“In the first place there are texts signed by people who have no doubt seen, observed, analyzed, reflected on the animal, but who have never been *seen* *seen* by the animal. Their gaze has never intersected with that of an animal directed at them (forget about their being naked). If, indeed, they did happen to be seen seen furtively by the animal one day, they took no (thematic, theoretical, or philosophical) account of it. They neither wanted nor had the capacity to draw any systematic consequence from the fact that an animal could, facing them, look at them, clothed or naked, and in a word, without a word, *address* *them*. They have taken no account of the fact that what they call ‘animal’ could *look* *at* them, and *address* them from down there, from a wholly other origin.”
— Derrida, “The Animal That Therefore I Am,” trans. David Wills (Fordham UP, 2008).
11:30 am • 31 March 2014 • 1 note
“Kurd Cemal’s comings and goings on Flower Hill turned into a rumour that he would open a cinema in the middle of the garbage hills. But Kurd Cemal was on the point of opening up a brand new squatters’ quarter, not in the middle of the garbage hills but where they ended. Finding a way round bureaucracy, he promised Garbage Chief money and land for a single hut and asked him to spread the news in the factories and workshops of Rubbish Road that the forest land beyond the garbage hills was being turned into heath, but to say not a word to the Flower Hill folk. While Flower Hill was approving velvet curtains and black leather armchairs for Kurd Cemal’s cinema, Garbage Chief was going the rounds of the factories and workshops of Rubbish Road. ‘Anyone who wants can become a hut owner here,’ he said, whispering Kurd Cemal’s name in the ear of the workers who wanted to own a hut. Then he sold building plots in Kurd Cemal’s name. One night the workers left the factory and scattered to the forest land behind the garbage hills; they dug up the heath and levelled the earth. Then they set up random huts from breezeblocks. Four days later they were completely surrounded by menacing trucks and behind the garbage hills, that ‘film’ ran for days in Kurd Cemal’s ‘cinema.’…While the glittering screen of the garbage hills showed the smiling faces of weary workers, the cement dust stopping up Garbage Chief’s mouth blew away through the streets of Flower Hill, and they heard how he had taken money from the workers. The people laughed for days at their own innocence and henceforth all such swindles were known as ‘Kurd Cemal’s Cinema,’ a name which spread to other neighbourhoods and factories. Tricks were played so thick and fast it became a byword and soon the name ‘garbage hill’ was forgotten among the hut people and replaced by ‘Kurd Cemal’s Cinema.’ In that cinema, days merged with darkness, darkness with the moon, the moon with the stars. Spring passed into summer.”
— Latife Tekin, ‘Berji Kristen: Tales from the Garbage Hills’
2:32 pm • 17 March 2014
Decolonize Your Education: DOWNLOAD A FREE ZAPATISTA TEXTBOOK: “AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT 1”
The Zapatista Escuelita (Zapatista Little School) project, which opened in August 2013, has now made available the first of several books, translated into English, as free PDF downloads.
The first in the series is the text, Autonomous Government 1: Freedom According to the Zapatistas. Download the PDF here.
Forthcoming books will be released in the coming months, at one month intervals, if not sooner, as follows:
• Autonomous Government I (Available now: click here)
• Autonomous Government II (Will be published no later than April 8th)
• Participation of Women in Autonomous Government (Will be published no later than May 8th)
• Autonomous Resistance (Will be published no later June 8th)
1:48 pm • 17 March 2014 • 1,669 notes
“He was quite beside himself when he described the machine that poured ‘snow’ on the huts. For days this machine was the talk of Flower Hill. It was as high as the factory ceiling and multi-coloured powders were piled before it. Everyone heard of the machine that held forty hutfuls of powder and of the stink it produced in the factory, even fiercer than the smell it blew at the huts. In a single day the story spread to the three communities of how the men working at the machine fell headlong into the powders and passed out. Kara Hasan fell flat on his face and did an impression of them which shook the people so much they forgot about the children who had fainted on the garbage heaps. Many wept and went off their food; Kara Hasan consoled them saying that towels, soap and sugar were distributed every month to the workers, but their feelings erupted again when he went on to say that the blood of the young girl workers was mixed with the hot water. He made imaginary drawings of the electric boiler and showed them to the people. He spoke of bottles exploding in the girls’ hands, causing streams of blood and cut and torn faces. He hunched from one hut to another, declaring the running hot water was half blood. He pointed out to the women the girl strikers with their cut faces, and took the hut people one by one to the picket line to talk to the workers who had passed out. About the same time, the Flower Hill folk heard that the workers of Rubbish Road were a ‘class,’ and that the Union would appropriate the factories on their behalf. Rumour spread that the workers had a power that could shake the world, and after Kara Hasan had explained the writing on the picket line banners, an epidemic of stories broke out in the community along with legends about the factory owners, the songs and customs of the workers, and things unimaginable.”
