Call for a National Day of Reparations

imagesI‘m a son of parents who were children of immigrants, not a native of this continent, even so, knowing what I do about Columbus, this holiday deepens my depression and angry indignation. We can’t undo history, but neither will be free of its burden until we collectively, without reservation, acknowledge our complicity in what we have done and vow to make a new beginning. That goes both for the genocidal theft of land that was the mother of our indigenous peoples, and for the theft and enslavement of humans from the lands where their mothers bore them into the world.
Because so much of the wealth of this nation was purchased by their deaths and suffering, there is no, can be no, meaningful acknowledgement without reparations.
Let this day be known, not only as Indigenous Peoples Day, but The Day of Reparations for all those we have wronged.

Subtraction Theory: The Future of Capitalism

Techno Occulture

Over on The Real Movementblog Jehu has a timely post that carefully evaluates the so-called post-capitalist notion as erroneous. He begins with the worn and obvious quote by Zizek ironizing the notion that “it’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism.” As Jehu says, “I have been reading a lot of writers who are trying to prove Zizek wrong by imagining a society that might be loosely categorized as post-capitalism — a term I personally detest.” Read his post: here.

Marx in the Grundrisse sees the future of capitalism as the End of History, or as he termed it the monopoly capitalist was ultimately seeking the elimination of space and time in a global system of absolute control:

“In as much as the circuits which capital travels in order to go from one of [its] forms into the other…

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This is the world, our only home

Refugees Don’t Need Your Pity

In a world where 1 in 7 people are displaced, your kindness is just condescension.

BY ANNA BADKHEN    Read the article HERE

Dispossessed is an identity of disempowerment, but it is a powerful identity. Borders may temporarily hold back the flow of humans adrift, but in a world where we are so tightly and dizzyingly interwoven, physical boundaries are far less obstructive than the lasting confinement of imposed narratives. Such is the double-edged power of stories: They can hold us together — and they can distort, isolate, and divide. The dispossessed: The tag’s impediment persists even after the bearer has crossed a border or town limits, settled in, become a neighborhood cop, a high school teacher, a daughter’s girlfriend, or a boat captain living next door. Unless the world finds compassion for this new communality, learns to make sense of one another’s voices, its humanity will perish.

BDS, Solidarity with Palestinians

Solidarity with the Palestinian popular resistance! Boycott Israel now!

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Whether the current phase of Israel’s intensified repression and Palestinian popular resistance will evolve into a full-fledged intifada or not, one thing is already evident—a new generation of Palestinians is marching on the footsteps of previous generations, rising up en masse against Israel’s brutal, decades-old regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.

World governments, especially in the west, are calling this a “cycle of violence” where both sides are to blame, ignoring the root cause of the colonial conflict and their own complicity in enabling Israel to maintain it and to violate international law with impunity. Almost all Palestinians today are calling for a full boycott of Israel and for isolating it internationally, in all fields, just as apartheid South African once was.

In this latest round, Israel has fanned the flames of Palestinian grassroots resistance by stepping up its attacks against al-Aqsa mosque compound, the Noble Sanctuary, located in the heart of the Israeli occupied Old City of Jerusalem. Fanatic, government-backed Jewish fundamentalist settler groups have persistently desecrated the compound, often verbally insulting worshippers with vile racism and openly calling for the destruction of the mosque. This has triggered widespread anger and protests in Jerusalem and among Palestinians everywhere in historic Palestine.

Typically, the Israeli army’s response was to protect the criminal settlers and punish the Palestinian victims, ultimately denying almost all Palestinians access to their holy site.

These threats are taken seriously by Palestinians who suffer daily the consequences of Israel’s official policy of “Judaization” of the city, a policy of gradually colonizing the land and replacing its indigenous Christian and Muslim Palestinian population with illegal Jewish settlers. This policy, which amounts to ethnic cleansing and a war crime under international law, is implemented through incessant land confiscations, expansion of the colonial wall, house demolitions, settler take-overs of Palestinian homes, extrajudicial killings, arrests and expulsions, all supported by Israel’s “justice” system, a constantly reliable, rubber-stamp partner in crime.

The latest Israeli attack against the al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, moreover, is not an isolated incident. Hundreds of historic churches and mosques have been destroyed by Zionist militias and later the Israeli state since 1948. Last summer, during the massacre in Gaza, Israel bombed to the ground 73 mosques. Many Palestinian churches and mosques have been defaced or otherwise desecrated this year alone by Jewish extremists in so-called “price tag attacks,” including the Church of Loaves and Fishes (Multiplication), overlooking Lake Tiberias, which was set on fire last June.

