upgrading the
EU's relations with Israel, Falk will not compromise. He not only
describes Israel's atrocities in Gaza, but calls for immediate
protective action `to offset the persisting and wide-ranging violations
of the fundamental human right to life.' He also calls for an
International Criminal Court investigation to `determine whether the
Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the
Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of
international criminal law.'
Perhaps it's his clarity of focus and refusal to back down that
constitute his sins in Israel's eyes? (The usual hasbarah about
anti-Semitism, etc., is to be discounted, though being Jewish Falk may
fall into the category, `self-hating Jew.') Many others, Jewish and
not Jewish (including Israeli Jews never quoted by The New York Times)
have charged Israel with violations of international law and war crimes
in Gaza. As Falk himself noted in his statement about Gaza to the UN
(see `Gaza: Silence is not an Option' at The Heathlander and other
Internet sites), the Secretary General of the UN, the President of the
General Assembly, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have
all condemned Israel for its monstrous siege. `Karen AbyZayd,' stated
Falk, `who heads the UN relief effort in Gaza, offered first-hand
confirmation of the desperate urgency and unacceptable conditions
facing the civilian population of Gaza. Although many leaders have
commented on the cruelty and unlawfulness of the Gaza blockade imposed
by Israel, such a flurry of denunciations by normally cautious UN
officials has not occurred on a global level since the heyday of South
African apartheid.' Other denunciations have been made by B'tselem, an
Israeli human rights organization that in June, 2006 called Israel's
destruction of Gaza's electrical power plant `a war crime' (`Aiming
attacks at civilian objects is forbidden under International
Humanitarian Law and is considered a war crime. The power plant bombed
by Israel is a purely civilian object and bombing it did nothing to
impede the ability of Palestinian organizations to fire rockets into
Israeli territory.') Last month, Switzerland accused Israel of
violating international law by destroying Palestinian homes in East
Jerusalem and Ramallah. This denunciation, writes a reporter for The
First Post, is `arguably the strongest condemnation of Israeli policy
towards the Palestinians to come from any western European country
since Charles de Gaulle famously attacked the `oppression, repression
and expulsions' of Palestinians by Israel over 40 years ago.'.
(November 17, 2008.)
Rene -- ISRAELI BLOCKADE 'FORCES PALESTINIANS TO SEARCH RUBBISH DUMPS FOR FOOD'
Palestine / Israel
ISRAELI BLOCKADE 'FORCES PALESTINIANS TO SEARCH RUBBISH DUMPS FOR FOOD'
by Peter Beaumont
December 21, 2008 UK
UN fears irreversible damage is being done in Gaza as new statistics
reveal the level of deprivation
Impoverished Palestinians on the Gaza Strip are being forced to
scavenge for food on rubbish dumps to survive as Israel's economic
blockade risks causing irreversible damage, according to international
Thousands of people took to the streets in Beirut's southern suburbs
on Friday to join a Hizbullah-led protest against Israel's brutal
blockade of the Gaza Strip.Figures released last week by the UN
Relief and Works Agency reveal that the economic blockade imposed by
Israel on Gaza in July last year has had a devastating impact on the
local population. Large numbers of Palestinians are unable to afford
the high prices of food being smuggled through the Hamas-controlled
tunnels to the Strip from Egypt and last week were confronted with the
suspension of UN food and cash distribution as a result of the siege.
The figures collected by the UN agency show that 51.8% - an
"unprecedentedly high" number of Gaza's 1.5 million population - are
now living below the poverty line. The agency announced last week that
it had been forced to stop distributing food rations to the 750,000
people in need and had also suspended cash distributions to 94,000
of the most disadvantaged who were unable to afford the high prices
being asked for smuggled food.
"Things have been getting worse and worse," said Chris Gunness of the
agency yesterday. "It is the first time we have been seeing people
picking through the rubbish like this looking for things to eat. Things
are particularly bad in Gaza City where the population is most dense.