— Latife Tekin, Berji Kristen: Tales From the Garbage Hills (Marion Boyars: London, 1993), trans. Ruth Christie and Saliha Paker.
2:07 pm • 16 March 2014
Eve Dunbar, “This (Black) Woman’s Work: Uncovering Professional Inequity in the Archives, Re-Affirming Our Work in the Academy.” This Thursday, 3/13, at the CUNY Graduate Center. Part of the series “Critical Diversities and/in the Academy: Thought and Practice.”
8:46 pm • 11 March 2014 • 1 note
“I want to think about the tactics Roy deploys in her representation of adivasi resistance, particularly in the book’s eponymous central narrative, and what the audience is for her intervention. Indeed, in my current seminar on postcolonial ecologies and their representations, we’ve seen three rather different attempts at representing indigenous/autochthonous experience and resistance: Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Hungry Tide,’ the three stories of Mahasweta Devi’s ‘Imaginary Maps’ (translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak), and now Roy’s text. I tend to see the first as a principally aesthetic treatment, the second—complicated by various translation issues—as didactic, and the latter as descriptive or journalistic, but these are admittedly contingent categories. Put another way, what are the impacts, or potential impacts, of these authors’ interventions given their respective forms?”
— An excerpt from my ruminations on Arundhati Roy’s Walking With the Comrades.
5:33 pm • 23 February 2014 • 2 notes
10 Ramadan, Cairo - Inside the premises of Swiss Garment factory. This facility is Arafa Holding’s first garment making factory and specializes in the manufacture of formal wear for major Italian stylists, Armani, Scervino, Ermenegildo Zegna and Paolo Pecora among others.
This private factory covers 30,000 square meters and employes almost 4,000 workers.
One of the core revolutionary demands regarded the raise of the minimum monthly salaries. This should be put into force starting form the 1st of January 2014 but only for the public sector workers. A decision on whether to extend that to private sector workers is still pending.
The volatile political situation and sporadic violence since the 2011 uprising that ended the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak has scared away many foreign investors and tourists, severely impacting Egypt’s economy.
According to one of the factory area manager, a gradual implementing in the wage system would mean an increase in the production costs and this could lead the company to be no longer competitive on the market and the risk that the investors will look elsewhere for their vast scale production, where the cost of labour is still lower.
5:08 pm • 21 February 2014 • 22 notes
“[Q:] You’ve said before that it is a struggle to find the time and space to write fiction and that you feel you need to invent a language to bridge your political and creative concerns. [A:] Yes, what is most difficult for me is that just as certain and as real as these battles are right now, writing fiction is proportionately uncertain. Fiction is such an amorphous thing, you can’t be sure that you’re doing something important or wonderful until you’ve done it. So, because of the position I am in now, to work on fiction I have to create some sort of steel barriers around it. Fiction is something that involves so much gentleness, so much tenderness, that it keeps getting *crushed* under the weight of everything else! I still haven’t figured it out entirely—but I will, *I will*.”
— Arundhati Roy, in an interview about her 2011 account of the ongoing Naxalite resistance in central India, Walking With The Comrades.
5:03 pm • 21 February 2014 • 6 notes
“She imagined the animals circling drowsily, listening to echoes pinging through the water, painting pictures in three dimensions—images that only they could decode. The thought of experiencing your surroundings in that way never failed to fascinate her: the idea that to ‘see’ was also to ‘speak’ to others of your own kind, where simply to exist was to communicate. In contrast, there was the immeasurable distance that separated her from Fokir. What was he thinking about as he stared at the moonlit river? The forest, the crabs? Whatever it was, she would never know: not just because they had no language in common but because that was how it was with human beings, who came equipped, as a species, with the means of shutting each other out. The two of them, Fokir and she, could have been boulders or trees for all they knew of each other, and wasn’t it better in a way, more honest, that they could not speak? For if you compared it to the ways in which dolphins’ echoes mirrored the world, speech was only a bag of tricks that fooled you into believing that you could see through the eyes of another being.”
— Amitav Ghosh, ‘The Hungry Tide’ (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005), 132.
1:18 am • 7 February 2014