These racist and criminal attacks against Palestinians and their freedom of religion come as an extension of a massive shift in Israel to the extreme right and the unprecedented prevalence in Israeli society of overt, deeply-seated colonial racism and racial hatred against the indigenous Palestinian people.

Virtually all Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza are denied access to Jerusalem, which is besieged by walls, watch towers and barbed wire, and are subject to daily assault and humiliation.

In a typical so-called “period of calm”, Israel enforces its medieval siege of Gaza, conducts incursions into Palestinians cities, confiscates Palestinian land, including in the Naqab (Negev), destroys Palestinian property, and builds illegal Jewish-only settlements. In its ongoing attempts to entrench its system of apartheid and colonial rule, Israel denies Palestinians their full spectrum of rights in the most banal of ways, from a child’s right to education to a mother’s access to health care, to a farmer’s ability to reach his/her land and to the right of a family to even live together in one home. And all this is done with the blessing of the courts.

In light of the apathy or direct complicity of world governments and the UN, and as a result of Israel’s impunity in perpetuating this system of injustice against Palestinians, in historic Palestine as well as in exile, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has made great strides in redefining Israel’s positioning in the world stage as a pariah state.

Through boycotts of institutions that are complicit in Israeli violations of international law, through divestment from corporations supporting Israeli oppression and through a principled call for sanctions against Israel, the BDS movement has increased the isolation of Israel and started to impose costs on its regime of settler-colonialism, apartheid and occupation.

The World Bank has revealed that Palestinian imports from Israel are falling significantly. Israeli businessmen are reporting that European investors are no longer willing to invest in Israel, while a UN study confirms that foreign direct investment in Israel dropped by 46% in 2014, as compared to 2013. A Rand study predicts that BDS may cost Israel between 1% and 2% of its GDP each year over the next ten years, and, most recently, credit rating agency Moody’s has reported that BDS is a potential threat to the Israeli economy.

More needs to be done, however, to hold Israel to account and shatter its still strong impunity. Complicit governments must be exposed. Corporations that are enabling and profiting from Israel’s human rights violations must pay a price in their reputation and revenues. Israel’s military machine, including its research arm, must face a comprehensive international military embargo, and all Israeli leaders, officers and soldiers who are involved in the commission of the current and past crimes must be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court as well as national courts that respect international jurisdiction.

Israel is not just oppressing Palestinians; it is exporting its ruthless model of securitization and repression to the world. Israel is deeply involved in training and arming death squads in Latin America, often as a US proxy, selling weapons and military expertise to dictatorships in Asia andAfrica, often to both sides of a civil war, and militarizing police forces in Ferguson, Los Angeles,London and cities around the world. Israel today is a key player in domestic repression against racial, social, economic and environmental justice movements around the world.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the Palestinian leadership of the global BDS movement, calls on people of conscience around the world to support Palestinians in their quest for freedom at this crucial moment by stepping up BDS activities against Israel’s regime of oppression. In particular, and related to the current mass revolt on the streets of Palestine, we call on supporters of the Palestinian struggle to:

  • Build awareness about Palestinian rights under international law and support for BDS through media outreach, including social media;
  • Campaign against Israeli military companies such as Elbit Systems;
  • Support boycott and divestment campaigns against complicit companies, such as G4S andHP, that are most blatantly complicit in Israel’s infrastructure of oppression;
  • Pass effective and strategic, not just symbolic, BDS resolutions in unions, academic associations, student governments and social movements that can lead to concrete measures, and enhance the cultural boycott of Israel;
  • Consider legal action against Israeli criminals (soldiers, settlers, officers and decision-makers) and against executives of corporations that are implicated in Israel’s crimes and violations of international law.

Like their parents’ generation, the thousands of Palestinian youth in Jerusalem, Gaza, Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Jaffa, Nazareth and elsewhere who have taken to the streets in large protests against Israel’s occupation and apartheid are first and foremost shaking off despair and liberating their minds of the myth of oppression as fate. They are also nourishing the entire Palestinian people’s aspiration to self-determination and living in freedom, dignity and a just peace.

It is high time to isolate Israel’s regime of militarization, securitization and racism as a danger not just to Palestinians and the Arab region, but to humanity at large.