Rene -- THEY LIED ABOUT IRAQ IN 2003, AND THEY'RE STILL LYING NOW
THEY LIED ABOUT IRAQ IN 2003, AND THEY'RE STILL LYING NOW
by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 22, 2008 UK
Triumphalists are getting off on Iraq again, intoning hallelujah songs
as they did after staging the fall of Saddam's statue then again and
again, sweet lullabies to send us into blissful sleep and wake to a new
dawn. The composers and orchestrators - Blair, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld,
Straw, Hoon and Rice - still believe history is on their side.
Bush visited his troops at Camp Victory in Iraq this month and said:
"Iraq had a record of supporting terror, of developing and using
weapons of mass destruction, was routinely firing at American military
personnel, systematically violating UN resolutions ... Iraqis, once
afraid to leave their homes are going back to school and shopping in
malls ... American troops are returning home because of success." Only
one shoe and one without a sharp stiletto was hurled at him by Muntadar
al-Zaidi, an Iraqi who begged to differ.
Gordon Brown, also in Iraq, spun his own fairy tale of Baghdad, where
everyone is living happily ever after and British soldiers come home
proud heroes. The reality is that some of our soldiers are broken -
physically and mentally - fighting this illegal and unpopular war and
that too many did terrible things in the land of endless tears. General
Sir Mike Jackson now blames the Americans for their "appalling"
decisions. And yet he too insists the campaign was a success.
Rene -- The revenge of normality shall not pass, neither at the Polytechnic nor anywhere else!
The revenge of normality shall not pass, neither at the Polytechnic nor anywhere else!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
(Statement by the Occupied Athens Polytechnic, issued a few moments ago)
From Saturday 20th of December onward, following the clashes around the Athens Polytechnic (one of the tens of mass clashes between protestors and police that followed the assassination of 15-year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos) there has been strong speculation surrounding the occupation of the Athens Polytechnic.
Continuous information that has been coming in regarding a possible police raid in the occupied Polytechnic, combined with the strategic maneuvering of the riot police during the clashes, foretold the obvious: The police are preparing to raid the occupied university. Bypassing the senate, surrendering the Polytechnic to the police and the ministry of interior, the attorney general sent us an indirect yet clear message, with threats and blackmailing, that we have “a few hours” left.
Rene -- THE SHOES WE LONGED FOR
Whatever remains of a left could learn a lot from this event. -rg
THE SHOES WE LONGED FOR
by Sami Ramadani
December 17, 2008 UK
The young journalist who took on Bush has become a unifying Iraqi
symbol, a national hero
Within a few unlikely seconds, a pair of size 10 shoes have become the
most destructive weapon the people of Iraq have managed to throw at the
occupying powers, after nearly six years of occupation and formidable
resistance. One Iraqi writer called the shoes, hurled by a journalist
at George Bush, "Iraq's weapon of comprehensive destruction".
While the uprisings of Falluja, Najaf, Basra and Baghdad against
the occupation will always remain as landmarks of a people resisting
occupation, these incredible seconds have united Iraqis in the most
Contrary to most media coverage, the 28-year-old TV reporter Muntadhar
al-Zaidi made history not by merely throwing a pair of shoes, the
highest expression of insult in Iraqi culture, at the US president,
but by what he said while doing so and as he was smothered by US and
Iraqi security men. He groaned as they dragged him out of the press
conference. They succeeded in silencing him - and according to his
brother he was beaten in custody - but he had already said enough
to shake the occupation and Nouri al-Maliki's Green Zone regime to
Strip the words away, and his and the Iraqi people's cry of deep
pain, anger and defiance would amount to no more than a shoe-throwing
insult. But the words were heard. "This is the farewell kiss, you dog,"
he shouted as he threw the first shoe. The crucial line followed the
second shoe: "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were
killed in Iraq." Once those words were heard, the impact of a pair
of shoes became electrifying. A young journalist has put aside the
demands of his profession, preferring to act as the loudest cry of his
long-suffering people. If one considers the torture and killings in
Iraqi and US jails that Muntadhar often mentioned in his reports for
al-Baghdadia satellite TV station, he was certainly aware he risked
being badly hurt.
