Monthly Archives: September 2007

september 20: a bell shaped woman keeps her eyes on the prize

Dear Readers,

 Another breath from the dome of your friendly neighborhood news dealer, political poet: NaXaL.  In today’s edition of “All the News That’s Fit to Flip,” we got: Jena, The Shock Doctrine, and Boxing Bell retires.

September 20, 2007

Jena, LA

 Thousands Rally in Small-Town Louisiana

This morning in Jena, Lousianna, thousands rallied to protest the murder charges levied against six African-American children, caught in the raging stream of being still being black in the South.  The Jena 6 can trace their struggle for equal citizenship rights back to the inception of this inherently flawed judicial system, but most recently to August of 2006, when a young black high school student raised their hand at a school assembly and asked if black students could sit under a tree known as the White Tree, because of who sat there.  Next day nooses were hanging from the branches of this tree.  An on campus fire and a few fights later, 6 black students are facing decades in prison.  Or not.  Because the whole country gives a fuck.  And officials in Jena are feeling the pressure.  The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has already overturned the 22 year sentence given to one Mycahl Bell, erroneously tried as an adult. 

Solidarity shot out to the folks protecting their children in Jena.

Solidarity shot out to the folks protecting their children in Iraq and Palestine and all places.    

The Shock Doctrine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kieyjfZDUIc

I first caught a glimpse of this Shock Doctrine video at a rooftop party in DUMBO, where the fall held down the corner of the clear Brooklyn night, folks dancing with hoodies on, dj bumpin (almost got tears in my eyes when he played that Naz), and inside by the food underneath the warm light was a tight lil cypher gathered round the computer, where a multi-race, multi-class discussion was sparking off latest YouTube favorites gettin dug up from the world wide crates.   I’m thinking damn, this is America, where information is currency, is sizzling, its a jammin house party and the internet is being explored, debated, beast belly, despite whats hated, we do got access like wut.    

Question: What do we do with our unprecedented access to information?  Answer: Learn it and share it.  Or else if you gonna just learn and not share, don’t come up to me asking me about the motherfucking caste system in India.  Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, how am I controlling the word?

But I aint tryna hate.  I’m learning every day how to share my world. 

Naomi Klein’s new book, The Shock Doctine, savvily compressed into the seven minute film linked above, attempts to “delink radical capitalism and democracy.”  Feel me, the woman takes aim at a relatively unquestioned domestic narrative that inextricably intertwines capitalism with democracy.  The activist geek in me is *siked*.  The book release was this past Tuesday at the New York Society of Ethical Culture.  Naomi first spoke to the audience solo and then in conversation with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.  She explained that the Shock Doctrine theory takes root in a Milton Friedman quote, and branches out into this tall order with three main points.   

The Friedman quote goes a little something like: “Only crises produces change and the nature of that change depends on the ideas that are lying around at the time.”

Damn. 

Shock Doctrine’s Main Point: Capitalism is being inserted where and when countries are weakened.  Capitalism, or, as she calls it, “disaster capitalism,” asserts itself as the healer while it acts as the violator.  Comparable, says Klein, to adminstrators of state sponosored torture, such as shock therapy.  Under the post-war daze, countries accept the external push for this particular economic plan, and begin, erroneously but understably, to associate being tortured with being loved and/or saved. 

Shock Doctrine’s Flow:

1. There is a blow to the body of a country.  Take an act of war, for example.  After the buildings are bombed and the hundreds are killed, Klein says there is a window of opportunity.  Opportunity to process for ourselves or accept the answers given to us by the nation-state.

2.  It is in this window of opportunity that radical capitalist economic theory finds its footing to leap and bound into next level enforcement of its currently dominant narrative.  Klein says it is in this phase, wherein we as global peoples (take your pick, post 9/11 America, post-Pinochet Chile, post-Tianamen Square China) are still reeling from an event, that we receive “economic shock therapy,” a story already thought up for us, a chance for us to recede into a childlike state where we not tryna make up our own minds about what happened, and this, she asserts, robbing of any chance for us to orient ourselves into the post-disaster reality.  Orientation, according to Klein and her studies of CIA torture mechanisms, is antithetical to depression, and is deliberately disrupted by the state so as to keep its populations docile. 

3.  Third part of the Shock Doctrine is about enforcement.  The state needs to enforce its new narrative, and does so with direct shocks/violence to individual bodies who carry minds still willing to respond with resistance to radical capitalism.

Lord have mercy.  Naomi Klein is on some next shit.       

Naomi Klein helped break the back of Blackwater, helped burst the sadistic bubble of modern day paid mercenaries in Iraq.  Privatization at its extremes leaves a public with corporations responsible for everything from what bathes us (water) to what scathes us (state violence).  And in Iraq, privatization means people paid by corporations to shoot and kill on sight.  Private mercenaries, bound by no nation’s law (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/20/world/middleeast/20blackwater.html), and if they were used as pieces in a chess game, the players would rightfully be called out for cheating.  No extra-judicial players on board.

Anyway, holler at her video at least.  It’s good food for thought.