Translations:

DECLATACIÓN EN CASTELLANO AQUÍ

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– See more at: HERE

From Whitman to Ferlingetti, a word to the Defenders of the Indefensible

When an artist’s ‘flaws’ are more than personal, but go to the very heart of the social and political miliue that we support with every penny we spend, we get no pass to excuse the person because of “the times,” or because their faults are endemic to the system. Doing so is but a way to excuse ourselves from our own complicity, and from making action to overthrow and replace this racist, misogistist empire of money and death, the centerpiece of our lives and our art.

A response to CA Conrad’s Harriet Essay on Whitman

CA Conrad wrote an important essay on Harriet. One that no one should ignore, or dismiss, or shy away from because it offends. It has pushed my own thinking on art, poetry, revolution, and I would ask that anyone reading this… take a deep breath, step back, and let it work on you—in the context of our received notions of where we have come from.

I have always thought that the strongest works of the imagination were more and other than the intentions of their makers, or of the interpretative constraints of their times. I haven’t changed those beliefs. But Conrad’s challenge is not about that. Defenses of Whitman—that he was a man of his times, that he wrote equally strong passages sympathetic to slaves (if not of native peoples)—are beside the point. What I heard in his essay was an echo of something that has been on my mind for some time.

We want to ignore, or explain away, the complicity of our cultural heritage—I mean, white, Euro-American art, poetry, music, theater, how it has served, directly and indirectly, the Masters of our history. And their wars, their slave holding, their misogyny—kings and empire, and after, the economic empires of colonizing capitalism.

It isn’t enough … or maybe, it’s not yet time, to save what has been passed down, what we (as artists… of all forms), are meant to follow, to renew, to challenge even as we stand on the shoulders of those who we must acknowledge—that we are their heirs. But what, and how much, of what they have left us?

The analogy that comes to mind… the German children and grandchildren of the Nazis. We are the children and grandchildren—and more than that, the brothers and sisters of genocide, of this whole monstrous empire of money and death, and what we have been given—our aesthetic heritage– to build on—is infected beyond our… if not, of future generations… ability to purge and cleanse.

We cannot cannot cannot build a new world, and nothing less will do if we as a species—if life on this planet is to survive– than to build a new world, and we cannot do that but on the ashes and ruins of the old.

This is Conrad’s hard truth.

There may come a time when we will be able to look back, read Whitman for what even he had no inkling of what was there, to find and celebrate again that lightning of imaginative truth, the light of which illuminates the truth neither person nor historical time were able to see. I do not despair of the power of imagination—that whatever come forth from that sublime flash, will endure, and be worthy of our appreciation generation to generation. Whitman, too.

But we are not in that place where we can rescue what flashed through him—not before we are ready to confront the truth of the contamination of Empire and the myth of race and the destiny of State.

I stand with you, Conrad. For your courage, and your truth.

And hope for the day, when we have remade this world—when we will again be able to recite Whitman… and all our failed poets, artists… as we may be remembered… for all our failings.

Tell us, Chris Hedges, What will be the course of this Revolution?

Chris Hedges on Salon

Question is… can we do the revolution, like digging under the foundation, and as the Empire collapses, a little here, a little there, replace it with what we’ve been working to build together, like the ship of Theseus, piece by piece, plank by plank–and at last, transformed into something unimaginable until it emerges, whole and free of the empire of money and death that had engendered it? Or must it come from a bloodbath, where force will replace force, and the boot of Authority emerge, unchanged, but with new names, and new victims, and our new masters?

Which will it be? And do we even have a choice?

Our Collective Death Wish

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I’m more and more inclined to think we’re programmed to self-destruct, to commit collective suicide. Maybe we’re picking up signals from all the other life forms on this planet–realizing how much better they’d be without us… we’re on a mission, a collective death-drive. Almost did it once.. but then, backed off… maybe it was too obvious… i mean, the Cuban Missile Crisis. So now we have… global warming, where we can blame it on ‘Nature” (whatever the fuck that is).. .and meanwhile, exhibit our symptoms … like Israel in Gaza. “Warning signs” … that no one wants to read, and if anyone does… no one has the number of the suicide hot line.

History affords us nothing toward understanding what we are, what we might be–only what we have been. I’m thinking of the bloodletting in Gaza, and the larger conflict of which it’s a part.

The antithetical interests, wishes, needs of the parties involved, the real suffering, deaths, lives, the terrible losses, the fears & ambitions real & imagined are of the here and now, creating the here & now of the future, immediate & remote, because if there’s any ‘history’ existing now—that’s the one, the one that belongs to the future, and maybe the only way to get to the present is to get free of history—or rather, of the tangled, mutilated, psychotic pseudo-histories that pass as explanations, rationalizations, justifications—because, lets get this straight—history is not capable of explaining anything but…. history: what has already happened, done, achieved, been explained already a thousand times before. History can do only that: explain & re-explain itself, but it will not, cannot, explain us to ourselves, cannot explain who & what we are–& least of all, what we want. What we really desire. For that, we tell stories.

