While building solidarity between activists in the U.S. and Iran can be a powerful way of supporting social justice movements in Iran, progressives and leftists who want to express solidarity with Iranians are challenged by a complicated geopolitical terrain. The U.S. government shrilly decries Iran’s nuclear power program and expands a long-standing sanctions regime on the one hand, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes inflammatory proclamations and harshly suppresses Iranian protesters and dissidents on the other. Solidarity activists are often caught between a rock and a hard place, and many choose what they believe are the “lesser evil” politics. In the case of Iran, this has meant aligning with a repressive state leader under the guise of “anti-imperialism” and “populism,” or supporting “targeted” sanctions.
Book Review: Vincent Lyon-Callo, Inequality, Poverty, and Neoliberal Governance: Activist Ethnography in the Homeless Sheltering Industry. Broadview Press, 2004.
In recent years there has been increased discussion of the role that the non-profit structure has had on building radical struggles. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence's edited volume The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, which focused on the role of foundation funding on movement building, was a watershed on this issue. Lyon-Callo's book, published as an academic monograph three years earlier, functions as an important, but largely overlooked, companion work.
The focus in this volume, based in the author's experience in the 1990s working as a shelter staff member, is the way structural factors that create poverty become normalized and reinforced in day to day thought and action, and the difficulties particular actors encounter in challenging that normalization. Lyon-Callo's narrative is based on the small city of Northampton, Massachusetts, which experienced a significant loss of manufacturing jobs in the 1980s, accompanied by a decrease in affordable housing and the consequential appearance of homelessness. Since the 1970s there was also a major shift in wealth, and an increase in low-wage and low-hour jobs that made accessing enough wealth to obtain basic stability all the harder.
Violence, Healing and 500 Years of Anti-capitalist Resistance
JOIN US March 3-4 for a TWO-PART lecture and discussion series featuring autonomist, feminist, activist and writer, Silvia Federici.
...THURSDAY MARCH 3, 7:00pm
"Women, Witches and the IMF: The True Nature of Global Capitalism"
Wooden Shoe Books, 704 South St
This discussion will focus on the true nature of global capitalism, including the way that "primitive accumulation" is actually an ongoing process, and that this process is generated and maintained, at least in part, through violence against women. Federici will touch on the major themes in her book "Caliban and the Witch," which explores the violent origins of capitalism in the Great Witch Hunt of Europe, and draw parallels between the new land grabs and simultaneous return of witch-hunting in Africa and India. She will also discuss the necessity for a feminist analysis of capitalism and the importance of women's struggle over reproduction as part of anti-capitalist movements.
Tonight Noel Ignatiev came to Wooden Shoe books here in Philly to present his piece on CLR James, the World View of CLR James, also the forward to a new book recently released on PM Press titled A New Notion.
Ignatiev talks about James' rejection of Soviet Communism, his cricket journalism and his view of the new society showing itself as internal antagonisms emerge in conflicts within and between classes. He illustrates the latter nicely with some fun stories of workplace slagging, sabotage and organizing.
by Matt Hern
“We thought of the place as a free city, like one of those pre-war nests of intrigue and licentiousness where exiles and lamsters and refugees found shelter in a tangle of improbable juxtapositions...but what happened is that Reagan was elected and the musk of profit once again scented the air.” -from Luc Sante’s “My Lost City” Kill All Your Darlings (2007)
Freud’s final book, Civilization and Its Discontents (1930), compares the complexity of the individual psyche to Rome, Eternal City of layers and layers of architecture, history and experience, a city whose “long and copious past [has created] an entity...in which nothing that has once come into existence will have passed away and all the earlier phases of development continue to exist alongside the latest one.” This makes it difficult to trace what influences, crises, developments, made it what it is today and for whom. Each of a city’s inhabitants has his or her own set, or map, of memories, streets, arteries, markers, tribulations, traps and desires. A city is an urban eco-system we all contribute to, for better or worse. Returning from my first trip to Rome, with its labyrinthine streets, lush fountains and ancient ruins, I remember how dull, with its gridded street plan and brick houses, my city, Philly, seemed. Still, as always, I was glad to be home. I love Philly – its neighborhoods, backstreets, graffiti, food, music, parks, bars; its weather-work-wear n tear-driven blend of grumpiness and enthusiasm. I’ve ridden my bike around the city for 30 years, and it still feels new and exciting to me. But Philly has problems – one of the highest poverty rates of the country’s BIG cities, displacement, homelessness, gentrification, violence (“Killadelphia”), pollution, high unemployment rates, police brutality, and racial inequality, to name a few. Like most cities globally we are struggling for sustainability – human, economic, social, and environmental. What are the possibilities? Within the constructs of global capitalism, the push has been to recreate cities (consider New Orleans – see Mike Davis’ “Who is Killing New Orleans?” in The Nation, 10 April 2006) in terms of corporate profitability. Corporations court city governments and vice versa. Over and over again we’re told that’s how to sustain the city’s economy: make the city attractive to people with money: “If we build it, they will come.” Then what? Journalist Luc Sante and urban theorist Matt Hern, among others, describe what happened to Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 80’s and 90’s, the “‘shock treatment’ that began the steady displacement of community and flavor from the neighborhood in favor of gentrification. A market mentality, skyrocketing rents and a distinct loss of vibrancy.” Comcast? Casinos? Stadiums? Or, a city can value its people, natural and social environment, have ethics.
The 1973 film by French Situationist Guy Debord, based on the 1967 book of the same title, shows the dominating oppression of modernization ... all » of both the private and public spheres of everyday life by economic forces. The hegemonic mass media operates as a propaganda machine in both communist and capitalist nations and creates commodity fetishism in the minds of the masses.
Archimedes once declared, “Give me a fixed point and I can move the earth.” Historically speaking, the Kwangju people';s uprising of 1980 is such a fixed point. It was the pivot around which dictatorship was transformed into democracy in South Korea. Twenty years afterwards, its energy resonates strongly across the world. Among other things, its history provides both a glimpse of the free society of the future and a sober and realistic assessment of the role of the U.S. government and its allies in Asia.