Monthly Archives: November 2007

november 30: the word laugh has “ugh” in it

Dear Readers,

Naxal here, with “All the News That’s Fit to Flip.”  Here’s to making it through the first wave of U.S. holidays.  That is, if you made it through.  If not, R.I.P and everything. 

Heads up: Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I posted a series of political poems at www.myspace.com/naxal.  The series, Chosen Family Holidays (Installments 1, 2, 3), gives voice to whats weird, severing, and grudgingly triumphant about *being real* over the goddamn, gotta love it, holiday season.   

This winter, the planet tilts further from the sun and the personal edges closer to the political.  Millions strive towards togetherness, fulfillment, flat screens, all in the face of unemployment, loved ones at war, and daunting lines at the local Best Buy.

It’s all a bit ridiculous, and we’ve still got Christmas and the Western New Year to go.  Great.  In the name of the holiday spirit, I’d like to dedicate this post to loosening up, without the wine. 

Enjoy and stay tuned for more injections of holiday decimating cryptonite, from me, Naxal, with, “All the News That’s Fit to Flip.”     

 November 30, 2007

1.  1.  An Exiting Bush Begins To Recall How To Appear As Though He’s Doing Something “Presidential.”

  

2.  Pequot Warrior Demands Four More Beads For Sale of Connecticut, Drunkard President of All Pilgrims Demures: “Sorry, Mr. I’m-all-buff-but-I’m about-to-be extinct, sale’s final.” 

3.  Smith Family Thanksgiving An Unexplicably Solemn Occassion.

4.  With Careful Plotting, Barely Invited Uncle Fred Squeezes Into Holiday Photo, Again.

5. Stereotypes Really Are True: “Latino Immigrants’ Children Found Grasping English.”

(actual NYT headline in quotes)

6.  “Court Orders Police to Return Marijuana“: Empowered Defendant, Felix Kha, Exhales, Visibly Relaxes, Asks, “What, po-po’s couldn’t put an orange peel in that shit, why is my ounce so damn dry?” 

(actual NYT headline in first set of quotes)

Whad I tell ya?  The Times be killin me.  Stay tuned for more of, “All the News That’s Fit to Flip,” by NaXaL.

Peace,

N

holiday class

Dear Readers.

 Tonight I’ma hit you off with some examples of holiday class.  I’m a professor at a university in Manhattan, and today, class was a class act.  Teacher and students all holding it down for a session of old skool learning.  The “you think you know till you find out there’s more” kinda learning.  The “everyone here has something to teach” kinda learning.  And on this threshold, deap sea dive occasion, tip toes curling around the verge of jumping headlong into another chosen family holiday season, figured I’d take some time to surround me and you with *class.*

November 19, 2007

First up on Class Acts: the New York Times for going there this Sunday…

  

There is something so yum about glancing across the front page of the Sunday New York Times and seeing the primary picture (above) add color, thick icing on oven warm cake, to an investigative article which takes a critical look at President Bush’s homeboy stance with Pakistan’s president, General Pervez Musharraf.  Wait, wait, wait.  Rewind. 

Did you just write the words “critical look at President Bush” in the same sentence as “New York Times.”

Why yes, yes I did.   

The article, Bush Failed to See Musharraf’s Faults, Critics Contend, took aim at the “Bush-Mush” relationship, saying Bush backed him too soon, and that “Busharraf,” as some in his home country derisively call him, not only sold out to Bush, but was a user on top of it all.  Hard to cull sympathies here, Bush can’t chose his friends right, Bush has a hard time giving up on those who would stab him in the back, but who can’t relate to this, and how fascinating that the democracy-dictatorship divide should come down to this intimate look at interpersonal relationships between two human beings with power.   

The article is a class act in an era of loud protests and a silent press corps.  In examining the dynamic between Bush and Musharraf, the article steps in right on time with a nod to the thin line between democracy and dictatorship, and a big shot out, however inadvertent, to history.  It seems that Bush Jr. and Sr. gotta bad case of making friends with any enemy willing to do their bidding.  And by now we know that U.S. presidents’ most armed and zealous in their spread of “democracy,” forge dangerous alliances with violent dictators (Norriega, Bin Laden, Pinochet) for decades, that is,  until those same dictators start making decisions without consulting their Washington based pimp.  What do we do with this knowledge?  Remember.  

Kudos to author Sheryl Stolberg and the NYT for taking the reigns on a nationwide narrative that deserves revisiting and rethinking.

Second up on Class Acts: Doris Lessing, for winning the 2008 Nobel Prize for literature so…uniquely…

The picture says a lot, but the video says far more:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuBODHFBZ8k

Both of these pieces depict Doris Lessing and her down home, for real for real, reaction to winning the Nobel Prize.  You know, the Nobel Prize, the same prize that inflates people all big like floats in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Her way reminds me that it is possible to be gracious and gruff.   