Stories we give the name of ‘history,’ call ‘history.’ But are not, history. they are stories—stories of how the Zionists colonized Palestine (named for a Roman colony), & drove the residents by FORCE from their homeland; stories of how the Jews of Europe, despairing of there ever being an end to the pogroms, persecution, humiliations inflicted on them by Christian Europe, came up with the idea that a dream of a place of their own might be real if only they would find the courage to FORCE it into reality; stories of how that dream became a nightmare of bloodletting & terror & dislocation & generation upon generation of refugee camps; stories of Jews who had lived for millennia across North Africa (since Spain kicked them out in 1492 as Columbus set sail on his mission to colonize the Americas), across what archaeologists felicitously called ‘The Fertile Crescent,’ (fertile creation of Empires conquests exiles and colonization), & were in turn driven from their homes, seeking refuge in Israel (becoming the most militantly anti-Arab class in their new homeland); stories of how the international anti-communist, capitalist class, with blessing and billions from the U.S, would use and exploit all of this to turn what had at least begun as a small socialist state into an American land based aircraft carrier in the Middle East & one of the most economically un-equal of all the developed nations—and that, not even counting the Arab & non-Jewish residents.

The stories go on. Sound & fury… fog & tear gas to cover the human reality, the mothers wailing for their children, the olive trees… my god, the olive trees! The living soul of the land itself—outliving generations, sustaining generations—bulldozing the olive orchards, building obscene walls, the buses exploding on busy streets, the real needs, wishes, aspirations of living people…

… of all those stories, that a careful understanding of history—history that cannot explain or justify or rationalize—but only struggle to point out what ‘is’.. .the helpless infant truth we would, if only we could, believe in… of all those stories, the one common element…

FORCE, as Simone Weil understands it in her essay on The Iliad, The Poem of Force.

The FORCE that belies, that lies, that turns all it touches into ‘things’, the tool that turns the user into the very thing they most hate & fear.

FORCE—which weaves for us, stories in the shape of the wish that lies within us, the wish for Death… for collective suicide.

… and who, who will rise up to tell us … to begin to tell us… stories for Life? And who will have the power to overcome…

Continue reading “Our Collective Death Wish”

Gaza, 50 Years Ago, as Today: It is the conditions that have become our Masters.

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…the process (capitalism, colonization… ) is itself as much actant as process. It’s not as though the former creates and realizes the latter, so much as the other way around. It is the conditions that have become our masters

Some thoughts on the Ken Knabb piece linked below–which is the best damn thing I’ve read on the current horrors in Gaza… even though (or maybe because) it was written 55 years ago. I think we make a mistake naming the State that has made itself the instrument of colonization, as though the former were the actant and the later a kind of verb–what the actant does, when the process (capitalism, colonization… ) is itself as much actant as process. It’s not as though the former creates and realizes the latter, so much as the other way around: it is the conditions that have become our masters, and to break from their control it’s not sufficient to name the primary instruments that are the means of of their mastery. We don’t need to create or posit an enemy, to demonize this group or that State, to recognize the horror of what they do, the injustice of the consequences is enough. If we are locked into a mental state where we must have victims and executioners, and assume that distinguishing the one from the other amounts to understanding the conditionis that create the injustice, we will never be free. To be–in Camus’ phrase, neither victims nor executioners, we cannot invest our whole identity with either–our only hope lies is forging solidarity with that which is neither. This is the root of the failure of cycles of vengeance and retribution. This is not a MORAL failure, but a failure of vision, a failure of creative imagination… of making real a world–forging actual relationships that know no borders, that disavow the distinctions which perpetuate the conditions of injustice and violence, seeking out those, individuals and collectives, with whom we can lay the foundations of a new reality.

The Ken Knabb piece linked here i

To be–in Camus’ phrase, neither victims nor executioners, we cannot invest our whole identity with either–our only hope lies is forging solidarity with that which is neither. This is the root of the failure of cycles of vengeance and retribution. This is not a moral failure, but a failure of vision, a failure of creative imagination… of making real a world–forging actual relationships that know no borders, that disavow the distinctions which perpetuate the conditions of injustice and violence, seeking out those, individuals and collectives, with whom we can lay the foundations of a new reality.