“Bijendra Singh, a farmer in Ghaziabad district in Uttar Pradesh, whose land was going to be taken for a highway expansion project, said: ‘We are mentally prepared to face police bullets and die. But we are ready to pick up guns now to protect our land and save our way of life…If a farmer doesn’t want to sell his land, don’t take it by force. If they do, we are ready for a war.’ In Raigad district, Maharashtra, women and children marched through villages shouting ‘Zamin humchi hakachi, denar nahi, denar nahi’ (the land belongs to us, we won’t part with it), ‘Shetachi zameen aamcha hakkachi, naahi konachya baapa chi’ (this farm land belongs to us, not to anyone’s father). In Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha, as Adivasi women and children barricaded their village to stop armed police from entering it, Prashant Paikary said: ‘This battle will continue till our last breath.’ Mahadev Das, a 34-year-old farmer in Hooghly district in West Bengal, looked at a boundary wall put up around what used to be his land after it was taken for a car factory and said: ‘For a farmer, land is life. If you take away my land, you might as well take away my life.’”
— Sanjoy Chakravorty, The Price of Land: Acquisition, Conflict, Consequence (Oxford UP, 2013), 4.
2:04 pm • 9 July 2014
“A goodish Foucauldian subject, I’m rather abashed that ‘Touching Feeling’ includes so little sex. A lot of the reason is the quotidian chance of my own life, as cancer therapy that aims to blot up every trace of circulating estrogen makes sexuality a less and less stimulating motive of reflection. It’s also seemed, with the strategic banalization of gay and lesbian politics as well as their resolute disavowal of relation to the historical and continuing AIDS epidemic, as though in many areas the moment may be past when theory was in a very productive relation to sexual activism.”
— The last sentence slays me. Though not (actively) related to my current research interests, this is very much what I researched as an undergraduate and so is part of my general inclination toward praxis. Sedgwick, Touching Feeling (13).
6:36 pm • 26 April 2014
“What may be different in the present work, however, is a disinclination to reverse those priorities by subsuming nonverbal aspects of reality firmly under the aegis of the linguistic. I assume that the line between words and things or between linguistic and nonlinguistic phenomena is endlessly changing, permeable, and entirely unsusceptible to any definitive articulation. With Wittgenstein, however, I have an inclination to deprecate the assignment of a very special value, mystique, or thingness to meaning and language. Many kinds of objects and events *mean*, in many heterogeneous ways and contexts, and I see some value in not reifying or mystifying the linguistic kinds of meaning unnecessarily.”
— Eve Kosofsky Sedwick, Touching Feeling (6).
4:04 pm • 26 April 2014
“In response to these challenges, neoliberalism promised new methods and modes of what David Harvey calls ‘uneven geographical development’ or ‘accumulation by dispossession,’ a transformation in how states regulate capital and labor in the service of a ‘global’ world order unevenly tethered to national redistributions. Often referred to as privatization and deregulation, neoliberalism in this context describes a shift in how states collectively regulate economies, with a broad trend away from regulated redistribution ‘downward’ (via taxation, social welfare, and entitlement programs) toward semiregulated market redistribution ‘upward’ (via protections for capital and corporations, no longer tethered to nationalized constituencies). In countries of the global North, neoliberalism appears as the dismantling of public entitlements such as education and welfare and the construction of alternate versions of the social safety net that allow states to appear sovereign in the eyes of national populations, such as prisons, semicarceral workfare, and military expansion. In the nation-states emergent in regions ‘underdeveloped’ by colonial and imperial modernity, neoliberalism appears as debt-induced structural adjustment mandated by new international banking and commerce institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Here embedded liberalism does not necessarily create an intermediate obstacle, allowing for neoliberal modes of production to develop precisely where ‘underdevelopment’ had not necessitated hegemonic representational systems or governmental protections for labor.”
— A particularly effective, succinct explanation of neoliberalism’s simultaneous manifestation in the global north and south. Jane Elliott and Gillian Harkins, “Introduction: Genres of Neoliberalism,” Social Text (2013).
2:40 pm • 26 April 2014
“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 • 1,808 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