As the Iraqi and Arab satellite stations switched from the live press
conference to reporting reaction to the event, the stunned presenters
and reporters were swept away by popular expressions of joy in the
streets, from Baghdad to Gaza to Casablanca. TV stations and media
websites were inundated with messages of adulation. The instant
reply to any criticism of "insulting a guest" was: "Bush is a mass
murderer and a war criminal who sneaked into Baghdad. He killed a
million Iraqis. He burned the country down."
Expressions of support and demands for Muntadhar's immediate release
have spread from Najaf and Falluja to Baghdad, and from Mosul in the
north to Basra in the south. An impressive show of anti-occupation
unity is developing fast, after being weakened by the sectarian
forces that the occupation itself has strengthened and nourished,
as Muntadhar himself used to stress.
No one asked after Muntadhar's religion or sect, but they all loved
his message. Indeed, I have yet to come across an Iraqi media outlet
or website that pronounced on his religion, sect or ethnicity. The
first I heard of his "sect" was through US and British media.
Rene -- Torture Without Regrets
Torture Without Regrets
Cheney's Unrepentent Confession
By MARJORIE COHN
December 19 - 21, 2008
Dick Cheney has publicly confessed to ordering war crimes. Asked about
waterboarding in an ABC News interview, Cheney replied, `I was aware of
the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process
cleared.' He also said he still believes waterboarding was an
appropriate method to use on terrorism suspects. CIA Director Michael
Hayden confirmed that the agency waterboarded three Al Qaeda suspects
in 2002 and 2003.
U.S. courts have long held that waterboarding, where water is poured
into someone's nose and mouth until he nearly drowns, constitutes
torture. Our federal War Crimes Act defines torture as a war crime
punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty if the victim
Under the doctrine of command responsibility, enshrined in U.S. law,
commanders all the way up the chain of command to the
commander-in-chief can be held liable for war crimes if they knew or
should have known their subordinates would commit them and they did
nothing to stop or prevent it.
Why is Cheney so sanguine about admitting he is a war criminal? Because
he's confident that either President Bush will preemptively pardon him
or President-elect Obama won't prosecute him.
Both of those courses of action would be illegal.
First, a president cannot immunize himself or his subordinates for
committing crimes that he himself authorized. On February 7, 2002, Bush
signed a memo erroneously stating that the Geneva Conventions, which
require humane treatment, did not apply to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
But the Supreme Court made clear that Geneva protects all prisoners.
Bush also admitted that he approved of high level meetings where
waterboarding was authorized by Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, John
Ashcroft, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and George Tenet.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey says there's no need for Bush to issue
blanket pardons since there is no evidence that anyone developed the
policies `for any reason other than to protect the security in the
country and in the belief that he or she was doing something lawful.'
But noble motives are not defenses to the commission of crimes.
Lt. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, said,
`There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration
has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered
is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to
Anj -- The Coming Insurrection
Primera Universidad en Nueva York okupada por l@s estudiantes!
Por favor pasalo a l@s compas en Chicago, GrecĂa, Italia,
EspaĂ±a y mas alla!
New School Occupied by Students in inspiration and solidarity with
Chicago, Greece, Spain, Italy and beyond!
New School Occupied! 10:30am Press Conference/Rally Today 12/18/08
CUNY Students statement - Distribute widely!!!
We write this statement from an occupied New School University. (WHAT
At 8pm, December 18th, over 75 students reclaimed the cafeteria at the
New School University as an autonomous student center. Students from
several Universities commandeered this space. Students of City
College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Hunter College and
the CUNY Graduate Center are here participating in this struggle. This
is every student's occupation.
If this can happen at the New School, through the organized activity
of 75 dedicated students, it can happen at CUNY. And we certainly have
reason to be upset: On the first day of the Fall 2008 semester, the
CUNY budget was slashed $50.6 million. Massive layoffs plague all our
schools. We are now being told of a looming $600-per-year tuition hike
and more colossal budget cuts to CUNY students and teachers, in a
school that was once FREE.
We will continue this campus occupation until our demands are met.