A Boxing Bell Retires

It was a bell that was so well loved, shined so briskly, that “the television people yelled because there was too much glare.”  Yesterday, Madison Square Garden heled a ceremony to mark the last ten tolls of the bell that has sung of knock-outs and rounds in the Garden since 1925.  All the boxing champs came out to pay their respects: Frazier, Griffith, Hopkins, Breland.  Wish I coulda heard it when it tolled in the ears of Ali, as he hit the canvas in 1971 in the first of three fights against Joe Frazier.  Wish I coulda heard it from being inside the ring before yesterday, when it began its trek the International Boxing Hall of Fame in upstate New York.  But no matter, I’m just geeked that there is such fanfare over a motherfucking bell.  My inner Buddhist feels more at home in this country than ever before.

 Stay tuned for more, from political poet: NaXaL.

Peace,

N

friday fun with the new york times

Dear Readers,

Some of you have requested humor, so here goes: shot out to your gut from political poet NaXaL, with this here Friday injection of All the News That’s Fit to Flip.

 September 14, 2007

Headlines from the Heartland of Colonialism Circa 2007: Let’s Have Some American Fun

 

 1.  Absolutely Preventable Deaths in Children of the Developing World Fall From 10 Million a Year to Just Under 10 Million a Year: Unicef Would Like to Thank God, Mom in this Historic Public Health Moment (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/13/world/13child.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)

 Paths of Resistance in the East Village

2.  Rather Smug Article on East Village Gentrification Over Shadowed By Super Dope Photo  (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/14/arts/14expl.html?ref=arts)

  3.  At Start of Season, Football Fans Report Ever Increasing Resentment Towards Soccer: Bewildered Fan Asks, “Why Does the New York Times Soccer Blog Get to Get Called Goal?  We Have Goals Too.” (http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com)

In This Front Row, Downtown Cred

4.  Russel Simmons Disses Ex-Kimora at Marc Jacobs Fashion Show with Authoritatively Placed Arm Across Both Legs of Indian Model/Author, Padma Lakshmi: Front Row Hipsters Practice Trademark Confused Yet Knowing Stance (http://www.padmalakshmi.com/)

What to Expect When You’re Electing

5.  President Bush Responds to John Edwards: “This is America, a Great Dictatorship, You Might Could Git On TV, But You Ain’t Winning Shit.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u9Hib5LFOw)

Stay tuned for more from Political Poet, NaXaL, your friendly neighborhood news dealer with plenty supply of All the News That’s Fit to Flip.

Peace,

sept 13: fall stays around the way today

Dear Readers,  

My name is NaXaL, I take NewYork Times based stories of the day, and flip ‘em into sumthing you can feel.  

All the News That’s Fit to Flip is a slogan homegrown, plucked and owned by me.   

Today’s post: I peeped this story on Monday, when the Times ran a piece about it, called: “Fracas Erupts Over Book on Mideast by a Barnard Professor Seeking Tenure (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/10/education/10barnard.html?_r=1&oref=slogin).   

Finally simmered down enough to write.   

September 13, 2007 

Nadia Abu El-Haj, a Palestinian woman of color Professor at an elite U.S. university, published many times over, with bling stints at Harvard and Princeton, is potentially going to be denied tenure or pressured out of pursuing it because of our times, her culture, and her recent book, “Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society.”  By most accounts, including according to her current academic host, Barnard University, she is a shoo in for tenure.  In fact, Barnard has already approved her tenure, but now the women’s college has to go ask Columbia for his final say.      

Professor Abu El-Haj is a Palestinian scholar working on creating and re-creating destroyed and under attack history.  Is the right to history one of the sticks in each human being’s bundle of human rights?  I guess it depends on which human beings, when.   

No matter where you stand on the issue, the facts are clear.  Professor Abu El-Haj is the latest in a line of higher learning teachers under attack.  Why is this getting my goat?  It’s not just that anti-occupation educators are being denied tenure.  Hell no, its more than that.  Shit, hardly anybody else has secure employment.  It’s true that tenure is important because presents a security that offers thinkers the chance to think freely.  But it really ain’t the be all and the end all of what matters about anti-occupation Professors under attack.  

What matters here is an ever deepening silence.  Like a blanket.  Like its the Never Ending Sto-oh-rie and The Nothing draws near.

A steady chill under blankets, Trojan Horses, the gifts of neo-liberal capitalism emptied like pinatas in the fray.  Patriot Act, Clear Channel, Viacom defunding artists, post-Gonzales don’t you doubt for a minute that the nation’s prosecutors have to prod the party line any less, academics like Norman Finkelstein publicly harangued for an unpopular but on balance neccesary study of Palestinians and the occupation/settlement of Israel.  Pictures of Britney Spears with half a teaspoon of fat on her body at the MTV Music Awards plastered all over mainstream online news sites and this is the culture that is responsible for freeing women in other countries?  God help us.  

So what’s going to happen with Nadia.  I can only imagine.  Education bent over empire’s knee.  One’s getting off, the other is fighting to stay whole, wishing she knew whether it was moaning or silence that would make him nut enough to leave her alone.  Chose your own ending suspense.  Will education stand victorious, torch of learning still blazing in hand even after all this like the Statutue of Liberty?  Or will she stand already melting like Brooklyn blocks into condos?  

Will domestic education in the 21st century be a woman tortured past a path home?  

Why(?)/not?

Aaaargh!  This is an entry that calls for the Serenity Prayer, religiously recited at N/A or A/A meetings around the world.  

Here goes my remix: God grant me the courage to face the things I cannot change.  The hopefullness it takes to change those things I really can change.  And the wisdom and patience I need to know the difference between what’s changeable and what ain’t.

Stay tuned for more of All the News That’s Fit to Flip by political poet, NaXaL.

 Peace, 

N