"The Border, however, easily trumps the Strip as surrealist landscape. Spanish offers the useful distinction between La Línea, the physical and jurisprudential border with its 300 million individual crossing each year, and La Frontera, the distinctive, 2000-mile long zone of daily cultural and economic interchange it defines, with an estimated 10 million inhabitants. All borders, of course, are historically specific institutions, and La Línea, even in its present Berlin Wall-like configuration, has never been intended to stop labor from migrating al otro lado. On the contrary, it functions like a dam, creating a reservoir of labor-power on the Mexican side of the border that can be tapped on demand via the secret aqueduct managed by polleros, iguanas, and coyotes (as smugglers of workers and goods are locally known) for the farms of south Texas, the hotels of Las Vegas, and the sweat shops of Los Angeles. At the same time, the Border patrol maintains a dramatic show of force along the border to reassure voters that the threat of alien invasion (a phantom largely created by border militarization itself) is being contained. ‘The paradox of U.S.-Mexico integration is that a barricaded border and a borderless economy are being constructed simultaneously.’”
Siamese Twins, Magical Urbanism (Latinos Reinvent the U.S. City), Mike Davis
Who would have thought having a food machine would become so important to our way of life? While nearly invisible in their ubiquity, nearly 90% of American households have a microwave, according to the Heritage Foundation, a think tank founded by people who actually thought Richard Nixon was too liberal and which today likes to bandy about words such as poverty using ironic quotation marks: "Each year for the past two decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that over 30 million Americans were living in ‘poverty.’"
A Heritage Foundation backgrounder from earlier this summer on Poverty & Inequality simultaneously asked and answered this question in the headline: Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today? Apart from using the word poverty surrounded by ironic quotation marks more than a dozen times, the piece noted this helpful comparison from political scientist James Q. Wilson: “The poorest Americans today live a better life than all but the richest persons a hundred years ago.” Well, there you go. Congratulations poor people.
Of course, politics aside, we all know and understand deep down that the mere presence of a microwave machine in a household is hardly an indicator of poverty. There is of course a distinction to be made between deprivation and poverty, it’s just not the distinction that many seem to want to make; a chicken in every pot and an Xbox on every TV stand. Recent data from the USDA indicates one in every six Americans struggled to buy food in 2010, nearly 49 million people, about 14 percent of the population… that in a country that thought nothing of funneling money to banks and financial companies in the trillions at a ratio of more than 7-1 bank to individual-related stimulus programs. Yes, we must stop these baseless entitlement programs that are draining our great nation of its wealth!
— Kevin Depew (read more here)
The bureau’s strategy has changed significantly from the days when officials feared another coordinated, internationally financed attack from an Al Qaeda sleeper cell. Today, counterterrorism experts believe groups like Al Qaeda, battered by the war in Afghanistan and the efforts of the global intelligence community, have shifted to a franchise model, using the internet to encourage sympathizers to carry out attacks in their name. The main domestic threat, as the FBI sees it, is a lone wolf.
The bureau’s answer has been a strategy known variously as “preemption,” “prevention,” and “disruption”—identifying and neutralizing potential lone wolves before they move toward action. To that end, FBI agents and informants target not just active jihadists, but tens of thousands of law-abiding people, seeking to identify those disgruntled few who might participate in a plot given the means and the opportunity. And then, in case after case, the government provides the plot, the means, and the opportunity.
I cannot understand anti-abortion arguments that centre on the sanctity of life. As a species, we’ve fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don’t believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain and life-long, grinding poverty shows us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’ve made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred.
I don’t understand, then, why, in the midst of all this, pregnant women - women trying to make rational decisions about their futures and, usually, that of their families, too - should be subject to more pressure about preserving life than, say, Vladimir Putin, the World Bank, or the Catholic Church.
Environmental groups are trying to build a critical mass around issues like global warming to inspire public action and encourage legislators to get their heads out of the sand. The Sierra Club is working to block new coal burning power plants, a new coalition is organizing actions against a tar sands pipeline, and folks in West Virginia are sitting in trees in an attempt to halt destructive strip mining. It’s great work, but what if it’s not enough? What if it’s too little, too late? What if we never get enough mass for it to ever reach that critical point?
A new book called Deep Green Resistance, by Aric McBay, Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen, says that we likely won’t have enough people interested in saving the planet before we run out of time. So, they’re calling for a change in strategy. You may know Jensen from his many books, including Endgame. McBay is the author of Peak Oil Survival: Preparing for Life After Gridcrash, and Keith is the author of The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability. The three longtime activists have teamed up to offer a more radical approach to our environmental crisis.
They use words like “militant” and “resistance” a lot. And they critique the Left a lot. And they review the semantics of “violence.” “I would urge the following distinctions,” writes Keith, “the violence of hierarchy vs. the violence of self-defense, violence against actual people vs. violence against property, and the violence as self-actualization vs. the violence of political resistance.”
And if you’re firmly in the nonviolence-is-the-answer camp, don’t get scared off (yet), because there is a ton of crucial information in this book. And just because they mention violence doesn’t mean it’s the best policy. You may not want to sign up to lead their underground army, but you should hear them out. Because the planet is being destroyed. Each day 200 species go extinct, Jensen writes in the preface. And if you can’t wrap your head around that number, how about “90 percent of the large fish in the ocean are gone, there is ten times as much plastic as phytoplankton in the oceans, 97 percent of native forests are destroyed, 98 percent of native grasslands are destroyed …” and Jensen continues with the bad news from there.
In a couple of decades, we may be looking at the end of life as we know it on this planet. ”What is your personal carrying capacity for grief, rage, despair?” asks Keith in the first chapter. It’s not just global warming but a confluence of catastrophes that cannot be blamed on Republicans or climate deniers or rich people with their personal jets, but on all of us, together. The culprit is industrial civilization, say the writers. “This culture destroys landbases. That’s what it does,” writes Jensen. “And it won’t stop because we ask it nicely.”
And so how do we save the world (and along with it ourselves)? Well, naturally we take down industrial civilization, they say. Yeah, no small feat. Especially when so many of us actually live quite comfortably in this civilization — roofs over our heads, running water, flushing toilets, access to medical care, decent food to eat, cars to drive, electronics to play with, vacations to take. And, of course, the most powerful people live in a penthouse, far above relative standards of comfort and have zero desire to pack up and move out.
So this taking down of civilization will not be easy, of course. But according to Jensen, Keith and McBay, it is necessary because no other response out there even comes close to matching the scale of the problem we face. And we can no longer afford to simply make personal changes to bike more and eat local. And we can no longer afford to be grieved by polluted rivers or angered by short-sighted politicians without doing everything we can to stop it. So what do we do? Their 500-plus page book attempts to map out a strategy for their vision and also provide a critique of historical resistance movements — what works, what doesn’t work.
I suppose I know what I’m reading next. This should be interesting.
Here’s a video interview with one of the co-authors, Eric Mcbay.
You sullen pig of a man
you force me into the mud
with your stinking ash-cart!
—if we were rich
we’d stick our chests out
and hold our heads high!
It is dreams that have destroyed us.
There is no more pride
in horses or in rein holding.
We sit hunched together brooding
all things turn bitter in the end
whether you choose the right or
the left way
dreams are not a bad thing.
Williams Carlos Williams
Valerie Boyd in her SPOT ON film review: “The Help,” a feel-good movie — for white people”
Read the entire article here: http://www.artscriticatl.com/2011/08/film-review-the-help-a-feel-good-movie-for-white-people/