While the demands tonight are specific to The New School we will not
be satisfied until the students and faculty of CUNY, NYU, all the
consortium schools and beyond, have control over their universities.
Education should be free, student debts should be cancelled, students
and workers should work together to achieve our goals, and we start
Please, come out to the New School and support us! Join us! We are at
65 5th avenue (between 13th and 14th St.). The building will be open
to all consortium students at 7:30am, we invite you to come any time
tomorrow, but particularly at 10:30 when there will be a rally and
press conference. The morning hours will be crucial, and the
student-occupiers need to know that we are not struggling alone!
Our next stop? CUNY.
- CUNY students at The New School in Exile
Anj -- New School in Exile
Join the Occupation and Student
Study-in going on RIGHT NOW at the Graduate Faculty student center on
65 5th Ave, NY! It'll be fun, and it will make a concrete difference!
An Open Letter: Come Occupy a Building with UsA - ¦Now
We are writing to you from the inside of the New School Graduate Faculty
Building on 65 5th Ave. We are occupying it. Right now. Literally.
Students of the New School University, along with our partners from
other universities and groups â€" like NYU, Hunter College, City
College of NY, CUNY Graduate Center, and Borough of Manhattan Community
College, have organically risen up to demand the resignation of
President Bob Kerrey, Executive Vice President James Murtha, and Board
Member/torturer Robert B. Millard (he multi-tasks). We have come
together to prevent our study spaces from being flattened by corporate
bulldozers, to have a say in who runs this school, to demand that the
money we spend on this institution be used to facilitate the creation of
a better society, not to build bigger buildings or invest in companies
that make war. We have come here not only to make demands, but also to
live them. Our presence makes it clear that this school is ours, and
yours, if you are with us.
The outside doors have been closed now, so we can't exactly invite you
inâ€¦sorryâ€¦ We know you wanted a piece of the action, but
we'll be around for quite some time. Join us at 7 AM tomorrow when the
doors open again, or come now to stand outside with a sign in
solidarity. You are cordially invited to join us in any way you can. We
are not going anywhere. In the meantime, check out our Web site:
www.newschoolinexile.com. We have all night to make things interesting,
and the website will continue to be updated. Stay tuned for the musical
pieces, doctoral dissertations, and creative finger-paintings that seem
to be the natural result of 150 students locked into a building together
for a night.
Anj -- Anand Patwardhan -- Terror - The Aftermath
Thanks to Anand for this. His article was rejected by the Times of India and has not been published anywhere yet ... plz circulate ...bests anjx
Terror: The Aftermath
The attack on Mumbai is over. After the numbing sorrow comes the blame game and the solutions. Loud voices amplified by saturation TV: Why don't we amend our Constitution to create new anti-terror laws? Why don't we arm our police with AK 47s? Why don't we do what Israel did after Munich or the USA did after 9/11 and hot pursue the enemy? Solutions that will lead us further into the abyss. For terror is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It thrives on reaction, polarization, militarization and the thirst for revenge.
The External Terror
Those who invoke America need only to analyze if its actions after 9/11 increased or decreased global terror. It invaded oil-rich Iraq fully knowing that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, killing over 200,000 Iraqis citizens but allowing a cornered Bin Laden to escape from Afghanistan. It recruited global support for Islamic militancy, which began to be seen as a just resistance against American mass murder. Which begs the question of who created Bin Laden in the first place, armed the madarsas of Pakistan and rejuvenated the concept of Islamic jehad? Israel played its own role in stoking the fires of jehad. The very creation of Israel in 1948 robbed Palestinians of their land, an act that Mahatma Gandhi to his credit deplored at the time as an unjust way to redress the wrongs done to Jews during the Holocaust. What followed has been a slow and continuing attack on the Palestinian nation. At first Palestinian resistance was led by secular forces represented by Yasser Arafat but as these were successfully undermined, Islamic forces took over the mantle. The first, largely non-violent Intifada was crushed, a second more violent one replaced it and when all else failed, human bombs appeared.