Third and last up for Class Act: David Sides, for showing us, not telling us, that solidarity mourning can happen and it happens so sweet through the arts…

David and his Riverside, CA posse put out this You Tube video for Kanye, currently grieving the tragic passing away of his moms.  Check it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpI6VNvRTII&NR=1

Got the chills watching it, as much for the heart behind it as the fluid mastery of the artist himself, sometimes upright and sometimes grand.  Special shot out here to Mary and Patty and the whole fam of them who are grieving the loss of a son, a nephew, a brother, a friend, a young street soldier to gun violence.  I dedicate this last class act to her and her family, solidarity, love ain’t no rarity, I’m sending y’all my love.

Stay tuned for more of “All the News That’s Fit to Flip,” from yours truly, NaXaL.

Peace,

N

1.20.09/is fine/i mean if that’s when bush turns over the white house keys/cool/the real question is/are we as a movement/”too cool for school”?

Dear Readers,

Naxal here, on the headlines, on the New York Times, on the news from the streets, I’m comin to you fresh from University and high school classrooms across NYC, providing you “All the News Thats Fit to Flip.”  Today’s installment has everything to do with education.  Enjoy.

 November 14, 2007

1.20.09/is fine/i mean if that’s when bush turns over the white house keys/cool/the real question is/are we as a movement/”too cool for school”? 

 

lately ive found myself in convos with movement folks about the graduate school option.  im usually the one in the room with a grad school degree, so i mainly listen, pipe in when i need to.  so here’s what ive been hearing, the new news on the street.  a few seminal bay area and nyc based organizers and teachers are applying to grad schools as we speak.  most of whom are queer, all of whom are women of color. 

these trailblazers have sparked discussions coast to coast about whether or not it makes sense for movement workers to go to grad school or go back to school in general.

one argument against the grad school option falls along the lines of: “you can’t use the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house,” aka “school is wack.”

a slightly different line goes: school can’t teach us nothing we can’t teach ourselves, aka, i don’t have the patience for it now, aka, i don’t need it, aka, we as a movement don’t need to turn to the academic complex for validation, education, orplatforms. 

and i can feel folks on all these points.  i really do.  i mean, you can’t fuck with that audre lourde quote.  but you can over use it. 

in terms of grad school, i say, if you are so inclined, go for gold ponyboy, and stay gold ponyboy.  i mean shit, i did it, and [start singing billy holiday style now] “no, no they can’t take that away…from me.”  i mean, i will be proud of that accomplishment till my last day. 

how big is the chip on our shoulder from mammoth, neglectful public high schools?  pretty big, im telling you.  how much do we as a movement of young immigrants, and immigrants daughters, fear the severing effects of elite education?  a lot, if you ask me.  how balanced are we on the assessment of the burdens and benefits of graduate education?  not very. 

take the last convo i was in about this issue.  6 folks in a bed stuy living room, three grafitti artists/educators/501C3PO’s, one young movement veteran turned stripper, a dancer/educator, and me-poet/lawyer/perfoming/professor.  the grad school discussion quickly turned to how it could change you/start believing in their ways/perfecting their power plays/severing further into elite islolationism no calls to the family for days. 

oh damn, lemme call my parents real quick.    

ok, im back.

shit, i never said the fears were unfounded.  but staying whole, staying true to self AND true to movement post-academia, is a battle that can be won.  i know, i’ve done it.  when i was a teenager, i was chilling with john sweeney, then president of the afl-cio, learning the labor organizing ropes.  been a 501C3PO ever since, working in large orgs, small, medium, lots and lots of orgs.  somewhere in the there, i graduated from an elite law school, traveled to almost every continent, interned and externed across the country including a stint in the united states supreme court, the aclu, and national public radio. 

through it all, i’ve been life and limb dedicated to creating a better world.   that shit aint gonna change.  come what may, grad school, relationships, children, jobs, ima always do me, do us, get free, nonplussed.

even if the education system ain’t perfect, isn’t it our right to learn in it?  don’t we get to build our intellect in that way too?  

picture the bay area.  a mecca of movement non-profit organizations.  a slew of 25 and 30 year old executive directors leading these 501c3s.  young, queer, working class folks of color, mainly.  and there we are, burning hard and bright and out in an overall structure that dont quite fit right.  as in, we are not replaceable, our jobs are more than jobs, they are our life endeavors, our life stories, but the non-profit structure does not honor this.  factories don’t either.  which is exactly my point about why at some point, its okay to be up outta that shit.  in law school i learned that the overall legal structure of NPO’s is almost exactly similar to corporations.  go figure. 

to my folks thinking about grad school, i say go for it.  go for it and if you get in, enjoy that shit.  go for it and stare down that guilty nag of privilege that says solidarity cant look like me going to school, because not only is that erroneous, its a self-destructive thought for the movement to embrace.  go for it and feel your mind unfurl to hold new arenas of responsibility.  go for it and chime in on rarefied conversations that are happening about populations we represent, work with, and love, conversations that turn into society shaping policies experts get credit for.  go for it and if you don’t get in or don’t get the funding and say fuck it all, STILL chime in on those rarefied convos.  go for it and become the nurse-midwife ima need sometime soon.  go for it and write our stories into the narrative of this nation.  go for it.  and keep your head up and your addictions only as near as you can handle.  because it is a mind fucking challenge.  a different and neccesary battle.  one that the movement deserves to face.     

and that’s the news on the street.  all the news that’s fit to flip.  motherfuckers.

stay tuned,

n