Thirty years ago when I first went abroad there were two countries my Indian passport forbade me to visit. One was racist South Africa. The other was Israel. We were non-aligned and stood for disarmament and world peace. Today Israel and America are our biggest military allies. Is it surprising that we are on the jehadi hit list? Israel, America and other prosperous countries can to an extent protect themselves against the determined jehadi, but can India put an impenetrable shield over itself? Remember that when attackers are on a suicide mission, the strongest shields have crumbled. New York was laid low not with nuclear weapons but with a pair of box cutters. India is for many reasons a quintessentially soft target. Our huge population, vast landmass and coastline are impossible to protect. The rich may build new barricades. The Taj and the Oberoi can be made safer. So can our airports and planes. Can our railway stations and trains, bus stops, busses, markets and lanes do the same?
Adbusters -- Simon Critchley -- What’s Left After Obama?
Maybe this can be categorized under despondency or pessimism. It is clear to many the election of Obama will not suffice for any significant change. But this administration will need to be more receptive to the people on the street, since they are what put him in office. That makes it necessary that the struggle does not end at a voting booth. In fact, the struggle will not end, period. -rg
What’s Left After Obama?
All this talk of change may amount to little more than a fantasy.
Simon Critchley | 12 Nov 2008 | 31 comments
Obama’s victory marks a symbolically powerful moment in American history, defined as it is by the stain of slavery and the fact of racism. It will have hugely beneficial consequences for how the United States is seen throughout the world. His victory was also strategically brilliant and his campaign transformed those disillusioned with and disenfranchised by the Bush administration into a highly motivated and organized popular force. But I dispute that Obama’s victory is about change in any significant sense.
Obama’s politics is governed by an anti-political fantasy. It is the call to find common ground, the put aside our differences and achieve union. Obama’s politics is governed by a longing for unity, for community, for communion and the common good. The remedy to the widespread disillusion with Bush’s partisan politics is a reaffirmation of the founding act of the United States, the hope of the more perfect union expressed in the opening sentence of the US Constitution. It is a powerful moral strategy whose appeal to the common good attempts to draw a veil over the agonism and power relations constitutive of political life. The great lie of moralism in politics is that it attempts to deny the fact of power by concealing it under an anti-political veneer. At the same time, moralism engages in the most brutal and bruising political activity. But the reality of this activity is always disavowed along with any and all forms of partisanship. Moralistic politics is essentially hypocritical.
Rene -- David Harvey -- The Right to the City
The Right to the City
We live in an era when ideals of human rights have moved centre stage both politically and ethically. A great deal of energy is expended in promoting their significance for the construction of a better world. But for the most part the concepts circulating do not fundamentally challenge hegemonic liberal and neoliberal market logics, or the dominant modes of legality and state action. We live, after all, in a world in which the rights of private property and the profit rate trump all other notions of rights. I here want to explore another type of human right, that of the right to the city.
Has the astonishing pace and scale of urbanization over the last hundred years contributed to human well-being? The city, in the words of urban sociologist Robert Park, is:
man’s most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the city is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the city man has remade himself. 
The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from that of what kind of social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies and aesthetic values we desire. The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.
From their inception, cities have arisen through geographical and social concentrations of a surplus product. Urbanization has always been, therefore, a class phenomenon, since surpluses are extracted from somewhere and from somebody, while the control over their disbursement typically lies in a few hands. This general situation persists under capitalism, of course; but since urbanization depends on the mobilization of a surplus product, an intimate connection emerges between the development of capitalism and urbanization. Capitalists have to produce a surplus product in order to produce surplus value; this in turn must be reinvested in order to generate more surplus value. The result of continued reinvestment is the expansion of surplus production at a compound rate—hence the logistic curves (money, output and population) attached to the history of capital accumulation, paralleled by the growth path of urbanization under capitalism.
Anj -- Hotel Taj: Icon of whose media?
To read numerous interesting responses to the article please visit:
well said ( although Leopolds is a real dive wouldn't have thought of it as
a hang out for rich kids) .. anyway still... glad that this writer voiced
this concern. Just came thru from Varsha Nair ...thx .. anjxx
Hotel Taj: Icon of whose media?
Gnani Sankaran- *Tamil writer, Chennai.*
Watching at least four English news channels surfing from one another during
the last 60 hours of terror strike made me feel a terror of another kind.
The terror of assaulting one's mind and sensitivity with cameras, sound
bites and non-stop blabbers. All these channels have been trying to
manufacture my consent for a big lie called - *Hotel Taj the icon of India.*
Whose India, Whose Icon ?
It is a matter of great shame that these channels simply did not bother
about the other icon that faced the first attack from terrorists - the
Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station. CST is the true icon of
Mumbai. It is through this railway station hundreds of Indians from Uttar
Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Tamilnadu have poured into Mumbai
over the years, transforming themselves into Mumbaikars and built the Mumbai
of today along with the Marathis and Kolis
But the channels would not recognise this. Nor would they recognise the
thirty odd dead bodies strewn all over the platform of CST. No Barkha dutt
went there to tell us who they were. But she was at Taj to show us the
damaged furniture and reception lobby braving the guards. And the TV cameras
did not go to the government run JJ hospital to find out who those 26
unidentified bodies were. Instead they were again invading the battered Taj
to try in vain for a scoop shot of the dead bodies of the page 3
In all probability, the unidentified bodies could be those of workers from
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh migrating to Mumbai, arriving by train at CST
without cell phones and pan cards to identify them. Even after 60 hours
after the CST massacre, no channel has bothered to cover in detail what
The channels conveniently failed to acknowledge that the Aam Aadmis of India
surviving in Mumbai were not affected by Taj, Oberoi and Trident closing
down for a couple of weeks or months. What mattered to them was the stoppage
of BEST buses and suburban trains even for one hour. But the channels were
not covering that aspect of the terror attack. Such information at best
merited a scroll line, while the cameras have to be dedicated for real time
thriller unfolding at Taj or Nariman bhavan.
The so called justification for the hype the channels built around heritage
site Taj falling down (CST is also a heritage site), is that Hotel Taj is
where the rich and the powerful of India and the globe congregate. It is a
symbol or icon of power of money and politics, not India. It is the icon of
the financiers and swindlers of India. The Mumbai and India were built by
the Aam Aadmis who passed through CST and Taj was the oasis of peace and
privacy for those who wielded power over these mass of labouring classes.
Leopold club and Taj were the haunts of rich spoilt kids who would drive
their vehicles over sleeping Aam Aadmis on the pavement, the Mafiosi of
Mumbai forever financing the glitterati of Bollywood (and also the
terrorists) , Political brokers and industrialists.
It is precisely because Taj is the icon of power and not people, that the
terrorists chose to strike. The terrorists have understood after several
efforts that the Aam Aadmi will never break down even if you bomb her
markets and trains. He/she was resilient because that is the only way he/she
can even survive.
Betty - Sit-In Continues at Chicago Window Plant
Some of you may already have read/heard about this worker factory occupation
in Chicago. These kind of actions will need to continue until we get
justice during this time of economic crisis for all the working people
affected by the outrageous actions of those at the top. Be sure to read the
story below and I encourage you to sign the petition.
This link takes you to a petition to support the workers:
Subject: All out to Support Sit-Down Strike this weekend in Chicago
UE workers' Sit-In Continues at Chicago Window Plant. They need our
support any time this weekend.
For more information contact Mark Meinster at 773-405-3022
1333 N. Hickory, Goose Island Chicago. Come support the action.
Continuing through the weekend.
Union officials announced this afternoon that Bank of America has
agreed to meet with them to discuss workers concerns about the closing
of Republic Windows and Doors.
"They are ready to meet with the company and the union and a
representative from Luis Gutierrez's office in order to try to come to
some kind of resolution with the situation," says Mark Meinster of the
United Electrical Workers, which represents the workers. "Everybody is
trying to get a meeting today."
However, bank officials will only meet if Republic agrees to sign a
waiver of confidentiality. Up until this point, Bank of America
spokespeople have declined to comment on the situation because of the
Workers are currently staging a sit-in at the company. They say they
won't leave until they receive pay for vacation time they've earned,
plus the 60 days pay due to them under the federal WARN Act. Meinster
says the money owed the workers totals between $1 and 2 million.
Workers were also informed this morning by the company that their
health insurance, which they were told would run until Dec. 15, was
cut off last night. Workers say the company told them it was Bank of
America's decision to end the insurance.
Nettime -- Saskia Sassen -- Cities and new wars: after Mumbai
The attacks on India's commercial capital belong to a global frontline of
asymmetric urban warfare, says Saskia Sassen.
Cities and new wars: after Mumbai
29 - 11 - 2008
The Mumbai attacks of 26-29 November 2008 are part of an emerging type of
urban violence. These were organised, simultaneous frontal assaults with
grenades and machine-guns on ten high-profile sites in or near the central
business and tourism district
This has affinities with the asymmetric street warfare waged by the gangs
in Rio de Janeiro that every now and then announce they will take over a
major central area of the city from (say) 9am to 5pm: the result is
shuttered shops and empty streets. If the police try to respond, it is
open warfare, and the police rarely win - this is a challenge for which
the police are not trained. After 5pm the gangs withdraw. It is often said
that all of this results from inadequate policing or crime waves.
But that is too simple. There is a deeper transformation afoot. It is
still rare but it is more frequently becoming visible. It is as if the
centre no longer holds. Cities seem to be losing the capacity they have
long had to triage conflict - through commerce, through civic activity.
The national state, confronted with a similar conflict, has historically
chosen to go to war. In my new research project - on cities and war - I am
studying whether cities are losing this capacity and are becoming sites
for a range of new types of violence.
Further, the new asymmetric wars have the effect of urbanising war. This
brings with it a nasty twist: when national states go to war in the name
of national security, nowadays major cities are likely to become a key
frontline space. In older conventional wars, large armies needed large
open fields or oceans to meet and fight, and these were the frontline
Naeem -- Balaka Storks Dodge A Bullet
Images of the statues are at the URL:
To read about the previous statue incident, go here:
Balaka Storks Dodge A Bullet
by Naeem Mohaiemen
NEW AGE, December 1, 2008
Unlike the Baul statue circus a month ago, the group that came to
smash Balaka Chattar/Biman Office statues (storks, also by Mrinal
Haque) came near midnight. This time, no government officials, no
advance "protest" in media, no advance anything. They worked quickly,
with hammers. Other reports said "ramda", but I tend to think that's
Then the police arrived. According to BdNews24, for the first fifteen
minutes they did nothing. Then I suppose the "higher ups" decided
whether to stop or allow, impede or accelerate. And then the police
"swung into action." Or, as Shamokal reports it, dhawa palta dhawa.
Police wounded, attackers in custody, conveniently wearing white
robes. Almost ready for their photo-op.
The hammers managed to get through the plaster legs, but stopped at iron rods.
I arrived after midnight. Lot of police vans. My CNG driver knew about
it: "Ektu agei hangama hoise, oidike jaiben". Helpful tour guide.
Al Jazeera camera crew were there. Video camera nicely set on tripod.
Of course. It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good. I said to a
photographer friend, I knew the trouble was over, because in a real
volatile situation, there would be no time for steady shots.
Al Jazeera seemed excited by the flyer left behind, even though it was
about Mandar, the play banned by Islami Chatra Shibir in Rajshahi.
What is the link between Mandar and these statues? Or were they too
cheap to print their own slogans. Or is Udichi to blame for the storks
as well? It's all one gigantic hodge-podge. But I'm sure some TV
station will clarify and simplify, turn it into a bite-sized chunk and
And then two days later, a friend will write me from New York "What's
going on over there?"
Oddly enough, there seems to be only one copy of the flyer (and one
copy with the police official, who didn't want to share). Or maybe
some were taken away by the newspaper photographers, who had already
taken their snaps and left to file the story. Deadlines, deadlines. As
soon as we start photographing the flyer, a crowd gathers around us.
The camera makes the event or just brings it into focus I don't know.
If I just didn't comment on the image, illusions would run one way.